Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blizzard Blog '09

First things first: Flikr is being a douche (or maybe it's user error but hey I don't feel bad hatin on a conglomeration of code so I absolve myself of responsibility :P) so the album link is here, sorry I can't link individual pics today.

Here's our own personal snow gauge. Our deck furniture doesn't get much wind, so the snow accumulates nicely on it. How many inches does that look like? I think it's over a foot.

I Must Be Insane

Here I am sitting at work at quarter to nine during what has to be one of the worst blizzards I have ever seen. Aside from the M.D. who is required to be here, I am the only person on my floor who decided to work. Well let me back up, there is a story here if I can glean it.

My current thesis adviser informed me this October - on the day I returned to work from a week and a half bout of H1N1, no less - that come June she was leaving this institution and accepting a better position at another institution. Having only been in her lab for a year, and after all the crap with my former adviser, I silently screamed, then had a heart attack. But we have a plan. The plan is, well, my work is going well so we need to get published ASAP. The hope is to at least be have the manuscript accepted and in revision by June. Ideally revisions would be completed by then and I could start writing my thesis while some other PI babysits me (this school is not huge on students doing things independently without the official, watchful eye of a faculty member). If not there are labs I can do my revisions in; we'll just make sure to order all the supplies I need before she leaves.

The upshot of this is that I've been working my (somewhat sizable) ass off since then to the exclusion of all else. I'm surprised my hair hasn't started falling out yet (I kid I kid). So I planned three huge and costly experiments for this week, taking multiple days each but the most work and expense culminating on the last day. It's called flow cytometry, and at my institution, we have a group of people who, once you've prepared your samples, will run them through the cytometer and do basic sorting and analysis for you. I have completed two and today is the last day of the third, which would conclude this chapter of my research and be a nice, pretty little graph in my manuscript.

Cue blizzard.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Resolved: We are investing in kilts.

LB and I have both recently had pants-related disasters which have left me wondering whether we are responsible enough to be allowed to wear them.

So the other day I was wearing my skinny jeans. But these particular skinny jeans are a little weird; they seem to get skinnier every time I wash them and never relax again. Also? While they have plenty of room in the butt, hips and thigh, what I didn't expect is that they would be tight on my monstrous calves (srsly. I have had distance runners astonished by my calf muscle size). So after work I change into my sweats. This day, as I am attempting to pull my skinny jeans off my calves, and they are just not coming off; they are much tighter than usual. I gather my strength give a good jerk, managing to yank so hard that I pull my feet out from under me. As I am falling, in what can only be described as fortuitous clumsiness, instead of landing straight on the floor I instead fall into the corner of the mattress, bounce off in the opposite direction, then land on the floor - looking very dignified with my jeans around my ankles.

LB has this ancient pair of dress pants he had somehow inherited, and whether they were structurally sound was in question. This question was answered several months ago, when LB bent over and ripped the buttcrack seam. Like, all the way from taint to waistband. Normally I mend clothes, since between the two of us, I am the least unhandy with a needle. But this was too much for me; I knew that A) I would not be able to get a straight line so his butt would look wavy and B) I would get an ADHD attack halfway through and the stitches would get large and ineffective. So I told him to take them to a tailor. Apparently at some point he instead put them back into the laundry hamper, and they were washed and folded as usual. The other day, LB put them on and wore them to work, NOT NOTICING THE FOOT LONG HOLE IN THEM as he put them on. He briefly tried to blame me when he got home, but I pointed out that not noticing a hole THAT big in the pants you're stepping into was no one's fault but his own. He capitulated, without admitting defeat. I had a laugh at his expense.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How I Spent my Sunday

Did you know that cats can projectile vomit?

All over your hands and satin robe?

Thank you, Max. Love ya.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This story is awesome. The hero of our story, Dennis LeRoy Anderson, owns a custom, motorized La-Z-boy, which in and of itself is awesome. Not only could he drive it around town (and, as will soon be pertinent, to the bar), but it has a stereo and cupholders built in. Genius. GENIUS! As any person in their right mind would do, he tooled this chair down to the bar one Monday evening and proceeded to get smashed. When Mr. Anderson decided that he had partied enough, he drove his La-Z-boy home. Except poor Mr. Anderson didn't make it home that night; because he was so drunk, he crashed his La-Z-boy into a parked car in the parking lot. Sadly, Mr. Anderson was then issued a DWI and to add insult to injury, his chair was confiscated. All for having the genius of getting wasted in his own, personalized, motorized recliner. Moral of the story: In Minnesota, motorized furniture, while completely awesome, is still considered a vehicle, so don't drive it drunk. Call a friend with a pickup to get a ride home so you can enjoy many more days of getting drunk in your personalized, motorized La-Z-boy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Book Blog Posts!

I recently reviewed I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, and 1984 by George Orwell.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deep Thoughts

  1. I am really enjoying Glee. Except if they don't stop with the autotune already I may have to stab their sound director.
  2. Actually, the whole damn music industry can stop with the autotune any day now. Really. What is so special about sounding like every song was recorded in an echo chamber? I mean, it was cool and paradigm-shifting when Cher did it minimally for effect for the first time but it's starting to get ridiculous. Kind of like Snoop Dogg and the "izzle" craze.
  3. That balloon boy thing pisses me off. And not about the expense or the attention-whorishness. No, I'm pissed because these people used their child to get 15 minutes. They manipulated him into lying for their own ends. I feel bad for that poor kid; I hope all the money they made on their reality shows will go towards his years and years of therapy.
  4. I could really go for a hot glazed doughnut right about now.
  5. Oh did I mention I got H1N1? I was in bed basically for a week and a half. That is one nasty bug, and I would not wish it on my worst enemies.
  6. When I had H1N1? I was bored. So I read 1984. Reading a book that deals with the perception of reality and cognitive dissonance whilst delirious from fever will give you metaphysical crises in seconds flat.
  7. I used to bake a lot. I want to get back into that, but I am lacking inspiration. What are your favorite baked goods, readers?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

With all the craziness going on in my life I set out in search of ways to relax and unwind:
  • Not Always Right - The blog of customer stupidity for anyone who's ever had the, erm, joy of serving people for a living.
  • STFU Parents - For the Facebooker who is tired of the TMI parents post about their offspring, including bowel movements, becoming a woman, and WTF this is.
  • I need to install a skylight just so I can try this.
  • What would really happen if zombies attacked.
  • Toilet signs from around the world (the Legoland one is awesome).
And now I'm off to have some chicken noodle soup and ginger ale; I got attacked by a nasty flu and my eyes are starting to tire of the monitor :P

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 3

We stayed at our second camp on Cherokee Lake for 3 nights. The morning after setting up camp, we made a short day trip to Long Island Lake. When we were renting our canoe, the outfitter who was dealing with us gave us some recommendations; this was one of them. The eastern half of this lake’s shoreline had burned in the big fire of 2006, and it sounded worth a see. We only packed the food pack – so we didn’t have to leave it unattended in camp – and only had 3 very short portages, so this day was not nearly as exhausting as the day before. We left around 10AM and reached our destination around noon. On the way there, we had to lift over a muddy beaver dam (although I was able to avoid the mud as was Freki – he’s very delicate and always steps around mud and puddles). One of our portages also had a very muddy spot that LB plopped right into. Another portage had a gorgeous rocky stream that we stopped at briefly. When we got to Long Island Lake, we looked for a spot to stop and lunch. We found a large rock or tiny island, depending on how you look at it, right across from the burn-down area.

It was a very nice, sunny spot, and the water around it was quite deep. Freki set off swimming away from the rock immediately – oftentimes when he doesn’t have an objective while swimming (such as fetching or eating water bugs), he just determinedly sets off perpendicular to shore as if he’s never returning – and we had to call him in to keep an eye on him. He spent the whole time paddling around the water with hardly a pause.

LB and I had a nice lunch until some bee decided to come buzzing around my head. Eventually LB was able to kill it, although I did wish he hadn’t used the cheese knife. Eh, more protein. Then, as LB was cleaning off the knife, I looked over to see a mass of bloody black thing on LB's ankle. It was a pile of leeches feasting on his flesh. The blood drained from my face, near as quickly as it was draining from his ankle, as I whimpered and squeaked "Leeches!" while pointing at the insidious mass. He found several more throughout the day, some were hiding in the black sole of his Chacos, and one huge gigantic bloated one was spotted by me at the last portage on the way home. After lunch, I took some pictures then we packed up and returned to camp (back over the beaver dam OF DOOM AND LEECHES).

When we got to camp, it was only 2:30PM, so we spent the afternoon relaxing a bit. We waded in the water a bit, washed up, and tossed Freki’s water Frisbee.

As we dried off I had LB rub the knots out of my shoulders for a while on our sunny rock on the beach. We had our dinner and got a relaxing night’s sleep.

We spent the next day in camp; we slept in, then had oatmeal with dried fruit for breakfast, which was DELICIOUS (we mixed the fruit with the oatmeal before adding the hot water, so they remoisturized and warmed a bit). As I was starting up the Jetboil to boil water for our breakfast, I felt some small thing hit the back of my head. I paused briefly, thinking, oh something must have fallen out of the tree. Then something hit my shoulder, and shortly after a pine bud flew past my arm and impacted the ground. I then heard the loud chatter of an angry red squirrel. I was under attack! Freki soon came to my rescue and barked up the tree that the poor little squirrel was inhabiting.

After breakfast, we played card games and water fetch with Freki most of the day, then hung out by the campfire late into the evening. It was nice to have a lazy day around camp to work out all the sore muscles and recuperate for the next day's travel.

The next morning we headed out to our third and final campsite, of which I do not have a picture. We paddled back to Sawbill Lake the same way we had come to Cherokee Lake, but this time there was only one leech (that we saw) on Freki, since we were both much more cautious when crossing beaver dams. Our third campsite was nestled in the woods and had separate areas for the fire and for the tent. We spent some time swimming here, but mostly we slept and prepared to leave early Saturday morning. We woke up early the next morning to the sound of a deer rutting off in the woods, although we never saw him. We skipped breakfast and paddled just under 2 miles back to Sawbill Outfitters. On our way out, we stopped by a cafe in Tofte to grab the most delicious lattes and pecan cinnamon rolls I've ever had (eating naught but granola bars and freeze-dried food for a week had no effect on their flavor, I'm sure). LB drove the whole way back, while Freki slept and I got some pictures of the scenery, although unfortunately it was too foggy to get a picture of Lake Superior.

Despite its shaky start, our vacation was great for everyone. The weather was perfect (mid-70's, sunny, no rain all week), there were few bugs, and we got a lot of fresh air and exercise. We were all exhausted for a few days after coming back, but it was worth it.

Previous Episodes:
Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 1
Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 2

Friday, September 25, 2009

Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 2

Our first morning in the BWCA, Freki and I woke up around 7:30. LB wanted to sleep some more, so we hiked up to the point near camp and took a few pictures.

We then hiked through the woods a little bit, where I found some wild raspberries that we decided to have with breakfast.

After packing up camp, we set off for a long day of portaging. We ended up portaging almost a mile, total, but it was supposed to be longer; one of our portages was made very short thanks to a beaver dam. My pack weighed close to a third of my body weight, and was about twice my width. As I trekked through the woods, I found myself often pondering Sherpa guides and wondering how they avoided shoulder knots. After the last portage, we paddled down Cherokee Creek, which, at one point, had a beaver dam that we had to lift the boat over. Now, I was paddling the front of the canoe, lacking the skill to steer it. The person in the front is responsible for landing the canoe by stepping one foot out when land is near, without tipping the boat. I had to do this with the beaver dam, which was approximately one foot thick. I missed. The water was easily over my head, but I at least hit the dam. My right leg went somewhat through it, and I was in muck up to my hip (there is probably a beaver cursing my name as she tries to fix the hole I created). I somehow flung my left leg out of the boat, likely over my own head, so as not to tip it, and then fought slippery muck to get up onto the dam. Eventually we got the boat over, and I was almost dry before we made camp. When we pulled the canoe up on shore, I noticed 2 leeches clinging to the bottom of it. I FREAKED.RIGHT.OUT. Because, dude. The three phobias I have, paralyzing, mind-freaking phobias? Bees, ticks, and LEECHES. ZOMG. After putting down the canoe I excused myself, ran off into the woods and checked VERY THOROUGHLY everywhere the beaver dam had touched (thankfully, I had no leeches on me - what I would have done had I found them, I'm not sure, since I'm afraid to touch them). After this, I quietly regained my composure and shorts, then went back down to the beach. There was a gorgeous sloped rock into the beach, facing the sunset, where LB and I finished the wine, cheese & salami. I had a quick wade to wash out my mucky clothes, then we built a great fire (some kind people before us had gathered quite a bit of wood) and hung out there until bedtime.

Next Episode: Holy Hell More Leeches!, Combative Squirrels, and More Nature Crap!

Previous Episode:
Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 1

Coming up next:
Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 3

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 1

So I alluded to being busy in my previous post. For a week at the beginning of September, LB, Freki and I took a trip to the Boundary Waters. Oh, except the day we were supposed to leave? One of our pipes burst a leak. Fan-freaking-tastic. So my father in law came over and fixed it, but we ended up leaving the next morning at 7AM, after packing furiously until about 3AM. (We had originally wanted to leave around midnight, then take turns sleeping in the car). I surprised myself with my endurance by driving to our entry point - nearly the entire length of Minnesota - with only 2 pee breaks, on 3 hours of sleep. What can I say – I’m a champ. Or a glutton for punishment. I’m not sure which.

We got to Sawbill Outfitters around 4 to pick up our permit and rent our canoe. When we picked up our permit, we were required to watch a cheesy video, most likely produced in the early 90’s, about not feeding bears or leaving trash or taking things. Finally we could go down to the water and load the boat:

After getting to the send-off, about 0.02 seconds were wasted before Freki decided to try to get into the water. He wasn’t so sure about jumping in from the dock-like send-off

but quickly found a way around that:

We finally hit the water around 4:30PM. LB said some insulting things about my paddling, and I informed him I’d never been properly trained and it had been at least a decade since I’d set foot in a canoe. He backed off and instructed me on proper technique. Within a half hour he was remarking on what a quick learner I am, and I was like, "DUH, I am TEH AWSUMNESS!" After harassing a few other paddlers, we learned that a certain campsite was likely still unclaimed, and made our way there. It was gorgeous!

Freki played in the water and angred the little red squirrel who made his/her home way too close to camp. S/he was chattering at us the whole time we were there.

After setting up camp, we ate some cheese, salami & crackers that we had packed for lunch, but obviously we had eaten lunch on the road. We also pulled out a nalgene full of the newest cheap wine that my mother was obsessing about and had given us a few weeks ago (we figured it’d make great camp wine – it could only get less sweet with oxidation). While eating dinner and building a kind of piddly fire, we noticed a family of beavers across the way building a lodge. At first, we only saw one beaver. The family leader got curious about us and swam up to check us out.

After s/he was satisfied we weren’t trouble, other adults and young came out to assist in the building. We let Freki play in the water too long, and he never quite dried off, since it was quite humid that night, poor puppy. I think he was OK, though, thanks to his thick undercoat; his skin was probably dry.

Next episode: Wild Raspberries, Nature Pictures, ZOMG LEECHES, and more!

Coming up next:
Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 2

Boundary Waters 2009 - Part 3

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sorrow and Anger

Well. It’s been a while. I had some stuff happen in my personal life that scared me off blogging for a bit (and I may at some point change my blog from public to private because of some of it), and after that I got really, really busy (more on that later). Some of the stuff I won’t get into here, some I will:

I met my friend eas through, of all things, a wedding planning website years & years ago. I attended her wedding and met her husband, and we’ve visited a few times over the years. She is a beautiful person who is wry, determined, practical, sensitive, and great to hang out with over margaritas. Her husband is a stand-up guy who is sweet, funny as hell, respectful and kind. Just about a month ago the worst thing that could happen, happened to them. Eas was 20 weeks pregnant and went into premature labor. Their son, Gabriel Ross, was born alive and died in their arms.

Many of our friends have written their support, and I have lagged behind. Every time I sit to try to write, my chest gets tight and tears start to well up in my eyes. I can’t write what is in my heart because it just seems so selfish and inappropriate. You see, this is how my little sister Emily died. All these years, all the childhood therapy and it just comes flooding back like it happened yesterday.

It wasn’t exactly the same, but I won’t go into too many details, for the sake of eas’ and my family’s privacy. Emily had hair. Hair! Thick, black hair, like mine. She looked like me. The picture of the sister I named but never got to meet is seared in my retinas. Her head was still conical from the birth. Some say it was a blessing – upon necropsy (they don’t call it autopsy on a stillbirth), they found that she had a hole in her heart that would have made her life difficult if not short. My parents told me we couldn’t have the remains, the hospital wouldn’t let us have them. Instead we planted a poplar tree in our back yard. The tree is still there, so tall and strong, like she never got to be.

And when I think of eas, this is all I can think of. So I waited to write. Got advice from a friend. Because this is her time of mourning, not mine. This is not about me. But it is something I have to get out of my system, something I need to talk about. I’ve been afraid of what to say to eas out of worry of imposing my feelings into the situation; I worry that my cautiousness has made me seem distant.

And I’m mad. As a sister, I’m sure that my pain does not compare to that of a mother losing her child. But I know the pain that I feel, and I’m mad that my friends have to feel the pain that my parents did. I’m mad that we as a species know so little about pregnancy and childbirth, and that we do so fucking little to expand our knowledge. I’m filled with rage at the completely inhuman way my friend was treated by the hospital staff when she was in the biggest crisis of her life, which was similar to the way my parents were treated. I’m mad that a quarter of a century later my parents still can’t bring themselves to talk about what happened in more than fragments, that I had to tell my little brother that he had not one, but two older sisters, that my mom could say nothing more but to confirm it. I’m mad that I still don’t tell people that I had two younger siblings, when they know only one is alive, because I don’t want to have to go into details. Only my husband knows everything about her life that I do. And I want to pour all this energy and love into eas, but I want to give her the space to mourn, too, without being burdened by my baggage. Because I love her and I want her to make it through this dark night and I know that she can because she is strong. So maybe I’ll just pray that Emily and Gabriel can find each other and play together and be at peace, wherever they are.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's your breakfast, and it's happy to see you!

I tore the label off my peach and this is what it looked like afterward. Pretty cool, huh? (Well, a smiley face would have been cooler)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This Would Be Ironic, In Alanis Morisette's World

I will preface this by saying: I am 95% sure I'm fine.

I got hit by a car on the way home from work. Walking.

I was running late, and was walking across the street. There was a van stopped at the stoplight. I cut across the street behind the van, which randomly decided to back up. Instincts kicked in. I put out my left hand, slapped the van hard and used its momentum to push my body away from it. It wasn't moving fast and I was able to absorb the blow with my forearm and keep anything else from getting hit. I continued forward movement, when it suddenly dawned on me, "Hey! That car just HIT ME!" In disbelief I half turned to look at it, at which point I tripped on the curb, torqued my ankle and fell on my hip. I landed on mostly muscle and fat so I'm a bit sore there, but everything else seems fine. I'll stop by urgent care if anything hurts more than a bruise, which is what it feels like now.

But honestly, who manages to avoid being injured by being hit by a car, only to injure herself by tripping over a curb? FML

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why I Love Being Short

I'm short. 5'3", to be exact, although I was 5'2" from about 7th grade until midway through college. A lot of the time I get bogged down and grumpy about all the negative sides of being short - things I can't do, clothes I can't wear, shitty things people do and say (folks, my head is NOT an armrest, and I DO have plenty of reasons to live, tyvm), etc etc. Today I decided to think about the positives of my height:
  • I always have an excuse to get someone else to change lightbulbs.
  • I don't fall as far when I trip.
  • My feet will never hang off the end of a bed.
  • I can sleep as comfortably on most couches as if they were a bed (well..a lumpy bed. With cushions).
  • My height wouldn't cause difficulties for me when traveling in prettymuch any foreign country (although my legs are still too long to sit comfortably in most airplanes - I think they are designed for toddlers).
  • I generally don't have to look out for low-hanging branches when out and about.
  • When we hug, my head rests comfortably on LB's chest and I can listen to his heart.
  • I will never hit my head on a doorframe unless I am wildly uncoordinated.
  • I can sit comfortably in most adult-sized chairs.
  • I can sit and drive comfortably in most cars.
  • At my height, I'm actually TALLER than the world average.
  • I have a lower cancer and heart disease risk than my tall peers and am less likely to die in a car crash.
  • I can experience and react to the world faster than tall people thanks to temporal binding.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Really Good Grill

I am sitting here trying to figure out why I am so relaxed and happy today (I even got a "What the HELL is with you and your perky perkiness, who is this woman and what have you done with my wife?" from LB this morning.)

I mean, this weekend was not all that great. Thursday was a normal work day, then I came home to an evening of weeding and raking and bagging and other general yardwork. Friday I relaxed, played some WoW, and did some laundry. Saturday I worked at the store for 7 hours in sandals that gave me blisters. Sunday I worked at the store some more. I got little to no sleep and was tired as hell all weekend. Not a super fab relaxing weekend, right? Or was it?

Friday night LB and I grilled some of our signature Super Stinky Burgers* and hung out by our fire pit with beer. Saturday night LB took me out for a birthday dinner, then we came home and watched fireworks. Sunday, LB's best friend came over and we grilled some brats, then hung out with beer again, playing fetch with Freki and shooting the shit. Hell I was tired all weekend not primarily because of work, but because I had so much fun sitting out next to the grill that I stayed up way too late.

I realized today that even though I worked like a dog on most of my vacation, I still had a great weekend. Sitting down with your people, having a beer (or three), chatting over a hot grill with good food can really change the day from something stressful to something fun and relaxing.

So here's to a good grill, because really, it can make all the difference between a good weekend and a crappy one. Well, that and beer.

*Grill a burger as usual. Place thick slices of onion on top of burger when nearly cooked. Slather on some minced garlic and jalapeno. Top with cheese, preferably muenster and pepper jack. Remove from grill when cheese is melty. Toast bun. Enjoy with or without condiments. Later on and well into the next day pop breath mints like they're candy, in between multiple tooth brushings.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Work is da poop...and other obscure computer game references

My 28th birthday is coming up. It's the first time I feel a bit...sad about my birthday. I had a lot of goals, a lot of things I wanted to do before I turned 28 (most people pick like 30; I just roll a little different I guess). Some of them I've completed, but some of the bigger ones, I haven't, and those make me sad. I usually meet the goals I set out for myself, so not completing one is very disconcerting and demotivating to me. Also, I have to work on my birthday, and work is da poop.

Speaking of work, I have recently gotten some great results that really make my thesis project into a nice little (sexy!) story. The gene interaction I have found will really up the impact factor of my eventual paper, regardless of what I find next. I have a biological effect, backed by a known effector of the pathway, which is a very famous oncogene, and this interaction fits very well into a model of both normal brain development and medulloblastoma formation (which is what I am studying). There's more work to be done, of course, but I have a very solid foundation at this point which, in the context of thesis research (especially in my circumstances), is pretty fucking huge. So that's good. With hard work I think I can get out of here in 1.5 years maximum, 1 minimum, depending on if I'm lucky and all my experiments magically do not require troubleshooting :P

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Blog: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

New post up at the book blog, reviewing The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Once I can find my copy of Ahab's Wife, that'll be up, too.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bits & Pieces

  • OK first? My ISP majorly blows. I do NOT like random multi-day outages.
  • Second, this? is awesome. "So, Bob, what do you do for a living?" "Well, Jill, I take pictures of penguin shit from outer space." Actually I do think it's a bit creative and cool.
  • Definition: Irony (n) - Being shit-scared of falling down and hurting oneself when rollerblading for the first time in a year, then injuring oneself removing rollerblades immediately after sighing relief due to an injury-free hour of rollerblading.
  • Sammiches are awesome. Especially the variety with hard salami and spicy peppers. Someday my stomach is going to just up and quit, methinks.
  • This is totally sick and wrong (no pun intended): 60% of all bankrupcies are due to medical debt; over three-quarters of those bankrupt people had health insurance. We need to get the hell on this. From the bottom up. I had a 15 minute doctor visit a few months back when I hit my head on a shelf (aaaand that's a story for another day). The bill was $150 (thank God for my insurance). That's $10 a minute for someone to have me touch my nose with my finger and walk in a line. And, this is at one of the "cheaper" health systems in the country. This system is fucked from the ground up. Universal health care won't be a cure all. We need more.
  • This song is awesome: Guess Who Ran Away With the Milkman by The Pipettes (if only for the title, ha!). Click to listen, srsly. They're a 60's girl group reimagined in punk style. Here's the refrain:
I don't want to get a mortgage
or think of when I'm sixty-three
Or in terms of dogs and babies
I know how much you love me
But I don't think I love you

  • I realized today that I adore break-up songs like most people adore love songs. Also? Songs that are depressing in lyric but happy and upbeat in instrumentals are my faves. There is something wrong with my brain.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Truth is Brutal

LB(from the bathroom): Aaaaw. *heavy sigh*

QR: Huh?

LB: I was just weighing myself.

QR: That scale weighs light by about 8 pounds, you know.

LB: (imagine high-pitched scandalized valley girl shriek) Uh! No it doesn't! Fuck you!

The messenger! She...has..beeeen...shoooooooooooooot....ugh *dies*

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Silence is the Enemy

This post will be unpleasant. It is meant to be. I'm sure some of you know what I have gone through, and that it is difficult for me to write about rape. But my discomfort in writing, and anyone's discomfort in reading pales in comparison to what women and girls are living daily. For their sake, educate yourself, speak out, donate. Our eyes need opening.

There is an online movement happening to raise awareness and action to end the systematic rape of women and girls. While we seek to end all rape, the main focus of this movement is to end the rape of the majority of females in the war-torn countries of Liberia and the Congo, where rape was used as a tactic of war. As Dr. Denis Mukwege explains, in a column penned by Bob Herbert :

“Once they have raped these women in such a public way,” he said, “sometimes maiming them, destroying their sexual organs — and with everybody watching — the women themselves are destroyed, or virtually destroyed. They are traumatized and humiliated on every level, physical and psychological. That’s the first consequence.

“The second consequence is that the whole family and the entire neighborhood is traumatized by what they have seen. The ordinary sense of family and community is lost after a man has been forced to watch his wife being raped, or parents are forced to watch the rape of their daughters, or children see their mothers raped.

“Neighbors are witnesses to this. Many flee. Families are dislocated. Social relationships are lost. There is no more social network, village network. Not only the victims have been destroyed; the whole village is destroyed.”
Women and girls are being sexually mutilated: raped so severely they will never bear children, cannot walk for months, have permanent incontinence. Some have been raped to death. And those are just the physical scars. It began as a tactic of war, and continues long after the wars have ended. It is estimated that in Eastern Congo, 1,100 women are raped a month. One thousand one hundred. In some regions, it is rare to find a female who has not been raped.

What You Can Do

Educate yourself:
Participate in Silence is the Enemy:
For too long, rape has been a subject relegated to whispers and innuendo. This silence has placed victims into a realm of shame and isolation, though we are many. This silence has allowed rapists to ruin lives with impunity. Do not stigmatize victims or empower rapists, rapist sympathizers and rape apologists: Refuse to be silent. We will be heard.


Well, I broke my streak. A very close family member needed me, and I was unable to post. He is much better now, no worries :)

I will continue to write every day from this day foreward, until the end of this week, which would have been the original 4 weeks. More later.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

No post tonight

Well that's an ironic post title. But, don't want to be neglecting my duties. Something important has come up and I don't have time to make a post today. I should have more time tomorrow. I apologize.

Free Association Friday, or Autopublish Fail

Note: I had thought I hit an autopublish for this for last night, but apparently I hit save instead. D'OH!

Today's word is: Pluto

Ah. Pluto. The planet that never was. Or was, and then wasn't. Counted among the planets, then stripped of its status, just because it was small and far away. It even has moons! How can something without moons not be a planet? I was scandalized the day Pluto was demoted. After all, science curriculum from first through seventh grades was looking at leaves, raising chicks or chameleons, and the NINE planets! Let's all hold a moment of silence, then raise our glasses in remembrance of poor, poor Pluto! (It occurs to me that this isn't really free association but when one's finger randomly lands on Pluto, this is difficult!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Urgence de Mode

I used to work for a cirque that was based in Ontario; when they stopped by Minnesota, blocks away from my apartment, I got a job womanning the box office. In the box office, I had some flamingly french bosses. Pascal loved to watch the customers walk by and we were instructed, if we saw an outfit gone hideously awry, to yell "Fashion Emergency!" (we were in the box so no one outside could hear) so he (and everyone else cramped in the box) could run to our window and behold the nightmare. Well, one day, one of the managers left their walkie-talkie on and a customer overheard our titilation. We were instructed, the next day, to substitute Urgence de mode! since most minnesotans don't understand french anyway.

Well, at my current institution, we have missing person alerts from time to time. 99% of the time they're benign, like, someone wandered off to the bathroom without telling their spouse. There are a lot of people here and it's easy to get lost in a crowd. This morning, I hear the usual PA announcement: "Attention, attention. There is a missing person. Last seen in XXX building. 78 year old male wearing blue jeans, a white t-shirt with a flag and a Harley." I immediately thought "Urgence de mode!" That man wasn't missing, he was just kidnapped for a quick round of What Not to Wear. (less than 10 minutes later we got the all clear announcement, I'm not a complete monster :P)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My fuckit list

I actually started this a while ago before the meme got old, but you'll have to take my word for it :P

So here's my (growing) list of things that, at some point I had considered I would/could/should do, but, fuck it:
  • Eat anything containing insects.
  • Go on a road trip.
  • Run a marathon.
  • Learn how to change the oil in my car.
  • Cut butter out of my diet, even temporarily.
  • Not waste any time.
  • Have a spotless house.
  • Making everyone around me happy.
  • Go hunting.
  • Gamble at a casino.
  • Keep a diary.
  • Waste my time taking the stairs just to get that minuscule amount of exercise, when the elevator is faster.
  • Try to understand/be understood by toxic people.
  • Tweeting.
  • Wear uncomfortable pants because they look good or are in.
  • Read a boring book just because it's a "classic" (I'm looking at you, Gatsby).
  • Put up and/or shut up.
  • Purposely tan.
  • Give a crap about "social networking."
  • Learn to appreciate modern art.
  • Vote for the lesser of two evils rather than the best candidate.
  • Deal with people who piss me right the fuck off.
  • Read/discuss/think about any more Jane Austen books, especially if someone claims "Oh but this is the good one, it's not like the others!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Crux

10PM and I'm seeking inspiration for a post. LB suggests I write about what's been on my mind; he knows what it is but I only just admitted it to him today. But I suppose with his blessing....

I was a bit cryptic in this post. The problem is, I want to have a kid, and LB doesn't. And I don't just want a kid in the abstract. I want one yesterday. My best years have come and gone, the aches and pains of getting older are already catching up with me (I realize this is a bit melodramatic for someone who's only almost 30; still fertility peaks in the early-mid 20's and I'm past that). Or maybe they're from stress; it hardly matters, since my career can only get more stressful from here.

And I know I have a good 1.5-2 years of school left, that we're in no financial position to have a kid and, even if we were, LB's responsibilities at the store would leave me with most of the childcare on top of going to school. But that doesn't change the longing in my heart, and it doesn't make it sting less every time I hear someone else is pregnant (I feel like the last person in the world who will recieve the honor; hell for all I know I'm infertile).

LB talks about how he'll be happy to have a kid once we're stable (he used to talk of kids without stipulation, before we were married). When we got married, stable meant a lot different of a thing than it means now. It has been a moving goalpost in our marriage. Every time we talk, he talks about maybe he just doesn't want a kid "right now" and when the time is right he'll want one. I'm skeptical. But otoh, I have had this same skepticism in our relationship before. Before we were engaged, we had dated for about 6 years. LB went on a month-long trip; while he was gone on that trip I decided, since he had fed me a line about not wanting to get married "right now" but maybe someday, that I'd give him until our lease was up, then I was moving on, since it didn't seem we were on the same page anymore. On that same trip LB decided to propose to me. So, you see, I have simultaneous hope and pessimism. I don't know what to believe, and my gut is so hurt it can't give me any hints. I don't know whether to wrench my heart from the person I love, or from the children I would love, or whether I even need to make that decision.

All I know is that my nightmare is to wake up one day and realize that the ship has sailed, and I will die childless.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Memoria

I'm sure everybody and their brother have a memorial day post up, but I'm adding one anyway :P

I don't know very much about my grandfathers, but I know that they both served in WWII. On memorial day this year my thoughts turned to what I do and don't know about them. What really unites their service is that neither would talk about it. The living veterans may not have given their entire lives to our country, but they still have given a part of their life, a part of their soul.

I'll start with my paternal grandfather. He died when my father was 12, so I never met him. To me he is a collection of stories and a face in pictures. I don't remember if he was injured in service or not, but I do remember he joined the army late in the war and didn't see as much combat as others. When he came home, he was drafted as a pro baseball player (something he had dreamt of before the war), however he ended up declining the position in order to spend more time with my grandmother and to start a family. He died of a heart attack, leaving my grandmother a widow in her late 30s, with 4 children. They didn't have lipitor back then. It was a blessing, then, that he decided to spend more time with his family than being a ball player on the road would have allowed. I have inherited a lot of his looks, although my personality and hair are more like my grandmother's than his (I doubt anyone would mistake me for a blonde!). I also did not inherit his high cholesterol, although my own dad did. In a final act of kindness, we later learned that before his death, he left instructions and money with some of his military contacts, and these contacts kept my uncle from Vietnam (my father would have missed a draft due to his age when the war ended, although instructions were in place for him, as well). He didn't know when or how, but he knew war would come again and he did everything in his power to keep his sons from it. Sometimes, when I think of how I almost joined ROTC for college, I think that it would have put me straight in Afghanistan or Iraq. I like to think that his spirit helped me make the decision not to join, a decision that, at the time, was very uncharacteristic of me.

My maternal grandfather disappeared from my mother's life when she was 2, leaving my 20 year old grandmother for a younger "woman" (I, however, think 15 hardly counts). I don't really talk (or think) about him. My grampa was my grandma's 3rd husband. He was shot and recieved a purple heart, and that is all anyone knows about his time in the service. My grandma possibly knows more, but not much. To me grampa was not a soldier, he was not a man who had taken human life. He was the man who smelled of tobacco and taught me much of what I know about fishing. He was the sweet man who sometimes would thrust his dentures at me and my cousins to elicit laughter or, in the case of one cousin, shrieks. He was the tall man who would carry me everywhere, even when I was getting a little big for it, giving me a view of the world that I would never otherwise have, being always of short stature. He was the man who would take me on long walks around their large, woody Upper Peninsula property and show me every bird's nest, filled with speckled eggs or small tweeting chicks. He was my partner in crime, smiling at me when I played on the wood pile, in the mud, or in my uncle's shop where he was constantly trying to convert junkers into functional cars, knowing my mother would object. He was the gentle carpenter who only ever yelled when we entered his woodshop, because he wasn't very tidy and had nails and saw blades all over. I remember all these wonderful things and think of the impossibility of him shooting Nazis in Europe. But it happened. I don't know what he saw that horrified him so much that he completely shut out that part of his life, but perhaps I can imagine.

So this memorial day, I'm not so much remembering the women and men who have died for our country; I'm more remembering those soldiers who lived on, but left a part of them behind. A part they chose never to touch again, a part they chose to let die, but to warn and protect future generations. Today my heart is with them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


How can you love someone so completely, and be so perfect for one another, except in one, heartbreaking way? How does this happen?

Saturday, May 23, 2009


After my disastrous and traumatic experience in my first lab, I talked with a friend of mine - who, somewhat serendipitously, ended up occupying the previously vacant lab across the hall from my new lab - because he had also had a disastrous and traumatic experience in a lab, left, and completed his PhD in a second lab. It had been 3 months. I asked him how long it took to move on, because I felt, after 3 months, I should be completely over the abuse I suffered and get on with my research life. I asked him, how long until I feel at home again.

He told me that 3 months was way too soon to expect to feel better. That realistically, it'll be 6 to 9 months before I start to feel at home, like this is more than a temporary situation.

Holy crap was he right.

I had sort of an "aahaaaaaa" moment the other day where my project just started clicking with me. Where I started to feel ownership over my project, and over my place in this new lab. And it has been almost exactly 9 months. This is *my* thesis project now, not just my job, not just something I'm doing to fill the time until I decide to quit. I'm not quitting. And, so help me God, I am getting a goddamn paper out of it if it kills me. I didn't abandon 2 years of research - which I knew and know is getting tossed in the garbage merely out of spite - and put off starting a family for something temporary. I'm going to get this degree.

Friday, May 22, 2009

She Works in Mysterious Ways

The other night LB and I got into a conversation about things we haven't had since we were a kid, and missed. Rice Krispie Bars, I said dreamily, and not those shitty premade ones that taste like cardboard, blue, and glucose, either. No, the nice gooey home-made, buttery and delicious ones. I haven't had those in at least a decade. I could really go for a Rice Krispie Bar right now.

Today, what treat did my adviser randomly decide to make and bring in to lab to share with us?

Home-made Rice Krispie Bars.

Hot damn, someone up there was listening. I even had two, despite my diet. Looks like dinner tonight is fish

It was *so* worth it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2 asses, 3 cushions, 0 seats

Ugh. I can't sit on my own couch. Why? My husband's ass is on one cushion, and his paintball gear is spread akimbo on the other two. I told him I could sit next to him if he would please move his gear, or I could go upstairs and find a seat at my computer (he hates when I go play on the computer and ignore him.) He was silent for like 5 minutes, so I went upstairs to the computer. He gets mad that I'm going off to ignore him. I get mad and yell that had he not just given up and sat there like a lazy lump, maybe I'd sit next to him and spend time with him. And he still isn't moving the gear. And can't understand what I'm mad about, since clearly, his anger over something he could change is entirely rational, and my anger over him blaming me for it is psychotic. Clearly. (The best part? "You didn't even say please or ask nicely!" Ummmm, yes I did. Selective memory, I'm sure.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not Quite Dead Yet

Well the basil was pretty droopy on Monday and Tuesday, but as you can see, it resumed vertical growth today. And! Look! It has like 4 new leaves! 2 on the stem there and 2 on top. The thyme looks much better too, although this picture is so dark because I forgot to get out there until sunset was pending. I think I'll pick up some marjoram and oregano at the farmer's market this week.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sore Throat from Hell

You know that feeling where your throat is so itchy and scratchy and painful, you want to rip it out of your neck?

Yeah. That's what I've been feeling the past few days. That along with a fever, disorientation, and the internet going in and out and in and out have left me with few post ideas and little time in which to post.

Oh! But! Garden update: The plants are still droopy, but I watered them some more and they're starting to look better. Still no rain here though, which I think would help immensely. We'll see, we'll see.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Outside the Comfort Zone

I have always had a brown thumb. My grand botanical achievement to date (aside from my B in Botany 101) is that I managed to keep a cactus alive for three whole years. Clearly I am a talented horticulturist.

So why I decided it would be a good idea to plant an herb garden is beyond me. I picked up two plantlings (basil and thyme) at the farmer's market a few weeks ago. When these plants continued to live and, indeed, thrive for 2 weeks in my kitchen, I decided it was time to put them in the ground. Armed with naught but trepidation and a shovel, yesterday I cleared out a weedy patch of soil that was growing next to my house. I dug deep holes, then gently buried my plants about a foot apart, with the crown slightly below the soil level, as per instructions. I watered them. Then I walked away.



I went to check on them this morning and they looked droopy already (buy not yellow or brown! That's encouraging, right? Right?). The soil was dry so I watered them again. I really hope this takes...I don't know what I did wrong! The soil there is pretty shitty, but the weeds seem to like it ok. LB thought I didn't need to buy any of that there fancy soil. We'll see again tomorrow...we should be getting some rain then.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fun Times with Wine

Last night, LB and I went to a wine pairing dinner at our local Alsatian restaurant. The meal was six courses, each paired with its own wine. Overall the evening was lovely. Near the beginning of the meal I listened intently to the sommelier, but near the end LB and I were drunkenly gabbing through her speeches. During most of our courses, the owner came over for a little chat and told us a bit about the food preparation. It was a lovely evening, and LB and I both loved our little date.

Duck Breast Saurbraten with Shiraz-Vionier, Terlato & Chapoutier, Australia
The duck was prepared as a saurbraten with a marmalade-blueberry sauce, served over a few fingerling potato coins. The sauce was absolutely delicious, but both LB and I felt that the duck could have been prepared differently or pork could have been used in a saurbraten. The meat was cooked down a bit more than duck should be, and the technique would have lent itself better to a less delicate meat. We were a bit dissappointed with this dish; it did not deliver on its promise. The Shiraz-Vionier was made as a 95% Shiraz/5% Vionier in the style of a Syrah, which made it robust but smooth. The wine was very good, although it was better with food than on its own, and we felt it was quite versitle. It could really have gone with nearly anything that a red wine would go with. Food: B-; Wine: A-; Pairing: B

Cream of Artichoke Heart Soup with Gruner Veltliner, Wolfgang Concerto, Austria
The soup was made with artichoke heart pureed and creamed not with cream, but instead with mascarpone and a wee bit of bleu cheese. It was served with a fresh artichoke leaf floating on top, and a crumble of bleu cheese riding in the leaf as if it were a wee boat. The soup was absolutely delicious. The fresh bleu cheese on top, when tipped into the soup, melted just enough so as to leave little melty surprises in each bite, which added a bit of saltiness to the freshness of the soup. The artichoke flavor was featured well and not at all overpowered by either cheese. The Veltliner was sweet, effervescent and light, without venturing into the territory of holy crap that's so sweet I can't stand it. If a champagne and a gwertsweimer had a baby together, this veltliner would be it. It was also very versitle, and I thought it might go wonderfully with a dessert of fresh berries in cream. Food: A; Wine: A-; Pairing: B+

Three Pea Salad with Albarino, Martin Codax, Spain
The third course was a salad of english peas, sugar snap pea pods, and snow pea pods over a small amount of micro greens, garnished with toasted, seasoned pecans and a light balsamic vinaigrette. This was the perfect refreshing spring salad. The salad was mostly peas, and just a little bit of greens, which was a good ratio (really, you don't win friends with lettuce). The pecans and dressing played off the peas well, which were perfectly fresh and crisp. The Albarino was a bit heavier than the Veltliner, but it was still sweet. On its own it was a bit plain, but it went very well with the salad. Food: A; Wine: B; Pairing: A-

First Course
Coquille St. Jaques with Chardonnay, La Crema, CA
The Coquille was made in the traditional style and served in scallop half-shells. They were served piping hot, and we had to let them cool a bit before eating them, but they were delicious. The scallops were done perfectly, just firm enough without getting tough. The cream sauce was light and just a little sweet, to complement the scallop meat. I appreciated that the scallops were cut before cooking them, so I did not have to fiddle with trying to cut them inside a scallop shell which, knowing my general level of dexterity, I would likely have shattered. The chardonnay was very good as well. It was aged in french oak barrels, which leech less of the oak flavor into the wine, letting the wine's own flavor shine more. This chardonnay was creamy and smooth, almost buttery. It was a little less dry than traditional chardonnays, but this lent itself well to the flavor of the scallops. The wine enhanced the flavor of the scallops, adding to the creaminess of the sauce without adding any heft. In turn, the scallops added depth to the flavor of the wine. Overall this was my favorite course, and LB was very impressed as well. Food: A+; Wine: A; Pairing: A+

Second Course
Lamb Shanks with Monticello Gran Reserva Rioja, Spain
Our second entree was a frenched lamb shank served over a bed of white beans and spinach, with a light sauce. To be quite honest, I don't remember this course very well because, well, if you're counting, we're on our 5th type of wine, and our table was the server's first stop for refills. The cut of lamb was excellent, and the flavors of the lamb, the sauce, and the white beans married well. I felt the lamb was overdone; I like my lamb to be medium or medium-rare and this was more medium-well. I would also have preferred a few more tablespoons of sauce. LB disagreed on both counts; he thought the lamb was cooked perfectly and that the amount of sauce was just right. The rioja was, as is appropriate with lamb, a heavier, dry red wine. It had a spiciness to it that went very well with the lamb; it added a juiciness to the lamb that was needed. In turn, the fat from the lamb added a bit of body to the rioja. The pairing was excellent. This was LB's favorite course. Food: A-; Wine: A; Pairing; A+

Strawbery Sabayon tart with Muscat, Beaulieu Bineyard, CA
Fresh strawberries were sliced and served over sabayon cream in a pastry tart, topped with fresh whipped cream. The strawberries were perfectly fresh and delicious; LB and I were wondering how they got such fresh strawberries here in Minnesota in the early spring, since our local strawberries don't usually get good until late July. The cream and whipped cream complemented the strawberry flavor well, although with these berries I would have been happy with a fresh plate of them plain. The Muscat was very sweet; it tasted like liquid honey without the heaviness that honey can have. It was very tasty, although I felt it did not go well with the strawberry tart. This muscat was made to be a dessert in and of itself, without accompaniment. Food: A; Wine: A-; Pairing: C

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things I am Grateful For Today

  1. Sunshine
  2. Flowers
  3. Fresh Spring Air
  4. Allergy Medication
  5. French Food
  6. Wine
  7. Short Summer Dresses
  8. Rub-0n Tanner for showing off legs in said Short Summer Dresses
  9. A dog that knows not to answer the neighbor dog when he barks
  10. Advil
  11. Soft Kitties
  12. Snuggly Doggies
  13. Alone Time
  14. A healthy body
  15. More Advil to assist healthy body a day after too much weightlifting

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fridays are busy!

ll this random crap just got dumped on my lap and I think I'll be busy until bedtime, so for now, here are some Freki pics that I just uploaded. Also if anyone can tell me how to get blogger to actually post a SMALL picture when you check the SMALL box, that would be fantastic. I just don't have the time to individually change the size of every picture, for every post. kthxbai.

Chillin on the stairs

Freki Enjoys a Bully Stick

I'm not sure what this was about; I found this picture on my phone after leaving it in LB's care.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

For the Furbabies!

Stop the presses! Call the governor! We've got a Furry.2 on the Richter Scale!

When one lives, as I do, far away from fault lines, and one wakes up, as I did, at 5 AM during what surely must be an earthquake, it behooves one to check the bed for rambunctiously wrestling kitties before becoming alarmed.

A Terrible Joke

What do you call it when your 75-lb dog and your two 15-lb cats wedge themselves between you and your husband in your queen-sized bed (besides hot, smelly and cramped)? A Furrito.

The Babysitter

You may already well know about Max's love for escaping the house and feasting on grass. So the other day Max is whining and complaining to be let out. I'm ironing laundry, and have a pretty decent view of the yard, so I let him out and check up on him in 5 minute intervals (he usually doesn't go very far). As soon as I come back from letting Max out, Freki takes post on the porch and stares at Max through the windows. Every two minutes or so he looks at me reproachfully over his shoulder as if to say "What are you doing, you neglectful wench! The cat is out there all by himself! He could get hurt, or lost! Thank your lucky stars you have ME to watch him while you do whatever it is you're doing with your clothes and that scary board OF DOOM!" After a few more minutes of that he would come and nudge my hand then resume his post by the door periodically, until I got fed up with it and brought Max in. It turns out Freki thinks it is his solemn duty to babysit the cat when he is outside; as I was relating the above episode to LB, he had a story to tell me as well:

One day LB was out on the deck grilling dinner, and he had Max and Freki out with him, under his oblivious watchful eye. Max, as is usual during this situation, escaped over the fence into the vacant yard next door, to taste some foreign grass. Freki saw this, then ran up to the fence, and barked at Max until Max did something he has never shown himself capable of doing before: he jumped back over the fence and back onto our porch. Clearly Freki has decided his role in the family. I wonder how he is with small children?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So I am a little behind the what?

So I was watching the Frontline special on the Madoff thing, because LB pph loves Frontline, and HO.LEE. CRAP! I didn't really understand what was going on other than some abstract concept of a Ponzi scheme and everyone hated him for stealing their retirement money. I had no idea that basically, the FCC let him get away with it after like 3 or 4 investigations in the last 15 years.

So LB and I were talking about it, and he says, "Now, if you had millions or billions of dollars, that you knew was gained illegally, wouldn't you get the hell out of there?" I definately would. I mean, only a cocky idiot asshole would stick around and keep growing an obviously illegal front business while being investigated repeatedly (although since the FCC let him completely off the hook so many times maybe he had no reason to believe the dipshits would come after him for realz). But where would I go? Well, if I hadn't pissed off the Swiss, Geneva would be my first stop. It's a lovely city and I know french, so I could get along fine. Or? The Caymans or some other tropical paradise/tax shelter. Where would you go to spend your ill-gotten gains?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Body Issues Post

So I'm trying to lose weight. Again. I keep creeping up towards 150, then freaking out and dieting down to 140, so I can stay in the "normal" BMI range. I get successful at making the lifestyle changes; going to the gym, reducing portion sizes, then I get stressed out, then I stress eat (doritos and oreos are a staple!), stop going to the gym, and gain. It's hard though, because my body loves and loves to gain and hates and hates to lose. They say to lose 1 lb a week, you must have a difference between calorie output and calorie intake of about 500 calories a day. I have found that I maintain weight at that difference, and only start to lose weight at a difference of 700. Which is hard, let me tell you. So I reduce my intake by about 500 calories a day (which puts me just at the "minimum to not starve yourself" of 1200). Then I have to increase output (i.e. exercise) for the extra 200. That, at my weight, is about a half hour of running every day. Now I don't have time to go to the *#$@$&ing gym every day, there is just too much shit that needs to get done. So I try to walk to work (woohoo a measly 50), and when I do go to the gym I do an hour workout instead of just 30 minutes.

But that isn't what this post is about. You see, I can never seem to get a grip on how I feel about my body. I used to be one of those skinny-minny, can't gain weight if I try (seriously I even went to a doc about it) waif. I hated my body then. I got all sorts of sneers about how I must be anorexic or bulemic, envy for something I didn't want, and my body looked like, to me anyway, that of a prepubescent BOY. I felt unfeminine and hideous. Now, at the other end of the "normal BMI range," I still feel unfeminine. Sure I have boobs now, and hips (although that was more of a change in bone structure than weight alone), but I also have rolls and a beer gut. I also have...dun dun DUUUNNNNN!...thunder thighs. I am a "fat chick" in the eyes of many, much less ideal than my former underweight self. I hate myself in the mirror. I want to go back to that skinny 18 year old and tell her to learn to eat right, that even though she thought pounding down fries and pizza would help her gain weight and become acceptable, that really it was too much! That she was lucky she could find clothes that fit!

But then I fucking what? So fucking what if I am 0.8 points "overweight"? My husband thinks I am sexy, I am pretty damn healthy if I do say so myself, and really, I do love my tits. I have nice tits and do not want to lose them! I love wine, I love dessert, and I can enjoy my food without having to constantly calculate how fat it is going to make me. There is so much shame thrown at a) fat people and b) fat women. And by fat I mean anything over a size fucking 6, because you and I and the world all know that it's the current fat threshold in pop culture, and even in medicine (thank the good lord I have a fat doctor; the one time I got a physical by someone skinny she told me "well being a little overweight is ok for now since you're in school and stressed, but you won't be able to get pregnant if you don't bring your BMI down to the normal range" orly, lady? I know pleeeeeeeenty of people over BMI over 24.9 who readily attained viable pregnancies).

So sure, weight is just a number, but no matter what the weight, if it isn't in a narrow definition of normalcy, there is all sorts of shame, faux concern and policing thrown at it. I see this and want to be comfortable in my body, and to love it like my husband loves it (well, hehe, not exactly like my husband loves it wink wink nudge nudge).

But I'm still trying to lose weight. And I suspect every time I creep up towards 150 I will. Sigh.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Resolution and Rhyme

Momma's got a brand new bag

So I have decided that it is time to revive my blog and get my damn ass in gear. I haven't been that great at posting regularly to begin with, and I let my annual Works-In-Progress talk* be my crutch for writing even less in the past few months.

So, I have resolved starting this Monday (which is, today, after all), I am going to write every day for 4 weeks. Hopefully this will help me figure out how to get my creative juices flowing rather than being a crapfest for my dwindling readership. We shall see. Bets?

*An annual talk where I get up in front of my peers and professors and whomever wanders in off the street for free pizza and talk for an hour about all the things I haven't done in the past year.

Ode to Nuvaring, an Elizabethan Sonnet

Note: I wrote this after a bizarre and increasingly gutter-dwelling conversation with a friend that started out with me bitching about being sick and ended with, well, this:

O joy is the feeling in my bosom
Upon pon'dring my glorious Nuvaring
For no babe shall my empty womb blossom;
Without my permission, babies shan't spring.
Encirc'ling my cervix comfy and warm,
You keep me safe from too sore breasticles,
You fend off persistent, unwanted sperm
That hail, ruthless, from husband's testicles.
Like a kitten, my uterus can nap
Lazily, emptily wiling her hours
Spending bachelorettehood behind my lap
Waiting, wistful, to unleash her powers.
O, Nuvaring, pray do not fail me now,
Or poverty's sweat shall pepper my brow!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So Say We All

I've been wanting to post about the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, but I needed a little bit of time to let it digest. I wasn't sure what I thought and felt about it at first, but I think a week's rumination has helped me a bit. Oh by the way if you are the only person on the planet not to have watched it by now, don't read any further. I'm serious. QUITIT!

OK. So. I have decided that I like the ending. I didn't love it, but I certainly didn't hate it. It was nothing like what I was expecting, but I thought it was very fitting. There were, however, sloppy writing moments that disappointed me.

The episode starts out where the first part left off; now those who chose to go on Galactica's final suicide mission are preparing for battle and evacuating those who chose to stay with the fleet. In a surprising act of selflessness (set up nicely by Lee's chastizing from the first Daybreak episode), Baltar decides at the last possible second to stay and fight in this battle. Was it because he wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of the other main characters? In Caprica's eyes? In his own eyes? Or maybe God made him do it.

Next, one of the most touching scenes of the two episodes takes place. Laura Roslin is parting ways with Doc Coddle and he gives her enough pain medication for two days, so she can function through the battle and what may come next. She thanks him for all he's done, he chokes up, and she says to him, "Don’t spoil your image. Just light a cigarette and go and grumble."

Usually there is more setup in an episode before the big battle, but by 7 minutes in Galactica jumps in. I suppose if you consider parts 1 and 2 were supposed to be the same episode (but the network decided to split them up), it makes sense. Galactica jumps in and takes such a brutal pounding before Anders makes the colony hybrid orgasm ceasefire, I actually suspended all knowledge of how plots work and thought for a second that the ship would be destroyed right then and there. But, it survives, Adama orders for the ship to ram through the wall of the colony and teams go in to rescue Hera, but not before some weirdo raptor pilot randomly decides to arm her nukes for some strange reason (since Adama made a point to say "NO NUKES THEY'LL KILL US ALL IN CLOSE COMBAT" earlier) then promptly her entire team dies. "Hmmm," I said, "That will be important later." Anyway, big surprise, all recon teams die except Lee's and Starbuck's because the writers are way too in love with their main good guy characters to let them die (unless they are already dying, more on that later). Thank God for Helo and Athena they were on those teams otherwise the plot machinations wouldn't have worked out!

Bla bla bla Boomer saves Hera, not, as they initially were hinting at, because her magical womanly ovaries made her suddenly love the child, but because of some sense of loyalty she still felt to the leadership and crew of the Galactica. I liked that touch, along with hearkening back to her first appearance on the show as she died. It reminded me that she was set up from the beginning to have divided loyalties, that she isn't just a feckless evil double agent, but she truly doesn't know where her alligience lies. It reminded me of the episode where she found out she was a cylon and tried to kill herself, or when she was in the brig beating herself up for shooting Adama.

Meanwhile Baltar and Caprica meet up on the defense line, where she reminds him that his chivalry is pretty silly considering she's the soldier and he's not, as she locks & loads while he fumbles with his gear. I found that appropriately funny. Then she says she's finally proud of him and they get the pre-battle hornies. The Head Six and Baltar show up, to both of them, and tell them to get ready because it's time to play their part in saving Hera and thus humankind.

The teams return to the Galactica with Hera, Helo is badly shot, Hera runs off because that's what she does (also isn't she like 3 or 4? Why doesn't she ever talk? At that age it's hard to get them to shut up!). Athena is having trouble deciding whether to save her dying husband or her child, but Helo tells her to go get Hera and miraculously survives because the writers love him (although we don't find that out until the end).

Next ensues a full recount of the Opera House, and we learn that Galactica is the Opera House. Baltar, Caprica and Athena all unwittingly start to chase after Hera, then realize that they are reliving the Opera House, wherease Rosalin gets a drug-induced vision of the Opera House and realizes it's time for her to find Hera. Each of these people at one point help save Hera from the enemy cylons, and the Opera House ends in the CIC with the final five overlooking. This is where the final five, Baltar, Caprica and Hera needed to meet to fulfil the visions/prophecies and lead to the survival of the human species.

Baltar and Caprica breathe a sigh of relief at having fulfilled their destiny and saved Hera just in time for Cavil to barge in and hold her at gunpoint. Much ado is made and finally the final five, let by Tigh, make a deal with the Devil Cavil (what you thought the spelling was coincidental?) to give him resurrection in exchange for Hera. The final five merge their thoughts through Ander's bath goo after Tori tries the "promise you won't be mad at me for something you don't know about yet" line that works even less well with full grown cylons than it does with 4 year olds. Galen finds out Tori murdered Callie, he interuupts the data stream to choke her to death, ruins the truce with Cavil who decides to shoot-er-up and take Hera by storm. It quickly becomes apparent that he's on the losing side of this battle, so in fulfilment of Ellen's criticism of his child-like logic, he eats his gun. For no good reason everyone immediately forgives Galen for ruining their truce and putting everyone in serious mortal peril. (Seriously, he couldn't wait 120 more seconds to become murderous?)

Remember Racetrack and Skulls with their armed against orders nuke? Well one of their frozen corpse hands shifts and hits the nuke button, which has no lid or covering, unlike any nuke button ever seen before irl or even on this show. Nuke hits the colony. Galactica shrieks. Shit is hitting the fan, and Kara now has to jump it so it doesn't blow up along with the colony. She doesn't have the coordinates to the rendez-vous on her, not being the person to man that station in any way, shape, or form, but thanks to basic training, knows how to program and jump. She has a moment of clarity and punches in the numbers that she had assigned to the notes of All Along the Watchtower. There must be someway outta here.

Galactica moans, groans and twists unnatually; it looks like she is going to fall apart any second. But she holds it together long enough for them to send a raptor to the rendez-vous, then fly past our moon to discover our earth; this episode is rightfully named Daybreak. After a long, cold and horrific night, the sun is rising over Earth as the survivors of human and cylon kind find a new beginning.

Amazingly, there is an hour left to this two hour episode. No major characters have died AT ALL; only 2 named characters have bit it and they were only introduced in Part I. The writers are too sentimental, methinks. Come on, even ST:TNG writers killed off the beloved Data.

After five white men make some crude jokes about mating with the native African H. sapiens, Lamkin picks out a prime piece of real estate to build their new civilization. Lee decides that's silly, they should give up civilization and live among the people of new Earth. Everyone agrees to this, since they've been cooped up in a technological, metal hell for 4-5 years and now have PTSD that causes them to make illogical decisions. None of them think that the clone armies of 2, 6 and 8's will freak out the natives at all. They decide to split up and disperse to ensure survival, funny because this is the antithesis of survival strategy. I guess this is their version of strategery.

Lots of sap follows this and I'll skim over it quickly because this is becoming a novella. Roslin names the new planet Earth, then she and Adama leave to find a spot to build that cabin they've been talking about since New Caprica. On the way there, she dies while remarking on the beauty of Earth. Adama is too busy talking to notice. When he finds out she's dead because she didn't answer back, he symbolically marries her corpse, something they never had time to do before. It was supposed to be touching but came across as a bit creepy. Cut to: he's sitting on a hilltop talking about their cabin, at which point I turned to LB and said, "I hope he's talking to her grave and not her dead body!" Then Lo! did the camera pan out to reveal her grave. Sigh of relief.

Lee and Kara talk about what they are going to do next. Kara says she has fulfilled her destiny and is leaving. She then ascends into heaven disappears, in an exit that I actually find very fitting. She was an instrument of God, but only sorta, kinda knew it. I think it works that her exit is as mysterious as her phantom resurrection last season. There is closure, but not of the "here we'll wrap it up for you in a neat little package" variety.

Galen decides to shove off to Scotland or maybe Iceland and live by himself. At this point I stop to wonder aloud what happens to the Cylon models. The Final Five have already lived for thousands of years; will the Cylons here on earth continue to live unless killed by accident or war? Do they age at all? Seemingly they don't; is Galen still a sulking hermit in Scotland? Are there still clone armies of 2, 6 and 8's running around, and does no one notice? PLOT HOLE!

Next we see colonists traveling to their new home, and this is where we find out Helo didn't die of that nasty gunshot to the femoral artery, after all. Hera runs and plays in the grass, fade to black. Fade in to modern New York City, where Angel Baltar and Angel Caprica walk unnoticed on the street. There they espy Ron Moore reading the Nat Geo edition about Mitochondrial Eve. Angel Baltar and Angel Caprica reveal that this is Hera, and that the whole event was a Noah's Ark of sorts, wiping out the majority of humanity to start again anew with a small population. This time, are they doomed to repeat the cycle of android war? Angel Caprica is more optimistic than Angel Baltar. Angel Caprica once again waxes poetic about God's plan, and Anger Baltar responds, "It doesn't like to be called that, you know." No, it likes to be called Ron Moore.

The episode ends to the music of All Along the Watchtower, showing our current advances in AI and robotics. Are we doomed to enslave a race of intelligent, sensitive androids, thus dooming our species to war against a superior opponent of our own creation? We have watched what came before, and whether it will happen again is now in our hands.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Open Letters

Dear Semi-Elderly Gentleman,

I understand that it is rude to bump into someone when walking. However, do not give me the stink-eye when you choose to meander in a sinusoid rather than walk in a straight line when I, trying so hard to anticipate your direction that I trip over my own feet and nearly fall, accidentally bump into your undulating-ass self. I was not in the wrong you cranky-ass over-entitled jerk. Look where you're going instead of at the damn subway ads and maybe this will happen less often.

Hugs and kisses,


Dear Max Power,

While I am impressed at your recent display of ingenuity, I am not impressed by your dissemination of a nearly full box of 500 now half-chewed Q-tips throughout my house. That cupboard was closed for a reason. To foil you and your Q-tip loving ways. You are to cease and desist all cupboard-opening activities immediately you obnoxious little scoundrel!

Scritches and purrs,


Dear Garbage-collecting Person(s) or Neighborhood Asshole (to be determined),

What in the damn hell did I ever do to you? My garbage can is always placed neatly at the edge of the curb, on time, never obnoxiously overstuffed, and I pay my bill quite promptly! In fact, I've never met or seen you, since you make your rounds while I am at work, and I pretty much keep to myself, so I am not sure exactly what I could have done to insult you. The first time I found my garbage can thrown unceremoniously on the ground, I thought, hey maybe someone bumped into it and knocked it over. The next few times, I thought it was a bit weird that I seem to be the only person on the block with this problem. By the fifth time, I was starting to suspect it was being done on purpose. But the twelfth time, oh that took the cake. Finding my receptacle halfway down the block, in the street, on a day that was both raining and snowing, completely and perfectly inverted, mud clearly smeared on the handle, with just enough of a basin in the bottom that when righted, dirty water splashed all over me, that's when I knew you cared. Fuck you. Fuck your mother, fuck your father, and fuck your fucking horse. What the damn hell?

Sugar and spice,


Dear Ass,

Kindly stop being so big and refusing to shrink even when I lose weight.


Dear People who Also Work Here,

I know you're overworked and busy, and that the elevator doors usually only open for half a second, but it is generally considered rude to perch at the elevator door then rush in without letting any previous passangers exit, first. Especially when said passengers include 800 year old people with walkers. Kindly settle the fuck down, move the fuck over and wait your goddamn turn.

Warmest Regards,