Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Halloween at My University

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Halloween at My University: Hallooween is celbrated with intensity here. It's not merely a one-evening or even a twenty-four-hour celebration. The drunken revelry has ...

Halloween at My University

Hallooween is celbrated with intensity here. It's not merely a  one-evening or even a twenty-four-hour celebration. The drunken revelry has been going on for the better part of a week. Monday night it will supposedly escalate to the level of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

My pseudoAunt's brother Timmy said he will take me so that I can at least see the celebration. He said we won't stay for long because the drunken revelry is somewhat dangerous, but that he will at least let me get a look at the parties. The closer one gets to the ocean, the more exciting the parties become. The very last street before the ocean is the rough equivalent to Bourbon Street. It's already in full celebration mode.

Timmy said no one sober enough to notice would be comfortable with me in attendance at his or her party because my youthful appearance would likely attract the attention of law enforcement personnel. still, he thinks we can pole our heads into a couple of exciting events during a thirty-minute-walk down Bourbon Street.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Held Against My Will (sort of)

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Held Against My Will (sort of): My Pseudoaunt and Pseudouncle showed up at my house unexpectedly today. I wasn't expecting them, anyway. My mom apparently was. As soon as t...

Held Against My Will (sort of)

My Pseudoaunt and Pseudouncle showed up at my house unexpectedly today. I wasn't expecting them, anyway. My mom apparently was. As soon as they walked in the door and told me of their plans to kidnap me and keep me overnight, forcing me to miss four of my university classes tomorrow,  my mom handed to my Pseudoaunt a bag packed with what she thought I would need for an overnight trip. I attempted to politely decline the invitation, but my Pseudouncle used his size and strength to force me into their car.

Now we're at a hotel located close to an amusement park. Tomorrow morning, when I should be on campus attending class, I will be forced to visit an amusement park and ride roller coasters. Whoever heard of such a thing? If a kid screws up and gets a lousy grade in a course, which I've never exactly done, everyone in the world is angry with the kid. Once I did get a mid-quarter progress report that had a minus after the A. I lost computer privileges for three weeks until the teacher got around to letting my parents know that my average in the class was, with the extra credit that I did, back  up to 104.8%.  Now the people in charge of me are forcing me to miss an entire day's worth of classes.

The supposed reason for my adult-enforced instance of playing hooky is that I am now taking my studies too seriously and am stressing out over my courseload.  I'm taking 21 quarter units. What sane person wouldn't be stressed out?  The answer to my being stressed about classes and grades, they think, is to take me away from the courses and everything associated with them for a day. Won't my anxiety be even greater on Tuesday night, just before I have to return to the classes that I skip tomorrow? The logic, or lack thereof, displayed by certain people close to me is mind-boggling.

So tomorrow, while most of the world is toiling away, I will be engaged in the forced merriment of riding roller coasters in the name of mental health. Happy Monday, everyone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fairly Odd Professor

I've finished five of six mid-terms. My last one is on Friday. I continue to tell myself, "This, too, shall pass."

One of my professors, whose couse shall not be identified because one never knows for certain that she's not an insomniac googler, is weirder than hell. She rides her bicycle to class for each session, lugging her cat along in her cat carrier each time.  She then lets the cat out in the classroom; each time the door opens and another student enters, she shrieks, "Don't let the cat out!" The cat, clearly unhappy with the arrangement, paces the room meowing loudly and occasionally jumping onto a desk. Sometimes the cat hisses at the person whose desk she jumped on. One girl in the class is really freaked out by cats. She has to take Ativan, prescribed by some practitioner at the student health center, before each class. A guy in the class is quite allergic to cats. The doctor he saw at the health center wanted information regarding what professor was repeatedly bringing her cat to class when at least one of the students  has obvious issues with the presence of a cat. The guy would not tell the doctor because he feared retaliation; grading is generally subjective.

If bringing a cat to class were the only odd thing about this professor I could more or less ignore it, as I'm not personally affected either by cat anxiety or by allergies; however, this professor is a Tea Party proponent and a birther. How she ever got hired here is a mystery to me. My university is probably the number two bastion of liberality on the west coast, second only to U. C. Berkeley. A person who finds a way to work into her lecture each session a topic related to the foreign birth and, hence, illegal presidency of our nation's current president has some inherent gifts in creativity.  I cannot disclose the course name or description, but, believe me, it's not in any way related to U. S. government. The professor's briefcase bears a photo of Michelle Bachman crudely taped on with duct tape. If I were going to carry a briefcase with a picture of Michelle Bachman, which I wouldn't -- ever -- even if I were paid to do so, I would find a way to attach it that didn't involve silver metallic tape.

As strange as this professor herself is the product she peddles. None of my other professors uses class time to attempt to profit finacially from his or her students. Doing so would seem to pose a potential conflict of interest, or possibly even the hint of impropriety.This lady sells vitamin supplements. I can't disclose the brand name here, but it's highly unlikely that you've ever heard of it; the FDA hasn't, either. The professor's cousin allegedly manufactures the supplements in her garage lab. I'm certainly not going to jeopardize my health, much less part with my hard-earned cash, for some dubiously produced and unapproved capsules with mysterious contents, even though she guaranteed that I would grow two inches and gain twenty-six pounds if I took the supplements for three months. After the guy had his first allergic reaction to her cat, the professor tried to sell him a bottle of compound vitamins that she said would take care of his allergy in no time.  One would think she could have given him the supplements when her cat caused his allergic reaction, but the price she quoted to him ($29.95   for 100 capsules)  didn't seem to be even a discounted price. The allergic guy appears not to be a total idiot; he didn't buy the product.

We've only turned in one assignment for this course, which has not yet been returned to us even though it was four weeks ago that the assignment was due, and will take our first exam on Friday. If the professor's judgment in grading is as compromised as is the rest of her teaching style, I will be seriously upset. If not, I'll chalk this one up to experience and simply be glad when the experience is over.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Confession

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Confession: Among people who were not merely valedictorians [usually anyone 3.99 or above receives the dinstinction of being a co-valedictorian]but gra...

Confession

Among people who were not merely valedictorians [usually anyone 3.99 or above receives the dinstinction of being a co-valedictorian]but  graduated bona fide number one in their respective high school classes, I probably dislike studying as much as anyone. I don't mind reading the textbooks or other assigned literature, and I don't have any particular problem writing papers or doing other assignments.  What really geets to me is studying for exams. 

It's an incredibly open-ended process. How can one ever know when one has studied enough?  Sometimes I think I would be better off if I went into every test not having spent the previous night or weekend preparing for it. Of course I would have done the initial readings when they were assigned or before, and I certainly would have attended and would have taken copious notes from every lecture, and would have transcribed them into something more readable as soon as possible after having taken the notes. Such, I've found, is a major key to success in any challenging course. The purpose of transcribing the notes from the initial shorthand form in which they were taken to something more readable isn't actually so the notes can be read by myself or anyone else. It's more that the act of rewriting them into standard English does something to solidify the academic content in my mind.

I learned this when I when I was enrolled in Advanced Placement English Literature as a high school freshman. I was allowed by my guidance counselor  to enroll in this course, which was usually reserved for seniors or others who had completed all the lower English courses prior to their senior year by taking summer school, because it was the only period in my schedule that was open for English, and the lower course were full. I was a choir accompanist for $$$, which took up two periods.  (I took summer school  to clear those classes in my schedule that year.) The math course I was taking was only offered at the Advanced Placement level one period, and my science course didn't have much more flexibility.

We were told prior to one test by the teacher that it would be an open-book and open-notes exam. I recopied all my notes so that I wouldn't waste valuable time struggling to read what I had written in haste. Then, on the day of the exam, all but myself and two or three other students had the same set of notes, taken by one student and photocopied and sold to the rest of them during the break prior to the test. This wasn't explicitly cheating, as it wasn't a copy of the test that was distributed. Still the teacher was angered by the mass-produced notes. The few of us that didn't have them pleaded with her that we be allowed to use our own notes, but she was angry enough that she wasn't being reasonable. I had prepared for the test with the understanding that I would be allowed to use my notes, so when the privilege of using notes was suddenly revoked, I expected to have difficulty with the test. When I began reading and responding to the questions on the test, however, I much of what I had written while transcribing the notes came back to me, at the very least much more than it did for those who hadn't actually taken their own notes, much rewritten or retyped  them. From that point on, I made it a point to always rewrite or retype my notes.

Some people actually have to handwrite something to derive the same benefit; for me, it doesn't matter  whether I type or physically write something. Some teachers allowed computers during lectures; others didn't because many students, possibly even myself on occasion,  would have used them for all sorts of things more compelling than taking notes. If a teacher allowed computers for notes in a class, I usually brought mine. If computers weren't allowed, I would have been forced to handwrite them. It didn't seem to matter which way I took or transcribed the notes. I use my computer to take notes in my university courses.

My suspicion is that if I relied on my daily routines, I would do at least as well as I do with ruining an entire weekend before every test, and typically studying too late the night before.  I suspect this, but I don't know it from experience. What I probably need to do is to try it out in one class for one test.  Chances are that even if I blew a midterm, I wouldn't score so low that I couldn't overcome it with overachieving on other assignments and acing the final. Last weekend I already spent studying, so it's too late to test my hypothesis for this quarter, and the stakes are too high to try it for the first time on the final exam of any course this quarter. My experiment will have to wait until winter quarter.

At some point in late February or early March I'll report back on my findings.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Don't Know If I can Do This Anymore

I don't like school. I never liked it. Even preschool I hated. For the most part I've kept kept my opinions to myself because I knew school was non-negotiable. I've reached the point where, even though I've still got a year and change before I turn eighteen, some parts are negotiable.

 The original plan was for me to hang around here for three years so that I could complete a double major in English and  music, but I'm considering totally ditching the music major and reevaluating whether the English major stands alone in terms of providing employment opportunities. I'm not totaaly burning bridges in terms of law school.  Just about any major -- even liberal arts will grant one admission to law school with sufficiently high GPA and LSAT. During my break between semesters, I plan to find a law school and get permission to sit in on a couple of classes to see if I think it's enough different from regular university courses
that I will be able to tolerate three additional years of schooling.

I have six midterms this week. I just completed my lfinal project assignment unless a professor throws something at us that isn't in the syllabus. I didn't really have to complete everything this early, but I can't sleep well when I have pending assignments even if they're not due for seven weeks. most of them are due within six weeks. Once I get through the mideterm exams, life should become a little more bearable.

If I don't go to law school, I have no idea what I will do in terms of a career. math comes easily to me, but i don't want to crunch numbers for a living. teaching is something I don't think I ever want to do. I've had enough poor teachers during my career so far as a student that I feel strongly about only those who feel called to it enter the teaching profession. one shouldn't become a teacher because one can't find anything else to do. period. The medical profession would require more schooling than the legal profession. Nursing, dental hygiene, and related fields don't appeal to me. If I wanted to work in the allied health fields, I would bite the bullet and  go to medical, dental, optometry, or pharmacy school. ti don't have a big problem with authority, but too many bosses ar not a good thing.

If my parents knew I am this stressed, they would insist that I see my therapist, but I don't have the time to do such a thing this week.. On the surface it would seem stupid to blog about it if I don't want them to know, but they're both really busy right now, so I have at least a week before either one will read the post or even take a call from someone else who might tell them about it.

When things slow down next week, I will reassess my situation. It is possible that my feelings will change when the midterms are history. At this point, however, I'm looking for ways to jump through this hoop in the most expeditious manner available.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Admittedly Odd Post

     Molestation has been a prevailing topic of recent blogs at the "Band Back Together" website. This has caused me to evaluate my own life. I have a confession to make. Other than my near miss on a sexual assault a year or so ago, no one has ever even attempted to molest me in my entire life. After reading some of the blogs at "Band Back Together," I realize just how lucky I am that such has never happened to me.

     My father is a doctor and he has treated me on occasion, which involves slightly more body exposure in the presence of the opposite sex parent than is typical once someone is beyond infancy, but he's always incredibly respectful and even apologetic about having to stick a stethoscope slightly under the neckline of my shirt or having to give me an injection. I could be the very last female on the planet and I would still be 100% safe with my father. As difficult as it is to imagine, such is apparently not always the case.

    I read somewhere that a mother's boyfriend is statistically the single most likely perpetrator of sexual abuse in a girl's life. If my mother has ever had a boyfriend since she married my dad, I certainly know nothing about it. I seriously doubt such could be the case anyway because she barely has enough energy for my dad. The next most likely person is an uncle, follwed very closely by a stepfather. I have no stepfather, which you know if you've read many of my blogs, but I have a whole slew of uncles. While several of them are weirder than hell, to the best of my knowledge, not one of them has any sort of attraction to underage females, related or unrelated. My dad's brother Steve is my doctor, but we have a fairly normal uncle/niece relationship when he's not treating me. He's certainly never violated any boundaries either when practicing medicine or when not practicing medicine. My Pseudouncle Scott, who has been one of my guardians during parts of the past four summers, is also a doctor and has treated me on a few occasions. It's a bit more awkward with him because he's much closer in age to me than any of my uncles or my dad, but he's always sort of like, "Would you get over it, Alexis? I'm not getting any more out of this than you are." Furthermore, he hasn't exactly examined me invasively.

    This post may seem somewhat pointless, but basically it's a shout-out to all the adults in my life, including relatives, teachers, coaches, and medical professionals, who may bug the hell out of me at times, but if you have any particular sexual perversions, you keep them far away from me. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"House" Season Premiere

The new season of "House" premiered last night. My dad watched it with me. He hates the show because the entire premise of it -- a diagnostics department that usually has four doctors working exclusively  on a single case for days at a time -- jumps the shark in a major way. Each individual episode usually affronts reality at least ten times, but I don't care; I watch the show religiously.

My dad was particularly bothered that Dr. Wilson, an oncologist, was the primary physician for a patient who had suffered cancer in the past but whose manifesting illness was emphysema. A pulmonologist, my dad said, would have been the physician making the calls. I'm not sure exactly what my dad thinks gives him the right to criticize "House" for not having a pulmonologist treat an emphysema patient. My dad is an oncologist and hematologist   When my pseudoaunt was critically ill with multiple bleeding duodenal perforations on top of cystic fibrosis, my dad acted as  her primary care physician. I witness hypocrisy personified on a daily basis.

The doctors in "House" hit each other far more than people with similar educational levels in real life actually do.  House punches Chase. Chase floors House with a nasty right hook. Wilson decks House. Even the new Asian fellow decked her previous attending physician off-camera. No one ever presses charges when these guys (or girls) cold-cock each other. It's the rough equivalent of a women's softball game in terms of the level of violence present.

Dr. Chases didn't appear in this episode, which greatly interfered with my enjoyment. I've read that he does show up in subsequent episodes, so I don't have to officially go into mourning. I would watch "House," though, even if Jesse Spencer never appeared again, just for the fun of torturing my father.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You're probably not going to believe this, but . . .

Then again, you've heard so much anecdotal evidence of the erratic behavior that occurs in my family that this next instance may not even come as a surprise to you. My Aunt Christelle and her husband, Uncle Mendel, who have been living and working in various places throughout Europe, are presently stationed in The Isle of Man. The latest news they've dropped on us is that Christelle is eight months pregnant with a baby girl. I understand why Christelle and Mendel sat on this news for a few weeks or months. With the number of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, I wouldn't choose to make the big announcement too erly, only to have to make nother announcement to the contrary a short time later. But why wait eight months before telling anyone? At that point, why not wait another month and announce the pregnancy and the birth at the same time? Mendel had some bizarre explanation relating to the horizontal and vertical symmetry of the number eight. Right. Exactly. Now we all understand perfectly.

You may remember Christelle and Mendel from their Wiccan wedding. They hear and saunter along to a beat that most of us wouldn't consider occurring regularly enough even to be considered anything resembling a beat. If you can think of a perfectly lucid action or normal way of handling a situation, Christelle and Mendel would choose the diametric opposite of what most of us would consider normal. Usually, what they would choose to do in a given situation is totally random to the point of chaos.

They plan for the baby to be born outdoors in a wooded area about ten miles from their house. Christelle has always has an image of giving birth on a bed of red rose petals. (Actually mendel just said rose petals, not red ones, but since they're going to end up red anyway by the time the baby and the placenta make their way out of there, the petals may as well start out red.) I talked briefly with Mendel on the phone about how he is going to manage this. If he buys the roses too early, the petals will dry out. If he risks buying them too late, the blessed event may occur sans rose petals. Christelle could go into labor this very night. Does Mendel have a butt load of rose petals on hand? Somehow I doubt it. I told Mendel that he's going to have to be the most generous husband around from now until the baby is born. He'll need to order a large (at least two-dozen in number) rose bouquet tonight, and replace it once a week until the child makes its entrance into the world.

I haven't checked The Isle of Man's weather report lately, but I can't imagine that it's going to be anything resmbling balmy there in the next month. I'll have to google it. Then I'll ask Mendel if he plans to build a fire or use an extension cord about a quarter-mile long so that he can plug an electric heater into the nearest house, or if Christelle plans to give birth in thermal underwear.

My dad was concerned about the medical practitioner involved in this rather unorthodox birth. Mendel stuttered and evaded the question before ultimately admitting that he and Christelle had been unable to find any doctor, or even a nurse/midwife, who was willing to go along with their vision of a birth.

That, apparently, is why they told my dad. (It really didn't hsve anything to do with either the horizontal or the vertical symmetry of the number eight. Mendel is totally full of shit.) They thought my dad might be willing to hang out in The Isle of Man for anywhere between the next day and the next seven weeks until nature takes its course. (It's not as though he has a job or a family to support or anything like that.) My dad gave them roughly fifteen thousand reason why this was not a good idea, starting with his lack of specialization in OB-GYN. Sure, he's delivered a few babies in recent years during his stints in the ER, in one case because the mother didn't know the difference between pregnancy and gall stones. My dad used the analogy that sometimes major league baseball games get so out of hand that a team runs out of pitching and doesn't want to put the next day's starter into the game when their team is down eighteen runs, so they bring the center fielder in to pitch because he pitched when he was in high school against other high school kids fifty bazillion years earlier. Dad said that if a lady shows up in obvious labor and there's not another MD within seventy miles, he'll probably scrub up and put on s pair of rubber gloves and help get the child out of there the best he can, but choosing him for the task is like if the Giants had started Nate Schierholtz at pitcher in Game One of the World Series. In a pinch you make do with what you have, but you plan your line-up assuming your number one starting pitcher is going to be available for the game.

My dad said he considered saying yes and showing up to deliver the baby even though he's not licensed to practice medicine in The Isle of Man just so that when the second or third contraction hit, he could announce that there were complications and immediately pull Christelle's ignorant butt off the bed of red rose petals and drop kick her to the nearest hospital's labor and delivery ward. Then he thought about Christelle and her pain tolerance level. A paper cut is a reason to take Vicodin as far as she is concerned. After the first contraction, she'll drive herself to the hospital if Mendel doesn't agree to take her. In fact, my dad said, for all their talk of letting nature take its course, he predicts a C-section delivery. There will be no babies born on rose petals in The Isle of Man at any point in the immediate future unless some couple with more resolve that Christelle and Mendel happens to have the same idea.

I forgot to tell you the name Mendel and Christelle have chosen for their baby. You'd think, since they kept the pregnancy a secret for so long, that Christelle and Mendel might hold on to that one last detail until the baby is actually here, but they're so damned proud of the concotion of a name they've brewed up that they're announcing it to everyone who will listen and some who would just as soon not. The baby will be named, and I swear I'm not making up a word of this, Chamomile Aphrodite.

The 1990's Revisited

My parents are officially in their new home, and I'm there with them. I can't honestly say that their taste in home decor is much the same as mine, but my room is just the way I want it to be, so nothing else really matters. If my friends visit, I'll ask them to close their eyes until they reach my room so I won't have to be embarrassed by my parents' failure to acknowledge that the year is no longer 1991. If anyone is ever feeling really nostalgic for the 90's, I'll tell you how to get to our new house. Five minutes in the living areas of the house will more than satisfy your longing for the days of yore.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Members of the Kingdom Animalia of Which I'm Not Particularly Fond

I hate mountain lions. Whether you call them pumas, panthers, or cougars, I still hate them. I don't like BYU very much either, and their mascot is the cougar. Perhaps it's more than just coincidence. Though I'm not rabid in this regard, I'm not fond of hunting as a sport. It was different when people needed to hunt in order to survive, and for some that remains the case, and so I give those people a pass. Anyway, since people who don't need to kill in order to sustain themselves are going to hunt whether I like it or not, I wish they would hunt mountain lions. Perhaps the mountain lions would win some of the battles and the hunters would win others, keeping the numbers of each to a more tolerable level. By the way, I read somewhere (if it was on the Internet, then it had to be true, right?) that mountain lions resemble the common household cat more closely in terms of DNA than they resemble any of the other large breeds of cats, which makes me think twice about having a cat as a pet.

I despise opossums almost as much as I hate mountain lions. If you ever have a chance to do so, examine an opossum really closely. I was responding to someone else's blog about this very subject. To me, it seems as though opossums ooze evil from every single pore of their ugly bodies. If God created all the animals that ever inhabited the Earth, Satan was helping Him when He came up with a few of them -- particularly mountain lions and opossums.

I hate ants. Grizzly bears need them so that they can have formic acid in their diets. I'm willing to start a charity to provide the world's population of grizzly bears with formic acid supplements if we can get rid of ants. I hate mosquitoes about as much as I hate ants. I know frogs like them, but there are other bugs frogs could eat. Somehow I just don't think all the frogs in the world would cease to exist if we were successful at eliminating mosquitoes from the planet.

Finally, I absolutely detest head lice. I probably wouldn't particularly care for body lice or pubic lice, either, but I've heard less about them. As far as I know, no one I've ever met has ever been infested with body lice or pubic lice. Head lice are quite another matter. When I was in elementary school, it seems like we'd have an outbreak of the stupid pediculus humanus capitis at least once each school year. My brother and I managed somehow never to contract the pesky little bugs in our hair, but just the thought of it must have taken years off my eventual life span. When I get really stressed out, I still sometimes think I have head lice. I used to beg my mother to wash my hair with that lice shampoo stuff when i was little because if someone even said the word lice , that's all it would take to convince me I had them.

The sad thing about lice is that, in theory, they could be eradicated just like smallpox was thought to be until it was learned that someone saved a testube full of the stuff. I'm somewhat of an expert on the subject of head lice because when second graders had to write insect reports, I wrote a most in-depth study on pediculus humanus capitis. Once a nit hatches and becomes a nymph, it has a limited number of hours (roughly five) to get to a human host and feed, or it will not survive. If everyone in the world would use lice shampoo simultaneously and for about three weeks do all the cleaning procedures that go along with ridding one's premises of lice, pediculus humanus capitis would cease to exist on the planet. The problem is that people barely eking out an existence in third-world countries, even if they had the lice shampoo in their possession, probably wouldn't see the importance of using it and doing everything else to rid the planet of lice.

If I ever become truly a lady of leisure, in addition to starting a charity to supply grizzly bears with formic acid supplements, I'll start a foundation that would provide everyone in the world with pediculicide shampoo and at the same time educate them as to the need to clean their domiciles thoroughly to rid the world of nasty head lice. We could have a World-Wide Lice-Out Month, just like the Protestants have Worldwide Communion Sunday and Jerry Lewis has his muscular dystrophy telethon. Don't both of those sound like great ideas?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Judge Alex's Fans

Some of Judge Alex's fans have gone a bit rabid. They're using Sharpies to graffiti up restroom stalls across the nation for the purpose of advertising for Judge Alex. I'm curious as to how the judge feels about this, but we don't communicate much, so I'm not going to ask him about it.

I've been assured that the situation involving one of my attackers and the shange in the terms of the restraining order is being handled and that i do not need to e concerend about it. It's hard to just trust someone else to handle this for me, but I don't really have any choice. I have no legal say in the matter. My Uncle Scott called my Uncle Steve, who made a few phone calls in the area, and my Aunt Jillian sent a "cease and desist" letter with cc's to the Judge and D.A. My auntie told me that the only way I'll see any of my attackers is if I go to visit them, which I'll certainly not do.

Thanks to Matt, Amy, Becca, and Uncle Scott for moral support in regard to this matter.