Tuesday, August 31, 2010

and now you know

In an effort to reach out to my brother Sean the other day, I ventured to Wikipedia for some facts about giraffes.

Lemme 'splain.
My oldest bro (younger than me by about 3 years) is a giraffe. He's tall, a bit awkward, and I'm almost positive he has four stomachs.
He also owns about three shirts, as seen here. He wears one every day. He even found a silly band on vacation: a yellow giraffe. How perfect.

So I decided I would drop some facts on him, hoping to find something phrased like a National Geographic special about the life of a Sean. I found this:

"While research from the 1970s concluded that giraffes did not
socialize, later research found that giraffes did form attachments to
other giraffes, with giraffes spending 15% of their time grazing with
the giraffes they are close to and only 5% of their time grazing with
giraffes who are strangers."

Ha ha. Because he eats a lot and doesn't socialize. So I posted this on his Facebook. But upon further examination of the text (read: Wiki article), I also learned something quite interesting. About mating habits. That I am in no way implying relate to my brother. But I still think it's a fun fact worth knowing, so here you go:

"Another function of necking is sexual, in which two males caress and court each other, leading up to mounting and climax. Such interactions between males are more frequent than heterosexual coupling. In one study, up to 94% of observed mounting incidents took place between two males. The proportion of same sex activities varied between 30 and 75%, and at any given time one in twenty males were engaged in non-combative necking behavior with another male."

Gay giraffes. Bisexual giraffes. Bros with benefits. Besties with testes. Whodathunk?

Of course I checked other sources, to make sure some dude with a giraffe fetish wasn't editing Wikipedia (again), and it all checked out. You learn something new everyday.

Note: this post is not aimed at anyone. Especially my brother. Who totally likes giraffes for other reasons. Like their knobby head things.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

here's your APA guide

It is Sunday.

A Sunday during school, which translates to "Homeworkday" in Schoolese.

This semester I am in a class called PSYC 410: Family Issues and Child Development; a special topics class that will henceforth be referred to as "Famish" because the name is really long. This topic is so special that it doesn't even have a book about it. I mean, there's bound to be one book about this topic somewhere, but regardless, my prof did not asssign a text. Cha. Ching.
However, that does mean that we will be responsible for reading several articles "in the field" (not in a grassy meadow or anything, just articles from various Psychology journals. such is life). For those of you unfamiliar with journal articles (or those of you who are too familiar) I will shed some light:
  • They are boring. Hear me out. The topic itself may be riveting, and I find they often are very interesting areas of study, but the format of each one screams "Don't read me! Use me as a coaster!" They trick you in psychology text books by inserting pie charts or pictures of laughing children, but when it comes to academic reading and writing, all the cutesy stuff is left at the door.
  • Academic writing usually tells you something you already know, just in more unnecessarily exact terms. Today I read an article about resilience in children (The Development of Competence in Favorable and Unfavorable Environments: Lessons From Research on Successful Children. Masten & Coastsworth 1998.) and read sentences like this: "...friends may provide emotional support. ...At the same time, however, friends may encourage deviant behavior." Really? NO WAY.
  • While reading in APA style, you have to deal with the citations at the end of every sentence. Example: "Such activities may also serve to facilitate involvement in conventional social networks, which could then promote acheivement or rule-abiding conduct (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde & Whalen 1993; McNeal 1995)." However, there could still be risks, and long term effects still in question (Boring, Uppity & Hartopronouce 1997; Talkstoomuchabouthisphd, 1992).
  • I've decided I am in the right field to have a mildly weird, unpronounceable name. Some examples from today's reading (in APA style) are: Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde & Whalen, Luthar & Zigler, Cicchetti, Rogosh, Galbraith & Espeland, Kellam and Rebok, and many many more.
there. a picture of a brain so you won't get bored.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

i know i'm back in chucktown

I know I'm back in Charleston because...
  1. my legs are killing me (walking walking walking. Actually, now I've passed the pain and achy stage and I have moved on to the nice legs phase. Score.)
  2. I stopped biting my nails! But that'll come back once homework gets serious again.
  3. I go through clean clothes like Kleenex- I must wear at least three outfits a day, because I just keep sweating through stuff. Or changing to play glow frisbee in the dark!
  4. I haven't slowed down since I got here. Funny how I thought I'd get a break once I moved back...
  5. if you stand still in one place long enough, you will get dripped on. By something.
  6. there is already sand all over everything. Everything. It's in my wireless mouse. (?)
  7. I keep forgetting to eat. Which is weird, but usually happens when I'm really busy and stop listening to my body (it's usually whining about sweating and achy legs...)
Anyway, I hope after this week things will finally slow down a bit. Or at least work out a rhythm.

NOW, off to my first day of classes for Family Development and Human Sexuality.

Those are separate classes. Just to be clear.

Friday, August 20, 2010

back to school

My new life has started (at least for this year) and I am off to a busy start.

This week: meetings, meetings, meetings, and some rain. However, I DO get paid to sit through HR presentations about leadership style and I am important enough to interview new hires on the phone. Basically I am a boss now and it feels good.

With great responsibility, however, comes more and more responsibility. Things keep piling on: CSA hospitality, Honors mentor, move-in volunteer.... and I just have to remind myself that all these things are just pieces of my grown-up cocoon. One day, I will burst forth as a woman with bills and thank you notes to write and people to be in charge of and lots and lots of things that give you ulcers and it will be greeeaaat. I say that with zero sincerity.

So I'm going to enjoy college life as long as I can. Which is going to start riiiiight now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Today was my birthday. And it was great. Despite the fact I woke up early, ran to breakfast in the rain, had to hastily say goodbye to Mom and Daniel, spent the next 5 hours in supervisor training, and soaked my new clothes a few times, it was a good day. A great day.

I got cupcake tokens! Thanks, Buddy. And I went to the beach and got my new skirt fairly damp. I ate some great food. I got to see my friend Matt, and his mother made me a cake. A delicious cake that tastes like petit fours. By the time I was out of the meeting it was warm, sunny and beautiful in a way only Charleston can be. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

And even though I was bummed to learn a few weeks ago that I would be here, virtually alone, on my 20th birthday, I didn't spend a minute today feeling lonely or being alone. Except right now. Tomorrow my roommate moves in and I am really excited for everyone to get back here.

Marca: a few things- the sink is fixed, the new one is in. Unfortunately, this means they caulked around the fixture and propped a shower curtain between the door and the sink to keep pressure on it. So you kinda have to limbo in and pee with the door open. I trust this will be fixed by the time you get here, but I just thought you should know how weird it is being here. The only person on the floor except the RA. Oh, and I hope you like the new living room set up. :D

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It's my last day in A-town. So I should be packing right now, but I can't bring myself to do it somehow. Don't worry, I will. Eventually.

The other day, I woke up like usual for work. My alarm went off, ruined my dream, and I fumbled around, sleep-drunk, for the off button. I coaxed my head off the pillow and stumbled through the mountains of "packing" in my room and headed towards the bathroom.

For those of you who know me well enough to have been upstairs in my house (or just those of you who may have creeped up there, or even those of you who I've already told this to) you know we keep our hamster in the bathroom. This sounds weird, I know. But it's best for everyone; if a hamster is gonna be smelly somewhere, it might as well be where it's already smelly. And with three boys using that room, trust me, it's rancid. OK, maybe it's not that bad. It does smell like showers sometimes, which is good. Especially if they use my mango and pomegranate soap and think I don't know about it. ANYWAY. The hamster is in the bathroom. Between the two sinks on the counter.

Also- about the hamster: Daniel bought her. He saved money and begged and begged for one. Mom said if he had enough to buy the hamster and its food, he could get it. We had had hamsters before; a little brown one named Pepper and a black and white we named Oreo for obvious reasons. Oreo was a bitch. Anyway. They both died of the same mysterious eye-popping-out disease at completely different times in our family history. They also both escaped a few times. Don't ask me how. I just know one ended up chewing up the carpet in my closet. It was the bitchy one. So when we tried to catch her she ran all around and gnawed at our hands with what I remember to be venomous eye teeth.

So my mom had one condition when Daniel left with my dad one evening to buy his hamster: "That thing better not have a tail. If it gets out, and it will, I am NOT picking up anything that has a nasty rat tail without whuppah-ing that thing. NO. TAILS." (a note to those outside the family: whuppah is the noise a whip makes. SO there you go.) Daniel, restless with excitement, agrees vehemently, crossing his heart and hoping to die and all that.

Well, a bit later they come home with a little cardboard carrier (which is dumb Petsmart, hamsters eat cardboard. Use your brain) and I'm sure you can guess what Daniel brought home:
In my mom's defense: it is a tail. But Daniel protested that is it a Chinese dwarf hamster, and the tail is really small.

Daniel named her Aphrodite. Eventually, Mom grew to like her.

So that morning, I noticed her food dish was empty and her water was almost gone. I filled them both, with a mental note to give Daniel a verbal lashing for shirking responsibilities, etc.

When I came home from work, my mom called from the living room "Guess what So-and-So said on Facebook: 'you should put the hamster in a plastic bag and keep it in the car' hahaha!" (for those of you who haven't heard The Dead Dog Story, remind me to tell you. The shorthand is this means the hamster is dead.) I paused, trying to understand. "What?!" "Oh. Aphrodite died."

SO. Never feeding a hamster again. But at least she kept her eyeballs. And her dignity. Unless Ethel (cat) dug her up in the back yard...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

OK, I'm really proud of myself, so I'm gonna share my success.

I bought my books for this semester (finally)! I went to campusbooks.com (shameless plug) and found all my books for cheaper than the stupid rip-off campus bookstore.

Spanish, Book 1:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $76.75
  • Ebay: (used) $49.99
  • Bookrenters.com $41.28
Spanish, Book 2:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $80.25
  • Half.com: (used) $10.00
Intro to Special Ed:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $100
  • Chegg.com: $56
Human Sexuality:
  • Bookstore price: (used) $82.95
  • Barnes and Noble: $13
Total saved: $221

Total spent (my other class doesn't have a book selection): $125!!!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

stupid job

There are about 10000 things I didn't get to do this summer. Usually I am forced to blame myself, my procrastinating nature, for my crippling summer-onset laziness. BUT this year, it's totally my job's fault.

At least that's what I am telling myself.

Whenever I think, OK, need to make a list of all the crap...why didn't I do that already...need INK don't forget INK...I have six more days of work...can I ask for a day off...I need boxes... and all these things begin to overwhelm me, I just think STUPID JOB instead of STUPID CLAIRE. Which is good for my psyche, overall.

But now all the things I didn't do this summer (like watch Pulp Fiction or finish my quilt) are buried beneath all the things I need to do in the next six days. One list is full of regret, and the other is full of anxiety.

I'd better get crackin'.

Friday, August 6, 2010

this is my life

(Sean and I walk in the door after work. We had stopped at McDonald's for lunch and come home to find Ryan and Daniel alone in the house. Mom is out getting groceries)

ME: Hey, puppy! (to Einstein)
Sean: Daniel, why are you on the phone?
Daniel: (already exasperated, after one question) I'm talking to Ben! Gosh!
Ryan: You guys got food??? Mom left us here ALL. DAY.
Me: Sorry, you can make your own food.
Ryan: Daniel ate the last pizza.
Me: Make your own with the English muffins! Or make a peanut butter sandwich.
Ryan: I already did.
(Sean and I look over at the counter, and the bread is open, the peanut butter is on the counter, and a knife is jutting off the edge of the counter.)
Sean: Ryan! Put your knife AWAY (commanding, too-deep, adolescent Sean voice)
Ryan: It's not mine!
Sean/Me: Well, who's is it? It's not ours! It's not Daniel's!
Sean: It doesn't matter if it's yours! We pick up stuff that's not ours ALL THE TIME!!! (the voice again)
(Ryan picks it up, shows Nutella on the bottom side. Only Mom eats Nutella.)
(Ryan places it in the sink)
Ryan: now it's with the others.
Me: Ryan, just put it in the dish washer! How hard is that??
Ryan: WHY?
Ryan: Oh yeah?! I helped Mom with the computer room while you two were at work! I didn't do the wallpaper, but I helped her lift stuff!!!
Claire: Ryan, that job is barely ten minutes a day.
Sean: YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR PAJAMA PANTS. (this is a common issue this summer)
Ryan: why would I get perfectly good clothes dirty if I'm not going anywhere?

At this point, I got tired of the argument and went outside to check the mail.

I move back to college in 8 days.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Magnum, Thomas Magnum

While on vacation, I was able to learn many new things about my family members. For instance, my grandmother, uncle and father all love Magnum P.I., a show I had never seen before the trip. But after watching several episodes, I think I understand where the love comes from.

Several factors:
  • It's set in Hawaii! My dad has been to Hawaii a few hundred times with his family. Interestingly, these trips stopped when I was born, or I was neglected to be invited.
  • Thomas Magnum has a ridiculously full mustache. Something a family of bears could comfortably live in.
  • Short-shorts: they come in many textures and colors, but they're always the same size: tiny.
  • Vietnam flashbacks- who doesn't love those?
  • There is a grumpy British butler (Higgins). This is what made Batman and The Addams Family work too. OK, so Higgins isn't a butler, he's "curator of the estate," and Lurch isn't (wasn't?) British. But still. Basic principles.
  • He drives a red Ferrari. Cool cars are essential for successful characters, such as the Batmobile, the delorean, K.I.T.T., the Gadgetmobile, the Millenium Falcon, the stair car (watch out for hop-ons), the Mystery Machine, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and that car Ferris Bueller steals from Cameron's dad (which is also a Ferrari).
  • He's what my mom calls a "gland." It's hard to explain what that means because I don't exactly know. Basically he flirts with anything that moves. Which may include his 'Nam buddies; TC and Rick (whom I call Ken because his character is exactly like the Ken doll from Toy Story 3).
The show is endlessly entertaining in the way all 70s/80s cheesy private investigator comedies are. I suggest watching it so I have someone to discuss it with who was born after the invention of the VCR.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

needles in the sand: a photo essay

That's right. Needles.

Last week I was on vacation in Gulf Shores, AL. A place I was sure would be less of a get-away and more of a first-hand-encounter-of-the-BP-oil-spill. I wasn't disappointed. The double red flags were up, meaning people should stay out of the water for their own safety. Some people ignored them, and nobody came back from the ocean covered in sludge, looking like the bad guy from Ferngully.

On our third or fourth day at the beach, I decided it might be a good idea to actually go to the beach. It would be too weird to drive six hours and never touch sand. So we walked on the beach. I tried to avoid the water, imagining it would strip away the skin from my foot, but it was warm and inviting. Damn your enticing refreshment, ocean!

A ways down the beach a construction crew was working on a new complex, and we slowed down to look at it. Then Ryan and my mom glance down,

and find this:
That's right. That's a USED SYRINGE. In the sand. In the sand in which we are walking barefoot.
So naturally, Mom tries to do the right thing and safely dispose of it.

A port-o-potty is probably not the best place.

and then the trucks came...

Mom makes the handoff. I feel kinda like a private investigator snapping pictures of dirty dealings...

And the guys are pros- they plop it into an empty water bottle and throw it in the trash. End of needle scare. Or it should have been. But when you see a needle in the sand, you start imagining them all over the place- and every step is like tiptoeing through a mine field. A mine field of needles. But they're only imagined needles, so there are no foot punctures or AIDS. Only intense psychological trauma and newly-formed sand anxiety.

Thanks, Orange Beach, AL!

it would be awesome

I want a flight suit.