Standard deviations

Working on a project with a friend related to Twitter data.  We got together yesterday to go over some of what I need to arrange data-wise as well as how to approach the analysis and general concept.  We actually think there may be three papers coming out of this, easily, and that's just based on some basic starting concepts.

I suppose it can't hurt to have published papers in multiple disciplines when I apply to transfer, but part of me feels like it's a joke.  "Yes, I've been published. No, not in aerospace - in social media communications and biopsychosocial distress. ... Yes, I'm serious."

Oh well.  I've always considered that a single ego is an extremely limiting perspective from which to approach the universe.

Weighed myself this morning for the first time in years.  171, so about what my body seems to consider "baseline".  I'm hoping to get back into exercising a bit, since that's fallen completely off my radar; school's going to make that harder, but at least doing some basic stuff (pushups, crunches, that sort of thing) in the morning should be doable.  I just need to get back in the habit.

This month is the "alternating" schedule of hanging out with L on Saturdays.  I assume he's going to push back against it at some point, but I'm pretty firm on wanting my weekends back without a regularly scheduled thing with him, especially since I haven't been enjoying it much.

Oh, and should be getting about $1300 back in taxes, so that'll be nice.  The raise also works out to about $100 a paycheck; if I combine that with not hanging out with L, I should have about $300 more "free money" a paycheck this month and $500 more next month (and thereafter).  I'm also going to keep an eye on my retirement accounts; if/when I get to $270k, I'm going to cut back contributions so I can start paying more towards bills and saving up more for when I quit and go to school.  It's too bad I make too much to claim my education expenses right now, but them's the breaks.

I should also seriously work on applying for some scholarships this year.  Not that I need the money for my current school, but having as much as possible already on the books will help when I transfer.

Watching the chop

I typically don't talk politics here.  I mean, really, I don't post much at all, but I don't know that I've ever posted about politics explicitly.

The problem is that the current administration is on a path to directly impact my job.  I work in healthcare; any changes to the PPACA, especially the partial-dismantling they've argued for and almost passed once, will totally disrupt my work environment.

Now, granted, I'm hopefully only here for another year and a half.  After that, I'll hopefully be in school full-time (don't know what I'll be doing for part-time work, but we'll see).  But I'm going to school to pursue a career that fundamentally relies on optimism and a stable society: aerospace is a "luxury" science for the most part, though a significant amount is paid for through the military.  If crap goes to hell like it's looking (he's frozen federal hiring with the intent to decrease government through attrition, he's gagged the EPA and the USDA, he's instructed agencies to play havoc with the PPACA financially, and Keystone XL is going through - and it's only day 5), there may not be much of an aerospace industry left when I'm ready to join it.

(And before anyone tells me that other countries may still be interested: the US spends more on Aerospace than the rest of the world combined.  The whole space budget for the planet is less than the state of California spends on public education in a year.  The *planet*.  And that includes military spending on aerospace.  If it dies here, it's dying everywhere.)

I'm not "worried", per se, and none of this changes any of my plans.  I'm doing this because I want to do it, for me, and whatever comes from it will be dealt with.  But these are all factors that have to be taken into account when I'm planning.  Even things like trying to guess how the stock market will do and how that will affect my retirement savings.

Of course, that's all separate from the social chaos that is likely to come.  Yes, I'm a white male, but I'm also gay and neurodivergent.  Being in California may dent the effects some, but if I have to move out of state for school or work, who knows what the result will be (if it comes down to a choice of working for NASA in Alabama, Florida, or Texas, or working for a private company in a friendly area, I'll probably have to pass on NASA - and that would be a really shitty decision to have to make).

The title of this blog invokes a specific concept - that I can't do more than ride the wave function as it collapses, surfing as best I can on whatever the result happens to be.  That's still true.  Let's just hope things don't get blown out.

... On a more typical note...

Classes for next semester are paid for.  This'll be an honors programming course (with lab - so, a lot of hours per unit), multi-variable calculus, and physics 1c (which, for us, is electromagnetism).  14 units, though a heavy 14 units since it's effectively two labs.  The physics class is a hybrid, meaning the lab is in person but everything else is online; my physics class last semester was the same thing, though with a different professor.

I also have to take the chem placement test sometime this semester so that I can take Chem 1A over the summer.  See, I need two chem classes for some of the schools, and I also may want to take Physics 1D (which is relativity, quantum theory, and new discoveries) at my current school if a specific professor, who retired from CalTech to come to my school and teach "for fun", offers it in the next two semesters.  Since that would be three labs and I only have two full semesters left, one would have to be over a summer or winter session, so that means this summer.  I don't *need* Phys1D, but I'd like to take it with this specific prof if I can (and if it ends up being offered; he doesn't always teach it).  Chem over the summer is going to suck, since that usually means one class four days a week (and I'm not even sure how I'll make it work with my schedule), but it's something I'm going to plan on doing.

... Oh, right, I got straight A's last semester, so I'm at 35 units and a 4.0 since I came back to school.

On the personal front, I'm finally going to be ending hanging out regularly with L, of whom I've spoken many times and who really has been an emotional and financial drain.  Essentially, by the end of February, we'll stop our every-Saturday-night thing that I haven't really enjoyed in over a year and just hang out when it's desirable for both of us.  I don't dislike the guy, but hanging out with him has become obligatory rather than enjoyable.

The Adderall is working pretty well.  My doc just prescribed a booster for class days for next semester or on any day that I need it, which shouldn't be often outside of class.  I seem to be pretty sensitive to the XR, so I've been told I can take up to 2 of the 5 mg instant-release tabs or as little as 1/2 a tab as a booster depending on what I need.

In general, I'm trying to look at what regular "habits" or routines I've gotten into that may not be beneficial or enjoyable - essentially, looking at the stuff I do just because "it's what I do" and changing it if it makes sense.  I realize I'm (hopefully) going to have a major disruption to my life and lifestyle in 18 months, but clearing out some of the underbrush now (and, in some cases, saving money and paying down bills) gets me a leg up on those future changes.

Cutting loose

So, this is a bit of a random post, but it's something that was of interest for discussion at a party this last weekend.

I always assumed most gay guys realized that circumcision isn't always done the same way; I figured that anyone who had seen and especially played with more than a few dicks would realize that there are differences.  Apparently that's not necessarily true.  Since I'm a bit of an odd duck in this case, it's something I've always been aware of from my very first time.

I assume (or hope) that most guys know what an uncut dick looks like: glans ("head") totally covered while flaccid ("soft") and even at least partially covered when erect, with a thin constrictive band at the tip.  I also assume that most guys know what a "typical" circumcision is like: glans totally uncovered, regardless of state, generally with very little motion or "loose skin" along the shaft.  How that shaft skin is "created" for a circumcised guy (whether it was originally from the underside of the foreskin or from the outer skin) determines some of the sensitivity of the penis, but that's pretty minor in most cases.  Circumcision can also be "loose" or "tight" - one friend described his cock as "about the same tightness as the skin on your finger", whereas other guys have a bit of movement (usually not enough to even bunch up under the base of the glans).  Additionally, the frenulum - the band of skin that holds the foreskin to the base of the glans and usually attaches up by the urethra (it's similar to the flap that holds your lips to your gums in the middle) - is often removed during circumcision, usually being trimmed or shaped in the process.

I have what's known as a "partial circumcision".  This isn't necessarily common - maybe 10% of guys, maybe less, though I'm given to understand it's a little more popular nowadays.  Part of the reason is medical: when born, the foreskin and glans are essentially fused together; they don't actually separate naturally until later in life, generally by puberty.  That means that, to circumcise a baby, the doctor is not only cutting off skin but manually separating the foreskin from the glans.  They usually remove enough skin so that the glans is left completely uncovered; if they don't, the remaining skin can try and heal back to the glans again in what are called "adhesions".

In a partial circumcision, the "band" at the tip of the foreskin is removed as well as some of the foreskin, but the glans isn't necessarily left entirely uncovered.  As stated, this can lead to adhesions, and in fact I had to be "circumcised" twice because of that (the second time was just removing the adhesions; no additional skin was removed).  But the main thrust (ahem) is that, when soft, my glans is usually entirely covered; it pulls back when erect, but I still have enough skin that I can easily and comfortably nearly cover the glans even while erect.  I also still have my frenulum intact.  Visually, I've had guys question whether or not I was cut if they only see me flaccid; I definitely don't look entirely uncircumcised, but I don't look circumcised either.

There are a few results from this.  One is that my glans seems to be more sensitive than most circumcised guys; that's likely because it is usually covered and so hasn't been as abraded.  The base and underside of the glans, especially, around the frenulum, is *really* sensitive; I've actually orgasmed just by using a lubed finger and carefully rubbing just my frenulum for a few minutes.  Speaking of lube, I also almost never use lube to masturbate: the skin is plenty loose enough that it isn't needed.  I will once in a while, because it's an entirely different sensation, but I usually don't bother due to the extra clean-up needed.  And, yes, I have to be more thorough when I shower, but that's not really a big deal.

Part of what I like about oral sex and playing with a guy's dick is figuring out their personal anatomy and sensitivity.  I love to learn what will set a guy off, because it varies from guy to guy.  I just never realized that other guys weren't necessarily aware of the differences.

None of this has anything to do with length or girth - I'm definitely not above (the real) average, but I'm not below, either.  It may have something to do with "grower not a shower", since (at least in my experience) uncut guys seem to be smaller when flaccid: I think it has to do with the additional constriction the extra skin exerts, so it's compacted more when not explicitly engorged, whereas circumcised guys just essentially have a deflated bag sitting there with nothing to retract or compress it.

... Anyway, not at all my usual kind of topic, but what the hell.