Which post(s) should I submit?

Update:  That other poll software wasn’t working quite right so now I’m trying surveymonkey. 

I need to submit something to Scientiae soon. The April theme is Fools and Foolishness.

I’ve been considering submitting the two posts dealing with a suitable substitute for the word balls. These don’t exactly fit the theme but I think people would enjoy them.

Alternatively, I could submit the post about my recent encounter with the student loan company software which probably fits the theme a little better but doesn’t have very much substance.

Or, I could submit all three, but that seems like overkill.

So, I’m putting it to a vote:

Click Here to take survey

I don’t know who I am

Earlier today, I was attempting to download a form for in-school deferment of a student loan (for some reason, my loan came out of deferment, I guess they thought I should have graduated by now; join the club).  To get the form, I had to login to their system.  I knew my login name, but apparently not my password.  I then started getting what they called “Challenge questions.”

What is your grandmother’s maiden name?   I typed it in.

Wrong.  What is your mother’s middle name?  I typed it in.

Wrong.  What is the city of your birth?  I typed it in.

Wrong!  What was the name of your first pet?

WRONG!  What was the make and model of your first car?

WRONG, AGAIN!

I lost it.

I swear to God it was a Buick Skylark you PIECE OF SHIT COMPUTER PROGRAM!!! It was tan and cream and with a beige interior and it had a tape deck and I named it Bud and I stole a no smoking sign and attached it to the dashboard and I had to replace the starter and I got a flat tire once at a state park and some kind soul helped me change the tire and another time on my way to the work the steel belts started coming off another tire and I nearly lost control of THAT BUICK SKYLARK and when I made it to work and my boss put the donut tire on for me and I was driving THAT VERY CAR when I got my one and only speeding ticket (so far) when I was on my way to see my boyfriend and I was going 35 mph in a 25mph zone and 45 in the 35, 55 in the 45 and 65 in the 55 and the cop followed me all that time and I didn’t notice and he finally pulled me over outside of town!!!!

Do you know those kind of details computer program?!?!?  DO YOU?!?!?!

I felt like I was Sandra Bullock in that movie The Net. The program locked me out of my account and emailed me a temporary password.  After consulting with my husband, it turns out he set up the account so he just put RANDOM ANSWERS in to those questions because, he “didn’t want to bug” me.

Of moxie and mangoes

I loved all of your suggestions for an appropriate substitute for “balls.”

Mad Hatter: I agree with you that Boobs doesn’t quite cut it. Besides which, if I said, “I don’t have the boobs to….” inevitably the person I’m talking to is going to glance at my boobs. I think it would be unavoidable. And I prefer if people do not stare at my boobs (“Hello! My face is a little higher up than that! I promise you if you look me in the eye, the boobs are not going to disappear so there is no need to scrutinize them that closely?).

ecogeofemme: I think ‘nads does just refer to male organs, at least that has always been my impression. However, since it’s short for gonads, it’s not inherently gender-specific. I think this may be a good alternative.

propter doc: I think “stones” would also be a good alternative as would “guts.” “Mangoes” is amusing and I would like it except that I think it would be interpreted as breasts (it’s a round(ish) fruit–it’s inevitable I think) and then I’m back to not wanting people to stare at my breasts. But, perhaps I could use it around women and not be in danger of them staring at my breasts.

PhysioProf: I think I like “moxie” the best out of all of the suggestions. It’s a fun word, a bit feminine (I don’t think you would ever say a man had moxie) and conveys the general connotation I’m looking for. It doesn’t have the vulgarity factor that “balls” has but I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that I will never find an acceptable gender-neutral or feminine equivalent to balls (you know, that I would be capable of actually saying.

Bora: I think your Serbian version comes a close second to moxie. But, I think it would sound better with the Serbian word rather than “eggs.” How do you pronounce “jaja” anyhow?

VWXYNot: Testicular fortitude. HAHAHAHAHA!!! I think I would giggle every time I said it.

Jenny: I think I would laugh if somebody told me I have OVES. Btw, I googled Oves and came up with this. Probably not what that person was thinking of.

Geeka: Illustrating fallopian tube location is probably better than him trying to point out where the vas deferens is (don’t, I beg of you, google vas deferens–you get some disturbing images).

Euphemistically Speaking

This evening, while walking home I was writing a blog post in my head (I do this a lot–most of them never make it to the computer because I don’t have the time to type them up) (that is probably weird, perhaps I shouldn’t have admitted to that) and I got to the point where the following phrase would be perfect:

“But I don’t possess the balls to go up to some famous, important person….”

At this point, that blog post stopped and turned into this blog post (maybe I’ll write that post some other day) because I started trying to come up with a way to say the above without using the word “balls.” It is the perfect word for that phrase except for one small problem.

I don’t have balls.

(Unless, of course, you count balls of yarn of which I have many, some of which are quite large and all of which are pretty hairy.)

(I can’t wait to see the trackbacks I get from this post.)

Now, I realize that a person is speaking figuratively when they say that they don’t have the balls for X thing. And, there’s no reason I can’t use the same phrase figuratively. Except that it feels wrong somehow. It doesn’t ring true. It doesn’t have the same bite to it as it would if a man were saying it. And there’s no good female equivalent. “Ovaries” might be the the biological equivalent, but it just doesn’t work as well. It’s too clinical. Too nerdy. It has too many syllables. Other words for female genitalia are no better (and besides which, it makes me uncomfortable to use the more vulgar ones).

(At this point, Zuska would probably say something very clever and profound about gender and society and how the slang for testicles is associated with courage, but that slang for female genitalia is associated with dirtiness and foulness and how this provides insight into how society views men and women and their purposes and worth and so on, but I don’t really feel like I can do that justice, so I’m just going to continue on with my search for the perfect euphemism.)

So, what are the alternatives?

Like I said, “ovaries” just doesn’t have the same zing to it, though I often use it when I’m talking to other women. I’m fond of the word “chutzpah” (Yiddish words are very satisfying to say; I think it has something to do with the way they often start in the back of the throat and get spat out). Yet, it doesn’t have the same impact as “balls” which has a certain amount of vulgarity associated with it, leaving you with the impression that the speaker has a certain amount of chutzpah just for using the word. Other words that are commonly used in that particular phrase are simply other euphemisms for testicles (kahunas for instance).

“Nerve,” “daring,” “arrogance,” are all boring and unsatisfying.

I want something clever, something with pizazz, something with impact factor. Something that gives people the same feeling as “balls” but not so, you know, masculine.

Does such a word even exist?

In Which I Miss Scientiae Yet Again

I’m sad I missed this month’s Scientiae. I’m even more sad because I missed last month’s as well. I always think about writing and I have good intentions about writing but sometimes I don’t quite make it. I think part of the problem is that I feel like I have to write something particularly good or profound or both for carnival contribution. I know that’s not true, but that’s how I feel about it.

This month’s (or rather, February’s) theme was renewal. I confess that at first I didn’t think I could find something to write about on that topic. I didn’t feel particularly renewed. On the contrary, I felt terribly burned out. Notice the past tense. That’s because I’ve spent the last few days visiting my husband and I feel much, much better.

I’ve been working really hard in lab, lately. Long hours and weekends and really not doing too much except lab work and sleep and occasionally laundry and washing dishes (and one afternoon in which I couldn’t stomach the thought of going to lab and I watched lots and lots of Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis). That really wears you down after awhile. I know it’s what I’ve got to do in order to finish before I hit menopause, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve been missing a lot of my usual comforts like knitting and reading blogs.

So, I was more than ready to head out to visit my husband in California. I can’t relax in Grad School City. Even if I take a day off, I mostly just sleep or try to clean. And, I have this nagging feeling like I should be in lab. So, in order to relax, I need to leave. I guess it’s good that I have an excuse to get the hell out of town every so often. And, when I do leave, I leave my work behind. I might read a paper or process an image on my computer while on the plane, but I don’t do any of that while I’m actually in California (actually, I spend a lot of time taking naps–I swear to you I get 8 or 9 hours of sleep every night but whenever I take a break and go somewhere I find that I’m exhausted and need to sleep).

People always ask me what my plans are for my time in California and I usually say, “Sit.” We don’t really make plans.  This visit, we went out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day (our holiday schedule is a little screwed up), and I went to a bunch of fabric shops and today we went to the beach and wandered around.  It’s pretty much been perfect.  Maybe when I’m done with grad school I’ll be more interested in exploring, but for now what I need most is to not have to do anything.  To have time that is completely unplanned and I don’t have to be anywhere at all and I can just do whatever I want to do.

Sometimes, I feel a little guilty that I leave lab for four days every 5 weeks or so (this is crazy-talk, I know, because most people in this world get two days off out of every seven, but I never claimed to be sane).  But, I know that without this time spent away, eventually I would become useless in lab.  I was already getting that way before I left (also, I was becoming something of a bitch; when you spend that many stressful hours with the same people day in and day out, it becomes more and more difficult to be nice, especially when they are idiots).  So, if I want to make progress, I need a little renewal every now and then.