Saturday, January 29, 2005

Movie Meme

I'm procrastinating.

For those of you who know me well, you must surely be lacing up your skates for a long day of ice-skating in Hell. I stumbled upon this little interactive movie-quote game on someone else's
blog, and decided it was too fun to pass up.
  • Pick 13 movies that you enjoy.
  • Pick a line of dialogue that you like.
  • As people guess the film, strike out that entry (Post your guesses as comments)
  • NO cheating!!! That means NO: Google, IMDb, etc.!
Oh, I hated the Colonel with his wee BEADY eyes! and that smug look on his face, 'Oh! You're gonna buy my chicken, OHHH!
Dad, how can you hate the Colonel?

Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly, smart ass! Answer: So I Married an Axe-Murderer


He’s an asshole, sir – Major Asshole.
Then who’s he?

He's an asshole too, sir.
I knew it, I’m surrounded by assholes. Keep firing, assholes! Answer: Spaceballs


I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered
shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day, we fight! Answer: Return of the King

How do you define “real”? If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then “real” is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. Answer: The Matrix

TOE PICK! Answer: The Cutting Edge


There are varying degrees of evil. We urge you lesser forms of filth not to push the bounds and cross over, in to true corruption, into our domain. For if you do, one day you will look behind you and you will see we three, and on that day you will reap it. And we will send you to whatever god you wish. Answer: Boondock Saints (I LOVE this movie)

Just remember that God never dumps more on us than we can handle.
Oh, is that available stitched on a pillow somewhere?

Oh Louis, Louis, still whining Louis. Have you heard enough? I’ve had to listen to that for centuries! Don’t be afraid, I’m going to give you the choice I never had. Answer: Interview With the Vampire

I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. Answer: Fight Club


PC Load Letter? What the fuck does that mean?

Why does it say paper jam when there is NO paper jam? I swear to god, one of these days I’m just going to kick this piece of shit out the window!
Answer: Office Space

You were martyred?
That's one way of putting it. Another way of putting it would be to say that I was bludgeoned to death by a huge fucking rock.
Answer: Dogma


This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fig
hting, this is for fun.
Answer: Full Metal Jacket

What about the ROUS's?
Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist.
Answer: The Princess Bride

One left to go! Thanks to everyone who's played :D

Listening to: Dare You To Move - Switchfoot

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Meaning in the Monolith

School stresses me out. I work very hard. But I do well: Dean's List both consecutive years, on my way towards a third. School can consume my every waking thought. During crunch time, I'm either working, thinking about working, or wondering what work I could be doing. It's far from pleasant to feel this way, but it's just how I operate to get what I want out of my life. I'm fully prepared, and committed, to making these sacrifices.

Sometimes, a rare day will come along where I can set all this aside and take a step back. This has happened to me in the past few days.

Yesterday we finished enriching and impoverishing the rats for my undergraduate thesis experiment (clicky to see my adorable rats) . Today we tossed some of the rats into the elevated plus maze and started the behavioural testing. Essentially, today we started collecting the data to see if the 3 months of working with those rats 5 days a week will pay off. There have been many set backs - people's general incompetence, the lack of the uridine diet, an animal having to be put down, changes to our experiment rooms, etc. As Christine and I were sitting around while cutie rat #7 was in the maze, I began to change my perspective.

Instead of focusing on all the nitty gritty details of what's gone wrong, how it could fuck up the results and remove any chance of publication, of how much I've dedicated to this, how hard I've worked on it, how sleep deprived and exhausted I am, I realized how much fun I've been having. Yes, fun! Christine and I have had so many hilariously fun moments with our rats: cooped up in a tiny room with the critters running all over us. We always manage to laugh and have a general good time.

I get to be a part of this scientific community: instead of just reading about theories and experiments, I've been fortunate enough to be able to do my own. To test theories I'm interested in, to carry out my own experiment, to contribute to the general scientific knowledge. The topic of my thesis has serious potential therapeutic uses for people with aging related memory deficits. This isn't some meaningless project strictly for a grade. This means something, and I realized that today.

While University life can be fake, and contrived, and monolithic, it can also be such a great environment to challenge and enrich your own life. I love it when I come hope skipping because I'm just about ready to explode with knowledge. I love it when I get a chance to think in a different way, to learn something I find so fascinating that I just want to run home so I can talk to someone about it. Of course, there's hardly every anyone that I can talk to about it, but that doesn't always matter. What matters is I know how to appreciate what I'm fortunate enough to receive, and I'm lucky enough to be able to enjoy it.

Listening to: Raven - Dave Matthews Band

Saturday, January 22, 2005

An Ample Dose of Cynicism

Are things really so much better today than they were 50-60-70 years ago? I'm really not sure.

A lot of people who were born around the same time as myself, the early 80s, and who were raised in similar middle to upper class environments, have been fortunate enough to lead fairly privileged lives. As such, this privilege, whether we are conscious of it or not, has shaped how we interpret the world around us. Because some of us grew up in quite egalitarian communities, a lot of us seem to think that things are generally like this all over. It's ignorance, but it is not a malicious form of ignorance. I think it speaks to the benefits that we have been lucky enough to experience in our lives. Unfortunately, it limits us from really appreciating the reality of our culture, and consequently limits us in working towards making any changes.

Yes, there are many many instances of improvement. I cannot and will not deny this. The simple fact that I am attending a University, about to graduate and continue on to a PhD, speaks loudly and clearly for itself. However, I cannot and will not deny the fact that there are many many instances that desperately still need improvement. I experience this on a daily basis, most often in simple discussions between individuals. There is still so much ignorance, and deeply ingrained beliefs, that still persist from 50-60-70 years ago.

The reason for this rant: Dr. Summers, the President of Harvard University, recently provided a shining example of what I'm talking about.

At the Jan. 14 conference, at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit economic research organization in Cambridge, Dr. Summers angered several of the women present, one of whom walked out, by suggesting that innate gender differences may explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers." (Source)

"Dr Summers had told the private conference on the position of women and minorities in science and engineering that women's reluctance to work long hours because of child-care responsibilities was behind them not performing as well in the sciences. He also said boys outperform girls on high school science and maths scores because of genetic difference. As an example, he told the conference about giving his daughter two trucks. She treated them like dolls, and named them mummy and daddy trucks, he said." (Source)

The fucking President of Harvard University. Arguing for genetic based inferiority of women in science. Priceless. Of course he's recanting like a son of a bitch, but that means nothing: he said what he said because he believed it.

Have things changed? Yes. Have they changed significantly? No, I don't think so. It wears me down, it makes me sick, and it's so hard to fight against when it's so deeply ingrained the minds of so many people. Even women themselves: the ones who know nothing about feminism, but are so afraid of what they think they know about it. "I'm not a feminist, but...". It's so frustrating.

Some days I feel like there's a chance for things to change. Then something like this happens, and I realize how pointless it is to hope. I think I need another Cosmo:

Listening to: Shit on the Radio - Nelly Furtado

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Wall

I was reading my book today, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, and this passage really struck me. I think it speaks for itself:

"The next day he passed Alai in the corridor, and they greeted eachother, touched hands, talked, but they both knew that there was a wall now. It might be breached, that wall, sometime in the future, but for now the only real conversations between them was the roots that had already grown low and deep, under the wall, where they could not be broken.

The most terrible thing, though, was the fear that the wall could never be breached, that in his heart Alai was glad of the separation, and was ready to be Ender's enemy. For now that they could not be together, they must be infinitely apart, and what had been sure and unshakable was now fragile and insubstantial; from the moment we are not together, Alai is a stranger, for he has a life how that will be no part of mine, and that means that when I see him we will not know each other

Listening to: Delicate - Damien Rice

Friday, January 14, 2005

Watch out, Greek boys!

Greece is a go.

My friend Elisa and I are taking a 10 day cruise of Turkey and Greece in May. There are no words to express my excitement. My parents have given me a budget as my graduation gift, and it's up to us to make the arrangements. We discovered this website called Contiki Tours: it's an organized tour trips for 18-35 year olds. The prices are extremely reasonable.

This is the itinerary of the trip we're taking:

Athens at Leisure and Sail to Istanbul: This morning is free - later we board our cruise ship to set sail for Istanbul. Cruise (B,D,S)

Cruising to Istanbul: Today enjoy the amenities of our cruise ship as we sail through the Dardanelles arriving in Istanbul in the early evening. Cruise (B,L,D,S)

Istanbul and the Bosphorus: Explore this exciting city or shop in the Grand Bazaar where there are more than 4,000 shops. Istanbul is a breathtaking sight where East meets West. Why not visit the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace museum. We depart this evening for Mykonos. Cruise (B,L,D,S)

Mykonos: We arrive at the island of white-washed houses and blue domed churches. Enjoy the sunset over “Little Venice” and soak up the atmosphere before returning to the ship to sail for Patmos. Cruise (B,L,D,S)

Patmos and Kusadasi (Turkey): We arrive at Patmos, where St John is reputed to have written the book of Revelation. This afternoon we dock at Kusadasi, explore the bazaar or take an excursion to the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Cruise (B,L,D,S)

Kusadasi to Rhodes: A day to explore this island, home to the Colossus of Rhodes. Legend says it was over 100ft high and straddled the harbour. Cruise (B,L,D,S)

Rhodes to Santorini via Heraklion (Crete): We dock in Crete, the biggest of the Greek Islands before sailing for Santorini. This spectacular volcanic island is in the Cycladic chain of islands. Enjoy Fira and its narrow paved streets with plenty of opportunity to shop in the many boutiques. Cruise (B,L,D,S)

Depart Athens: After breakfast we disembark for our transfer to our centrally located Athens hotel where your tour ends.

We're also thinking about sticking around Greece for a little while afterwards, doing the Hostel thing. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I can't wait.

Listening to: Test of Time - Rubberman

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Where Have All The Sartre Readers Gone?

Philosophy (of Sex, Love, and Friendship) class today brought home a few lessons about University life. The prof is a rather amusing man, who has a distinctly blunt way of phrasing things. The material is relatively enjoyable, but the prof makes it much more amusing - who would have thought Plato's Symposium could be amusing?

The first lesson is as follows:
  • In the words of my entertainingly blunt prof: "University is not where you go to become intelligent. University is where you go to become over educated". I was the only one who burst out laughing. This was just a perfectly apt way of wording what I've always felt about higher education. I once made the error of assuming people in University would be more intelligent, and would actually want to be there and want to learn. I was grossly mistaken. University is, generally, just the place where stupid people go to fornicate with other stupid people. Every now and then there are genuinely driven and intelligent people - but that is far from the general case.
The second lesson is as follows:
  • We're starting to look at Sartre's Being and Nothingness, so the prof asked if anyone had read any Sartre before. Assuming there are going to be other people, I confidently stick my hand up in the air. Out of a class of 100+, I'm the only one with my hand up. All eyes turn to me. It's so terribly sad - only ONE person in a 2nd year Philosophy course who's ever read any Sartre? What's wrong with the world?
I'm starting to feel like I'm the last sane person in a world of insanity. Technically, I guess that makes me the insane one.

Listening to: Babylon - David Gray

Monday, January 10, 2005

Pity Thyself

Self-pity is one of the worst feelings. Pain dissipates, sadness passes, anger fades, disappointment is surpassed. Self-pity lingers; it latches on to you and ingrains itself into your daily cognitive processes, slowly eating away at pre-established structures of self-esteem, confidence, and happiness.

I consider myself a fairly confident person with respect to who I am: I generally have moderate to high self esteem, more so/less so in certain areas - as most individuals do. On the relatively rare occasions where I start feeling bad for myself, the pity is particularly damaging. It's like a virus that floats through the blood-stream, attacking any self-confidence cells. Eating away at them painfully slowly until a persistent sense of doubt is implanted. In one instance where someone I had mistakenly trusted demonstrated why this was an error in judgment on my part, I now find myself doubting almost all other relationships that I have with people.

Add that to a torn tendon in my foot with a possible stress fracture, and you get one unhappy neurotic psych student. Fortunately, it's not as bad as it sounds. There are quite a few positive things in my life right now - enjoying my classes (pre-stress period, of course), I'm going on a 2 week trip to Turkey and Greece on a cruise ship with a friend in May, and I can still count on a few friends to be there for me.

The trick is to up the endogenous anti-self-pity white blood cells to battle off the virus. Whenever you feel that nagging sensation of doubt, put it in check and examine it from another perspective. Easier said than done, clichés be damned, but nevertheless effective if you try hard enough.

I'm now going to take my poor little torn-tendon mistrusting self off to kitchen for dinner. Yay.

Listening to: The Remedy - Jason Mraz

Saturday, January 08, 2005


I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I’m pissed. I’m even more pissed because I know the anger is just a cover up for being hurt. I have no right to be hurt and/or pissed. If I had had the opportunity I would have done the same thing. I think it also pisses me off that I didn’t have the opportunity. I feel cheap, I feel sorry for myself, I feel like nothing. I hate it, and I hate it that it gets to me. It shouldn’t. I think it partially gets to me because it destroyed a small illusion that I was allowing myself to indulge in: it was safe because I knew I had control over the situation. That safeness allows me to experience something that I feel I need, without having to compromise some other things. It’s selfish, so why am I feeling this way? If I really did have control, I wouldn’t be affected like this. My little sense of control, my little constructed situation, was just completely shattered. I think I’m through with it, and it’s hypocritical of me – not to mention really mean. It just won’t be the same anymore, it’s broken – and I’ll always feel that it is. I can’t be fake, I hated having to swallow it and not show how it affected me. I hate this. I’m so mad. I keep thinking about, imagining every little detail – thinking about what I was doing, what I was feeling. Fuck it. Fuck it all.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Last Undergraduate Semester

My classes are shaping up to be rather interesting this semester: Thesis class, History of Psychology, Seminar in Biopsychology, Psychology of Gender, and Philosophy of Sex, Love and Friendship. It seems like this will be a paper writing semester: only a few tests and only 2 finals, but 8 or 9 papers. Ick. Carpal tunnel, here I come.

I do generally like the atmosphere of academia - especially since I am a senior student, taking mostly 3rd-4th year classes. I detest the stress of school, and the daily complications and neuroses that I suffer from because of it, but I thoroughly enjoy the sense of intelligent, intellectual, and informed atmosphere of University where I can learn and discuss what I'm learning. I notice a distinct lack of opportunity to discuss the subjects I'm interested in outside of the University arena with other people - therefore I sincerely appreciate the ability to analyze these really fascinating topics with other individuals in the same atmosphere. If I start talking about the relationship between uridine and the neurological substrates of aging in the hippocampus, or Michel Foucault's panopticon from a postfeminist perspective, I lose people quite quickly.

What I detest about academia is the inescapable fact that sometimes you have to deal with the utter incompetence of other individuals that inevitably fucks up something you're trying to do. This is true for non-academic fields as well, to all fields I suppose, but I really feel it with respect to conducting research. Over the Christmas holidays, it appears that our experiment have been totally fucked with: the research assistant that was being paid to keep up the environmental sessions barely showed up. The rats were barely handled. No weight data was marked. Rats were put in the wrong cages with the wrong diet. I can't even describe how horrible this is: worse, it was out of my control. We did everything we could before the holidays to ensure the RA knew what he had to do. He chose not to show up, and to do a half-assed job when he did.

Moral of this story = other people suck.

Listening to: Flake - Jack Johnson

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Drunken Scrabble

So I uploaded my Christmas pictures. This is what happens when I combine my family + alcohol + scrabble:

and last but not least: Merry Fucking Christmas!

Listening to: I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Holidays, 2004

And so the New Year begins - I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe 2005 :)

Though I am not feeling the best I ever felt this morning, which is good and bad in itself, I decided to make a list of some of the things I'd like to remember about The Holidays, 2004. New Years itself is really just another day to me, and it does not bear much importance in my life. The year of 2004 contained many very important moments for me, many sad moments, many happy moments, many relaxed moments, and many I'm-so-stressed-I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out moments. I made some new friends, in some very unexpected ways, and tightened some already established friendships. It was a year like any other, though better than some. I am deeply looking forward to what 2005 has to offer me, a lot will be decided.

This past holiday season, however, has been very meaningful: mainly due to the presence of family and friends. And even sometimes both simultaneously. Right now, this is what I'd like to focus on. This is what stuck in my mind in regards to The Holidays, 2004:
  • "Merry Fucking Christmas" from the Bougies

  • Recycle bin looking very much like a wine bottle recycling plant - average 4 bottles a night.

  • "You're making baby Jesus cry"

  • Maracas in Church

  • "The red Ninja Turtle is so the Boss turtle"

  • "I like green beans and I cannot lie" ... "with a string bean in your face"

  • Electric.... EELS!

  • Scrabble: "Don't swear in front of your kids!" - "Yeah, one of them just spelt 'boner' for 12 points!"

  • Twat Team theme music

  • Mike's Wonder Woman barbie

  • Fantasy Princess jewlery set

  • Two Maroon 5's

  • "He couldn't crap his pants, they were pulled up too high!"

  • "aaaahhhhh FREAK OUT"


  • Ice skating with 8 year olds who were ten times better
Best of all: Mike managed to make his first Christmas in 3 years without puking in a van! WHOO :D

Listening to: The Blower's Daughter - Damian Rice