Did I promise there would be more blogging? Silly me.
My friend Vivike came over today, and among the various things we discussed during our Frisbee tossing expedition was the “deal of the century.” The purchase of Alaska from Russia was perhaps the deal of the nineteenth century. But that was, like, so 151 years ago. It remains to be seen what the deal of the twenty-first century will be. But what, do you think, was the deal of the twentieth century?
Tuesday had my last two exams. I’m officially finished my first year of university: no more homework, no more studying. I have four months to relax. Or, you know, not.
I leave for Ohio in 15 days and have a ton of stuff I need to finish before then. I really want to finish VSNS Lemon before that happens, even though I‘m not optimistic enough to think I’ll have time to complete the redesign of my site. But that will happen. Stay tuned!
So how was my first year of university? It was good. Pretty similar to what I expected. It took me longer to settle into it than I had hoped; those first few months were somewhat rocky. However, by the end of the year, I felt more comfortable. Next year I want to work on my time management. My schedule this year was light because I took three online courses, one each term and then one the full year, which left me with a lot of free time each day because I wasn’t in class at the campus. Next year I probably won’t take any online courses—since nothing I need or want will be offered online—so I’ll be spending more time in class. I’ll have to keep up with the workload, especially because I hear education courses aren’t difficult but full of work.
I’m so glad exams are done too. I go stircrazy sitting in the fieldhouse for more than hour; after that, I go from “doing well” on the exam to “just finishing so I can get out of here.” Luckily with math, the two are usually one and the same. With English, my responses tend to start out long and then get shorter and shorter—which may not be a bad thing, as verbosity is seldom all it’s cracked up to be.
But now I’m going to stop blogging and start coding. Don’t worry—I have plenty of more blogging to do before I leave for Ohio.
Yesterday I had a consultation with an oral surgeon regarding the possible extraction of my wisdom teeth. Why possible? Well, I’m not sure if I need it—or if I want to do it.
My wisdom teeth have fully grown into my mouth and don’t cause me any pain, unlike some people, so I count myself lucky in that regard. Nevertheless, both my dentist and my oral surgeon have recommended I get them removed. There are some compelling reasons to do this. Firstly, it’s possible they’ll crowd my jaw in painful ways in the future (I didn’t really follow this part of the discussion, so I’m not sure if they are crowding my jaw right now or not). Secondly, if I ever need to get jaw surgery, my wisdom teeth will have to be removed anyway. Lastly, the teeth do make it harder for me to brush and floss, which can lead to oral hygiene complications—I already have a cavity in one wisdom tooth.
So with all of this compelling data, why am I ambivalent? To put it simply, I don’t like the idea of surgery. I’ve never had surgery before, and I‘d rather avoid it unless it’s really necessary. The idea of removing parts of my body—even if they’re vestigial teeth—seems weird to me. Plus, no matter how safe a surgery is, there can always be complications. If the choice is between having wisdom teeth that aren’t causing problems and having surgery that could cause problems, which choice makes more sense? I can just as easily get my cavity filled and try to improve my oral hygiene habits. So the question might very well be: even if my wisdom teeth aren’t causing me problems now, will they in the future?
I tried to ask intelligent questions of my oral surgeon, but he disarmed me with his bedside manner. The receptionist urged me to book my surgery while I was there, before the summer schedule filled up. Lot of car salespeople they are! And really … even if I did ask my oral surgeon, can I trust that his opinion is unbiased? After all, he has a vested interest in getting me to go through the surgery so he can get money (and who can blame him—he has a family to support, and in this case the surgery is relatively harmless, so it’s not like he’s bootlegging organs). This is a problem I have with medicine in general: it is one of those things in life where only those initiated into its secrets can understand the complexities involved and make an informed decision. As a person who tries to make rational, informed decisions whenever possible, how can I choose when I don’t have the information? Who do I trust when the only people with the information—medical professionals—may not be reliable sources of information? I can do research on the Internet, but ultimately I’ll have to make some judgement calls.
To summarize, I’m not concerned about the surgery process itself—I‘m uncomfortable with surgery from an ideological perspective, but if I do decide to go through with it, that’s fine. I’m just not sure if I want to get rid of four teeth. I never thought that I could make such a big deal out of this decision—I figured I‘d go in, get ’em out, and recover. I didn’t expect to enter into such inner conflict as I am experiencing now. Funny how life does that, eh?
My life seems to be full of countdowns lately. Two days until the premiere of Battlestar Galactica. Five days until classes end. Eight days until my calculus exam. And so on. Now I‘ve just added one more: 36 days until I fly to Ohio to meet someone I know only online.
As someone who spends most of his time online, I’ve come to know many people whom I‘ve never met in my offline life. Some of them I consider close friends. I’m sure that many people, particularly those in my demographic, interact other the Internet with foreigners all the time. We are a global village, as Marshall McLuhan might say. Still, going to a foreign country (yes, America is a foreign country!) to meet an online friend is a big step. It’s increasingly common despite the pervasive fear of Internet predators. I’m not going to meet up with “sparky004m” from a faceless channel on some yuppie IRC network, however. That would probably be asking for trouble. Sorry, sparky.
Lauren and I met on deviantART. I used to be quite active there until school ate up my time and I devoted my writing time to novels instead of short stories. Lauren regularly read one of my offline-friend’s submissions. She was impressed by the depth of critique I gave this friend’s poetry and asked me to comment on hers. So I read her work, looked at her art, and she reciprocated. Eventually we began to chat via AIM. In many ways, it was much like any other online friendship. We had conversations (sometimes quite long), discussed our lives, compared our countries (go Canada!), and whatnot. Yet through some wonderful sequence of cosmic events, our friendship was deeper than the average online friendship usually is. Lauren’s one of my best friends, even though we’ve never met in person. We just seem to sync.
After a while, we started having audio conversations, and then audio/video conversations, using Skype. (Yes, I‘m plugging software. Get over it.) Video chats add a whole new dimension to any online relationship, making conversations seem much more real and sometimes more natural. It was so cool being able to talk to this girl in Ohio as if she were in the same room as me! Plus, it does provide security. Thanks to these conversations, I’m reasonably sure Lauren is not a muscular biker named Doris. If she is, Doris has gone to extreme lengths to create an elaborate deception at my expense, so I applaud her dedication! Still, I was somewhat shocked when Lauren invited me to visit her. I got used to the idea quickly, but initially I thought she was joking. We talked about it, and I realized she was quite serious—and the more I thought about it, the more appealing the idea became. Speculation turned quickly into planning, and now the plans are coming to fruition.
There’s more excitement to this trip than just the fact that I’ll be meeting Lauren for the first time, of course. This will be my second trip on an airplane. I don’t get out much. :P My brother and I took a plane to Hamilton, ON once to visit my grandparents, who live in Waterloo. That was several years ago, however; since then, I’ve never been on a plane. So this will be my first time flying alone, to a foreign country—and I have to catch a connection in Minneapolis. Then I’ll be spending two weeks in Columbus, OH. This will be a welcome vacation—I don’t think I’ve left the city in two years!
I‘m posting this tonight because I bought my tickets tonight. The tickets are non-refundable, so I just passed the point of no return. In 36 days, I’m going to Ohio!
But before that happens, I have lots of planning, shopping, and packing to do. The next month will be filled with lots of preparations for this trip. I‘m kind of overwhelmed at the moment because I’m bubbling with excitement. I don’t know how much I’ll be online while I’m in Columbus. I hope to get my site redesigned before then, but that is a very optimistic hope. Maybe this will provide some more motivation to code quickly. Then I can blog about my days in Ohio, from Ohio!