New Goal: Fulfill Every Cliche of Femininity

Break up with my ex-boyfriend: Cut my hair to my chin.

Kiss a guy who apparently has been talking with his ex about getting back together: Give myself bangs.

I didn't and don't have any designs on him, but apparently just the feeling-like-a-horrible-person is all that's required for me to go on another hair-cutting binge. Actually, not being attached to him other than as a friend is contributing to the whole feeling horrible thing.

In other news, I found myself in a cuddle pile of me, him, a couple other guy friends, and the new professor in my department on Thursday night. I love blues dancers. *That* is the proper level of affection between cuddly friends.

Also, coding scripts for the software I need to run my thesis experiments on may turn me into a Luddite. Am I sure I need three experiments for this thing...?

So I took a nap...

...and had one of my more bizarre dreams.

I was 300 feet or so in the sky on an adult-sized tricycle and when the cloud cover stopped breaking my fall I started to fall faster, so a pedaled really hard, drifted over a lake and broke my fall by skimming a bit across the surface before sinking. If I hadn't had the trike, of course, I would've spread-eagled and flapped to slow down, but as it was I was very proud of myself and burst into terrified, excited laughter.

A cop stopped me and took over driving my car (I kept driving back and forth between the shallow lake I fell in earlier and this stop sign leading to a road that went around another lake). After a minute I realized this was weird behavior for a cop and thought I might have some crazy criminal in my car, so I tentatively punched him in the nose. He didn't react, but my mother was suddenly there with me and we started to discuss what to do.

A guy in my ward and I started talking after a concert where my brother David was playing with two transsexual couples, down that road around the other lake (the whole road was very country, and possibly unpaved, but with deliberately rugged landscaping with lots of grey stone along the sides from residential lots). We then wandered to his house, where I suddenly realized who he reminded me of because he looked like because Conan O'Brien was his father. We talked a ton and all three of us got to be really good friends. Then I did their dishes and cleaned their counter.

Jung can have at it.

Because airport security has become such an interesting topic recently...

...did I mention going through Italian security on my way out of Rome this summer?

You see, I can't stand having a lot of stuff. I grew up in a very packratty family (to a pathological level, in the case of some of my extended relatives), and we had so much stuff everywhere it was really hard for life to ever seem simple and neat. Plus, I got hit with my own bit of the packratty motivation -- that part that feels guilty for not properly appreciating something's use. To fight my wonderful father's tendency to not throw stuff away because it's still useful, I just decided not to get the thing in the first place so it didn't stare at me from the shelf, taunting me.

This extends to my travel habits. So for a two-month trip to Europe, I took a small towel, six thin shirts, two pairs of pants, a skirt, a pair of thin flats, tennis shoes, one coat, and various undergarments. All my toiletries, I neatly timed to be mostly used up by the time I had to fly again, at which point I transferred them to the smaller, trial-sized bottles I'd already used product from.

And so my baggage consisted of a single school-sized backpack.

There may have been some competitive spirit involved -- a girl came into our study abroad prep class and taught us "how to pack lightly." She had a carry-on suitcase, a backpack, and a messenger bag. (Hah! Take that!)

But as my study abroad went on, I gradually shed things. I used up makeup. I finished my mostly-empty bottle of mousse. I wore enormous holes in the seat of my nice jeans, right where the crease is under my backside, and had to wonder how long I'd been walking around with them like that. Enormous holes, both sides!

I tossed my flats, which I'd gotten for free and were now a little scary. Socks got holes in them. I donated my last pair of pants, which had never fit quite right and were driving me nuts. I threw out my now-slightly-funky towel in Rome, where our hostel supplied them. And I really only replaced what I lost with jewelry, in tiny boxes, and a single rolled-up painting.

So when I got to the Fiumicino Airport, my single backpack was now half-empty.

The lady asked how long I'd been traveling around Europe. When I said two months, she looked up. She shifted to get a look at my backpack. She looked at the ground, as though I might have a spare suitcase she hadn't noticed.

She asked me if that was all I brought. I said I'd thrown out a bunch of stuff.

She looked suspicious. She shuffled through my paperwork again, checking the stamps in my passport.

She eyed me again, then called for a coworker. They talked in Italian for a while. She asked me again about how long I'd been there. She made vague motions indicating my backpack to the other security agent.

I wasn't dumb enough to make a joke about bombs, but I said something half-smiling about it being a problem to have too little luggage?

She did not crack a smile. "We must ask these questions. It is very strange. So little."

So I got to shift uncomfortably on my blistered feet while they continued to debate in Italian. Her coworker went off, looking like he was going to go get someone else to join the party.

Inspired, I finally told her I'd ridden EasyJet, a discount airline to get to Italy, and I wanted to pack light. In spite of the fact that that doesn't really explain away her concerns over how I could travel for seven week in Britain with so little, the lightbulb went off. "Ohhh..." She stamped me through and sent me off to secondary screening.

And so I was suspected of being a terrorist due to... an obvious lack of bomb?

Glad I didn't get the new pat-down though -- I'd run out of pants by then, and my knee-length skirt didn't exactly have built-in shorts. (But that black dress skirt with converse, baseball cap, and enormous camera made me stylish.)
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World Domination, a la Google

I'm still trying to teach my students that Wikipedia is not the ultimate authority. They have bad examples, though, when the leaders of entire countries try to justify their military strategies with Google Maps.

Nicaragua recently posted a camp of soldiers on the Costa Rica-side of their border, because Google Maps showed that section as part of Nicaragua.

You get an F in research, President Ortega.

On Graduate School

It's a little sad, a little messed up, and a lot arrogant, that even though I'm positive applying to Ph.D programs this year is wrong for me, I'm still disappointed in myself. I can apply next year, or the year after that, but I still have that condescending voice in the back of my head saying, "You only have enough ambition for a Master's degree?"

Which is stupid. I do *not* think that way about my friends. I have several friends who worked really, really hard to get through an AA, or even just high school, and I am so proud of them. I think about how jealous I am of other people's happiness and think I would give up the "resume things" I've done to have a life like theirs. But apparently I wouldn't since I won't put the time into enjoying life now.

I'm not miserable, I have a great life. But I don't live with happy passion like I always wish I could. I don't suck the marrow from life.

So this is a new day. I'm getting through things, knocking them off my to do list, and I am not committing myself to anything new.

I graduate in April, I'm not going to be starting a new program, I'm not going to throw myself into some new project for the sake of experience when it will only make me more stressed out.

Maybe next year, or the year after that, I'll have my priorities straight enough to start again, but this is going to be a year of good things.

A Year of Being Happy.

Limerick Tuesday

There once was a handsome book lender
Who held up his pants with suspenders
      until one went awry
      and flew straight to his eye
And now he looks like a contender
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    When You're Gone, Avril Lavigne

End of semester poetry spot

I've been thinking writing thoughts recently. I feel a little like my hobbies are rediscovering me -- a friend had to sell his piano, which I bought, and I've been playing whenever I have a spare ten or twenty minutes in my day since it arrived, and now I've had writing prompts and old story bits popping up everywhere. This is not a serious poem, it's not intended to mean anything, it's just that I started to think in a sort of rhythm, then rhyme, so I wrote it down train-of-thought style to get it out of my system. Maybe stress makes me go loopy.

There is no place like this one
These drafts I can not spin
I ate my way around the head
and let my hunger in
Who knows what time may give us
When ice is at our door
Our lives are just a tiny dot
Without our happy more
I wish that I had know before
Where I would find my peace
I could have left these ties behind
And thrown away my leash
Do you or I know aught a kiss
Of lovely Eden's bliss
I could not find the door inside
But found my path amiss
And still I have my person's heart
I found it near my pride
I drew it up around my chest
And set the rest aside


Whenever I hit my head on something, I used to recite the quadratic equation. Kind of my own insurance that I at least hadn't damaged myself too badly. Trigonometry was apparently the height of cognitive function for me.

Last time I ran my skull into something, I couldn't remember parts of it.

Brain damage, or too many years since pre-cal?

Negative b plus or minus the square root of... b squared minus four ac? Over 2a? Okay, I guess I can remember it now. Can you regain memory like that?

Excuse me while I work my way into insanity. Today's lesson: pick something easier to remember for your concussion test.