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Because we all need another "My shitty life in 2010" posts
Read more... )
Oh, and I have the flu. Go me.


Nov. 13th, 2010 02:55 pm
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I haven't posted in about forever, and I kind of need to, mostly just for laying things out for my own benefit. I've been miserable these past few months. I'm overwhelmed by grad school and I'm behind in just about everything. I'm having suicidal thoughts for the first time in years, though fortunately they're still at the "bad song stuck in my head" stage. I note with some detached amusement that they are particularly bad when I'm driving. I've just gotten the dosage of my meds increased, so that will (knock on wood) help somewhat, but I'm still left with being miserable as a grad student. Off and on since the fall semester began, I've been thinking about dropping out of the program. Lately, the thoughts have been more serious. I mean, what's keeping me here are (a) the fear of adulthood and having to go out and have a real job--something which is looking increasingly pleasant compared to grad school, (b) the stubborn desire to see this through, and (c) not wanting to disappoint my mentor and confirm suspicions about my ability to deal with the rigors of research (all unstated, but word travels in a lab). The thing I'm realizing is that I have no idea what I want to do with myself, and grad school has been my way of avoiding that decision, taking the path of what felt like least resistance. It's clear that it isn't, but where does that leave me? At this point, I'm not sure I'll ever find something that really appeals to me, and so I should just find something simple that I can do with some measure of competence that I don't hate and that pays me something I can live on. I think I may have given up on such a goal. That still leaves the question of "What next?"
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I've actually given this a fair bit of thought, mostly in the context of vampires. In that case, what with not being able to have sunlight or chocolate and having to deal with court intrigue being the preferred method of staving off the doldrums of immortality, I suspect I'd eventually throw myself into the path of a speeding sunbeam. Not any time soon, of course. As long as human civilization continues to exist in some form, there will be books to read, languages to learn, etc. Heck, even if the rest of humanity goes extinct, I have cephalopod civilization to look forward to. The prospect of being an aberration to aberrations is amusing.

But say that vampirism (or another form of undeath that I'd be likely to undergo: lichdom) isn't the means of immortality. Suppose science finally discovers the fountain of youth and miraculously, this affair doesn't end with only heads of state and plutocrats having access to immortality. Even then, I feel I'd eventually opt out. It might be centuries--millenia if [ profile] tigerdreams is around as well--but I think I'd eventually grow bored of existence.

If everyone else got to live forever too, I think I might commit suicide sooner, as there are too many people who I'd despair of having to interact with for eternity. Besides, that'd just make Klingon promotions much more commonplace.

Lastly, think about how much human culture has changed in the past decade. Century. Millenium. Now think about how much of that change was fueled by the advancement of scientific thought and technology. The pace at which technology and science progresses now accelerates exponentially and nothing short of a disaster sufficient to herald a new Dark Age will stop that. Think about the difficulty that many baby-boomers have with the internet. That level of culture shock would be a constant concern for an immortal. Close your eyes for what seems like five minutes, and you find yourself inundated with new forms of information, streaming into your consciousness faster than you can process even a fraction of it. Or worse, being in such a world, but unable to access this information. Maybe the cybernetic implants that connect everyone to the worldwide web were developed while you were busy brushing up on your Mandarin, or the language of whatever political entity is the current world power. You find yourself trapped in a Red Queen scenario, struggling to remain on top of current events and trends, or at least to not fade completely into obsolescence.
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Starting this fall, I'll be enrolled in the BA/MA program at Wesleyan. Essentially, this entails staying for a fifth year and getting a Master's in the natural science of my choice (biology). The catch is that because the program is only a year long, students in the program are expected to begin their research as early as possible. Some begin relatively early in their undergraduate careers. I started less than a month before the end of my last spring semester.

Warning: tl;dr and bitching ahead! )

To put it simply, I'm without a clue.
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So, I went to sleep a bit early tonight with the intention of ridding myself of a headache. I apparently traded this in for an unwanted visitor, because I awoke to [ profile] tigerdreams frantically informing me that there was a bat in the room. I groggily looked up and sure enough, there was a bat flying about the dorm in a figure-eight configuration. Freaked out, I made sure that it was in the room between my bedroom and the hallway, closed the bedroom behind me, and BOLTED for the door. While I attempted to contact the house manager to inform her of this turn of events, our commotion drew the attention of one of my neighbors, O, who offered to consult the collective brain of humanity on what course of action to take and later, braved the bat-infested lair to open the window to allow it to leave. Unfortunately, this bat was a bit confused, and didn't seem to get the hint, so we went downstairs to play a board game and give it some time to vacate the premises. Downstairs, we related the story to a couple of people, only expecting to share a story of adventure and chiroptera. Imagine our surprise when we heard one person downstairs say, "I have some experience with bats. Let me get my gloves." So we followed T (the experienced bat-wrangler) and G (his enthusiastic assistant) back up to my room, only to find that in our absence, the bat finally figured out that it wasn't welcome and left. In our search of the room, we discovered the bat's point of entry: a small hole in the ceiling of the closet in the room between the bedroom and the hallway.

The best part of this series of events was [ profile] tigerdreams pointing out that we were the NPCs who recruit adventurers from a tavern to deal with the monster in the village.

EDIT: So, it turns out the bat was still in my room. It had apparently decided that my empty trash bin seemed a lovely nest. After the hunt was called off, [ profile] tigerdreams thought it best to not try to go to sleep, so we commenced watching DS9. Into the second episode, [ profile] tigerdreams heard a rustling of a plastic shopping bag and had me pause the show and invesitgate. I tracked the sound to the trash bin and, lo and behold, the damn thing was still here. I quickly threw a towel over the trash bin, got dressed, and walked a couple of blocks away to a brightly lit parking lot (I was damned if I was going to release the bat in a dark area where I couldn't monitor its location) where I removed the towel. And waited. And dropped the towel in case the bat had decided to cling to it. Meanwhile, [ profile] tigerdreams looked into the bin, which had tipped over, then moved around and behind it and tipped it back up, whereupon the bat finally fluttered off into the mists. God, I feel like a 1st level PC in Ravenloft.
mechanosapience: (Worf)
Inspired by the changes illustrated by my last entry, I took another test that I hadn't in a while: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In the past, I tested as an INTJ.
Results underneath the cut )
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So, I'm sure some of the people I am lj-friends with have taken this quiz at some point or another. I took it again last night, mainly because someone on my friends list did so. So without further ado, my results:

Results and analysis under cut )

Anyway, feel free to share your results, comments, etc.
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Stolen from [ profile] ladybird97

Age: 21
Where you grew up (Ages 0-18): Stamford, CT, USA

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks: stream

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called: shopping cart

3. A metal container to carry a meal in: lunch box

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in: frying pan

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people: sofa

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof: gutters

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening: porch

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages: soda

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup: pancake

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself: sub

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach: bathing suit

12. Shoes worn for sports: sneakers

13. Putting a room in order: cleaning

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark: firefly

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball: rolypoly

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down: seesaw

17. How do you eat your pizza: with a knife and fork until it cools, then cheese-side up, point first, on a horizontal plane.

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff: garage sale

19. What's the evening meal?: dinner

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are: basement

21. What do you call the thing from which you can drink water in public places: water fountain
mechanosapience: (leather_wings)
Despite the fact that I'm much closer to my mom than my dad, I have much more contact with his side of the family, as crazy and extroverted as they are. In particular, I'm much closer to my paternal grandparents than my maternal, mainly because my mother's father died when I was very young and my mother's mother is distant, both emotionally and geographically.

My paternal grandmother, possibly the one member of my extended family that I give a good damn about, died last night. She had cancer for the past two years, so it isn't like this is a surprise. Hell, I've known she's been on her last legs for almost a year. I spoke with her a few weeks ago, and I could tell it would be soon. I've had ample time to prepare, so why the FUCK am I barely able to function?!
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OH God! What a week. Last Thursday, I had an rough draft of an essay due in my class on Greek and Roman Medicine. I got it back on Monday. Expecting some mild to moderate criticism, I was stunned to find that my professor essentially told me that my paper was bad and I should feel bad. After scrapping my initial topic for one that was more in line with what she wanted (from attitudes of Hippocratic writers toward women to Hippocratics as atheistic priest-healers), I spent the next few days in agony, struggling to make my thoughts coherent and put them down in a way that made sense outside of my head. I worried myself to tears over page count, since she was way more strict about the number of pages than I am accustomed to professors being. Finally, as of an hour ago, it's finished. Now, I can look forward to a spring break where I recover what little sanity I ever could claim to possess.
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Thanks to [ profile] ontd_political, I have discovered something hilarious and perverted. No, it isn't [ profile] box_in_the_box. I already knew about him. No, this is better. This. Is. JAMES JOYCE!!!1 Beware, this is extremely NSFW.
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Possible TMI, you have been warned )

tl;dr--I have baggage and my mortal sin is envy.
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So, I am currently writing an essay for a class on Greek history, taught by a professor I had for a class on Greek drama a semester ago. This essay, which I am writing as an alternative to the final he is giving on Tuesday, focuses on something I could see writing a book about: women and the Oresteia.

I very nearly cited TVtropes for this paper. I love college.
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Step 1. Leave a comment saying, "Resistance is futile."
Step 2. I respond by asking 5 questions to satisfy my own curiosity.
Step 3. Update your journal with the answer to my questions.
Step 4. Include an explanation of this meme in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

As a note, the questions were asked over a month ago, and I've just gotten around to answering them.

From [ profile] box_in_the_box:

1. Watchmen is obviously one of your fandoms. Explain its appeal to you.

I don’t usually put much thought into what I like about a given fandom, but here goes. I’ve always been interested in comics, but have always been intimidated by the amount of canon there is. Thus, I tend to restrict myself to limited series like Sandman or V for Vendetta that don’t have the weight of decades of canon, though I occasionally make exceptions for things like Red Son or Dark Knight Returns; comics that work as stand-alone pieces.

I’m incredibly fond of perversion and subversion. It actually explains a lot about me, from my sexuality to my taste in just about all forms of media. I like seeing tropes that are so ingrained in comics that even I know about them get twisted and warped. When I think of comics and superheroes, my mind tends to gravitate toward the Silver Age, so I like seeing characters that have serious personality flaws and don’t help little old ladies cross the street. I guess that’s kind of weird, given my dislike for grimdark.

I love detailed settings. World-building is my favorite part of writing and it goes pretty far in explaining my fondness for fantasy. I love the degree to which the world of Watchmen looks like a real world with superheroes influencing politics, pop culture, and society the way phenomena of similar magnitude do in the real world.

2. How would you sum up your personal politics?

In short, I am a technocrat. I think that any problem can be solved with sufficient ingenuity and resources. I think that the problem of governance is just another problem, and that those with the proper training, qualifications, and skills are the best to deal with these problems. I think that those with power are morally obligated to look after those without, and that it is the duty of authority figures to do their jobs to the best of their ability. I have no tolerance for corruption and little patience for politics. I think it is the government’s job to look after the needs of the citizens, and I have what might be considered a generous definition of what that entails. I am a liberal who briefly flirted with libertarianism, but now generally think the federal government is usually more qualified than state or local governments to deal with major issues because the federal government has greater resources and more talent at its disposal. Also, ever notice that the areas that are so gung-ho about local government tend to have incompetent local government that is more than happy to throw its citizens to the wolves, leaving the federal government to pick up the pieces? I honestly think America would be in a better place if the Confederacy had been allowed to secede. If the southern states were left to their own devices, they’d be a third world country. I think many aspects of conservatism are pure greed and corruption beneath a hardly-present veneer of respectability and virtue. On the other hand, I have little patience for the post-60’s form of needlessly iconoclastic liberalism that is so very prevalent at the university I attend. Authority is not inherently evil. The problem is that many of the people who have authority are corrupt. Corruption should be rooted out at the first sign, but it should not be presumed.

3. What draws you toward other LJ users (such as me) enough to friend them?

Well, that’s an interesting question, since you’re the only LJ-friend I have whom I don’t already know IRL. As such, I can’t really say in general what causes me to do this, but I can explain why I friended you.

I first discovered your LJ from ontd_p and from my girlfriend, who follows your LJ. I suspect people tend to react to you (assuming you are similar IRL as online) by either taking a shine to you or disliking you immediately. I went with the former, since I find your contributions to ontd_p and your LJ presence in general to be lulzy in the best sense of the word. I also see enough similarities between us and see enough traits that I could see emulating that I sort of unconsciously place you in the older brother category, which sounds really weird, I know. I swear I’m not a stalker.

4. Since it's nearing Halloween, what movies scare you most?

God, it’s been forever since I saw a movie that genuinely scared me. The only ones I distinctly recall are Jurassic Park and The Rescuers (yes, the Disney movie).

I remember when I first saw Jurassic Park, I was fascinated yet terrified by the notion of science recreating extinct species, to the point where a child therapist misinterpreted this as paranoid delusions. I was primarily excited by this possibility. Then there’s the scene in the kitchen near the end, where the kids are being hunted by the DeinonychusesVelociraptors. They spend the entire movie, from the first scene at the paleontological dig onwards, talking about how Velociraptors are such terrifyingly intelligent and effective hunters, and then there are two kids, just like me, quarry to these ultimate hunters, who will do their damnedest to messily kill and devour them.

There’s just one scene from The Rescuers that scared me, when they throw the heroine down into the tidal cave and refuse to bring her back up until she retrieves a gem the size of her fist. Most viscerally frightening for me as a child was the part where she finds the gem… lodged inside a human skull. I had a major phobia of dead bodies, particularly skeletons, as a kid. My uncle had this candle that was a damn realistic looking skull that he got while in the Navy, and my cousins loved to torment me with it. Anyway, the gem is revealed when the heroine shines a light at the skull, and the gem lights up, dramatically outlining the skull. Scary as shit! But on a subtler level, there’s also the child-abuse angle that is played throughout the whole movie, but comes to a climax at this point. The cave the heroine is in is rapidly filling with water, and if she doesn’t find the gem in time, her “guardians” are more than content to let her drown. As someone who had more experience with domestic abuse as a kid than desirable, this profoundly shook me.

5. What types of characters do you wish there were more of in fiction?

An interesting question; one that is probably more interesting than my answer, since I am unaccustomed to pondering my fandoms in a meta sense. With the prelude out of the way, I’d like to see more characters that are of marginalized/minority groups without being defined solely by that one aspect of their identity. I’d like to see more superheroes of color who have a schtick that has nothing to do with their ethnicity. I’d like to see atheists who aren’t Straw Vulcans. I’d like to see more strong female characters in the mold of Clytemnestra and Medea (Greek mythology is one of my fandoms). I’d like to see writers relying less on stereotypes and actually coming up with complex, multidimensional characters.
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Two-year anniversary with [ profile] tigerdreams, squee! Now, if only we weren't both sick as dogs. Ah well, we can always celebrate when our bodies permit this.
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I discovered a band over the summer that I am highly entertained by. Take spaghetti westerns, metal, and gothabilly, mix 'em together, and what you get is Ghoultown. I thought I'd share.
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Gah, insomnia! I really need to get out of the habit of staying up until 3 AM on weekends, as I am incapable of returning to a sleep schedule that is conducive to waking up at 8 AM. This summer has been very strange, and I'm depressed by the notion that I'll be switching from full-time lab work to school with lab work mixed in. I may head in now, as I suspect sleep may be a poor idea now if I want to go into the lab at 9. Fortunately, things are winding down and in a week or two, all the other people who work in the lab will be back and I'll only be worrying about colony maintainence one day a week and my experiment, which could work once the weather cools down and dries up a bit, assuming the flies are still interested in laying eggs. I hate it when my sleep cycle gets this out of sync. I always debate just staying up all day, but that is rarely possible.
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A strange thing happened. I think I might have witnessed someone confronted with the fact that her beliefs and ideology is ultimately selfish and her attempts to justify are intellectually lacking. I'm not sure what, if anything will happen. I don't know her very well (I follow a community she moderates), but she seems okay. She reminds me a little of Mytheos. I hope she responds by realizing how selfish her beliefs are, but I suspect that she's probably gone into a sort of lockdown echo chamber in her head. Who knows... Either way, best of luck [ profile] bluetooth16
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I'm amused to note that upon seeing a photograph of Sonia Sotomayor, my first thought was something that translates into English as "milftastic!" I suppose it was inevitable that I'd get sucked into political ships sooner or later.
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