Category Archives: Random Rants
I read a lot of books on my Kindle, and for the most part I love it, but sometimes there are some glitches. One of the most recent one I found is that in all the Star Wars books (yes, I have read most of them) the word kind is always replaced by the word land. I don’t know why, but it cracks me up. Okay, I really need a life.
Do not set your chocolate bar on the edge of your laptop. It does not end well.
I forget that even though I have one of the aluminum Mac laptops that are really quiet, it doesn’t mean that the computer doesn’t get warm. In fact the aluminum probably conducts the heat very well into the chocolate bar helping it melt more.
Also, I sometimes forget how quiet my laptop is, but I was in the library the other day and this guy’s laptop was buzzing like a swarm of bees. It kind of reminded me of my old cow computer Bessie from when I worked at NIST. I think I worked there in 2006, and this laptop was left over from the 2000 census. It sounded like a cow mooing whenever I tried to do work. So I ended up decorating it like a cow with a cowbell and everything.
Oh man, this picture brings me back. I had braces and crazy hair and everything.
I was talking to my little brother the other day, and he was telling me that he wears each pair of contacts for months at a time. These are the kind of contacts that you are supposed to take out at the end of every day and clean and soak and then throw away at the end of the month. And he wears them for months straight. And then he told me that his eyes were bothering him lately. Really?! Ya think?! Now my eyes are itching and watering in sympathy. I was always scrupulously obsessive about keeping my contacts clean, and I still stopped wearing them a couple of years ago because they started giving me problems. This just grosses me out immensely.
This actually happened a while ago, but I thought it was funny enough to tell the story. This January, I had a ruptured ovarian cyst, and when that happened, they found that I had a ginormous dermoid cyst that needed to be removed (it later turned out not to exist, but that’s a totally different story for another day). I was told that I needed to have it out soon, and that I shouldn’t run or jump or most importantly RIDE MY HORSE until I had surgery.
So I made an appointment as quickly as possible with the person who could see me the fastest. In retrospect, I will never do that again, because of the aforementioned magically disappearing cyst and the fact that I had surgery for no reason, but yet again that is a story for another day.
The doctor I had an appointment had an office in Oakland and one in Richmond (sadly the sketchier of the two places and that is saying something). I could be seen sooner in Richmond, so I made an appointment to be seen that week.
I went to my appointment, and it was pretty unremarkable except for two things. First of all, I was asked by at least 3 different people in the waiting area and in the elevators if I was a doctor. As I was entering the office one girl replete with piercings and goth make-up surreptitiously approached me (well, as surreptitiously as you can when you are wearing rattling chains and various other doohickeys) to ask where the planned parenthood was. I actually knew only because I had read the directory on the ground floor and happened to walk almost a whole lap around the building looking for my doctor’s office. Ironically, I was not even wearing scrubs, which I do sometimes, because they are the best lab pants ever invented.
The being mistaken for a doctor thing kind of amused me, but I couldn’t figure out why. In my general experience, I am much more likely to be asked “When are you graduating from college (or sometimes even high school)?” than “Are you a doctor?” Thinking about it a lot, I realized that I was probably the only white person out of the twenty or so people I had seen and/or passed in the hallway who was not actually a doctor in the office. So apparently the only white people who go to the doctor’s in Richmond are doctors there. My follow-up appointment was in the other office in Oakland, so I didn’t get a chance to actually go and pay attention and take statistics on a return trip.
The doctor part was kind of odd and funny, especially with the goth girl, but the second part annoyed me a lot. Leaving the office I got in the elevator with and older couple and a presumed mother and daughter pair. The little girl was about three and absolutely adorable, and the guy in the older couple started trying to talk to her. She immediately hid and hugged her mom and was terrified, and as a formerly mortally shy person until college, I could sympathize. I remember that I didn’t answer the phone at home ever, because I was scared that I would have to talk to someone. I never try to talk to kids–or strangers really–unless they talk to me first. Maybe that is my own latent shyness, but I would have hated having strange people talk to me on the elevator when I was her age. Actually, I probably would have started crying hysterically and embarrassed my mother immensely, so she did a lot better than I would have.
The guy’s response, and this is a direct quote as I wrote it down as soon as I got out of the elevator because I was so shocked: “I’m a Christian; I don’t hurt children.”
There are just so many things wrong with that statement that it is not even funny. Number one (and in no particular order), do three-year-olds even understand what it means to be Christian? I certainly didn’t until I was a lot older. In fact, I thought I was a Christian until I started college, because I knew what it mean to be Jewish or Muslim (from friends and books), and I assumed that everyone else was a Christian by default, because I had never heard of any other religions or atheism, agnosticism, secular humanism, or any other non-religious way of being.
Secondly, there is the obvious rebuttal: lots of Christians have actually hurt lots of children actually. I was so flabbergasted to meet someone who straight out said basically that Christianity equals goodness, and that is so fundamentally not true that it is not even funny. Having been hurt many times by other Christian children (if you can say that children are actually true Christians, because I really think that you can’t really know what you believe until you are older) and adults, I can say from personal experience that it is not true. Not to mention the whole Catholic-priests-molesting-kids (and more terrifyingly the church hiding it) scandal and numerous other murderers, rapists, and terrorists. Then if you really want to go there, there’s always the Crusades, witch trials, and the Inquisition, none of which are exactly shining moments in the history of Christianity.
Thirdly, as a non-religious member of society I hate hate hate the fact that if you don’t believe in God, you are assumed to be immoral and likely to hurt children and do any number of evil things, because you don’t have a giant deity waiting in the sky to smite you if you screw up. It drives me absolutely crazy. I think people are people, and there are lots of good people and lots of bad people of most religious and non-religious variations. My views are my own views, and I obviously think they are right (whatever that means) or I would no longer hold them at this point in my life, but seriously.
Fourthly, if I was that child and that happened to me when I was a little kid, I am pretty sure that I would have just been terrified of Christians for the rest of my life. I have no memory of the following story, but when I was really little, my mom took me to see some Sesame Street movie at the theater. Apparently Big Bird ended up in a cage, and I was so upset by this experience, that my mom had to take me home halfway through the movie, and I threw a fit and was really scared and refused to see any movies for a very long time after. I remember when my mom took us (my brothers and me) to see Cool Runnings (one of my favorite movies to this day actually) when I was 7. I remember crying and crying and crying and being terrified of the movie theatre, even though I couldn’t remember why I was so scared. My mom got kind of mad at me and spoke very sternly to me, and we went in and I was fine. I really loved the movie, and that experience cured me of my fear of movie theaters–fortunately for my mother and everyone else I know. I know that I was probably not a typical child, but my point is that children can be easily traumatized, so talking to shy children and then saying that you are Christian probably is not the best way to go.
Just my two cents (or really a lot more than that) for today.
Today is my 28th birthday! Hooray! Actually I think birthdays stop being quite so exciting once you pass 18 or 21, but that’s okay.
I went to work like usual, and after work I went to tutor my friend Amelia. We have been riding together for the last 3 or more years, and now she is 16 and a junior in high school. I have been tutoring her in pre-calculus mainly with some occasional biology thrown in. She found out that it was my birthday (I’m guessing from Facebook), and she got her Mom to get me a cake, so I had a birthday cake after all. Amelia put some of her horse figurines on the cake (she assured me that she had washed them first). It was a pretty nice birthday.
Aside: The other fabulous thing about tutoring Amelia is that her dad is a really great cook, and as I often come over after work, I get to eat dinner with her family, and then we do some math after dinner. I need to cultivate more students with excellent cooks for parents. Amelia’s older sister is a freshman in college, so I think they enjoy someone being around occasionally now that her sister is off at school.
Last week, I helped Amelia study for her AP Biology test on genetics. We reviewed almost all of the aspects of genetics (Punnett squares, pedigrees, simple dominance, incomplete dominance, multiple trait crosses, etc.) using the genetics of horse coat colors, which I have recently become an expert in. We drew pedigrees of different horses in the barn, worked out their genotypes based on certain color traits and drew the Punnett squares for hypothetical matings of different horses. I think my favorite was Bjorn the big, black Friesian and Snickerdoodle the little palomino pony. It turns out that their offspring have a one-fourth chance each of being smoky black, black, palomino, or chestnut. Of course that assumes that there are not any agouti genes lurking undetected in Snickerdoodle, because then we could get other colors as well. In order to cover some of the other material, we also talked about my little brothers’ impending baldness (sex-linked traits) and the blood types of my family members (co-dominance).
This week when I first got to her house, she told me all about how well she did on her biology test. She got her first A on a test in the class all year, and her overall grade is now the highest it has ever been! I was really happy that I helped her that much in one session for a biology class of all things, and that I found a way to make it interesting and fun for her as well. I think that the best gift that I got this year was that reminder of how much I love teaching, and that I am actually really good at it. Thanks Amelia!
I just realized something quite odd. I was looking at the things on my to do list, and I classified texting someone under “letters” (yes, I do actually write letters to people on paper still) and Facebook messaging someone else under “emails.” Apparently if it is on the computer it is an email and if not then it’s a letter. It used to be that you just wrote letters to people. And then you could write them or call them, but now you can write, email, text, call, Facebook message, however many forms of instant message, and I don’t know what else. It’s just getting too complicated. I think I am going back to message by passenger pigeon. Or raven. Yeah, definitely raven.
I don’t know why I decided to, but I decided that I really wanted to get a 3D printer all of a sudden. It’s kind of a strange thing to want I guess, but there really was a reason for it. It would be so cool to be able to make odd little presents for people or things that you need and just print them out. I also want to be able to make some things for lab, and it turns out that making some things out of plastic with a printer might be easier than harassing some undergrad into machining it for me. I started the machine shop class, but have never gotten around to finishing it, because it always seems like I end up having more important things to do at the time. I have been thinking about getting one for a while, but a couple of days ago I decided to go ahead and do it.
I looked around on the internet at all the different kinds. I really like the Makerbox’s Thing-o-matic, but they don’t make them anymore, and the replacement is like $2000, which I am not willing to spend. I looked around on the internet for forever, and I finally found a company called Makibox that I thought looked cool. The lowest level version is only $200, but you can only make a certain kind of plastic stuff with that, so I ordered the more expensive version. I also ordered a thing that melts pellets into string for the printer. I got that because I might want to experiment with other kinds of plastics, and if I can find buy them and cut them and melt them into string then I could make other things. I ordered those two things and some string for the printer, and in total it came to $500. I think that is not so bad. They are a little bit backordered right now, but I should get it by June. I think I am going to set it up at work, because I really don’t have anywhere to put it at home, but it’s going to be awesome.
I don’t know what to make first. I guess I have a couple of weeks to think about it. I think it would be cool to make things that I need sometimes. Or to make little widgets for specific purposes. And I’m going to make awesome presents with it. I don’t know what exactly. But it’s going to be so incredibly cool, it’s not even funny.
I just bought my new car in March, and about two weeks later my tied-for-best friend Rachel called me to tell me that she bought the same car as me. What also makes this funny is that I am two weeks older than her, so our difference in ages is about the same as our car’s. (Okay, yes, they were made in a factory so who knows when they actually got made, but it’s still funny.)
Here’s us with our new cars:
Something else amusing is that she named her car Galaxy, and I named mine Baby Beluga. It’s a little ironic as I am a physicist and she is a biology/medical person. We are so silly sometimes. Also, the us both wearing purple was actually an accident. We really didn’t plan it.