Love as Detrimental to Women

In my Intro to Political Science class last semester, we spent just a single 75 minute class period covering feminism. In our generic overview of the subject, my professor highlighted one section of the joint Feminism, Environmentalism, and Postmodernism chapter in our textbook. (Because, ya know. Those can easily be lumped into one chapter.)
"Wollstonecraft argued that love can be detrimental to women. Women have always been in a difficult position, according to Wollstonecraft, because the very group oppression women is also a group whose members women love. Love and romance can impede women's ability to demand respect from men and equality with men. For these reasons, Wollstonecraft described romantic love as a potentially threatening and draining emotion. Love could compel women to continue submitting to men; after all, would it not be difficult for a women to be confrontational when dealing with a life partner and beloved husband? Could love not make a woman weak by diminishing her desire for autonomy?" (Analyzing Politics 4e, Grigsby, pg 151. Yes I realize this is not a primary source. I'm OK with using the "cliff notes" version for discussing this)
We discussed this for 15-20 minutes and at the time I was firmly planted in the "This is crap!" category. Women are stronger and better than the weak archetype that "fall" for men that Wollstonecraft portrays us to be. I was mad that I had to defend my gender.

"I have an MD and a PhD. I'm a freakin' cardiothoracic surgeon. I'm supposed to be studying for my boards. The most important exam of my life, and...and I'm...and I'm, I'm, I'm locked in a bathroom, crying...because of a boy!"
That was before. Before I've spent months thinking about it. Before I've been Christina Yang. Several times. Crying because of a boy when I have better stuff to do. (Not in the bathroom though. Bathrooms are icky and uncomfortable.)

Now I wonder. Love, with all it's blissful joy, comes also with extreme pain. Love hurts. Have there been times when I've tolerated poor behavior in the name of love? In small ways I have lost control--lost my autonomy and it's scary. Maybe this is our downfall.


My Entertaining Professors

They make me giggle! (click for bigger pics)

My Structural Materials professor explaining how he attempts to teach to -σ to attempt to capture 84% of the class. The upper 2σ are going to be bored out of their minds and the lower 2σ are just screwed. There's a bell curve in there somewhere. I especially like the sad face and the happy face:

Here's my Fluid Dynamics professor explaining evaporation by way of the French Revolution:

It's gonna be a great semester :)



It's been hazy in Denver lately. I miss my usual blue, blue skies that have been overrun by yuck from wildfires in nearby states. The blah color reminded me that I never linked to my guest post on my own blog:

My View of the Colorado Wildfires
Tuesday was the nightmare day. The fire more than doubled in size and forced thousands more people to be evacuated, including my parents. I was once again stunned by my apathetic neighbors in Denver, only 60 miles away, going about their business as usual while the fire consumed my thoughts and my time for the better part of a week. I attempted to escape from the non-stop news coverage by first taking a long nap and then later watching a baseball game at a nearby bar but each time I checked back in with the real world the fire had grown significantly. I continually reminded myself and high school friends affected by the fire that “My family is safe. Your family is safe. Only things are in danger of being burned.” 


Dear River

A friend of mine died recently (a friend of a friend? an acquaintance? idunno what to call her) I have all sorts of mixed feelings about it. When my sister first told me I was fine. I was mostly concerned by how my sister was coping. She was my sister's friend and I met her first through my sister. But she always made sure to see me when I was in town visiting my sister.

Once I got off the phone, however, it was a different story. I had guests staying with me at the time who could tell that I was on a tough phone call and once they asked the key question, "Are you OK?" the uncontrollable sobbing began.

Dear River,
As my way of sorting through my thoughts, I rewatched the Firefly series thinking of you the whole time. Your namesake is an empathetic genius. My favorite scene in the whole series is when River forgets who and what she is and joins in a folk dance and loses herself in the happiness of dancing with strangers.

I've watched my niece bully you because that's what 3-year-olds do, but you always return with a smile.

Regardless of whether you remember me between visits, you always greet me with the warmest hugs. I treasure those. Thank you.

No need to emulate your namesake if she doesn't fit you, but she was a pretty cool chica if you're someday needing a role model:

My heart aches some for your mom who is no longer with us, but mostly for you. I hope you're able to dance amidst the pain. Be well little one. I can't wait to see who you are going to become.



I've haven't flown United in awhile (I usually just pick the airline that's cheapest) so I LOLd when I printed my boarded pass at the airport last Wednesday because I completely forgot about this.

I think social titles are silly and when given the options "Mr., Mrs., or Ms." I usually choose "Mr." to make a point. Apparently United let me get a little more creative in my title choosing:

That's right! I'm a Reverend! I was hoping for some special treatment while flying so I could include some more social commentary but that didn't happen. Better luck next time.


Own the Day

Long time, no blog. I've done a better job of prioritizing what ought to be prioritized these last few months which unfortunately didn't include blogging. (Note: "better" job. Not great or awesome...I'm working on it)

As per my usual I have the start of a dozen or so posts in drafts waiting to be polished and posted. This one, however, has be on my list since the day I started this blog: to explain the name of my blog! I even had to search through my old posts to make sure I hadn't already done it and forgotten :)

What kicked me into finally writing about my blog title was encountering the source again today. Over the last several months I've been rewatching Star Trek: Voyager and just today hit the episode where I first heard my blog's namesake.

Lyndsay Ballard was reanimated by the Kobali and after returning to Voyager, Harry Kim is telling her (his best friend and woman he's in love with) of the eulogy he gave at her funeral:

Kim: I gave the eulogy at your funeral.
Ballard: Oh? What did you say?
Kim: [Shakes his head "no"]
Ballard: Come on. It's everyone's fantasy to hear their own eulogy.
Kim: Absolutely not!
Ballard: Probably for the best... You always were a terrible public speaker. I just hope you didn't stutter too much.
Kim: I told them you had a favorite saying. Something you got from an old Klingon battle cry.
Ballard: Own the Day
Kim: I said that you always believed in attacking each day. Possessing it. And that that was what made you so much fun to be around.
Ballard: Is that when everybody burst into tears?
Kim: I said that if you'd been there, you would've told them to "Own that day". To attack it. Make it their own. And plan to do the same thing tomorrow.
Ballard: Pretty strong stuff.
(Ashes to Ashes on Netflix Watch Instantly)

I searched to find this elsewhere and can't. Yup. The Voyager writers made it up. And I'm OK with that. But just for fun, I found the Klingon translation: jaj vIghaj (Thanks Qunchuy) I have no idea how to pronounce it, but still fun.

The idiom "Own the Day" is really just a different way of saying "Carpe Diem" but I like it and need to do more day-owning in my life. :)


Google Maps

I just filled out a survey for google to participate in "User Experience Research" and this question made me smile because I checked every stinkin' box. (You can fill it out too!)

Yes. I heart Google, and maps, and Google Maps.


Bigger Not Necessarily Better

“Bigger is Better” is a commonly heard mantra when shopping for a new car. Many drivers think that they are more likely to survive a crash in a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) or Pickup Truck due to the increased size and weight of the vehicle. However, this thinking does not take into account the risk of driving a SUV to other road users. The risk compensation from this perception of safety makes SUVs and Trucks a dangerous class of vehicles for all road users. 

Which would you want to be in when you get t-boned?

While the risk to drivers of SUVs and Trucks is similar to vehicles of other classes, the risk to other road users is significantly higher. [1] “SUV-to-car collisions are six times more likely to kill the occupants of the smaller vehicle when compared to a normal car-to-car collision. You may be safer inside an SUV, but you're at greater risk of killing others in the event of an accident.” [2] SUVs and Trucks are incompatible with other road users because they have higher bumpers and higher weight. 

Additionally, SUVs and Trucks require a longer braking distance (an average of 30 feet longer) than mid-size vehicles making crashes harder to avoid. Accepting this longer braking distance also mirrors a switch from an active to a passive view of safety: “A crash is inevitable so I better protect myself with as large of a vehicle as possible.” This uniquely American attitude of “if someone is going to die, I don’t want it to be me” combined with the longer braking distance is a recipe for disaster for unavoidable crashes. The imposing size, and especially height of the driver, of a SUV or Truck creates a disconnect between the driver and other road users. [3]

In conclusion, SUVs and Trucks may be safer for the driver but make the rest of the road users much less safe. Consumers need to be aware of the full impact of their car purchases and consider the effect not only on themselves but all road users.


Fight for Air Pics

A few more game day pictures. Thanks to Lynelle, Neil, and  kimmykazu for posting on meetup!

Installing my timing chip on my shoe

Love that Colorado blue sky!

Team Zoom! We raised over $2300 for the American Lung Association
Made it to the top!

Post race chow at Rialto's



Cute Poster at the top

I started the day under-slept and insufficiently hydrated, but I placed 780 out of 1793 climbers. Really? I was faster than more than half of the super fit looking people there?!?! Wahoo! I'm above average! My goal was to finish in less than 15 minutes so I couldn't be more pleased with my finishing time of 13:40. (Official Results)

When my team first arrived to the start line it was out the door and around the corner, but by the time actually jumped in line, it had disappeared. I was expecting to get a few moments to center myself while in line, but before I knew it a man's hand was on my shoulder to get my attention to tell me to "GO!"

The first 20ish floors were the hardest because I had a sharp pain in my right knee every time I took a step. I never had this while practicing and it was so bad that I strongly considered quitting several times. I finally stopped long enough to kick out my leg hard on one of the landings and it magically fixed itself and was quickly forgotten.

I wish they had some sort of  "slow people on the outside" convention because passing the slower folks took a lot of energy. And I had to do it a lot. They had heats scheduled every five minutes but that really just gave a guideline for when to jump in line. They ended up releasing the climbers every 5-10 seconds continuously.

They had cheerleaders along the route but somehow didn't get them spread out very well and they were only on the lower half of the building. Loud blowers pushed refreshing cold air into the shaft but that only happened twice and once you were just a couple floors from the blowers it was obnoxiously hot again.

I was glad I wore a stop watch. I could watch my splits knowing that I needed to hit every 10 floors in less than 3 minutes to meet my goal. And it was helpful mentally to be able to look at my time and tell myself, "Only 7 more minutes of hell and then I can rest... Only 3 more minutes of hell and then I can rest." It worked because I didn't take any breaks.

I was expecting to end outside and was disappointed when it ended in a conference room rather than bursting into the sunshine with a 360 degree view of the city. Still a gorgeous view from the top though.

A couple nights ago I was telling a guy about my weekend plans and mentioned that the Republic Plaza is the tallest building in Denver. We got in an argument because he said "No, the Century Link building is taller!" Well, I now have evidence that I'm right ;) We were obviously higher than the nearby Century Link building. (And wiki agrees so it must be true)

The shorter Century Link building 
OK, maybe not so "obviously". It's only 5 feet shorter than the Republic Plaza.

The usual crummy free event t-shirt turned out to be a super shnazzy running jersey. And a fancy "participant" medal too!

Thank you so much to those of you who made my fundraising super dooper easy: Mom and Dad, Renee, My Biggest Cheerleader, Pluto, and Matt.

Still to come: picture of my new and improved calf muscles. :) And my next fitness goal to tackle for the year? Half-marathon! And I might be doing one of those insane-looking, dirty competitions. Tough Mudder or Rugged Maniac. Time will tell...

Can't wait for next year!


Knees and Feet

Saturday night I walked several miles in high-heel shoes and danced the night away too. And now everything hurts. Ya know what that means? I need more dancing in my life!

Unfortunate timing though because my Fight for Air climb is coming up. This Sunday. 6 days away. I only did a couple runs today up and down my apartment complex because everything hurts. It's discouraging because I wanted to blow this out of the water. I'll still do fine. And may even still finish with my goal of under 15 minutes, but it will be hard.

For now, it's ibuprofen and ice time.

From the middle of downtown it's tough to see which building is the tallest,
but from my apartment it's easy: It's the tallest one.

They posted the start times and I'm super thankful that I don't have to get up stupid early for it. The heats take off every 5 minutes and I'm going up at 11:05, #895.

Sunday! SUNDAY! SunDAY!! (Monster Truck Rally Style)

(Also, blogging is fun. I think I spent 5 minutes typing this guy up. I should do more...)


Happy Darwin Day!

A couple funnies:

You never know where this guy's gonna pop up (Get it? Because it's toast? Oh dear.)

From the National Center for Science Education

I can't find the original source for the toast so thanks to the author and thanks to those who posted on facebook. I'll be celebrating next weekend with SSaSS in Boulder, but will only be able to pop in because I'm already attending a conference the same weekend.

Introductory Essay Art Appreciation

Space Mysteries by Vance Kirkland
my favorite piece from my recent visit to the Denver Art Museum
I spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon wandering the Denver Art Museum and to be frank, I don’t get it. At least not most of it. I am extremely left-brained and most art I see leaves me scratching my head with a “huh?” I was constantly worried about what the appropriate length of time to spend in front of piece was and wanted to scurry through so I could hit each thing at least once.

I want the world to have right and wrong answers. Yes and no. Black and White. That binary world that I want simply doesn’t exist in this world and especially not in the art world. There is art that appeals to me, but it seems to be rare and usually lovely by classical standards. I do, however, have art that I appreciate. Most of the art that I love has a story that goes with it. In my room I have prints of a couple impressionist paintings as well as a few collages made by myself and some made by friends.

The use of color is the first thing I notice when looking at art. I love art with bold or bright colors with any theme. The quilt currently on my bed is handmade (by me) and is is a patchwork of beautiful Hawaiian colors of every shade in a rainbow. I sometimes long for a comforter that has more calming colors but usually this quilt brings a smile to my face every time I enter my room.

My Hawaiian Quilt. One of these days I need to make it to Hawaii as an adult.
Rumor has it that I was there when I was a baby.

I love keeping my hands occupied while engaging in mindless activities (especially TV watching). Most of the art at that I’ve made has come in the form of hobbies while watching TV. I enjoying cross-stitching or simply pulling out a box of crayons and coloring in a coloring book. I also appreciate visual ways of displaying information that I think can be considered art as well. I could spend all afternoon browsing infographics and appreciate keeping my daily to-do lists colorful and engaging.

"Art Corner" It's pretty scattered so it's hidden behind my door.

I consider art to be a way of expressing oneself and an attempt to communicate that expression with others. Art can come in virtually any form and I think the only thing that distinguishes “art” from everything else is the intention of the artist. If an artist intends for something to be art, then it is art. My only expectation of art is that it beckons me to stop and just be for a moment.


2012 Update

I got so much done this week!!

  • Took down Christmas decorations
  • Returned a cell phone, bought a new cell phone
  • Donated blood
  • Teeth cleaned (I learned that I've been flossing behind my permanent retainer incorrectly for nine years now! It was hard to do before, but now it's about three times harder!)
  • Tires balanced and rotated
  • Lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in years
  • Inbox from 850 down to 270
  • Unsubscribed from numerous blogs and newsletters
  • Spring cleaned my bedroom
  • Vacuum apartment
  • Fundraised for Fight for Air Climb (thanks friends!) and started training

I've been writing one or two "big things" on my wall calendar a couple days in advance and that has been pretty effective.

ALSO!!! This is my 200th post on this blog. I feel like I should do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight! But really, it's not that exciting. Just a number that I happened to notice.

School starts tomorrow and I have a clean backpack with all my supplies packed. I still need to pack a lunch though. I'm scared to start again...


My Mountain

A little more steel and glass than the mountains I usually like to climb but still gorgeous in her own way.

Republic Plaza. Tallest building in Denver
I couldn't even back up far enough from the building to capture the whole thing, base to top.

I finally did the easy part and registered for the darn event. Now for the hard part: Raise money for the American Lung Association. (Got an extra dollar? Or you can paypal me. Or if you're a Luddite, you can mail me a check) And the harder part: Train!

Note: In 6 weeks, my legs will be 4.38x sexier than hers
I've been using the stairs every time to get to my 8th floor apartment (average of probably 3 times per day) unless I have guests with me, my bike or a heavy load. Today I did my 11 floors for the first time in 1:50. I just need to do my 11 floors 5 more times to equal the Republic Plaza ;)

I checked out the beast up close and in person today. I tried to get access to the stairwell but unfortunately was unsuccessful. The stairwell was locked on the first floor so I though, "Easy! I just need to get to a higher floor to get in because it can't be locked on higher floors... Fires and whatnot!" So I jumped in the elevator only to discover that I didn't have the proper credentials to get to any non-1st floor. With mocking cruelty, the elevator held me hostage for several minutes while it traveled to a few different floors only for the doors to yet again, not open. Oh well, my apartment complex is still sufficiently tall for great practice.

Wish me luck!


Goals for 2012

From Denver Cruisers Happy New Year Newsletter
2011 was the best year of my life and I have no doubt that 2012 will be even better.

My goals:
  • Find My Inner Athlete.
    • Fight for Air Climb. 26 Feb 2012. What? Walk up a super tall building for fun?? Are you crazy? Apparently, yes. 56 Floors. I'll be training by gettin' intimate with the 11 floors (157 steps) in my apartment complex as well as hitting up at least 1 of the 5 practice runs on the real deal in the next *gasp* 7 weeks.  
    • Half Marathon. The longest distance I've ever run in my life was 6 miles. I'll be doubling that and then some this year. I like the looks of the Greenland Trail 25K 5 May 2012 because my favorite running is trail-running, but the timing of the Denver Rock 'n' Roll 22 Sept 2012 is probably more realistic.
    • 1 Pull-up. From arms fully extended to chin above the bar. Just one. More would be awesome, but I've never been able to do one in my life so I'll start there. I have a couple friends with pull-up bars in their homes and I've already been practicing. 
    • Lose 20 pounds. This goal brings me to the high end of "normal" for my height/age.
  • Read 56 books. This should have been an easy one last year. And I'm embarrassed that I missed it by so much. So I'm giving it another go.
  • Journal. Weekly maybe? This one needs some more hashing out. Weekly seems reasonable. I need a better outlet for the junk rolling around in my head.
  • Talk Less, Listen More.  A corollary to the "Journal" above. Last year was all about me. I would like to find a better balance this year and give other people in my life more consideration. 
  • Work on "Larger Projects". For instance, I have a giant box full of paperwork that needs to be scanned, sorted, and then discarded. It's an overwhelming job that needs to be broken down into manageable chunks every day.

Ooof. Those last three are way too vague for my liking. I'll post and then think on it some more...

I realized one thing I was lacking last year was a periodic review of my goals. So, I've also included a reminder in my calendar so this post will be emailed to me monthly. Last year I didn't review it until a friend brought it to my attention in October--too late for any realistic course corrections.


Republican for a Day?

I'm thinking about registering as a Republican so I can participate in the upcoming Republican Caucuses (7 Feb 2012). The deadline is today to give/update a party affiliation and thankfully Colorado has made it super easy to do so online. (Register to vote if you haven't already done so!)

I've changed party affiliation from Unaffiliated to Democrat too many times to count but this would be my first venture to red side. I suppose next I'll have to decide for whom I will caucus. It would be fun to cast my vote for the worst presidential candidate but that just feels wrong. Frankly, I would like to see Huntsman doing better and if Iowa has anything to say about it my one vote could make a difference.

Any good reason to not do it? The only drawback I can think of really isn't a drawback at all which is that I would perpetually be on the Rebublican mailing lists. But it's good to stay informed, right?

**update** 1138 hrs
Shoot. Just double-checked. The deadline to affiliate with the Republicans was a month ago since their caucus is a month earlier than the Democrats. I'll still keep it in mind for the primaries in August though...