Archive for February, 2007

WebMD is the Devil

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While the Internet has been one of the most valuable tools of my whole entire life (what would I do without my daily dose of feministing?), it also gets me into quite a bit of trouble—particularly because I am the world’s biggest hypochondriac and the Internet just feeds my sick, sick mind. Every time I get a foreign bump on my skin or a slight soreness in a new spot, I rush onto WebMD and immediately throw myself into a tizzy about my possible diagnosis. Fortunately, until today, I was always way off base. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve had several stints of really horrendous stomach pains on my right side. At first—much to Dan’s delight by the way—I thought that spinach was bothering me. He rejoiced as I threw away the bags of organic spinach I had stored in the freezer and I thought I had solved the problem. Until Friday, when I ate homemade nachos (sans spinach) and had the same issues. Maybe I was lactose intolerant? I went along with my new hypothesis, avoiding milk, cheese, and ice cream all weekend until I made tofu, vegetables and quinoa last night and guess what? Same stomach problems. When you’re consuming TOFU, veggies, and QUINOA and have stomach problems, something is amiss. 

After consulting with my good friend/addiction WebMD, I diagnosed myself with gallstones and decided that it was time to see the doctor. It only took a few minutes for me to describe my symptoms before my doc set me up for an ultrasound tomorrow morning to look for…gallstones. Crap. And apparently they can occur when you lose weight like I have been lately. I can’t win. Double crap. 

If the ultrasound confirms the gallstones, I will need to have my gallbladder removed. Unfortunately, my hypochondria extends into all things surgery related. I have never been under anesthesia before and the thought of it completely freaks me out. What if I wake up half way through the procedure and there’s a tube in my throat and I’m choking and no one in the operating room can tell? I think I saw an episode about that on Maury once…

In Search of Intelligent Dialogue…

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The Providence Journal, the daily newspaper in Rhode Island, provides quite a bit of online content that supplements the top stories of the day. Over the past few months I have found myself increasingly drawn to the “active surveys” section of the site. Projo staff post new survey questions (mostly open ended) on a regular basis and readers are encouraged to submit their two cents. Recent questions include “what’s a good spot for a central library in Providence?”, “have you ever had problems with wildlife on your property?”, and less tasteful surveys such as “tell us your Rhode Island mob story.” 

At first I thought that these surveys were a great way to start an open dialogue with people in Rhode Island about all sorts of important topics such as neighborhood improvements, arts and culture, diversity, and affordable housing. Unfortunately, many of the surveys become dumping grounds for people’s ignorant views—apparently (according to the comments I read) illegal immigrants, homosexuals, state workers, and politicians are the cause of 99% of the problems in Rhode Island. Librarians, teachers, and strippers are apparently a bunch of troublemakers too. 

When two mothers from Woonsocket joined in on a fight between their daughters, the Projo survey results included many comments about illegal immigrants creating violence in our cities. Unfortunately, a majority of the posters either failed to read the article fully or failed to realize that people from Puerto Rico are American citizens and not illegal immigrants. 

Some readers shared intelligent, well-thought out insight about the potential relocation of the Providence Public Library while others chose to offer more ludicrous ideas such as firing all librarians to save money, closing the library because everything is available on the Internet, and moving the library to Cranston because Providence is a “hell hole.” Anyone who thinks Providence is a “hell hole” obviously hasn’t stepped foot in the city since the 1980s. 

Rhode Island is increasingly becoming a service industry state because low paying retail and food service jobs are the best match for the skills of many unemployed Rhode Island residents. This state, along with other New England states, offer top notch higher education to thousands of college students each year. The problem is that students take their education and move straight out of New England. I imagine that people who are contemplating a move to Rhode Island check out the Providence Journal to get a feel for the state’s culture. I only hope that if they stumble across these active surveys, they take most of the comments with a grain of salt.

Where Has It Been Hiding?

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  • I think my desire to be a writer is back with a vengeance, which is great! I just wonder where it’s been hiding for the past 2+ years? I have all sorts of great new article ideas (which I will start with one at a time because of my crazy schedule) and I’m feeling that creative fire within—that overall “want to be a better person” rumble in my stomach.
  • I am currently sitting at Panera Bread, sipping a gigantic cup of hot chocolate and enjoying the free WiFi. Starbucks and Borders take note—I think it’s crappy that your establishments offer WiFi, but only by purchasing service through T-Mobile. I would gladly pay $5 per cup of coffee for the chance to get free WiFi within walking distance of my apartment. And Borders, I am a self-proclaimed magazine junkie who would probably walk away with at least $20 of magazines per visit. Instead, I’m sitting in a great business that offers tons of delicious food that I can’t eat.
  • I think we would all feel much less stress if we took some time to get emotional like little children do—this morning alone I have witnessed at least five kids who start with one long cry, take a gigantic breathe, and let out an even louder wail. It looks absolutely exhausting, but pretty emotionally satisfying. Do you think I’ll get fired if I try it at work tomorrow?
  • My class is still incredibly interesting, although I still loathe watching Grey’s Anatomy. I know several people who are die-hard fans of the show and it is really upsetting them that I hate it. Some insist that if I started watching it before it was a class assignment, that I would really enjoy it. I think not.
  • I have started a paper about Jack Bauer and after doing research all day yesterday, I’ve come to the conclusion that this will have to be a 25+ page final paper because there is just too much to say about him. Did you know that there is homoerotic fan fiction about Jack and Tony Almeida? There’s also some that stress a relationship between Jack and President David Palmer—kinky.
  • I am currently reading Jennifer Baumgardner’s newest book Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics as a review for feministreview.org, an excellent site that offers reviews of all sorts of products from a feminist perspective. So far, I cannot put the book down. I started late last night, just to get a feel for the writing, and ended up reading the first 75 pages! And I haven’t even gotten to the chapter entitled “Bisexuality Now: The Ani Phenomenon.” I’ve admired Jennifer Baumgardner’s writing since I first read Manifesta many years ago. I’ll post the link to my review of the book once I finish.
  • I have also been reading a lot of Gluten Free Girl’s blog. The site is so visually appealing, Shauna’s writing is superbly interesting and exiting, and she makes all sorts of delicious food that I can eat! I am also insanely jealous that she is a professional writer by trade and that Le Creuset donated a ton of their cookery to her after reading her blog. If any corporations are reading this, I love Target, Crate and Barrel, Putumayo World Music, iTunes, artichoke hearts, and I think I spend roughly half of my salary at Whole Foods… thank you for any help you can offer!

Will the Lappie Inspire Me?

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Well, the Ahtspot party was a huge success! Please check out our website, with photos taken by yours truly, to get a feel for the turnout. I am so excited about the winning logo and can’t wait to get it placed on tee shirts and bumper stickers. 

Grad school is great so far, although I am sick of telling people about the class I am taking this semester—Sequels and Series, or What Television Can Teach Us About the Novel. Despite the fact that I tell curious people all about the massive amounts of reading and heavy theoretical material I have to finish each week, the only response I get is “you’re paying to take a class about television?” or “I wish I could take a class that involves just watching tv.” Excuse me, I’m just studying possibly the single most influential and most used piece of equipment in every American home…no big deal. Ugh. 

I am counting down the days until my new laptop, a Dell Latitude 420D arrives! For five years, I have struggled with an older Dell that defies all specs associated with owning a laptop (lightweight, convenient, full of battery power, wireless) because it weighs a ton and needs to be plugged in at all times because the battery power lasts for all of 30 minutes. I keep having Carrie Bradshaw daydreams of carrying my new wireless laptop to the coffee shop, library, and school so I can become the Superwriter I have always dreamed of—minus the fact that I hate coffee and I hate high heels even more.