Winterizing II

  • get lots of failblog and CuteOverload
  • aromatherapy
  • fish oils
  • homeopathic anything I can get my hands on
  • massage therapy
  • Korean spa or other source of steam, sauna, heat
  • get acquainted with my space heater and woolly slippers



I dread winters in the northwest. It doesn't matter that I grew up here, I've never dealt well with it, not since I was in my teens or so when you actually notice things like weather. But since there's nothing I can do about this, I decided to make a plan to prepare for winter. I know it's coming so if I have a plan maybe I will get through it better, with less laying in bed, sleeping in, napping all day, hating my life, complaining, sulking, eating carbs, getting fat, etc etc. So here it is. Here is my plan winterize list. See? Who says I can't be an optimist? :
  • take vitamin D supplements like a mofo
  • use SAD lamp religiously
  • sign up (pre pay) for evening activities like yoga and dance
  • buy cute winter clothes and many pairs of lovely weather proof boots (I rarely shop so this would be a huge treat, I don't care that it is a shallow and consumerist way to deal with my issues, we're talking about my mental health here)
  • also buy lots of cute and technical outdoor workout clothes and work out gadgets so that I'll want to run in the rain (I hope)
  • sign up for a run so I have something to train for
  • not let myself stock up on carbs (which make me fat and slow which makes me hate my life)
  • make lots of soup, I love soup and I make yummy soup
  • try to get up earlier to get more light (this is a hard one, obviously)
So I've started on the supplements, lamp, and of course shopping online to see what's out there. What else to put on the list?


holy shit

Just realized I've had this blog for 7.5 years. What the hell? It's been THAT long? What was I even doing that long ago? I think some of you have been reading since the beginning so you must've seen me through life pre-grad school (and perhaps worse, pre-medication, which includes cannabis I should mention since that is medication too). I dunno. I'm afraid to go back and read those early posts even though I've gone through and taken out any mentions of the then-bf because they make me want to throw up, frankly. How far up my ass WAS my head for those 6 years exactly? Jesus. Anyways. Weird. 7.5 years of ramblings are posted here.


You know you're Chinese when you get your parents front row seats to a live musical performance and your mother complains that you just get dust kicked in your face by the performers. Somebody fucking shoot me. When I was a kid I wished I had those be-friends-with-your-kid type moms. Instead I got judgmental, nitpicky, backseat driver mother. She needs to find a hobby that doesn't involve criticizing other family members or watching Korean soap operas constantly. You know, like having actual interests. See this is why it is bad to be an only child. Children need siblings to confide in/serve as a distraction for/share the pain when parents get annoying/demanding etc.



So it's dentist time again. Every 4 months I have to get my teeth cleaned and maintained instead of every 6 months like normal people. Nope. I have fucked up gums that my dentists have attributed to bad genes, like I can do anything about that, and teeth that are of an unfortunate shape that makes a lot of crevices. So going to the dentist fucking sucks, I fucking hate it, it gives me a headache for the rest of the day and sometimes I have to lie down and smoke pot and take advil for the rest of the day. Yes it's that fucking bad. Apparently, dental pain is hardwired to your brain differently than say muscular pain which go through your central nervous system. So I've been going to the dentist stoned silly. It's the only way I can get myself to go. As a grown-up I understand the fact that I need to take advantage of my dental coverage and all that shit and I need to take care of my teeth and all that. But fuck do I ever fucking hate going to the fucking dentist. So much. It's not what they call "dental anxiety." No fuck that. Here's what it is: I DONT LIKE DENTAL PAIN AND IT HURTS, MOFO! It's not the anxiety about the pain that needs management, if only it were so simple. It is the pain itself that is bothersome. So I decided to consult the internet on how to deal with all this pain and whether it has been actually helpful to be using pot before going to the dentist. Here's something I found from http://www.treatingyourself.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=36309
Cannabinoid receptor sites are primarily in the peripheral nervous system. As cannabis calms the underlying causes of most back pain, the inflammation and tightness of the muscles, the cannabinoids also act on the peripheral nervous system to modulate the pain messages transmitted to the major nerves. The pain from tooth drilling is a bit different, that kind of pain is hard-wired directly into the brain. Cannabis doesn’t block that pain so much as helps a person to simply look past the pain and ignore it.
Then he talks about getting teeth DRILLED without novocaine. That, I think, is nuts. I feel like I'm going to black out just thinking about that. Check this out:
Take cannabis edibles an hour or two before you are to sit in the dentist’s chair. Not flinching while the dentist is drilling your teeth is a big job. You must lie there absolutely still, melted into the chair, immobile. Cannabis is very useful in this process, not so much to block the high-voltage pain from the tooth drilling, but to help your mind reach the meditative state to deflect that pain, so you can let the pain flow over you like water.
So that's how he's saying pot is beneficial when it's dentist time, which is pretty much how I felt all along. It doesn't stop the pain but it helps you make it more manageable, slightly. I like this meditation exercise he talks about too:
Think of your time in that dentist’s chair like body surfing in big waves. When a crusher wave comes in, you must dive down deep, hold your breath, and let it roll over you. When it’s safe, you can come up again for air. The ocean is too big to fight; you have to hold on until the wave passes. And, it’s the very same thing having your teeth drilled without gas or Novocain. The very second the drilling stops, that tooth pain stops, as well, and you can safely come up for air. With modern high-speed dental drills, the actual total number of seconds of real pain are quite few, providing the excavation isn’t the Grand Canyon (your dentist can help you judge). So, just relax, it’s really not that bad, roll your eyes back, and let her rip! With a little pot spice cake behind you, you’ll be quite surprised, you can handle it! And, it’s only going to hurt for a few seconds, anyway. Afterward, when the drilling’s all done, putting in the filling doesn’t hurt a bit.
Again, that is crazy pants. I will never voluntarily go with LESS pain control. But it was comforting to know that it can be used to manage the whole dentist ordeal, even something like getting a cavity filled.

I plan to also take 4 advil, which the hygienist recommended. BTW, yes I get the numbing rinse which helps a bit, and yes I also use a fluoride rinse and also I use a RX strength fluoride toothpaste and it stiiiiiiiiiiiill hurts in indescribable ways just to get a basic cleaning. I have been brushing 3x a day or more, floss every night with the floss doubled over, and also making sure rub up and down on each tooth 10 times each, and finally using the Soniccare. My teeth and gums get better treatment than any other part of my body so I need a reward here. I need to have a dental visit that does not leave me laying on the couch for the rest of the day. I have too much work to do for that.



Almost there. I did the 3 year master's (should've been 2), followed immediately by the doctoral degree that was supposed to take 4 but never does and is instead taking me 5 years. I am so fucking ready to be done with this chapter of my life. I don't even care what comes next. It doesn't get a whole lot worse than this -- thinking all the time, writing all the time, constantly worrying about what comes next or whether I'll have the mental and emotional stamina to finish this dissertation without losing my mind. I am determined to finish the diss on time even though my thesis went way the fuck past my personal deadline. I stayed on schedule through my BA but the ridiculous amount of reading, writing, and worrying demanded by grad school compounded by the stress of living on a very very tight budget makes it impossible to hit targets from the department (unless you do quantitative type research that is more formulaic and more efficient in terms of writing and publishing). Anyways, I digress.

I'm pretty sure this dissertation will get done no matter how bad it is going to make my life suck the next 12 months. I can't have 8 YEARS of my life culminate in an ABD (all but dissertation). I survived general exams and that seemed impossible, so I think I have enough in me to do this dissertation thing too.

So assuming the above, there is no fucking way I will still be a grad student 1 year from now. Oh shit, unless I get a post-doc. Oh the horror. I don't know if I could do that.

OK assuming I don't get a post-doc I'll be doing SOMETHING else. Maybe being underemployed outside of academia, maybe community college teaching, maybe doing something temporary back in Vancouver, maybe even actually teaching in a 4-year university (chances not high given cuts to education funding nation-wide). Maybe something I haven't even thought of yet. Worst case scenario I'll be unemployed and sticking around on the 1 year practical training allowance of my student visa while cramming into my bf's studio apartment. That's not horrible. I won't be writing a dissertation. And that's comforting. I'll have some time to get my shit together and see what's next.

This dissertation hell is temporary. It has an end, and if I focus on the fact that there IS an end I feel a lot better and I can refocus on writing. This hell will end sooner if I work harder and the reward of not working on this diss anymore is a big one.

So far I'm feeling much less wound up about it...Man, it takes a lot of self-talk to get through a fucking day these days.



I thought that universities generally agree to do the sponsoring of work visas for the professors they hire, especially those educated in the US. Apparently that has changed. Here is a snippet from a faculty post from a Cal State school:
"At time of appointment, the successful candidate, if not a U.S. citizen, must have authorization from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to work in the United States."
To me that pretty much means, you're on your own. And since a worker cannot get a work visa without the employer's sponsorship, it pretty much means fuck off.

And here's another from a 4 year university:
"Successful candidate must provide documentation of identity and eligibility for employment, as required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986."
Yet another obstacle to getting a job here in academia.



I've been in grad school for 6 years and when I finish my diss in a year, it will have been 7. In that 7 years, every other part of my life has gone absolutely fucking nowhere (ok so there are more reasons than just grad school for that, namely bad luck and a waste-of-time relationship but whatever). Thus, I would like in the next 12-24 months to: get married, travel the world, have 2 babies, get a dog, buy a house, and not live pay check to pay check. God, Allah, Buddha, whoever the fuck is listening, please make this happen. Thanks.



I'm having serious writing anxiety and I'll admit I am blogging to warm up my writing brain cells. I would love to blog more but I'm too busy bitching on Twitter, and worrying about how I'm going to finish this gigantor project called a dissertation. Here's my sports analogy. I need to be competitive at the international level in order to feel comfortable taking part in the tiny tots category. For better or worse, I'm not the type who puts work out there and thinks it's awesome when everyone else thinks it's a piece of shit on a page. Not that I don't pity those people. I'm embarrassed for those overconfident pricks. Those who have so much confidence but no content...sad, but sometimes pretending gets you a long way. But I'm not a pretender.



I don't know how much longer I can stand this. I'm going to complain about something that is very trivial and is not even an illness or anything. It's my fucking allergies. I think it's been about 7 or 8 consecutive days now that I have spent at least half a day completely congested, or congested with a runny nose as well. This means I can't taste my food, I breathe through my mouth, and I am in danger of inhaling my food when I eat. Also I am really fucking uncomfortable and tired. Feeling like shit makes you tired. Now I know there are so many other ailments and issues that are worse - Lupus, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc. but it doesn't change the fact that my present experience is one of misery and discomfort.

I have allergies in some form pretty much all the time - a runny nose, itchy throat, itchy mouth, itchy tongue, a little asthma, sneezing, hives once in a while on my face or body or both, itchy eyes, sometimes my eyeball swells up such that I can't close my eyelids all the way because I look like those fucked up goldfish in the Chinese restaurants with the bubbly eyes. So most of the time I have at least one of those symptoms going on and I've had this pretty much all my life so usually I take a Benadryl and/or go to bed and life goes on. Usually I don't even notice it, especially the runny/stuffy nose and itching part. That's kind of constant. Anyways, when I get a combo of these symptoms or one of them really extra bad, that's when I just want to be sedated or something. Right now I am just really sick of that cat-in-my-sinus-cavity feeling. I'm over it, please make it stop. Neti pot helps but the snot all comes back and I can't be pouring water into my nostril while it drains out the other continuously because there are other things I need to do but stand over the fucking sink with a plastic blue pot shoved up my nostril.

Sometimes walking briskly outdoors helps clear it but I haven't figured out how I'm going to do that and write a dissertation at the same time.



Lightrail FAIL that is. I was excited last year that a light rail system would connect Seattle's downtown to the airport. When I first moved here I couldn't believe they had absolutely no light rail or subway system. What kind of city is this? Just buses that occasionally stop to pick you up and once in a while run on time? Seriously? What a crock of shit. Oh and if you want to commute by bike instead, well good luck navigating narrow roads with pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon

The light rail was lovely but at its grand opening didn't even reach the airport. That didn't happen until months later. I thought, better late than never. Well turns out it doesn't actually go to the airport terminal. Below is a piece from a news article in the Seattle Times.

Baggage carts are available for a $4 rental fee [are you fucking kidding me? $4?], and might be helpful for the quarter-mile walk [wtf?] west across a fourth-floor skybridge and through the parking garage to the terminal.

Not an option for all

Nancy and Rod Black of Yuma, Ariz., journeyed 49 miles on transit trains earlier this week... Nancy Black says she prefers light rail, but says the lengthy walk from the airport station to the terminal might be a hardship.

"What if you can't walk? That is a question," said Black, who has arthritis and uses a cane.

People-movers were not built, because those would cost millions, nor do the Port and Sound Transit keep electric carts, rental wheelchairs or pedicabs at the station.

This city suffers from TERRIBLE planning, shortsightedness and paralyzing indecision among lawmakers. Mark my words, the Alaskan Way viaduct and 520 floating bridge, both of with are in need of serious repair, are going to crumble and cause accidents before the city gets around to actually doing something to replace them. Stop it with the townhall meetings and votes and new plans and more votes and all this other bullshit and just do something for Christ's sake. This city's infrastructure is an embarrassment in so many ways.



I've had sensitive teeth and gums most of my adult life. I found out what's compounding the problem is what I eat. Here is a list of acidic foods that are bad for that part of your teeth where there's no enamel, down under the gumline:

pineapple or its juice
balsamic vinegar
anything carbonated
juice especially things like pomegranate grape and anything citris

If you know me well you'd know that makes up half of the foods I eat/can eat thanks to my allergies to most fruits. So I have to eat tropical fruits but if they are going to make going to the dentist torture that's going to have to come out of my diet. I'm not sure what fruits that leaves that I can eat without one form of self damage or another. Bananas. Boring bananas. I use balsamic a lot, like a lot. Ceviche is one of my favorite things in the world because of all the lime, which I can't eat. My favorite thing to drink is juice mixed with club soda. I can no longer drink either of those. Same with coffee and tea, my other favorite drinks. She says it's ok if you rinse with water immediately after so I guess I'll do that because I need a source of caffeine or this dissertation is not going to happen. Let me just say, in the spirit of Dr Seuss, that today is a sad day, a day that is sad in many ways. Today I'm going to let myself get stoned the entire day and eat out and eat whatever I want because this, this was traumatic. I floss with the floss doubled over several times a day, I use a Sonicare more than 2x a day and I use mouthwash after that. I thought there was nothing more I could possibly do for my teeth until now. But this diet change is going to seriously suck balls. Anyways my neck hurts so I'm going to lie down before I eat and get some work done.



So if you are up for some ticketless Olympics action here's what's to see and what not to see unless you love waiting in line ups for hours.

Cauldron - easiest thing to see and you can get up pretty close. The crowds look thicker than they are.

Robson Square - be here for the 9:30pm fire and light show; look up and check out the fools who waited 7 hours for the 30 second ziptrek over the street; watch the street performers

Robson @ Howe - CTV is filming live here during the Olympics; this is also sort of the central area downtown where the stuff's happening; this block is closed off to Granville

Granville - also closed off, there is some visual art and cool stuff on the street and folks here are trading pins at little stations. Up the other way the street is also closed off and people are all at the bars watching the games. Great vibe here, Olympics fans galore.

QE Theatre - there is a pavilion here, I think the Canada pavilion. I hear it's okay. There was over an hour wait so I didn't bother

Science World - The Russia, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Hockey pavilions are here. Quebec is just food and beer, there is a REALLY long wait for Russia, I didnt bother with the hockey pavilion. I went to the Sask one and it was a waste of time. Think high school poster board display. The other Sask building is just food and performance. What you SHOULD see here are all the rock balance sculptures along the water that resemble the 2010 logo. Very cool. Getting back up to downtown is a bitch. Skytrain is packed and everything is fenced off and very confusing.

Richmond Ozone - Lots of free concerts here and easy to get to by Skytrain. I saw Our Lady Peace. It's just an outdoor concert stage on a track and field. Lines look longer than they are. Fun, dress warm. Heineken House is here too. I didn't go but on one night it was $20 entry. Even when it's free entry expect a wait and $9 beers.


So I'm back from the Olympics where I spent my Thursday through Saturday. It was awesome. I haven't seen my hometown this busy and this alive since Expo 86 when the Skytrain was first launched. 24 years later and now the Skytrain goes out to Richmond and Burnaby. The Canada Line goes out to the airport and then out to Richmond Center which is incredible. I'm so proud of my city for being so on top of shit. I took these things for granted about Canada until I moved to the US where basic infrastructure is outdated and frail and some streets have more potholes than smooth pavement. I took my friends by the new $13M public aquatic center/gym/community center which is adding on a couple more ice rinks too, and realize that there is no such thing in the US. We watched the Olympics on CTV, which people are saying is inferior to CBC's past coverage, but both are better than the NBC Universal coverage we're subjected to south of the border where coverage of an event is cut as soon the American athlete fails to qualify. Oh and don't forget about health insurance. I will never shut up about that until the US gets its shit together on that one.

So the weekend was about the Olympics and seeing friends and eating about 10 tonnes of food, but it also reminded me to appreciate Canada. We've always been overshadowed our American neighbours but in so many ways, Canada is just fucking superior. Right wing American nut jobs can call our kind of government what they want, it doesn't change the fact that it works, it works better than yours, and its citizens live far more comfortable lives as a result.



I'm in Vancouver until Saturday for the Olympics. I've only really followed the Olympics half heartedly but when it's in your hometown it's pretty awesome. I'm too exhausted to cover details but we took the Skytrain Canada Line down to Vancouver Station, had dinner at Oysi Oysi, and walked around, watched the laser and fireworks show above Robson Square, checked out the Olympic flame, and then headed back out to Richmond. Turns out the panic about traffic has all the local folks getting around by Skytrain so the streets have been empty. Okay, more later.



I don't have anything to gripe about. That's odd. Okay going to bed now.



I signed a check 2008 a while ago. Apparently my consciousness follows two years behind everyone elses reality. I can't believe I've been here since 2006, 4 years this year. And I have no idea how to get around most places, other than outside of my immediate neighbourhood and a couple of the areas my friends live in. Don't get out much, no money to blow, time to blow it, or people to see. Shitty weather makes it hard to get out too. Probably a good thing for dissertation writing though. I kinda can't wait to end this grad school chapter of my life so I can start a new chapter, one that involves making more than $1700 a month so I can have a home with a washer/dryer again and walls that keep out the sound of my upstairs neighbour taking a leak or yelling at his roommate. The completion of my degree won't guarantee a faculty position, but I won't be able to get a faculty position without the degree. So here we go. My prospectus has been unofficially approved so it's time to write like hell.



Holy shit I've been blogging on this thing for SEVEN years? What the fuck? Really?


Guess it's a good time to do a little life recap. Here are some highlights of my year. I'm going to omit the shitty stuff because I rehash that shit in my head every day. Don't really need to do it again here. Alright, in no particular order:

1. Visited Austin, TX for the first time. Fun city. Love the rooftop patios. Soooo many of them too. So now I've been to two cities in Texas. I think I'm good now. No need to see more.
2. Passed exams. Advanced to candidacy, became a Ph.D. candidate, got my Ph.C. Yep all that. The preparation for that was pure hell and I survived, barely. The challenge now is to finish. That will be really really hard.
3. Had my first (phone) interview for a faculty position. It was horrifying. But I got that first one out of the way and I know that I'm at least marketable because I was selected for an interview in the first place. I, of course, did not get a second interview.
4. Got my first smart phone. Palm Pre, used but new to me. Love it. Wish the plan didn't cost me an arm and a leg. But it is life changing for sure.
5. Visited Thailand for the first time. Awesome trip and cheap! I wish I could get that much sun all the time.
6. Unfriended a woman who is more self-centered, obnoxious, and offensive than anyone I have ever met in my life. A total waste of my time and energy to even acknowledge. That said, her violent online tirades are pretty fucking entertaining. Like, lol entertaining.
7. Went to New Orleans for the first time. There is nothing more fun than taking drinks to go. The air feels dense with history there. A must see.
8. Got a contract to author one chapter of an edited book! I guess it'll come out 2011. Possibly my first printed scholarly publication.
9. Got my Yelp Elite 09 badge! That means I write a lot of reviews.
10. Went to Korea for the first time too. Great airport. Even better excursions for folks on a long layover like we were, 12 hours!