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May. 28th, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

Bah.

Ads are great, but I don't want to wait to be "returned" to my "Livejournal experience," which I'm having to do a lot more these days.

FUCK ADVERTISING.

May. 21st, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

wooooo

Things made better by being drunk:

playing the violin in fifth position, though i'm sure it's agony for everyone else in the building

aaaand THE X-FILES. I've been watching it for days on Netflix, i'm currently on the season 2 finale and it's, like, blowing my mind, man. I have a seriously unholy crush on Cancer Man and I want to hug Skinner. WHY DID YOU PUNCH HIM, MULDER, he's got your back!!

This is my pre-birthday bash. And by bash I mean my friend came over and we drank sparkling rose wine and now she's gone so i'm finishing off the bottle because i can't re-cork it. i'm also typing with one hand because my left hand has dorito crud all over it.

cheeseburger doritos = crack.

i swear i'm not as drunk as this post probably makes you think i am.

May. 8th, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

The kitten is weird

ADORABLE. But weird.

She was trapped behind my laundry basket, next to my desk. I moved the laundry basket over a little so that she could get out. She was standing perpendicular to this narrow passage. Rather than turn so that she was parallel and walk out of it, she looked confused for a minute, then STOOD ON HER HIND LEGS and shimmied along the side of the desk to get out. When she failed and slumped back to all fours, rather than do it the way nature intended her to, she DID IT AGAIN. Then she fell sideways out of it and cried.

She does this a lot. I think she's a bipedal animal trapped in a quadruped's body. It's cute and really fucking weird.

Now she's attacking my violin. Gotta get the spray bottle...

BABY KITTY PICTURES because I'm obsessed with the stupid animalCollapse )

I got the bill for Pyewacket. (My parents did, that is, but my mother scanned it for me to see.) Nothing really rubs salt in the wound like "Hello, we killed your cat and cremated him along with the bodies of twenty other cats, please pony up now?" I still have his picture as my wallpaper and it makes me sad. :( But little Retard Kitten makes my day brighter. So does working ten hours a day.

Apr. 22nd, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

(no subject)

Four hours in emergency vet hospital, until 1:30 in the morning. $400 just to be told (basically) that my cat will have to get immediate surgery or else be put down.

I got home tonight (last night, since it's 2AM right now) and stepped in something I thought was bloody urine. I found my cat dragging around the apartment, and as I was watching him, I saw another puddle. And another. In the bedroom, yet another, as well as a splatter of orange vomit against the wall (and on the corner of my rug.) I consider it to be a mark of how devoted I've become to the cat that my immediate concern was that he was alright.

He drank some water, presumably to dehydrate after the vomiting; three minutes later I watched him vomit the water back up.

Then, as I was cleaning that one up, I watched him go into the litter box and poop out blood. Lots. And lots. Of blood.

I called UPenn veterinary hospital; I work at and live near Penn, so it was a natural impulse. I was told I should probably bring him in soon. So I had my friend pick me up and take me. (SHE IS A SAINT. On a night when she had a shitload of homework to do, she sat with me in the waiting room of the pet ER for four hours.)

Upshot: they think there's a hernia in his body wall, and his intestines are hanging out of it. This means obstruction of blood flow, digestion issues (obviously), possibly sepsis and death.

Surgery estimate: $4000. MOTHERFUCKING FUCK. I almost fainted. Of course, it's Penn, so they're very, very expensive, and the doctor acknowledged this. She said at a local vet, it'll probably be more in the vicinity of $800-$1200. After hearing $4000 first, this actually sounded REASONABLE. I said, yeah, sure, I can probably swing that. I have a credit card, right?

Only once I got home did I realize: I've been living with about $1200 on my credit card thus far, but that would be added onto what I've been trying to pay off for months, plus the $400 I spent tonight for diagnosis (+ pain meds.)

I. Am. HEARTBROKEN. I can hardly breathe. My apartment smells like bloody diarrhea but I can't bring myself to clean it. Writing about it makes it slightly less painful.

I got this cat in January. It took me about two months to get used to having him here; to get beyond the ick factor of scooping his crap every morning, to get used to the idea of him shedding all over my bed. So, naturally, I come to love him unconditionally, only to find out he'll probably have to be put down. Tomorrow.

I hope he dies in the middle of the night and takes away my responsibility. On the other hand, I'm afraid to go to sleep because I'm afraid he'll die.

I can't handle this.

Apr. 20th, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

!!!

Neanderthal Genome Project.
I want to do it.

I had my graduate studies planned out, dammit...

Apr. 12th, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

Personal checks

Don't do it. It's a humiliating process.

Using a checkbook is not verboten if you have proper ID. My proper ID was stolen with the rest of my wallet, but I managed to get a new Penn ID this morning, so I took that and a copy of my electric bill with me to buy some cat food and oatmeal. (And some EZ Mac. Just to hold me until I get my credit card back on Thursday. And some doughnuts, because I had to do something to ease the feeling of world-hatred.)

Me: "Do you take a personal check?"
Fresh Grocer: "A what, now?"

Me: "Do you take a personal check?"
CVS: "Ummm... I think so?" The girl ringing me up didn't know how to use the little check processing machine, and when she finally figured it out with the aid of three other people, it turned out it was broken so I had to be re-rung-up at the next register.

Everyone was staring at me. Is this sort of what it feels like to find out your credit card is declined in public?

I'm sort of inclined to not leave the house for the rest of the week.

But Mommy bought me a new wallet. <3 <3 And doughnuts did make me hate the world a little less. Plus my cat seems to have forgotten about the temper tantrum yesterday and is not so afraid to be near me.

Apr. 11th, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

Thanks again, Filthadelphia

The fact that I live in a very good area of Philadelphia (i.e., houses costing in the 400K range, with a bunch of Penn faculty and people raising their families) does not negate the fact that I am living in Philadelphia. I'm 90% certain that no matter where I go I will always be a Philadelphian in my soul. I have as much pride as a non-sports-watcher can be. But this city be fucked up, yo.

The short of it: I dropped my wallet just as I was getting into my friend's car on our way to the cherry blossom festival. I know this because I was in the process of putting it in my bag and I probably missed. Two minutes later I was pawing around in my bag, noticed my wallet wasn't in it, and started searching the car. Cue panic. I got my friend to drive me back and I searched all over for it. GONE.
Three fucking minutes. THREE MOTHERFUCKING MINUTES. Of course this is the same city where my coworker put her iPhone down right next to her on the counter for a few seconds to dig out money for a subway token then glanced down to find it gone. I don't know why I'm surprised. BUT THREE GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING MINUTES.

Credit card, debit card, state ID (the non-driver's equivalent of a driver's license), work ID, library card, and eleven dollars. I have no access to my money until Thursday; I had to pay $15 to have my new credit card expedited to arrive on Wednesday, but it's going to my parents' house since it's technically my mother's account (she of the once-immaculate credit score, sorry Mama) so I have to wait until I see my mother on Thursday to get it. I have no idea when I'm getting my debit card.
State ID is going to be a bitch and a half, but I have to have it by Friday evening if I want to go drinking with my coworkers, since it's my only valid form of ID. And I can't get it until I have some way of paying for it (so, Friday morning, basically.)
Work ID is going to be a bit of a pain too. It's how I get my free transportation from work to home after 6PM, so I have to get it tomorrow if I value the convenience. It's a $25 replacement fee, unless I file a police report. So I filed a police report.

When I called the police, they asked me to describe the cards, and I said, "Well, I don't remember the numbers offhand." I'd been talking to bank people so far so I was in that mindset. The cop was like, "UH, HOLY FUCK, NO, you're not supposed to give us the numbers, obviously you're too stupid to be in charge of your own finances." (Which I am. Exhibit A: the credit statement that never seems to get any smaller, even after six months of supposedly "chipping away" at it.)

God, just watch it wind up stuffed under the seat of my friend's car. I would laugh then sob. I've been sobbing all day already. Emotional roller coaster! Ho!

With all of that out of the way, I proceeded to (other than sob) drink some vodka straight out of the bottle, only to go WHAT? and put it down. So I also discovered today that I'm an alcoholic. Good day.

I've been watching movies on Netflix for eight hours now. This is not a life.

I feel so violated, though. Humanity has betrayed my trust, and every single person I meet from now on, for however long it takes to heal, will be secretly getting the finger.

AND my cat is almost out of food. How am I going to feed my darling Pyewacket? YOU BASTARD(S) WHO TOOK MY MONEY, THINK ABOUT THAT WHILE YOU TRY TO CHARGE A CARD THAT'S BEEN CANCELED. WAS IT WORTH IT, YOU MOTHERFUCKER(S)?

Feb. 18th, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

politics ruined cartoons

This episode of Recess never used to make me mad, but those were the days when I didn't know what Goldman Sachs was.
dr gray is my lord and savior

Holy Shit

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/84715297.html?cmpid=15585797

"Lower Merion School District sued for cyber spying on students"

(This post is for those on my flist who aren't already in the know. All three of you. The rest of you: I know, I'm obsessed, but it was a slow work day. I had plenty of time to work myself up.)

---
The text from the article:

Lower Merion School District officials used school-issued laptop computers to illegally spy on students, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

The suit, filed Tuesday, says unnamed school officials at Harriton High School in Rosemont remotely activated the webcam on a student's computer last year because the district believed he "was engaged in improper behavior in his home."

An assistant principal at Harriton confronted the student for "improper behavior" on Nov. 11 and cited a photograph taken by the webcam as evidence.

Michael E. and Holly S. Robbins, of Penn Valley, filed the suit on behalf of their son, Blake. They are seeking class action status for the suit.

The district has issued school-owned laptops to 2,290 high school students, starting last school year at Harriton, in an effort to promote more "engaged and active learning and enhanced student achievement," superintendent Christopher W. McGinley said in a message on the district website.

McGinley and school board president David Ebby did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement on its website, the district said that "The laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops. This feature has been deactivated effective today."

In a later statement, the district said: "Upon a report of a suspected lost, stolen or missing laptop, the feature was activated by the District's security and technology departments. The tracking-security feature was limited to taking a still image of the operator and the operator's screen. This feature has only been used for the limited purpose of locating a lost, stolen or missing laptop. The District has not used the tracking feature or web cam for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever."

When the computers were distributed to students, the district did not disclose that it could activate the cameras at any time, the suit alleges.

It claims the school district violated federal and state wiretapping laws and violated students' civil rights.

The suit also claims the district's use of the webcams amounted to an invasion of privacy and that any intercepted images could show "images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including, but not limited to, in various states of undress."

The lawsuit did not say what improper activity Blake Robbins was accused of, or what, if any, discipline resulted.

Virginia DiMedio, who was the Lower Merion district's technology director until she retired last summer, said that "if there was a report that a computer was stolen, the next time a person opened it up, it would take their picture and give us their IP [internet protocol] address - the location of where it was coming from." She said that that feature had been used several times to trace stolen laptops, but there had been no discussion of using that capability to monitor students' behavior. "I can't imagine anyone in the district did anything other than track stolen computers," she said.

Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy watchdog group, said that she had not heard of a previous case where school officials were alleged to have monitored student behavior at home via a computer.

If the lawsuits' allegations are true, Coney said, "this is an outrageous invasion of individual privacy - it shocks the conscience."

---


People are reacting one of two ways: 1) HOLY SHIT BURN THEM ALL or 2) ALARMIST BULLSHIT.

The way I see it is this: whether or not the account in the case file is exactly what happened, the district has admitted that they have the technology. The vice principal of Harriton also has photographic evidence of the kid's wrongdoing AT HOME and HELD IT AGAINST HIM. Something is sketch here one way or the other.

I would not be surprised if it were all true, though. (This is C&P'd from the various places where I've been ranting, so again, most of you have seen this already, verbatim.)

- In middle school, before technology-in-the-classrooms exploded like this, we would have those ghetto little iMacs and we'd do work on them in class. If kids tried to play games on them, the school would remotely hijack the mouse and exit the program they didn't want open. I saw it happen a few times.
- The year after I graduated high school, they started blocking all of the social networking sites, as well as sites that would encourage time-wasting in general. They'd always been obsessed with keeping us busy; I always felt guilted into joining clubs, for instance. A year or so after I graduated they made it "illegal" for students to be hanging around anywhere on campus that wasn't the cafeteria, the field, or a classroom, and in fact redesigned scheduling (from what I understand) to facilitate this. When I went back to visit last year during spring break, I felt like I'd stepped into a police state, at least compared to what it used to be when I was there. The security guard forced me to sign in (a rule that was never enforced that I can remember) and told me to "move along." The hallways were like a fucking ghost town, which was depressing because I remember how vibrant (at least to me, at the time) the school was. And at one point one of the Spanish teachers started basically shrieking at me when I was texting in the hallway because "YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO TEXT HERE! WHY AREN'T YOU IN CLASS! GO TO CLASS!" and threatened to "escort" me to the principal until she realized I had a visitor's pass. (So apparently it was actually necessary these days.) They're fucking whack, man. It changed in the course of a few months. Drastically. And I feel like all the new rules were created in the interest of keeping the students from having too much unsupervised down time.

So It doesn't take much of a stretch for me to imagine how they might get from where they were when I was in middle school to where they (allegedly) are now.

On the other hand, I know the kids and parents of Lower Merion, and it could also be some totally trumped up situation wherein the kid took dumbass pictures of himself doing dumbass things on PhotoBooth and left them on the HD for the next backup or inspection or whatever.

I totally agree that if the school gives you a computer to use for school things, it's your own damn fault if you decide to download copyrighted material, or go to porn sites, etc. I never trust institutional machines to not be following my clickstream or whatever. But it's TOTALLY FUCKING CREEPY if the school is aware, for instance, that you jack off to porn sites. That's an entirely new degree of invasion.
(I'm not saying he did this, I don't know what he did. But someone does this. You give roughly 1000 teenage boys each a free laptop, and it's basically inevitable.)

Anyway. If it's true, I want someone to go down HARD for this, no matter how fond my memories of LM are. The district brags about being pioneers in this sort of program, apparently, and if this is true they are setting an unfortunate precedent. Really fucking terrifying, actually.

Feb. 3rd, 2010

dr gray is my lord and savior

Theory: Nasonex is the devil.

Hypothesis: Nasonex is ruining my life. (Hypothesis because it isn't tested yet. Experiment begins now.)

After about two days on the spray I started getting minor nosebleeds. I've NEVER gotten a nosebleed in my life. I linked it immediately to the Nasonex, but I didn't care much. It seemed like a small price to pay for being able to breathe.

After the fourth day (or so) I started having fucked up nightmares. As I wrote in my previous post, in the throes of an anxiety attack, I was afraid of going to sleep the night before because I was reading about sleep paralysis. I'm pretty irrational, but not so irrational that simply reading about something would have me panicking. I should have been suspicious then.

Within the last couple of weeks insomnia ensued (causing more anxiety attack), as did depression, heart palpitations, social alienation, etc. etc.. This was all stuff I attributed to "winter doldrums".

This morning I got a pretty bad nosebleed, so out of curiosity I checked online to see whether this was normal. What I read was a long list of side effects that matched almost exactly what I've been dealing with for the last month I've been on Nasonex.

I consulted my aunt, a doctor, partially because I wanted counsel without copay, but mostly because I had a feeling my doctors would be skeptical. (I've heard a lot of stories from people where that's the case. Somehow, it can NEVER be the pharmaceutical's fault.) Her advice was to stop taking it. Apparently these things are not even remotely unheard of, which I can see just by doing a Google search; I have a feeling any doctor with a financial interest in my treatment wouldn't condone this form of self-diagnosis.

Other side effects that don't scare me as much: headaches (constant), hives on my legs, blurry vision, decrease in ability to taste/smell (which a lot of people complain about).

http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=20762&name=NASONEX

I don't remember Flonase (which also has a generic equivalent that is FUCKLOADS CHEAPER than Nasonex, which doesn't) ever giving me anywhere near this much shit.

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