two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth…

I know it probably pains you to read those words since they’ve been quoted ad nauseum, but it probably pains me EVEN MORE to be the one quoting Mr. Frost!  I am in PAIN blogheads.

BUT as it is probably one of the few poems that everyone on earth has heard, I tend to think that speaks to the truth of it.  However, I sort of resent the fact that though the subject matter is so relatable, homeboy does nothing to enlighten us as to what constitutes ‘the one less traveled by’ (although I think this was the tricky bastard’s point)–perhaps this is why I once became frustrated with poets and turned to the dudes with the answers, aka philosophers. But I digress.

I am currently trying to look down two roads as far as I can, and although I feel as though I can “see” fairly far, it does nothing to clarify the course I should take.

Generally, the way I make decisions is by not making them until I absolutely must, at which point I am forced to do what I probably wanted to do anyway, if that makes sense.  Case in point: taking a year off from my educational program.  I “thought it over” for months, and decided at the last second–but deep down, I must have known what I wanted to do all along.  That decision was antithetical to many of my ideas about myself–and shocked pretty much everyone I know–but I feel it was the right thing to do, and certainly what I wanted to do, although I think I was afraid to admit that I wanted it.

That is what worries me about myself–I’m never entirely sure if I feel I want certain things because I am supposed to want them, of if they are actually things that I desire within myself.  In many ways, I fear it is the former–I mean, truly, academia excites and enthralls me, but I cannot envision myself devoting my life to it.  I would be just as happy being a professor at a community college as I would be if I were to become tenured at an ivy–or would I?  Would you?  I mean we’re all supposed to want to be at the top of our game, no?

I’ve always been very ‘ambitious’ etc., but now, my ideas about what I want my life to look like are somewhat different than they have been in the past–and probably somewhat more realistic.  For example, I love children more than anything and I have always dreamed of having a ton of children; however, it is rather difficult to do that if you choose a career that involves incredible and perhaps somewhat abnormal dedication.  I always assumed that I could figure it out, that I could find a way to make time for family and my work, but in reality, I know that something will have to give–it’s hard for me to even have a relationship whilst studying at uni–and I cannot imagine it would be much different if I were a faculty member.

At the same time, I love my field and I really think that I could make a difference within it.  It invigorates me and excites me in a way that most things do not.  And in a lot of ways, I cannot excogitate a future more fulfilling than one that involves a lifetime spent in a high-level intellectual environment, teaching and studying what I love.

All of this is sort of converging upon me right now because Lover has been offered a professorship, and he is so very thrilled and deserving and I am so happy for him, but it is in Vermont.  He wants me to move with him, with the argument that I could continue my education in a different program–but, my current program is amongst the best in the country (if not the best) and I am not sure if giving that up is something I am capable of.  The other option is of course that he works as an adjunct until I finish my program, but I am not sure I feel even remotely comfortable with that idea either.

So what do you do?  We’ve done the long distance thing, but it sucks.  I’m also so young that even though I am fairly certain I am never going to find anyone that even comes close to the person that he is, I do not think it is wise to be planning my life around another person at this stage of the game–something that I think he neglects to appreciate, being several years older than I.

Yet, I am somewhat terrified of being thirty or forty years old and a great success in my field, and coming to the sad realization that I shouldn’t have compromised so many other wonderful things for something that is, ultimately, rather trivial.  Of course, then I could just comfort myself by saying that I took the road less traveled by, right? :)

Why is it that my life seems to be made up of one existential crisis after another?!  I mean…is that what existence is supposed to entail?

If anyone happens to read this and would like to share how they reconcile their professional/educational selves with their personal selves, I am listening! (God?)

x C

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big ups to my rodent friends

Today has been a very tragic day for me.

Basically, I grew up with five brothers.  It was pretty chill, except when I wanted to talk about flowers and princesses.  Enter my need for other friends.  So, after watching a number of Disney films, I decided that if I was nice enough to animals, they’d start speaking to me and become my friends…

sadly I am still working on this lifelong quest!  Apparently creatures are quite shy!

Sometimes my deep and enduring love for animals causes problems.

Like when I spent much of my free time during college collecting mouse traps around my dormitory and befriending the ‘pests’ – my friends quite enjoyed retelling these tales.  Once they got over their anger.

Also, LIKE TODAY.

I was at work when suddenly my coworker started screeching as though she’d taken a ninja star to the external jugular.  Accordingly, I ignored her.  Thus, she got up in my grill and explained that she’d seen a mouse and was pretty much grossly overreacting.  That said, I’m not going to lie, I am freakishly afraid of bugs, to the point where I actually moved house after seeing one because I became terrified of the place.  So yeah, I’ve got some crazy related to little unwanted houseguests (a term I coined/copyrighted in France because I didn’t know the word for mouse!  Terribly cleva, I know!) so I felt her pain.

However, I think mice are adorable and awesome little friends – but homegirl disagreed and wanted to get a mouse trap.  SO I offered to go, because I wanted to at the very least find a trap that would keep my new little buddy safe until we were reunited!

This is where things get really sad, so please be prepared with Kleenex…

when I got to the store, things took a very evil turn.  THERE WERE NO ‘HAVE A HEART’ TRAPS.  At this point, I felt I had a moral obligation to my coworker who was probably freaking out like a madwoman in my absence, and I knew going to another retail location would be unfair to her and her unnecessary anxiety.

SO, I HAD TO BETRAY THE ANIMAL KINGDOM.

Believe me friends, this gave me no joy, and I feel very guilty for this harsh backstabbing of my little mousey friend.

I really feel I had no choice but I would like to request that all who read this purchase the NON-HOMICIDAL traps if you find yourself dealing with some little animals in the future, AS A PERSONAL FAVOUR, SO THE COSMIC BALANCE OF THE UNIVERSE CAN BE RESTORED.

Thanks and have a great day!

x C

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blogheads and blogcrushes and blogmances, oh my!

OKay not to worry, if you read my other post about “Alternative Engineering”, an explanation is coming!  I just have to write it…I’m working on some things that relate to that sort of mumbo-jumbo, so I thought I’d post some of it on here to see what feedback it got!

BUT today I am posting about my transition to the virtual world.

I’m quite embarrassed to admit this, but I am feeling a little bit middle-school-esque about revealing my recent leap into the ‘blogosphere’ (aka the gayest word of all time. Seriously, name one that is more lame in a really late-90s way.)  Even worse, I’m pretty sure I’d be shunned if I revealed my love of twitta.  Not really–but do I really want to defend my use of it?  Not really.  SO I just keep my trap shut.

Anyway along with the idea of things I’d never thought I would do (like starting a blog), I NEVER thought I’d even consider meeting an “internet friend” or anything like that.  This brings me to my next point–tomorrow, a bunch of my favourite bloggers are going to be in my neck of the woods.  But, I mean, what??  For all I know they could be a pack of pirates from Somalia, or eyeball-eating zombies, or some other extremely plausible shit like that.

BUT they’re all really hilarious in writing and probably cool people.  I just don’t know if I can bring myself to do something that seems so bizarre and unnatural to me (I know most people–or at least most people that would read this–probably don’t feel that way, but we must remember, I am not generally a tech-y chick!)

Another even more sad thing that I did not anticipate experiencing (and was unaware of the existence of) is a blog crush.  One of the first blogs I read was about a guy struggling with the ladies, and it was supa funny and written in an endearing manner.  Once I got over my personal embarrassment for such an absurd thing, it was no longer relevant BECAUSE homeboy hooked up with a girl whose blog I also read!  Yeah, wrap your mind around that one, blogheads.  Blogga-word is kinda like Martha’s. Except way weirder.

So I read both of these people’s blogs, and a) it feels a little weird/voyeuristic to be reading their impressions of a relationship that they’re both involved in AND know the other person reads.  I mean, I don’t think any relationship theorists accounted for these sorts of things when developing their notions about relationships…

and b) it seems like they’re both a little crazy.  I mean, would you EVER fly halfway across the country to meet someone you knew from THE INTERNET?  And maybe that’s romantic.  Fine.  But now the girl has gone back several times (in only a few weeks?) and wrote a blog post about how she wants to move…I mean, again, what?!  You’re really going to leave your life behind for someone you have known PERSONALLY for a very short time?

Maybe I’m cynical, but I’m starting to think there are some REAL nuts running around blogga world.  And hey, I’m far from sane (just ask my psychiatrist), but reading some of this shit is difficult for me to process any further than ‘holy shit, these people are so far outside my frame of reference (aka me) that I don’t even know what to think!’

But it’s entertaining! :) :) :)

Personally , I could never date someone who read my blog, because clearly most of the nonsense I ramble about on here is like one hundredth date material.  Or after you have realised one of you is pro-pirate and the other is pro-ninja, and you decide you still like each other. Or something.

Lover is on my case about reading this shizz, but mark my words blogheads, that will NEVER HAPPEN.  EVER.

Why?  Mostly because I like how funnily he acts regarding it.  Like it contains some sort of mysterious, ancient code.

The point is, blogs are very bizarre things, and I’m still trying to form my impressions of blogga world–it’s strange that blogs are relatively intimate ways of knowing someone, yet not knowing them at all, no?

I think it’s the latter part that is easy to forget, or sweep under the rug…hence the fact that a “blogmance” is probaby skewed from the start, since one’s conception of how well they know the other person is somewhat likely to be confused.  This might explain the behaviour of our zealous friends in bloglove.

OR maybe I’m just incredibly cynical and can’t accept that “love happens in many different ways” (or something else Meg Ryan would have typed in You’ve Got Mail.)

In other news, I’m getting geared up for my FAVOURITE HOLIDAY!  CINCO DE MAYO.  It is coming friends!  I encourage you to begin the celebratory procedures early.

Have a fab weekend!

x C

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Alternative Engineering

Article by Stephen Novella, M.D.

A new phenomenon is sweeping the country, gaining the attention of both consumers and manufacturers alike. Increasingly disenchanted with the cold metallic world of modern technology, people are looking closely at more natural alternatives. Collectively called Alternative Engineering (“Alt Eng”), a host of new and old methods are gaining scientific and journalistic respectability.

Alec Waterstone is one such self-styled alternative engineer. He has no degree or formal training in engineering, which, he explains, is an advantage: “My thinking is not limited by mathematics, logic, or any stodgy old mechanistic paradigm. I do not have to pay homage to the likes of Newton or other Western male pedagogues. My complete lack of training frees me to consider unique and innovative solutions to engineering problems, unfettered by the annoying constraints of “reality.”

Energy-Based Bridges

Alec’s latest project is a design for a 1200-foot non-suspension bridge. He claims the bridge will be able to span this distance without pylons or overhead suspension, and will be supported only by the ancient art of Feng Shui. “This wisdom, which is thousands of years old, is the art of channeling energy through design and form. This energy can be used to support a 1200-foot bridge, or even larger structures.” City planners are intrigued by these designs, because such bridges will cost less than half as much as conventionally designed bridges.

Alec is also quick to point out that ancient Chinese documents reveal absolutely no accounts of collapsing suspension bridges. His technique’s safety record is, he argues, unparalleled. “How else would it have survived all these years if it didn’t work?

Anthony Trellis, a professor of engineering at State-of-the Art University, claims that Alec’s designs run contrary to basic principles of physics and materials science. An exasperated Trellis commented, “A bridge based upon Waterstone’s designs simply could not stand. It would be unsafe in the extreme.”

But Alec is not perturbed by such criticism. “Of course professor Trellis does not like my designs, because they challenge his precious status quo and turn his world upside-down. But the protectionism of the old guard is starting to crumble, like one of their obsolete buildings,” he retorted at a recent symposium for progressive thinkers who agreed that those who fail to jump on the bandwagon will be left behind. His talk to a standing-room-only crowd also accused the American Society of Civil Engineers, the steel industry, and other “vested interests” of trying to suppress his views.

Skeptics have suggested that before we spend millions of taxpayer dollars on such projects, and subject American motorists to the unknown risks of driving over a Waterstone bridge, Waterstone’s basic principles should at least be tested to see whether they work. This is especially true since his designs seem to run contrary to conventional wisdom. But Waterstone responds:

I”m too busy designing bridges to jump through some skeptic’s hoops. They will never be satisfied, anyway. The American motorists should be free to decide for themselves if they wish to drive over one of my bridges. I respect their intelligence and ability to make smart decisions for themselves. They don’t need to be told by some bureaucrat, or professor in an ivory tower, which bridges are safe and which are not.

Professor Trellis and other naysayers argue that individuals should not have to be scientists or engineers in order to drive safely over our bridges. Regulations are not designed to limit freedom, but to provide a basic level of safety and protection for the public. This attitude, however, is increasingly being dismissed as overly paternalistic and protective.

Intuitive Cars

Civil engineers are not the only ones gravitating toward the ancient wisdom of pre-technological societies. The auto industry is also catching on. Natural Designs is a new car company based in Kansas. Its president and CEO, Andy Wily, received a degree in engineering from Harvard 20 years ago, but was fired from his subsequent teaching position after excessive drug use nearly destroyed his life. Now he has returned with a new company and a new philosophy that many consumers find appealing.

“I am advocating a mixture of the best of modern scientific engineering with the antiscientific and superstitious ideas of earlier times,” explains Wily. “I call this approach Integrative Engineering.”

What has this new approach created? Natural Design’s newest model sedan, the Millennium 2000, does not use air bags, or even seatbelts. “Seat belts are dangerous, and air bags are kid-killers,” complains Wily. So he has come up with something better. The interior of the Millennium 2000 is coated with a patented psychoactive material, called Natural Safe. “All a driver or passenger has to do is think safe thoughts, and this miraculous material will do the rest. In a crash, the material will gently repel any safe thinking person in the vehicle, leaving them free from injury,” Wily asserts.

When skeptics point to deaths or disability for Millennium 2000 passengers, Wily replies that the passengers clearly weren’t thinking as “safely” as they should have been. “Besides,” he adds, “the Millennium 2000 only goes 50 miles per hour on a good day with a happy wind behind it. If the motorists who were killed had been driving something developed by the International Automaker’s Cartel like a Ford or Chevy, they’d have been traveling much faster with an even greater chance of death. When Ford quits murdering thousands of people a year on our highways, then their complaints about us will look like something besides protecting market share. In fact, we have a study right here that shows that if everyone quit driving tomorrow, the death rate would go down in America! Until we can convince the American people of the millions killed needlessly by modern ‘automotive science’, Natural Safe remains the safest choice.”

Many consumers are convinced. Not to be outdone, GM and Ford both have started putting Natural Safe coatings in their cars. Amy Zinger, of Arkansas, survived a 40 mph head-on collision in one such vehicle. “I was wearing my seat belt, and the air bag did deploy, but I know it was the Natural Safe that saved my life,” she asserted recently. “Besides,” she points out, “If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it.” Motivated by such testimonials, more and more consumers are insisting on only buying cars treated with Natural Safe.

One problem faced by Natural Designs, however, is that outdated safety regulations, such as those requiring seatbelts, do not account for these new integrative designs. Recently, however, this has all changed. Senator Hackem, from Natural Design’s home state of Iowa, has pushed through legislation that will exempt manufacturers that use Alternative or Integrative principles from regulations designed to protect consumers. This was hailed as a great step forward.

Still, hard-headed skeptics will not go away. “All I’m asking for is a simple crash test” exclaimed noted skeptic, Perry DeAngelis. “If the stuff really works, heck, I’ll buy it.” Skeptics have been increasingly calling for such tests, arguing that testing should take place before implementation, especially when human lives are at stake.

But Wily explains why such tests won’t work. “Crash dummies are not people. The psychoactive material will therefore not respond to them. The fact is, these innovative designs cannot be subjected to the same testing and principles as traditional engineering. But consumers who drive our cars feel safer. How can you argue with that.”

Still, DeAngelis points to recent studies which seem to indicate that drivers of Wily’s cars are twice as likely to die in a crash as are drivers of conventional vehicles. But Wily merely scoffs, “What are you going to believe, numbers on a piece of paper, or people?”

Political Achievement

Despite the skeptics, Alternative Engineering seems here to stay. Wily has just been named chairman of the new Integrative Engineering Department at Zones University, where he hopes to train the next generation of engineers in his philosophy. Meanwhile, Senator Hackem has pushed through Congress a bill to create Center for Alternative Engineering. This new office will divert money being wasted on maintaining this country’s infrastructure and use it to study and promote alternative principles in engineering.

Finally, in what is characterized as a landmark coup in the making, the Canadian College of Rainbow-Coloured Integrative Engineering — after spending more than 100 years as a scientific pariah — is finalizing negotiations to become part prestigious Dork University. Despite howls of dismay from Dork’s math and science faculty and several Nobel laureates, Dork’s Senate has pushed onward with its plans for affiliation. The $25 million dollars that the Integrative Engineers have promised to give the University has not, according to Dork’s President, influenced the deal. The president characterized critics of Integrative Engineering as “crybabies” who espouse “long disproven misinformation” about Alternative Engineering.

____________

Dr. Novella is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and an Associate Editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine.

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my very own FML

I’ve been kind of a delinquent blogga, for this I am sorry.  There’s been tons of shizz going down in my life, and I haven’t really had the opportunity to reflect on any of it yet, so it seems a bit preemptive to try to write about it!

the demon child

the demon child

Nonetheless, I’d like to share a story with my dear blogheads.

Last weekend, I was chilling with Lover’s evil family.  There is one person I like in his family, and that would be his 8 year old nephew.  I really miss working with children and the levity they inject into my life, and Lover’s nephew is pretty much the only kid I know, so I’m forever kidnapping him from his parents (read: nanny)  to encourage  diabetes and watch children’s films (since no one else will watch them with me/engage in deep discussions on the awesomeness of gummy things.)  So, homeboy and I chill quite a bit.

Anyway, he came up to me during the family gathering/phony fest, and asked me if I wanted to play a game with him.  I replied with, ‘Don’t ask me!  I hate kids!!’…assuming that an 8 year old would understand the subtleties of my sardonic nature.  Lover tells me this is where I went wrong.

I’m still not 100% sure but I think the bugga was trying to punk me, because when dinner time rolled around, the little rugrat decided to yell loudly in front of about 20 people, ‘I’m not sitting next to her!  She hates kids!  She told me!’

Everyone just stared at me as though I were docta evil, except for Lover of course, who started laughing.  This obviously made us look even more normal.  I just said, “I was kidding…” awkwardly and sat down.

What I really wanted to say: fuck my life.

Going forward, I shall refrain from trying to amuse myself by saying cracked out shit to eight year olds.

x C

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looney tunes!

When I started this blog, it was principally to share the things I find amusing in my barista life!  I haven’t really been a barista very much lately due to travel etc. but I did get to work this week, so I wanted to share with you some of the crazies that were on the creep that day.  (If you couldn’t tell, weird/crazy people=my main source of amusement in life.)

There are a number of regulars whom we all know and talk about/become amused by.  Moreover, the environment of the coffeeshop where I work is very informal and has a bar where we, the employees, usually kick it; this also causes certain customers to post up at the bar with us (usually for hours) and hang out.  Sometimes this is cool, as I totally dig many of our customers.  Some of them, however, bother me in a variety of ways, from being plainly annoying to being a bit frightening.  Also,  I did not change their names for the purpose of this weblog, this is how my coworkers and I refer to each of these people–I don’t feel the need to change their names since their behaviour I am discussing is done in public and in view/earshot of many strangers.  Sue me.  (But, actually, please don’t.)

One of our regulars is ‘Wet Cappuccino Charles‘.  I’m not sure how to describe him really except to say that he quite possibly possesses the greatest degree of social ineptitude I have ever seen, and a lot of my coworkers compare him to “Dwight Shrute” from the US version of the televison programme “The Office”, whom I must say he resembles in both behaviour and appearance.  He is hilarious in the sense that he has no problem broadcasting his crazy opinions (he’s an intenselty right-wing conspiracy theorist type, and is extremely paranoid) and getting him fired up is always entertaining.

Anyway, he usually comes in several times per week and stays for hours because he is not employed–in fact, he is constantly inquiring as to whether we have any ‘temp work’ available.  He is honestly like a caricature!  Unfortunately he also frightens me a bit because he asked for my email address shortly after I made his acquaintance (and before I grasped the depth of his craziness), and I have a folder labeled just for him on my gmail account…in other words, he sends me about 10 emails each day.  Fun! Also, slightly alarming. :)

One of our new regulars is the ‘Klonopin Queen‘.  There are a number of people whom I suspect of being pill-poppers due to their dazed and confused facial expression and inability to converse at a normal rate, but homegirl takes the cake.  Not only is she dazed and confused all the time, but she also likes to hang out for hours, talk about how awesome klonopin has been for her (it has helped her handle her demon child) and also likes to PASS THEM OUT.  Like tic-tacs.  ‘One for you, one for you, one for you’ is what we say when one of us sees her coming.  Because that is what she does…sings along and passes out DRUGS like a deranged mother goose.

Another fun discovery upon my return to the coffee shoppe was that I have a new coworker, ‘Bipolar Bridget’. Bridget immediately revealed to me her psychiatric history and the fact that she’s no longer medicated (this much was obvious)–she then proceeded to do all sorts of cracked out shit, such as singing Disney songs at the top of her lungs (in the middle of a coffee shoppe…who does that?) and writing signs of ‘things she wanted to tell me’.  Example: she made a colorful and detailed sign that said “who are the backstabbers around here?” that was slightly violent in nature.  The crazy customers are bad enough, but now I must spend several hours with someone who is clearly under the influence of drugs OR extra, extra crazy.  Either way, she’s a looney tune.

The people I’ve met (and there are a lot more, those were just the ones that rolled up that DAY) are people I did not know existed.  I’m somewhat interested in humans/people in general, so from reading about them and you know, being alive, I thought I had a decent grasp of human behaviour–HOW WRONG I WAS.

And my mum said being a barista was a waste of time!

Anyway, back to work, have a great day blogheads! :) :) :)

xx Charlee

ps: sincerest apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors, I had to type this rather quickly because I have a deadline in a few hours!!! try not to let it upset you too much kids ;-)

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verbatim

Weird shit people have said to me recently.

“It’s not that you’re a bitch…you’re just…overly nonchalant.”


Well, you sure seem to enjoy drinking quite a bit!” (weird attempt at conversing by Marley’s unlikely lover, whom I hardly know and did not wish to talk to)


“You were such a weird child…and then I signed you up to become a cheerleader, because I thought that would make you more normal…(awkward trail off)” — Mother


“You were purposely trying to use words she doesn’t know!” –My brother, in reference to his wife not knowing the word “optimal”


“If you suck, you suck.” (note: this was not meant hypothetically, but said rather cheerfully)


…and people wonder why I tend to make rude facial expressions so often! It’s also hard to properly capture the absurdity of these statements without the applicable tone of voice/being able to see the person saying them, but yeah, what a whack attack, right?

How the fuck do you even reply to these comments?  People are ridiculous.

x C

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it’s not easy being green: yes, we cannabis

Stealthy as a socialist,

It slithers up our shores,

Turning all our children into hooligans and whores!!

Please enjoy a clip from one of the best films ever made:

Yup, this posting is about weed.


I’m not sure I have explicitly stated this, but I am a fan of the green.  Before you dismiss me as another stoned slacker, (which, to be sure, I wish I were), I actually don’t smoke pot anymore on any sort of regular basis, if ever.  However, I was quite the pothead back in the day.  Don’t judge me.  All the cool kids were doing it.

Thus, the green has a special place in my heart, and I hate that it has been so mistreated.

During one particularly bong-hit ridden day during college, I took it upon myself to venture to the biomedical library to do a little research.  You see, I had been smoking mary j mutiple times per day for a few years, and the thought occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t the best idea.  Yes, it took me a few years to even conceive of this notion.  What can I say–I was too busy focusing on visual stimuli.

But why is smoking pot a bad idea?  I’m very much the sort of person who does things unless I can think of a good reason why not to do them–I feel that life is meant to be an experience and therefore pretty much any experience in worthwhile in my book.  But, I digress.

I went to the library to find the straight dope (pun intended-I’m so fucking clever) on cannabis. The biomedical library was a majestic place because it allowed one access not only to published information, but also to research that was in progress or not published, for whatever reason (I obviously objectively evaluated the validity of the articles I read to be sure that if it was not published, it was not due to erroneous data/procedure/etc).  And the bottom line is: I found out that pot really isn’t all that bad for you.  In terms of long-term effects, it has less than I had previously thought–and there were even marked POSITIVE effects of THC.  Fancy that, bitches! (Government bitches, that is.)

Nerd moment: because I am feeling a little ambitious today, I am going to share with you two things.  One: in the case of neurodegenerative/neuroinflammatory disorders, cannabinoids are a helpful therapeutic intervention (Gordon, Jabri, and Underwood, 2006).  Two:  Although multiple studies have found impairments in multiple areas of functioning whilst under the influence (like, duh),  the effects of long-term, frequent use remain inconclusive–that is, there are findings that dispute one another (Messinis, 2006).

In other words–pot has been proven to have some positive effects, and its possible (alleged) negative effects have not been clearly/properly/extensively documented.

Yet…it’s still illegal.

The illegality brings in all sorts of sociopolitical considerations when one chooses to burn the devil’s leaves–and guess what those considerations usually do?  Kill one’s buzz, obviously.

So what is the solution?

That is an interesting conundrum.  I don’t know that there is one.  My friends and I were discussing the fact that LOTS of people smoke pot…and I do mean LOTS…yet no one really wants to openly talk about it or try to effect change in this arena.  I can’t say I’m too keen on the idea of publicly associating my name with reefer–even though I love it like a pothead loves cake.

And why is that?  Because of closeminded, judgemental people.

The general idea that pot is SO terrible is not even founded, and actually causes more problems than it counteracts, in my opinion.  A perfect example is the fact that for many professions, random drug testing is involved.  THC stays in one’s system at detectable levels far longer than other harder drugs…I have had friends actually tell me that they stopped smoking pot because of drug testing, only to start hitting up the yay pretty hard.  Now THAT is effective substance control.  BRAVO, strategists for the ‘war on drugs’.

All of this said, I know some people reading this will write me off as some crazed stoner.  It boggles my mind that people in our society can possibly be so judgemental about marijuana, yet think nothing of the exorbitant amount of prescription drugs being prescribed after extremely minimal evaluation, or even the incredible prevalence of alcohol use in our society.

I can’t precisely recall where I got this idea (so it may or may not be based upon fact, although I’m 80% sure it is, hah!) but I am under the impression that the short-term stresses of alcohol upon the body, as well as the long-term effects of prolonged indulgence in adult beverages, put more physiological strain on the body than marijuana use.  I think this is true to a certain extent neurologically as well, but at the very least, alcohol and marijuana are comparable in terms of the scope of their effects on the brain.

Subjectively, I can say wholeheartedly that I have never done things I regret whilst stoned (not the case when I get my hands on too many tequila shots), and to be frank, I don’t feel as ‘fucked up’ whilst stoned as I do when I am drunk.  In fact, a significant reason why I am such a fan of the pot is the fact that it stimulates me cognitively, and has thereby caused me to have really interesting experiences, whereas alcohol causes intoxication through the inhibition of cognitive function–yielding some experiences that could be called ‘interesting’ in a different sense entirely.

This is by no means an exhaustive examination or discussion, as I think there are multiple other scientific (i.e. biological/physiological/neurological) facets of pot smoking, as well as various sociopolitical elements of the issue–these are just my immediate thoughts on the subject, as for me, writing in my weblog is a way of organizing my thoughts more than it is an attempt to construct a properly written assessment! Even so, I hope that if you actually read this whole thing, you found it (somewhat? mildly?) informative and as intriguing at I tend to!

(And, for the record, I don’t advocate smoking pot in excess, because anything in excess is not a good idea.  And furthermore, in case you’re wondering, a major reason why I don’t smoke pot anymore is because I observed changes in certain areas of cognitive function which were consistent with the documented effects of long-term chronic marijuana use…so I’m not saying it’s all good.  I just think the demonisation of the practice of toking up is too much.)

What are your thoughts on this issue?

xx Charlee

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Then what? My boobs are too big?

True story–I once got dumped for loving the film from which this awesome line was taken (aka Legally Blonde). He just could not get over it.

Clearly, I do not think it is a brilliant film, but I think the message is important–kind of muffled by the fact that the main character fails to exhibit any clear sign of intelligence, but an important message nonetheless.  That is, that you should not judge a book by its cover.

My freshman year of college, I found out halfway through the year that the girls from my hall called me ‘Barbie’ behind my back.  It was very hurtful, especially when I heard some of the really malicious things they’d said.  In fact, it still upsets me…I didn’t do anything to them, and yes I enjoy the color pink, but to be so needlessly bitchy is just so wrong in my book.

My point is–I can relate to the character in that film, because I feel like I constantly have to deal with people’s incorrect premature assessments and after a while, it gets old. Like, REALLY FUCKING OLD.

What I mean is…people are constantly treating me like I’m dumb. This isn’t a projection either, because one half of the time, they’re verbally telling me that ‘it’s okay if I just don’t get it’ or something along those lines–and the other half of the time, they’re in utter shock (sometimes even telling me so) when they get a chance to see that their perceptions of me are wrong.

So I can’t figure out what it is that makes people get this impression of me.  Is it the fact that I’m actually rather dim?  Have people just been being nice to me? I don’t know…intelligence is such an odd thing, and there’s probably nothing more difficult than attempting to assess one’s own level of it.  However, I tend to think this is not the case based upon the only objective information I have, which would be testing I’ve had done by a psychologist…which indicated that I’m somewhat of a smarty.  So, granting that I’m reasonably intelligent (though we’ll never know for sure), what is it that makes people think otherwise?

I think part of it could be that I’m a bit goofy, and giggly, and as a friend so affectionately put it, ‘bubble-headed’–I don’t fancy myself an airhead, but I also don’t jump at every opportunity to showcase my intelligence.  Not saying I have this great degree of intelligence, as perhaps I’m really dense and unaware of it, but in my experience, people are generally rather eager to assert themselves in this manner.  It’s just not my thing.

Still, although not particularly serious, I don’t think my behaviour gives any indication that I’m dumb.

So what is it?

Well, I’m sorry to say it, but I think I’m slowly starting to believe that people judge books by their covers.  Maybe I am naive to have not realised it sooner?

There are many reasons why I think this, but I’ll give you one big example–I have always had the biggest problem with uber-intense math/science nerds (as in, science nerds that are +2 sds from the mean).  I say the word “nerds” in the nicest way possible because I am a total geekette and actually took offense to it when my lover questioned my nerdiness.  But that is not the point.   The point is, I’m making a generalization about my experiences with a particular group of people–a group of people whom I have found, on the whole, to be quite socially awkward, not especially attractive, and really, probably lacking in certain aspects of their lives.  This is not an analysis I made prematurely, or out of spite, as I have been dealing with these people for a long time, and I treat them as I would anyone else…and once I get to know them, most of them are really cool people.  HOWEVER, it is my belief that this particular sort of person so values their intelligence as being exceptional, and is so psychologically invested in it in terms of self-esteem, that coming upon someone who does not share their more negative traits, but does share their most valued trait, is just too much for them to handle.  Therefore, in accordance with the theory of cognitive dissonance, they decide that said person (i.e. me) could not possibly be as intellectually capable as they are.

Sexual frustration is not a pretty thing.

I’m working on a research project right now–because I was ASKED, mind you, not because I wanted to do it, because it is not in my area of expertise.  Nonetheless, I thought it would be fun–and it is.  Difficult, but fun.  However, a few of my colleagues are really not very nice to me and I don’t know how to deal with it–perhaps I am not 100% as qualified as they are (since some of them ARE pseudo-experts in this area) but the bottom line is, we’re all doing the same shit, meaning none of us are complete imbeciles.  Yet whenever I ask a question, their facial expressions and excessively simplistic explanation suggest that they think I’m completely clueless.  Just yesterday, I questioned a colleague’s (negative) analysis of something I’d done, only to have him look it over and tell me that I did indeed do it properly, and he was sorry because he’d ‘just assumed I had no idea what was going on’–you ASSUMED I had no idea what was going on?  Did you even LOOK AT my work?

MORAL OF THE STORY: DO NOT JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER, BLOGGA BUDDIES

Okay, rant over.  I’m just sick of people harshing my chill, you know?

xx Charlee

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true confessions & revolutionary road review (kind of)

I have a confession to make my friends: I have no clue how I got into the world of academia (if you can call it that–hint: you can’t).

No. Fucking. Clue.  I’m not very well-suited to intellectualism in terms of personality (or intellectuality, for that matter) and I don’t think I ever consciously decided I wanted to end up where I am today.  The point is…I at some point came to the conclusion (okay, I’m pretty sure I was watching a film by some sort of overly-clichéd director, and was most likely baked out of my skull) that I should have gone to film school.  It was never something I even remotely considered, but I think it would have been pretty fucking sweet.

ANYWAY, because of this latent desire, I sometimes feel the need to write my opinions on films I have seen.  So, enjoy the exorcism of my half-baked scheme.

I recently saw the film Revolutionary Road and really enjoyed it, as I knew I would, because Kate Winslet + Leonardo Dicaprio = two of the greatest actors of our time, in my humble opinion.

Something that was quite striking to me was the intimacy of the filmmaking.  I recalled after the film that Kate Winslet’s husband (Sam Mendes) directed the film, to which the unique presentation can probably be attributed.  There was something vaguely marked about way the story of this couple was told, and I had trouble conceptualizing precisely what it was, but I really think the best way to describe it is that it was particularly intimate–every facet of their marriage, their emotions, and the complex interplay between the two, came across on the screen.  It really seems fitting and explanatory that there existed this incredibly close relationship between the person behind the camera and the person in front of it (as much of the film revolved around Kate’s character).

Aside from the philosophical takeaway I got from the film, I enjoyed it stylistically–the music/costumes/set design were magnificent and made the story far more engaging.  The acting was absolutely superb, not only in the lead roles, but there were a number of supporting characters (namely, Leo’s work buddies, their overzealous garden-obsessed neighbor, and her institutionalized son) that I felt added a lot to the film and whom I thought about afterward.  Some of the dialogue was a bit much for me (some of the lines actually made me laugh, during dramatic scenes) but that is a complaint I have fairly often.

The ‘story’ was basically of these two people and their perceptions, interactions, and methods of coping with a life that had not been meticulously constructed to suit them.  They questioned whether or not this was the life they’d imagined (any Thoreau fans out there?) and what–if anything–they could change in their collective life to increase their satisfaction with it.  To be more precise, the fundamental concept that underlied their conundrum (in my view) was whether their circumstances needed to be altered, or if it was simply their perception that needed changing.

I often wonder this in my own life–particularly because I tend to do things that I think I am expected to do.  A perfect example would be my choice to get a relatively serious job, when I was perfectly happy chilling and being  a barista–I felt lazy and lame about that choice, but the truth is, I took time off from my studies so that I could have time to myself and not have to worry about the world’s idea of what I should want.

Ergo, this film really resonated with me.  I think many of us ‘go with the flow’ only to one day look at our lives and wonder who told us that we had to want all of this…whether it’s the two kids and the picket fence in suburbia (as in the film) or a career in academia or medicine or some other pretty serious field (as in my life!)–as I think she said in the film, at some point, we just keep doing what we’ve been doing to prove to ourselves that it hasn’t all been a mistake.

Interestingly, the person who most identified with this notion in the film was the one who had been deemed insane.   Kate’s character’s plans for “fixing” her life were portrayed as unrealistic, and yet the ‘crazy person’ in the film thought they were entirely necessary–this is very interesting to me and quite relevant, I think, in the overall conversation about what happiness is, and the role of desires and practicality within that conception.

I really enjoyed the film.  It really spoke to the numbing nature of certain aspects of life and did a really wonderful job of examining different perspectives of life in suburbia, and life in general.

I’m not sure I’d view it again (although I very rarely view films twice due to my attention deficit) but it was very thought-provoking for me and I’m quite pleased that I finally got around to seeing it! Definitely worth seeing, blogga-buddies. :)

xx Charlee

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