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I have black hair now. I do not normally have black hair, but I am doing a slightly half-assed cosplay (of Young Justice Animated Superboy, so not generally labor-intensive) and so I have dyed it for Dragon*Con.

...admittedly, normally I have medium-dark brown hair, so it's not that intense a difference. Mostly I am wandering around, glancing in mirrors, and wondering why my hair is still wet. (Oh, and my friend who helped me dye my hair gave me black lipstick for fun, so I also keep going "when on earth did we get goth!Sci?)

I also have got greyish stains around my face, especially where sideburns would be from where we dyed my feathery little hair in front of my ears bits. Am hoping I can scrub those out before work tomorrow... erk.
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I really, really want to know more about the make-up of asexual communities. Not just because it would be interesting, but because it would be really useful to have that information when it comes to thinking about ways to more effectively help our community.

I mean, there's the 2008 AVEN poll that's pretty big, and that gets cited a lot, and there's the 2004 Bogaert demographics survey, but the thing is that asexual communities have changed dramatically even in just the past year with the AVEN exodus, let alone in the past three years or the past seven years. I'd like to see gender identity numbers now, just to start with; I know the visibility of transgender aces, especially nonbinary aces, has skyrocketed in the past two years.

And I want to see something that's accessible to everyone regardless of their log-in status, not another freaking AVEN poll or something specific to one format of community.

Huh. Is this worth trying to set up, I wonder? There's been a couple of interesting things done by the Asexual Sexologist, but she doesn't seem to be setting up monthly polls anymore at the moment. And anyway, I'd want the raw data, personally--I like playing with numbers and I like having charts to show people.

What demographic questions would be good to see? Offhand, I want to know about things like levels of suicidal ideation, romantic orientation identity breakdowns, relative numbers of asexuals, demis, grey-As and people who identify as sexual in the asexual community, breakdowns of gender identity and trans* identity, age people first identified as asexual vs. age people first found the asexual community, that sort of thing.

And also, what would be the most effective way to send something like this around to as many people as possible? If I'm going to try to get this set up at some point, I'd want it to be properly pan-community, not just DW-specific or tumblr-specific or AVEN-specific. That's the biggest flaw I've seen among so many "pan-community" asexual initiatives--they don't do a good enough job of reaching multiple people.

Huh. Thoughts? I don't know yet whether I'm going to seriously make this go, but I'd really like to and it doesn't seem like any of the academics are doing anything similar.
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The thing about me and Dog Oliver is that, as a team, we're a dog with anxiety and overstimulation issues working with... a human with anxiety and overstimulation issues.

Cut for discussion of my training issues. )
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So. Yesterday I did all the things. (Seriously, I was on the internet barely at all, which is why I've been so slow with comments and things over on the main blog. Lab meeting, terrifying neuroscience seminar I spent the first hour of wondering whether I'd ended up in a gruadate class by mistake, first classes of the semester--all that kind of stuff. It was a good day, just very very busy.)

One of these things involved visiting my campus queer organization. You know, the one I've been anxiously sniffing around the edges of for the past year and a half. (I was not sure whether I was welcome--the acronym they use is LGBTQA, yeah, but the "A" stands for "Ally" which is massively depressing. And of course I can never be sure that anyone will count me as queer, so it's always possible I fit under none of their categories.)

They were very nice. And in fact, more or less by accident I ended up attending their mixer on Sunday wearing my "Asexual: Confusing the fuck out of your gaydar like a boss" shirt, for which I got several compliments. Which was pretty awesome in and of itself, really.

So yesterday I wandered over to the actual first meeting. One of the people behind me explained the A on the acronym to a freshman as "asexual" while we were waiting for the meeting to start, which was heartening and depressing simultaneously. (They haven't actually changed it--still stands for "ally". She was just confused.) There was a lot of emphasis made on not policing anyone's identity or telling anyone what they were, which I found comforting, and I tentatively like the officers.

The one thing that did bug me was this: we were doing a icebreaker activity, this game called "Where the Wind Blows" where you place a bunch of dots around in a circle, and everyone stands in front of a dot except one person in the middle of the circle. The person in the circle was supposed to call out a trait that applied to them, and everyone who that trait also applied to was supposed to try to run to a new dot. The last person with no dot then became the person in the circle, and they got to call out the next trait. All well and good. (We were specifically asked not to call out "All the gay people!" or anything like that in case people didn't feel comfortable with a particular label yet or were confused.)

Someone called for "all the people who are single and ready to mingle!" Which.... uhhhhh. Define "single." I have two zucchini--am I single because I don't have a romantic partner? What on earth does "ready to mingle" mean? Is it supposed to mean you're looking for someone to date?

I think I ended up waffling and choosing to stand in place, but it was confusing. I'm not used to trying to fit myself into the "single" vs. "dating" dichotomy any more, not least because it feels like it doesn't really apply.
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So this popped up on Tumblr today. And I read it and got very excited--not even entirely because the idea of Tim Drake being asexual is awesome, but because it had a creator discussing an asexual character and acknowledging that asexuality is a sexual orientation that real people have, and oh my gosh I never get to see that.

And then I noticed that the source was broken. And that when I Googled around I could find no other mention of it. And then I stopped to consider what the actual likelihood of DC Comics doing something like this was and... yeah. Unlikely.

I just. I don't even. Why would you lie about this?! What possible reason would someone have to create this hoax? Why would you do this?

I'm angry and upset and frustrated, because it feels like someone dangled a delicious sandwich in my face while I'm starving and then snatched it away. And now, on top of everything, I'm feeling especially sensitized to the way creators frame asexual characters in media. Because you know that creators never bother to mention that asexuality's a sexual orientation, or that actual asexual people might want to see themselves now and again. That alone ought to have tipped me off, and I am so angry and sad that I feel that way.
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So [personal profile] nami_roland and I have been making cupcakes. And we helpfully took photos so as to document our amazing creations!

A white plate with a black-ringed rim on which sit three cupcakes. The tops are black, broken up with white and purple spots, and the cupcake cups are purple, white, and black swirled.

More photos behind the cut! )
We had (and have) plans to experiment with mixing the layers up a little more so they're less black-heavy and maybe reverse the order of the cupcakes to see what happens. Unfortunately I'm a bit clumsy and managed to drop the entire second tray in the crack between the oven and the door, so we didn't get to see how those would have turned out. The plan is to redo them tomorrow to see if we can't get them looking even nicer.

Hilariously, the roommate I am not yet out to came home after we had finished, noticed the cupcakes, and spent something like twenty minutes gushing over how awesome they were and how we should totally remake them for my birthday. (My birthday plans involve making the Periodic Table in cupcake form with different flavors of cupcake for each of the subfamilies of elements--we're running out of flavor ideas.) I have to say, this idea seriously pleases me!
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So yesterday [personal profile] nami_roland (WHO IS VISITING OMG OMG) and I were walking around downtown and spotted a Ben and Jerry's. We were a little bit hungry and hey, ice cream, so we approached. There's a little bar area outside, and a woman was sitting in it and chilling out, and as we walked up to the door of the building she exclaims to us, completely out of the blue, "Would you like a peanut butter sandwich?"

...yeah, we had no idea either. We managed to get all the way inside the shop before breaking out laughing, though, so that was a plus.

Today, we are making ace pride cupcakes. Pictures will eventually be forthcoming!
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The Carnival of Aces round-up went up today! I am actually feeling really, really guilty about not writing an entry for this carnival; I even had a vague topic worked out, and then my personal life went to hell right before I had to move and I completely ran out of energy to write anything. Anyway, writing about relationships right then would have been a) too painful and b) too vulnerable-feeling for me to do. It's still too raw, although I do have a half-finished piece waiting for when I can handle things again.

Also, no one wants to read my equivalent of a mixture of bitter, angry ranting and panicky, ice-cream-eating angsting, which is what the piece I started would have turned into that week.

I'm doing a lot better on that front, though. And I thiiiiiink I'm ready to start blogging more regularly again, although I'm not sure whether I'll actually get anything up this weekend because [personal profile] nami_roland is coming to visit and I am SO EXCITED OMG and may be too distracted to actually finish writing. Hm. I have got to think of more interesting things to do besides movies.

Also the new Carnival of Aces topic is literature and media representation and therefore just as awesome, so hopefully I won't skip this one. Er.

I'm debating putting the rant I did on Tumblr onto my main blog this week for archival purposes--thoughts? It's definitely a more substantial piece than most of what I've written on Tumblr.
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Yes! It is true! Not only have I moved, my roommate managed to make Evil Internet Company hook up our internet this afternoon! I have spent the last two days moving things and unpacking boxes (last night my other roommate made me go to bed at the point I sat sadly on my couch and wailed "there will ALWAYS BE ANOTHER BOX") and conseuqently I am really, really, really exhausted. Also guilting a bit about not writing a Carnival of Aces post, but... uh, anything I would write on the topic of relationships right now would be full of angst and sadness and center on friendship break-ups and I am just too exhausted to do that.

ALSO: I found this on Queersecrets and it is resonating with me a lot for reasons I can't quite articulate right now.
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Memes! I like memes, they are nonthreatening! Also, this will give me a break from packing, which I sorely need—apparently breaking up with most of your social circle when your two remaining friends in the area are out of town right before you move is a bad plan, who knew? So I’ve been trying to get everything squared away myself today and I am tired, and then I wrote up all my answers and my computer ate it and auuugh. Here’s writing again!
Meme borrowed, incidentally, from Ace Eccentric.
username: [personal profile] sciatrix
What you can call me: Sciatrix works, or some people shorten that to Sci. Whichever.
My default icon explained: It's a thumbnail of this weird-looking Escher dragon (surprisingly, not a tessellation!). I picked it up on the old Godawful Fan Fiction forums sometime in 2006 or 2007 and have been using it more or less all the time ever since.
Sexuality: Asexual--that bit's easy. My affectional orientation is a confused morass of weirdness--I have been known to describe it both as "wtfromantic" and "whatever [personal profile] kaz and SlightlyMetaphysical are"--and anyway it often feels like a question that's not really useful at getting at what I actually am.
Gender: Female.
Preferred pronouns: She/her/her, please.
Other platforms I'm on: I can be found at Wordpress, Tumblr, and Ravelry.
Favorite books: Too many to count--usually I'm the sort of person who reacts to this question by listing authors, but right now all my books are in boxes and I am so not digging through them. I like Eric Flint's Mother of Demons and basically everything Terry Pratchett has ever touched (Nation and Good Omens and Small Gods being my favorites) and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Favorite movies: Erm. Hot Fuzz, possibly? I am not really a movie person.
Favorite TV shows: Oddly enough, Forensic Files, because I find it very, very soothing.
Favorite songs: Er. I’m fond of most things by Frank Turner and by Vienna Teng? I particularly like Turner’s “I Still Believe”.
Languages I know: Mostly English. I took Latin for four years and remember most of the grammar but not much vocabulary at all, and I have a tiny smattering of Mandarin left over from the two classes of it I took my freshman year.
Occupation: I’m a student. Specifically, I’m going into my senior year of college. I’ll graduate with degrees in Genetics and Psychology, and then hopefully I’m going to graduate school. I’m gearing up to start applying for that now.
I also have another job, which I tend to refer to as “work” although I technically don’t get paid for it (well, except this summer, but that’s because I got a grant). I get course credit instead. I work in a population genetics lab, where I have my own experiment which will eventually become my undergraduate thesis sometime next year when I finish writing it. I love my experiment and have actually gotten pretty good at explaining it to people outside my field, which is an achievement on its own. My job is also an endless source of ace jokes because I work on sexual selection.
Location: I currently live in Georgia—the American one, not the European one.
Pets: I have one dog. He’s an easygoing, extremely weird seven-year-old terrier/Corgi cross called Oliver, or sometimes Dog Oliver. When my family adopted him when I was fifteen, I wanted to call him Gaspode after the Discworld character, since he is sort of brownish-greyish-blackish with no discernable main color and at the time was riddled with skin diseases and sores of questionable provenence, but I was voted down on the basis that it was an ugly name and no one else in my family had ever read a Discworld book. He’s theoretically named after Oliver Twist instead.
Favorite food: Thin Mints ice cream—you know, the limited edition version they only sell in the spring. I go a bit obsessive trying to eat as much as of it as possible before they take it away again some years.
A long-term goal: Move to the UK without sacrificing my career goals. Also, get a PhD.
A short-term goal: Survive the next month. I’m moving tomorrow and I have a ridiculous amount of stuff to get done by the time my classes start up again on the fifteenth. And, well, thesis!
My superpower would be: I’ve always liked the idea of shapeshifting because it seems pretty versatile. In terms of superpowers I can semi-jokingly claim to have, I read extremely quickly and am very, very good at analysis. Possibly that could be exaggerated into a real superpower.
Favorite animals: Dogs, always dogs. One thing about me that bears mentioning—I have been focused on dogs to a fairly unusual degree since, as far as I know, I learned to crawl. Possibly earlier. This is probably an autistic thing. In terms of favorite breeds, I tend to like terriers. I grew up with Jack Russell Terriers and consequently secretly believe that real dogs are small, terrifyingly self-confident, extremely intelligent animals with a wicked sense of humor. I’m therefore often confused when I encounter stereotypes of dogs as great big slavishly obedient galumphing beasts without much in the way of a mind of their own.
I am also fond of badgers.
Hobbies: I want very, very badly to do agility with a future dog, since Oliver has some physical issues that make jumping a bad idea for him. He and I are going to be doing Rally Obedience in the fall, and teaching him weird tricks is more broadly one of my hobbies. I have also taken up knitting recently (read: it has utterly consumed me) and I read a whole lot.
How I would describe my personality: Ooh, tricky. “Utter and total nerd” ought to come into it at some point—I have as I type this just packed a mug I made which has my real name written on it in the form of a peptide chain—as should a reference to my frequently weird sense of humor. I’m a very strong introvert with the ability to fake extroversion, but I have to pay for that later so I save it up for special occasions. I am obsessive and have nasty workaholic tendencies and also I really, really like weird random facts and sharing them with people.
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It's been a really long day and I'm really frazzled from work and all the annoying stupid mistakes I made today and I just got home from seven hours over the microscope--BUT I PROMISED TO POST MORE. SO. (I do not promise this post will be coherent. I have not managed coherent for three hours now. BUT IT WILL EXIST.)

So yesterday I went out and bought four skeins of yarn, partly out of a need for something comforting to do and partly because EVERYTHING WAS ON SALE FOR LIKE 40% OFF, and I am helpless in the face of such magic. I am already plotting what to do with it. (Why did no one warn me about the accumulating yarn thing before I started knitting? I already have, like, two bags fully of it, and part of that is the Gift Yarn that one of my friends left me with as she was getting ready to move.)

Right now, what I am actually working on is a trilobite hat. I am working on this hat partly because I wanted to learn to cable, but mostly because I am a giant biology nerd with a huge fondness for trilobites. Cabling is turning out to be... much easier than I thought it would be, actually. It looked scary, how was I to know it's amazingly not?
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Things that will never stop being funny: making puns about the fact that a very important part of my job is sexing virgins. (By which I mean collecting newly emerged flies and separating them by sex before they have enough time to mate, not... the other interpretation of that.)

I got to spend a whole two hours at work today, noted that one population of my flies are finally beginning to emerge, and almost got up from the bench and did a little happy dance. I get to do real experiments next week, guys! Plus I spent some time today talking to my boss and setting up my next experiment after I finish up with the monster one that will be the centerpoint of my thesis, and I love getting to do that. She is amazing and awesome and one day I hope to mentor people as well as she does, and also every time I talk science with her I remember why I want to do this for ever and ever and ever, because it is so damn cool.

Also, I've been spending a suspicious amount of time kicking around an idea for a story for someone who generally has a mental block writing them. But coming up with characters' personalities is just so interesting...

Going to knit now. Why did no one ever tell me these things are fun?
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I really, really, really want there to be more work to do in the lab. I managed to milk a whole hour out of my job yesterday, but today all I got was fifteen minutes. At least in a week I might be able to very slowly start my actual experiment, which judging by last summer when I ran this type of experiment will take disproportionately large quantities of time for the amount of data I get out of it. It'll be boring, but at least I'll get something for my thesis out of it.

Also, I feel very proud of myself for remembering to eat. Going in to work for fifteen minutes is only slightly better in terms of making my routine work for me than not going to work or class at all, and I've been bad at remembering meals without external prodding lately. I managed three at reasonably well-spaced times today and did some basic prep work for stir fry later this week, which I am quite proud of. This is definitely an improvement.

(I would probably get more done in terms of cleaning my apartment and moving around and be better at remembering to eat if I spent more time at work. I find this somewhat aggravating--you would think that with "more free time" I would be able to get things done, but what happens is that the lack of routine and structure basically melts my brain and then I spend hours doing essentially nothing. This sort of thing is why I really, really hate vacations.)
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Learning to knit has turned out to be rather useful, actually.

It gives me something to do with my hands, something nice and soothing and totally repetitive that I can use as an excuse to not-look at something but don't have to focus on. And at the end of it I get the thrill of making something out of nothing, which is nice. (Well. Better than nice. I still get excited every time I look at my tiny washcloth.)

Most of all, though, I think learning to trust the yarn has been pretty important. Let me clarify, when I was starting to knit the washcloth, I pulled every loop as tight as I possibly could. I have some control issues, and I was worried that if I didn't pull the loops tight enough I'd end up with a very loosely woven piece that was going to fall apart immediately.

This resulted in yarn that was looped so tightly around my needles that I couldn't actually do anything with it. It was really difficult to move the yarn around and frustratingly annoying to knit.

So when I started work on the scarf I'm doing now, I tried to let the yarn do what it wanted to, as long as it wasn't actually hanging loose with great big loops. And it worked a lot better!
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I have been learning to knit. Well, I always meant to and last Friday I pestered my friend J into teaching me and she set me up with some needles and some yarn and instructions for a washcloth.

I have just finished this washcloth.

OH MY GOD, I HAVE CREATED A THING FROM A PILE OF WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY STRING.

Excuse me while the dizzying high of having made something out of nothing, basically, wears off. I may start calling myself "Creatrix" or something to compensate.

I am ridiculously excited. Tomorrow next year's roommates and I are going to a crafts shop so I can pet yarn and pick something for my next project based on what feels nicest and after that what is prettiest. Oooh, the texture.

Eventually I may post pictures but for now I am late to dog class!
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My laptop is FINALLY FIXED AGAIN. Dancing now.
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What the hell is up with Jenny McCarthy being all over the news networks today? I had to sit and listen to it twice today and then got hauled downstairs to listen to it by my mother. Clearly I picked the worst day to visit home possible.
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Dammit, there are too many interesting things going on right now!

I mean, my laptop is still in the unforgiving clutches of the Dell people, and I don't have a hope of seeing it until a week from Tuesday at the EARLIEST. (I do not trust Dell, and suspect I will not see it for another week. At least it crapped out a week before the warranty expired.) And I just got done with finals, including the Cell Biology final from hell, and this was supposed to be my recharge time--which for me means, among other things, Internet.

Of course now is when Kaz posts a discussion I'd like to participate in and queer_fest fics go up and I get a post bunny about communities and a non-WFX post about identities and hiding for here and SM came back from his time with no Internet and also I was going to attempt to watch Doctor Who. Aaaargh.

I am reduced to Interneting on my phone. At least it has Skype.

I have weekend plans and the GRE coming up, but I might go back to work next week out of SHEER BOREDOM. Maybe I can take time off again later, when my laptop comes back.
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Ohgod I walked for six hours today my back is killing me.
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So, DC trip rehash! J and I drove up to DC on Friday, where the horrors of driving late at night (we didn't get in until 1:00 AM, which is manifestly Past My Bedtime) where mitigated by discovering the wonders of cruise control. Seriously, cruise control is kind of like magic. It doesn't entirely make driving long distances not suck, but it helps. The drive also involved both of us being terrified of a silhouette of a church at about midnight. In our defense, it was a terrifying church and it was entirely possible that the church was actually Godzilla in disguise. Or some sort of giant jet plane, maybe. At some point along the way when we stopped for gas, I discovered that I'd been one of 35 people awarded the grant I applied for this summer, so that was fantastic. I'm getting paid for my work! I feel like a real scientist now!

Yesterday we finally awoke after attempting to recharge and wandered off to Old Town, where we found all the interesting shops. I think my favorite was a tea-and-spices shop where we were encouraged to smell everything, which meant that we wandered around for half an hour sticking our noses in jars of tea and spices. (I found the tea was usually but not always likely to smell better for me, and towards the end J had a nasty experience with powdered Worchester getting up her nose. My attempt to investigate the powdered spinach went considerably better.) Still, it had to compete pretty heavily with the little used bookshop we found which had hands down the best selection of used books I've ever seen. We both wandered out with armfuls of books after that one!

Then there came socializing with family all day, which was fun up until I realized I was completely exhausted and had to go hide with J down in the basement, where we're staying. And now we're off to go really sightseeing today....

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