Someone asks a question about artificial sweeteners on a forum. Others post one or two sentence responses, for the most part long on personal opinion and short on fact.

I write an 8-paragraph essay. With references. I would have included figures, but they wouldn’t fit. I might reproduce the essay at some point in the future, but it’s not good enough for me to want to put it in a blog yet, so I’d have to work on it more.

Moral of the story: Don’t ask me to info-dump on something related to a special interest – in this case, chemistry – unless you’re prepared for the consequences.


I don’t learn idioms intuitively. I learn them through study, by rote. I have a mental list of all of them, and I’ve learned most of their etymologies because that helps me make sense of why, for example, a pot calling a kettle black is an expression for hypocrisy when most pots are the lustrous light grey of aluminium, or maybe a darker, dull grey of Teflon-coated steel. and most (electric) kettles are white. The answer: Back when they were made of cast-iron, they both were black. The expression makes a lot more sense when you know that, doesn’t it?

In fact, my difficulty with idioms was why I got interested in etymology in the first place, as a kid. I couldn’t get why having a chip on your shoulder meant that you were angry and looking for a fight, or why someone who rises quickly in something was referred to as a dark horse. Me being me, my thought process at the time went something like this: I don’t get these things! ->  why would they use something that makes no sense? -> maybe people use them because everyone else does, like a code -> but then why did they start using them? -> did they made sense once upon a time? -> maybe, if I read about their history, I can make them make sense to me.

Likewise, I learned metaphors and symbolism through research and memorization, and because I had to do through careful analysis and deconstruction what most do through intuition, my answers were often off, and I was often marked down. Imprecise and figurative speech was often something I’d often misunderstand.

My difficulty with idioms came from the same place as my difficulty with figurative language: I’m literal-minded, probably to a fault. If someone says something, I take what they’re saying at face value. I have a hard time with subtext and an even harder time with inferring what someone means if what they say and what they mean don’t match up well.

Case in point: When I was a kid learning to ski, the ski instructor told me to ski into the lodge. So I did. And nearly got banned from the ski hill. I was told not to be stupid, that I knew what he meant when he told me to ski into the lodge, but no, I didn’t. My parents later made sure to tell other ski instructors that I would take their words at face value, and so if they want me to stop in front of the lodge, they should say so in those words, because if they tell me to stop in the lodge, I might just do exactly that.

Another time, I was told to roller blade into the wall and stop that way when I was learning to rollerblade. Crash. And I refused to go roller-blading with my mother for the next year. What she meant was for me to rollerblade alongside the wall and use it to stabilize myself as I stopped. But she told me to rollerblade into the wall, and being a kid without the experience to know that was a bad idea, I did as she told me.

And of course, there was the whole “books don’t talk” confusion when I was in elementary school and being told by teachers the kids might like me better if I didn’t talk like a book all the time.

And while I’m a lot better at it than I used to be, if you surprise me with a new-to-me idiom, my response will most likely be a blank stare.

Autism in the family

I’m not the only person with autistic traits in my extended family. While I’m probably one of a few people in the extended family who is diagnosably autistic, autistic traits run in the family, even among people who are allistic. A few examples, drawn from people I’m fairly sure of. There are a bunch of other “maybes” in my extended family, but mental illness and addiction runs in the family and complicates matters.

  • My father: Strong, enduring interests in atypical things, like animal training. Has his own set way of doing things, and if your way is different, it’s wrong. Loves routines, extremely frustrated with those who seem anti-routine, and/or those who don’t keep appointments. Highly anxious, though he would deny it fiercely. Loathes small talk like me. Floated the idea he might have Asperger’s around when I first started thinking I might be autistic. He dropped it in response to my mother’s vehement denial, then followed her lead in discouraging me to investigate further. The member of the immediate family who gets me the most, though either he’s gotten better at faking social/sensory stuff or he’s not as affected as me. He has always had a reputation for being gregarious and charismatic, so… ? Not sure. I’m up in the air about whether or not he’s autistic, but he and I are both sure he’s on the broader autism phenotype if he’s not autistic. My father would get why I’m walking with my eyes shut, but wouldn’t think to offer a hat.
  • My sister: Best illustrated with her collections: She had a leaf* collection as a preschool kid. She didn’t care about the types of trees, or how pretty the leaves were, she just cared about the leaves, and counting/sorting said leaves (by size one week, then color, then type, etc). At the highest, she had about 3200 of them. When we moved, she had to leave her leaves behind because we didn’t have room to bring them (I also had to leave most of my books – no pun intended). She started collecting stuffed animals instead (I was still on books). Then fashion magazines. No social difficulties, no sensory difficulties, does like routines, though, and is prone to black-and-white thinking. Thinks me and my father are both autistic. Would know more than the layperson, considering uni studies and work experience. She’s not autistic, but shows traits (special interests, black and white thinking, and other stuff I won’t mention because privacy). She doesn’t get me as much as my father, but is more in-tune with me than he is – Dad gets why I do stuff after I do it, my sister knows what I’m feeling usually before I do. She might not get why I’m walking with my eyes shut, for example, but she’s the one who will hand me a hat if it’s bright out before we even step outside.
  • My mother: Extremely prone to black-and-white thinking and obsessive thinking. Has a number of mental health issues commonly comorbid with and/or related to autism. If you don’t do things her way, you’re wrong. Difficult to elucidate to what degree she has social difficulties because of her mental illness, but has no sensory issues, executive function issues, or problems with disrupting routines. Not autistic, but maybe BAP-y. She would yell at me for walking with my eyes shut and insist that it’s not that bright, that I’m exaggerating my discomfort.
  • My paternal grandmother (deceased): By all accounts that aren’t me and one of my cousins, a very strange and difficult-to-get-on-with woman. Me and my autistic cousin on that side of the family thought she was normal and liked her a lot. Very black-and-white in her thinking, with strong, unusual interests. Growing up, she was the only one in the extended family who liked Star Wars as much as me, and on the rare occasions we got together, we’d spend hours quoting it at each other (in order of the script, according to film release date, and the Great Ewok Adventure and the Christmas Special don’t count), to the befuddlement of everyone else who thought she just hated people. There were two colors she’d wear (grey and blue), and she would only wear stuff made of long-fibre cotton. She moved across the continent to get away from neighbours she didn’t like. Twice. She would never look anyone in the eye. She would look above you instead (I didn’t notice, because I don’t look people in the eye, either, but my sister mentioned it). She could spend days without talking, and was the only one in the extended family with a similarly deep appreciation for books. She loved routines, and would get extremely angry if you disrupted them on her – case in point: she once smacked my then-preschool-aged sister because my sister went to her chair the wrong way around the dinner table (that’s why my sister and I didn’t see her often).  I’m almost certain she was autistic. She would say, “It’s too bright out. Let’s wait until it clouds over or gets dark.”
  • Paternal great-uncle: Brother to my grandmother, though her family tried to erase his existence. He was institutionalized for, from what I can piece together, sounds like nonverbal autism, in the 1930s. I don’t know anything beyond this, and that he died sometime in the 50s. Not sure what he would do re: brightness. He died long before I was born.
  • Paternal cousin: is diagnosed autistic. Stereotypical little professor as a kid. Loves routines, was an extremely talented diver** by 10 (people called him a prodigy), and refused to compete thereafter because competition environment was “too stressful.” Loves computer code. Is a programmer for a living (he jokes he lives up to the stereotype of the autistic computer nerd). People in the extended family lament that he could go to the Olympics “if he wanted to,” but I get it. I know exactly what he’s talking about, and I don’t blame him a bit – high level sports competition is sensory and routine hell. It’s why I didn’t go beyond Nationals in my sport.*** No thanks. He would grab a hat for himself, and, seeing me walking with my eyes shut, would offer to go back and get another.
  • Maternal cousin: Is diagnosed autistic, and didn’t talk much until age 5. Oddly doesn’t care much one way or the other about routines (odd in my extended family anyway – pretty much everyone except her and my mother likes routines). Typical interests growing up, but unusual in depth – she didn’t just like boybands as a kid, she knew what her favorite members liked to eat for breakfast. Likes banking. Extroverted by nature, good at faking socialization, but gets exhausted by putting on the typical mask, so she has a solo office where she can do paperwork alone to recharge a bit, and often goes out with friends who know she’s autistic and don’t mind her being her. The best at passing of the autistic people in the family, unless my father turns out to be autistic, in which case she’s the second-best, but she probably pays the biggest toll for her passing. She’d wear her sunglasses on a bright day and wouldn’t notice my discomfort unless I mentioned it. If I did, she’d know a quiet, out-of-the-way store to get a new one in, to which she’d take me without delay.

*wasn’t actually a leaf collection, but was similarly unusual. Changed to protect her privacy.
**sport changed for privacy reasons.
*** sport not identified for privacy reasons, but yes, I went to nationals in a thing a few times. Fun sport, hell environment.

Some days

At martial arts

Kid: *garbled noise*
Me: huh?
Kid: *repeat noise, parsed as “Ask can ally oh cat?”*
Me: *pause* *blink* Erm, repeat slowly?
Kid: Oh, sorry. Wrong class. Can *noise* bathroom?
Me: Bathroom? Sorry, I didn’t hear you correctly.
Kid: I’m in French immersion. Sometimes I use French by mistake. I said, “est-ce je peux aller aux toilettes?”
Me: I understand the French, just didn’t hear it right with the background noise.
Kid: Okay. *noise, not parsed sensibly except immersion was in there somewhere*
Me: *realizes kid probably wants to go to the bathroom* Go ahead.

Some days, it’s hard for me to make sense of anything people say to me if other stuff is going on. Background noise + stress makes words hard.

Something in the news

TW: Bullying, victim-blaming, complete indifference on the part of the people supposed to protect the victim

So, this happened. And it doesn’t sound familiar at alll. */sarcasm*

Short version: Kid gets bullied in class by classmates while teachers are in the room, sometimes while teachers are watching. Teachers ignore it, turn away, pretend they didn’t see. Kid has autism and ADHD, and therefore it’s his fault his classmates videotaped themselves hitting and teasing him.

And people say as much in so many words.

And the school seems to be backing up the perpetrators, because they say that videotaping yourself hitting and teasing someone, and videotaping their stimming for the purpose of ridicule isn’t bullying and therefore isn’t covered by their antibullying rules.

This hits very close for me. Because I allegedly brought bullying onto myself, too. And when kids slammed my head in my locker and beat the crap out of me, that wasn’t bullying. It was me not trying hard enough to avoid them. And when kids jumped me on my way home after school, it wasn’t bullying. It was me not trying hard enough to fit in. When kids stripped me at a birthday party, it wasn’t bullying, it was me provoking them by yelling at them for asking me if I was a “real girl”. And it takes two to tango, and if you fight back, it’s your fault because you hit, too, but if you don’t fight back, it’s your fault for sitting there and taking it and if you run away, well, that’s just being a coward and you deserve a few slaps to teach you bravery, amirite? Everything. Is. Always. The. Victim’s. Fault.

That’s how these things work. It’s your fault. Even if you had no way of predicting it. It’s your fault, even if you tried to avoid them. It’s your fault, it’s your fault, it’s your fault.

Very familiar. And not surprising. And I’m sad for Levi and angry at his school and his classmates and his teachers. And I’m angry that only one of the news stories I’ve seen on the issue thought to interview the kid in question, because, y’know, he’s just the kid living through that shit, who wants to hear from him, amirite? It’s not like autistics can speak for themselves or anything. He needs his mother to speak for him. Ew. 

But mostly, I’m sad for Levi and angry on his behalf. I’ve been there. And, as a member of the class of fuck off we made it, I hope he makes it, too. 

Scents redux: Scent-free vs. Unscented

Inspired by the fact that someone wore strong cologne to martial arts and had me so wheezy I sounded like a squeaky toy.

If you’re looking to be considerate to your peers and colleagues with asthma, you probably want to stop wearing scents. However, terminology around scents is confusing at best, so I’ll go into it a bit.

Unfortunately, in my country, “Scent-free,” “Unscented,” and “Fragrance free”, are not what you’d think they are. Sometimes they mean scent free, but far, far more often, what it means is that a masking agent has been added so you don’t smell like soap, as all that’s required is for them to not be smellable from a certain distance. Which isn’t helpful to an asthmatic, as there’s still perfume in there.

Therefore, what you want to do if you’re looking for a scent free product, is read the ingredients. Look for stuff like [smelly thing] extract, parfum, perfume, fragrance, [smelly thing] oil, etc. All of those words are used to mean scents. Avoid them. Look for stuff that does not have any of those listed.

Just, FYI.

Belated This Is Autism flashblog

Before the body of my post: I was totally swamped with school work and work-work and a social event over the weekend and had no time to do anything for the This Is Autism flashblog. There are nearly 250 submissions over there, and I would strongly encourage people to go read a few.

This is autism.

“Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee,” I sing-song to myself tunelessly as I make my morning coffee. It’s a ritual I follow every morning. I know it doesn’t make the coffee taste any better, but I do it anyway. This is autism.

I accidentally stay up till 2 AM working on an assignment. At this point, I realize it’s taking longer than I expected. I cancel my plans for the next morning, and decide to pull an all-nighter because it’s 2AM already and morning is only four hours away. With my insomnia, it takes at least two hours before I fall asleep, and two hours of sleep is almost worse than none. This is autism.

I have trouble remembering to bring my assignments so I can hand them in when I’m stressed out. In elementary and high school, I’d often have my completely finished assignment sitting at home on the countertop by the door… where I’d set it so I wouldn’t forget it on my way out, but where it wouldn’t get crumpled in my back pack. As an adult, I just sent myself an email reminder to use the printers on campus. In such a way, university is friendlier to those with executive function issues than elementary or high school. This is autism.

After last weekend, I was too exhausted to do any more writing, even though I wanted to. I tried, and nearly sent myself to a meltdown from the combination of frustration with the fact that writing wouldn’t happen, disappointment that I couldn’t make it happen, and abject fear of being late that was instilled in me through a lifetime of detentions and lectures and pissed off friends. This morning, I had to write it, even though I know I’m late. This is autism.

I flap my hands in front of my face when I laugh so hard that it feels like I can’t breathe and tears roll down my cheeks. My friends don’t mind. This is autism.

I flutter my fingers near my eyes as I try to plan out my day. Time management is hard. Fluttering my fingers helps. My coworkers don’t mind. This is autism.

I avoid doing the above two near my parents and sister. They do mind. They call it childish and weird and smack my hands and tell me that people will make fun. Even though I know they’re wrong, and that it’s not me being weird that makes people make fun, it’s them being assholes, I don’t challenge them on it anymore. I know it’s pointless, that they’ll roll their eyes and tell me of course I don’t understand but that I need to take their word for it. This is autism.

I have an unconventional approach to things, sometimes, because my brain works differently. My boss hired me because of it. It’s what let me think up the idea of applying engineering principles to staying organized, rather than relying on the system everyone else uses, which is so obviously unsuited to my needs. It also lets me be well suited to my current job, where I’m making a better system to do a thing (can’t say more because confidentiality), and my improvements seem so obvious to me that I have no idea why nobody else thought to try them. This is autism.

I am among the few in the world who I think has an appropriately deep appreciation for heavy fleecy blankets. This is autism.

My body can’t tell the difference between merely being cold and being truly hypothermic. It responds to both with similar intensity – any wonder I bundle up so much people joke I’m a bad Canadian? This is autism.

If I read something interesting, I will be able to quote passages from it months later, after reading it only once. If I do something fun, I will remember it in great detail even years later, after doing it only once. This has earned me the nickname “Steel Trap” in my martial arts club, because I remember all of the things. This is autism.

Despite having a memory that good for facts and experiences, I can forget to eat or drink for days, and have difficulty keeping appointments. I have executive function issues. This is autism.

Autism is: Having strengths, weaknesses, talents, preferences and experiences outside of the norm. Autism is being human, and knowing others try to deny you’re human, and choosing to face a world that sees you as not human daily. This is autism.

Red flags when reading scientific papers

So, Violent Metaphors has a much better guide on how to read and understand scientific papers for non-scientists than I could ever write. It’s more concerned with biological and medical studies than chemistry, but I use a highly analogous process when I’m reading through a paper. I wish I’d received something like that back when I was in my undergrad. It would’ve made my honors project and my master’s studies a lot easier. I was debating writing up something similar, but since someone else has already done it better than I think I can, I’ll just link to their piece instead.

However, there was one oversight in the piece, and someone else already inspired me to write about it: Namely, what should be considered “red flags” when reading a scientific paper?

Red flags here don’t necessarily mean the paper in question is untrustworthy. But they do mean that something is fishy and you should approach the information laid out in the paper with caution. There are some legitimate reasons for many of the red flags here: Sometimes people do these red flags because they’re pursuing a patent and don’t want someone else to get there first. Sometimes people have had a paper shelved for years while they worked on something else and only just came back to it. But, in general, these are signs that you should view the paper with a bit more skepticism than you normally would. So, I’m going to include red flags, why they’re problematic, and plausible explanations of why they don’t necessarily mean that the paper in question is untrustworthy, just that  you should give it the side-eye.

  1. Old bibiograhy. By this, I mean a bibliography dominated by journal articles that are old enough to be out of date. How old that is depends on the field and how competitive said field is. In general, if there are fewer than a half dozen citations from the past two years in a competitive field or fewer than that many citations from the past 5 for a less competitive field, that’s a big red flag.
    • Why is it a red flag? It’s a red flag for several reasons: First, it indicates the authors possibly weren’t keeping up on the field’s developments, which means they might not have an up-to-date understanding of the material, which in turn can cause their experiments and conclusions to be flawed. Second, and more worrying, it indicates a possible intentional omission by the authors. “What don’t they want me to know?” is what I think when I see a dearth of recent papers in the bibliography, and then I go and look up recent papers from the field.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Maybe the authors had it shelved for a few years before they submitted it. That happens. This is more believable in a field that’s become competitive only recently or in a field that is not highly competitive. If you think you won’t get scooped on project A but you’re worried you will on project B, you work on B more to get it out faster, and then you come back to A. That’s the nature of science competition. This can and does mean that almost-completed papers can sit shelved for months or even years before you return to them. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
  2. Vague language in the experimental section. The experimental section is where you are supposed to detail exactly what you did, what yields you obtained, and what methods you used. In a previous post, I gave a sentence of example academicese. That sentence would have been from an experimental section of a paper or technical analysis report. You can see that good experimental section writing contains hard numbers, not wishy-washy language. If the experimental section omits yields, doesn’t identify how analyses were done, and fails to identify instruments, that’s a red flag.
    • Why is it a red flag? The experimental section is supposed to give enough information that anyone literate in the jargon of the field could read it and then duplicate the work presented in a given paper. Vague language makes it hard-to-impossible to duplicate work – you can’t duplicate someone’s procedure if you don’t know what the procedure is.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: While a person with a suspicious disposition might jump to, “Maybe they fabricated it!” and certainly fabrication of results does happen, that’s not the only possible explanation: Often, if you’re working with industry partners, that means dealing with patents. Patent lawyers will ask you not to publish specific details until the patent goes through. If the field is highly competitive, you want to get your results out ASAP so you get credit for your work. If the patent hasn’t gone through yet, that means publishing with the patent-sensitive information omitted.
  3. Incorrect terminology and typos: For example, if someone calls a bicarbonate species a carbonate when it’s clearly not, that’s a red flag.
    • Why is it a red flag? Put simply: I don’t trust the expertise of anyone who can’t get basic terminology right. At best, it shows a carelessness in writing, which might carry over to other parts of the paper – if they have that jarring a basic terminology error, what’s to say their tabulated data is free of similar mistakes? At worst, it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of an integral part of the field.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Some fields have silly conventions. One I worked in called all (CO3) species “carbonate.” In that area, CH3CO3CH3 = CH3CO3 = HCO3 = CO32 = carbonate. Which is silly. Even if it is the convention of the field, though, tread with caution: overgeneral and clumsy conventions like that indicate the field in question isn’t overly concerned with the identity of that type of species, so long as it serves its purpose. If you’re going for something specific, don’t trust resources from a field that doesn’t care about what it is so long as it does the job.
  4. Self-inconsistency. By which, I mean: If someone claims to synthesize a strongly basic species, but later mentions the pH of their solution was neutral, and similar mutually exclusive claims.
    • Why is it a red flag? Anyone should be able to see why. Mutually exclusive things can’t both be true.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: See above about silly, silly field conventions. This is the kind of mind-boggling headache caused by inaccurate field-specific terminology.
  5. Relying only on one or two methods of characterization, especially if those methods are not absolute or if a novel compound is claimed.
    • Why is it a red flag? Aside from the simplest compounds, you can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the identity of anything with just one characterization method. This is worse if you have a combination of products that you’re having a hard time separating.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Depending on what you’re working with, full characterization can be extremely difficult or dangerous. If you have something that heats severely under a Raman laser, it might not be safe to get full vibrational spectroscopy. If it’s unstable, powder XRD might be unsafe. And if your stuff is impure or highly similar to other compounds, elucidating what yours is and what the impurities are can be difficult. Finally, some research groups are extremely limited on funding and analyses can be eye-poppingly expensive.
  6. When computational methods are used, source code and commentary for algorithms and/or programs and methods used are not provided.
    • Why is it a red flag? See above regarding vague language. If a computational expert has no way of telling what you did, they can’t duplicate it. As well, I have it from a number of software people that commentary is necessary to adequately review an algorithm.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Some things are field-standard computational methods that an experienced programmer should be able to replicate on their own, easily. I defer to computer experts for how to tell the difference.
  7. The article is published in a questionable journal.
    • Why is it a red flag? Journals that are questionable are questionable for a reason. They often do not have high standards for what they publish, and their peer review may be sloppy to non-existant. Some journals have published blatantly plagiarized articles, whilst others routinely publish sloppy or even work in support of hypotheses that are laughably wrong and long-debunked (consider all of the homeopathy studies that get published).
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Sometimes, you want to publish something to get it out there, but it’s really just not that interesting. In such a case, a questionable journal might be the only one you can get to accept your paper.
  8. The article claims results not closely tied to their data or fails to place their results in context with other studies.
    • Why is it a red flag? Failing to back up your claimed results with your data means your results are not justified. As well, failing to place your results in context with related studies can falsely inflate the perceived significance of your study.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Some people jump to conclusions. Even still, it’s at best sloppy writing and ethically questionable.
  9. The article exhibits circular reasoning and/or begs the question. Example: Diagnostic criteria standardized by gender disparity (i.e., in order to be considered valid, they have to give the same gender disparity as is observed in literature) are used to screen a random population for [condition assumed to have a gender disparity in distribution], which is in turn used to back up existence of gender disparity.
    • Why is it a red flag? Justifying an assumption based on results from something based on your assumption means your study is meaningless, as your premise lacks external validity.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: Certain fields have certain assumptions imbedded in their history so deeply it’s entirely possible for an author to not realize their reasoning is circular. In ordinary life, it’s what I like to call the “Everybody” effect. There’s a lot of things that “everybody knows” that’s plain wrong. Case in point: There is no evidence that Marie Antoinette ever said “let them eat cake.”
  10. One or more term(s), concept(s), or criterion(a) is defined unclearly, implicitly or not at all, or the used definition is not justified. Example: An article measuring the success of free/libre open source software (FLOSS), and doesn’t define what “success” / “success rate” / “failure” / “failure rate” / etc. is/are supposed to mean in their article.
    • Why is it a red flag? Without clear criteria for what something means, a statement has no clear meaning.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: It’s possible that you know what you mean so well that you forget that your reader doesn’t know what you know. Usually, this is an issue of inadequate peer-review more than intentional obfuscation, in my experience.
  11. Unannounced conflicts of interest (COIs). For example: A private political think tank releases a paper supporting the political position of the party or private individual that funds them, without announcing where they get their funding from.
    • Why is it a red flag? If the authors have a conflict of interest, they have a vested interest in getting a certain result, and as such their paper deserves extra scrutiny. If the authors do not announce this conflict of interest in the sake of transparency, one has to wonder what they’re trying to hide.
    • Why it’s not necessarily malicious: The scientific literature views conflicts of interest differently from most people. For example, it is it is not a COI for Paul Offit to release a review on vaccine safety even though he’s developed and brought vaccines to market, for example, as most of the vaccines he’d be reviewing are not central to his work. It is especially true if his vaccines are not within the scope of the review.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to the folks at the A+ forum who gave me ideas and material for this post.

Silly brain.

Go to the kitchen for coffee. End up tidying all the countertops and doing all the dishes. Return to my room, no coffee.

Get started on assignment. End up writing two posts for blog, doing some moderating, and reading about gas hourly space velocity (which, while interesting, is not relevant to assignment). Return to word processor, no assignment.


Stuff like that? Why I say I’m not lazy, though I do have a hard time getting shit I want done done.