Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm back, what'd I miss?

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, but things have gotten a little crazy, work-load wise, up my way. I'll probably be more coherent once finals are over.

The next encounter with the vampire technician was cut short due to a little thing called an infiltration, so now I have a very interesting bruise on one arm. No data on whether or not he was going to discuss biology versus theology with me, but while everyone else was running around patching me up so I didn't bleed out into my arm or all over the floor, we both made fun of Twilight, which was playing on the TV they set up for the donor's distraction, and got into the vampire vs werewolf squabble (my stance: I'd rather be a vampire, at least at first, so I still have some control over myself rather than risk hurting someone I care about. Werewolves still rock just as hard, so if I got to spend my "training" well away from humans, I wouldn't mind at all. As to who wins in a fight: assuming equal experience, it goes to whoever gets the drop on the other.)

The pro-birth, anti-contraception, anti-willingly childless groups came through campus, so I got to spend some time playing with their heads. I think most of what I said went over their heads, such as the fact that being pregnant with me nearly killed my mother not being an inspirational story. (Yes, one of the girls said that. Inspirational. That sizzling sound you heard was every neuron in my brain frying at the thought of someone being forced through this being "inspirational." I felt terrible when I learned just how hard she'd had it, and she fought tooth and nail to be able to have just me. Imagine if she hadn't wanted to be a mother....)

And before I get hate mail about that, I'll call you pro-life if you're consistently so: vegetarian/vegan (I'm generally lenient on this point, since if you're dirt poor you don't really have much of a choice and meat is still great stuff - just show some consideration for non-humans, like no throwing away your dog at the side of the road when the dog becomes inconvenient), anti-war, anti-death penalty, promotion of good health care for everyone from womb to tomb, and all that other good stuff. And be intelligent about it. Don't tell me shit like "the birth control pill was the inspiration for the idea of abortion," or "NFP is 99% effective," or even "there is never any reason for an abortion."

Anyway, it's crunch time. I'll probably update once I'm semi-coherent after turning in the last of four large papers and slogging through my work shifts.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"The Sun Will Rise," Round Two

A while back, I wrote about a vampire (read: a medical technician who does all of the messy work of handling human blood and plasma) back at the plasma clinic who was apparently trying to pick a fight over evolution. I did manage to get him a list of literature, but throwing something out there and hoping it sticks is not what I'd call a proper rematch.

Just the other day, I wound up in his section again. He was reading the literature on the list I wrote out for him, and he seemed genuinely interested. Maybe it wasn't an attempt to pick a fight after all.

I'm not holding my breath, however. Tomorrow will be round three, and I'm not certain if

A) He'll be there

B) He'll have time to discuss what I offered, or

C) If he'll come up with something else to try to pick a fight over.

I'm hoping that he's honestly looking at what I've offered instead of deconstructing it, but I'll keep my mouth shut until I know more.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I had a little bird...

...and his name was Enza
I opened up the window
And in flew Enza.

I made a slight mistake when I was grading tests in the middle of class while the students watched a movie. My mistake was to listen with one ear, and occasionally look up at the screen.

Of course, this being a class about human adaptation and a quick overview of evolution, it was about a recent disaster that showed how a different genetic roll of the dice would spell out life or death - the 1918 influenza epidemic.

That epidemic has lived at the back of my mind ever since I learned about it, along with all of the other ways the world as we know it could end. But it's terrifying for two reasons, one of which is that it defied all logic as to how a disease should behave. Microorganisms, be they bacteria or virii (viruses?), don't want to kill their host quickly. They want the host to survive so that they have a chance to spread, and not be stuck in a rotting body when the host keels over. And it's the flu, for chrissakes - you feel miserable for maybe a week, you spend some time recovering, but you do recover. But the Spanish Lady moved so fast that people were healthy in the morning and dead by nightfall. Sometimes entire households would fall sick, and on occasion everyone or nearly everyone under that roof would die, in a week or two.

The other frightening thing is that the epidemic was forgotten so quickly. How on earth do you forget things like shortages of coffins and a backhoe being needed to dig a mass grave, or the carts collecting the dead like something out of the time of the Black Plague? How do you forget people dying because their lungs filled up with fluid and drowned them on dry land?

And how on earth can anyone be so arrogant about the human race or science being invincible after being slapped in the face like this?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The hunt was good, and the gods are pleased.

I love it when libraries hold book sales, mostly because you can find books that the stores tend not to carry that are amazing in their own right and can get them pretty cheaply. This is a good thing for a bibliophile like me, and hopefully I've managed to snag some things I can give as gifts. Finding books for my family and Moreau and his kin can be trickier than usual. I never seem to find exactly what anyone wants, but I think I've turned up some good ones in this trip.

Tomorrow, I'll sort the bunch out into keepers and secondhand store books, and then see if I can haul the bunch over to either of the stores and trade them for credit. With any luck, the pile will be large enough to make the trip worth it without breaking my back or straining my shoulder when I inevitably drop the pile one way or another.

Hopefully I won't drop it on my foot. I managed to whang myself with a one-pound padlock Sunday night. I had no idea that smashing one toe would mess up my walk so badly. Still, I'm walking, and I'm not on crutches or in a cast. It could always be worse.

And I'm still grinning. I got to haul out as many books as I could carry with no help (and I can haul a lot when properly motivated) for only three dollars. Now, if only I had enough shelf space...