To the stinkbug who has somehow been living in my house for like two months. I don’t know what it had been eating. I would see it from time to time and be surprised it was still around. I found it on its back today on the kitchen counter with its legs in the air. :(

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Three pieces of good news

I got three pieces of good news today. I’m actually not as happy as I should be — I think I was a bit wrung out with worry.

1) After having more pictures taken today, I’ve been told my breasts are okay.

2) A little kid I used to play with at the orphanage is getting a cochlear implant, which is great because she is completely deaf.

3) I found out there is a lot more money left in my Chinese bank account than I had known. Yeah!

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Bad news and something awkward

On Wednesday I got a phone call from the doctor’s office that my mammogram had come back abnormal, so we scheduled a follow-up appointment to take more images for the radiologist to examine. I found out right between classes at the tightest point in my day — I have only 15 minutes between classes, and my next one is in a building about seven minutes away. What with putting my stuff away, and answering the questions students usually ask at the end, it’s very hard to get to the next one on time. Having such a short time was especially difficult Wednesday, because I felt a needed a couple minutes to pull myself together so I could act calm in front of my class. Therefore, I ended up being like five minutes late, even though it was a presentation day. I think it was a little worrying to people who were going to speak that day, but in the end everything was fine.

I was writing about this in my diary at home, and it had been a long time since I had opened it up, so I wrote about something else that had happened. I’ll repeat it here:

“Another awkward thing is that somebody liked me, it seems, but then changed his mind. This other professor asked me out on what I think was a date, but I got really embarrassed and didn’t answer for almost a week. He probably thought I was really unenthusiastic or something. Finally I wrote him back and we set something up, but then he cancelled at the last minute and hasn’t mentioned anything to me about it since.”

Ironically, the same day he cancelled, the box I sent from China that contained the purse I bought for a date with Easily Agitated German, that he cancelled, arrived in the mail.

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Going “radio silence” is one of my bad habits

More frequently than I ought to, I suppose, I think of that guy I used to call Easily Agitated German, and wonder what his deal actually was. I also think about how apt it was for him to disappear suddenly. That goes back to the first time I saw his picture online. I thought, “It’s the male me!” because he looked so much like I did when my face was thinner. We had a ton of things in common too, in terms of values, experiences and attitudes. Even his freak-out, when he wrote, “I’m not an easy-going guy!” is like something I would do, getting all freaked out because somebody liked me. Most ironically, disappearing suddenly, without any explanation, is something I do too. Sometimes I’m offended by someone, or just get shy, or don’t know what to say, so I disappear. It’s a bad habit. I’m sure I’ve hurt people because of it.

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Strangely enough, I’m mentioned in the Wikipedia-esque Chinese version of a German science engine! Both Mary Frances Berry and I are listed as scientists, and my blurb appears above hers, even though my achievements are miniscule in comparison.

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Tasting but not “tasting”

Since I got here I’ve been experiencing a weird phenomenon for the first time. When a migraine is coming on, I start “tasting” metal. The thing is, the sensation isn’t coming from my mouth. What I mean is, I can tell the taste isn’t being generated from anything I’m eating or drinking. So I’m experiencing a sensation that registers as taste although it’s clear it’s not taste at all, just a product of my brain, and as I experience it, I know that’s all it is.

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It’s snowing!

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Thoughts on where I am now

A few people have asked what I think about my new school and about being back in the US. I haven’t written too much in here. One reason is I’m trying to be discreet because I once got in trouble about something I wrote about my old US school.

But, here is something I wrote to a friend/old colleague of mine yesterday:
This school is super-interesting — kind of strange. The American students are very, very polite, but on the other hands it’s a huge party school with all sorts of heavy-drinking related incidents each weekend. Despite the weekend binge drinking, the students seem very health conscious. There are always students jogging everywhere, and generally they are very physically fit. The school is pretty far south in Ohio, but yet students here are really accepting of homosexuality, whereas in Bloomington, which is a few hours away, there was always a lot of prejudice (while I was there, anyway).

As far as weird stuff goes (and this is something I did not tell my co-worker), there are signs around town, like on the library door, the courthouse door, and even city buses, that people are not allowed to bring a firearm on. My students were astonished that something like that is even needed. I was pretty surprised too. My friend Pilot P. said that lately a lot of people have gotten really militant about open carry rules and so they are carrying guns around scaring people.

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I just ordered the new Alexander McCall Smith novel!

In other writing news, I’ve finished and polished up my first Half-Horse Boy story and mailed it to some friends who wanted to see it.

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Ugh! Tonight walking through campus I came upon this girl being harassed by a guy she had broken up with. He was restraining her, wouldn’t let her go, etc. Meanwhile, nobody was doing anything. I started coming up, and the guy left. I talked to the girl, who was crying, tried to get her to make a police report, etc. She wasn’t willing, but after I talked to her I called the campus police myself and described the situation. While I couldn’t give her any names or clear identifications of the people involved, I did ask them to have an officer near the library exit extra often in case the guy returned and came after the girl when she left the building. The officer said he’d have extra patrols around there and send some officers on walk-throughs to make sure everything was okay in the building and see if they could find the girl and talk to her. From what she told me, the situation has been going on for a long time. I am hoping that she will decide to talk to the police after all, or that her parents, who she told me she was going to call, will get the campus police involved. This sort of stuff shouldn’t happen.

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Junk mail experiment has begun!

I’ve registered for three different catalogs with an online company with three different names: once as Ms., with my full name; once as Sir, with just my initials and last name, and once as Dr., with just my first initial and my last name. Now I’m going to wait and see if I get junk mail and what kind I’ll get with each name.

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“Recent Findings you are going To Kick out the Breakfast from Your Table due to Recent Findings”

Want to read a whole Web site full of uncorrected machine-translated Chinese science and technology articles? Well here you go! Why not start with “Recent Findings you are going To Kick out the Breakfast from Your Table due to Recent Findings” and then move on to “The Day with a “Made In China” Stamp On Your Backs You Walk Home Made By 3D Printed Vertebra”? Thanks to Mr. G for alerting me to this great resource!

Upstart Magazine

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Looking for omens

The deer get their closeup.

After all the things that happened in China I have to admit I started looking for omens when I got ready to leave, and when I just arrived in Ohio. One of the last days I was at home when I turned on the TV I found a broadcast of Ute Lemper signing Kurt Weill’s “Surabaya Johnny.” It’s one of my favorite songs, and I wondered if it was a good omen for the future (although it did also turn out I had missed an Ute Lemper performance in Shanghai). Then I got here, and on the first day walking around, I saw four deer just walking around, crossing the road in front of me. I wondered if that was a good omen too, because they were deer (Animals! Exciting!) and there were four of them (four is my favorite number).

Today I saw a deer again by my apartment building. It was doe, and was eating leaves. Then I noticed there was another animal nearby. I wondered if it was a groundhog or something. Used the zoom lens on my camera to take a picture, and then made that as big as I could to see it. It turns out it was just a cat, hanging out in the meadow with a deer nearby. I would have liked to stay and watch if they interacted, but I was afraid of making the deer nervous and driving it away, so I went back to my apartment.

(P.S. The deer at the picture at the top are ones I saw in East Lansing when I helped Kimi move to her new apartment.)

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From a piece of spam sent to this blog:

Do you possess an hourglass composition? Congratulations, you can wear every little thing you want and still look huge.

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To my visitor from Teresina, Brasil!

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IKEA bounty

I a ton of stuff today, for about 200 dollars total. If I can remember correctly, I got: 2 lamps, 5 light bulbs, a filing cabinet, a bedside table, a coffee table, a TV table (not that I have a TV yet), a letter tray, a package of double A batteries, a wheeled shopping bag thing, a set of sheets and a book about IKEA.

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Church of the black eye

On the way back from a trip to IKEA (Yay!) we passed a church that was having a WWF-style wrestling match in a ring in front of it. On one hand, I was curious, and wanted to take pictures. On the other hand, it freaked me out and I thought we should stay away. A church where members see pile drivers and smashing somebody’s head against a turnbuckle as good worship activity … well, I don’t even know what to say about that.

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My new home

I’d like to say more about where I am and what I’m doing, but since the time I got snitched on for complaining about work I think I should be more discreet.

I will say I’m at one of the many, many small schools in Ohio. So far I’m surprised and impressed by some things here. I’ve found people really courteous and conscientious. People are also much more physically fit here than I have seen anywhere in the US since I left New York. I’m not sure why that is. Are Americans getting healthier, or is this peculiar to the town where I am? I guess most of the students are from within state, from pretty well-off families. However, that doesn’t make them radically different than lots of the students in Michigan, who were much less in shape.

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R.I.P. to another classmate

R.I.P. to a fine fellow and fellow Chinese student I knew as Bahb. From time to time I think of his story of how as his grandmother got older sometimes she’d revert back to speaking German.

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Escaping the ladies’ movie!

Today while I was at a departmental party UPS delivered my mattress and put it in my apartment building’s office, which was closed for the weekend by the time I got back. I called the emergency maintenance number and the worker agreed to come open it up for me. He helped me take the package to my apartment and I thanked him sincerely for coming all the way from home to help me. He said, “Actually, it’s all right, because it got me out of having to watch a ladies’ movie with my wife.”

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