You are Iron Man
|Inventor. Businessman. Genius.|
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by Nerdwina Brainiac
the blog formerly known as "Maunderings from Dissertation Hell" and "Prattling in Postdoc Purgatory" Wind her up & watch her go! Random blather and nattering of a newly licensed clinical neuropsychologist juggling a budding private practice, family, volunteering and sanity. I am a highly trained professional. Don't try this at home, kids.
the blog formerly known as "Maunderings from Dissertation Hell" and "Prattling in Postdoc Purgatory"
Wind her up & watch her go!
Random blather and nattering of a newly licensed clinical neuropsychologist juggling a budding private practice, family, volunteering and sanity. I am a highly trained professional. Don't try this at home, kids.
You are Iron Man
|Inventor. Businessman. Genius.|
Former Iraqui dictator Saddam Hussein was hanged for crimes against humanity this morning. Really his crimes weren't against humanity in general, just his own people, but whatever. He was one bad dude, and the irony of him dangling from his own gallows does not escape me, but I don't think execution was a fitting punishment. In his head he was fighting the jihad, so by his death he was automatically martyred and has gone straight to Paradise without passing Go or collecting $200. A better idea would be to call in Hammurabbi's laws here and dish up a heaping plate of the torture he served up to his people for so many years. Make him wish he were dead, but don't actually give up the goods or the 72 virgins. Or better yet, give him a sex change and force him to live as a woman in one of the Arabic nations. A slow painful death of body, mind and soul - yeah, that's more like it.
Will his death bring peace in the region? No. There will always be one more ready to step up and take the place of the last one. If anything, the violence will increase as they jockey for position. Violence has been a way of life there for a long time. It's going to take a helluva lot more than the death of one man to make a dent in it.
Bush and his cronies are no better. The war in Iraq is solely about the oil because 2/3 of Iraq's oil is still in the ground and Halliburton & the Bushies want it and aren't afraid to send our sons and daughters to slaughter to get it for them. You can bet your ass their kids aren't going over to play in the sandbox though. As such, the war also acts as a convenient smokescreen for the huge steaming pile of bullshit policy coming out of DC. Sure, they say they want "global freedom" - but they're the ones who get to dictate what that looks like - for everyone. Fuck you with a big sharp stick (and possibly the 3rd Infantry) if you want something different. This ain't Burger King and you don't get it your way. -But don't you dare voice your opinion about it because then you're un-American and a potential terrorist threat.
That said, fundamentalism in any form scares the shit out of me. Rabid Christians are just as bad as rabid Muslims in their "Life begins when you agree with me," mindset. Jesus and Muhammad were both great teachers who offered the world messages of hope and love that were bastardized by people who chose to espouse a narrow and twisted interpretation of their teachings. Seems to me that these folks need to find something more constructive to do with their time (underwater basketweaving, anyone?) instead of arguing over whose God is the bigger badass, rioting and blowing each other up. Then again, maybe we should just sit back, let them kill each other off & be thankful the collective herd has been culled.
In my little world it's always been important for us grrrrlz to stick together. Men leave, parents die, jobs come & go, the kids grow up & leave home (hopefully!). Throughout all the transitions & stages a woman goes through, it's the other women in our lives that really get us through whatever is going on. My grrrrlfriends are my biggest cheerleaders when I've done something wonderful and the first to let me have it when I've fucked up. Gotta love that. Blogging Chicks is a meta blogroll that celebrates that spirit of women's mutual support in the blogosphere. I'm happy I get to play, too.
(singing...) Get down grrrrlz, go 'head get down...
One of my favorite things about Blogger is that addictive little "next blog" button in the navigation toolbar at the top of the screen. It is a window to the human condition. You never know where in the world you'll be directed to next. There are loads blogs in other languages, using different alphabets and it's fun to try to figure out what they are blogging about. Granted, with my twisted sense of humor the topics I make up for them are typically not fit for polite discourse. Nevertheless, these worldwide bloggers cover everything from the mundane family and baby blogs to celebrity dedications to porn to music to shameless self-promotion and anything else imaginable. A lot of them (this one not necessarily excluded) are really really bad to really really mediocre and one has to wonder if the writers are that damn boring in person - or worse, even more boring in person and their blogs are some piss poor reflection of the inner wildass they want to believe lives inside their head.
Occasionally though you get a really good dark chocolate confection with a smooth truffle filling so delightfully sinful and rich it will cause your eyes to involuntarily roll back into your head with pleasure. I ran across one the other day at True Wife Confessions.
Women anonymously email their confessions, rants and/or raves to the moderator, who lovingly gathers them up to present in daily chapter-style posts with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Of course the contributors don't have to be married (or women for that matter although most appear to be) and the entries don't even have to be about their spouses. They could be about lovers, girlfriends, children, coworkers, mama drama et cetera. We all have our dirty little secrets and the TWC blog is a reflection of that as a virtual Everywoman as told by every woman. Simply decadent.
With the exception of a few months when I was an infant, I've lived in Texas all my life. By default that makes me a bit of an expert in Tex-Mex cuisine, having been steeped in the stuff the better part of 40 years. If you've never experienced a really good homemade tortilla, my heart goes out to you. In addition to being highly versatile, they are world-class comfort food.
White flour tortilla dough is basically water, flour & some kind of fat (lard, butter, shortening) with a little baking powder & salt, so getting it to taste like much is a bit of a challenge, which is why you sometimes find them in supermarkets with other ingredients such as pico de gallo, sun dried tomatoes & the like. I don't like them defiled that way but don't object to their being available to those who do.
At any rate, my tortilla-related culinary education has been a bit backasswards. I've made tacos & enchiladas since about age 10 and fajitas since my teens (using store bought tortillas). I even learned to make some killer tamales a few years ago. With the gift of a comal (a special tortilla griddle) and a tortilla warmer from my mom a few days ago, I am now beginning my foray into making handmade tortillas, which theoretically I should have learned how to make first. Here's the deal though. I've formulated a wonderful recipe with the most perfectly flavored dough that results in a tender final product that's not too thick. Go me. However, I can't for the life of me figure out how to make them round. I've gotten all sorts of weird shapes - squarish, ovoid, heart, even one the shape of the continent of Australia - everything but round. An ideas on how to correct that and make them somewhat close to the shape I want? I'm open to suggestion.
Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
We have that in the United States, right? Wrong.
Today I was planning to natter on about www.nowthatsfuckedup.com. Basically it was a site where people (mostly military from the looks of it, if memory serves) would upload pictures & stories - female soldiers baring their breasts, service people in various stages of undress engaging in various sexual and pseudo-sexual acts, "spoils of war" type photos of service people posing with enemy corpses, "Dear Jane, I fucked your boyfriend," letters and similar puerile drivel.
When I navigated to that page this morning, instead of the juvenile locker room blather I was expecting, I was instead met with the official seal of Florida's Polk County Sheriff and the following rather imposing message:
"Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and the State Attorney’s Office of the 10th Judicial Circuit have concluded an investigation documenting violations of Florida laws pertaining to obscenity.
The investigation resulted in the prosecution of Christopher Wilson, the former web master of this website. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office now maintains this URL to prevent further transmission of obscene material.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd encourages webmasters to review Chapter 847 of the Florida State Statutes. Sheriff Judd will continue to vigorously enforce all laws governing obscenity and investigate any person who transmits this material in Polk County.
Citizens are encouraged to report violations to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at www.polksheriff.org"
Not that I'm terribly interested in pictures of dead Iraquis or service people boinking one another; I couldn't care less. I was planning to maunder on about how there's a market for just about anything. However, I object to some conservative pinhead Barney Fife wannabe making the decision for me about what constitutes obscenity. Frankly, I find TV evangelists who want me to send them pictures of dead presidents so they can pray for my heathenous soul & buy a new jet to be far more obscene than a few pictures of bare boobs, butts & bollocks.
Seriously, has the Sheriff ever surfed the Internet? You can find information, images and stories about anything imaginable - and plenty you've never even come close to thinking about. The stuff that was on the nowthatsfuckedup.com site was tame and pales in comparison to much of what's out there. I have to wonder who Mr. Wilson pissed off to get on the Sheriff's radar.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the Bill of Rights doesn't really apply to ordinary mokes like you and me anymore. Every day those rights are eroded a little more and what do we do about it? We just bend over and take it right up the ass because if we speak up for ourselves we're labeled unpatriotic, godless heathens and will be put on the naughty list for surveillance, investigation and posible incarceration. Is it just me or does our current political regime smack of Nazism?
Now THAT'S Fucked Up. Pass the lube, please.
James Brown during a concert in Shanghai, China, this year. (image from Boston.com: Eugene Hoshiko/ Associated Press)
Damn. James Brown - the Godfather of Soul - died yesterday. Granted, in a way I'm surprised he made it to age 73. At the same time I figured he was just too damned ornery to die despite all the party hardy abuse he put himself through over the years and would outlive us all. Get down James, go 'head, get down.
On the home front all's well. The house has been stripped of all the Yuletide Pagan symbolism that people have come to accept as Christian symbolism - the lighted tree with the 5-pointed star on top, the mistletoe, candles, the magic flying toy-delivering elf et cetera. Interestingly, most folks don't realize that merry-making was not part of what the early Christians did at Christmastime at all. Au contraire! Their idea of celebrating their myth wasn't celebratory at all. Instead the pious would fast and pray (prostate on the ground no less) for a couple of weeks in the dead of winter. Oh what fun it is to ride. Sooo, in order to convert the Pagans to Christianity, the early church had to allow them to keep their Yule festivities, which Christians today interpret as their own. Ignorance is not necessarily bliss. Enjoy your tree.
Santa hath shat in my house. The day was very relaxing overall and I spent most of it on the sofa watching movies - something I rarely make time to do. Thankfully all the Pagan regalia goes back to the attic tomorrow. Then it's back to the research. I hope whatever you did today was whatever brought you peace and happiness.
I'm not exactly what one would call religious. Spiritual maybe - I believe in the Karmic concept of what goes around comes around - but religious? No. I was raised Christian and my family is overwhelmingly so, but after careful study of all the major world religions, it appears that they are all saying the same thing: Be nice. I can do that without arguing whether 'tis more holy to be sprinkled or dipped or whether my God can beat up your God.
Realistically, all the holidays mean for me is more work. Like I need something else to do. Amazingly I get it all done - the decorating, shopping, wrapping, endless cooking, et cetera just because "it's what we do." Most of the time I'd rather eat a bug. If I like someone well enough to want to give them a present, why can't I just give it to them rather than wait for some "required" occasion? Humbug.
I've noticed that these days the more religious one claims to be, the more patriotic one can claim to be. Nuke Gay Whales for Jesus or some shit. I don't know about you, but the worst screwings I've ever received in my 40 years have been in direct positive correlation to the level of religiosity the screw-er professed to. As such, any time I run across someone who tells me what a big "Christian" they are, I know to be on the lookout for the screwing (hard, and not well) to come. Experience has taught me to distance myself as quickly and as far away from them as possible.
What do the Pastafarians or the followers of the Invisible Pink Unicorn do this time of year? At any rate, I think I'm making spaghetti for dinner tomorrow...
Y'all have a good whatever it is that you do.
My 15-year-old daughter killed her first deer today with a very clean neck shot at 150 yards. I was impressed. Before we get too excited and start prattling on about Bambi or the "poor woodland creatures," I want to make perfectly clear to the uninitiated that deer are RATS ON STILTS. They are highly destructive, will eat just about anything and breed like crazy. Without culling, they are prone to the starvation and disease that accompanies overpopulation. So before you get your panties in a twist let me ask you what is a more humane way to die: a clean shot to the brainstem (to be enjoyed later grilled with a lovely shiraz) or sick and starving? Kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. That my friends is the law of the jungle. Big doe eyes or not (all the better to see you with, my pretty), if the tables were turned they would have no qualms about chicken frying your ligamentum nuchae and serving them up with smushed taters, cream gravy and an ice cold Coors Light. Oh, and those nice sharp pointy antlers sported by the males? They know how to use them - on you if necessary.
In Texas deer hunting is almost a religion. Not that it's so much a sport (if it were, the deer would be armed too) but a lot of people eat venison. Since the meat is wild it does not contain growth stimulating hormones or other man-made pollutants, it is very low in fat and after being soaked in milk or brined it tastes a lot like beef and it makes great jerky or summer sausage - particularly if you add cheese & jalapenos to it. It is very tasty fried but in this part of the world if you fry something and it doesn't taste good, according to general consensus you probably shouldn't eat it.
In areas where they are a real problem and the ranchers practice game management, the hunters can't possibly use all the meat so they donate it to organizations such as Hunters for the Hungry . The hunters get to thin the herd and release some stress by "killin' sumthin'" and a hungry person gets to eat. Not a bad deal.
Welcome to the top of the food chain, baby.
What does this have to do with my dissertation? Nothing. It's the holidays fergawdsakes - I can't work on the stupid research 24/7.
Merry stuff - happy thing - whateverwhatever.
Perhaps hell isn't the exact verbage to describe the dissertation process. It's more like an extremely protracted pregnancy and labor that no one who has not been similarly embroiled can comprehend. Like pregnancy and childbirth too, one takes on a new language that only those "in the club" understand. We discuss institutional review boards, statistical computations, "THE LITERATURE" and a little thing we affectionately refer to as "p." People who have been in doctoral study have their own dissertation horror stories that they are all too willing to share with the novitiate - not unlike veteran mothers' pregnancy and labor horror stories. I guess this blog is to share mine. Just be happy I'm not sharing gory pregnancy details, although I'm not sure which is worse.
I can't even talk about my research or the process because no one in my immediate world understand. No one in my family has ever gone this far in the education system so no one in my world has ever been "with dissertation." They don't understand that it is all-consuming - not unlike a newborn, and requires near constant tending. All they want to know is when I'll be finished. Funny. I recently submitted the first draft of my proposal to my chair and spent a good half hour explaining the remaining steps to my husband. Somehow he failed to grasp that the first draft of the proposal was not the end of the ordeal. A few days later I received a scholarship for the coming semester (don't quite know how that happened, but I am grateful), and his response was, "Another semester!?" (<-- italicize that.) Sigh.
Whoever had the bright idea of conducting a major piece of research by committee was clearly a sadist. As if getting 5 academics to agree on anything is even possible, much less probable (3,265,422,589 : 1 and falling). Jeez. My first associate dean (AD) had more health problems than anyone I've known on this side of the dirt. She was constantly on leave for surgery: gall bladder surgery, thyroid surgery, knee surgery, another hysterectomy, the list goes on & on. To top that off, during the rare times she was available, regardless of what dissertation concept idea I floated past her, her response was, "Well, that's clearly anecdotal..." Duh - the wheel was anecdotal at one time too, dumbass. Rumor has it she thinks anyone with a southern drawl is a dolt, regardless of their IQ scores. So, I switched to another AD who was available, committed to getting me graduated and understood that there is no "perfect" piece of research. We got along great as colleagues and friends but he recently took a much better job elsewhere. Can't blame him. The school automatically assigned me to the person who is in charge of the health psychology concentration. I don't like the guy. I don't think he is aware, but health psychology is not geriatric neuropsychology despite how he thinks it might fit under his umbrella. Besides that he has known issues with my second faculty reader (who is a neuropsychologist) and he's a flagrant chest-starer. I don't have time, money or patience for bullshit at this point, so I requested someone else. Sure, the new guy's specialization is in mass crisis (think 9-11 & Katrina - he was there) but at least he will be willing to learn something new and not try to force fit it into his paradigm.
My first dissertation committee chairperson had me chasing down a different rabbit hole every week in search of a viable topic. I felt like Alice in Fuckedupland. After a year of that, and a small fortune in association fees, book purchases and the like, I fired him out of sheer frustration. He didn't even realize I'd fired him until he hadn't heard from me in over 2 months. My new chair & I sat down together and formed a plan over gyros in an afternoon. It's all about picking a committee that is as focused on getting you PhinisheD as you are.
My mother's day present this year was to be able to take an extended leave from (read: quit) my job to focus on my dissertation. I had stayed on at my internship site after internship was over to do psychological assessments for Social Security. My husband had lost his job, so I was working to bring in extra money so we could stay afloat but the homework that acompanies such a job was consuming any time I had for anything else - including my dissertation. So he put his executive skills to work and figured out that I was spending more on tuition than I was making while not making any progress on my research. Even though he hadn't had a job in nearly a year & 1/2, he told me to quit my job and get finished already. Talk about a leap of faith. He landed another job about 6 weeks after my last day on the job. My teenage daughter remarked yesterday that I am much more relaxed & happy and don't seem near as tired as when I was working there.
Fast forward to a week ago. My chair blessed the first draft of my proposal with only one small clarification & told me to go ahead and take care of that & send it on to my new associate dean (who promptly told me to hurry up and wait because of the holidays & an upcoming major conference - I'm okay with that) and the statistics consultant (who was very thorough in her feedback and requested what I perceive as minimal revisions & clarifications). I submitted the paperwork to the hospital to conduct the research and they're putting me through the expedited review process since I want to use archival data. So it's more hurry up & wait. It's the holidays though so I'm okay with that. I'll think about it next week after I put the giant green pagan symbol & all the ornaments back in the attic.
I think I'll snuggle up on the sofa with my daughter, have some Earl Grey, watch a movie & just chill for the rest of the morning before I run the final holidayesque errands this afternoon. Come to think of it, that's the best idea I've had all day.
Happy Global Orgasm Day!
Jill off for peace...