The Underwear Test

You know you’re getting old when you look down at the clock and think “Oh! It’s almost 11:30. I need to get to bed soon.”

Actually it’s not so much getting old as it is becoming accustomed to my new earlier schedule. I like getting up earlier and I honestly don’t notice myself being pissy nearly as much in the AM, but I think part of that is that no one else is awake, so I have those first 15 or 20 minutes all to myself. I don’t have to be polite or try not to act like I’m shuffling around, half-dressed, searching for pants in the breezy morning while I try to slam the door shut so my roommate doesn’t see me almost-naked. I can wander around at six in the morning in my skivvies if I wanted to and Cavan would never know the difference.

One suggestion, though: don’t check your email after ditching your work pants and sitting in undies at the computer unless you’re positive the roomie won’t be getting up till after noon. He didn’t notice because he went straight downstairs. That would have been a difficult situation to explain.

Counting Sheep Will Not Help You Sleep
Samena Chaudhry Birmingham
Sleep researchers at Oxford University found that among a group of 50 people with insomnia those who were told to think of relaxing images fell asleep more than 20 minutes before they normally did. Those who tried “distraction” techniques, such as counting sheep, fell asleep even later than normal.

Allison Harvey from the department of experimental psychology at Oxford University suggested that relaxing images push away the worries that keep people awake, “Picturing an engaging scene takes up more brain space than the same dirty old sheep,” she told New Scientist magazine (2002;173:17). “Plus it’s easier to stay with it because it’s interesting,” she added.

One in ten people has chronic insomnia, which is thought to cost billions of pounds every year in sick days and accidents caused by tiredness.

Dr Harvey also found that people have been advised for many years to try to put their worries out of their heads to relax and get to sleep . Those who tried to suppress their worries take longer to fall asleep than those who let them run their course.

She said that this mirrors the classic psychological study called the “polar bear test” or “elephant test.” This involves telling someone not to think about polar bears or elephants. It has the opposite effect. The forbidden image immediately pops into the head. So the suppression technique is guaranteed to fail.


Little Miss Pushover

As usual, and with every job I have, I allow myself to bend to anyone’s will and take whatever they can dish out. Sometimes it’s nastiness and attitude, but 9 times out of 10 it’s taking over shifts and getting way more hours than I’d prefer to work.

I started out as 10-20 hours per week, which migrated to around 22, then 25, then 30, and now I’m working the next twelve days in a row. I want to take advantage of my student loans and what financial aid I can get so that I can work less hours. The three jobs I had during my first and second semesters at school killed me and hurt my GPA. Now I see myself floating into full time status and I’m not quite sure when it happened. I’m just the person people come to when they want a shift covered and it’s nearly impossible for me to say no. I also just asked off 9 straight days in November over Thanksgiving break so I could take a vacation, so I feel obligated to help out now when I can.

The shifts aren’t too bad; usually no more than 6 hours. But the last thing I wanted were more 12 hour days. Up at 8, straight to school, home to change and back to work. I’m just now working towards attempting a social life since I finally talked Charlie into quitting the bar and going down to just one full time job, himself.

I know some people have (and had) to work many hours to stay in school, but part of the reason I decided to take student loans was so that I wouldn’t have this problem and I could keep up with the reading, the studying, the papers. Despite the stigma surrounding community colleges, three of my four classes actually have chapters of reading every two days. No matter how smart or how dull a student is, you have to do the work to keep up. It surprises me that I had less to do in my very challenging religion course last spring than in my community college Criminal Justice 101 class.

It’s just odd to think “When I’m back at IUPUI I’ll have less to do. Whew!” At least I know there’s a part-time position in the writing center for me if I want it.

Honorary Nerd

I feel bad for people who are poor students. My criminal justice class is rife with people who say they “just don’t get it.” Several people want to start a study group and have decided that I’m the best person to lead them. Mostly because I pay attention in class. Maybe I just watched a lot of “Law & Order” and happened to pick up on the stuff that was relatively true to the criminal justice system, but I haven’t had a problem in that course.

As much as I appreciate being made the honorary nerd, there are still other classes that I need help in, myself. Like math. So I’m not completely unsympathetic to people who are having difficulty in this one. And while I’d like to assist these people in studying for an exam that’s on Thursday, one I feel totally prepared for because I’ve kept up on the homework and reading, I do not want to take time away from math to make flashcards for people who haven’t even cracked open a book. For a test that’s in two days.

Of course I want to say “It’s not my problem” but I usually end up helping anyway. I got roped into a study session or two my first semester at school and ended up as a mentor for the same class the following semester. So I guess it can’t hurt to show a little leadership. I just don’t honestly care whether or not these people do well. It’s their fault for floating along these past six weeks, expecting things to be handed to them.

One especially irritating example is this morning: we had extra credit due today that he assigned on Thursday. If you weren’t in class on Thursday you weren’t allowed to turn in any extra credit, so even if you got the info from someone else, the instructor wouldn’t give points if you didn’t sign in.
When he asked to turn in that paper, people started protesting a lot about how they didn’t have time to do it, or they didn’t know it was due today. I scrolled back through my notes and had clearly written: “Due Tuesday, 9/27” and some more information.
Finally the instructor told us that he guessed if he wasn’t clear about it, we’ll scratch that and do something else. My mouth fell open in surprise. A few people noticed, laughed, and said “She doesn’t like that, does she? Tee hee!”
I snapped at no one in particular, “Well, some of us actually paid attention!”

I probably overreacted.

I know I sound like an academic snot with a chip on her shoulder, but if there’s some stuff I can do on time, I want to do it and get credit. I don’t like losing my points because no one else bothered to listen when he was assigning the extra credit opportunity.


I'd decided last night that I would get up early this morning to finish my homework for Criminal Justice. But I didn't.
In fact, I'm supposed to be at work in an hour. I could complete it now since everyone else is downstairs watching college football, but I really just don't want to think.

I'm closing with someone new tonight. Someone with whom I've never worked. I'm afraid it'll go really slow and we won't have anything to talk about. Sigh.


I just stayed up way past my intended bedtime to watch, of all things, this Lifetime movie. I hadn't intended to watch it, but I recognized the girl from “Panic Room” (Kristin Stewart) while I was flipping stations. I hit “Info” on the digital cable remote. It was about a 15 year-old who is raped and hides it from her friends and family. The ending made me cry because I was relieved that her situation was resolved. I thought the movie was going to end up realistically. When is it ever a “happy ending” like that for someone who's sexually assaulted?

Don't get me wrong, the girl suffered. But after being forcibly raped and beaten up, less than a year later she's “okay”? No therapy other than her art. She spent the entire school year being abused and called a squealer by her former friends because she called 911 after her rape and the police busted a party where everyone was drinking.

At the end, her rapist confronts her and she fights back, at which point he's caught by some other students who say “Everyone knows what you did.” I guess the girls' Lacrosse team beats him up or something.
The girl decides to “Speak” (hence, the title of the movie) to her mom about it, after having stayed silent for a year.

At the end there's this public service announcement made by Kristin Stewart about how there's help for the people who suffer from the sexual assaults that occur in America every two minutes.

When I heard that statement, my relief faded. It seemed ironic to me: an afterschool-type movie made about a teenager being raped to raise awareness, and suddenly anyone in the same situation is being asked to seek help, but also being relegated into a statistic. And a large one at that.

It's difficult to feel like your situation is any different or deserves any attention when 360 other people are experiencing the exact same thing that you did every single day. Especially when your situation is over 14 years old. That means over 1.8 million other sexual assaults have occurred since I was sixteen.


You know you've lost all motivation when your evening dilemma consists of switching back and forth between “Overboard” with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and VH1's Top 100 Blankiest Blanks.

I forget what Top 100 things I was watching.


Cavan is a negative influence on me. I think I'm going to skip my speech class this afternoon. I emailed a copy of my critique from my terrible, terribly impromptu speech on vampires in case he decides to be nice and give me credit for it. Otherwise, I need the points, I just don't really care.

I was up at 5am and at work at 15 till six, then left around 10:30am, so I'm not really in any mood to do much but sit on my ass and watch movies today.

Time for a shower and lunch!


I just had an impromptu speech that was supposed to be three minutes. I set the bar low at 1:35 seconds or so. Everyone else after me pretty much was at or below that time.
The subject matter I drew was “What I know about vampires,” and it's actually something I know quite a bit about, being the big nerd that I am. Instead of going on and drawing out my time speaking on the movies, books, and comics based on vampires, I gave stupid little descriptions.
I really should have bullshat so I could get my full three minutes. It wasn't until after the fact that I started thinking of all sorts of things.
Now I'm embarrassed, mostly because it could have been a lot longer and I could have gotten more credit. Instead I panicked and just babbled for a bit.