Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spit: this post really is about that.

Today in my teenage angst, I've never had to work so hard to spit, in my entire life.

The university I attend has an Psychology honors program as well as a several graduate level psych degree programs. This is lucky for me, as a psych undergrad, because with all the research being done, everyone is in dire need of research participants. Which is lucky for them, because for as little as a 1% bonus mark (up to a 3% increase per class), I will participate in their research.

It's called the Participant Pool. A Ph.D. candidate runs this thing and I can't even deal with how complicated it is. You sign in online and look at the list of studies being offered. You select the ones that look interesting to you - which for me, is all of them. Oh but not because I actually think it's interesting, but because I'm in four psych classes, which together allow me to participate in twelve studies. Everything I can sign up for, I have signed up for. One current study is looking at the affects of smoking on anxiety. You need to be a heavy smoker. I may have momentarily considered taking up smoking. I refrained. I really need these bonus marks.

One study I signed up for, had an annoyingly long list of requirements. In order to participate (or so I thought, turned out it didn't really matter), I could not have had alcohol in the last 24 hours, caffeine in the last 2 hours, food or drink in the last hour, no physical exertion in the last two hours and as a female, I had to have been within the first 14 days of my menstrual cycle. A little specific, I thought. But I needed the credit, so I complied.

The study was measuring the affect of hormones on performance in mental rotation tasks. So that's fair, I guess. I didn't know that we did studies with physiological components, but later that day I participated in another study that took my pulse and temperature; twice. At the end of the whole mental rotation task deal, I needed to produce two fluid ounces of spit. Not phlegm; spit.

This was so stupid hard. Earlier in the study they had made me rinse out my mouth, for unknown reasons, and I don't think I salivated from that point on. So going into my attempts to produce a spit sample, it was like I had prepared for this by stuffing my mouth with cotton balls.

The room, in which I was meant to produce my sample, had walls covered with magazine photos of food accompanied by words like tasty, delicious and, savory. I guess these were meant to help me salivate, which gave me a clearer insight into the related pressures for men who have to visit reproductive clinics. I don't think I've ever concentrated so hard on something that is supposedly involuntary.

Eventually I got my two fluid ounces and I was given my extra-credit. I walked down the stairs from the lab and thought about how strange it was that my life had led to a point of requiring a production of saliva.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Things: Part . . . something.

Today in my teenage angst, full disclosure, I spend a lot (a lot) of time floating around the internet. I have lately started drawing, but other than that, I don't do a lot in my spare time. I watch a lot (a lot) of TV, and I float around the Internet. Taking a cue from Nova, I started 'favoriting' the best things that I saw and put them into 'things' posts. The problem is that because I spend so much time floating around the internet, I find all sorts of crazy/amazing things. I am not, however, great at consistency and end up with massive blocks of 'favorites'. Yesterday, I sorted through two months of bookmarked favorites and am presenting here The Best of the Best!

You should feel lucky, because I have obviously great taste, and the best interests, so all of the following links are going to be amazing. Hahaha. Just kidding. I like being fake pompous sometimes. 

Suzy's Jian [Ghomeshi] Chronicles. Oh man. And guys, I was there for the show and he really is just so amazing. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Collage Art by Jesse Treece. If anyone wants to gift me a solid, I really want this print.

These movie posters are Grade A Epic. Maybe that should be Grade E Epic . . . 

Oh Tina. I miss you already. Tina Fey on Jimmy Fallon in April of last year. [video]

Heymonster on Society 6. There's a Buffy poster. So....

Bubble Magic. [video]

The Blazing Meh - I would like a female to be my girlfriend. These kids are the best. And also I sort of know them.

Things That Make Me Scared To Be A Mom But Shouldn't.  This woman's story of unexpected, but welcomed pregnancy is so beautiful. I can't deal. 

Look At This Instagram. [Video] The most hilarious. Also a Nickleback parody, FYI.

Kitten in Slow Motion. [Video]. Can life get better?

SkipRope by Tweenchronic. [Video] Oh my land this video.

Grimmy Chats to Emma Watson. [Video] I just watched Perks of Being a Wallflower a couple of days ago and man was that ever worth it. 

Piglet Uses a Tiny Wheelchair Made of K'Nex. [Video] Get ready to die . . . emotionally.

So there we go. That's a lot. I'm sorry. I'm not going to be linking to Hello Giggles articles anymore, which let's face it, is from where most of this comes. I'll be re-blogging those directly onto Tumblr, because that's how I find them anyway. 

Have the best upcoming weekend! . . . . . . and then I remembered it was only Tuesday. I'm the coolest. 


Today in my teenage angst, I helped four different senior citizens learn to use their e-readers.

Do you know of this phenomenon? Young, technologically oriented thirty somethings, are buying their older, less than tech savvy, generationally distinct parents e-readers and tablets for Christmas, Birthdays and any celebration that requires more than a pair of socks or a tie. And this is great. The demand for electronic alternatives to everything, is huge. The problem though, is that these kids, buying these gifts, are giving them to their parents and then saying, "Have fun!"; leaving them to their own (less than accessible) devices.

Luckily, there is the library, who, along with their service 'Library-To-Go' (the borrowing of audio and e-books online), offers training in using your e-reader along with our Library-To-Go software. Which is where I come in. Upon entering my new position at the library as a reference technician, I taught myself how to use several formats of "e-reading."

I've recently come to appreciate my place in the techno-journey of my generation, through my work at the reference desk. Having the other reference staff wax-nostalgic about card catalogues and hanging files of reference material, makes me nauseous. The speed with which I can access information because I've grown up in the information age is the best. I really, really, really love it. I blocked off a whole afternoon to lay down my understanding of how to use the various e-readers. It took me fifteen minutes to learn the process on three different devices. And with that, I became a self-proclaimed resident expert. I now accept appointments, drop-ins, over the phone (though this is always hard), etc. And I've come to see each person as an exciting new obstacle in my day at the library.

One of best things about the people that come into the library for this purpose, is that they legitimately can't figure this out on their own. So this relationship works really well both ways. I love helping people accomplish something they couldn't do by themselves, especially when I'm helping them accomplish something I know a lot about or am really good at. In turn, these people look at me as their sort of e-reader savior. Ego-boost? Yes.

I continually find that inter-generational relationships are hard. This is probably the most evident (in our culture at least) with Senior Citizens. Like maybe we think their life-experience is useful, or their baking is tops, or they're super cute, but we don't want them to drive; and forget about using their computers. That's probably just beyond them. But our ability to learn never dies, right? And life is super cyclical. So all the while they're teaching us, we can be looking for ways to teach them too. The best part about this whole deal is that these opportunities are literally falling into my lap. Well, the e-readers are. The seniors are falling into the chair next to my desk, looking tired from trying to figure this whole system out. And they want to learn. They want to learn so bad. And all I have to do is garner a little patience, slow down the speed at which I would normally perform this process, and watch their excitement grow as they realize all the things they now can do.