I just watched what I suspect to be George Carlin's last special, and he had a segment about human rights. He made a point to say that the rights we say are inherent are made up. My initial response was "WHAT REALLY I know you're depressing but you also speak to liberals", and then minutes later he says they can't be real because they get taken away, like when all the Japanese Americans were put in camps in 1942. So this compelled me to think about what he was getting at vs what my idealized view of humanity.
Ultimately (and again, ideally) because you are a person you should be allowed (aka you have the right) to say what you want, be happy and strive to be the best person possible. And I'm not saying that all those things are available to everyone, but that they should be! I'm saying that part of being a human being SHOULD be completing those things and making them available for the rest of humanity. Now does that mean I'm a hypocrite because I'm not part of any human rights movement? You could definitely argue that.
I just hate to think that there is nothing we deserve, even though I know that whatever we do deserve, it's not coming from the earth/nature, but us. But we deserve it, because everyone wants the same thing.
8 People started at the base of the AT trail on Thursday. Only 2 made it the 40 miles intended by the end of Saturday. Let me tell you why I wasn't one of those people (generally just shit I did wrong).
1. You can pack your backpack on site, but you can't unpack it at the hotel.
It took a lot of hullaballoo to get everyone's pack's into the truck of 2 cars, so they weren't about to come out till we got to the start of the trail. Anything we needed for the night in the hotel, shoulda been in a day bag outside of the trunk. I didn't put any pads in the day bag....
2. "Your pack should feel like a corset".
I think every day of the trip when I put my pack on it took at least 2 miles of trudging and adjusting before the pack was where I wanted it, and it wasn't the same at the end of any day. But the goal was always the same. PUT ALL THE WEIGHT ON YOUR HIPS I wish I could give equally good advice to my hipless cohorts, but this is what I learned. There is a strap, for what looks like your waist, but it should be around the smallest part of your waist, which turns out to be very high. It's going to feel funny because there will be like half a foot of space between your shoulder and the shoulder strap. Don't worry, it's still better than the pack being lower and pressing on your shoulders. Also, there might be adjustable segments at the top of the straps, which also help a lot.
3. Dry clothes do no good if they're wet.
There was very little 'must haves' for the trip (tent, sleeping bag, food, warm clothes for the night) and the first day it rained... a lot. We were told to line our packs with a garbage bag. I didn't and I regretted it. Sleeping is very hard and potentially harmful if you're wet, and everything I brought for my "dry clothes" at night got wet. I put too much stock into my poncho, and it didn't do it's job. What I should have done from the get go, is put my clothes and the sleeping bag into the garbage bag, and wrap the tent (which i had fastened to the outside of the pack) in the poncho and deal with my wet ass during the day. By the time I'd come up with that solution however, it was too late.
4. You're going to get sweaty.
When you get up in the morning (especially if you've been wet all night) you're going to be cold. Taking off whatever's keeping you warm is going to sound like a very bad idea, but if you start off your day wearing your warm clothes, it won't take very long before you're super uncomfortable in the other direction and will have to stop, take your shit off, repack it, and ultimately be behind everyone. Also, the looser your clothes, the harder it is to get your pack fitted on your hips correctly. So, suck it up for the first half mile or so, and you'll be happier later. As a side note, this also speaks to the importance of convertible pants. I had shorts on the whole time, and was relying on my socks. I wish I coulda put on pant legs when we stopped for lunch and stuff.
5. You won't eat while you're walking.
I brought trail mix, assuming I would eat it in between stops. That never happened. Next time, I'm bringing less trail mix and more lunch food. I'd been eating pop tarts at lunch, so probably one more of those woulda been good. I'd assumed they'd be part of breakfast (which we were only on the trail for 2 of)
- Music:Nightmare of You - Heaven Runs on Oil
i've been in a blogging mood for the last few days. and i'm hoping i can validate this by the fact that i'm so burnt out, i need to do something unrelated to science. i've been at work every day since 4/28 and got another week and change yet. we're quickly approaching our comprehensive exams and they'll be over the 25th. i can't express how burnt out i am, how much i'm looking forward to the research in my future and generally for this to all be a funny memory. the positive/optimistic view on all this is that everyone still in the dept has passed them. but i realized the other day that this is the most important thing i've ever done in my silly little life. and i need to pass these fuckers... my life as i forsee it depends on it. i've been training for a very long time for this, and i'll be damned if it's for naught. that having been said, why am i so worried? because my class is the dumbest group of fuckers this department's ever seen. and they don't skip an opportunity to tell us so. it's not a scare tactic, it's the truth. we've really got to rise the occasion here... and no one knows how. so if anyone's listening, cross your fingers for me.
Posted via m.livejournal.com.
It's amazing how you can be taunted by yourself sometimes.
Last night we were at one of those zip-line camps you hear about, in the woods together. And I had an amazing plan for him after that. I knew when we were done in the woods, with everyone else at the camp, we were going to travel together. It was going to be a little bit of a surprise. When the camp was over, I knew we had more time together and we went to a movie, and when the movie was over I told him I wanted to take him somewhere far away. I initially suggested somewhere "west" but he said he'd just come from there. So we decided on MT, neither of us had been there before. I told them there would probably be rivers we could swim in, he was less than impressed. But I couldn't wait. Obviously an alien attacked the house of the family we were staying with for that night and we didn't make it very far.
Not too long ago, the dream was Mr. Fabulous, Morgana, Wrangler and I were on vacation together. Morgana and Mr. Fabulous were sharing space and somehow I was lucky enough to get paired up with Wrangler, we were all buddy buddy and I knew better than to mess with him at that point, but he initiated. He tickled me, but got super pissed if I tried to kiss him.
I'm not trying to sound like I reverted back to my middle school self. But that's how I feel. I don't know if that should be my sign that it's unhealthy and I should stop. But it doesn't matter, I know darn well nothing's coming of it. This is all meaningful however because I've been trying to get over him, and I'd been feeling pretty good about keeping a straight face in his presence and then my subconscious hurls it back in my face again. There's still part of me hoping, he'll change his mind, but I REALLY don't want to bank on something like that.
Moral of the story... I really got to meet some people outside of my department
At the dawn of this new year, many of us find ourselves surprisingly single. The most important of which are my roommate, Mr. Fabulous and myself. I've been sort of viewing us as the triforce at the moment, the lesbian, gay guy and the straight chick. And sort of analyzing how we're all going about handling the break-ups (where applicable) and finding new people. I mean obviously the differences are more centered around the fact that we're different people, not that we strive for different genital combinations, but dam would it make a good sitcom.
Everybody is being berated in one form or another by the people who just want to get us naked. And in each of our cases they're coming from different places, and being handled differently. In the same vein, we're all playing the field a little differently and presenting ourselves differently.
I should probably have given this more specifics... it's just interesting how this all came together and we're all sort of trying to play life coach to each other, but we're all playing different games. Games we've each heard a lot about so we feel like we can contribute meaningful insight but I'm learning they're really not the same. I recognize more than most how they should all be treated equally, which in this case is not the same as being the same.
I'm hopelessly attracted to people at work. I think if it isn't already, someone should name that condition. Cause it'll get you in whole new kind of trouble. That's not why I'm here though.
I'm here to talk about the equal and opposite driving forces for and against such a thing. The problem with the general public is they don't understand or appreciate or sympathize with the struggles of the grad student, or graduated PhD. If I screw up a synthesis, there's a specific problem, it needs to be hashed out, it's the kind of thing I would like to rant about to my significant other. It would be unfortunate and very likely however, if they were not of the academic community that they would be torn. In one direction their girlfriend is clearly frazzled and upset, on the other hand, they don't know anything about the situation much less where to start in learning about it, so any steps of consolation just fall flat because they just sound simple and silly. On the other hand of that coin, they can't help but acknowledge that you're doing something bigger than them and they will always look up to you, which also feels good.
I want someone from my department because their complaints will mean something to me and mine something to them. And we can go back and forth about sciency hang-ups until the cows come home, or we have sex, whichever comes first. But then there's things that should 'come easy' to the average grad student, but I'm having a stupidly hard time with. And none of the people in the department wanna hear about it. It's like whining about having to get up early. "We all do it fucker, get used to it and shut up" A 'normal person' would at least have some sympathy to something like that, but they wouldn't have any aid either. No matter how much condicention I get from the PhD populous they would at least be able to help if they had some patience. Which putting all that into pros and cons, still means I want someone in my department... fuck.
So, we've been in classes for about 6 weeks now, and there have been a few panics as we approach our first test and it's becoming clearer why we're all here. I guess it's kinda along the same vein as naming one Engineer/mathematician/chemist but it's way more personality oriented and specific.
Dr. Know - In addition to knowing the most industrially relevant stuff out of the lot (extruders, composite molding etc) he's the guy that goes out and asks all the stuff that's on everyone's mind. Whether no one else wants to admit to ignorance or they haven't been able to formulate the question he opens his mouth and betters the lot. Be it in class or even among the bullpen, trying to coordinate so everyone's here at the same time to work on something. We all want that, but just didn't say anything. And with that comes a certain amount of forethought. 'oh you want us to do x, and you say you have the answers somewhere... I'm gonna get those now before I forget or can never find you'. We all know Rawlins will never be around, but he has the follow through.
He's also the blindly optimistic/simple. "Everyone's going to be done with Dr. Morgan's test by the end of tomorrow" Well, we worked on it all day... but none of the questions are done. And he randomly exclaims "Why is getting a PhD so hard!" and variations of the like. And every time someone asks me a yes/no question and I give some long winded explanation he's the one going "short answer is yes".
Dolphins - He is still the most mysterious of the bunch so I can't go too much into what he is beyond being the synthetic expert. However, I do KNOW he gets along with everyone. He worked well with Raj on the lit review and went out to see a football game with Morgana and Mr. Fabulous and he talked to me for a very long time about WHY he's been super ghost like this whole time. Whether everything he does is on purpose or not, he does seem to be this underlying force keeping everyone connected. Also, as an extension of his secret nature, he's very capable of talking personal with you if you get one on one with him. So I can see him being the after hours counselor.
Mr. Wand - He's got a sense of honor and work ethic that no one else here has. And at least in my experience, he inadvertently guilt trips me into doing the right thing. I don't know hoe much the people who don't work with him directly get effected by that. But he's a sweetheart, and works well with everyone, takes criticism very well. Since he's from here he doesn't hang out with the rest of the 1st years as much as I would like him to so it's hard to determine his personality's purpose here, but by the same token, being the person from town means he knows all the cool places to go.
Madame Morgana - She used to do track and field back in undergrad and is a super huge sports fan in general. Which is pretty much the lot of us (everyone but the indians and myself). She's our connection to the goings on of the universe cause she pays more attention to news, sports and TV more than the rest of us in general. She's nice, great at math and baking ^_^. And loves her cat bunches. She's been very motherly in regards to bringing us cookies, and walking the chemistry people through numbers but it's hard to extrapolate from the things I know about he to what kind of person she is. She gets excited about stuff the same way I do, like when she talks about going to concerts and things, but I don't get the feeling that she's afraid of anything or really driven by anything.
Wrangler - He's super awesome, he's been coaching me in rugby a little and played football all through high school and undergrad. He's talked to me on many occasions about his personal opinions on chemistry, life and beliefs. I'd like to say his purpose with us is the secret voice of genius. The 10 of us will be fighting with something for like hours, he'll show up and just say something completely new and different and we'll all feel dumb. I mean, he doesn't have all the answers, Morgana walked him through just as much as me. It's just his thought process is coming from a completely different direction that he can always say something we never thought of.
Raj - He's really the Rui of the 1st years. He wants to hang out with all of us more than he wants to hang out with other Indian students. He was really excited about going to see his first football game and he came out with us to the bar on friday for karaoke and danced a little bit.
Mr. Fabulous - He's our other math genius but he gets way more ahead of himself than Morgan. He'll find something about a problem and plow on through till the end when he realized he fucked up like 7 lines ago. At the same time, he's the one that makes you question everything you do and every opinion you have. Sometimes his snarkyness makes you not want to have opinions around him, but he's too funny to really dismiss.
Vivian - Some people are a little worried about his motives and methods ... but he's another one that isn't around too much so..
Captain Strange - He acts way more 2nd year than 1st year therefore he's never around. But thankfully he's with us for now cause I really think we would be super lost without him.
I feel like this polymer school thing is the closest I'm ever going to get to Hogwarts in a muggle world, and that's pretty fuckin awesome.
10 people were sought out from around the nation by this Hagrid like creature
Alright, so he looks more like Peter Griffin than Hagrid, but just roll with me here
Here's the run down of the other 9 I'm being thrown in the fire with...
For their safety their names have been altered... except for
MR. WAND... THAT'S HIS NAME!!! FOR REALLLLLL... anyway...
Mr. Wand: He's the only one from MS, he went to USM for undergrad, and is still here. I'm not sure where he went to high school/was born. But I get the impression it's not too far. He's one of the chemists (the lot of us have sorta been subconsciously dividing ourselves between chemists & engineers or synthesis people and math people). And he also ends up stuck with me a lot. Dr. McCormick puts us together to run mechanisms (all the engineers think that's unfair to put the chemists together), and we TA the same lab. Hopefully we'll also both join Dr. Rawlins research group later (he's been in it for a while already).
Madame Morgana: The other woman in the pack of 10. Ironically enough she's from where I went to undergrad, so we have like 3 mutual friends on facebook... tehe ^_^. She's a 'math people' which is super lucky for me... cause I SUCK. We've gone to the gym together once and in general she's super nice and super easy to talk to.
Dr. Know: He's obviously not a doctor yet, but I like the way that sounds ... so back off. He's from western WA (walla walla to be precise) and was married 3 weeks before the start of orientation. He loves to bike and ski (looks like he's fucked there ::sad trombone::) and is the biggest 'bro' of the group and an engineer.
Captain Strange: He was a mid-year last year, so he's already been around for the semester and has been our strongest guiding force as to who to hang out with, where to go in town and having all the answers to everything. He got his BS and MS from 'CalPoly' only because his wife said he should go back to school. Otherwise he would have been in construction forever. He's the biggest meathead of the group and one of the synthetic people. Hearing smart things come out of his mouth shocks me every time.
Mr. Fabulous: From TX, went to undergrad in CO (super jealous) and is one of the engineers. He started talking to me like the first day I think because he thought I was a lesbian. Either way... he's gay, which is lucky for him cause as my lesbian roommates tell me, all the guys at USM are gay. He's pretty sure he's just going to marry his dog though.
Wrangler: Also from TX, but this time Sulfur Springs (texarkana) as opposed to Dallas. He played football for his high school and ... maybe college. All I know about his school is that it was small, and was the liberal arts section of the same conglomeration as Harvey Mudd in southern california. He's very soft spoken, but was the first one any of us knew, because the timing of his move in was such that he asked all of us if any of us could spare our couch for a night. He's gotten more social though, he came to my house for a Labor Day BBQ. I'm in a group with him in our lab class, and he's one of the chemists.
Dolphins: Another quiet kid, this time from WI, sickeningly north WI, just to make the stark contrast even starker. He's barely been in the office with us at all, he gave the class a very long sob story about his families financial issues when Dr. Rawlins asked us to introduce ourselves. So he didn't have a laptop until today. Now aside from his general distaste for the physical components of the 'bullpen' (he doesn't like being in a cubicle, he thinks the chairs are uncomfortable and that it smells funny) he should be in the building more. He also seems to magically know everything... though, I think we discovered today, that his derivation skills are less than flawless, he's one of the chemists.
Vivian: He works for BASF in India and they I guess decided they wanted him to get his PhD or learn more about chemistry or something. Either way, he's older, and married, and one of the engineers. He's at the moment, the hardest one in the department to understand.
Raj: Apparently USM has some collaboration with a research group in India, and he's been working in that group for a while, and is now going to get the actual PhD from here though. He has his masters from some school in India. I think both he and Vivian live together, but Raj is certainly more fun, and generally personable than Vivian.
Captain Strange covered in beer and the back of Dr. Know
Captain Strange and Dr. Know about to shotgun some beers, punching the holes with their mouths
Smiley face Madame Morgana... we just got done kicking ass at flip cup. That's Mr. Fabulous next to her
And that's Wrangler. The only other 1st years at the party that I don't have pics of was Vivian and Raj, which I think it's super awesome that they partied with us. Mr. Wand probably didn't come cause he didn't need to (it was a welcome to town party for us) and Dolphins said he had a migraine and felt shitty.
ANYWAY... back to how this relates to Hogwarts... at the end of this year we get sorted into research groups. And this really is a prestigious place to find oneself... and our department head is some bearded guy from Scotland. The profs get very friendly with the students, we're all gonna tailgate together on saturday, and Dr. Savin was at the party where all the pictures are from.
So yea, it's been pretty ridiculous
I'm gonna pretend like it's november and tell you my ideas for books... that I've come up with over the last 2 months or so
1) The Dictionary of Empathy
This isn't sad or depressing at all... but it's also not a novel. Initially when I was hurled into the slump of meaninglessness I was trying to think of things I could put a lot of heart and soul into and be proud of. And the first thing that really came to mind as attainable was this. I'd been thinking about writing a book showcasing all points of view that people really butt heads over. "why would anyone want to travel to Siberia", "what's the attraction/aversion to drugs", "how could anyone listen to dubstep". I feel like I could successfully explain both sides of most arguments based on personal or 2nd hand experience. Not to mention it's really the lack of understanding that makes everyone mad at everyone else in the first place. Not like I think if I made this everyone would read it and people would stop fighting each other but it would have everything in one place.
It occurred to me while doing something sciency like I do, that people are getting pretty good at mimicking biological functions, like pollinating, desalinating and general environmental manipulation. That I think an interesting world to construct a story in would be one where the only animals left alive besides ourselves are the ones we kept alive for specific purposes cows, chickens, horses etc and the roles that all the other animals had been playing are now done by people. I'm not exactly sure what story to weave in this universe, but I'll think of something. Maybe a kid finds evidence that an otherwise long lost species is still alive and it follows the kid through what he has to do to get the stuff/animal to the right people. Not sure, I've got time yet lol.
3)An Eternity of Transience
I haven't settled on a title for this one yet, but the idea is to really take advantage of the fact that nothing is forever in order to make it forever. There are plenty of stories out there about people's methods to immortality via magic or science the difference here is that no one part really does last forever. Every lifetime or so this being gets reconstructed. This book ends up really being about the reconstruction process and how the only way things can go on forever is if they honor the fact that nothing lasts forever. Again, where's the actual plot line but I think it's a really cool idea to bring people's attention to the fact that "just because it's entirely robotic/synthetic doesn't mean it's going to last forever"
"...back when I was dead"
"you weren't dead you just weren't born yet"
"well if the opposite of alive is dead, and I wasn't alive then I must've been dead"
This is a conversation I had with my mom when I was in second grade and was being picked up from my grandma's house or something. I was attempting to be senselessly clever about talking about things that happened in the 80s. That black and white reasoning however brings up a good point. The world after you die is going to feel exactly like it did before you were born and that's about the most comforting thing I can come up with. Aside from "nature's been killing things for as long as it's existed, it's pretty good at it by now"
Don't get me wrong, this doesn't bring my universe to equilibrium somewhere prior to 1/22 it just means I'm not trying to imagine my own death anymore and that's a significant bonus.