Unhooked- A Review
February 29, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Books | Tags: ,

As I said in an earlier post, I have had an ongoing conversation with myself about the hook-up culture, particularly as seen on my campus. I picked up the book Unhooked, by Laura Sessions Stepp. Essentially, it is a popular non-fiction expose of a culture that I am used to, but that people of my parents’ generation might be horrified to learn of.

And rightly so. Stepp follows a number of girls through the course of a year: they meet, they email, and they tell her about their lives, particularly their sex lives. She goes with them to bars, and witnesses how girls behave there. She follows high school girls, college girls, black girls, white girls. In that respect, it is a pretty well-rounded sample. Of course, it is a very small sample. That is the nature of the beast of a sociological study, particularly one that is performed by a journalist writing pop-nonfiction. One must take these findings with a grain of salt: she went in, expecting to find something, and find it she did. And then she wrote about it. No science. Ok, shutting up now.

In the end, she concludes exactly what I did: as a society, we are doing girls a disservice by convincing them that they must wait for love, to the point of running from it into the arms of an unworthy boy that they know they will never fall for. That way, they will never have to risk their future plans by accidentally falling in love with someone who will treat them well and is a good match for them. It really is absurd that this is the message we are sending girls: falling in love is bad, because you’ll ruin your chances for a future. So, you should avoid good men, and only see bad men, because they are discardable.

In the end, we are encouraging young women to sleep with inappropriate men. That’s a problem. If these girls are as stellar as we are told, they deserve men that will treat them as such. And most importantly, they deserve support from their parents and elders when they do find such a man.  A good man will support her in what she wants to do, and if they are truly in love, the relationship will last regardless of her plans. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t a waste of time, not in the way a string of hook-ups are.

However, it is in this article in the New York Times today that sums it up best: “The culture of dating is much healthier than the culture of the hookup, in which the primary form of sexual intimacy is a girl on her knees servicing a boy.”

How is a woman prostrate in front of a man she doesn’t care about, servicing him, a sign of sexual freedom? It isn’t. It’s a sign of sexual inequality and shame.  Young women deserve better than that. Shame on all of us for encouraging anything less, especially in the name of freedom and success.


Fare thee well.
February 28, 2008, 8:11 pm
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: ,

William F. Buckley, Jr. died yesterday.

He has been an imposing figure on the national stage for over 50 years, and considering that I am only a recent convert to the modern conservative movement, I cannot say I have any particularly deep-seated feelings for him.

I do respect his work. Reading through the eulogies on nationreview.com, I learned more about him than I knew while he was still alive and writing (which he may have been doing when he died). I do know that he shaped my father’s political and moral compass, and that he is mourning Buckley’s passing. I know that Buckley supported the legalization of marijuana, something an uneducated person might not associate with the stereotypical view of what “The Father of Modern Conservatism” might be. I know that he was a deeply faithful Catholic, and that is probably one of the reasons why my father is finally converting. I know that he changed the face of America and the west with his unparalleled intellect and vocabulary, scaling back what appeared to be the inevitable encroachment of statism on our personal freedom.

I know we are all indebted to him, whether or not we can admit it. I know he will be missed. Fare well, WFB.

February 27, 2008, 10:11 am
Filed under: daily | Tags: , ,

Genetically speaking, I’m a screw up. I have a bleeding disorder, called Von Willebrand’s Disease. It is a minor inconvenience more than anything. Essentially, I do not clot appropriately. I am a slow clotter. A retarded clotter. My blood just needs a little more time to get the hang of it. Clearly, it could not be that life-altering because I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16. Of course, I was generally a sloth-like child, and preferred spending my time curled up in a corner reading than doing anything that would injure me, so that made it easy to miss. Officially, it is a genetic disease. I have one copy of the screwy gene, and since it is a dominant disorder, I have it. Oddly, neither of my parents have it. I am proof that genetic mistakes DO happen and they DO alter the genetic line. I have a 50% chance of passing it on to my children.

Bear has type 1 diabetes.  He has a 4-6% chance of passing it onto his children. Actually, type 2 diabetes has a higher genetic link than type 1. Part of this is because type 2 is part of an overall metabolic syndrome: obesity, sedentary lifestyle, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes tend to be very closely associated with each other. One is genetically predisposed to eating a certain way, retaining a certain amount of weight, not exercising enough, so it tends to appear in families. Of course, one can come from a family with this metabolic syndrome and work hard to avoid it. Bear’s family is wrought with the metabolic syndrome, but he will probably avoid it since he’s been working hard to manage his eating, exercise and health from an early age.

However, type 1 is not the same thing. It is not related to lifestyle. They don’t really know how it works, yet. It is probably an autoimmune disorder, where his body specifically decided to kill off his insulin producing cells. Unfortunately, the spectrum of autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, lupus, etc) are not really well-understood. What causes the body to decide to attack itself? Why does it attack what it attacks in a given patient? Until we understand those questions, we can only treat the symptoms of each separate disease. I predict that eventually, we’ll be treating them as the same disease with a spectrum of symptoms.

Bear is the only one in his very large family to ever develop type 1. Many people have type 2, but he is the only type 1. He was diagnosed right before he started kindergarten, and has been taking meticulous care of it ever since.  We both say that if the worst thing that happens to us is these diseases, we’re lucky people. My bleeding disorder just makes being female a little extra exciting, and could make childbirth more complicated. I’m also more likely to have problems from a moderate injury that normal bleeders would be ok. A severe injury will be a problem for anyone. I also can’t give blood, because really? What good would that do to the person I gave it to? No good, that’s what.  Bear was lucky enough to be born and develop diabetes right around the time that technology and understanding of the disease were exploding. He had high quality insulin, he’s been on an insulin pump (extremely fine control) for 8 years, and he is on drugs that protect his kidneys from potential high blood pressure that comes with the disease. He is in excellent health, especially considering that he has a serious disease. The slightest issue with his insulin, as I found out over Christmas break, can land him in the hospital, but those situations are few and far between.

These are the things that I tell myself, because when I really think about it, the fact that I am a Bleeder, and he is a diabetic, and we’re going to have babies… that really scares the everliving daylights out of me.  We have a 2-3% chance of having a child with both diseases. A bleeding diabetic, now wouldn’t that be fun? I am more accepting of having a Von Willebrand’s child, because I know how easy it is to deal with it. Of course, having children with a person like Bear means I will probably have active babies who do things like figure out how to open their cribs and fall head first out of them (his nephews), or want a cookie so bad that they rock their high chair across the kitchen floor and then tip it over and break both wrists (Bear).

Having a child with diabetes is scarier. Marrying a diabetic is terrifying. Especially when I talk to a good friend of mine and find out that her older sister, a type 1 diabetic, recently died of it. Granted, she did not take appropriate care of herself at all. She was also born about 15 years before Bear, and just missed the massive leaps in treatment quality. Regardless, to know she died of kidney failure in her 30’s, blind and wasted away, is terrifying.

But I know, that no matter what, it doesn’t matter what my children have. Every pregnancy has a 2% chance of having something, anything, wrong with it, from massive developmental defects that result in extremely early miscarriages, to Down syndrome to genetic diseases to congenital birth defects. That means that the 4-6% chance of having a child with diabetes is not that much higher than the risk everyone takes when they choose to have a baby.

When you hang your hat on a statistic, you better look at the statistic from both sides. We say we’re lucky, because we are. Even if many people would consider a bleeding disorder and diabetes in one couple the opposite of good luck. I might be scared, but I’m still lucky. That’s what I have to tell myself. Thinking anything else would just be too hard.

February 25, 2008, 1:12 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: ,

Katrina: My adviser told me I’m a rare species because I’m going into library school with a hard science background.

Bear: I know you’re a rare species. That’s why I’m not allowed to shoot  you. Federal laws, and everything. Something about endangered animals? And not wanting to make them more so?

Cracked out Baby
February 25, 2008, 9:54 am
Filed under: Food | Tags: ,

One thing that is important to know about Bear is that he doesn’t need coffee in the morning to wake up. He needs coffee in general in order to function correctly. You know how if you’re an alcoholic for long enough, your body as a whole starts to depend on the alcohol? Without alcohol, you can’t perform the biochemistry that you need to in order to live. Going cold turkey can actually kill you.

That’s the way Bear is with coffee. It’s not just the caffeine, it’s coffee in general. He needs the whole bean or he’s down and out. I keep suggesting that he start injecting coffee into his insulin pump, so that he gets a steady stream of it. He needs it as much as he needs insulin, really.

There’s a reason for this. The boy was drinking coffee at about 2 or 3. All of his siblings were. They were given a sippy cup (A SIPPY CUP, for Pete’s sake) with half coffee, half milk, and sugar. And they drank it. And they loved it. And now they require coffee in order to function. It’s a family trait, this coffee dependence. One might think that little kids would be turned off by the taste of coffee. I still haven’t acquired a taste for it, even though Mama! keeps telling me that I won’t be allowed to call myself a grownup until I do.

Bear’s  nephew starting tipping his head into Bear’s coffee cup last night, which is the way a 15 month old asks for you to help him drink out of a cup. Haha, funny, everybody thinks it’s cute, little baby won’t like coffee. So they got a spoon, and Bear spoonfed him a taste of it. He got a perturbed look on his face, walked away, Hahaha, funny ha. Ha. Wait, he’s coming back and asking for more. Mouth wide open like a baby bird, but instead of partially digested, regurgitated worms, this baby bird is asking for coffee. He LIKES it. He spent the next half hour perched next to Kevin, being spoonfed coffee, oddly calmer than he was all day.

I see coffee-drinking babies in my future. Apparently this is in their genes. I might as well accept it now.

Colonic Jesus
February 22, 2008, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: , , ,

Oh, I just keep asking for it, don’t I? COLON CLEANSING COLON CLEANSING. There. Even more reasons for Google to bring me up whenever people search for COLON CLEANSING, and apparently they do that a lot.

Today, my personal favorite search that brought a reader to this site was “colonic Jesus”. Colonic Jesus? Really? I’m fascinated! Is this Jesus in the form of a colonic? Anal suppository Eucharist? I’m going to hell for sure now. Or maybe it’s a colonic FOR Jesus. Wouldn’t want him getting all clogged up, now would we. Maybe it’s a holy colonic, a type of penance. Say 3 hail marys and get a colonic Jesus! Yup, going straight to hell. No doubt about it.

Somebody else found me by searching for baby polar bears. Awww. Isn’t that cute? Just for that reader, here is a baby polar bear:


And another:


That’s Knut the Bear. How can you NOT love that? I just want to bury my face in his neck and allow him to remove my nose. I search for baby polar bears, too, dear reader, all the time.

Also? Pittsburgh? Go to hell. I hate this weather. There is nothing worse than shoveling HEAVY WET SNOW. I now have to eat more just to make up for that completely unnecessary exercise. GROSS. I get it. It’s winter. Now go to hell.

Speaking of going to hell… I want that power. “You, over there, the child molestor! DAMN YOU TO HELL!”

If you want to see something that really will melt your heart, here’s some more baby polar bears (Knut, specifically).

Have a good weekend, Pittsburgh. I’m going slightly east to play with babies.

Grocery Store Antics
February 21, 2008, 3:03 pm
Filed under: daily, Food, Pittsburgh | Tags: , ,

On Thursdays, I normally have class from 9-10ish, 12-1, and 2:30-3:45. My last class was canceled due to The Plague, so I was finished at 1. While in my noon class, I realized that not only do i have HUGE TRACTS of time but I also can go to the grocery store! Which is great, because I had NO FOOD. None. I was basically living on cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, and heisting tea from Roommate!. (Sorry…). I would also drink milk a lot. It was time for grocery shopping.

Just to clarify: I do not have a car. I live in Oakland, about 15 minutes from campus. Campus is about a 10-15 minute bus ride from The Awesome Grocery Store (I love you Shadyside Market District Giant Eagle, you are my best friend). Grocery shopping normally requires large amounts of planning and preparation. I usually don’t have time to just devote up to 2 hours to get there and back with all my crap IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. This was very exciting.

Then, as I waited patiently in line to buy sandwich meat, I hear a possibly real, but more likely fake Italian accent behind me: lo and behold, it is a Giant Eagle worker wandering around the store with a tray of CHEESE! I knew there was a reason I loved this store so much.

Even if I didn’t love cheese, I would have taken cheese from him anyways because his method of marketing? The best ever:

“Here we go, Giant Eagle shoppers, try some cheese. It is spicy cheese. Spicy cheese for spicy people! Get your spicy cheese, you spicy people, you!”

Make sure you read that in an Italian accent. Love it.