Sunday, April 27, 2008

O Fortuna

I grew up under the influence of my mother and brothers' musical tastes. My father doesn't really go out of his way for music, and my sister was usually in a foreign country or studying at IU. Most of my brothers were long-haired headbangers, the oldest formed a metal band and composed songs and played bass. The basement was filled with Iron Maiden posters that gave me nightmares and my ears have been constantly ringing since the second grade. Skid Row was my first favorite band, I had a penchant for singing Anthrax songs on the elementary school playground (while swinging as high as I could with my eyes closed), and two of my brothers performed Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" for my wedding processional.

My mother listened to NPR and classical music. She took us kids to see The Canadian Brass when I was about four and she indulged my show tunes phase in middle school. She didn't expose us to classical music to raise our IQs or make us more worldly, it's what her mother did and she carried it on.

My birthday was Tuesday. I got pneumonia. Since Christmas had been so heart-wrenching I had hoped I could celebrate my birthday twice as much to compensate. Instead, I was sick as a dog and had to rally so I could take my chemistry quiz. Later I watched my brother shake Obama's hand on TV. MacGyver surprised me with a cake, the cake surprised us both by coming out gray. It was that kind of a birthday.

My aforementioned brother bought concert tickets, but his date couldn't get off work. I had just recovered enough to not have to cough out my lungs constantly, and I had just enough notice to slash and burn a season of growth off my legs and toss on a dress and a red leather jacket. We went to Carmina Burana. You have no idea how much I grew up loving this music. I played the CD nearly every day for a period of my life, I played it enough I was practically marinating in it, absorbing it through my skin and burying it in my bones. Hearing it again was like cells woke up and neural pathways lit familiar roads home. I watched the conductor perform his frenetic dance before the orchestra, like a magician commanding elements of chaos to transmute into sonic rapture. Two rows behind us a woman whispered fiercely, "There's somthing wrong with the salad!" I had to hold my breath to keep from laughing.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Even if this doesn't help save the Earth, it makes my computer look slimmer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beware of the Children

My sister is happily fertile. She has 4 kids, ages 7,5, 3.5, and 1.333 years old. There could be more, we don't know when she'll stop. I, on the other had, use multiple forms of birth control and believe taking care of two cats is sometimes more than enough hassle. I love her spawn dearly, but sometimes feel overwhelmed by them. When she asked me to babysit, I gave her Velocibadgergirl's phone number instead. I had never been alone with any of her kids until today.

I babysat the youngest two, and didn't freak out once. Well, not much anyway. Her oldest child had some severe separation anxiety, but not these two. I got there early, and she slipped out, and nothing terrible happened. I was checking the clock about every four minutes for the first half hour, wishing my sister would get home early (she was actually late). Oddly, it never started. The 16-month-old didn't go searching for her mom at all. There were some surprises, like when she spontaneously busted out a downward-facing dog split, ran in circles around me, and assumed a sumo wrestling stance.

I would like to say I kicked baby-sitting's ass, but I had some help from electronic devices that distract kids really well. I also fed the toddler grapes whenever it looked as if she might cry. No one was kidnapped and the house didn't burn down, so at least I didn't suck.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I spent part of my weekend in Bloomington with Joe and Anami, avoiding Little 500 by hiking and reading graphic novels for an unhealthy length of time. The rest of the weekend was spent in the fetal position under the covers, vomiting intermittently. I knew I had been studying too much when I tried to devise a non-gross test for determining if I had yakked pure antacids, or if they had reacted with the HCl yet. I couldn't think of anything, but these people seem geeky enough to. Check out the blue trilobite!

During our graphic novel glut, I read Cairo, by G. Willow Wilson. It is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read, and well worth finding for yourself.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Gone, but not forgotten.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Family Feud

One of the great things about unemployment is getting to talk to my cats more. I spend most of my time studying and doing homework, and they try to help out as much as possible. Gonk's idea of helping includes crawling onto my lap and covering up the list of solubility constants I have to look up ever 15 seconds.

Domino has taken much more interest in helping. She's really just like family: I didn't choose to live with her and I can't get rid of her. An average scenario begins with her getting my attention by knocking the mechanical pencil out of my hand. With her face. A lot.
"Ur doin' it wrong."
"Pardon me?"
"The Henderson-Hasselbach equation. Ur doin' it wrong. You add the log of the ratio of the concentrations of the conjugate base to the acid. You don't subtract it unless you take the reciprocal of the ratio."
"That might explain a few things. Thanks."
"Were you born this stupid or have you been practicing at it? Hey, look at this! Ai'm in ur livin room, fuckin up ur stuff!"
This is when she tries to shred the Hell out of my brother's Turkish rug. Oh no, clawing the crappy cheap carpet isn't an option, she has to remind me why we can't have nice things. Then I throw stuff at her. Gonk tries to intervene.
"I will stop you, mommy! You can't treat my girlfriend like that!"
"Your girlfriend rips out chunks of your fur when she's bored. You really want to get into this?"
"I love her!"
"Don't bat my arm. It throws off my aim."
"I'll call child protective services!"
"Look, if CPS thinks I'm an unfit mother, they're going to put her in the shelter, where she will eventually be put to sleep because no one wants to adopt the feline equivalent of Joan Crawford."
"I'll call the FBI!"
"Good luck with that. This is why we keep the phone book out of your reach. Look! String!"
...."What were we talking about?"