Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's the Time to Disco!

Where I was in India, alcohol is illegal. Prohibition! However, foreign visitors get a liquor license. You can see where this is going. So not once but TWICE my cousin's husband dragged me across town to Holiday Inn Surat so he could use my passport to buy his illegal alcohol. (And now there are these huge goopy GUJARAT LIQUOR PERMIT stamps all over my passport and I look like some kind of alcoholic.)

'Across town' doesn't sound like that big of a deal, right? Surat is the size of my dopey little hometown of Centralia, IL, where it takes 5 minutes to go across town. However, in Centralia there are only 10,000 people. There are motherfucking FOUR MILLION people in Surat. (And 8 million cows and 6 million goats.) It takes 5 minutes to cross the street. And there are no traffic lights. When you see a break, just say a prayer and make a run for it. That coupled with the fact that we were travelling in the vehicle of automotive perfection, the Tata Bajaj, which is like a cardboard box on wheels.

So he picked up his cases of beer at the Holiday Inn and we stowed them in his little minivan, which my cousin met us there with. Except now the battery was dead, and our rickshaw had already taken off. So we took the beer out of the van and all these guys were pushing the little van all over the parking lot as if this would some how help jump the battery. The engine eventually turned and we put the beer back in but in all the beer transferring a bottle broke and spilled on my clothes.

It wouldn't have been a big deal, but then someone suggested that we stop at a temple on the way home. I'm no paragan of morality but taking the van o' illegal goods to the temple and then rolling in smelling like beer somehow felt wrong to me. Didn't seem to be a problem for anyone else though!

So of all the luck, when we go into the temple, we walk right into the middle of a lecture that's being given by some visiting priest. Everyone is shooting us nasty looks and I hope it's because we were being rude and disruptive at the talk and not because I smell. We eventually are made to sit down and another priest asks us to stay, because the priest wants to meet the visitor from America, etc.

Long story short, we sit through the whole talk, then go to a special meeting with the priest, where he asks how the rest of my family is doing, and then has me write down my address, email, and phone # in a little book. (Was he planning to call me?) The whole time I'm just trying to hide the stain on my dress and ... not smell.

When we finally leave the temple, the van won't start. AGAIN. What fun! So these young priests-in-training are recruited to help us push the van (which is still full of beer) out of the temple grounds to a nearby autoshop. (And by 'help' I mean push it all by themselves because I wanted to dissociate myself as much as possible from all the beer so I snuck off pretending to be in search of Cheetos Spicy Masala Balls.) They ended up pushing it to the mechanic's and we returned home in a Tata Bajaj. I still don't know what happened to all the beer.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Part the Third

I miss India! Relatives/family notwithstanding, I really miss all the little snacky foods with adorable names like Mo'Pleez and Cheetos Spicy Masala Balls and referring to diapers as Baby Nappy Pads. In spite of all the corruption and seediness present here there's an unmistakable innocence too. My cousin has a 3 year old son who likes to take his pants off when he's mad so he's always running around in his underwear and one day I noticed he was wearing ruffly pink underpants so I asked his mom if they were hand-me-downs and she said no, they just like it.

Then I was looking through some old photos, and I found pictures of little toddler boys in dresses!! Where we're from in India there's a custom for little boys to not cut their hair at all til they're 2 or 3 years old, so you have all these little boys running around with long hair and it's really cute and all, but in my family they also like to pierce their ears and dress them up in little girls' dresses because WE ARE STRANGE.

This would explain all the gender-flexibility in my own family too. Apparently when I was just a little fetus, the ob saw a penis on the ultrasound and told my parents that I was a little boy. This announcement coincided with the closing of a nearby Woolworths, so my mother went and bought all these little boys clothes and shoes and stuff on clearance. Then I was born (SURPRISE!!) and they apparently decided to proceed as though I was a boy anyway. Other baby girls get those cute little hairbows and poofy dresses but I was rocking Spiderman gear til I was like 7 years old. Anyway, since I seemed so well-adjusted anyway, my mom decided that she could just dress me in my older brother's old clothes, so I was wearing boys shoes and clothes well into my formative years. Oh well. Nothing therapy can't fix.

Boy? Girl? I'M NOT TELLING!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"We have to watch the cricket!"

For my dad's 50th birthday a couple of years ago, my mom presented him with a cricket bat. I'd never seen him so happy before. Cricket is my dad's all-time favorite sport.

Since the bat entered the picture, our lives have all changed. Now anytime any of the offspring are home, they are forced to play cricket with my dad out in the backyard. If it's not snowing in Southern Illinois, there'll be some paddling this Christmas, I guarantee it. My parents always get really excited any time all 3 of us kids are home at the same time because "the family can have dinner together" etc but I think my dad's mostly psyched because now there are more people to play cricket with him.

We've got all the cricket gear. My dad had a set of wickets and the little .. stick....thing that rests on the wicket. There's even this big astroturf mat that serves as the "crease," or where you bat and run around between wickets. Unfortunately, whoever bought the bat forgot to get the ball that goes with it, so we play with tennis balls. I wouldn't mind playing cricket with my dad and his friends except I always get stuck fielding and that means having to look for the stupid tennis ball whenever it lands in the woods, chasing the ball through the brush, fighting the neighbor's dog for it etc. We go through a lot of tennis balls.

Cricket is kind of a complex game, and I won't even attempt to explain it because my understanding of it is probably all wrong anyway. It's kind of like baseball, in that there is a ball. And an apparatus with which to strike the ball. Beyond that, it's different, and kind of confusing.

There's like 47 different fielding positions! Now if my parents could have about 30 more children, my dad could have his own little cricket team.

When I was just in India they were playing a test match against Sri Lanka so naturally it was all anyone wanted to watch. (And the games go on FOREVER. Like all day, for multiple days. They take lunch breaks.) I've watched a lot of cricket in my day but I still don't get it entirely. But that's mostly because I'm usually too busy concentrating on the hot sweaty guys running around in their cute little sweater vests to actually try to follow the game.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Could the Hokey Pokey really be what it's all about?

Yesterday I was suffering an Existantial Crisis of Self. I spent all day wondering what exactly was I doing in Iowa, and why do we bother to work so hard, and what's all that really matters in the end?

Take my cousin who just got married, for example. She lives in Mumbai, just got her college degree a few years ago, had a great job at a bank, is now married and prepared to be a housewife for the rest of her life. She's the happiest person I've ever met! She's moving to a small coastal town that her husband's family basically owns, 15 hours up the shore from Mumbai, and will live there forever.

In my (extremely conservative, extremely traditional) Indian family, the girls are all married off by age 21 and have never worked. When I told one of my uncles that I didn't know how to make chai, he almost had a stroke. I tried to explain that I don't really drink chai, I like coffee better, and he was like, The chai's not for you, it's for your husband! Which prompted riotous laughter from me.

Could that life really be that bad though? All of my cousins are so happy! Whereas myself, and all my other med-friends, are generally miserable and spend much of our time bitching about life, excepting the 3% of the time when there's not a looming deadline or shelf exam and we're drunk off our asses.

One of her husband's cousins is a business student in Mumbai and his mom had apparently tried to talk to my aunt about setting me up with him. When my aunt told me this, I snorted my Thumbs Up through my nose. That just would not work, the top most reason being that I live in America and he lives in India, but more importantly, because I'm not spending the rest of my life washing his underwear and taking care of his kids!

I spent all day yesterday trudging around frozen icy Iowa and feeling sorry for myself. (Mostly while walking the dog. I love that little guy but he has got to learn to poop faster.) What am I doing here? Why can't I live in India? Would it really be that bad to just get married and have babies? Why do we kill ourselves for our career? I was really starting to reconsider Mumbai-Man. Wouldn't life be so much simpler? Wouldn't I just be happier? Maybe I could finish up my degree and do a residency in India ...

Well folks, I'm glad to say that dark period is over, I think the weather had me really depressed yesterday, but today I'm happy and reasonable again. That life might be relaxing and fun for a few weeks but then I would have gone bonkers. There's something to be said for getting up everyday and getting to do something you chose to do. It sucks a lot of the time but it always gets better, and you just have to find something that makes you happy and keeps your battery charged.

Besides, I like having more fun things to look forward to than the next 13-hour long wedding or religious event.

Here are some photos from my trip!

All of the "unmarried girls" had to hold this little curtain over my cousin as she greeted her groom. So it was me and a bunch of 14 years old. Being freakishly tall, I'm hiding in the back somewhere. If you could see my face though, I'm sure I'm wearing an expression of agony and rage.

Becase you see, it's this big 'fun' thing for the bride and groom to greet each other, and people like to sing songs and tell jokes, and we were holding that stupid curtain for an hour and a half straight. I thought my arm would fall off. And then I would have to beat someone with it.

My cousin's 13yo daughter was showing me around the park where the wedding was, and she was so excited to show me this. We turned the corner and I was like, "Oh my God! There's a goat peeing on that chair!" She looked wounded and said she was actually trying to show me the fruit sculptures. I felt really bad, so I took a picture.

(But seriously. This was a nice wedding (for where we were) and there were goats and dogs running around everywhere. They handed out chocolate ice cream at some point and I saw dogs chasing little kids for it.)

This is my cousin's 5 year old daughter. They live in Japan. Nothing special, I just really love this picture.

This was at the Mehndi party a few days before the wedding. There's the bride on the bottom left there, hers went past her elbows, and on her legs it was all the way up to her knees. That's my hand on the right there. I was getting all disgruntled and itchy so I took my mehndi off after like 20 minutes. (But I still got a nice dark color! You see, the trick is to not wash your hands or get them wet in anyway for at least a few hours. I didn't even take out my contacts that night so I could keep my hands dry.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

I want my mommy.

My cousin's daughter is getting her degree in computer programming and apparently she's a real bad ass at what she does. My parents are trying to get her to come get a job in America but she won't leave India, because "In America there are no emotions." Woman is you MAD? They've got sit-down toilets over here!

Now that I'm sitting here in Iowa, I can kind of see what she means. I almost cried when I had to drive here by myself from Chicago yesterday. There's 3 feet of snow on the ground and it's -5 degrees outside. But more than that I was a little sad that I was going from being surrounded by all these warm and caring people who were so easily accessible to living on my own again. (Of course, if I actually lived in India with all these people they probably wouldn't be all that excited to have me around all the time.) But I am so sad!

But I get to go home on Saturday, after a pitstop in Chicago on Friday night!

Speaking of the famn damily though, my uncle and aunt along with their son and his wife went on a little vacation in India to a resort town nearby. At their hotel there happened to be a film shooting, and my aunt ran into the director one morning when she was walking through the garden. They ended up chatting for a while and she said, "Let us know if we can help out!"

As it turned out, one of the actresses in the movie was supposed to come in for a day of shooting, but her train was delayed, so they asked my aunt if she wouldn't mind filling in, the actress was playing the part of someone's mother, they could finish all her scenes in one day. My aunt was so excited! She was like, of course! So one day when the rest of the family went sightseeing she stayed behind at the hotel to shoot the scenes.

Anyway, 3 months later my aunt and uncle saw in the paper that my aunt's movie had come out and found a theater where it was playing. It was a smaller theater in some weird part of town but they went to go see it anyway. When they got there, the lobby was filled entirely with guys. My aunt was the only woman there, and she and my uncle were taken to some office inside the theater. Turns out that the movie my aunt was in was a PORN! They were shooed back to the office because the theater-owner thought they were protestors from the religious society!

My aunt explained that they just came to see the movie because she was in it, and the guy was like, "Um...auntie, I don't think this is a movie you want to see."

HILARIOUS. Anyway, I just wanted to see the scenes my aunt were in so my cousin went and got the movie....from...somewhere, and we all sat down to watch it together. We fastforwarded through most of it but those 2 scenes with my aunt asking her daughter to please not be a stripper and just get married like a respectable girl were Oscar-worthy.

My aunt was in a porn! I can't stop laughing.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Part the Second!

After a short break I'm back! So my short little trip to India ends today. The Internet at home kind of pooped out and I was too lazy to go to the cybercafe so I'm posting from the lounge at the airport. The lounge is nice -- I tried to go take a shower (No more bucket baths!!!! YAY!!) but apparently some niece of some politician may or may not be coming here to take a shower so the lounge guy told me I had to sit here and wait because she gets shower priority which is SO STUPID and I tried to explain to him that I take really fast showers and I was so tired of taking bucket baths so could I please just go ahead and shower and he was like NO GO AND SIT DOWN PLEASE. Not that I'm pissed or anything.

On a happier note:

Hello lover. I have never been so happy to see a toilet in my whole entire life.

Not that I don't absolutely LOVE the squatty toilet.

I'm sorry. I just can't. I talk about poop a lot, but this is actually serious. I have bad dreams about the squatty toilet. I think the only reason my relatives haven't installed a sit-down toilet is because of the amusement they get from my misery.

Not to get too graphic here, but I haven't mastered the actual squat yet. I'm too afraid of coming into contact with the toilet. It's not exactly a position they teach in yoga either.

And it's tough if you're a girl! Like, if you're wearing Indian clothes which have tons of loose fabric, where exactly do you tuck everything? How do you balance yourself? The walls are kind of gross too, I wouldn't be too crazy about touching them.

Enough about poop. But God Bless America. And its toilets.

It was really tough for me to leave this time, 2 weeks is not nearly long enough. The first time I came to India that I can remember I was 8 years old and I was with my family. I remember when it was time to leave, at the airport everyone was all crying and shit but I was so happy to come back to the land of sit-down toilets and regular bowel movements that I was practically dragging my mom to the gate. I was a little less gleeful this time. But that might be just because I have to go back to Iowa.

There is however a delay on my flight. There was an announcement about 10 minutes ago: "We apologize for the inconvenience but Flight 127 to Frankfurt will be delayed because a baggage car is stuck under the airplane." Which made us all just crack up laughing. Then a few minutes ago the explanation for the delay was a little more mysterious: "For unexplainable technical difficulties, Flight 127 is delayed." I guess they realized how dumb the old baggage-car-stuck-under-the-plane excuse sounded.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rups Does India!! Part the First.

Here I am in India!! Damn it's hot.

I landed at Mumbai International Airport and now I'm sweltering away in beautiful and pristine Surat. (Ha! Ha!) First class was awesome, thanks for asking. Except there was DUCT TAPE holding one of the light bulbs to the ceiling. I took a picture which I plan to post later. Look, the motherfucking plane is held together with duct tape! (My uncle and aunt and several little children are in this room with me so I have to keep the swearing to a minimum.)

When we landed we had to stand in the 'immigration' line for foreign passports. I had the misfortune of getting stuck behind these African businessman from some apparently obscure West African country. So they had passports and papers from what sounded like "Togaland"or something. (Sorry, I have no geography skillz.) And thus was I demonstrated the beauty and grace of Indian bureacracy.

They're showing these mauve passports that identify themselves as citizens from Togaland, and all these official documents issued by the government of Togaland, and the poor customs guy is like, "Who? Where?" There's also this huge language barrier of Togaland-ish vs Hindi and the English isn't that good all around either.

The customs guy gets on the phone and (I swear to god) asks someone "Yeh Togaland kahaa hai?" 20 minutes later someone brings over a map from somewhere and the 2 of them go over it with a magnifying glass. Another 15 minutes of heated conversation goes by and the African dudes are escorted off to some "office upstairs." I felt sorry for them, they were totally gonna be stuck at that airport all night.

I finally got through customs and collected my suitcases. I had brought all kinds of moneys in anticipation of having to bribe some authority to get all my fancy American goods through customs but I accidentally wandered through an open door somewhere behind some people and found myself outside the airport! I was kind of psyched that no one manhandled my underwear but at the same time I felt such a sad lack of faith in airport security.

More updates later!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm a woman now!

Flash Fiction Friday! This week's theme is RED:

She watched in a daze as blood dripped out of her body. She felt lightheaded and queasy but there was no pain. The red drops pooled together into a festive puddle that starkly contrasted the dingy linoleum. She put a hand on the counter to steady herself and called out.

“MOM!! I think it started!”

I love talking about female reproductive organs unprovoked, but writing this FFF actually reminded me of a conversation I had my M1 year about menstruation with a couple of other med students. It was during the Reproduction unit, and this male classmate of mine asked (in all seriousness): "Isn't it just like peeing? Like, you just go the bathroom?"

Um...NO. And hence the need for the ENTIRE TAMPON INDUSTRY.

In an update on my attempt to stop smoking, there was a weak moment a few days ago when I was at the grocery store and they had a little clearance basket full of some generic-ass brand of cigarettes (American Spirit!) for $1 a pack! (They run a tight ship on that smoking age at HyVee.) I succumbed.

My rationale was that if I smoked some really, really nasty brand of cigarettes it would just turn me off to smoking altogether and I would have this great moment of empowerment where I would flush them all down the toilet then strut down the street in all my sassy non-smokerness, just like in the TV commercial! They are kind of gross, but now I have to finish the whole pack. Because flushing them down the toilet would be WASTEFUL.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Poopety Poop Poop

I was at Yoli's last night and we decided to have a little potluck on Friday night. I speculated bringing over an Indian dish and Jesus was all, "I love samosas!" I got really excited OKAY!! and later that night I was tooling around in my kitchen trying to figure out exactly how one goes about making samosa when I realized, fuck, I can't cook! I've never made samosas before in my life. I thought making a cake from scratch meant making it out of a box mix until about 2 years ago. I know my way around some Bisquick and a spatula but that's pretty much it.

I wonder if I could just buy samosas from Masala and pass them off as homemade. (I'm just kidding! They're gonna eat what I make and they're gonna love it. Even if it tastes like dirt.)

On another note I just did SEVEN loads of laundry today. SEVEN. And I discovered a fun little surprise on my last load. I keep plastic baggies to pick up Reflux's poop when I walk him, and sometimes I'll stop by my friend's apartment on the way back to my apartment. When I do that, I'll put the poop baggy in my sweatshirt pocket. (Because I can't just walk in holding it. That'd be gross! And we're not allowed to have dogs in the apartment building, so I can't just walk to the dumpster and throw it away like you're supposed to because someone might see him then I'd get evicted blah blah blah such adversity in my life.)

So then I washed my sweatshirt today without checking for poopy pockets and...yeah, you guessed it. Dog poop everywhere. GOOD TIMES. (I don't get it. He weighs 8.2 pounds. It's like he poops out half his body weight everyday.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Imagine all the people...

Last night I had to sit at home all evening because I was on hotline call for RVAP. I got the very special privilege of receiving my first ever prank call on the motherfucking RAPE CRISIS HOTLINE. (Seriously. People are so goddamn sick sometimes.) At about 4 AM the hotline phone woke me up and when I answered it, it was some asshole demanding to know what was I wearing.

I was really caught off-guard. For a second I was confused and thought I was getting drunk dialed by an ex again, until I realized that I was holding the crisis phone and not my personal cellphone. Then he asked again what I was wearing, bitch, and I could hear people in the background: Dood, are there more beers in the fridge? Where's the beef jerky?

Aw, fuck. Seriously? You woke me up for this bullshit?

Apparently, in Iowa, there's a real serious problem with sexual deviants abusing local and state crisis hotlines. The cops have gotten involved numerous times; hundreds of calls have been traced back to certain people. They were unable to convict them of anything though. It was happening so frequently that my agency very reluctantly adopted an unfortunate policy of not processing any male callers. We're supposed to ask for a callback number and a full-time staff person will call them back. How much does that suck?

I've gotten only a handful of male callers and not a single one has left a callback number. Many of them say they'll just call the office during the daytime, or just need a quick question answered. It's impossible to know who's legitimate and who isn't. (Obviously drunk-dumbass-who-confused-rape-hotline-for-phone-sex-line was one of the non-legitimate ones. I just hung up on him and went back to sleep.)

This morning I went to the office around 8 to go drop the phone off and I was going to park my car somewhere and catch the bus to the hospital but then I realized I'd left my bus pass at home. When I went back to look for it I ran into my dog, squeezed into that space between the counter and the fridge, staring at the wall. He is so weird sometimes.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Que suave!

I just returned to my Iowa City apartment from Centralia. Viva the long weekend!

Hello old friend. (That stupid semi rolled right in front of the Gynormous White Cross of Oppression just as I was trying to snap the photo.)

In a fit of extravagance my dad bought me a first class plane ticket to India. (THIS is exactly why I'll be over 200 grand in debt by the time I finish my education.) In exchange, I'm supposed to collect as many miniature bottles of alcohol I can get my hands on and save them for him. I said something about how I'd rather horde all the liquor and get really plastered on the plane by myself. To which my mom said, "Then you can be like TAKE ME TO THE COCKPIT!! I WANT TO SEE THE PILOT!! Wouldn't that be hilarious?" Sometimes I think my mom and I would be really good friends if I knew her when she was my age.

When my brothers got home they made me watch Saw with them. When I took out the DVD to put it in the player I should have noticed all the dismembered limbs on it and just gone to bed. But I can be remarkably unobservant sometimes. And OH MY LORD that was the most fucked up disturbing movie I've ever seen. I've had to sleep with the lights on every night since I saw it.

That first night I woke up around 3 am because I heard the most ungodly, inhumane screeching noises I've ever heard in my life. I woke up all in a panic, thinking it was the scary clown from the movie coming to get me but then I realized it was just Reflux. He had somehow gotten both of his hind legs wedged in between the mattress and the footboard of my bed and his upper body and torso were flailing about panickedly. I rescued him from the bed and stuck him in the bathtub for the rest of the night, lest he scare the shit out of me again with another crisis of stupidity.

On Thursday (after a very delicious Thanksgiving dinner of samosa chaat and frozen burritos! We are classy peoples.) my older brother and I went all over town (Ok, reading this again, it looks like we roamed far and wide ALL OVER THE VAST CITY OF CENTRALIA in search for pie when really all we did was drive by the 3 grocery stores and Wal-Mart, because that's pretty much all there is to Centralia) looking for pecan pie but the only place that was open was Aldi's. I saw this marked as "Christmas Fun Toys! For Little Children!"

Ok, America: Wake up! We are being manipulated from childhood to crave fast food and be obese! Boycott the fastfood crapaurants! (Except Wendy's. Wendy's can stay. I love that Spicy Grilled Chicken sandwich. Mmmm. So spicy. And greasy. YUM.)

On Saturday my younger brother drove my parents to Chicago to drop them off at the airport, and my older brother flew off to Texas for an interview, so I was the only person left to go this wedding of a close family friend's daughter in St. Louis. I had to go to my mom's friend's house so she could help me put my sari on. I'm half-retarded when it comes to saris. It's more challenging then it looks! It's basically 6 yards of fabric that's supposed to be all pleated and shit, and not fall off when you try to move even though you have 17 safety pins on. The kicker? My mom's friend is PHILLIPPINO. And she has the sari skillz, while I'm sari-tarded. Objective #1 for upcoming India visit: Learn how to dress myself in a sari FOR GODSSAKES. (I guess that'd actually be Objective #2, behind "Embrace cultural heritage/Reunite with relatives etc.")

The highlight of the night was when I was explaining my research to an obstetrician and she said, "You're like a Fountain of Knowledge!" I am no Fountain of Knowledge, but the compliment went straight to my head like bad champagne. In fact, the only reason I was able to hold up my end of the conversation was because my PI makes me research and write the protocols entirely on my own, so I kind of know my way around what I'm researching. (And that's pretty much all I know. That Fountain would have dried up quickly if she'd wanted to talk about anything else.)

It's been a long time since anyone's had anything nice to say about my fund of knowledge, mostly because you spend your 3rd year of med school being made to feel like a useless piece of crap because you can't answer all the stupid and irrelevant pimp questions constantly thrown your way. I know some of my friends had a tough time adjusting to med school in general, because the environment can be extremely competitive but not everyone can honor every rotation and be in the top 10. (I, on the other hand, had no such problems. I very easily embraced my mediocrity!) I think all med students have felt this way at one point or another, though. Unless you're one of those ridiculous geniuses that never has to study, goes drinking 3 nights a week, and still has all of Pocket Medicine memorized and got nominated to AOA, in which case GO FUCK YOURSELF you lucky motherfucking bastard.

Anyway, back to work, just for a few more days anyway!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Express This

My mom took it upon herself to schedule a grooming appointment for Reflux this weekend when we go to Centralia. (Fully expecting my failure to have groomed Reflux at all in the last 4 months.) She called to tell me that I had to fax a copy of all his vaccinations to the groomer's in advance.

R: Can't I just take him to Rhonda's again? Rhonda runs a grooming service out of her laundry room. She didn't care about any of that shit. And we're all healthier for it -- exposure leads to immunity!

M: This place is so much better! They will clean out his ears, clip his toenails, and EXPRESS HIS ADRENAL GLANDS.

R: The ones on his KIDNEYS? They can do that? But why would they need to? Oh you mean his ANAL glands?

M: Oh...yeah.

Reflux looking psyched about the impending activity in and around his ass.

Monday, November 21, 2005

It ain't no secret.

I found this on PostSecret today

and it cracked me up, because this is something that I freely admit to.

Just for shock value.

A phone conversation with a friend who was on the el today reminded me of something I read in cunt. My friend got a little freaked out because some scary lookin' dude got on her train and proceeded to stare directly at her unabashedly through like 8 consecutive stops. We've all been there.

I was telling my other friend (male) about this later, and he was all, "She should have stared back at him." Are you kidding? Creepy dude would get all Oh she wants me and smarm her to death. Make enough eye contact to show them you can make an accurate description to a sketch artist later if necessary at the po-po station, but no more!

In cunt, Inga Muscio talks about how she "seldom consciously thinks, I am a woman." But then she goes on to say:
I am most often aware that I'm a woman when I feel threatened, or when someone--through actions, body language, or words--points out that I am a woman. The rest of the time, I'm just me.

Dude, I'm aware that I'm a woman EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE, for better or for worse. Some days, I'm just more acutely aware of it. It'd be nice to say that I feel as secure as a man walking down the street at 2 AM but that's just not the truth. Being a woman is such a large part of my identity, and absolutely shapes how I view the world. It's influenced all my extra-curricular activities since I was 6 years old, my career-choice, and my relationships with everyone around me.

Anyway, I used to swear by cunt but I reread it again last year, and there be's a whole lot of crap. The biggest problem I have with it right now is how she talks about reproductive health care, especially about periods. Muscio says that the entire painkiller industry is a sham generated to pickpocket women's earnings by compelling them to spend money during their periods. She argues that analgesics are tolerance-building and addictive. (For example, if this month you have to take 1 a day during your period, next month you'll have to take 2 a day, and so on.)

I never really thought of NSAIDs as part of the patriarchal machine of domination. In fact, if anyone tried to take my Motrin away from me when my uterus was cramping I would have to beat them.

I actually humored this idea (Maybe Muscio was a secret med student!) and did a PubMed search for "NSAIDs" AND addictive and this was all I found:

1: Merskey H. Related Articles, Links
Abstract Pharmacological approaches other than opioids in chronic non-cancer pain management.
Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1997 Jan;41(1 Pt 2):187-90.
PMID: 9061105 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
2: Herrmann WM, Hiersemenzel R, Aigner M, Lobisch M, Riethmuller-Winzen H, Michel I. Related Articles, Links
Abstract [Long-term tolerance of flupirtine. Open multicenter study over one year]
Fortschr Med. 1993 May 30;111(15):266-70. German.
PMID: 8330823 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

2 journals I'd never heard of. Neither is in English, or are even about NSAIDs.

My conclusion: The only risk involved with taking NSAIDs during your menses is the risk of heartburn.

(Muscio also says that women are being hustled by the tampon industry. Instead of tampons, she says, use SEA SPONGES. I'll let you make that call yourself.)

Currently filling out: My RVSP to P's wedding. I'm having problems deciding if I'm +1 or +0. I'm not seeing anyone, and my Default Date (DD) has a serious girlfriend now so I feel weird asking him to go. One of my girlfriends wanted to go but the wedding is literally the day after Christmas, and it's in St. Louis, and she'll be in California.

Would it be OK if I came rolling up by myself? It might be awkward having to babysit some dude that I barely know around a bunch of friends from college. (And then you're commited to TALK to him, and DANCE with him, and basically ruin your whole game, because now everyone thinks you're his GIRLFRIEND, even though he was just the guy that was free and owns a suit.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Heart Stone Phillips

Oh Stone Phillips. So much the handsome you are.

I was obsessed with Dateline NBC when I was in junior high. (I was a huge geek, and this was before Dateline went all trashy and stupid.) I used to daydream about being an anchor, and I used to WRITE LETTERS to Stone Phillips. "Save that seat next to you for me, Stone! I'm coming!" Then I got to high school and discovered a very unfortunate lack of public speaking skillz. (In med school sometimes they used to make us watch videos of ourselves examining fake patients, and I would be, like, embarassed FOR myself as I watched them. I play with my hair a lot. I swivel back and forth unstoppably on that little wheelie stool. I'm a huge pen twirler. How annoying.)

I was just reminded of this today, when my PI asked me if I could take her car to pick up her kids from school for the next few days. (Very important research duties -- I decided not to tell her about my 4 tickets and upcoming court date.) Anyway, her kids are the most adorable, well-behaved little set of twins, (And I don't even usually like kids) not to mention SUPER, SUPER SMART.

Sometimes I wonder what adults used to think of me when I was a kid. I'm sure they just thought I was really shy and quiet. I think the whole "Indian" thing threw them off. (Centralia wasn't exactly a beacon for diversity and culture.) I bet they had no idea about the 27 letters I wrote to Stone Phillips and my secret obsession with Dateline.

When I grew up I was never really exposed to any positive aspects of being brown, outside of the brown community, except for this one really weird time. We had these neighbors whose grandkids would come visit every summer, and one of the girls was my age, so we would play together. Once we were sitting in their backyard in a little wading pool, and these teenage boys in the adjacent backyard started catcalling us, like "Take it off!" etc. (Dude, we were like 7. Motherfucking pedophiles.)

Anyway my friend started screaming at them, and I shushed her, "Stop that!! Your grandma might think I'm doing it too and she'll tell my mom!" (And then I'd get a WHUPPIN'.) To which my friend replied, "Oh no, Grandma says Indians are very peaceful people." And I was just stunned, like, in the what now? Because clearly she hadn't met my family if she thought we were PEACE-LOVING.

I had no idea what the hell that meant til a few years later when it suddenly occurred to me -- Ooh!! I'm like THE MAHATMA. It was kind of a nice change from the usual, "Ha ha you WORSHIP HAMBURGERS and McDONALD'S IS YOUR SHRINE."

(And last summer I was in Centralia and I went to Big Lots to buy some baskets to make floral arrangements and I SWEAR TO GOD the checkout guy was "hamburger worship" asshole from 2nd grade. That felt so good. "Hell yeah I want those baskets gift-wrapped, BEE-YOTCH. And I hope you give yourself a paper cut." Of course, he has a brain the size of a PINHEAD so he probably didn't even remember, but whatever.)

Just watched: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Did anyone notice that Willy Wonka's dad is Lord Dooku from Star Wars?

She watched the clerk fill out the form and mentally high-fived herself. No one’s gonna know that I’m American! She had watched countless Bollywood movies and worn out her Berlitz CDs for this very moment, to fit in seamlessly in the city of her heritage.

“Yeh leejiye aap ki package.”

“Thanks,” she said reflexively. Damn.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rups does India!

In preparation for my return to the MOTHERLAND, this weekend is my pre-motherland shopping weekend. Namely for JELLYBEANS and HAIRSPRAY. Seriously. I emailed my cousin who's getting married what she wanted me to bring for her, like make-up or magazines or CDs or whatever and she was all, "Jellybeans and hairspray!"

This is why I love visiting India. My relatives there are so easy to buy gifts for. Jellybeans and hairspray, check. I could bring a whole suitcase full of Dolce & Gabbana perfume and BCBG tops and they'd be all, "Where the fuck are the jellybeans?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm an irresponsible piece of crap.

I had to go to the ATM today so I could go buy my peanut M&Ms from the book store, and I was totally shocked to see that my balance was $136.58. Oh DAMN. I totally forgot I wrote a check to my mom for $900 AS A JOKE (for her time and energy helping me move to Iowa), I didn't think she was actually going to deposit it. (Hey mom? The next time you plan to deposit a check I wrote to you 4 months ago, a little advance warning would be nice.)

I'm going home next Wednesday for Thanksgiving, and I think I can steal enough stuff from my parents house to make it after that til my next paycheck.

Until then, though, I've made a list of things that I will be sacrificing, or at least postponing til the 1st:

1. Fancy dog treats for Reflux.

2. No groceries: I'll have to buckle down and eat my Niblets and Val-U-Pack of frozen broccoli.

3. Dog food for Reflux: If corn and broccoli's good enough for the human it's good enough for the dog too, right?

4. No more peanut M&Ms (This will be the toughest one to let go, for sure.)

5. No more cigarettes (This one's not so bad, I'm supposed to be trying to quit smoking anyway)

6. No more fancy Propel sports drink at the gym. Guess I have to use the water fountains and risk getting Staph just like everyone else.

7. Pack Tupperware lunches of broccoli and niblets. Can't afford hospital cafeteria food! Oh...don't know if I own any Tupperware. Think I might have a moldy old tub of Cool Whip in the fridge I can wash out and use.

8. Seek out as many drug dinners/lunches as possible to go to.

9. Call my guitar teacher and ask him not to deposit that last check til after the 1st.

10. Put off paying my credit cards til next month.

Wow. It's a good thing I spent $25 on The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke. That book's going to be really handy to beat myself over the head with when I come down with Kwashiorkor and am going into nicotine withdrawal.

And not to detract from my own irresponsible crappiness, but I blame LGOP for part of this. I figured we'd be going dutch but I didn't expect the night to be so damn expensive for how craptastic it was. $85 in cab fares! EIGHTY FUCKING FIVE. Besides that I was falling all over myself trying to pay for everything because I didn't want to feel obligated to have to be nice to him if god forbid I ever run into him again. *Shudder*

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

V. Special Educational Post

We had a v. entertaining research talk yesterday re: "Bowel Function during Pregnancy" and I learned about the Bristol Stool Scale, a patient-friendly tool with which to classify poo. I loves me a good poo talk but even I couldn't finish my black bean soup after this popped up on screen:


Right after the research talk the drug rep who bought us dinner came in to give his spiel. Last Thursday the AP came out with a pretty damning article re: Ortho Evra (The Patch) and risk of venous thromboembolism. There's kind of a gynormous freak-out right now because it's been all over CNN that the risk of VTE with the Patch was 3x the risk of VTE with the Pill because it has a bit more estrogen.

The warning from Johnson and Johnson subsidiary Ortho McNeil, makers of Ortho Evra, says women using the patch will be exposed to about 60% more estrogen than those using typical birth-control pills because hormones from patches get into the bloodstream and are removed from the body differently than those from pills.

Well that's part of it; the estrogen in the patch is more efficiently transferred to the bloodstream because it's not in a form that has to be digested first. Basic physiology: The pill offers a fluctuating level of estrogen, while the Patch provides a consistent level of estrogen 24/7. The NET AREA under the estrogen curve of Evra > the sum of the area under the Pill estrogen curve area by 50-60%, this is true. BUT because the Pill has peaks and troughs in estrogen, the HIGHEST amount of estrogen a user is exposed to at any one time is actually LOWER with the patch than with the pill.

Documents released to attorneys as a result of that litigation show Ortho McNeil has been analyzing the FDA’s death and injury reports, creating its own charts that document a higher rate of blood clots and deaths in association with the patch than with the pill.

This is a half truth. There haven't been any studies comparing the incidence of VTE between the Patch and the Pill; what this refers to is the number of VTE incidents reported to the FDA by Patch users. So, this conclusion isn't necessarily evidence-based.

In addition, an internal Ortho McNeil memo shows that the company refused, in 2003, to fund a study comparing its Ortho Evra patch to its Ortho-Cyclen pill because of concerns there was "too high a chance that study may not produce a positive result for Evra" and there was a "risk that Ortho Evra may be the same or worse than Ortho-Cyclen."
That does sound scary but again I don't think we're hearing the whole story; OE admits that decisions to fund studies are based on scientific merit. For the record at present Ortho-McNeil is conducting a large-scale prospective cohort study comparing the actual prevalences of PE, DVT, and stroke in Pill vs. Patch users. I hope they have a control group in there too.

Net result: We don't know if the risk is greater with the Patch or the Pill. If you're freaked out call and get your Rx changed from the Patch to OCPs, it's very easy to do. Don't just go off your medication though. (What's ironic is that the risk of VTE with unintended pregnancy exceeds the risk of VTE with the Patch or the Pill, yet women (esp smokers) might possibly go off hormonal contraceptive all together after this scare.)

(And I'm sorry and this is completely unrelated but the Ortho Evra drug rep was SMOKIN' HOT. I think it's hilarious how the drug companies are starting to realize most ob/gyns today are female and are trotting out the hot guys to sell birth control. My cute friend Rashaun from college was hired by Johnson & Johnson to sell OrthoTriCyclen Lo when he graduated. He was assigned to FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA of all places. He was afraid he would be the only black person in both Dakotas.)

(Also, I googled "Ortho Evra" and "blood clots" to see all the press that was out there so far and the first thing that popped up was 5 billion lawyer websites inviting you to join their lawsuits. Big surprise there.)

And oh what the hell, as long as I'm in the mood:

Plan B: I just got a NARAL update email that counts down how long Bush's FDA has fnur-fnurred about making a decision re: making emergency contraception available over the counter. Right now we're at 1,734 days, which is how long it's been since the FDA's own advisory board of experts overwhelmingly recommended improving access to Plan B. (At Northwestern everyone is entitled to get it up to twice a year for free! Rock on!)

Samuel "The Constitution Does Not Protect A Right to An Abortion" Alito: "The White House can’t expect Americans to feel secure while they pursue the dual strategy of telling the public to ignore Alito’s own written documentation of his legal philosophy but simultaneously using it to assure far right groups of his anti-choice positions." says Nancy Keener. Word.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Oh, the horror.

When I started this blog way back 5 weeks ago I made a commitment. I vowed I would never specifically speak ill of any one person. A day would come when I would be forced to break my own rule and that day is today. This is just way too damn funny, and there is an important message to be gleaned here: Ladies, listen to your Auntie Rups and NEVER LET YOUR MOTHER SET YOU UP WITH ANYONE. She will try long and hard but DO NOT LET HER BREAK YOU. (Unless it's with this guy. Or this one. It's all good then.)

Alas, I fell victim to this very affliction. She caught me at a weak moment. I think it was the weekend Reflux had Giardia, and I was cracking under the pressure of scrubbing bloody poo out of my carpet every 30 minutes. What can I say? He was "Looks Good on Paper" (but Sucks in Reality) Guy. LGOP and I made plans to get together this weekend in Chi. How bad could it be, right?

He had asked me to think about stuff I might want to do, so there were a few shows I thought might be fun to see, and I also picked out a few restaurants I'd heard good things about. I was thinking we could compare notes and make plans together but he called a few days before and was all, "Here's what we're gonna do." Way to hijack my evening, asshole. But that's ok, some guys just like to plan dates themselves to avoid any tragic mishaps.

I was willing to give it my best. I did my nails. I even put on my DRESSY PANTS. People those pants don't come out often. I even motherfucking DRY CLEANED them and I'm usually way too lazy to dry clean anything.

So first, he wanted to go to an Ethiopian restaurant. (Q: If one is trying to make a good impression, why pick a restaurant with such high gastrointestinal liability?) So we get in a cab and go FIFTEEN FUCKING MILES to the crappiest little shithole the Chicago Dept of Health has ever approved as a dining establishment. (Making us the first people in the history of Chicago to leave the neighborhood with some of the nicest and cheapest restaurants in the world (Cafe Iberico? Erawan? Bandera? Pasha's? The motherfucking FOOD COURT at Water Tower?) to go out to bumblefuck. Dude, we didn’t have to pay $30 to go to a craphole and eat bad food. There’s a Popeye’s right on Michigan Avenue 3 blocks away from my apartment.)

So anyway, at said craphole we were stuck in a table in the corner where LGOP proceeded to talk my gd ear off in attempt toward ‘conversation.’ So, so painful. This mostly consisted of me propping my chin up on my palm and trying to act engaged while he blathered on and on re: residency and fellowship, awkward stages of male development, various periods of weight gain/loss, personal hygiene habits (and lack thereof), and neglected childhood. I haven’t tried at anything so hard since I took the Boards, and several times I came dangerously close to having my head slip out of my palm and thud right onto the tabletop.

I tried to interject with my own THOUGHTS and OPINIONS occasionally but LGOP didn’t seem to realize that I was capable of independent thought too. In fact he yelled at me because I drive an SUV and love Grey's Anatomy. (That car was a gift from my dad, you jackass. And you own Ren and Stimpy DVDs, you -- ok. Enough with the insults. Though the one I have in mind has both the words "repressed" and "bedwetter" in it.)

At one point I escaped to the loo and on my way there LGOP hollered, “THERE’S NO WINDOW IN THERE! CAN’T ESCAPE! HA HA HA!” Har har. Buddy you have no idea.

In the loo I called Gaya because I really needed help figuring out how to bail (not that there are any cabs with which to escape in out in bumblefuck). She was all, “He’s just nervous! It’ll get better! Get back out there!” all channeling my mother.

So I went back out there and thankfully drinks had arrived so that provided a distraction for about 30 seconds. Seriously, it was SO MOTHERFUCKING BORING. I wanted to gnaw my own face off. And eat it. Because the food sucked too.

Then, we took a cab ride to Andersonville, where the show LGOP wanted to see was, and hung out at a bar for a while before the show began. (What a great neighborhood. Why didn’t we just eat there? There’s a great Ethiopian restaurant there too. Either LGOP is lying about attending med school in Chi or homeboy really never got out much.)

So this is where the evening actually took a turn for the less boring: We were in a bar and LGOP said, “Remember when you asked if I had any really scandalous history with girls?” Well no I didn’t because that seems like kind of a rude and tactless question even for me but “Oh…yeah I guess” I unexcitedly faked.

“Well…I said no but that was kind of not exactly the truth.”

At this I perked up. Ooh. Could there be a personality lurking in there?

“Its kind of embarrassing.” Averts eyes, shifts around on bar stool.

Wow! My curiosity was really piqued. Boring McUnfunnyPants had skeletons in his closet? I wondered what it could be. Secret love child? Sex change operation? Bout with gonorrhea?

LGOP: I was pretty serious with this one girl for a while.

R: Bored again. Ohreallytellmeaboutit.

LGOP: Well we meet on the Internet.

R: Like on

LGOP: No at a chatroom. A chatroom for people who like movies.

R: Was bored but is now a little grossed out too. So what happened?

LGOP: Well we went out for a few weeks and she wanted to get really serious but y’know, I couldn’t.

R: Well motherfucking DUH but Why?

LGOP: Well. She was unemployed, and lived at home with her parents. And …she was… morbidy obese.

R: Cracking up outrageously almost to the point of sliding off bar stool. And that’s not your type?

LGOP: Laughs sort of uncomfortably. She was kind of crazy too. Like kind of a stalker.

R: Disclaimer: Stalking is NOT FUNNY. Except if done by Morbidly Obese Internet Girlfriend (MOIG). Envision's MOIG hanging upside down off a tree branch with a pair of binocular's in LGOP's back yard and now cannot stop laughing uncontrollably even though she knows its rude and even snorts a couple of times while slapping palms on thighs and wiping tears from eyes. People are starting to stare.

LGOP: Yeah, she finally stopped calling me a couple of weeks ago.

Later on, we were standing on line for this comedy show we were going to see and I'm dying to know more about MOIG. I totally gracelessly blurt out “Hey, tell me more about MOIG! How big was she really?” LGOP looks all constipated and says this is not really the conversation he wishes to be having at the moment. “Oh…sorry.” I say, properly chastized.

THEN, this group of 3 girls attempts to join there 3 friends who are directly ahead of us inline. LGOP bellows, in all seriousness (I shit you not), “HEY! It’d be OK if ONE of you wanted to CUT IN but we can’t have the WHOLE LINE cut in front of us. GO TO THE BACK OF THE LINE!!”

I was mortified. People were craning their necks and peering over each other’s shoulders to see who is this dweeb that is regulating the line? The girls shoot us dirty looks and go all the way to the back of the line. I’m sure everyone in line is thinking Who are these uppity brown people?

Anyway, to make an extremely long and extremely stupid story short (I've had more fun on Saturday night at home by myself squeezing ingrown hairs out of my legs and cleaning up my dog's bloody shit and I'm not even being sarcastic), we FINALLY decide to call it a night, and take a cab home around 2:30 AM. He gets out of the cab with me at my stop, and we share this awkward handshake/slap on the shoulder farewell moment. For a split second I am horrified that he might lean in for a smooch, but THANK GOD he doesn’t and we finally part.

As soon as he saunters around the corner I dash to White Hen and buy an extra-large frozen cheese pizza because I’m STARVING. And thus begins what is HANDS DOWN the best part of the date: going upstairs and making and splitting the pizza with Maria. (Maria was all, "I knew I should have made you a sandwich before he picked you up.")

Another great part of the date was the next day when I was recounting the event over brunch and I was laughing so hard about MOIG I almost peed in my pants. At the end of it Grace remarked how she kind of felt sorry for him. Sorry for HIM?? What about ME? That’s 5 hours of my life I’m never getting back.

Twizzlers, No. of: 0
Twizzlers, No. of times desperately needed nicotine buzz from: 27

Oh well, I think I’ll make it. I was happy to return to Iowa and come home to my main squeeze.

Currently scheduling: My motherfucking COURT DATE. (Please don’t make me go to traffic school again, State of IL.)

Just watched: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Shit I mean Sith with Gaya and YasuMCA (shout out!!). Was discussing how the light sabers were much like electrocautery knives, with the clean cuts and lack of bleeding. “Like a giant Bovie,” said Gaya.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Chi-Town, Put Them Lighters Up

It's late and I'm a little buzzed but Rupadupe has a confession. What started as an innocent occasional social college treat became a nasty habit over 3 years of med school. I am a smoker. I know. It's totally disgusting and oh so bad for you.

Tonight, I made a monumental decision to STOP SMOKING. NO MORE. Was smoking at a club here and realized that I was the only one. One of my friends told me that there's a referendum in Chicago this month to ban smoking in bars. At first I was disappointed but then I realized that ... it's a filthy habit and just isn't that cool anymore. Well it was probably never cool. Smokers on average live 7 years less than non-smokers, not even counting quality of life of those later years. Well no more!

In my attempt to quit I'm going to keep track of how many cigarettes I'm smoking per day. Except I have a hard time facing the truth, so I shall call them Twizzlers.

Twizzlers, No of: 4.5

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

i be twisted

I love the holidays, I really do! Even Christmas, with Jesus and whatnot. I love this weather, people get nicer, homes get warmer, and of course there's tons o' shopping to be done.

The whole winter season is full of holidays, all Happy Diwahanukwanzidmas to fill up your time and give you reason to see your family again. (It's that TUNNEL OF DARKNESS from February to April that kind of gets me in the dumper.)

One of the secretaries was in here pumping yesterday and discussing the drama in her family about who was going to host Thanksgiving, and who would boycott it if they hosted it, and who didn't have money to spend on the holidays and would leech it out of everyone else, blah blah blah dysfunctioncakes. I was thinking that I couldn't even imagine all this stupid bullshit in my own immediate family, like, how retarded, it's your fam damily so just suck it up. Anyway, she told me that I was lucky that I was the only girl, because it's when you have too many girls that the drama starts, because they just can't seem to get along with each other!

I know, everyone is like, Well motherfucking DUH. But I HATE that women have a "reputation" for not being able to get along with each other like that. I refuse to believe that women are inherently petty, jealous people who can't compromise. (I blame men.) We've all come across it sometimes, but I know plenty of men who are assholes too. Yet for some reason when it comes to women this behavior is generalized and stereotyped, whereas with men we're willing to take it on a case-by-case basis.

Unfortunately, the media bombards us with these same ideas. (ok, if you don't watch The Apprentice none of the rest of this will make sense.) I've been watching this season's The Apprentice, and as usual the teams were split up by gender. The men's team had some big jerks on it but they won most of the challenges. The women's team was doing okay at first but then sort of devolved into caricatures of each woman's ego. (Except for Marshawn. Marshawn! Sweet flower. Hope you win.) And then the women's team divided up into factions and just couldn't get along with each other, or so the editing portrayed. Well there was really only one bad seed and her name was Toral. Some of the other women were kind of caustic and some were incompetent but there was no hairpulling catfight sort of thing.

The men's team had just as much "divisiveness" and incompetence too! (Clay? Motherfucking MARCUS!? Markus is half retarded!) But the editing shows us their team as a bunch of decent guys working together with a couple of morons who can't really get along with the "team", showing them as being outside of the team. On the women's team, it looks like the team is ONLY composed of dramatic females.

I took Intro to Sociology in college with Charles Moskos ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for the military was HIS idea) which was probably one of the best classes I've ever taken. On the day he lectured about gender, he said that sociologists who study conversation concluded that women tend to be inclusive in their conversations, trying to draw everyone in and helping everyone participate, in comparison to men. And that's one stereotype I'm ok with: females as being kind and inclusive. Not that I want the media to start portraying us all as Aunt Jemima or whatever but it wouldn't hurt if we could let go of some of the catty stereotypes.

Currently Reading: The Devil in the White City. Everyone says this book is AWESOME but I have yet to experience the AWESOMENESS. I would describe it as BORING and kind of SLOW. Maybe it's because I've only attempted to read the book while on the bus squished next to the drunk homeless guy. It's kind of cool to read about all these downtown locales in Chicago and what they were like at the turn of the century, though.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

my head hurts

Ugh. I'm too tired and nauseated to get angry about anything today. I hate these motherfucking delayed hangovers. And I can't take any Motrin. Because of the heartburn, you see? Because I'm really an 80 year old woman. Will you help me find my glasses?


Everyone uses my office to pump. Milk. Out of themselves, that is. Call me Central Pump. At first I sort of planned my lunch/coffee breaks around pump time just out of politeness but then I realized that no one really cared if I was in there or not. The pumps have a nice rhythmic tone to it, like a washing machine. Or a car engine. Makes me want to take a nap.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Road Rage Part the Second

Happy Halloween!!!

This weekend I drove from my apartment in Iowa City to my parents’ house in southern Illinois. There’s a good 3.5 hour stretch in that drive through central Illinois where all the radio stations only play gospel or country and there’s no cell phone reception.

When people think Illinois, they think Chicago, and blue state. Well there’s a whole different state south of Chicago and it’s called it’s called Illi-Jesus. There be some serious Jesus-lovin’ going on south of Quincy. A few years ago when my parents were driving me home from college for winter break THIS had popped up by Effingham, about 30 minutes outside of my hometown:

It’s a big ass cross, 20 stories high, in the middle of nowhere. (At nighttime there’s a bunch of white lights shining up at it from the ground, almost like glow-in-the-dark. It’s particularly eerie at night because the lights add this sense of motion to the cross, as though it will uproot itself and smash me with the stipe for not being Christian.)

It’s kind of a menacing figure. I usually try to fill up in Centralia so I don’t have to stop at any of the little gas stations in central Illinois (some of those places are straight out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and everytime I see the cross my initial reaction is Run away, brownie!!

I mean, it has all the subtlety of an avalanche. Why stop with a giant glowing white cross? Why not add plywood flames? Or better yet a red and black banner saying THIS BE THE KKK, BEE-YOTCH.

Matthew Hale is from central Illinois, he went to college in Peoria then law school at Southern Illinois University and passed the Illinois bar exam too. (I think he’s banned from the bar though?) I remember he came to Northwestern during my freshman year to organize a chapter for his World Church of the Creator or whatever. (This was a few months after a follower of his church murdered NU’s former basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong.) The administration seemed to deal with him by just ignoring him, which is probably the best way to handle media-whores, and now he’s in jail for conspirary to commit murder.

Anyway, I’m not sure what all this has to do with the big white cross, but I hate the cross anyway. This time when I drove by there was a big sign at the bottom advertising its website, So when I got home I visited the website and it’s actually not too hateful:

The Cross Foundation is dedicated to building both faith and family on an ecumenical basis. The Cross Foundation has completed a 198 foot Cross at the intersection of Interstates 57 & 70 in Effingham, Illinois. This site is intended to serve as a beacon of hope to the 50,000 travelers estimated to pass the site each day. In addition, the Cross Foundation will promote the values of faith and family through other programs.

I scoured the website for any signs of white supremacy and I couldn’t find anything. Ok. So I guess it’s not that bad. The cross still creeps the hell out of me though! (On a completely unrelated note I was nervous to surf the website lest it actually be some sort of KKK propaganda, because doesn’t the government redlist some sites, and tag the ISPs of visitors? Like that time my friend and I were debating whether the “North American Man-Boy Love Association” (NAMBLA!) was for real and we surfed around to find it. It is REAL, ya’ll. Real and nasty. My other friend whose computer we used was pissed because she said now her ISP would be tagged. Is that true?)

Nilay says I’m probably the first and only person to feel oppressed by the cross. You have to SEE this behemoth. It is LARGE. LARGE and IN CHARGE. This thing could oppress Jesus. Couldn’t they find a secular image to be a beacon of hope and promote family? Seriously, if I had a $1,000,000 with which to improve the world, erecting a gynormous cross by the side of the highway in rural downstate Illinois would be like #800,502 on my list of ways to spend the money.

Currently listening to: Top 50 Country Countdown!! No. 27 is “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” When I first heard this song, I was like, WHAT?!? But the song isn’t creepy, it’s just about getting drunk on tequila and leaving your shit all over the place. (I had a night like that back in May, courtesy of Jose Cuervo. I was puking for the next 3 days.)

Friday, October 28, 2005


Today's 55-word opus is entitled, A Tribute to Reflux (my dog):
He paced the empty apartment, lonely and dark. Why did she keep leaving him? Hopefully she’d return. He almost howled with despair, moving from room to room. Her scent lingered in the bedsheets; her presence lingered in the air.

He heard a door slam. “Sweetie? I’m home!” Tail wagging, he ran yipping to greet her.
I loves my doggy, smelly, blind and mentally challenged as he may be. He's also deaf, so he actually doesn't usually hear the door slam. I love scaring the crap out of him when I get home, he literally goes running into a wall. But then he's all waggly tail and trying to scale my knees and running-into-walls frenzy.

This picture is from the last time I took him to my parents house. My dad is scared of dogs so Reflux is imprisoned in the laundry basket anytime my dad is in the room. In case Reflux were to suddenly grow a brain and attack him with ALL THE WRATH of 8.2 pounds and no teeth. (And yes. Them be pink ribbons with smiley faces, spank you very much.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Can Play the Guitar Like a Motherfuckin' Riot

Part of my Spartan regime of self-improvement I undertook with my research year at Iowa was to ACQUIRE MUSIC SKILLZ. So I decided to learn how to play the guitar.

My instructor is Noah, he's an undergrad student at the U. He probably thinks I'm half retarded because I can't strum the right strings without peering down intently at the guitar. (I squint at the music for 5 seconds then I stare down at the guitar strings to make sure I'm plucking the right ones. I'm rockin' out but unfortunately I looks like a damn fool.) He phoned me for a pre-lesson interview to ask about any PRIOR MUSIC SKILLZ and I thought I heard him snicker when I proudly informed him that I was 2nd chair flute in my junior high marching band.

I had bought a brand new Fender and all the cute accessories that went along with it. (I guess had the idea that if I had all the cool gear I would be more committed to my quest of ACQUIRING MUSIC SKILLZ.) I also had some music books I had purchased from the store and brought all my gear with me to my first lesson. At the end of the lesson he was like, Um, maybe we should start with more of a beginner book and totally produces this handwritten sheaf of papers. Most of his other students are little kids (seriously...I'm like frickin Billy Madison in there) I think he wrote it for them. I estimate it to be at about a 2nd grade reading level. I felt a little miffed, like are you insinuating that I have NO MUSIC SKILLZ (and am illiterate and mildly retarded)?? but then I flipped through his book and was like, ooh, Achy Breaky Heart! Dixie Chicks! So I'm trying.


Tonight at the gym the girl on the next treadmill started clapping when she finished her run. It was a little strange but she looked so proud of herself that I clapped too. Like, Good for you, treadmill gal! We should all support each other! We are sisters! And I thought we were totally sharing this moment til I realized that she was watching the World Series and was clapping because the White Sox had just won. (!!) Well I'll clap to that too -- Yay Chicago!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Big Truck Balls

I have a confession. I have really bad road rage. (This probably isn't surprising to those of you that know me.) Like, REALLY bad.

This past weekend I drove to Chicago and by the time I reached the Quad Cities my voice was hoarse from all the screaming I was doing sitting by myself in my car. (Guns don't cause violence. BAD DRIVING cause violence...there actually is a point to this: I recently watched a very compelling documentary entitled "The Science of Traffic Jams" on the Discovery Channel, and discovered scientific evidence backing up what I had already known -- you know all those times you're stuck in traffic, and you're like, there had better be a goddamn redwood tree that fell on the freeway and is blocking 4 lanes of traffic otherwise someone's going to die because I refuse to accept that I have been driving at idle for the past 53 minutes for NO DAMN REASON, and then, y' know, the traffic kind of clears up and everyone drives away, and to your shock there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING causing the traffic, no accident, no po-po blockade, no downed redwood. Turns out that BAD DRIVING is the culprit. Some stupid driver isn't paying attention and all of a sudden has to hit the breaks hard, or cuts off the driver in the next lane, and the level of breakage amplifies with each car behind him, til about a half mile down the road, everyone has to come to a complete stop.)

Iowans are lovely people with lovely quality but competent driving isn't one of them. Folks will get in the left lane and THEN JUST SIT THERE as though this was luxury driving, go ahead and stretch out and enjoy yourselves, we're not going anywhere. PROPER FUCKING LANE USAGE, BITCHES. Learn it. Use it. Live it.

One particular semi truck was really camped out in the left lane moseying along at 60 mph. (It just ain't right when the speed limit is 70 and you're in the left lane going 10 below that. I was so excited when I first came here and saw that the speed limit was entirely 5 mph higher than it was in Illinois but I quickly discovered that incompetent driving fully compensated for and even overcame any time saved by the higher speed limit.)

Then, I thought I saw something kind of weird on the truck. I squinted to get a better look -- could that be...? Were they really.....? Was I seeing A PAIR OF FUCKING TESTICLES HANGING OFF THE TRUCK?!?

Indeed I was.

A creative Google search turned up several websites dedicated to selling "Bulls Balls for Discerning Truck Owners!" This is what the website says: These vehicle accessories - truck nuts certainly make people grin and laugh. (Well that's not even proper grammar but I don't really expect too much from people who think that a scrotum dangling from the back of a semi truck is the best joke ever.) I was a little grossed out, and then I got pissed.

I'm sure this is supposed to be "Fun! and Lighthearted! and Ha ha I'm a man and I have balls! Aren't I so manly?" but if a female wanted to hang say a big ol' pair of labia off her hood ornament that would just be VULGAR and she would be SICK and doesn't she realize THERE ARE CHILDREN on the road and for godssakes won't somebody PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Either that or she'd be one of them LESBOS trying to send a message or something. Give me a gd break.

I went through some of the "testes monials" on the website just to see what these yokels had to say for themselves:

I just wanted to tell you guys that the balls are one of the best things i have seen on a truck. My bumper sticker says "my trucks got balls, where's yours?" so i thought i would write you an email and tell you how much attetion you get when your at a stop light, and you see a flash in your mirror! Somebody taking pictures of them and cracking up.
I hope next time it's someone trying to neuter your truck.

See my buddy and I only have half-ton 4x4 trucks, and we tend to latch down on any trailer that comes in our sight, and for that we always get laughed at by the other guys in town who have diesels, well I guess now they will watch what they say!
Yes your shriveled testes hanging from the back of the truck will certainly speak for themselves.

"People think they're hysterical," Aker enthuses. "Which is a good thing, since we created them to get laughs."

Not everybody, however, is in on the joke. She recalls a letter from one woman in particular who wrote that it was her goal in life to "castrate" any truck nuts she came across.

Shari Graydon, a Canadian media analyst and pop culture expert, says she sympathizes with the letter writer's reaction.

The past president of MediaWatch, a national organization challenging gender inequalities in the media, says this kind of "overt, in-your-face machismo" can contribute to a hostile environment for women. Graydon observes that on, customers take "enormous glee" in the fact truck balls can be both controversial and offensive.

"A penis really is THE symbol of masculinity and virility, but we haven't quite reached the stage where it's an acceptable thing to be sporting one your truck," she says, adding that truck nuts may be believed by men to be the next best thing.

(Excerpted from a journal article.)
The website's response: OH well! Can't argue with that infallible logic.

Ok, here are some kind of funny ones:

I would like to thank you for marketing a product that will help me identify and avoid drivers with severe testosterone poisoning.

That level of insecurity about one's manliness is dangerous.

Amen, sister.

i would drive around with twenty chrome girlies stapled to my mudflaps and wear a shirt that said "i love to fondle goats" while all the while lettin' my chewin' tobacco run down my fat chin before i would put a set of these on my truck!!!

Heh. He said "i love to fondle goats."

This guy was really pissed:

Yeah, and what do you say to the kids about this idiotic "accessory"? 'What little brains I have are hanging from the back bumper of this truck.' Is that an example of compensation for the lacking in another area? I type in truck accessories and get this stuff.

Monday, October 24, 2005

You Don't Want No Drama

Just returned on Saturday from Chicago. Had a fantastic time! On Thurs night went to Signature Room with some friends and got hit on by sleazy gold-jewelry wearing old man from Houston. (He was all, Hey ladies! I’m from Houston! Well that don’t mean much to this crowd, except then I suddenly remembered our White Sox were playing their Astros in the World Series. (2-0, ya’ll!!!) He proceeded to awkwardly hover at our table for a few minutes, completely interrupting our conversation, before walking off. Thanks for the awkward moments, dude.)

On Friday I walked around Michigan Avenue for a few hours. I was so excited to go to H&M again now that they’re carrying Karl Lagerfeld designs, but when did H&M get so crappy and expensive? I guess they’re trying to go designer but the materials they use are of inferior quality and the tailor-work is so shoddy. I was disappointed – I remember H&M being nice, kind of trendy stuff you didn’t have to pay too much for.

Later I went to Lincoln Park to see my cousin’s brand spankin’ new salon she just opened a few weeks ago. It was a nice place, but turned out to be a Merle Norman cosmetics, of all things. Anyway, my cousin is hands down the best threader I’ve ever had, and she’s the only place in LP or downtown that does it. (Besides Carson Pirie Scott, if you don’t mind paying friggin’ $50). So I’m excited for her. It’s a really fun neighborhood too, I can’t wait til I move back to Chicago and get to see her every week.

My friend Nikki was returning from a business trip and we had planned to go to a poker party together but her flight ended up being delayed by 4 hours so I went out with G and some of her friends from LA. I love the brown but what is with all the gd DRAMA? I’m not a regular on the desi party circuit but without fail at EVERY SINGLE desi party I’ve ever been to, there is always some retarded-ass drama going down. The girls seem to handle it by getting drunk and weepy while the guys get all aggressive. (Hence the well-known adage, Every desi party ends in a fight. Yah. No shit.)

I’m all for a good healthy drunken catharsis once in a while but how do you have the energy for this shit? So on Fri the retardosity seemed to start the minute we walked in the door at the pre-party. There was heated argument about where to go, then heated argument about how to get there. Drunken logistics coordination ad nauseum for the next hour. (Sometimes I get the sense that people aren’t really that drunk, they just down a beer and use it as an excuse to get all pushy and stupid.) Two guys from the ‘burbs INSISTED on driving there (which was completely dumb, there’s no where to park downtown on a Saturday night), and of course they had been drinking so the girls were all concerned and motherly. Of course, when the car later turned out to be a Benz SUV I was thinking, you jerks aren’t opposed to taking cabs. You just wanted to show off your daddy’s car. (Ok, I guess that’s a little bitchy on my part. But actually it’s not because it’s so DAMN TRUE.)

We finally left one club to go to another one and 5 of us girls smashed in to the back seat of a cab. Two of the girls were having some kind of argument about some dude at the previous club. I heard snippets of the conversation (something about a stolen iPod?), but both girls kept shrieking, “LISTEN TO ME!! I’M SOBER!!!” I don’t know the exact math but isn’t the frequency at which you insist sobriety inversely proportional to the actual level of sobriety? Then one of the girls burst into tears and the other one got on the phone, presumably with the drunk SUV guys. (Meanwhile G and I are looking at each other like What the hell is wrong with these people?)

Anyway, we met up with SUV guys at a different lounge, but they were all pissed because for some reason the bouncer hadn’t let them in. (Their attitude about it reminded me of this guy I saw at The Apartment last year. The bouncer had pulled his fake and he reacted with a hissy fit culminating in him stomping off screaming, “I make more money in a year than you’ll ever have in a lifetime, dude! I don’t give a fuck!” Something tells me this IS NOT the way to get what you want out of people, yo.)

Anyway, all the girls except G and I piled into the SUV. He’d been drinking and besides, he didn’t really seem to know his way around the city. So it was the two of us and some random dude, whom I referred to in my head as THE MOST BORING GUY I’VE EVER MET. We hop into a cab and he pulls out his Blackberry and tries to coordinate our next stop with the drunk ass girls in the SUV, which was as productive and fruitful as you might imagine. We’re trying to decide where to meet at Rush and Division, and one placed is nixed because Boring Guy apparently punched a bouncer in the face there. (What the fuck? Were you RAISED IN A BARN? I mean, I know your OVERPRIVILEGED ASS must have had it rough growing up in UPPER MIDDLE CLASS SUBURBIA but try to control your rage.)

Everyone finally settles on another place, and we get there first and hop out. I’m like, the night’s still young, let’s go to that dive bar down the street and get wasted, fuck the others. But BG heard drunk girl crying (not sure why this was surprising) on the phone and G wants to make sure she’s OK. So we wait. And wait. And wait. We finally go inside because all 3 of us had to use the bathroom and then Boring Guy just stands around by the door waiting for the others. It’s a fun place and G and I are kind of getting into it, buying beers and having fun, like, hell, let’s just make the most of this. BG is SO NOT INTO IT and is literally just standing there with his arms crossed like something crawled up his ass and died. (I was a little offended by this – studying 9 hours a day for the past few years sucked away a lot of my social skills but I was working on a good buzz and having fun.) Anyway, more drunken shouting per telephone, until finally BG I guess just gives up because all of a sudden he announces, I’m going home, g’night, and marches out of there. (True gentleman, that BG.)

G and I are like woo hoo! And we went to the dance floor upstairs. Then the night ended as many of our Rush and Division nights do, with a 4 AM trip to McDonalds and a bad movie. Later that night she heard from her friend, who cheerily announced that they had driven to the suburbs much earlier and were all going to bed. (I’d have been pissed as hell if one of my girls did this to me but G seemed OK.)

The moral of the story is, sometimes my group of friends has drama but nothing to that degree of obnoxious. So I love my friends and their non-dramatic selves.

G wondered why they had so much drama while we didn’t, and were their friendships stronger because they were tested? That was an interesting thought: I mentioned that we have a lot of the same drama-inducing circumstances: we have men in our lives, we have conflict with people around us from time to time, we do stupid things when we’re drunk…so how does that add up to drama for some circles, and no drama for us? She thought a huge part of it was because we just don’t have time for it. On most of your clerkships you only get one day off a week, so you’ve only got that one night to go out, and you just want to see your friends and have fun. There’s no TIME the next day for damage control – you have to wake up, shower, and go study. As far as the “no time for drama” thing, I agree: I’ve noticed that amongst my peers you either let the conflict go or you let the friend go. Most of the time we just let the conflict go.

Could their friendships really be stronger because they were tested? I don’t know if making a mountain out of a molehill is a legitimate “test” of a friendship.

Oh well. Tomorrow I’ll have an enthralling piece on Iowa traffic.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"Don't want no short people 'round here"

The other day Yolanda and I had a 30 minute discussion about "petite" sizing while looking at dresses on jcrew and BR online. We wondered, is it for women who are actually short, or does it mean for small women -- like, small all over. A little person. (Except not, y'know, THAT kind of little person. A little person of standard genotype.)

Why do the short ladies get the privileges? I understand making PANTS come in short and tall sizes, because, y'know, they go on your legs, but why is there a whole section of every store devoted to short women? Why don't all manners of disproportion get a store section? Like, unusually large or unusually small chests? Short waisted? Big shoulders? Big hips? Small booties?

I have to get all my pants altered because even the "tall" sizes are too damn short. (I'm looking at you, Benetton.) Why do short ladies get all this special attention? I mean (here I go on a windy rant about nothing, feel free to tune out) think about it: you can always tailor pants and get them hemmed, but it's not like you can ADD MATERIAL to pants to make them longer. I hate when I hear women in stores gripe about how "these pants are just too long!" Now you feel my pain, sister: going into any store and knowing you'll have to pay $10 extra on top of what the stupid pants already cost because you need them lengthened as tall as they go. (Except for Gap: Good ol' Gap comes in short, regular, long, and EXTRA-LONG. I loves the extra-long. Unfortunately, it is the Gap.)

(World's tiniest violin starts playing.)

I know, I know. If this is the only thing eating my liver then life probably ain't too bad.

Anyway, this quest for information culminated at Talbott's, where I went today to do research on the Petites section. I made an important discovery: I cannot afford any clothing from Talbott's. That shit is expensive!

Anyway, I wandered into Sally Beauty Supply hoping their OPI would be on sale, and I discovered an interesting hair product:

(Good use of the 'n'. Gives it a folksy feeling of down-home goodness. Like pork 'n' beans.)

I was curious as to why such a graphic description of the contents was necessary. In all seriousness, I guess the protein in placenta would strenghten the hair.

I was curious as to whose placenta I would actually be smearing on my hair. The back of the packet says the placenta extracts come from animals' placenta, immediately followed by a no animal testing disclaimer. I still don't know what placenta it is, but I pity the poor med/vet student who had to 'deliver' it. It's probably just egg yolk, anyway.

Before I left the mall I stopped at Waldenbooks 'n' got these 2 books:

(The latter is supposed to be one of the two books every good Chicagoan is supposed to read; the other being The Time Traveler's Wife.)
Speaking of Chicago, received a funny class e-mail from one of the classmates (sometimes I miss those guys) today:
Amid the flood of emails regarding sublets and board books, tests and long call nights, it is easy to forget that we attend medical school in one of the greatest cities in the world. It is a city of arts and culture, of big ideas and bigger personalities, of parks, and a beautiful lakefront. It is a cosmopolitan city, a world class city, and now, dare we say, a Championship City thanks to…

The American League Champion CHICAGO WHITE SOX.

That’s right. Last night in stunning fashion the White Sox won the pennant with a dominating 4-1 ALCS victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Four more victories for a, dare we even dream it, a World Series Championship.

See you all on Saturday night for Game 1 of the 2005 World Series.

Bring on the NL.
GO SOX!!!!
I miss you Chicago. :-(
I've got the hotline phone tonight for RVAP so I can't go to yoga class. And yoga class yesterday was cancelled. (*sniffle) Gotta sit at home with the Ben and Jerry's.