Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I truly am a kid at heart. Today my Biology 101 class took a field trip to the Seattle Aquarium. I saw the otters (both river and sea) and my head exploded from all the unbearably intense cuteness. Among the many interesting factoids involving deception and cold-blooded murder on the part of the animals, the most fascinating was the story of a female octopus who decided to have an exotic snack.
You see, octopi have really good eyesight. The octopus in question, taking advantage of the invitingly high water level in her tank, decided to hoist herself up and take a look around. Peering over the edge of the tank, the octopus noticed a number of appetizing creatures in the tide pool (a good 15 feet away), and decided to make the trip. So she made her way out of the tank (about 10 feet tall), across the floor and into the tide pool. After having her fill, the octopus tried to get back to the tank but her strength seemed to leave her halfway: the night biologist found her, warm and sticky, lying in the middle of the floor.
Fortunately, the octopus turned out fine and was eventually released in the Sound. Aquarium staff immediately lowered the water level in the octopus tank, and no other octopi have since expressed an interest in eating out...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I am reading this: Mihail Sebastian's Journal. It is really quite extraordinary.

What I used to run from is always following me.
It's amazing how useful my nationality has been to me. Being Romanian and writing about it in an articulate manner got me into college. In a certain way, being a Romanian with perfect command of English got me a husband. It got me a job and increased acclaim from boss and coworkers. It will probably get me into grad school.
The good thing is that I am starting to finally feel comfortable with it. I used to desperately try to avoid talking about the fact that I am Romanian. Not out of shame, I just didn't think it was relevant, and I didn't want to be seen as a "Romanian" when I could be seen as me. Now I understand that people are interested in such details, and I am happy to oblige.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I am reading Fasting Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg. It is very good.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

In this household we watch a lot of sports. Football, hockey, basketball (both college and professional versions), baseball, soccer, Aussie rules football, curling and Great Outdoors Games, we watch them all.
It is really endearing to see Adam watch soccer: he reminds of my dad. And while that has the potential of sounding creepy, it is actually a very sweet feeling.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

No two weird people are alike. What makes "good" weird? What makes "bad"?
One of my classmates this quarter has an unspecified disability, known in sophomoric school language as "being weird". He is clearly bright, able to process and retain information and to make associations as well as a "normal" human being. Socially, however, he is utterly handicapped. He seems not to be aware of a number of social conventions, such as the fact that one is not supposed to speak up in the middle of class even if one has a pertinent question or comment, or that one is not supposed to complain loudly upon hearing of an unpleasant assignment, or that one is not supposed to loudly tap one's pen against one's binder while the professor is lecturing. I can't tell whether he was never told these things and is incapable of inferring codes of behavior from experience, or he is just incapable of processing such information. He is not a bad kid, and I am sure he means no harm. Yet the class (me included) seems to cringe and want to hide every time he speaks up.
The contrast with Laethan is exceptionally telling. Laethan is not even half as bright as my classmate as far as abstract information is concerned. Yet Laethan's social skills are stellar. He is manifestly kind, funny and friendly, remembers people's birthdays, jobs and marital situations, and everyone loves chatting with him. Even though Laethan often doesn't make sense, nobody feels that Laethan has done or said something inappropriate. Even though my classmate often does make sense, people feel that his mere presence in the class is inappropriate.
My classmate's disability has rendered him more useful to society than Laethan. Yet Laethan's disability has rendered him pleasant. It's funny that we prefer pleasant over useful.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

You should check out my picture blog! I managed to catch a gorgeous, rainy sunset this afternoon.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Going back to the incident involving the person wearing wire-frame glasses who asked for directions to the men's bathroom and then dropped his pants before scurrying off, I overheard a discussion in my collegium between 4 female students. None of them were amused. In fact, some of them were quite angry.
Of course I understand the distress the faculty member who experienced the incident must have felt. I do sympathize profoundly. But was she physically attacked? No. Could she have been? The possibility is always present, but I would venture that the likelihood was in the very low percentages. She was in her office in the middle of campus, with the door probably open. This is not a setting that a vicious criminal would choose. The guy was just a streaking wacko.
I may be taking this too lightly, but I still think it is funny.