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Nov. 29th, 2012


That terribly sad moment when you look at your term paper and realize that your fun discussion of how your topic relates to the extinction of the dinosaurs has to be cut out, because the original paper proposing the relationship was more awful than you initially realized.

Sigh. And I was excited about that bit. Back to trying to write this thing, I guess.

Also, my students keep asking me for letters of recommendation and things. It is super weird, especially since I have a pretty strong suspicion that I would look pretty bad as a letter writer compared to an actual professor. I know they're asking me because they think I know them more personally than their lecturers, who have to teach hundreds of them simultaneously, but I have a terrible memory for faces and names so that may backfire a little bit. (Actually, TAing in general has been super weird, because I went from an undergraduate student to someone teaching undergraduate students in the space of about four months. Some of my students are actually older than I am.)

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Yet another post-panel review!


Man, I am going to really, really miss doing these when I graduate. I hope I can find a way to keep getting involved in panelling at my graduate school, because this is fun. (Also, our panel coordinator told me today they wish they had four of me, which is always really warm and fuzzy to hear. :3)

Today's was pretty chill, overall. The obligatory religion question came up, and I got to mention the atheism thing again. I had one person bring up Sheldon Cooper and go "well, Sheldon is asexual but he has feelings for a woman on the show, do you have sexual feelings for people?" which was, uhhhh. Still, better Big Bang Theory questions than House questions, I guess. (I used that one as a springboard to discuss grey-As and emphasize all the grey areas in sexuality more generally; the fact that we also had a lot of discussion about lesbians/women who mostly date other women who also occasionally date men helped to reinforce that "sexuality isn't always clear-cut!" point.)

One guy asked us all about whether we felt the need to bring up our sexual orientations or whether it came up organically or what when we met new people. All my copanelists got to say things like "well, I just mention my girlfriend where other people are mentioning their partners" or "it comes up when we're discussing which celebrities are hot" and then there was me. Sigh. I went into a brief spiel about how bringing it up is something I need to proactively do or else I'm going to get a lot of really annoying curiosity later, and also about how I basically get to do a mini-panel every time I come out because really, and then mentioned some of the segues I tend to use.

Had someone who asked mid-panel for a more in-depth explanation of asexuality than the one I breeze by in my coming-out story; that hasn't happened for a while, and usually they ask as soon as the panel starts for real. (I don't define asexuality in my intro, I just describe my coming-out experiences and that usually involves a sort of implied definition, so it's clear we're talking sexual orientation and not sex or gender.) He was pretty relaxed about it, though.

Oh, and the nature vs. nurture question came up. I have got to stop geeking out about behavior genetics when that comes up, I always want to babble on about how it's more complicated than "is it genetic?" can ever hope to get and how complicated behavior is and especially human sexuality and aaaaaagh. Er, and we got asked if there was anyone in our lives we weren't out to, and I got to explain about my very conservative extended family and how my grandmother never gets to be told and things. Can't think of anything else offhand.

Also, apparently asexuality came up in the panel for the class period before mine, and someone actually hung around from there for a whole hour to ask me a question before I got there. Apparently her best friend from high school's brother had quietly claimed to be ace all through high school and she and all her friends hadn't believed him at all or thought that was something you could be, so she was really interested in what I had to say--she was very respectful to me, but I felt bad for the poor brother! She also (again, politely) asked me my gender before she left, which I'm not sure if that was a genuine misconception about aces or just a reminder from M (who was in the panel for her class period and is genderqueer) that it's more complicated than just male/female plus my gender presentation being nonstandard.

Today's panel!


It was a pretty quiet crowd this time, honestly. I think it was noteworthy for being the only panel so far with two people standing for one identity (both my copanelists IDed as gay) and also no trans* representation. Most of the questions were pretty standard, although after the obligatory religion question I did have someone ask me if my parents had thought about encouraging me to be a nun. This is... really hilarious given my distinct tendency to turn into a waspish atheist when poked with the religion stick. My parents can be pretty emotionally obtuse but they're not actually stupid.

I also had someone ask me something along the lines of "Asexuality must be really, really rare--there aren't very many of you, right? So do you get hostility from gay people, too?" which felt pretty pointed given recent events. For that one I said roughly "yes, in some circumstances, gay-friendly =/= asexual friendly" and then emphasized very heavily that Lambda has been an actual safe space for me.

Also, I have hit myself in the head on inanimate objects four times today and yesterday I got a flat tire for the first time (now fixed!) and I would just like this week to be over now, please. Aaaaagh.

...but I did get a ridiculously cool mutant in my fly stocks which I am attempting to create its own stock of, anyway, so that will be an interesting side project. It had one extremely tiny eye with a ton of little eye-like blobby growths on that side of its head, which I thought was fascinating. My mentor says I should name it strawberry if I can get it to culture.

Jan. 25th, 2012


Went grocery shopping today. Ran into not one but two of my professors in the grocery store. D: Thankfully (because I'm in a shit mood and didn't want to make nice) I was able to slink by without being recognized, but it was a near thing.

On the bright side, there was Thin Mint ice cream, which I will be stockpiling for the next two months and hissing if either of my roommates side-eyes it. MINE.

Panel today!


So I just finished doing a panel! And I keep meaning to describe how they go for me, so here's a quick recap.

This panel was for a Intro to Women's Studies class, I think. My copanelists were a trans guy who has so far been on every panel with me but one and a genderqueer gay/queer-identified guy (?), so I feel like we had a pretty good mixture of people.

The questions were pretty interesting. With one exception, the ones I answered were directed at all of us, not me specifically, this time. (That one exception was "As an asexual, do you ever think about the future? And do you ever think about wanting kids or a family?") Some of the ones I remember were the inevitable "Are you religious?" questions--I think this is the first time I haven't been specifically asked about the relationship between my religion and my asexuality, actually, but I ended up discussing my atheism anyway. I was actually kind of sad I didn't get that question this time, since I'm sort of dying to use the new "only about 15% of asexuals actively identify as Christian" statistic.

We got asked about our relationships with our parents; mine actually ended up being the worst one. Someone asked how we dealt with people telling us our identities were just an attempt to be popular or get attention, and I waxed sarcastic about the trendiness levels of asexuality for a bit. Someone asked if any of us were in relationships, and so I got to use the phrase "Schroedinger's dating" again, which was pretty cool. And we got asked what our hobbies outside of Lambda were--my copanelists said "...uh, I'm an officer and it eats all my time, so... drag?" and "lying around and sleeping." I sort of looked like a deer in headlights and mentioned my brilliant decision to attempt to combine graduate school applications, my thesis, and a full courseload into one semester and cheerfully explained I had no other free time. (Which is true, although I should have mentioned knitting. Oops.)

Afterwards one of the people in the class came up to commiserate with me about how confusing romance is and how frustrating societal conceptions of romance are, so that was kind of awesome.

Now to spend the rest of my evening listening to Frank Turner and planning my Halloween costume. \o/

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Oct. 12th, 2011


Downside of getting into a fandom where you share a profession with one of the main characters: running across outright mangling of your subject when you least expect it.

Oh my god, you cannot sweep a new allele to fixation in a novel population in four generations without killing most of the wild-type, I do not care how advantageous it is!

A while back, I signed up for a thing my campus queer group does where they have people go into classrooms and related situations and answer questions from the standpoint of a Real Live gay/bi/trans/etc. person. Today was my first panel ever.

It was actually a lot of fun! The class was very polite and did not ask the Dreaded Masturbation Question, and I got a lot of questions directed specifically at me. Besides which, I got thanked personally by three or four people for talking about asexuality, which was kind of awesome.

I'm also working on setting up a panel-type thing for Asexual Awareness Week here. Out of curiosity, anyone in travelling distance of Athens interested in showing up and answering questions for that? I figure it's probably going to end up being just me and the other ace in said queer group, who definitely wants to be involved, but the offer to join us is open in case anyone is interested in a bit of fairly low-stress visibility.

AHAHAHAHA


I finally wrote up the first draft of my personal statement! I have completed the hardest bit of the hardest bit of graduate school applications! AHAHAHA YAY. Now I just have to get everyone I know to read it and proof it!

(To anyone who's been wanting actual communication with me: I am so sorry, I've been v. busy and wrapped up in work again and hitting a low-communicative phase a little bit. I'm trying to get to all the things I need to respond to but this has been taking priority, so.)

so I am in a better place now!


And, uh, am sorry for not responding to comments in the last post--life has gotten away from me again and I am not good with communication when I'm stressed. Thanks to everyone who sent me comforting comments, though!

Have spent a lot of time on self-care these last few days doing things that are low-stress, trying to make myself avoid tumblr, going out to eat with friends and attempting to indoctrinate my baby sister with more geekery, that sort of thing.

I was debating writing a birthday post for Writing From Factor X, since I created the blog as a birthday present to myself last year, but I just don't have the energy to write anything right now. I feel a little bit bad about that, because it's not that I don't have things to say, but more that I just don't have the time and the energy to sit down and write out something polished and acceptable to me and, you know, self care.

(Offhand, the topics currently lurking in the back of my head are: the limits of anger in activism and the point at which you write someone off, the ways in which we are arguably reclaiming 'asexual' for ourselves from the very pejorative way it is often used to apply to people, something cogent about how isolating invisibility can be, oversimplification of concepts when doing visibility and how we can avoid that, and that godawful post about the brain worms that being aromantic/wtfromantic/whatever the hell my affectional orientation is left me with, the one that's written almost entirely up but that I'm still hesitant to post. I am not exactly hurting for topics! Just... time. Would be quite willing to have conversations about any of those, though.)

Also, I have photos of my birthday cake! (Birthday cupcakes? Birthday EXTRAVAGANZA?) We did finish making it, about five people attempted to eat it, and I am currently trying to get my lab to eat most of the rest with limited success. Next time I do something big like this, I'm going to make sure I have more mouths. Anyway, photos!

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also


So Drs. Rosemary and Peter Grant are coming to speak at my university tonight.

They are the people who did the Galapagos finch work on the adaptation of finch beak sizes to specific climate changes causing changes in the local seed populations, which is simultaneously REALLY REALLY INTERESTING and also some of the most influential work demonstrating natural selection in action. Which is VERY VERY COOL.

Going to engage in all the evolutionary biology hero worship tonight~

Also, in about an hour I should be finishing up my experiment almost completely and finishing collection of the main data on it. Which is amazing and wonderful and also slightly scary--what on earth will I be doing without actual crosses to make?

...oh, right, writing my thesis up. THESIS DEATHMARCH 2011 IS GO!