Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Credible Hulk

Last night I had a dream that I made out with Bruce Banner as portrayed by Mark Ruffalo.  That's neither here nor there.

Can you blame me?
This is a post about something I realized yesterday.  First, can we all stipulate that I am very quick witted?  Anyone who has talked to me for any length of time can probably see that.  It's likely an artifact of 1) having lots of time to be alone with my thoughts so I can formulate them in clever ways and 2) watching too much well-written TV.

However, my quick wit, though one of my strongest selling points, has an unfortunate side effect:  when I am feeling angry or defensive, I have the capacity to be incredibly cruel.  I find exactly the right weapon and whittle it down to a true and unforgiving point.  Most often, I am the sole victim of my own cruelty, but I know that other people have experienced it as well.  If my cruel self were a character in a movie, she would be considered hilariously well-written, but in reality, she is ugly and I nearly hate her.  I am glad that I had recently seen The Avengers, because I know that this is how Bruce Banner felt about The Hulk, to have this monster inside of him that he must do everything in his power to control.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be invited somewhere, and the person who invited me understood that I might not want to go.  And I didn't.  Not because it would be uncomfortable or painful (although it would be), but because I knew there would be a strong chance that The Hulk would come out, and I certainly didn't want people who were just on the cusp of becoming my friends to see that person.

So my question to all of you is this:  what can I do, short of moving to some remote village in India where I will never ever feel provoked (isn't that what he did in The Avengers? I missed the beginning of the movie), to deal with unpleasant people/situations without my absolute worst self coming out?  If I can figure out how to alleviate this, something good will have come out of my Hulk revelation (in addition to a dream about making out with Mark Ruffalo, that is).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Back in Boston!

The guy on the plane next to me had the worst B.O.  And now I feel like I smell like B.O.*  I could take a shower, but I'm just going to go outside in a bit and get all sweaty again.  I guess I just have to resign myself to the fact that I'm not going to smell good until October.

*Kind of like that one episode of Seinfeld.  I've seen very few episodes of Seinfeld, but I've seen that one a few times, I think.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I need to not compare myself to other women.

Because when I do, I feel like the world is telling me this:

That's way harsh, Tai.
Even though I am Miss Prudie von Frigidpants (we can't all be super comfortable expressing physical affection, okay?).  And I did fail my driving test.


"I don't know who I am, who I am...All I know is that I should"
-Missy Higgins, "Where I Stood"

Ever since I got back to Boston, something has been off.  Don't get me wrong, being back has been 90% great* but there's been some off-ness.  I think I figured out what it is:  even though I can barely remember Hawaii, I was there, and I was there for a year.  Boston is different now, and the people there are kind of different.  (The social circles that existed when I was there over a year ago have dissolved, people have moved away, and new people have come in, leaving a completely new social structure that I have yet to fully understand.)  Most importantly though, I am different.**  So I need to reinvent.  Figure out how the new Alex fits into new Boston with new people.

As I mentioned a while ago, being in the different ward will help, once I get used to it (I started going to their Relief Society the last Sunday I was in Boston and felt oddly like a visitor).  Starting school again will certainly make a difference:  it will give me a reason to get up in the mornings with some sort of purpose.  And of course, what redefinition of self goes without a makeover?  Out of a combination of necessity and my mother's insistence that I currently do not look like a woman at all, I am changing my hair today, somewhat more drastically than I have in some time.  Also I finally took Laura's advice about skinny pants and found some that don't make me look terrible and fat.  Even so, some things are probably not going to change.

For one, new Alex still doesn't have a smart phone.

*Don't get me started on the 10%...I'm working on getting over it.
**Whether new Alex is better or worse than old Alex is still up for discussion.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pink Engagement Rings

Last night I dreamed that one of my guy friends took me to a jewelry store to help him buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend.  He picked out something with a "pink sapphire" which was really a rose zircon, which is, incidentally, the less attractive of my birthstones (I prefer opals, even though they're supposedly bad luck).  After he picked out the ring, he thanked me and then told me we couldn't be friends anymore once he got engaged.

I'm not sure if there was something in the water last year in Boston, but a significant number of my friends are in relationships (or pre-lationships, or flirty-text encounters, or they're so hot and outgoing that as soon as they get settled in someone is going to snatch them right up) right now.  Hooray for them doing something to fill the void that was my absence, but it kind of bums me out that I can't really hang out with them anymore.  No matter how awesome I am, I will never be someone with whom my non-single friends want to hang out more than their significant others, and I certainly don't want to be the Token Single Friend that couples allow to tag along out of charity and probably for comic relief.

I guess I have two options:  1) get myself a boyfriend so I can be part of the "club" and therefore be allowed to hang out with my non-single guy friends again without their girlfriends getting jealous (because, let's face it, I'm so threatening what with my Coke-bottle glasses and my inability to operate a curling iron), or 2) get more single friends...and possibly a number of cats.

It's probably important to note that later I dreamed that I told my friend the engagement ring shopping dream (dream within a dream? trippy!) and we went back there and reenacted the first part, but then he turned into Bill Hader and also became possessed.  He started freaking out and carried me into the manager's office and told me to stay there no matter what happened, but somehow I popped back outside where some other ladies were being forced to sit still on benches while he dug through the floor, exposing a skeleton in the sand (who builds a jewelry store on top of sand? has the Bible taught us nothing?).  It was apparently the body of a Black woman (I could tell from the skull) that the man whose spirit he was possessed with had murdered decades ago.  I was allowed to work on the case because of my connections but I first had to do reconstructions on all these rat bones.

Clearly this was a sign that I should stop worrying about my relationship status and focus on being a forensic anthropologist instead.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What should I call my visit to the eye doctor?

Walking outside when my pupils are dilated:

Not the best Nosferatu image, I'm sure, but you get the idea.
In other news, my prescription didn't change much!  Now poverty is the only thing standing between me and laser surgery!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I dream about arranged marriages a lot.  I'm not particularly sure why; maybe they're just a good jumping-off point for some interesting plots.  There was one involving a cornfield one time years ago...but that's a story for another day, I think.

Last night I dreamed that, for political reasons, I was arranged to be married to one of my friends, a friend of whom I'm fond enough to write a ukulele birthday song for, but not one that I would marry.  It was fine though, because he didn't want to marry me either.  Thankfully, there was a loophole:  if we could have five unsuccessful weddings we could get out of it.  We had an officiator who agreed to foul up the first ceremony, set to take place in Minnesota.  It's probably also important to mention that in this dream, I had superpowers much like Superman:  flying, x-ray vision, etc.*  This was why we could so easily get to Minnesota.  We were getting ready to leave my house in Medford (I was wearing a green dress that closely resembled a not-amazingly-flattering bridesmaid's dress I had to wear back in the day) when it started to snow.  I decided I needed shoes, so I went back inside and chose the brown shoes that make my feet smell horrible (this was not supposed to be a successful wedding, remember?).

Unfortunately the dream took a different turn when I somehow ended up in a plane and had to use my Superman powers in a way resembling something that happened in an episode of Lois and Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman, so I don't know if my friend and I got out of our marriage arrangement. But I'm going to be optimistic and say that everything worked out happily, and that at least one of us ended up with an attractive Asian man.   

*I figured this out earlier when I was at a New England beach and I flew up past the clouds into this room with a series of doors that opened over various states (I had at first gone too far to the left and ended up in South Dakota).  I ended up in Minnesota to take my father (not my real-life father, but it was the old guy from Modern Family) to a Dunkin' Donuts (which made no sense since we started out in New England so why would we go to Minnesota?) but it was actually this diner that served donuts and coffee and a tuna melt (which is what I ordered).

Sunday, July 14, 2013


When I was about ten, I was obsessed with Xena: Warrior Princess.  One night, I got inspired by Xena's acrobatics and attempted some of my own.  I tried to do a somersault onto my bed, but I heard something snap in my neck instead.  I now know that it was probably a ligament doing normal ligamentous things, but at the age of ten, I assumed that my neck had broken.  Not realizing that death from a snapped neck would be instantaneous, I lay there in tears, assuming I would slowly wither away and die in the next few hours.

Ever since then, I have been a terrible hypochondriac.*

It didn't help that I was entering a field related to medicine and take lots of courses in pathophysiology where I would then diagnose myself with everything.  It also doesn't help that I have an actual heart condition that I assume is going to kill me at any moment without notice.  Furthermore, it doesn't help that I currently have the worst health insurance in the world and can't actually go to a doctor about anything until school starts in a little over a month.

The point of all of this right now is that I think I have esophageal spasms and they're quite bothering me.  At least I think they're esophageal spasms.  It could just be anxiety; it could be angina.  (It would really suck to have angina and not be a 50-year-old man.)  I won't be able to tell until school starts and I can go to a doctor with my new student health insurance.  At least it keeps me motivated to eat healthful food and stay in good shape, right?  And I'm keeping my stress levels down by baking lots of pie (today's adventure is strawberry rhubarb).

In short, though, I blame Xena.

*Another example that I don't care to include in the main text:  the first time I palpated my hyoid (this was well before I became an expert in human osteology), I thought I had a tumor.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Wacky Dreams

I used to have this Google Document that I would use to write down all my crazy dreams that I have (like this one, or this one), but in a mass frenzy of deleting stuff, I got rid of it.  But some of my dreams are too weird and awesome to keep to myself, so here's one that I dreamed last night as I slept in my queen-sized, pull-out sofa bed* in Pennsylvania.

I don't remember the events of the first part of the dream very well, but they included Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer mocking me for being too high-strung and no fun.  This made me really angry, so, in a fit of rage, I smashed a grilled cheese sandwich on his face.  He conceded that he had it coming.

As if any sandwich could mar that face.
The next part of the dream brought back some choir memories!  I was sitting at a desk in what might have been one of the green rooms of the HFAC at BYU, and men from BYU singers were walking by in outfits that would have made Johnny Weir say "whoa...dial it back a bit."**  But I got a phone call from Dr. Staheli (the director of Singers) saying that even though I was only in Concert Choir, they needed extra altos to go to Greenland with them.  I was looking at ticket prices and they were super cheap, but then I asked what the tour dates were and he said it started on 13 August, which was unfortunately the first day of Anatomy classes at BU, and therefore I couldn't go.  It was very sad.

Then I was still in choir, and we were going to sing at the Oscars, but I couldn't find an appropriate black dress.***  I was just going to wear my Concert Choir dress but I had so many closets and I was freaking out because it was in none of them.  Then I realized it was in my crypt!  I had a crypt not because I was dead (or undead) but because it was good storage.  I went to the cemetery and people from my ward in Boston were having a picnic on my crypt.  I rudely told them to shove off, and began looking, and lo and behold! there it was (is this a metaphor for how my choir days are dead and buried?)!  It was wrinkled of course, but I had time before going onstage to sing the National Anthem (they were very Patriotic Oscars) to iron it.  Shortly thereafter, I woke up, so I have no idea how the Oscars went.

*Because my parents got rid of my real bed after my sophomore year in college for some reason.
**For those of you who are not well-versed in flamboyant figure skaters, think velour, lots of rhinestones, and tight like unto a dish.
***I'm having a similar predicament for this wedding that I'll be singing at in a few weeks.  Wish me good shopping luck, please!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fun with Paint

Inspired by a conversation I had with my brand new home teacher last night.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In Brief

I can't believe it's July already.  It's cold, so it doesn't feel like July.  Also it's been raining quite a bit.  I like to walk by the Mystic River where it's very shady and breezy, and in theory it would be perfect for not being too sweaty after a walk, but it's still very humid.

Last night I had a dream that I was still in Hawaii.  It was really weird because I remembered that I used to live there, but it was all very blurry and fragmented, like I was dreaming about a dream.

Yesterday I realized I had no casual clothing.  In Hawaii, I would wear work clothes and pajamas and little else (interpret that as you like), but I never wore just regular going-out-in-the-daytime clothes very much.  So I attempted shopping a little bit.  Useful tip:  Target has good, cheap t-shirts!

Also I went yesterday to Harvard Square and drank iced hot chocolate at Burdick's.  Now I was always skeptical of iced hot chocolate--how could that be different from chocolate milk?  But it was delicious!  Kind of expensive, but so, so tasty!

I ate a cannoli at Modern Pastry in Medford.  I kind of felt like I was eavesdropping on some mob bosses.  The cannoli was decent, but I'd probably still take the gun.

There's a little bit of bitter that's seeping into my Boston bliss.  There's a thing that I'm dreading, and I'm not looking forward to having to deal with it, but I will deal with it--probably with a mix of active distraction and avoidance.  I'm just annoyed at myself for letting this stupid thing bother me, but I just have to imagine that I'll manage, and in a short time, I won't be bothered by it anymore.  Also I'm aware that this is super vague.

It still amazes me how late the sun stays up here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Journey of a Million Steps

One of the things I regretted not doing when I moved to Hawaii was buying a pedometer, so this week I went to Target and bought one!  It's a cheap one, but it measures steps, distance, and calories (surely not accurately).  For as much as I walk and Alex-run,* I want to know how many steps I'm taking.  On my short Alex-run this morning, I did just over four thousand steps (minus twelve because the thing got jostled a bit when I tried to clip it to my waistband without breaking it).

I wonder how long it would take to walk a million steps.  The pedometer only counts to 99,999, so I'd have to do some resetting to actually keep track which means that I'm probably not going to actually keep track, and probably the battery will die well before then anyway, but I still wonder.  Maybe distance is a better thing to track; I'm sure I walked over a hundred miles in Hawaii.

*Alex-run v.  To run a little bit, and then walk a little bit, and then run a little bit more, and then walk because the scenery is pretty and who wants to miss it, and then run because I should stop being a baby and it's not that hard, and then walk because it's been a while since I've seen my cardiologist, and so on.
Also, you're not really supposed to use a pedometer for running because it makes the distance inaccurate, but whatever.