Thursday, March 26, 2009

The post where you all get to laugh at me

I've been shit with posting the last week or so because I've been busy writing lab reports, assignments, and memorizing the fucking nuclei in the brainstem. So as penance, I'll post this gel from two weeks ago:

I my defense:
  • I wasn't the only one responsible for this mess (four pairs of hands are rarely better than one)
  • It was my first time pouring a gel
  • I hadn't slept the night before.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy pi day!

I know it looks like a bloody massacre, but we made delicious delicious strawberry pie for Pi Day.

The crust is the same as the one for the pineapple pie

The filling:

  • 1.5 lbs strawberries (sliced)
  • juice from half an orange
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Mix sliced strawberries, orange juice, honey, sugar, water, and vanilla. Let sit for 1 hour in the fridge
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
  3. Drain the liquid from the strawberry mixture into a sauce pan.
  4. Heat the liquid on medium heat and add cornstarch. Mix until it dissolves and forms goop.
  5. Lay the strawberries down in the pie crust and pour the strawberry goop on top.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust has browned.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

How to recover from a bad midterm mark

No, I haven't failed my midterms. With the exception of one mark that hasn't been given back, I haven't gotten anything below an A-. I did however notice that a few people landed here using that search term and while I'm not an expert on most things, I sure do know something about bad midterm marks.

So here are my tips for recovering from a bad midterm mark (some are more serious than others):
  • Develop a relationship with alcohol. Out of all the drugs out there that can "help" with feeling shitty, alcohol is the only one that's legal. And as an added bonus, if you drink a half a bottle of 80 proof alcohol you can count the next day as a suitable punishment. My personal preference is this vodka straight out of the freezer.
  • If you aren't up for cirrhosis, then try to find some way to get your mind off of it. You can do something nice for yourself like buy some yummy cheesecake, take a relaxing bath, go out with friends, or sleep.
  • Remember that your midterm probably doesn't count for more that 30% of your mark (unless your professor is an asshole). This means that if you get a 50% on your midterm you've only lost 15% of your final mark. You might still have time to study your ass off and get a 90% on your next midterm/exam. I've gone from a C on a midterm to an overall A- in th course. It's not easy, but it's definitely possible.
  • If there are other issues that may have led to your fucking up, go talk to somebody. You can go to your university's counselling services (if you're at UofT, that's CALSS) or your registrar. Hell, your professor may even be sympathetic depending on the issue.
  • It might not be to late to drop the course.
  • If you're doing badly in a lot of classes, it might be a good idea to take a year or two off. It could help if you have personal issues you need to deal with or if you just think that maybe you're not cut out for university.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 1st

I've opened a bottle of Italian Merlot and I'll try to write this post. This is probably the hardest post I'll ever force myself to write. Part of the difficulty is that I've very, very rarely talked about this subject and part is that, despite know how awesome the few readers I have are, I still fear that your opinion of me will change for the worse.

March 1st is Self-Injury Awareness Day. It's not officially recognized in most places, and even on the internet it's not really talked about. But since I am someone who has self-injured I feel like I should write something about it.

Self-injury is generally defined as the deliberately damage of tissue without suicidal intent. This can mean everything from cutting oneself to ODing on drugs. I'm too lazy to look up statistics, but if I recall correctly the lifetime incidence is anywhere from 10 to 25% of the population depending on the study and country. It's more common for females to self-injure than for males and most people start in their teens. The reasons given for this behaviour vary and include: controlling negative emotions, self-punishment, and stopping feelings of depersonalization or dissociation.

There are a lot of misconceptions about people who self-injure. One such belief is that it's a failed attempt at suicide (see: jokes about "down the road and not across the street"). Although some people who self-injure have or will attempt suicide, the very definition of self-injury excludes suicide attempts and some people even report that they use self-injury to prevent suicide. A second common myth is that we're all doing this just to get a bit of attention and sympathy. While some people do it for attention, most self-injurers tend to hide their problem and feel shameful about what they do (I can count on one finger, the people in my life that know). And even if one does it for attention, at the point where you hurt yourself for it, it's still a problem.

The lack of understanding and awareness can cause a lot of problems with family and friends, but self-injurers can also run into problems when seeking medical attention. If you're cutting or burning yourself on a regular basis, it's likely that at some point you're going to need medical treatment at some point. Going to an ER you expect to be treated like any other injured person, unfortunately that's often not the case. Talking to people who self-injure, it's not unusual to hear stories of doctors not providing a local anaesthetic for stitches (because if you self-injure, you must like pain) or refusing treatment until the person promises to stop self-injuring (Ok, since you ask really nicely doc -- I'll do it!). It's not right to treat people who self-injure as less then human or as if they're a misbehaving child.

I'm not going to talk about my personal story because I don't really know if anyone is interested and I feel it might be a bit self-indulgent. However, feel free to ask questions in the comments or e-mail me if you want to talk.

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