When I was a kid, I had no friends. There were a couple of other kids whom I was told were my friends. In retrospect, none of them liked me or wanted me around, they were just forced to include me because my mother wanted to gossip with their mother without interruptions. The one whom I was told was my "best friend" didn't like me to the point where she ignored me at school, but she was the kind of kid whose mother picked out her clothes and hairstyle every morning, and she got clocked with a hairbrush if she protested, so clearly she couldn't do much to stop it. The message this sent was that friends were people who would tolerate you when you were there, then roll their eyes and start running you down to others whenever you weren't. So far as I can tell, this is how my mother actually believes friendship works. She consistently behaved this way with all of her friends, back when she had them, and sailed merrily onward with her siblings once my sister and I aged
Well, Hurricane Henri was a bit of a bust. It was very humid and we got a bunch of rain, and that was about it. I didn't even close my window all the way. To compensate for all the nothing that happened, the National Weather Service is posting "weather history" tweets about Irene ten years ago, because whoever runs their social media has great enthusiasm for their job.  Irene was my very first hurricane. For context, I had just moved here from Arizona, where the very concept of getting catastrophic amounts of liquid water from the sky was terrifying and alien. I'd grown up in Phoenix, where "monsoon season" brought brief, violent thunderstorms that flooded out low-lying roads for about six hours before all the moisture vanished into the porous sandstone. I was by myself in a sublet up near Electric Ave in Somerville, barren but for a futon, my suitcases, and an internet connection. My sister had just sent me a charmingly abusive email, which became the last
I am still in the slightly-overdramatic juris doctor 's class. Classes. They're intense but useful enough that it's worth killing myself to get through them. They're also bringing up a lot of uncomfortable stuff about my educational history, and how I handle a classroom environment. I learn best when given as much information as possible right up front. I joke that I learn everything via cryptography, because that's actually the standard procedure you follow when trying to decrypt an unknown message in an unknown system: Gather as much cyphertext as possible, put it in a big pile, and then sit down and stare at it (or get a computer to stare at it) until patterns jump out. I often make better progress starting out in the advanced class, as I've done here, and then doubling back to the foundations course once I have some experience. Most beginner classes are streamlined and pared down until you're learning only the thing that is directly relevant at any given
The slightly-overdramatic juris doctor  has been waging a campaign to get me to take his class. And more recently, to take all of his classes. I didn't... miss  it, exactly, I just doubted my perception of causality.  To now get too far into the amateur psych profiling, he is surprisingly rule-based. I think most people just think he's super on top of everything, and highly self-critical when he does miss something, but it also comes out in socialization, and I suspect is a lot of the reason he comes off as eccentric. I accidentally instantiated a rule about answering my emails with emails and not randomly in person next time he saw me. It was only relevant once, when the office wanted a written confirmation of something, but it's stuck very, very hard for several months now. I have to interpret him for my smart-but-normal coworker a lot. He has this schtick where he borrows the staff to come in for the last five minutes of his classes to watch the choreo and give feedback
I have signed up for class with the somewhat-overdramatic juris doctor from previous posts. It is... interesting. Not getting too far into the amateur psych profiling, he shows every sign of being someone who was tracked into every gifted and talented program they could find as soon as they figured out he could read. Which was probably before anyone else got around to teaching him. He is pathologically observant and terrifyingly smart. I like him, a lot. The popular concept of what happens when you tell a kid they're exceptional from day one is basically House, the intolerable asshole genius. I won't say that never happens, but it's pretty rare. Getting that result involves a lot of confounding factors, and, let's be honest, some significant inborn asshole tendencies. More often, you get someone who is no better or worse a person than anyone else, but is really  oddly calibrated in many regards. One of the earliest things you learn as The Gifted Kid is that the other k
I hate heat.  Normally I write these things at 2 am because that's when I'm awake. I'm writing this particular thing at 2 am because that's when it's not 95F outside. It's not quite 95F inside, but it gets stupidly close. My room only has one window -- so, still legally rentable as a bedroom in the state of Massachusetts -- and for some reason only the upper sash will open. I'm not dumb enough to wedge an AC unit into the top of a busted antique double-hung window, so my bedroom has been temporarily converted into a large solar-powered oven. The rat has been spending his days in the living room, where it's climate-controlled. (Rat, singular. I am down to only Tseng at the moment. If you don't keep up with my Facebook, Errand, the remaining old man foster, finally got to go back to his original mommy. He was very weirded out by being packed up into a carrier and trundled out to the Fenway, but happy to be returned to someone who is home enough to sati


I lost Garion -- one of the old men -- a week ago today. It was not unexpected; a previous owner actually happened to know their birthdate, June 1st 2018, which means Garion was just shy of three. Hitting three for a rat is like a human hitting a hundred. Domesticated rattos live a lot longer than their feral counterparts, but not a lot of them make it quite that far. Garion also spent a fair chunk of last year suffering through the single worst bout of pneumonia I have ever seen a rat survive. He recovered pretty well, but never quite regained all of his weight, and had persistent breathing trouble that I'm guessing was down to scarring of the lungs, since it didn't respond to antibiotics but did remit a bit with the faceful of Dulera he got every morning. I kept the two old men when the other six went off to Mainely Rat Rescue specifically because I figured Garion didn't have a lot of time left. It's difficult to re-home senior rats, I was already their third caretake