November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

For this Thanksgiving, I decided to mimic a couple of the blogs I follow by writing out a list of what I'm thankful for.  So here it is, in no particular order:

1) my family, who may not understand what I'm still doing in school, but support me anyway
2) my friends, who do not judge me and are always willing to lend an ear or a shoulder
3) my cat, who keeps me laughing and provides bedtime snuggle-time
4) individuals who remind me that science is a team effort
5) Virginia weather
6) seasonal produce like tangerines
7) Christmas music, decorations, coffee (at Starbucks) and shopping
8) not being homeless
9) hope, ambition, and dreams
10) Sephora
11) the free literature available from the public library
12) starlit skies
13) the belief that 'world peace' is attainable

November 21, 2009

Dude, I'm never going to sleep with you.

One of my male friends has a crush on me. It's so painfully obvious that it takes all my restraint to not blurt out something inappropriate. [Like "Dude, I'm never going to sleep with you so give up!"] That knowledge, coupled with his personality, makes me feel like I have to censor myself -- what I say, the amount of emotion in my comments, etc. I can't be the brutally honest [true] version of myself, and, sometimes, it is exhausting to engage in conversations with him. Because I'm aware of the crush he has on me, I am the one with all the power in our friendship. If I mention a TV series I find interesting, he'll start watching it. But I won't reciprocate by watching something just because he does. I want to tell him that constant fawning and placating won't change my lack of attraction, but at the same time, I don't want to acknowledge [out loud] that that is what is happening. I keep hoping that if I ignore it and am hyper-vigilant about stressing how he's my friend, that the crush will fade away. So here's to that ....

November 12, 2009

My personal hell

It's been 4 months since the breakup, yet, sometimes, it doesn't feel like a day has gone by. I know that healing it a time-sensitive process and that keeping busy is essential. But I'm stuck. I have to see him every weekday. Do you know what that's like? Seeing the person you loved more than anything in the world, and being reminded every time you see him that you're no longer together? Because he wanted to be free of obligation. Because he thought you'd be better of alone. Do you know what it's like to have your whole support system ripped away from you? To live in an area hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away from your friends? To go out of your way to try to meet new people, only to have these strangers look at you like you're less than they are? Do you know what it's like to desperately love and absolutely hate someone all at the same time? If I act like everything is fine, then I'm in denial about the whole situation -- that we aren't even friends anymore. If I act like a victim or a scorned lover, then I lose the only social interaction I have in a day (i.e. with co-workers) and have to face all the painful memories in an even more isolated mindset. Welcome to my personal hell.  

CMA performance

This was AWESOME!!

November 09, 2009

Non Sequitur

Letter to Republicans/Conservatives/Libertarians

You say you are against universal healthcare because it isn't constitutional. Yet you fail to notice that "general welfare" amenities like emergency services, infrastructure and public education are government run. You say you are against universal healthcare because it is socialized medicine. Yet you fail to notice the U.S. already has socialized medicine -- Medicare. You say you are against universal healthcare because it is unnecessary. Yet you omit preventative care and treatments in your assessment of the services available to the uninsured. You say you are against universal healthcare because the majority of those polled were satisfied with the current system. Yet you fail to clarify what proportion of those surveyed were without health insurance. You say you are against universal healthcare because it will bankrupt the country. Yet you forget the $915 billion we've spent (so far!) on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You say you are against universal healthcare because you don't want the government telling you what to do with/to your own body. Yet your political affiliation has been telling women what to do with their bodies and reproductive health for generations. You say you are against universal healthcare because you are protecting liberty. Yet you restrict the 'quality or state of being free' to white Christian men. You say you are against universal healthcare because it is the antithesis of capitalism and people will inherently do what is best for all. Yet you fail to realize how contradictory that statement is.

[It is so frustrating to have a discussion with you about this topic because you rely on smoke and mirrors. If I argued for universal healthcare by citing the Bible and using vague patriotic terms like freedom and liberty, then I too would be untouchable.]

November 08, 2009

Leisure activity

So lately I've been reading Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion". This was inspired by an article in The Washington Post, either about this book or about his latest publication -- I can't remember. I'm finding it an interesting, albeit long-winded, read. Dawkins likes to reiterate that religious individuals have no proof of God, yet those same people feel science doesn't have enough evidence to disprove the existence or influence of God.

Personally, I feel it is a whole lot more believable that life is the way it is due to evolution -- that chronological accumulation of random mutations and natural selection -- than due to God deciding it should be so. [Who created God anyway?] What positive influence does religion have in inspiring us to be curious and seek out answers to life's questions? As geneticist Jerry Coyne says: "Why is God considered an explanation for anything? It's not -- it's a failure to explain, a shrug of the shoulders, an 'I dunno' dressed up in spirituality and ritual. If someone credits something to God, generally what it means is that they haven't a clue...."

I feel that people use religion, especially God, as a scapegoat. Why were you born with that incurable genetic disease? Because God made you that way. Why is your son a homosexual? Because God is testing your faith. Etc. It is easier to blame someone else, then to acknowledge (1) you don't know, (2) chance and/or probability, or (3) that you are responsible. I am especially concerned by those religious individuals who believe that misfortune is brought upon by refusing to "live by the divine law of life". What incentive do people have to lead a pious and virtuous life as a path to heaven, when prisoners who torture and kill innocent people, can be forgiven and saved? It just doesn't add up.

November 05, 2009

And why the country music?

Those of you who know me may be surprised by all the country music that has invaded my blog. I know, I know. I was always the person complaining about the rednecks and the honky-tonk songs. But as I've gotten wiser ... err, older ... I've become bothered by the trendy pop/rock music. I don't want to listen to base heavy songs about partying, drinking, hot scantly-clad women, sex, or evading the police. I want to believe that there's more to human relationships than selfishness and instant gratification. I want to believe in love! I want to believe that true love stays with a person, and that that love can provide both pain and comfort, regret and hope. Hence the country music. And it isn't so bad, once you get past the manure on the boots.


I believe science has some fundamental flaws. Why else would an instrument of progress continue to perpetuate archaic practices like academic hazing? I understand some professors believe in the "value" of preliminary exams -- that science requires lifelong learning. Other professors may believe the experience helps you to think on your feet. But if preliminary exams were so crucial to success, why aren't they standardized? The Bar Exam is. The Medical Licensing Exam is. And while every doctoral student is working on one specific aspect of one specific project, the degree is the same for all members of the same department. So why are the preliminary exams so variable? Why is one student put through hell and another has the faculty planning a celebration before the exam is over? Scientists are suppose to be hyper-aware of bias and make every attempt to minimize it. I'm starting to worry that science is more of a "do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do" type of discipline. How else can I justify the demoralization of students as a means to measure progress in the program?

November 02, 2009


I'm so excited that Pixar's "UP" is coming out soon! Heehee!! My favorite character is Dug the dog.

November 01, 2009

Song of my soul

"Bring Me Down" by Miranda Lambert

Sweet like a kiss sharp like a razor blade
I find you when I' m close to the bottom
You cant appreciate the time it takes
To kick a love I always knew was kind of wrong
And as I'm putting out the flame
Somebody brings up your name

Oh oh oh oh
Baby baby baby bring me down
I want to be right where you are
Baby baby baby bring me down
You can look me in the eye and break my heart
Break my heart

Six AM unruffled pillow
Laughs out loud at my trusting heart
It's like I didn't see the penny
I missed the fountain by a couple yards
If you would only stay gone
Maybe I could move on

Oh oh oh oh
Baby baby baby bring me down
I want to be right where you are
Baby baby baby bring me down
You can look me in the eye and break my heart
Break my heart

OH! Baby baby baby bring me down
I want to be right where you are
Baby baby baby bring me down
You can look me in the eye and break my heart
Break my heart

OH! Baby baby baby bring me down
I want to be right where you are
Baby baby baby bring me down
You can look me in the eye and break my heart
Break my heart

Bring me down...