Sunday, May 29, 2011

Odds and Ends

I went shopping today. I bought a new bed, upgrading to a queen size for my new apartment. I bought an ottoman, a wall clock, and a couple of floor lamps. It was relatively painless, which is how I like my shopping. My mum makes fun of me because I shop like a guy. I don't like to spend hours looking around at everything-I just want to go in, get what I want, and get the hell out. Today I was able to do that so I'm a happy camper. Tomorrow I'm going to the outlet mall with my mum and granny for clothes and kitchen gadgets, and I'm hoping that it will be equally painless. We'll see.
After I was done shopping, I helped my dad plant the garden. We had chives and red onions spontaneously grow, but we had to plant the bell peppers and tomatoes. We'll also put in green beans and cucumbers, but the greenhouse didn't have those plants yet. Just as we finished putting them in, it started to thunder and the tornado sirens went off. We went inside to find out that we were under a tornado warning. Oh, what fun. So we had to corral three cats in their carriers to get them to stay in the basement, and my dad had to carry the collie downstairs because she can't walk down the stairs by herself. Our oldest cat started yowling, which set off my cat, and the fluffiest cat was trying to escape the whole time. Thankfully we only had to stay down there about fifteen minutes and the worst of the storm passed by.
Now I'm starting to plan my latest NaNoWriMo novel. It's actually a reboot of the one I tried to do and failed in 2008, which is the story that's been bouncing around my head for more than a decade now. I'm actually going to start doing a load of research since it has to do with pirates, and I need to get my nautical terms straight. And then throw in a really bad dude, meddling gods, super soldier manufacturing camps, and some cranky dwarves and you get the idea. It's X-Men meets Lord of the Rings meets Pirates of the Caribbean meets Iron Man. So really, really complicated, pretty much. And hopefully it will be really awesome when I write it.

Day 30 - Your highs and lows of this month.

  • I got approved for my apartment in Ames.
  • I got to hang with my dad's side of the family yesterday and meet my cousin's fiance.
  • I bought furniture for my new apartment.
  • I'm doing the jobs of three people at work but still only getting paid to do one job. I am told that this is just how it is in the real world. Bummer.

Well, I don't have many lows so that's good! And I finally finished this meme.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 29 - Goals for the next thirty days.

-Pack my entire life back into boxed in preparation for moving.
-Pack and move the entire lab from Hudson-Webber to C.S. Mott.
-Finish my experiments so I can go on vacation without worry.
-Get back to really eating on plan instead of half-assing it.
-Background research for NaNoWriMo this year.

Day 28 - Something that you miss.

I actually miss London a lot. I've only been there once, and it was only ten days, but that was an awesome trip. I think London is really the only city I could live in and be happy. It would be crazy cool to end up in the UK in my future. I loved it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 27 - A problem that you have had.

I have generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety, and have dealt with several bouts of major depression. It is something that I will live with for the rest of my life, and sometimes it is difficult to deal with. I spent almost three years on medication at one point, which was necessary then, but currently I'm not on anything. It works for me now, because I did a lot of therapy and that's helped me find coping skills to live with the anxiety disorder. My depression is always situational so over time it went away on its own. But I always have to be careful and watch myself so I know when it's time to head back to a therapist or try medication again. It's frustrating sometimes because I know my reactions are irrational, especially the anxiety attacks, but all I can do is work through them. There's no way to prevent them.

Day 26 - What kind of person attracts you.

Intelligence is a must. I am not going to waste my time with someone who can't keep up with me. Ambition is essential as well. I don't want to be someone's mother and I'm not interested in someone who just wants to float through life. Honestly I'd prefer someone with some kind of college education, although it's not necessarily a deal-breaker. Similar values are important, or if we differ on something, at least respect for those differences. And I mean real respect, not passive-aggressively trying to undermine me since I've had that happen before as well. I only do serious relationships, so if someone wasn't as committed as I was, I would have to end it.
That's it. I don't like to make these lists of what attracts me, because then I think I would probably miss someone who is right for me but maybe doesn't fit what I thought I would want.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 25 - Someone who fascinates you and why.

This question is kind of weird to me, because there's not a specific person I'm fascinated by. That sounds a little obsessive and weird. But I guess there's a category of behavior that I'm interested in, or at least that I watch a few television shows about that I find interesting, and that would be criminal behavior. Mostly I'm interested in the psychology behind it, and what motivates people to commit crime, and stuff like prison structure and the prison code and stuff like that. I'm not sure why that's so interesting to me, but it is, even from a historical standpoint. Heck, the first class I took with Dr. Griffiths at Iowa State was the crime and mentalities in early modern England class. So yeah, I guess that's fascinating to me in a weird way.

Day 24 - Your favourite movie and what it's about.

I don't really have a favorite movie. Most of the films I like are good adaptations of books anyway. Yeah, can't really answer this question. Who only has one favorite anything, anyway? Like I could pick even if I wanted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 23 - Give five pictures of guys/girls who are famous and you find attractive.

Yes, I find Geoffrey Rush as Hector Barbossa attractive. Shutup.

Hugh Jackman

Robert Downey Jr. Especially with his Tony Stark goatee.

Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach. Yes please.

Evgeni Plushenko

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 22 - How have you changed in the past two years?

I've changed quite a lot, actually. 2009 is what I call the Year From Hell. It started with the end of a four year relationship that I thought was going to become a marriage. At the same time, I was realizing that Georgetown was a horrible place and that I did not want to keep going to school there, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. So 2009 began as a giant existential crisis. Thankfully I had a great therapist. In 2009, I think I was still trying really hard to be an adult, but wasn't sure exactly what that entailed or what I looked like as a truly functional adult. I had spent all of college in one relationship (that I now realize was dysfunctional for at least half of that time) and I had never breached much beyond that. By suddenly being thrust into singledom and forced to make the difficult choice of leaving the Georgetown graduate program, I finally had to get accustomed to making hard decisions and standing by them, even if they were the wrong decisions (for the record, this time they weren't).
After moving back to Detroit, I got a full time job, which is how I spent the rest of 2009, all of 2010, and up until this moment. I got to pay off all of my student loans, which was awesome, but more importantly I spent some time out of school. Just working gave me time to breathe and think about what I really wanted to do. In the fall of 2010 I came to the conclusion that I did want an advanced degree, that I did want to stay in science, and that the right program for me was Iowa State's Interdepartmental Microbiology(IM) PhD program. So I applied. Of course, this spring I was accepted and this summer I'm moving back to Ames to start life as a graduate student again. However, this time I'm going to be a slightly different graduate student. I'm older, I've spent more time in a lab, I'm more certain that this is in fact what I want to do, and in general I'm more prepared to navigate the insanity that is academia. I'm also still single, and planning to stay that way for the meantime, because if nothing else it means that there's one less focal point for drama that will distract me from the much more important goal of passing all my classes. My anxiety disorder and depression are under control now, instead of being active and untreated, and I'm more prepared to recognize when I need help if those things start to trouble me again. Overall, I'm on much sounder footing than I was two years ago.
So to sum up, now I really am a functional adult, instead of someone masquerading as one.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 21 - One of your favourite shows.

Let's talk about Doctor Who because it's pretty much the most awesome show that has ever happened ever. I started watching Doctor Who when I was ten. My parents introduced my brother and I to Doctor Who, and thus Tom Baker was my first Doctor (he's #4 chronologically). I was so bummed when we go to the end of his tenure as the Doctor, and I still irrationally hate Peter Davison for being the fifth Doctor, because Tom Baker should have gone on forever. Anyway, then they started it back up again and I watched Nine and Ten. David Tennant should also be the Doctor forever, and that's why I haven't watched Eleven yet. I know it's been like two years since David Tennant was done, but I'm just not ready for a new Doctor. I can't handle it yet. I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS OK.
Anyway, for the utterly uninformed, Doctor Who is about the Doctor, who's a Time Lord, and he flies around time and space in his TARDIS which looks like a police call-box. And he saves the universe from all kinds of bad guys and is generally badass.
So there you go, Doctor Who. It's awesome.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 20 - How important you think education is.

Education is incredibly important. I am a huge proponent of education beyond high school, whether at a four year college or a trade school. I think everyone needs to have skills so they can have a career, not just a job. In addition, I think people should learn more informally about whatever they want, just to be well-rounded and well-informed. Education should be a life-long pursuit.
In addition, education is important to me because of my ethnic background. Being part of an oppressed minority, it was drilled into me that education was my ticket to a better life, and my education would help not just myself, but also my entire people group. Being educated puts us on an equal footing, while not being educated just perpetuates the cycle of poverty and victimization.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Trip to Ames the Second

So I went to Ames this past week to find and obtain the elusive apartment. I was nervous about doing this because trying to find a place in Maryland was painful, to say the least. I was not looking forward to the process.
Except that it ended up being the easiest thing in the universe. I had an appointment to see a couple of apartments in the College Creek complex, which is in west Ames off of Todd Drive. I found the apartment I wanted right there.
It's on the second floor and has a deck (awesome!). It's two bedrooms. The master bedroom has a gigantic walk-in closet. The kitchen has drawers (gasp!) and a gas stove that was installed after the fall of the Soviet Union, plus the usual microwave/refrigerator/dishwasher. There's a lot of natural light in the apartment, so it feels nice and airy. The place was remodeled only a few years ago, so all the doors and carpet are relatively new and not messed up. The place is $640 a month, plus electric. Cable and internets included as well. Having Memo will cost me an extra 20 bucks a month, but he's a good cat and worth it.
So anyways, it's awesome and a billionty times better than the dinky little efficiency I had in Maryland. I put the application and security deposit in, and I should know within the week if I am approved. I don't expect there to be any problems with me getting the place, but once it's finalized I'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Day 19 - Discuss disrespecting your parents.

Well I generally wouldn't recommend it since most of the time they really do know what's best for you as a child. Although when I was a teenager, I would bitch and moan about them behind their backs because I clearly knew everything ever and they were just cramping my style . But...if your parents are really raging jackasses, up to and including abuse of any sort, or just being plain racist and bigoted...then you should do what's right. If they think that's disrespecting them, that's their problem, not yours.

Day 18 - A photo of you in the last item of clothing you bought.

Right, so this isn't the most recent clothing item I bought, and it's not even all of me because I fail so hardcore at taking pictures of myself. But it is the t-shirt I'm currently wearing, and yes, that is an electric sheep. Do androids dream of this sheep? No one knows.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 17 - Your highs and lows of this past year.

Highs-Getting accepted to Iowa State's interdepartmental microbiology PhD program!
-Finding an awesome apartment! That just happened this week.
-Losing a lot of weight.

Lows-My great aunt Barbara's and my grandfather John's deaths.

Actually there weren't many lows last year. I guess that's a nice reprieve since 2009 was the worst year of my life.