My new favorite site

You are your job? That's sad.

I've never understood people who base their entire identity in their job. It seems the equivalent of me saying that my entire identity is being K's girlfriend, or being a cat-owner. Like this guy, who can't figure out that there might be other things in the world that he can do besides work that would make him happy. I've known other guys who work 70+ hour weeks. Their family life suffers, their health suffers, and if they lose that job, they have nothing else with which to define themselves.

I just don't get it.

Despite the snarkiness, this is pretty amusing.*

*Not responsible for gobs of time wasted online.

D - E - F - I - N - I - T - E - L - Y

D - E - F - I - N - I - T - E - L - Y brilliant.

It's only a game, right?

Last night we bought a refurbished PS2, not having the money for something shiny and new. We bought a bunch of used games - some his pick, some mine. One of his was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which series has apparently caused a lot of controversy for its pervasive violence and sexuality. It's a one-player game, so I watched him play it for about 15-20 minutes last night.

I am no prude, and not easily shocked, but I don't know what I was more horrified by - the fact that the game's character could beat up and kill innocent people on the street, or that my boyfriend did. Now, he's not a violent person, and I recognize that his behavior within the game in no way indicates he'd do anything of the sort in real life, but it bothers me that it would even occur to him. "Just because I can" seems to be the mentality.

I'm not sure what to do with this. Like I said, he's not a violent person, so I have no fear of him. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something fundamental about male fantasies vs. realities. I know part of my disturbance stems from my belief that violent thoughts have the same internal impact as violent actions. In other words, intent is as important as action. Also, viewing violence desensitizes the viewer. In the end, it's his karma to deal with, and I'm not going to prevent him from playing it. I just want to have no part in it.

This describes my beliefs pretty well:

I doubt that anyone here went on a killing spree because they played a video game. A person who plays 100 hours of a violent game will have rehearsed that much more hostility in themselves than a person who has played 0 hours of it. A person who plays 1000 hours has that much more than a person who played 100 etc. That rehearses an emotion and mindset. It doesn't have to surface as physical violence. It may emerge as a more hostile attitude while your driving and someone cuts you off, or you may be just a litttle quicker to anger when someone confronts you with hostility.

One of them days

It's been a rollercoaster week for a variety of reasons, and I just couldn't get out of bed before 10 today. I've managed to shower and dress, and that's about it. A fireplace, some hot chocolate, and an absorbing novel would be nice to have. Instead I've got the space heater, a root beer, and the Internet. Hmm.

Last night I had a dream that I was married to a Chinese woman while still dating my boyfriend (!). I intercepted a cell phone call to my wife that convinced me she was cheating on me. I followed her to a multi-story dance club complex and promptly lost track of her. For some reason, there was an immigration office within the complex, and the officer there confirmed that my wife had applied for citizenship with another woman as her co-sponsor, thus confirming my fears. Despondent, I wandered the streets and ended up in some sort of diner, where I ran into the professor for whom I work. He consoled me, then drove me home to my boyfriend, who was unaware of any of this.

There was also some side dream about traveling to Switzerland with my father and staying in a well-run hostel.

I mean, WTF?

It's not just me!

Additude Magazine:
7 Common Flashpoints for the Spouses of ADDers

  • Uneven division of labor: You feel as though you do all the “scut work”—cleaning, planning, organizing, reminding, and putting away.
  • Poor time management: You’ve gotten used to having your spouse show up late for almost everything—unless you remind him often about deadlines and meeting times.
  • Broken promises: Your spouse may forget about chores or obligations, or work only on what he feels like doing.
  • Precarious finances: As one spouse puts it, she’s tired of “feeling guilty every time I buy something for myself because he has already spent too much.”
  • Wild dreams: Your spouse constantly comes up with great ideas or makes extravagant declarations (“I’m going to stop drinking soda”), but seldom follows through.
  • A parent-child-esque relationship: In the words of one exasperated non-ADD spouse: “Most of the time I don’t feel like my husband’s wife, I feel like the single mother (or nanny) of a spoiled 6-year-old child.”
  • Feeling alone: You feel like you’re doing it all, and that you have to ask your spouse to pay attention to you.

Orgasms for mapgeeks

apparently there's some point being made...

But I don't really get it...


K and I had an emotional night last night, so it shouldn't have come as any surprise that I had a nightmare. In the dream, he and I were forced by financial reasons to temporarily move in with my mother and stepfather. I get along with them fine, but after about a week I reach my limit of being around them. Anyway, in the dream I found an apartment we could afford, and began making plans for us to move out - but K didn't want to. Eventually, it came down to "either we move out of my parents' house, or we break up," and he chose to break up. I did everything I could to change his mind, and stopped just before I totally debased myself.

Most of my nightmares involve some sort of separation from a loved one. I don't dream about falling or getting hit by a car. I dream about someone who won't answer my phone calls. I dream about someone dying in my arms.

I know what all this is about. I'm just not ready to discuss it "publicly" yet.

Degrees of Freedom, the book

On a whim, I searched for "Degrees of Freedom" on Amazon, since I thought it'd make a great title for a book. The first result is a history of slavery, and the second result... well... it's a little mindblowing. A quote:

...we attempt to assure ourselves of a secure and predictable passage through life by spending a huge amount of time dividing up and classifying our surroundings...

...particular kinds of behavior and interpretation can often be reinforced into persistent attitudes. We tend to become domineering or subservient, callous or sensitive, sceptical or guillible, cynical or admiring, conservative or radical - depending on the interaction between our experiences and genetic makeup. As this reinforcement occurs, so our ability to change attitude in response to new experiences progressively declines and we may become fixed in our ways.
To acknowledge uncertainty, and to recognize its origins, is scientific strength, not weakness; to insist on certainty is arrogance, not strength...

Hmmmff! A fellow Buddhist, surely! And with a wonderful idea for a book title! Must be a kindred soul. I'm putting this in my shopping cart posthaste.

Chocolate makes you smarter

Feeding your brain: new benefits found in chocolate - Yahoo! News

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - As if people needed another excuse to like chocolate, new studies suggest a specially formulated type of cocoa may boost brain function and delay decline as people age, researchers said on Sunday.

Scientists, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, presented results from early studies testing the effects on the brain of flavanols, an ingredient found in cocoa.

I knew it. If I just had a couple more of these, I'd get a 4.0 this semester...

Staying on track

I've been using PageAddict to monitor my Web usage and keep it in check while I'm in grad school. It gives me a good idea of how I'm using my time, and lets me "restrict" certain categories of sites so that I get a friendly reminder to go back to work after X minutes of goofing off. Being a stats geek, I also like that I can see trends over time.

Anyway, today I'm supposed to be working on a paper about transportation planning. Specifically, "the dynamics of transit and highway development." It's actually an interesting subject to me, but I just can't get motivated. The boyfriend is in the other room watching TV (hey, it's Sunday, he's worked all week...) and I'd much rather be wrestling with him on the couch. Maybe I'll go to the library... that means I'd have to get dressed and go out in the cold... grr.

I found my purpose - now what?

It seems that in every relationship I have, I end up being the "taskmaster" or organizer. This is true of friendships, working relationships, and romantic relationships. I don't know if I attract chronically disorganized people, or if I merely perceive nearly everyone else as such, but I find myself thinking "this could be done so much more efficiently," and then I proceed to do it that way. 95% of the time, no one argues with me. I suppose they're grateful not to have the responsibility. Plus, I think most people prefer to be told what to do as long as it's not obviously contrary to their own best interests.

It's not about being in control (at least, not always).

Food and Decision Making

I can easily tell you what I want in the bedroom, in the shopping mall, and in the movie theater. Usually the answer seems obvious to me. But ask me what I want for dinner, and I fall apart. Food is merely a necessity. Yes, I have my preferences, but asking me to choose a restaurant is akin to asking me what color you should paint your rec room. I might like the color blue, but I mostly just don't care and I'd rather not have to think about it.

So, I was tickled when I found The Wheel of Food. It's tailor-made for someone like me. You enter your zip code, and if you want, a keyword (like "pizza"), and it randomly selects a restaurant for you.

Tuesday Rant

If you know anything at all about computers and technology, DON'T EVER TELL ANYONE who isn't at least as knowledgeable as you are. They will insistently hound you with the most basic of questions. Hey, if you can use Google, you can probably fucking figure it out yourself.

Case in point: one of my professors e-mailed me to say that she has a student who needs to e-mail her some very large image files. Said student is IN THE BUILDING NEXT TO HERS, and is getting his Master's degree. FFS. So she wanted me to:

1. Go to his building.
2. Turn the files into JPEGs/PDFs.

Apparently he doesn't know how to burn a CD, zip the files, or buy a fucking thumb drive. And this guy is in grad school?

So, fuck that noise. I'm too busy drinking hot chocolate while the snow falls. I fired off an e-mail with the suggestions above, and they'll have to fucking figure it out amongst themselves. Fer chrissakes, pay some poor undergrad $5 to physically carry his laptop the 40 feet to her building.

The last 100 days

I am about 100 days from graduation. Seeing that number makes me wish I hadn't calculated it. It's too fast. I don't feel prepared for the real world.

I'm really at a crossroads here. It feels like my life could go in so many directions. I'm really trying to "stay in the moment," as my therapist urged, but it's difficult not to look down the road and wonder (or in my case, more likely fear).

More later... I should be writing a paper.

Defining reality

n., pl. -ties.
  1. The quality or state of being actual or true.
  2. One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual: “the weight of history and political realities” (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.).
  3. The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence.
  4. That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality
Reality in everyday usage means "the state of things as they actually exist."[1] The term reality, in its widest sense, includes everything that is, whether it is observable, comprehensible, or self-contradictory by science, philosophy, or any other system of analysis. Reality in this sense may include both being and nothingness, whereas existence is often restricted to being (compare with nature).
1. the state or quality of being real.
2. resemblance to what is real.
3. a real thing or fact.
4. real things, facts, or events taken as a whole; state of affairs: the reality of the business world; vacationing to escape reality.
5. Philosophy.
a. something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.
b. something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.
6. something that is real.
7. something that constitutes a real or actual thing, as distinguished from something that is merely apparent.


I work for two of the most absent-minded people I've ever met. It's just scary how scatterbrained educators can be, and it causes me to question many of the things I've learned. It's frustrating that I, the "lowly grad student" making $700/month, has to correct the work of someone with a PhD making far more.

Lack of attention to detail drives me nuts. I suppose it's ironic that I live with someone with ADD...

In other news... recently I noticed:

  • icicles hanging off houses
  • doggy footprints in the snow
  • a snowperson (gender indeterminate), and across the sidewalk, in someone else's yard, a snowdog looking at the snowperson (the dog melted before I could get a picture)
  • Red burrowing through snow with his nose