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Confessions of a Thirty-Whatever-Year-Old Who Is Technically A Junior But I Sure Wish I Was Done With This Shit: Fall Semester 2016

Confessions of a Thirty-Whatever-Year-Old Who Is Technically A Junior But I Sure Wish I Was Done With This Shit: Fall Semester 2016

(Note: I started writing this damn thing on January 6th. It is now February 3rd. I haven’t felt motivated to do anything because of Reasons, but I’m getting it done now.)

The slog, it does not end.  After being unusually optimistic about how quickly I was going to be done, I decided not to be a fool and double-check the admissions requirements of other schools… because if someday I’m taking Ye Olde PCAT, I’m going to apply to more than one school.

Guess what? My target school has requirements that are a lot different from most other schools. What was looking like another year and a half, tops, is now looking like two plus, more if I don’t get in. FML. Now I need to find time for economics- Micro or Macro, school depending, another social science, and if I wanted to go to Utah, a few years of foreign language. (Spoiler alert: I don’t have time to learn a foreign language, so if I am to ever live near the Rockies again, it’ll have to be on the Colorado side of ’em). I’ll probably have to re-take Psych again to get that grade up to snuff, too. For what will be the THIRD time. I want to strangle Fresh Out Of High School Going To Dixie Because Of Friends And Family History Me to death.  Dixie State was an experience that helped me grow and appreciate things, to be sure, but if I would’ve been smart, gone to the U, lived in the dorms, et cetera ad infinitum different life blah blah blah. Of course, as this unhealthy spiral of What If continues, I again come to the ultimate conclusion of If That Would Have Happened, No Move To Georgia, No KLynne, No Max and Bumi, Therefore Would Make All Of The Same Mistakes Again, Yes, Even The One That Required Me To Get An Anti-Stalking Injunction Against Crazy Ex, Because KLynne And The Doggos Are Worth It.

Ahem. Sidetracked.

Dr. Teach Your Own Damn Self

Dr. Teach Your Own Damn Self is a firm believer in what is being called “the flipped classroom”. Essentially, in a flipped classroom concept, it is on YOU to teach yourself all of the concepts on your own time through reading and online lectures (done by other people, mind you) so class time can be a never-ending orgy of Let’s Do Some Practice Problems, with the professor acting as some kind of oracle for you to pose questions to or beg to help you with difficult concepts.

This is a scheme that I’m sure the professors love the shit out of, because LESS WORK, right? Numerous studies show that it’s more effective as an educational tool. I trust these studies about as much as I trust studies done on the effects of tobacco funded by cigarette companies.

I don’t like it.  I’m paying lots of money TO BE TAUGHT NEW CONCEPTS, not to teach them myself. I do well in a lecture environment. Lecture, throw in a video or two, add activities to cement concepts. Expect me to do reading, but come the fuck on… don’t expect me to be a subject matter expert capable of teaching the class myself. But wait, there’s more! The class that Dr. Teach Your Own Damn Self teaches is ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, which is known far and wide as a weed-out course for anyone hoping to gain a biology degree or go into medicine or chemistry. I’ve had multiple pharmacists tell me that if I can survive OChem, the PCAT and the rest of Pharmacy School will be cake.  The most difficult undergrad course offered, according to Fastweb, that “separates the doctors from the wannabes” and causes many a STEM student to change majors and NOPE their way out of the sciences.

I’m not done yet, though! This man DROOLED scorn all over me for daring to ask him a question about the content.  HOW DARE I NOT HAVE SPENT YEARS AND YEARS AS A WORKING ORGANIC CHEMIST AND PROFESSOR, right?

This was the first day of class.

It took me twelve hours to teach myself the first chapter of material and finish one assignment. This was not sustainable.  I dropped the class after one class session and one lab session. I replaced it with a nice relaxing Survey of US History course, and a return to

Dr. Has Forgotten More History Than I Will Ever Learn

AKA Dr. G. If you’re reading this, Hi! Dr. G is the only professor who calls me by my nickname (the others seemed kind of weirded out when I asked it, so eventually I stopped) and the only one who kn0ws this URL. Who knows if he remembers it, but here I go.

I had Dr. G for my very first class in this Going Back To College Odyssey and I didn’t start this series of updates until FALL 2013, not Summer, so he didn’t get a nickname then. He gets one now.

Originally, I took Survey of US History 2 from Dr. G, which at my school starts just after Reconstruction (and “redemption”, ugh) and ended somewhere around the 2000 election. I learned much in that class, although the concept of uploading my notes every day to the LMS that the school uses was a pain in the ass (although it is a good way to make sure that people are paying attention, I will grudgingly admit).

Getting my second history class taken care of isn’t a prerequisite for Pharmacy, but it is necessary if I’m going to stick around and get my Bachelor of Science, so it was an easy pick. The fact that it’s Dr. G was gravy, because I got along well with him the first go-round. (It’s always nice being one of maybe two people in a class that get pop culture references that sail over the heads of the rest of the class).

Survey 1 tracked the story of the US from early Colonial times ’til—you guessed it—Reconstruction. I learned a lot in the class-particularly about the giving of gifts in different cultures, how Texas was founded, the great American tradition of “We want this thing, but we sure as hell aren’t going to pay for it”, and (as in any history class) man’s continued inhumanity to man.

I don’t have any bitching. I still find Dr. G to be one of the best professors that I’ve ever had, and I’m not just saying that. I’ve learned much more about things that I thought I knew in his classroom than I thought I would.

Professor Get on the Trail

Professor GotT taught the second class I added after bailing on OChem, Intro to Hiking. I had one outstanding PE requirement left in my Cores, so I figured that a hiking class would be good.

I don’t have much to say- the Prof was very nice and tolerated my out-of-shape ass slowing down the rest of the class (even if it led to part of the class getting lost on one of our hikes, oops). Most of the stuff in class I already knew, though… Leave No Trace principles, what kind of gear you need (and the law of diminishing returns on the really high-end stuff), and that we’ve got a plethora of good trails around us.

One thing that I really did like is a hike originating at the local Environmental Center. Out on this trail, in a semi-nowhere area, is a surprisingly large suspension bridge! Who knows how much money it took to erect that, but it was a really cool thing to see that I’m sure not many people know about.

Dr. Turn Down for What

Dr. TDfW teaches Cell Biology, and gets his name for a class activity where we absolutely DEMOLISHED a lab classroom to the dulcet tones of DJ Snake and Lil Jon… to illustrate cell apoptosis. The good Doctor survived med school and did postdoc at Emory and is very, VERY in tune with what the latest and greatest biological innovations are. On top of currency, the class also featured something that I’ve never seen before in my educational career… the concept of a mulligan.  You see, if you answer the Question of the Day (sent out via GroupMe), or win Kahoot! battles (Kahoot!, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is an online quiz platform), or attend extracurricular stuff, or… well, various other things… you get a mulligan. These mulligans are then spent on tests in class. If you aren’t sure of an answer, you use one (or more) mulligans on that question. If you get the question right, you lose the mulligan but who cares. If you don’t, that question doesn’t count against you so long as you can prove mastery of it at a later point in time.  I LOVED HAVING THAT SAFETY.  Loved competing for them. Loved knowing that if I felt really bad about a question, I could answer it later. It helped my confidence enough that I ended up with a bunch of them left over when all was said and done.  The ONLY things that bothered me were a) a wee organizational problem and b) when we were scheduled to take the first test, he moved it back a week on the day of just to make people study. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately I STUDIED MY ASS OFF AT THE EXPENSE OF MY OTHER CLASSES.  Argh. Cell bio itself fascinated me, and I’d love to learn more of it in the future. TOO BAD THAT MOST OF MY REMAINING CLASSES ARE CHEMISTRY, RIGHT?

Jesus.

STRONG OPINIONS.

STRONG OPINIONS.

So, that last post of mine was my 300th. (Most of those aren’t visible, since a good chunk of ’em are imported from my old LiveJournal, and who really needs to see my whining from when I was in my early 20s, anyway?) That’s a lot of brain vomit!

Writing out my feelings in that last post was hard. But there was something cathartic about it. I think that I’m going to do it again, except on items that aren’t of as great of import. So get ready for some HOT TAKES, everyone.

  • I prefer Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen to David Lee Roth-era Van Halen.
    • Yes, I know they didn’t rock as hard and went more commercial. No, I don’t care. Hagar is what I grew up with.
  • I think that Eric Carr was a better drummer than Peter Criss. (That one’s for you, BulldogNate.)
  • I think the Final Fantasy series (and MOST JRPGs, for that matter) are overrated as hell grindfests. The stories might be good, but the amount of time that you’ve got to take to get there isn’t worth it.
  • Modern fighting games confuse and infuriate me.
    • And I love myself some Street Fighter, but I’ve never been able to bust out more combos than simple two-in-ones. Also I get kinda pissed when I play against someone that mops the floor with me ’cause I can’t defend against them well.
  • It saddens me that so many video games rely on online components. Playing with other people is fun, but these games won’t ever be playable again once the servers go down. Someday, I will not be able to play Splatoon again. I don’t like knowing that.
  • Monopoly isn’t as bad of a game as hardcore board game people say. Puerto Rico (the game, not the US territory) isn’t as good as they say.
  • I think that Reagan wasn’t as good of a president as people think he was and Carter wasn’t as bad as everyone thinks he was.
  • Andrew Jackson. Hoo boy. Here goes.
    • He did horrible things. He was an asshole, by all accounts. I still think that he was a strong President and his actions prevented the Civil War from starting in the 1830s instead of when it did.
    • I’m fine with him being yanked off of the $20, though.
  • On that note, I think that ALL US currency needs a comprehensive redesign, including considering replacing the people on bills and/or coins periodically.
    • At least we’re better off than Commonwealth nations? QEII doesn’t need to be on EVERY coin…
    • AND GET RID OF THE STUPID PENNY!
  • I’d generally rather read average-written but entertaining books than Great Works that make you think Deep Thoughts.
    • This take comes courtesy of me attempting to slog through Catch-22, which makes my brain hurt every time I read it.
    • I can get into a Dickens mood sometimes, though.
  • I think that the “You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it!” message that was continually pressed into the heads of kids of my generation has done more harm than good.
    • And every 30-something going back to school for a second degree (or a first!) because their original degree doesn’t pay the bills will second this.
  • Social Media has absolutely done more harm than good.
    • Only seeing the positive aspects of people’s lives leads to unrealistic expectations for your own life.
  • I think that our generation (and by our generation, I really mean “me”) should have listened and acted more when our parents wanted us to help fix things/make things/et cetera.
    • I can fix a computer, but if my car dies and it’s something more difficult than the absolute basics, I’m boned.
    • And don’t even get me started on home improvement. Dad can fix anything in a house. I can do basic plumbing, change out a door knob, apply some spackle, slap some paint on things, and that’s about it.
  • Ironing your clothes is overrated. They’ll look all wrinkly sooner rather than later anyway!
    • This may be why my non-T-shirt wardrobe is 70% synthetic material fishing/outdoorsy shirts, mostly Columbia.
      • That 50 UPF sun protection though!
  • Having to wear a kilt to my friend Josh’s wedding makes me appreciate the need that skirt-wearers have to sit down VERY carefully. On the flip side, they’re comfortable as hell.
    • Also, when I rented that kilt, I had to sign a waiver saying I wouldn’t wear it “traditionally”. Heh.
    • No, I’m not going to become that guy who wears a Utilikilt everywhere.
    • Yes, Younger Me did price them out.
  • While I am a fan of many things, 75% of the time I don’t care for the majority of the OTHER fans of those things.
    • See: Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Pink Floyd, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit…
  • Much has been said of Millennials. I definitely believe that Baby Boomers have been the cause of many of their issues, but GOOD LORD do I agree with a lot of the opinions on them. So many self-absorbed little shits who want to be treated like Unique Individual Precious Snowflakes and throw fits when they don’t get their way.
    • Even though my DOB puts me at the very beginning of that group, I refuse to consider myself one. Bring back Gen Y!
  • Having to search through a physical card catalog at the library builds character!
    • Vintage card catalogs are too expensive, by the way. I still want one. I’d hand-type cards for ALL of our books.
      • And then regret that decision thirty books in.
  • Windows 8 wasn’t as bad as everyone says. The Start Screen could have used some tweaks but I liked the aesthetic- and you can always just search by typing once you’re at the screen. People are big babies.
    • Of course, I used Start8 when I was on Win8, so Pot: Kettle, Black.
  • I try hard to support small businesses, but Amazon sucks down most of my dollars because of the convenience factor.
    • The biggest exception is the comic book store.
    • I’d support local board game stores, but online discounts are TOO GOOD… plus I don’t like the vibe of a lot of supposedly “friendly local game stores”.
  • Plain ol’ corn flakes might be the best cold cereal, with Life and Chex tagging along right behind.
  • The Law of Diminishing Returns applies to steak. One of the best steaks I’ve ever had was at Roy’s and was $100+ (I didn’t pay for it), but I’ve made steaks that were damn near as good for $10.
  • Chef Boyardee ravioli, eaten cold straight from the can, isn’t half bad.
    • The same can’t be said for pork ‘n beans.
    • Young Me tried this with cream of chicken soup. Young me was dumb as hell. Bleah.
  • Aspartame and sucralose might kill me and may not help my body, but I’ll fucking cut you if you try to take away my Diet Dr. Pepper.
  • La Croix sparkling water is GARBAGE. YOU HEARD ME, KLYNNE, THAT STUFF IS TERRIBLE AND I CAN’T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU WILLINGLY DRINK IT.
  • The customer isn’t always right. Sometimes, it’s healthier for a company to “fire” problem customers rather than keep on dealing with their bullshit.
  • People channel their Real Hatred into Sports Team Hatred, and that’s not a bad thing.
    • Screw the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, New York Yankees, Houston Rockets, BYU, Florida State, USC (the California one, not the South Carolina one), and Notre Dame.
    • Also the state of Wisconsin, even though they’re not a sports team. This can not be repeated enough.
  • I will never be able to understand what is and what is not pass interference. I still have trouble figuring out going offside in hockey.
  • Monkeys, particularly chimpanzees, are overrated and untrustworthy. Gorillas are awesome. RIP Harambe.
  • Regular bears are awesome. Panda bears are good too, but not as awesome as regular bears.
    • I make an exception for the bear at Zoo Atlanta that came out of his cave during KLynne and my wedding ceremony. That panda is a bro or ladybro.
  • Team Dogs.
  • Shakespeare was good but DAMN look at some other playwrights sometimes.
    • I think that Anti-Stratfordians are full of shit, though. Shakespeare wrote his own stuff.

That’s enough for one day, I think…

How To Replace A Broken Give-A-Fuck

How To Replace A Broken Give-A-Fuck

So, as you, my Ones of Readers, know, Kill It With Fire was dark for a long time. Now you’ve received a veritable smörgåsbord of posts. (OK, well, two last week. But on consecutive days! It’s like back in the shitty old LiveJournal blog days, I tells ya!)

I haven’t written much because I haven’t felt much like writing. The world has gotten to me. Hatred of anyone that is Other is running rampant.  I left Facebook (well, my profile is still active because KLynne still wants me to show up as being married to her on there) because of post after post of otherwise rational-thinking friends and relatives talking about how they were all-in for candidates whose platform seemed to be nothing more than “Let’s make the rich people richer, let’s protect the unborn but stop caring about them the second they pop out of the birth canal, and if you have the audacity to be Other in whatever way then let’s write legislation to deny you the same rights as everyone else”. I cringe every time I read the news and hear about the latest unarmed person who has been shot and killed by cops— or cops that have been shot and killed by people. I was just… done.  The barometer measuring my depression didn’t have that many more mm/Hg to go before it burst. My parents—yes, both of them— lost their jobs. (One of them is working again, one is still looking.)

I stopped caring about my online presence, and (for the most part) my offline presence too. I posted the occasional Instagram thing. I vomited up the odd bit of vitriol on Twitter, but my heart wasn’t always really in it. I had some adventures but didn’t post about them (until earlier this week, but a post in November about stuff you did during the summer doesn’t really have the same kind of punch). I started school and have slogged my way through, dropping Organic Chemistry thanks to a “flipped classroom” setup paired with a teacher who seemed angry that anyone would dare ask questions about material that they didn’t understand and adding a nice, relaxing Survey of Early US History and Intro to Hiking in its place. I have tried to deal with my depression in various ways of limited constructiveness and leaned on KLynne when I couldn’t handle it anymore. (For those of you keeping score, I still haven’t found a counselor of any type here that a) is accepting patients and b) can work with my work/school schedule- and so it goes.) My thoughts have gone to places that I really did not want to revisit. I’ve tried to set light to the darkness by buying shit (doesn’t work) or eating more terribly than I usually do (doesn’t work) or various other things (they don’t work either).

Then last Tuesday hit. I had class and was antsy and irritable the entire time because I had to see the results of the election.  Then I got home and fired up Youtube to watch the live stream of NBC’s election coverage. At first the thoughts were surprise (“Wow, Trump is doing much better than I thought he would”) and wondering who the old, George Burns-lookin’ guy with the tortoiseshell glasses was (“Holy balls, that’s Tom Brokaw, and he’s lookin’ ancient”) but quickly they led to unease (“Jesus, there are too many undecided states”) and then to heart-crushing sadness (“He’s going to win this whole thing because of WISCONSIN, FUCK WISCONSIN, THEY’RE THE WORST”). This continued to spiral even after I turned off the TV. Couldn’t sleep. Broke into sobs. Sat worrying about what’s going to happen to my LGBT+ friends and how the environment was going to survive a climate-change denier being put into the highest office and remembering that the last two times that the GOP has had control of all three branches of Government (late 20s and mid 00s) the US has suffered the worst economic disasters in its history and if my tuition is going to go up and how hate could have won.  I sat in silence for a long time. I went to my number-one companion when I’m feeling upset (and KLynne isn’t there)… Bear, my oh-so-creatively named childhood teddy bear. I had to take Wednesday off because I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep and was starting to break out in hives. I have been on autopilot for the past few days. Hearing Kate McKinnon’s rendition of “Hallelujah” last Sunday morning and her closing statement of “I’m not giving up and neither should you” was the last thing that put me in tears. I need to do something.

This is the part where I sidetrack the post talk about my beliefs. It was hard to do last time I wrote something like this (See the prematurely-killed Thirty Days of Blog for THAT post) but I’m going to again.

  • I believe that there needs to be a clear and open path towards citizenship for people who entered the country illegally- provided that they haven’t been charged with violent crimes in their home countries.
    • The reason why I believe this is twofold, and I’m gonna stereotype like hell in describing it. Be warned. First, I’ve known illegals who have worked hard as hell to provide for their families back home—ultimately hoping to bring them to the US. Second, I also believe that there’s a large contingent of American citizens who feel like service, ag, and other “manual labor” kind of jobs are below them and would rather NOT work than do the kind of jobs that illegals take. Yes, I realize that this is a broad-as-hell generalization and that there are illegal immigrants who don’t do shit or cause problems or whatever and that there are plenty of citizens who are perfectly happy working hard at jobs that are traditionally seen as lower-class.
  • I believe that everyone—EVERYONE— should pay their fair share of taxes to make the nation go ’round. Not paying taxes but wanting services is the American Way. It’s entrenched. Has been since before the United States was a thing. The Boston Tea Party was less about outrage that tea was heavily taxed (coffee was always more prevalent in the Colonies than tea) and more about the fact that we were being taxed in the first place. For a leader to be elected and state that not paying taxes was being “smart” grinds my gears, and people not being taxed proportionate to their income from all sources flat-out isn’t fair.
    • And don’t even get me started on the so-called “Fair Tax”. The people of means who gain most of their money from compound interest and investments wouldn’t be taxed on those. A simple VAT on purchased goods would ONLY levy heavier taxes on the people who have to spend most of their income on those goods… because they don’t have the money to save.
    • And also don’t get me started on offshore tax-dodges from corporations or Delaware or how multi-billion dollar conglomerates pay NOTHING in tax. If the idea of corporate person-hood keeps on gaining traction (and I think that’s gonna be on the uptake sooner rather than later), then taxes need to be paid by that corporation. Period. End of story.
  • I believe that health care is a right, and that the best possible system would be subsidized by the Government. I don’t care what it is that we talk about- people, cars, animals, your kitchen table- preventative maintenance lengthens life and prevents the crushing costs that happen when Shit Goes Wrong.
    • And to pay for this? See the above. If we’re all paying our fair share, the government can help defray some of those costs.
    • Also, we DO have socialized health care in this country right now. It’s called going to the ER, getting patched up, and then telling the hospital that you aren’t gonna pay. Legal? Technically, yes. Ethical? Far from it. Still, it doesn’t stop plenty of people from doing it…
  • On that note, I believe that a woman’s body is her own, and that she should be the ultimate arbiter of what she decides to do with it, not the State.
    • Yes, the same applies to guys, but we don’t really have restrictions on what we can or can’t do with our bodies. Besides, the most that the average guy has choice-wise with their body generally boils down to this:
      “Should I scratch there in public? Ima scratch there.”
      (And other things that I’m not gonna go into.)
  • I believe that the Government should help the people who need to be helped. I also believe that the private sector should help people who need help. I also also believe that private citizens should help people who need help. Radical, no?  PEOPLE SHOULD HELP OTHER PEOPLE.
    • That having been said, I also can see how the attributed-to-but-not-actually-said-by-Steinbeck quote that “…the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires” can make people NOT accept help or, more cynically, WANT to help others. It also explains why we keep voting people into office (on both the left AND the right) that do nothing to actually support “the little guy”.
    • Furthermore, if you are receiving assistance in some way, shape, or form and you either aren’t using it for its intended purpose or are actually capable of helping oneself and are not (talking about you, person wearing Gucci and paying for their groceries with a welfare card that I used to think was a stereotype but have seen far too often)… your ass should be thrown in jail. You’re not Jean Fucking Valjean, you’re the reason why people talk about the Welfare State and bitch and moan about having to shoulder the load for people who aren’t working.
    • Finally, I am also keenly aware of the fact that judging What Is and What Is Not a valid reason to get welfare is a slippery-as-hell slope. I know that I’m not equipped to make those decisions except on the very most macro of levels.
  • I believe that our Government is inherently wasteful, and that earmarks and block grants lead to bad spending, that too many special interests influence the direction that our nation (and states and counties and towns) go, there’s and that the National Debt is too damn high. (I do NOT, however, believe it needs to be paid off. Some debt is good.)
  • I believe that if/when China calls in their debts to the US and if/when we default, we’re all fucked.
  • I believe that most dogs are better than most people. Jury is still out on cats.
  • And finally, and most strongly, I believe that PEOPLE SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY TO ONE ANOTHER, REGARDLESS OF WHAT CHROMOSOMES THEY’RE PACKING, THEIR PREFERRED GENDER, THE AMOUNT OF MELANIN IN THEIR SKIN, WHAT DEITY OR DEITIES THEY CHOOSE TO WORSHIP (IF THEY EVEN DO CHOOSE TO WORSHIP ANY), WHO THEY LOVE, WHAT THEY DO FOR A LIVING, WHERE THEIR FAMILY IS FROM, OR ANY OTHER REASON. DON’T ABRIDGE SOMEONE’S RIGHTS BECAUSE THEY ARE THE OTHER. It’s not hard! If you’re going to judge someone, judge them on their actions. (And yes, I realize that’s basically what I’ve been saying in most of my other thoughts, but it bears repeating.) Call me a Social Justice Warrior if you want. I think that’s something to be proud of, not disgusted by.
    • I also realize that a lot of that is pie-in-the-sky thinking, but the law should at least offer protections for everyone. It still kills me that the ERA never passed.
    • I also think that there’s more truth in the Avenue Q song “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” than I like to admit, but there you go.
    • The top-level thought here does not apply to Wisconsin. Man, Wisconsin can go to hell. (This would still apply even if the vote wouldn’t have gone the way that it did.)
    • Maybe also the Red Wings, although I’ve been getting a hate-on for the Wild as of late too.

Behold. Some of my thoughts have been wrung from my brain. Inspect them, and see how they differ radically from the thoughts of the incoming Presidential administration (and much of Congress, and half of the justices on the Supreme Court, and….)

So what do I do? Do I just retreat into a shell, knowing that as a White Male who can pass as being religious if I had to that I’m the least likely to be affected by any erosion of freedoms? Do I tune out the news and the Bad Things that may or may not happen to my friends?

FUCK THAT.

I know that I need to act- not just “I should do something” but I need to do something. My inner monologue cries out for it.  I’m still trying to figure out how, but I know I need to do that.. In the short term and with my schedule being essentially “Wake up, an hour and change in traffic, work eight hours with maybe half an hour thrown in for lunch, spend an hour and change in traffic, go to school for another three and a half, go home, eat dinner, try to cram homework and stuff, sleep for maybe four hours” I don’t know where I can find the time to put feet to pavement and DO something to help the causes that I feel. The best thing that I can do in the short term is give money to organizations that support the causes that I believe in. Longer term? Maybe I see if there’s somewhere that I can donate my time to make a difference.

I need to speak up for what I believe in and quit trying to make my thought seem malleable and like I might agree with. Less smiling and nodding. More showing some damn spine. A recent Washington Post article talked about how the only way to effectively combat exclusive policy was to STAY ANGRY, and that’s what I’m gonna do. (I’m sure that my old counselors wouldn’t like that too much, but anger can be harnessed and bent to useful purposes, right?  At least I’ll keep on telling myself that…)

On a personal level, I need to get outside more. Once the smoke here clears (another story, but it’s actual smoke, not a metaphor) I need to continue hiking a little bit on weekends. I need to climb onto my bike and ride… somewhere. Pick a direction, drive that way to wherever, and see what I can see. Give myself a few liters of water, and some snacks, and explore. Maybe take the camera with me if I’m feeling super-motivated. Maybe do the same but with KLynne in the car with me. If I have learned one thing, it is that serenity generally isn’t going to find me. I need to go out and find it. I need to do what I can when I can and how I can. I’m already on the way to becoming a better me. I continue making headway toward getting into Pharmacy school, although the Grand Path Toward A Degree looks discouraging if I don’t make it in and the amount of prerequisites to get into schools other than my target is TOO DAMN HIGH. (Seriously, I’ve built my entire school path toward getting the prerequisites done to match my goal school. Most other schools require other/different things. This is not a good thing, especially considering a bunch of other pharmacy schools require things like Micro/Macroeconomics that won’t count a damn bit toward getting the degree.)

So while I’m not happy or stable or not going into the occasional fugue state or even completely accepting of everything that has happened, I survive. I will stand. I will fight. I can’t give up.

We can’t give up.

Confessions of a Thirty-Three Year Old Blah Blah Blah: Spring 2016 Edition

Confessions of a Thirty-Three Year Old Blah Blah Blah: Spring 2016 Edition

Because I’m just crapping out short posts to clear my backlog (at least before the Big Soul-Searching Post that I plan on writing), you get an abbreviated slice of my life. DEAL WITH IT!

Dr. Plant Guy

Dr. Plant Guy is from Kerala. He loves cricket and visiting his homeland. He’s got an impressively high Google Scholar number for a dude that’s about my age and is Going Places™, or so it seems. Luckily, Dr. Plant Guy is also a good teacher. He’s funny and was full of energy. Class was always entertaining and I ended up making good friends with groups in that class.  Sadly, there was an integrity problem in that class— the group sitting in front of mine were, to put it bluntly, damn dirty cheaters who should’ve been expelled. Regardless, I not only survived but thrived there. Dr. Plant Guy also facilitated a very, very interesting experiment for my final project… I was able to test the relative effects of several different herbicides on the unending jungle in my back yard. Agent Orange was not one of them- I used glyphosate (AKA Roundup), triclopyr (Southern Ag “Crossbow”, which is less toxic to old growth trees but way more expensive and has a scarier mechanism of action), vinegar, and water (as a control, of course). All of ’em had a surfactant (soap!) added to get past the ivy’s waxy exterior. Turns out that the ivy in my back yard FREAKING LOVES uncut vinegar (it grew more than my control!) but glyphosate worked pretty well and Triclopyr worked REALLY well (that 1 M2 patch is still ivy-free). I need to get out there and get the rest of the yard taken care of.  I ended up with an A in the class and new friends, how can I lose?

Dr. Too Damn Quiet

Dr. Too Damn Quiet taught physics. Guess what? I hate physics with the rage of a thousand angry honey badgers. I know that it’s one of the core scientific disciplines. I know that it’s a prerequisite for my ultimate goal. I… really don’t care. Unfortunately, Dr. Too Damn Quiet was not good at MAKING me care. She taught from Powerpoints, didn’t inject much actual interest into what she was teaching, and spent a lot of time whipping through questions without making sure that the rest of the class understood what she was trying to explain. It took a LOT of Khan Academy to earn the B that I eked out of that class, even though I now know what the Normal Force is. Hopefully Physics 2 (taking that next Spring!) will make more sense to me. I’m not holding my breath, though.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Bitching About The Weather And/Or Bugs

It was hot and/or humid this summer.  And the bugs!  I couldn’t go to our primeval forest of a back yard without immediately providing a blood meal for enough mosquitoes to repopulate Georgia a thousand times over.

I still contend that the best seasons are, in order:

  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
  • Summer

Maybe it’s just that I’m a fat guy, but I can tolerate cold infinitely better than heat.  Probably has to do with the “if it’s too cold I can add layers, if it’s too hot there’s only so far before I get arrested” thing.

Going Camping (Once)

We went camping with friends! We got a new, fancy-pants tent that’s bigger than we really NEED, but suited our purposes just fine! We brought the dogs!

A photo posted by Spin H. (@mrspinch) on


It was fun, minus the discovery that there are bark scorpions near Lake Lanier where we camped.  And that one hitched a ride home with us in our food bag.  Luckily, it was… dealt with.  Definitively.  Poor Bumi got a swollen eye on our last day.  Probably courtesy of one of those scorpions.  At least none got in the tent?

Visiting Friends in Alabama

Alabama was relaxing- we visited one of KLynne’s good friends, I got to talk bikes with said friend’s husband (He’s a BMW guy, although he has owned Aprillas in the past and gave me some really, really great encouragement about stretching my limits on my motorcycle), and we got to go to the F. Scott Fitzgerald House!

A bad photo of Zelda Fitzgerald’s self-portrait. #fscottfitzgerald #zeldafitzgerald #arttheraphy

A photo posted by Spin H. (@mrspinch) on

KLynne took all of the good photos.  I really need to just start stealing her stuff.

GnR

My friend BulldogNate invited me to see Guns ‘n Roses with him! Our tickets were upgraded ’cause our friends at TicketMaster sold us floor seats that didn’t exist. The show was… amazing. Seriously, one of the best concerts that I have ever seen.

Gen Con

KLynne and I went to Gen Con again! It was a good show- parking ourselves every day was THE way to go. We played a lot of neat games and I, as always spent too much money. Our hotel was okay, but not as good as last year’s. C’est la vie, last year’s hotel wasn’t one of the host hotels. Still, I had a great time and can’t wait for next year.

Not Doing a Single Productive Thing

Yup.

Too Much On My Mind

Too Much On My Mind

I’m trying hard to form coherent thought and to process things.  I’ve got posts to write about the importance of relaxation (and the Fitzgerald Museum), more Adventures of a Thirty-Two Year Old Junior, and some other things rattling around in my head.  There are posts that I want to write but now isn’t the time to write them… and there never may be a time to write them.

And… I can’t.  Thoughts of the recent atrocity in Orlando, the continual acid, lowest-common-denominator rhetoric being spat back and forth politically, and personal failures due to the fear of the unknown and the callous indifference of people who are supposed to be helpful just keep on making me think that the future is just flat-out fucked.

I’ll write more when I feel better.  I think.