Friday, April 30, 2004

Projectile Snot!

Why am I still awake at this hour when I could be in a NyQuil-induced sleep?
Tucker's supposed to be coming home sometime tonight.
Sometime... tonight...
I just called him.
"Hey, what's up?" he answered.
"Hey. Where are you?"
"At Justin and Ange's house."
"You're still in Pennsylvania?"
"Yeah, I told you I was coming home tomorrow."
"I know, but Dad told me you were coming home tonight."
"I said I was coming home tomorrow!"
"I know! But I just stayed up late for no reason. Okay, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay. Bye."

This morning (yesterday morning? Thursday morning), when I sat up in bed, two drops of water flew out of my nose, travelled two feet, and landed on the floor past the foot of my bed. I've been blowing my nose constantly all day, the fever has not abated, and now I lose some sleep due to a miscommunication between my dad and my brother. Sigh... Wasn't the first time, certainly won't be the last.

But hey, I got a Christmas present:

(And a rare SM sighting!)

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Thursday, April 29, 2004


PC Repair

I'm not yet clear on what the point is,
but it sure is fun.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

This is a serious offering of service.

Decrease your Erdös number.
(Yet Another Link that Will Be Dead in One Month)

Monday, April 26, 2004

<--Even more photos

Wrigley's Cherry Chill Eclipse gum sucks. It tastes like cherry menthol cough drops.
It doesn't evoke feelings of sexy kissableness, it evokes feelings of head cold.

Yeah, that's hardly worth blogging, but I've got nothing else.

Oh, but Elisa reminded me that Darren is 24; now that I recall, I think he's a couple of months younger than I. The difference in age between he and Becky is less than that between John and me, so Okay.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

More photos!

From left to right, Cal, Stewart, and George, Ludicorp developers.

Hurrah for camera phones.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Emily is silly.

Last night (and this morning) was our Sunday school group's Late Night party. We started on campus and went to the Chi Alpha meeting, then headed over to the church and played silly games and sang karaoke and ate junk food. Darren, a fellow whom I've seen at church a few times, was there. I first met him at the progressive dinner in December. Good looking, funny, just enough charm--I was mildly interested; it's not often I find a Christian man with these qualities. So when I saw him again last night, I took notice. Played a game of pool, Becky and me vs. Darren and Caleb, which we won cos Caleb called the wrong pocket when he sunk the 8-ball.
Maybe twenty of us went to Denny's at 2:30am, and Becky, Elisa, and I rode there in Darren's '86 Porche (with Elisa and me packed tightly into the back seats). We had a good time at Denny's, too. Darren laughed my jokes (well, most of them), I laughed at his, and I was realizing that I had to be careful not to develop a crush on him. He offered to drive the three of us home, even though he doesn't live near any of us. I noticed that, from time to time, he would ask Becky a direct question, initiating conversation with her, where he wasn't doing that with anyone else. Perhaps he's just being friendly, I thought, since Elisa and I were doing a fair amount of talking with little prompting. Though Becky isn't shy, she's more reserved than Elisa, and not given to wisecracking the way I can be. Besides, I thought, he's a year or two older than me; surely he's not interested in a freshman.
We dropped Becky off first, up at Day Hall. When we pulled up in front of the entrance, she started to get out, and Darren said, "Wait, hang on," jumped out of his door, and ran around to open her door for her. "Oh, that's so sweet!" Elisa said. I was a bit suspicious. He walked her a few steps toward the front door, and they stopped. Elisa and I watched them intently. Becky had her cell phone out. "Is he giving her his phone number?" Elisa wondered.
"I think so," I said in resignation.
A couple more seconds passed. "He's totally giving her his number!"
He got back in the car and we pulled away. After a moment he said, "I just gave her my phone number. What do you guys think?"
I think I managed a "Wow." My brain was a bit scrambled at this point, so I happily let Elisa do the talking. "She's a really great person."
"Yeah? She seems really nice. You hardly meet anyone like that anymore."
"She's a little young."
"How young?"
Both of us answered: "She's a freshman."
"Oh. Well that's not so bad."
Darren and Elisa chatted a bit longer about Becky, since Elisa knows her better than I do. It took me a good two minutes before I was feeling myself again. We dropped Elisa off on South Campus, and then made toward my place. "I was pretty nervous," he said. "I really had to dig up my courage."
I told him about Waled, the Muslim physics grad student who'd bared his heart to me a few years ago. I'd felt so bad for him, as he was telling me what he thought about me and how he wanted to get to know me better, because I could almost taste his nervousness, and I knew I was going to turn him down. But in spite of myself, I wished Darren the best.

So it'll take a day or two to shake him out of my head. If I'd simply found out that he had a girlfriend, it probably wouldn't take me so long--current girlfriends are predictable. The way this morning's events transpired was unexpected.

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Heroes in a Half Shell

I wore my lucky green ninja turtle shirt today. It's not really a Ninja Turtle shirt; it's a Crayola green T-shirt with, what, canary yellow? collar and sleeve cuffs, and terribly comfortable. When I showed it to Grammy, she said, "Oh. It's just like the Ninja Turtles." I was surprised she had any recollection of that cartoon. "Yes! It is very much like the Ninja Turtles."

I did as I was told and called PromptCare at 9am this morning. And at quarter past noon I walked out with my completed Certificate of Health. I promptly went to Subway and got lunch, then mailed the certificate to the Consulate General. <sigh of relief>
Dr. Catney talked me into getting the chest X-ray, even though it would cost extra. He sent me over to the Imaging Center where I signed in and waited, working on my diagramless crossword puzzle (confound it!). My name was called, and who was calling it but Sandy Thompson... er, Kimber. I hadn't known she worked there. So she got some information from me, mostly about billing (No, I have no insurance. Yes, I'm paying for this up front). Then I got to wait again (and actually snuck a peak at the crossword puzzle's hint: the first word starts in the fifteenth column!) until a radiologist called me to have the X-ray taken. I thought I would have to lie down, but actually I just stood up in front of some... thing, inside of which the plates were located, with the X-ray machine positioned behind me. Very quick. The only thing I don't understand is that it costs $85 for a set of chest X-rays, and then an additional fee is charged for a radiologist to read the film. The first requires the second, since I am not medically qualified to read my own films--so why not combine the charges? Silliness, I tell you, pure silliness.

So I had a real chest X-ray, and a real urinalysis, but most everything else they could only ask me. It probably would've been better to see Dr. Koshy, since she was our family physician for a few years, but since that wasn't possible Dr. Catney made the best of it. He read down the check-off list on the form. "Are you diabetic?" No. "Do you have heart disease?" No. "Do you have a history of psychosis?" No. "No psychosis?" Laughing, No. He's a good-natured fellow. I mentioned the vertigo, and told him I wasn't on any medication; he apparently didn't think enough of it to mention it on the form. Their measuring stick had broken off of their scale, so they took me at my word when I said I'm 5'7. That's not so far from the truth, which is closer to 5'6½ with my shoes off.
When everything was done, Dr. Catney handed me the certificate. "Look it over, make sure I didn't miss anything." I was reading down the page when he said, "Oh, I remember what I forgot. What colour is your shirt?"
"Green..." and then I remembered the colour-blind test. Woo! Passed with flying, um, colours.
Which reminds me: Amazingly, when the nurse had me read the eyesight chart, I was able to read the 20/15 line with my right eye and the 20/13 line with my left (glasses on). I've had these glasses since my senior year of high school, and keep intending to get new ones. It seems rather incredible that all this time I've been complaining about my better-than-average vision.
Of course with the glasses off I can barely make out the giant E at the top of the screen.

Again with the earwax. For years Dr. Koshy had told me, in her lovely Indian accent, "You have very clean ears, Emily!" (though certainly through no action of my own). But the last time I saw her, a few years ago, she made no comment about the condition of my ears. When I went to the Student Health Center in November 2002, the nurse who checked my ears said they had some wax build up. And today the good doctor told me that I should have my ears cleaned; he recommended a one-to-one hydrogen peroxide and water solution. I tried it tonight, but I have no idea if I did it right. I used Dad's OTC eardrops first, then used the rubber syringe to squirt the warm solution in, but I think all I accomplished was getting myself wet. We shall see.

Old Comments (2)

supersmart zombies resist disqualefication

I think a thunderstorm is in the works.
I lurvs thunderstorms.

I have a confession to make, Mom. I didn't take your advice: I waited until yesterday to start looking for a doctor or clinic or somebody who could give me a physical exam. (No comments from the Peanut Gallery.) Syracuse Community Health Center said I could make an appointment for mid-May (and that was at their walk-in facility!); the SU Student Health Center doesn't take folks who aren't currently registered students; Dr. Koshy is out of town till May 2nd or 3rd, and the doctor who is taking her patients during this time can't see me on such short notice; Community General Hospital refers patients to doctors, but only if those patients are looking for a primary-care physician, a set of which I am not a member. Needless to say, I was in a small panic about meeting this Friday's deadline.
I called the JET Program office to ask if I needed to have the forms in their hands by the 23rd, or if it was enough to have them postmarked by then, and I explained my difficulty in completing the Certificate of Health on time. The woman I spoke with told me that I could send the forms and the passport photos ahead of the Certificate of Health, the latter of which needs to be in by May 3rd at the very latest. And the former can be sent first-class--no need to spend more for express mail. So that gives me some time. And this afternoon I found my way to the Crouse Prompt Care Center, where their walk-in exam really is walk-in. Unfortunately, there was no doctor present today, only nurse practitioners. The nurse I spoke with checked and said the doctor will be in tomorrow, but told me to call first thing in the morning just to make sure. So yay.

Oh, and the passport photos? Yuck. The guy who took my picture at Campus Copies stood one meter away from me, then counted to three before he took the first photo. I was anticipating the flash (because my photosensitivity is somewhat psychosomatic in nature), and I turned out all squinty, despite my best efforts to avoid just that. In the second photo my eyes were squinty and red. I looked less squinty in the third photo cos he took the picture without counting to three, but I looked stoned, and I imagine that can't be a good way to look when confronted by immigration officers. So after I and the photo guy looked at the digital copies of each picture, we decided that the second one was not so bad as the first. But now I wonder: my eyes look like little slits of blue ringed with red. Joe said, "You look like you have a head cold." Well I do, but I don't look that bad... do I?

Grammy and I got to talking while we were waiting in the Seattle airport for our flight back home. "Dad said you have family living in Sweden?" I said.
Yes, it turns out, her father emigrated from Sweden, and her mother from the British West Indies, where her family had moved from Britain. They each moved to Brooklyn, where her father worked in a shipyard and her mother worked keeping house for a doctor and his wife. They both attended the Baptist church there, which is how they met. After they married, they bought some land on Long Island where he built a bungalow. All five of their children were born there. They later built a two-story house next to the bungalow, and sold the latter.
Grammy herself met my grandfather when they were studying at SUNY Cortland--he was a senior and she a sophomore. She left school when he graduated and they moved to Iowa where he got his master's in education. That's where Jimmy and Peter were born (which explains why Peter's passport lists Iowa as his place of birth--even Dad was surprised; I'm telling you, my family doesn't talk much). They moved back to New York, where Dad, Jonathan, and Beth were born. The rest I've written elsewhere.
And here I'd been thinking that my family tree went back several generations before it could trace anyone outside of the US. Turns out my great-grandparents were immigrants. And now Grammy is a great-grandmother herself. She still has her mother's wedding photo--I'll have to ask if she can dig that up from somewhere.

Speaking of grandparents, my cousin Stephen's daughter Autumn (or was it Amy's daughter Katie?) ran up to my Uncle Jimmy at the wedding. "Hi, Grandpa!" she greeted him.
"Hi, Grandpa," I chuckled.
Dad and Jimmy laughed, too. "Yeah, about that," Dad said to me, "don't make me a grandfather just yet. I'm not ready to be that old."
Sure thing, Dad. I'm not ready to be that old, either.

"There goes identity theory. Zombies ate its brain." (from Plurp)
I haven't read it all. I don't know that I ever will.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004


I visited Ludicorp HQ, and here's proof:

From left to right, Stewart (Ludicorp president), me, and Dad.

George was kind enough to take the photos, which include the two links below:
Modern Emily and her dad.
Emily's Uncle Pete.

I saw no evidence of food fighting. This cannot be good for morale.

All I had was my camera phone, so I took a couple of pictures of Cal, Stewart, and George. I really wish I'd taken a picture of, um, Wintermute, Comandante Frito, and S M. But as you might tell, I don't know them very well (hardly know them apart from their screennames), and in any case someone had to keep things nailed down while Stewart was giving me the tour.

So one of these days, should I decide to splurge on the Sprint Vision service, I will upload those pictures and post them someplace conspicuous.

When we left, Dad said, "That guy who was showing us around on the computer, he's pretty good-looking."
Replied I, "He's the one that's married."
While I'm a sucker for redheads, I'm not into that whole husband-stealing scene.

So I'm home again in my room, with a very stuffed-up left ear. When the plane began its descent into Chicago, my ear plugged up and didn't pop, and didn't pop, and the pain became something just short of excruciating. All the way down to the ground, I chewed gum, stretched my jaw, and nothing would make that thing blow. After our three-hour layover, when we were back in the air, it finally popped at 30,000 feet, only to become plugged once again upon descent, in an equally painful manner. My ear no longer hurts, but it's fairly uncomfortable, so since I'm due for a nap anyway (haven't slept since I woke up yesterday morning), I think I'll go lie down on my left side and see how that helps.

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Monday, April 19, 2004

GMT -8

They do exist!

So I got a few things cleared up. The couple I spoke with on Friday are Frida and Dennis, and they are the parent's of John's ex-wife, who is still living. Which seems a little strange, but I guess not really, as Mom and Grammy are still on good terms with each other.

When we got the rental car in Seattle and started heading north, what surprised me most was the abundance of trees. Wow, I thought, There sure are a lot of trees in Seattle. It took me a half an hour, but I finally realized it wasn't so much the abundance of trees, but the fact that they were in full leaf. Same here in Vancouver, where the azaleas and lilacs are in bloom as well. The weather's been great, but from what Dad's heard, the weather in Syracuse has been very nice, too. Now watch, as soon as we land on Tuesday, the clouds'll come rolling in, and the temperature will drop to 40°F.

Yeah, temperature conversion is something I've had to do up here, as well as monetary and volume conversions, at some times more successfully than at others. We stopped to get gas today, and I thought, 85 cents a gallon? And that in Canadian funds! We should probably fill up before we cross the border. It wasn't until Dad paid 15CD for 3/8 of a tank that I realized, Oh, that's 85 cents a litre. Yeah, gas is definitely cheaper in the States.

I got Amy and Heather's e-mail addresses, so I'll be able to keep in touch with them. Turns out Heather is very interested in Japanese culture, and knows more of the language than I do. And Amy plays the violin--I hadn't known that. She played for Beth's wedding. I met her older daughter, Katie. And Stephen and his wife were there, with their daughter Autumn; they're expecting their second child in June. Annie, too, who now goes by Ann. And I've seen Lauren every day, since she's 14 and lives with her parents. She sang at the wedding, too. Good voice, for a 14-year old.

We're planning to drive up to downtown Vancouver tomorrow. Jim's house is actually in Surrey, about 40k south of the city. If all goes well, I'll be able to meet some of the folks at Ludicorp HQ, developers of GNE and Flickr. And that'll be cool.

Oh, and subtract three hours, again.

Edit June 27, 2004: About a month ago (Memorial Day weekend?) I happened across the ginger Altoids at a local gas station, and couldn't pass up the opportunity to try them. "Curiously strong" is an accurate description.

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Saturday, April 17, 2004

Blog Canada

Somebody remind me: if I ever get married, I'm going to elope.

It is the day before Beth's wedding, and things are still being added to the to-do list. I suppose it doesn't help that Beth has been rather unorganized about the whole thing. I think it's also due to the fact that she has been doing a lot of things herself. By that I mean no florist, no caterer, etc. For instance, on Tuesday she and my aunt Linda went to Vancouver to wherever it is that flower wholesalers auction off their flowers. They weren't sure if they'd be able, as non-professionals, to bid on flowers, but as it was they were allowed. And I guess they got some great bargains. Somehow Beth ended up with a hundred blue-dyed roses. She must've accidentally pressed the button when they were up, but they cost her, all of them, only $12 (Canadian funds?), so she decided she'd put them to use.

Tonight was a party at Jim's house with folks from Beth's side of the family (including us, the New York contingent), and folks from John's side of the family (John being her soon-to-be husband). I talked for a while with John's two daughters: Jessica, in fourth grade, and Madeline, in second. They are two of the cutest buttons I've ever met. And so funny, too. Jessica is chattier, but doesn't talk your ear off. She'd be talking to me about something, and Maddy would cut in with something fairly oblique, and Jess would look at her like, What are you talking about? And Maddy would just smile.

I spent the next two hours talking with an older couple, one at a time. I don't remember their names, but they were introduced to me as people who were "like parents to John." He is from England, she is from Holland, and they've both spent the better part of their lives in Canada. He and I talked about the US, and New York in general. He asked what we all thought about the whole Martha Stewart trial. I told him that we were largely amused by it. And I told him what Joe had told me: ImClone's stock was going to fall because their new drug wasn't going to get FDA approval. But just a couple of months ago, the drug was approved by the FDA; if Stewart hadn't sold her shares, she would be making money now. He was shocked--he hadn't heard anything about that.
I asked her about the Holland/Netherlands name thing, and she said that the Netherlands is so named because most of the country is below sea level--the "lower lands." It is divided up into eleven provinces. The two largest are called North Holland (where Amsterdam is) and South Holland, and together they make up most of the country. So "Holland" is kind of a nickname.

Jimmy chopped up some onions a few hours ago, for the salad tomorrow, but they're still making my eyes water.

You know, I just remembered that Mom and Kreg's wedding wasn't nearly this stress-inducing. Not for me, in any case. It must be a matter of deciding well in advance what you want to do, so that you can delegate well in advance and not have to change plans on people. Cos I think that's what's driving everyone nuts right now.

Oh, and subtract three hours from the timestamp. I could just change it, but I'd probably forget to change it again when I get back to Syracuse.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Westward Ho!

Aunt Beth's wedding is this weekend. Dad, Grammy, Uncle Peter, and I are flying to Seattle tomorrow morning, then renting a car and driving to Vancouver. Or Ferndale, WA, and then Vancouver. We'll be staying with Uncle Jimmy. I haven't seen some of my cousins out there in over a decade. Like, I think it's been fifteen years since I last saw Heather or Amy, and I've never met Amy's or Stephen's kids.

I still need to pack. I've got laundry in the dryer now. So I guess I'm just killing time till it's done.

Yeah. Gettin' up at 3:30am is gonna be fun.

Mmm, purty...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Not cool, Lyzanne.

(20:20:34) Blu Fenix 3x311: EMILY!!!!
(20:20:34) ModernEmily <AUTO-REPLY> : Reproducibility is our motto.
Reproducibility is our motto.
(20:20:39) Blu Fenix 3x311: ITS ME JOE!!!!
(20:20:41) Blu Fenix 3x311: WAKE UP!!!!
(20:21:11) Blu Fenix 3x311: wanna go to the library and do ultra superdy duperdy cowabunga cool math?
(22:54:34) ModernEmily: sorryman, no can do.
(22:54:42) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol
(22:54:49) Blu Fenix 3x311: i know i asked like 5 years ago
(22:55:06) ModernEmily: um, do i know you?
(22:55:28) Blu Fenix 3x311: yes, joe, i am joe . . . no wait . . . im buck . . . lol
(22:55:48) ModernEmily: i currently know only one person named joe, and he is 30.
(22:56:04) ModernEmily: no, wait, i know another guy named joe, but he has three kids, and another one on the way.
(22:56:20) ModernEmily: i'm guessing you're not either of them.
(22:56:33) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol, i have three nephews and a neice on the way
(22:56:39) Blu Fenix 3x311: so that must be me
(22:56:44) ModernEmily: Mmm, i don't think that counts.
(22:56:47) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol
(22:56:57) Blu Fenix 3x311: ill just tell everyone u like buck . . .
(22:57:12) ModernEmily: i don't think they'll be terribly impressed.
(22:57:21) ModernEmily: since i don't know anyone named buck.
(22:57:24) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol
(22:57:34) Blu Fenix 3x311: ok, im starting fresh
(22:57:38) ModernEmily: and anyone you know probably doesn't know me.
(22:57:39) Blu Fenix 3x311: hey emily whats up?
(22:57:41) ModernEmily: ok, fresh.
(22:57:56) ModernEmily: nothing much. just got home from a friend's house.
(22:57:59) ModernEmily: what's up with you?
(22:58:09) Blu Fenix 3x311: talked to lyzanne earlier
(22:58:15) Blu Fenix 3x311: nuthin besides that
(22:58:17) ModernEmily: who's lyzanne?
(22:58:22) ModernEmily: i thought we were starting fresh?
(22:58:25) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol, emily
(22:58:26) Blu Fenix 3x311: damn u
(22:58:27) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol
(22:58:30) Blu Fenix 3x311: lmao
(22:58:33) Blu Fenix 3x311: u strange
(22:58:39) Blu Fenix 3x311: like mister anthony
(22:58:56) ModernEmily: okay. so, you know my name is emily, which you can probably tell from my screen name.
(22:59:12) ModernEmily: where do you live? like, what state? cos I am in syracuse, NY
(22:59:27) Blu Fenix 3x311: no u isnt
(22:59:36) ModernEmily: yes i is... uh, am.
(22:59:40) Blu Fenix 3x311: lol
(22:59:44) Blu Fenix 3x311: see u know its me
(22:59:53) ModernEmily: <sigh>
(23:00:04) ModernEmily: where'd you get this screenname?
(23:00:10) Blu Fenix 3x311: well, if ur not gonna be the emily i know than i guess ill leave u alone
(23:00:17) Blu Fenix 3x311: i got it thru lyzanne
(23:00:21) Blu Fenix 3x311: brokenasyou
(23:00:24) Blu Fenix 3x311: duh
(23:00:35) ModernEmily: because i'm sure you're going to talk to the emily you know about this, she's going to be very confused.
(23:00:43) ModernEmily: she gave you the screen name "modernemily"?
(23:00:53) Blu Fenix 3x311: yes
(23:01:01) ModernEmily: have you read my profile?
(23:01:06) Blu Fenix 3x311: yes
(23:01:17) ModernEmily: and i suppose you know that that's not you.
(23:01:44) ModernEmily: does the emily you know know someone else named joe, and someone named scott?
(23:01:56) ModernEmily: who would talk about axiom sets?
(23:02:12) Blu Fenix 3x311: yes
(23:02:26) Blu Fenix 3x311: emily, im tellin buck about u if u dont quit
(23:02:29) Blu Fenix 3x311: seriously
(23:02:35) ModernEmily: seriously.
(23:02:38) Blu Fenix 3x311: i hate being toyed with
(23:02:55) ModernEmily: i don't doubt it.
(23:03:09) Blu Fenix 3x311: im tellin buck
(23:03:12) Blu Fenix 3x311: bye
(23:03:20) ModernEmily: but in all honesty, i'm kind of having fun with this, and i also want to avoid the inevitable confusion your emily will experience when you tell her about this.
(23:04:28) Blu Fenix 3x311: yeah ok
(23:04:43) ModernEmily: if i give you the link to my blog, then will you believe me?
(23:04:55) Blu Fenix 3x311: maybe
(23:05:03) ModernEmily:
(23:05:43) Blu Fenix 3x311: wow
(23:06:00) Blu Fenix 3x311: damn wtf, this girl told me that u were an emily at my school
(23:06:09) ***ModernEmily laugh

We chatted a bit longer about the Air Force, a recent topic on his buddy profile. And he gave me permission to post our conversation. The above cut-n-paste appears unedited.

Edit: In the interest of avoiding Emily's embarrassment, should she or her friends ever decide to visit this blog, I have changed the name of her love interest. So if I've picked a bad name, and there happens to be someone at Emily's school named Buck, sorryman, she doesn't have the hots you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Did we mention the mirrors?

On my way home from work today, I passed a group of kids playing in a yard. Their game was suspended for a moment when their ball rolled into the street, and two of them waited for the traffic to pass before retrieving it. As I walked by, one girl, maybe 10 or 11, ran up to me. "Hey! You're so big now!"
Thoroughly puzzled, I stopped and said, "Oh yeah? How big was I before?"
She put her arm down and held her hand at about her waist. "This big."
"We were all that big once," I smiled. "When did you see me?"
"A red car... your mom drives a red car?"
"Nope, I'm sorry. I don't think I'm the person you remember."
"Oh." She went back to playing and I continued walking. "That girl..." I heard her say to one of her friends, and then she waved. "Bye!"
"Bye," I waved back.

Kids are so funny that way. My senior year of high school, I was walking home one day and a couple of kids were sitting on their front porch across the street. One called out to me. "Hey lady! How old are you?"
"How old do you think I am?"
He thought a second. "Thirty-two."
"That's it," I laughed, "I'm thirty-two."
I remember being twelve, and not knowing if I should refer to female college students as girls or women.
Heck, I still don't know.

Well, curiosity got the better of me tonight, and I decided I wanted to watch at least one episode of The Swan.

Sigh.... I guess I've got time for a rant.

Now, I've seen some of those quasi-documentaries on MTV that follow people who have cosmetic surgery, and I've been mildly entertained and somewhat intrigued by the process and the motivations of those who have it done. What I appreciate is that they show these people in their natural environments, interacting with their friends and family, and they don't draw the viewer away from the nominal subjects. Not so in The Swan, which touts itself the "most unusual pagent ever created." You, the viewer, spend too much time watching the show's hostess talk to the people who are going to be doing the makeovers: cosmetic surgeon, dietician, personal trainer, dentist, even a psychotherapist (gag me). Then you spend even more time listening to these professionals talk about the contestants and how well they think they're going to do. And before each commercial break they spend two minutes telling what's coming up later, and after every commercial break they give a two-minute recap of what's already happened in the show. Like, shut up and get on with it.

What's left is, Now they're excited about being a participant. Now they're at their new apartments, physically isolated from friends and family. See how the mirrors are all taped up? That's so they won't know how they look for the three months they're here. Now they're weeping over their "terrible" looks. Now they're at the doctor, and he's drawn all over their bodies with a purple Sharpie. Now they're nervous about surgery. Now they're in serious post-operative pain. They can't see themselves cos we covered up the mirrors. Now this one's really motivated to lose weight, but the other one's cheating on her diet. This one's unhappy with her marriage, and the other one has low self-esteem. And they still don't know how they look, cos they haven't seen a mirror in three months. Oh, and here they are, with nice make-up and fancy dresses, and we're going to make them super nervous about looking into a mirror for the first time in three months--remember how they haven't had any mirrors? Now they're crying with happiness. One wins, th'other loses, but really they both win because they're both beautiful.
And it's all about as interesting as my synopsis.

They interview the contestants before they enter "the program" and get them all teary about why they want to have these physical alterations done: "I don't go out to some places because I don't like the way I look;" "I want a divorce because my husband deserves better." Both of these things are, in their own way, genuinely saddening, but cosmetic surgery will not help that! There are greater issues of self-respect that need dealing with--and I suppose that's why the psychotherapist is there, but her presence is clearly a token gesture, and hardly the focus of the show. What little they air of the therapy sessions sounds more like gabbing girlfriends.

What might seem to validate the program's existence is that these women do, in fact, look better after their "transformation." You could watch and say, "They don't need cosmetic surgery," and at the end say, "Wow, they look a lot prettier." Like, everybody needs a little fixing up, right? All the world needs is a nip and tuck. And a gum reduction. And silicone breasts. See? So much better now.

At least the MTV program let you see if or how people's lives were changed as a result of their cosmetic surgery. Quite often it made little difference.

And I'm not even going to get in to the misogynistic theme inherent in this kind of circus show. Early twentieth-century feminists must be turning over in their graves.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Five Aluminum Cans

I know this link is going to be dead in a month, but I still think it's funny.

From the gaim homepage:

"Well, life has struck hard on the Gaim camp and we've been too busy with other things to provide with prompt Gaim releases. As such, we've decided to ask your help. Sourceforge has recently implemented a wonderful system for donating to open source projects, but due to internal conflicts among the Gaim development team, we've decided we don't want to implement this. However, if the Gaim project is going to resume the activity level it once saw, we need money. As such, we've moved to an ebay-based system of generating revenue. The developers have decided this is a fair way of generating revenue that will help the project. Our first set of auctions is currently up. Bid now!"

In other news, Tuck should be arriving any time now. He'll be home for the weekend, and it'll be good to see him.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

It seems I gotta start the explaining.

The last post is slightly enigmatic, insofar as it makes it sound like I still have at least one more hurdle to jump before I can go to Japan. I do, indeed, have more hurdles to jump, but they are close to the ground and easy to clear. I have to see a doctor and have a certificate of health form filled out, and get a couple more passport photos (presumably for my visa), and fill out a short packet of information. So long as there aren't any major discrepancies between the certificate of health and the self-assessment medical form I sent with my application in December, and so long as I didn't otherwise lie on my application, I'm in. There won't be, and I didn't, so I am.

It's funny, cos I still think back to the interview and remember the questions I was asked, wishing I'd answered some of them differently. And then I think, Emily. Stop it. You're in. It must have gone all right. Of course, worrying about how my interview went was never productive, but now it's just silly.

After I got the envelope, I spent the next hour and a half calling and e-mailing people, and posting to Big Daikon (and this blog). Spent a good part of yesterday talking to people about it, too. But when I filled out my timesheet today, I knew Cindy was going to ask, and I didn't want her to get super excited, cos she drives me a little nuts.
"So, have you heard anything?"
"Yep." I continued filling out the timesheet.
"And?..." Her voice was already excited.
"I'm going to Japan."
"Oh! I'm so happy for you!" She came around the desk and gave me a hug. So short of lying to her, there probably wasn't anything I could have done to avoid that.

Judging from the posts I've read on Big Daikon, not everyone who's JETing is having such a great time convincing their families that this is what they want to do, and that it's for the best. So I consider myself fortunate that everyone in my family is so supportive. Most of my friends are also really happy for me. The guys down at Vacuum Energy HQ have been somewhat non-responsive, but I know how they feel; I'll miss them, too.

Now I've got to concentrate on learning Japanese.

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Monday, April 05, 2004

Manila Envelope!

"It is our great pleasure to inform you that you have successfully passed the 2nd stage of the screening process for the 2004 JET Program year and are now on the final short-list for ALT candidates. You are now scheduled for placement in a Contracting Organization, which is possible in almost all cases."

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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Public Service Announcement, etc.

A friendly reminder to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight.

I just got back from the Assemblies of God New York Central Section Women's Spring Rally. Whew. Actually, not too bad. This was the first women's ministries event I've ever been to; I keep forgetting I'm old enough now for this stuff. I kind of understood what Mom meant about the "aren't we wonderful?" pat-ourselves-on-the-back mentality. But Margaret Giordano was the speaker, so I knew it would be good.

And so it was. Margaret even called me out. "I have to tell this story," she said. "Emily, where are you?" She was talking about her son David, and to give an idea of how his brain works, she mentioned a time when I was over at their house. David and I had been sitting quietly in the living room while the other kids were getting in their pyjamas. David turned to me and said, "Miss Emily?" (Their kids all call me Miss Emily--I love it.)
"Yes, David?"
He smiled. "Your hair looks like lasagna."
I laughed and laughed. When I told Lou later, he said, "And that is a high compliment from David; he loves lasagna."

All the tables had funny little fake orchid centerpieces. At each table, whoever had the birthday nearest to today could take their centerpiece home. No one at my table (which included five pastors' wives, probably the highest concentration in the whole room) came any closer than me, so it's sitting on the kitchen counter downstairs. I guess I'm kinda glad I won, but I wish they'd had different centerpieces. Lots of people commented on how real it looks, but I knew it was fake as soon as I saw it.

I only wish I'd remembered to get a picture of Margaret with my camera phone. Ah well, I'll see her again sometime.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

What's Wrong with This Picture?

Civilization III Conquests, v1.20 bug

Edit: No, this is not an April Fools' joke, though one might wonder. The 1.20 patch was released yesterday....