Monday, March 27, 2006

eQuote of the Day

In the past decade people have taken a lot of regular words that would have worked as-is, but because the action took place when using a computer they stuck an 'e' in the front to indicate it was the electronic version. I think it started with electronic mail, email, but these "e-words" have moved forward to include a host of examples such as ebook, ebusiness, e-learning, ecommerce, e-trade...

As part of my job I have to take support calls. Most of them ok, but some are very frustrating. The most frustrating callers are ones that throw all common sense out the window because they have limited experience with computers. These people are unable to perform simple tasks such as unplugging the computer's power cable from the wall socket, or pressing the 'On' button. They simply state they are computer illiterate and stop listening and stop trying. Today I had a caller and all he had to do was read to me the message that appeared on the screen. He kept interrupting me as I asked him to do this with the statement that he is 'computer illiterate', as if this would somehow stop him from READING to me. Ironically, he couldn't even pronounce 'illiterate' correctly. He'd stretch out the sound of first letter i to several times longer than most people would say it. So each time he gave his reason he couldn't read the screen he'd use that funny way of saying it. By the fourth or fifth time I realized he had accidentally just coined his own e-word as he switched his (by now) familiar phrase around and said "When it comes to computers I'm e-illiterate."

Main Entry: e-il·lit·er·ate
Pronunciation: E-(")i(l)-'li-t(&-)r&t
Function: adjective
Etymology: from Latin illiteratus, electronic
1 : A lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of computer usage.
2 : The inability to read when the text to be read is being displayed on a computer screen.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sarah's First Eyebrow Wax

It seems to strange to say it, but when I was a teenager and my face had an over-abundance of oil - those were truly the good old days (at least facially speaking). I'd gladly take over-active sebaceous glands and all that comes with them than the dry skin I've suffered with this winter. I actually just found myself adding oil to my face just so I could smile without cracking open. Earlier today though my cheeks looked like an elephant's skin and felt like I had run sandpaper over them. I didn't even realize how bad my face was until today after work. I was in my car on my way to Sunsera and the warm dry air from the heater was swirling around and I could feel my face getting more and more dry, and that meant with each passing minute my face would sting worse and worse. I didn't even care about getting my eyebrows waxed anymore, my only motivation for getting to the salon was that I was fantasizing about meeting the aesthetician, having her notice my dry skin and offer me some lotion. I kept re-envisioning this possible event in my mind as if the repetition would somehow help will it into actually happening.

Vanity is funny. My face was already red and irritated, but I know that while rubbing lotion onto my cheeks may soothe them, it usually makes them even more red. So even though I was sitting in the waiting area and was within reach of literally hundred of bottles of creams and lotions, I didn't go looking for testers because I was afraid that the aesthetician would come get me right after I applied the lotion and I'd look not only even more red but also greasy. So instead of relieving my pain I just sat there trying to forget about it, and within a few minutes I had a really good reason to forget about it...

The a
esthetician came walking down the hallway, and since I was the only person in the waiting area I knew she was coming for me. I didn't want her to be coming for me though because as soon as I saw her I became very worried. We made eye contact and she gave me a look that meant "are you Sarah?" but I didn't acknowledge it because in my mind I interpreted it as "are you a dude?" She broke the silence with "Are you Sarah?" I said I was, and I stood up to reluctantly follow her into the back rooms of the salon. It isn't that I doubted her skill. After all, when I saw her face to face, her eyebrows looked painstaking cared for. There was not a stray hair to be seen, the edges were razor sharp, and the arches were perfectly smooth. The only problem was that this woman had professionally waxed and plucked herself into a permanent expression of surprise! If she had done that to herself, what might she do to me?

She took me into a very comfortable feeling room and asked me to lay down. The bed looked like a gurney straight out of the morgue that had been covered with towels and sheets. Despite this the room was so cozy I could have fallen asleep in seconds had I not been worried
I would soon be walking out with a dark brown version of a McDonald's sign on my forehead. She turned a lamp on and pointed it at my face. I closed my eyes and she brushed back my hair and said "Oh my, your face is very dry." I agreed with her that it truly, truly was very, very dry and she came back with "We have an excellent lotion for dry skin...". At this point I took an instant to I smile over how my unspoken wishes had once again altered reality to suit me. I was almost vibrating over the thought of lotion being applied to my defeated and broken skin, and then she finished her sentence, "... for only sixty dollars."
Oh what a cruel world we live in.

We chatted for a minute or two and then she started to get down to the business of waxing. I had never done this before so I didn't know what to expect. I was hoping she'd pull out a book from which I'd get to choose what I wanted (so I could steer her clear of anything that looked like it would change my resting expression.) Instead though she just went to work. I felt the wax going on and even though it felt so gooey and sticky I got the impression it was completely under control. It was very warm and it felt so good being applied, but the removal wasn't as pleasant. Tara had warned me I might cry and after finding out this was my first time, the aesthetician told me it might hurt - but it wasn't so bad. It did sting, but thankfully for once in my new life I managed to keep the tears inside my eyeballs. It only took her seconds to finish the entire job and she showed me the result and despite my fears I have to say she did a really good job. I walked out of there feeling good, and I didn't even care that the only part of my face that wasn't stinging, red and irritated when I walked in now was now the worst part.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Biology 20 Refresher

If you took biology in highschool you probably remember turgor pressure. Turgor pressure is force exerted outward on a cell wall by the water contained in the cell. This force gives the plant rigidity, and may help to keep it erect. I think about turgor pressure a lot, because I am very lazy when it comes to properly wrapping vegetables and I often end up with dried-out, limp vegetables.

The other week I bought a cabbage, and as usual I was lazy when putting it away and before I knew it, instead of being crisp and crunchy it was all soft and chewy. That is a good combination for a Mars bar, not so good for a vegetable. I decided to try to restore the freshness by restoring the turgor pressure. I wanted to submerge it completely in water but the only thing I had that would work to contain it all was a beer pitcher my ex-roommate stole. I dropped in the cabbage, filled it with water, then put it in the fridge.

So here we are a couples days later and the cabbage is crispy and crunchy and it looks quite good. I haven't been able to eat any of it though because I neglected to realize that when the pressure built back up, the cabbage would swell. Right now that cabbage is so damn swollen it doesn't even come close to coming out of that pitcher. It is stuck in there so tight, when you poke a knife into it, the knife is squeezed so much it is hard to pull back out. I could hack bits and pieces out, but in order to eat it conveniently, I will have to let it dry out a bit. I poured out the water but that cabbage makes an almost perfect seal along the inside wall of the pitcher and the water poured out as not even a trickle.
I guess the moral is that science may be cool, but as far as saving cabbages goes, it's not worth the time and effort - just go buy a new one.

Sarah's Magic Floating-On-Air Cabbage

Then & Now

You can really read a lot into these pictures when you
consider who isn't with us anymore to be in the second one.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Golden Arches

So, I've been on these hormones for a while now, and I'm getting to be quite the expert on the side effects. Any quick search and you will find a list of side effects; sore breasts, breast enlargement, water retention, headache, weight gain, nausea and vomiting. I've had all of this in the months I've been on estrogen and I handled them in stride. There are also the more serious effects that I hope to avoid - stroke, arteriosclerosis, and deep vein thrombosis. Estrogen has so many side effects that no list will be entirely complete. For example, most sites I have read didn't bother to mention anything emotional, but I guess since most of these sites were geared for women the authors figured that just goes without saying. Also, since most sites were geared for women the authors usually don't bother to mention that while estrogen buffs the bust, it shrinks the dink.

Homer: You wear a bathing suit in the bathtub?
Ned: Yeah, that way I can't see my own shrinkydink.
Homer (pause): Makes sense.

As people so equipped well know, there is no fixed length to the unit. Sometimes you just end up with the short end of the stick. It is like the stock market - most of the time it is fairly predictable, but sometimes it's up and sometimes it's down. When it is down there could be a million reasons - maybe it is the way you are sitting, the temperature of the room, the company you are with, but for whatever reason shrinkydinks are normal. My estrogen problem is similar but not the same. It's not like a sudden cold water shrink dink, it is a gradual yet noticeable overall constant shortening. I knew this would happen of course. It didn't bother me one bit and in no way was any sort of consideration to me at all before I went on hormones. After all, when you'd prefer an innie, any sort of outtie seems too big anyway, but other than that I've never been concerned with the size of my own you-know-what. Small or big, I preferred not to think about it either way. I am sure you readers would prefer that as well but today this is our subject, so I apologize.

The problem I am having is a direct result of when The Shortening meets a Shrinkydink. It is an unpleasant topic indeed. In fact it is a problem that I should keep to myself, but for some reason I am writing it down for not only my friends to read, but the entire internet as well. Maybe by some strange coincidence some other MtF will chance upon my blog and it will save her from the trouble I've had to experience a few times already.

Disclaimer: The blog will now turn to the topic of peeing. Reader discretion is advised.
A few times now I have sat down in the bathroom to take care of some business. I'd prefer to talk in metaphors for this next part, so let's just say I didn't realize that there was a lull in the market, that it was low-tide, that Elvis had left the building. In fact, when coupled with the estrogen shortening, the region affected was in a Full Turtle. So when I actually let loose, instead of having a healthy downward angled stream I had a horizontal one that launched like a Super-Soaker clear of the toilet, arched over my pants and landed on the floor a couple feet away. All you transwomen out there beware, a side effect of estrogen that is not mentioned on any site is that you might end up being extremely embarrassed and involuntarily contribute to the insanitary conditions of public washrooms as you look like one of those peeing statues.

"Manneken Pis"