Sunday, December 31, 2006
We got some time off between our afternoon activities and dinner and I came back to the hotel with the chills, utterly exhausted from head to toe, curled up in my (extraordinarily hard) bed, and except for a few interruptions, slept straight through. I missed the “Peking Duck Dinner,” but I’m not too worried. I really needed the sleep. Although after my last post I eventually did, umm, make a few more visits to the toilet and return my foul lunch to where it belonged, I still felt pretty crappy yesterday.
Anyway, enough about my illness! Through it all, I managed to walk about the Summer Palace. It’s about 20 miles from downtown Beijing. It’s where the Empress Dowager Ci Xi, the Dragon Lady (again, gotta see The Last Emperor), summered. Well, she wasn't the only one, but she was the one who put the country into serious financial debt to rebuild it in 1902. She died in 1908. Oh, and why did she have to rebuild it? B/c Anglo-French forces burnt it down! It’s true of most of the sites we’ve seen. Although sometimes, before the Anglo-French got their torches to these sites, they burned down of their own accord. Because it is as cold as a witch’s fucking teat here and there was a lot of coal used to keep people warm. Coal and wood equals fire, natch!
The Summer Palace sits on the edge of Kunming Lake, which is half man-made, as in, there was a lake there, but then the Emperor ordered workers to make it bigger. Dig, dig, dig. The lake makes the temperature about 4 or 5 degrees colder than downtown, where the Forbidden City is. The lake was frozen and tourists were merrily strolling about on it. The American sensibility in me said, LAWSUIT! I suppose this is a communist country, after all, and there would hardly be anyone to sue. It’s also so damn cold here, I’m sure the lake was frozen pretty solidly. It’s been a bit shocking, this cold, since in Boston it’s only gotten below freezing maybe once or twice so far this winter.
After the Summer Palace, we had lunch at this fancy Chinese Restaurant. Actually, as this is China, it was just a restaurant. (God, I will never tire of that joke.) Two things to note. First, there is no such thing as diet soda. Second, they’re still allowed to smoke indoors in China. According to our guide, 70% of men smoke. Amazingly, unlike in America, I do not see that many cigarette butts on the streets, but I will have to look again because most of the tourist sites do not allow smoking on the premises.
After lunch, we went to the Temple of Heaven, where the Emperor would travel three times a year to offer sacrifices for such things as the crops. And by travel I mean 16 very strong men would carry his “sidan” measuring over three meters wide and 12 meters long. The Temple of Heaven is very well restored. There’s a lot of restoration work going on all over the city in anticipation of the 2008 Olympics. If you can get a sense in the pictures, there is a lot of intricate artwork on the structures, so restoration takes a lot more effort than giving these buildings a good power-wash.
Just outside the Temple of Heaven is a teahouse. We stopped there for a tea demonstration, some lessons on different types of tea and, of course, an opportunity to purchase some tea.
And then back to the hotel, where this post started.
On a personal note, I should probably get cracking on that paper and other crap I have to do.
Well, here I am, my first night in China, and I am similarly afflicted as I was when I was in third grade. Only this time, instead of waiting in bed for the illness to be too powerful to hold down, I am systematically shoving my finger down my throat trying to dislodge whatever is unholy in my belly. My last deposit was pretty good and I’m hoping I’m done. In any event, as I’m nursing this Mirinda orange soda (the closest thing to ginger ale in the mini bar), I’m lucid enough to write this blog...
...which I won’t post for about another week. That earthquake that hit Taiwan on Dec. 26 knocked out the T1 connection so it’s nearly impossible to get online. Not that this hotel room has a connection, but I tried from the “Business Center” downstairs. Anyway, I’m not complaining. People died in that earthquake, even if there was, thankfully, no tsunami.
Besides the devil’s baby inside me, I’m having a fantastic time. Today, after landing at 5:45am local time, going through customs and checking in to our hotel, I managed to walk around the neighborhood. I saw the train station, evaded yet still stepped in countless loogies, was pushed and shoved by many of my people, and went into a few shops but quickly left after being hovered over and followed as soon as I stepped foot inside. Then we had lunch (which I think was when I swallowed Satan’s spawn), then we walked for a few hours in the frigid air around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
Oh my God. Tiananmen Square was this vast, paved space teeming with tourists and people trying to make money off of tourists, including government sanctioned souvenir and concession vendors. Then there were the soldiers standing guard, freezing their asses off, bearing very loud and staticky walkie-talkies. I took lots of pictures and will let them speak for themselves.** And of course, there was no mention of the protests and massacres in 1989, and that famous picture of the lone yet powerful person facing off against a tank. But it was in our minds.
Then we went through an underground passage, so we didn’t have to ford what seemed like 14 lanes of traffic, and came out in front of Mao’s portrait in front of the south gate to the Forbidden City. Again, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.** But I MUST see The Last Emperor when I get home.
OK, I think I feel fatigue setting in again, and since it’s a calm amidst the storm, I think I will try to rest.
** Because of the wonky internet connection, I will have to post the pics at a later time. I will post a few for the time being.
Monday, December 25, 2006
I spent about 24 hours at home. In that time, my parents equipped me with a suitcase, a cell phone that works in China, some Chinese money they had (b/c they travel there a lot), and countless words of warning.
- If you're going to give money to panhandlers, watch out, b/c once you give to one, a thousand more will swarm to you.
- Don't feel bad for the panhandlers, especially the children. Many of them were kidnapped from the countryside, had their limbs lopped off, and are basically panhandling hos for some panhandling pimp.
- Don't eat the seafood; it will kill you.
- Don't drink the water; it will kill you.
- Don't eat the chives; they will kill you.
- Don't eat the carrots; they are so ridden with pesticides and growth hormones that they continue to grow in their packaging; they will kill you.
- Don't pay the posted price for anything; they are marked up 1000%; haggle, haggle, haggle; it will kill you.
- Don't wear one of those money-belts; they will be cut off of you.
- If you need to change money, do it at a bank or they will give you counterfeit money.
- They have Starbucks in the big cities.
I don't know how much of this is true, but it's taking all my worldly sensibilities not to fall into the trap of my childhood where I believed everything they said because they were my parents. I was a stupid, stupid child.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Argh. This impending 4 hour drive back to my apartment is going to be a welcomed relief.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I saw some beautiful colors on the way home. Mostly, I was staring at the sun because I was driving west and didn't leave my apartment until around 2pm. But when the timing and angles were right, there were the most beautiful hues of purple and orange. It even made the barren trees lining the highway and filling the horizon beautiful. I'm grateful for sunsets.
Other than that, the drive was a lot of holiday traffic and near mishaps.
I'm grateful to be alive.
I'm not sure what happened last night, but it started at about 1:45pm with my professor buying 35 shots of jim beam.
I woke up on my couch a few hours ago. I don't want to sleep. It feels too good to be done.
Here's a brief overview of my upcoming life:
- Drive to NJ for visit with parentals and to borrow suitcase
- Drive back to Boston for Christmas Eve with my Tivo
- Fly to LA on Christmas
- Fly to China on the night after Christmas
- Fly back to LA on 1/6
- Fly back to Boston on 1/7
- Party and plan for this course I'm taking where I teaching enviro law to undergrads.
I taste Jim Beam in the back of my throat. Ughhhhh.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
How to handle a hangover
Drinking fluids may help with the morning-after misery from getting drunk. Hangovers seem to be the body's way of reminding us about the hazards of overindulgence. Physiologically, it's a group effort: Diarrhea, fatigue, headache, nausea, and shaking are the classic symptoms. Sometimes, systolic (the upper number) blood pressure goes up, the heart beats faster than normal, and sweat glands overproduce — evidence that the "fight or flight" response is revved up. Some people become sensitive to light or sound. Others suffer a spinning sensation (vertigo).
The causes are as varied as the symptoms. Alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, a substance that's toxic at high levels, although concentrations rarely get that high, so that's not the complete explanation.
Drinking interferes with brain activity during sleep, so a hangover may be a form of sleep deprivation. Alcohol scrambles the hormones that regulate our biological clocks, which may be why a hangover can feel like jet lag, and vice versa. Alcohol can also trigger migraines, so some people may think they're hung over when it's really an alcohol-induced migraine they're suffering.
Hangovers begin after blood alcohol levels start to fall. In fact, according to some experts, the worst symptoms occur when levels reach zero.
The key ingredient seems to be "drinking to intoxication"; how much you drank to get there is less important. In fact, several studies suggest that light and moderate drinkers are more vulnerable to getting a hangover than heavy drinkers. Yet there's also seemingly contradictory research showing that people with a family history of alcoholism have worse hangovers. Researchers say some people may end up with drinking problems because they drink in an effort to relieve hangover symptoms.
Dr. Robert Swift, a researcher at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rhode Island, coauthored one of the few review papers on hangovers in 1998. It's still one of the most frequently cited sources on the topic. The rundown on hangover remedies that follows is based on that review, an interview with Dr. Swift, and several other sources.
Hair of the dog. Drinking to ease the symptoms of a hangover is sometimes called taking the hair of the dog, or hair of the dog that bit you. The notion is that hangovers are a form of alcohol withdrawal, so a drink or two will ease the withdrawal.
There may be something to it, says Dr. Swift. Both alcohol and short-acting sedatives, such as benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium), interact with GABA receptors on brain cells, he explains, and it's well documented that some people have withdrawal symptoms from short-acting sedatives as they wear off. Perhaps the brain reacts similarly as blood alcohol levels begin to drop.
Even so, Dr. Swift advises against using alcohol as a hangover remedy. "The hair of the dog just perpetuates a cycle," he says. "It doesn't allow you to recover."
Drink fluids. Alcohol promotes urination because it inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the volume of urine made by the kidneys. If your hangover includes diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting, you may be even more dehydrated. Although nausea can make it difficult to get anything down, even just a few sips of water might help your hangover.
Get some carbohydrates into your system. Drinking may lower blood sugar levels, so theoretically some of the fatigue and headaches of a hangover may be from a brain working without enough of its main fuel. Moreover, many people forget to eat when they drink, further lowering their blood sugar. Toast and juice is a way to gently nudge levels back to normal.
Avoid darker-colored alcoholic beverages. Experiments have shown that clear liquors, such as vodka and gin, tend to cause hangovers less frequently than dark ones, such as whiskey, red wine, and tequila. The main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol, but the darker liquors contain chemically related compounds (congeners), including methanol. According to Dr. Swift's review paper, the same enzymes process ethanol and methanol, but methanol metabolites are especially toxic, so they may cause a worse hangover.
Take a pain reliever, but not Tylenol. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, other brands), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help with the headache and the overall achy feelings. NSAIDs, though, may irritate a stomach already irritated by alcohol. Don't take acetaminophen (Tylenol). If alcohol is lingering in your system, it may accentuate acetaminophen's toxic effects on the liver.
Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine may not have any special anti-hangover powers, but as a stimulant, it could help with the grogginess. Coffee is a diuretic, though, so it may exacerbate dehydration.
Vitamin B6. A study published over 30 years ago found that people had fewer hangover symptoms if they took a total of 1,200 milligrams of vitamin B6 before, during, and just after drinking to get drunk. But it was a small study and doesn't seem to have been replicated.
A few thoughts. First, this just makes me want to drink more, because now I know how to make myself feel better more quickly. Second, clear liquor? Mmm, martinis. Third, now I know why I love eating crap like fries the morning after! It's for my brain, waistline be damned!
Fourth, I wish my professors would stop mentally violating me. The first time was fun and all, but today just made me feel trampy.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
1.) Where did you ring in 2006?
In the South End, Boston.
2.) What was your status by Valentine's Day?
3.) Were you in school (anytime this year)?
4.) How did you earn your keep?
On the corner of ... From taxpayer dollars and selling my soul to the devil. Oh, and I guess I research assistanted for a few months.
5.) Did you ever have to go to the hospital?
To visit my uncle, yes.
6.) Have you ever encountered the police?
Pimps n hos always bring the po-po.
7.) Where did you go on vacation?
Chicago, Montreal, LA, Cape, my parents’ house, and does the school ski trip count? Oh, and I’m going to China before the end of the year!
8.) What did you purchase that was over $500?
No one item.
9.) Did you know anybody who got married?
Yes. And popping out babies like it’s their freaking jobs. Yeesh.
10.) Did you know anybody who passed away?
Yes. No one close to me, thankfully.
11.) Have you run into anybody you graduated high school with?
Yes. On purpose and by accident.
12.) Did you move anywhere?
Up and down the elevators in the law tower was pretty regular movement for me this past year.
13.) What sporting events did you go to?
Some Sox games, some Bruins games, Hamburglar broomball and volleyball games, and Boo Law Softball games.
14.) What concerts did you go to?
Oh man . . . Imogen Heap, Editors, We Are Scientists, Weepies, Dinosaur Jr. (what the!?), Damien Rice, and I know I’m forgetting some. I HEART shows!
15.) Are you registered to vote?
16.) If so, did you do your patriotic duty on Nov. 7?
I’d call it my civic duty, and yes. Go Deval!
17.) Where do you live now?
18.) Describe your birthday.
Margarita Mania and NYC-bound.
19.) What's the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2006?
Breaking a particular personal rule of mine, involving the law school.
20.) What is one thing you regretted this year?
I don’t have regrets. Really. Well, except not studying abroad in college.
21.) What's something you learned about yourself?
I’m afraid of softballs hitting me in the head.
22.) Any new additions to your family?
My BFF got a cat. Grrr.
23.) What was your best month?
This whole year has been pretty fantastic, and July and August were amazingly fun, but I’d have to say September.
24.) What from pop culture will you remember 2006 by?
SexyBack! The song that made me buy the JT album.
25.) How would you rate this year with a scale from 1 (shitty) to 10 (excellent).
The dark. Scary movies. The dark especially after scary movies. Heights [only by instinct, you know, wobbly knees and sweaty palms]. Things that swarm. Killer bees. Spiders. Talking to Professor Admin. Talking to Professor Property. Racial and socio-economic homogeneity. Conformity. Saying too, too much. Being a bad hostess. Having things stuck in my teeth when talking to people. An unzipped fly. Toilet paper stuck on my shoe when I leave the bathroom. Bed bugs. Tapeworms. Parasites in general. Slipping in the shower. Eating unidentifiable foods. That my canned tuna will actually be horse meat. Papercuts [paper slicing skin! Really!?]. Public speaking / performance. Being fodder for gossip. Never finding a professional purpose in life. Living in Boston for the rest of my life. Plane crashes. Being predictable. Getting bitten by a snapping turtle while swimming across the lake at camp. Getting bitten by anything not human. Dark murky water. Insincerity. Making the same mistakes and never, ever learning my lesson.
That will do.
Clearly I do not dislike lists. And one day, probably soon, will have to make a list of those. Not dislikes, that is. Not a list of lists. Because that would be weird.
Monday, December 18, 2006
You are The Tower
Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Destruction, danger, fall, ruin.
The Tower represents war, destruction, but also spiritual renewal. Plans are disrupted. Your views and ideas will change as a result.
The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. The Tower stands for "false concepts and institutions that we take for real." You have been shaken up; blinded by a shocking revelation. It sometimes takes that to see a truth that one refuses to see. Or to bring down beliefs that are so well constructed. What's most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, makes room for something new to be built.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
I had my first exam today. It was nice to get it done. Sure, I was mentally violated, but it was by one of my favorite professors and there was something sadistically fun about it. Two more! I kind of think this being a third year thing has its benefits - I mean, exams don't seem as hard or frightening. If only I would stay on top of my reading, I bet I could have good grades. Oh well.
Today, someone told me she liked me because I am always perky, even after I just got out of an exam. Finishing that exam did make me unnaturally happy, but I think she's right. I think it has something to do with being an extrovert. People make me happy, so people always think I'm happy when they see me, but really, I'm just happy to see people.
Oh, how about a picture for good measure! From a party on Saturday night which I probably shouldn't have gone to, but I did, and it was fun!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
1) If you find the right guys, you can be set up with almost any single, straight woman at the party.
2) But not if you're sketchy.
3) Once you leave, you will be talked about.
4) Especially if you're sketchy.
Maybe it was tacky to do it while you were standing right outside the window and could hear us, but you'll live. I have no apologies. HA!
Saturday, December 16, 2006
"More people are injured by wheelchairs than by lawnmowers, the abstract reports. Bicycles are involved in more accidents than any other consumer product, but beds rank a close second."
"Americans drank more than 23 gallons of bottled water per person in 2004 — about 10 times as much as in 1980. We consumed more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup per person as in 1980 and remained the fattest inhabitants of the planet, although Mexicans, Australians, Greeks, New Zealanders and Britons are not too far behind."
"Americans are getting fatter, but now drink more bottled water per person than beer."
"At the same time, Americans spent more of their lives than ever — about eight-and-a-half hours a day — watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies or reading." [Where's the law student statistic?]
"Among adults . . . 16 million used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog."
"For the first time, the abstract quantifies same-sex sexual contacts (6 percent of men and 11.2 percent of women say they have had them) . . . ."
"Meanwhile, the national divorce rate, 3.7 divorces per 1,000 people, was the lowest since 1970. Among the states, Nevada still claims the highest divorce rate, which slipped to 6.4 per 1,000 in 2004 from 11.4 per 1,000 in 1990, just ahead of Arkansas's rate."
"One thing Americans produce more of is solid waste — 4.4 pounds per day, up from 3.7 pounds in 1980." [It's probably all that bottled water.]
Thursday, December 14, 2006
- Coffee - especially lattes and flavored lattes b/c they are creamy and quite the treat
- Take out
- Index tabs - you know, those sticky flag post-it like things
- Bottled water
- Some psycho wingnut who blames soy for making kids gay. What about the generations of Asians for whom soy has been a staple part of their diet? What about your scientific credentials and research, you fucking whackjob?
- A conference, held in Iran, to determine whether the Holocaust actually happened. There's nothing to rebut this. I mean, do the piles of bones and shoes and teeth not mean anything? In the face of that evidence, there is nothing else to say.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The situation I was in before finals-stasis was . . . nice, but disturbing. Disturbing mostly because there was a familiarity to it that reminded me a lot of the debacle I got myself into over the summer. I realize everyone has baggage, but sometimes it's heavier than usual. I was kind of reminded of that tonight via the interweb, which itself adds another heaping scoop of "Oh, I've been here before."
What's weird, though, is I still want to go there. Drawn like a moth to a fucking flame. Is it desperation? Is it genuine emotion wrapped in hope? Is it wanting to fix the damaged? Is it that I am damaged, too, and like-begets-like? What is it? I want to find out, but I can't. Stasis.
What I really want is to be able to make a choice - a real choice - and not get into that situation. Everything about it feels wrong. And that alone should compel me to choose rightly, over my emotions.
I think part of the problem is that I went to a Damien Rice concert tonight and, man alive, is his music depressing. All it does is make you think of relationships, in every which shape or form.
I miss the cold-hearted, independent, not-so-vulnerable me.
Score one point for a "yes" answer to each of the following:
I. The Basics
1. Have you ever taken the LSAT?
2. ...more than once?
3. ...more than twice?
4. Have you ever filled out a law school application form?
5. ...more than five of them?
6. ...more than ten?
7. ...more than twenty?
8. Have you ever stepped foot on a law school campus?
9. ...taken a tour?
10. ...asked a question specifically about the library?
11. Are or were you ever a law school student?
12. ...at an accredited university?
13. ...at more than one law school?
14. ...at the same time?
15. Have you ever missed a class?
16. ...more than half the classes in a semester?
17. ...all the classes in the semester but you still took the exam?
18. ...did you pass?
19. Have you ever chosen a class for an academically-impure reason?
20. ...like what time it met?
21. ...or what kind of exam it had?
22. Have you taken a class with the title "Law and..." ?
23. ...did you choose it because it sounded easy?
24. Do you know what the socratic method is?
25. ...have you ever been called on?
26. ...when you hadn't done the reading?
27. ...and you faked in pretty well anyway?
28. Have you ever cheated on a law school exam?
29. ...by using prohibited materials, like the Internet?
30. ...by consulting a live human being?
31. ...by obtaining a copy of the exam beforehand?
32. ...was it a legal ethics or professional responsibility exam?
33. ...did you get caught?
34. Do you know what a "gunner" is?
35. ...have you ever been one?
36. Have you ever gone down to talk to a professor at the end of a class?
37. ...more times than not?
38. Have you ever gone to office hours?
39. ...specifically to suck up to the professor?
40. Have you ever volunteered to be the student who hands in the course evaluations?
41. ...or some other similarly unnecessary duty just to curry favor?
III. Interpersonal Academic Relations
42. Have you ever borrowed notes from a classmate?
43. ...and not returned the favor when he or she asked?
44. Have you ever deliberately changed ("dumb-ified") your notes when a classmate asked for them?
45. Have you ever stolen a book from the library?
46. ...ripped pages out of a book in the library?
47. ...hidden a book somewhere it didn't belong to keep other people from finding it?
48. ...checked the book out and ignored the recall notice?
49. ...checked the book out on someone else's card and ignored the recall notice?
50. Have you ever given someone a wrong answer to a question on purpose?
51. Have you ever been part of a study group?
52. ...did you organize the study group?
53. ...did you ever kick someone else out for not pulling his or her weight?
54. ...did you just do it to get someone else's outline?
55. ...did they do better than you anyway in the class?
56. ...did you ever have a meeting that lasted more than 12 hours straight?
57. ...more than 24 hours?
IV. Interpersonal Non-Academic Relations
58. Have you ever gone on a date with a fellow law student?
59. ...in your section?
60. Have you ever made out in the library?
61. ...in a classroom?
62. ...during class?
63. ...while being called on by a professor?
64. Have you ever made out with a professor?
65. ...in a dorm room?
66. ...the week before the exam with the express intent of finding out the questions?
67. ...did it work?
V. Dorky Things To Do
68. Have you ever used Lexis or Westlaw?
69. Have you ever bought anything with Lexis or Westlaw points?
70. ...something really cool, like a TV?
71. Have you ever won a Lexis or Westlaw contest?
72. Have you ever taken any extra Lexis or Westlaw training just to win points?
73. ...just for fun?
74. Did you sign up for Bar-Bri as a 1L?
75. ...did you go to any of their 1L "review" lectures?
76. Did you buy any pre-law-school books before law school?
77. ...more than five?
78. ...were any of them "study guides" like "Getting to Maybe" ?
79. Have you ever listened to any law-school-related cassette tapes?
80. ...are you too embarassed to admit it to anyone?
VI. The Recruiting Process
81. Have you ever interviewed with a law firm?
82. ...more than fifty of them?
83. Did you ever get a callback?
84. On your callback, did the firm pay for your flight and/or hotel?
85. ...did you bill them for meals?
86. ...meals your friends ate?
87. ...meals no one ate but you just wanted the money?
88. Did you ever get an offer?
89. ...more than five?
90. Did you make the firm wait before you accepted just because you could?
91. ...more than two firms?
92. Did you lie on your resume?
93. ...on your transcript?
94. ...about something serious?
95. ...did you get caught?
96. Have you ever worked for a law firm?
97. ...did you like it?
98. ...did you love it?
99. ...is there nothing else you'd rather do in the world?
100. ...but you'll be a lawyer anyway? :)
Count up the number of "yes" answers and subtract from 100. This is your law school purity percentage.
80%-100% -- Are you sure you're a law student?
60%-80% -- Nothing to be ashamed of
40%-60% -- I hear white-collar prison isn't too bad
0% - 40% -- I want you to be my defense attorney
Sunday, December 10, 2006
FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU
and all we've been through.
I said leave it, leave it, leave it,
it's nothing to you.
And if you hate me, hate me, hate me, hate me so good
that you just let me out
let me out, let me out?
It's hell when you're around.
Let me out, let me out, let me out.
Hell when you're around.
Let me out, let me out, let me out.
Expect much more blogging from me in the next week.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Second, I am certed!!! What does this mean?!?!?! I can graduate . . . so I can take the BAR!!!!
Sensing a theme?
At least after I take the Bar, I can travel! And work! And get a Blackberry! Hmm...
I'm a little loopy right now...
Friday, December 08, 2006
First, today, I saw some girl on the T popping her zits. Seriously!? She must do it a lot because she had her little mirror propped just perfectly in her hand and still had fingers from both hands to extract with. Previously, I have seen people clip nails and eat sunflower seeds and discard the shells on the ground. Instead of giving out prizes for being kind, maybe the MBTA should consider giving them out for proper hygienic behavior in public.
Second, Last night, I went to the We Are Scientists show. Before the W.A.S. show, I went to the Weepies show. The juxtaposition of the two was startling. Pictures to follow, but for now:
Yay! I got to see my friend, introduced another friend to the band, watched as groupies grouped, met up with some college alums, and had a pretty damn good time.
Now, finals. For reals. Well, until Saturday night.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Supporting Boys or Girls When the Line Isn't Clear - by Patricia Leigh Brown
OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 1 — Until recently, many children who did not conform to gender norms in their clothing or behavior and identified intensely with the opposite sex were steered to psychoanalysis or behavior modification.
But as advocates gain ground for what they call gender-identity rights, evidenced most recently by New York City’s decision to let people alter the sex listed on their birth certificates, a major change is taking place among schools and families. Children as young as 5 who display predispositions to dress like the opposite sex are being supported by a growing number of young parents, educators and mental health professionals.
Doctors, some of them from the top pediatric hospitals, have begun to advise families to let these children be “who they are” to foster a sense of security and self-esteem. They are motivated, in part, by the high incidence of depression, suicidal feelings and self-mutilation that has been common in past generations of transgender children. Legal trends suggest that schools are now required to respect parents’ decisions.
“First we became sensitive to two mommies and two daddies,” said Reynaldo Almeida, the director of the Aurora School, a progressive private school in Oakland. “Now it’s kids who come to school who aren’t gender typical.”
The supportive attitudes are far easier to find in traditionally tolerant areas of the country like San Francisco than in other parts, but even in those places there is fierce debate over how best to handle the children.
Cassandra Reese, a first-grade teacher outside Boston, recalled that fellow teachers were unnerved when a young boy showed up in a skirt. “They said, ‘This is not normal,’ and, ‘It’s the parents’ fault,’ ” Ms. Reese said. “They didn’t see children as sophisticated enough to verbalize their feelings.”
As their children head into adolescence, some parents are choosing to block puberty medically to buy time for them to figure out who they are — raising a host of ethical questions.
While these children are still relatively rare, doctors say the number of referrals is rising across the nation. Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have laws protecting the rights of transgender students, and some schools are engaged in a steep learning curve to dismantle gender stereotypes.
. . .
I do not know how this fits into my world-view. I mean, first, at the foundation, is my belief in God and the Bible. And in these beliefs is the sense that gender plays a big part of faith and life. In how I relate to God, in how God relates to people, in how I relate to others.
But when there are children out there who question their gender at such a young age, I have to wonder why God did that. And I don't mean it in a judgmental way, but it does chip away at my fundamental belief that, while God may be genderless, God does choose to relate to us as a "father." I could try and explain it away - maybe these kids were exposed to images in the media at an incredibly early age that somehow short-circuited their gender identity. While I will blast popular media at the drop of a hat, I somehow think the struggles of the children and family featured in the article cannot be trivialized into saying, you shouldn't have let your kids watch television when they were babies. So the conclusion I am left with is that the kids were born this way. Which gets me back to my original question, why, and how do these kids fit into God's plan? Or, more specifically, my world view and belief system?
Speaking of gender, lately I've been trying to assess how I relate to guys. These thoughts are rooted in my mistrust of guys with very close female friends. If I am romantically interested / involved in such guys, I have a very hard time trusting that their relationships with these women are purely platonic. (Except that one time...) Part of it is lack of information, and I think that if I knew more, I would worry less. But I'd really like to able just not to worry.
Anyway, outside of this speculation, I think it has to do with *MY* inability to have purely platonic friendships with men. I think that I have very few single, straight men in my life who I wouldn't get romantically involved with. But I did in the past, in college. And maybe the supply was greater, and it was easier b/c there was less booze and more living together involved, but I also think it's a personal thing. Like, somehow I have changed and my attitude has changed, and my behavior has changed. And at the root of it all is that stereotypical emotionally closed off relationship with my father.
I want this to change. I don't want to look at every single straight man in my life as a potential love object (or something dirtier). I think that break I was going to take from boys sounds pretty damn good right now.
Well, I don't really have a choice. Hello, finals! But I think this change in attitude should come from the inside, and not just from external circumstances.
Monday, December 04, 2006
I don't know how my whole not-drinking thing turned into me drinking every night this weekend. Granted, Friday and Saturday were quiet nights, but I made up for it last night. Yikes.
But last night was special. Some friends had a dinner party. Unfortunately, the wine ran out and a designated driver took us out to the store ... and we came back with a case of wine. All in all, we went through about 30 bottles, plus other assorted beverages, like champagne and beer. It was so much fun! I heart dinner parties!
No, really, now I'm not drinking anymore for the rest of the semester. Well, ok, maybe on Thursday for the last day of classes.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Anyway, I LOVED the movie. I hate Kirsten Dunst, but I loved the movie.
First, Orlando Bloom's character did not fall in love immediately with Kirsten Dunst. Makes it more realistic, I think, although I do kind of believe in love at first sight, or, at the very least, instantaneous lust and attraction. And then their love for each other, it grew out of a need, but it also grew out of satisfying that need.
Second, Cameron Crowe was able to capture in images and music exactly what I love about road trips (without the Kirsten Dunst waiting for me with open arms bit). I've driven across the country five times and I'm not sure, even given all the words in the English language, that I could convey what I love about it and how I feel while I'm driving. But in the last 20 minutes of the movie, Mr. Crowe did exactly that. It made me want to get in the car and drive.
Oh, wait. Finals. Fuckity fuck fuck. Well, a girl can dream: