Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hobobarista's Greatest Hits.

I don't know how much time I have to blog now that I'm a law student. Well, tomorrow is orientation. So, if you miss me, check out some of these hot, well-written numbers.


No Panties

Hot Preteen Action


Enjoy, kids.

Sandwiches I would like to eat.

Turkey, Bacon, Romaine Lettuce, Greek Dressing, Tomato, Red Onion- On sourdough.

Roast beef, Cheddar, Iceberg Lettuce, Tomato, Boursin, Sprouts, Cucumber- In a whole-wheat wrap.

Aged Cheddar, Sauteed Mushrooms, Sliced Onion, Tomato- Grilled, on Pumpernickel.

Peanut butter (Store brand), Jelly (Name Brand)- On wonder bread.

Sandwiches I would not like to eat:

Shit and Ranch Dressing on a Maxi pad.

Ham and American on White.

Balogna and Swiss on an English Muffin.

Food I currently have in my kitchen:

Cheerios (plain)

Cranberry juice (generic)

Ramen (plentiful)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I am pleased to report

that for the purposes of defense, in case of zombie invasion, my apartment is excellent.

I am on the fifth floor of a building with a double-locked foyer and, unfortunately, no elevator. Of course, everyone knows that elevators will mostly be disabled or full of zombies, in the event of a zombie apocolypse.

But check this out, my friends.

My room, and no other room in my suite, has a private, dead-bolted entry onto an exit stairway from which one can only exit, never enter. Very convenient when trapped on the fifth floor, waiting for help that never comes. When we finally despair of ever seeing another helicopter or aeroplane again, and zombies let in by some errant child attempting to locate a lost pet flood the lobby and hallways, I do have an escape. Which is very very nice.

I care about this a lot.

In addition, all the hallways in this building are very short. Which means that all zombies in hallways are plainly visible from any doorway. Good for fighting your way out. And, in the case of 28-days-later style commando rationing missions, I am close to both a little bodega and a large supermarket.

Yes, the zombie defense potential of my new apartment is well worth the room so small I can sit on my bed and touch every piece of furniture in it. When the zombie apocolypse comes, I'll forget that the smoke detector appears to be disabled, and the kitchen floor seems to be constructed entirely out of scuff marks, and that the fridge seems to have two tempretures- luke warm and luke cold.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Neurons are so cool.


If I have one piece of advice for the world, for people as individuals...if it is at all possible to take a neuroscience class, take one. Because there is nothing like learning how much and how little is known about what thinking and feeling are actually 'made of'.

I was looking back at my notes from some classes over the past year. And I sat there for about twenty five minutes, just looking. The amazing thing about the microanatomy about the nervous system is that the function and anatomy of individual cells are known in great detail, but the interactions between those cells and how consciousness arises from that is knowledge that is still emerging.

We know exactly how an impulse is conducted down the axon, jumping and skipping like a stone on water, releasing neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft, which bind to receptor sites on the dendritic spines of another neuron, which then sends an electrical signal bouncing down its' axon...

But how the thousands of impulses, transmitted by thousands of neurons, create consciousness- create silent, abstract verbal cognitions such as "Should I write about nudity on my blog that people I know read?" or "I like peanut butter sandwiches" is still completely unknown. A scientist can open your skull and directly stimulate your brain, making you see red, twitch your thumb, feel pressure on your toe- but we've got no idea where to tickle to make you think "My mom's name is Katherine"

I look better naked than clothed.

I swear to god I do.

Can you imagine the injustice?

I've got to walk around, at work, at social events, at formal occasions...looking less than my best. Because it just happens that the way I look best is approved only for the smallest and most select audience. I have to frump around, slumped and slouched and pinched into clothes that never seem to really look right, knowing that I've got something better underneath.

And you know what? I bet there are a lot of people in the same situation. By no means all, but many people do look better naked than clothed. Further confusing the naked/clothed situation is that you can't tell, from looking, who is walking around with their best outfit buried three layers deep.

I've taken life drawing classes, spent time backstage assisting the chronicly braless with quick changes, taped and reinforced and glued people into clothing made of paper and bubble wrap, and gone to a college where clothing was an option not always taken. I've seen more impersonal naked than most people of my experience.

And I've come to the conclusion that you can't always tell. The beautiful girl with the elfin face might have breasts so small and wide-set that her entire torso seems chronically surprised. The broad-shouldered guy with the slim hips and long legs may have his grandad's scrotum between his knees. The girl with the flat wide ass that makes her look squat in skirts may have yards of glowing skin, ankle to eyebrow. You can guess, but there are no guarantees.

Looking better naked or in clothes isn't just about the revelation of flaws, though. It's about coordination, and scale, and vulnerability. There are some people who need something, a bit of cover or color or fabric, a sock or scarf or underpants...not to cover, but to anchor, to contrast, to guard or dignify. Very beautiful looking men are very likely to look better when given something to wear. The frequent soft-core gay porn theme of jeans pulled half down is popular for a reason. Cuts the sweetness a bit. A squeeze of lemon in your diet coke.

I look better naked, I think, because there's something futile in dressing for me. I look out of scale. I can't do sweet and soft because I'm not insubstantial. I'm tall and broad and floaty blouses and soft sweaters make me look less dreamy and more like when Christo wrapped central park. I can't do tailored-sharp because my face is pudding-soft and, despite my occasional tantrums and bizarre sense of humor, I'm about as tough, as down to business, as fresh whipped cream. But naked, there's no way for me to try to be anything I'm not.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I am very good at vacation.

But I am phenomenally shitty at being unemployed.

I can't do it well at all. I wander around my apartment, which is not large enough for a good wander unless I go into my roommate's room, and I touch things. As I pack, there are fewer things to touch. So now it's like I'm just doing very tiny laps. Living room, mattress, television, side door, futon, loveseat, front door.

I still wake up early. Even though there is nothing to wake up for. And I go for a walk, and have a cup of coffee, as if there's something specific that should come afterward. Got to get an early start. On nothing. So I'm stretching the final packing of my apartment into a month of work. After a couple hours sorting and packing and visiting my storage space, I start making elaborate plans for lunch. Which are then scrapped in favor of a peanut butter sandwich.

And always, there's this profound unease. And I figured out what it is. After being so overscheduled, doing the working my way through college thing, and the going to work thing, and the long distance boyfriend thing, and the prairie dog thing, andthe benzodiazepine thing...I'm not used to doing nothing unless I'm supposed to be doing something else, or if I'm waiting to do something else.

So I'm at ends. I can't do nothing; but there isn't anything to do. I clean. I vaccuum. I walk. I bike. I wait for people to call. I think about dying my hair. I consider several shades. I consider baking brownies and cakes. I consider more obscene ice cream cakes. I consider cupcakes. I watch movies that are good-bad (Friday the 13th Part 2) and bad-bad (The New World. Stay away.) I fold. I list. I hang out at my parents house, with my parents. A lot. I hang out at my apartment, alone. I drive to Providence and play the boything's computer games. I've watched five seasons of the Sopranos, two of Dead Like Me, and two of House.

I wrote a thingie for a thingie. I helped record something for the same thingie, which entailed a visit to NY, to a friend, and was thus awesome. I wrote a sestina. And you can't read it.

And still, I've failed at unemployment.

I know that I've failed, because successful unemployment should lead to relaxation, rejuvenation, reconnection to old hobbies. Thus, I should be relaxed, with fewer grey hairs, and perhaps having painted, sewed, or knit something hideous and entirely useless. And maybe baked a carrot cake. Because carrot cakes are fucking sweet. Instead, what have I done?

I've had many, many "I'm a genius!" moments. For those unfamiliar, an "I'm a genius" moment is the moment of self-congratulation you experience immediately before doing something incredibly stupid. The best thing that the "I'm a genius!" moment can lead to is wasted time. Most often, it leads to bodily injury and humiliation. Often it ends in a hospital room, explaining exactly how you managed to injure yourself in that precise way.

Like the time I decided to make roasted potatoes, and didn't want to mess up my cookie sheets, so I took several sheets of aluminum foil and fashioned an oval of tin foil with high sides, and filled that with potatoes and bacon bits and butter-

Grabbed it from the oven.

The tin foil collapsed.

And the butter (450 degrees, or something) ran all down my arms. And it hurt like a bitch.

My current "I'm a genius!" moment is that, maybe, if I spend time standing on my head with no bra on, the force of gravity, upside down, will counteract the effects of age and gravity, and perhaps encourage my breasts to be higher up all day long. There are several obvious problems with this program.

Such as that the stretching of the ligaments will be the same, as long as the forces of gravity and the weight of the breasts are the same, regardless of the direction of the forces. A program of spinning around and around and around and around with no bra would be more effective, if engaged in long enough, as the combination of centrifical and cetrifugal forces would combat the forces of gravity as long as I was spinning. But that wouldn't be more effective than wearing a bra all the time. I can't turn back the clock. My nipples are not superman.

So that, I think, accurately demonstrates that I have too much time on my hands.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Elizabeth Hasselbeck can eat my dick.

Look at this.
Sorry, it's the view

Two issues here. The final one is how Elizabeth Hasselback can eat my dick. But first, there's how Joy Behar and Barbara Walters don't understand how emergency contraception works.

Barbara Walters isn't quite clear on how EC works. It prevents the fertilization of an ovum by sperm, primarily. It does that by preventing ovulation. It may also, in some cases prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. (Not, technically known as an embryo at that stage).

Joy Behar reveals, in a very stilted attempt at a light-hearted monologue, that she doesn't really have a very good idea of how human reproduction works. She starts to say that she can have sex on a monday, and prevent conception on thursday...the implication is that conception must occur during or immediately after the sex act, and thus, even on thursday, EC must interrupt a life already in progress. And that is why people believe that Plan B is an abortifacient.

It's not.

Everybody who saw "Look Who's Talking", raise your hand. Now, I want you to put your hand back down, and take a deep breath. What you saw over those opening credits, narrated by the very soothing voice of Bruce Willis, was not a scientifically accurate portrait of how conception occurs. Let the betrayal recede for a moment. I'm sure thatAmy Heckerling didn't mean to mislead you. It's just more cinematic that way.

Conception can occur days after coitus. And, mostly, it does. Because that's the way we're designed. I'll tell you why:

Chimp Balls.

Chimps have enormous balls. Gorillas have little balls. They indicate that chimps are polygynandrous, and gorillas are polygamous. Humans have medium balls. And, importantly, human females show no physical indication that ovulation is occuring. That allows both men and women to be sluts. So women can have sex all the time, with multiple partners, while no partner knows for sure that she was ovulating during their time together. Which is why human men don't eat babies. (infanticide is a really bad idea if you don't know which offspring are yours) But Elizabeth Hasselbeck does.

Anyway, if Amy Heckerling had wanted to accurately show conception, she'd have had Kirstie Alley go home from having sex with her boss, make dinner, take a shower, go to sleep, wake up, drink some coffee, go shopping- two or three days worth of activity intercut with sperm bushwacking through her cerivical mucus. Finally, perhaps when she's sitting at her desk the next day, a big round egg busts through, rolls down the fallopian tube, and collides with some bored sperm who've been there a while. Maybe they could be cartoon sperm, with little watches. Sitting on a bench or something. Eating gyros.

But how does that work? Weren't we told at rhythm method school that the fertile period is very short, and that the egg doesn't last for very long, and that the vagina, cervix, and uterus are hostile to sperm?

Sure, buddy. And if you buy that, I've got some transubstantiation to sell you.

That's what was assumed for a long time. Because sperm are fairly delicate. By the time the porn star wipes her face, those little guys are more than on their way to certain death. And, the vagina can be a turbulent, hostile hell-hole for sperm. Most of the time.

The vaginal and cervical environment changes. Because it's wily. Because it can't fucking be trusted. Most of the time the cervix is all clotted up with gross ucky mucus, and the vagina has a PH that kills sperm. But, for a period preceding ovulation that can be as long as 10 days in some women, the cervical mucus changes. The vagina becomes welcoming. Instead of killing sperm, the whole system becomes very nurturing.

For the hostile vagina, cervix, and uterus, I want you to picture the Vietnam War of tons of movies I havent' seen. It's mucky. People are angry. Death is all around. You need a machete to get through the swamp. Your best friend, Tex, dies right beside you. You're bleeding and starving, waiting for an airlift that will never come.

For the nurturing vagina, cervix, and uterus, I want you to picture the yellow brick road. Everyone is pleasent. The sun is shining. You've got a path right to where you're going. It doesn't matter if you take your time at the Emerald City. Everything is going to be fine.

That's how it is.

But people still think that conception is a car accident. Shit! Sperm ran a red light! Hit the egg! That's LIFE! Can't undo that! When, really, emergency contraception could step in, slow motion, and put jersey barriers in so that the egg doesn't even make it to the intersection.

The second issue is: Elizabeth Hasselbeck has no idea what she's talking about.
"That's like having a baby and leaving it on the street."
Elizabeth, you're full of shit. You're less than a talking head. Furthermore, you're really shitty at being pro-life. It's better to have a baby and leave it on the street, because someone else can pick it up and take care of it. If you believe that fertilized egg=baby, because that's what Jesus said, then it's much WORSE to eject six or eight or thirty cells, because they die somewhere in your grody vagina without even a funeral.

Furthermore, if you believe fertilized egg=baby, absolutely, completely, morally, every time, then you should actually be encouraging more women to use hormonal contraceptives perfectly, and only refrain from hormonal contraception when they are trying to concieve, and then for the shortest time possible, and only after serious, in-depth medical and genetic screening.

Because about half of all 'pregnancies' as measured by fertilized ova, end either before, or very soon after they are detectable. It's natural. Not all fertilized eggs become babies, even when no action is taken to prevent them from becoming babies. And, if you're a religious person, that's got to make you wonder whether god would shoot souls from his holy-ghost powered soul cannon just to have half of them die unnamed, without a gender, without nerves or memories or childhood pets, ending up smeared on sweaty, store-brand kotex, and tossed into bathroom trash with Q-tips and empty tubes of depilatory .

I don't know if I'm religious or not. But if I were, I certainly wouldn't believe that. It's just a bad system. If I were religious, I think I'd trust that god shoots the soul in right before the brain becomes capable of consciousness. It's just thrifty that way. Shows that he's thinking ahead.

Anyway, Elizabeth Hasselbeck isn't required to believe what I think it's sensible for her to believe. But she is kindly invited to eat my dick.