Sunday, May 30, 2004

This has been a great wildlife week.

1. I actually got to scratch a squirrel behind the earsfor a good solid minute the other day. I took advantage of squirrels' inability to drop a nut once it's in their little jaws, combined with the inability to leave a newly offered nut behind. This creates a mental conflict whereby the squirrel will sit there juggling two peanuts and trying desperately to stuff both in its mouth at once. It takes while for them to make the agonizing decision to leave one behind while running off to bury the other, which can be valuable squirrel-touching time. Of course, these are relatively tame campus squirrels, not tough street squirrels or woodland squirrels. But still...

2. Yesterday I saw a bluebird sitting on Simon's fence. It's the first time I've seen one in Michigan, though I knew that theoretically their territory extended here. Yep, there it sat plain as day, just being--bluebirdish... bright blue on the top half and rosy/white on the breast. If my day hadn't already been made, it would have been by that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ypsilanti flood update: I went to the park yesterday to see if there was any remaining water after the storms of the weekend.

There were still some large ponds in the hollows of the grass. (See photo now posted in earlier entry below.) As I drew closer I could see some huge dead carp lying at the edges of the watery areas. There were also some still living ones gasping near the center. There was another, smaller pond where a dozen or so of the ragged, wretched things were lying half covered by water, waiting for Death of Fish. I saw a guy wade into the filthy water and catch one, carrying it by one gill-slit over to the river where he set it free.

This gave me the idea to run home and find something to rescue them with. So I ran home, grabbed a couple plastic buckets and the dustpan, and then stopped on the way back to the park to temporarily steal my neighbors' recycling bin.

The rescuing guy was gone when I returned, apparently having given up in the face of overwhelming numbers of fish. I rolled up my pants legs and squelched through the marsh into the pond, and began catching fish. They did not want to be caught and struggled mightily, regardless of the fact that I was going to save their little fishy lives. This led to some new words: "flaptitude" and even "flaptitious." As in, "That fish has a high flaptitude level," or "Stop being so flaptitious and get in the bin!"

This was a medium-sized specimen.

You would think that people might stop to help or even just to look, but the few people in the park pretty much kept their distance. (Perhaps I appeared insane, as befits my "mad scientist" status.) I really wished someone would come over so I could get them to take my picture doing it. It was pretty hard work and I wanted to stop after the first three fish, but I continued until they were all saved. Ungrateful little flappy buggers.

Just as I was dragging the very last fish over to the brink of the river, a park maintenance truck drove past on the walkway, and this old guy stopped to check out what I was doing. He thanked me on behalf of the fish, and then mentioned that the nearby Chinese restaurant had offered him $1 per fish, which apparently he refused. He mentioned that Ann Arbor had "accidentally" dumped some untreated wastewater into the river higher up. Huh. Accidentally, I just bet.

Now my jogging shoes are pretty much destroyed, but I can't even remember when I bought them so I guess it's probably time for a trip to Payless anyway. I'm sore all over—-fish-draggin's hard work! (Or maybe I'm getting sick and ache-y. I can't tell yet.)

I wonder if the neighbors will notice the horrible swamp smell when they take their recycling bin inside... their pets probably will notice, anyway.
The people across the street have apparently decided that they still do not, as a household, make enough noise. Despite the constant honking of various vehicles at all hours of the day and night, despite the constantly screaming children and yelling adults, and despite the loud booty-bass music either from cars or their home stereo. No, that's not quite enough. So for the times when they are asleep and can't actively be outside making noise, they now have a dog—-I want to say "puppy," because it's not quite grown up yet, and yelps like a puppy.

They keep it tied to the porch most of the time, from what I can tell. Sometimes it seems to be yelping and squealing out of boredom and loneliness. Other times when they are out there with it, it yips and shrieks out of what sounds like pain or surprise, or sometimes apparently because it's being ignored.

I would guess that it has Stockholm Syndrome and has learned to identify with its captors, equating torture and teasing with love and attention. What the heck do they have it for, if they're going to keep it tied to the porch all the time?

I guess a watchdog, either to protect them from the crack dealers in the next apartment or else to protect their stocks of crack. (I can't quite tell exactly who's dealing and who's not.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

This is not just more random web playing. No, in the service of the research I am doing, I was actually looking up information on body mass index (BMI) stats.

Then of course I had to take the test on this particular site just to see what celebrity I was most like. Here are my frightening results:

Argghh...I hate popular anorexic characters. I am not frikkin' anorexic, okay? I naturally have a too-low BMI, and am actually kind of flabby right now, in my opinion. (Flabby meaning out-of-shape-flabby, not fat-flabby, before I get all kinds of concerned emails.) And yes, of course I know that women under a BMI of 20 or so have more trouble pregnifying, and the whole bone-mass thing, and all that. Bleh.

Guess I better go home and eat a cheeseburger or two after all.

I'm really quite disturbed by the search terms some people have used to access my homepage. For example, "dog, cat, x-rated adult short stories" was actually a kind of funny one. Another sicker one involved the word "underage" and the word "dog," but I can't bring myself to even write the sentence. Uhhck.

The sick part is, if they're looking for it, I guarantee it's out there!
Yesterday when I went down to my little park to jog, I found it partly underwater, and the river was slate-grey, violently turgid, and sloppily overflowing. The ducks seemed very happy with the huge new grassy-bottomed ponds in the park, the cops less so as they discussed it on their 2-way radios and tried to keep people out. Some porta-potties were overturned in one of the mini-lakes. At its far edge, people were wading with nets. I don't like thinking of a possible correlation... (However, still a lot better than the time I was jogging and they were dragging a body out of the river. Which I didn't actually see; only the commotion.)

I said I would take some pictures, but I think the water has receded somewhat at this point and the park is now just marshy.

**UPDATED*** Now with picture.

I also went across the river to see if the farmers' market was being held at the old train depot yet, but there was only the Michigan vintage VW club holding its annual exposure-fest. Lots of vans and Bugs (okay, but--yawn!) but I really liked a little Kharmann Ghia (sp?). Despite its being orange.

However, no produce was in evidence, so I went home empty-handed. I guess I could have gotten some retrofit or even original car parts, but they didn't seem very edible.

Finally got the Goldfrapp CD I originally ordered (Black Cherry), about a month after the other one I ordered (Felt Mountain) just as an aside. I am now so addicted to "Strict Machine" that I haven't been able to listen to the other tracks yet! However--darn media mail--it arrived exactly one day after the last, final, outside possible estimated arrival date. Therefore, I had just written to the Amazon seller about it, and they had promptly refunded the price, whereupon I just ordered a new copy from Amazon proper. (The heck with Media Mail!) Then I got home and found the package after "only" a month.

So now I have a "free" copy, and another coming in the mail. The last time something like this happened I wrote and told Amazon about it, and they re-charged me. I feel as though I ought to do that again, but I'm also annoyed that it took so long to get to me in the first place--does that mean it's their own darn fault? Or is it the USPS's fault, and I'm taking it out on the Amazon seller?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Speaking of the 80s...

(Apparently because of my age, I got a "mom bonus." Now, how did it know I was female?!)

I can't believe some of the songs there that I forgot I even knew.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

My friend Tracy invited me to go to '80s dance night at a nearby club last night. Not so near that I didn't have to take the bus, mind you. Unfortunately, when I got there, it turned out that the club had discontinued '80s night three weeks earlier, but hadn't updated their listing. Dangit. The crowd who turned out were more the pool-cues-and-pickups crowd.

Of course, I had dressed up more than anyone else did (of the few people who showed up.) Enduring the stares of fellow bus-riders and 7-11 shoppers (not to mention the bar patrons) made me feel as though I really were back in the '80s!

We "snuck" into the section of the bar where there should have been Flock of Seagulls/White Rain Hairspray action and forlornly drank our drinks, until an employee kicked us out. He also refused to put on any '80s music, even though Tracy said "please."

So we sulkily sat in the lobby and groused, then drank, talked about relationships, and took some photos.

Please note that my shirt states "Reagan Hates Me" and has a cutout of an anarchy symbol on the back. That is a genuine article, folks.

I put a new movie on the movie page of my main site. I will likely have more photos, but no time to rename/post them now!

Friday, May 14, 2004

I have no idea so far if the IPL is doing anything. Today the esthy reiterated that this was my third session, so I should expect to see some results in a few days. We'll see. She's also convinced that the improvement in my skin since last week is due to the retinol lotion she sold me last week, rather than the sun exposure. Or pill, or finals being over. I didn't have the heart to tell her that because of my sunburn, I didn't want to use anything that purposely increases peeling, so I haven't even tried it yet.

I find it very difficult to luxuriate in services like this, because someone else is having to perform it. Maybe if there was a face-rubbing robot instead...

Weird--this guy who was hitting on me at the bus stop last fall just got on the bus. I encountered him twice that day, and the second time I had some kind of baby product in my shopping cart. He asked if it was for my baby, to which I assented--without telling him that said baby was still a figment of my imagination. Thus I accidentally discovered a really effective way to get any guy to leave me alone! I don't know if he recognized me this time, but he did say hi to me before peppering the driver with loud questions about apparently imaginary service routes. Good to know it wasn't just my freak-magnetism that led him to talk to me before.
Here's what happens when you live under a rock for nine months or so, and then sit in the sun without sunscreen for an hour or two:

"Precancerous purple"! Or at least, that's what happens to me. The great part is, it's only my arms and face that got burned. My legs are still as blue-white as skim milk.

I posted some avi's from last weekend on the main site, so there they are for your...scrutiny. (The link is above on the title bar, but invisible until you mouse over it.) I took about two dozen avi's, but only posted three.

I have my third face-melting appointment today. I can't tell if it's helping, and there are also a lot of other factors muddying the data. For example: I'm done with finals (thus a million times less stressed); I've been out frying in the sun; and I'm back on the pill-- all of which are proven to help. So it's not exactly your purest experimental design. Ah, who knows.

My current ruminative thought (which is at least funny):
On the episode of the Simpson's in which Marge gets sugar banned from Springfield, two of the newly-banned items mentioned on the news are "Milk Chuds" and "Big Red Snack Foam" (in what appears to be a shaving-cream can.)

Mmmm....cinnamon snack foam!

I tried to get Simon to finally watch Chud last night, but he fell asleep within minutes.

...It'll be back, never fear. ("This movie ain't gonna watch itself!")

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Well, I may be gone until Tuesday or so, so I won't be updating.

My normally reliable email service is suddenly acting insane, and not allowing me to receive emails. It keeps doubling the amount of memory it claims that my emails are taking up, and then telling me that I am over quota. I've tried archiving and emptying the folders, which works for about half an hour, then it registers as filled up again.

The upshot is I may or may not be able to listen to emails (by phone) while I am gone this weekend, depending on whether uReach fixes whatever's going on. And to make things even more dicey, my phone service is not terribly reliable where I'm going, so you may not be able to reach me by phone, either! You can try, of course. The best bet is to leave me a message on my 877 number, which I can access by any ol' pay phone if I choose to do so. (Unless of course my uReach phone minutes start going as insane as my email space...)

I had a lot of entertaining things I wanted to post before I left, but now I can't remember a dang one of 'em.

At least it's still extremely beautiful outside...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Well, I did not accomplish the one thing I wanted to do today, which was to play hooky all day because it was so beautiful out. (There are some really "good" birds down by the river that I want to gt a better look at, if they will just hold still long enough!)

However, I did do a lot of work at the clinic. Notice I did not say "finish a lot of work at the clinic." This is because most of what I did was just one task that took up a lot of time. I guess that should count the same in my mind as doing ten smaller things, but it doesn't. I thought I'd be out of here by 12 or 1, but here it is 5pm.

At least I made sure my malpractice insurance is up to date.

This weekend I am going to be out of the state, so I won't be playing online. In fact, this whole being-online-all-the-time thing is highly uncharacteristic of my schedule! So don't get too darn used to it, bucko.

Now, time to go home and harshly grade undergraduate papers. Okay, I actually grade them too easy, according to my advisor. But that hardly sounds as cool.

I also have a lot of work to do in the next few days on my thesis data, now that I'm adding in a section that discusses how masculine or feminine each menu item is perceived to be by the average college student.

Feminine: angel food cake, tofu, green salad, and skim milk!
Masculine: Hot sauce, steak, beef tacos, and beer!

If there are typos today, it's because I'm in a huge hurry. Post now, correct later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Darn this all-too-easy blogging format! I should be working.

Anyway, here's a picture of me from my friend NanoNine's villain party earlier this year. ("Dress as your favorite villain!") I went as Martha Stewart. (Yet I still like her products and so on.)

I find that I tend to complain first, verify later. For example, I began my online financial aid application recently (for the last time ever! Yippee! Anyway...)

When I got to the part that asked for my username and pin, it wouldn't accept the pin I had written down last year. I tried three or four times before giving up in frustration and requesting a new pin be sent. (By snailmail--grrr!) I was very annoyed at the delay, despite (or more likely because of) my own contribution to the lateness of my application.

When I got the little confidential computer-printed envelope containing the pin, I opened it, and then tucked it into a random secret spot deep in the folder where I keep information for financial aid. As I did so, I noticed that there was an identical little computer-printed envelope already in the secret spot. I opened it, and there was the exact same number--I had already done the exact same thing last year!

So all that annoyance and frustration was for no reason, and I'm extremely predictable. If I could only remember what I've done in the past...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Weekend at Burnie's

(That would be me.)

I am cannibalizing a little bit from some emails I sent out today, so you might get bored if you're one of those people who got them. Boy, I just started using Blogger again yesterday, after--what, two years?--and they changed everything around!

I had planned to post some pictures from the weekend, but stupidly left my camera's usb cable and the spare cable in their box at Simon's, where surely they languish in uselessness.

We went to see Van Helsing, which got terrible reviews, but turned out perfect for what it appeared to be striving towards: a movie version of a ridiculous comic book! It was exactly as campy and silly as required for that kind of movie. What were critics expecting from those trailers? A serious movie?

Yesterday I got caught outside on a nice day without sunscreen. I thought I was maybe getting a little sun, but it turned out that I am now seriously Extra Crispy. My upper chest and shoulders have that "precancerous purple" appearance that I think is probably very sexy. My face is quite singed too, but at least it's been outside during the year, whereas the rest of my body has basically been under a rock. I can't even remember the last time I got un-screened sun like this. Yowch!

Today is Lisa's birthday, so she is once again only one year younger than me. (Ha! You'll never catch up!)

I am mainly interested in figuring out how to allow comments on my previous posts...there's some explanation about using post pages for previous entries, but I don't know how to make those occur. So forget it for now.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Last night there was a very loud thunderstorm, of which I approve. I’d much rather be woken up by that than the usual bar goers returning to their cars at 2:30am, drunkenly reviling one another. Or repeatedly screaming the f-word because they backed into the dumpster. (This happens nearly every Thursday, due to the subtly obstructive placement of the dumpster. Ha. Take that, drunk drivers.)

I awoke today thinking of some plans for teaching my class this autumn, a number of activities I want to get done today, stuff related to writing my thesis, and snatches from the new album I’m obsessed with (see below). When I got up, I felt all excited and shaky, as though it were the first day of summer vacation AND I’d had a couple hits off my inhaler in my sleep. (Perhaps I’m cyclothymic, and I’m in the hypomanic phase. If so, bring it on! It’s about dang time for the upswing, I say.) It feels like something exciting is scheduled for today. I mean, other than my “face-melting” appointment*.

I probably should have been using my inhaler in my sleep, because I’m currently all congested from tree pollen or whatever is blowing in the wind this week. I haven’t had this bad a seasonal allergy for a long time. My eyes are horribly allergized. No glamorous contacts for me this weekend! Glasses only.

The album I’m currently obsessing over is Goldfrapp’s “Felt Mountain.” After seeing one of her songs on a TV commercial, I looked up what it was online. There were all these great reviews on Amazon, so I ordered both of her albums used. (Still waiting for the second one.) At the first listen I thought, “Well, this is pretty nice.” At the second listen, parts of a few of the songs had already caught in my mind (not unlike fishhooks). By the third listen, I was completely addicted. I hear the songs in my sleep now. When I’m at school trying to work, it’s playing in my head. I want to make the silly sci-fi movie that Lisa and I have been talking about for ten years or so, and have an all-Goldfrapp soundtrack! (It’s definitely silly sci-fi soundtrack material, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.)

So yes, it really is like the first day of summer vacation. Except cloudy.

*Simon has lately been convinced that I have signed up for a dangerous procedure that will leave me with scar tissue for a face. Since he tries to be subtle, his anxiety takes the form of multiple emails and phone calls that lightly, delicately question my sanity, or describe disastrous plastic surgery outcomes: “I saw part of this programme [yes, I could tell that’s what letters were coming out of his mouth] whereby this woman’s face was lasered, and now she’s all red and shiny and can never go out in the sun again!”

Return to Doctorlizardo homepage.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

May 5, 2004

And now, a soapbox/rant entry:

I am not sure why everyone is so surprised by the “allegations” of various kinds of torture of Iraqi POWs by American soldiers. As (I hope) most Americans were, I felt shocked and sickened over the photos that we have all been seeing on TV. However, the only part that actually surprised me was that this was coming to light so soon: I imagined that it might be a few years before reports of behaviors like this bubbled to the surface. And I thought that the reports would be about civilian women, rather than military men. (And don’t for a minute think that the rapid emergence of this information is disconnected from that fact, either, but that’s another rant.)

For as long as there has been war, the victors have abused and humiliated the defeated in as many ways as possible. For one thing, there has ALWAYS been rape and sexual assault, among other tortures, of those in occupied territories, whether of civilian status or not. Al. Ways. In every war you can think of, including those within our lifetimes. It’s only recently (in historical terms) that this even ceased being an intentional tactic! However, it hasn’t actually stopped it occurring—it’s just gone a little bit underground.

It was actually only a couple of weekends ago that I was predicting to various people that it would therefore only be a matter of time before we began hearing about sexual assaults of Iraqis by Americans. I don't think any of us like imagining "civilized" troops doing something like this.

But the thing is, people have to be trained to kill one another. Sure, there are a few weirdos who like killing people for kicks. And some people do it out of rage, or self-defense. Some even do it out of some neurotic fear (like “I knew he would win that contest instead of me so he had to die” or whatever.) But most people, most of the time, do not kill other people! That’s why soldiers have to be trained. And what do they have to be trained in? Well, yes, killing techniques, and how to activate those techniques reflexively.

But perhaps more importantly, they have to be trained to not think of those individuals that make up the “enemy” group as human beings. It is very, very hard to kill a human being in completely cold blood. Or for that matter, often even in hot blood, or even when one is in danger oneself. But if a soldier can be led to think of those individuals as less than human, as not really people as such, as not just some person in the same position as oneself, as “other,”—then it becomes a lot easier. (Ditto for distance killing, which allows the killers to see people as simply little dots or targets, or even ignore them as collateral to the destruction of buildings and so on.)

The thing is, once you get your soldiers to think of the people in that occupied country as inhuman enough to be killable, you can’t really get that response to discriminate from one situation to another. So—wait—it’s okay to kill this guy, take his life away entirely, but we can’t stack him and his friends up naked and make fun of them and take pictures of them while they’re alive?! Nobody’s gut emotional response can really get around that contradiction. Empathy is just not selective in that way.

The only way to keep people from doing exactly what those soldiers did is in the absolutely most pedantic, step-by-step, algorithmic, rule-bound fashion that bypasses emotional reactions entirely. Which I’m sure the military already has in place.

However, a lot of that kind of organization depends on people enforcing those rules among themselves. So in a chaotic situation like war (or police action, or whatever they’re calling it this month) it can be even harder than usual to keep those kinds of rules enforced. Especially when the entire culture of the organization is specifically set up to dehumanize Those People as “other.” Then enforcement (unintentionally, of course) simply becomes a lot more lax at every level, and suddenly we have Colin Powell on the evening news telling us that this was just the work of a few bad seeds or…apples…or something.

The scary thing is, I know he’s not a stupid man, so he must actually know he’s lying.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

May 3, 2004 Again. Pathetic.

Surely I already posted this picture?

Still, it's probably my favorite picture of me. This is what I look like in my mind.

Last week was a little disorienting. I handed in the paper of my sort-of last class ever, although I still have two different assignments to hand in for two different classes in which I have incompletes. (And I only really resent one of them.) So anyway... it's sort of like I'm done, but there's still all this work to be done now. It just won't be in class format--except for the class I'll be teaching. I'll probably be a terrible teacher, at once a spineless pushover and asking ridiculously difficult things of the class.

I still have clients, research, and teaching adding up to a million hours a week. And then if I graduate (yes, if--who knows? Knock, knock) there'll be a year of internship.

But meanwhile, my time seems somewhat more flexible, which is logically absurd because classes only took up maybe eight hours a week.

At least this semester I got all A's. I am externally attributing this to Simon being good luck, but it may have been because there were no stats classes and no seminars with 3 or 4 components that each equalled an entire class's worth of work. Also I managed to avoid any emotional trauma for an entire semester! (More knocking.)

So what did I do with all the luxurious free time over our spring break? Well, finished some class work, for one. And saw clients, and worked on my thesis data, and did clinic paperwork. Spent some time sleeping, and even did a little house cleaning. Not nearly as much as I thought I'd do, though, so I guess that's coming up. (I'm actually looking forward to it.)

Also spent several hours watching various ages of guys play football, or soccer, if you're American. (For future reference, American football will be known as "Meatball," though you don't need to know the entire story behind that.)

Suffice it to say that despite the unseasonable cold, it was nice to stand around doing nothing for once in my frickin' life. (That includes not having a huge immediately due project hanging over my head.) Although I know about nothing about any team sport, including football, it was clear that people enjoyd it when they won. Also, nobody broke anyone's shin bone by kicking it, which is the photo that always pops into my head when exposed to that particular sport.

I have to admit that at one of the locations (was it near Whitmore Lake maybe?) I crept off to explore the surrounding park a little. It was very lake-y and tree-riddled, with accompanying pine smell. There were even a number of noisy frogs that had not yet been killed off by pesticides, as well as what looked like an abandoned soundstage. It would have been a proper summer camp atmosphere if it hadn't been about 3 degrees and windy. I think this is the "home" field of Simon's team, or one of them. Teams. I am conveniently incoherent and foggy on the details. However, I would like to go back to that park when it's warm--maybe when spring arrives, like July.

Oh, what else did we do over the weekend...hmmm...

Went out with some friends of Simon's in S.L. I discovered that although I have to act really tough (maybe even wear sunglasses) to drink regular martinis, I actually like "dirty" martinis--even though made with gin! (Especially delicious due to bleu cheese-stuffed olives.) The following day we watched Vanilla Sky at my place, which left me with a feeling that the world wasn't real. Maybe it's not. Or maybe it was just the fact that my couch is really too small and squishy for two people to lounge on at the same time, especially after having eaten soy-based riblike food product.

It also seemed like a much longer, activity-packed weekend than simply 24 hours or so, for some reason. Weird.

I guess I would now be okay with posting a picture of him here, if I would just get my behind in gear and prep one of the clinic computers for downloading stuff from my camera. (I still have pictures from my Halloween party on that thing.)

Okay, now it's late, so I'm going somewhere where there's cheese...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Did I already post this picture of my eager squirrel friend-ie?

If so, then oh well. Here it is again.

I have to set up a computer at the clinic to download the pictures from my camera, since my computer at home doesn't have a USB port...then I can begin to post new photos of good new stuff.

I feel all chatty and update-ish, yet have little new to say. Things are going pretty well. (In fact, some things are going really well!)

Places I soon may or will be or am thinking about going:

Hawaii: I'm trying to get the details of my trip for the APA conference ironed out. One good thing to do would be to actually have my data analyzed so that I have a presentation to give! Another good thing would be to have the plane tickets bought. (Or done-boughtened.) In fact, it would have been good to buy them a long time ago. However, I was trying to figure out what accommodations I would have, which would determine how long I could stay, and therefore when I would ARR and DEP. Also, it is dang hard to spend that much money on one of anything. I wonder how hard it is going to be to apply for funding to go? And how much I can get if I do apply?

Missouri, to see Martha's graduation. She must be some kind of genius, because she's getting two really difficult degrees at once. I wish Missouri wasn't so far away.

Traverse City, for my last and final class, PSY 542. It will be a week-long dealie, with class in the mornings and reading/discussion/beach time in the afternoon. Must remember to bring SPF 500 sunblock.

In other news, I went to a skin care specialist last week to see if they could do something about my consarned flushy blotches (AKA "flotches") officially being rosacea. By "skin care specialist," I don't mean a dermatologist. No, I'm trying the smaller guns first, because I think I know everything.

After extensive research on the internet, I believe that this Intense Pulsed Light treatment is the best, and least collaterally damaging, treatment. One problem is that it is new, so a lot of places are still paying off their lasers and don't want to spring for yet another mechanism. Also, a big drawback with this method is that its effectiveness is extremely dependent on whether the person wielding the light-emitting-hose-object knows what settings to use. There are three or four different aspects that require different settings for the light targeting different skin structures and problems.

I found one place (basically a salon) in Ann Arbor that does it. I have rather impulsively signed on to try it. If it doesn't work (i.e. if the technician is used to working on people who care more about wrinkles than redness) then I will go on to try the dermatologist. I understand it often takes three treatments to see a noticeable difference. I have been taking "before" pictures, just in case I think it works, so I can disabuse myself of that notion later.

I guess I am just really unhappy with the idea of *&%$#@ antibiotics. Especially maintenance antibiotics. And the last thing I need is for someone to tell me to avoid freakin' stress and eat fewer processed carbs. (The old "stop telling me to do what I'm already doing as best I can!" frustration.) Also, I don't like the sound of the side effects of the lasers treatments (which are technically different because they produce only one wavelength.) I don't want the subcutaneous bruising, and I don't want the shiny white zombie-skin, either.

The skin care lady told me I look a lot younger than my age. While I think this is actually true because it runs in my family, I also felt like she was trying to find something to flatter me about. I guess I don't flatter easily, especially when someone is trying to sell me something.

(However, it doesn't actually stop me from buying something I've determined I want.)