Friday, August 26, 2005

In Other Words, I'm Screwed

Study Links Daydreaming, Alzheimer's

The part of the brain involved in daydreaming is always active, even if the mind is at rest, said William Klunk, coauthor of the study and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. "It's like an engine on idle," he said. "It never shuts down. That activity might fuel the sequence of events that could lead to Alzheimer's."

I suppose I shouldn't be alarmed because everything these days causes cancer or Alzheimer's.. but considering how I can't ever shut off my constantly-running train of thought, and that I live about half my life in mental fantasy of one variety or another, I guess I'll be paying for it later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


School started Monday, and it's been an interesting week so far. Even though I had some trouble getting registered for Algebra, as of today I'm officially in all my classes. w00t! I was worried there for a moment. Half my classes are downtown so I have been walking quite a bit, which is a much-needed change after sitting on my ass for a month. My Bio class is about four blocks away, and I think I get there faster on foot than I would if I drove and had to find parking. In addition, I rode the PRT for the first time yesterday. Very exciting.

This semester should be somewhat challenging, but I'm looking forward to it. The classes, especially downtown, have much more of a serious feel to them and I really like that so much better than the idiots I had to attend class with in the Spring. I mean, one of my teachers would tell people to turn their cell phones off before every class, yet at least one phone would go off every single lecture. Evansdale has a more casual feel to it for some reason, and I definitely got the impression in my classes that at least the majority of people really didn't want to be there. It helps that my classes this semester are specialty classes in one form or another.. like my Bio is for science majors, and apparently also pre-med people.

Not much else new... I did, however, want to share with you a really beautiful song that was recently introduced to me by a new friend. It's lovely and rich, and I am particularly fond of the lushness of the string instruments used. Rachael Yamagata - Be Be Your Love

- Rachel Yamagata's Official Site

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Words To Live By

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "WOO HOO what a ride!"

(found here)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Alas, Poor Summer, I Knew Thee Well

Can you believe it? School starts next Monday, so summer is almost over. There were points along the way that felt a bit slow, but overall, where did the time go? In particular, where in the world did the last month go? I feel like I just got back from Italy..

Now, I've been looking forward to summer's end since the very first 85+ degree day arrived and found me with no air conditioning. This is a state I've since corrected after bravely trying to suffer and sweat through it, but I am Scottish and a San Fran girl, so in general I am not built for the heat on the east coast. I hate it, in fact, because I can't stand being sweaty hot to my core. On top of that, I am a furnace, or "warm-blooded" as my mom always called me, so I am usually pretty warm to begin with. Just ask anyone who has slept in the same bed with me.. sometimes covers or blankets have to be removed because I radiate so much heat.

The result is that I avoid going outside during summer because I can't stand it, and it seriously messes with my ability to do things I like to do. Sometimes it's too hot to do anything, much less exercise in any shape or form (unless it involves being immersed in water)... For example, I went on a bike ride a few weeks ago because I was tired of sitting on my ass. I tried to wait until the day had cooled down, but a strange phenomenon is that the temperature tends to actually rise around here in late afternoon and as the day wears on. So, at 6pm, it was around 88, humid as hell, and let's just say that by the end of my ride, I thought I was going to die. That or puke. I think I only managed to ride for half an hour or so, but I swear it felt endless. The air was so hot, thick, and humid that I didn't think I'd make it home, and when I did, I immediately had to strip down and sit under the window unit until my nausea and shakiness passed. Sounds fun, eh?

So anyway.. I don't hate summer per se, but let's say that since leaving the Bay Area and central California, summer has been pushed to the bottom of my favorite seasons list. I count down the weeks until September, fantasizing about how happy I'll be when fall starts to show itself. In addition, I think I may be one of only five people in this state that actually and truly enjoys the winters here. I don't know what it is, but as I discovered when I lived in Minnesota, I really like the snow. I'm not sure I'd be quite as happy with, say, ten-foot snow drifts and blizzards, but the amount of snow in WV is perfect in my opinion. Not too much, not too little, and frankly I would rather have a few months of snow to months of depressing rain, a la Bay Area (and don't even get me started on El Nino and the nine-month rain-filled winter we had one year, I'll kick that bastard's ass).

Anyway, I'm torn to see summer vacation go, although I have been looking forward to school starting. I've had way too much time on my hands lately. It has taken me four months, but I nearly got my school schedule finished and locked in (just waiting on approval for the math). Though I tried several times, it was really difficult to find classes I need to take that would fit into my fucked up schedule. Basically, certain required classes for my major are offered only one semester a year, and I want to get some of those classes out of the way as soon as possible so that I have more freedom in scheduling future terms. On top of that, I have labs for every class save one -- including Algebra, tell me why I need a lab for Algebra -- so thanks to all the damn labs and random class times, I found it utterly impossible to find anything I could get credit for to fit into my schedule. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I tried. When I realized I really had no other choice if I wanted to carry more than 10 credits this fall, I finally broke down and signed up for the 8:30 am Algebra class. While the plus of this class is that I should definitely have no problem finding parking downtown at this hour, my question is what half-wit schedules an Algebra class at 8:30 in the morning? And Monday and Friday?? Why ruin my Friday with an early Algebra class? Besides, who is awake and ready to absorb complicated math that early in the morning? If I were ruler of the world, classes wouldn't start until at least 9 am.

I'm not all that pleased at the 8:30 am Algebra class, but whatever. I was trying to avoid it, but after trying every avenue possible to avoid this class, I feel like the universe is sort of forcing me to suck it up and take it. I'm trying to avoid thinking about just how early I have to get up.. not only to make it to class, but to be moderately awake as well. ;)

So.. my schedule for this semester is as follows. Very science-y with a splash of math, shaken not stirred..

College Algebra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M/F 8:30-9:20
Principles of Biology . . . . . . . . . . . . M/W/F 11:30-12:20
Dendrology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T/Th 9:30-10:20
SPTP:Aquaculture Management . . . . T 2:00-4:45
Algebra Lab. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T 5:30-6:50
Dendrology Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Th 11:00-1:45
Biology Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F 12:30-2:20

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


My heart is still pounding and I am wired on adrenaline. OMFG. I just had a really scary and totally surreal experience. I was sitting here doing mind-numbing MP3 organization and I started hearing a scratching noise. The other day, I heard a scratching noise that sounded like it was coming from part of the ceiling in my kitchen. I live in an old building divided into one unit per floor, and someone decided to put drop-down ceilings in every room, a la an office building or hospital. Maybe it's an effort to reduce noice, but it's ugly nonetheless. Anyway, the scratching worried me because the last thing I wanted was some rodent living in my kitchen ceiling.

So the scratching and rustling noises I heard just a bit ago.. I thought it was coming from the ceiling, but it didn't seem to be just one spot and I couldn't tell if it was just the upstairs neighbors making strange sounds. I kept hearing it and couldn't place it, so I turned my music off and listened for a while, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

All of a sudden there was a louder scratching noise off to the left and I reflexively turned my head to look. My attention was drawn to the air conditioner and I spent a moment looking at it, before I realized there was dark movement around the top edge. I don't keep my living room bright, so I couldn't make out what it was, but because it looked long, dark, and thin, for a moment I thought it was a piece of foam insulation that had come loose and was flapping in the breeze from the window unit.

Haha, how wrong I was.

As I continued to watch, whatever it was slowly pulled itself through the nearly non-existent crack between the top of the air conditioner and the window. I was paralyzed with horror as it pulled itself all the way through and rested a moment after its effort, before sort of tumbling down and landing on the exhaust grill on the front. All was quiet again as the dark lump hung on my window unit.

I was really and truly freaking out. As I mentioned, it's a little dark in here and from fifteen feet away, I couldn't make out what the thing was. I thought maybe it had wings, but couldn't be certain. Was it a huge bug, a bird, a mouse, a bat? Situations like this bring out the total girl in me and my first thought was, OHMYGOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT and then right after, WHO CAN I CALL TO DEAL WITH THIS OMG?! Sadly, I live alone and found myself having to face whatever the thing was.

I was flipping out and trying to figure out what the next step should be. I paced a little -- not much, and not near the thing so as to not disturb it -- my mind racing, scoping out anything I had handy to try to catch it and put it back outside. First I had to know what it was I was dealing with, so, heart pounding, I grabbed my mini Maglite from my desk and shone it on the thing, revealing it to be a BAT. OMG, okay, a bat.. shit.. I was hoping for a bird because that's what I was best prepared to deal with. But a bat was scarier and could bite me and give me rabies!

I know I've mentioned I was wigging out, but I really was. Heart pounding and hands shaking, I next tried to figure how I'd deal with getting it out of my apartment, but at least I had the wherewithall to remember to grab my camera to get a picture of my intruder (below). I contemplated getting my bucket to catch the bat, but as that would require passing by it to get to the kitchen, I settled on a box sitting on my side of the room. I quickly emptied the box out on the floor, and the next thing I knew, the bat had taken off and was doing fast and furious laps of the room. I did not want to be bat-smacked upside the head, so I practically dropped to the floor and lamely waved the box in the bat's direction whenever it would get a little too close. All the while saying, "No... no... no... nooo..." I swear, that's some reality TV right there.

The bat flew into the kitchen, so I had a minute of calm to plan my eviction strategy. I went to open the front door, but the bat returned and began its furious and psychotic orbit around the room. Again, I dropped to the floor and waved the box, still freaked out but observant enough to see that the bat was seeking an exit and would probably just fly out the door by itself if I was able to get it open. I tried to scare it into the kitchen again, but quickly ended my attempt when the bat spazzed out even more, leaving me on the floor praying I would get out of this unscathed.

When the bat flew into the kitchen again, I ran and opened the door, propped open the screen, and awaited its return. This time it chose to circle the kitchen for a few minutes, and I was grateful that I keep my bedroom door mostly closed in order to keep in the cool air. I stood by the open door with my box, waiting. One of my new upstairs neighbors came home at that moment and caught me standing in the door in my wife beater and boxers, holding a box.. quite the first impression. I tried to laugh, but he just stared. Haha. Great.

After a few minutes of touring the kitchen, the bat zoomed back into the living room. It seemed unaware of the open door and I lamely tried to shoo it in that direction from my spot on the floor. After many crazy laps, the bat found the door and swooped off into the night. The first words out of my mouth were, "Oh my god, is it really gone?!"

I'm calmer now, but OMFG. First of all, how.. HOW.. H-O-W did that bat get in the way it did?? It's insane! Secondly, why the air conditioner? Why MY air conditioner? What about my particular air conditioner, or my window, made that bat squeeze itself though a crack no bigger than a couple of millimeters, to get inside?

Bat Out of "What the Hell":

P.S. I'm not afraid of bats, at least when they're not crawling through my air conditioner.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Math 4 Dummies

I'm selling a watch on eBay, in an auction that ends in about fifteen minutes. When I checked the listing today, I had three questions that needed to be answered. Here's my favorite:

Q: I'm having trouble figuring out how big 2.3cm is(I asked you about the face size). Most watch faces are described in mm, not cm. Roughly, can you take a ruler and lay it across the face of the watch and tell me how big it is? Thanks

Are you kidding me? Man, I thought my math skillz were bad. Someone obviously was passing notes on the day they covered the Metric System in class. However, I think it's funny, in my twisted sense of humor kinda way. I mean, she'd have me pull out my ruler again and go through all of the measuring that I've done about twenty times before, when it took me two seconds to reply:

A: 2.3cm = 23mm

If I had categories, this one would be filed under Smartass.