Dec 31, 2007

2007 In Review

I envy young married couples and families at this time of year. Not for their domestic bliss or tax write-offs, but for the simple fact that they are allowed to send out Holiday Letters. Usually printed on some inane red and green trimmed stationary and/or decorated with pictures of the children in matching sweaters, the sole purpose of these little notes is to boast about the family's achievements. Last February, little Billy got the lead in the school play! Susie earned her orange belt in karate this summer! Janet won a blue ribbon for her rhubarb pie at the county fair! Bob managed one more year of choking down his bitter disappointment over unrealized ambitions and dying dreams. Hang in there, Bob!

Why should families have all the fun? Why am I not allowed to send everyone I've met a picture of myself posing adorably in front of a fake holiday backdrop? As we all know, I could make even a reindeer jumper look good.

She's right, you know!

On the other hand, I suppose this blog acts as a year-round Holiday Letter ... only more amusingly and with less waste of paper. And I'm saving a ton in postage (let's politely ignore my loss of productivity at work). So let the families have their letters, which will be tossed in the recycling by guilty recipients as soon as decency and waning holiday cheer allow. My words will haunt the internet long after I'm dead and gone, or a least several months after I've lost interest. Blogs are forever.

Speaking of young marrieds, this weekend was packed full of fun and catching up with friends thanks to one of my favorite couples, Kristin and Kevin. They were gracious enough to put up with me put me up for the weekend in a well-appointed guest room. On Friday, Kristin and I met with Ducks and Chris for dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Ducks works in publishing, and makes gifts of the latest releases.

Ducks: Monkey! Long time no see.
Me: *patting her down* I know you have it - hand it over!
Kristin and Chris: *edging away*
Me: You brought me a book, didn't you? Where is it?
Ducks: Awww, aren't you cute?

And so I am the proud owner of Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. I could barely restrain myself from opening it at the table. Yes, it is a children's fantasy novel. No, I am not ashamed. It will travel afar with me, and excerpts may be read to unsuspecting Indian cousins.

On Saturday morning Kristin, Kevin and I had brunch with Sarah and Brendan on their way through DC. We had an excellent time and came *this close* to being forcibly evicted from The Corner Bakery. Which, for all it's folksy title and atmosphere, is actually a mega-chain staffed by immigrants. Mmmm, just like madre used to make.

Then, much to my delight, there was bridge! Kristin and I always have a good time, because we are compulsive gigglers. This can be slightly unnerving for our opponents.

Kristin: Hee.
Me: Hah.
Kristin: *twitter*
Me: *snort*
Both: *gales of laughter*
Maggie: What's so funny?
Kristin: *blank look*
Me: I ... don't know.
Chris: Can we just play? Please?

But the highlight of the weekend, the proverbial cherry on top, was watching Sense And Sensibility.

Me: Professor Trelawney and Madam Pompfrey, huzzah! If only this movie included Professor Snape, my life would be complete!
Kristin: Wait for it ...
Alan Rickman: *enters*
Me: OMG! I can die happy, now.

It was weird to see him smile.

This post kind of got away from me... Though you may be glad of this rambling during the dearth that will follow. Miss me while I'm gone, my chickadees!

Dec 26, 2007

She's on to me...

Lesson Three from the Family Sri - Censorship
Mom: {something hilarious}
Me: Um ... {correction}?
Both: *hysterical laughter*
Mom: Don't put that in your blog.
Me: {expletive}

Today my mother leaves for India, and I will be joining her after New Year's. From the sound of things I will be spending most of my time in transit - be it by plane, train, rickshaw or elephant. I'm kidding, we don't ride elephants ... we worship them as gods. See, now you don't know what to believe.

I'm really hoping she lets me post it all when I get back. Visiting my relatives is like hanging out with my parents, times twenty. And if you think I'm awkward here in the States, can you imagine me in India? Blog-worthy misadventures will undoubtedly ensue. I may have to record them in my long-neglected journal, on actual paper in actual ink. Freaky.

While I was home for the holidays I came across my journal from sixth grade, which included my... third(?) visit to India. Anyway, it was the first time I was old enough to be fully cognizant of my surroundings. My initial impression of the motherland was, "this place stinks to high heaven."

*sigh* I promise to not be quite so plebeian in the future.

Dec 17, 2007

I'm kind of a gamer

... in that I enjoy video/computer games that do not require too much commitment or hand-eye coordination. My love of gaming started with Battle Toads for old-school Nintendo. My specialty was hitting "Forward" and "Punch" frantically while verbally abusing my digital opponents. As a strategy, I recommend it highly. An homage to the original game can be found here.

Zitz, Pimple and Rash. I think The Professor was a chicken, or something.

Now that I'm adult, my taste has matured... Super Smash Bros, Guitar Hero, that sort of thing. And recently I discovered the games on Adult Swim. More specifically, Viva Caligula.

Oh. My. God. This game makes Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas look like The Sims: Holiday Edition. Game play consists of maneuvering a tiny Caligula around, killing Roman citizens and collecting new weapons. Citizens include civilians, whores, drunks, priests and bathhouse attendants (who die pretty easily) as well as soldiers, tribesmen, gladiators and skeletons (who put up more of a fight). At first you are limited to stabbing people with your dagger until they collapse into a pile of dismembered body parts. But as you gather weapons, you can kill your subjects in new and exciting ways. Once you gather all 26 weapons (each one corresponds to a letter on the keyboard), you unlock the palace and ... well, I won't spoil the surprise.

Basically, this game is
messed up.

I'll admit that this game is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. But since I don't mind a bit of digital depravity, I enjoyed Viva Caligula. It's simple and easy and lots of fun. Just like (in the overall spirit of letting out my 13 year-old gamer boy persona) "your mom." Ha.

Dec 12, 2007

Lessons from the Family Sri

Let's be honest, okay? Most of you read this blog solely for the amusing quotes from my adorable parents. I've come to accept my role as nothing but a scribe, a conduit for their genius. And so I bring you the first of many Lessons from the Family Sri.

Lesson One - Microbiology
Me (about the chicken curry): Mmmm, smells good!
Mom: Don't! It is only half-cooked.
Me: Can I half-taste it?
Mom: OK, you'll get half-sick.

Lesson Two - Philosophy
Dad: What is the word embedded in 'independence?'
Me: Don't you dare say 'depend.'
Dad: The point is, law is blind.
Me: First of all, no. Justice is blind. Second of all, no. Just ... no.

Dec 5, 2007

Not Dead Yet

My birthday came and went, overshadowed by one of my infamous Black Moods. You know that I am usually a woman of infinite jest and most excellent fancy. But even I am susceptible to the occasional funk, especially during the holidays. So I spent most of the anniversary of my blessed natal event curled up on the couch, contemplating the grim prospect of growing older. Yes, I realize that I'm too young to be having a midlife crisis. But when I went to bed at 12:34 AM on December 4th, it suddenly occurred to me - in a few years I will turn Thirty.

Prior to this late night revelation, Thirty had always been a distant and largely insignificant milestone. I had some vague ideas about family and career goals for Thirty, but no real plan. Part of me still expects the things I want to manifest out of thin air (like when I thought I'd get a boyfriend when I turned 16, or my skin would completely clear up at age 20). Turning 25 made me wonder, what if none of that ever happens? What if this is it - working at the same job, coming "home" to an empty condo, dreaming about a permanently deferred writing career?

Maybe it's all part of the process of growing up. When you're a kid your parents tell you, "you can be anything you want to be." As you get older, however, you start to make important decisions (science versus humanities, career versus family, &c. &c.) and some opportunities are naturally lost. You become a real adult person. Going back or starting over would be exhausting. If you don't like the person you've become, tough. You have responsibilities now, people depend on you. You have car insurance payments and a mortgage, birthdays to remember and office Christmas parties to attend.

And I've decided ... I'm not having it. As soon as I let myself settle on what I've "grown up to be," it means that I'm no longer growing. And that way lies madness, not to mention stagnation. So to hell with all of this maturity nonsense! I absolutely refuse to grow older gracefully - I'm going down kicking and screaming.

Who's with me?

P.S. Many thanks to my folks, Maggie and Ruby (and family) for the ah-mazing gifts, to Wistar for taking me out and letting me whine, to FV for you know what, to Liz, Laura, Jojo and my cousin Priyanka (and family) for the lovely cards and to Kelli, Emily, Kara, Mariam, Erin, Sandra, Matt, Andi, Amola, Mike, Davina, Rachel, Danielle, Sarah B. and Sarah Z. for the birthday wishes! Personalized thank-you's will follow, but please let me know if I've neglected to mention anyone. Also, if my brother is reading this he should know that a belated, two-sentence email will not excuse him if he fails to come home safely, bearing Belgian chocolates.

Nov 27, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

My 25th birthday is in one week, and I know you all are tortured with worries about your gifts for me. Is this diamond tennis bracelet too flashy, or not flashy enough? Did I remember to get a receipt for World Peace? Where is the appropriate place for a bow on a slave boy? That sort of thing. Let me clear up the confusion.

Might I suggest that you do good works in my name? You could donate a giant novelty check to a reputable local or national charity. Bonus points for handing it over to a tow-headed orphan, stoic cancer survivor or weeping disaster victim in a televised public ceremony. Planting a tree is also acceptable, as long as you include a commemorative plaque bearing my likeness. For the poor, cheap and/or lazy, why don't you tell one friend about my blog? Seeing that little hit counter tick over (along with comments of any kind) is what gives me the motivation to keep writing. That's assuming, of course, that you wish for me to continue.

I suppose after such a vain declaration I should blog something amusing. And so I bring you, My Family's Thoughts On Their Youngest Reaching The Quarter-Century Mark.

Mom: Oh god, I'll never get her married at this rate. *logs onto*
Dad: Hm, old enough for House but she should hold out for Senate. *wanders off to make campaign posters*
Brother: What? Is it some one's birthday? *goes back to work*

Just kidding! Mostly. Anyway, all I really want is money love.

Nov 21, 2007

National Family History Day

You may be under the impression that Thanksgiving is all about stuffing your face and passing out on the couch in front of football games/parades/Christmas movies (come earlier every year, don't they?). And while I don't wish to detract from the true spirit of this most American of holidays, I'd like to remind you that tomorrow is also National Family History Day. Huzzah! Get out your pedigree stencil and medical records release form, this is gonna be fun.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Check it out on the Surgeon General's website. Getting more information on your family's medical history is not only a great way to annoy grandma while she's trying to enjoy her tryptophan-induced stupor, it could save your life. Right now you're thinking, 'is she being serious?' The answer is YES. As serious as the heart attack you could avoid by knowing about your predisposition to cardiovascular disease and consulting your physician (for example).

The Surgeon General's website has a great family history tool that makes organizing your family tree (or "pedigree," as we say in the biz) easy. And you can have fun with it. Get photos or draw pictures of your family members, and make a pedigree collage. If you're technically inclined, make a website so that all of your geographically distant relations can contribute. Shake any family tree hard enough and a genealogist or two will fall out - you'll be surprised at how bad ass fascinating your ancestry can be!

Nov 20, 2007

Another excerpt from Desi Kids

"We're going to have a great time, okay? And make some awesome food, am I right?" The instructor, a petite blonde woman, beamed out over her captive audience. She wore a sturdy apron over her t-shirt and jeans, and as she spoke she whipped her long hair up into a ponytail. Planting her hands on her hips she continued, "Why don't we go around the room and say our names and favorite dishes?"

Sati tried to pay close attention as the men and women around her announced strange names and stranger meals. My English is terrible, she fretted. I cannot understand half of what they are saying. She was trying to puzzle out how to make a loaf out of meat when she realized everyone was staring at her.

"Oh! I am Sati Chandra," she strained to make her voice audible over the shuffling of feet and clearing of throats. "I like to make ..." Her mind blanked. "Ah. I like -"

"O.M.G., if you say 'chutney' you will totally steal my answer!" A long-legged beauty, who looked as if she had stepped straight off a Bollywood movie poster, dropped her bag beside Sati's workstation. "So sorry I'm late. I couldn't find a place to park, like, anywhere. Also, my name's Pooja Shertukde. Hi!" Her grin at once encompassed the entire class and singled each of them out as her particular friend.

Word count: ~25,000. Slowly but surely.

Nov 15, 2007

Progress report

Word count after three days off work: ~20,000. Not good, folks - I had hoped to be up to 25K, at least. Of course, if you count all the blog entries I've made so far this month ...

Personal blog:
11/2/07 - NaNoWriMo begins - 200 words
11/9/07 - Work sucks, I know - 260 words
11/13/07 - Let the wild rumpus begin! - 320 words

TV blog:
11/2/07 - I feel compelled to mention, THE END IS NEAR - 130 words
11/7/07 - Is it moral ambiguity or an epidemic of dissociative identity disorder? - 750 words
11/10/07 - Strike Watch, Episode I - 380 words
11/13/07 - Strike Watch, Episode II - 180 words

Total blog word count - 2200 words (give or take).

Still. Not. ENOUGH! Why did I think I could do this? It's insane - produce the first draft of a novel within a month? Ludicrous!

I once had a philosophy professor who said, "Man's reach should exceed his grasp ... that's why none of you will be able to earn an A in this course."

I've always hated that saying.

P.S. Thank you Rachel, Erin, Sarah, Kelli, Monica, Julie and Satan Melanie for your kind comments!

Nov 13, 2007

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Big news - I passed my certification exam! Not only that, but all of my classmates passed, as well. You go, girls! Now we get to add C.G.C. to our qualifications. As if I needed more letters at the end of my name.

I celebrated by taking three days off from work to write my novel. No, it doesn't make sense. But I'm OK with that. Wistar and I tried to do a mini-retreat in her parent's house, but ended up blogging and showing each other amusing websites all day. I did type up what I had previously written, and wrote about 500 words .... *sigh* I am so screwed with this whole NaNoWriMo thing. My only hope is to set a grueling pace for the next two days, with an eye to reach 25,000 words by Thursday.

Anyway, after an exhausting day of pretending to write, I needed a break. So Mike and I went out to South Street Brewery for grad student night. I'm not that into beer, but I'm definitely into grad students. I even saw a guy I had met at a party, and decided to be friendly.

Me: *waving like a fool*
Guy: *blink blink, walks on by*
Girl He Was With: *looks right at me, then away*
Me: Well, damn.

I didn't let it ruin my night. Mike and I had a great time. We only left when some sketchy guy in a baseball hat came over to talk to us and ask if we knew any good jokes. I waited until we got into the parking lot to tell Mike the one about four naughty nuns. Our laughter rang through the night like the sounding of joyous church bells, waking the neighborhood drunkards from their stupor at an ironically ungodly hour.

You know you've been writing too much when your prose is purple from asphyxiation.

Word count: ~15,000. Kill me now.

Nov 9, 2007

Work sucks, I know

Work has really been getting me down lately (I won't get into the nightmare-inducing details). Plus, my former classmate Emily called to inform me that some lucky counselors have received their certification exam results. Combine the looming threat of failure with general job dissatisfaction, and you get a recipe for trouble. Don't worry, Mom. Regardless of my success with NaNoWriMo(a), I'm not going to quit my career. But I have half a mind to stop all efforts to disguise my gross incompetence. And so, I bring you ...

When I Am Fired, It Will Be For One Of These Reasons:

1. Lack of empathy
Me: So, did you follow-up on those issues we discussed?
Patient: *in a harassed tone* Yes! I did everything, alright? God!
Me: Um... suuuuuuure. Quick question - you realize that I'm just asking for your benefit, right? And that I don't actually care? Great.(b)

2. Poor clinic coordination skills
Me: Head Doc's coming down the hall with a patient who had an abnormal ultrasound.
FV: What?!? Why do they schedule things like this at 3pm on a Friday???
Me: Um. I was covering phones, and I scheduled it.
FV: *stony silence*
Me: The referring physician's office requested this time. They said she wouldn't need an amniocentesis, so --
FV: *stonier silence*
Me: I'll just ... go now.

3. Back-talk
Me: *cough cough*
Head Doc: Hm. Consumption.
FV: What?
Me: He's saying I have tuberculosis.
FV: I have never heard it called "consumption."
Me: Well, that's how they referred to it when Head Doc was training ... in the late 1800's. Ooh, burn!

(a) Word count: ~13,000.
(b) Please note, I did not say this out loud. Even I'm not that stupid.

Nov 6, 2007

Excerpt from my novel, Desi Kids (working title)

The only light in the dim parking lot flickered feebly, like the ugliest strobe light imaginable. The smell of oil and urine was pervasive, occasionally dispelled by a tepid breeze off what must have been a nearby landfill. Though it was nearly midnight, the whole place was filled with a moist warmth that stuck to the back of Artie’s throat. The only sounds were the yowls of tomcats in the alley and the distant thrum of bass. Sirens would have provided an appropriate counterpoint, but Artie reasoned that even the police avoided this neighborhood at night.

Word count: ~ 10,000. I didn't quite meet my goal of 12,500 for the first week, but I think that's a pretty decent start. Go me!

Nov 2, 2007

NaNoWriMo begins

Last night marked the beginning of NaNoWriMo! Unfortunately, I wasn't really in The Mood when I got home. First of all, I had a headache and a slight fever. Secondly, my grammar usage had just been insulted at work (if you know my bosses you can guess who, how that went down, and how blatantly wrong he was).

Anyway, I was feeling pretty low. I know myself well enough that if I'm not feeling in the pink, I won't be productive without outside motivation. So I called my wing woman, Wistar, and begged an invitation to her house.

Of course, I ended up puttering around and distracting her and her boyfriend, Darren, from their work. I played music, I stole earrings, I smelled things, I asked annoying questions. And I ate a lot of leftover Halloween candy. But they took it all in stride, giving me Advil and a cold remedy, and not choking me to death (as they would have been well within their rights to do). So, thanks guys! You're in a good position to get a mention in my acknowledgments.

Word count: ~5000, almost all of which I had already written and was just revising. Poop.

Oct 29, 2007

W&M Homecoming

Thanks to Sandy for taking all the pics!

Ah, Homecoming. That magical time of year when we renew past acquaintances, revisit old stomping grounds, and relive our misspent youth. Also known as "every third Friday" for yours truly, The Creepy Alum. But this time there were Events! And a Schedule! And an honest-to-God Plan!

Here's the trouble I got into this weekend ...

Just In Time - I arrived in W'burg for the Wind Symphony concert. I passed the conductor, about to make his entrance, on the way in. The concert was fun, even if Dr. Feldman felt the need to preface each piece with a explanation.

Dr. F: It doesn't actually sound very good, but you will appreciate it on a purely esoteric level, now that I have described the intricacy of the composition.
Me: I see your lips moving but all I hear is a muted trombone, like in Charlie Brown. "Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah." Less talk, more Bach!

Afterwards, Erin, the Low Reeds and I retired to the Daily Grind (W&M's student coffee shop), as is our wont. Candace introduced me to the newest bass clarinet player in the most flattering manner possible... "This is Sri. She's OLD." Pete and I played chess until they kicked us out, but since we both suck at it we only managed to make it through one game.

Ass Early O'Clock - Parade ... oops, rained out. Luckily Erin is still young enough to have friends she can call about these things or we would have showed up with our umbrellas, looking hopeful. As it was, it was all I could do not to cry ... over missing that extra hour of sleep.

During The Game - Outlet shopping with Sandy and Wistar. I was resolved to only buy dress slacks and pumps, for work. Two hoodies, a couple t-shirts and a set of penguin pajama's later, I remembered my lack of impulse control and common sense.

Oh, yeah. I'm cool.

The Afternoon Sometime - APO alumni reception / meeting up with other APO alums. Sandy and I didn't spend too much time with the reception, as it was filled with Pledges who were in middle school when we joined. But lurking on the outskirts of all that brotherhood were the other Old Alums, including people who had graduated when we were still freshmen (freshwomyn?). Some of them are married. Some of them have babies! Age is purely relative.

Dinner - Having eaten all day (kettle corn at the outlets, grazing through free samples at the Peanut Shoppe, brownie bites at the reception), Sandy and I forgo food in favor of alcohol from the 9606 tent. We then retire to our hotel room to watch TV (my friend Sarah joined us as we watched Goosebumps and made snarky comments) and have a long nap.

Dessert - Trellis! We demolish a slice of Death By Chocolate ... which, sadly, is not as deadly as I remember it to be. You can never go home.

Probably should have taken a "before"...

Afterwards - We tried to make it to the Meridian, an indie off-campus coffee shop, for a concert but arrive too late. So we wandered around campus molesting statues and taking scandalous pictures. Good times.

Sandy and her boyfriend, Thomas Jefferson.


While Others Were At Church - I snuck into Millington to leave random notes on my advisor's doors. Eh, it was a good way to kill 20 minutes until the Younge Guarde brunch, where I stuffed my face full of bacon and tried to pretend I was a Respectable Alumna.

Just Before I Left - After a brief nap in Ewell Lobby, I had lunch with the Low Reeds. Well, they had lunch. Still full of brunch, I opted to mainline Mountain Dew in an effort to stay awake on my drive home.

As always, lots of fun to be had at Homecoming. Plus, no one was arrested! Aren't you sad you stayed home?

Oct 22, 2007

On the Continent of Wild Endeavor

I've decided to tackle NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you who are woefully plebeian and don't know already, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to aspiring authors to complete their novels ... in 30 days or less. Anyone who pays attention to how frequently I update this blog is laughing her ass of right now.

But my whole writer's group is attempting it, and I figure that trying to keep up with those lovely ladies will help me stay on track. Also, because I have the attention span of a goldfish, I have decided to cut myself some slack and do a book of short stories rather than an actual novel. Maybe there will be a unifying theme like Hope, or Death, or Cheese. It will be completely by accident.

Of necessity, my blog entries for the month of November will be shorter. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I only have so many words in me and I will have to conserve them. It is possible that entries will be more frequent, as I will have something to report (i.e. my progress or lack thereof). I make no promises, though.

Wish me luck!

Oct 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Some of you may be puzzled by my blog's title: The Biological Imperative. This started as a joke amongst the neuroscience nerds at W&M - every living creature has four basic needs, or "biological imperatives": feed, fight, flee and reproduce. *nudge nudge, wink wink, gigglesnort*

But as human beings, we have other, higher needs that drive us more strongly than the F4. To continue the scientific gibberish (Eh. Why not?), I need only turn to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Beyond the simple act of maintaining our bodies, we need Safety, Love, Esteem and Actualization. In my mind, this is what separates People from Other Animals. This blog is an expression of my creativity, an aspect of self-actualization ... and of my need to be loved/praised/petted. But mostly the creativity thing. *shifty eyes*

Anyway, another important aspect of self-actualization is morality. Anyone who thinks a tiger or a sea urchin is as moral as a human being should probably seek professional help. Don't worry, I'm not about to get on my soapbox (I'm saving that for the 2008 Presidential Campaign). This has all been an elaborate lead-in to my contribution to Blog Action Day:

I'm going to take out my recycling.

Now, you may be thinking, so what? But when you consider that I've only taken out my recycling once since I've lived in my new apartment (I signed the lease in August of 2006), you may begin to understand the importance of this event. I may need to rent a U-Haul.

I have the best intentions when it comes to recycling, and try to reduce my garbage output. Sure I'm no Sarah McGaughey or Kyle Glover, but I do try. Whenever I am forced to throw away a glass bottle or newspaper, my soul writhes in agony. Well ... perhaps it fidgets with discomfort. So I hold back half my trash, tucked into the corners of my house, for the day I find time to make a trip to the recycling center.

As Gandhiji would say, "To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest." I realized that by keeping my recycling in my laundry room/shed/guest bedroom, I am turning my own home into a landfill. Disgusting, and only marginally better for the environment than actually chucking it all in the dumpster. So today I will sally forth, the trunk of my car filled to the brim, and divest myself of my recyclables.

I expect it will be extremely cathartic. Gandhiji would be proud.

Oct 11, 2007

Wedding Season

This year I had a much lighter wedding schedule - just Jojo's a few weeks ago and Andi's this weekend. Even so, I find my mind turning to nuptials much more often. Maybe it's because all my friends are doing it. Perhaps this is the chiming of my biological clock, being too old-fashioned to allow me a child out of wedlock. And by "biological clock" I mean, "my mother."

Mom: *SIGH!*
17 Year-Old Sri: What's up, mom?
Mom: I used to have two beautiful brown babies. Now they are all grown up.
17YOS: ...
Mom: I need new babies. Who will give me new babies??
17YOS: Um. I have to ... go, now. Bye.

You know what, though? It would all be worth it, just for the wedding reception. Huge party with great music and all my friends gathered around to dance like fools? Sign me up.

By the way, if you ever need a ringer to get people out on the dance floor, I'm your girl. Usually this is the job of bridesmaids, but your best friends and/or sisters will be too pretty and coordinated. People want to see someone like me flailing about before they feel confident enough to bust a move.

Of course, any reception has its low points (two words: Cha-Cha Slide .... *shudder*). And it has to end with that most mortifying of wedding customs, the Bouquet Toss. I make sure to stand in the back, behind some girl whose been dating her boyfriend for a decade or so.

Rabid Bouquet-Catchers: I got it, I got it!
Me: You got it, you got it! *ducks* Did you get it?

Catching the bouquet wouldn't be so bad if we could all agree to get rid of that trashiest of traditions, the Garter Toss. I understand the guys felt left out, not being allowed to jostle each other for a useless memento of someone else's special day. But what is the fun in having the winner put the garter on the leg of the bouquet-catcher, letting everyone watch some random guy grope a girl he has just met? There's a time and a place for that, people (dance clubs at 2:17 AM). Jojo had the good sense to omit it from her wedding, and I hope Andi will follow her example.

Oct 1, 2007

Wild Weekends, Part II

9/21: Davina's birthday in Richmond - Dallying with Desis.

My friend Davina hosted three birthday parties this year, all fund raisers for the American Heart Association. Since I was going to Williamsburg anyway for Jojo's wedding, I thought it would be fun to attend the function in Richmond, hang out with some of her old friends and spend the night there. Here's the best part: the friends in question are a bunch of Desi kids (Desi means "native" or "of the homeland" in several South Asian languages).

One thing you have to understand about me - I am absolutely terrified of other Desi girls (WARNING: blatant stereotyping ahead). They're slim, they're pretty, they watch Bollywood movies and speak Hindi. Basically they are everything that I will never be, and I know (I just know) they see me a tall, awkward freak.

Obviously, not all Desi girls are like this - my friend Davina being a notable example. But because of my certainty that I would be judged (ironic, no?), I've always stayed on the periphery of the Indian community. I pretend I'm just an observer, lambast them on my blog and show up for about half of the major holidays. This strategy that has worked well so far.

But I recently realized I may be missing out on some good times, as well as the opportunity to meet Nice Indian Boys. So I figured I'd take the plunge, and try to make up for a lifetime of non-involvement in the Indian community. I went out with Davina and her friends, determined to keep an open mind. I will embrace my Desi brothers and sisters without fear and without judgement. I will. I will!

I had no idea what I was getting in to.

The night was actually going well - while the others drink and gyrate, I order soda after soda and flail my way across the dance floor. That is, until someone decides around midnight that we don't need to go home (perish the thought), we need to move to a different bar! Tell me this - have you tried shepherding a gaggle of drunks from one venue to another? It's like trying to eat Jell-O with a fork. We make it to the next place at around 1 AM.

Me: A techno club? Seriously?
Everyone Else: Oooh, I love this song!
Me: Oooh, they have couches!

I promptly curl up and make myself a nest of cushions and purses. At around 2:30 AM, a surly bouncer wanders by to tell me, "You know, you cannot sleep there." It was so Bruce from Kids In The Hall*, I almost die of excitement. Soon after that, it's last call and the establishment has the bad manners to turn on all the lights. Like cockroaches, we little ravers scatter back into the night.

Me: Ugh, what time is it? I smell burning. My feet hurt.
Everyone Else: Let's get something to eat!
Me: *whimper*

The crazy thing is, we are not the only band of Desi kids on the loose - we run into a group of young men, known well by many in my party, who are clearly still in the midst of their revelry. Or possibly high. One boy (5'5" on a good day, smoky eyes and luscious lips like a made-up Bharatanatyam dancer) decides that he wants to pick fights. I decide that it is way past the time when we should be getting off the bloody streets. Yet, 3 AM finds us at the only Mexican restaurant that will still serve rowdy Indian kids at this time of night.

Me (adding extra tip to the check): I am so sorry about this.
Manager: We're used to it. I have the cops on speed-dial.
Me: We'll just ... go now.

We finally tumbled into bed (rather, into bedding strewn across the floor of an unfurnished apartment) at around 4 AM. There was no shower curtain. We might as well have been staying in a cave. I was seriously afraid that I would have to attend Jojo's wedding smelling of sweat and cigarette smoke, after having slept in my clothes. But that's a story for another blog.

You know, it sounds like I'm complaining (because that's kind of what I do). But really, it was an amazing experience. Spending time with Desi kids is halfway between meeting total strangers and visiting your family. We may know almost nothing about each other, but there's this body of common experience that we can all draw from and laugh about. So yes, it was crazy, exhausting, and possibly dangerous.

It was also tons of fun, and I can't wait to do it again.

*"I found no love in the hollowed-out belly of a dead elk. Just warmth, and quiet. But then the questions: 'Hey, why are you in the hollowed-out belly of a dead elk? Are you in there because of love?' And always, 'You know if you're homeless, man, you cannot sleep there.'"

Sep 30, 2007

And now, a poem

English words interspersed with Tamil, overheard in an increasingly alarming telephone conversation between my mother and her best friend (who lives in India)

vit-amins. calcium, because of the menopause.

gene. gene. genetics.

not a love-match sort of thing. arranged.

five-fifty. three thousand.

hello? hello?

private college. doctor. engineering.

dowry. donation.

three thousand.

ooh, four hundred. hmmm.

hello? hello? hello? hello? hello?


Sep 17, 2007

Wild Weekends, Part I

9/15: Renaissance Fair or, "Excuse for Plump Girls to Show Off their Bosoms."

And I can say that, because I'm ... of a certain size, and I was seriously considering attending the Maryland Renaissance Festival in a Lusty Wench costume.

How did she convince herself that this was acceptable? How???

Sadly for my fans (Kristin, Doug) and blackmailers (Maggie) alike, reason won out and I stuck to street clothes. I did buy a crown of flowers and it is my dearest wish to be able to wear it again to go Christmas caroling. Yes, I love Christmas carols. Yes, I realize I am Hindu. No, I do not care if people point and laugh at me.

The best part of the festival was a juggling team called London Broil. If you like throwing things, humor, or men in tight pants (check, check, double check!) this show is for you. And they definitely appreciated our unique form of audience participation.

Me (after the show): That was great!
Louie: Thanks for coming! And thanks for ... giggling so much.
Me: By 'giggling' do you mean 'cackling?'
Louie: ... maybe.
Me: You're welcome.

The London Broil boys ... clearly, juggling is Serious Business.

In faith, we didst carouse most merrily at yon fairgrounds. Mayhap I will attend again next year!

Coming soon: Davina's Birthday Celebration ("The Lonely Little Desi: Why Indian People Don't Like Me") and Johanna's Wedding ("Dancing The Night Away: Why White People Don't Like Me, Either").

Sep 10, 2007

Interesting smells

Over the Labor Day weekend, I went home and colored my hair with henna. I don't know what possessed me. While my hair aspires to be a dark brown, it is actually black and therefore immutable. But on the other hand, what did I have to lose?

I had forgotten (somehow) that henna smells ... less than pleasant. Kind of like grass or hay, but also kind of like dirt. Really fresh dirt from some verdant, misty Himalayan hillside - but dirt nonetheless. That's OK, I thought to myself. It'll go away once I wash my hair again.

Ha. Ha. Ha. Instead, I find myself with still-black hair and the persistent smell of henna, which refreshes itself every time I shower. This is what comes of trying to be more Indian.

In other odoriferous news, Wistar went on a trip north and came back with her own horror stories.

Wistar: *pointing to the drain in the stairwell of a parking garage* This is what all of New York smells like. Urine.
Me: Thank you, that was ... vivid.

And just because I can't leave a list at just two, I'll throw in the kitchen sink.

Mike: *sniff, sniff* When be the last times you did your dishes, mofo?
Me: *in a chilly tone* That's ... really none of your business, Michael.
Mike: Nast!

Sep 4, 2007


How is it that the internet, information superhighway and answer to all of life's problems, is actually lowering the level of discourse? Search engines have cataloged the entirety of human existence. There is no need to memorize information, to "know" anything.

Person A: What's the state capital?
Person B: Don't ask me - just f*cking Google it!

Beyond that, the internet has developed a language all its own, completely incomprehensible to the uninitiated and the initiated alike. The anonymity of chat rooms allow us to relax our standards of grammar, punctuation, and spelling to that of particularly dense five year-olds. Capable and intelligent human beings end up sounding like this ...

Computer A: OMG i wuz liek STFU!!
Computer B: o rly???
Computer C: ROTFLMAO!!!11!!1!*

The fact is that having all the world's information at our disposal has made it eminently disposable - no one goes to the library anymore. The same goes for communication. Personal letters are laughably old-fashioned. Why bother spell-checking your email, when the recipient it just going to delete it anyway?

And I'll be the first to admit, I am the worst transgressor against Mother Knowledge. I write a blog with absolutely no real content. If I spoke out on political issues or shared recipes or reviewed books I'd at least be contributing to the the vast body of misinformation that makes up the World Wide Web. Instead, all I can offer is psuedo-intellectual whining about something that is inevitable and irreversible.

To be plain: we're getting stupider, people, and there's nothing we can do about it.

*Who am I kidding? I love internet slang. I'm one of those annoying people who will say "OMFG" aloud during normal conversation ("Your dog got run over by a car? OMFG, that is teh suxors!").

Aug 27, 2007

Honestly, I'm being sarcastic.

Bush Doc(a): *sneaks up behind me* No word on your boards?!?
Me: GAH! Stop doing that!
BD: Well?
Me: I told you, I won't hear until November.
BD: Okay, I'll just keep checking back.
Me: Why don't you do that? Why don't you ask me every day until then?
BD: Sure thing! *wanders off*
Me: What? No, that was sarcasm! Damn my earnest mien.

In unrelated news, I had dessert at Wistar's boyfriend's dad's and step-mom's house tonight. I wasn't going to go, but ... rhubarb pie. Speaking of Wistar, I just finished reading her blog. My response:

Dear Wistar,

I read your blog tonight (yes, all of it). It struck me at some points disturbing, at others very disturbing. Did you really blog seven times in one day? And what's with all this stuff about pooping in public pools? More importantly, I did not see my name mentioned once. This shall be our last correspondence. Never contact me again.

No love,

After all I've done for her. Shameful, I call it.

(a) So called because he has a framed picture of Dubya on his wall, along with a letter thanking him for his contributions to the Republican party.

Aug 21, 2007

Look who's back a-gain!

Hello my lovelies, my dearest darling hearts. Did you miss me?

Yes, I have emerged from Genetics Purgatory (aka my board exams) battered, bruised, but unbeaten. At least until scores come out in November. And then the whole hellish process may begin again...

The Whole Hellish Process
1. Denial. The boards are months away, why should I study now when I'll just forget it and have to study again? I think I'll go watch Spongebob Squarepants.
2. Anger. Aw, crap, I only have a month to go. Why did I let myself slack off so much? Stupid Spongebob, how I hate you!
3. Bargaining. Please let me pass this &%#! exam, I promise to ... um, stop swearing.
4. Depression. I'm never going to pass! I'm going to lose my job and have to sell my body on the street! *sob*
5. Acceptance Blind panic. *tugging earlobe* Oh my god, is that a lump? Never mind prostitution, I'm going to die of Ear Cancer!

My passage was much eased by the advent of my mother, who (after a memorable over-the-phone breakdown) moved in with me for a week. Not only did she cook for me, she cleaned my apartment and organized by closet. This, and the whole gestation thing*, means I pretty much owe her forever.

Also, being able to take the exam alongside Kara helped. We set up base camp in a scuzzy little Comfort Inn and crammed like our lives depended on it.

Sri: You know, they say that if we don't know it by now, we never will.
Kara (in a voice full of Grim Determination): I disagree.
Sri: Me, too. Let's talk peroxisomal storage disease.

I'm pretty sure the rules of the test prohibit me from going into detail ... which is a shame, because I have some hilarious commentary on the statistical genetics questions. Needless to say, it was Bad. Not 80's bad, but actually bad Bad. So bad that afterwards, we required alcohol. Molly, Kara's former roomie, happily obliged. She had the remnants of the Old Gang over for delicious food and libations.

Sri: Here, try a mojito! I mixed them myself.
Chris: *eyes watering* It's a bit ... strong.
Sri: Nonsense!
Molly: It might help if you added the soda, limes and mint ... this is nothing but sugar water and rum.
Sri: If you insist. Pansies.

We combined celebrating the Death of the Demon Boards with Kim's graduation (that's Dr. Kim to you) and Chris passing his engineering something-or-other. I need to make less ambitious friends, these guys are making me look bad. Sadly, as we were partying on a Thursday night, no one was willing to get excitingly inebriated. We ended up playing Scattergories and going to bed at 12:30. Ah, well ... we're not as young as we used to be.

*She carried me to term in a womb not really large enough for a child my size. And then delivered by cesarean section. And then, most remarkable of all, did not scream when she first saw me, red-faced hairy sausage that I was. The woman deserves a medal.

Jul 17, 2007

Countdown to the boards...

So, I'm probably not going to post until after my board exams in just under a month. To tide you over until then, here's the "best of" reel.

I went to see the fifth Harry Potter movie - I liked it alright. I'm more excited about the last book coming out next weekend. Saturday is my day for Harry Potter, and I will most likely cry at the end. Everyone who is surprised that I'm such a nerd, raise your hands ... nobody? Very good.

Wistar got a job editing porn erotica. She read me some, and it was pretty terrible. I'd provide quotes, but my mom reads this blog.

Davina told me that she has a pathological fear of doors with push bars, because she often has trouble figuring out which end to push. She worries about this whenever she approaches a door that doesn't have a knob or handle. I laughed right in her face.

My colleague FV returned from her trip, looking quite tan. Tanning and sunburns fascinate me, especially when you can push on someone's skin and it changes colors. You can even use two fingers and the thumb of your opposite hand to make a smiley face!

My mother came to visit me, which was fun. She cleaned my house (against my wishes), which was awesome. She's pretty much the only person who's ever vacuumed in here.

I'm studying like a fiend, and I'm off to do more right now. Keep me in your thoughts, especially on August 15th and 16th! Smooches to Kara, Laura and Emily - godspeed, friends.

Jul 11, 2007

I already drink like a fish, so ...

Davina and I have resolved to start swimming at least twice a week. This promises to be highly amusing, as neither of us is a strong swimmer.

Davina: *clutching a pool noodle and kicking desperately* Warn me if I'm going to run into something!
Me: *standing in the thigh-high water next to her* Sure ... except, you're not really moving.

My major advantage over Davina is that fat floats, so I'm never in any real danger. Also, I can touch the bottom of the pool with my toes, even at the deep end. Yeah, I'm basically a giant.

But we always have a good time, so we've decided to name our little club (yes, two people can form a club - shut up). We're calling ourselves: Don't Laugh, You'll Drown. Catchy, eh? Davina even talked me into goggles and nose plugs - we really need to take pictures of that. Neither of us want to hold political office, anyway.

Also, my parents visited me for Independence Day. Here are the highlights:

Dad: How is Jo-jo?
Me: Jojo and her fiance Shawn graduated in May. Shawn was the 500th graduate from BTSR!
Dad: Ooh! Did they brand him?
Me: What?!? No!
Dad: They do it, Amma.
Me: No! No they don't!
Dad: *miming pressing a hot poker to his forehead* Ssssssssssst!

Mom: I love you so much, Amma, I could sit here and look at you all day. *thoughtful pause* Though you might not like it so much.

Jul 5, 2007

"Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

Monday was an exhausting day at work (though Head Doc did return from his trip, bearing Toblerones ... joy!). When I got home, I was starving. I started to make jambalaya - and promptly set a pot of oil on fire. Sound familiar?

Did I mention that I almost burned my condo down? Oh, yeah - while making tortillas I somehow managed to catch the pan on fire. Luckily, I had a pretty functional response (cursing and smothering the flames) rather than my usual spaz-out.

I was again able to smother the flames, but the smoke detector was going crazy. So I took the pan outside and removed the lid to let the smoke out. HUGE MISTAKE. Reunited with its long-lost love, oxygen, the fire roared back to life right in my face. I escaped with my eyebrows intact (more's the pity), but badly shaken. I decided to give up on dinner to keep my play date with Wistar.

I unlocked Killer from her cage the shed. That's right. Immediately after my near-death cooking experience, I thought it would be a jolly idea to get on my evil bicycle.

Sometimes, I wonder about myself. I really, really do.

On the bright side, I have come to the point in my life (decades ahead of my peers) that I don't worry about looking like a complete fool. I drove to the park to meet Wistar, and immediately strapped on my bike helmet and gloves. The children playing soccer and the young men with their dogs were highly amused.

My helmet looks like this ... only dorkier.

Wistar: *not amused* What are you wearing?
Me: Now now, Wistar. Safety first.
Wistar: I meant on your feet. Are those flip-flops?
Me: Well, my toesies like to breathe.

My poor footwear choices aside, we had a great lesson. I learned how to turn around! Next time, we may even leave the parking lot.

Jun 29, 2007

5 Reasons Why Today Did Not Suck

1. No doctors means no patients means I actually got some work done. I'm no longer two weeks behind on my charts! And I got to wear jeans. Awesome.
2. Belinda and I got lunch from Riverside - tasty food that's incredibly bad for you. Though I do have a theory about seasoning salt preserving your insides, thereby increasing longevity.
3. The cleaning crew came to do the carpets, and not a moment too soon. Apparently, my patients often enjoy frolicking through oil fields before tromping into my office. Disgusting.
4. I was allowed - nay, encouraged! - to leave early. Which got me home in time for Voyager, my favorite Star Trek series.
5. The show that aired? "Blood Fever," aka the Obligatory Pon Farr Episode. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you may be too cool to read this blog.

"Did she just out herself as a Star Trek geek?"

Jun 22, 2007

If you thought clowns were scary before...

I have to tell you all about Shentai, this urban carnival I went to last weekend. My friend Wistar invited me along, since she is friends with many of the performers. So I knew going in that it's a collaborative effort of many of the young actors, dancers, artists and musicians of C'ville. In other words, Indie Strangefest 2007. But I figured (correctly!) that there would be cotton candy, so I agreed.

Sadly, I was still completely unprepared for the level of weirdness I was to encounter. We entered the staging area (a gutted and redecorated warehouse) to the sounds of a local band called Accordion Death Squad playing "An Unwelcome Overture." Then the MC popped out of trunk, looked out on the audience, and screamed in terror.

And it kept. Getting. Weirder.

The tap-dancing vampires got in a fight with the antelopes on stilts and the woman dressed in bubble wrap. Of course, all movement ceased as Queen Dido made her painstakingly slow, eerily silent way through the crowd. This signaled the beginning of the surrealist play about a woman falling in love with a squid ... or possibly suicide, I'm not sure. In another exhibit, I pretended to be a flamingo/whale with great success. Later we went to the peep show, and I saw Sacajawea's bosoms. I don't have the words to describe everything I saw. Oh, but I can sum up the finale in two: Fire Dancing.

It was amazing, and terrifying. Almost everybody in the show was twirling flaming poles about or slinging chains of fire through the air. I just sat there the entire time thinking, "we are all going to die." Luckily we made it out alive, and I staggered away in a shocked haze.

Wistar: What did you think?
Me: I just have one question ... do you think they found tap dancers and turned them into vampires, or taught vampires how to tap dance?
Wistar: Um ...
Me: Never mind, I've clearly gone mad. Please take me home now.

In short - I highly recommend seeing Shentai!

Jun 18, 2007

The Future Mr. Sri?

My friend Davina came over for dinner on Friday, so we could catch up after her trip to Europe. I know most people hate looking at travel photos, but I eat that stuff up with a spoon. Anyway, our conversation eventually (inevitably) turns to relationships. Davina is a fellow desi, and as unattached career women we are the bane of our parents' existence. She and I have similar views on the whole on the whole "arranged marriage" business - we're happy to let our parents introduce us to a Nice Indian Boy, but we want to take it from there. Of course, every rule has its exceptions. Mom, this one's for you.

Indian Men I Will Marry, No Questions Asked:

1. Sendhil Ramamurthy

He comes from a family of physicians, and he goes off to become an actor. That takes guts. Also - I love his pretty hair! I'm sure his wife, soap opera star Olga Sosnovska, won't mind sharing.

2. Aasif Mandvi

His desirability is directly proportional to the time he spends split-screen with Jon Stewart. Political satire always gets me hot and bothered. Also, he can play the guitar!

3. Russell Peters

A nice Canadian boy, and a stand-up comedian! And you know I love to laugh. Teensy problem - he's a Catholic Anglo-Indian (that's right, Russell Peters is his real name). As such, he probably won't want to marry a Hindu girl.

4. Kal Penn

*wipes drool* Um, yeah. No caption needed here.

If any of the young men in question would like to make their intentions known, I will accept proposals in the form of sonnets, odes and/or boxes of chocolate.

Jun 11, 2007

Lucky Girl

This weekend was something of an adventure. Maggie and I had plans to take Andi out for lunch, in lieu of attending her bridal shower. I figured that if I was going to be down in SWVA anyway, I might as well swing by Castle Sri and pick up my mother's old bicycle (this being an integral part of my Lose 25 By 25 plan).

Let me tell you a little of my cycling history. As a child, I loved my bike. It had a totally 80's color scheme of teal and pink, a tinny, annoying bell and a basket with a unicorn sticker. Not to mention the sparkly white handlebar tassels. In other words, this bike was hot shit. I named her Beulah.

So what if I never quite mastered the art of turning around? So what if I usually forgot all about my brakes and would have to skid to a stop using my feet, Flintstones-style? Beulah and I were learning and growing together.

Then, it happened. During a lesson with my parents, I had a terrible fall into the harsh, unforgiving gravel of a church parking lot. My leg was all torn up and I was completely traumatized. How could Beulah betray me like that? She and I never spoke again, and I didn't get back on a non-stationary bike for 16 years.

Flash forward to yesterday, and my mother's old bike (adjusted for height). Fighting my fear, I got back on and, after a few wobbly starts, seemed to be getting the hang of it. Struggling my way up a hill, I noticed that my gear dials did not match. As I dismounted to point the bike back down the hill, I made my fatal mistake - I turned the gear dials all the way down.

If I had been a movie heroine, the entire audience would have been screaming, "DON'T DO IT!" I know this now. Sadly, my life is not a movie (though if it were, it would certainly be a comedy of errors).

As you can imagine, I began careening down the hill at a slightly scary speed. My dad and Maggie, trying to stay out of my wildly oscillating path of destruction, were calling out "stop, stop!" True to form I panicked, neglected the brakes, and put my feet down.

Too bad I was barefoot at the time.

Leaving a thin layer of skin behind, I came to a stuttering halt. The bike did not stop with me, however. That's right - face plant onto hot asphalt. And I would have laughed, if it all hadn't been so tragically awkward.

Luckily, I was relatively unhurt. After some coddling by my mother (she actually clutched me to her bosom and stroked my hair), I was even able to get right back on. Though my dad made sure I took a helmet, and even offered elbow and knee pads. Probably should have taken him up on that...

By the way, the new bike's name is Killer.

And then on the way to Andi's house, my car (Sheldon) got a flat. We were able to get it replaced with a minimum of fuss and went on to have a delightful lunch, but my mom was rather concerned.

Mom: I worry about you!
Me: I worry about me, too.
Mom: Amma, I think someone has put drishti* on you.
Me: Oh you and your quaint, folksy superstitions ... do you really think so?!?

The problem being, you can't remove drishti from yourself. So please stop hating on me, people ... it's hazardous to my health.

*literally, view/sight ... figuratively, The Evil Eye

Jun 6, 2007

"When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear." -- Mark Twain

Today I received a letter in the mail from the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center (addressed to "Dr. MyNameMisspelled"). At first I laughed - I was going to forward it to my parents, so they'd finally be proud of me. Then I realized ... this was a crisis pregnancy center. And the letter was a bill for $25.

For those of you who aren't familiar with crisis pregnancy centers, they are pro-life organizations who represent themselves as free clinics in order to discourage women from terminating unplanned pregnancies. More information is available in this TIME article, and in this 2006 Congressional report*. In my opinion, they do a disservice to these women by providing incomplete, sometimes inaccurate and often biased information.

As a pro-choice, non-pregnant genetic counselor, I would have no reason to deal with such a group. I found out that FV (my colleague, also a genetic counselor) received a similar bill in the mail. So I called them up - apparently they just had their Love Life Walk fund raiser, and someone had put me down for a pledge. I politely explained to them that (1) I am not a doctor and (2) that is not how you spell my name, so clearly this pledge had been made without my knowledge. They promptly took me and FV off their list.

On the outside, I'm grateful for their appropriate response to my complaint. Inside, I am fuming**. Who would do something like this? Why? I have a hard time believing this was random, since FV and I do counsel our patients about the possibility of termination. Medical termination, after a chromosome condition or severe birth defect has been diagnosed in a woman's planned, wanted pregnancy. You know how hard that is? I'm sure you can guess - extremely hard. But because I give my patients all the facts and try my damnedest to be non-directive, I've been labeled as a Purveyor of Abortions and targeted for this con.

In my perfect world, no women gets an elective termination. In my perfect world, no pregnancy is unplanned or unwanted. But we don't live in my perfect world (Sri-topia), we live in this one. So excuse me for doing my job, and not letting personal beliefs get in the way of helping my patients do what's best for them.


*Some of these centers receive federal funding. Don't even get me started. But the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center does not, according to the helpful brochure they also sent.

**To clarify, I don't think this pregnancy center is involved in the fake pledge. They're more a victim of this than me, since they lost $50 of hypothetical money. I disagree with what they're doing, but I don't blame them for this ridiculousness.

Jun 5, 2007

Parental Invasion

Mom and Dad came to visit this weekend, and I took them around town. They really enjoy C'ville, especially the Downtown Mall. Though we did have some difficulty negotiating the crosswalks.

Dad: *proudly* I pushed the button.
Me: Good for you.
Dad: Why isn't it changing?
Me: The stoplight is on a timer. The button is just there to give you the illusion of being proactive.
Dad: *pressing it again, clearly not listening* Taxi!

So. Random. I took them to Christian's and The Flat, two of my favorite places ever. Christian's serves some of the best pizza in the world. The Flat little more than a stall that sells stuffed crepes. Hot, fresh crepe with strawberries and nutella = *drool*

When we got home, I made them watch Rent with me. I was already in love with the music, and I quite enjoyed myself. Predictably, Mom fell asleep halfway through. She did wake up at one point to say, "Of all the girls, the prettiest is the one who is a boy." Classic.

Jun 2, 2007

For our first anniversary, my job got me a paycheck!

So, I've been at my job for a year now - go me! Back then I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to start my life as a Real Life Genetic Counselor. And I was updating my blog from my colleague's computer, since my office wasn't set up yet and I didn't have internet access in my sublet apartment. Here's what I was saying ....
In all the history of genetic counseling there was never so incompetent a new graduate as me.

Me: Hi, I'm Sri.
Patient & Hubby: Hello.
Me: Today you'll be having a screening test for chromosome conditions. *showing pictures of chromosomes* Does this sound familiar?
Patient: Not rea-
Extremely. I'm a physician.
Me: Oh dear god, no.

Look how far I've come!

Patient Today: *surprised* You're not a doctor?
Me: Uh ... no. You really think a doctor would spend 45 minutes just talking to you?
Patient Today: Oh. So I can call you "Sri"?
Me: I also accept "Milady" and "Your Awesomeness."

May 31, 2007


Last Saturday I travelled to beautiful Richmond, VA for my friend Jojo's graduation from the Baptist Theological Seminary. I bought shoes for the occasion, which turned out to be a mistake. For while they were cute and cheap, they were incredibly uncomfortable. I looked pretty damn good, though.

These are obviously not my feet (I got this picture off the web).

And the ceremony itself was lovely. Jojo didn't look up at us much, but she probably didn't want to burst out laughing in the middle of a hymn. The graduation was held in First Baptist, which is the OMG BIGGEST CHURCH EVER!

We sat in the balcony, people.

"We" being Jojo's family, roommate Kristin and former freshman hall mates, Erin and me. Shawn, Jojo's fiance, was also graduating so his family was there as well.

Kristin was resplendent with her new bangs, as was Erin in her maternity dress (she's not pregnant, she just likes to pretend). Meanwhile, I tried not to embarrass us all horribly.

Me: Do you have a tissue?
Erin: Sure... *hands over a fancy handkerchief.* I didn't realize you'd get so emotional over the conferring of degrees!
Me: Oh, it's not that. I had chocolates in my purse, and they melted. *displays gooey mess inside handbag*
Erin: Um.
Me: Sorry about your handkerchief. I'll buy you a new one ... where did it come from?
Erin: Japan.
Me: Shit. I'll wash it, then. With my tears of remorse.
Erin: You do that.

The Honorable Reverend Jojo's parents took us all out to lunch afterwards, and then we lazed out the old apartment a bit. It's much cleaner now that I don't live there anymore. I peeled off for a little while to hang with Eric, Doug, and Doug's friend Mikey. Mikey is an extremely interesting person (think mohawk, camo pants and absolutely no thought filter). Though I can't fault his sense of humor.

Me: Look, Doug and Eric are wearing the same outfit! *points to the black t-shirts & khaki shorts*
Mikey: They should be boyfriends.
Me: ... you're kind of awesome.
Mikey: I know.

After I grew sick of the boys, I came back just in time to go out for a late dinner with the girls (and Shawn). I drank a Mountain Dew and struggled to keep my eyes open long enough to drive to C'ville. And then for the rest of the weekend I studied.

Well ... for most of it. Half of it.

I spent at least some of the next two days studying.

... and the rest sleeping and watching TV. There, you happy?

May 23, 2007

about me

*points to banner*

This is why. If you've ever looked at me and thought, "what the hell?" these three people are the reason. I wish I could carry them around in my pocket, like a note from my doctor excusing me from normal human interaction.

"Oh, I'm sorry I weirded you out just then. This is why."

On the bright side, they're the ones who taught me to not really care what the world at large thinks. They provide the funny, but they also give me strength. A life of cheerful absurdity is my heritage, my biological imperative.

In related news, hello. This is my new blog.