31 July 2008

Racing to Save the Planet, one goofy hypothesis at a time

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed I’ve been complaining about school quite a bit. I normally find pleasure in the process of learning, but for a laundry list of reasons I’m not enjoying myself this time through. Maybe if I were in a classroom where I could interact with others I might feel differently. According to my Magic 8-Ball, it's doubtful. I'm not exactly finished with school, but dude, I am so over it. I've even written one or two smart-ass remarks in emails to my teachers.

To quote myself (the quote is from further down this page, ha ha):
What on earth does any of this have to do with saving the planet? I have no idea. I even emailed my teacher and asked if there was a different way I could demonstrate my understanding of the scientific process, the motion was denied.


When my teacher said I couldn't alter the dumb assignment I'm about to describe in this blog, I emailed her back with:
Oh well, it never hurts to ask. This isn't my first goofy assignment, but at least I know it'll be my last.


I'm lucky she didn't get pissed. For that, she's a good woman.

Day 050: Abnormal Psychology
Studying for one of my other telecourses.

This is the first time I've taken a semester of telecourses and it kinda sucks. One at a time, no big deal; taking all of my classes on my own, not so much fun. At least I have Meryl Streep, circa 1990, to keep me company throughout my Race to Save the Planet videos.

For one assignment, I am required to develop four different hypotheses, but I need help. I’ve been stumped for two reasons:

1. I have writer’s block. I’d like to develop interesting hypotheses, but right now I’ve only generated boring ideas. This assignment will yield several pages of writing, so I’d like to make it as interesting as possible.

2. Data collection. I don’t really come into personal contact with a lot of people and when I do, I hate to say, “Hey dad, I know you’re recovering from surgery, but would you mind sticking your finger in this beaker of water so I can measure the volume of liquid that is displaced? It’s for an environmental science class....” And when is there a good time to ask for someone’s height, weight, and arm length?

Now.

Now would be a good time to ask for such information.

If you’d like to help with my school assignment, you can email me or submit an anonymous comment. Please.

Info I need:
Height:
Weight:
Arm Length:

Bonus info:
The temperature of your hand:
and / or
the volume of your index finger:


What on earth does any of this have to do with saving the planet? I have no idea. I even emailed my teacher and asked if there was a different way I could demonstrate my understanding of the scientific process, the motion was denied. 

Carry on.

Below are the constraints for the four parts to this experiment, please let me know if any of them spark a creative idea.

1. Construct a hypothesis of the relationship between height and weight. Measure and weigh a variety of people, then test the hypothesis.

2. You’ve probably noticed tall people have long arms, short people have short arms. State a hypothesis, measure arm length and height in a variety of people, then test the hypothesis.

3. Some people have warm hands, others have cold hands. State a hypothesis, measure hand temperature in a variety of people, test the hypothesis.

4. State a hypothesis about the relationship between the index finger and it’s volume. Measure finger volume (water displacement or calculate via length x width x height) and length for a variety of people, then test the hypothesis.

Can you think of a good hypothesis for even one of these?

Also, don’t forget to send me an email or leave a comment (anonymous is fine) with at least your height and weight, possibly arm length, and if you’re feeling froggy, your hand temperature, or the volume of your index finger. Not only will you be helping me with a school assignment, you’ll be saving the planet, too.

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Listening to: NIL8 - don’t call me corky (kung-fu pt. II)
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30 July 2008

Everything pales in comparison

Lisa, our Midwestern Mommy, has cancer.

Wow.

I tried to write some introspective and encouraging words, but I don't even know what to say right now.

If you haven't done so already, please visit Lisa's blog and show support.

Also, the lovely and talented Jaelithe created a badge that you can post to your site. You can visit this page to learn more.

(Of course, you might be a dumb white girl, like myself, who can't figure out how to copy the badge to her blog. I've put an email to a good friend who is about to double as tech support.)

Update: Though the diagnosis is not final, Lisa's prognosis already looks better! Visit her blog for the latest information and leave her well-wishes while you're there.

24 July 2008

Forty-Three Days

Into my 365 project.

Day 043: Crazy Hair

This photo is a good representation of my week: wild.

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Listening to: Weezer - Surf Wax America
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21 July 2008

Dear Taco Bell at 6660 Manchester,

Your employees are racist assholes.

Okay, maybe not all of them, but there was at least one person who was working today at 12:45 who could be described as a racist asshole. I made an honest mistake and as such, one person YELLED to another, “Dumb white girl don’t know how to read!!!”

Um, I know how to read, but I sometimes have trouble interpreting confusing grammar. I’m sorry. Mistakes happen.

The sign read:

speaker is broken please say “hi” when you pull up


Since the note begins with, “speaker is broken,” I thought they meant to say hi when I pulled up to the window to order my food because, well, the speaker is broken.

BUZZ! Wrong answer!

So I get to the window and am greeted with one timid person trying to take my order and another angrily yelling to me from behind her, “Why didn’t you place your order at the speaker?” I was blindsided by her tone of voice and before I could say anything she turned around and yelled to the back, “Dumb white girl don’t know how to read!!!”

Not really sure what to do, me and the other white girl (I’m not sure if she was also dumb; she seemed afraid more than anything), we just looked at each other blankly and she proceeded to complete the transaction. I apologized, trying to explain that I erred by misreading the sign; she shrugged her shoulders and closed the window.

Now this part I’m just speculating, but I’m sure the aforementioned conversation continued, as I heard muffled voices and several people came to have a peek at the “dumb white girl.”

I apologized two more times before driving off. Again, the girl shrugged her shoulders and didn't attempt to pass my words along. I should’ve asked for my money back because I’m not sure it’s a good idea to even eat that food. They were so cheesed off that I didn’t say “hi” at the speaker, who knows how they've tainted my beloved chili cheese burrito.

How would you have handled the situation?

I remember being in a similar ordeal in 2001. It involved a different grouping of asshole Taco Bell employees, a long wait behind no other customers and me feeling ignored as I watched them lazily talk for more than 15 minutes after I paid. And I may have been hopped up on PMS. I felt like a hostage, watching the clock, waiting for my food, and since I had already paid, I couldn't abandon the mission. To make a long story short, they said some stuff and I chucked my full 32 ounce Dr. Pepper at the drive-thru window.

Sure, there was an element of awkwardness to it, me sitting there waiting for my refund, glaring at the person on the other side of the glass, watching soda and ice run down the window and spill onto both the floor inside and concrete outside. Though I’d never* do that again, there was something satisfying about watching that racist asshole clean up my soda and refund my money.

Both times, there was nothing I could’ve said to those people to make them think of me as anything other than the “the dumb white girl.” Nowadays I mostly choose the suck-it-up-and-back-away-from-the-situation route because I don’t want to cause any trouble.

*Never say never.

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Listening to: Toadies - Tyler
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20 July 2008

What $10.48 will get you

...at the farmer's market in the Loop.

Ten Dollars

6 bananas
4 potatoes
3 ears of corn
2 plums
2 avocados 
2 kiwis
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 pound of mushrooms
1 grouping of broccoli

Yeah, that's right; I have no idea how much broccoli I purchased, how it's weighed, or what you'd even call those little broccoli bushels that are pre-rubber-banded (always in blue).

You'll find everything you need here, but don't show up expecting to see the multi-vendor variety found in Soulard; Long Acres Farm seems to be the only merchant in the Loop for fresh fruits and vegetables. However, I've found this to be a timesaver as I'm not running around trying to compare goods from one farmer's stand to the next.

Over the last few months I've been a regular and I've been very happy with the quality and price of their food. All the workers are friendly, even the one lady who looks like a serial killer (if you've been, you know who I'm talking about). You can even call ahead of your arrival to place an order; they'll gather up your wares to save you time and there's no extra charge for this service. Shucks, even when you refuse their offer, they like to insist on carrying your groceries to your car, ma'am. 

And they're open year round.

8:30 - 5:30
Thurs - Fri - Sat

6655 Delmar
University City, MO 63130
(314) 863-2418

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Listening to: Bear Gryles (Man vs. Wild); he's drinking his own urine. Ewww.
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17 July 2008

Darn! ...at least we have the memories

I bid on a writing job for a company that deals with gravesite care, memorials, and so on. It didn’t work out, but I hate to see these few paragraphs go to waste.

Enjoy. Or don’t enjoy. But whatever.

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Today is beautiful and serene. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing and I can see for miles. I’m at Eagle Cliff / Miles Cemetery, standing at the edge of a bluff overlooking the farmlands of the Mississippi River floodplain in Illinois.

Some of my earliest memories involve a strong attraction to this cemetery, a place which I enjoy visiting to this day. As a child I remember riding in the back of my parents car, looking up to see a curious stone mausoleum jutting out from the trees at the top of the bluff. It looked mysterious, it felt special and I loved it. I wondered about the people who were buried there. Who were they? What kind of life had they lived? What happened to them?

The cemetery is filled with local families, farmers, war heroes and everyday folk alike. Constructed in 1858, the mausoleum once housed Stephen W. Miles and ten of his family members. Its 56 vaults now stand empty. As a teenager I heard outlandish rumors that the cemetery had been plagued by jewelry thieves and vandals, and that it was once a place for satanic worship. Later I learned those rumors are true. In the 1960s, a group of “hippies” removed the bodies from their individual vaults and burned them as part of a seance. Outraged by this horrific incident, locals sealed up the mausoleum and today cinderblocks fill the arched window frames where beautiful stained glass once stood.

Nowadays, visitors are permitted to go inside the mausoleum and view its emptiness disrupted only by painted effigies of “James was here” and “Tom loves Tina.” After many visits it’s become clear the mausoleum is an ever-changing canvas of graffiti for bored teenagers; soon after the stone is cleaned a new spray painted design will appear in its place. Undeterred, volunteers work hard to wash away the graffiti, maintain the cemetery’s lawn and repair toppled and weathered grave markers. Hoping to unravel the mystery, preserve history and keep the cemetery’s legacy fresh in our minds, their efforts have been met with success. Eagle Cliff / Miles Cemetery has been restored to the peaceful place it once was, offering a tranquil environment for one to reflect upon and contemplate life.

Miles Tomb

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You can read more here.

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Listening to: Man Man - Man Who Make You Sick
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15 July 2008

A slight miscalculation

For three weeks I've been freaking out because I thought my final class assignments were due on August 1st. My deadline was slightly miscalculated by yours truly; the actual due date is October 5th.

That changes everything.

Houston, we have a party!

Gay tortoise sex

Hey Courtney, there's that gay tortoise sex you were interested in. (It's not what you think people. I'm referring to her comment on my last post.)

This fun moment occurred in the Reptile Gardens outside of Hill City, SD. Soon after we came into the tortoise area, we spied these two love birds getting frisky. I thought to myself, "huh huh. Turtle sex." Then I thought, "Hey man, aren't these things like 120 years old? We're watching old people sex. Ew."

Once the excitement wore off, I asked the very young lady working the tortoise corral if it were normal for turtles to do it for fun. Her answer was a giggly, "Yes, they do it for fun all the time."

That does it. Now she's got me curious.

Me: So, um, how exactly do you know they're doing it for fun and not doing it for baby making purposes?

Her: They're all boys.

Me: That rules out the "baby making" theory.

Her: Oh yeah, they do it all the time.

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Listening to: NIL8 - Apocalypse Man
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Update: ~static~ left a comment that made me think I should clarify ...
I support gays. I don't want someone to ever read this and think I'm gay-bashing in any way, shape or form. I have family and friends who are gay, I go to gay bars with them and ya know, I think every open minded person should experience a drag show at least once. It's a fabulous time.

14 July 2008

Them-thar Hills

I’m up to my ears in homework and all I can think of is everything not homework. I’d prefer to edit and upload photos of our Black Hills, SD camping trip, but there are just too many to begin that endeavor right now (I took roughly 1000 photos, so it's gonna take a bit for me to edit and post them). You can see a few pictures I’ve posted as part of my 365 Project, but ya know, it’s all like, photos of my head in front of Mount Rushmore, or in front of a bunch of fossils or my cheesin' smile in the blackness of a cave.

Insert dreamy music and cool fade away effect.

Thinking back, the weather was fantastic! Three of our twelve tent camping nights did get rather cold, but what can you do (...be sure to have some long underwear in reaching-out-of-my-sleeping-bag distance!)? And it rained almost every day and/or night, but again what can you do (...be prepared)? Despite the cold and rain, it wasn't hot and it wasn't humid; I'm from St. Louis and the absence of those two factors make for great weather memories.

We had an awesome camping spot where it was a little hard for the neighbors to see us. The place even had SHOWERS! Wait, wait, wait, the news gets even better: Horse Thief Campground is near Custer State Park, which is where we spent about half of our time (hiking). In the park, we hung out at Sylvan Lake, hiked the Sunday Gulch and Cathedral Spires trails and also hiked to the top of Little Devils Tower and Harney Peak. If you're into rock climbing, Custer State Park is fantastic for that activity, too.

We visited Deadwood, Sturgis, Rapid City, Keystone and Hot Springs. We also drove to Wyoming to see Devils Tower (cool) where we did an easy hike around the base of it. Basically, we did just about everything you can do, even touring the Cosmos Mystery Area which was one of the coolest optical illusions I've ever experienced. Heck, we even witnessed gay tortoise sex and visited the Crazy Horse Memorial to watch a night explosion. It was a blast! (get it?)

...I must digress and provide a little background info....

To sum up the premise of the memorial, from their web site it says "Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial's mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians." From what I remember, Chief Standing Bear wrote a letter to Korczak Ziolkowski during the construction of Mount Rushmore, saying something to the effect of "I want white men to know that red men have great heroes, too." (Not his exact words.)

...un-digressing...

As we waited for the pre-explosion laser show to begin, an intense storm swept through and temporarily drove everyone indoors. The storm quickly made its way into the distance and each time the sky lit with lightning, it dramatically highlighted the silhouette of the rock sculpture. It was perfectly awesome.

So we’re watching the laser show, listening to the educational and entertaining propaganda blare over the loudspeaker, when suddenly, I hear a song begin and it's that effing "I'm proud to be an American" patriotic song. The lyrics start, "If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life / And I had to start again with just my children and my wife. / I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today, / ‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away."

Thinking to self: Hello? Can somebody get the DJ?

I looked around and realized I was surrounded by overweight Americans, singing along and saluting toward the monument (yoo hoo, the flag is behind you). One lady was even crying. Crying.

Lady, for the love of all things unholy, now is not the time to be all Proud-to-be-an-American. Um, aren't we all supposed to be reflecting on a period of history when our forefathers kinda took away Native America from Native Americans? And today, we're so self-centered that we can't even let them have one damn monument, one memorial, one place that focuses on their history and their culture?

Can you say:

Buzz.

Kill.

If I had the ability to barf, I would have. Ugh. I don't really have a right to be offended, but the memorial is supposed to be about NATIVE AMERICANS. It felt inappropriate.

Then they set off a bunch of dynamite and everything in the world was suddenly right because, explosions are cool, huh huh.

(Yikes! My trip down Vacation Memory Lane took a quick detour.  It's the only complaint I have, honest.)
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Listening to: The Bloodhound Gang - Boom
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09 July 2008

When Absentmindedness Attacks

Remember yesterday when I twittered about my missing car keys? Well, the story begins on Monday evening when James was about to make our plates for dinner. The neighbor called and asked if we could move my car back a few feet so he could mow. I was finishing a load of laundry so James moved my car. It turns out, my keys were left in the ignition (car unlocked) until last night. At first I thought we were lucky that nobody stole my car, a red mustang, which has already been broken into twice before, until today when I tried to leave and discovered the battery is dead.

I could've easily done the same thing.

Though I've not done that before, my absentmindedness causes me to forget things and lose stuff all the time. I have a long list, somewhere, of things-to-look-for, things I have misplaced; of course, when I tried to find my list for this blog post, I discovered it's missing. I'm not surprised. I'm also not worried because I know it'll turn up. The things I've lost are almost always recovered. Hell, even when I lost my cell phone for a month, told everyone I knew that I must have somehow accidentally tossed it out the window while driving down the road (which is dumb logic considering I don't make it a habit of tossing things out the window), it eventually showed up under the front passenger floor mat of my car.

I wasted a whole bunch of time looking for my phone and it was hidden right in front of me the whole time. Remember my missing camera charger? It was with my headlamp the whole time. Who knew?

I've been like this my whole life and that's pretty much how the story always goes. I remember being a kid, getting all upset because I couldn't find something and then my mom would go into my room and find it within ten seconds. On our camping trip, every day I was looking for something:

...Gee, where is my driver's license? Let's see, it was in the inside zipper pocket of my black Marmot jacket and before that, it was in the right side cargo pocket of my green capris and before that, it was in my zippered wallet. But where is it now? Let me spend fifteen minutes tearing through my things, misplacing other items in the process, only to discover that the damn thing was in the inside zipper pocket of my black Marmot jacket the whole entire time and I didn't feel it or see it because I had a few gas station napkins in the pocket, too.


Ugh.

Has anyone seen my olivine necklaces, last seen while packing for our camping trip?

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Listening to: Man Man - Tunneling Through the Guy
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08 July 2008

It's like we never left The Building

Returning from being away for two weeks always takes a few days to recover, especially when you stay up until 3 am the first three nights at home. Well, the first night we really couldn’t help it. We drove fifteen hours from the southwestern area of South Dakota to the eastern side of Missouri in St. Louis and found our way inside the house just after 1 am on July Fourth. We were exhausted from the 984 mile drive home, but of course we couldn’t fall right asleep.

We sat down to take a deep breath, look around and comprehend the fact we were finally home. The house was clean. Everything was in perfect order. We needed nothing out of the car. James removed his shoes and the room immediately smelled like a nameless person had sealed up their wet feet inside their Gortex shoes, some sixteen hours ago when we finished our morning showers back at camp. This situation necessitated an immediate shower.

And because you can’t have one clean person and one stinky person in the same bed, I also had to shower. Which meant I had to change the sheets. And dig out those clean sheets and four pillow cases, strip the bed and then remake it. Then wash my hair and body, brush my teeth, and so on. It’s not a big deal, really, except we had that long-ass drive and I just wanted two stinky people to climb into a stinky bed and worry about cleanliness in the morning.

Friday we slept in and then awoke to find ourselves still exhausted. We were lazy, made a pizza for lunch, watched Resident Evil, then called a cab to take us to the Cards/Cubs game. We watched the game with friends (the Cards lost, booo) and then saw the fireworks from the stadium. Afterward, we walked to Washington Avenue to have a drink at The Dubliner, then we bowled a game at Flamingo Bowl, hailed a cab, went home and the next thing we knew it’s like 2:30 in the morning.

Saturday we slept in and then awoke to find ourselves still exhausted. We were lazy, ate Chinese Take Out, watched another Resident Evil movie, then drove to my parents to get Nico (our dog). We visited with them for a while then took a short road trip to see a friend. I was jonesing for a burger and BLAMMO - Adam grilled hamburgers! Though he didn’t have any cheese, the burger was still awesome. Next thing we knew, it’s like 2:30 in the morning.

Sunday we slept in and then awoke to find ourselves still exhausted. We were lazy, I can’t even remember what we did for lunch and it was only yesterday. We didn’t watch a movie, but had to finally drag our gear out of the vehicle to unpack it, clean everything, then pack it all away for storage. With teamwork, it didn’t take too long. Afterward we ate a nice, healthy dinner at Olympia’s (I love that place!), watched the first half of Dances With Wolves and the next thing we knew it was 10:30. Time for bed.

Monday it was back to business as usual.

It’s like we were never away.

Except I’m now two weeks behind in school.



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Listening to: Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe
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07 July 2008

Well that was stupid

Secret post idea. Fucking dumbass accidentally publishing under today's date. grrrrrr
just in case
30Jan2014
7July08


04 July 2008

One Hairy Leg

Hi, honey! I'm home!

And I'm sitting here with one hairy leg and one shaved leg.

You see, the camp shower was really freaking cold and I tried to shave my legs, but it proved dangerous since they were covered in huge goose bumps. I half-ass shaved my one leg before giving up, thinking I'd try to finish in the morning. But it's now two days later and, well, I'm gonna go shave now. (Isn't James a lucky guy?)

In a few hours we'll be headed downtown to meet up with friends before we go to tonight's Cards/Cubs game!

Happy 4th of July!

02 July 2008

Rain, rain go away. I’m for serious, rain. Go. Away.

...because we need to pack up our campsite and then head out to dinner, come back and enjoy a hot fire on our twelfth - and final - night of camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota. But, NooOOOooo, instead of packing we have to wait out a storm that seems to never end.

On the bright side, it’s more than a quarter-mile walk to the camp headquarters and we’re somehow able to pick up a wireless signal right at our campsite, number 105 at the Horse Thief Campground, though it’s slower than balls dial-up. To pass the time, I'll post a few observations I’ve made while here:

- Stainless steel dishes are loud when you drop a stack of them onto a pile of rocks. Also, they bounce everywhere and are likely to incur a few dents.

- Kilt + Iron Maiden T-Shirt + an androgynous partner = just as weird as it sounds.

- Some tent campers are totally unprepared. Like last night, when it’s nightfall and a family shows up and proceeds to take their brand new tent out of the box. We know how to set up our tent, and it really sucks to do it in the dark. Why in the world you’d decide to set one up for the very first time in the dark is above and beyond my level of misunderstanding. To be brief, James spent nearly an hour setting up their tent.

- Every. Single. Day. Some goofball sets off their car alarm. When that person hits the Panic Button it echoes quite well throughout the valley. You better believe that I’m hitting our Panic Button at the butt crack of dawn, just before we pull out of the campground.

- Did you know baby caterpillars can look a lot like maggots? They fall from trees, too.

- People enjoy walking their dogs to other campsites. You see, it’s so much better when other campers have to deal with random dog shit. Seriously, yo! Since you know what’s going to happen (you’re about to walk your Shit-Zoo Mixed-Breed dog near my tent so he can take his after dinner dump), stick a fucking baggie in your pocket because A) we can see you; and B) it’s only proper etiquette to pack out your dog shit from our campsite.
Thanks, The Management.

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Listening to: NIL8
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