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The Real LJ Idol Episode 6- Step on a Crack [Apr. 21st, 2014|07:36 pm]
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In my corner of the world, the word "crack" evokes images of crack-cocaine users stumbling down an uneven, crevice-ridden Baltimore sidewalk. The city has one of the worst crack problems in the country and the suburbs are not far behind.

I have stepped on a little crack myself, or rather, crackpipe.

A few miles from my house is a lovely little park that I nicknamed, "Murder Park" after an unfortunate young pregnant woman was found there, stabbed to death. I learned of the tragic incident during one of my visits, when I discovered lovely little yellow crime scene markers everywhere.

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Crime scene marker in front of funeral flowers. I Googled the name on the flower cards to discover the news.

The park is an area known for drug activity by police, according to the murder investigation report. That might keep a sensible young woman away, but I am not a sensible young woman. I started to notice the evidence of drug activity; syringes and assorted paraphernalia littered the rocks along the riverbank. In my wanderings, I stepped on a broken crackpipe. My shoe was ruined. Fortunately, it wasn't a good shoe.

Murder Park has an inexplicable hold on me, always calling me back. It's a beautiful place, full of history, wildlife, and water. I constantly tell myself, "I should never come back here" after discovering more drug paraphernalia, or noticing some new gang grafftti senselessly scrawled on the rocks. I will continue coming back here though. I cannot resist the urge to be in this place, no matter how much mankind has soured it.
Words cannot describe it. You must see it to believe.

This is Murder Park:

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The ruins of an old dam tower over the trees like a castle in the forest.

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Wineberries and mulberries grow plentifully in the summer months.

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The river runs blissfully through the woods. Occasionally it floods, washing away the signs of drugs and violence.

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I look forward to a day when it will never come back.
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The real LJ Idol Episode 5-Build a Better Mousetrap [Apr. 13th, 2014|10:47 pm]
And now I present to you a brief stream of consciousness.
I honestly can't think of any better mousetrapper than a cat, that four footed harbinger of death for unwary mice. Sure, you can set out the clicky or sticky things and MAYBE catch an occasional mouse, but if you have a cat, the probability of mousey demise increases exponentially.
The only way a cat could possibly be better was if it were either robotic or genetically engineered to have heat seeking abilities, laser eyes, etc. I would choose the latter because who really wants a robotic cat, other than steampunk types? I don't believe even steampunk types would want a robotic cat, simply because real live cats are extremely amusing, not to mention furry. The entire internet will undoubtedly agree with me. Even if they were given artificial intelligence, it could never replicate the joy Grumpy Cat, Ceiling Cat, Business Cat and all their feline friends bring us. A genetically engineered cat could produce excellent mice trapping abilities, but what would it to the diverse universe of feline personalities?
So I ask, why would you want to build a better mouse trap?
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The Real LJ Idol Week 2-The Missing Stair [Mar. 23rd, 2014|10:49 pm]
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It seemed to be there...

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But where was the stair?

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No, this is not fair!

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Oh my what a scare!

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I've ruined my hair!!!

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This sequence is brought to you live from The Exorcist stairs, Georgetown (Washington, DC).
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Jay us [Mar. 16th, 2014|09:29 pm]
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Jayus

“From Indonesian, meaning a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”
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My Jayus

I work in a lab dealing with surgical pathology specimens. I have great relationships with my coworkers and we love to laugh together. The conversations can be quite entertaining, as we maintain a healthy sense of humor about work.

One of the lab assistants is an Indian guy in his mid 50's with dark skin and a slicked back mullet. His accent is pointed and proper, having spent a number of years in England at a boarding school. He is deeply religious and staunchly conservative. Yes, he also owns a gas station.

One day as I was dissecting a uterus, he commented in passing on it's large size(they can get big, particularly when fibroids are involved). Normally I like to share informative facts about specimens with people, but instead, off-the-cuff I remarked, "Yeah, that's because it's YOUR MOM'S uterus." He stopped what he was doing and stared at me, wide eyed and deeply offended.

I had no idea that this would actually upset him and felt a little bad, but my coworkers just about died laughing. This happened over a year ago, but they seemed to think it was the funniest. thing. ever and bring it up all the time. Now, after the fact, I find humor in it because they do.

The lesson? Even though it's been almost a century since 'your mom' jokes were actually offensive in this country, one must take caution when telling them around sensitive foreigners. However, considering that it has been a quarter of a century since they were actually funny, not using 'your mom' in any sentence ever again is the preferred course of action.
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LJ idol into post [Mar. 12th, 2014|10:23 pm]
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This might be good for those who don't know me all that well. I entered a writing contest, not because I am the best writer, but because I feel that I have interesting stories to tell.

I was born in California but grew up in a semi-snobby suburb of Washington, DC. I attended private schools all the way through college. I was never a snob. I was actually an introverted, slightly hyperactive, curious dork(back in the 80's before it was cool). I lived for fantasy books and computer games with the dream of becoming a marine biologist when I grew up(I had no idea what that actually entailed at the time, but I had a massive seashell collection and loved going to the beach). Paradoxically I was also an athlete, running track and cross country from the ages of 6-22.
The year I entered college, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. This had a huge impact on me and would shape the course of my life. My grades began to suffer and I began to feel the effects of mental illness. I spent my college years completely sober but hopelessly lost. I wandered in darkness and found an affinity for other lost souls, black clothes and strange music. My life had little direction. I switched my major to art and attempted suicide several times. Ultimately I emerged from college with a bachelor's degree in psychology, hoping someday to help others who also struggled with mental illness.

I met my husband shortly after college on gothicmatch.com. He is an intelligent, strong man of few words who loves me like crazy. While he wasn't goth, he happened to be a mortician. Four months after meeting him, I decided that was the coolest job ever and I was going to do that for a living. I felt this was the path for me because of my own experience with my father's death.I enrolled in mortuary school. My husband's love and that goal gave my life purpose again.

Mortuary school was a blast. I learned how to grieve my father, how to embalm, and how to be "normal." Of course I know this is a relevant term, but morticians spend a great deal perfecting the art because their job is actually fairly socially demanding. Upon graduation, I found a job as an apprentice mortician on the eastern shore of Maryland. One of the perks to the job was that it came with a free apartment above the funeral home. Yep, the neighbors were quiet, and no I didn't encounter any ghosts(except this one time when the doorbell kept ringing and no one was there...). It also meant being on call ALL THE TIME and working late constantly.

I worked in the funeral home for just under a year. I discovered that I really wasn't cut out to be in the industry after all. While I liked working with dead people, working with the living was fairly stressful for an introvert like myself. However, I accredit acquiring the majority of my social skills from that experience.

The entire time I worked in the funeral home, I also had been secretly working every other weekend as a tissue recovery tech for an organ procurement organization, harvesting cadaveric skin, bones, veins, hearts, and corneas for transplantation purposes. I discovered this organization when I was in mortuary school and was fascinated by the work they did, so I volunteered there for 9 months before I was hired on part time. I was hired there just before I was hired by the funeral home so I decided to do both jobs.
This was an excellent decision, because once I became licensed as a mortician, the funeral home decided I wasn't working out and we parted ways. I was hired by the organ procurement organization full time. I am still a licensed mortician though. I will never let my license expire. You never know when you might need to embalm someone.

Working for the organ procurement organization was a grand adventure. For 6 years I traveled to hospitals all over the state of Maryland at strange hours of the night with an interesting group of people. I learned about life, death, and teamwork. I found out I can stay awake for 72 hours straight before I start to hallucinate. Most importantly, I helped people. Even though I was practically cutting corpses apart limb from limb, I knew that the tissue I removed was going to help people heal and help families recover from grief.

Part of my job required visits to the Baltimore medical examiner's office. It was there that I became fascinated by pathology. It was my favorite subject in mortuary school and this experience reinforced my interest. I learned many things by quietly observing autopsies pressed against the back wall of the overcrowded autopsy room, trying to stay out of everyone's way.
It was this interest that drove me back to school. I decided to pursue a master's degree in pathology in order to become a pathologists' assistant. Pathologists' assistants are like physician's assistants specializing in pathology. I now dissect surgery specimens and assist with autopsies in a hospital. I love my job and now I can even sleep at night.
I continued to work in transplant part time until someone followed me when I was working alone in the middle of the night. That was the end of that.

Aside from my day job, I enjoy art, strange music, and the natural world. I have a goofy, sometimes dark sense of humor and love to laugh. I'm a nominally expert urban birder and budding mothwatcher. I can be found exploring long forgotten wooded patches or state parks on the regular during the warmer months. I am addicted to tea and have an Etsy store in which I sell reworked fancy teacups.

I don't know what my next steps in life will be. I would really like to start my own business(death related, of corpse), travel all over the place, and somehow do something to make the world a better place.

Wherever life takes me I know it will always be full of interesting things and grand adventures.

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And there we are in our super secret professional disguises. It is knife to meat you. Thanks for reading.
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(no subject) [Mar. 12th, 2014|08:48 pm]
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So I'm signing up for the therealljidol for kicks and giggles. It's actually mostly because I'm drunk. All my friends are doing it and they are far more talented than I. I will most surely be voting against myself. It should be fun.
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(no subject) [May. 30th, 2005|11:25 am]
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Comment if you want to be added. I will think about it...
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