Snowpocalypse, year two

 Last year the middle atlantic and south were inundated with snow. We had so much snow they didn't plow our residential streets for a week, but that was also central Virginia where they're not used to snow actually reaching the ground. Funnily enough, my friends living in Boston barely saw snow that year and were all kinds of jealous about all the snow I had to shovel through to get to work.

Now we're having insane amounts of snow in Boston. It seems like a weekly occurrence. Bi-weekly even. I finally get to see how Northerners handle snow. Sometimes it involves dump trucks filled with snow. I don't know where they take it all, do they dump it in the bay? Or just the first big field outside of the city? The maintenance people at my school have these snow blower machines that look almost like floor polishers that they use to clear the sidewalks. The plows are out before the snow stops and keep running until the streets are clear. But it's still a lot of snow.
A lot of snow.

And the river's been mostly frozen for weeks. There are even tracks from people's skis on it. Sadly I didn't manage to snap any good pictures of the people skiing down the streets, but it happens.

Snow doesn't turn grey immediately, like I always assumed city snow did. It goes through shades of tan and brown first before turning grey-black. When it's still pretty fresh but people have been walking through it and some cars have driven over it, the snow goes tan and lumpy, like cookie dough that's just had butter cut into it, and it has the texture of cornstarch when you walk over it. It's strange and I can't help wondering what on earth I'm doing making my way to class across this lumpy and surprisingly slippery surface.

But the strangest thing to me is that I still have class! I guess I'll get used to it eventually, but I still have trouble believing that four to six inches of snow doesn't mean I get the morning off at least.
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Never Growing Up

 Over Thanksgiving break I wanted to make some spaghetti-o's. Let's ignore for the moment that they're my weakness, I know plenty of other people my age who still eat them. I was visiting my dad, who keeps the pots and pans in the cabinet above the stove. It's a perfectly reasonable place to keep such things, if you're over five and a half feet tall. I'm not. I don't even hit that benchmark.

I opened the cabinet and looked up. There was the pot I needed, the top pot in a stack on the middle shelf. That should totally be within my reach, I thought. I tried to grab it. Nope, not even close. I leaned against the stove, stood on tiptoe and reached up as high as I could while trying to push myself further up with my other hand. My fingers barely brushed the handle.

There were two options I immediately knew I had: I could climb onto the counter beside the stove, kneel on it and reach over to get the pot down, or I could haul over a chair from the kitchen table and stand on that. Then, I realized that doing either of these things would make my dad think I was even more ridiculous than he already considers me, and there was no way to hide it as he was sitting right there at the table.

So, I am twenty three and I had to ask my dad to get a pot down for me. So I could cook myself spaghetti-o's.

It's no wonder my parents have such a hard time taking me seriously.

When most of the people on the street are still taller than me, when people offer to get things down for me when they see how short I am, or when I use the same step-stool I had as a kid to get to things in my closet, I feel like I haven't finished growing up yet. Sometimes I feel like I'm still eight when I haul myself onto the counter to go through the spice cabinet. Of course, when I was eight my mom didn't tell me to get my big butt down before I broke something. So, if you see someone standing on the bottom shelf in the grocery store aisle, refusing to ask for help as they try to reach a box of cereal or a certain box of pasta, it's probably me, or someone like me, trying to prove to herself that she's an adult, dammit,  and can do adult things like get her own groceries.

A funny observation

 So, I went out to dinner with a couple friends the other night and ate a bit too much sushi. While we were waiting for the check I looked around the restaurant and noticed something odd about the way people were sitting. At all the tables with couples the woman sat with her back towards the nearest wall and the man sat with his back away from the nearest wall. I drew a diagram to make it easier to picture:

Every single couple in the restaurant fit this pattern.

But at tables that had more people, the pattern didn't apply. Some women sat with their backs to the room, and some men sat with their backs to the wall.

I pointed it out to my friends, both other archaeologists, and we tried to think of reasons why people would arrange themselves this way. One friend suggested it was because the men didn't want to be distracted by other people, but the problem with that is the men all ended up facing other women. Another problem is that without knowing who sat down first, we don't know who's responsible for the seating, but the wider patterns suggests something is going on besides personal preference. 

I usually pick seats that let me see more of a room, but that's a personal preference. I don't think most women are as paranoid about people sneaking up on them. All I know is I'm going to be keeping an eye out in future to see if this was a one time thing. 


 I have a confession to make. I hope no one judges me too harshly.

Here goes...

I'm hooked on The Jersey Shore.

Ok, you're judging but I'm ok with that. I judge myself every time I put it on. I probably judge myself more than other people do. See, I'm picky about what TV I watch. Junior year of high school DESTROYED my TV watching schedule. I had so much work to do every night that I stopped watching anything except The Simpsons. I slowly edged my way back during college, with the Daily Show and Colbert Report. Senior year I ended up hooked on The Office. Luckily my friend owned all the seasons on DVD, so I watched all five in less than a month(That was not a good month for writing). But I'm also lazy, so once I didn't have anyone to watch The Office with I slowly dropped off. 

Now that Futurama is back, I'm re-devoted to it. I'm waiting desperately for Castle to come back because anything involving Nathan Fillion deserves my time. And I've surrendered to Glee, but mostly Matthew Morrison. These shows are funny, often snarky, with characters I like, and one involves singing.

Where does Jersey Shore fit in? It's not witty funny, it's laughing-at-someone-falling-down-the-stairs funny, when it is funny. None of the guys are attractive (to me) but they're all arrogant jerks anyway and the girls all seem to have issues and a middle school clique mentality. So, that's a No on characters. They don't really do anything but wear as little clothing as possible, get drunk and fight with each other. And that's a No on plot.

What's wrong with me that I. Can't. Stop. Watching?

I guess it's like the sugars section on the food pyramid. You don't need it, it isn't good for you, but people should understand if you cave and indulge every once in a while? Yeah. Something like that.

I'm gonna finish this episode and then Netflix some Shark Week so that I can feel like I'm at least eating cookies AND a salad.

A Letter to the Weather

 Dear Boston Weather,

I'm scared of you already, I think you should know that. Even though we've been doing pretty well so far, I can't help being nervous. You've been mostly warm and sunny, and I was shocked that you were actually hot and kinda humid some days. I got to laugh at all the New Englanders acting like it was some kind of unbearable heatwave last week. It wasn't even 90. They'll be laughing at me in three months.

But now you're 63 and raining. I'm wrapped in a blanket, wearing sweatpants and fuzzy slippers and in a mild state of shock.

This is August.

It is not allowed to be 63 during the day in August. That is not how my world works. It's 87 in Richmond right now! And you're just raining. No thunderstorms! In August! This kind of day belongs in late November, or early March. It's not the weather for the height of summer.

This only makes me worry more about winter. My landlady told me she was going to take me coat shopping, because a wool peacoat would last me "until mid-November." What?! It seems like this is going to be like Beijing, but worse. I'm guessing we'll turn the heat on before a set date (ahem Beijing) but I don't think we're going to crank it up to 68. And my mom stole my galoshes. Well, I guess they weren't going to last me through the whole winter either. I haven't had winter boots since I was eight. Weather, you and I are going to be enemies this winter, I just know it.

I expect compensation in the form of snow.

That is all.


Standards of Female Beauty, a rant

 Before the age of eighteen I never thought I could be pretty. Growing up I always saw myself as being on the wrong side of plain. It's not like I had anything to tell me differently but there were far too many influences giving me that idea. I was on the fuller side of thin as a child and I knew it. I had working eyes and a TV. My skin is ghostly pale and my hair is dark and frizzy (attributes people have always remarked on, and not positively). I have never been tan, blonde, and stick-shaped. And probably the most irritating thing to me, especially when I was in high school, was knowing that a hundred years before I would have been hot stuff. I understand that ideals of beauty change but the thing I can't stand is that the ideals have now become physically impossible. 
Stuff like this just messes with people's heads: (go to the portfolio and check out the different pictures, some are minor adjustments and some are major changes)
I've heard excuses like 'people expect images to be retouched.' Except, I had absolutely no idea models were routinely remolded for covers and ads until I was a senior in high school. It isn't like the pictures come with disclaimers. In one of my classes we watched part of a news special or something on how photoshopping models into physically impossible shapes skews with the body ideals of teenage girls. At the time I thought “wow, I always wondered how people could be so thin and beautiful.” It wasn't until I was 17 I knew there was a huge system of lies that I had been fed since I was a child and that people CAN'T be that thin and beautiful. That kind of conditioning takes years of conscious effort to get over.  
The writers at Jezebel are far more articulate on this subject. I am still at a stage where I steadily bubble up into a rage trying to talk about the way our pop culture, consumer society loves to make girls and women hate themselves. As long as we do we'll keep buying products to make us better, more appealing, and more attractive, that'll fix our imperfections. And they'll keep making money. Retouching models and actresses just shows us all that no matter how beautiful a woman is, she still isn't beautiful enough for these companies. 

So it starts young, and it's pervasive and we perpetuate it, judging each other, criticizing other women and buying products to fix ourselves. Because we're in need of fixing. And we should shut up, give up our money and put up with the pain. Pain is Beauty, as I've been told enough times to make me want to go after whoever came up with that cliché with a flat iron and see how they like having their scalp steamed.  The thing that makes me angriest isn't that it was done to me; I'm getting over it. It's that it's being done to my little sister, who, at nine, wouldn't wear a coat to school because she thought it would make her look fat. Who, at ten, is fixated on being pretty and can't understand that there are thousands of ways of being beautiful. And who, by fifteen, might hate herself just as much as I hated myself. She shouldn't have to go through that. No one should.

Menokin Pics

Ugh livejournal, why are you spacing this so weirdly?

Anyway, I said I would post a couple pictures from Menokin ages ago, but I wasn't a big fan of the ones I took and they're on my other computer. Luckily I just got my hands on some from the site camera because I'm all sneaky and stuff. Or not.

Here's two I'm in and yes, that is plaid;


And one from Wero just for fun:

Patient in Denial

Probably my fastest doctor's visit: in, diagnosed, and out the door in under a half hour. 

Nurse: What are your symptoms?
Me: Oh I just have this annoying cough. 
Nurse: You have a fever.
Me: Really?
Nurse: How long have you had your symptoms?
Me: Um, a week.
 Nurse: Sore throat?
Me: Now that you mention it...yeah. 
Nurse: Hmm. 

Doctor: You're wheezing.
Me: Oh, I wasn't paying that much attention...
Doctor: Headaches? Ear pressure?
Me: A few, sometimes, yeah.
Doctor:  You've got bronchitis. Here's three prescriptions. If the cough doesn't get any better by Monday I'm sending you for x-rays.
Me: But I only have a cough!
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Deer part 2

We named the deer Missy Bojangles, because she IS a girl and I'm not naming a female deer Mr. Bojangles as was first suggested. (This was a half hour long argument last friday). Anyway, a couple pictures!

It's a tree hole, see the little root holes and how blobby the top is? But the little pit is part of it, weirdly enough. So we're not sure which came first yet.
deer 1

We bisect features (cut them down the middle), and then take out half. Depending on the feature we might take out the other half. I couldn't get to the bottom of the layer with the skull in my way, the vertebrae go into the other half, and it's really interesting, so we decided to do both halves.
deer 2

More to come eventually!