happydalek: (Default)
 So, I'm a female person.  And as a female person, I have these anatomical features colloquially known as "boobies."  In fact, I have rather sizable boobies and always have, which was a source of awkwardness and shame for me throughout my growing-up-as-a-lady years.  (Short explanation: I was taught that boobies and cleavage are sinful and will Get You Raped, plus I had always wanted to be a boy anyhow.) Because of that awkwardness and shame, I never took the time to learn how to properly size myself for supportive undergarments.  My only goal was "I must hide them!  Hide them under as much fabric as possible!" because I was sorta kinda in denial about my having ladyparts at all, which probably just manifested to the rest of the world as a case of "wow, that girl does NOT know how to dress herself."  Not only did I let my mom buy me most of my bras, I also acquired them as hand-me-downs from aunts and grandmothers.  Thus it was that I entered my mid-and late-twenties with an underwear drawer full of worn out, hilariously modest and bafflingly ill-fitting bras.  I had a band size and cup size that I knew, and that was what I always got.  I never even tried them on before I bought them.  

Around that same time, however, I got my head out from under a rock and began to come to terms with my ladyness and booby-having.  I've since come around to kinda sorta liking that I'm a female person, and realizing that there are certain advantages to having a curvy figure.  I have also realized that getting the proper bra fit is every bit if not more complicated and error-prone as getting the proper fit in ANY piece of female-intended clothing.  But by the same token, finally finding a bra that fits opens up a whole new world of awesome!  For the first time in my life, I went to get professionally fitted for a bra today, and then spent the next couple of hours going from department store to department store and trying things on.  It's amazing how wrong I had the size thing.  For almost as long as I can remember having boobies, I harnessed them into 36 or 38 Cs.  I was a C cup.  Boom, end of story.  But no!  I've been getting into shape the past few years, and my clothing sizes have all changed.  And it turns out that cup sizes are not absolute, but rather a way of categorizing the proportional size difference between bust and ribcage.  My boobs have gotten smaller, yet I'm now living the sweet life with a pair of 34 DD/Es strapped to my chest.  I made the classic American woman mistake of having too large a band size, and too small a cup size.  

So, ladies of livejournal, I urge you: check your bra size.  Check it often, and get it checked professionally just to be sure.  Then try things on.  Try many things on.  I am standing straight, shoulders back and proud for the first time in years without fear of my boobies.  And they look good, to boot!  (The annoying thing is, I suspect my new bras still aren't entirely the right size, but you try finding 32DD in any department store anywhere.  I went to three places today, and found exactly one acceptable 34DD in each location.  Small bands + large cups are not a common fixture in most places, it seems!)
happydalek: (Default)
 If I never have another dream in my entire life, I think I could be okay with that, because there's just no topping the subconscious adventure I went on this morning.  I've had one helluva dry spell where good dreams are concerned; I think the stressful and all-consuming nature of grad school was the problem.  But finals are over, and yesterday I got to read for fun! and it was like my brain could finally cut loose and make up for the lost time.

I was on a bus with a group of people, trying to survive the zombie plague.  

It was bad.  We kept trying to find places to stop for supplies, to catch our breath, but no luck.  Everywhere we went we ended up having to get away again very quickly, and almost each time we lost people.  My bus had a number of kids on it.  A lot of parents and families, as well as some friends of mine.  I'm not sure exactly what my situation was, but apparently I'd had a little girl that I lost, because I kept hanging on to a pair of stuffed animals that reminded me of her.  We drove around tensely for a while, navigating around massive construction barriers on the highways and having to nervously plow through hordes of zombies.  Then, finally, we came across a survivor's camp.  RVs and other buses full of people parked in a shaded, overgrown cemetery.  There was a garage complex nearby, a few houses and lots of open farmland and not a zombie in sight.  It seemed like a place where people were finally beginning to put things back together.  We stayed there for a bit, meeting new people and spreading out.   

But then, practically overnight, the plague found us.  The next thing I knew, I was crowded into the garage complex with a bunch of other people--some from my bus, some not--with a horde of zombies following us.  We needed to get to the bus.  Some people at the back of the crowd had weapons and were just barely holding the zombies off.  I was toward the front of the group, and we made our way through the building to the large garage bay doors at the front.  The bus was on the other side, across a small open lot.  We heard the zombies before we saw them.  The garage doors were closed, but the zombies were doing everything in their power to get their hands underneath and pry open those doors.  It sounded like a huge horde.  When we looked out a window above the doors (via a ladder or something), we were dismayed to see that it was a HUGE horde of zombies.  Worse, we even recognized people in the horde.  
It was at that point when I really started to feel like we weren't going to get out alive.  And strangely, I had a calmness about it.  There I was, trying to hold down one of the garage doors while zombie fingers plucked at my hands and ankles, while the horde outside made so much noise I couldn't hear much of anything else.  Other people were defending other garage doors, and some guys with guns were beating back the zombies that had discovered the small side doors and were bashing through them, all while another bunch of zombies were at our backs, and I just thought to myself, "We're not going to make it.  They're going to get us.  There's no way they're not going to get us all."
Except, they didn't.  The guys at the side doors started fighting back.  They went out and cleared a bunch of zombies.  The zombies at our backs never got through.  I never found out what happened there, but it seems like the zombies just kind of gave up and backed off.  When I looked out the high window again, the lot between us and the bus was practically clear, and I saw other surviving groups making a dash for their own vehicles.  
Then we decided to make a run for it.  We sent people to the bus in small groups, through one of the doors.  Lots of noise, and quick movements attracted the undead, so the key to getting through this particular zombie plague was to move slowly and quietly in small groups. The problem with that approach was that it was taking a long time to evacuate everybody, and I had a feeling that the zombies weren't gone for good.  I started asking the people in charge if we shouldn't start sending more people out of the other side door, just to move things along, but nobody seemed to think that was an acceptable risk.  So I climbed back up and watched the evacuation out the window.  And saw something that made my blood run cold.  Zombies were converging on our location from EVERYWHERE.  I could see them coming through the trees, out of the fields...and from the other vehicles.   The zombies we had beaten back had apparently retreated on their own, and were now coming back for us in force.  I was about to yell a warning when the group that was heading for the bus saw what was happening and made a run for it.  
It was kind of a free-for-all after that.  Everybody panicked.  The zombies knew we were here, so sneak and stealth didn't matter.  I didn't have any weapons on me, so I was literally forced to push the zombies away to get to the bus.  I made it, but a lot of people didn't.  The bus driver (a woman) started the bus and drove away as soon as she could because the zombies were getting too close.  We left people behind.  As we headed for the road, we drove past a group of survivors that were running for the cemetery, but we were sure it was overrun, so we stopped and let them come on.  
One woman was freaking out about her missing daughter.  I tried to comfort her by giving her stuffed animals I'd been keeping, telling her about how they were all I had left to remind me of my own daughter.  The woman took them, and threw them out the door as the last of the survivors were coming aboard.  I asked her why she did that, but she didn't have an answer for me, and I had a decision to make.  My first thought was, let them go, it's not worth your life, they're just toys.  But how could I do that when they were all I had left of my daughter?  You'll get over it, I tried to tell myself.  
"Wait!" I yelled to the bus driver, and ran off the bus to go retrieve the toys.  The road behind us was filling with the horde, and more zombies were coming out of the trees on either side of the road, but I thought I could make it.  I ran towards the toys.  A few paces into my mission, the bus started to drive away, and the idiocy of my decision sank in.  It wasn't worth it.  I had no supplies on me, no way to survive.  I turned around again and ran back towards the bus, with a sinking feeling that I had lost my chance, that the bus wouldn't stop again.  And it didn't.  But it did slow down and open the doors long enough for me to jump back onboard and take a seat as the bus driver navigated out of the complex.  Backwards.  I should remark there that the bus had been pointing the wrong direction when we left, and rather than waste time turning around, the driver had opted to make our escape in reverse the whole time.  Dream logic, I guess.  We passed one of the houses, and saw two other buses there, swarmed with survivors that were hastily getting ready to go.  I saw several members of our original party there, but they waved us on.  They were going with their new group, but they had a few too many people for the number of seats available, so for the last time, we stopped to pick up some more people, and then continued backing out of the place.  
We fishtailed through the cemetery, where a number of the vehicles were still parked, but eerily deserted, then started down a winding country road.  As the sun set and it started getting very dark, the bus driver commented about needing to find a place to turn around so she didn't have to keep driving backwards.  She eventually did, and as nighttime settled, we drove past some kind of industrial center that had a bunch of lights on.  A few people commented on the unlikelihood of the power grid still being on, but as we drove further, we passed an electronic road sign that was flashing some kind of old message about travel delays.  
The next thing I knew, it was daylight and we were still in a mountainous, rural area.  But then we passed by a scrap yard, and to our amazement, saw that some of the heavy equipment was on and operating.  We saw workmen in hard hats, going about their work like normal.  Then, a little further down the road, we drove into a small town that was absolutely bustling with normal, everyday life.  We were stunned.  The bus driver pulled up to a gas pump that was outside of what I can only describe as a soda jerk.  I stared out the window at the vibrant shop front, seeing people eating at tables inside, and eyeing the bright counter with its soft serve and soda fountains.  A man in a white utility uniform and hat came up to us with a large sweeper broom.  It was a full-service gas station, and he was going to pump our gas and clean our windows.  I couldn't believe it.  None of us could.  We all started talking excitedly about what we were going to do and eat.  I even found a few dollars in my pocket.  I got off the bus, and the first thing I did was make a beeline for the gas station attendant, arms outstretched.  He back away from me a little.  
"I want to hug you," I said.
"Why?" he asked.  But he permitted me to wrap my arms around him and give him a small squeeze.  He was an older man, wiry and short.
"Because you're here!  You're here and your alive and you're going about your business like everything's normal!  And I want a giant root beer float, and a cheeseburger!" I said.
The man put down his sweeper broom and started to lead the way inside the shop, amused and confused by my actions.  I was confused, too.  How had this town escaped the zombie plague?  But it didn't matter for now.  I was going to get a cheeseburger and a float.  And fries.  And pizza!  
And then I woke up.

I should mention that the premise of the dream is no doubt connected to The Walking Dead marathon I sat through last week.  Both seasons in one go.  So yeah, I've had zombies on the brain lately.  It probably explains why I thought I had a dead daughter, and why Lori and T-Dog were members of my group (however, they both got left behind in our escape from the garage complex, although our bus driver also resembled Lori, so I'm not entirely sure what was going on, there).  I've also been a passenger in a large van quite frequently lately, as I'm starting a survey job, so that's clearly influenced things, too.  But I'm not complaining.  This was an epic, and extremely coherent dream.
happydalek: (Default)
 What an awkward way to wake up.  Dreamed that my sister and I had gone back to visit our old church and got pulled into running one of the sunday school classes.  The big crisis we had to deal with?  A toddler who needed to be convinced to try the banana he'd been given as a snack.  But when sunday school was over, I happened to pass by the sanctuary, where I heard my old pastor saying some really insensitive, homophobic remarks.  It made me feel guilty because I wanted to confront him on it, but was too meek/afraid/unprepared to do so.  Making things more awkward, outside the church (which looked like the exterior of a movie theatre, but hey, dream), I saw one of my new grad school mates and his boyfriend.  They were waiting for a ride from someone.  We chatted pleasantly, but in the back of my mind, I was really worried about what would happen if they realized they were in the midst of a bunch of homophobic church people.  I was so afraid of conflict, and dreading the thought of having to admit to these church people who had watched me grow up that I didn't agree with their position on things anymore.

So, not the best mindset to wake up in.  Anxiety, I has it.  It's a little bizarre how often my old church shows up in my dreams.  I suppose it really shouldn't be, considering that the place was a key part of my life for twenty-odd years, but the trouble is, when it does manifest, it's always like this, representing some sticky social or moral situation in which I feel unprepared, exasperated, or guilty.  I know some of that is definitely real, because I have been (and continue to be) quite timid about standing up for any kind of social/moral issues.  I'm like that because I'm indecisive, and having gradually overhauled my personal beliefs in my years since I left the church, I don't want to go spouting loudly about them yet in case I change my mind again, even though I know, somewhat objectively, that what I believe now is more socially responsible than what I believed before, and comes from a more mature, more experienced point of view than I was capable of as a kid and a teen.  

No, that's not why.  Well, yes it is, in part.  But I should be honest, here.  The major reason why I don't speak up is because I'm afraid of disappointing people.  That's my main reason behind almost anything I do, in fact.  No matter what, I absolutely mustn't disappoint anyone.  Gah.  


Mar. 26th, 2012 08:42 am
happydalek: (Default)
Me: Hey, brain! I worked hard on homework all day, so let's take the evening off and do something fun and creative. Let's write a story!

Brain: Lol no.

Me: *spends three hours playing spider solitaire instead*
happydalek: (Default)
I cannot wait to be finished with school so I can get a decent job and start making good on the 20+ years of institutional life I've had. CAN. NOT. WAIT. I want my brain back, and I still can't find the motivation I mislaid around the start of January. I want to write, and to read for fun, and to be able to do so without the vaguely naughty sense of guilt that I should be doing other things instead. I suspect I probably felt much this same way as my undergrad career wound down, too, heh. I probably shouldn't be so emotional about things, but...can't not.

On a different note, I love the track, "Young Americans" by David Bowie.  The whole album is pretty awesome (Bowie's "plastic soul" phase), but the title track is just so funky and interesting.  Also interesting is this live performance of "Young Americans" that Bowie gave on the Dick Cavett Show in 1974.  Bowie's voice is more than a little rough here (to say nothing of his looks, although the hair is nice), but it adds a gritty depth to the lyrics, I think.  But my god, Bowie's backing band and singers (including a young Luthor Vandross!) absolutely NAIL IT.  SO. TIGHT.  Geez, incredible.  Also incredible?  The fact that Bowie was even coherent enough to give a performance like this, since the mid-70's was when he living on a rather strict diet of milk, cocaine and red peppers and rocking an image that was more Animate Corpse than Glam Rock.  



Actually, Cavett's entire interview with Bowie is pretty interesting; Bowie opens with an energetic performance of "1984," (a song he wrote for a musical adaptation of Orwell's book that never materialized) and then spends about 10 minutes sniffling and rubbing his nose, and fiddling endlessly with a cane whilst the always-cool and erudite Cavett tries (with limited success) to engage him in conversation.  The mid-70's were not a good time for Bowie (but damn, the guy produced some pretty awesome music), but luckily his story has a happy ending.  Ladies and gents, this is what David Bowie looks like on drugs (in 4 parts, I'll just link you to the first segment):

happydalek: (Default)
I really wish I had my teen years to do over again. I would have taken more risks, experienced more things...and possibly gotten in some trouble. I just feel like I got a really late start at life, y'know? Like I did things kind of in reverse.

God, I want to learn to play guitar.
happydalek: (Default)
I passed up the chance to use my shiny new health insurance last night.  

Don't click if talk of wounds makes you squeamish. )

So that was last night.  Twelve hours later, the finger is doing okay.  No sign of infection, although it still smarts.  (I hate hydrogen peroxide.  I'd have much rather have used an antibiotic saline solution or just plain water to clean it out since in my experience, hydrogen peroxide irritates and stings like a bitch, but my classmate, with years of experience in field dressing wounds, overrode me.)  The pressure of the splint was uncomfortable, so I changed up the dressing today and have the joint immobilized with a taped-on Q-tip instead.  Once the cut heals up a little more, I'll go back to the splint.  If it does show signs of infection, then I'll go to the ER and see what good my new insurance policy is.

happydalek: (Default)
Yessss. So nice once in a while to do absolutely f*ck all one day and not feel guilty about it. That was today. It started when I got woke up by my ringing phone. It was my Summer Plans calling, haha. I've got myself a position on an archaeology crew for the summer/fall with PennDot! It's the internship thingie I alluded to previously (and the same sort of gig I missed by a narrow margin last spring), it will be full time for the season, and pay on a scale nicely above minimum wage.

After taking that call, I then decided that in celebration, I wasn't gonna do a damn thing that I didn't feel like doing today. Funny enough, I ended up doing a load of laundry in my bathtub because I didn't want to walk to the 'mat and pay with quarters. But I didn't even put real pants on, or go outside. I stayed in and mined youtube for documentaries and songs.

For today's Bowie appreciation, allow me to share his 21 minute short film for the single, "Blue Jean," off his 1984 album Tonight.  It's called "Jazzin' for Blue Jean" and is quite simply delightful.  Bowie plays two characters in the film, 1) the protagonist, a sweet dorky guy named Vic who is on quest to impress a girl he's just met, and 2) Screamin' Lord Byron, a drug-addled rock star that Vic's lady friend wants to meet.  Bowie is a quite talented actor, and plays both parts brilliantly.  His portrayal of Byron is especially awesome, in that Bowie is obviously mocking his own excesses from his Thin White Duke days.  I had no idea Bowie had ever done anything like this, and I just love it:

happydalek: (Default)
Posting two days in a row? It's like a Lent Miracle! Actually, I'm hard-core procrastinating on all the Things I Should Be Doing. But I'm also celebrating the fact that I had an awesome interview today for a summer internship. I've been led to believe by a few of the people involved that I have a very, VERY good chance of getting the position this year, but I refuse to buy into that wholesale, since I was led to believe thesame thing last year. In truth, I think I've got it pretty much locked up, so the denial is partly a self preservation measure.

ANYWAY, here's a bit more of Bowie Appreciation.

I have a weird relationship with the late 90's. I was in middle school/early high school during that time, so the major theme was "awkward." It was when I began to become aware of the larger youth culture around me, and was first confronted with the issues of personal identity that proceeded to dog me for the next ten years. Right or wrong, I mostly remember that time scored to the works of "Nickelback," which I discovered via my younger sister's CD collection. Truth be told, I have a soft spot forNickelback that tends to evoke embarrassment from my RL friends. Whatev. I kind of love Nickelback's soppy "save the world" ballads and I don't care who knows it. Either way, though, I'm sad I didn't manage to discover David Bowie's 1997 album "Earthlings" during that time. Because it is, quite frankly, one of the most incredible things my agitated, drunken mind has ever encountered and is singularly amazing. And kind youtube member SuperDiamondDogs has been good enough to make the ENTIRE ALBUM available as one single supersizedtrack on the internet (the individual tracks are also there):

Apparently SME is being a little bitch about playback rights, so go to youtube and LISTEN TO IT. Because even though I sure as hell can't describe what's going on in most of the tracks, I CAN tell that it consists largely of David Bowie kicking the late 90's music scene in the ass with his electronic and saxophone-tainted awesomeness. Seriously. Dude was like, 50 years old when he made this, and it is just unbelievable. It gives me foolish hope that I might still command the respect and street cred of the younger generation when I'm 50. Regardless of age, it is just plain cool, and might be the thing to finally break me of my obnoxious Nickleback habit.
Oh, who am I kidding; no, it won't. But it's still an awesome album.
happydalek: (Default)

Also, this is a very lovely planet you guys have here.  Earth, you call it?  Not the prettiest-sounding name, but ok.  I'm really enjoying the variety of cultures you humans have here.  So much to see and experience!

Okay, then.  DAVID BOWIE.  I knew who David Bowie was from a fairly young age.  Of course I did.  I don't remember when I learned of him for the first time, probably one of those cultural osmosis things, but I know my idea of him was fairly well cemented by Labyrinth, which I saw for the first time in middle school.  So for me, David Bowie was basically Jareth.  Tight pants and mostly unpalatable (to me, at the time) tunes from the late 80's and early 90's.  I knew the song "Starman" and that he'd been some kind of glam rocker in the 70's, then played an alien in "The Man Who Fell To Earth" and then released more music in the early 2000's and had kind of ridiculous 90's boy band hair, and did that hilarious cameo in "Zoolander."  So yeah, I knew of David Bowie, and if anyone had asked, I would have said sure, I was a Bowie fan.  I liked Labyrinth, and that song of his they used in "A Knight's Tale."  So of course I was a Bowie fan. 

It turns out, however (and this should be painfully obvious to ANYBODY), that I had NO IDEA what David Bowie was all about.  So, a coworker who found out that I loved sci-fi stuff, was appalled to find out that I'd never actually heard all of "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars," so he burned me a copy of it.  This happened at least six months ago.  Two months ago, I got a car with a CD player in it, and last month, I finally popped in the Ziggy Stardust CD and listened to it.  I probably wouldn't have if it hadn't been Bowie's 65th birthday in January and a friend of mine posted a 1972 performance video of Bowie performing "Space Oddity."  I did a little google-fu and found her the original 1969 music video of "Space Oddity," and it has changed my life.  I wasn't crazy about "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" at first, but over the past two weeks, it has wormed its way into my mind in that borderline dangerously obsessive way that such things occasionally do.  I developed a craving for more things Bowie.  I started at his Wikipedia page (don't judge), and that's when I discovered that he had an absolutely incredible career between the Ziggy I'd just met, and the "Zoolander" cameo I knew from just a couple years ago.  I started looking up songs and performances and interviews and suddenly I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS GUY'S MUSICAL GENIUS, GUYS.  He is everything I've always wanted in a musical artist but never thought could possibly exist in one person's career.

I want to share my newfound Bowie appreciation with you all, but it's 2 AM here, and I simply cannot do it in a single post, so consider this the first of probably several Bowie Appreciation Posts to follow.  For now, let me simply direct you to the video that started it all, both for David Bowie's incredible career and my new obsession over his incredible career, 1969's Space Oddity:


happydalek: (Default)
 So, I picked a general topic for my master's thesis, which really just goes to show how "unfocused" my academic interests are; ever since I joined this graduate program, I had figured on doing a thesis about prehistoric stuff.  Lithic technology, to be specific (rock tools).  I'd always thought that stuff was cool, partly because I hadn't had much exposure to it and wondered how lithics experts were able to learn things from projectile points and broken rocks.  I still think that's cool, and I'm finally taking a class on prehistoric artifact analysis, but for my thesis, I've chosen to work with an artifact collection from an historic town in the region that was founded in the first half of the 19th century and abandoned around 1940.  

Why?  Several reasons.  One reason is that I spent much of my life believing that history was less interesting to study than prehistory because we already had a lot of information about it.  Less mystery = less to study.  But as any proper student of history knows, that's not true.  There are always gaps in the documentary record, and just because a thing is written down does not mean it is accurate.  It's real detective work, figuring out what was actually going on in the past, and I find that intriguing.  Another reason is that I typically haven't enjoyed working with historic artifacts because they make me feel ignorant.  There's so much more stuff left behind by people in historic times, particularly once you hit the industrial revolution, and my lack of knowledge about so much of it was frustrating and made me less inclined to want to work with it.  But archaeology is replete with historic artifacts, and I do myself no favors by trying to hide from it.  Grab the bull by the horns, as it were.  Another big reason is because the artifact collection is already here, housed by the university, and in use by another grad student, so I will have no issues with gaining access to the stuff. The collection has never been properly cataloged, so between myself and the other student, there's a good chance that we can finally take care of that little problem (15 years after the excavation!).  Basically, I'm working on it, in the words of George Mallory, "because it's there."

But picking a collection is only the first step.  Now, I have to figure out what research questions I want to make my thesis about, and that's where I'm currently a bit stuck.  I've always fancied myself a storyteller.  I want to tell the story of this town, but first, I have to figure out what that story is, and how I can get at it from the artifacts.  The trouble here is that I don't know anything about the town.  Nobody really does.  So on the one hand, it's a big, blank open book that I can write in.  On the other hand, where the heck do I start??  I need to have a 500 word thesis statement ready to go by next week.  Eeep.
happydalek: (Default)
I just realized that the last two weeks of work I did on my mapping project is no good. I'm using a CAD program that I'm learning as I go along. I just finally figured out that I needed to set my page size and scale BEFORE I drew my features. Rescaling them afterwards makes them all wrong. In hindsight, that's a pretty basic thing that I should have figured out, but I was so annoyed with this infernal mapping project I was just like, "whatever, I have DRAWINGS, FINALLY!"

Blaaaaah, idiot. So now I get to REDRAW all 200+ features in the proper page size and scale. FML.
happydalek: (Default)
 Ahh, another semester of grad school.  How I missed it.  

Yes, really.  I wanna get things DONE.  Also, I am having a blast.  Although I was promptly reminded that this is dreaded Thesis Pickin' Tiem.  The time in my coursework in which I pick a thesis topic and hope it doesn't turn out to be a huge debacle of some sort or other.  But I'm not worried.  I have an idea.  I just need to flesh it out.  I did some research over the break.  I'll work it out.  And I'm feeling good about my assistantship work, especially since the poster-submission deadline to the one conference is actually a month later than I thought it was.  Yay.

And yes, I finally got to knap flint.  Not properly, not exactly.  I was given a massive chunk of rock and another rock, and told to beat the one rock with the other rock til it broke, so I did.  It was a little class demo for my prehistoric artifacts analysis class, and the professor was trying to prove a point about material types, I think.  The woman is brilliant, but she doesn't plan ahead and she is a terrible lecturer.  TERRIBLE.  Which is such a crying shame because she obviously knows her stuff.  Dammit woman, why can't you communicate better??  Ugh, she could be marvelous if she wasn't so inept.  I got enough of a hang of it to start roughing out an oversized perforator, so that was kind of exciting.  And I didn't smash or lacerate any of my appendages in the process, so whoo for that.  I'm quite pleased, actually.  Hands-on activities like that are just the thing I was hoping to get out of this class to offset the poor planning and poor instruction I figured I'd receive, and so far everything is unfolding just like I planned.

Also, I spent the weekend in Philly with some old buddies from undergrad, which was delightful, but I am absolutely knackered today.  So great to have all my grad school buddies back, and so great to be back in my apartment after ten days of sleeping on the floor.  I spent a week at my parents' place where all I set up was a makeshift bedroll since I was trying to do some cleaning, then the aforementioned trip to Philly happened, which involved a sleeping back on a floor and then sharing an air mattress.  So I am beyond excited to be back in my own bed.  Which might end up with a new mattress in the next week, if I can decide whether to try and arrange transportation for cheap, or delivery for not-as-cheap, but arguably more reliable.  

And that's life right now.  How are you?
happydalek: (Default)

I'm visiting my folks for the week.  I got to town Thursday evening, and I already can't wait to get back to my apartment.  I love my family, but geez.  A little smothery.  Just a bit.  But they mean well.  And they got me a better car to use, so I can't speak too poorly of them. ;)

Oh, yeah.  Did I mentiion?  I have a new(er) car, now.  I think.  Sort of?

The car I've been driving that I've considered mine is technically my parents' car.  It's in their name, but I have on numerous occasions paid for repairs and the insurance, and I always pay for the gas.  But it's an old car (1992 Ford Crown Victoria) with 206,000 miles on it that consumes petroleum products like gas is still a dollar a gallon.  It's a really good car in a lot of ways, but its days are numbered.  So my dad went out and bought a 2003 Buick Century that was, quite literally, previously owned by an old lady who only used it to drive to church and the market.  It had 8800 miles on it.  Yes, that's the right amount of zereos.  Eighty-eight hundred miles.  Less than 10,000.  And it's nearly nine years old.  He paid less than $8,000 dollars for it, too.  So it's in his name, just like my old car, so it's technically his.  But he's like, "we pretty much got it for you, but if you want to keep driving the old one, that's okay, we'll just keep it."

And I'm going, O_o about the whole thing, because did my parents really just buy me a car?  That's not a thing my parents do. 

Is it? 

I hate this strange limbo I'm in, where I'm pretty much moved out of my parents' place, but I'm living on loan money, and my mom keeps talking about when school ends and I have to move back in with them, and I'm thinking that isn't the scenario I should be planning for (although yes, as a backup plan, it's nice to know that it's an option), and now it's like, "Here!  Have a car!" Except that it's not in my name, so will I be expected to pay them for it when I am financially able to?  That's what I would expect myself to do.  And my dad never talks directly about money and who pays for what, which is annoying.  The only reason I started paying the insurance on the car was because I found out how much it cost, and starting handing him checks of my own volition.  Their way of telling me it was my car was to say, "we told the insurance company that you are the primary driver of the new car," so I suppose that makes it fairly clear that yes, it's intended for my use.  So now I'm worried that I might be coming off as a wee bit ungrateful because I don't know what exactly what the expectations are, here. 

Now my mom is pressuring me to get health insurance.  Her reasoning is, quite understandably, that if I were to get horribly mutilated and injured in an accident, it would wipe out their retirement savings to care for me.  And yes, okay, point taken.  The thing is, all the insurance plans I can find cost over one hundred dollars a month.  That may not sound like much, but my budget is fairly tight, since my goal was to not spend all the loan money I was receiving so that I would be able to start repaying it when I graduate.  Annual health insurance would eat another one thousand dollars of my borrowed funds to cover the possibility that I would get seriously injured or ill, which so far has not happened in the preceding three or four years that I have also not had health insurance.  Odds are that I could continue to roll those dice and come out not injured/sick until I get a job with medical benefits, but that WHAT IF? element of it kind of looms large.  I figure if I did pay for insurance, then I would use it.  The plan I'm considering at least pays for preventive exams (including eye exams), so I could finally get around to having my lady plumbing checked out for free, which I've never had done and probably should since you're supposed to start that when you're 18 and I'm now 27, and I could update my glasses for less money than paying out of pocket, which I have not done for probably three years, at least.  But still.  Geez.  A thousand bucks.  For the security of knowing I wouldn't wipe out my parents' savings, maybe it's worth it.  But it will definitely contribute to the wiping out of my savings. 

Now I understand better why people get married.  Lots more security when you can split these costs across two paychecks, and so you're not soley dependent on your aging parents.  Bleh.
happydalek: (Default)

I like my apartment.  I really do.  And I just got the living room set up the way I want it.  But An Opportunity has appeared for me to relocate to a two-story, two-bedroom apartment that is about 30% cheaper per month.  It's also about 15 minutes further away from campus than I am now.  But the bedrooms are upstairs, and you don't have to walk through them to get to the bathroom (which is how my current place is set up and annoys me).  The sitting room and kitchen are fairly spacious, there's decent closet space (though not quite as epic as my Giant Closet of Giantness that I have now, but it also has a full attic I could use), and if I get a roommate (which is likely), I could cut my monthly rent bill to nearly a third of what I'm currently paying.  If I wouldn't get a roommate, then I'd still be paying less in rent than now, with an extra room I could use for an office. 

The downside to the place is that, as mentioned, it's further away.  Also, it has no appliances.  No fridge, no stove.  I'd have to purchase those for myself. The upside is that I could also get a washer and dryer, since it has a hookups for those, which would be all kinds of awesome to have, because I am sick to death of using laundrymats.  The place also has a back garden with a clothesline.  But I'm not sure what the utility costs would be.  It uses gas and electric, and it's an older house (built in the '40's), and even though the attic has been recently insulated, I'm not sure how weather stripped and airtight the rest of the place is.  That savings in rent could get eaten up by utility bills and the set up costs of purchasing or renting large appliances. 

The other downside is that the place is available NOW RIGHT NOW, and my current lease isn't up until May, and I'm not sure how easily and cheaply I'd be able to get out of it before then.  My lease says that "tenant may not terminate this lease during the intial term," which it later clarifies as a "one-year initial term," but I don't know precisely what that means, since my first lease was for five months, and then I signed another, identical lease for one year when that one was ending.  I am going to ask the landlord tomorrow to explain.  I wasn't really prepared to relocate before May anyhow, but with a price tag like it has, that two bedroom place won't stay vacant long.  I'm living on student loan money right now; I haven't worked this break like I had hoped to be, so I am looking to start saving money any way I can.  I can get the landlord to hold it for me for a month, which I'd probably have to do at a bare minimum in order to give notice at my current apartment and get my stuff together, but I'd need to make that decision really soon. Really soon.

Aaah, decisions.
happydalek: (Default)
Yaaaaay, the university fitness center is opening in less than five hours!

Thank jeebus. I can finally go running inside again and lift a variety of weights instead of just the one lonely dumbbell, and then take a shower with SOMEBODY ELSE'S hot water so I don't have to keep showering at my apartment like I've been having to do all week while the center's been closed, like a person who enjoys paying high electric bills. Screw that nonsense, amirite?

They open at six, but ain't no way I'll be there that early. Probably more like noon. Maybe noon-thirty. Point is, I can start properly working off my Christmas food baby, which is 90% beer, cheese and frozen taquitos, I think. Blecch! Happy New Year, everybody!
happydalek: (Default)
 This review brought to you by: 

The letter L

The number 3

And several beers.

Yeah, I'm about a week late on this one, but SO WAT.  Lemme tell yous guys what I thought.  

Spoilers, obviously. )
happydalek: (Default)
 I don't think drying the tobacco for a day did any good.  Baby's First Pipe still went out after every puff or two.  I'm thinking either I'm not packing the bowl properly, puffing too earnestly, or need a better pipe.  But I did get a slightly better smoke today, by holding a lit candle in one hand, pipe in the other, and relighting constantly as I puffed away on my porch.  Wind was much calmer today, but even a slight breeze seems to defeat my fire maintenance skills, so I ended up standing in my doorway.  Awkward, a bit.  But the candle technique worked with surprisingly little difficulty, apart from the melted wax that dripped on my hands and on my pipe bowl.  So not a complete loss.  And towards the end of my candle's life, I was getting slightly longer intervals of smokey goodness from the pipe.  It's just going to take a lot of practice, I think.  (And probably a better pipe).  
happydalek: (Default)
 So I posted the other day about my irrational desire to take up pipe smoking.  Today, I actually attempted to take up pipe smoking.  Here's how it went:

Making fire is harder than it looks. ) 


happydalek: (Default)

August 2012

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