Friday, December 26, 2008

So I have been making polyclay sculptures for a few days, and I was just marveling to myself, "I haven't done this in months and I just picked it right back up! Polyclay is so forgiving, you can just do it intuitively." but then I calculated the first time I used polymer clay was 16 years ago. It was a tyrannosaurus eating a giant orange steak. Its tail was dragging, which is a very outdated view of dinosaur posture. Nonetheless, creating a passable peach on my first try, 16 years in, doesn't make me a prodigy. Darn*.

Wow, I have been painting for 18 years and just last year I learned not to make them too crappy. In retrospect I think it is very unlikely that I was going to pick up economics in 10 weeks (that is how long a quarter is).

*Someday, perhaps, I will give up on being a prodigy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

rotate photos? pshaw.

It's a fine art degree, not compu sci, you know.

So I get home after a nerve wracking fall quarter, and Dad complements me with "You've gained weight." since he absolutely never does I got confused and he clarified that it's not just weight, I'm newly "woman shaped". I weigh in the range I've been since highschool, but while I was looking for pics to email to nana I found olllld pictures of me, and I think he's noticed something. I should point out, for context, that my father is the tiniest 6 foot tall man alive:
I've put up a perspective shot which he can dismiss, but his knees are indisputably the thick part of his leg... So this is me senior year, grocery posing:

I think the difference is my legs were smaller, and my face was rounder. And apparently I could get light brown hair to turn orange with bleach , a feat usually the provenance of the darkest brunettes. And this is me now- it's like mirrors were invented in 2007.

And plumbing:
So, that's all. Except, did you know I can plumb a sink? It's easy, and it will not even mess up your wet nail polish* because of a little thing called "tools"**.

*The sink thing came out of left field, I did not paint them specially in preparation.
**Collectively, that is. I couldn't tell you the names individually but it was pliers that held until you unhook them, pliers with grooved plates (I used them to unhook the other pliers), and a standalone flashlight- that's all it takes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I am pretty interested in specimen jars and the whole Victorian Naturalist thing, so storing one's socks in jars seems absolutely brilliant to me. My socks are a lot cuter than those, though. When I get a bookcase (I am using the floor to store my books now*) I think one shelf will be for my socks in jars. It is a good idea for keeping track of them, and since I have such bright socks it will be decorative, although not as apothecary looking because of the bright synthetic fabric.

*obviously my interest in science and learning is mainly on an aesthetic/imaginary level.** I like being fascinated by phenomena and the convoluted path science has taken to get to its current clinical and competitive incarnation.
**as if you couldn't tell by the sock specimens' not being properly sourced. (wow, that image spontaneously generated!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yay Exams!

I can't believe how much studying I just got done in 3 hours. It's as much as I did all day yesterday, sequestered in my condo scribbling on index cards for hours interspersed with snacks and sleeping. I am still a little behind schedule. I am done studying for art except for reviewing slide ids right before the exam (I am probably not going to confuse Two Fried Eggs and a Kebab by Sarah Lucas with Huang Yong Ping's 1987 "A History of Chinese Painting" and "A Concise View of Modern Painting" Washed in a Washing Machine for Two Minutes (both above) but if we are supposed to remember the names of Pollack's or Rothko's works... thank God for the grading curve.)

Slide IDs are important because if you lose points on them it looks like you didn't even take the class, it is like free points compared to the essay questions. I have stayed about 2 weeks behind on the readings which means that I had a few essays I hadn't even read. One of them makes me glad I'm not majoring in art and won't have to take an upper division HAVC class. Here is one sentence from a James Gaywood essay on the yBa: "The "neo borgeois" simultaneously acknowledge their own structural habitus, and align themselves alongside a high-brow epistemology that has subsumed the "NBs" ironic postmodern snub to intellectuality, ideologically homogenising a structurally multi-perspective audience to an appreciation of objectified surface pastiche an embodiment of those reproducing signs of late consumer capitalism." I was trying to understand the words but right when I got to "ironic postmodern snub" I lost the thread, reread it, lost it again, and just pushed on to the end of the page. There are too many things in that sentence, I can not hold them all in my mind.

I tried to keep a list of words to look up like "conflating" and "bricoleur", but it interfered with the momentum that let me read the thing. It is okay that I do not know what semiotics are. Maybe I will get a tattoo that says "coterie" and people will ask me what it means, and I will say, "I don't know." and it will be fine, because I don't have to know. Except I do, for my exam tomorrow.

I love this so much. It's Damien Hirst's The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living, 1991, and the materials are given as glass, steel, silicone, shark, 5% formaldehyde solution. I invented one before I saw it, but mine was just going to have a brooding tentacled animal in a corner and the water much less clear. But his is better.

Do you know what would be awful? Formaldehyde snowglobes. But I still want one.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I can't be the first to notice that we're only the odd primate out in terms of height.

The baby primates all look the same.
Not 100% identical, but I would not think it was weird to have an orangutan live in a house and wear pampers and ride a tricycle and everything.
Because, oh my gosh, they look exactly like people, it is ridiculous.
Gorillas are scary because they are huge.
But what I am trying to point out is that in school they point at slides of bones and say, look these are the first humans, and it basically looks like a malformed skeleton and i don't care and I just feel bad for the bone owner for dying alone of starvation in a cave or whatever,* but the great apes are really interesting because they are alive, and can bite you or learn to talk. I think they possibly might be people, like children are people even though they can't talk or do anything.

*that is all I can think about when we had to talk about Neanderthals or homo erectus or whoever. Because I can sympathize-if you put me on a rock in the forest when I was a baby and I never went to preschool or rode a bicycle or had a watercolor set, that would be me dying because I can't kill enough food using only rocks, or because snow is cold or something. If only they had descendants in modern times we could show them, look, we made life easy! And you can just sit and play the harp! Look, you can fly around the world in 2 days! (I suppose) You don't have to ever be cold again, because this is California and here is Polartec. You have earned it!

Perhaps that is what humanity is doing now- reaping the benefits our antecedents dreamed of.

Okay this is my real blog post.

The last one was just some background.

I have no idea why I never liked economics before, and I appear to maybe not be passing one of the core classes for the major, even though it is basically the easiest class I have ever heard of now that i am all equipped for it (it seems like cheating! Like, I bet school would have been easier if in geography, the exams were all, "fill in the world capitals, using only this pencil and this world map.")(what else seems like cheating is we are allowed a page of notes for the final. What am I supposed to put? "look under 'stat tests' or 'stat calc' for all functions, but under 'math' to generate visuals. formulas are saved under 'mem'"?)

So, right. Economics. It's a social science, but it is nicer than the other social sciences because it has courses like Economic Justice, Economic History of the US, Money and Banking, Money and the Arts, Why Economies Succeed and Fail, Poverty and Public Policy, and so on. This, too, feels like cheating. You mean I can find all of those things out, for real, according to experts in economics and business? But those are real life things that happen in my life, not abstract things like History of Art and Visual Culture or Political Science. To be honest, I had not realized that people knew these systems cohesively. I want to know sooo much about Economic Justice, which I am taking next quarter. I am going to learn about wages, taxation, property rights, welfare programs, and globalization. I could not be more excited if it was a class about cryptids.


So I am not doing that well in stats, and I worked it out that if I get full points on the final I will barely pass. (Actually 3 of my 7 quizzes aren't graded so I assumed I would get the same scores as usual on them, which is not really how stats work.*)
B in section classwork
C average on quizzes
F!! on midterm
Which just leaves the final. Whee.

And I was really ambivalent about stats all quarter because What About Art? And also it seemed like a pretty hard class, but then I got a weirdly low grade on the midterm an dfreaked out and bought the textbook (I had been using the reserve copy) and got a TI instead of a casio and so for the last two weeks of class, I am shocked at how easy this is. Is this all everyone has been doing all quarter? Pressing buttons and writing down the results? That's not a real skill.

*as far as I can tell. Which, as my scores prove, is not very far.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So I had work at 8 am, but I've been waking up reaally late, so I stayed up all night painting monsters and headed to work at 7:30 am. It was lovely, but I am so out of it that I tried to write this blog by typing my username and password into a GIS. It did not match any documents. So I tried a different password.

I was going to vent about people who call to ask for a reservation for today, "Hi, I'm calling to see if you have any availability for tonight, November 26th?" like I don't know what day it is even though my JOB is making reservations and yes, looking at the date. But given how hard it was to do my blog, I suspect I answered the phone with "This is Caitlan" or something. I am supposed to say "Good morning, thank you for calling santa cruz hostel, this is caitlan, how can I help you?" Which takes about 4 seconds.

I know what I want.

I want to decorate cakes.
And I want to be a paleontologist.
(This is not a fossil whale)
This is not a fossil centaur.

I want to be an astronaut

But I already live in space, I suppose, and at night I can see it.
I also kind of want to be a princess, if it means I can have a round library with a spinning ladder like in Beauty and the Beast.

I think this feeling is why people like online interactive video games with custom characters.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Surviving on my own...

...Or: how sometimes i can barely keep from going blind, go to sleep at night, keep track of money I earn, or feed myself.

So I keep my purse and my closet pretty messy, because I am physically incapable of devoting time to tidying when I don't feel like it. Yesterday (or actually this morning at 4 am) I couldn't sleep and my eyes started hurting so which made me realize I am due for switching my contacts but they were (of course) lost so I seized the opportunity to re sort everything I have. It is pretty easy because I only have clothes and school stuff and toiletries in my half bedroom in Santa Cruz. And I found a check from the hostel from October 15th. Nice. I also found my casio graphing calculator that I thought I'd left in Oakland, which was good except I can't make it do the statistics things I need because my textbook (of course) is tailored to Texas Instruments. Also It was 5 am. I will give it another shot now that I'm properly awake. It has a much nicer design than the TI ones. I also found that I have ninety billion pretty shirts and fifty pretty skirts that I have been ignoring.

Then at noon, when I woke up again, I realized that I am practically out of food. I have tortillas, coffee, sugar, soup, butter, juice, and cheese. And rice a roni, but I apparently can't make that on an electric stove. Oh, and I have popcorn too. So, I am doing a 3 day fast. Because I honestly would rather not eat anything than go to Safeway. For the record, safeway is about a mile from my house. But the last time I went all the things I bought tasted kind of terrible except the salad.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I found something neat!

Sometimes some things strike me as "that is why we were worth intelligently designing". Probably 15 things in the world make me feel like that. Some things almost do, like the world islands in Dubai, but this really does:

I love you tiny wooly mammoth! You can buy one here: but instead I am going to make one out of willpower. Possibly if my willpower one is too insubstantial I will buy one. But if it sits uncompleted like my paper clock I would feel too too awful.

This is a paper clock. A GIS revealed that no one has ever successfully completed one. But I am going to. I think I got discouraged when my gigantic main cog was a tiny bit crooked, so slightly that you can't see the crooked but when you turn it it wobbles. But there are a lot of copies of it that no one has attempted, and I am going to buy them and assemble them and hang them up and one of them will work, someday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wow. This post needs some culling.

I have been very interested in Fat Advocacy lately- I don't really know why except that I am in that place of nonconformity that comes after kneejerk teenage rebellion (shut up, I rebelled in my own scattered, happy way) to affect the optimistically cynical college students who see that every single system ever is oppressing people!!!, and it should stop! It should stop right now!!! And if it takes angry blogging, or agreeing with like minded people over coffee, or -gasp- even raising our hands to agree with a liberal prof, we are going to do it, because if you're not part of the solution, etcetera.

Okay. Now leaving Tangent Land. Fat Advocacy. Right. It is a really neat movement. It is based on the fact that people are all worthy of respect regardless of their looks. And, you can be fit or out of shape at any weight. And, it doesn't matter whether you are fit at your weight because that is your own body and your own choices.

Some parts of it seem wrong to me- supposedly overweight people can't lose weight despite dieting and exercise. That seems wrong to me. Even if you have a kick ass metabolism that can make all day nutrition out of an apple, you still would lose weight at some point.

But oh my gosh, fat activist blogs are awesome. I read middle class mommy blogs because look! It is my future! [Which, when I was little I thought I would be just like Barbie when I grew up because apparently I did not have a short artsy brunette doll to obsess over, so we shall see how middle class and maternal I turn out] and sometimes they post about diets or how they are too fat or something and it is just heartbreaking because JESUS CHRIST WOMAN, DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO GET ANOTHER LIFE? AAUGH YOU HAVE MORE MONEY AND FREEDOM THAN ANY ONE OF YOUR ANCESTORS AND YOU ARE WASTING IT! (I mostly do not post comments on mommy blogs) but FA blogs are the opposite! They are like "Look how I used ribbons to make knee high boots fit my legs" and that is just so refreshing!

And, I found a related but heavier blog that I can really sympathize with because wow, doctors are mean. I too have not been to a doctor in 6 years because the last time I was there mine said I was fat. (I would go if I felt sick.) I forget exactly what she said and I am sure it was not too aggressive because I didn't cry right away, but I think it was a very thorough appraisal of what I eat and what I should eat and how dangerous fat is. And I think she squeezed my stomach to make her point. And I think she was kind of fat. And I had to go to a nutritionist who gave me a lot of instructions about what to eat, and THEN had me write down what I ate for 3 days, so I ate the foods she said to (because I was about to have to go back and share my food log) and she said I was eating well but not eating enough so my body was working to store fat so I could menstruate. Which, fun fact, that is not science. And I still am not sure that I'm over it, but I'm over it enough to partake of medical science once again.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Or, I could move abroad.

There are some jobs that continually appeal to me, but since they need post grad studies I don't think about them much. I would like to be an art therapist or a financial adviser for low income or young people. But ew! extra school after I finish school! I am smart but not interested in academic abstractions, and more school than necessary makes me feel tired.

But in my macro etext I read that people who graduate during a recession spend months longer finding a job than their counterparts who graduate during an expansion. Which I knew and am not worried about because whatever, I will just try harder than the other graduates and find a great job anyway. But then the textbook said that when you do get hired during a recession, you get paid on average 9% less. Which, whatever, I will just live in a spacious cardboard box. But THEN the textbook said that these income differences persist for 8-9 YEARS! So taken all together that seems to indicate that if you graduate during a recession you are essentially earning 1 year less of salary over the course of 10 years. The imbalance doesn't correct until your early 30s.

So apparently I am taking a full 4 years to graduate and then getting an MFA. (That is the only kind of masters I think I could stand, except MBA which I think you are not supposed to apply right out of undergrad) And I think everyone is going to start doing this, so yay degree inflation.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It is so hard for me to major in something. I am looking at art with a business econ minor, or the other way around. Because in college, you can't think about what you like to watch movies about, you have to think about what you would be happy spending your career on. Also what you are good at.

I know I can't major in a science, because in science you have to slog through data and learn the technical details of things. I just want to be impressed. I am looking at the sun from the 8-minutes-ago-past? Wow! Looking at the sun will damage my retina---- augh too much facts make it be the end! There used to be gigantic monsters all over the planet? And I can see a rock version of their actual bones? Woah! Plants turn sunshine into food? Cornstarch in water can support our weight? Europe would be the climate of greenland if not for ocean currents? There is a rodent that weighs as much as me? Aaugh too scary make it be the end!

I do like the natural world a lot and I am glad that people understand it but I feel like there has to be a job that involves only conceptual science. Right now I can only think of jobs that involve children, like illustrating children's books. I desperately want to be in a gypsy caravan of science teachers. I would want the space caravan. Also the dinosaur caravan. Also the geology caravan. And we could travel the world telling people, "Look, this is science! Write it down! Elasmosaurus was a water dinosaur that evolved from a land dinosaur that evolved from a fish! And it was big!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Excuse me while I devour this halloween candy.

Because it is small, and bright, and sweet.
I had a sad day. I had two opposite conversations:

#1: this afternoon, talking with a friend
Her: There're these cute little condos, and one was getting sold? It was in escrow? But now it fell through, so my parents are going to bid on it.
C: For what?
Her: For me to live in! Duh! *laughs*

#2:this evening, talking with a man
Him: Did anyone reported a missing wallet they had found?
C: No, sorry, do you want to file an incident report?
Him: It was my credit card and my phone that was gone from my backpack when I had looked for them.
C: I'm sorry to hear that.
Him: Yeah and I needed it because between my credit I had sixty dollars and my debit I had one eighty, it was enough to go to Nevada.
C: Oh.
Him: I have to go to Nevada to talk with the National Guard.
C: Why do you have to go to Nevada? Don't we have that in California?
Him: I saw the ad on craigslist. I'm tired of doing little jobs, a few hours and then nothing. I had had just enough money. I looked up a greyhound ticket. And I had had it, but then my card is gone. And the guy, he thinks I'm coming, I didn't told him.
And on and on. So I found the name and number for the MEPS in Mountain View. Because the bus there is like $10. And I felt bad for helping someone enlist. But at least he is not stranded in freaking Nevada.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I'm in my twenties! Since thursday, and for the forseeable future.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I am not that out of shape. I exercise a lot. Usually things like dancing and biking and crunches during television and low impact things. Because I have no endurance and no ability to get oxygen from the wide world into my muscles when I need it. Today I ran under the only circumstance that can get me to run- desperately needing to be someplace much faster than brisk walking would do.

I have been dreading the hostel lately, and so when my 6:30 alarm went off I turned it off and fell back asleep. Unfortunately when I woke up again at 7:30 (and just ran out of the house grabbing my keys and making sure I had on shoes) I had narrowly missed the one bus that has even a remote chance of getting me to work at 8:00 am. (The weekend bus is very limited) Unfortunately I spent 8 minutes verifying this fact reading the bus schedule on the bus shelter over and over again, making sure the monday-friday schedule definitely didn't apply to Saturday, and that the 7:45 bus won't get downtown until 8:25, and so on. This left me with 22 minutes to travel the two and a half miles to work. And it was all downhill and right when I was tiring I ran up to a big helpful sign proclaiming "Beach Boardwalk- 1 1/2 miles" and so I ran on, and got to work 4 minutes late.

I was shocked. That is a ten and a half minute mile, in crap shoes carrying a bag and a coat, first thing in the morning. That is how fast I could run when running was a daily school task. (I am not a fast person. I look a lot like a My Little Pony but mysteriously that does not make me fast.)

Have I mentioned my addictive personality? (It's mitigated by my short attention span.) I am taking up running.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hell and More

I have had a number of very similar conversations with people, along the lines of:
them: Isn't (the afterlife/humans' existence/patriarchal morality/having 16 children/et cetera) bizarre?
me: Well, I'm Catholic*.
them: I was raised Christian, but I can't believe in a loving God who would then send his children to eternal damnation.
me: There's always repenting- that's my plan. And you only have to do your best. You don't have to be perfect, because Jesus died for your sins.

But enough people have said that to me that I started thinking about it. And it seems like, why wouldn't there be hell? You're not the center of everything (remember when I said I'm impressionable? People must have said that to me five times daily for 10 years.). It's not unthinkable that you might be punished- yes, forever and ever- for wrongdoing. Your life and soul aren't the only thing ever, they are a tiny part of the tapestry. Why exactly does it seem more likely that just because you've been phenomenally lucky in this life, you can do what you like without consequences? My roommate thinks I'm thoroughly brainwashed, and I see her point but I don't really care. I'm not scared of hell, even though I have sins, because all you have to do (according to my brainwashing, I mean) is 1. be sorry and 2. try to not do it any more. That sounds right to me. How could you go on to eternal bliss still being petty and doing wrong on purpose without wanting to change?

I believe in Catholicism but much of it doesn't resonate with me. Here is a breakdown of it (in a more dignified time it was known as "The Apostles' Creed" rather than a "breakdown")
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. Y (need to look into maleness of that though)
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. Y
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Y
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. Y
5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. Y
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Y (again, literalness?)
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. ?
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit, Y
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, Y (this part I am quite taken with)
10. the forgiveness of sins, Y (that's the main selling point)
11. the resurrection of the body, Y (depending on what that means)
12. and the life everlasting. Y (100%)
So actually it looks like I entirely agree with all of it. But I don't think the commandments are any good. Why are those the important 10? I think the beatitudes are ten times as important. The commandments are just like "play nice" but there's nothing transcendent there.

*no disclaimer or explanation, just the simple fact, which is much harder to question that way.

Stealing Content

I am very impressionable, so when for 19 years (especially in the first 5) everyone says to not steal, but now it is okay to steal music from online because you are essentially Robin Hood... I'm not convinced. I think if it was really all right we would have legislation to that effect. But I am boycotting apple (since last month when I bought my 4th gen purple nano) so I can't buy music from itunes, except the three dollars I still have from a gift card.

In favor of stealing: Some people think when you buy a thing, you should get to use that thing, indefinitely and without restrictions. Which is definitely not true of, say, knitting patterns or a drawing. But also itunes charges like $15 to download a movie, which is a mark up of like ten thousand percent (I assume, not having looked into it at all). I think I would pay $5 for a movie (My screen is an inch wide! And if I was at my computer I would just go to or netflix watch instantly), and about $.30 for a song. And I already payed 162.00 for my ipod.

Against: I can already watch music videos all the time at youtube. And listen to the radio and And I can afford to pay a dollar for songs. And you can't just do things because you want to. It is up to artists whether they want to offer their work for sale or for free.

So for now I have settled on free podcasts, which are like the radio but I have to manually add it to my ipod and can fast forward it and rewind. And they have financial advice podcasts, and wired podcast, and CELTIC MUSIC PODCAST!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

knitting's back!

I haven't knit anything in 7 or 8 months, but it's cold in santa cruz so I started some socks, and then it's van de walle birthday season so I have to make mom and nana and maybe dad something, and it is fun! My fingers feel very weird knitting on the socks again after wrestling Nick's bulky homespun around the needles for an hour. I feel like I can barely sense the presence of the thin sock yarn so I have to keep checking that I'm actually knitting.

Mom has requested socks. I have made about 10 pairs of socks for myself. I almost always use wool, because it is springy and holds its shape and if the stitches are a little uneven you can stretch it (called blocking) into perfection. Also they are tremendously warm. However, mom is very allergic to wool so she wants cotton socks. I made cotton socks for her mother (same allergy) and my fingers were very sore. I took Mom yarn shopping so I could explain the guidelines about what makes a good sock and a good yarn to knit with. It was good because she picked a gorgeous soft purple, 50% cotton and 50% acrylic. It's much thicker than sock yarn, but that just means it will be squashy and soft. If I had gone shopping alone I probably would have come up with self striping yarn in a blue palette but the purple is awesome, a dusky violet. It hurts my hands like knitting with rope so I'm going to do her a painting for Christmas, not anything knit.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quitting @ EPL

It's totally time to quit EPL, because I have school and other work and if it comes down to it I will just get a private loan. I like my friends there a lot, but it is so awkwardly managed. And I hate selling people things I wish they wouldn't buy. I've started going to work without any money or my cards because even though I definitely don't want fast food, I get really hungry by the end of my shift at 10 pm.

Trying to quit at EPL is like breaking up with someone who is terribly passive aggressive. I basically gave them one month notice 2 weeks ago, and they've responded (well, no, not really on purpose, but there's the language barrier and there are about 6 managers altogether so you see how it can happen) by scheduling me for days I thought I had off but not telling me, taking me off days (one day, so far) I was scheduled to work without telling me and sending me away when I arrive, and then telling me that I have to call for my schedule because the office is locked and no one has the key to it. So I might have work today, and I might not, and I have been getting a busy signal every half hour, and just now it went through but no one picked up. And they have caller id but I'm sure that's not why they haven't answered. Maybe the office is locked.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I booked myself for one night less than I need at the hostel. How likely is it that my iq is actually negative? I guess I'm bunking in the storage shed (it's a victorian cottage too, just full of cleaning supplies and a cot). How did I do that? So I think I'll stay up all night, since that is more appealing than unfolding a little cot. I am excited to stay up all night, work all day tomorrow for the last day of paint crew, and then bus home to oakland. It's the kind of mind meltingly grueling thing I usually do to mark transitions.

In other news, I live somewhere! I have a roommate and a housemate and a kitchen and it's in the suburbs. I have issues with the suburbs, but these are the overrun-with-students suburbs and I'll just have to cope.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Conspiracy Theory 4

Why are americans fat? "Leisure and surplus" is the automatic response, but in a way we have had those things since the industrial revolution and people were never as fat as they are now. My real theory about this is that food is nutritionally bereft and people need to consume more calories for the same amount of nutrients, but my conspiracy theory is that something is going to go down, something huge. We have the same amount(ish) of food as our parents, but we are gaining weight like crazy. Poor people, everyone, even movie stars look fatter than people in movies from the 1990s and earlier. Collectively, we can take on a huge famine. I don't know if the collective unconscious is promoting this idea, or if corporations are subtly suggesting it to us, but there it is. If a pound of fat has enough calories to live for 2 days, and we are an average of (totally guessing) 20 lbs overweight, that is almost a month and a half of extra survival. Getting people to store their own emergency rations, in their bodies, means the national budget does not have to do so. The other benefit is that, Soylent Green aside, no other nation or rebels can seize our rations for themselves.

Conspiracy Theory 3

I have a bunch of theories, that I would be shocked if they were true but are nonetheless compelling to me. I will only blog ones I have thought of myself, but of course a number of people may have thought of them independent of me.

There is a slogan, "religion is the opiate of the masses" meaning, of course, that people will permit their leaders and society to have less than ideal conditions because of 1) the ideal conditions available in the afterlife and 2) the moral value placed on submission and other tools of oppression.

But if you think about it, not that many people are religious. Everyone I know is "raised ___________ but really _agnostic/athiest/spiritual not religious_". So, I think drugs are the opiate of the masses, although that is not much of a revelation and is definitely not an appealing slogan.

When you think about it, who uses recreational drugs? Young people, counterculture people, creative people, as well as People With Issues. They all neatly self medicate. Thus, the situation is bearable and no social action needs to be taken.

Also, drugs are poison, that is the whole way they work. I don't care if you think taking your brain out of commission using chemicals is fine because you have chosen a natural source. Your lungs need fresh air, and that is all. One way you can check if something is good for you: if someone did it -to- you, would it be torture? (actually, after thinking about it for a second that is not a very good check.)

Everyone knows someone who accesses their creativity through recreational drugs, and people tell me of their really artistic friend who would just be nothing without mushrooms or whatever. Maybe, if you aren't creative in your natural state, you are just not a creative person. There are a lot of other important jobs, such as night manager of ihop, or policeman, that you might be quite suited for. And you don't have to poison yourself to do them!

I don't know- coping is important, but also important is keeping yourself in the best condition possible. What I'm trying to say, is I am going to apply for a job at a head shop. It's evangeltastic.

Friday, September 5, 2008

You ain't ever got ta go in your wallet, long as I got rubber band banks in my pocket

Go watch the music video or you won't know what I mean.

I feel bad for liking this song, because what about self sufficiency and cindarella complexes and feminism? A lot of rap songs imply that women are whores, but I dismiss it as the women in rappers' lives are more parasitic than not; it doesn't have anything to do with me or the women I know. However. This song makes being parasitic sound dreamy and lovely and enviable.

Because I get to take care of my own self, and it is quite stressful.

And when men ask me out (or, not even only men- I got flirted with by someone who when I laughed at him and asked his age he lied upwards and came up with 14. I almost went and got him a packet of crayons) when I am cashiering (they are generally stoned. Or hobos. Or stoned hobos.) they are never appealing famous men. In fact there is rather a shortage of those in santa cruz.

I am becoming more and more anti capitalist. I think the inheritedness of wealth is the main concern I have. I adore my immigrant coworkers, because look! They hiked across a desert (well, one of them has) in order to make minimum wage at a pretty boring job with not that much opportunity for advancement. They can profit from capitalism and I don't mind, but as for the spoiled students I am about to encounter again in september? But at the same time I know that it's evolution to try and make the world as smooth a place for your offspring as possible.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Damn it, Utah.

In California, our major city is a little trashy, a little materialistic... or rather, it's the materialist capital of the continent. And our other major city, well... It attracts the weirdness from so many countries, not to mention all over this one... But utah! Utah has the North American Jerusalem, which is nicer than the other one because no one is arguing over who gets it. And then I found this pair of headphones made there which I am pretty sure breaks commandments and goes against the beatitudes.
It's shiny! It's an $80 pair of headphones made of gilt and fur. I'm coveting it pretty hard... let me look up the other commandments... that's why it bothers me! Because it's idoltastic. I have already used up this week's fudget (fun budget) and $80 is much more than my fudget anyway.

But it is a fact that I am using an old, broken pair of headphones that we were going to throw out of the hostel lost and found. It is furthermore a fact that I have gone through 9 pairs of headphones in the last year. I imagine it is because I didn't have such a nice pair.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well, that was neat. The olympics are fun because almost everyone sends people to it and anyone can win, the US for example. It was nice to have the most medals because it's like "look everyone, we are a nifty country!" except it's more like "USA!! #1!!" but I think the other countries know we think they're special in their own way. Maybe they aren't the best at sports or winning, but they have a good national anthem or a cute rugby player. The nuances of our respect and appreciation for other countries can be lost with the need for brevity in our chants. We took the most medals, the hosts took the most gold... I was looking at the breakdown of who won what. It looks like the winningest team was great britain, who took .77 medals per million of population. I didn't do the numbers for every country, but I assume india lost, followed perhaps by china, who took the most gold. Togo was the best, they won bronze in kayaking which was amazing to watch.
medals : 110_____5________41________1_____100______47 305_____9________82_______.55____1329_____61

meaning: .36____.55______.5________.55____.08______.77

This chart is a way to put medals in perspective. But it doesn't mean that the uk is better than the us unless "better" means "titchy small and no one moves there". And did you know that sweden is so old no one knows how long it has been a continuous consolidated kingdom? I couldn't live in sweden without some significant goretex and so on, so it is shocking that people did so long ago.

Do you see how convoluted my attempt at national pride is? "Well done country I've never left that my family has lived in for generations, well done country my country originated from 250 years ago, well done countries my grand- or great grandparents left." I imagine in China it is more straightforward.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Had the family down for the weekend

It was weird. I love them all but there can't possibly be a more explosive way to cohabitate. In between showing off ("Watch me get 15% off at el pollo loco." "Watch me banter in spanglish." "Check out my bilingual disney church." "This is my officially condemned oven." "I can make my bed." "These are my paintings." "I have television." "Look, I can open this cash register." "I can iron clothes." "I can hang curtains." "Check out my complete inability to navigate this town in a car.") and just all the minutiae of proving that I'm well adjusted and All Grown Up, I kept reverting to being a 12 year old fighting with my 7 year old brother. "My house, my rules" must have come out of my mouth ten times in the two days. I think we fought about who had to do dishes, about what to have for dinner, about playing acoustic guitar hero, about the dvd to watch, whether to go to church- every single thing. Mom was good about not treating me like a kid, so that was nice- even though I was being sort of childish. I just remember at Nick's age my life was made of rules, and since he's the baby they more or less coddle him. I know it doesn't feel like that to him. I see that he doesn't have any obligations beyond pokemon and cardio and tidying his room, and he sees that I live alone and can buy whatever I want and stay out as late as I want and he does have a point.

So much of life with parents is just because they need you to grow up into a responsible person. I have found a mix of things that I maintain since I'm in charge of prioritizing my own life now. Some of my values from childhood are still very important to me, like avoiding substance abuse and attending mass and eating responsibly and respecting people. Some things that were non-negotiable when I was little are completely at odds with what I'm willing to do. I am thinking mainly of my sleep schedule- i moved out recently enough that it feels exciting (shut up) to stay up all night painting and then have cinnamon rolls as breakfast. Because they (the safeway kind) are really about the same as cereal in price and sugar and everything. I am going to buy things I don't strictly need! Because they make me happy! I am going to tan in the sun every week! I am going to buy music that has cusses in it! I am going to paint my fingernails indoors!

So yes, I think I have more freedom than Nick, but he has so much freedom compared to me at that age. They made me go to 8th grade, they made me go to bed at 10 every night, I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16, they never had keggers in the backyard, we lived in a sleepy little town...

If this post seems really long it's because I am at work at the hostel, supervising some tourists.

I have decided to consciously change two things about how I parent myself now that I get to. One thing is that I am allowed to have a little bit of slack even though it seems wrong! I have never been smart at practical things, so right now I am shocked that I can more or less function in daily life and then take on as much extra as I want. I mean, I was 8 years old before I could tell what day of the week would be next. I remember up until I was 16 or 17 life was a bit of a confusing jumble of events and I had to live very much in the immediate present- I would make plans and have no way of implementing them without help. So, liberated from that I feel like I should work a 70 hour week, major in two things, catch up on a lifetime's worth of achievements I let pass me by. But it isn't very sustainable sometimes, so I am letting myself have slack. I am going to get a new place to live before I have to move out of this one, for example. I am going to spend 4 years at college if
I have to (I had a year head start in units)I am going to sleep in on my day off.

The other decision is what I have more or less explained in this post- I am going to do what I want. I think I am going to work on having a really darling artistic room when I move this september. Because there's no reason not to. It is going to have candles and a purple princess mosquito netting canopy for my bed and possibly a sheepskin rug. I think I am going to have an art table and a litt

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I was talking to someone today who said I should consider grad school because right now a bachelor's is the same as a hs diploma used to be. (Here's where I let my indefatigable optimism show:) That's not true! I'm entirely certain that using only the copious advantages of a dual degree in art and business, determination, honesty, and hard work, I can build a successful and rewarding career. I mean, right?

I can't get an MBA in business admin or an MFA, I want to start my life! I want to start it as soon as humanly possible, in 2 or 3 years, not 5 or 6! That's the entire reason I ruled out law and psych and astro, because I want to jump in with both feet right away.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Old people

There's something about some old people, certainly not all, that is really abrasive. There's a rigidity, a lack of flexibility, in one of the women who works at the hostel. I once commented at how many mothers a girl scout troop had brought (there were 9 scouts and 7 chaperones) and she went off on why there were no fathers there and the disintegration of family values and that's why there is crime and murders, because children need two parents. It's selfishness, that's what it is, that make people divorce. I think the girl scouts heard her, because she is rather louder than I am. I am not sure fathers are welcome as overnight chaperones for girl scouts, but I did not want to get into whatever rant might ensue if I mentioned that. I mean, at least not in front of the girl scouts.

Why can't she just be nice? I can hear that she has cornered someone in the kitchen and is explaining about the free food we get donated on fridays. "Santa Cruz is a very expensive town, so we have a number of poor people. They go to the shelters and the churches and the hostel to get free food." "Oh, homeless people come to the hostel?" the guest asks. "That's why we always keep the doors locked, and ask our guests to do the same. The food is only for registered guests. If we just had these patio doors open they'd learn there was free food and they'd come right in." the guest offers "they do what the have to to survive" and my coworker responds with "By taking what doesn't belong to them. Eat that pineapple, we just got it yesterday." and she launches into a speech about how disgraceful wasting food is.

OTOH she certainly can empty a room. The kitchen closes at 10:30 and it was completely empty at 10:35, whereas I will stand there for 15 minutes "The kitchen is closed now. I mean, of course you can grab toast, but can you tidy up after? Yes, let me find you some juice. The kitchen is closed."

Saturday, July 5, 2008


you know the theory that aliens have tampered with humanity and accelerated our progress?

"In China, the earliest literary reference to magnetism lies in a 4th century BC book called Book of the Devil Valley Master (鬼谷子): "The lodestone makes iron come or it attracts it."[1] The earliest mention of the attraction of a needle appears in a work composed between 20 and 100 AD (Louen-heng): "A lodestone attracts a needle."[1] By the 12th century the Chinese were known to use the lodestone compass for navigation." So, in 800 years people got from having the components of a compass to having a usable compass.

and then my favorite space fact:

"The Wright brothers, Orville (19 August 1871 – 30 January 1948) and Wilbur (16 April 1867 – 30 May 1912), were two Americans who are generally credited[1][2][3] with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight on 17 December 1903."

"On July 20, 1969, Armstrong, accompanied by Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, landed the lunar module Eagle on the surface of the Moon"
So, in 66 years people got from can't-get-airborne-except-via-balloon to the actual moon and back.

Does that seem right? Because I feel like the 800 year advance was comparatively easy to do. I feel like I might have done it accidentally, unlike spaceflight.

But one thing I've just realized is the current world population is shockingly high compared to the past, so there are more inventors, more people with dreams and ideas and problems to solve.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Longest Shift ever yesterday...

There are supposedly supposed to be 2 staff on duty during summer at the hostel... one for the phone and laundry and one to maintain the common spaces and check in guests. There were not two staff on duty yesterday, so I was at the hostel for 9 hours... I only put 8 1/2 on my timesheet because the last bit was me scrambling to figure out the reciepts... I was way too busy to ring up every time someone bought a day permit for parking (the system makes you type in a name, price, select "parking" from the "non taxable menu" indicate cash or credit and then print it. Same process when someone wants to use the internet.) and it was compounded by ringing up a woman for $50 too much because she told me she was traveling in a group of 4, 3 females and a male, and it was only when she was leaving to get her luggage that she remembered to buy a permit (yes, I asked before I rang her up if she wanted to buy a permit. She distracted me by segueing to talking about the fires and traffic) because her sister was with "the baby" and so I had to ring her up again for $40 less and I don't know how to void, and the two staff I asked also don't know how to void.

And even accounting for that error, my register was off because I had like $12 mysteriously sprung from nowhere because I can not do receipts while I put out fires, entertain people, explain our policies to people from vietnam and sweden who decided that the goodwill of strangers would protect and uplift them in a foreign country (they did not tell me this is what the plan was, because of the language barrier, but why else wouldn't you learn just a little english before your trip?), pacify intense/insane strangers, and field phone calls. And we hadn't any clean sheets so I had to go through all of the laundry to find the unused (but already touched by guests! And other sheets!) sheets.

But the phone calls were so frustrating. Because while I'm sorry the sf hi hostel didn't tell you the right info, there is nothing I can do about it besides apologize and explain the real info. And if you can call me now, why couldn't you call me to make the reservation? Because I can pretty much guarantee that if you had done so it would be for the right number of people. We also have a neat new way to reserve -online!-, but I can't guarantee the accuracy, user error and all. And, I am not your psychologist. I am not even your friend. I can't tell you whether you can handle a co-ed dorm. I could, most people can, and if anyone were violent I would not check them in or they would probably not use such a public room. But no, the co-ed dorm is not a padded cell, there will be other people and it will even be on the second floor! Any number of ills could befall you.

And I had another call from a lady who had never seen her credit card before or something. I asked if it was visa or mastercard and she told me it was through her bank. But there are only two choices so I let it go and tried them both. Instead of telling me the number in increments of 4 she was doing increments of 2 or 3. had to give it a few tries before she felt she'd read them off properly. And when I asked for the expiration date she told me it hadn't expired. I told her I really needed the date to make the reservation she told me she didn't know when exactly it expired but she was "a good christian lady" and was sure it was in the future. (how could she know that, incidentally?) I told her that would be fine and asked if there was a number anywhere on the card in the format "09/09" and lo and behold, there was.

Darwin was a moron, judging by today's phone conversations.

But the friendly canadians and oregonians who kept me company told me I was very nice to the people who phone in or arrive with limited coherence and comprehension. Canadian people! Think I'm nice! They are like the primary exporter of nice! Also crude oil, did you know that?) Which makes me think that I should go into some sort of customer service because I really do have a lot of patience for people who are still figuring out their place in the world and how to use social tools like politeness.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Work Crew, work,and the recession

The other day I got home from el pollo loco and when I mentioned to skip that my boss is really hard to get along with he said, "who, Eric?" (because he and eric are friends) and I said no, el pollo loco. And he said he couldn't believe I was still working there, he thought I'd be long goen from that job. And I just said no, I still like the other cashiers and the atmosphere, and I'm goign to give it a month and then decide whether I want to carry on working there. But what I was thinking was, quit my job? During a recession? Because my boss and I have different communication styles? There is no way I would ever do that. Because, I am not a quitter, I am really good at it, I am making 25% more than minimum wage (thanks to tips), and the opportunity cost (thanks econ!) of me spending my weeknights out of the house instead of in front of the tv is totally worth it. Because it is a recession! You can't turn down money doing something respectable and educational (I have officially sold chicken in every language I know except Welsh! And the Japanese tourists I helped were really not able to order chicken in English, I wasn't just showing off. I did do a little happy dance though.) and perspective-broadening during a recession. Waste not want not, you know?

(I am blogging on the bus (thank you wifi!) so if this post seems really disjointed it's because I keep staring out the window and contemplating life instead of soldiering on and finishing a complete thought.)

I feel like the recession is definitely working okay for me so far, honestly. It feels responsible. We as a country haven't any money so we are taking up clipping coupons and eating in, clothing exchanges and going to junior college first. It feels wholesome. IT's like planting a victory garden and darning our socks, except it isn't any work at all, just a retreat from consumption.

I do worry about people on the fringe of financial survival though.


The coast caught fire! As I was bringing in the mercury news for today I found a headline "Expect to roast until Sunday". Well done, Dehborah Lohse. That is exactly what we need from jounalists in times of crisis, inadvertantly macabre headlines.

The weather is quite apocalyptic today, sunny with rain and thunder.

School's Out!

I have been feeling incredibly light, just unexpectedly bouyant for a person working 75 hour weeks at 3 jobs. I think it's because I'm out of school for the first time in 5 years- since I was 14 I have taken summer classes at community college and highschool electives like Wilderness Leadership Training. Because, I was not about to get a job and community college is free for under 18s.

My El Pollo Loco job is a little bit boring and I don't like how my managers act- they are very, very rigid- not just about coming to work on time or dressing to code, but in their thought patterns. Yesterday I didn't have a customer so I looked up the salad options for my coworker who was trying to help someone but not very successfully. I told him the options so everythig could go smoothly, but Laura swooped in to sign in a new girl and froze my screen. "Why are you doing this?" she asked angrily, because I guess it kind of looked like I was ringing up a salad for no one. I just apologized (or told her good luck, I always get those phrases confused in spanish) but she shouted "go, you have a customer" which, yes, there was a man in line, but my register was currently completely nonresponsive, and there was another cashier so I was just planning to sort out the register and then help the guy. But laura needed me to help him so I called him over and he waited while I used laura's card to reset everything. It's like there's a flow chart of behavior choices and if something doesn't go exactly as planned, the only choice is to freeze up and get your higher up.

The other cashiers are quite good at it- yesterday a girl was two cents short and asked whether it was okay or if she had to break a twenty and he just took the two dollars and 15 cents and counted them several times before informing her that the price was $2.17. I get a lot of tips for someone in a fast food place that doesn't have a tip jar... I think people appreciate that as long as they're there I'm going to focus on them, not on the touch screen.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


So at the hostel a guy wants to book for tonight with the option to call us and cancel and not get charged. So I told him we charge for cancellations with less than 48 hours notice and I'd need his cc number to hold the spot. He told me "you guys have it on file" and left. So I didn't book it. He came back to ask if I'd found his Nat Shermans and I told him that I hadn't and that we don't keep credit card numbers on file. So he left. Then he came back later with his credit card and once I entered his info he said "if I come in and cancel right at 5 you won't charge me?" so I told him if we don't sell the space we might not.

That's why you live at a hostel and with friends, dude. Because you have to process the things you hear and respond to them. There is basically no way around learning to do it.

It reminded me of one of the amazingly sweet artists in my foundation class, who made a painting reminiscent of the posters and album art of the 1960s. We said it looked like an acid trip and she said, "yeah, I was going to do scenes from my acid trip but it was too complex so I just did an impression." Which on the surface is really kind of funny, but also she is paying like 120k (if she only spends 4 years in college) for her art degree, and it kind of seems like she could trip on her couch maybe? At home? And someone could go to college who wanted to be something he couldn't either teach himself or learn at an artists village?


I don't know. I try not to get to far into worrying about social structures and political ideologies but I think I would be wholly in favor of a meritocracy.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Addendum to Parentheses Day

Some things about being grown up are actually quite fun, like confiscating people's beer at the hostel. Which is maybe mean but we do explain the policy at check-in. I'm not usually one for power tripping, but I thought I'd be, you know, 25 or something before I got to do that.

Parentheses Day! (yay!)

I think the most annoying part of being an adult is having to keep track of money. (There are other annoying things, too- like complete legal culpability from now until I die) I was going over my spending for the last 2 months and I'm only spending $20/week on groceries (thank you, endless supply of free food at work) but then I realized I was spending another $19 (on average) at restaurants. How is that possible? I eat out like never! Also where are all of these clothes I keep buying? I am only in student loan debt, not credit card debt or anything, but it's sad that if I only kept from buying clothes and accessories this month (what did I even buy? Shoes and a jacket? Why did I buy a jacket in California in spring when I already have jackets?) I would have $88 to spend on art supplies. Right now I'm playing with all of the additives for acrylic paint that make it incredibly more cool. No one knows whether acrylic lasts longer or less long than oil paints because acrylics were invented in the late 1950s. Thank you, the late 1950s!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I thought I had a new hobby.

The lost and found at the hostel is kind of awesome. It gets full really fast because it is just 2 rubbermaid bins and people are forever leaving behind their pants and shoes and shampoo. So, after 3 weeks/whenever it overflows we take the oldest stuff to goodwill. But, the tiny things we never take out because someone might call us and ask about their headlamp that they left in California and it doesn't take too much space. I decided, though, when someone found a locked combination lock, that after a month I would claim it as my own because it seems like a useful and slightly frustrating hobby- just turning it to all the numbers I can think of on the theory that someday I will be in tune enough with the original owner that the combination will come to my fingertips and I will have a useful tool in place of my hobby. It is a really nice lock, sleek and black with gold wheels and I could buy my own for $5 but that is not the point. However, this would be a more long term hobby with a lock with more than a thousand possible combinations.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm getting good at cello again! I don't know how children become proficient at instruments because personally I was 18 before I could practice for more than an hour per week. I haved loved the cello since I was 11 years old but I think it might be coming together now, and I'm leaving the beginner phase and becoming an intermediate cellist. I've been buying and downloading pieces and teaching myself them, and I'm pretty good at it. My favorite right now is Bach's prelude to his cello sonatas. I think that might be the most purely beautiful piece ever written. It's not evocative; it's just beautiful. I am also trying to learn celtic music which is going okay. It sounds lame because I am classically trained and I can;t get the real rhythm but the music is so good that I think it still sounds nice.

Yeah, I practice like 2 hours a day or something. I should maybe minor in music. I have a crush on the music department itself.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Today at the hostel we have a girlscout troop. They look tiny, not like I remember my troop being, but aside from that they make me really nostalgic. I miss having a safe structure for exploration, a literal handbook as blueprint for my moral code.

They look so awkward, though. Were we that ill at ease with ourselves when we were 9? I'm sure I never was.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I am trying not to be too personal about my landlord's business on the internet or with people who know him, but I am having an incredibly bad day, the bad part of which was all crammed into the last 3 hours. Basically I gave notice and he's not taking it appropriately. From what I know of him he handles people moving out without very much grace at all, but I had not seen him treat anyone the way he is treating my other roommate (who is simply moving out w/o notice, i think, because some people have limits on their tolerance), with threats and so on. I know a normal person wouldn't treat me that way, not least because there are a few tenants not officially planning to move, but I'm not sure about this one. I do know that I am right in the dispute, and being right is brilliant for self confidence and peace of mind. Apparently legally even if I were wrong I wouldn't have to deal with it today.

I have no idea what is going on with him, but he might be afraid for his mortgage with all of us moving. I bet that will work out for him though, because banks don't want foreclosures anyway, especially when they have a lot of them to deal with, like right now. And I know I'm hurting his feelings because I worked really hard to get along with him. I also know that I'll be carrying my laptop and other essential things with me until I get a new place.

There is a saying, that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. I have always always found this to be true. I have halved my trouble with 3 people, and 3 internet places, and God. So, I am only feeling 1/128th of being spontaneously evicted. I know that sounds kind of dumb, because compounding math of feelings is amorphous, but I think between 10 pm when he told me and 1 am when I am vaguely blogging it I feel almost all the way better. Better enough to go to sleep.

If only my break was the first week of April instead of the last week of May I could have handled all this when I didn't have 4 classes and 2 jobs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I am the worst at cramming, actually. But I found that I like studying Microeconomics more when I can internet it instead of looking through pdfs. I have developed a very nice, streamlined set of notes based on wikibooks. As a workaround to how I can't memorize graphs because there are infinitiy of them I have made a one page drawing of all the curves, each on their own axes. It's helping a lot.

So that is my cramming success story. My cramming failure story involves printing 200 pages of Astronomy pdfs 4 to a page, cutting them out, and making a tiny, tiny astronomy textbook for only about $5.

It's taken 2 hours so far.
I'm going to lightly tea stain it and make it a navy blue cover with !latin! and maybe a silver map of the orbits, including Europa and them.

This is all part of my plan to become an astronomy hobbyist with the scope and mostly an orrery. I am going to make one during spring break. Not a working one, though apparently you can make one of just the sun, earth, and jupiter from a clock because jupiter's orbit is 11.86 times slower than earth's.

That is the cheat way, but the real way apparently involves sandcasting and looks impossible:

Monday, March 17, 2008


I got a budget! I made it up and it is: $20/wk food, $20/wk books or clothes or anything. Rent and tuition are not on it because those numbers are set, and I don't need to carry envelopes to remind me of them. There is this budget system where you put your money in an envelope for each category and that is your budget. You can write on it what you bought, but I just buy what is on my list of food I am out of (a "Shopping List", if you will)* and from the other category I buy things that catch my eye and cost less than I have in my envelope, so I don't write it down.

I noticed despite making noodles, chicken soup, pizza and bread from scratch, I am consistently caught at school without enough food- I spend 8-14 hours out of the house, so I really should be carrying lunch -and- dinner. So I had been spending money eating out, even though I can make most things more deliciously, with the exception of Mexican and Chinese food.

Whenever I get a new hobby (tennis this spring is going to be even better than budgeting!) I like to research it instead of figuring it out by trial and error, so I have been going to budget websites. I can tell I'm wired differently than some of the people on there. The craft and cooking and vacation ideas sound wonderful (I need to find someone to carpool to Niagara Falls with!) but the haggling and writing letters of complaint sound terrible. I go thrifting all the time, but the way the articles say the clothes are "just as good" as new, name brand clothing is really unappealing. I shop at thrift stores because it is almost free, and I get things that are totally wearable or wearable but they are going to become something fancy! Like in the BNL song, if I had money to spend I'd just buy more thrifted clothes. Also this, for Nick.

Another thing that seems strange is hoarding change for other purchases. It seems sneaky. I think in olden times women had to manage money like that, so the money for gifts and such came from nowhere and not the budget. Nowadays it really seems like a time sink. The idea is to stay under budget by using lots of coupons, and then whatever you save goes into a jar, and do the same with change. One person said she writes her checks a little over and gets change to put in the jar. But it's nto money from nowhere, it is money you already had, and why not make your budgeted amounts lower and have a category for "things I want"?

*Sorry, I just got done with final papers so elaborating is the name of the game.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I like commuting, in a way, because no one else has to do it. I am getting motivated to stay at my rather dysfunctional house because no one else can do it. In the 5 months since I moved in, three people have moved out and one more has given notice and will be out in 2 weeks, and one is looking at new places.

It might not make sense that I'm more willing to stay when no one else is, but to me it just validates that this thing I am doing is very, very hard and it's hard for everyone, not just for me.

loving midterms week.

So, I am now totally hirable. I have been hired twice in the last three days, except that the first one, Student Corps, made me agree not to get hired for anything else on campus, but they haven't added me to their system and it's been 3 days and I can't sign up for any work until they do. So I accepted a position organizing the Porter Maintenence office because it actually exists. Later today I will find out whether I am hired for data entry- it is an amazing firm and 5-15 hours per week. I am qualified, but the people I group interviewed with were super good at interviews! I think I did a pretty good job because every time he asked us something the first thing that came to mind is "I get bored easily" as in
J: "Why would you be perfect for this job?"
Me: "I get bored easily, but this job is just part-time."
But I reined it in and didn't use the word boring even one time.

And yesterday I joined section for political science because I have come to terms with the concept that ignoring it won't make it go away. But political science is incredibly draining! There was one day where we watched 1980s footage of Ethiopia and half the class was crying. The emotional investment I make when I think about colonialism and conflict is exhausting. And also my classmates are really smart and know about world politics. I can find Burma on a map and pronounce its name (incredibly hard for people to agree on!) but I can't tell you what form of government it has or how its constitution relates to that of Kenya or the most recent military struggles there or what the US has done in Burma. I know I'm smart and I know I'll get a good grade in this class because the info we are expected to know is not too hard to remember, but I am undeniably out of my league in class discussions. When I read the Geneva Convention, I just feel bored, not inspired.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Choosing a major is too hard for me. Based on my intended career as an art therapist it seems like art is a good major but I just get a weird feeling when I think about majoring in art. I don't really fit in with the art majors because they are kind of angry and cool. I do need to declare though so I went to the career center and got the forms (there is no one in the world I like less than academic advisors. Why are they like that?) and went to the art department to see how feasible this is, and the woman in charge of art majoring advised me to take easy classes along with my art classes because it's very important that I get at least a B in all of my art classes to be accepted into the major. I must have looked a little bit stunned, and she suggested art history. All the way over to my college I had to keep stopping and resting to think about what I am maybe doing. I think that is maybe a sign that I am not an art major. Also, I can't find a major that sounds good. I should have noticed that last year when I was applying but at the time Bio was sounding good.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Degrees of Aliveness

So I can't be the first person to notice, but different things are alive to different degrees, like whales and Wales. I thought of a way to stratify aliveness, which is how sharply the divide is between alive and not alive for that thing. Like, for