Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ten Minutes

It took 10 minutes to set the course for the rest of my life.

One afternoon in 1998, I had to sign up for classes at Super-Awesome School, a program that combined students from all the high schools to take classes not offered in Normal Hellish School. For three years I had planned to follow in my brother's footsteps and sign up for a goverment/economics class that included a county gov't internship. However, that afternoon I found out I couldn't take that class, for some forgotten reason. I browsed the list of courses and picked out my required gov't/econ and two science classes that looked exciting, given my proclivity to geekiness.

That's the 10 minutes. I had NO CLUE it would be the butterfly's flapping wings to the hurricane in Brazil of my life.

No one from NHS took any of the classes I signed up for. No one knew me. It was such a fantastic feeling. I noticed that in all 3 classes, this interesting looking girl (by interesting looking I don't mean unfortunate looking. I mean she looked nice and smart and other positive adjectives. After I met a few more people like her, I discovered she was one of the Shiny People). I figured she was too cool for me, but I took a chance on talking to her on a day that she was wearing a Sue the Dinsosaur shirt and I was wearing a Kokopelli shirt. Oddly, she didn't think I was pondscum and kept talking to me, which was exactly opposite of what happened on any given day at NHS. Her name was Velocibadgergirl.

Even odder, her friends talked to me. And then, I was friends with these people. Note the plural, because it was a whole new chapter in my book. So far, signing up for those classes helped me form friendships that are active to this day. That alone changed me.

But wait! There's more!

Since I couldn't get that internship, I found a way to have it that summer, at the morgue. Which was my favorite job ever. The coroner was a black belt in taekwondo, and he spoke highly of it, as did VBG. Because I had planned on taking a martial arts class in college since my dad forbade me to learn judo in high school, I went with taekwondo. If my path had forked to the right instead of a left when I was checking boxes for SS, I would have been in judo, and I wouldn't have met Touchstone. He was my taekwondo instructor first, then my friend, and later my co-worker. He suggested I take a neuroscience class with the lesson involving a picture of mating hamsters. So I did. And, I loved it. And, the teacher's assistant suggested that I pursue it, and the teacher suggested I join a lab.

It turned out my favorite psych prof ran a neuroscience lab, and she let me in. I spent three years as her research asistant, and it became my second favorite job ever. She taught me to think differently and to really question what people tell me. Some weeks I spent 20 hours in her laboratory. For a while I did research from 9pm-10pm in my pajamas, just to get an extra hour in that day, and I did it happily. My prof was/is one of my biggest heroes, and one year after Touchstone had joined our motley crew, we snuck into her house and made her broccoli manicotti and cake for her birthday. It was good times.

Also worth mentioning, I met my husband through VBG. MacGyver is her cousin and we met at her 19th birthday party. The backstory is kind of longish and weird, so I'll talk about that some other time. But the important thing is that he is mine, and I don't know if I would have met him without VBG. Sometimes MacGyver and I speculate that we would have met at the rock climbing gym, so in my alternate life he is still mine and I could have met VBG though him. At least, I'd like to think so.

To recap, going to SS brought me to VBG who: hooked me up with her friends that I still love today, gave me an interest in taekwondo that led to a friendship that influenced my direction in college which gave me the prerequisite degree for my current job, and threw a shindig where I met a guy that I dated and eventually married. So basically, my whole adult life can be traced back to deciding to go with the science classes rather than that internship.

If I think about this too much, I start to wonder what little thing will affect every big thing. On a whim, will I will I attend a monster truck rally where I will meet a woman who will help me get my next job that will require me to move to Siberia? Will I think a book cover looks interesting, causing me to read it and change my mind about key issues which will affect my world view and inspire me to join a cult? Will I decide to go to the Chinese buffet instead of the gym and get hit by an SUV because I went through the light that I would have turned left at had I not given in to the Siren song of House Special Potatoes?

And if I had never gone to class and met VBG, who would my friends be? Who would I have fallen in love with? What kind of job would I have? Would I be any happier? Would my soul feel the loss of what could have been?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Things I Hate that are Popular Anyway

Stranger in a Strange Land. So it's a best-selling cult classic that won a Hugo Award, I still hated it. Plus it's long, so I had lots of time to cultivate my anathema. Why? For one, I am so over Christ figures. It was a good literary device in The Red Badge of Courage and the Bible, but now I grok the inevitable end and it's about as surprising as watching The Sixth Sense for a second time. It's always the same: dead people. For another, Valentine Michael Smith was a huge slut. I suppose the book was hip to the times, but since I read it in 1999 Mr. Smith seemed more a man-whore from Mars than a sexually liberated messiah.

Pulp Fiction. This film won an Academy Award and highest honors at Cannes film festival, which reinforces my opinion that the French are mentally disabled, except when it comes to making me dinner. I don't have anything against Tarantino, I liked Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, and Kill Bill, but damn I wish I'd never watched this movie. Every character (save Butch Collidge) struck me as a waste of life and I wished they would die, so I could rewind and see them die again. The only way I'll rewatch it is if Rankin/Bass remakes it in stop-motion felt-mation and writes in Yukon Cornelius just for me.

Nirvana. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was named a generational anthem and Kurt Cobain a spokesman for generation X. I tried to like them, because MacGyver is a fan and I already deny him Pulp Fiction watching privileges if I'm around, despite his hero worship of Samuel L. Jackson. I just couldn't do it, Kurt came across as whiny and discordant. I watched a biography that pointed out how the band initially divided the profits equally, but Kurt demanded the lion's share when they were super-popular, and then he just came across as an asshole. "Rape Me" made me punish my car stereo for bringing that song into my personal space. It's supposed to be feminist-friendly, but it doesn't hold a candle to "Me and a Gun." Happily, Kurt died and Foo Fighters came to rock my world. Yay!

Thomas Kincade Prints. He's the most collected living artist who wants to bring world peace through the Lord's influence on his works. You know what? It isn't art. It isn't that interesting or pretty. An atheist could do it just as well. The whole lot is very repetitious and predictable: house with nice landscaping and illuminated windows. It is something from the realm of cat sweatshirt people, who hang their prints between Franklin Fucking Mint limited edition baby angel plates and whimsical posters. Why does the work of Mr. Kincade inspire my malice and scorn? Because when I see one of those damn houses, just for a second, I wish I lived in it. It looks like a home where fresh-baked Tollhouse cookies are served daily, where aquariums never grow scum and junk mail never collects exponentially, and where no one gets cancer. Because the pictures make me briefly yearn for a fairy tale, because they show a glimpse of the unreachable, because they make me feel vulnerable to materialism and cat sweatshirtiness, I hate them. A lot.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No Content, Just Lists

Six days ago MacGyver switched us to a different mobile phone service provider. Part of the deal was that we both got new phones. I miss my old phone. I knew I would. My new one came with a camera, and I couldn't fathom what I would use it for. Apparently, I use it for everything. Since I like listing random things, and I have nothing to post about save my medical terminology grade and my math teacher's latest weirdo tangents, I thought I would share. So far I have taken pictures of my eye, a stuffed bear at the museum, darkness, fireworks, my cat, my cat's girlfriend, the ceiling fan (on negative mode), my uncle and aunt eating Mexican food, sunset, sunset (on negative), powerlines, my brother using his goatee for our baby niece's hat, my sister's in-laws, her children not smiling, my nephew with his pet rock, this awesome dude, and my husband's abdominal muscles. People keep asking me if I can download my pix onto my computer, and I have no idea. It's not like I took the time to read the user's guide. I have to save my reading for passages about myxedema and acromegaly. If I ever figure it out, I will share some of the better ones.

On second thought, since I do like listing things so damn much, here are the tangents: true false questions are immoral (not unfair, but immoral), the process that produces fossils hasn't been working since The Great Flood (yeah, the biblical one), no one in America is denied health care and making it universal would be a huge mistake, and one tangent concerning neuroscience that made me speak up, argue with him, and e-mail my former lab professor about it.

What else can I list? I have two patients in the hospital, one lost her Medicaid, one is about to lose his Medicaid, and one guy may lose his section viii benefit, all while my supervisor is on vacation. I have two finals, a test, a project, and 6 assignments due in 8 days. I am going scream, go home, imbibe vodka, and pass out.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The End is Nigh

It seems like just yesterday I was threatening to heave a pipe bomb at my school unless they registered me for classes, and already I have less then two weeks until this term is over. I spent the weekend doing 9 med term assignments, 4 algebra assignments, and making about 350 flashcards for study aids. I will probably cry with joy when I finish my last final next Thursday.

Since I don't have an internet connection, I use the computer at the family business. The pros are I don't have to deal with paying for and setting up the 'net, the cons are it isn't in the comfort of my bedroom and I am alone during the wee hours on a somewhat sparsely populated highway. This weekend during the non-wee hours, I was minding my own business, answering questions about the pituitary gland and its minions (they don't call it the master gland for nothin'), and a car whips into the parking lot. If this had been a school night I would have immediatly assumed it was an ax-murderer and started running in circles looking for a sharp object to defend myself with. Luckily for me, the family business deals with tools that would put any ax, blood-covered or not, to shame. It turned out to be a lady on her way to a wedding who had gotten lost, and I got to save the day with Mapquest. Although considering Mapquest's accuracy, I may have just made her trip all the more confusing and hellish.

One of my college friends recently became a father, and he sent a fantastic e-mail describing the experience. I have no desire to be a mother, but when I read his story I felt an ache in my heart. He was so happy to have a son, and I can't fathom ever having that kind of joy. If I was pregnant right now, I would be scared out of my mind. I have never thought about having children and had any kind of positive emotion. It's kind of like when I am envious of conservative Christians. I do not share their mindset, I do not agree with many things they believe, I find many of their practices hypocritical, and I would need some kind of brain damage to enter their flock. But to have that kind of faith...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

That'll Teach Me

My Site Meter addiction (and everyone had me pegged for a closet alcoholic. Ha! I'm not that interesting!) just bit me in the ass. About every single hit is due to an search. No big deal, I figure they're looking for naked pictures of Angelina Jolie, and who isn't? Anyway, someone finally found me through a plain old google search, "post evisceration eye" or some such. So of course I have to go check it out, 'cause how bad can it be? Maybe it's something I ought to be writing about. God knows I need a topic that doesn't deal with my people's psychotic episodes, and NO ONE wants to read about graphing polynomial functions, which is the only other thing I have going for me. So I google it too. Fuck puppets! Geez! They only googled one of my all time biggest fears, at least since Jamie almost stabbed me in the eye with a pencil that one time. I managed to not check my stats for a good four days, since they started plummeting like a rock since I realized this isn't a popularity contest, and I should be happy to have a medium that lets extended family (and that resident of Hammersmith [possibly the coolest metal band name never to be used]) know how I'm doing. Luckily I didn't stumble across a site about something really scary like locust plagues, or this post would have been much, much more retarded.