3/15

Hit up the Baltimore aquarium, the spy museum, the monuments at sunset, drag queen bingo, and some of the popular restaurants around the city this week. AKA, it’s been a good week for crossing things off my DC bucket list. I almost got to see 1776 at the Ford Theater (which the history buff in me adores the concept of), but it was unfortunately sold out while my friend was in town.

In other news, the capstone project saga continues. Our phone call today with airline representatives basically further reiterated that our topic choice was poorly selected and that we need to redirect our focus. I don’t know how the rest of our team is going to take hearing that we need to switch direction with just over a month left in the semester. At least this time, the change is coming from several people and not just me.

On a more positive note, I finally officially accepted my post-grad job today, and I have a start date! I decided to start June 18th so I can have some time to go home and see family, move, etc. before starting the new job. I’m really excited to no longer have to worry about job searching or what I’ll be doing next. Also, it’s nice to know I can pass a security clearance. I pull off vanilla goody-two shoes very well.

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Risk Analysis in Government

I got a bit schizo in class tonight. I call it that as a joke, primarily because sometimes I end up having these frantic moments of inspiration where I end up scribbling all over a piece of paper with ideas much in the way Russell Crowe’s character did in A Beautiful Mind. This used to happen a lot the last time I lived in DC when I attended frequent think tank events, and it happened a few times last year, but this year I’ve been rather inspiration-less in my classes. Our discussion moved into nuclear energy versus deepwater oil drilling, including cost-benefit analysis and risks. Energy security fascinates me, as does risk analysis. If I could combine the two into a sensical PhD program that was funded by someone else, I’d do it (maybe someday!).

I started thinking about how currently, the government has no centralized office or agency that deals with risk. Different agencies incorporate risk modeling in different ways, but the majority of regulatory decisions are made without calculating risk. Part of this is likely because of a lack of understanding and capability in terms of measuring real risk, but despite it’s inadequacies progress has been made that makes it worth attempting (in my opinion). Specifically in terms of nuclear energy and oil, energy security is directly tied to the risk of accidents and certain international events potentially changing the game. We can model these things, it just takes significant effort. DHS is working on but does not yet have an energy security office, but even if they did it is planned to be disconnected from their risk division. Even aside from energy, we need to have people in government applying this cutting edge techniques to predict possibilities beyond situation analyses in order to create solid, strong policies.

I got to thinking about expanding government in a sense, in terms of creating some form of agency or task force that had intelligence folks, engineers, statisticians, mathematicians, and political strategists that could sort of serve as a de facto consulting agency for other government organizations, only for risk. I know RAND sort of does that job right now, but we need to formally internalize the risk analysis process into our government, in my opinion. Or, if we can’t expand government to incorporate this, we can start building it into the public policy and education programs so that the next generation of analysts already are thinking about the subject.

Ideally, if I were on-campus next year, I’d try to develop a case competition utilizing resources and appealing to students from the business, engineering, and policy schools with sponsors from private sector organizations, RAND, and the CMU Center for Risk Perception and Communication. Risk and policy analysis, and create a problem situation and have people figure out how best to model risk for that situation.

I’ve been looking up different education programs and conferences, etc. and found that for public policy, Harvard (of course) is the best PhD program, but GW has a risk analysis certificate that looks promising. Unfortunately, since I don’t have a math degree or a background in calculus, I don’t know how far I’d get with it.

Anyhow, I just finished a spontaneous 3 hour conversation with my roommate. I think we just figured out how to fix our program’s capstone project process. I actually think it will be cool to work for the university for a few weeks – I’d like to figure out how to emphasize risk in the curriculum, as well as potentially find new ways to promote the program in the policy community. I’m all for recruiting new folks too and building the future network. I might actually have a chance to get creative, who knows.

Other random things to revisit – education as a way to improve efficiency, efficiency as a replacement for government expansion, big picture versus process versus detail oriented people.

2/29

I officially passed my medical clearance, woohoo! I’m pretty much the healthiest I’ve ever been. Blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, white and red blood cell counts, etc, are all good. No skin cancer, no STDs, no anything! I definitely still need to shed another 20lbs or so, but my efforts to be healthy are winning. So, one hurdle down. The security forms were all filed too, only apparently my handwriting was illegible so I need to resubmit them. But, I’m several steps closer to the end of this process.

Of course, now that I’ve moved this far along in the process, the agency I interned with last summer is looking to hire and now that might be a possibility. The job is a little more boring and less intense, but it would likely pay the same, would result in competitive hiring status, and wouldn’t have risk of death. So, you know, there are benefits. I’m kind of just letting things be what they’ll be at this point. Similarly, it still isn’t over in waiting on an internship to work out, and if that does fail, I’ve got a backup plan now. My school needs help with admissions and grants, so at least I can have something to fill my time in a “worst-case” situation.

I went to a violet wands class yesterday, which was pretty cool. I still have marks on my arm from it, and it really didn’t hurt that much. Apparently my tendency to get sunburn will be an issue in playing with this toy. It’s especially nifty how you can use the body contact probe so that one person’s touch is electrified. As sensitive as I am without electricity, I can only imagine the possibilities with it. If only it didn’t cost $500-$900 for a set…

In other randoms:

  • I really dislike most of what is considered trendy fashion. Prints and bright colors are in, and other than plaid and some geometric stuff, I hate prints. Some occasional florals work, but in general, it is just too much in my mind. I like it classic, simple.
  • I’m officially a card-carrying member of kink, in that I actually joined BR. I just think it’s amusing that it’s so official now.
  • With some re-evaluation, I think more of what I like about both rope and pain is it’s ability to center and focus me. I tend to get scattered and distracted easily, call it high-strung or ADHD, but concentrating on the moment isn’t the easiest thing for me. When tied up, you really have no other option. It’s everything that appeals to me about road trips, only much more sensually loaded. (With road trips, I love that you can’t feel guilty about reading, talking, listening to music, etc. because you couldn’t be doing anything else – you can’t feel guilty about relaxing when tied up, because you have no other option.) Pain has a similar end result, only gets there because it just forces you to think about it and only it.
  • My roommates have been absent or asleep to the extent that I almost feel like I’m living alone. It’s kind of awesome, if only the demon cat was less of a demon.
  • I forgot how nice it was to be able to read, stay current on what’s going on in the world, meet up with friends, etc. without feeling underlying anxiety from too much to do. I mean, right now I still have the anxiety from our capstone project, a midterm, and a paper, but without work I can actually get a grasp on when I’ll get things done. I can’t wait until graduation, when I can have a life, have hobbies, and actually be a good long-distance friend.

Sunday Reflections

My strange week ended (shocker). What was weirdest about this past week was that it sucked for everyone around me as much as it did for me. I don’t know what was in the universe on Wednesday, but it didn’t treat my people well. Despite all that, the week ended very positively and I’m back at peace with things. I finally caught up with one of my close friends, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that. 30 minutes with her and I have a paper topic, I understand my CBA homework, and I feel more confident in my life. It’s amazing what a positive force she is (damn her cat). We also managed to further narrow down our systems project this week so that instead of making an econometric model, we’re going to focus on monte carlo simulations. Now we just have to procure the software and find a faculty advisor that can help us double-check our formulas.

On Saturday, I went snow tubing! I was really nervous about this trip since I didn’t know how long it would take us, but I’m so glad I went. I’ve been a bit out of sorts at times here in DC since I don’t have as many adventurous friends here. Actually, it’s more likely that the adventurous friends I do have are too wrapped up in school and work to take a break, but it amounts to the same thing. Two of my friends from undergrad live here, though, and they’ve been jumping on the wagon to do fun things for the last month, which is great. We went ice skating, and then they were up for snow tubing. I’d never been before, and it was pretty exhilarating. If there’d been more snow we could have gone skiing, but as it was it was still worth it. It was definitely kind of strange sliding on snow that was so clearly man-made, seeing as how the rest of the area had no snow at all.

I also managed to learn that the two of them are familiar with Fetlife and kinky things. This wasn’t entirely a surprise (if someone knows “vanilla” as a term, it’s not a far jump). The whole situation is a bit weird, though. Interestingly enough, the girlfriend is very into predicament bondage and she knows about all the kinky events around town. We’ll see where that goes.

I went to the Crucible Saturday night, which was another series of events. I bought a book at the swap meet, which is kind of funny only in that in a room full of things to make fantasies reality, I buy something that’s still purely fantasy. I’m kind of ok with that at this point. The dungeon was much more welcoming than I anticipated, and the energy level was a little lower than the Playhouse events. It seems like a much better place to go to have a private scene with someone in a public setting, whereas the Playhouse is more of a party atmosphere. The evening was definitely well spent and I’m very glad I went.

Post-Job Pity Party

Definitely had an awful day today. I’m not sure how much of my over-emotionalism can be attributed to PMS and con-drop, but in general, awful. I actually had to leave class to get all upset and teary in the bathroom – and I very, very rarely cry.

I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to leave my job. I mean, I loved working there – I loved the people I worked with, what I was doing, the mission, all of it. I just didn’t realize how much a part of my life it has become. I have spent 640 hours with these people, in that building. I loved every second of it (ok, maybe not the 14 hours I was there with strep throat, but you get it). Realizing that I won’t get to go back there tomorrow, that I won’t be seeing certain coworkers, that I won’t be finishing certain projects literally crushed me.

Yes, there is hope that in FY13 they will hire. Yes, there is a high degree of certainty that when they hire, I’ll be able to go back. It was great that everyone I talked to and said goodbye to offered to help me in any way they could and professed how upset they were that I couldn’t be hired – people of all levels, including upper management. That was definitely gratifying. And of course, I know that I still live here, and a few of the people I’ll miss most will still likely be up for grabbing coffee or drinks occasionally. I have contact information, and I can stay in touch.

All that said, it still doesn’t matter. I’m still very, very upset by it. I found my absolute dream job, and I was awesome at it, and I still can’t have it anymore. I’m lucky I found it at all, I know, and I know I’m young and have time to get back to that. Logically, yes. But it is so unfair!

What’s even more frustrating is how most of the people in my program got their job easily – one discussion, and BAM. I was one of the last people to find something, and I had applied to more than triple the number of places as everyone. I had interviews and phone calls and cold calls and then – finally – I found my place. Now, all those other people get to stay where they are even if they don’t like the job, and I LOVE mine and worked so hard to get it, but I can’t stay.

I’m going to move on from this. I’m not letting myself be upset like this past today. It is what it is. I’m blessed that I know what I eventually want to do long-term, I’m blessed that I have people rooting for me there, I’m lucky that I have other options for the time being and for after-graduation. I’m in no position to complain, so this post is all I get to have.

As a last point – my day sucked for many reasons beyond this whole job thing, it was just the job thing that personally upset me so much. The other things were kind of just last straws.

December Randoms

Today’s going to be a random’s day.

First, relationships are great, and sex is great, but they are for connection not ego. I feel like that gets lost in the kinky community sometimes with the prevalence of poly.

Second, I’ve lost 13.2 lbs in total now, as well as several inches from my waist and hips (and none from my bust, thankfully 🙂 ). I’m pretty happy with the way that’s going.

Third, I’m almost entirely finished with school for the semester! My capstone project is going well thus far, and we have direction which is good. We’re going to be working on financing aviation transportation. We’re still working on narrowing the scope. I think I’m going to get A’s in all of my classes, too, which is great.

Fourth, I’ve now applied for 27 jobs for post-grad. It may seem excessive, but that’s what you gotta do. Hopefully one will pan out! I’ve had a few inquiries in response, so I have hope. (The 6 months I have left to figure it out certainly help, too.)

Fifth, I got an outstanding review at work. My supervisors all told me they couldn’t think of any constructive criticism, and that I’m doing a great job. It’s nice to be rewarded for my hard work, and it was good to see what things they value in me (my initiative was a big one). I really love my job right now, it’s a perfect fit for me. I feel blessed to know what I like doing. If only the budget was figured out and I could stay there permanently.

Sixth, New Year’s Eve is a horrid movie. But, it did give me some thoughts on new years resolutions and made me feel a bit sentimental. I’ve never had a great New Year’s eve, mainly since I’m in Indiana for the holidays, and there’s not much there. I might try to swing a trip to Chicago this year.

Seventh, I keep having inklings of thoughts about one of my guy friends. I’m not sure what to do about it at this point, since dating someone in my program is a bad idea, he’s very vanilla, and I have no idea if he is also interested. That said, I really enjoy his company. For now, that’ll do. Plus, I don’t know how much of my interest stems from convenience, and that’s never a good idea.

Eighth, is it weird for a girl to randomly message a guy on fetlife? There are some men that seem interesting, but I don’t know if it is strange for the girl to make contact. It’s more strange too since I’m a bottom/submissive, so that naturally screams “don’t make the first move!” That said, I’ve never been great at holding off from pursuing things I’m interested in…  But I’m also very socially awkward with men, especially when I’m uncertain of the parameters of the contact. Ugh.

Ninth, favorite music of the moment includes David Guetta, The Band Perry, Florence and the Machine, Demi Lovato, Rihanna, and Christina Perri.

Tenth, I go home on Saturday! I’m excited to see my family. I had some hard times this week communicating with my parents and having my mom’s bipolar get more crazy than usual, though, so I have more than a little trepidation about spending 3 weeks with all of the potential drama.

In other news, the writing bug is nipping at my toes. I’m not sure on inspiration right now, though. I may go the traditional route, and do something with the kink being uncovered by a seemingly vanilla friend, who then dominantly seduces the heroine.  I could do something with truth or dare. There’s also the allure of covert bondage in a public place. I could always do a traditionally romantic thing with meeting someone at a kink event, and maybe do a first date gone kinky. I’d love to do something that focuses more on S&m and less on teasing and denial, to break a little out of my shell, but I’m not sure of a good way to set that up. Hmm. Ideas are welcome.

Also, for some bizarre reason, I’m craving someone biting my neck. I just want someone to either use a pointy object or teeth on that spot just where the neck meets shoulder…*shiver* That would do it for me right now.

Times Are A-Changing

It’s odd, really, because it’s now been well over a year since I started blogging. It’s been an exercise in thoughtfulness, really, and has been inordinately helpful as this past year has been ridiculously stressful.

Today has been reflective, which has been great. I have my apartment to myself for several days since I’m not going home for the holiday (and my roommates did), and I took today off work to kind of rejuvenate. I took care of some friends’ animals, got some food for tomorrow – I’m potlucking with two friends who stayed in the city, and went shopping. It was interesting buying clothes; I’m almost unable to shop in the larger women’s store. I bought three things, each in a different size, and two were in the smallest size available in the store. Because I’m bigger on the bottom than the top, I’m not quite out of the store, but it was an interesting experience. I also finally found some rain boots, and given the weather situation lately I’m very thankful for it!

With that, I’m almost to my 5% weight loss goal. I think this week will be it, assuming that I exercise self control tomorrow. I’m also planning to hit the gym in the morning and hopefully this weekend to help out. I might actually break out the Wii alone. I’m weird, I normally only play the Wii with other people.

Work has been great lately. It got very, very hectic for a few weeks, and then the last few days it slowed down a bit more. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility from several different avenues, and I’ve consistently gotten good feedback. It’s gratifying, and I love the work I’m doing which helps. I have my mid-point evaluation next week, I believe, and I’ve already been told it’s going to go well. I only hope the budget situation lends itself to hiring so I can stay on post-graduation!

Because the budget isn’t certain, I’m going to be starting my job search. This is primarily my goal for this holiday – I need to apply to all the jobs I’ve found. It’s sort of like an entirely separate course on top of everything else, because it is time consuming, especially if you want a chance at getting a job. A lot of the people I know in Pittsburgh have found jobs, especially within the healthcare program, which makes me feel behind.

School is going well. We’re entering the final range…I’ve got two papers, a speech, and a final left for the semester. I’m doing well in my courses thus far, so I hope to finish strong. Next semester, we really kick into high gear with our capstone project. I’m a little concerned about the time demands, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m trying to learn to channel my competitive spirit better.

I went to kinky happy hour this week again, for the first time in several weeks. It was nice seeing people, and it’s interesting how my interests have evolved. I took that kinky quiz again, and this time it went Experimental, Bondage, Masochist, Switch, Submissive… Submissive was actually at 59%, compared to the 93% it used to be. I think this reflects my mood lately well. I very much enjoy bottoming to pain, and I adore bondage, especially with rope. I still enjoy pleasing my partner and making people happy. I like direct, blunt, relatively authoritative, strong men. That said, I’m also incredibly stubborn, occasionally outspoken, and very independent. I like to push back, I don’t like it being assumed that I’m going to just sit back and take it. I understand that when I’m submitting, I agree to sit back and take it… but I’m less inclined to do so. Maybe it’s just a matter of not finding the right person, but I’m more on the kinkster/open-minded side than the submissive side recently.

I think part of this is that when I first got involved in kink in my fantasies, I was very young and inexperienced. Submission in part meant that I didn’t have to know what I was doing. As I’ve gained confidence in myself and I’ve gained experience – both sexually and in general as I’ve dated more and gain more comfort with men over the last few years, I have more of a desire to occasionally switch it up. I’m open to tying someone up, having my way with them. I don’t want to be in control all the time, or wear the pants in the relationship, but in the bedroom I want to be free to experiment outside of a particular role. I want to break out of the box! And yes, on some levels, someone expecting me to be submissive is kind of a box right now.

I also attribute part of this mentality to the level of stress in my life. Pain and bondage during sex is still a method of escapism from the stress and control of my life. Submission in a relationship, however, adds to the stress level. I just don’t have the time to put someone else first all the time, to be in service, or to accomodate that. When I’m spending time in a nonsexual way with someone, I want to argue and banter, have fun, and not be constantly focused on doing the right thing or following rules. Sexually, sure, I’m all yours. I might occasionally jump you and have my way too, but more often than not, I’m all yours. Outside the bedroom, nope, not my thing right now.

At the same time, I do realize and acknowledge that confidence, bluntness, and some level of take-charge/competitive/snarky dominance is incredibly attractive and sexy to me. Additionally, open-mindedness and kink-friendly is a must. I like exploring things and trying new things. If my sex life isn’t free to experiment, I’m also going to feel cages. Similarly, I want to be free to talk about my deepest fantasies too. So, vanilla folks are out, at least most of them.

Add in monogamous tendencies and compatibility, and BAM my pool of people just shrunk hardcore. Given the utter lack of time in my life, though, this likely isn’t a bad thing.