Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If elephants never forget, then I work for a pachyderm.

The mystery of grace

So today I was (as usual) doing too many things at once. Or, perhaps, doing too diverse things at once. I was...reading while walking. I often do this. But I was also planning experiments. I went to turn left around a corner into my office, something I do probably 10 times a day. I misjudged my distance, and ended up turning about a foot and a half too soon. Straight into a wall. People ask me how I can have so many bruises and wonder if I might be abused. No. I just run into walls. Often.

Introducing A

So, at 4:55 PM today, my adviser (A, which does not stand for adviser but for the first initial of her name) frantically comes up to me. I brace myself.
A: Where are those slides you took the pictures of?

queenrandom: *raises eyebrow, for lo, I have taken pictures of 200+ slides since joining her lab 3 years ago*

A: The slides! You took the beautiful pictures! Of the fly eyes!

queenrandom: Ooooooh *remembering those pictures, taken 2 years ago*

A: They are supposed to be above the microscope!

queenrandom: By the Mac, right? Yeah, I put those back from where I got them.

A: Above the Mac?

queenrandom: Above the Mac. *nodding*

A: I can't find them.

queenrandom: *raising eyebrow because I KNOW for a FACT that A rearranged that entire room not 2 weeks ago*

A: I NEED THEM! *runs off in a tizzy*
45 seconds later....
A: *running up to me* I need you to check all your drawers for the slides.

queenrandom: OK, but my bus leaves in like 5 minutes so I have to go now. I'll look tomorrow. *knowing that I won't find them because she was the last person to have them*

A: I NEED THOSE SLIDES. Fine. OK. Whatever. Yeah look tomorrow. Thank you. *runs off in a tizzy*
Scaredy Cat

Ha! I just sprayed Febreeze in my office, while Milo was in here, and he just ran out with his tail tucked between his legs. Evil spraying sound! Something that doesn't smell like sweet, sweet cat ass! RUN AWAY!!!!!

Watch out for that Febreeze. It'll gitcha!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

100 Things

I'm not feeling very creative today, so I'm stealing a blog meme and doing a 100 things about me post. I'm going to try to keep it to things that are NOT already on the blog though :)

1. I have two last names. No, not hyphenated last names. Two. Separate. Last. Names.
2. I have a dent in my thigh. I got it from an infant shot that became terribly infected. The doctors told my mom not to pop it but she didn't listen. Being a nurse, and I suspect almost as science-geeky as me, she measured the amount of pus that came out of it. It was 1 tablespoon.
3. The Tick is my hero, but secretly I adore The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight.
4. I think dark chocolate is the superior chocolate.
5. My mother has boundary issues. Once, she invited me to a sex toy party. When I was 19. When I vehemently opposed the idea, she persisted. Six months later, she tried again.
6. My favorite number is 4 and my favorite color is blue.
7. I was born on Independence Day. When my mom was in labor, she told my dad, "If it's a boy, we're naming it Yankee Doodle." I am glad I'm female.
8. This is already harder than I thought it would be.
9. I used to have a very flatulent schnauzer named Fred. He went to that great yard in the sky when I was 15. I still miss him.
10. My cat Max likes to decapitate mice. I wish I were kidding.
11. My favorite cuisines are Mexican and Indian. The spicier the better.
12. I often don't know what is socially appropriate. For instance, talking about food right after talking about dead mice.
13. My brother is seriously dating a girl with the same (somewhat unusual) name as me. It's weird.
14. I am a very successful ex-nailbiter. I have not bitten in 5 years.
15. I love garlic so much it should be illegal.
16. I don't like being hugged. I have personal space issues.
17. I don't think ice cream is all that great.
18. I spoil my pets rotten.
19. I used to be a kleptomaniac. No, seriously.
20. I love baking, but I am not so fond of cooking.
21. My hair used to be rather straight, but in the last two years, it decided to get curly. I yell at it constantly.
22. I'm constantly being mistaken for a race or ethnicity that I'm not. A lot of people think I'm Asian, some have thought I was an ethnic Jew, and once, a guy that I had known for a while swore that I was Puerto Rican. My ethnic makeup is actually (in order of degree): French/French-Canadian, Swedish, Irish, Welsh, English and Scottish.
23. My husband is Bohemian (2nd American generation though). I think that's so cool. I used to call him my gypsy until he said he didn't like it.
24. I was once called a cryptotranscendentalist.
25. When I was a kid, I didn't like to eat much, so I would store my food in my (ginormous) cheeks and hide vegetables behind my ears. Mom would find me eating hours later.
26. I went to an all-girls, Catholic high school.
27. I went to a Montesorri school instead of preschool and during my tenure there I learned how to write a few words in cursive.
28. I still have nightmares from this one time in Montesorri when I had uncontrollable diarrhea during song time.
29. I started dating LB when I was 16 years old.
30. I am bisexual. When I came out to LB, he said, "Well I could have told you that." I guess it was no secret (except from myself!).
31. I don't think I'll ever come out to my family.*
32. I am a survivor of childhood sexual assault. I was 4. Never think your child is too young to know about these things, they NEED to!
33. I am also a survivor of attempted murder. I was 10.

34. I have forgiven both of my attackers unconditionally.
35. I think this list has gotten too morose.
36. Speaking of morose, I loved Sweeny Todd. But I hate the songwriter, because that $%&$%@& Johanna song gets stuck in my head ALL THE TIME.
37. I am scared to death of clowns and people with mascot costumes on, for no apparent reason.
38. I have an eyebrow piercing.
39. I talk to myself so much that one of my coworkers once got asked if I was "all there."
40. I secretly love having pets because instead of talking to myself, I can talk to them.
41. I had never seen a satellite in the night sky until last summer. I thought it was a falling star and LB had a good laugh.
42. I think Mel Brooks is a comic genius.
43. I think there is something wrong with my sense of humor.
44. I had braces twice when I was a kid.
45. I have had plastic surgery. When I was a toddler, I was a climber (still am, actually). I had climbed onto the back of the couch, and I slipped between the couch and the wall. I didn't hit the floor though, because my upper lip caught me. So the docs fixed that. I always wondered why that was the one part of my face that wasn't asymmetric in any way.
46. I didn't find out about that surgery until I was a teenager. I was railing on about the evils of plastic surgery when my mom said, "You've had plastic surgery, you know."
47. I was born six months after my parents got married. You do the math.
48. Despite that shaky beginning, my parents are still married, 26 years later.
49. Whenever I talk to my pets, I inappropriately put an "s" on the end of words. "Freki, it's time for your dinners." "Kitties! Do you want some shrimps?"
50. I'm a genius, but you wouldn't know it from talking to me.
51. I'm also the world's biggest ditz.
52. I love stationery and other paper products so much that LB only lets me visit Office Max on special occasions.
53. I used to be a huge tomboy but now I love many girly things, including underwear, shoes, purses and makeup.
54. I'm still conflicted about this, but the conflicted feelings fade with every new pair of shoes...
55. Speaking of shoes, LB is in the final steps of purchasing a shoe store. Closing date is April 1...keep your fingers crossed!
56. I love to read.
57. I didn't used to, until we figured out that I was farsighted. After I got my reading glasses, I became a very avid reader.
58. I think I am losing my hearing, and it terrifies me.
59. I'm really really liberal. Not anarchist liberal, though.
60. I'm pretty ticklish.
61. One of my favorite "everyday treats" is vanilla yogurt with some granola and lots of ripe raspberries.
62. I love hockey. I have a secret plan to marry a hot goalie and then keep LB as my poolboy. LB thinks it's a cool plan because then he gets to be a kept man.
63. I like camping.
64. One of my favorite movie lines ever? "This is not a democracy, it is a cheerocracy."
65. I like to shoot guns. And bows.
66. The first time I ever shot, I was given a .12 shotgun. After I shot it, I fell on my ass. BUT, safety rules firmly in place in my head, I kept the gun pointing downrange at all times.
67. I have thrown a bowling ball backwards. Twice. I was drunk neither time.
68. I'm pretty religious.
69. Heh. 69. I'm also pretty immature.
70. Nothing makes me more mad than when people base their beleifs and lifestyles on things the Bible doesn't say, but they claim it does.
71. Except maybe when people use the Bible/religion as an excuse for hate and discrimination.
72. The color pink makes me twitch with rage.
73. The day I stop leaving my keys in weird places is the day the universe ceases to exist.
74. I'm a lot more sensitive than I let on.
75. I need medication just to be normal. LB and I call my medication my happy pills.
76. In case you're wondering, this is normal.
77. I am a supertaster.
78. Some of my best friends I met online.
79. Sometimes I use weird sentence structure.
80. Neither of my cats is declawed.
81. In my mother's posession is a picture of a little girl who looks EXACTLY like I did at 4-5 years old. The picture was taken nearly 50 years before I was born. She took it to a psychic and asked the psychic only to tell her about the children in the photo (there were like 8 of them), and the psychic picked out that girl, told my mom about her life and death (and was right, when my mom later researched it), and said that I was her reincarnation.
82. I have never met either of my biological grandfathers - one died long before I was born and the other was a deadbeat.
83. If 82 is the last number you saw on this post it's because I accidentally hit publish instead of save before I went home from work.
84. I sometimes talk in my sleep. I have been known to say "Get bublegum for Fred" (my former dog) and "breasts are expensive."
85. I performed in the Super Bowl XXIX halftime show.
86. I hate decorating.
87. No matter how hard I try, I can't manage to get out of bed on time.
88. My favorite flavors are lemon and raspberry.
89. I don't like to eat fish, but I like most sushi. LB is my sushi taster; if he says it's too fishy, I don't eat it. This is a sacred trust.
90. I HATE HATE HATE it when people eat off of my plate without asking. Dude! Just ask and I'll give you a bite.
91. LB and I met when he was my brother's camp counselor. I was a camper. Ooooh, naughty.
92. We discovered we went to sister schools - he went to the all-boys high school right next door to my all-girls school.
93. I stole him from his girlfriend.
94. He said he loved me for the first time on our third date. His hand was still on my boob when he said it. I reciprocated (I mean about the I love you part not the boob part).
95. During our wedding reception, we played White Wedding by Billy Idol.
96. I'm a freaky good boggle player.
97. LB won't play with me anymore, so sometimes I play with myself. Boggle, I mean, you sicko.
98. I like depressing songs that have an upbeat rhythm.
99. My major hope in life is to someday be a grandma. I'd make a kick ass grannie.
100. In my next life, I want to return as a house cat.

*Since writing this post, I came out, but unfortunately, I did so unplanned and drunk.  That is not a good idea.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ultimate Blog Party 2008! All your friends are doing it!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Or at least all mine are.

I just started blogging, oh about a week or two ago, so one of my first blogs was all about me. In short, I'm a doggymomma and a two-time kittymomma, but not a babymomma. I'm a geeky scientist who's trying to cure cancer. I've been married for nearly 5 years to my highschool sweetheart. Thankfully, people have stopped asking us when the babymakin is going to proceed.

Since I don't want to repeat myself too much from last week's post, I'll treat y'all with a general mishmash of the contents of my brain.

Phrases commonly heard in my household

"The cat does NOT want your bone!"
"Would you stop sticking your nose in my ass?"
"Max [the cat] scolded me again."
"Magic ring high-five!"
"Kitty battle!"
"I am NOT a mattress!"
"The cat is spazzing again."
"I dunno, what are you making for dinner?"

Some likes and dislikes

Like: Waking up with a kitty nose in my face.
Dislike: Waking up with a kitty butt in my face.

Like: Sleeping next to my husband.
Dislike: Sleeping under my husband, after he has rolled onto my side of the bed.

Like: Drinking white russians.
Dislike: Puking white russians.

Like: Puppy kisses on my face.
Dislike: Puppy burps in my face.

Like: Snowfall in December.
Dislike: Blizzard in March.

Like: Animals who snuggle with me while I sleep.
Dislike: Animals who use me as a springboard while I sleep.

Like: Ordering pizza.
Dislike: Paying for pizza.

Like: Eating Doritos.
Dislike: Fatty deposits from eating Doritos.

Like: My Thesis Advisor.
Dislike: My Thesis Advisor.

Some Compliments I have received

"You have the most beautiful brain I have ever seen!"
"Hey, baby. You look mean. I like that."
"I love your bellybutton."
"Is that an eyebrow ring? I have never seen anything like that. That's cool!"
"You're a good yeller."
"You would make a great goth."

About those prizes

Apparently, participants in Ultimate Blog Party 2008 are eligible to receive some pretty cool prizes. Normally I'd love some of the baby prizes, but I think LB would freak right out if I started getting baby stuff before we popped one out. On that vein, if I won a prize this year my top 3 picks would be:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gary Gygax, We Hardly Knew Ye

Alternate title: Nerd Alert

Gary Gygax died yesterday at the wonderful age of 69. Gygax was reportedly in failing health and while the cause of death has not been confirmed, it's believed to be due to an abdominal aneurysm.

Who is Gary Gygax, you might say? Gary Gygax was a god among men. OK maybe not, but he was a really creative nerd who created Dungeons & Dragons, along with Dave Arneson, and served as the creative drive behind its development through his company TSR. He protected the game from all the Rules Lawyers, insisting, as it should be, that the game continue to be fun and, most importantly, of the realm of imagination.

I'll never forget when I was first introduced to D&D, playing late into the night in the cafeteria pantry after my charges had gone to bed while I was a summer camp counselor. LB, Mark and Chris were my fellow gamers. We played AD&D, and I preferred the ranger. A few short years later, TSR was bought out by WOTC, and I was skeptical. After the 3E release, however, I was ecstatic. I attended the launch at Gen Con, and LB even won and advance copy of the DMG. After the launch of 3E I threw myself into the sorceror class, with a few fighter and rogue characters on the side. Now 4E is coming out soon, and I am once more skeptical, and alas, have not been able to find a consistent gaming group in the past 2.5 years. But over my gaming years I have many fond memories of late nights, slaying dragons, arguing better rules for the magic system, drinking Mt Dew and pigging out on pizza, puzzle-solving and role-playing.

Mr. Gygax fathered an entire subculture of which I am proud to be a part.

So, in his honor, I raise my +10 vorpal mace into the air and loose a mighty battle shout: Gygax forever!

I've got the Dungeon Master's Guide.
I've got a 12-sided die
I've got Kitty Pryde
And Nightcrawler too
Waiting there for me.
Yes I do, I do.

I've got posters on the wall,
My favorite rock group, KISS.
I've got Ace Frehley.
I've got Peter Criss
Waiting there for me.
Yes I do, I do

In the garage, I feel safe.
No one cares about my ways.
In the garage where I belong.
No one hears me sing this song.
In the garage.

I've got an electric guitar.
I play my stupid songs.
I write these stupid words
And I love every one
Waiting there for me.
Yes I do, I do

In the garage, I feel safe.
No one laughs about my ways.
In the garage where I belong.
No one hears me sing this song.

In the garage.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

In which I introduce myself

So. I'm in the third year of getting my doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a focus in Cancer Biology. For anyone who cares, I study the Ras and TGFb pathways. Mostly I play with embryo- and cancer-derived cells all day long, interrupted by brief forays onto the internet and endless meetings.

When I'm not sacrificing my soul for science, I amuse myself by reading, playing with my furbabies, and bantering with my slaveboy husband, who for the purposes of this blog shall be called Lucky Bastard (LB).

About the animals. For now, I have 3. The first addition to our family was Max Power, who has his own theme song thanks to Homer Simpson. Max is the queen bitch. He gets what he wants, when he wants it, from whomever he wants it, NOW. But he is a benevolent ruler. He rewards my indentured servitude with cuddles and mice which he has hunted down and killed. He's secretly a big loverboy though.

A little under a year after we adopted Max, we adopted a companion kitty for him, Milo. Poor Milo is content at the low end of the intelligence bell curve. His favorite activities include demanding to be petted while you poop and staring off into space for long lengths of time. He is a very sweet boy but is also a bit skittish. He can hold his own in a fight scarily well, and the dog, who outweighs him by 56 pounds, is scared of him.

Finally, just over a year ago we adopted our dog, Freki. He is part black lab, part german shepherd, and part "other". He was rescued as a puppy with his 5 siblings; their eyes were barely open and his mother had been hit and killed by a car. We're very fortunate to have him! He is a very loving dog, with much too much energy and much too much intelligence for us to keep up with. He loves playing in the snow, barking at passersby, and cuddling his baby. He is also a fetch maniac.

Attn “Mr.” Beck: Sarcasm is a poor substitute for logic

So, LB was telling me a short while ago that he can’t stand Glenn Beck, but he hasn’t yet been able to discern why. I don’t normally watch pundit shows of any type, but this piqued my interest, so I have been watching his show instead of flipping past during the commercial breaks of my normal shows. I have been quite able to put my finger on why LB wouldn’t like him, and frankly neither do I. Last night’s episode serves as a prime example of why. Aside from needing anger management therapy, what is truly disturbing about this pundit is his utter lack of any ability to put forth a logical argument. (One could argue that this is true of any pundit from either end of the political spectrum, but I think this one is particularly bad and, frankly, it probably contributes to his rather poor ratings for a conservative pundit).

In his show from Monday, March 3rd, he opened with a rant about Gloria Steinem. In the following paragraphs I will dissect his arguments with respect to logical fallacies, of which descriptions can be found here. But first I’d like to add a disclaimer: yes, I’m a feminist. In fact, sometimes I’m even cranky. I respect a lot of what Gloria Steinem has done to improve the lives of American women, and I even support some of her ideas. I actually disagree with a lot of her positions; I tend to ascribe more to third wave feminist thought as well as many of bell hooks’ theories. Just cuz Gloria and I are both feminists doesn’t mean we think the same. But that’s beside the point. Anyway, I don’t plan on addressing her or her positions here (aside from clarifications); this post is only focused on Mr. Beck’s arguments. Oh, and also, the transcript from which I pulled text can be found here.

On to business.
Well, hello, America.After this past weekend, blood shot right out of my eyes*. I can`t -- Hillary Clinton must be asking herself, "What the hell am I doing? With supporters like mine, who needs political enemies?"

According to the "New York Observer," cranky feminist Gloria Steinem spoke Saturday night at a women for Hillary campaign event in Austin, Texas, where Ms. Steinem shared some choice words for the likely Republican nominee and war hero, John McCain. So here`s "The Point" tonight.
First stop. Not included in the transcript is how Glenn used finger scare quotes (and dripping vocal sarcasm) around the title Ms (and around the word choice, too). I’m not sure what his intent was exactly, however finger quotes in a similar context are often used to denote that the word isn’t real or appropriate. “Mr.” Beck might like to know that the usage and entymology of Ms. as a title for women predates second-wave feminism and is, like Miss and Mrs., an abbreviation of the title Mistress. It had been, for quite some time, used as a title for women not specific to marital status (prior to the 17th century). The use of Ms. is actually a way in which feminism has reclaimed a word that had been traditionally used and resurrected it into the English colloquium. It wasn’t made-up by any means. If Ms. can be put in scare quotes, then, so can Mr., I suppose. This is the first example of his many ad hominem fallacies. That, or "Mr." Beck has no idea how to use finger quotes.
Good news. Gloria is irrelevant. She`s out of touch, but she is enjoying her equal right to be as moronic and idiotic as anybody else. And here`s how I got there.
Another ad hominem fallacy (in bold).

I want you to know I am -- as you can probably tell -- no fan of the 73-year-old Gloria Steinem. Never have been. Never liked her all that much. Has nothing to do with her fight for women`s rights. I support equality for women across the board. That`s the way it should be.** But I differ from Steinem in one important way: I`ve always supported a women`s right to do anything that she wants to do, and that includes staying at home and raising a family. Being a full-time mother is infinitely much more of a full-time job than anything I possibly could do, and I feel it is life`s greatest honor and responsibility. And yet, feminists like Gloria Steinem trash women like that all the time. Steinem and her all-too-aging hippy gal-pals just don`t see it that way. I believe they`ve done more to hurt the self-esteem of those women than men ever did.

Straw man fallacy (in bold). Also a lie. Ms. Steinem has said again (between 20:00 and 25:00) and again (about halfway down, on the question about the “revaluing Economics” chapter) and again that she supports homemakers, she recognizes that they perform necessary, grueling and unpaid work. One of her platforms is that homemakers should be more valued, semantically, economically and socially.

Additionally, this entire section can be seen as an ad hominem fallacy because Mr. Beck’s real point in this episode is to address her quote about John McCain. None of the above has anything to do with that quote.

She also is fervently antiwar. What a surprise! You`re kidding me! A peacenik `60s era radical? No way. Really?
Of course a peacenik is antiwar. That’s the definition of peacenik. “A bean is a legume? No way. Really?”
She was out in full force in Austin over the weekend. She wasted no time laying into John McCain. She said, and I quote, "Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and he got captured. The media would ask, `What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years`?"
This is a non sequitur. Just because Steinem uses John McCain’s name in an example, doesn’t mean she was criticizing or “laying into” him. Her argument is that a female POW from that era would not be treated the same way as a male POW was.
Unbelievably, the audience laughed.

And then she followed up with, quote, "I mean, hello? Is this supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don`t think so." That was clever. She must have speechwriters. "I am so grateful," she went on to say, "that Clinton hasn`t been trained to kill anybody." Well, you know what? With all of that malicious bull crap, here`s the point you need to know tonight, America.
In bold: again, non sequitur. This actually just a continuation of the previous non sequitur. Italicized: A separate non sequitur; Mr. Beck does not show how the statement is “bull crap” ergo there is no logical reason to believe it is.
You may not want to vote for John McCain, and you know, you may not respect John McCain`s politics, but he has earned the right to be respected for his service and sacrifice to this country, hasn`t he? I can`t even imagine the full extent of his wounds. He lived in a bamboo cage for five and a half years. And they pulled his arms out of the sockets.
This is a false continuum. Saying being a POW is not supposed to be a qualification for president is not saying that he hasn’t earned the right to be respected for being a POW. This might also be considered a straw man.
I believe the time that he spent living in Vietnam prison camps in a bamboo cage probably taught him a couple of things about commitment, about loyalty, about courage. Those sure sound like traits I want in my president. Now, let me be clear. If -- if -- if the liberal thinking is that you can`t take apart John Kerry, you know, for throwing away medals, how could you possibly take apart John McCain for living in a bamboo cage?
In bold: both a false reductio ad absurdum (one doesn’t have to “take apart” Kerry to “take apart” McCain, even though they both served in the military) and a false dichotomy. (Mr. Beck also seems to think that Steinem speaks for all liberals and/or is the only source of liberal thinking. I’m not sure which type of logical fallacy this is, but it’s certainly incorrect). Italicized: The same, original non sequitur/straw man. Steinem never criticized McCain for “living in a bamboo cage”.
You know what? Sorry, Gloria. But in case you haven`t realized, we need selfless Americans like John McCain serving our country. And John McCain ain`t alone. There are countless thousands like him, and they are trained to kill people because people are trying to kill us. Although you`re scary enough to scare away some of our freakiest enemies, I`ll bet.
Another ad hominem (in bold).
Old lady activists may be good at getting applause from progressive political rallies, but they suck at defending our nation.
Ad hominem. Yawn.

I stopped watching at this point, because I figured the commercial break for Futurama was over (I was right). However, when I looked up the transcript for this show, it seemed Mr. Beck’s guest had a much better grasp of logic than he did:
Rep. Heather Wilson (R), New Mexico: I thought that what Gloria said was appalling and offensive to everyone who`s ever served in the military, including the many men and women who have -- have been captured in the service of their country.
This actually follows from Steinem’s assertion that a female POW would not be as respected and honored as a male POW. See, Glenn? Countering your opponent’s argument logically and concisely isn’t that hard. It seems you entirely missed “The Point.”

* I would truly love to see that. I am glad, however, that he did not use the overused, wrong and stupid adjective of “literally”.

** Translation: “I’m not sexist, but…” A nice way to subvert the truth of the following statement, much like “No offense” and “Bless her heart”.