Category Archives: life

Dear lord…

So, the hell that has been my thesis proposal is essentially over. Getting mine approved took a few weeks longer than usual because I got FUCKING SANDBAGGED BY MY GODDAMN BOSS DURING MY PROPOSAL. But whatever, I’m (somewhat) over it now that I have a project that’s been approved by my committee. The project is damn near impossible and almost certainly not going to work, but it’s better than not having a project. I’m still going to have to throw out 8 months of research, but I still think things could somehow be worse.

For the first time in years I’m actually making time to have fun and meet people. I’ve been going on freaking boatloads of dates the past two months and am loving the chance to go out and meet new people. I do feel somewhat bad for the first half-dozen or so of the women I went out with since I was still just working out the awkward out of my system. Never going on a real date as an adult will do that to you. I was FULL of awkward. Like, to the brim. Okay, not that bad, but it wasn’t pretty. Sorry, first six or so ladies, I really am.

But even though research isn’t going well I’m not letting it bring me down since life in general is actually quite enjoyable. I still have a few friends who either can’t or won’t see the world this way and that is really beginning to rub me the wrong way. I’m just now beginning to realize that happiness is largely a choice for those of us fortunate enough to be in our situation. I mean we’re doing bleeding-edge medical research at one of the best freaking labs in the field, in one of the best cities in America, and we’re getting fucking PAID to get our degree. This is, of course, a very rosy view of our current situation, but it’s one that helps change a possibly shitty situation into one that is at least tolerable.

So, life is decently good and I’m happy. That is all that really matters right now.

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Filed under animal research, crazy, grad school, just sad, life, neurobiology, sleep deprived

On dating

So it may sound a bit weird coming from a dude who’s turning 29 next week, but I have no idea how to date. Consider, I was with the same woman from circa 20-21ish until (technically) 28 and missed the entirety of what would be considered a prime dating time of my life.

Fuck it, I’m making up for it with… INTERNET DATING!

Seriously though. Best. Thing. Evar.

If you are even moderately attractive (which I consider myself to be) and slightly more intelligent than retarded (also me) and you send out enough messages then you’re bound to get some great replies. I’ve been at it for a little over two weeks and Chicago has turned from work and school city to fuckin’ date city overnight. I am nothing special and I’ve had dates for the past 5 days. Well, technically, 4 since I had to reschedule one, but I could have had one a night for the past 5 nights. And these chicks aren’t just randos, but seriously intelligent and attractive women.

I think some of ’em have gone well so far. I do feel bad for the first few ladies though considering how awkward I probably was, but I’d like to think it’s not so bad now. The last two dates were actually pretty good and I’d like to see both of them again. The women couldn’t be more dissimilar though (an exaggeration, but whatever, fuck you). Wednesday night was a 23 year old shorter, curly-haired brunette nursing master’s student with a rack almost as amazing as her music taste (and it was an AMAZING rack). Tonight my date was a 35 year old, tall, thin, redheaded graphic designer who was clearly just all kinds of awesome. The date went really well and I’d like to see her again too, but this is where my inexperience comes in. I have more dates with other chicks next week, and considering how I’m only getting better at this I’m not sure what to do anymore. I barely know how to handle one woman, let alone multiple at any given time and I feel as though I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

You know what? Fuck it, this is what being (relatively) young is about. Ladies. Ladies all over the place.

This year is going to FUCKING ROCK!

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Filed under dating, life, social

$1.50 a day

There’s a challenge that’s been gaining traction lately to bring attention to malnourishment of those living under extreme poverty. The challenge is to live on just $1.50 worth of food per day for just 5 days. I pay more for coffee every day, but I feel this would be a good exercise to begin to understand just how bad millions of people across the world have it.

However, I want to kick this up a notch. I plan on doing the 5 days, but I really want to do 14 for a number of reasons. First, just to see if I can. I like challenges, and since food is remarkably important to me I would simply like to see if I have what it takes to not starve for two weeks while doing this. Second, I want to save money. I’ve been spending way too much the past few months and this would be a great excuse to not have to do that for two weeks (and I’ll drink less, which will be great for me). Finally, a forced change of perspective from time to time is never a bad thing. I already feel for the plight of the poor, but this may take me over the edge and finally do something to truly help them. Maybe. I am a piece of shit, so no guarantees.

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Filed under food, life

The guilt trip

When it comes to relationships of all kinds – family, friends, romantic – it takes a lot for me to become annoyed if the relationship has already been established. However, I’m human, and as such do have a few pet peeves that I have found can in the long run ruin my relationships. One of those mortal sins is the guilt trip.

Guilt. That ugly, base emotion we all feel at one time or another is never considered a good emotion and by its very nature shouldn’t be a common feeling. But when a friend uses guilt as a weapon to curry favor or force you into something a line has been crossed. This has happened to me numerous times in the past, but one of my lab mates has this line of “friendship” down to, well, a science.

Take Sunday night as a typical example. I went in to lab on Saturday to knock out an experiment early in the day so I could still go out and have some fun that night. I had WAY too much fun and didn’t wake up until noon Sunday. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be making it into lab that day like I thought I would. No worries, I thought, I still have plenty of shit that needs to get done around the apartment, I needed to get a decent workout in, et cetera. Essentially, my way was full.

Enter Steven (clearly not his real name). He texts me saying he’s going into lab around 9PM and wanted me to come too. That’s fine and dandy most days since I actually like midnight recording, but I really wanted to get a decent night sleep and do what I could to get back on a quasi-normal sleep schedule so I played it diplomatically and said, “maybe.” I get, “so that’s a no. Sleep man. I would like some company. But I’ll be fine.” in return.

I know that doesn’t seem like much to someone else reading it, but it means quite a bit coming from this guy. This was him saying, “I clearly don’t mean as much to you as you do to me.” I don’t deal well with that type of attitude in any person, let alone someone I truly consider a friend. However, considering I’ve dealt with this type of passive aggressiveness before I’m willing to do it again to just push off the inevitable one more day. There are more pressing issues at hand.

Like getting laid.

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Filed under grad school, life, pet peeve, relationship, sleep deprived

On loneliness

Coming back into the fold of single life has been relatively easy for the most part. I’ve been living in my new place for a month now and that time has been a relatively novel experience. However, the novelty has begun to wear thin and the loneliness associated with being single has begun to set in. It’s an alien feeling that I had not fully anticipated and have yet to understand what to do with.

Spending time in lab and with friends has thus far kept me sane and happy, but I know that this cannot last forever. At some point I’m going to have to deal with this. Sooner would be better than later but I have no idea how to begin to deal with this problem. It’s clearly not just my problem since I’ve been talking with a few other friends about the very same issue, and they’ve been single for years.

The question becomes: what will I do when true loneliness comes? Stemming the tide with exercise, cooking, work, and hanging out with friends will only take me so far. At some point the only thing I feel that can keep me from going crazy is some sort of relationship and I fear that desperation may take hold at some point and usurp reason, leading me down the path to another divorce. I realize there are two people involved at that point and it’s reasonable to think that the other person wouldn’t let that happen, but I’m a realist and know that even though the other person is likely to have more experience dealing with loneliness it doesn’t mean a bad decision won’t be made.

Oh well, I guess it’s all theoretical at this point and I shouldn’t really concern myself with it.

I’ll just drink instead.

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Filed under divorce, grad school, just sad, life, marriage, relationship, sleep deprived, social

The supremacy of cool

I’m growing up and becoming less shallow.

It took long enough, that’s for sure, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion of the type of person I’m looking* for. It shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who has ever been in a relationship but coolness is really one of the biggest factors you should use when finding someone you want to spend time with. Shifting to this from picking women based almost exclusively on attractiveness like I did in high school and college is actually quite the change for me, and one I like.

I began thinking about this a few months ago when my PhD program was interviewing candidates. It’s tradition that at the end of the two day marathon we take the candidates out on the town and end up at a bar where we unwind and really try to bond with the kids. We typically have three rounds of about twenty candidates each, and I typically do what I can to meet with each group at least once over those two day spans. This year I met with the first two groups and was extremely disappointed with the caliber of candidates, but a buddy of mine told me that the third group was, almost to a person, fucking awesome. Of course, I didn’t believe him, so I had to see this for myself.

We invited the group out to a bar where we were already having another celebration and I met the group. Needless to say, all of them I met were cool and interesting, but there was one stand-out even among a group such as that. That girl (woman? I don’t know what to call ’em anymore…) was just really cool , no way around it. The only thing is that she wasn’t exactly what me or my friends would call “attractive.” It didn’t matter for my two friends though, they both wanted to fuck her. They’re attractive guys too, so it’s not like they were just digging at the bottom of the barrel; she was just that cool.

That’s what cool does. It brings you in, and if it’s great enough it keeps you there.

That actually was part of the reason my marriage ended, and I’m finally beginning to realize that.

* I’m not looking in the traditional sense. I’m not crazy. I just got divorced, it’s time to shop around and play the field for a while.

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Filed under divorce, life, marriage

A sucker

There are two things I’m a total sucker for: love songs and “The Fountain.” I’ve known this for quite some time and was actually quite ashamed of it until a few years ago. I am not entirely sure why I was ashamed to be a sucker for these things, but it may have something to do with “manliness” or some other bullshit like that. This is ridiculous of course, and now I can unabashedly embrace my love for the idea of love.

This whole line of thought came about through the creation of a list of the ten greatest songs I currently own. It was remarkably difficult, but the one undeniable fact that came from this was that love songs are often some the best songs written by any particular artist. I don’t know if it’s due to the intensity of love and how it feels differently to everyone or what, but it is clearly some of the best song fodder of all time. This is by no means a novel observation and I don’t mean for it to seem profound, but it’s something that is nice to finally accept for what it is.

The love songs serve as a good transition into my feelings about Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 film “The Fountain.” I’m not even going to touch the artistic aspects of the film that make it such a masterpiece, but instead I am going to focus on the story and why it makes such an impact on me every time I watch it (which happens to be at least once a month).

Two things strike me deeply every time I watch The Fountain. The first is that I can realistically see myself as the main character, Tommy. He happens to be a scientist working on brain cancer research; the very same research that could cure his ailing wife. I could see that being me. Working endlessly, using all my intellect to solve an insolvable problem to the point of neglecting the very thing that drove me to work so hard in the first place. It was all Tommy knew, so he lost himself in his own work for the entirely selfish reason of not wanting to let go of the love of his life even though she was finally comfortable letting go. He took a commendable, yet self-defeating view of his terrible situation and reaped the consequences later on in the film.

The second thing I see is the most intense depiction of true love I’ve ever witnessed on film. Knowing the realities of my own history of love it gives me a depiction of what I aspire to have at some point. At the same point, the movie terrifies me greatly. You see, one of the most clear ways love was shown in the film was though moments of the most intense sadness. Desperation, complete despair, a total mental breakdown, and finally a single, unbreakable focus were what made Tommy the remarkable man he was in this story. What I fear is that I am simply not capable of having such intense emotions, and by extension can never feel the love he felt for his wife. I realize this is probably an unreasonable way to feel, but there’s something in me that keeps me from not rejecting it entirely. All I know is that I want to feel for someone the way that Tommy felt for his wife, Izzy.

Is that too much to ask?

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Filed under life, marriage