Sunday, July 26, 2009

To Be Wanted

This is my absolute favorite xkcd comic because it requires no words and yet is so poignant and true. This is me. Not all the time, but often enough that the reminder hurts. And also heals, because it tells me I'm not the only one.

I feel it a bit even with friends. I'm always pleased (and pleasantly surprised!) when my roommates or friends say they missed me. This last week after coming back from home, I noticed a little post-it on my roommates desk, sitting upright on one of the shelves where it would be easily visible. It was an encouraging note I had written to her last semester to tell her not to stress too much (which she does, and has been doing the last week). I don't think it was up there the week before, but it certainly made me feel loved, that it had made her feel better and she had kept the note.

Humans have this need for social interaction. We're social animals. I like being alone, I like having time to myself to read, solve puzzles, learn new things, try to understand myself (which sometimes includes writing these blog posts).

Still, I have phases of needing to be with other people and being okay by myself (these are relatively long-term moods, by the way, lasting a week or two, not a couple hours or days). I'm not antisocial, I have plenty of friends, and I have some very good friends that I am very close to. Still, there are times when everyone is busy, and despite knowing and understanding that, when I'm in the first mood, I feel loneliness keenly.

Even when I reach out to sites like Facebook or other online communities, it doesn't feel like enough. I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone, I prefer face-to-face contact, and the same applies here. I would much rather talk to someone in person if I could, not because I don't like the internet (on the contrary, I spend too much time here, and I am a college student), but because the interaction is not enough.

In the second mood, I am content with myself regardless of what others are doing. Online communities are fine, I'm okay if my friends are busy, because although I would be happy spending time with them, I'm also happy spending time by myself. I try to strive towards this mood most of the time, because it's so much more relaxing, but sometimes I slip.

A while ago, I read a blog post by Zuska on why we're afraid to be alone, and it resonated with me. I'm not a big fan of watching TV (at least since I came to college) except as a social activity with friends. The internet, however, is a very good friend, and I think that has affected my ability to be alone. It just so happened that I read the article at a time when I was trying for the second mood. I was trying to spend my alone time productively, looking at myself and who I am. The article resonated with me.

Despite my need for social interaction, I improve myself the most when I am alone, and that was something I had been neglecting. Well, I will neglect it no more. I am a work in progress, there's always something I can improve on.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hospital Results Take a Long Time

My little second cousin is in the hospital. That doesn't seem very closely related, but she's one of the few relatives my family has in this area. Most of my relatives are back in India. Besides, she's only...I think 5 years old?

Anyways, a few days ago, she was with a babysitter or something after school, and she began complaining of a headache. By the time her parents arrived, she had already vomited four times. The headaches (the back of her head, at the top of the neck) made them worry might be meningitis, so they took her to the hospital.

The doctors decided to do a lumbar puncture to find out whether it was bacterial or viral (if it was in fact meningitis). The problem? It hurt a lot. Even the injection of anesthesia hurt her, and after that, they had to try multiple times to get the cerebrospinal fluid. Afterwards, she complained of horrible pain, so much that she would lay still for hours because she was too afraid of the pain to move. The hospital had to give her morphine every three hours to fight off the pain. The first CSF test came up negative, but the fluid was pink. Whether that was because there was a problem initially or some damage was done by the repeated poking is still unknown.

She's getting better, or at least the pain is decreasing, and she's walking around and playing and eating a bit again, but the doctors decided to take an MRI. The room was booked yesterday, so they kept her in the hospital and took it today. Now the results are finally back, and it's negative. Except that there's one blood vessel that is apparently in the range of normal variation, but the doctors still want to ask a specialist to get a second opinion. Which can't happen until after the weekend. At least it seems negative.

I've been worried for both her and her parents. I'm worried for her because I want her to be okay, and I'm worried for her parents because they're worried for her. How can they stand it, constantly wondering what the result of the test will be, still uncertain about what exactly is happening with their daughter? They haven't left her side for more than an hour, and even then only one at a time, to come to our house, get some food, maybe take a bath, smile for a minute.

All we can do is offer them support, a shoulder to cry on, some home-cooked food so they can be with her all the time. I wish it were easier and faster and cheaper to diagnose a problem. At least they get to go home now for a couple of days, get some rest, and be in a more familiar environment. I hope all will go well.

Edit: She's okay now, back to normal. She was having fun dancing at a friend's graduation party recently, at least, and the pain is gone. They're still not completely sure what caused the pain in the first place, but I think they've settled on viral meningitis.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Charging for Spam

I'm not a huge texter, but I definitely text messaging to communicate with friends, especially when we have to meet up or coordinate something while I'm not near my laptop. It's really useful. It's really easy.

Since I don't use it much, I only have a basic texting plan. It's something like 250 texts a month. That's plenty more than I need most months.

Except for the fact that I don't actually have 250 left by the time you count all of the spam text messages I receive.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Lyrical quality be damned, this song has been stuck in my head for a week!
Link redacted.
Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf

...oh right, I'm supposed to be working on that paper, oops.

Writing Essays

I'm freaking out a little bit. I have a 10-page paper due tomorrow night, and as of now, I have written a total of 1.5 pages. That's good, that's 1.5 pages up from last night. Usually I don't procrastinate this much. By this point, I would at least have a full outline, 3 pages or so done, and an idea of where I'm going. The problem is that I'm trying to juggle a (thankfully no longer full-time) internship, an online class that usually has homework due every single day (for which I am writing this paper), and a biochemistry class that packs a whole semester into 1/2 the time (for which I had a huge midterm just two days ago). Still, crap! How am I going to do this?!

Edit: Okay, evening of the same day. Now I still only have 3.5 pages done, but I'm feeling a lot better about this. I think it's partly because I've outlined it, but mostly because I didn't bother worrying about a thesis statement or topic sentences.

This is the way you're supposed to do things, I suppose, but I normally have some sort of thesis to begin with. I will almost always go back and change it, because I'll inevitably develop a better argument as I write, but I usually need something to point me in some direction at the beginning.

Nevertheless, I don't have one now. Perhaps I didn't need it because the prompt is both very structured and very open. It's structured in the sense that there are specific topics I need to talk about, but open-ended because it is somewhat a report and relies on my applying parts of those topics to my own observations. Wait, hmm...I guess that's kind of how a lot of essays are anyways (applying what you've learned), so maybe a guiding theme would have been useful.

Either way, it's too late now, and I'll just have to analyze the topics, then analyze my analyses so I can figure out what my point is.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Work all day, play all night. Hey!

Okay, so here's my lovely schedule for the summer:

Monday - take train from home to nearby MRU, work 9-5 in internship, which largely involves staring at a computer screen and playing with modelling proteins, and reading papers every now and then. Take train home, eat dinner, pack, return to college.

Tuesday - Biochemistry class, followed by lunch, and at least every other week, it seems, take (a different) train or carpool with fellow interns to MRU where there is more work to be done.

Wednesday - Same as Tuesday, but with the bonus of being able to grab lunch with my favorite former roommate :D.

Thursday - Either a lecture or a midterm every other week (no, literally, this is a summer class...) but no discussion. Return to MRU because Thursdays are the only days that nobody else is missing and therefore the days when we must have meetings/presentations. Yes, presentations, always on the same days as my midterms. But Thursday night, I usually get to go home.

Friday - Work 9-5 (or 4), go home, play Wii Tennis. This Friday, go see HP6 (yes, I'm totally excited!!).

This all is in addition to an online class that relates to reframing organizations and professional development and some other such things. For which I have 10-page paper due this week, same as the midterm that is worth 1/3 of my grade. I thought this was supposed to be summer...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Running Around

My parents just bought a Wii a couple of days ago. I've been hinting a little bit that we should buy one for a while now, but I hadn't put much effort into it. So I was completely surprised when I came home from college (yes, I know it's summer, but at least my class is only 3 days a week - I get to use the other two for my internship) and found a Wii in front of the TV. Now, I was very happy, but it turns out that they bought it for themselves, not for me. Oh. Well, at least I get to play it when I'm at home.

Which brings me to the first half of the point I want to make. Wii Tennis is very addicting. I played tennis a bit in middle school, but I didn't keep it up past the first summer of high school. To be honest, I'm not that good (I'm not horrible either, but I'm not good). But it was fun. And Wii Tennis is fun too. I've missed swinging around a remote racket. I know you can just give a little flick with your wrist and easily get the ball to go where you want, but I am trying to use my real tennis swing here, although I have to admit that doing a two-handed backhand is difficult with the remote.

Yet something is missing. Can you guess?


Yep, you guessed it. Actually moving.

There's certainly not enough space in my living room, and more than that, there's absolutely no point in running in the game itself, because the little Miis run for you.

So I propose a solution: a circular treadmill!

No, not the funny-looking thing you get when you google (or youtube) "circular treadmill". What I'm thinking of is something with omni wheels of some sort so that it can detect you running in whatever direction you're moving. Wouldn't that add some real exercise into things like Wii Fit?

In order to describe it, the best thing I can come up with is to say that it would probably look something like a Roomba (but slightly bigger) covered in a treadmill-type cloth that could move easily around the thing in any direction. There would probably have to be some sort of casing around it so that the whole thing wouldn't move when you started running.

Overall, though, it would give you a chance to actually move around. You could even use it as a plain treadmill if you wanted, though maybe with changeable/downloadable scenery, so you could go running wherever you want. Maybe if the scenery came in 3d blocks, so that you could run around and explore (since, after all, you have the freedom to run in any direction you want).

It could also be interesting to play with for first-person shooter games or basketball/soccer/other sports games. The possibilities are endless!

Here, I'm pretending somebody will actually see this and I will be talking to someone other than myself, but...What do you think? Would people actually go for such a thing?

New Kid on the Block

Yes, the title says it all. I'm new to the blogging world, and I don't yet plan on letting anyone I know see this blog with the knowledge that it's mine, but I'm still going to act as if they could, and as if I actually have an audience bigger than 0. So this blog will be an hodgepodge of various thoughts, ideas, experiences and things that I just plain find interesting (the majority will probably be the latter). I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to be doing here, but I think I'll learn how I want to use this blog soon.

I'm probably more than slightly influenced by Isis the Scientist, so you may see pictures with snarky captions popping up every now and then. I think I'll certainly be more talkative than I am in real life. Oh, and I suppose I should mention that I'm going to stay curiousgeorgie for now. No real names. I want to be able to reveal the person in my head, not the person that everybody sees (I'm mostly myself, but very few see all aspects of me).