shins

May. 18th, 2013 03:59 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
As I was leaving work on Wednesday, I tripped on the stairs and managed to fall directly onto both my shins. And then I slid down a few steps, on my shins before eventually coming to a stop. Everyone knows that getting hit in the shins hurts, but let me tell you, landing on them on a staircase is excruciating. Since I was able to stand I figured they couldn't be that badly hurt, and surely the pain would subside, so I should just continue home. I nearly passed out on the train and the walk home was agonizing. And I was starting to have trouble putting weight on one leg, and the pain wasn't going away, so I ended up going to the emergency room for an x-ray. Except by that what I really mean is, waiting at the emergency room for a couple of hours and then eventually being told that with the length of the x-ray queue, I'd be better off going home and coming back in the morning. They gave me crutches, which was nice though since one leg was only marginally worse than the other I was sort of dubious about walking around at all. But then in the morning they found no breaks, just severe bruising and swelling, and so prescribed lots of anti-inflammatories, icing, and staying off my feet for awhile. I'm hoping to go back to work next week.

I fall a fair amount and get a lot of bruises, which is an aspect of the physicality I've written about before. But it's amazing how much more something hurts on your shins compared to a meatier part of the body. And, this is making me realize I have had several major falls on stairs over my lifetime; I tend to be very careful on them because I'm aware of that, but you get used to a set of stairs and then stop paying so much attention. Oh well, I feel better today than yesterday so hopefully that trend will continue.
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
I found Wales to be one of the loveliest places I've ever visited, and while I didn't take any photos during my race, I did take photos of the other places we went to. And here they are!

me in the forest


Read more... )

bay area

May. 16th, 2013 06:32 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
Going through a bunch of miscellaneous recent photos, and this one reminded me, I would totally move back to the Bay Area. Not sure if I actually will, but man, what a nice place. (Side note: if I did move back I would probably not get to live in Coit Tower where I took this picture.)

golden gate

wales

May. 15th, 2013 10:52 am
clevermynnie: (smile)
I ended up having a really packed trip to Wales, but it was a lot of fun!

The precipitating event was the Ultra Brecon 40, which was a mixed bag. But what was great was that [livejournal.com profile] erindubitably and [livejournal.com profile] marrog came down from Scotland, to drive around with me and Ben and to do a lot of relaxing in various B&Bs, cottages, and pubs. Pretty much everywhere we went was gorgeous, but also we had a lot of fun just playing board games and listening to music and chatting.

We also visited some distant relatives of mine, second and third cousins on my paternal grandmother's side. They were really nice, especially my second cousin who is older now and told me about going around the US by Greyhound after World War II, moving to New Zealand because it was cheap and sounded fun, and generally how one should travel when one was able. They showed me my great great great grandfather's grave, and took us out to a family-owned house near Llanidloes. The house was very old and very interesting, with a lot of bedrooms that are apparently filled with distant relatives come summer. And we walked around to see the grotto, the pond, the forest with stone age burial mounds, and of course a lot of sheep and views of sheep. I'd love to go back and stay awhile sometime.

trailing

May. 4th, 2013 06:55 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
So my recovery from the Hells Hills 50k was easy enough, and I actually got in 22 miles in the Mourne Mountains last weekend, and am now tapering again for another race! The first few runs after that 50k were on the slow side, but I seem to be back down to a normal pace, and the trail runs have felt almost easy. I went up to Howth today and did the circuit there and it was a breeze.

Hopefully that implies this coming race will go well. It's 40 miles, in Wales, in the Brecon Beacons; since I haven't run it before and it's very steep I'm anticipating a lot of, shall we say, human error. I've done the distance before on some hairy terrain, but this is also a very minimally supported race. We'll see! I'm going through my standard pre-race alarm, like Ben getting sick this last week and me wondering if I would get a cold right before a race oh no, or then falling on some stairs directly on my kneecap which was hurting a lot but seems to be getting better. As long as I make it to the start line without incapacitating myself, then I'll be pleased.

Once again I have the goal to enjoy the run and not get too down on myself at any point. And this is really a training run for the Mourne Ultra in June, so whatever happens I can call it good training. Just so long as I'm not incapacitated after, and can hang out with Ben and [livejournal.com profile] erindubitably and [livejournal.com profile] marrog. Should be fun!
clevermynnie: (mask)
Structure and Justice: "Does structurelessness eliminate competition, abuses of power, and status hierarchies, or does it just drive them underground?"

A Short Post on Rape Prevention: "If your advice to a woman to avoid rape is to be the most modestly dressed, soberest and first to go home, you may as well add 'so the rapist will choose someone else'."

Dove, Nike and the perils of positive advertising: "Let us not forget that these are still corporations, though, and what they are aiming to do is sell us on their products by associating something more ineffable with them: an image, a sensibility, self-esteem, physical empowerment. The idea is that if that association between the ineffable and the concrete product becomes strong enough, we will become loyal customers."

On the Fixed State Ally Model vs. Process Model Ally Work: "Rather than imagining myself as A Good Ally, full-stop, I try to assess whether I have been an effective ally in specific instances and in specific ways. Did I speak up when I should have? Do I equally set off-limits any 'debate' of intrinsic humanity for all populations? Am I giving enough support to writers whose life experiences are fundamentally different than my own? Am I listening?"

Process Model Ally Work, Part Two: "One of the reasons I value the model of ally work as an ongoing process (an idea which I did not invent) is not only because I need to be aware of how I can leverage my privilege on behalf of people who don't share it, and vigilant about not trading on and exploiting my privilege, but also because I have to centralize an awareness that I am privileged in ways I don't see."

Empathy! How the fudge does it work? "I'd like to observe that this garbage argument is a natural outgrowth of narratives that wrench women's reproductive health from general healthcare and set it aside as some kind of special exception. He's fine with "being told" he's got to provide health insurance to his employees, but asking him to comprehensively fund women's healthcare is a step too far. Because he doesn't view women's reproductive care as a central part of women's health."

writing

May. 2nd, 2013 07:10 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
The main thing I wish I were doing more of at the moment is writing. I had a cram session over the weekend of working on a piece for a science writing competition, which I really stressed about and finally submitted two hours before the deadline. I want to set aside more time for that kind of thing, for the science blog, for writing here, but also for doing creative writing like stories and poetry.

But I wonder if maybe part of that is wanting to be have a creative partner or be part of a creative community. There's a bit of a blogging community here, though it seems ever-dwindling, but then for science writing it feels like none of the scientists I know care much about it. And I've tried building networks from my friends who also like to write fiction but it feels like they never go anywhere. I think I could do a better job of making my own habitual space for writing, but I also feel a strong desire to connect with others over it. I don't know what to do with that, other than keep looking.

top ten

Apr. 14th, 2013 02:32 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
I'm in the process of moving over to a new home computer, which among many other things has precipitated a move away from iTunes (which I have hated for who knows how long). But, one of the things I regret every time this happens (or whenever iTunes decided to delete its data, which was a few times) is the loss of playcounts. Those are really interesting to look at! So without further ado, here are the ten songs I've listened to the most (in one specific place, at least) over the last five years.

1. Muse - Hysteria
2. The Octopus Project - Truck
3. The Octopus Project - Black Blizzard/Red Umbrella
4. The Octopus Project - Mmaj
5. Janelle Monae - Many Moons
6. Muse - Apocalypse Please
7. Ekova - Siip Siie
8. Ekova - The Chase
9. Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi - Tightrope
10. Muse - Knights of Cydonia
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
So after my race which went so well, I spent a few days in San Antonio. I was visiting friends I grew up with, whose older daughter is my goddaughter, and whose younger daughter I hadn't even met before since it had been so long since I saw them.

It's always nice seeing old friends, and I keep in pretty good contact with Jeanine so there wasn't really a disconnect at all. Still, it was odd peeking into her life which is so dissimilar to mine. She's a stay at home mom with very young kids, a new dog they are still training, a cat, a minivan, a house. This is absolutely what she wanted to be doing at this point in life, so while it can be stressful, she and her husband seem pretty happy. It doesn't really make me want to do any of that more, though, but I guess we've been on different life tracks for five years or so, since she finished with school.

We did go around San Antonio a bit, to the Alamo and the River Walk which were both very nice. Texas in the spring is a surprisingly enjoyable place, though from the sounds of it I should never ever go there in the summer. And we cooked together and did stuff with her kids, and I got both my friends into SW:TOR which I'm hoping they keep playing. I still think it would be easiest to keep up with friends if everyone blogged regularly and played an MMO. Alas, I've had a hard time converting people to either of those pursuits. If only I were in charge!
clevermynnie: (mask)
The Finkbeiner Test: "There’s still a gender gap in the sciences, with far fewer women than men in research jobs, and those women earning substantially less, but it doesn’t help when journalists treat every female scientist they profile as an archetype of perseverance... 'Campaigns to recognize outstanding female scientists have led to a recognizable genre of media coverage. Let’s call it “A lady who…” genre. You’ve seen these profiles, of course you have, because they’re everywhere. The hallmark of “A lady who…” profile is that it treats its subject’s sex as her most defining detail. She’s not just a great scientist, she’s a woman! And if she’s also a wife and a mother, those roles get emphasized too.' Aschwanden cited a few examples littered with phrases like, “she is married, has two children and has been able to keep up with her research,” and proposed that, as a means of avoiding such gratuitous gender profiles, reporters adopt a simple, seven-part test."

Family Man Who Invented Relativity and Made Great Chili Dies: Writing a profile of a male scientist the way profiles of female scientists are often written shows just how silly the genre has gotten. "He made sure he shopped for groceries every night on the way home from work, took the garbage out, and hand washed the antimacassars. But to his step daughters he was just Dad. ”He was always there for us,” said his step daughter and first cousin once removed Margo. Albert Einstein, who died on Tuesday, had another life at work, where he sometimes slipped away to peck at projects like showing that atoms really exist."

Well, That's Me Told: "I know that if Senator Rob Portman, or any other privileged straight person, has been able to live to the ripe old age of 57 without ever being personally moved by seeing and hearing and feeling down to your bones how the institutional oppression of queer USians renders them second-class citizens and affects their lives in big and small ways every day of their lives, that is not an accident. That is a life of detached privilege by design."

Responses To The Steubenville Verdict Reveal Rape Culture: "Yesterday two juvenile men were convicted of rape, one was convicted of distributing a nude photo of a minor. The response by a segment of society reflects rape culture: ”an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture”. Below are a series of concrete examples."

New poll finds the majority of women voters consider themselves feminists: "A poll commissioned by Ms. conducted just after the election found that 55 percent of women voters and 30 percent of men voters consider themselves feminists... In fact, white women as a whole are considerably less likely than black and Latina women to claim the label, which is in line with the voting differences I’ve noted before. And which perhaps helps to explain why much of the media continues to act as if feminists are unicorns these days."

And Then This Happened: "I know, in most cases, it is really is a "small but vocal group" of any community who engages in silencing and intimidation. But of the "large but silent group" of all these communities, who supposedly don't agree with the hostile disgorgements of the "small but vocal group," the people most likely to speak up do so primarily to defend themselves, to distance themselves from that "small but vocal group," to oblige me to reassure them that I know there is a "large but silent group" who is totally on my side, even though their silence indicates otherwise. They reach out to me, while I'm navigating the expected bile of typical garbage nightmares, in order to seek my assistance in salving their own discomfort of affiliation. Which is exactly as unwelcome as it sounds. "Hey, the rest of us aren't like those knuckleheads!" is not a comfort. It is a way of obliging me to concede that simply not being a dirtbag is sufficient action to consider themselves my ally. I will not concede that. Because it isn't."
clevermynnie: (mask)
Over the weekend I ran the Hells Hills 50k, in 6:55 which is a personal record time for me by nearly an hour! The race went really well despite a few bumps along the way, and I feel well-positioned for the longer races I've signed up for later this spring.

Read more... )
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
Having spent the last week in the Bay Area, I am now in transit passing through Phoenix, which means I actually have time to write!

I had wondered if it was going to be weird returning to the Bay Area for the first time in 4 years, mainly because of the bizarro past-life vibe that Los Alamos still gives me. But actually, it was just lovely to be in San Francisco again. This is a great time of year to be there, what with the greenery and the clear air and the temperate weather and the way that everything goes into bloom. I had a nice dinner with [livejournal.com profile] mr_ron and his girlfriend, spent the weekend in Napa with [livejournal.com profile] chih and everyone, got to have banh mi with Jessica and meet her boyfriend, and saw my undergraduate mentor and catch up. It was really enjoyable, with jaunts to Berkeley and through Chinatown and up Coit Tower. I loved being back in Berkeley; it was comforting and great, not quite like home, but like an old friend you're really fond of. And it was fun taking around some of the people I work with in Ireland, and eating more than my share of Mexican food and sushi (and, intriguingly, the sushirrito).

I do notice variations, though, in the rapport that I have with various old friends. When you've had a lot of life events pass there's a sort of disconnect that starts happening, and I could feel that with some of the people I saw, where we're all in very different places now and it's noticeable even if it's still good to get together. Though in some ways maybe that's nicer than going back to someplace you're still disentangling yourself from (Philly, I'm looking at you) and navigating that whole experience. A lot of things have happened since I lived in the Bay Area and saw many of these people, but mostly life has gone in a positive direction and that's comforting.

I didn't have time to see everyone in the area that I would have liked, since I was in SF for work and had a pretty packed schedule. Nor did I get to revisit every old haunt! But what's most important is that I had Cheeseboard Pizza... and in a weird turn of events, meet the son of the woman who wrote the Cheeseboard cookbook. Would I consider moving back to the Bay Area? I certainly would, though not for awhile yet.

And now I am going to San Antonio to see Jeanine and her family, run my trail 50k, and hopefully track down some sopapillas. Hopefully good news to follow.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I am in the airport, and had to leave so early to get here, and am shifting so many time zones over, that it seemed to make sense to just not sleep until I am on a plane. At least, several hours ago that made sense.

I'm going to San Francisco to give a talk at a conference, and that is exciting. I did a practice talk for my boss which went pretty well, and while there are some nerves because this is the first time I've presented research from this group, it's a nice feeling that overall I know how to put together a good research talk. Also, obviously I know some people in the Bay Area still, and will be doing what visiting I have time for, so that is good. I haven't been back in four years, and loved the Bay Area but who knows how it will feel now.

After that I'm going to San Antonio to visit friends and run a race, and after that I should really have a vacation where I do nothing at all. Just sit under a tree and fall asleep, that would be great.

My uncle Ted, who was terminally ill a month ago when I visited, has now passed on. It's sad, and my uncle was great and I will miss him. It makes me miss family, but also family is complicated.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I'm definitely on track for my trail 50k in two weeks, having done 20 miles on the Wicklow Way this weekend without any issues. (Well ok, today I am sore, but manageably so.) It was snowy and icy, conditions I'm unlikely to encounter at a trail race in Texas, but everything held together fine, and I was actually able to go pretty fast on the downhills at the end. Which I couldn't do the last time I did part of the Wicklow Way, so great! I also finally signed up for the Mourne Ultra in June, that 52 mile race that I ran 39 miles of last year. I plan to finish, but failing that I plan to enjoy myself, get lost less, and stay relaxed.

And, this weekend I did something I never thought I'd do: bikram yoga. I don't do very well in the heat, generally speaking, but I actually really enjoyed it! I think my sporadic ashtanga practice, plus my endurance from running, plus the familiarity of being drenched with sweat from Philly summers, combined to give me a really good first session. I couldn't do everything, or do everything I did do perfectly, but it was enjoyable and hard and I felt great afterward. I will do this more!

I kind of miss weights, but I'm not a fan of the TCD gym's weight area which is crowded and not that well-equipped. Plus I got into weights in part because it was something Ben and I could do together, and he dislikes the TCD gym so much he is switching to somewhere else. But the TCD gym does have a nice pool, and it is in the same building as my work, so I will continue to use it for that at least.

road trips

Mar. 21st, 2013 01:01 pm
clevermynnie: (and then?)
I haven't had a car in four years, and it's been a lot longer since I had a regular car commute. I love commuting by walking, am a bit sad that I now have to take the train (though I always stand on the train). And I think that weekend car rentals and hourly carsharing services, like I had access to in Philly, are more practical than car ownership in most cities, assuming that you don't need a car to commute. I don't do either of those things as much here in Dublin, but also I am a lot worse at driving on the left in Dublin, so that works out just fine.

But I have to say, I miss road trips. Not enormous ones with 12-hour driving days, but there is something I find enjoyable and freeing about driving for a few hours with music playing, watching the scenery go by. And ending up somewhere cool, far from civilization, maybe with a friend or two, looking to explore. This largely reflects my having grown up out west where driving is easy and there's lots of space to cover, but even driving from Philly up to Hackettstown and back a couple weeks ago was enjoyable and reminded me how much I like road trips. Maybe I should be researching some sort of European road trip for the summer, preferably in some part of Europe where I could enjoy driving on the right.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
My improv comedy class wrapped up while I was in Philly, and I was pretty sad to have to miss the last class. But, the instructor is offering a second-level course which starts next week, and I am signed up for that! It's another six-week course, and I'll have to miss a day of that too, but I'm excited because the first course was such an enjoyable experience for me. It was interesting and fun and surprisingly, a lot less stress than I thought it would be.

And, I signed up for a jazz improv course on Coursera which runs for six weeks too, starting in late April. I am pretty stoked about that. I tried to learn some jazz improv skills on the piano early in grad school, on my own from a pretty decent book, but I found it a huge challenge. This is probably thanks to 20+ years of rigorous classical piano instruction, but I love jazz piano and would like to be able to do some of it myself, and I certainly have the technical ability. After signing up for the course I sat down with that book again this morning, and actually, making stuff up is less difficult than I remember it being! Thanks, grad school! I mean... thanks improv?

Also somehow I have a race in less than three weeks. Ohhh yeah. I'm not where I wanted to be mileage-wise, because of backing off when I was having Achilles tendon pain last month, and then travel and processing so much stuff. I do have enough of a base to run, though, and maybe PR since my 50k PR is kinda soft, but there's also the possibility of this being a more leisurely race later on. So I'll get my runs in beforehand, and during the race just try to focus less on results and more on having an open, accepting, and positive attitude. Which is basically what I'm working on in life at the moment.
clevermynnie: (mask)
Why Gender Equality Stalled: "Today the main barriers to further progress toward gender equity no longer lie in people’s personal attitudes and relationships. Instead, structural impediments prevent people from acting on their egalitarian values, forcing men and women into personal accommodations and rationalizations that do not reflect their preferences. The gender revolution is not in a stall. It has hit a wall."

So The President Gave A Speech Last Night: "'We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence.' That framing is garbage. It is reductive, it is misogynist, it is alienating, it defines women by their relationships to other people, it suggests that Obama is speaking to The Men of America about their 'wives, mothers, and daughters' and not speaking to those wives, mothers, daughters, and any women who are none of those things and/or do not define themselves that way. It is infuriating to continually hear my President use that framing."

Feeling At Risk vs. Being At Risk: "It is valid to be fearful of home invasions in a high-crime area. It is valid to be fearful after receiving death threats. It is valid to be fearful after having survived trauma. But fear of hypothetical harm is not a valid justification for killing. Which is something about which we all seem to agree, when it's someone other than a white, straight, cis man doing the killing. In fact, when it's someone other than a white, straight, cis man doing the killing, we seem to have an unreasonably high threshold for what constitutes self-defense. Funny how that works: The more privileged the shooter, the more inclined we are to define the crime by his intent. The less privileged the shooter, the more inclined we are to define the crime by hir victim's (claimed or presumed) intent."

Launder That Fat Away, Ladies!: "So, there is a study going around the internet which makes the totally-fresh and completely-new claim that American women are fat because we spend all day working at desk jobs and all night watching television to unwind, as opposed to fifty years ago when life was just like Leave It To Beaver and women never worked outside the home and spent all day wrestling with forty-pound vacuum cleaners... I want to take a moment to note how truly contemptible I find the suggestion that activities which can destroy womens' bodies and which have been traditionally used by a misogynist society as a tool to oppress women and prevent them from gaining financial independence, social support networks, and meaningful work -- You can't hold a job, honey, because then how would the house get clean? -- should be held up to the reader as something that women have a responsibility to do in order to become more attractive and more healthy and above all more socially acceptable to the larger community."

Fuck The Pope: "This is important: Women are not a niche group. The extent to which the Catholic establishment marginalizes, silences, and attempts control women is so widespread and brazen I'm almost impressed. They've certainly got moxie! When the Vatican conspires to block a global agreement on action to end gender-based violence—asserting that certain nations' religions, customs, and traditions should be valid excuses for disregarding women's basic human rights—what they are saying is, 'You do not deserve human rights because you are not fully human. We own you and we will do what we want with you.' Religion is not a bad thing. Catholicism is not a bad thing. But the social and political policies of the dude supposedly in charge of Catholicism, well, that's another matter."

What Is Your Feminism?: "If your “feminism” isn’t about cultural critique (unto cultural demolition) or policy analysis and instead focuses on individuals’ (typically cis women of privilege unless you’re talking about — and over — poor people) behaviors rather than the hierarchies and systems which confine individuals and falsely constrains their behavior, then it isn’t any feminism I can recognize."
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
These two songs are so embedded in my brain after the last month that a concerted effort is needed to dislodge them. Or a total brain reset, which you'd think would mean sleep, but not the way I've been sleeping.

Read more... )
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
Even though there was a lot more stuff to work through on our Philly trip than I would have hoped, there were some highlights.

*Seeing my old labmates was really nice, and old coworkers, and it was especially awesome to talk to people who had graduated after I left and hear about how well they were doing.
*My uncle and aunt in New Jersey are really fun to talk music with.
*My in-laws in Lancaster are really fun to talk literature with.
*I love going to spin with my stepmother-in-law! I hadn't done it since just after my defense, but I didn't really even think about that, I just enjoyed how tough it was.
*Also I kind of love driving in the US. It is so easy and enjoyable compared to driving here.
*The bat mitzvah which occasioned our visit was also pretty cool. I had not been to such a thing before, and they had the family members do readings including me, and that was nice.
*Relaxing with SW:TOR at our friends' house the last evening of our trip was also really laidback and enjoyable.
*And finally my friend Rose had a gorgeous scarf which she brought back for me from Pakistan. One of the best matches for my eyes of any piece of clothing ever!

scarf from rose
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I've just gotten back into Philly, as part of a trip to Lancaster for my sister-in-law's bat mitzvah next weekend. Coming in to drizzle and the drive up Grays Ferry and Washington to our friends' place was kind of a reminder of the less savory parts of town, but then we went out for a super late brunch with the friends who hosted our joint defense party a year and a half ago and it was pretty great. I am super excited to see everyone here, having not really done a trip back to a city where I used to live in about 5 years or so. There are so many people to see! But on the other hand, the last year or so that we spent here was really rough for me. I have both really positive and really negative associations with this place.

We'll be spending less than half our time in Philly proper, though; we'll be in Lancaster for a few days and up in Hackettstown for a day or so. I'm mostly just trying to stay relaxed, though, and enjoy myself. It's nice to be back, if a bit weird.

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