Visual Assault

Monday, March 31, 2008

Last week at my Anatomy class, the professor drew a picture on the chalkboard and then it sat and stared at me for the remaining 74 minutes of class. I had a very difficult time focusing, as this is what stared back at me:

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Admit it, it's pretty disturbing.

And then I made dinner tonight, a delicious mushroom/onion risotto served in portobello mushroom caps, and while I was baking the portobellos I came across this:

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I'm beginning to think I'm hallucinating. Or possibly a lesbian. Perhaps that's the source of the crisis of faith?
(by the way, thank you for the considerate comments and emails, I appreciate each and every one of them).

Crisis of Faith

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm going to put away politics for a little while in favor of a serious monologue about religion. Feel free to continue to comment on those posts (as long as you're being civil) as desired.

I was raised by a Roman Catholic mother and an agnostic father. For a while, my father went through a phase of Christianity, but when life got difficult, he turned away from it. I have attended the Catholic church since I was a child, was baptized, had my first communion and was confirmed. For all intents and purposes, I am Catholic.

As I grow, both in age and in life experiences, I'm finding myself increasingly unsure of my religion and faith. College and my post-collegiate studies have opened my eyes to things I wasn't aware of before. I almost feel like I've been duped. Don't misunderstand me, I still believe whole-heartedly in God, but beyond that, I'm, well, lost.

I was raised with the new testament and the works of Jesus. And then I spent time in one of my college history courses studying the history of religion and found myself disturbed by the politics involved in the church. The fact that the gospels were written a century after Jesus' death and were literally voted on by a council of people who appointed themselves to head the church is confusing to me. I don't like the idea that I'm getting the version of Jesus that some group wanted me to get, rather than the whole picture.

I was also raised with the belief that the bread and wine, upon consumption, became the body and blood of Jesus Christ, except that for the entire time I was going to church, I never actually realized they were being serious. Not like, I thought they were joking, but I always saw the bread and wine as symbolic. I can prove scientifically that when I ingest that host that it is not the flesh of the son of man and that when I sip the wine, it does not become blood, so how is it that each week we are told to believe this? I realize that this completely discounts all the instances of miracles about this very thing, but I have never experienced one of these miracles and if it's always supposed to change upon digestion, then I feel like there's some incongruity here.

I'm not out to flame the Catholic church, or anyone for that matter. The Catholic church has been nothing but good to me, I just don't know where I belong any more. I don't like going to Catholic mass because I hear myself reciting things that I know I don't believe, purely out of habit and a feeling of obligation. I tried on an Episcopal church for size for a while and I liked it, but I just feel like there's still so much that I'm unsure of.

People often ask what The Fiance and I will do with our kids when we get married as he is Jewish and I am not. Many many people are troubled when I tell them that I do not oppose raising my kids as Jews. Frankly, I love Judaism. I think it's a fantastic religion and if I'm going to start my kids in some religion (knowing full well that when they're almost 25 they may run screaming in the other direction), that's one that I'm completely comfortable with. I think that it instills the moral boundaries that I agree with and so much of it is based on the idea of doing good things for others and to me, that's what should be at the heart of all religion (and I think ultimately it usually is).

This leads to a natural question of why I wouldn't convert to Judaism. Aside from the obvious problem of, generally speaking, conversion to Judaism is a pain in the ass, I know that it would kill my mother. I also know that despite the fact that my ideals have absolutely nothing to do with The Fiance (to be honest, he and I have hardly spoken at all about it), my family would probably never forgive him.

On Easter my family gave me a big lecture about how I needed to start going to church again, but where do I go? I don't want to go to church for the sake of going. I don't want to go somewhere, not having any idea what I believe, so that someone can tell me what I should believe. I feel like I need to research and read and discover it myself and see what I really genuinely believe in my own heart and brain and from there, pick the religion that best facilitates that faith.

I guess if it were that simple I wouldn't be typing this, would I? I honestly don't know anymore. It's not that I don't have faith or that I can't believe without seeing, it's just that I don't know what's real and what's not. I don't know who's right and who's wrong. There are so many different accounts of the same thing, who's to say that theirs is the right one?

My name is Katie, I'm 24 years old and for the first time in my life, I feel completely lost.

Last Political Drivel

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Okay, I'm going to put the politics to rest here pretty quickly, but in reading through the comments a couple of issues were brought up that I either didn't address for a reason, or that I completely forgot about altogether. And I have a short rant, so just one more time, let me step up on my soap-box and tell you why I don't think it's evil to be liberal.

Illegal immigration is a touchy subject, and frankly, this is one that I flip-flop on a lot. On the one hand, this is a country of immigrants. Let's face it, without immigration, 99% of us would not live here. We'd still be in some other country suffering the same ills we came here to escape. On the other hand, paying for medical expenses of more people and other such costs is a difficult burden. Knowing the history of the country makes it incredibly challenging for me to deny the same kind of life-altering change of emigrating from a bad situation to others.

I believe I'm among the few people who don't believe that everyone should have to know English (in my opinion, a melting pot means that we all melt together, not we force an unnatural language on you because we decided on it) and I think that there are a lot of reasons to think that it's not a crazy idea. It seems to me that if everyone needed to speak English it would be our national language, and yet, we've chosen not to have one. English is ridiculously difficult to learn and until you've immersed yourself in a situation where you do not know a single syllable of a language and have someone tell you that you need to learn it (with that tone of high horse-ness), you cannot appreciate how difficult it really is. You cannot just assume that because someone does not know english that they are lazy or that they don't want to. It's jut not that simple. I frankly have no problem with our government being a multilingual one, what the hell will that hurt?

Anyway, back to immigration. As someone in the younger generation who will certainly pay a sizeable sum of money to social security, but who may never see a single dime of it, I really can't decide what's right from what's wrong. I do think that legalization needs to be made easier. What about this country makes it reasonable for you have to jump through 800,000 hoops to become one of us? I do not understand this. My step-brother-in-law is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He works very hard for his money, he does not steal, is not sleazy, yet despite the fact that he is married to an American, he cannot get his citizenship legalized for at least two more years. How is that reasonable? I don't know what I support in terms of the politics here, but I do support hard-working people trying to make better lives for themselves and you can call me naive, but I was born and raised in an agricultural city in southern California and you'll never convince me that these immigrants are all moving here to drain you of your money. Do you know why they have jobs? Because they're willing to do the ones that no one else is. I dare you to spend one day in the summer in Wasco, California in 110 degree heat picking and inspecting grapes for almost no money.

To me, this issue is not black and white, it's incredibly gray. It seems to be just a matter of deciding what shade of gray we want to live with. I'm guess mine falls farther to the left of the grayscale than a lot of yours, but I don't think that any of us really support ceasing immigration altogether (correct me if I'm wrong here, though I'm pretty sure Pat Buchanon doesn't read often...).

The other issue mentioned was affirmative action. I feel like I'm running around in a fire pit with a grenade just thinking about discussing this. I'm not really solid in my feelings on this yet either, so bear with me while I talk it out. I think that affirmative action made sense in the past and in certain circumstances makes sense now. I do not feel that it needs to dictate every part of life, but I think that there tend to be still a lot of biases towards other races, nationalities, religions, ethnicities, etc., and there's absolutely no harm in trying to give those who aren't in the majority a shot at the things the rest of us have. I went to the most diverse liberal arts college in the country (or at least it was at the time), and they were proud of that fact. My school did not set out a certain number of spots for caucasians and a certain number for African-Americans and a certain number for Latinos, Asians, etc., they simply put themselves out there to get applicants from a wide range of places and offered a lot of money to those hard working students who couldn't afford the tuition, regardless of their race (trust me, I was one of them). They wanted a well rounded group of kids and tried to spread the acceptance around (I worked in the admissions office, I know that it was not your standard affirmative action situation). The result was awesome.

I think that if we were to get rid of all affirmative action and all it's similar programs we'd find that those minorities would slip back, would lose out on a lot of opportunities. What that middle ground is, I don't know. I know that I support everyone having the opportunity to succeed and I know that I support diversity and what that takes shape as in the future, I really don't know.

My major rant for the day (completely unrelated to all the comments, by the way) has to do with people of whatever political party, looking down their nose at everyone who disagrees with them. I do disagree with about 50% of the population, statistically speaking, but I don't think my opinions and ideas are any more right or morally superior than theirs. I don't think that republicans or moderates or independents are wrong (though I'd like to give Ralph Nader a few pieces of my mind...), and I don't think that it's wrong to disagree. I think that it's wrong to patronize someone because you think you know better. I know that I don't know better, I know that I believe a certain set of things and those things have a lot to do with my life experience, just as I'm sure yours do. I wish that people could express their ideas without making it sound like you'd have to be a complete moron to disagree with them, and I surely hope that I haven't done that.

I don't wish that we all believed the same thing because that would be boring, but I do wish that we could find a way to talk about it that didn't always leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth.


Friday, March 28, 2008

The Fiance told me a story that is so graphic that it will be running through my head for the rest of the evening, so I decided to share that burden with all of you.

The Fiance's brother-in-law, who is a very nice, though sometimes a little rash, was making chili on Easter (nothing says "He is risen" quite like Chili). While chopping the meat he accidentally cut the top of his finger off. Then, in a fit of rage or frustration (no one can quite explain this part), he threw his fingertip down the garbage disposal, never to be found again.

There are some other elements about how plastic surgery at the hospital offered to put a piece of his ass on his fingertip and he refused it, but frankly, the image of him shucking his own finger, throwing down the garbage disposal and then his sister picking up the knife and finishing the chili while he went to the emergency room makes me smile in a demented sort of way.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holy shit.

We're going to rewind to last spring. We had a cockroach problem, well 2. One was that we had an excessive number of them scurrying through the house, the other was that I was/am the only person in this house capable of killing them. At the time, The Fiance insisted that all of New Orleans had roaches, so for months we dealt with the constant onslaught of bugs all on our own. He had a good point, they're all over the ground outside at night, so how can you possibly begin to make a dent in that kind of population of creatures?

It wasn't until our landlord, who lives in the other half of our duplex, woke up with a RAT IN HER BED that an exterminator was finally called out this past summer. He said that we were infested with both cockroaches and rats and that major spraying would need to occur. Let us take a moment to contemplate just how big the brick I shat was.

So the exterminator came out and sprayed and low and behold, the cockroaches slowed down. We did suddenly have an almost constant cockroach death theater in our living room where each morning I'd walk out to at least three or four cockroach carcasses, always on their back, looking extremely painfully dead. We had a small resurgence earlier this winter so we were resprayed and besides the dead cockroaches, it's been better.

Until last night.

It was 10:45 and I had just gotten settled to bed. I closed my eyes and heard a fluttering sound. Being the naive person I am, I expected to see a moth or something, you know, that should have the ability to fly. On the wall above my head/bed was the biggest mother freaking flying cockroach I have ever seen in my life. It was HUGE. I cannot estimate it's hugeness because in my head it's like 3 feet long and I think I may be exaggerating a little. Before I had the chance to kill it, the gargantuan roach flew onto the bed. It did meet its maker shortly thereafter, but the damage was already done, that roach desecrated my bedroom.

Two minutes later, dead cockroach's life partner landed on the wall opposite the bed. I then spent the next, oh, roughly 15 minutes standing on a step-stool throwing a shoe at the wall trying to kill the wall crawler. It should be noted that I was not excessively clothed during this massacre, to put it nicely. As a result, it was pretty awkward when, using an uncoiled wire hanger, I managed to knock the cockroach down and then into the hallway. I ran about 3 paces into the common space holding my clog of death before I realized my state of clothing and retreated, never to find that particular roach again. 'tis both unsettling and very unsatisfying to lose the kill.

As soon as I got settled for the third time and began to relax, I heard the faint tapping of the 800,000 feet on the floor as well as the cat attack noises, which is never a good sign. The cat is an exceptionally poor hunter, so if she's hunting, it must be something large. It turned out to be the first cockroach's identical twin brother running about through my clothes on the floor. I managed to kill it and eventually went to bed, wondering if I would wake up covered in flying roaches, or rather, if I would wake up at all.

I did wake up, about 6 hours later feeling like a big pile of death. I got dressed, walked downstairs for work and saw one cockroach carcass and THREE lives ones scurrying in my kitchen. THREE LIVE ONES.

Needless to say, the exterminator will be here at 4 tomorrow. That is assuming that the next plague hasn't yet begun.

Consider Thy Pot Stirred

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

So Nola, (who I'm not linking because I'm laaaazy and because I see some irony in referencing her post about this particular site and then not linking to her. ha. ha ha.) wrote about an issue that had 20-some-odd people tar-and-feathering each other in her comment section and I thought, man, I'd like to have me some controversy, so I've decided to talk politics.

I am a registered democrat and I fall pretty far to the left side. This does not mean that I am incapable of hearing a conservative point of view, but my alliances do lie with the liberals. I am a certified Bush-disliker (hater seemed too strong of a word) and could talk your ear off for hours on all the reasons that he makes me want to pluck my eyeballs out and move them to Canada until January, but I won't because it can get messy. Both the Bush stuff and the eyeballs.

My personal vote went to Obama. I have a lot of reasons, which I will enumerate some of, but all of them are aided greatly by the fact that Hillary bugs the shit out of me. There, I said it. She makes me a little embarrassed to be a woman sometimes. Really? Crying at a coffeeshop because nobody likes you? Lord help us. Yes, that's who I want to run my country. And yes, she does have a slight advantage in terms of senatorial experience over Obama, but I'm sorry, being the first lady is not the same as being the president. By that logic, I guess I'm pretty much a doctor. I mean, if I was interviewing for medical school I'd sure be able to make a good case for myself.

But that's just a visceral reaction, the issues are the core of my choice. Mostly. That and because I'd really rather stare at Obama for 4-8 years rather than Hillary. I'm sorry, he's just better looking.

I like Obama's healthcare plan better. I think that neither plan is foolproof because no matter what you do, you will not insure every single person if it's not free. I'm sorry to be pessimistic (a rarity around here, I realize), but you're not and healthcare won't ever be free, so there's got to be some middle ground. Making healthcare mandatory for adults is not going to make those people who don't want or can't afford health insurance run out and get it. And I think you'll wear yourself out trying to punish those people. But, mandatory insurance for kids and nationalized healthcare available at more affordable rates to adults makes sense to me.

I disagree with both candidates on a couple of the hot button issues. I think that both of them are really missing the mark with their stance on gay marriage. Both of them are toeing that line between being a democrat and not alienating those in the middle of the political spectrum and while I understand it, I don't like it. What I'm about to say may make me less popular, but I'll say it anyway. I think that marriage between same sex couples should be allowed. No where in my constitution (which by the way, I have taught to high school seniors so I am fairly familiar with) does it say that marriage is between a man and a woman. And moreover, no matter how much some people want it to be, this is NOT a Christian country and it never ought to be and therefore church-based ideals cannot dictate the laws. So when you run to your bible (of which I also own several, I might add) to tell me that God said that man and man weren't meant to lay together, I'm just going to remind you that Jesus didn't write the Constitution.

I don't know how many of you have read the decision from the 1954 case Brown v. The Board of Education regarding a black child being sent to another school, but the jist is that separate accommodations are inherently unequal. Yes, the language on the ruling is rather specific so I'm not trying to make a case for gay marriage under Brown, I'm just saying that these "civil unions" that seem to be the great compromise, feel an awful lot like separate gay schoolhouses to me. Yes, we'll let you be married, but we won't call it marriage because it doesn't fill our religiously defined description. I'm just not sure how that fits under the creed that all men are guaranteed some certain inalienable rights. In my humble opinion either everyone should be able to get married or everyone should have a civil union, but making a moral distinction between the two is taking this country down a road it does not belong on and I feel like the founding fathers would be appalled at the goings on.

Both candidates' positions on Roe v. Wade work for me, and I realize that paints me into a very lefty corner and I hope that all of you are educated enough to understand the difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion because few things chap my ass like being told I'm pro-abortion. Education is also a wash, though I love Hillary's idea to try to recruit "outstanding" teachers and principals. Really? Damn, I've totally been looking for the shitty ones all these years.

The war is a topic I will tread lightly around because this one seems to hold a lot of emotion for everyone. I do have family in the military and I do understand that our troops are in grave danger. I support them 100%, I oppose the reason they are there equally as much.

I haven't found much on their specific stances on stem-cell research, but both candidates are for it, so I'm good with that. And I understand that this concept is appalling to a lot of you, but can I ask, if these embryos are real lives, wouldn't you rather they be used for good than being literally thrown away? It seems to me that if some good can come from their demise that perhaps that's a better thing to do.

And finally, I have to say that I could not care less about who writes whose speeches. Was it a stupid of Obama to use a speechwriter's speech verbatim? Yes. Was it really tacky of Hillary to use John Edwards' ideas verbatim? Yes. Do I think that Hillary's "misspoken" exaggeration of her experience abroad was politically motivated? You bet your ass.

Honestly, at the end of the day, I don't think I'm any more right than you are, but I do feel like I've done my homework on the issues and I know where I stand and which candidate most closely approximates my ideals. And even if you're voting for Hillary or for McCain, more than anything, I really just hope you vote. I cannot bend my mind around the low voter turn out. I really can't. You're given the chance to choose your government, the very thing that we are fighting for for other countries and yet more people are interested in American Idol than in their own government.

And that, not homosexuality, abortion or stem-cell research, should be the biggest issue being discussed. Voting is a privilege, but in my opinion, it's also an obligation. You may not bitch about your country if you do not take a vested interest in it. So go vote, even if it's only to cancel out my left-winged crazy ass vote.

Now go, discuss.

Airport Advice

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can I just say that frankly, if you show up 25 minutes before your flight to a place like, oh I don't know, Los Angeles International Airport, that perhaps it's not Los Angeles' fault that you're going to miss your flight? And perhaps kvetching about how everything is "hurry up and wait" there is inappropriate when you clearly did NOT hurry up.

Also, and this is delicate, but if you are morbidly obese, please buy two seats. Even when you sit on the aisle seat and hang out onto the aisle, you're making it more difficult for other passengers and not just in obvious ways. See, when you do that, the person sitting, oh, I don't know, like across the aisle from you will get the shit smacked out of their elbow EVERYTIME the beverage cart rolls through because they are avoiding you. This is not especially fair.

And finally, to the boy sitting next to me, if I tell you that yes, New Orleans is in fact in the same time zone as Dallas, your looking at your watch and saying, "so then what time is it there?" does make you look stupid.

Wedding Whoopsie

Monday, March 24, 2008

I sat down this past weekend with my germ infested cousins to explain what they'd be doing in my wedding since I realized that we'd never really talked about it. My 6 year old cousin is our ring bearer and I told him how he'd be dressed just like The Fiance and my brother-in-law (both of whom he loves) and that it would be his job to hold a little pillow with our rings on it and walk down the aisle.

Then I moved onto his sister. My 4 year old cousin will (hopefully) be our flower girl. She's super-shy, so we're working on getting her really excited for this. I told her all about her dress (which we're going to go buy in about 30 minutes) and how I'd be wearing a special dress and my sister would and that her job would be to drop flower petals on the ground where she was walking. She wasn't thrilled with the idea, but she was at least listening.

As soon as I finished explaining it, her brother (the 6 year old) looks up, just SO excited and says, "Mama! Did you hear that? I get to drop rings!"

And that will be why his pillow will have fake rings on it.

Alphabet Strep

Sunday, March 23, 2008

(I won't be around tomorrow, so just let me say, Happy Easter! to everyone celebrating it and happy Sunday to everyone not. I'll be back with wedding shower stories soonish, but if I'm gone for a few days, assume it's travel related, or possibly, related to the story I'm about to relay).

I have never, in my nearly 25 years of life, had strep throat. I've heard stories of it, have had fears of it (like last week), had my tonsils taken out from repeated non-strep infections, but never ever have I had strep. It's a fact that I'm rather proud of considering that it's one of like three things in a medical dictionary I can't claim to have experienced.

About a week ago, my 4 year old cousin, was taken to the doctor, for a cough and fever that wouldn't die. We all had money on pneumonia and were all surprised when it turned out to be Strep, group A, which is the normal kind that everyone and their brother currently has. She got antibiotics and besides the cough that is still there, is pretty much fine now.

Her mother came down with the same cold/cough combination early this week, so she went to the doctor and had a strep test done just to be safe and because she's the one who hosted my shower. Thankfully, her rapid test came back negative and she went home to nurse her good old-fashioned cold.

A few days later her son, my 6 year old cousin, got the same cold/fever, etc, which if you're following my timing was about um, the day before I got there. And while it defies every germ-phobia I have, I went over and played at their house anyway. I only get to see my cousins and aunt a few times a year and frankly, considering that I'm just getting over cold #2 for 2008, my immune system should be kicking some major ass. So I risked it and had fun with my germ-monger cousins Thursday evening. Incidentally, at that visit I learned that the major function of the front two teeth is to corral spit in your mouth. There was a lot of spraying it rather than saying it. From the sick kid.

Friday morning I got a call from my aunt. Though her rapid strep test came back negative, the culture showed strep- but group F, which we can't find any information about, except that it appears to be contagious. So she started antibiotics yesterday, about 14 hours after I hung out at her house. Today we looked into her 6 year old's mouth and saw the most ridiculously swollen tonsils I've ever even imagined, so he got to go to urgent care and was told that if it wasn't strep (the rapid test was negative) it was at least a regular throat infection.

So let's see how this equation works:

Strep A + Strep F + Virus/Infection of unknown origin + me (who currently feels fine, by the way) = screwed

Nothing says Easter like strep. Streppy Easter everyone.

The Wedding Bath

Friday, March 21, 2008

I walked into my aunt's house and my 4 year old cousin looks up at me and says, "Katie! You're taking a shower here tomorrow! But I'm not taking it with you."

Tomorrow is the wedding shower. "The" as in singular because there will only be one (it's hard to have showers when you live 2000 miles away from your family), which is great except all the separate spheres of my life are colliding in a mammoth, (and present-filled) way and frankly, I've kept them as separate spheres for a reason.

My parents are divorced and remarried to other people, so that there is 4 spheres (mom, dad, step-mom and step-dad, and there's not necessarily the greatest relations between several of them), then there's The Fiance's family (which tomorrow is just the MIL) and then there's friends not related to my crazy-ass family.

I'm really trying to imagine the bumblefuck that will ensue tomorrow, I know it will be fun, it's just a matter of who will make the biggest ass out of themselves, a coveted award at all our family gatherings. I have a feeling that the peach sangria is going to help significantly. And the cake, though considering that it's going to be a picture of The Fiance and I, I have a feeling there's going to be a small cannibalistic element to that part.

And the presents, those will help too. Have I mentioned yet that I'm stoked for the presents?

EMG: The hyperbolic version

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So I'm going to share all the details of the EMG, because if there's any other person like myself, who googled it for more information and was told that it was no big deal by many well-intending LIARS, well, I'd like to enlighten them. I have all kinds of humorous non-medical things heading your way soon, I promise.

I think it's important to note (mostly because I have a desire to preface everything I do with some important fact, have you noticed that?) that I have a very high pain tolerance. I have broken 10+ bones and have never taken a narcotic for it. I had my tonsils taken out at 20 (which I do not recommend, by the way) and took nothing more than children's liquid tylenol. I had brain surgery and was on only Tylenol within 24 hours. I am no stranger to pain. Nor to needles, I do not have a phobia of them, just a general indifference.

For those who don't know, the whole point of the test is to see if the nerves are working properly with the muscles. Since my hand/arm isn't working properly, that was our best theory and this is the best way, with the MRIs of the past, that we can sort it out.

The test started off nicely enough. It's actually a two part test. For the first part, they stick an electrode on the backside of whatever they're shocking (in my case, my hand), literally to ground you (yea, that wasn't ominous), then they use a little gel stuff and tape a rectangular electrode to the area they're testing. Then they take something that looks like a small cattle prod and put it up against your skin a certain distance away from the rectangle. One side of the cattle prod and rectangle is black, the other is red and I'm sure there's both a rhyme and reason, I care about neither.

Anyway, then they use the cattle prod to shock you.

The doctor told me that it was going to be like shocking yourself on a car (or if you live in NOLA, on the shopping carts at Sav-a-center/Rouses). It is not. It's not painful, but it's not pleasant either. Your body jerks without your consent and it is just sort of icky feeling. And this continues, moving the cattle prod different distances from the rectangle, moving the rectangle receptor to different nerves, etc. Truly, if that had been the whole test, aside from the one measurement that they couldn't get and thus had to re-do easily 30 times in 3 minutes, I wouldn't be complaining. However, it was not.

The 2nd part is the actual EMG. My doctor told me they were using a "baby" needle, which is great, but unlike what everyone told me, it's not an acupuncture needle. It's not. It's a real needle, connected by a wire to the computer. It's sharp, it hurts.

She took the needle and pushed it into my muscle. There's a popping feeling when you actually pass into the muscle belly and it makes my butt pucker up just thinking about it. And holy-freaking-shit it hurts. She told me to "take a deep breath" each time she stabbed me and I just wanted to tell her to go screw herself every single time. I didn't want to breathe, I wanted to hold my breath and freak the hell out because it HURT.

This is a test relying on sound waves so if you contract the muscle, the computer that it's connected to makes a shit load of noise. The goal is to be noise free so you must now relax the muscle WITH THE NEEDLE STICKING IN IT. And once it's relaxed, then you do a minor contraction of the muscle to hear how it's conducting things, and then you do a major contraction for the same reason. As I'm sure you can imagine, contracting a muscle with a needle in it is not terribly comfortable. And then the needle is removed, though honestly, the pain persists for a while after. I was achey for several hours.

(By the way, I realize that I'm slipping in and out of 1st person, I haven't decided if I'm writing this more as a memoir or as a manual. Also, this is why I didn't pass my college writing exam.)

So then to the next muscle. Lather, rinse, repeat. It was tolerable until the needles to the hand. Both doctors in the room warned me ahead of time that it was going to be bad. Frankly, I think I deserve a medal for not swearing. I believe I uttered out the phrase "holy moly" at one point, but mostly managed to stay composed, did not cry, did not pass out. Imagine someone sticking a needle into the fleshy part of your palm by your thumb. Pushed in nice and deep and then WIGGLING it around to get to the right spot (wow, that's probably the dirtiest thing I've ever written). A full 24+ hours later, the spot where that particular needle stick was, still hurts.

The last three needle sticks were in my neck and were made more pleasant by the fact that I'm still sunburned from the parade Sunday. I'm a little sensitive in my neck anyway (that whole 5 inch scar thing, you know), but having a needle stuck through remarkably sunburned skin into remarkably sore/tired muscles feels super-awesome. I highly recommend sunburning any surface you plan to have stabbed with needles.

The whole experience lasted a good hour and involved somewhere around 10 different needle sticks. I survived and the doctor repeated over and over how impressed she was with me. Apparently many a large man has been taken down by this particular test and the fact that I didn't even swear made me a champion.

One of the few good parts of this test is that you get the results immediately but this is one of those double-edged swords. See, on the one hand (nothing like a good mixed metaphor), I'm thrilled because everything is NORMAL. No nerve or muscle damage, conduction speeds fall in the normal ranges in both hands. On the other hand, there's the fact that because nothing is wrong, there's no treatment that's going to magically fix this. There may be no treatment that will fix it period. The neurologist just said to keep going to physical therapy. I'm trying to be optimistic because it is great that nothing is wrong, but I'm sorry if I think that after 3 months of physical therapy, a few more weeks probably isn't going to restore my 500% decrease in function.

But such is life, and there are just so many more important things happening all around. Plus, soon there will be lots of presents and let's be honest, nothing cures the blues like lots of presents.

Jack Assery

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First of all, all of you who told me that the EMGs are not that painful and that the needles are tiny, you are forest-fire in your pants lying liars. Holy mother of all that is good and sacred, that hurt. Like a lot. And I will give you all the details later, but I need to share this story now, while at the airport before my plane takes off.

I'm wearing a shirt that says, "Don't mess with me, I had brain surgery" which, in retrospect, was a bad idea because it has invited waaaaaay too many conversations with strangers (which is sort of ironic given that it even says that I don't want to be messed with, right?).

We get to the metal detector part, I've taken off my shoes, watch, glasses, sweater and have taken out my computer, I'm efficient, I follow rules. I walk through the metal detector and it beeps and I realize that (doh!) I have my cell phone in my pocket.

The official on the other side of the metal detector asks what I have in my pocket, I tell him my cell phone and then he reads my shirt and says, "so you had brain surgery? Looks like you didn't get enough." And sends me back to put my cell phone through the x-ray.

Let me just say that that man is lucky to be alive. If he worked anywhere where there weren't 800,000 policemen around, I might have had to kick his ass.

A Moment of Serious-ity

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I know I finally brought the funny back a little bit, but I need a little serious today, so bear with me.

A couple of you have emailed me asking about health stuff and since I was going to talk about it anyway, I figured this would be a good time to do a little update. In terms of the way I'm feeling right now, I'm good. My headaches are rare and easy to control, though they do still pop up from time to time. My range of motion in my neck is almost normal. The only noticeable deficit is in tilting my head back and that will return in time, and in more physical therapy. My coordination is also much improved and I've only had a very few visual disturbances for months now. My hair is...well, growing.

That said, my left hand is still pretty bad. Physical therapy finally gave up on the electric stimulation they'd been doing to try and help my forearm muscle because it wasn't improving my grip strength and it was taking so much electricity to actually make my muscles contract that they didn't feel comfortable with it. My left forearm muscle is like jello. When I flex you can barely tell a difference from when it's relaxed. When I grab things my hand shakes something terrible and often when I hold my hand out straight, my pinkie and ring fingers will shake uncontrollably, while the other three fingers are totally chill. It's very bizarre.

Ten days after my surgery, I went to be evaluated at physical therapy and gripped a 60 in my right hand and a 35 in my left (I don't know the units). Those values were somewhat weaker than we like, but not crazy low, but now the best I can get my right hand to is about 25 and yesterday gripped a whopping 2 with my left. TWO. I've been in physical therapy since the first week in December and I can only grip a 2 with my hand. My physical therapist who probably weighs 85 pounds can grip 80. In case the math is difficult, that would be FORTY times more than I can.

It doesn't hurt which is a great relief, but a good portion of the time I can't feel my left arm from below my elbow at all, it's a lot like what it would be like to wear an elbow length glove over my left arm all the time. Except that sometimes it's also got a pins-and-needles feeling too. It's not painful, but it feels like electricity is being shot out of my arm.

Which is ironic, since that's what we're doing tomorrow. Tomorrow is my EMG, which is doctor abbreviation for sticking needles into muscles and conducting an electric impulse down them to see what the reaction time is. This test could be immensely helpful, or it could be a complete bust and there's no way to know ahead of time. I'm anxious to have it over with and see if it gives us any direction at all. We're really just in a place right now where we don't have any theories to go on anymore. I have a need to know and a bigger need to control, and right now I can't do either.

All medical stuff aside, there is another thing going on, but I cannot talk about it. Not by my choosing, though I'm not sure I'd have said anything anyway, but I have been told by people in much higher positions in power that I am not to speak about it period. If you live around here, you can probably deduce what I'm talking about, if you don't or can't, consider yourself lucky, it's not a good thing.

I also had a dream last night that The Fiance committed suicide and I've spent most of the day pretty traumatized from that. So I'm taking a day off the funny to deal with the serious. Tomorrow should be better. I get to go home and see my family for the first time since Christmas (though sans-The Fiance, which is sad) and there will both be copious amounts of shopping and also of fun-having, and I can definitely use both.


Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm going to talk about something a little off color, because frankly, this is too good not to share. I'm doing my best to use metaphors and synonyms because a) I don't want to scare off any conservative readers and b) I do not need to increase my google search hits in the -nography of the poor anymore than I already have, if you know what I mean.

First, a brief introduction (this will be the difficult part). There is an act that a woman can, um, I guess perform, for/on a man. It can sometimes be referred to as a "job" of sorts, we'll call it an "occupation" for this story. This specific occupation I'm talking about requires the woman using her oral cavity (not like a rotten tooth, by the way) to um, you know, do the occupation. I'm not condoning or rebuking or even discussing this topic specifically, I just wanted to sort of set up the story because the terminology is important for this to make sense.

So this morning, I was driving to work at about 7:15 on a somewhat residential street nearish to the school I work at. The speed limit is either 35 or 40 mph though most cars average a little faster. After a moment I noticed that right next to me was a black mustang convertible (top was on) that was was driving both somewhat slowly and erratically. The latter is not so abnormal, however, the slow is. I, not trying to be nosey, but just sort of as a holdover from my years as a California driver, looked over to see what the driver was doing because I figured it would be a high school student text messaging or something else stupid.

Um no. Not a high school student. Not text messaging.

Imagine my surprise when I looked over and CLEARLY saw a woman doing said oral occupation on the driving man. AT SEVEN IN THE MORNING. ON A MONDAY.

I can't even brush my hair properly at 7 in the morning on a Monday. I'm not sure whether I'm more impressed or extremely grossed out...

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One of the things I've learned since moving to New Orleans is that to celebrate any even slightly important day, like, you know, Thursday, there is a parade. Not a parade like the ones you see on TV or the ones your kids might have marched in at Christmas time- these are floats on a flatbed of a big rig truck and have wooden siding. And people do not ride and wave, they ride, drink a lot and throw shit (sometimes, literally shit, but more on that later) to the people screaming on the streets. It's fantastic.

Today I went to see the St. Patrick's Day parade with Nola, her family (not just CS and Sun, also her siblings, grandfather and more) and Pontchartrain Pete, and it was an absolute riot. I had read ahead of time about this particular parade, but even with advance notice I still found myself on side of the road wondering if some of these people were unaware of these magical places called GROCERY STORES. You see, at the St. Patrick's parade people are literally screaming for food. Prized catches include cabbage, carrots (Nola got 2 moldy ones), Potatoes, Celery, Scallions, Lemons, Bell Peppers and of course, Ramen Noodles. What says Irish more than Ramen Noodles? The music is also quite fitting, I mean, I'm pretty sure Sir Mix-A-Lot was Irish, right?

Seeing as how I still lack the ability to tip my head back and stare up, this parade was particularly frightening because people are throwing full heads of cabbage and potatoes, and hey, did you know it hurts like hell to get beaned in the leg with a potato? because it does. There were also many beads thrown, and myself, Nola and at least two other members of her family caught beads with underwear attached. The man who gave them to us insisted that we put them on (um, no thank you) and I'm pretty sure one of the highlights of the day was when Nola's sister walked up to her and said, "lift up this leg so I can put these drawers on you." I died. It was great.

There was also some bartering at this parade, when someone in our group caught fake dog shit instead of the carrot she was yelling for, she made lemons into lemonade and traded the shit for a head of cabbage (ironic since when you cook cabbage they pretty much smell the same!). The only thing missing, and technically it wasn't missing, I was just too stupid to use it, was sunscreen and subsequently half of my body is sunburned. It's actually quite an attractive look.

It was really such a fun day, and a nice reprieve from the past two weeks of studying hell. The only things that could've made it any better were if The Fiance had been able to come, if this cold would ever die (I sound like a pubescent boy, it's awesome) and you know, the sunscreen thing. I'm going to go bathe in some aloe vera gel and stalk my wedding registries some more.

In case you needed a visual, here's what my chest/shoulders look like with the full sunburn having set in. Can you guess what kind of shirt I was wearing today? (and yes, I'm wearing a shirt in the picture, I just cropped it out...)

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I heart weekends.

Words of Wisdom

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Should you ever have a cold, that say, maybe causes you to have a never-ending sore throat and one nostril constantly congested/runny such that that one nostril gets chapped and super painful, do NOT under any circumstances, put chapstick on said chapped nostril until you make sure that it is not MENTHOLATED.

I think I just saw God.

Buffalo Bill

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell a story about someone in real life. It might come back to bite me in the ass because some of my friends from college who occasionally stumble over here will probably immediately know who I'm talking about, but I'm kind of over that.

So on the first day of college orientation all the Freshmen met with some panel of officials and the students got to ask all those questions we had been wondering but hadn't had any place to ask. A lot of weird questions were offered up and answered and it was actually a pretty helpful session.

Some guy up in the balcony asked, "What if we're from somewhere like Buffalo and we can't or don't want to go home for Thanksgiving?" The panel explained that the dining hall would be open and that there would be some activities for those who stayed behind.

Maybe a minute later the same guy raised his hand and said, "What happens if you're from somewhere like Buffalo and you don't want to go home for Christmas vacation?" Of course everyone laughed, and I'm pretty sure the administrator just said that there really wouldn't be any you know, heat or water or anything like that.

My memory is a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure he asked another question about how he never wanted to go home again and from that point on, he became known to us as Buffalo Bill*. BB became friends with some of my friends, simply by proximity. They lived in the same dorm and to put it mildly, BB has some space issues. You know, he wants to be in yours ALL THE TIME. He would go into peoples' rooms and stay for incredibly large sums of time for no real reason. Never anything interesting, just needing to be in someone else's metaphorical grill. BB is and always has been mostly harmless, but frankly, he's obnoxious.

All conversations with BB go something like this:

BB: "Ugh. How are you? Don't even ask about me."
Me: "Good, thanks."
BB: "I've had the worst day/week/month/year"
Me: ....(finally biting the bullet)..."why?"

And then there's a 45 minute conversation about why his life is more difficult than everyone else's.

And I listen, because truthfully, he's had some bad things happen. However, at the same time, he's SO freaking annoying. Everytime he signs onto instant messenger he starts the same conversation and eventually I find an excuse to leave the conversation, but not before he gives me a big fat guilt trip about being a good friend, and how it seems like I don't want to talk to him and he's just had so much of that recently he's really frustrated. Hi, it's because you're ANNOYING.

Lately it's been about teaching (he's kind of a teacher) and he wants lesson plans from me for his classes. Or to complain about how busy it is. Or to tell me how little he's being paid (more than me, for the record). Or to talk about how he thinks he got a warning from the administration because he's homosexual (no, actually it's because you were being stupid).

The pertinent part of this story is to tell you that I'm not inviting Buffalo Bill to my wedding, but I am inviting several other friends from college who know BB. How exactly does one go about this? I'm obviously not going to tell him that I'm not inviting him, but how do I not make this super awkward for people who know him and not be mean about it? I'm not a mean person and generally speaking I am a very loyal friend, but BB and I were never really friends, it was a host-cell/amoeba situation and I cannot get him to un-amoeba himself from me.

I really don't want him at my wedding, but I also don't want to be an ass. You know? Where's the middle ground? Why can't Hallmark make a card that says, "I hope you have a nice life, just not really near mine." Or like, "You're not invited to the wedding, but if it makes you feel better, I feel bad about not inviting you."

Come on, you know you've had a Buffalo Bill you would've liked a card to send to. Admit it. Make me feel like less of a douche. No really, I'm going to need you to make me feel better about this. Or at least help me figure out what the hell to do.

*Not his real name, but I'm sure if you know him you'll be able to figure out my super-secret code.

Tattle Tail

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So I was confronted with one of those life situations today that they prepare you for in elementary school. You know, like being offered drugs, etc, only this time it was in the form of cheating. See, one of the classes I'm taking right now (incidentally, the one I have a D in), is an online course, and all the tests except the final exam are taken at home and are open book, however, it has been made painfully clear that we're not to work together on the exam, because that would constitute cheating. There's a time limit on these exams and thus, I understand the line and I respect it.

So I get an email today from a classmate to the whole class:

"Would anyone like to get together and work on Exam 2 as a group. Email if you're interested."

Normally I wouldn't care, BUT, my success in this class is incredibly dependent upon other peoples' failures because it's a very very curved course. Like how I have a D, but probably am within the top 15% of my class. So this was not good. And I toiled with it for a moment and then knew that all those years of elementary school training had paid off, I had to tattle.

So I emailed the professor, forwarded her the email and she's dealing with it. I feel like a gigantic shmuck, but I think karma appreciated it, because the exam that I took was not the same ridiculously difficult exam as last time, it was a selection of 10 old homework problems with some of the numbers changed. And while I don't have the score yet, I can safely assume I did better than a D, which makes everything (which is saying a lot since pretty much everything else in life is in the crapper right now) seem much better.

So I feel like a 6 year old, but a 6 year old who got an A on her physics exam and who probably did the right thing.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I have it.

I hate it.

I'm not feeling funny about it.

I'll try to provoke a student to say something funny tomorrow, but frankly, today's been a pretty crappy day. I'm feeling like a big pile of snot filled ass, my very favorite student's grandmother died and it absolutely tore her to shreds before my very eyes, at my desk in my classroom today (I have never as an adult, felt so incredibly helpless), oh and I have an exam tomorrow that's going to rape me pretty severely (which is hard to imagine since I got a D on the last one).

But after that, I should be back to the humor. I know, try to contain your excitement.

Inquiry (2nd edition)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Student: Hey Ms. Mylastname, did you know that there are 201 students in our grade?

Me: (pause to consider it), well, I do now.

Student: How do you know now?

(Also, just in case you wondered, we don't get a Spring Break...)

The to-do list...updated

Monday, March 10, 2008

I can officially check off "study for (this) anatomy exam" and "write (crappy) paper proposal for same class" from my list of things to do, which is a very good feeling. I would even hazard a guess that the exam went okay (though that tends to be a bad sign, so we'll see, knowing this professor he'll run the scantrons by April-ish, because, you know, turning on the machine and putting 25 papers in it is such an incredible amount of effort, sometimes you have to store it up for the event...) and I got an "ok" for my paper topic.

On the other hand, I can add, "feel like shit because you aren't taking good care of your body" because it seems like that's going to be the theme of the week.

I realize there's been a serious lack of humor here lately and I just want you to know that I am aware of the dry spell and will do all that I can to liven things up soonish. I still have an Anatomy lab quiz Wednesday and a physics exam Thursday, not to mention parent-teacher conferences tomorrow and a lobotomy on Friday. That last one was just penciled in this evening, so the humor might have to wait. You know, until the lobotomy incision heals some.

Saturday night's alright alright alright

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I need to be studying, but I just thought I'd fill you in on the dinner last night with NOLA and her husband and Sun (who seriously, just could not be cuter). We had wonderful food at a little restaurant I surely never would've stumbled across on my own, easy conversation and just a nice time. Even though I'd already met NOLA and Captain Sarcastic, I was a little nervous, though I did not iron my jeans this time (I may have de-wrinkled The Fiance's...shhh). My nerves were unfounded and I really genuinely enjoyed the hell out of myself. Conversation with adults is so incredibly refreshing.

I've lived in this city for a year and a half now and I cannot remember the last time we went out to dinner with friends who were not in medical school and who, though fun people, did not plan on either getting completely shit-faced at dinner or high when they got home. And I know I don't know NOLA that well, but I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt that neither of those are true. And that RULES. I feel like I might be growing up. No really, it's like I have real adult friends who can have real adult conversation. Who even knew that was possible?

That said, I think next time we're going to have to bring out a wii and do some cow racing, and or duck hunting and if I can convince them of the wonders of Super Smash Brothers, some super smashing.

Because it cracked me up.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Middle Meme

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ness tagged me for a Meme, so I'm going to oblige before I forget. And/or because I feel like procrastinating. I case you wondered, the only thing I've checked off my to-do list is deciding on a dinner location for Saturday night. I know, my productivity is off the charts.

1) You must post the rules on your post before you answer the questions.
2) You need to list one fact about yourself using each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name use your maiden name instead.
3) When you are finished with your answers, you tag one person for each letter of your name. (I'm not going to abide by this one because frankly I don't know enough people and it makes me feel sad inside. And I don't have the time or energy to deal with the linking.)

E- Earrings- I used to have my ears pierced a total of 8 times. And then I got a job at a private school.

L- Lice- I've never had it. I know, you probably didn't anticipate how deep I was going to get when divulging information about myself.

I- Iodine- Am allergic to it. Once had my skin die from it. Is that not the most dramatic sounding thing ever? Skin DEATH.

Z- Zipper- the consensus is that I should get a zipper tattooed at the bottom of my scar. I think not, though I see the humor.

A- Athens- I lived in Athens, Greece for 5 months. Probably one of the coolest experiences of my life, and also the most expensive. Except for maybe the wedding, should it ever get fully planned and paid for.

B- Baseball- Can't stand it. I find it endlessly boring and the only redeeming quality is the fact that they *usually* sell cotton candy and the games.

E- Egg Whites- also allergic to these. I can have some baked goods in reasonable quantities, but Angel food cake, anything with meringue and pretty much all breakfast combos are out.

T- Three Months- the wedding is in three months. Holy crap.

H- Hospital- haven't set foot in one in over a week. Don't I deserve some kind of prize for that?

I'm not tagging anyone, but I challenge you to have a longer middle name and then to try to come up with something to say about each letter of it.

Bucket List

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My writing here is going to get a little more erratic for the next week or two. Why you ask? It's because of my enormous and ever growing to-do list of things that must be accomplished by March 19th or sooner.

In no particular order:

-Study for Anatomy exam Monday

-Write Anatomy paper proposal also due Monday because professor is a douche bag

-Study for Physics exam Thursday

-Choose restaurant for dinner with The Fiance, NOLA and family on Saturday (really, I swear, I am going to make a decision, like tonight-ish.)

-Begin and stick to wedding diet

-Find officiants for wedding

-Make appointment to meet potential officiants for wedding

-Call florist and set up time for viewing mock-up centerpieces

-Call DJ and set up time to go over songs for wedding

-Speak with God about adding 7 or 8 hours to Holy Thursday for more wedding errands

-Call bridal shop and move the fitting back a day

-Pick out a song for The Fiance and his mother to dance to that doesn't either make me laugh out loud at the absurdity of it, or want to vomit from the intended sentiment.

-Learn to feel left arm/hand again

-Order wedding rings

-Send email to get more addresses for wedding invites

-Send the rest of the save the dates

-Finalize wedding list

-Fold the mountain of laundry on the floor

-Write lesson plans for next chapter of teaching

-Have a bunch of tiny electrical needles stuck in arm muscles

-Get oil changed and perpetually flattening tire fixed

-Pay remaining medical bills

-Book honeymoon

-Clean classroom for parent-teacher conferences

-Find new job


And this does not include the mundane work from 7 to 4 on weekdays, plus class Monday from 4:30-5:45, Wednesday from 4:30 to 8:45 and the hour and a half physical therapy sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays. Oh and all the barrels of crazy I'm dragging along with me.

As the wedding gets closer and closer I'm not finding myself more nervous about being married, just more nervous about having a total mental breakdown before I even get to the aisle. I should probably add mental breakdown to the list because, come on, you know it's coming...

Say what?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

So one of the contestants on America's Next Top Model (shut up, I'm going to keep watching it no matter what you say) was born in Africa and was circumsized when she was like 7, which is obviously not humorous and I do not wish to make light of that.

However, this week was makeover week and they put in her very first weave, and I swear to you she looked into the camera and said, "this is the most painful thing that has ever happened to me."

Yea, I can totally see how having you hair braided and sewn is probably more painful than having your cli.torus cut out. Totally.

Biloxi Blunders

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This weekend's concert was decidedly freaking awesome and I really wanted to focus on that before I told you all about the other clusterfucks that followed us around, but frankly, I've got nothing else to write about tonight (I mean, I could delve into politics, but somehow I see that getting messy) and I need to procrastinate, so here goes.

First, if there's only one road to a large stadium where there's a sold out concert, maybe it's not best to close off one of the two lanes on either side of said road the weekend of the concert. I dunno. It's almost like there would then be an insanely ridiculous amount of traffic such that people pull into their parking space at 7:29 and have to hike the quarter mile to the stadium even though they left the casino a half a mile away 45 minutes earlier. Just saying.

Second, if you come in late to a concert and the lights are off, walk extra carefully and if you spill my beer which was completely full, there are a few things you should do:
a) apologize, I know it was an accident, but it never hurts to not be a douce bag
b) pick it up so that it won't continue to pour out the entire contents of the can onto the ground
c) don't jump up and down in the puddle. Some of us didn't want to wear beer.

Third, if you don't know what you're talking about, at least talk quietly. It got exceptionally warm in the arena so I pulled my hair into a ponytail. The woman behind me, practically yelling says, "Oh my. Why on earth would anyone cut their hair like that?" And I gave her the benefit of the doubt, surely there had to be a worse haircut around then mine. And then she followed it up with, "why would you want to cut the bottom of your hair all short and leave the top long. It's so tacky." As soon as she finished the person next to her must have caught a glimpse of the scar because they somewhat more quietly said, "I don't think it was a style choice" and then a lot of whispering commenced. Seriously people, it's not hard to be quiet or, you know, polite.

Finally, smoking a cigarette just outside the entrance to a restaurant that doesn't actually have doors separating it from the lobby does not actually stop any of the smoke from coming into the restaurant. I won't pass judgement on smokers because that's not my place, but seriously, I don't smoke for a reason and I sure as hell don't smoke and eat at the same time for a good reason either. Would it kill you to walk like 15 feet into the main casino where everyone else was smoking and spare us just a tiny space of fresh-ish air?

In other news, I'm pretty sure my finger's not broken. It looks oddly like a sausage link, but you know, aside from that, it seems to be okay. I know you were all worried.

A Case of the Mother-Freaking Mondays

Monday, March 3, 2008

Last night, after doing a bunch of work, I opened up my new Wii game- Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games. It's entertaining though it's no Guitar Hero III or Super Mario Galaxy. The Fiance and I played for a while and then switched to "mission mode." One of these missions is to win 7 points at ping pong using "smash" hits, which are the faster, harder hits. We could not beat it and admittedly it was getting frustrating.

I was totally into the game when The Fiance pulled out his computer to look at something. And without hesitating I wound back to super hit a forehand and smacked the shit out of his computer it with my hand. Um, ouch. Not only did I cut it open, but the fact that my finger is the size of a small sausage and is blue would indicated that if nothing else, I bruised the crap out of it. It's so swollen I can't bend it, which is okay because that is excruciatingly painful anyway.

The better part was when the Fiance took a look at it and realized that the ice pack was only slightly cold and I had to admit that I took it out of the freezer because I didn't have room for my York Peppermint Patties. Priorities, my friends.

No, I did not go to the doctor, no I will not, if for no other reason than because I cannot go to a medical professional and tell them that I might have broken my finger playing wii. And really, they're going to splint it or buddy tape it and charge me 250 bucks and I can do that for 4 dollars at the drug store thankyouverymuch. Oh and did I mention that it's my middle finger? Because nothing's funnier than flipping people off all day long.

Except maybe what happened tonight. I stopped by Whole Foods to get a sandwich since The Fiance has to work late and I didn't want to cook for myself. I always only eat half of the sandwich because, you know, I'm dainty like that, but I carefully upwrapped it, put my half on a plate and then my phone rang, and when I stepped back to get it, this happened:

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Let's break down this picture a little. First, the sticker is stuck to the bottom of my sweater, but right above that is a spot of mustard, and I have no idea how I did that. Then there's the whole sheet of paper the sandwich was sitting on, and then there's the sandwich on the floor.

And you know the expression butter side down? Mine just fell sandwich side down. I think this defies physics.

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And to cap off the day we're under Tornado Watch until 11pm. I figure that this is a great way to start the week, because really, it's just going to get better from here. I mean, literally, it has to.

Christmas in March

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I'm way too tired to write anything coherent tonight, but I wanted to share a small bit of the amazing concert experience. We had seats on the floor, literally 8 seats away from a long walkway that protruded out from the stage. The show began with Carrie Underwood. She played for like 1 1/2 hours, I only knew 1-2 of her songs, but she definitely has a powerful voice. And can change clothes very quickly. She walked down the walkway a couple of times and it was pretty neat to be close by.

Then there was a 30 minute break where they played a lot of awesome 90s music and switched the stage up, and then Keith came out. I can't accurate sum up how remarkably yummy he is, so I'll just quote The Fiance, who, after I said I could watch him sing for hours and hours said that he "could watch him do anything for hours and hours." Seriously. Yum.

About 1/3 of the way into the show, he and his band walked down the walkway and then, viola, there was a microphone and a drum set and they played 4 or 5 songs seriously 15 feet away from us. 8 chairs between me and him. And a small barricade with some security guards.

I took pictures with my phone but they're pretty bad. I'm going to show you anyway, because you need to see how close we were. Again, these were with my phone, so the quality is crappy and since I don't have a paint application on my computer I can't draw arrows and captions like I want to, but whatever. Take me as I am or go away.

This is when they first moved down towards us. Keith is sort of obscured by the bald man on the left who threw a guitar pick that I almost caught, but the superbly obnoxious woman in front of me, who, by the way did not know a single word to a single Keith Urban song, but screamed relentlessly for attention anyway, caught it.

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This is later on when he came down and jammed by himself. Also, he's radioactive. Didn't you know?

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Again, with the plutonium. (He's so hot he glows)

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And then this is the scene of chaos and glitter towards the end of the show. It was absolutely incredibly. Seriously, probably one of the best concerts I've ever seen, aside from a short period of time where I almost passed out because the city of Biloxi cannot air condition its arena and consequently it was 800 degrees down in the lights. The bartender who gave me the free diet pepsi after the concession stands closed and I didn't want alcohol is single-handedly responsible for my staying conscious through the concert.

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There will be more stories to tell, like about the girl spilling my beer, or the woman commenting on my hair or the super cute wedding shower dress I bought today. But now I must go try to stay awake for another hour and a half and try not to bite anyone's head off. Seems pretty unlikely if you ask me.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

(edit: The concert was AMAZING. By far the best Christmas present I've ever gotten. Also, there seems to be a reasonable chance that I might die tonight from the volume of cigarette smoke inhaled combined with the soul sucking power of the stingiest slot machine ever and the hour that I sat beside it while it raped The Fiance of his money and dignity, so just know that I love you all. And I am still open to suggestions about things to do in Biloxi.)

We've arrived in Mississippi for my Christmas present- the Keith Urban concert and a weekend away. I'm so excited, I cannot even tell you. I have been looking forward to this weekend for 3 months now and I can't believe it's finally here.

The drive wasn't bad minus the fact that besides a lot of broken trees, there's absolutely nothing to look at. The Fiance fell asleep about 30 miles into the 80 mile journey, which is about 29 miles later than he usually falls asleep and I rocked out to the radio. He fell asleep rather quickly and very shortly after telling me that he was feeling light headed, so I spent a good ten minutes trying to see if he was breathing, which is a challenge when the car is bumping the way it does on the highway. I'm pretty sure the irony of killing us while trying to see if he was alive would've been appreciated by many.

Now we're just hanging out in the hotel for a little while before heading off to the casino to throw our money away to the pretty lights and spinning reels. And then the concert tonight (eee!) and then we're wide open for tomorrow, which is good in that we can relax because I think we both really need that, but at the same time, we feel like we should see the sites and the only activity we (read: I) can come up with is the Gulf Port outlets on the way home.

If anyone knows anything about Biloxi and has any recommendations about things to do on a Sunday during the day, let me know. Otherwise, the Fiance will get to live out his favorite fantasy tomorrow- shopping at an outlet center with precisely zero electronics stores. Oh the humanity.