31 March 2006


My room is a disaster. Literally. Aid from FEMA should be pouring in sometime next week. :\ In the mean time, I decided before I went to sleep tonight that I'd do some cleaning and laundry. What resulted was an all-out war on my little ten by ten space.

Sadly, I think the room won, by way of a well-placed glass trinket that fell and broke into a bunch of peices, one of which managed to defy all laws of gravity and travel three or four feet to stick in my sandal. Now it's in my skin.

On the upside, we have an awesome first aid kit (though for some reason there are like, fifty 'flexible knuckle bandages' and two real bandaids). Kudos to the roomies.


29 March 2006

The last week...

"Hard work often pays off after time,
But laziness always pays off now"


23 March 2006

It takes a connoisseur...

...to fully appreciate the nuances of fine beverages. Today, however, I'm not speaking about wine, or scotch, or even beer. No, today I had the fine opportunity, brought to me by four quarters and a mis-pushed button, to sample CocaCola's new(er?), low-calorie energy drink, VaultZero. Spurred on by a sense of adventure (and the fact that I was too lazy to walk upstairs, get another dollar, and go down for a real soda) I decided to try this new concoction.

If you've never heard of Vault, here's a reference from Wikipedia:

Vault is a carbonated beverage that was released by The Coca-Cola Company in June 2005. Coca-Cola is marketing Vault as a hybrid with the slogan "Drinks like a Soda, Kicks like an Energy Drink," as well as "The Taste. The Quench. The Kick." and "Get to It." It is a citrus flavored beverage that contains many of the same ingredients as the Coca-Cola beverage SURGE, which was discontinued in 2002. Due to Vault's similarity to SURGE, representatives of Coca-Cola have given some credit for the release of Vault to SaveSURGE.org, a website community dedicated to bringing SURGE back to store shelves.

Before I continue, take a moment to appreciate the fact that there is a whole segment of the population devoted to returning a soft drink to supermarkets. Puts things like third world hunger, AIDs pandemics, and melting ice caps into perspective now, doesn't it? ...

Not having a glass to pour the VaultZero (vintage 2006) into, I was forced to evaluate it in the bottle itself. This particular vintage was clear, and as condensation on the outside suggested, quite cold. Twisting the cap off resulted in a satisfying hiss of released carbonation, and some bubbles appeared to compliment it's promise of thirst-quenching yumminess. Unfortunately when I held it up to the light, the drink appeared a familiar shade of day-glo green -- I can't tell how much of the drink actually gives it that effect, but clearly my rule of never consuming beverages that glow was about to be violated.

I allowed the VaultZero to breathe for a moment or two, then swirled it around and took in the nose. Some citrus smell, but over all not very aromatic at all. Then, the moment of truth: the taste test.

At first, it didn't taste like much, just cold and carbonation. A second later the citrus kicked in, followed closely by the taste of cough medicine. VaultZero rounds off with a sickeningly sweet aspartame finish. While I understand that soda isn't exactly good for you, I actually had to try and keep from cringing as I imagined the chemicals I'd just consumed. To say the least, I decided at this point not to move on to the food pairing stage of the tasting (carrots and ranch, cheetos, and a chocolate chip muffin).

Cola Spectator Score: -283.5



I want to go back to school...

Now, you might be thinking: you're in school. That is not the point.

I want to go back to fun school. Or, more accurately, undergraduate studies. Why? Because, sitting here in the lab at four o'clock on a Thursday, knowing I have at least four more hours worth of experiments that probably aren't going to work anyway (c'mon now, seventh time's the charm!) I'm fully appreciating how I don't want to do this the rest of my life. Or even the next five or six years.

So I want another bachelor's degree.

I like a lot of things besides biology. Literature, that's fun. I like to read. Languages, I like those too. Anthropology -- I might have majored in that if I'd taken a class in that area before my senior year. All things I really like. Going back would mean I'd get to study these things, get a different job, hopefully related to them, and explore a new career track.

Going back will also mean giving up my salary (small but sufficient) and working many many hours a week to pay ten grand in tuition, plus my living expenses, for at least two years. And I'd feel like a quitter.

Decisions, decisions. :\


21 March 2006

Ask the Consumer Man...

This is a weekly column on MSNBC which actually has some pretty good information. He does his research (at least as far as I can tell) and seems to have good advice for his readers on things from warranties to the life of the product, to 'standards of service' in the industry that can get distorted by less-than-helpful sales people.



This doesn't really make things any less scary...

..but I thought I should probably post something about it, seeing as I put the story up last week about Isaac Hayes quitting SouthPark. While I haven't found a news print source, the radio news I listened to earlier stated that he in fact hasn't quit South Park. Apparently Isaac suffered a stroke a short time ago, and at some point during his recovery someone made that statement on his behalf. The spokesperson alleged the Church of Scientology was responsible for the opinion, which apparently isn't true.

Who knows. Koolaid anyone?


20 March 2006

Monday, Monday

I'm currently: Sick

Mood: Exhausted, Frustrated

Job Satisfaction: Low

Lesson of the Day: Never eat at grocery store salad bars. (see above) Ugh.

That is all.


19 March 2006

Lessons learned

My junior year of high school, I snuck out to a party after telling my parents I'd be at So-and-so's house. The next morning I got up to go to work, and on the driver's seat of the car was a note from my mom. I'm very disappointed was all it said. My mother has been through a lot of shit, raising six kids, and she's one tough lady. Though our relationship was way better than the ones between most of my friends and *their* mothers, we did get into arguments from time to time over things that I now know I was entirely wrong about.

But this was far worse than any yelling/lecture/grounding/etc.

Maybe it was my first 'adult' lesson. I never snuck out like that again, but I also never forgot how I felt when I saw that piece of paper. Realizing the disappointment of someone you love and respect is quite possibly the most awful feeling in the world. All of a sudden, every conceivable excuse I wanted to make for my behavior seemed pointless -- instead, all I could do was hope she'd look past it.. which of course she did.. and pray I'd never have to experience anything like that again.


18 March 2006

I know the liver can regenerate....

...but after studying pathology and histology, I'm cringing a little thinking about what it must look at the moment. I think my body hates me, with pretty good reason -- I haven't exactly been kind to it the last few days. We did, however, survive Kegs and Eggs, though I am now abstaining from all beer and (ugh) liquor. For a long, long time. The day went something like this...

4:45a -- It finally registers that my alarm is going off, and I manage to peel myself out from under my heating blanket, stumble around the house in such away that I manage to fall into clothes, and drive the Drunk J's house. CareBear, her old roommate, and Crustacean, a mutual friend of ours, are also meeting there.

5:30a -- Crustacean's running late.

5:50a -- We leave for DC. It's way early. I hate mornings.

6:40a -- Arrival. Drunk J and Crustacean drop me and Carebear off to wait in line, which has now stretched about five blocks. It's about 40 degrees outside. They park the car and return with coffee. Mmm, caffeine.

7:15a -- We eat the breakfast bars we brought with us, understanding that Kegs and Eggs does not actually involve eggs. Probably for the best. And probably the only smart thing I did that day.

8:00a -- the doors to the club open, but we're still way far off. Someone busts out a ball and the crowd spends some time throwing it into trees and into traffic.

9:30a -- The club reaches capacity. We're still outside, but close enough to hear OAR.

10:00a -- Carbonleaf sounds great. Even from outside the club. By now, we're close enough to spit and hit the door. I'm entertained by the drunken asshole who keeps trying to push his way past the gigantic bouncers. What a tool.

10:30a -- Victory is ours! We make it in time to see Soul Asylum. To make up for lost time, we start ordering two at a time.

11:30a -- Bands are done, we move to the dance area upstairs. I let someone buy me a shot, and another round.

11:50a -- More shots. More beer.

After this point, I'm sure it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I can't tell you about it. I'm sure I liberally embarrassed myself, and it worries me a lot that those few hours are gone -- all I know is it involved a lot of puking, and a scrape on my elbow. :( I'm finally starting to feel like myself again this afternoon.

And next St Patrick's day.... I'm going to take it a lot easier.


17 March 2006

Kiss me, I'm Irish!

Happy St Patrick's day! With any luck, I'm drinking away my frostbite at Kegs and Eggs, listening to Soul Asylum, OAR, and Carbonleaf. With luck, pictures will be had this weekend! While I'm recovering, here's a link for your reading pleasure...

For St. Patrick's Day, wine with Irish spirit

By Jon Bonné

St. Patrick’s Day arrives shortly, time to toast the luck of the Irish and the joys of Celtic heritage with a glass of … wine.

And why not? True, Ireland has a reputation for appreciating a proper pint of stout or a dram of whiskey. But Irish émigrés have played a pivotal role in the world’s wine trade since the early 1700s, decades before young Arthur Guinness signed a lease on a certain Dublin brewery....

Read on..


16 March 2006

I mean this with the greatest kindness...

...that I can muster at nine o'clock in the morning. There are very few things (believe it or not, you read my blog) that can get me really bent out of shape, but sometimes, they need to be said. Such as this valid point:

Ladies, if he does not call you back when you're trying to make plans with him, for days at a time.. with no good reason.. like being out of town.. cut off from cell phone service.. or the victim of a shark attack.. he is not your boyfriend.

Or he's incredibly lame.

Either way, invest your time elsewhere, mostly so I don't have to hear about it.

That is all.


14 March 2006

Round Twenty-Five...

...I'm more optimistic about this year. I'm not sure what happened with last year's birthday. I'm in the same place in terms of my career, my relationships, etc. My goals aren't the least bit clearer -- in fact, if anything I'm hurtling through life faster for lack of direction.

But I'm starting to get less concerned about it.

At some point this weekend, I transitioned from thinking about all the things I wanted. The job I wanted, the things I thought I deserved out of relationships with my family and friends, the way I spent my time... these were all things I spent time thinking about how I would change if I could. What I wanted to have in the future.

Then I started thinking about what I had now. It was like transitioning from looking through a window, at this life I thought I should have, to a mirror, seeing the life I did have. I can't think of any other way to describe it.

And I realized that for the most part, I like the life I have. And I'm missing it, agonizing over all the things that I think should be, this is making me lose sight of the things that actually are. Life is happening, and I haven't been watching.

I like being twenty-four.. it's going to be a good year.


13 March 2006

Scientologist Isaac Hayes quits ‘South Park’

From MSNBC.com

NEW YORK - Isaac Hayes has quit “South Park,” where he voices Chef, saying he can no longer stomach its take on religion.

Hayes, who has played the ladies’ man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

“Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored,” he continued. “As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.”

“South Park” co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, “This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.”

Last November, “South Park” targeted the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, in a top-rated episode called “Trapped in the Closet.” In the episode, Stan, one of the show’s four mischievous fourth graders, is hailed as a reluctant savior by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won’t come out.

Stone told The AP he and co-creator Trey Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin.”



09 March 2006

Still waiting for the punchline...

Students say church arsons meant as ‘a joke’
3rd collegian also arrested in Alabama case
NBC News and news services
Updated: 1:35 p.m. ET March 8, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Two college students arrested Wednesday in a string of nine rural Alabama church arsons told authorities that the first fires were set as “a joke” and later blazes were intended as a diversion, federal agents said.

What kind of joke involves torching churches? I want to hear that one. "Hey, why did the chicken cross the road? To burn some Baptist churches!"
But it wasn't a hate crime. They burned five churches in the predominantly African American community, and five churches in the predominantly white community. They firmly believe in subjecting all people equally to gestures commonly associated with terror, intolerance, and so on. Those communities should be thanking those kids, for bringing something so humorous to their everyday lives.


A third college student was arrested later Wednesday in the serial arsons, according to WVTM-TV of Birmingham.

Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee Debusk Jr., both students at Birmingham-Southern College, appeared in federal court Wednesday and were ordered held on church arson charges pending a hearing Friday.

Matthew Lee Cloyd, reportedly a student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was arrested midday, the WVTM reported.

An ATF affidavit said Moseley told agents on Wednesday that he, Cloyd and Debusk went to Bibb County in Cloyd’s Toyota sport utility vehicle on Feb. 2 and set fire to five churches. A witness quoted Cloyd as saying Moseley did it “as a joke and it got out of hand,” according to the affidavit.

Moseley also told agents the four church fires in west Alabama were set “as a diversion to throw investigators off,” an attempt that “obviously did not work,” the affidavit said.

Shocking. Committing additional crimes didn't keep authorities from gathering evidence to catch them. Witnesses actually saw them fleeing one of the scenes -- clearly they haven't watched enough CSI. Scientists always catch the bad guys.

My brain hurts. :\


The greatest show ever...

...well, besides Lost, is actually on VH1.

I'm a girl. I'm allowed to say that.

I swung by the parents' house to see Kai, who's home for his break this week, and we were all sitting around watching TV when the VH1 I love Toys countdown came on. Let me just say, this was the most awesome thing ever. I only watched 89-ish to 61, and it was like walking down memory lane. Every two seconds I was like, Oh! We had that! Everything from Candyland to Risk to Rainbow Brite to Army Men.. Here were a few of my personal favorites.

  • Slip and Slide
    Nothing screamed, hey, it's summer like that huge long sheet of yellow plastic that made sprinkler time so much more fun. Now they're all high tech with jet sprays and bumpers at the end to catch you.. that, or we just had a ghetto one. A friend of mine had one of these, and going to his house was almost as good as going to the pool. It was the greatest thing in the world -- as long as you had a flat lawn. If you did (we didn't) the slide was pretty much fun until you realized there wasn't enough water on it, or until you threw yourself headfirst down the plastic only to realize some genious had set it up over a patch of rocks. One of the guys on the VH1 show, I forget who, said that the way to go was to squirt dish soap onto the slide, to make sure you never got stuck from lack of water. Why didn't we ever think of that?

  • Monopoly/Risk

    Divorce doesn't break up families. Boardgames like these do. I was torn between which game was my favorite for this. Both take frickin for-ever. Both have cool peices. Both have some element of strategy -- or at least, the chance to screw over other players. And, at least at our house, the game ultimately ended in one of two situations: the board would either be left, untouched, as if we were some day going to pick up right where we left off, or it would be thrown across the room in a flurry of plastic and dice and shouts of "I'm never going to play this game with you again!" Fortunately, there are enough people in my family that, in the unlikely event you completely forgot that promise within five minutes, there was always someone ready to start a new game.

  • Barbie

    An integral part of every little girl's life, particularly in the development of unrealistic standards tha set the framework for years of psychological anguish and social disorder. I swear, I had like forty of them, because there WAS a difference between Malibu Barbie and Rollerskate Barbie. One had crimped hair, and one had straight hair. Those bitches had everything too.. I had a townhouse, a car, a pool, a beauty shop, tons of clothes. The shoes were my favorite -- not only did they escape the warning labels that talked about choking hazards, it was inevitable that I would lose one of the pair within five minutes of opening the box. Somewhere is a void full of things like barbie shoes, and those socks that go into the drier but never come out.

  • Matchbox Cars

    Matchbox cars were the ultimate form of entertainment, kinda like the green army men. We had tons of them. We would build big cities out of blocks and drive them around, we'd throw them off furniture, sink them in the pool, and navigate them through the designs in the oriental carpet. NB: They are not microwavable. No more questions.

  • Legos

    The ultimate fallback gift, but very cool themselves. Who didn't like Legos? It was like five thousand gifts in one, especially if you didn't follow the instructions. Fun for all ages.

  • What was your favorite toy?


    08 March 2006

    Can we say... creepy?

    Trump Jokes He'd Date His Daughter

    NEW YORK - Donald Trump joked that he would date his 24-year-old daughter, Ivanka — if he weren’t her father.

    Trump and Ivanka, a vice president of real estate development at the Trump Organization, appeared Monday on ABC’s “The View” to promote her five-episode stint as a boardroom adviser on “The Apprentice.”

    When asked how he would react if Ivanka, a former teen model, posed for Playboy, Trump replied, “It would be really disappointing — not really — but it would depend on what’s inside the magazine.”

    He added: “I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    His comments drew laughs from the audience, and prompted “View” co-host Joy Behar to crack, “Who are you, Woody Allen?”

    Trump’s representative, Jim Dowd, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Trump “was absolutely joking.”

    “He was making fun of himself for his tendency to date younger women,” Dowd said. “It’s a sense of humor that people don’t see (from him) all the time.”


    07 March 2006

    Like do-it-yourself dental work...

    ..sometimes conversation with coworkers can be difficult. I started a new lab rotation about six weeks ago, and so far I really enjoy it. Even when things don't really work. The stuff I'm learning is interesting, and I like the other people in the lab. They're interesting, and pretty friendly.

    One guy, though, kinda drives me nuts. I try really hard to be nice to him, and strike up conversation, but it's difficult. He (surprise?) doesn't seem to have really well developed social skills -- he latches onto things and actually argues the wierdest points, and has these strange hangups about smells in the lab. (Our ventilation system intake apparently is located on a section of street where trucks idle, hence every so often you get this strange exhaust smell. It's not so bad... mm.. carbon monoxide.)

    In fact, he kinda reminds me of Rusty from Mad TV, just less talkative. Conversations with him end up being very one-sided after a minute or two.

    For example, I was talking with a postdoc about my weekend, and told him all about the things I did. Then the conversation moved to television, and the shows we like. Among them, Saturday morning cartoons. It's at this point that Rusty interrupted and asked me... "Wait a minute. If you were at the pool all weekend, how did you watch Saturday morning cartoons?" Another day, he was upset that our coat rack was in the lab, and insisted it be moved to another room because he was sure there was a safety issue. It stood in a corner between the wall and the laser printer.

    Oh well, it takes all kinds I guess.


    06 March 2006

    Seventy-one degrees farenheit...

    ...is supposedly the temperature at which moderate hypothermia sets in. Tonight, I spent two hours in a pool that was seventy-four, teaching guard class. I'm still cold -- thankfully I have Slanket. And coffee. Now I can just sit back and wait for my body to heap on the punishment for subjecting it to such unpleasant conditions.

    On the bright side, I swam in a meet this weekend with Master's swimming. I used to swim in high school, and got out of it in college in favor for rugby. This year, between labs when I had time on my hands, I got back into it and started swimming three or four times a week. I love it, and I feel great -- after I got over the fact that most of the women in the group, many of which are twice my age, can kick my ass. Swimming is mostly about getting into shape for me, I hate stressing about times and places and all that.. but the meet seemed like a good opportunity to hang out with some people from the group. So, for the first time in probably six or seven years, I actually raced.

    My times weren't anything impressive, and I placed really well just based on the fact there were only two women in my age bracket there the whole weekend. And I had fun. The race I was most proud of was the 400 IM, which was my goal to swim. A hundred fly, back, breast, and free. It was awful, but I finished it under my goal time, and didn't DQ.

    I think I can do it faster next time.

    Aside from that, it was an interesting meet. There were people in their nineties there, swimming races, and while they didn't move particularly quickly I think it's amazing they were there. I hope I'm doing that when I'm ninety. I liked the laid-back atmosphere of the meet. Someone actually asked, when we stepped up for an event, 'This is the 50 freestyle, right?' No stress, people who know how to laugh at each other and themselves.. this is the kind of sport I can enjoy.


    02 March 2006

    It's really a contact sport...

    Some of the things in this article from MSN just made me cringe...

    Ouch! With sex injuries, love really hurts

    The British erotic retail chain Ann Summers recently released a poll asking people if they had ever been injured during sex. One in three said they hurt themselves somewhat routinely, though the injuries were about what you might expect: rug burns (to, ahem, the knees), muscle pulls, a conk on the noggin from, say, banging into the headboard.

    But at Sexploration we hear stories, sometimes from emergency room doctors in bars. By the third martini, the stories often begin with, “You wouldn’t believe what I saw last night…”

    And so I decided to call around to emergency rooms and ask sober ER docs about the things they see, and, more importantly, what advice they might have based on their experiences, not only how to avoid the damage, but how to handle the delicate task of seeking help once the damage is done.
    What sort of injuries, you ask?
    breaking your penis isn’t rare. Guys do it when they get all pile-drivery and they miss the bull's-eye, or when she’s riding Bronco Billy and slips off the saddle. Bend a penis past the breaking point and you can snap the inner chambers, releasing blood into surrounding areas.


    One guy, whose girlfriend made an awkward landing in 1994, underwent emergency surgery and subsequently sued her claiming that years of sexual dysfunction resulted. He lost in court.

    I can't imagine the relationship lasted too long after that. Some of the do-it-yourselfers were even more impressive.
    “We present the radiological findings of a healthy young woman who presented with acute onset of abdominal pain and was found to have extensive pneumoperitoneum.” That means she had air in her abdomen. And where did the air come from? It was “Jacuzzi-jet induced”. . . . The same air-in-the-abdomen syndrome, or pneumoperitoneum, can occur during cunnilingus if your lover’s a prankster and decides to blow in your vagina as if it were a balloon. Women have died as a result. No kidding.

    “A 27-year-old lady presented with persistent cough, sputum and fever for the preceding six months … history also confirmed accidental inhalation of the condom during fellatio.”

    Please, no one explain to me how that might have worked.
    “A prospective database and photographic record of patients who presented with retained colorectal foreign bodies…The foreign bodies included a pen knife, an aerosol deodorant spray can, a blue plastic tumbler, a plastic bag containing two bank notes and some marijuana, a plastic packet containing fish hooks, a penlight [flashlight], a broomstick, a battery-powered vibrator, a primus stove, a cap of an aerosol can, a piece of wire, a piece of hosepipe wrapped with wire, and an iron bar.”

    A plastic bag full of fishhooks?!?! One can only hope that some of these injuries removed the person's ability to contribute to the gene pool.

    The moral of the story?

    Sex isn’t a minefield of danger, but accidents can happen. So when you’re imagining how good it will feel, also try to think of how bad it could feel if something went wrong.

    And if it does go wrong, do not allow embarrassment or fear of snarky questions from ER personnel to keep you from seeking help. In most cases, says Chan, even your regular doctor doesn’t have to know. So you won’t get any questions about how that zucchini got up there.