the word cancer drops like a bomb. it took me a while to actually realize that my doctors are talking about cells in my esophagus being pre-cancerous. then I got furious. This would ruin everything. I might not even get to graduate on time, let alone go travel and live abroad. and this condition, barrett's esophagus, is supposed to only affect old people who've had stomach acid problems for decades. what the fuck? It's just not right. It's just not right.
I spent all weekend studying for an exam this morning, I also have a paper due today and i figured i could write the paper after the exam. but i woke up in too much horrible stomach pain from my stupid gastritis-ulcers-degenerating esophagus to go take the exam, so i wasted my time studying when i felt ok this weekend, and now I feel like shit but the paper is already late and i have to force myself to write it today which is stressing me out which gives me more stomach acid which gives me more pain
dear body, how the shit am I going to survive in adult life if you are constantly breaking down.
I'm almost completely checked out of school, hopefully I will be able to get through finals, and next semester should be pretty easy-- herpetology, modernist german lit, lame psych class, lame sociology class. I am 100% focused right now on completing an application for the congress-bundestag youth exchange program due on dec 1. I really want to go to germany. Really really badly. This program would send me there for a full year for classes and an internship in my field of study. the pay is very low and i would probably live in a smaller town like Ulm or Halle instead of berlin (I miss berlin a lot) but it is still an amazing and prestigious program that would give me exactly what I want. I've been talking to the researcher we collaborate with in berlin and she says i'd have a great shot getting into grad school at the freie universitaet or max planck institute in Berlin but I don't think I'm ready to commit to six years (at least) in germany. I just want to try it out, and also go abroad and peace out of this place. I know intellectually that it is folly to expect geographical change to help my mental state very much... but it couldn't help, right? and god I love deutschland. I really want to take this time to travel around a bit too, you know, see switzerland and ireland and spain like i've always wanted, and maybe even russia if sean is there! supposedly the program stipend is not enough to travel on and some people have had trouble even living on it... but of course they have never seen the likes of diaz-nelson frugality. and I am definitely down for tutoring english and spanish on the side for some big euros.
I also bought tickets to istanbul this weekend. Liqiao and i are going in march to conduct some interviews on family planning in turkey, and we got grant money to go, so my grandparents sprung for the tickets. awesome right? We'll be there for ten days spanning spring break. I love istanbul and liqiao wants to go see her turkish boyfriend so I'm gonna be off on my own a lot riding around town, marinating in the beauty and craziness, and I'm also thinking about jetting off to athens for one day since it's only like an hour away and I've always wanted to see the acropolis. But it'd be an extra several hundred dollars to go... so we'll see
ah I'm too excited! I want to leave now! I'm so sick of this undergrad mess!
I am in Utah and it is currently 2 am here, which means it is 4 am in real time, and I have a paper due in six hours. I usually have major problems with time management and finishing papers on time but in this instance it is sort of not my fault: monday and tuesday were 100% filled with writing a different paper for german and making a poster for the conference that starts tomorrow (today) here in salt lake city. and this weekend was all about sean visiting and sehba's event, which were both awesome and totally worth having to bust my ass right now. and last week I had a physics exam. I don't know how other people get their shit done in time. Anyway I just want to complain about that for a moment before i buckle down and finish this stupid paper, hopefully in time to get some sleep in before I have to look professional at this conference.
Somehow along the way of my life, i've dicked over several people, without meaning to, it just happened. I guess as i fumble around trying to figure out how to grow up and move on from everything, i need help and i frequently don't know what I want, and certain people along my way get used or mistreated. is this unavoidable?
I wrote a letter to the editor called "Where's My Financial Aid Initiative?" about how Duke says it's doing this great financial aid initiative, but the average duke student is outrageously privileged and our supposed financial aid initiative is not working at all for students such as myself. the examples i used were entirely personal; I said that I have to work 15-20 hours a week at workstudy which makes me totally unable to compete grade-wise with other students, and my parents are being asked to contribute $35,000 when they only make $65,000 per year which is completely ridiculous, and how this is the reason underprivileged people are still barred from upper level education.
the response: the two co-chairs of the student advisory council to the financial aid initiative (which I didn't even know existed) wrote a letter to the editor saying I was misguided because Duke is actually trying very hard to raise lots of money, they help out families making under $60,000 per year, and that duke faces unique problems since the endowment is relatively young or some bullshit, and how duke is so great because it has need-blind admissions.
are you shitting me? did they not read what i wrote? i don't give a fuck about what duke says they're doing. I don't care about their supposed financial troubles because I know they drop thousands of dollars just planting and re-planting tulips around campus every spring--yes, when the tulips die because they are not suited to live in north carolina, Duke just pulls them out and plants more, I swear to god. And the idea that Duke is on the ball just because they have need-blind admissions is disgusting--let's not even go into how that's standard now for top-notch private universities with large endowments. Face facts! Need-blind admissions doesn't level the playing field, you assholes. I'm glad they are helping people with incomes less than $60,000 per year but that cut-off is arbitrary, there is no sliding scale for incomes slightly above that number such as my family's, and another part of the initiative's brilliant plan is to cap student loans and give the extra slack to the parents. Great idea everyone. These co-chairs also brought up the fact that duke gives you the work-study money you would have otherwise earned working full-time over a given summer so that you can take an unpaid internship (which is literally a degree requirement for a public policy major). Unfortunately though I know for a fact that the work-study allotment of money cannot fund living expenses for a summer, especially if you are living in DC, where most of these internships are. They also don't offer this earnings replacement for semesters abroad, so while you can get financial aid to study abroad, you can't earn any money, which would be debilitating for students like me.
to add insult to injury, these two co-chairs are white, identify as "conservative" and "moderate", and live in the rich part of austin and the rich part of santa cruz, cali, respectively.
Is the worst and most offensive movie I've ever seen in my life. I really can't think of one I hate more. I love bad action movies, but the action was not even good, it was half ridiculous technology doing all the work and half ridiculous technology being faulty. the climax fight scene was fucking boring. although maybe some people will disagree about the action, I don't know, I'm pretty sure I was blinded by rage after the first five minutes of the movie so maybe I was biased against the entertainment value of the explosions.
but yes it became evident in the first second that the plot was terrible, none of the characters actually developed as people but didn't pull off campy caricatures either (which would have made it better), I really wanted the main character tony stark to die, and it was fucking racist and sexist. the fact that it's getting good reviews is because male chauvinist yokels think tony stark's privileged sexist playboy antics are hilarious (Blond girl in sultry voice: "Hey tony, remember me?" Tony as he is walking by breezily: "no." Audience: hilarious!) and they believe his half-assed random nonsensical concern for other humans makes him just complex enough, even though he actually did something to help other people only once in the whole stupid movie. And he still acted pretty much the same, forgot about his buddy who helps him and gets killed in the terrorist camp, and still treated women like crap after his life-changing revelation. I guess having a superhero with real logical motivation and emotional involvement is too much complexity. he did mention a motivation: "I saw americans killed by my own weapons in afghanistan!" do I even need to mention how stupid and racist it is to say that he was ok with his weapons being used to kill all those other non-americans? But I guess people love seeing middle-eastern stereotype terrorists explode, and of course people also love the token black guy saying sassy things. What the shit, Terrence Howard? you were in crash! also, where did robert downey jr. come from and why did they make his facial hair so fucking ugly? And if I were gwyneth paltrow and I just played the role of a stiletto-heel-wearing submissive secretary cleaning up after some rich white chauvinist asshole, I'd send back my Oscar and cry for the lost days of Margot Tenenbaum.
I am so disgusted that people think this is a good movie. It's like the highest rated movie on rotten tomatoes all year, better than Juno and There Will Be Blood, and that makes me want to vomit. The New York Times and a few other reviewers gave negative reviews but none of them mention the misogyny and racism, they just dwell on the movie's other glaring problems. Just thinking about it is giving me an anger headache.
I just registered and submitted an abstract for my first conference! it's SACNAS (society for the advancement of chicanos and native americans in science, apparently latinos count too) in october in Salt Lake City. Name of the abstract: "Genes Regulated in Vocal Learning Systems" (the vaguest title we could come up with)! hooray
The problem is that I just don't care, so while I feel pretty stupid for having a final tomorrow morning for which I haven't studied because I'm trying to finish a paper I should've finished days ago, I don't really feel thaaat stupid, I just feel mostly lazy, which I'm pretty much fine with. Haha I'm so screwed, and I still don't care that much.
Front page of new york times today: picture, take by a duke student, of a lone Chinese student standing with pro-Tibet rally that was on campus last week, facing the counter-rally sponsored by a chinese students organization. that student's personal information was posted on a pro-China internet forum, and her parents' home in China was vandalized wednesday. And now the picture is in the new york times! It's official, everyone, duke is awesome.
nurse putting sedatives into my IV ....... then waking up as I gagged when they pulled out the scope, feeling the plastic guard in my teeth, the suction in my mouth, and the tube reaching down down down, someone distantly telling me it was almost over, the pain and shock making me try to yell "what the shit!" and start crying, and the same distant person telling me not to move... the doctor saying something to me afterwards... stumbling into bed at home... checking my email and replying to my professor, I have no idea what I typed... calling the dean's office and saying I'd come in to see her but then passing out again instead
I thought about something recently. the college years are horrible for me. I drive around at night sometimes blasting music and just weep at how frustrated I feel. But I see now: I'm going to look back on this and see it as a baptism of fire. I've been wondering why I'm so angry at everyone here, at the standards, and so defensive and aggressive about my identity. it's because being here challenges everything about me, constantly and painfully. I guess that's what college is supposed to be: pushing you to develop into the next stage, a more mature person, a young adult, something.
I hate insecure ignorant people scapegoating. I hate all the dumbasses who have no concept of a situation making judgements on it. I hate everyone with their crowded little mindsets and no room for anything outside their experience.
t-shirt idea: "if you were poor you'd be a stripper" OR "so if you have lots of sex you have no human rights? is that how it works?" OR maybe just "shut the fuck up rich white assholes"
-Sean went to russia -I started having horrible stomach pain last saturday and after some hospitalizations, doctors and tests, and a lot of vicodin, they figured out friday that I have a bunch of stomach ulcers and polyps -I cut off all my hair yesterday
I'm done with final exams, I think I barely passed organic chem but I did ok in everything else, which is all fine by me. I still have to finish up some german papers but I'm basically done with them so I feel like the semester is over.