Thursday, June 30, 2005

proud to be an american ... proud to be a journalist?
time magazine, in an attempt to comply with a federal court order, is turning over its reporters notes. that reporter was ordered to testify before a grand jury in the investigation of the leaking of a CIA agent's name a few years back. in its statement, Time's editor said he disagreed with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the first amendment (the court rejected Time's and the NY Time's petition for certiorari), but that the magazine was not above the law. Presidents have had to obey court orders, and the magazine shall too.

i'm a big proponent of the first amendment. i believe in the power of the first amendment and the power of journalism, that it can and has changed the world at times. but i left journalism because it seems that media have become nothing but one big advertisement and mouthpiece for spin doctors.

let's examine why the leak happened in the first place (granted, this is my ad hoc, cynical analysis of the situation): reporters, who itch to get on the front page, above the fold, salivate at the thought of an exclusive. (in the end, they all just want to be famous and write books.) so without thinking, when some government official leaks the name of a CIA agent, the reporter includes that name. Never mind that that reporter has just become a pawn in some government official's attempt to get back at that CIA agent's husband for some negative things he said about Bush. Who cares, when he's got an exclusive.

Sure, even in recent times, reporters have written great stories and done some great investigation. e.g. the story about the purging of black voters from florida voting rolls -- broken by a man in britain, nonetheless. but to no avail. rather, the press is more interested in rehashing press releases and roundabout canned answers from bush's mouth than investigate or write about anything substantive. politicians, once at the mercy of reporters, have learned to play the game and now spin circles around journalists.

when the media aren't being political mouthpieces, they're trying to sell us crap -- movies, music, clothes, home furnishing, pop culture. (yes, i realize pop culture has value, but let me rant here!) time magazine features an actor on its cover who is starring in a movie that time's parent company is releasing. or some other synergistic ploy. argh!

i could go on, but i have work to do.

and my health to take care of. this shit just makes my blood boil.
i think i'm depressed. i'm feeling lethargic and like all i want to do is lay in bed and read or watch tv or watch movies. i need to get transferring out of my head b/c the deadline is tomorrow and it's not going to happen. maybe i have itchy feet and i just want to get out of here. i'm not used to being in one place for so long. i'm used to moving around, carpe fucking diem, man. maybe i just need a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

taste test
i think i've found them. the best energy bars, and good thing i'm a woman, b/c i'm staring at the label and it says "the whole nutrition bar for women." Luna. For 97cents at Trader Joe's, oh a girl can't go wrong. I'm not a big fan of icing, but the Iced Oatmeal Raisin flavor comes with a thin layer of white icing. and the chocolate pecan, also tasty, has a layer of chocolate icing. neither is overly sweet. they have just the right amount of mouth feel -- crunchy. no sticking in the teeth. with more fiber and less sugar. really, i can't stop raving about these. i remember the first time i ate a power bar, and b/c of what they were and what they were meant to do and how they were marketed, i thought i was lame b/c i thought powerbars were lame. we've come a long way. luna ... ranks up there with granola bars, but somehow better, and less dense. yummmmm. luna is the way to go.
green left feet?
i was over a friend's house last week and i noticed how lovely her basil looked growing on the windowsill. they looked healthy and green and tasty and smelled quite fragrant. she inspired me to grow my own. so i picked up a plant at the supermarket yesterday and planted them in separate pots today. we'll see how they grow. if i had a digital camera, i could take pictures and put them on the internet. but i don't, alas. it probably wouldn't be very interesting. everything i try to grow dies. then again, i've never really tried to grow edible things, so maybe my belly can take over and motivate me to have a green thumb.

it's so hot and humid. is this what hell is like? the sky has been threatening rain for three days now, but nothing. no relief. just more of the same miserable dingy thick air.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

i'm a social whore
i'm tired of getting people to go out. i'm tired of organizing things. perhaps for the rest of the summer i will simply work, exercise, and watch lots of movies and tv by myself.

i've been thinking a lot about transferring again. the deadline for applying to the school i dream of going to is july 1, but i haven't asked a professor for a recommendation yet, so this is really pushing it. i think i'm not really doing anything about it b/c the only reason i want to transfer is because i want to run away from the uncomfortable nest i have made for myself here. i'm not optimistic it's going to get any better if i do transfer b/c law students are the same everywhere -- they're equally neurotic and annoying and insane (including me). and would life in city B be any better? yes, i have friends there that aren't law students. but ... there's something about city B that brings out the ugly in me, so maybe it's best to stay put. oh, and moving. moving is such a pain.

i think i just have to hang on until the deadline passes. b/c then the option will be cut off, and i can just deal with the present. in the meantime, i will daydream of transferring.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

things that are obnoxious
1.) debates about which ivy league universities are the best / worst
2.) the fine living network.

aah the perils of digital cable. all the crap that's below the crud that's at the bottom of the barrel. the other day, i happened to tivo a show b/c "new zealand" was in its description (via the Wish List feature). it was about a family that gave it all up and sailed around the world. or tried to anyways. it seemed clear to me that documenting the travel in a television series was an afterthought because the entire 30 minute show consisted of someone shaking a camera at the same photographs over and over again, as if to make the watcher feel that she too is at sea, and home films.

the narrator tried to say that the family had struggles. pshaw! struggles? b/c you're cruising around the world on a fucking yacht? not very compelling. but maybe it is to the "fine living network" set.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

pavlov's dog knew better
i don't know why i do it. i eat the chinese food from the greasy restaurant across the street knowing it will make me feel ill. yet i do it. i gotta stop.

have been feeling horribly and overwhelmingly insecure. i have to stop. actually prayed this morning for the first time in ages. there is something sick and demented underlying my recent bout with insecurity, but i'm not sure what. will figure it out, but highly suspect it has something to do with boys, or a boy. bah!

booked reservations at a campsite in new hampshire. going with some friends from school next month. i'm very excited. i think i stayed there when i was a kid. it's beautiful. we have campsites by the river. yeay!
Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers
By Op-Ed Contributor JOHN C. DANFORTH, Episcopal minister and former Republican senator from Missouri

It would be an oversimplification to say that America's culture wars are now between people of faith and nonbelievers. People of faith are not of one mind, whether on specific issues like stem cell research and government intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, or the more general issue of how religion relates to politics. In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions.

It is important for those of us who are sometimes called moderates to make the case that we, too, have strongly held Christian convictions, that we speak from the depths of our beliefs, and that our approach to politics is at least as faithful as that of those who are more conservative. Our difference concerns the extent to which government should, or even can, translate religious beliefs into the laws of the state.

People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God's truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God's kingdom, one that includes efforts to "put God back" into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.

When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube.

When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.

We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.

Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.

For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith. Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues.

In the decade since I left the Senate, American politics has been characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality. I do not think it is a stretch to suggest a relationship between the two. To assert that I am on God's side and you are not, that I know God's will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God's kingdom is certain to produce hostility.

By contrast, moderate Christians see ourselves, literally, as moderators. Far from claiming to possess God's truth, we claim only to be imperfect seekers of the truth. We reject the notion that religion should present a series of wedge issues useful at election time for energizing a political base. We believe it is God's work to practice humility, to wear tolerance on our sleeves, to reach out to those with whom we disagree, and to overcome the meanness we see in today's politics.

For us, religion should be inclusive, and it should seek to bridge the differences that separate people. We do not exclude from worship those whose opinions differ from ours. Following a Lord who sat at the table with tax collectors and sinners, we welcome to the Lord's table all who would come. Following a Lord who cited love of God and love of neighbor as encompassing all the commandments, we reject a political agenda that displaces that love. Christians who hold these convictions ought to add their clear voice of moderation to the debate on religion in politics.
Brain Areas Shut Off During Female Orgasm
Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - New research indicates parts of the brain that govern fear and anxiety are switched off when a woman is having an orgasm but remain active if she is faking.

In the first study to map brain function during orgasm, scientists from the Netherlands also found that as a woman climaxes, an area of the brain governing emotional control is largely deactivated.

"The fact that there is no deactivation in faked orgasms means a basic part of a real orgasm is letting go. Women can imitate orgasm quite well, as we know, but there is nothing really happening in the brain," said neuroscientist Gert Holstege, presenting his findings Monday to the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

In the study, Holstege and his colleagues at Groningen University recruited 11 men, 13 women and their partners.

The volunteers were injected with a dye that shows changes in brain function on a scan. For men, the scanner tracked activity at rest, during erection, during manual stimulation by their partner and during ejaculation brought on by the partner's hand.

For women, the scanner measured brain activity at rest, while they faked an orgasm, while their partners stimulated their clitoris and while they experienced orgasm.

Holstege said he had trouble getting reliable results from the study on men because the scanner needs activities lasting at least two minutes and the men's climaxes didn't last that long. However, the scans did show activation of reward centers in the brain for men, but not for women.

Holstege said his results on women were more clear.

When women faked orgasm, the cortex, the part of the brain governing conscious action, lit up. It was not activated during a genuine orgasm.

Even the body movements made during a real orgasm were unconscious, Holstege said.

The most striking results were seen in the parts of the brain that shut down, or deactivated. Deactivation was visible in the amygdala, a part of the brain thought to be involved in the neurobiology of fear and anxiety.

"During orgasm, there was strong, enormous deactivation in the brain. During fake orgasm, there was no deactivation of the brain at all. None," Holstege said.

Shutting down the brain during orgasm may ensure that obstacles such as fear and stress did not get in the way, Holstege proposed. "Deactivation of these very important parts of the brain might be the most important necessity for having an orgasm," he said.

Donald Pfaff, professor of neurobiology and behavior at Rockefeller University in New York, said the interpretations were reasonable. "It makes poetic sense," said Pfaff, who was not connected with the research.

Monday, June 20, 2005

taste test
i'm taking swim fitness again this summer, which pretty much consists of swimming laps for an hour. ooh, today is butterfly stroke improvement day. (read: nearly drowning day.) i get hungry before class, and i can't eat dinner, b/c it's too early and i'd throw up in the pool. (big party foul.) so i've been making myself eat energy bar type things. not too heavy that i feel like a lump, but enough energy and nutrition to keep me going through a long, intense workout. i'm going to post my impressions of them here. cuz i gots nuttin else to talk about.

today: odwalla bar, chocolate (antioxidant!) flavor
i find this bar to be kind ok, a 5 on a scale from 1-10, if you will. the chocolate flavor is pleasant, and i'm not even that big of a chocolate fan. the texture is okay -- there are lots of krispies inside, and the chocolate isn't all slathered on top. but krispies feel kinda soggy and i don't like the way they seem to stick in my teeth, kinda like chewing soggy popcorn kernes.

ahh, the perennial quest for the perfect energy bar ...

Friday, June 17, 2005

whew. woke up kinda late this morning and grades were already out. too hung over after a fun enchilada dinner party last night to pour myself a drink, so i just plunged in and looked at them. whew. could have been worse. also could have been better. but i'm content. i keep looking at them just to make sure they don't go away. after all that anticipation and waiting and dreaming, i am glad it's over, and they're firm and decided and i can move on ... by putting my GPA on my resume and commencing the fall recruiting campaign. bah!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

grades come out tomorrow. that might also explain the topsy turvy feeling in my stomach ...
insecurity part the 47th
monday night was fun. went out with some friends/acquaintances and played trivia. talked. shot the shit. you know, the usual, what i enjoy, no random hookups, no crazy sexual escapades. perfect.

tuesday woke up in a good mood.

by wednesday, i started to doubt everything i said and did. oh, maybe that was offensive. oh, maybe that was obnoxious. (well, i'm often obnoxious...) today, i'm downright freaking out. i don't understand. is it the alcohol? the insecurity? the lack of email? UGH! i wish it would just stop.

i'm throwing a wee dinner party tonight. the budget for the damn thing got a little out of control, but i'm going to enjoy it and worry about it later. i've been spending a greater part of the day cooking, thinking about cooking, or not working. met with my professor boss yesterday afternoon and am feeling completely incompetent and like i'm under performing. oh well. i have a dinner party to worry about.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the other day, i was opening a particularly tightly sealed jar. i heard something in my shoulder kinda crackle. since then, it's been a little tight. moral of the story: it's never good when you hear a joint crackle.

i'm listening to NPR and it was sponsored by Wal-Mart. crikey.

altho' you will probably need the title to your car only once every few years, if even, make sure you keep track of it and put it in a safe place, and if you're registering your car, make sure you have your title before you go to the motor vehicle place. (btw, the a/c was TOTALLY broken at the dmv. that's 0/2 on that venture.)

trivia is fun!

it's hot, but tomorrow is supposed to be cooler! highs in the 50s and 60s. the average temperature in june is usually 76. we'll make that average, only through extremes. alas.

i think i'm going to watch that new miyazake film, howl's moving castle, tonight or tomorrow night!

Monday, June 13, 2005

my passport is collecting dust
in the last few days, i have gotten a mass email from a classmate who is spending the summer in europe, and my cousin who is spending the summer in china. and ho hum here i am in hot sweaty boston.

it has been absolutely unbearable. i watched the weather channel for 45 minutes today in the hopes that they would tell me something good. i think a cooler mass of air is moving down from canada later in the week. in the meantime, we're going to get a lot of rain and stagnant humid air. i swear, i could see the air today.

tomorrow i am going to the dmv to register my car in state. oh good times ahead. at least there will be air conditioning!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

what's in a letter besides my future
grades are going to be out by friday, 5pm. that means they will probably be out thursday afternoon or friday morning. i'm sick to my stomach just thinking about it ... or maybe i ate some bad eggs. i hope it's bad eggs. oh god. there's nothing like a single 3 hour exam to determine my future ... UGH. it MIGHT be better than having a single 8-hour exam determining whether or not the last two years of med school were worth it. thank god i don't go to med school. :)
here's a job posting i got in my email a few days ago. it's from someone who graduated from my graduate program, and he knows whoever posted the job listing. it seems to me that if i truly wanted to do it, i have an in ... so tempted ... i could take a year off from school and travel the australian outback, teaching science to indigenous people in remote locations. wait ... if i can't deal with the heat now, how would i deal when you throw in all sorts of poisonous creatures? eh, it's a nice daydream.

Croc Festival Presenter
APS Level 4
Programs Branch

The Centre is seeking written expressions of interest for the above employment opportunities.

The focus of the Croc Festival Presenter is to prepare and present activity-based workshops and shows to participants at the seven Croc Festivals and in schools in the regions around the Festivals. The successful applicant will have experience in science communication with demonstrated science performance skills and ability to participate in the development of engaging, interactive workshop activities suitable for Indigenous students from primary and secondary
schools and adult audiences.

This position will involve travelling within Australia for periods of up to three weeks at times staying overnight in camping style accommodation, lifting/moving workshop and shop materials, and
maintaining the equipment provided.

This position is a non-ongoing, specified term engagement. The position begins on July 25, 2005 and ends on October 31, 2005 working Monday to Friday 37.5hrs per week, with flexibility provide by Questacon's Certified Agreement to work evenings, weekends and public holidays as required.

ps if YOUR curiosity has been piqued, leave a comment and i'll send you the contact info.

Friday, June 10, 2005

feelin' hot hot hot
oh crap. summer is here in full force. where did spring go? it's been 80+ almost 90 all week. yesterday i worked in the computer lab at school and i almost got hypothermia ... i think there's still a little numbness and tingling in my fingertips. yet, the library was hot like an oven. i think when whoever it was invented the first air conditioner / central air unit, they installed it in my law school. and there haven't been any upgrades since.

i need structure. it's 2pm and i'm just leaving for school ... i'm only going to get a few hours in before they kick me out ... oh well, better than nothing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

i am finally getting in-state insurance, so i can get in-state plates. the sucky part of this is being on hold. would muzak improve the experience? questionable.

i ordered a grill pan from i'm so excited! i'm going to grill bread and steak and burgers and veggies ... i've been watching a lot of food network ever since i got my tivo and i'm inspired.

ok, have to get this auto insurance sorted out and then get in the shower and go to work. the ny inspection sticker on my car expired (NINE MONTHS AGO!) and i've decided that it was finally time to do something about this. oh but at $8/hour, i'm a bit hard pressed to pay the deposit on the premium. oh well.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

finally the weather has turned and we have had several beautiful days in a row. yesterday i went to a barbeque at a friend's house in nearly new hampshire. after a few hours, there were about 12 of us hanging out in her basement, shootin the shit and drinking beers. except for three of us from my hometown in jersey, the rest of the crowd was my friend's hubby's friends. it was kinda like a frat party...there was so much testosterone i think i ovulated during the party. i woke up today hankering for a make out session like no one's business. holy crap. life is really different when you don't hang out with gay boys all the time.

speaking of non gay boys, today is the first kickball game of the season. i am not sure my back is going to hold, but if the motto is true ("40 minutes a game, 10 minutes of physical exertion, 3 hours of drinking"), I may not have a problem, aging back or not. the league held a kick-off party on friday night. it was such a giant singles scene vibe. i had no idea. i was in it for the fun and competition. but given kickball is a game they let 1st graders play, maybe i shouldn't really let this count as my work out for the day.

(ks, this is for you ... ;) ) i'd like to add a caveat to my last post. while i may harbor some bitterness about my childhood, i think it's at a fairly low level. i think that most, if not all, people come out of adolescence with "issues". people they didn't like, a sense of not belonging, insecurities, etc. i think the point of adulthood and independence is realizing those issues, not letting them hold you back, maybe using them to motivate you, but not letting them make you bitter either. because you could be astoundingly successful but if you can't "get over it", are you really happy? i don't think so. specifically, i'm not going to let whatever issues i have about my childhood hold me back from playing soccer. it was just an observation, a realization i had that had never occurred to me before. i just thought soccer was a stupid sport. turns out, i got issues. issues that aren't going to hold me back.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

i am struck by how inane and awfully written my posts are. until i can come up with something good, i'm not writing anymore. anyways, i have some serious work to do. met with my boss yesterday and realized i'm very far behind and he's really piling the work on. this part-time job is turning into a full-time job. if only i could get my ass out of bed before 10am.

ok, i'm just kidding about the not writing part. let's face it. i love to babble, and with it being summer and not a lot of people around for me to talk to, you're it blogger.

a friend is organizing a weekly pickup soccer game over the summer, weather permitting. although they've only met once, i've yet to go, and i don't really have any aspirations to make any of the games. i'm not very good at soccer. i've probably only played it a handful of times in grade school gym class. so right away, you may surmise that i do not really want to make an ass of myself in front of people. but there's another, bigger reason i don't like soccer. it reminds me of upper middle class suburbia. an ironic association given the popularity of the sport around the world, in impoverished countries, and all the stories you hear of kids playing barefoot in dusty streets. but i grew up in upper middle class suburbia and kids had their weekly soccer games and i'd see them at the bagel shop or the supermarket on weekends in their jerseys and shin guards. and it reminds me of all the privilege and spoiledness of the kids in my town.

my parents worked 7 days a week, 12 hours a day to pay the mortgage in that upper middle class town with the great public school system. i know i was and am privileged in my own way. but my parents were never around to see me do anything, much less drive me to sports practice or haul me around to activities. so i don't want to play because i kind of associate it with that stay at home mom or at least a nanny upper middle class-dom that makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable inside b/c that's how i felt growing up.

stupid. it's just a stupid game where you're not allowed to use your hands. really, i should get over it. but not until i'm in better shape.