Tuesday, February 22, 2005

City Girl

I'm a city girl: I admit this and revel in it.

It doesn't take long when I'm back in Montreal to remind me how much I love this city, how much I miss it, and as a result, how much Ontario fucking sucks. I've been "accepted in principle" to the Behavioural Neuroscience Masters/PhD program at McGill. This means that I will be moving back to Montreal in May, and pursuing my graduate studies in September. I've been working really hard to get into this program - my neuroses have been operating in full tilt, and I'm slightly less sane than I was this time last year. So thankfully it'll all be worth it.

I've been ripping through books so far, one of the things I adore about spring break: I can sleep in and spend the day reading and watching movies in my jammies. Good times.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ender's Shadow: it's interesting to see Ender's Game through Bean's perspective. I'm also re-reading Seduced By Midnight by Laurell K. Hamilton, since the new Merry Gentry book is coming out in April. I'm just about to start Lamb by Christopher Moore - click on the title in the sidebar for more info. It looks terribly hilarious. After that, it's Metamorphosis by Kafka. Good times.

Listening to: Why Georgia - John Mayer

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Day of Death

Today is the day the rats are being euthanized and their organs harvested for cellular analysis.

I'm terribly sad - I've been working with these boys for about 5 months now. As stressful as it was at some points, I nevertheless grew to love the little guys. I was there when they were born, yet I couldn't bring myself to be there when they die. Watching them get put in the rat-guillotine would just be too much for me to bear.

My thesis supervisor understands, and she told us we could bring the rats a little treat before they're euthanized. I bought a bag of M&Ms on my way to class this morning, and took it with me to see the boys. I gave them all a hug and a kiss, and a few M&Ms, and left. It's the last time I'll see them.

This is Jeff, wet after being put in the water maze. We love him, even if he was a psycho gay molester rat.

This is a bunch of the boys as babies, a few weeks old:

R.I.P boys, we'll miss you.

Thankfully reading week (spring break, just not in the spring) starts tomorrow - to cheer me up and provide a temporary relief from the Hell that is Waterloo.

Listening to: Warning - Incubus

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Anti-Science Prejudice

I have heard good things about The Tao of Pooh, and can generally keep an open mind about perspectives and paradigms differing from what I personally identify with. However, anti-science prejudice seems to be blatantly in my face these days. It's starting to annoy me.

I am taking a pre-requisite History of Psychology course this semester, and the prof admits to having a bias against the natural science side of psychology - the side of which I of course happen to prefer. Admitting his bias doesn't do much to curb how it manifests in the teaching style, however, and the prof takes every chance he can get to shit on natural science psych: John Watson was a manipulative anti-ethical evil man, "science" seeks to alienate the individual, "science" is blind to human emotion, "science" prides itself on a false sense of objectivity. Yes, okay, fine - some of these comments are based in truth and these criticisms need to be made. But focusing solely on these aspects of natural science psych and ignoring the numerous beneficial aspects is just plain ignorant.

So that is what I have to deal with 3 times a week: blah blah blah natural science is evil, blah blah blah science sucks. There's only so much of that I can take, and I don't need to see it reflected in books I'm reading for pleasure.

The Tao of Pooh is similarly afflicted with blatant, uninformed, prejudiced views of science.

"the Brain, the Academician, the dry-as-dust Absentminded Professor. Far from reflecting the Taoist ideal of wholeness and independence, this incomplete and unbalanced creature divides all kinds of abstract things into little categories and compartments while remaining rather helpless and disorganized in his daily life" (25).

"It is very hard to find any of the spirit of Taoism in the lifeless writings of the humorless Academic Mortician, whose bleached-out Scholarly Dissertations contain no more of the character of Taoist wisdom than does the typical wax museum" (26).

"The Confusionist, Desiccated Scholar is one who studies Knowledge for the sake of Knowledge, and who keeps what he learns to himself or to his own small group, writing pompous and pretentious papers that no one else can understand, rather than working for the enlightenment of others" (26).

etc. It goes on endlessly in similar manners.

So, as scientists, we are: incomplete, unbalanced, helpless, disorganized, humorless, wisdomless, pompous, pretentious, and of course, MALE.

This smacks of generalizations, prejudice, hate, misinformation, hypocrisy, a complete lack of a desire to be understanding and tolerant of opposing positions, and not to mention condescending as all fuck. This from someone promoting a life-philosophy of enlightenment?

Pardon me while I vomit my scientific lifelessness and arrogance all over this piece of hypocritical hate "literature".

Listening to: Secret - Maroon 5

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Murphy's Law

If Murphy is still alive, I am personally going to hunt him down and torture him for an extended period of time.

We started the behavioural testing of my rats yesterday for my thesis: the apparatus is called the water maze, where the rat is placed in a pool of water and it has to find a hidden platform - it's a measure of memory (clicky here to see a pic of one my rats taking a wee swim).

Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. I mean everything. I can't even begin to list it all, it would be incredibly tedious and only depress me further.

Yesterday I spent 10 hours running the rats in the maze - I didn't get to eat at all, and got home at 6:30 pm with 2 midterms to study for. Today I skipped both of my classes and ran rats for about 5 hours. I'm exhausted. I'm stressed beyond belief. My thesis supervisor didn't properly explain the procedure to us and freaked out at me when we were doing it wrong. My back and leg muscles kill from bending and cleaning. I got rat blood on my shirt. I permanently smell rat shit everwhere I go, and am paranoid that I have some stuck to my pants or something.

I have to go in tomorrow, friday, SATURDAY, and all next week. I can't handle this. Thank god for reading week (spring break) coming up, hopefully I don't have a nervous breakdown before then.

I don't often whine, but Murphy's Law brings the whiner out in the best of us.

Listening to: The Hardest Button to Button - The White Stripes

Friday, February 04, 2005


I'm officially declaring that I have an addiction.

Addicted to what, you may ask. Crack? No. Porn? Hardly. Booze? No... at least I don't think so.
Books. Yes, it's books. I'm addicted to books, and addicted to reading. I freely admit it.

Last weekend my roommate Amy (the non-raging-bitch one) and I went to a movie and then meandered on over to Chapters. I had a gift certificate from Christmas, and used it to purchase 4 books. I didn't think that was too extravagant, seeing as my book pile was running somewhat low. Today was such a spectacularly gorgeous day - warm but crisp, sunny, and just delightful. On my way home from class, I decided to swing buy the corner store and rent a movie. After doing so, I spied the second hand bookstore in the same complex and thought I would just go in and wander around - and not buy anything.

So much for that. I bought 5 books. Granted, one was a gift. But that still makes 9 books in one week. It's a problem, I just can't stop myself. It won't take me too long to go through them, and I can bring some to Greece with me. But still. I'm trying to save my money, and when faced with books, I suddenly have a complete loss of self-control.

These are the books I bought:
  • Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card

  • Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card

  • Lamb - Christopher Moore

  • Hegemony or Survival - Noam Chomsky (I have a previous entry about this book)

  • The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka

  • The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

  • The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff

  • The Regulators - Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)

  • The Gunslinger, Dark Tower 1 - Stephen King (for Amy)

Oi. Crack would have been an easier and less time consuming addiction.

Listening to: Drama Queen - HorrorPops

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Hell is Other People

"Please wipe the counter!!"

oh god, no. Not again. Yes, again. Ms.-I'm-Such-A-Raging-Bitch roommate decides to leave another note taped to the ledge of the counter. I can barely even begin to express how much this pisses me off.
  1. Apparently we are all 5 year old children who need to be reminded to clean up after ourselves. We are very clean compared to other students housing, or compared to a lot of other people period. She needs to relax and de-clench her excessively retentive anus.
  2. She is such a fucking hypocrite! I clean up a lot of the messes that she leaves behind, what right does she have to bitch about crumbs on the goddamn counter?! I don't leave notes saying "Clean up your fucking dishes, bitch!" taped to the sink.
  3. No one is perfect. We all clean up after eachother to some degree, it's just what happens when you live with 4 other girls. Welcome to real life.
  4. She is so inconsiderate about tons of other things. For example, coming home from the bar plastered at 3 am and proceeding to blast the TV with all her friends and getting fucking bitchy when we ask her to keep it down. How about I take a shit on the counter, would that be about fair?
I am so glad I only have a few more weeks left to deal with her. Then it's bye-bye-annoying-bitch-ass roommate.

Official Countdown to Graduation and Getting the Fuck Out of Waterloo:
9 weeks

Listening to: Where Is My Mind - The Pixies