I will interpret this as saying "bicycling" because that's what I want to mumble about.* I'm so deeply ambivalent about it, because it's been my necessary primary mode of transportation for something like 6 years out of financial necessity.
*So, it gets me where I want to go:
-when I lived in Plainfield, I would bike 12 miles total to and from Cranford for school and 4 miles total to and from work
-then when we moved to Middlesex, I would bike 12 miles total to and from work, and 4 miles to and from the train station for school
*Biking has kept me from blimping out as a consequence of my love of eating /all the time/, no matter what I'm doing. I am particularly aware of this because when I graduated and Borders closed, the distance I biked daily tanked, and I promptly gained a bunch of weight (yes, stress and stuff too, but suddenly not doing the only thing physical I did before surely contributed).
*Biking is friendly to the environment.
*Related to the above two points--I REALLY enjoy the social acclaim I get for biking because of environmental friendliness and she's-so-healthy attributions others make
*I'm lazy by nature, so I'm not crazy about the activity
*It's shockingly difficult to juggle the carrying of change-of-clothes (in addition to whatever else I need to be carrying) because I might be drenched in sweat, drenched in rain, muddy, or wounded from crashing (like when NJ transit buses run me off the road). Similarly, it's difficult to gauge what the weather will be like, and I cannot really carry covers for all types of weather on my back. If I guess wrong (or if weather.com is wrong), I'm screwed.
*Time. Biking takes so much longer than driving. And in theory I should not be wearing an iPod while biking on the side of the road--that's pretty not legal, but otherwise I feel like I'm wasting so much time, and I want to at least be listening to an audiobook or jamming to some music.
Conclusion: Overall, biking has been great for me, but damn am I going to enjoy having a car again.
*As a side note, a friend is trying pretty hard to get me interested in bicycles specifically, so maybe I'll have more to say once I've been on the special bike she wants me to try.
2. gaming psychology
Why is it so competitive? Why is it so hard to lose? Why is winning so satisfying? What balance of luck versus skill makes a "good" game? Why does it cause so much personal hurt when luck doesn't go according to probability? Do those more scientifically minded get more upset when probability doesn't play out according to how it "should"? Why? Shouldn't the scientific minded be the quickest to internalize that probability is precisely NOT about "shoulds"? Are boardgames just society's latest social invention of a space in which we can indulge some fundamental need to pound one another to a bloody pulp? (Alternatively: Is competitiveness bad?)
Questions count as thoughts, right?
Soulcrushing. (note that my retail experience was for a big box retailer--Borders--so that kind of corporate environment probably played a significant part in the deadening employment experience)
There were interesting things I learned working retail. For example, I can sell. I'd like to think this is because I love books, except I could move any product designated the add-on du jour by corporate, including bags of coffee, books that were truly awful, and Twilight-themed crap toys--cheap ugly plastic things depicting characters from a truly awful written work. So, that was interesting--I learned I can work up passion that I use to sell. I am not proud of this, but hope I can transfer this "skill" from retail to "selling" ideas, as well as the idea of learning in general (to future students, for example).
I also, through a series of internal promotions and because I was a young adult growing up during my time there, matured a lot while working there, and learned some lessons the hard way about how NOT to supervise people, and how NOT to act and speak with people both in positions above me and below me at the time. I was very lucky to work with people who liked and respected me as a person so much that many social and managerial mistakes I made in the workplace were, if not forgiven, at least tolerated as I developed.
A perspective-check for me is that women have not even had their right to vote acknowledged for a hundred years yet. My best friend reports to me that women lawyers in pantsuits still run the risk of being reprimanded in the courtroom for inappropriate attire (skirtsuits, of course, being appropriate attire). I don't need to mention unequal pay or the perception of women's bodies as belonging to the public to make the point that there is still a need for people who (and for people to) think in a deliberate way and about and articulate that women are equal citizens and to be alert for the protection, creation, and exercising of male privilege.
Delicious! Boil, but not too long, butter heavily (when you think you've got enough butter, add two tablespoons), then add salt and white pepper at the table. Excellent with roast chicken or london broil and pairs well with the side dish of parsnip mashed potatoes.
6. regions and regionalism in the US
I love living somewhere with diversity. I meet people in NJ, and they are quick to assure me they will be leaving Jersey as-soon-as-they-possibly-can. And I'm thinking, I'm SO glad to be here! I love it here! It's so awesome to not be somewhere solidly white, middle class, Christian, suburbia, Midwest.
What's that? I forget... ;)
I LOVE buzzing my head. So freeing. I never have to think about what I "Should" do to my hair, did the wind "mess up" my hair, "what will people think" of my hair, is it "formal" enough, is it "casual" enough, is it "sexy", is it falling out, is the hair dye fading, "should" I dye it, "should" I cut it, "should" I sleep on it dry, if so, "should" I blow dry it before going to bed or "should" I never blow dry it, it's never in my eyes, I never have people telling me what I "should" do with my hair (it's AMAZING how entitled people feel about your hair... when I had long hair AND when I had short hair, perfect strangers would tell me what I "should" do with my hair--so inappropriate, and /so/ common)...
Surprisingly, a lot of people find the look attractive on me, which I was not expecting when I did it. But there's something about the buzzed head that makes it clear I don't invite a lot of commentary on what I "should" do with my appearance.
I've had all sorts of women tell me how "brave" I am for doing it--that they've thought of doing it, but were afraid they'd have a funny looking head or something. I find this frustrating. It makes me think of the American Dad episode where the daughter, Haley, becomes a stripper. Due to her dying it (gasp) green, Stan cuts all her hair off, but she defies him by wearing a wig to strip. Plot develops, blahblah, the wig falls off while she is on a pole, everyone can see she's bald, and a guy stands up and says "that's the one place you DO want there to be hair!" and she's run out of the place...
Society is so weird about women's hair.