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My adventures in pre-Vet School

When I do my readings, I foresee that going to my lectures will be redundant. When I go to my lectures, I realize that my hypothesis was correct. The material is not difficult to grasp (so far), and I am confident in my ability to comprehend all of the information.

Labs, however, are a different matter. I'm not sure what my problem is exactly, but I think once I figure it out it will be classified as a "cognitive disability." I'm not dyslexic, (hence the lack of difficulty with the readings) and have always been considered a person with a large amount of intelligence (interpret that however you wish). But one thing I have always been terrible at is taking directions.

Yes, I'm an anarchist and I always question authority. But I don't believe my political philosophy really has anything to do with the fact that when you say, "Look over there!" pointing straight ahead, I will say, "Where?" and look behind me.

When I read the lab manual, I highlight all of the key information, but that's about as far as my understanding goes. The instructions for how to use equipment are so tediously detailed that I think I might just be unable to concentrate (warning: soporific shit ahead):

"Take the broth culture in your left hand. Bring it to your right hand (which is still holding the loop with its thumb, index and middle fingers). Use the fourth and fifth fingers of your right hand to remove the cap or plug from the culture bottle. This can be done by using these fingers to hold the cap or plug against the palm of your right hand, and using your left hand to rotate and pull away the bottle. Alternatively…"

snzzzzzz…What? Oh, right. So, did you get it? Cause I sure-as-an-agar-petri-dish-grows-devil-spawn-that-burrow-into-your-brain didn't. Maybe it's my inability to visualize. Maybe it's my complete lack of interest in whether or not I'm supposed to to "flame the loop" after every single frakkin' time I breathe. Regardless, it was at least a bit easier to understand when our lab supervisor showed us what to do…except backwards.

See, she's left-handed. So I asked her, "if we're right-handed, do we reverse everything?" A second student asked the same question. The answer was yes, but not without the snide comments from other students about how it's "common sense," and why would anybody ask that question, you obviously just use whichever hand feels right.

Let me tell you a little about common sense. After reading and learning (in mind-numbingly intricate detail) about all of the right things to do with lab equipment and all of the things that could possibly damage it, and how easy it is to fuck everything up, you damn well ask as many questions as you can before trying a procedure yourself! That's common sense!

…Sooo anyway, then we had to use autopipettes to dilute the mixture of…what's that? You don't care? Well, the autopipettes are the important part. Those buggers are like $300 a pop (or maybe it's $50, I can't remember), but they are remarkably fragile with no built-in mechanism for protecting the machinery from the liquid that they measure. Cause, you know, autopipettes measure liquid. But…they can be destroyed by liquid. Do I really need to explain that "common sense" thing to the autopipette manufacturers?

I had read all of the exhilarating instructions on how to use an autopipette. They measure liquid in micro-liters. So, if you want 1 milliliter, you have to set the autopipette to 1000. Being all caught up in conversion and protecting the machinery from the evil that is liquid, I didn't really think about the fact that that particular autopipette only went from 1 to 200 micro-liters. It didn't reach 1000. But I could set the measurement at 1000, so I didn't really concern myself.

The lab instructor had to come and stop me, telling me that I was actually only measuring 0.1 milliliters, instead of 1. It took several minutes before I finally got it out of her that the meter was saying "100.0" not "1000." There was no actual decimal point; it was yet again another one of those "common-sense" things that all scientists intuitively know, because their psychic overlord tells them.

So I said, "well, that's really misleading." My lab instructor disagreed, and the snide students near me looked like they thought I was the stupidest thing since sliced bread*. She must have thought I said, "that must be a mistake," because she repeated herself. I wasn't actually insisting that it was really measuring 1000 µl when it could only go up to 200µl. I was saying that it didn't need to be so misleading. But those who heard me seemed to think I was stupid nonetheless.

The lab instructor suggested, "You need to read the section of the manual on autopipettes." To which I cleverly retorted, "Yeah, I've already read the manual, okay?!" The students around me were probably all making their "what's her deal?" faces, but I was too busy wallowing in my intense hatred for humanity to notice. The lab instructor seemed surprised and perhaps a little bit hurt, but I was too angry to apologise, and I wanted the other students to know that I was fed up with their "what-a-dumbass" looks.

Ah, kids. Their faces are so expressive. Especially when they want you to know that they think you're, like, omg, totally stewpid.

So, I'm really looking forward to my lab next week….

*You know, because sliced bread doesn't have a brain

I am feeling: irritatedirritated
27 December 2009 @ 10:18 pm
You're a good liar. I am a fool
Cause I want to believe what I see in the
Different days, different people, yet
All me.

I see myself in pieces.
My pieces see myself.
More breakable than the glass before me
It holds steady while I tremble
It stays whole while I fall apart.
Who am I today, beauty or the beast?

Perhaps you've seen me walking down the street
A vision, a goddess
Grace in every step
You want to meet me

Perhaps you've seen me walking down the street
A pitiful girl
Insecure, hunched over
You want to forget me

I guess I'll know one day
What the mirror really sees
What you really see
When I walk down the street
Picking up the pieces as I go.
07 November 2008 @ 12:39 am
I haven't posted many pictures of myself, so I figured I might post a lot. I was bored, had a camera, and voilá.

I hope you know I place all of my blame on my wonderful boyfriend. He makes me feel pretty :p

If you don't appreciate my vanity, go away. This is my journal. I can do what I want. Nyanny-nyanny-poo-poo.

When you see this, run away.

And in case you were wondering what I looked like in colour. Horrible, low-quality colour.
28 October 2008 @ 10:51 pm
Some people have the strange belief that popular music is somehow inherently inferior to music that is not popular. I know people who automatically dislike a song simply because it has been played on the radio. I've heard words like "meaningless," "superficial," and "not relevant to the real world."

A little anecdote: Brooke Fraser, popular singer and songwriter, traveled to Rwanda. There she met an orphaned girl named Albertine, whose life had been saved by the very guide who was showing Fraser around the country. The guide asked her to write a song about Albertine.

Most of you probably are aware that the assumption that popular music is automatically meaningless is ridiculous. I will clarify why, but not in my own words.

I am sitting still
I think of Angelique
Her mother's voice over me
And the bullets in the wall where it fell silent
And on a thousandth hill, I think of Albertine
There in her eyes what I don't see with my own

Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
And the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

I will tell the world, I will tell them where I've been
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine

I am on a stage, a thousand eyes on me
I will tell them, Albertine
I will tell them, Albertine
—Brook Fraser, "Albertine"

More meaningful lyrics....Collapse )

I am feeling: sleepysleepy
Music of My Soul: "Albertine" by Brooke Fraser
01 September 2008 @ 10:10 pm
...and words can always hurt me.

Please read the post below this one for the explanation about this post (I felt some people might find it a bit daunting if I put it all together).

Miriam: actually, you ARE whiny and childish, and you do NOT have any more rights to be here than others... you are restricting yourself if you DECIDE to leave just because someone offends you.

Just A Pseudonym: You're kidding, right?
If you disallow someone to do pretty much anything on the Internet, THAT is taking away freedom.
But nobody allows someone to be mistreated more than the supposed "victim" themselves. There is no real harm to it, so any trouble they have with it is what they have personally allowed.

Me: Wonderful, caring people. Perhaps you are unaware of the psychological damage that verbal/written abuse can cause. Learn a little about sociology, anthropology, and the fact that above all else, humans are social beings. Language is our foundation, and it affects us as profoundly as anything else. It can be used to begin movements, start revolutions, and strike fear into people.

Glenn: Personally, I say you go girl!!!
The only way to hone your opinion is to air it and gain thoughts and feedback that provide unexplored insights and perspectives. I don't see you as whiny and childish, I see you as an explorer of your inner mind traveling by bungee cord. Look after the cord and don't let it snap.
Miriam, Great input, even if a little harshly put.

Tanya: I do think there has to be some limits. Following from our discussion on my opinion, if someone is using the internet only as a means to harass others, they should be removed. In the case of iThink, because they are misusing the application not to protect the 'victim'.
Personally, I havent seen any examples where someone has been seriously harassed. Have you? Conflict is healthy, insults and all.

Nikolaiy: You are whiny and childish. Just deal with it.

Me: As long as a society blames the "tattle-tales," they are giving assholes the freedom to do as they please. And inevitably, they are therefore taking freedom away from good people who wish to have access to the same resources anyone else does (i.e. internet). I find it amazing that people will jump at the chance to attack a sensitive person, but allow a cruel person to get away unscathed.

Me: Please compare your "whiny and childish" remark to my comments, and then determine which one of us seems more mature.

Miriam: assholes like you have the freedom to do as they please, too. you should be happy about it.

Hella: We have the freedom to do as we please, that includes being nasty to you and your ilk. If you don't like it then deal with it in whatever way you see fit, nobody is going to stop you. Nobody is forcing you to leave anywhere, you decide that yourself.

Sri Lalitha: agree with Miriam

Materese: i think the exchange of opinions so far proves your point if it needs be proving...personally, i like to take the abusers by their horns and see how they take their own medicines when i shove them down their throat.....as somone once said " never under estimate the predictability of stupid

Miriam: which point has been proven? because as i see it, no one's freedom has been taken away so far... on the contrary, everyone has the freedom to state what they think, including sandy and you. so, again: which point has been proven?

Glenn: Here's a different take...Sandy probably isn't going to leave, she's been here far longer that a lot of us. It's a great comment that has gained a lot of input and will probably make it to a great number of votes. Everyone gets abuse, those with the strongest insights get the most abuse. Perhaps it is just a carefully sculpted iThought.

Me: Cheers, Glenn.
Holy crap! 15 comments in half an hour! I should write more opinions that inadvertently piss people off.
I'm not going to leave my own opinion just because someone attacked me personally for defending those who are mistreated. I have gotten a fair bit of abuse at some opinions, which I did have to leave.

Ben: You can't be serious....
You know what you are saying Sandy?
"The stuff I find offensive is an absolute value and should be prescribed across everyone's personal freedom of speech. You are taking away my freedom by insulting me, so to remedy this .. what am I going to do? TAKE AWAY YOUR FREEDOM"
The hypocrisy is inordinate.
"mistreat" "insult".. these are all subjective terms. You're just a hypocrite to state what your personal view on these things should be relevant to us all.
I've had death threats against me - people saying I should be locked up, executed, all sorts of hateful things - and you know what I've done??? Laughed, insulted them, and moved on.

Me: Especially on iThink, verbal abuse is not conducive to a debate; in fact, it usually destroys it. It makes both parties too emotional to argue rationally. Ben - I'm a hypocrite to state a personal view...and I'm taking away your freedom by keeping you from stating things. Got it.

I am feeling: disappointeddisappointed
01 September 2008 @ 09:45 pm
That's what we tell our precious children. For, it is more important to us that they grow a tough skin than that we become aware of who is being bullying and abusive. And if you can catch a bully at a young age, you are much more likely to prevent them from becoming worse and worse.

But the wounds go deeper. This isn't just about children in school. Many siblings may remember their older siblings being cruel and sadistic towards them, then telling them not to "tattle," so their parents never know what's wrong. What's worse, some parents punish the younger sibling if they do "tattle," instead of the older one for being a brat.

Yet even deeper. Truly abusive children and adults alike use this logic because it permeates our society, and any child can be forced to obey it. I am very close to many people who were abused and told not to "tell." One was molested by their twelve-year-old babysitter, then told not to be a tattle tale. Another by their teacher. Yet another was sexually abused by their grandparents. But it's a secret. "Our little secret."

This is a culture of silence. Silence infests our ghettos and Third World countries; silence imprisons the weak and the helpless; silence saturates every crevice, every corner of our society. If you are attacked on a street in broad daylight, chances are nobody will come to your aid. We are the innocent bystanders. Feeling sick yet? If you're not, perhaps you're not paying attention.

As a child, I was ridiculed in school. I was treated like shit from age 6 to 13. I had several physical threats during that time. Yet I was never hit or attacked. Why? Because my mother taught me to tell. "If someone is hurting you, either your feelings or your body, tell someone." I was trained that if one adult wouldn't listen, to keep telling until somebody did. This helped perpetuate the ridicule to an extent, but really it was my insecure attitude more than anything else. And nobody touched me.

Language can be used for control through fear, inspiration, anger, and pain. You can hurt somebody with words, even if you're not looking at them. You can do it through the internet. Most people, however, believe that if you are hurt by somebody's written verbal abuse, you should DEAL WITH IT. I put that in capitals, because that's how they've said it to me. I'm not talking about someone saying, "you're an asshole." That's just silly. I'm talking about persistent, cruel, sadistic attacks.

I belong to an opinion network (application on Facebook), and was getting really tired of the opinions I saw about how "If you report abuse you suck cock" and you should "Stop being whiny and childish." I was told time and again that it was my CHOICE to be insulted or hurt by cruel people. All of the responsibility is put on the person being mistreated. This was not new for me. I decided to post an opinion of my own:

"When you allow someone to mistreat people on the internet, you are taking away those people's freedom."

The comment follow-up for the opinion is as follows:

Don't call me "whiny" and "childish;" I should have more of a right to be here than people who are cruel. And if you tell me to "just deal with it," I'll probably have to leave, which restricts ME as opposed to the asshole responsible.

Please read the post above for the lovely responses I gained within half an hour.

I am feeling: frustratedfrustrated
12 June 2008 @ 05:09 pm
A Short Exercise: Translate the following passage into layman's terms:

Because a project’s originator is volatile when confronted with skepticism, independent critical analyses are essential to retain equilibrium within a consensus prerequisite. Thus, the ontological utility of the proponent’s innovative design is inversely related to its epistemic discourse.

Though the counterargument to the latter is essential to dictate, disquiet has been revealed about the frequency of the unsubstantiated generalizations about the legitimacy of a proposed adaptive framework, regardless of whether or not its analysis is apropos of quantitative measurement.

In conclusion, a specialised process has been operationalised to assemble linkages between proposals of participatory representative categories, and indicators that operate within an epistemological framework.

Can't figure it out? The answer is here.Collapse )
10 April 2008 @ 05:41 pm
Still think academia isn't elist?

A Step-By-Step Analysis of Academese, for the Layperson

Despite the automatic assumption to the contrary, academics cannot write worth shit. It’s true. When it comes to writing, brevity (or at least lucidity) is the soul of wit. These creatures don’t understand the concept of comprehension. Apparently, academics are a rare breed that, unlike the rest of the human race, is exempt from the social requirement of being able to communicate with their fellow human being.

I say this, having the utmost respect for my professors, some of whom write the most obscure journal articles known to man.

(Fact: More than 90% of university professors consider their work to be above average. Statistically speaking, this is impossible.)


Here is my favourite example. You can’t help but feel sorry for them, really. Poor things didn’t pay attention in grammar school.

“Instead, we argue that the pragmatic utility of an idea is more important than the epistemic authority of its proponent.” (Carr and Wilkinson, 2005)

Linguistic critique: First of all, this sentence is painfully passive. So let’s change the beginning to:

“…an idea’s pragmatic utility...”

Doesn’t make any sense still, right? That’s cause we’re not done. The words “pragmatic” and “utility” have common-use synonyms that even laypeople will understand. This is how you translate academese:


Now for the second part, “…the epistemic authority of its proponent.” We could make that part less passive, too, by saying, “its proponent’s epistemic authority,” but we don’t wish to use the word “proponent” at all, since it’s primarily endemic—er, exclusive—to the world of academia. The synonyms for “proponent” (supporter, advocate) in this instance don’t necessarily specify what the authors mean. So instead, let’s change it to “the person who promotes that idea.” Concise? No. Comprehensible? Yes.

As for “epistemic authority,” how about, oh I dunno…“qualifications?” Concise? Yes. Comprehensible? Yes.

So, in conclusion, the sentence is this: “Instead, we argue that an idea’s practical use is more important than the qualifications of the person who promotes that idea.”

Wow, suddenly you can understand it!

And now, for your reading pleasure:

This paper has argued that the legitimacy of agri-environmental programmes needs to be re-conceptualised as an effect of specific assemblages of governing. Rather than a response by governments to epochal crises, legitimacy problems are a constitutive feature of the ‘failure’ of governing to achieve its desired effects. Such failure is by no means negative, in the sense of regulation being void of order or durability, but is productive in problematising the legitimate boundaries and limits of public and private intervention, and in creating new spaces and objects of governing. From this perspective, the rise to political prominence of seemingly contradictory agri-environmental initiatives—standards schemes and direct forms of government regulation—represents part of broader efforts to make existing neoliberal practices of governing workable. Such initiatives are more than simply a means for authorities to provide legitimacy for their actions while doing little in reality to address environmental problems. —Lockie and Higgins, 2007

(In bold: either academic jargon, or other complex terms that can be simplified.)

Lockie, S. and Higgins, V. (2007). Roll-out Neoliberalism and Hybrid Practices of Regulation in Australian Agri-environmental Governance, Society and Natural Resources, 23, pp. 1-11
Carr, A. and Wilkinson, R. (2005). Beyond Participation: Boundary Organizations as a New Space for Farmers and Scientists to Interact. Journal of Rural Studies, 18, pp. 255-265

I am feeling: amusedamused
10 April 2008 @ 03:43 pm
The Existentialist Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know we don't know.

-Donald Rumsfeld, during a Pentagon press briefing.

Who knew we had a beatnik in our administration? (I tip my beret to you)

I am feeling: boredbored
Music of My Soul: Beatnik poetry with drums (and snapping)
23 March 2008 @ 01:45 am
The end.


© 2008, Deep Thoughts, by Sitakali.