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Archive for April, 2011

an ode to television and laziness

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

I’m sick. Please enjoy this post that I wrote almost a year ago for The Road More Travelled.

When we were younger, my girlfriend Laura and I each bet our parents that we could go an entire year without watching television*. Our friend (I use the word loosely – I should say ‘our ridiculously cute classmate who has now gone nowhere with his life but who once accidentally put his arm around my waist-which-was-bigger-back-then and that’s all I remember about him’) Matt had done , it with his parents the year before, and we were never the kind of girls to back off from a challenge.

We bet them $500. Of course, a bet would have required she and I paying out if we hadn’tsucceeded, so it wasn’t so much a bet as it was them paying us for not watching television.


Holy shit, people. That is a lot of scrilla for a 14 year old. Hell, that’s not an insignificant amount of money to me now.

We survived because we really wanted the money and because we had each other. When I recently experimented with veganism it reminded me of nothing so much as our tv-less year – you don’t realize how much you’ll be left out until you actually try it. Sure, you can listen while other people talk about shows. We were allowed to go to movies, but without seeing the previews we didn’t know what was available so we rarely did. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective came out that year, and can you imagine how fucking ridiculous that movie sounded to girls who hadn’t seen the previews?

“No, guys, he puts his HEAD in the rhino’s BUTT!”


“Trust us, it’s funny.”

At that point, they’d turn away and Laur and I would be chatting with each other, as usual.


Now, I don’t know what I would do without television. Anytime I’m home, the TV is on. I don’t listen to music, I don’t ‘enjoy the silence’. (HA. Like THAT’S a real thing.)

The TV is my friend. I’m not always watching it. Hell, I’m probably not even usually watching it. I like the noise and I like that there are stories going on, even if I’m not catching anything but the high points. I like that there are pretty people on a big screen in my living room.


When someone says “Have you seen the trailer for that new movie? God, it looks horrible!” I can always say “Yes. Yes I have.”

TV, I’m sorry I did that to you, and I thank you for being here for me now. It would take a lot more than $500 for me to leave you behind for a year.

$1000, at least.

and you were there, and you…

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Last night I dreamt that one of my best friends was pregnant, and she took me with her to her OB-GYN appointment. (I don’t know why).

My friend didn’t want to know the gender of her child, but I asked the OB if he could tell, and he said yes.

I said they should put a little black bar over the genitals on the ultrasound machine, so that he didn’t know either, because he could accidentally give it away.

He said ‘then what if something was wrong with him, like he had two penises?’

Then my friend realized she was having a boy and kicked me out of the room.

I’m not sure if it was because I accidentally tricked the OB into spilling the beans, or if it was because I accidentally made the OB talk about dual penises.

I also don’t know if dual penises are a thing.

The stuff my mind throws away is pure gold.

equality (last week)

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A week ago was Equal Pay Day.

Sadly, this has nothing to do with the candy bar.

I know that was a stupid joke. I’m on a diet and salty peanuts and caramel and chocolate sound really good and I’m allowed to make a stupid joke ok god.


Equal Pay Day symbolized how far into 2011 women (working full time) had to work to match what men made in 2010.

I’m going to pretend that you, dear readers, are the men (so basically everyone) who ask the same two questions every time this comes up in my globalization class:

But Emma, don’t women make less because they work less?

First of all, let’s get the privilege in that statement out of the way. Women work less because they are still the primary caregivers in families that have the option of a non- or part-time working parent. I know you didn’t say any different,  but there is an institutional bias at work there. Women don’t just work less than men.

Second – no. This number is comparing women with full time jobs to men with full time jobs.

But Emma, don’t women tend to take lower paying jobs like teachers and nurses?

Has it occurred to you that perhaps those jobs pay less because they’re traditionally ‘women’s work’?

There you go. If men had taken 2011 off until last week, women would have caught up from January 2010. Assuming, of course, that they weren’t still catching up from April 2010 – Equal Pay Day last year. Or April 2009. Or 2008.

Oh – one final indignity. Women who work full time but have children make 2.5% less, on average, than women doing the same job who don’t have children. Men with children make 2.1% MORE than men without children, doing the same job.

A girl I know said that she’s not a feminist because this is a solved problem.

Doesn’t seem like one to me.

laying it all out

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Ok, are you ready?

This is not going to be interesting to anyone except possibly other students who want to commiserate (or feel superior, if you’re doing more). If you’re not in that camp, I’ll see you tomorrow. If you are a student who feels superior, I’m ok with that. Just try to do it quietly.

Globalization – done by May 5:

  • A short paper on Stiglitz’s Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy (due tomorrow)
  • A short paper on some other book that I haven’t even looked at because it’s not due until a week from tomorrow
  • A 20 page term paper on the global economic effects of ‘Free Trade’ with a focus on coffee and American attitudes

Theory of Computation – done by May 3:

  • An assignment about plain Turing machines
  • An assignment about multi-tape Turing machines
  • A final exam

Advanced Social Statistics – done by May 5:

  • A chapter and assignment on chance models in genetics
  • A chapter and assignment on tests of significance
  • A chapter and assignment on advanced tests for averages
  • … modeling measurement error
  • … the accuracy of averages
  • … modeling employment and unemployment
  • … the chi-square test
  • … advanced tests of significance

Doesn’t it seem doable, when I lay it all out like that? I have 17 days and only 13 assignments and one exam. BOOM. Fewer than one per day. (Please don’t mention the likelyhood of researching and writing a 20 page paper in one day. I am well aware. I have already written down all of the places that grow coffee. Yay me!)

Also, today I got to talk to a bunch of high school boys about computer science.

They thought I was nifty.

It made me feel all special and stuff.



Thursday, April 14th, 2011

In my dreams people I love have been being mean to me.

Two nights ago, my dad and brother watched me get bit by a cottonmouth snake while they were watching cartoons. I started to feel poisoned, and asked them if I should call 911, and they brought me a phone and told me to keep it down.

Then last night, I dreamt that Crockett had a secret apartment in the urban area of my permanent dream landscape. (Do you have one of those? In mine, the urban area is next to the 200 foot tall highway, a little west of the mall, and north of the country road that’s for running and bike riding in one direction and burying bodies in the other direction.) In his secret apartment he had a whole bunch of girl clothes that were my size and he wouldn’t share.

Huh. That last one is weirder than it seemed in my head.

Fortunately, this morning I woke up early and went back to sleep. I have some of my best dreams in that part of the day. Today, Tina Fey and I were friends. She told me whose hands those are on the cover of Bossypants, but said I can’t tell you.

It’s ok, Tina, your secret is safe with me.