Friday, November 19, 2010


Onward and Upward...READ IT. It's about a young woman who was kicked off her high-school cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for her rapist.

Anyone read "Cunt: A Declaration of Independence" by Inga Muscio? Anyone remember her advice on forming 'public retaliation' squads? Get a few dozen--or hundred--ladies to show up at a rapist's sporting event as cheerleaders of a different sort..."We can shout, we can yell, rapist pigs can go to hell..." Fill his car with eggs of the rotten variety. Put a big ol' sign (or seven) in his yard so all his neighbors know what kind of guy they've got in the neighborhood. To the 'voice of reason and moderation' folks: Yeah, these ideas are extreme. As a rape survivor I'd just offer that, y'know, rape is extreme. Taking some of these actions with fifty of my sisters at my side wouldn't have fixed everything--not by a longshot--but it would've been the start of a start. Rape culture has prevailed for too long. It's time for all of us to say loud and clear, with our actions and with our voices: Fuck that noise.

To quote Ms. Muscio: We don't need men to protect us. This is between women and rapists. More to the point, this is between women and ourselves...At present, the cultural reaction to rape is generally a negative, shame-filled silence. Fine, let the culture react that way. We have the power to put something else there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Having an eating disorder is bad, yeah, but what really blows is when your ED has you.

That's what I feel like right now. Bad headspace. Physically and emotionally ill. Blech.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Flowers gathered in the morning,
Afternoon they blossom on;
Still are withered in the evening--
You can be me when I'm gone...

All around me darkness gathers,
Fading is the sun that shone.
We must speak of other matters:
You can be me when I'm gone.
--Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

Friday, October 22, 2010

The bowels of Pseudonymous Medical Center, on a call night. Industrial beauty at 3 am. If Hopper had worked at a hospital, this is what we would have instead of Night Owls.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's art if I say it's art.

Achingly blue sky, gloriously golden leaves: of such things are autumn evenings made.


Living in a national historic district means that even the streetlights are old-school and fancy.
Streetlights part deux. I think they turned on about five seconds after I snapped this picture. Damn my impatience!
"Dead leaves and the dirty ground when I know you're not around..." White Stripes? Anyone? But seriously, wet, fallen leaves? How falltacular can you get? PS. If this is your house and you saw me loitering outside with my Nikon, and thought I was either casing the joint or getting ready to report you to the Neighborhood Association, I am very sorry.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saw a praying mantis on campus earlier this week and decided to take a picture. I like praying mantises...sphodromantis viridis...if for no other reason than that they're pretty effing cool. They make an art form of camoflage. They even rock rhythmically to imitate vegetation blowing in the wind. Some are even able to turn black after fires destroy their habitat, the better to blend in. They are completely predatory. They eat other insects mostly, but the biggest species (Australian species primarily) will even eat birds, fish and rodents that are small enough for them to catch and devour (ok, that IS kind of gross). The females are bigger than the males, and after they finish copulating (or even during...) the females frequently eat the males' heads. According to studies--no doubt involving tiny candlelit dinners and scientists playing the mantis equivalent of Barry Manilow--males who are sexually cannibalized have increased reproductive success--they are able to mate longer, thus increasing the odds that their reproductive material makes its way into a hot mantis female.
It's kind of a black widow setup, except praying mantises are true insects (six legs, distinct abdomen, thorax and head--yes, I realize I am an utter dork) and not arachnids. I hate arachnids. I have true arachnophobia--I don't just dislike them; being around one, even one the size of, say, a mustard seed, makes me break out in a cold sweat. I read once that the average-sized American room (whatever the hell that means) in a residential setting contains 2.8 spiders. I don't think I've slept well since. Maybe if I had a bed in a cleanroom--you know, the kind they use for putting together computer components.
And the praying mantis, enraged by the paparazzi, rushes the camera! Run! Run for your lives! Run if you value your head!

Monday, October 11, 2010



It says, "Not here anymore. Return to sender." Which is sort of how I feel about the memorial service we had for my uncle on the first weekend of October. It was a chance to scatter his ashes on a hill at the farm where he and my father's siblings and other close kin (yes, in Missouri we can get away with using the word 'kin') spent a lot of time as children. It was an opportunity to laugh, cry, eat and drink; to do everything we do in life, together with family members that I don't know as well as I wish to, and thereby get to know them better. My other uncle gave a truly moving eulogy; my cousins and I embraced each other as we watched him toss what remained of his brother to the wind. I'm not sure if I feel Closure--we say that as if psychological closure is like surgical closure, just toss in a couple sutures and things will heal without incident--but it was a good way to say goodbye, if not to resolve everything all of us in the family have been feeling and thinking.

And then the drinking began (ok, my couisin already had some whiskey in his coffee before we started up the hill, and I'd already had a glass and a half of wine, but you know what I mean).
The barn at the farm in Bland, Missouri. Yes, that's right, Bland, Missouri. Go ahead. Type it in on Google maps. It exists.There are cows, too. One dropped a calf as we drove up the gravel road. Felt like a city slicker.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


One of the exits to the parking garage at Pseudonymous Teaching Hospital. It looks like something out of Star Trek, doesn't it? Says the girl who has only seen one or two episodes of Star Trek in her entire life.
Deep things that I want
1. World peace.
2. A life partner who loves me as I am, body, mind and soul, and whom I also love utterly and completely.
3. A healthy relationship with food and my body
4. To be able to provide for my patients' needs, not only medically but through the power of the therapeutic relationship
5. To be fully at peace with myself
6. A closer relationship with my family--both immediate and extended
7. A cure for cancer (I don't have to discover it... I just want someone to find it).
8. To establish a foundation that provides scholarships for eating disorders treatment to those who can't afford it
9. The healing of the environment

Shallow things that I want
1. Longer legs and bigger breasts
2. Awesome, earth-shattering, even-the-neighbors-have-a-cig-afterward sex (I have a few specific partners in mind, but mentioning their names is too gauche even for me)
3. Some money. Not a lot. Just some.
4. To get my novel published, to both critical acclaim and economic windfall
5.Did I mention sex?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Just for interest's sake (when I should be studying musculoskeletal surgery stuff): Apparently ducks have really weird genitalia. See here. A drake can have a phallus that's as long as he is. And is shaped like a corkscrew. Just another reminder that the universe has an effed-up sense of humor, and that nature regularly flies in the face of Occam's Razor.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Around my neighborhood...This is the incredibly skanky diner (I use the word skanky not in a sexual sense, but in the sense of a place that is so incredibly dirty and decrepit that even the thought of going inside makes you want to scrub your entire body with steel wool and straight lye) not too far from my apartment. As you can see, they offer breakfast, and fried rice, all day (I would like to point out that the two are not mutually exclusive, but something about the 'or' suggests that if you attempted to order fried rice for breakfast, the owners wouldn't take too kindly to it). The fried rice will cost you, but the family-owned-diner taste (which is actually bugs) is thrown in for free. That and the salmonella.
In the two years I've walked by the place, they've never changed the sign in any way; it's a dry-erase board, but nothing has ever been added, and nothing has ever been erased. Isn't that the point of the dry-erase board? Its infinite alterability?Please, insert your own double-entendre/ penis joke here. *That's what she said!* Ahem. Apologies for that bit of juvenilia. But seriously, several times a year this specialty grocer has a 'massive meat sale.' For once I was carrying a camera when I happened upon the giant, burns-your-retinas-with-its-awesome-fluorescentness, hyperbolic sign.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Happy photo fun time!What IS this? A bird? A butterfly? A very ugly beanie baby? Wrong (it could be made into the last, I suppose, but the marketing possibilities seem limited). It's a polyphemus moth, known to scientists by his alias Antheraea polyphemus. I saw him hanging out on the wall next to the front door of my apartment building, chillin', doing his little Saturniidae thing (or not so little, actually--as a member of the 'giant silk moths,' he is by definition not small; his wingspan is about six inches, one of the largest moths in Missouri, a distinction he shares with the fluorescent green Luna moth). He's named for his eyespots, after the cyclops Polyphemus of Greek myth. Why are you calling this moth a HIM, Anne?, you ask. I'm not just assuming everything is male unless proven otherwise; actually sexual dimorphism in A. polyphemus is pretty obvious (ie, males and females look very different). Males have super-bushy antennae, the better to detect the pheromones of hot, nubile females in search of steamy moth action. This particular moth stayed with us for about two days, then disappeared. Either he left of his own volition or, more likely, he shuffled off this mortal coil with the assistance of one of the shady pigeons in the neighborhood. Actually, I've noticed some very interesting color patterns in the pigeons of St. Louis...ah, urban flora and fauna. Anyway, if he'd stuck around longer, I might have named him...Mothra.
And then there's urban fauna redux. Random shot into some guy's office on Pseudonymous Medical School's campus. This, obviously, is Uncle Buck.


Heirloom tomatoes purchased from the Farmer's Market outside Pseudonymous Major Midwestern Teaching Hospital where I am currently doing my 3rd year clerkship. I get to feel my warm, fuzzy sense of lefty superiority (I'm buying local! No migrant workers were exploited to bring me my tomatoes! They're organic! Good lord, my flight of latte-swilling, Marx reading liberal elitism has led me binge on exclamation points like Lindsay Lohan on cocaine!) and still reap the very selfish rewards of buying heirloom tomatoes. What are heirloom tomatoes? Glad you asked--they're old varieties with names like Brandywine and Big Boy (they don't all sound like strippers or sex toys...) that have fallen out of cultivation since the arrival of big agribusiness and factory farming. Why are they so fabulous? Unlike major commercial varieties, which are bred primarily to be shippable across long distances, these are bred for interesting color patterns, unusual shapes, and freaking awesome flavor. I'm not kidding about the flavor: heirloom tomatoes are to the mealy, wan varieties you find in the produce aisle as black tar heroin is to Pixy Stix.

I take previously mentioned tomatoes and make my (in)famous Asiago, Tomato and Basil Tart.I could give you the recipe. Maybe if you comment I will. Maybe I will enjoy withholding it, as I get to experience so few power trips in my everyday life.

But on to my colonoscopy (hey! great segue!) that I promised to discuss two weeks ago, and for which you've been waiting with baited breath, I'm sure. Results: inflammation of the lower foot or so of my colon. Differential diagnosis: Ulcerative colitis, random infectious nastiness, and ischemic bowel disease. Turns out there are 3 sorts of people who get ischemic bowel--the elderly, because they get everything; folks who are a little too fond of cocaine; and distance runners, particularly women. Well, I'm not that old, and I'm not a coke fiend, but around the time the abdominal pain and bleeding showed up, I had increased my weekly mileage from my standard 35 or so miles per week to 60. Apparently athletic colitis is like runner's trots, but to the 'n'th degree. Deprived of blood for a little while, your intestines freak out a bit, but you have a bout of diarrhea and then everything's cool again. Deprived for a longer period of time (on the order of hour(s), like when I do my 10-mile runs), you can get partial or even full-thickness necrosis (death) of the bowel wall. According to my research, something like 2% of all female marathoners are expelling visible blood when they finish their 26.2. I'm taking anti-inflammatory meds at the moment, and they seem to be helping. Hopefully this is over and done.

Friday, September 17, 2010

So. Tuesday night I noticed I was having some abdominal pain. Meh, I said to myself, must've been running too hard, with not enough warm-up (the infamous runner's trots--supposedly caused by short-term ischemia to the bowels as all the blood goes rushing to your quads and hams--as a former cross country coach once said, "If you don't finish each race with a sprint to the bathroom, you haven't been pushing hard enough." But I digress). Pain continued throughout the night, along with the onset of...comment ce dit?...guess there's no polite way to put it...diarrhea. And, as the night progressed, increasingly large quantities of blood. Tried eating a little something and promptly vomited. Around six am I was doubled over in pain, and seriously considered getting my happy ass in the car and driving to the Barnes ER. "No, don't blow this out of proportion," I told myself. "Wait until eight and go to Student Health."

Went to SH. Reported severe abdominal pain and presence of blood. Was sent home with antibiotics and a presumptive diagnosis of C. diff colitis. Only problem: I've smelled C. difficile diarrhea on an ER rotation. It has what textbooks refer to as either a "foul" or an "offensive" odor; the resident I was working with in the ER described it as a "freaking nasty-ass smell that you will never, ever forget." I was not producing said smell. I was sent home with a prescription for Flagyl and a 'stool specimen collection kit' (so a C. diff assay could be sent for confirmation). Went home, took a day's worth of the prescribed metronidazole (a medication that is itself almost as nasty as what it's intended to treat). Couldn't eat; even the thought of eating made me want to hurl--though whether that was the abdominal pain, the Flagyl, or some sort of gastroenteritis component of the picture remains unclear. This continued for the next 24 hours; I could drink water and diet Sprite, but that was it. Not even my beloved diet Coke was a possibility. :(

Re-presented to Student Health Thursday morning, still in severe pain and still passing blood--and now orthostatic, having been unable to eat (and limited in my ability to drink) for more than a day. Received several liters of IV fluids and an abdominal CT. Had a colonoscopy scheduled for Friday. Got the results of Wednesday's C. diff assay back--negative, just as I'd suspected. Was sent home with a colonoscopy prep (I fear I may have been a little rude to the nurse when she gave me the large bottle of MiraLax for the bowel prep. I furrowed my brow and said, "This is a joke, right?" I mean, I'm running to the bathroom every few minutes, and at this point all I'm producing is blood--not to be grotesque, but essentially a period that took a wrong turn and ended up coming out the wrong orifice. And you're giving me a laxative? Get on with your bad self).

The colonoscopy itself will be the subject of the next entry in our series.

At this point I have missed more days of Surgery than I have attended; however, it would've been absolutely impossible to work 1) doubled over in pain and 2) running to the bathroom every 20 minutes.

On the plus side, after almost four days of virtually no intake, I think I've lost most (if not all) of the weight I put on last spring when I quit smoking. Not to spoil the surprise that comes with the results of the colonoscopy, but the New-Onset Ulcerative Colitis Diet, while freakishly painful and deeply disturbing, is also super effective.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Poetry time!

I Often Make Deliberate Mistakes
(for N., who knows why)

You spell 'la coeur'
Liqueur
and drown in the difference.
Your best-laid design
and mine,
though born alike, become estranged
and strange
in their undoings.
Your shattered glass opposed my
shattered pasts--we know
they're separated by a line as fine,
an edge as diamond-sharp
as any shard you'd find there,
e
mbedded in my heart and lead there
by its beating;
Creatures apart mapping the dark
together, sparking like flint
at the places of our meeting.
-AG

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Ten reasons Lady Gaga can't step to Madonna (who she consistently names as one of her major 'influences):

1. Gaga: a collection of sounds often uttered by babies, or a euphemism for being crazy/insensible. Madonna: another name for the Mother of Christ. Advantage: Madonna.

2: Madonna was one of the most influential style icons of the late 80s and early 90s. Lady Gaga dresses like an acid-addled street person who somehow gained access to an American Express Gold Card in a parallel universe. Or like architecture.

3. 'Bad Romance' vs. 'Express Yourself.' Or to be more explicit, in the 'how fatuous are these lyrics?' department--"Ra ra ah ah ah, Roma, roma ma, Gaga Oohlala..." vs. "Long stemmed roses are the way to your heart but he needs to start with your head...satin sheets are very romantic, what happens when you're not in bed?" Random syllables vs. feminist empowerment. Exactly.

4. Madonna's videos were subversive enough to get banned from TV and decried by the Vatican (the one where she made out with a black saint? Anyone remember?). Gaga's videos are subvers...oh, wait. They're not.

5. Even though she's old enough to be my mother, and even though she's got a weird Ms. Muscle-America/emaciated Buddha thing going on right now, I would still bite the bullet and make out with Madonna fifty times before I'd consider Lady Gaga.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I was going to write a post every day. I was going to capture third year in all its glorious complexity, the mad fervor, the fear, the vindication.

Instead I ended up fighting off a sickening depressive episode, barely managing to secure an acceptable grade for my first rotation when in fact I thought getting through the six weeks without doing real, visceral damage to myself should be counted as an 'honors' of sorts. "Congratulations, you're alive, and not sobbing in the fetal position at the nurses' station or running down Euclid Avenue with nothing on but your scrub top and an isolation mask." You take what you can get.

It's not that I don't care. I do. But when I get depressed (not, 'oh, I'm having a bad day,' but really, truly depressed) I'm totally behind the eight ball. Screwed. Survival Mode.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Maybe I'm not as crazy as I think. For the past few weeks, I've occasionally been seeing my uncle. No, not in dreams. In Forest Park, or on the train, or in the hospital cafeteria. And not just a flash of him, either--not a glimpse out of the corner of my eye, not a matter of seconds. I see him clearly, looking at me, smiling, and then vanishing into thin air. Now you see it, now you don't--a sleight of hand at once both comforting and cruel--and, apparently, quite common (though no one talks about it).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life, Death, Sex and the Nature of God

A lot to cover in one post, but I'm going to try. So just a few weeks ago, I lost a close relative to suicide (well, I shouldn't say lost--it isn't as if he's been misplaced or forgotten--but that's the best word I can think of at the moment). Now, most of my life I've assumed that the reason suicide is such a heart-rending way to lose someone is because of the stigma involved; if cousin Rick had a heart attack, you'd feel perfectly comfortable saying, "It was his heart." In this case, however, it just didn't seem right to say, "He shot himself in the head," or even the less graphic variant, "He committed suicide." It is that, in part; but another source of the pain is the fact that you question yourself--how you interacted with the person, whether you could have (by calling more often, offering some words of encouragement, somehow being more clued in to their state of mind) averted the catastrophe that occurred.

When my uncle killed himself, he left a package of his papers (including a DNR--do not resuscitate--order) for another member of our family to find. As I was running in Forest Park a few days ago, I started going over the ethical implications in my mind. If someone had found him in time to perform resuscitation, would his DNR stand? Ostensibly, if he was not of sound mind when it was drafted and signed, it shouldn't, and power should revert to his healthcare proxy. What if it was signed months ago? Some evidence (the person who told me didn't elaborate, and I honestly didn't want to know) suggested that he'd been planning this final denouement for the better part of a year. Had he been unremittingly suicidal all that time? "Merely" depressed? Can a person make a rational decision to die as an escape from psychological or existential pain?

Flash forward to the funeral/"memorial service." I'm in one of the front rows, listening skeptically as the sermon begins. I'm hoping that, despite the fact that the service was arranged by my more...evangelical family members, the overall message will be comforting and uplifting. And at first, it seemed to be. It's part of the human experience to wish for death from time to time, the pastor said, pulling up examples from Scripture: Moses, chafed by the complaints of the Israelites in the desert, asked God to put him to death. Jonah did much the same thing. Even the holiest among us at times feel so bad that death looks like a respite, he said. I breathed a sigh of relief. BUT, he said--and at this point I knew we were in for it--to act upon that wish is a mortal sin. There was some more exposition (which I could barely hear over the sound of my blood boiling in my ears), but the take home message was that my uncle, because he was not a professed Christian, and because he killed himself, was now writhing in the fires of hell. I walked out shortly after this statement was made (largely because I didn't trust myself not to stand up and attack both the pastor's parentage and exegesis in phrases thick with four-letter words) and didn't hear the rest of the sermon.

I called my other uncle a few nights ago, to ask him some questions that have been plaguing me, and just generally to build a better relationship with what remains of my family. He was the one that found the suicide note; I wanted to know what it said, and to check on how he was doing, and try to discover what exactly happened (my parents told me part of what happened several days after the fact, once I'd 1. taken my Boards and 2. had driven to KC, so I wouldn't be alone). We talked a long time. He emphasized that my uncle had been struggling with severe depression for a very long time--this is true--and that ultimately it was just too much for him to bear. That's what I wanted to yell at the pastor, to tell my relatives, to have emblazoned in skywriting above the church. My father, and every single one of his siblings, has a mood disorder (either major depression or bipolar disorder), an anxiety disorder, or both. Lucky girl that I am, I--through some combination of genetics and circumstance--have been blessed with both as well. We, of all people, should know better.
As one of my friends with depression (and an Episcopal priest) said when I told her about the service, "I hate smug sane people." Exactly. Because having been on the other side of suicidality, and more that cursorily, I can say it's not about 'presumption of God's mercy,' or 'willfulness,' or hurting those left behind. These are the furthest things from your mind. It's about the pain: the incessant, bone-crushing, soul-rending, heart-shattering pain, and the animal instinct to escape from it by any means possible. At the moment I'm doing pretty well, but I know that I am always at risk for relapse; my uncle had so many happy times, but he also ultimately killed himself. Depression, while not a sentence to a life of unhappiness, is not something to take lightly. I guess his death has made me more aware of my vulnerabilities, and more dedicated to vigilance in the face of this disease.

And then what of God? My definition of that word, even, is difficult to pin down; but as my uncle said to me on the phone (and I thought this was a very good point), what sense does it make to hold Ward Cleaver to a higher standard of compassion and forgiveness than the Creator of the Universe? Because what did Ward do when Wally or The Beav screwed up majorly? He sternly advised them to fix whatever it was they'd effed up, made sure they followed through on fixing their friend's bike/got the bandaids off the cat/ never hotwired a car again...and then tousled their hair and told them they were forgiven and loved (and also to make him a whiskey on the rocks...because, hey, it WAS 1950). Yet The Lord God, Creator of all that is, Seen and Unseen, gets so pissed off at disobedience/sin or a creature's disbelief that eternal damnation and torment is the answer? No chance for reprieve? No. Not my God.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today was orientation. We learned an ungodly amount and practiced putting in nasogastric--ie, feeding--tubes, and Foley catheters for males and females (best quote of the day is probably from the nurse that demonstrated the male catheterization, in response to my tentative grasp--"You're going to have to grab that penis like you mean it." Oops...hope that word doesn't get me put on some unsavory list). Then there was knot-tying, which apparently is an uber-important surgical skill, and suturing, at which I sucked tremendously. Of course, it probably didn't help that last night, in my forgetfulness and due to my recent space-cadet status, I took both the Thursday and Friday doses of my usual medications. And then proceeded to have a panic attack, and go to the ER, assured that my demise was only minutes away, only to be told that I was (essentially) being a one-woman freak show (though of course the doctors don't tell you that...perhaps more disturbing, I knew the attending who saw me from another context. Thankfully I don't think he recognized me). Why. am. I. such. a. freak? Then again, I guess I answered my own question when I told the resident the reason I take the medications I take--"for depression and PTSD."
To be fair, although it wasn't a massive overdose, it was a some pretty potent stuff, and I've felt essentially *gorked* all day today (I swear, that's hospital patois, not drug slang. Don't recognize the word 'patois'? Look it up and be edified!), which made paying attention to the two-hour presentation on the hospital computer system impossible rather than merely difficult. And which resulted in the suturing instructor telling me no fewer than six times, each time holding up his forceps as an example, and each time getting a look of utter incomprehension from me, to "hold your forceps like a pencil. Not like that. Like a pencil." Finally dude just came over and placed my fingers in the correct position around the forceps. Word on the street, however, is that such a stupid or lackadaisical response to commands in the OR will cause a surgeon to backhand you across the Mayo stand. Needless to say, on a day which ideally would have found me in top form, I was (or at least felt--let's cognitive-behaviorally reconstruct that thought, huh?) sadly lacking. On the other hand, it may have been all to the good that I was semi-sedated--this was a nervy, pressured day, and I actually *objectively* performed quite well in the sharps safety training, which was simulation-based and a lot more fun than I anticipated.
So in the sharps training we learned to perform--according to OSHA requirements--venipuncture/phlebotomy (ie, "taking blood") and IV starts. We also learned to stick for an arterial blood gas (which I hope I first get to practice on a comatose patient, because it hurts like a mother, though that may be a moot point because someone sick enough to be in a coma is probably already equipped with an arterial line).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RIP. I'll think of you the next time I go to the Soulard Market, Uncle Jim. That's still one of my favorite St. Louis memories.

Jim Giedinghagen, age 58 of St. Charles, MO died on or about June 8, 2010. Jim was the son of Lewis A. and Anna I. Giedinghagen and was born on June 5, 1952. He will be missed by his mother; his brothers David and Dale; his sisters Marsha Bearden and Diane Stevens; his sisters-in-law June and Vicki; his brothers-in-law Rick Bearden and Bob Stevens; his nieces and nephews Beth & Willie Bray (& Will), Adam Bearden, Grant & Jennifer Bearden (& Riley), Joshua Bearden, Stephanie and Anne Giedinghagen, Melissa & Eric Trautman, Andrew and Rachel Giedinghagen; and close friends. Beloved, troubled son, brother and trusted friend. The memories of your kindness, empathy and gentle, caring spirit will always live in the hearts of those who love you, and will through the grace of a forgiving God, temper our profound grief. All the bright days, your abiding love and wonder in nature, your sharp wit and the laughter we shared will give us solace. Mercy, charity, forbearance and tolerance marked your path through this world. May they guide ours as well, as we acknowledge the darkness, yet watch for the breaking dawn. A memorial service for Jim will be held on Saturday, June 19th at 2:30 PM at the First Evangelical Free Church of Franklin County, located at 480 Hwy AT, Villa Ridge, MO 63089. In lieu of flowers, friends may honor Jim’s memory with contributions to Heifer International or the St. Charles Humane Society in care of Alternative Funeral & Cremation Services, 2115 Parkway Drive, St. Peters, MO 63376.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ok, so it shouldn't surprise me that Hooters has sexist business practices, but welcome to today's installment of YHTBFKM (You have to be f*cking kidding me) news!
A number of Hooters waitresses (you know, that place where you can ogle heavily made-up, fake-tanned, barely-legal women in shorts so tiny they require a preliminary bikini waxing...and where they serve, um, wings...yeah, it's all about the wings...) have come forward to say they have been placed on 'weight probation' by the company--given a 30 day gym membership and told they have a month to either shape up or ship out. Literally. Some--ie, Hooters management--have argued that this is no different from "the policies of such organizations as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders or the Rockettes" (bastions of pro-woman sentiment and positive body image, no doubt). So what about this undershot even my snakebelly-low expectations for this particular corporation?
Here. A woman who is nearly 5'8" and 132 lbs--whose BMI is 19.8, for the love of Jeebus--has been told to lose weight or lose her job. If one were specifically writing a scenario designed to give someone an eating disorder, it would be difficult to do better. I don't know how much weight they wanted this young woman to lose, but she is already at the low, LOW end of normal for her height; in fact, losing even 10 lbs. would put her squarely in the "underweight" category. It's not enough that their business practices are themselves chauvinistic and exploitative, IMPLICITLY making workers feel insecure and encouraging unhealthy relationships with food and weight; now Hooters (I know it's not funny, but I still can't say/type 'Hooters' without wanting to giggle; I'm secretly 13 years old, so sue me) has to EXPLICITLY encourage young women to damage their health in pursuit of appearance and approval. I would imagine that no one who reads this on a regular basis (if in fact such people exist) is frequenting this particular business establishment, but if you are, I would implore you to boycott. No one should have to choose between being unhealthy and being unemployed.

Monday, June 07, 2010

To shave...or not to shave?

So, as third year rotations rapidly approach, I have decided I'm going to take the leap and...gulp...shave my legs, and possibly my underarms as well (because I am much less likely to wear outfits that showcase my pits than my gams. Rowr.) I haven't shaved since I was fifteen--a full decade--and while once upon a time it was fine (both the hair and the grooming practice), it's become less so. As a teenager, and even in college, I'd occasionally have people tell me they thought it really brave, or rad, or some such adjective, that I wasn't giving in to the patriarchy, and we'd have a dialogue about my reasoning. That doesn't happen so much anymore--maybe because I have fewer hippie friends and acquaintances. Medical schools, like medical professionals, are not overly noted for their liberal leanings.

So why am I doing this? Primarily because I don't want to get marked down by an intern or disgust an attending. There. I said it. Also because a friend intimated that shaving might up my chances for getting laid. And because I pluck my eyebrows, which makes me feel a little hypocritical.

What were/are my reasons for not shaving? Well, there IS the laziness factor--I'm not going to lie. Also, it pisses me off that everyone acts like women's body hair--which grows there naturally, and will stay there unless you actively remove it--has an ick factor higher than 'Alien vs. Predator' and open heart surgery combined. Julia Roberts has a little fuzz under her arms? OMG, EWW to the max! Whereas I feel guys can, essentially, look like bears--and it's all ok. Granted, I know arguing that it's 'natural' not to shave can be struck down reductio ad absurdum--that is, by pointing out that in our natural state human beings don't wear clothes, don't shave anything and smell like a combo of donkey, Cheetos and feet. C'est vrai.

However, it seems like a slippery slope to me...perhaps because in the last 25 years the body has become the site of such anxiety, and has become such a domain to be mastered, that I wonder where this will all end (yes, I realize I sound like I'm 75 years old). It's practically de rigeur to shave underarms and legs. After that, in order of necessity, would probably come bikini waxing or shaving (do you realize it was only 10 years ago that the J Sisters Salon in NYC started performing the now-infamous Brazilian wax? O sisters, what have you wrought!?), and it's become less and less common to get just a 'little off the sides'--ie, so that it doesn't look like you bought a swimsuit with fur trim. Now EVERYTHING comes off. And then there are eyebrow waxings, upper lip waxings...when can we stop preening and pruning ourselves?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This is why I'm so fascinated by psychiatry. What happens in a young brain to cause pain and pleasure to get confused? What is it, exactly, that 'turns someone's mind'? What pushes someone to make the jump from normalcy to freakdom? Because, rest assured, there is such a thing as a freak, such a thing as 'sick.' (As for why we brand certain things freakish and sick, that's a topic for a whole sociology library). For example, so-called "supermasochist" Bob Flanagan, the infamous early-90s arts grant recipient whose performances included nailing his manhood to a board onstage. He also happened to be (at the time of his death in 1996) the longest-living person with cystic fibrosis, a disease that generally kills people--horribly and painfully--in their teens if not earlier. Was he fighting the pain of his illness with pain that was self-inflicted, in order to finally have some control over the pain; to be able to say, "CF, I will hurt myself before you can"? Or did he eroticize the pain because it was the only way that his psyche could make his life with CF bearable? Did his masochism (admittedly extreme) have anything to do with his unusually long life, a way of fighting death by courting it? Flanagan attempted to answer this question (or at least a tongue-in-cheek send-up) in his poem 'why'. I almost linked directly to that poem--on second thought, just google it up. More about this soon, I think; I've been thinking about this a good deal lately.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scientists find new role for ultrasound — as a male contraceptive - Times Online

So imagine your guy could go in for a quick procedure--no, not even a procedure, really--every six months and you would both have zero worries about birth control.
It's time contraception caught up with the sexual equality thing that has (kinda) swept through most other areas of our lives. Or did in, like, 1970.
Now, I don't have to worry about this myself, but having just finished our OB/Gyn course it's definitely on my mind the extent to which contraceptives for women--especially hormonal contraceptives--can really screw with one's body (and mind). Granted, a lot of the pills are low-dose now and don't have nearly the side effects they used to, but how about something that requires no pills or invasive procedures whatsoever (included the 'invasive procedure' addendum after remembering a friend whose Copper-T IUD caused her so much pain and bleeding that when her doc told her to 'give it a few more months,' she told him he was either taking it out before her next period or she was finding someone who would)? Behold:
Scientists find new role for ultrasound — as a male contraceptive - Times Online

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sorry it's been so long, folks. Studying. And studying. And, you know, stuff.

Boards, which apparently determine your fate for the rest of your days, are in a month. Despite the fact that many people (including a psychiatrist) have told me that, as a wannabe psychiatrist, my board scores don't matter, I still want to do well. Ok, not just well. Not to be hypercompetitive or anything, but I want to nail the test to the wall by its balls. So there.

Feeling a little cranky, studying this much. Want to complain about some things. So here we are, the things that have been pissing me off lately:

Having to drive out to the VA to get fingerprinting done so I can do rotations there. Granted, it's my own fault.

Allergies that not even Zyrtec can touch. Ok, "Wal-zyr," but whatever. It's spring and everyone's having sex. Even the plants are having sex, and that's getting up my nose (literally) and making my life a miserable orgy of antihistamines and tissues.

Cilantro. This is nothing new; I've never liked it. But especially lately, it seems like everyone thinks they have to tart up their cuisine with chipotle this and cilantro that. F*ck cilantro.

In the same vein, what are acai berries, and why have they found their way into my blueberry yogurt such that, in fact, there IS no blueberry Light and Fit, only blueberry-acai Light and Fit? The same goes for you, goji berries. I've got my eye on you.

Monday, March 08, 2010

So apparently you can't say 'feel' while performing a breast or pelvic exam in the Standardized Patient suite. Not only can't you say, "I'm NOT going to feel you up, this is going to be a highly professional breast exam," which is probably just as well...you can't say "That FEELS normal," or "I'm going to FEEL for any abnormalities" or "Now I'm FEELING your ovaries."

"Look," it turns out, is also inappropriate. But think about it. That means no "That looks normal" or "I'm looking for abnormalities." It's not like I'm going to say, "Lookin' good," or anything.

So what verbs EXACTLY, I asked, my blepharospasm playing up out of annoyance, are allowed? Well, there's "Examine." Also "palpate," which for my money sounds filthier than either "look" or "feel." Really it seems to me that we're getting a little carried away with the Roget's Thesaurus and using 50-dollar words for the precise words we're not allowed. How would you define 'examine' to a five year old? "Looking at something carefully." What is palpation to a ten-year-old? Feeling very carefully. It's linguistic acrobatics, and in my opinion (as long as one is sensitive to the patient's needs and comfort) unnecessary; however, as I'm being graded on this, I shall palpate and examine until I'm working on patients I know, who are less litigious and with whom I have greater rapport--and then I will commence feeling and looking again. It also goes without saying, but in the SP suite as on Arrested Development--NO TOUCHING. (Not literally--you just don't call it touching).

The problem is, even knowing these rules, you WILL say both 'feel' and 'look.' Multiple times. Because that's what you say, and I'm pretty damn sure I've had health care providers use those words when performing exams on me. Ok, when Dr. W. (whom you all know and love) told me, "Looks good in there," I did sort of wrinkle my brow and fight the impulse to say something like, "Thanks, I had someone in to clean before my appointment." But otherwise her technique is unassailable, if a little blitzkrieg for some people's taste (possibly because few women like to think of their cervix playing the part of Czechoslovakia). It's the opposite of the slow approach we're being taught, but when it comes to the unpleasantness that is a pelvic exam, I personally would rather have a practitioner of the Ninja school--in and out in an instant, leaving no trace behind.

Monday, February 08, 2010

It's that time of the month again (or of the quarter, or of the fiscal year, based on the regularity of my cycle): THINGS (AND PEOPLE) WHICH PISS ME OFF.

1. Ann Coulter. Not sure if she's a thing or a person. What makes it worse, she's hot. For some reason it's worse when mind-blowingly foul vitriol is spewed from a pretty little mouth. Like finding out that Carebears (tm, and a fond memory of my childhood) crap nuclear waste, and are secretly Fascists.

2. That on a cold crappy day like today I can't have a decent pot pie, because no one makes vegetarian pot pies, and even if I were willing to compromise my veggie convictions, a Marie Callender chicken pot pie runs over 1000 calories and more than 100% of a day's fat. Dammit, why are things that are so delicious (I remember eating these with relish as a kid) so horrible for you? And as they're a ConAgra product, so horrible for the political and agricultural environment?

3. Missing the train and standing in the snow for twenty minutes.

4. There being no fewer than two questions on the exam today that, on first seeing them, made me say quietly to myself, "We never f*cking covered that."

5. Rush Limbaugh.

6. Sudden bouts of panic that assault you in the frozen foods aisle of Schnucks.

7. Blargh.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My panic attacks have been horrible lately--multiple times a day, some stretching past the usual five minute mark and into double-digit territory. Thirty minutes is a long time to be diaphoretic, tachycardic, dyspneic and nauseous, convinced that Something Terrible, which you can't actually name but which you dread as much as if not more than death itself, is coming for you.
I'm trying to study for Neuro and Psych (ha), but I can't help feeling...disgruntled that so many of my colleagues are procrastinating and studying and focusing, while my primary goal the past few days has been to get from waking up in the morning to falling asleep at night without being sucked into a black vortex of terror. It's killing my appetite. I've been living on ramen, diet coke and alprazolam (Xanax--for you kids currently studying the pharmacology of anxiolytics, it's a medium-short-acting benzodiazepine [parentheses within parentheses--faster onset than clonazepam, unless of course you have sublingually dissolving Klonopin wafers, and slower onset than lorazepam, ie Ativan]).

Friday, January 29, 2010

I don't normally write poetry within confining forms; I often think of it as, as one of my favorite poets said, "Dancing in chains." On the other hand, one of my creative writing instructors once wrote on one of my poems, "You dance beautifully in chains. Now, the question: do you want to?" An existential question if ever there was one. All that aside, a sonnet. If you think it's for you...you're right.

Memorare

Remember, please, that all pain someday fades
And what is given you to understand
Is a small thing, much as the shifting shades
Which help define the greater and more grand
Entirety; Now see we through a glass
Darkly, but the time will come (and soon)
When pain and shades and even you will pass,
And earth, and sky; the sun, the quiet moon--
And finally the truth will be revealed
Which has so long desired to be known
And in that knowing, aching will be stilled
As truth is balm for brain and soul and bone.

I say this to assist you to recall:
Love and time, between them, conquer all.
-A Giedinghagen, Jan 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Are you an "East Coast elitist" or "just folks?"

I was raised by 'just folks' and have since, apparently become (in the lexicon of Fox news media) a "latte-sipping, theory reading, liberal elitist." I even made a T-shirt to express this sentiment. But now I am bringing the quiz to you, to help you decide which camp you fall into. All assertions and results are strictly tongue-in-cheek. So have fun and, as my father would say, "don't get pissy."

1. Take the number of current Supreme Court justices you can name offhand. Subtract the number of Big Ten schools you can name.

2. Add one point for each of the following magazines/newspapers you subscribe to (add another point if you caught the grammatical error in the previous sentence): The New Yorker, The New York Times, Salon.com, Utne Reader, The Atlantic, Metropolis, Harper's (NOT, repeat NOT, Harper's Bazaar). Add 1/2 pt. for each you read on a regular (ie, more than six times a year) basis.

3. Subtract one point for each of the following magazines/newspapers to which you subscribe, and 1/2 pt. for each you read on a regular basis: Ladies Home Journal, Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan, Field and Stream, Good Housekeeping, Quilting, People.

4. Add one point for each item you own: an automatic wine bottle opener, a pepper mill, a piece of original art, a crystal bud vase, a coffee table book featuring nude photography (two points for either Susan Sontag or Mapplethorpe--take five if you have both).

5. Subtract one point for each item you own: a shotgun, a crocheted doily and/or antimacassar (add one point if you recognize that word), a singing artificial bass, a bowling ball, any item featuring a Confederate flag that's less than twenty years old.

6. Add one point for any of the following cuisines you have PREPARED yourself: Indian, Thai, Provencal, Japanese/Asian fusion, tapas.

7. Subtract one point for each of the following you have eaten in the last month: chicken fried steak, green bean casserole, salted peanuts in a can of Coke, anything containing lard and/or fried in SAVED bacon grease (subtract two if you saved said grease in a coffee can like my grandma used to), anything from Waffle House (the Mason-Dixon line has become the defacto IHOP/Waffle House line, but in Missouri they are still mingled--that was one of the riders to the Missouri Compromise).

Take one point for each A, zero for each B, and subtract one for each C.

8. Your last credit card statement included purchases at
a. The MoMA store.
b. Starbucks.
c. Larry's Liquor, Bait and Ammo.

9. During your teenage rebellious phase, you
a. Began reading Ram Dass and refused to attend your parents' Episcopal church for six months.
b. Started skipping gym class to smoke cigarettes and drink behind the gym.
c. dropped out and opened a meth lab.

10. If you were forced at gunpoint to get a tattoo, it would be
a. A short Nietzsche quote.
b. A Celtic knot.
c. The name of your live-in boyfriend, but never mind the gun...you have it already. Along with the names of your last three boyfriends. If only laser removal weren't so expensive...

11. Veganism is...
a. Oh, yeah. I went vegan for a few weeks, but the brie at my parents' latest fundraiser was my downfall.
b. Avoiding all animal products, including dairy, eggs...even honey, I think.
c. Isn't that, like, some heathen religion?

As for the scoring...I don't care anymore. You know what you are. And I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

After I first heard about the tragedy in Haiti (and donated a bit to Medicins sans Frontieres--seriously, donate) I began to wonder...how long before Pat Robertson opens his evangelical blowhole and lets fly with something simultaneously poisonous and awe-inspiring? And by awe-inspiring, I mean something that will make me think, "How could a man of eighty possibly have balls of that magnitude? Does he have to carry them in a wheelbarrow? Does he just sit on them, like a beanbag chair?" And oh, I hoped I would be wrong, but the answer was: less than 24 hours. I quote:

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about. They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the Third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the Prince.' True story. And so the Devil said, 'OK it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another."

"Napoleon the Third and whatever?" And people LISTEN to this man? The man who made similar, though slightly less schizophrenic-sounding, "WTF?" staements after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina?

People, if you are living under the spell of Pat Robertson and James Dobson and their Religious-Right cronies, please know there is a way out. There is life on the other side. I grew up (true story) watching the 700 Club (Robertson's crazy televangelist extravaganza). When I was eight, my dad decreed that we would have no more Halloween, because it was a Satanic holiday. I did not own a 'secular' CD until I received 'Jagged Little Pill' as a birthday gift (from a friend) when I was 13...and oh, what an introduction to the big, bad, secular world Alanis was! We went to church twice a week. My parents did not spare the rod (they kept a spare rod in case the first one broke, but that's another story). Guilt, shame, and another healthy helping of guilt and condemnation, that was the menu.

There are spiritual ways of relating to the world--to other people, to God, to yourself--that do not involve being a judgemental, self-righteous douchebag or a self-hating flagellant. "The greatest of these is love." Remember? The Bible? "Let he (sic) who is without sin cast the first stone?" "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?" Micah? Any of this ringing a bell?

And please, think of Haiti. Please, send money, good thoughts, prayers to whatever deity or Higher Order of Consciousness you believe in. Prove that not all Americans are as hard-hearted as the Unreverend Robertson.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just...bitching.

Over the weekend I was in a position to have to purchase feminine hygiene products. Drove to the store (with cramps so bad I almost threw up in the Walgreen's parking lot), went in and was confronted by a WALL of pads and tampons. WHY are there 50 different kinds? I understand, I guess, the super plus, super and regular demarcations; but why are there scented tampons (which make even less sense than scented pads, which already make very little sense?), and how do they differ from 'stayfresh' products (which makes me imagine putting a tiny box of baking soda up there, like you keep in the fridge?), and why do we need pads not only in the aforementioned super, regular, etc. strengths, but also in overnight, long, slender, ultrathin, and something new from Always called 'infinity?' WTF? And why is it that the grocery store has the organic, chlorine-free products I normally use, but Walgreens doesn't, forcing me to purchase ones with dioxins and probably pesticides? As I was looking, I said to myself (probably a bit too loudly, considering the response of the stockboy standing near me), "I just need something to BLEED ON, for God's sake!" Said stockboy scurried away immediately.

This probably explains some of the bad mood that's been trailing me the past few days, why Ive been so easily annoyed. Several pet peeves emerging in the past few days--

The word 'Anyways,' which--in fact--is NOT a word.
As usual, people forming plurals with apostrophes ("Nacho's 2.50").
Insomnia. Again, not unusual, but particularly needling.
The influx of people at the gym, attempting to keep their new year's resolutions which in 90% of cases will be gone by February, and which means I have to wait 30 minutes for someone walking 3 miles an hour to finish in order to put in my time at 7 mph...I know it's crappy of me to be upset by this, but I can't help it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Decriminalizing prostitution?

Apparently Dallas (Texas--one of the last places I would've expected this story to turn up) has started a program aimed at helping, rather than villifying, prostitutes. Right on!, I thought, reading the tagline on msn--"Dallas prostitutes offered help, not jail--prostitutes are treated as sex crimes victims, not criminals." Then I read the whole article. Then I slammed my head on the desk and tried to decide where I fell on this particular issue. You can read the article yourself here.

The women, once arrested (yes, they still get arrested--hmm, already it doesn't sound like they're being treated as victims, and yes, I realize that some (on both the left and the right) don't think prostitutes are victims)...well, maybe I should let you read it and insert my commentary as needed:

Police confiscate the prostitutes' property (so they ARE still criminals?) and interview them for information about criminal activity, such as whether pimps are running underage prostitutes out of area motels. Then social service workers assess the women's drug, alcohol and mental health counseling needs. The women get STD tests and other medical care at a mobile health clinic. (What happens if a woman doesn't want this assistance? I'm sure many could benefit from it, but why do I feel like a woman who asserts her agency over her body--ie, hey, dude, you're not getting a vaginal swab from me--which she is completely within her rights to do, is unlikely to get the gentle treatment any longer?)

The last stop of the night is the mobile courtroom. If the women have no felony warrants and seem sincere, (I'm sorry, but could this be a little more paternalistic, please? 'I'm really sorry, Daddy.' 'Do you really mean it?') the judge gives them the opportunity to avoid jail and enter rehab. After 45 days of inpatient counseling, they receive help with education, child care and housing. (Gee, 45 days involuntary committment to rehab or a night in jail, when I have kids to take care of. Wonder what I'll choose.)

I guess part of what irks me about this is the idea that these judges are being so magnanimous, taking care of these 'wayward women.' The article goes on and on about drugs, too. Yes, for a lot of women drugs are part of the sex-worker bag, but this focus on it seems calculated to widen the gap between Them (there are few female insults that rank above 'crack whore') and Us. It lets 'us'--the ordinary, law abiding citizens who have never sucked dick for crack--to feel better about ourselves. It also allows us to pin the blame firmly on these sex workers if they refuse 'help,' regardless of their circumstances--hey, lady, don't say we didn't give you a chance to redeem yourself. Then we don't have to deal with the social issues like pay inequity and lack of affordable childcare that foster disproportionate female poverty. We don't have to really digest the fact that (in some studies I've read...I'll link to them later) more than 50% of sex workers were sexually abused as children, or that johns are treated to a nudge and a wink while women are carted off to jail.

But Anne! you say (yes, I heard you). What kind of third-wave feminist are you? It's a choice! These women aren't victims, they're sex-positive goddess-women reasserting their agency over their bodies! Um. I hate to break it to you, but many--in fact, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say most--sex workers are not Annie Sprinkle. Nor are they Carol Queen, or Kate Bornstein (all of whom, don't get me wrong, are totally, rockingly awesome--google 'em if you don't know them). I will venture here that providing help rather than prison is the way I would go, were I in the cops' shoes--but without arrests or hearings. Community mental health, sexual health and substance abuse referrals, access to safe housing and childcare and jobs...these are the things I would aim to provide to those women who wanted them. Without intimidation or coercion.

Final note--the photo at the top of the MSN page shows a "17 year old arrested for prostitution" being comforted by social welfare workers. Hey, kids, guess what? Y'know what it's called when an adult has sex with a minor, even if he pays her? Statutory rape. And y'know what you should be arrested for if you're the minor that happens to? Not a goddamn thing.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Eating disorders kill.

So I was at the grocery store today and I actually bought (shh!) an In-Touch magazine, something I have never previously done and which I will probably never do again. Brittany Murphy was on the cover: she died, apparently, and inside there were a number of pictures where she looked skinny as hell.
The 'doctor' cited in the article said a number of prescriptions were found at her home, including Topamax (used for mood stabilization and sedation in addition to its primary use as an anticonvulsant), Ativan and Klonipin (with which I am intimately familiar, having some anxiety issues myself--they're benzodiazepines), and some sedatives and hydrocodone. The doctor stated that Ativan and Klonopin, in high enough doses, can cause cardiac arrest. BZZZZZ. Incorrect. You have to take an assload of benzos to kill yourself, and you have to take them with alcohol. We're talking LOTS. Maybe it was the sedatives, or the opioids--but my money's on an eating disorder. Alarmingly, one of the commonest ways for anorexics (and bulimics) to die is just that way--cardiac arrest. Boom. Even if she were dabbling in pharmaceuticals, having a system weakened by severe eating disorder puts you at greater risk for "adverse events."

I've been having a flare-up of the old issues, myself. I know that article should serve as a wake-up call, but there's still the part of me that's looking at her pictures and thinking, "Damn, I wish my arms looked like that. I bet if I ran X miles a day and kept below X calories, I could be there in a few months...well, I've been on this new diet for a week now, and I've already lost X pounds..." It's sick and it's twisted, but it is also the way of the American woman--and a damn shame.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/american-christianism-in-africa.html

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/american-christianism-in-africa.html

So some U.S. fundamentalists are finally helping Africa do what they've been trying to carry off in America for decades--kill all the gays.
I guess that gives a new meaning to 'mission trip,' not to mention 'intentionally lethal, holier-than-thou, bloodthirsty assholery.'

Words literally fail me. That someone would knowingly help make homosexuality not just a crime, but a hanging offense? You know that means people in Uganda are going to die, right? 'Mr.' Lively is threatened by people who lead lifestyles that are not his own--people do not share his worldview. And for this, he wants them to die and stop threatening the American Nuclear Family (which has pretty much blown itself up without any help from queermos like myself). Were this not so serious an issue, I might even ponder...could Lively possibly be trying to 'kill' some nascent homoerotic tendencies in himself? ("I will not think about dick. I won't, I won't, I won't! Hey--maybe if we rounded up some of those awful homosexuals and started killing them...yeah, that just the defense mechanism I need!") Could Uganda possibly be looking for a scapegoat for the sorry-ass shape their country is in? I smell a fourth reich--but this time they're coming for gays.

Monday, January 04, 2010

One of my New Year's *intentions* (I decided that setting good intentions was a better paradigm than the more paternalistic 'there's something wrong with you' approach of resolutions) was to find a significant other.

However, since that has not yet occurred...The seeds of an 'anti-Valentine's Day Party' have been planted in my head. I'm thinking, unromantic foods--black stuff, sour stuff, salty stuff. Bitter(sweet) chocolate, even though chocolate should be off limits...I guess as long as no one at the party is passing chocolates tongue-to-tongue, it should be fine. Hmmm...