December 6, 1989

Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Anne St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz


This is what I'm talking about

The Hyperbole and a Half girl is me. I mean, except for all the ways in which she is not me, she's totally me.


No Offense

Recently a girl in my new lab said to me, "you can tell me if you find my jokes offensive. I know I tend to joke about a lot of crazy stuff, so you should tell me if it bothers you." She had just made a slightly off-colour (and not very funny) joke. Doesn't matter what it was.

I smiled blandly at her and returned to the actual conversation. At the time I thought that I was deciding not to say anything about her somewhat offensive joke because I didn't want to take the time to explain that the reason I found the joke offensive was not the reason she thought someone might find it offensive. Like explaining to someone that when they call your shirt "gay" you aren't offended because they didn't like your shirt. It wasn't that, but it was somewhat analogous. And I just didn't want to get into it.

I mean, it's true. I didn't want to get into that with her. But as I let more and more stupid little things from her slide, and I had absolutely no interest in mentioning any of them, I realized there was more going on. So here's the thing.

It's not about my feelings. First of all, my feelings don't get particularly hurt when someone makes derogatory remarks about a group I'm a member of. It's pretty simple: if someone is that much of a bigot then their opinion doesn't matter to me, and if their opinion doesn't matter, then nothing they say can hurt me. Really. My primary emotional response is boredom. But that's an aside, and here's the more important point: when it comes to my relationships, I don't want someone to refrain from making certain jokes or using certain language because I find it offensive. I want them to refrain from doing those things because *they* find it offensive. I want them to have thought critically about the assumptions that underlie their jokes and about the effect their language has on others. And if they are someone who does not do that kind of thinking, well, I want them to wear that fact on their sleeve.

Just one thing I do have to get off my chest, though: If you want to have a career studying sexually transmitted infections, then by the time you're in grad school you should be able to talk about sex without needing to crack terrible jokes to assuage your discomfort. Seriously.


Porridge Breakfast

I've settled on a new breakfast. For a while I was sort of lost on the breakfast front, after musli got boring and I didn't want to go back to the very expensive smoothies. I started buying regular cereal, but that was insufficiently nutritious on the fat and protein front, and pretty boring besides. I'm not sure what else I did. Probably had eggs a little more often than I should have, occasional toast and peanut butter, although I don't really like those things. Anyway, inspired by my dad and sister, I've come up with an awesome new breakfast: Porridge with Treats and Goodness!

Porridge with Treats and Goodness is my delicious answer to the nastiness that is oatmeal. God, I've always hated oatmeal. Cooked with milk it's gluey and just way too milky, cooked with water it tastes like grass. There's just nothing good about oatmeal. You have to be careful when making this porridge that it doesn't end up tasting like oatmeal. Here's how you make Porridge with Treats and Goodness.

Start with a multigrain hot cereal. The grains should be rolled, not cut, but not quick-cooking either. This is important because cut grains give a gluey texture and quick-cooking oats just turn to mush. I generally buy either Country Choice Multigrain Hot Cereal or Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Cereal. These cereals both have fairly thick-rolled grains, which will provide the proper texture.

The next vital thing is to undercook the porridge. If you use the amount of water and cooking time recommended on the box, you will end up with mush. You don't want mush. Or, at least, *I* don't want mush. So.

Pour a generous half cup of of dry cereal into a bowl and add just under a third of a cup of water. The water should just be visible peaking up around the edges of the cereal, but certainly not be covering it. This way you ensure that the individual grains will still be discrete objects after cooking, and the whole dish with have a nice, chewy, non-gooey texture. Now it's time for the Treats and Goodness.

Before cooking, add

  1. about a third of a cup of frozen blueberries.

    If you don't have frozen fruit you can skip this step, but then you might should add a little more water. Cover the bowl with a saucer and microwave for two minutes. Once the porridge is cooked,
  2. add a handful of walnuts
  3. and one sliced banana

Feel free to replace or supplement the above with other fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. as you desire, but keep in mind that acidic fruit like strawberries1 will curdle the milk you're adding later. Not necessarily the end of the world, but you should be aware.

Over the above, drizzle
  1. a couple teaspoons, maybe a tablespoon, of extra virgin olive oil and
  2. an equal amount of maple syrup.

    Cover the whole kit & caboodle with
  3. a small amount of milk (maybe a third of a cup)
and mix with your spoon. It will be delicious.

1. Not actually berries. Strawberries are technically swollen receptacles.


Should I start doing weeks in review again?

I was first doing weeks in review in order to go over my school work. It was effectively a study tool. Now that I'm finished all the requirements for my B.Sc. (hey, did I mention I'm FINISHED ALL THE REQUIREMENTS FOR MY B. SC.?), and I'm sort of taking the summer off before starting grad school next year, I'm thinking maybe I should review my weeks in order to make sure I do *something* this summer.

My first week after a semester ends is always a wash, and this one was no exception. Monday was my last day of school. I wrote an exam, had an extremely unpleasant conversation with my supervisor, where I told him I was too burned out to work on a research project this summer, and then had a nice dinner out with my family to celebrate having finished all the requirements for my B. Sc. (did I mention that?). Tuesday through Friday I mostly slept. I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, did a bit of shopping, and updated and re-jailbroke an old iPhone so I could install my new alarm clock on it, but I didn't get out of bed before noon once. It's been nice, but I'm starting to get bored. Next week is shaping up to be a little more exciting, but I'll tell you about it then. For now I have to pack, buy bus tickets, and mail off my NSERC acceptance form.


Since it was almost midnight, and I had nothing better to do...

I mean, the bed was stripped anyway, from when I was doing laundry earlier, and I did have to fold all the dry clothes that were piled on top of it. So I decided to do all the stuff I had been putting off because it would have involved stripping the bed. First we finished folding all the dry laundry and putting it away. Then I picked up all the dirty clothes off the bedroom floor and put them in the hamper. Oh look, it's full again.

Then we stood the mattress and box spring on their ends. This is more complicated than it sounds, because the mattress and box spring are together encased in a single allergen-barrier mattress cover, so they have to be moved as a single unit, but you can't use the cover as a handle because it will probably rip. So. Stood the mattress cover and box spring on end to get them out from under the ceiling fan. Then, while Dave held them so they wouldn't tip over, I set up the ladder in the middle of the bed frame (on the floor) and got an old shirt out of the rag pile. I tore pieces off the shirt and used them to remove the truly astonishing caterpillars of dust from the ceiling fan. I may have sneezed a couple times. Got rid of the dirty rags, folded up the ladder, vacuumed under the bed (since I was there), and prepared to put the mattress/box spring back on the frame. Again complicated, this time also because we wanted to make sure the slack in the mattress cover (it's a big mattress cover) didn't end up all trapped on the underside of the box spring. We needed it available so we can tuck sheets under the mattress. Anyway, we got the bed put back together and tucked the cover slack between the mattress and box spring. Then I vacuumed the top of the mattress to get rid of any bits of whatever it may have picked up in its travels. Then we put fitted sheet and top sheet on the bed, vacuumed the pillows and blanket and finished making the bed. To look around my bedroom, you would never guess two people just spent two hours cleaning in it: there's still crap everywhere and the rest of the floor is decidedly unvacuumed, but I'm going to sleep a little more comfortably now that I'm on clean sheets and not worrying that enormous, nasty, dust-worms are going to fall of the fan and rain down upon my head as I sleep.

So that's good.


Damn Buggers

Spent less than two hours at the Centre for Vector Biology yesterday, so of course I now have a mosquito bite in the middle of February.


New Template

A bunch of stuff is missing from the sidebar now, and I don't know if/when I'll have time to fix it, but at least commenting is enabled again. Unfortunately I don't have time to figure out how to import the old haloscan comments. I still have them all in a file on my hard drive, so if anyone knows a quick and easy way, please let me know, but for now we're starting from scratch.


My time is measured in assignments

For all that I've been in school basically my whole life, I've never really measured time like this. Certainly for the past three years of doing this biology degree I measured my time in the normal units: days, weeks, months, occasionally semesters. But now that I'm in my last semester I find my time is measured in assignments:

Am I done being an undergrad yet? No, I still have that presentation for Maydianne's class.

Will I be done after that? No, then I have two presentations for Mark's class.

So, if I do that can I stop? No, then I have to write a paper for the Plagues course.

And then will I be done? Uh uh, then I have to write mock grant proposals for both Maydianne and Mark.

Oh, well will I be done after that? Nope, I have to write up my research project.

And then I'll be done? Well, no I still have to present my research project.

And then? Well, then I'll be done with classes, but don't get too excited because I still have to spend four months hauling ass out to my stupid horrible no good very bad suburban campus for a research project. Pretend it's still undergrad or I won't be able to make myself do it.

And then? And then I'm done.