Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't, Google It!

There are few things in my life that I will readily admit I can't do.  I can't sing, and I can't lick either of my own elbows. Oh, wait. It appears that I can (don't try to picture it...it wasn't pretty.)

I've never been the type of girl who crumbles at a challenge, or murmurs "I dunno" when asked how something is supposed to be done.  It's not that I have to be the best at everything, only that I need to give it a try.  Failure sucks, but it's not as bad as wishing I had given something a go in the first place.  That's why I'm completely baffled when I see young girls who would rather admit defeat from the beginning than give something an honest try.  Is it lack of self-confidence? Laziness? Fear of criticism?  What's the cause and how can we erase it?

In my classes, I've taken to not always answering my students' questions directly.  When I was young, my dad always told me to "look it up."  Back then, he meant the encyclopedia or the dictionary (do you know how frustrating it is to have to look-up how to spell a word in the dictionary?  You don't know how it's spelled!   How are you supposed to look it up??) Now days, I do the equivalent with Google.  I wish Webster would have had cross-references like, "Do you mean BOLOGNA?"  But I digress. 

"Google it."  I'll say.  Yes, I'm the teacher and I'm supposed to be teaching -- but the way I see it, I'm teaching something far more powerful than Python and JavaScript.  I'm teaching them how to fish. I'm trying to feed them for a lifetime...and not just with Python. When Python becomes Go and Go becomes Clojure, they'll know how to translate, look up samples and eventually learn the complete syntax. There's definitely a lot of guidance yet to be given and someone has to steer the boat while the students focus on the sport of it.  In the end, I don't care whether they think I taught it to them or that they learned it themselves.  I only care that they have learned it and believe in themselves enough to do it again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wreck This Life ( Wabi-Sabi and the Perfection of Imperfection)

If you're a loyal reader (and you must be, since you're back after my multi-month hiatus) then you already know that I've been working diligently to embrace the beauty of serendipity and be more open to the wonderful opportunities that hide inside of ruined plans.  You can see a tiny example of this in the image to the left.  My friend, Cheri, took this photo.  It was intended to be a reminder of our irreverent evening out at Jameson's in Eugene.  I had tamed my hair perfectly, posed sweetly and had the most genuine smile on my face...but none of that came through.  Instead, we ended up with a side-lit image that just barely highlights my dimple as a random guy photo-bombs us with drunken excitement.  In a way, this random mash of elements is a much more accurate depiction of how the night went, even though the original subject was hijacked by ill-positioned lights and well-positioned strangers.

A "ruined" picture isn't that big of a deal anymore, is it? With the rapid-fire digital cameras that we all carry with us now days, we can just keep snapping until we get what we want.  It's a much bigger risk to ruin something else...like a drawing, a carpet, or a brand new book.  That's where Wreck This Journal comes in. I ran across a copy of it at Borders the other day and it only took a few pages to anchor itself to my heart. As someone who will buy a blank pad of paper and leave it sitting on my nightstand, terrified to make a mistake on such a pristine medium, I was utterly transformed by the message of WTJ.  The journal not only encourages you, it practically *begs* you, to do something wrong with it.  It wants you to fold it, tear it and get it dirty. It wants you to drip and rip and crease with reckless abandon.  It wants you to try things that you've not had the courage to try before and let go of the fear that you will do something incorrect.  It wants you to have your way with it -- have A HUNDRED different ways with it -- then stand back and realize that what you've done has given it a level of beauty that is impossible to reach when you walk a line of perfection.  In short, it asks you to do with your journal what I'm trying to do with my life!

These concepts aren't new.  In fact, the Japanese call the phenomenon wabi-sabi.  It's basically the belief that "nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."  It's the idea that something can be flawed and still be beautiful. It is permission to stop looking at your body with criticism and start embracing it as uniquely gorgeous. It's the ability to forgive mistakes as they are elements of your unique life experience.  It's the valve that releases the pressure to get everything right each step of the way. It's the knowledge that wrecking something doesn't always ruin it.

That said, it's important to realize that the idea of seeing the beauty in a wreck requires that there's something left.  I don't want anyone to get the idea that a wasted life is equally acceptable to me.  I wouldn't drop it in the trash or throw it in the fire, I just need to stop protecting it so diligently from the wear and tear that gives it purpose and character.  I don't want it stolen or kidnapped, but I would be happy to welcome a photo-bomber every now and again :D

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What is Regret?

What is regret?  If someone asked me what my biggest regret was, I'd be tempted to say that I have none; Afterall, my life has been exactly what I've made of it. In its most simple form, however, regret just means "having a sense of sadness over something previously done".  Certainly I must feel that for something, mustn't I?

Truth be told, I have many little regrets:  not stopping to assist some ducks across the road, telling my first-grade teacher that I could count to 100 when I really could have counted ad infinitum, and not buying those shoes when they were on sale. 

My biggest regret is much more difficult to define.  Since we now know that I have at least one, I must have a "biggest regret."  That big regret has to be something larger than missing a great value on footwear.  In actuality, knowing myself, my biggest regret would have to be something to do with love.

Unfortunately, my most miserable experiences have brought me my most wonderful joys, so it's impossible for me to regret any of the bumps on the path that led to happiness.  Taken item for item, I wouldn't have traded any of the sucky moments knowing what they have brought me.  That's horribly depressing, because it means that my biggest regret actually *is* something like buying shoes at full price.  Gosh, now that I've said that, my biggest regret may be *not* having a big enough regret...I better work on that!

Monday, May 16, 2011

May the Force Be With Ye

Borrowed from HowStrange.com
I'm pretty sure I've seen all of the Star Wars movies at some point during my life (afterall, what kind of geek would I be if I hadn't) but I don't really remember them very well.  With my boys so deeply entrenched in all things Skywalker, I've decided that now is as good of a time as any to introduce them to the saga.

Like a good Gen-Xer, I decided to introduce the episodes in order of original release, meaning that we enjoyed "A New Hope" as our first family introduction to the Lucas franchise.  I loved watching my sons as they stared in awe at the screen.  My youngest, a six-year-old, cuddled up in the crook of my arm, hid his eyes at suspenseful times and constantly asked "Is he going to die?", "Why did he just kill that guy?" and "How are they going to escape?"

I learned a lot about my kids from watching them watch Star Wars, but I also learned a lot about myself.  In fact, maybe I should have called this blog "Everything I Learned About My Taste in Men, I Learned from Watching Epic Blockbusters."  Take for example Luke Skywalker; soooooo not my type.  The little blond pretty-boy thing doesn't work for me and neither does that false bravado hiding childish-naivete.  He does what's right because he's programmed to do so, not with any sort of passionate lightening spark.  Skywalker is a simple man with a farm-boy mindset and that just doesn't work for me. 

Han Solo, on the other hand, is much more appealing.  He's strong, confident and owns his own ship.  He appears to be aloof, but it doesn't actually take him very long to bond with the others despite an exterior attitude of callousness.  He doesn't live his life based on what he "should" do, but in the end he can be counted on. Still, he's in debt to some pretty bad people, doesn't have a lot of respect for women and lives his life as a selfish man-boy.  Three strikes.  Sorry, Solo.

Ya know who else is confident, aloof and owns his own ship?  That's right.  CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow.  Yes, he too is a disrespectful, selfish man-boy who's in debt to some *really* bad...er...people?...but with his quick wit, sexy accent and flair for acrobatics, I still kind of wonder what it would be like to wrestle his kraken.  I can tell you right now, I'd choose him over Will Turner in a heartbeat.

Will is very similar to Skywalker in my mind. He's outwardly brave, but a child-like innocent inside.  He has very little Joie de vivre, but somehow makes it through a lot of very dangerous situations with the help of a crew and one powerful woman.

Would you like to know who really floats my boat?  No, not Barbossa, you smart-ass; Admiral James Norrington.  Yes, Norrington, a brave and lawful man* who cherished his love once he found her and treated her always with respect and kindness.  When Elizabeth broke his heart by choosing Will, James ultimately wished them well as long as Elizabeth was happy.  Norrington was an intelligent and thoughtful man who knew his way around both a ship and a sword.  This is why he's my choice for Epic Movie Husband.  That's also why -- when everyone else is all aflutter on Friday watching "On Stranger Tides", I'll be mourning the death of a beloved character and sobbing into my popcorn.

*Granted, he became a bit less lawful as the sequels wore on, but when it came time to sacrifice his life for the good of others, he didn't have to be handcuffed to the ship by a woman who lured him there with sex.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Too Soon

My first boyfriend was Daniel Self.  It was the first grade and we were about seven.  He was a towheaded blond boy with an infectious smile and a much larger brain than many of the other kids in our class.  We played soccer on the same team and his age was constantly called into question by the opposing coach, due to his towering height.  At recess, we would either play house on the Tower of Trouble (a tall wooden play-structure) or spend the time chatting, hand-in-hand, curled up inside large cement cylinders watching the rest of the kids play dodge ball.  He bought me gifts and drew me pictures.  He was one of my best friends. 

Then one day, a new girl came to the school.  Her name was Gretchen.  She wore make-up and off-the-shoulder shirts.  She'd wink at Daniel as she sat sideways at the cafeteria table.  My first true taste of jealously. Then, the rumors came.  Toward the end of the first-grade, rumors started going around that Daniel had kissed Gretchen.  He hadn't even kissed *me* so I was very disturbed.  At recess that day, I asked him about it and he wouldn't answer me.  I was so frustrated with him that I picked up a handful of rocks and shoved them into his mouth.  We didn't speak again until college.

Several years later, I saw him crossing the campus at U of O and we stopped to talk.  We were both all smiles, but time had passed and we realized that we really didn't know each other at all.  He went his way and I went mine, pleased that we had caught up a bit, but certain that we would lose touch again.

A decade later, Facebook entered our lives.  As the rest of our graduating class started to link via friendships, Dan and I made that connection again.  It was a tad bit superficial, but a connection none the less.  My guilt over my immature behavior (Hey, I was seven) had sat with me for a long time, so 25 years after the fact, I finally messaged him an apology.  I told him how often I had thought about that day and that I wished I had handled it differently.  He told me to forget about it, saying that he didn't even remember that it ever happened.  He may not have cared, but I did and I'm glad that I got the chance to talk to him about it.  That was nearly two years ago.

Last night, I found out that Daniel killed himself. 

His Facebook page never advertised any sadness in his life.  In fact, it's full of quotes like "I'm gonna have more fun than you." and "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."  He ran a skydiving school and went by the name "Dive-Out Dan."  He was -- at least outwardly -- a very ambitious young man who was full of energy and life. 

Dan and I have obviously not been close in recent years, but he was still a very formative part of my past.  Dan was smart and fresh and cheerful and had a world that was equally bright in front of him and in his rear-view mirror.  Having a rare inside peek from additional sources that I've encountered in my work life, I learned of some issues that may have been weighing heavily in the back of his mind, but no one would have ever had any clue that they were there.  According to friends, he never asked for help.

Some people don't ever ask for help.

I'm writing this today not as a plea for you to observe your buddies...that's far too much burden to put on loving friends who often bring out the best in people who feel dark when they're alone.  I am, instead, writing to plant a seed in your brain.  You most-likely aren't currently planning suicide.  At least, I hope that you aren't.  But, if the idea ever comes to your head, traditional help is probably not the first place you will go.  Suppose you're not constructive enough to call a help line.  Suppose that you don't have a religion or other fear of the hereafter which looks down on suicide.  Suppose you don't care that your family and friends will suffer with the pain of loss for as long as they live. This seed is here to put some sort of hesitancy in your mind, nonetheless...just enough that you will hopefully delay long enough to get your zeal back. 

The seed is this:
Some day, someone will need your help.  It may be a child who can't find her mother.  It may be a pedestrian who doesn't see that bus.  It may be a neighbor who has a heart-attack in his front yard.  Some one *will* need you.  If you aren't there, it affects other people's family and friends, too.  You will cause a ripple of heartache that could have been avoided if you had just spent a little more time on this earth. 

Now, some more traditional info.

If you're currently contemplating suicide, please talk to some one.  You could have an actual chemical imbalance that's making life feel far worse than it is.  Here are some resources:

Suicide Prevention Hotline1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Read This First
The Samaritans

And finally, some facts to inspire:

Life can get better...look at JK Rowling
Rags to Riches
Paula Deen
Extraordinary Comebacks

Please remember, the world needs you.  Love needs you.  I need you. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Alarming

Yesterday was one of the most important days of my life as an entrepreneur.  I had a big presentation in front of lots of very, very rich people.  Pitches started at 6 pm and somewhere around 6:08, someone's alarm went off.

That evening, while enjoying a drink with my colleagues my business partner asks, "Who sets their alarm for 6:08 anyway?"  I said, "I do, but.." and then (as if on cue) my other partner and I say in perfect synchronization, "for me it would have to be 6:07."

As it turns out, we both have a preference for setting our alarms to odd times - not including 5 min after...because that's still too divisible.  Are we weird?  Is this a unique phenomenon?  Well, there's a Facebook group for it already, if that makes any difference.

I've searched the web to see what might possibly be inspiring us to do this.  As it turns out, there are several others who claim to prefer odd times, but no scientific (or even acceptable) explanation as to why.  I have some theories, but I know it's not something I do with good reason...just something I do.  Anybody else?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thinking Computationally

I've been thinking about computers since I was a very, very little girl.  Somewhere inside, I believe they think about me, too.

I have one that has trouble waking up in the mornings, one that plays with my kids and one that is there for me whenever I need it; no matter what time of the day or night (I call that one Mac.)  For all of the emotion that I tie up in my computing, my brain knows that they are inanimate machines which are simply responding to low-level binary commands.  Even so, it's hard not to personify them once you get to the point where you're confident enough with a keystroke to really make them dance.

For some, getting to that point is more difficult than others.  I do believe, however, that there is a specific way of thinking that promotes the ability to really connect with your integrated box of circuits.  It's called "Computational Thinking."

Originally, it was the definition by Jeanette M. Wing which helped the concept hit the stratosphere.  In short (very short) she boils it down to "abstraction" and "automation."  Basically, getting a problem ready for computation, then using computation on it.

As CT started to catch fire, people took those sparse guidelines and ran with them.  Many went one way, while some went another and other groups sat still.  The idea of CT really opens itself up to many different interpretations; the easiest to say being, "Think like a computer scientist."  While I wouldn't consider any of these wrong, I wouldn't consider them complete, either. 

The definition I bonded with most was that of Google, in the doorway to the curriculum which they developed for schools in California.  They've worked hard to put together "classroom ready" lessons for grades 6-12.  Though their actions are commendable, I'm not necessarily in favor of the "Math & Science" approach...nor do I love the concept of starting at a middle school level.  I think if we want to show that CT is a universal key to problem solving, we need to give lively examples in fields as far away from what one thinks of STEM as possible.  I also believe that if we want the females to successfully weather the storm of gender bias in computer science, we need to start teaching these CT ideas as fundamentals in grades K-5.

Now, as I like to say, enough talk...let's do something inspirational.

I would like you to oblige me in an idea.  It seems apropos that computational thinking could be represented as a tree, with each node further pointing to all of the specialized categories that the brilliant minds of computer science can think up. The essence of this tree is that it begins by splitting into two distinct sides...things that a computer can do & things that *we* must do for the computer.  Maybe I should include a diagram...a good diagram can make anything appear more official. 

Diagram 1a: The CT Tree

You see, I believe that computational thinking has two functions.  For starters, there is the concept that humans should understand how to process a problem for computation.  It's an extremely useful skill and has an infinite number of uses...even when there is no plan to ultimately use a machine for execution.  Secondly, there is a need to understand how to process a problem correctly and efficiently...even without machinery.  Comprehending both pieces makes it easier to see that computational thinking can be helpful in any field. 

Take art, for example.  A painter may want to create a statement on how all living creatures should be considered as important as humans.  She may want to find the patterns which all of her favorite animals have in common with people, then abstract out the remainder of the details.  She can then plan to highlight the shared qualities through boldness and exaggeration.  Once her algorithm has been determined, the artist can avoid getting overwhelmed by the long, detailed road ahead by following her algorithm step by step; considering each piece individually and looking for patterns as she goes (consecutively painting areas that require similar colors, etc.)

The above example may be uncharacteristic of an artist's personality, but it's an effective illustration of the way that efficiency can be brought to many aspects of life...whether or not it belongs in those aspects is up to you.

Regardless of your opinion on efficiency, hopefully you can see the need for both halves of this definition.  Whether you plan to prepare problems for computation or perform the computation yourself, computational thinking will certainly be a vital skill for the future.

Computationally Thinking

For the last two years, I've been doing research focused around women in technology; more specifically, getting young girls interested in computing.  In all of my reading, research and interrogations, what I have determined is that "computational thinking" might just be the concept that helps bridge the gender gap.

Computational thinking is in the middle of an identity crisis right now.  The scientific population doesn't yet have a standardized definition, though one is beginning to materialize.  My view on CT differs slightly, but I elaborate on that in another post.

First, let me state that I acknowledge that not everyone fits snugly into a gender stereotype. There are certainly women that will not fit the descriptions that follow.  I don't mean to imply that anyone outside of the groups I discuss are somehow less "female," just that they are less indicative of the majority.

Formalities aside, let's address the reason why I believe that CT can help draw girls toward technology.  Bear with me, this is a bit of an indirect and bumpy ride.

The female mind is an incredible thing.  From infancy, studies show that the mind of the average female tends to be far more empathetic than that of a male.  Such empathy is an expression of a fundamental difference in the way that women solve problems.  In general, the empathetic brain looks for emotional cues and facial expressions to assess the validity of a decision, while a systematic brain (typical male brain) uses behavioral queues.  This means that machine related tasks come relatively easily for men, but leave women cold as they lack the emotive qualities that we seek.   When someone fiddles with a program or gadget and the behavior of its response changes, a man is likely to absorb that change and consider the gathered information useful.  A female brain, while easily capable of accurately taking note of the data, is less likely to have an intuitive reaction to it. 

That one difference goes a long way toward explaining why young girls consider computer science to be "hard" and "masculine."  Without emotional feedback, technology doesn't naturally fulfill a woman's instinctual learning methods. This is why we see such a large percentage of women in people-related jobs.  Even in 2009, the most popular female careers were secretaries, nurses, teachers, and cashiers.  All receive frequent face-to-face interaction which is a supplement to pay rate when considering how rewarding their job is. 

Now, take an empathetic woman with a high-desire for emotional reward and place her in a career that often requires many hours of individual performance - where the majority of her feedback comes from a compiler in cryptic, uninspired messages - and you have a recipe for a very dissatisfied employee.

By now, you're probably asking yourself why computational thinking has any effect on the above scenario.  In a word...understanding.

The beauty of an empathetic mind is the ability to sympathize with, relate to, and understand views other than those which they have previously experienced.  Computational thinking is the tool that links sympathy and the machine.

Again, I'll save my detailed beliefs on the definition of computational thinking for another day, but in short, CT is the ability to comprehend what is needed for a computer to do its job.  It's more than just a list of steps that one does to prepare code for a solution.  It is, instead, a method for understanding the needs of a computational entity so that one can either process a problem to make it solvable by computer *or* look at a problem from the viewpoint of a computer.  Either way, it's a symbiotic junction which allows a human to relate to a machine and in my opinion, that's a very important first-step toward translating "hard," "masculine" feedback into meaningful personal cues.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Better Communication Through Texting

Yes, I'm textually active. I text with so many people in a given day, that it's become my preliminary form of communication with nearly half of my dearest friends.  Is this to say that I prefer text over face-to-face contact? With one exception, no.  I'd much rather chat with them over lunch or walking around campus, but we just don't have the time.  Text is a quick and viable solution to our communication issues using technology that's with us almost all the time.

With this increased textual interaction, I've found the need for improved text etiquette.  Some of my text buddies are a bit on the sparse side, others a tad verbose.  How do I balance my interactions with these people in a way that is neither insulting nor annoying?

I propose a set of unified texting rules that we can all refer to, as well as some new terminology and a guide to etiquette.

1. Ask about texting hours (I prefer 10am to 10pm.)
2. No naked pics unless I ask for them.

1. No more than 3 in a row before I get back to you...I'll answer when I can.
2. It's polite to send some sort of reply to let me know you got my text.
3. Text ping-pong should only happen between consenting couples.
4. If it requires more than 3 lines, call me or send an email.

Even if we all know these rules and guidelines, there's still confusion to be had.  As a girl, I'm very comfortable using emoticons.  Typically, guys don't.  This can lead to some pretty awful misunderstandings.  I'm going to suggest some terms that can help.

1. brb - If you have to leave a ping-pong match suddenly.
2. ... - More to come in a minute (can't answer now.)
3. o&o - Over and out (I'm done with this conversation.)
4. 2em - Taking the subject to email.

Will this catch on worldwide?  Who knows.  As long as all the people who text with me read my blog - and I know the important ones do - then at least *my* texting life will get less complicated!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Can I Do Good All By Myself?

No, not "well"..."good."  I already know that I can do well, but that means slightly less to me at the moment.  In recent months I've been focusing on trying to do good things; mainly for youth and women.  My schedule is beginning to make it difficult to handle everything alone, so I'm having to broaden my comfort level and delegate.

Delegation is a good thing, right?  Makes life easier?  Where can I find the line between asking for help and taking advantage?  I dunno.  I'm not a big fan of asking someone to do what I can do myself.  I literally have to force myself to ask my kids to do things that I know they should do, out of fear that they'll turn into incapable adults if I keep providing everything for them.  Outside of that, though, I feel like it reflects poorly on me when I accept help from other people.  Almost as if I then owe them something.

That's an interesting concept, actually.  Owing something to someone.  I would willingly do almost anything for anybody, but I refuse to be in debt to anyone...especially a friend.  That makes everything a little more complicated.  It makes it hard for friends to treat me to lunch, difficult for guys to buy me a drink and near impossible for someone to help make my life easier.

I am an independent being.  Stubbornly so.  It appears as if I've regressed into the "autonomy" stage of childhood.  I feel like I have to do everything myself or else I submit to some doubting sense of shame as if others perceive me as incapable.  This behavior becomes a problem when it stops me from accomplishing as much positive change as I could otherwise affect as part of a team. For this reason, I'm asking for help.  I want your help giving to causes, building confidence in children and supporting the weak. 

For those of you who know me personally, I want you to hold me accountable for letting down this defense.  If you catch me denying a sincere offer of support, call me out on it.  Use a code word, hand gesture or flat-out rake me across the coals. I'm trying to change, but I don't have the hang of it yet. So, if you see me out in public somewhere waving my arms and singing at the top of my lungs, don't worry about me.  I'm most likely just trying to be a flash mob by myself. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What Would You Choose: Brains or Beauty?

Recently, this little infographic has caused quite the bustle on the internet. Having been called "The Saddest Pink Infographic About Women In Tech You’ll Ever See," controversy is brewing as to whether or not this is the kind of publicity that women in computer science need.

Personally, I think this is fantastic.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type to limit girls to dolls and boys to trucks, but I don't see any problem with leveraging a form of entertainment which tweens actively seek out in fashion magazines and online apps.

Let's start, first, with the idea that intelligent women "deserve more than this".  Yes.  That's true. They do.  But they deserve more than this without excluding this.  The big ol' pink infographic to the left is an extremely flattering representation of both mind and overall persona.  Why should a woman be limited to choosing brains or beauty?  The two are not mutually exclusive.  That's a point I've been trying to get across for a very long time!  Why is it an insult to a woman's intelligence to call her beautiful?  Isn't it okay to recognize all of the areas where she's putting in hard work?

Secondly, this infographic is cartoonish and sassy.  There is no point where it tries to pass itself off as indisputable fact.  The steps along the way may be cheeky, but if you don't like one of the options, you won't select it and it won't represent you.  That said, I'm a little offended that if you prefer the Adult Video Network over New York Fashion Week, you're given the hand.  At first glance, it feels like you can't be a computer scientist if you enjoy sex.  After further scrutiny, it becomes obvious that you just can't be one of these 5 highly successful tech women.  I guess we'll have to wait a while to know where I land, but even until then, I'm completely willing to give this card the thumbs-up.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Then Again, Maybe It's Not The Dawning of The Age of Aquarius...

Picture look familiar?  If you're a constant reader, it probably does.  That's because I was about to add this whole section as a comment to my blog from earlier, but it was just a little too full.

So, apparently, we've all been categorized incorrectly!  It seems that the original astrologers intended there to be 13 birth constellations, with an extra one between Scorpio and Sagittarius.  The repercussion of that is that none of us are what we say we are.

According to the article above, the true classifications are as follows:  "Capricorn is now Jan. 20 to Feb. 16; Aquarius, Feb. 16-March 11; Pisces, March 11-April 18; Aries, April 18-May 13; Taurus, May 13-June 21; Gemini, June 21-July 20; Cancer, July 20-Aug. 10; Leo, Aug. 10-Sept. 16; Virgo, Sept. 16-Oct. 30; Libra, Oct. 30-Nov. 23; Scorpio, Nov. 23-29; Ophuchicus, Nov. 29-Dec. 17; and Sagittarius, Dec. 17-Jan. 20."

That officially makes me a Capricorn.  So now, I'm supposed to believe that I'm inhibited, patient and unimaginative?  Not likely.  Aquarius is so perfectly suited for me that it's almost as if it were...well...written in the stars.  Was I destined to become this way because I'm an Aquarius or did I become this way because I grew up aware of what an Aquarius is?  Regardless of the cause and effect, I *am* an Aquarius through and through.

When I heard about this, I went and read the description of a Capricorn, thrilled that I may see a piece of myself that had been hidden since ancient times.  Instead, what happened is I had to call bullshit on the whole idea of a new structure.  A Capricorn only describes me in the highest-level "fill it in with your own thoughts" kind of way.  The Aquarius description continues to hold true even to my cellular level.  As an example, here's the definition of an Aquarius woman:

"The Aquarius woman is the ultimate independent woman. She is funny, smart, adventurous, never clingy or jealous, never demanding and not overly emotional. She is unpredictable and craves excitement. Anything goes with this woman and any man that she chooses will have an amazing relationship. Court her and woo her, she expects this ladylike treatment, she is old fashioned in that sense but be known that her mind is already made up and if she is not interested, she will never be interested. The relationship will progress slowly because she does not get emotionally involved very easily and she is not one for showy displays of romantic affection. The man who is trying to win her heart has to treat her with respect and treat her as an equal. Communication is key, this is how a relationship with an Aquarius woman evolves. Once she trusts you and you two grow closer, she is an amazing loyal and kindhearted person."

If you don't know me, you don't know how completely true this is.  If you do, you can probably see how intimately it relates to me.  I know there are skeptics who will say that this could apply to anyone, but really, this is a very specific description of a very specific type of relationship personality.

In any case, I'll stick to my original dawning and let the rest of y'all make up your own minds!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Turns Out That Tears Are a Tool, Not a Weakness

I knew it!  I knew that there was a reason that I have trouble controlling my tears when I get emotional.  I used to refer to those moments as "being a girl," but it turns out that I can now call it self-defense.  That's right, a recent study has shown that a woman's tears actually send chemical signals that cause a decrease in male testosterone.  This is great news for me.  That means that all this time, when I thought I was showing signs of defeat, I was really only beginning to fight. 

Apparently, a woman's tears emit a previously unknown pheromone which triggers a cut in a man's testosterone levels.  Low testosterone levels have been linked to a decrease in aggression as well as sex-drive.  Suddenly, my unwanted tears have been transformed into a magic potion, capable of rendering men powerless.  That is, they would be...if I were willing to cry with a guy in the room.