Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 16 - Your views on mainstream music.

Succinctly, the great majority of it is throw-away pop with no real meaning. And that's cool, I guess. Sometimes I'm more in the mood for Lady Gaga dance songs than deep-and-meaningful Dream Theater. The only 'mainstream music' I really take issue with is the gangsta-style rap and hip hop, and that's because it tends to be incredibly misogynist and glorifies things like rampant drug use and trafficking. That I have a problem with. But most pop? I'm okay with it. Granted, I wouldn't let my prepubescent kid listen to a lot of it because of the sexual messages, but whatever.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 15 - Your favourite photo of yourself and why.

Here's me in London with a bunch of phone boxes. It was the closest I could get to a TARDIS. I like this photo because I'm in London, and it's the most recent picture I have of myself where I'm not super fat but am still an adult. Hopefully I'll have more pictures like that soon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 14 - Your earliest memory.

My earliest memory is actually really early, and I can confirm the date because the memory is from a family vacation and my parents know exactly when that happened. I had just turned one year old. We went to the Upper Peninsula, to Munising, that summer. One of the things we did was go to Munising Falls. You can't do it anymore, but there used to be a ledge that went around and behind the waterfall, and you could walk around it. My memory is of walking behind the waterfall with my dad. I am right behind the falls in my memory, and my dad is holding my right hand while we are walking.
This was actually the only time I was able to walk behind the falls, because the park closed the ledge to visitors after that. There were a lot of rockfalls in the area that made it unsafe. The last time we were there, the ledge was so eroded away that no one could have walked around it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 13 - Somewhere you'd like to move or visit.

This is going to sound really weird, but I would really like to visit Chernobyl and the Exclusion Zone around the reactor. I'd also like to visit other places that have been abandoned, like Centralia, PA. I just think it's really interesting how these places turn out when people leave them and nature is the only thing left.
I'd also like to visit some of the neat little islands in the world, like Easter Island and the Galapagos. Oh, and I'd also like to visit Madagascar because it's a biodiversity hotspot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 12 - Bullet your whole day.

  • Woke up at 6:40AM after having a weird dream involving Rorschach and a train.
  • Put my contacts in, eat Captain Crunch for breakfast, put on clothes.
  • Leave at 7:05AM in Alfred.
  • Drive to Detroit.
  • Get into lab at 7:50AM, make coffee, drink coffee.
  • Aliccia comes in and we chit-chat.
  • Go upstairs at 9AM, feed all the cells.
  • Come back downstairs at 10:15AM.
  • Gang comes in at 10:30AM, chats with Aliccia and I for about an hour.
  • I pour a 1.5% agarose gel.
  • Noon-lunchtime at Subway.
  • 1:15PM Run my PCR product on said agarose gel.
  • 3:00PM Look at the gel and find out that I apparently have no PCR product. Curse repeatedly. Spend the next hour coming up with ways to troubleshoot.
  • Leave work at 4PM.
  • Get home, dork around on the internet.
  • Parents come home at 5:30PM with Wendy's for dinner.
  • Took a shower at 7PM.
  • Mythbusters is on at 9PM.
  • I will go to bed 11PM-ish.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 11 - Put your iPod on shuffle and write 10 songs that pop up.

Chemistry-Rush, Signals
Tell Me Baby-Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium
Wake Me Up When September Ends-Green Day, American Idiot
Good Morning Girl-Journey, The Essential Journey
Pull Me Under-Dream Theater, Images and Words
The Voyage-The Moody Blues, Time Traveller
Anagram-Rush, Presto
Daddy Rolling Stone-The Who, 35 Years of Maximum R&B
Two Story Town-Bon Jovi, Crush
dawn of the dead-Does It Offend You, Yeah?, You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into

That's actually not a bad representation of what I listen to.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 10 - A passage from a book that has touched you.

It's actually from V for Vendetta. The section is the letter Valerie wrote and passed through her cell to V. It's a million times more powerful if you read the actual comic, with the pictures and the words together, but this is the transcript.

I don't know who you are. Please believe. There is no way I can convince you that this is not one of their tricks. But I don't care. I am me, and I don't know who you are, but I love you.

I have a pencil. A little one they did not find. I am a women. I hid it inside me. Perhaps I won't be able to write again, so this is a long letter about my life. It is the only autobiography I have ever written and oh God I'm writing it on toilet paper.

I was born in Nottingham in 1957, and it rained a lot. I passed my eleven plus and went to girl's Grammar. I wanted to be an actress.

I met my first girlfriend at school. Her name was Sara. She was fourteen and I was fifteen but we were both in Miss. Watson's class. Her wrists. Her wrists were beautiful. I sat in biology class, staring at the picket rabbit foetus in its jar, listening while Mr. Hird said it was an adolescent phase that people outgrew. Sara did. I didn't.

In 1976 I stopped pretending and took a girl called Christine home to meet my parents. A week later I enrolled at drama college. My mother said I broke her heart.

But it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it's all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us. But within that inch we are free.

London. I was happy in London. In 1981 I played Dandini in Cinderella. My first rep work. The world was strange and rustling and busy, with invisible crowds behind the hot lights and all that breathless glamour. It was exciting and it was lonely. At nights I'd go to the Crew-Ins or one of the other clubs. But I was stand-offish and didn't mix easily. I saw a lot of the scene, but I never felt comfortable there. So many of them just wanted to be gay. It was their life, their ambition. And I wanted more than that.

Work improved. I got small film roles, then bigger ones. In 1986 I starred in "The Salt Flats." It pulled in the awards but not the crowds. I met Ruth while working on that. We loved each other. We lived together and on Valentine's Day she sent me roses and oh God, we had so much. Those were the best three years of my life.

In 1988 there was the war, and after that there were no more roses. Not for anybody.

In 1992 they started rounding up the gays. They took Ruth while she was out looking for food. Why are they so frightened of us? They burned her with cigarette ends and made her give them my name. She signed a statement saying I'd seduced her. I didn't blame her. God, I loved her. I didn't blame her.

But she did. She killed herself in her cell. She couldn't live with betraying me, with giving up that last inch. Oh Ruth. . . .

They came for me. They told me that all of my films would be burned. They shaved off my hair and held my head down a toilet bowl and told jokes about lesbians. They brought me here and gave me drugs. I can't feel my tongue anymore. I can't speak.

The other gay women here, Rita, died two weeks ago. I imagine I'll die quite soon. It's strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and I apologized to nobody.

I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one.

An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 09 - What you hope your future will be like.

Happy, mostly. I can go on about how I want to go into academia and be a professor and do research and all that shit, but at the end of the day I just want to be happy. I've learned that my life doesn't always go according to the way that I think it will or even think I want it to, so I don't focus too much on exactly what will happen. Whatever happens, however it works out, I'm okay as long as I'm content.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 08 - A moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.

Actually, this moment was recently. It was when I got my acceptance to Iowa State's IM program. I felt so happy that I was going back to school. I was so relieved that the Georgetown Debacle hadn't held me back, and won't ever again. I just felt so happy and so confident, and satisfied knowing that my life is going in the direction that I want it to go.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 07 - Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits your personality.

I'm a Leo. Here's the shortest description I could find. I'll go a line at a time, my response in bold.

Leo, your star sign, is a masculine sign. I do think that I am androgynous and don't fit a lot of stereotypical female gender norms.

It is a fire sign, which means Leo people are grand, confident and generous. Of course, they may be a bit egocentric and can somewhat overbearing. Glamorous Leo enjoys life and all its pleasures. I am not glamorous at all. Sometimes I'm confident, and I hope I'm generous. I'm sure that at my worst I can be egocentric.

You enjoy company and are a friendly host and natural entertainer. You get great pleasure from helping others enjoy life as much as you do. Enthusiasm, generosity and your sunny disposition inspire the affection of many friends and admirers. Some less popular people may turn green with envy. I like people, but I do not like to entertain guests. I am really introverted actually. I'm not aware of anyone being jealous of me either! I have never been popular.

Though full of ambition and enthusiasm, Leo has to admit to a lazy streak sometimes. Oh yeah, although isn't everyone a bit lazy sometimes?

As a Leo you can be stubborn and resistant to imposed changes. This is very true. I really like a routine and get very anxious when it changes, especially without advance notice!

Your gregarious nature makes it hard to enjoy boring physical routines. Yeah, I prefer playing a sport as opposed to just working out.

Arts and crafts, theatre groups, philanthropic societies and religious organizations interest you. Eh...not really. I don't do groups well. Not at all, really.

Professionally, Leos are well suited as managers, architects, inventors, teachers, athletes and Presidents. They make great leaders. I have been told multiple times that I am a good leader, so I guess this is accurate. I always feel inadequate though.

I guess the biggest thing I don't agree with is the extroversion and desire to be in the spotlight. I'm very introverted and shy away from those sorts of things. Otherwise, it's not completely off.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 06 - Write 30 interesting facts about yourself.

Well, there's no guarantee that these will be interesting, but I'll do my best.

1. I was in downtown Detroit at Sinai Hospital. The building that Sinai was in has since been torn down.
2. I have known that I wanted to be a scientist since I was 6 years old. My first grade teacher had us watch tadpoles grow into frogs in class, and it was the coolest thing. Since then, I've always wanted to do some kind of science, although the kind changed several times.
3. I played soccer for seven years, then did nothing, and now I fence epee. I've fenced for two years now.
4. I have one brother. He's four years younger than me. He's probably also smarter than me. Don't ever tell him I said that though.
5. I'm Native American. Cherokee, Eastern band to be exact. But my relatives pretended to be white after Indian Removal, so I'm not enrolled in the tribe.
6. When I was seven, I had eye surgery because both of my eyes were lazy.
7. I have never broken a bone, but I have sprained my ankles and knees more times than I can count.
8. The first concert I went to was the Moody Blues, and I was six.
9. I hate bell peppers, cilantro, and onions.
10. I skipped sixth grade. Actually, I did one semester of sixth grade and then moved up and did one semester of seventh grade. I probably should have skipped two grades. Seventh grade was just as boring as sixth.
11. I'm a huge science fiction and fantasy geek. I got started by reading Lord of the Rings in fourth grade, and then I read Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.
12. My cat is the dumbest cat in the world. He is actually too dumb to figure out how the catflap works in the basement door. He's sweet though, so it evens out.
13. My favorite bands are The Who, RUSH, and Dream Theater.
14. My first word was kittycat.
15. I got into comics in college. I read all my mom's X-Men from the Claremont era, then picked up Alan Moore's stuff, and finally read Neil Gaiman's Sandman last year.
16. Speaking of Sandman, reading it helped me figure out some of my spiritual beliefs.
17. I have this thing for the anti-hero characters in books and comics. Some of my favorites are Magneto, Tony Stark, V, and Rorschach.
18. I have PCOS. The worst part of it for me is the acne. It bothers me more than my weight right now.
19. At the time, I thought that dropping out of Georgetown was a huge failure on my part, but it turned out to be the absolute best thing that ever happened to me.
20. I would rather live in a rural area than a city.
21. I was eighteen months old when I first rode a horse.
22. I collect giant stuffed microbes. I have twenty right now.
23. I didn't get a car until I was 22 years old. It's a yellow 2006 Ford Focus. His name is Alfred.
24. My first crush was on Batman. Adam West's Batman from the campy 1960s show.
25. My natural hair color is light brown. I dye it dark brown because I think it looks better.
26. My second crush was on Tom Baker's Doctor Who. Yeah.
27. I almost killed a cactus once. But every aloe plant I grow does really well.
28. I probably have more than 500 books.
29. I repeated AP Calculus in high school. I got a C+ in the class, but then I passed the AP exam and Iowa State gave me college credit for it. It was the hardest class I've ever had.
30. I like to play video games. Right now I'm playing Pokemon White. The only thing I won't play are FPS games, because I suck at them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 05 - A time you thought about ending your own life.

I'm doing another one of these today since I skipped yesterday. Given the subject matter, before I keep going, I will state that this could possibly be triggering. Proceed at your own risk.

I've thought about ending my life several times, mostly during my first major depressive cycle when I was in middle/high school. I was bullied a lot during that time, mostly for being smart and skipping a grade (why this makes you bully fodder at a school for intellectually gifted people I don't know). I didn't have a whole lot of friends and felt really isolated, and for some reason I didn't tell anyone what was going on. During that time I thought most about ending my life. I actually only tried once, and it was the most half-assed try in the world, with scissors that didn't even leave any marks. I don't really remember why I stopped, whether it just hurt or something else stopped me, but that was my only attempt. Even after that, I didn't tell anyone what was going on, and so I didn't have any therapy until I was in college and went on my own. So even though I thought about it a lot, I never really gave it a go.
Thankfully, since then I haven't had such bad depression. I do, however, have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Simply put, I will have panic attacks about the weirdest shit and they are debilitating. It's hellacious when I can't deal with it. I was on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication for a couple of years. I also did several rounds of therapy-two at Iowa State, and one while I was in Washington DC. During this last round of therapy (2009, and it was intensive) I was able to stop taking both of those and use some coping techniques to keep my anxiety levels from skyrocketing. It's working really well so far, although I'm aware that I might need to go back on medication someday.
So that's the story of my one suicide attempt and my current mental health issues, which thankfully have turned out to be fairly minor.

Day 04 - Your views on religion.

The short answer is: I'm a liberal Christian universalist.
The longer answer is: I grew up in a Protestant church. As I got older, I started having more issues with the concept of the Bible being the absolute literal word of God. I still don't believe that. I'm also a scientist. The theory of evolution is valid. The universe is 13 billion years old. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. And then I started paying attention to politics. I'm pro-choice. I'm pro-gay marriage. Hell, I'm pro-gay people in general. Then I realized that wow, I really don't fit in to about 95% of American churches. Oh, and that thing where only Christians go to Heaven? I don't buy it. Because if I was God, I could come up with a million reasons to give someone the benefit of the doubt, or a second chance, or whatever. If I would do it, then God has to, because He's supposed to be the very embodiment of Love. But I'm okay with the Jesus part of everything, which is why I still identify as Christian. Just a liberal, universalist one.
Clearly I'm not popular at many churches. So I don't really like going. Plus I don't think I have to be in a building to talk to God (and that is the Native American part of me talking). The Methodist church in Ames is pretty liberal, and last time I was there I felt alright, but most places...never mind. If I don't find a Christian church that I feel comfy at, but still want some kind of church, I'm heading to the Unitarian Universalists.
That's the short and dirty version, because trying to get all this out of my head and onto paper is hard.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 03 - Your views on drugs and alcohol.

I actually started out being petrified of alcohol, because my grandfather is an alcoholic and I was afraid that I would immediately turn into one when I started drinking. Thankfully that didn't happen. I'm cool with alcohol in moderation. I still don't like being around strangers who are drinking or people getting sloppy drunk, it freaks me out. I do think the legal age for drinking should be lowered to 18-making a substance so forbidden for so long just makes people more likely to abuse it when they do get a hold of it.
I think marijuana should be legalized. It's pretty obvious that for some people it's beneficial for dealing with chronic pain, and as far as most drugs go, it's comparatively harmless. Alcohol does more damage than pot. That said, I've never tried it, and if I do, I don't want to smoke it. Smoking anything generally doesn't make for happy lungs.
As far as harder drugs, some of those I can't see any reason to use, so I'm more ambivalent about their illegality. However, I do wish that the government would change research rules in regards to illegal drugs. You can't do research on Schedule I drugs. That's a bummer, because Ecstasy seemed to show promise as a useful drug for schizophrenia before it was made illegal. Since it's Schedule I, all that promise translated into a whole lot of nothing. So I would certainly be for relaxing research standards on currently illegal drugs.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 02 – Where you'd like to be in 10 years.

This one is actually a little easier now. I'm starting graduate school this fall for a PhD in microbiology. The program takes 6 years on average, and I don't have any desire to rush through it, so after 6 years I'll have a PhD. 4 years after that I'll be on either post-doc one or two, depending on how that works out. If the job market sucks massively and I can't get a post-doc, then I'll probably be working at a biotech company somewhere since that at least guarantees a paycheck. The other option would be teaching at a community college, which maybe I could do at the same time as the biotech job if I have to.
Personally, it would be nice to be married but I'm not expecting it or pinning any hopes on it. I'll be 34 in ten years, so by that time I may be considering adopting a child assuming I have the money to do so. Otherwise, it will be me and my cat, who will be 14. And it will be excellent.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 01 – Your current relationship, if single discuss how single life is.

I am definitely single right now. I've been single for almost 2.5 years, after spending 4 years in a really serious relationship. That relationship crashed and burned, and initially I was completely freaked out about being single again. I had this whole thing planned out, where I would be married by 25 and have kids before 35, and being put all the way back to square one really scared me. I was afraid that I would never get married or have kids and that I would always be alone.
Fast forward to now, and I'm really happy single. I'm at the point now where I would be open to having a relationship, but I'm cool with being by myself too. The way my life is heading, I don't even know if it will really be realistic to get into a serious relationship. I'm less concerned about marriage and kids now too. The more of my friends have kids, the more I realize that the whole pregnancy and childbirth thing really freaks me out. So the idea of adopting, which was always an option I considered, is fast becoming the better option in my head. And I don't have a biological clock running out when it comes to adoption. As for marriage, I would still like to get married, but I've come to enjoy the single life as well. I don't have to worry about another person and how they'll react/feel/think about what I do or who I am. It's actually kind of nice, and the idea of not ever getting married doesn't scare me anymore. My great aunt Barbara, whom I have always admired, never got married, and she had an incredible life. I've come to realize that I can have an incredible life too, with or without a life partner.

30 Day Meme Time!

I shamelessly stole this from a friend, who shamelessly stole it from someone else, etc etc. Anyway, it's actually an interesting meme, and I think it will provoke some interesting writing from me. I do better with prompts anyway. So first, the list...
Day 01 – Your current relationship, if single discuss how single life is.
Day 02 – Where you'd like to be in 10 years.
Day 03 - Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 04 - Your views on religion.
Day 05 - A time you thought about ending your own life.
Day 06 - Write 30 interesting facts about yourself.
Day 07 - Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits your personality.
Day 08 - A moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.
Day 09 - What you hope your future will be like.
Day 10 - A passage from a book that has touched you.
Day 11 - Put your iPod on shuffle and write 10 songs that pop up.
Day 12 - Bullet your whole day.
Day 13 - Somewhere you'd like to move or visit.
Day 14 - Your earliest memory.
Day 15 - Your favourite photo of yourself and why.
Day 16 - Your views on mainstream music.
Day 17 - Your highs and lows of this past year.
Day 18 - A photo of you in the last item of clothing you bought.
Day 19 - Discuss disrespecting your parents.
Day 20 - How important you think education is.
Day 21 - One of your favourite shows.
Day 22 - How have you changed in the past two years?
Day 23 - Give five pictures of guys/girls who are famous and you find attractive.
Day 24 - Your favourite movie and what it's about.
Day 25 - Someone who fascinates you and why.
Day 26 - What kind of person attracts you.
Day 27 - A problem that you have had.
Day 28 - Something that you miss.
Day 29 - Goals for the next thirty days.
Day 30 - Your highs and lows of this month.


It's been forever since I posted pictures, so here are some from winter that I found on my phone. This was in December, which sadly was not the worst of winter.

The icicles were overhanging my window. They were pretty neat.
The maple tree in the front yard. This was the only snowstorm in December. Then in January we got two or three big storms. I ended up stuck at home for four days.
Clearly I didn't go into work this day. The poor road wasn't plowed until evening.