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on the subject of livejournal friends pages

We interrupt your regularly scheduled lack-of-posting to bring you this breaking news update:

A few people have recently noted that they have been removed from my LJ friends page. The management would like to reassure the denizens of LiveJournal that being removed from my friends list does not mean that I hate you. It does not mean that we’re no longer friends. It does not mean that I never want to hang out with you again.

My friends page is not a list of my friends. It is a list of people that I like to read. So, if you don’t post regularly (i.e., more often that I update my weblog — which, trust me. That’s not hard), or you post a multitude of cryptic one-liners that make no sense to me, I likely deleted you. If there’s some piece of information that simply must get to me, such as “I was abducted by the lizard people but now I’m back” or “I’m graduating,” the preferred method of contacting me is e-mail or IM. In more urgent cases, such as “how about some cheese” or “my favorite pet ant (you know, the one with the funny colored leg? Sammy? Who was hated by all the other child-ants?) was abducted by lizard people and I’m freaking out,” a phonecall may be more appropriate.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled bursts of silence, stupid news articles, and equally stupid ramblings.

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I’ve got a date!

That might sound like a good thing, except it’s actually the date when I’ll retake the PhD Qualifier.

May 17-18 (a monday) is the day. I’ve got a wedding in Philadelphia the previous weekend (May 8).

Right. I’ve managed to get some studying done almost every sunday this year. I should be OK, right? Right?

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bent fenders

On my way to campus yesterday (for a full day of heavy, exercised-related lifting; and intense, ground-breaking research), I got into an accident.

Not a big accident, mind you. It was really just a little fender bender. And, it wasn’t quite a fender bender. At least, my car was fine. The other guy’s car was also fine, except for a slightly dented front fender.

While I’m being specific, I might as well say it wasn’t quite on my way to campus. I was leaving my garage, when a car coming in from the street leapt out of nowhere. And, BAM. It wasn’t really a leap, either. See the above paragraph on the extent of the damage. OK, so, what really happened was, I saw him as I was pulling past the building (which was blocking my sight), hit the breaks, slid in the slush, hit his car.

Luckily, he was in no mood to call the cops and insurance and whatnot. He’s going to get me an estimate for the little dent in his fender, and we’re going to come to some kind of agreement.

So, it could’ve been much worse. The accident was injury-free, and the other party was a very agreeable man. Still, it could’ve not happened at all. Really, that would’ve been ideal.

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hamburger helper and my total lack of updates

I’ve tried blaming my lack of updates on any number of things:

  • “writer’s block”
  • comment spam
  • the lunar calendar
  • being “busy”

But then, my dinner presented me with more plausible reasoning. My dinner you say?

I got home today, and thought “hamburger helper!” This is partially because their cheesy enchilada is tasty, but mostly because there’s little else in my larder.

So, I pulled out the ground beef which I’d conveniently forgotten to defrost and stuck it in the microwave. After some random tidying up, the beef was defrosted, and it was time to pull out the hamburger helper box (I know, I’m a gourmet). Well, it wasn’t in the cupboard where I normally keep things like hamburger helper, cayenne pepper sauce, tea, etc.

It wasn’t there. Furthermore, I know I purchased it (just last week! along with some vegetables!). So, I looked around. Did I forget to put it away? Was it under the coffee table? Behind the tv? the futon? in the papasan? the hall closet? The cupboard again? The spice drawer? The dishwasher? The oven?

No.

I looked in the cupboard again. This time with the aid of my trusty step stool. Guess what? It wasn’t there.

I thought, “damnit.” I know it’s here. I looked under the futon again. in the papasan. the hall closet. The bathroom? my closet? under the bed? under the bathroom sink? in the toilet?

I kid you not. I looked in all those places. My box of cheesy enchilada-laden goodness was no where to be found. What to do? Should I order out? Pad thai sounded nice. Should I go to the store and buy some more? Put the ground beef back in the fridge?

No. I decided I should look in the cupboard again.

Guess what I found? The hamburger helper. The rest, I imagine, you can glean from the side of the box.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with me not updating this blog (which, no doubt, looks different). Well, the hamburger helper was right in front of me, and I couldn’t see it. Often enough, I want to update, but can’t quite find the words; or something to write about. Often enough, both things are right in front of me, and I can’t see them.

Does this mean I’ve found the magic solution? Probably not. Does it mean I’ll keep updating regularly? For a while, probably. I find that a little change of scenery does me good.

I guess I should just apologize in advance for being a poor weblogger!

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late entries

This is late. It is, unsurprisingly, also late.

It’s a new year now. It’s two thousand and five. It’s twenty-six years after I was born. It’s (less than) four years since September 2001. It’s (less than) one year since November 2004. It is, in fact, nine days since 1 January 2005. It is, precisely: nine days, three hours, and twenty-seven minutes past 1 January 2005.

I’ll say, right up front, that 2004 was absolute crap. I failed my Ph.D. qualifiers. I saw my father fall deathly ill (in september no less! I’ve learned to hate septembers, if nothing else). Most miraculously, I found romance; I found happiness. I can’t tell if it’s lasting, but it sure feels like it. In the midst of pure crap, I learned to dance like no-one’s watching. I learned to hug like I’ve found Santa. I’ve learned to kiss like there’s no tomorrow.

I’ll make the same resolutions I make every year: I’ll do work. I’ll make schedules. I’ll save humanity. I’ll save the world. This year, though, is different. I won’t do all that, but: I’ll save myself. I’ll do work. I’ll treat my friends and loved ones the way they should be the treated. I’ll update my blog regularly. I don’t think I’ll save the world this year. I won’t even save humanity! I’ll come one step closer, though. I’ll think globally, and act locally. I’ll take the bus. I’ll recycle. I’ll participate in fair trade.

I can’t say I’ll even do what I’ve said I will. I’ve made new year’s promises before. I’ve broken them. I’ve kept them. This year, though? I feel it. I feel ready. I feel in love. I feel like I can save the world and still have time for hot chocolate. Experience tells me that maybe I’ve only time for hot chocolate. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try though, right?

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a little bad, a whole lotta good

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things since the election, and it’s been tough. I’m behind on the news, and having trouble catching up. I know what I want to do next, it’s just a matter of making some phonecalls, budgetting time, and getting involved.

That’s not really the breaking news, though. Actually, I guess the breaking news isn’t really breaking, either: Well, to my reading audience who doesn’t really see me on a regular basis, I have (wait for it)… met a girl! Without gushing too much, she’s wonderful. She makes me smile. She makes me laugh. And her direction sense is about on par with mine.

So, if I seem to be walking around with a dopey grin on my face? She would be why.

And, if, in the space of this blog, I start referring to her as EEEEEEE!!, well, blame Stanek and the fact that I probably sounded like that as I was typing.

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if i don’t laugh i’ll cry

I can’t sleep again. I’ve also, again, been following the news with an almost hawk-like intensity. It varies by week — some, I’ll stay far away. Others, I’ll be glued to it like a junky. Except, I think, that election news may be worse for your health.

I don’t like where this country is headed, and, while I’m not leaving, I’m getting tired. Not, since you asked, tired enough to actually go to sleep.

It seems like all the questions we really need answers to don’t have answers. The more we argue about them, the more we realize that we’re simply different.

Right. I’d laugh, but things to laugh about are escaping me right at this moment.

I realized, on Thursday, that I don’t think I can watch ER, anymore. I should note that I don’t actually watch the show anymore. Instead, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think I can even watch the old episodes (some of which I recall being quite good) without being uncomfortable. I discovered this on Wednesday while watching the West Wing. In this season’s premiere, Donna is in a hospital bed in Germany after a carbomb attack. She’s beat-up, she’s tired, she’s nauseous, and she’s trying to comfort the people around her.

I had a last sentence for that paragraph, but nothing seemed appropriate. Instead, I’ll leave this entry with this wholly unsatisfying two sentences. Well, three, really.

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little things

A few weeks ago, I picked up some flannel sheets at Bed Bath & Beyond on clearance ($25!). It was a total impulse buy (shutup. There’s nothing wrong with impulse buys at BB&B). I put them on my bed yesterday, and they’re absolutely wonderful.

I lost part of my homework assignment and had to redo it.

Apparently, the homework assignment I thought was due today was moved to next week while I was in the bathroom.

I have a midterm tomorrow. I can’t sleep, and I’m not feeling terribly productive.

The sheets, however, are really comfortable. Once I got to sleep last night, I slept like a baby.

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The Anti-Abortion Bus

I saw this on campus recently:

the Anti-Abortion Bus

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Indefinite Deferral

I went to the law school today to donate blood. It’s been a bit more than a year since the last time I went. I had been to India recently, and there is, they tell me a chance I might have malaria. If I don’t develop signs of malaria in the next year, I’m allowed to come back.

Fast-forward to right about now (actually, about 13 hours ago). I walk in, they ask me some preliminary questions (all “no”) they stick my finger (hemoglobin test), take my blood pressure (121/80), etc etc. Then, I answer all the questions — questions which have changed since I have last given blood.

The red cross guidelines now (as of October 2001) state:

who has lived in any European country or combination of countries (including the United Kingdom) for a cumulative total of six months since 1980

The fear is that Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease will slip into the US blood supply. This is understandable. I’d feel better, though, if our blood supply was guarded by something other than some simple questions asked to donors. The nurse who took my information told me that she had turned away 5 people (including me) since they’d opened at 9AM. I arrived at 10:30. I can’t imagine how many people with viable blood they must be turning away.

So, some random person can go to europe for a month, contract CJD, and then donate blood? Which they can’t screen? What? Granted, the likelihood of this is low: According to the CDC, the annual incidence of CJD is “1 case per million persons in the United States.”

Jeez. I’m sortof mad, but I also see their point. They don’t want to infect the blood supply: hence, the restriction. At the same time, I’m not really convinced that their safety measures keep us any safer. What I can say is that they’re keeping a sizeable number of the blood-donating public from donating.

It doesn’t help that, as a country, we’re complete asshats about it. the US is refusing to introduce mandatory BSE testing of all slaughtered cows, a point of contention with the japanese:

Although Japanese consumers are saying they want to buy beef that has undergone blanket testing, the U.S. is saying that this is unnecessary and that they should buy U.S. beef that has only been checked if the cow was at least 30 months old.

A US firm (with its business interests in mind) “suggested that blanket testing only be introduced for beef for export to Japan.” the US denied the request. Ostensibly, because it would put undue burden on other firms wanting to sell to Japan. Which won’t buy our untested beef.

Is this the answer to our blood shortage? Or our (kind-of-nonexistent) CJD/BSE problem? Is this how to eradicate a disease? Especially when the mortality rate is below influenza (36,000 deaths per year), and almost any other disease I care to name. I’m not convinced.