jedusor: (neuron art)
How this works: You comment here, I give you an age (please tell me how old you currently are, to minimize the chances that answering will require time travel), and you fill out the meme questions as they applied to you then and apply to you now.


I lived in:

At 18: I started the year living with my grandparents in California, then moved to the dorms at Clark (in Worcester, MA) and then in the summer lived in a sublet room near campus. I fucking hated dorm living, especially having to share a kitchen with twenty-odd other people and bathroom with about half that. So even though the house I moved into was ancient, and had questionable plumbing, and there was no garbage disposal, and I had to lug my laundry three blocks to a laundromat, it was still a big improvement.

Now: The bottom unit of a nice duplex in Seattle. We've had a few issues with it, but the landlord (a friend of my stepdad's who lives in the upstairs unit) has been pretty good about handling them quickly. And we have an awesome washer and dryer that were brand new when we moved in, a water heater to ourselves, and basically my ideal kitchen. I'm pretty happy with it. And I adore this city.

I drove:

At 18: Nothing, and boy was I mad about it. That summer was when I arranged to buy a motorcycle off a friend of my mom's--it was a great bike, a Honda CBR 600 with like three thousand miles on it, and I was incredibly psyched. I'd taken all the training for it, I'd talked it all through with the seller, and I'd invested (considerable, for me) resources in getting down to San Jose to look at the bike, having it checked out by someone who knew what warning signs to look for, and calling in a favor from a friend with a motorcycle trailer to get it up to Sonoma for me. Then, weeks after the conversation where the seller explicitly said she was sure enough about this that it would be okay for me to transport it as soon as I had the means, and a few days before I was planning to actually go get it, she backed out on me. I think she got cold feet because that bike was a psychological representation of the freedom she'd had before she started having kids, and she didn't want to let that go. In retrospect, I should have just done it; the guy who'd been holding it for her for five years wanted it out of his garage, and I had a written record of her saying yes, if the bike passed muster when I went to look at it in person, I could take it with me. Sigh.

Now: A white 2001 Kia Rio with a failing transmission that's going to give up the ghost on us any day now, at which point it's back to busing, walking, and bumming rides until we can afford another car.

I was in a relationship with:

At 18: [livejournal.com profile] projectyl, whom I'd met through the National Puzzlers' League and tried with increasing stubbornness and decreasing efficacy not to fall for over the course of six months.

Now: Same dude. This surprises no one more than me.

I feared:

At 18: Absolutely jack shit.

Now: Failing at adulthood and having to rely on others. These are the same thing in my head. (Yeah, I know.)

I worked at:

At 18: Pier 1 Imports. I didn't mind that job while I had it, but dear god do I never want it back.

Now: Science. Ish. More childcare at the moment.

I wanted to be:

At 18: A neuropsych researcher using primarily fMRI techniques to study social judgment and preference behavior.

Now: Same. Aside from the terminology, my answer to that question has been the same since I was 13. This is why it's so damn frustrating that I can't get into grad school. I know exactly what I want to be doing and I can't do it.
jedusor: (read says dr seuss)
Mostly posting this because there are a lot of classics I haven't read. Maybe you guys can get all torchy and pitchforky at me and get me to read some of them.

Meme )
jedusor: (agatha music)
I used to do this meme all the time, but haven't in a while. [livejournal.com profile] dr_whom reminded me of its existence. You guys know how this works: identify the songs from the first lines, comment, I'll strike through the ones that have been guessed. No Googling.

1. He's always trouble with his noncomplacent shotgun eyes
2. A long long time ago I had a bit of blow
3. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong
4. In the middle of the side of the road
5. Destiny was calling Monday afternoon
6. Now I've been happy lately
7. I know your eyes in the morning sun

8. I saw the scene unfold on a rainy Saturday
9. One day I went walking down a lonesome road
10. She's got eyes like Zapruder
11. There's a plastic dwarf warlord
12. This is not love, this is not even worth a point of view
13. Took you in the vineyard a couple hours after I met you

14. What up dawg, what you been up to
15. Uh-huh, holy shit, it's about time you get off my dick
16. I can take the rain on the roof of this empty house

17. Oh my fair north star, I have held to you dearly
18. Girl, don't tell me that it's morning
19. In my dreams I'm dying all the time
20. Royal Canadian blended

21. She collapses
22. Tell you I'm not gonna leave but I do anyway
23. I used to be lunatic from the gracious days
24. I've learned how to wait (say forever)
25. Your cruel device
jedusor: (badass geek)
January: All my friends are doing this, so hey, why not?

February: A team just back-tasted the cheese puzzle.

March: Like many geeky-type people, Mike is pretty oblivious in general.

April: Scene: the mailroom, at the beginning of the morning shift.

May: Since Mom will be in town, I've decided to host a games/puzzles gathering at the @Cave the night before commencement.

June: Each one goes to the highest bidder, even if the highest bid is cost-of-shipping.

July: It's Thursday morning of con and I've already gone on a Starbucks puzzle walkaround with Zebraboy and T McAy (who worked out the final answer from flavortext and enumeration, being, y'know, them), gazed at Mount Rainier with my toes in the water while discussing ice cream flavors with 42itous, rolled down a glorious grassy hill several times, had phallus pillows thrown at me while flopping in a cuddle pile that ranged between two and eight of my favorite people over the course of the evening, divided up the cuddle pile into teams of "Hathor and the boys she's lying on" and "Hooligan and the boys she's lying on" for Jangler's (truly excellent) pub trivia game, and ended up at a sort of punk-rock diner place that sold vegan huevos rancheros and fried Oreos at two in the morning.

August: Henry: An iceberg is not a food item.

September: Basic respect and common sense: don't do the comment cross-posting thing on locked entries.

October: In my firsthand experience, guys under 21 or so basically don't perform oral sex.

November: On October 11th, Coming Out Day, I posted a Facebook status saying that I'm bi and poly, if anyone hadn't noticed.

December: Me: (something about disappointment involving dopamine in the anterior cingulate cortex)
jedusor: (don't dream it)
The list )

This is the last one of these. I've liked these prompts--this meme has made me think about a few things I haven't paid attention to in a while. A couple of you guys have been doing it too, and I've been enjoying your responses.

My aspirations... well, my biggest aspiration is to learn about brains. I want to keep getting more knowledgeable on the subject for as long as I'm alive. I don't necessarily aspire to having a Ph.D. or getting a job in neuroscience; I want those things, but they're just tools that will help me learn. The learning is the point.

I aspire to be a better writer, and to be able to write more often. I seem to have writing moods once every couple of weeks, lasting a few hours. If I try to write when I don't feel the urge to, I simply can't produce anything at all. I don't know why these moods happen, and I don't know how to induce them.

I want to produce something of value that will outlast me. A scientific discovery, or an invention, or anything that people hundreds of years from now will know about or maybe use. They don't need to know about me. I don't particularly want to be famous in terms of people knowing my name or my face. But I want to do good things, and I want the results of my actions to be known, or rather to be worth knowing.

I aspire to being better socially connected. Right now, I have a few close friends scattered around the country, and a ton of acquaintances scattered around the world. There are a lot of places I can go and call someone for dinner with my visit as an excuse, but not too many places where I have a substantial number of people I can just hang out with for no reason.

I guess these are mostly things I want to get vaguely better at, rather than solid goals. I don't have a whole lot of concrete goals at this point, really. I'm reasonably happy where I am, and I have a reasonably good idea of where I'm headed from here. I'm okay with that, for now.
jedusor: (food: garlic bread)
The list )

I love fresh produce, just short of ripe; tomatoes, avocados, oranges, peaches, artichokes. I love garlic and red onions. I love almost all South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and Italian, and sushi (it's still sushi if it doesn't have fish in it, despite what a surprising number of people have tried to tell me). I love olive oil and spicy mustard and Marukan seasoned rice vinegar. I love starchy foods, but only when they're flavored well. I love basil and cumin and lemon pepper and kosher salt.

As far as drinks go, I have a long-lasting and deep-rooted love affair with Newman's Own pink lemonade. I also like Silk's flavored soy milks, especially chocolate and Silk Nog. I usually order cranberry juice at restaurants and on airplanes, because it's basically the only fruit juice I can trust not to be artificially sweetened. (Minute Maid is disgusting.) Sometimes I'll do tomato juice or V8. I also love coconut juice, although I don't drink it all that often because it usually comes in single-serving cans.

My alcoholic drink of choice is Malibu coconut rum. It was too strong for me at first, so I drank it mixed with orange juice until I was eighteen or so, but now I prefer it straight. I like mojitos and other rum-based cocktails; I'm not big on vodka. I'm also fond of white wine and almost any kind of liqueur, particularly Kahlua. I've tasted really good scotch and brandy, and while I wouldn't drink them on a regular basis, they're good for a treat.

I like cooking, as anyone who reads this blog already knows. I'm slowly building up a good pantry here. I'm actually thinking of making banana bread tonight. Mmm...
jedusor: (i have a cat)
The list )

I miss doing stupid shit on purpose.

I still do stupid shit, don't get me wrong. I am a pro at accidental stupid shit. But there's something really freeing about looking at an array of options and thinking, "Huh, that choice would be totally awesome for two minutes and then it would land me in a phenomenal pile of trouble..." and then diving headlong into it. Because I can, and because that two minutes would seriously be totally awesome.

I've gotten into a really impressive amount of trouble because of my tendency to do this. I've also ended up with some fantastic memories. For a couple years now, I've been a little more cautious. It's better for me, and my life is on average better this way, but sometimes I really miss those spikes of joy even when I know the low points after them sucked.
jedusor: (@cave)
The list )

I've moved around a lot, and I'm a fairly adaptable person--I don't spend a whole lot of time in one place wishing I were somewhere else. If the NPL con took place in one set location, it would definitely be there, but I can't pick a favorite con.

I actually have a lot more fond memories of Kansas City places than I would have expected. I'm going out there on the 17th for Kit's twenty-first birthday party, and we have plans to meet up with Alice and wander all our old haunts: the library where we met, Nichols Fountain on the Plaza, Tea Drops in Westport. (BTW, Kit, Korma Sutra for dinner y/y?) I'm really looking forward to it, and to seeing All Souls again, and maybe Penn Valley. I don't have a whole lot of attachment to Worcester, although the @Cave and the lab in Lasry will always be dear to me.

There are a few ren faire and juggling festival locations that I associate with good memories, but most of them are defunct by now. The Lodi festival stopped happening; the Damento festival moved and then stopped happening; I think the Valhalla faire was canceled years ago.

I like the park right outside my door here in Seattle. It's pretty and I can wander it barefoot when it's raining. Also the park in Davis where I started my career as a scientist. Parks in general are nice. Actually, you know what, I can pick a favorite place after all. It's the other park in Davis, the one where we used to have weekly juggling meetings, and where I played my violin at the farmers' market, and where Mom and Bill were married, and where I introduced Jeffrey to his best friend, and where I met Sam. I haven't been there in a long time.

Your fears

Sep. 8th, 2010 10:43 pm
jedusor: (sad turtle)
The list )

When I was eleven, during my brief foray into independent study programs, I was assigned to write an essay on a childhood fear. I've always been able to bullshit essays pretty well, but this one stopped me in my tracks. I spent days musing on the subject, and simply could not come up with anything. I was pretty much entirely fearless as a kid. I remember being afraid of the dark a total of one time when I was seven, but that was because I was in New York staying with my aunt, and I think it was mostly homesickness and the unfamiliarity of my surroundings. I had nothing. I ended up writing about my vague dislike for people poking around my eyes. Given that the year before I'd gotten a chunk of rust lodged in my cornea and had my eye wedged open under a bright light while four unsympathetic people bent over me to dig it out, I would label that reasonable caution rather than fear.

For a while in my early teens, I said my biggest fear was being considered normal, and never being noticed. I think I'd amend that to never doing anything of note. I don't want to die before I make a real contribution to the world. That said, you never know what people are going to remember. The most poignant part of Anne Frank's diary is the bit where she hopes someday she'll write something that people everywhere will read. Maybe someday my geek girl calendars will be collectors' items, or that novel I wrote in 2007 will be a surprise smash hit. (I would say that's unlikely, but Twilight is going down in the history of popular literature right now, so. Like I say, you never know.)

I don't know if that's really a fear, though, as much as a goal. I guess maybe I'm afraid I won't make it on my own, and have to go back to relying on others for survival? I've never had the fear that a lot of adults describe, that they'll be alone and unloved forever; I know I'm loved, and while I'm glad I have Mike, I'd be just fine if I weren't in a traditional Relationship.

Really, I'm still pretty damn fearless. And I like myself that way.
jedusor: (black tom)
The list )

I've started staying up late and sleeping late again, but hopefully that will change once I start having to wake up early for work. You know, like in college, when I always went to bed at a reasonable hour if I had to wake up early for class.
jedusor: (lefthanded)
The list )

I don't really cry all that much. I hated when I was a hormonal teenager and couldn't control my tears, and now I associate crying with the helplessness I felt back then. I try to avoid it when possible.

That said... the last episode of Hikaru no Go makes me sob every time. Everyone reading this who cares knows exactly which scene I'm talking about. It just stomps all over my heart and then superglues it back together with a few pieces missing. But in a good way.
jedusor: (black tom)
The list )


Food Court Musical from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

I don't think I have ever managed to stay in a bad mood throughout the entirety of this video. It just makes me so happy.
jedusor: (i have a cat)
The list )

The thing that probably upsets me most is my own incompetence. Like most academics, I suffer from imposter syndrome; I feel like I'm not good enough, like I've gotten through life thus far through luck rather than any intrinsic capability.

Of things to be upset about, I think it's a fairly productive one. I'd rather get mad at myself for not being able to do something and then hound myself about it until I figure it out than get mad at myself for, say, not being pretty enough. I'm never really satisfied with anything I do, and I think that's probably led me to a lot of my successes.

Although, of course, most of those successes have come from luck.
jedusor: (neuron art)
The list )

It's all about the brains for me. Has been since I was 13, when I decided I was destined for a career in experimental psychology.

Before then, my education was all over the place. I was homeschooled for most of it, then attended private school for almost a year--they kicked me out before I could finish fifth grade because I attempted to hold the teacher to the same standards of respect to which she held us. I did an independent study program for a while before diving headfirst into community college at eleven. The C I got in Nutrition class that first semester still haunts my transcript.

But then I found out I could learn how minds worked for a living, and I've never looked back. It wasn't immediately obvious what other people called the field I wanted to enter, but I've known for more than seven years now what I want to do. I started out saying I wanted to study "you know, stuff like stereotypes and prejudice and how people make assumptions." Then I discovered the term "heuristics" in my first semester at Clark, and latched onto that as a catch-all description. Then I started reading Kahneman and Tversky, and Gigerenzer, and Damasio, and "Blink," and Jonah Lehrer's blog, and it turns out that there isn't one single name for what I want to study. I call it "judgment and decision-making" or "decision science" now, because the more technically accurate "hedonics" tends to bring sex to mind. It's preference, liking, why we gravitate toward some things and away from others.

For a long time, that's what my schooling has been about. The work I'm doing with Dr. K on modulation of the sweet taste receptor is paying my bills right now, and it's interesting enough, but I'm doing it because it will look good on a resume when I apply to do the stuff I really want to do.
jedusor: (i have a cat)
The list )

My morning routine? Oh, I hop out of bed around eight, do twenty minutes of yoga/stretching then go for a jog, come home, take a shower, study some tsumego and joseki, pound out about a thousand words of original fiction, eat breakfast...

...heh. Yeah, no, I wake up sometime between ten and noon and pick up my laptop. Sometimes I remember to brush my teeth.
jedusor: (oops sausages)
The list )

This is a pretty horrendous cliche, but it's true: I value my mistakes because of what I've learned from them. I can think of plenty of things I did that I shouldn't have done, but I can't think of a single one that didn't lead to some important lesson or silver lining I wouldn't want to give up. The times when I've screwed myself over, I wouldn't take back.

That said... when I was a kid, maybe nine or so, I had two pet mice, and I forgot to feed them for long enough that one of them ate the other one. Finding the aftermath of this was possibly the most traumatic experience of my life. Screwing myself over is fine, and I usually find a way to get something out of it in the end. But screwing others over is not okay. My true regrets are situations where I messed up and someone else got shafted for it.
jedusor: (Default)
The list )

After the "favorite memory" entry, this one's not too tough to guess.

The day of my eighteenth birthday started at a Greyhound station in Sacramento with Mike, Liz, and Sarah, three people who have played important roles in my life. Sarah left about ten minutes after midnight, and the rest of us ended up in a police car before finally locating somewhere to sleep. I, of course, thought the police car trip was the best birthday present ever. (It is possible that I am secretly a three-year-old boy.) In the morning, we got on an Amtrak train that passed through the city where I was born and lived until I was thirteen, and I got to have a nice little symbolic moment of riding the train away from it. We ended the day in Dublin, where Jeanette made incredible vegan enchiladas for dinner. (You guys, these enchiladas were a freaking religious experience, I am telling you. Even Mike liked them, and this was back when chow mein was too exotic for his palate.) She also made a vegan cake for me, and we played Apples to Apples all evening.

Aside from the specifics of the day, there was of course the legal transition into adulthood. I've wanted to be an adult all my life; my grandmother used to tell her friends I was "nine going on thirty-seven." I have always hated being told to slow down and enjoy childhood. I haven't been an official adult for very long now, but so far, I'm 100% behind my former self on this one. Being a grownup is great. Yeah, it can be stressful and hard, but in that regard, it has nothing on being a kid.
jedusor: (don't dream it)
The list )

The day after my eighteenth birthday party: relaxing in a clothing-optional hot tub with a group of friends, a glass of Kahlua in one hand and my other arm wrapped around Mike, having my feet and calves massaged by three men who matter very much to me in three vastly different ways.

When shit is tough and I need to close my eyes and go to my happy place, that's where I go.
jedusor: (billy heart)
The list )

I actually wrote about my first kiss in some detail right after it happened, because I knew I'd want to remember it later in life. Unfortunately, that text document appears to have been lost. Sigh.

It was at the Lodi juggling festival in 2003. I was thirteen and he was seventeen, to the surprise of absolutely no one who knows me. His name was Josh Simon, and we'd met about twelve hours beforehand. We were practicing the three-ball cascade together--you know, when you stand next to each other and each use your outer hand for the pattern and kind of awkwardly put the inner arms around each other's shoulders and giggle a lot. That's how we did it, anyway. After a while of that, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk, which was when I figured out that we'd been flirting. (I hadn't been quite sure.)

We found a neat little Buddhisty-type garden. It was outside visiting hours, but we hopped the fence to get in. It was a lovely place; I'd like to go back there and wander around someday, for nostalgia's sake. The kissing itself was kind of eh, but the excitement made it worth it, which I imagine is how most people feel about their first kiss.

He was with a group from a school or something, and he got in major trouble for wandering off with me. He had to stay within fifteen feet of the group's chaperone for the rest of the weekend, so we didn't get up to anything else. By the next juggling festival, I was already smitten with another boy in our little group, and Josh was completely head-over-heels for [livejournal.com profile] devils_reject, neither of which worked out very well for anyone involved in the end. But it was fun while it lasted, and I don't regret it.

We're friends on Facebook, but he never posts, and we haven't had a real conversation in about five years. I think he's living in Vegas now.
jedusor: (neuron art)
The list )

I love that I know myself.

I understand why I do things. I understand why I feel the ways I feel. I understand why I make mistakes. I know what I like. I know how I think. I know who I want to be, and I know how to be that person, and I know why I sometimes fail to be that person. There is so much in this world that I don't understand that it's an immense comfort to be so familiar with me.

I think during my entire time studying psychology and neuroscience and even biology, I've always used myself as a learning model. Everything I learn about, I look for in myself. At first, especially with the psychology stuff, this was often a matter of "psh, I'M not like that." But as I got to know myself, I realized that I very often am. I'm the first to acknowledge that I can be selfish and judgemental; taking care of yourself and making accurate social judgments are really important skills to have. Working with them instead of trying to beat them down is a good idea, because if you did manage to beat them down, you'd be screwed.

Instead of trying to hop out of every box like I did as a teenager, I've learned to be aware of the boxes I find myself in and be honest with myself about whether I belong in them. And instead of always looking for people to trust with everything, I've learned to trust other people just as much as is reasonable and necessary, because I will never know anyone else as well as I know myself. And that's a good thing.

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