2017-03-20 23:28:22 (UTC)

A Bitter Tastant Detected by my Gustatory System

"Know Your Onion" by The Shins

Shut out, pimpled and angry
I quietly tied all my guts into knots
Gave up tryin' to make up
I figured it'd take 'em too long to look up, and besides

It was undeniably clear to me, I don't know why
when every other part of life seemed locked behind shutters
I knew the worthless dregs we've always been.

lucked out and found my favorite records
lying in wait at the Birmingham mall.
the songs that I heard,
the occasional book
were the only fun I ever took.
and I got on with making myself.

Yeah the trick is just making yourself
but when they're parking their cars on your chest
you've still got a view of the summer sky
to make it hurt twice when your restless body
caves to its whims
and suddenly struggles to take flight...

Three thousand miles north east
I left all my friends at the morning bus stop shaking their heads.
"what kind of life you dream of? you're allergic to love."
yes I know but I must say in my own defense
it's been undeniable dear to me, I don't know why
when every other part of life seemed locked behind shutters
I knew the worthless dregs we are,
the selfless, loving saints we are,
the melting, sliding dice we've always been.

[I forgot that James Mercer is a musical genius. I feel that this song describes much of my adolescence, and also my current state]

March 21, 2017 Tuesday 12:30 AM

Hi, people.

The 2017 USA Brain Bee Championship (in Baltimore, Maryland) was fun. Brutal, but fun.

After the whole thing ended, I was in a bit of a bad mood just because I lost soooo haaaaaarddd. I mean, I wasn't in the top 20 (there were 51 kids there) and so I just felt really stupid, especially since the kid who won looked like he was about 15 years old.... Here I am, 18 in a month and I'm like, looking at an artery on a brain, thinking, "??? What is that???????? How the fuck am I supposed to know what the fuck that artery is called???"

I know the names/textures of our meninges and their proximities to one another, I can identify the stuff in and around our spinal cords, I understand the general visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory systems, I understand anatomical planes, etc. etc. AND IT WASN't ENOUGH! So I was just kind of disappointed in myself. My competitive side has surfaced to take a bite out of my heart, thank u.

After joking around with Caroline a bit (she makes it easier for me to make fun of my failures because I know she will never judge me. She already knows exactly how stupid/smart I am), I felt a lot better.


A long time ago, I realized the following: getting older means becoming less impressive. To kids who are not particularly admired, this isn't really a problem. But I, despite being pretty average, am generally regarded as smart. This is basically because I enjoy learning, I think, so I do well in school. Anyway, people are always impressed when I know stuff. People being adults.

They're like, "Wow, what an eloquent seventeen year old!" or "She won the local brain bee. That's an amazing for such a young lady!"
And, okay, listen I'm totally okay with these compliments. But how often do you hear people gushing over young adults. Not a lot, unless they're actual fuckin' geniuses. I mean, just. People will say I'm capital-K Kool because I know a lot of neuroscience basics. But if I were twenty-five and I knew a bunch of neuroscience basics, it'd be like, "Eh. Whatever. She's twenty-five."

My point is, you become less special the older you get. People care less. And so I kind of saw this Brain Bee thing as a last hurrah, only I didn't even do that well. I wouldn't be as concerned if I were 15, since I'd be able to participate for a couple more years (although at 15, I think I was too anxious to participate). But this was my last chance. And, like. A kid who looked like a FRESHMAN won! Just to add fuckin' insult to injury, ahha.

No, no, he deserved it, 100%. I'm not upset with anyone else for doing well. I'm just kind of disappointed that I didn't do better. And even though I knew winning or coming close to it was unlikely, I still kind of thought that if I studied enough, I'd stand a chance.

No sirree. That Brain Bee shit is hard. You have to know a LOT of neuroanatomy, and not only do you need to know trivia, you need to understand specific pathways. The neuroanatomy stuff was probably the worst, though, because our local Brain Bees focused more on facts while the big one was all "identify this organ.... no, not the whole organ, this specific section.... noooo no, more specific than THAT you idiot..." Hah, well. That was hard for me. I had two weeks to study and very little access to MRIs, so I did terribly on that section. I also didn't do great on the neurohistology section, nor did I do awesome on the neuroanatomy practical (although I did walk into the morgue like, *deep breath* "Ahhh, I missed the smell of formaldehyde").

Self, this is okay. You did not know they'd be asking about the fuckin' arteries or the sulci and gyri, and you didn't know they'd want you to know such specifics. You're okay, bro.

It just bothered me. The questions in the Q & A section were ridiculously difficult most of the time, but other times the answers would be obvious like, "The eye," or "Huntington's disease" — things everyone knows. Patient diagnosis was my favorite section, though. I just like the whole applied neuroscience thing.

If I were to do anything with my life, I'd wanna be a brain coroner! Is that a thing? Well, I like cutting dead flesh, okay. And I don't mind the smell of preservatives. My mind doesn't often connect gross sights/smells with the part of my brain that perceives taste and feels hunger, you feel? So it doesn't bother me.

Anyway, the competition was really fun and I just wish I was younger so that I could do it again. That's what sucks about all this — I'm getting too old to be involved in cool camps and competitions. When I was younger, I didn't think I had what it took to be involved in academic extracurriculars, and most of the time I was too depressed to be interested anyways. Now, I don't really have the chance, and it's just kinda sad. Sigh.

Again: a brutal experience, but also a very fun one. I like neuroscience a lot. Plus, I met a girl from Rhode Island who is very beautiful and very cool!!! We kinda stuck together the whole time and afterwards we exchanged numbers. She had strawberry blonde hair and she spoke very quietly. She wants to be a neuropsychologist — sooooo kooooool.


I really love programming. I'm even starting to enjoy de-bugging!!! I've decided I'm going to spend my summer reading up on neuroscience, reading a bunch of fiction, writing, and programming.


I started reading Don Quixote (in English — I don't think I'm good enough at Spanish to understand a book like this), and so far I really like it! I'm surprised at how funny it is, haha. I always thought Don Quixote was some kind of Spanish drama, but so far it's just about some crazy dude who thinks he's a knight and that's pretty in line with my interests. I just like absurdity, okay.


Over the weekend, Isaac called me and we officially broke up. I wasn't going to do it over the phone, but he pretty much forced it out of me. We broke up at the beginning of the phone call, and he spent the next hour pretty much trying to bargain for my affection, haha (when I pointed this out, he said, "I mean, I /am/ Jewish," or something). Then, he hung up. Angrily.

I called him on Sunday at 1 AM. Not a great idea, since I had a competition at 9 AM, but I couldn't sleep and I wanted to talk to him. He said, "I'm not angry at you," which was nice. I want to stay friends, but he said he wants some space first. He also said that he isn't looking forward to our friendship because he doesn't want to be just another one of the guys mooning over me.

I laughed and was like, "You know this isn't a pattern, right? It's just you and one other dude. I have other guy friends who aren't crushing on me." I was mostly thinking about Chris and Sandwich, but I mentioned AJ as a supporting point even though we aren't really Actual Friends. Isaac was actually a little upset when I told him AJ drives me home. I meant to say school, but "home" kind of slipped out by accident. I'm kind of offended by Isaac's disapproval. Even if we were together, this is not something I'd be okay with. I can get a ride from whoever I want. He shouldn't care. Ugh. Isaac is just insecure.

Anyway, the whole conversation was pretty pleasant. We didn't fight. He kept saying dumb things like, "Did you ever care about me?" but he also didn't take anything too seriously which was cool.

This whole thing sucked, but I will say this: any time there has been a problem, we have talked about it. It didn't really work (because neither of us was willing to change), but yay for communication, amirite?

Ugh, this relationship was way too serious. Isaac blames me for that. Maybe it is my fault—what can I say, I have a lot of issues. Whatever, I'm glad it's done with. Sometimes, I am still tempted to treat him like he's my boyfriend, but I have to tell myself to resist. I'm only wanting that because I know he'd be willing haha. I don't really care about it—just lookin' for a warm body. So yeah, it's not fair.

I do want to be his friend, though. Except I feel like I'm forcing him into the friendship box because I know he doesn't want to lose me either. But of course, it's not like there's another option aside from total estrangement, so I shouldn't feel guilty.


Got accepted to Bennington and Fordham over the weekend, which was nice. I think I get my admission decision from Williams this week. Here's hoping... But probably not, right? Sigh.

C ya, goodnight, everything is wonderful and fine and I am happy.

I think I'm going to start doing this thing.

The Brain Bee was hard, but I really enjoyed it. I made a friend — this introverted girl from Rhode Island with strawberry blonde hair.
Isaac and I are officially broken up, but we will remain friends.
I started reading Don Quixote and I've decided I really, really enjoy programming.
I got accepted into a couple colleges over the weekend.
I feel good.

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