Neurotopia

That durned 8 things tag

I just noticed a comment in my Undergraduate Research Changed My Life post from a friend of mine; Camilo at Mercurical tagged me with the “8 Things” meme.

Ok ok ok. I should just jump on this bandwagon as well. After all, Wilkins is doing it, and Tara at Aetiology issued a blanket tag for everybody that reads her blog (which I do regularly, so heck with it I better do this).

Here are 8 things about me, in no particular order:


1. I was adopted out by Catholic Social Services at the ripe old age of 9 days, in Macomb IL. (Yeah yeah, that one is in order).

2. Cooking is something I like to try. Successful cooking, that’s another story. I can do half-decent Italian, Mexican, and occasionally a stellar Indian dish, but when it comes to most Asian recipes I bomb out miserably. Which is a shame because I could eat Thai every day of the week.

3. Some of my straight friends wonder if I’m gay. All my gay friends say I don’t even show up on their gaydar. Must be the cooking thing, confuses everybody. Or maybe its just my glorious hair.

4. Because I was too stubborn to accept financial help, I was technically homeless for 2 of the last 3 years of graduate school. A good chunk of my stipend went to help defray my then-wife’s living expenses as she was in graduate school in another state. Meanwhile I relied on the generosity of friends and their couches, when they were available, and paid them what Iittle could. Those stories you hear about graduate students sleeping in lab for months at a time? They’re all too real. I slept on a -80 C chest freezer for almost 2 months straight at one point with a sleeping bag and a camping pad, and showered in the animal colony locker room.

5. During the truly homeless phases I ate at the hospital cafeteria when I could afford to (which wasn’t often) and cooked ramen, mac n cheese, eggs, or grilled cheese over the hotplate in lab when I couldn’t. Occasionally a research study would pop up which I could take part in so I could afford better food, but not always. I shudder to think of how many experimental drugs I’ve had coursing through my veins, and how much radiation I’ve been exposed to. For a while I hit a dry spell and had to donate plasma to afford food. $50 a week will buy plenty of groceries, but as luck would have it getting to and from the donation center ate up $20 of that in gas. At least I could garner some extra calories from going to luncheon talks. Maybe this was all stupid, but I didn’t want to add to the family financial burden or cause more worry amongst others. I finally took my dad up on an offer to pay for a place to stay while I wrote up my dissertation during my last year.

6. I, for some reason, have anxiety issues. I thought it was GAD and panic disorder, but recently I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which actually makes sense of quite a lot of my symptoms. It certainly explains the chronic soreness and the constant sleep issues though, along with the migraines. Since I started treating the anxiety as a component of fibromyalgia, I’ve slept better than I have in years.

7. I own the dumbest cat in the world. Seriously. She ate a dryer sheet once and almost had to have emergency surgery to remove it because she couldn’t keep food or water down. Good thing the syrup of ipecac worked. I even swiped stuff from lab to give her subcutaneous fluids. But does she know the lengths I go to for her? No!!! She’s tried to do it again at least twice!!! Plus, she gets her head caught under furniture, falls out of windowsills and almost breaks off her xyphoid process or whatever the cat equivalent is, and eats pieces of her own fur off the carpet. She’s very sweet though, always sleeping on any clothes I leave out and leaving her little mouse toy for me at the side of my bed every day.

8. When I need to make major life decisions, I go camping at Carolina Beach by myself and think while walking along the dunes at night and listening to the ocean.

Now, unfortunately, I don’t know anybody who hasn’t been hit with this meme already. So if you read this and you haven’t done it before, consider yourself tagged.