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Apparently I have a box # at my school.

I do not think I physically have a box, so, what, does the Chem E Desk Lady (JoAnne--yes I know her name!) just send me an email if someone ever sends me mail?

And how the hell did I not know this until 1 day before I graduate?

Weird.  Weird, I declare.




CJ has totally lost track of what has been going on on LJ.  Yeeps. >_<

So here's a short summary of my life as it stands.

Final week of classes EVAR (at least for a while) starts today.
Final paper of UO due Thursday (12th) morning.
Monday (16th): Final in Alternative Energy class.
Tuesday (17th): Plane flight to Denver
Wednesday (18th): Interview with the CSB (OMGWTFBBQ AAARGH)
Wednesday (18th): Plane flight to Seattle post-interview.
Hopefully Ursula picking me up from airport is also Wednesday.
Thursday (19th): hang out with people and demolish room decor.
Friday (20th): dad comes, we cram all my stuff into the Acadia and drive back to Richland
Weekend (21st-22nd):  Lots of celebratory graduating-ness.  Will be there alcohol?  I think so.
Monday (23rd) drive back up to Seattle to meet friend named Morgan from teh Internets
Tuesday (24th)  Seattle tourism, The Watchman concert (Tom Morello?  Very yes.) at the Crocodile Cafe.
Wednesday (25th): drive home from Seattle, hopefully without hangover.
Thereafter: TBD

The concert thing literally just happened tonight.  WOW I was not anticipating being back in the city quite so soon.

Am really hoping I get this job in Denver.  It looks like the kind of thing I would actually enjoy.  I mean, who doesn't want to go all CSI on industrial plant accidents?  Also, it's the only employer who's answered my application since January....  Don't get me wrong, though.  Still my 1st choice.

So...what's everyone else been up to?

Overheard at the metaphorical water cooler

As anyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last several months knows, today Barack Obama became the acting President of the United States.  I dragged my sorry butt awake at 8 in the morning to watch the proceedings.  They were lovely and poignant and truly something that felt shared by every citizen of this country.

One thing I've noticed about Obama and anyone on his staff who makes public statements is that he avoids the topic of race.  He made a few little omages to racism in the inauguration speech, acknowledging the moment without being too dogmatic about it.  The implications of his election are pretty obvious.

...Or so I thought.  But now I'm not so sure it's so obvious.  Take what I overheard a classmate say:

"Everyone's talking about how this just means so much to black people.  But it's basically irrelevant.  George W. Bush was a white guy.  Did the fact that he was white have an effect on us [whites]?  Not really."

I'm between being horrified and embarrassed by this guy.  I'm so dumbfounded, in fact, that I'm finding it difficult to throw together a coherant rebuttal.  But I'm going to try here, for the sake of my own sanity.

Racism exists.  The only people who consistently say that racism doesn't exist are people who have lived such isolated, homogenous, or possibly ignorant lives that the best they cannot recognize their own hypocracy.  It is a deep primal instinct to be discriminating of those who are "different," "not of the tribe," "genetically defective."  It's a natural selection thing that must be consciously overcome.  Declaring "I'm not a racist" is almost always false.  "I do my best to live by the belief that all people deserve equal treatment under the law and by their fellows" is probably more accurate, if legalistic, statement, and even then most of us build in moralistic loopholes.

This is not to say that everyone, or even most of us, are vindictively or even intentionally racist.  And as we as a society become more refined in our definition of discrimination, institutionalized racism is waning.  It is by no means gone.  Statistically speaking, there should be about 15 black senators.  There is one--Roland Burris, who currently fills Obama's vacated seat.

The statistics inspire some to change, but more often they suppress the motivation to do so.  I've had many black classmates who consistently say that they're fighting an opposing current, that they can't get ahead of the curve, that the system is against them.  Obama's election sends a powerful signal that the "system," be it beurocracy, democracy, civil rights law, or something less definable, that the time for inspiration is here.  It tells them, you are a minority, but we are listening.  We hear you.  We are fighting for you.  Don't settle for less.

George W. Bush was the "settle for less" candidate, classmate.  He has never been an inspiring or inspired mind.  He was the public face of the right-wing hawks, and the rest of us didn't care enough to go vote for the other guy.  His white, Texan blandness was fine because we felt fine.  We weren't in a recession, we didn't have any outstanding internation crises to deal with, and frankly the Republican party had all the better strategists.

But over the last eight years we have seen our rights eroded, our financial system protections gutted, our industries become more irresponsible, and our international integrity disappear.  As a measure for any president, it is decidedly uninspiring.

Obama's race has always been a secondary factor next to his policies.  I don't know a single person who voted for him or against him because he was the black guy.  The very fact that race has become irrelevant to policy is the reason it's relevant to the demise of institutionalized racism.

That matters for all of us, black, white, asian, latino or other.  It says that we are better now than we were, and that all of us, especially oppressed people, have brighter hopes.  And if we have hope, all things are possible

Note: this still feels sloppy to me.  I will come back and edit it later.

I vote for Option 3

Sophomore year of high school (so, six years ago now) I was rollerblading and fell hard on my flat palm.  I had a very sharp, intense pain followed by numbness.  The PE instructor inspected it, said it was fine, and sent me on my way.  Later, I fell on it again.  Ever since then, I have reoccurring pain and consistent weakness in a very specific place in my left hand, right near the wrist in the exact middle, dorsal ("out") side.  

The pain comes on gradually.  I notice it when putting on my backpack or opening doors.  I wear my carpal-tunnel brace to keep me from doing anything else that would bring a sudden jolt of pain, but keeping my hand straight doesn't seem to make the condition itself subside.  It just keeps me from cursing and crying in public as much.

This happens roughly every 2months or so, and ranges from mildly annoying to excruciatingly painful.  It's most noticeable when my hand is flexed backward, like for a push-up.  As I am pretty much ambidextrous, there are quite a few things I do with my left hand.  I almost always open doors with it, for example.  It makes this condition 10 times more annoying.

I've seen three different doctors; a family practitioner, a feet & hands specialist and a sports medicine doctor.  The sports medicine gal was the only one who ever really offered me an explanation.  Once she established that no bones were broken or dying (don't ask) she suggested they do a CMRI to see if there was a torn tendon in there that has scarred over.  Considering my symptoms, this fits.  However, since there's no good treatment, and surgery doesn't usually fix this type of injury very effectively, and because the CMRI procedure would involve them sticking big needles directly into my wrist, I have just kind of lived with the pain.

One of the things the docs always ask is, is there anything in particular that causes the pain to come back--sudden impact, lots of typing, etc.?  My answer is no, I've ruled out pretty much everything because nothing consistently brings on the pain.  A case in point has been the last few days.

Yesterday it was pretty bad.  I amounted it to having written a 50,000-word story in 25 days and spent a number of hours on video games the day before.  I stretched it out a little (which is painful as HELL.  Anyone here who's been through physical therapy probably has an idea about that) and went right back to playing video games for oh, 12 or 14 hours.

Today?  The pain is gone, just back to the perpetual stiffness.  This sudden disappearance is unusual.  Usually it just gradually subsides.  Even the ganglian cyst that developed in my hand two years ago has shrunk.  This leaves me with 3 theories:

1.  Doctors are wrong and I have some even more bizarre condition.  Say, Leprosy.
2.  Stretching once every 90 minutes or so is a cure for scarred tendon pain and/or causes rapid healing.
3. Video games are in fact an awesome treatment and I should play more of them.

I think I will experiment with option 3 over the break and see how it goes.


Teh Winnar

So here's what happened today.

I got up at 11, threw on a sweatshirt and ran down to the only open convenience store on University Way for milk for my non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner of chicken alfredo, only to discover that Rite Aid's fridge is broke and they, in fact, have no milk.

I came back home, and after grumbling for a while set out to finish up my novel today.  I had actually ended the novel the night before, but as it stood at 48,010 words, it did not qualify to win the contest.  So I went back and found a place I could shove in some extra scenes, which turned out decently and left me at exactly 50,010 words.

Well, not so much according to the idiot bot that counts the words on the website.  Some difference between it and Word '07 caused the website to only accent 49,009 of those words.  I think it has a prejudice against hyphens.

So I grumbled a little more, went back and shoved in an extra 125 words in the premise that nobody would probably notice, and resubmitted. The glorious winner's site loaded, and I stole from it this graphic:

I will officially be able to concentrate on neglected lab reports, papers and presentations for the remaining week of the quarter.  Oh, and maybe some Christmas shopping.

As for the novel (if any civilized person could call it that), I am not sure if I'm going to go back and clean it up, or at least anytime soon.  It started out as a neat idea, or at least neat imagery, but looking back I'm finding it full of gaping plot holes, ambiguities and unaddressed character angst that I'm not sure is redeemable.  50,000 words is *about* 140 pages of hardback novel, plus or minus 15 and depending on the font, and I'm not sure I have enough material in the story to flesh out out into a more reasonable and hole-less work of literary awesomeness.  Yes, as the NaNo people keep reminding me in their emails, the brainchild that comes out of NaNo is rarely pretty, as it is written at breakneck speed and zero back-editing or research.  But that doesn't make any of it less cringe-worthy on the readthrough.

Still, if you want to read the draft and egg me on about pushing it further, be my guest.  Just ask for a copy.

I can haz sleep naow?


Universal complaint letter

Dear people in the Subway line (or any other line for that matter):

1.  It is not okay for you to make out while standing in front of me.  You're ugly enough without the visual onslaught that is your grotesque pink tongue.  No, I don't care HOW much sex you're having.

2.  If you brush up against my backpack one more time, it's war.  It's not a personal space thing; I just assume you're trying to steal my wallet.

3.  Are you that girl who talks 120 mph at Volume 20 about your overly-neurotic scheduling habits in a way that makes it sound like you are complaining that what little you have to do is driving you crazy?  Two words: Shut. Up.

Now that all of you have totally turned me off my lunch, I guess I'll just throw it at you.

No love,


Song Bleg

I've grown quite attached to this album, even though I just bought it.  Love the piano and the UK accent. :-3

I only wish it wasn't DRM-enabled.  I thought the Zune marketplace didn't have DRM stuff, but now I am stuck only listening to this album on my laptop and Zune and not with the awesome sound card on my PC.

"Somewhere Only We Know"
Hopes & Fears (2004)

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting older and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches, are the looking at me?
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I'm getting older and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go somewhere only we know?



I was working on my NaNo project during TC class this morning (this prof I have can make volcano eruptions and wildfires boring), and then something terrible happened.

Some stray key was swiped that made the next few key strokes close out of Word without saving.  I lost 600 words in one go.

That does not help the fact that I'm 2,500 behind right now. ;_;

Stupid school.


How NaNoWriMo works.

I announced here in my LJ that i was going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year.  For those...2?...of you who don't know how NaNo works, the goal is to write a 50,000-page novel by the end of November.  While it's not impossible, it ain't easy, either.  This is a wonderful and frustrating month.  And here's how mine has gone so far.

Day 1:  It is the wee hours of the morning, after having worked at the start of my new novel since the midnight start.  3,000 words in one day?  I'm going to be finished before they even open the word counter for submissions!

Day 3:  I actually have not only characters but an emerging plot.  And I'm still ahead on the word count.  This is going to be cake.

Day 5:  Well, ok, even after I got that paper written I'm still caught up to where I should be.  All I'll have to do is keep up.

Day 6:  Crap, I have a midterm next week.  Should probably work more on the novel now and get ahead so I'll have time to study.

Day 9:  Behind in the word count all of a sudden.  Stupid lab write-ups.  

Day 10:  Still behind and in desperate need of plot bunnies.  The ship, she's goin' down Cap'n!  WAAAAAAAARGH!

So there you have it.  I'm going to go back to searching the dusy corners of my brain for ideas now.


You know what I know?

Racism is such a touchy subject that even your friends accuse you of hypocrisy  when you try to move beyond it.

There is something seriously wrong with this country.