Pizza for Dinner
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Excuse me, waitress?
Last night I went to Damon's with Nessa and Dave for some dinner and trivia. We have a good time talking and intermittently playing trivia games. Let me just say it was a long day. I had to get up at quarter of 7 to take my car in to recall a bolt. Apparently, one bolt is all that prevents my driver's seat from sliding back and forth on its own accord. I also had them do an oil change and fix a recently broken wiper blade and a not so recently burnt out bulb which cost more than it should for anyone to sleep well at night. I worked all day, drove through crappy traffic to get to the restaurant and circled the parking lot for a while to find an open space. Not surprisingly, we had to wait a while to get seated.

So I sit down, order a gin and tonic, and proceed to figure out what I want to eat (cheeseburger with roast pulled pork on top). Sometime before the food comes I finish my drink. I had been drinking through the little red and white stirrer straws and on literally my last sip I noticed something odd. Hmm, it feels like ice but sharper. Wait ... There was a piece of glass in my mouth. A small, pointed piece of glass that I sucked through the tiny straw. We checked the cup, not broken at all. The best guess we have is that another glass was broken while scooping ice and that left shards in the machine.

Anyway, so I don't think I cut my mouth or anything but I did get a free meal. And a free tainted drink. It was funny, they didn't originally take the drink off the bill, the manager said he couldn't find it. Right at the top of the bill. ... Altogether it wasn't as bad as finding inappropriate things in your food goes.
Friday, January 30, 2004
Tennessee, you've met your match
Fucking Georgia.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Least surprising fact read on

John F. Kennedy was perpetually plagued by the venereal disease chlamydia and spent the first moments of the Bay of Pigs invasion getting a giant shot of penicillin.
Sleep comes like a drug
I think I need to change Joshua Tree out of my car CD player.

But I did have trouble getting up this morning. I had plenty of sleep since I had a headache last night and went to bed early and was fine once I got up but I did not want to wake up to the alarm.

I really need to avoid that in the future since my cells are back into a growing mood and I'll have to find time to juggle experiments and the prelim now. Luckily I got a good start on examining the literature on my topic (I have to write a faux grant proposal on a topic related to but not part of any current lab research, present it, and be questioned on anything biomedical for a few hours. I have 6-8 weeks to prepare this once I submit the abstract so I'm getting a lot of background researched/written before I submit the abstract.) The bad thing is that the transcription factor I'm looking at, while seemingly critical in prostate cancer progression, also has a role the exact opposite of one of its carcinogenic roles. I guess this is good in that I can design experiments figuring out exactly when it performs these roles but for now it's a little confusing while doing the research on what is already known. As science prelims go it's not that bad.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
I rest my case
But you're supposed to give the opening remarks. ...

I want to say this is an exchange with Lionel Hutz and one of the Simpsons but I'm just not sure.

At any rate, it reminds me of people who cannot argue. This does not stop them from arguing, as stupid people can be very stubborn. Sometimes I enjoy listening to a stupid person, the ability to pull a conclusion out of the air with absolutely no evidence and firmly believe in it can be amusing. Mostly, though, it's annoying because they're stopping me from getting things done. I have seen many blog entries lately (Tequila Mockingbird and Patent Pending, for example) illustrating this in the authors' lives. Thus, I have compiled a list.

Worst Argument Positions Seriously Taken by an Adult
1. Talking louder or faster. As if the problem was that the information was coming in too quietly or, oddly, too slowly to be absorbed. I completely disagree with you, but if you would just say it faster, I could maybe see your point.
2. Pointing more vigorously. You're not really looking at my doodle that's supposed to clarify my craziness are you. Look, LOOK and you'll understand.
3. Restating the last thing said with an air of incredulousness. Is this because you weren't paying attention and want to get the accusation right or you just want to deny everything outright? Like that TV show or movie where the woman was like "You think I had an affair?!" when she really had. Just own up to it if they've got the photos. Or like in my life when someone said "You don't think I can think for myself?!" This is twice as funny because he really didn't think for himself and asking the question in the exact way I said it sort of proves it even more.
4. He/she started it. This one is unavailable to those older than age 9. Unless it's in response to physical fighting, then you're allowed to fight back.
5. You suck. Name calling or devolving the argument into baseless accusations is also not a viable defense for anyone in or beyond puberty. In my experience this zinger is brought out right about the time they realize they're wrong.
6. (Deity) said to. Unless your God is a cult leader they probably didn't speak to you directly.
7. You are. Or, in Boston. You Ahh.
8. Denial/silent treatment. The old I'm fine/ifyoudon'tknowI'mnottelling trick followed by the silent treatment is a favorite of passive aggressives everywhere. No one is fucking psychic so just say what your problem is, get told you're an idiot and go back to watching TV.
9. Nuh uh. If you use this seriously I think we're allowed to kill you. Or at least quarantine in the psych ward.
10. I don't understand/did not know this previously, therefore you are wrong. Because you are the beginning and end of all knowledge.

This is in no way a comprehensive list, but it does cover the basic tactics taken by the idiot masses to deftly convince you they know what they're talking about because they watch Law and Order all the time.
Monday, January 26, 2004
So, yeah, I had the Golden Globes on in the background last night. I'm a little embarrassed, as I should be, but I avoided Joan Rivers so that redeems me a bit.
Anyway, some highlights: When Meryl Streep, complete in see through skirt (apparently unbeknownst to her until she stepped in the light) mocked Bush by saying she did not think the two biggest problems in America were 'two adults committing to love each other and steroids in sports.'

Also, when Mary Louise Parker won a globe, not for West Wing, but Angels in America or another miniseries, I believe, said 'Janel Maloney (also of West Wing) bet me a $1000 that I wouldn't thank my newborn son for making my boobs look so good in this dress. So thank you, William Atticus Parker (I think that's what she said) from your mother.'


Rumor has it the father is Billy Crudup who left her around the 7 month of pregnancy for Claire Danes, although he denied for a time he was dating Danes. If this is true he's a total ass master (tm).
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Tennessee, always at the forefront of education
I don't know about your high school, but at mine you were more likely to get teased for being on the honor roll than not.
I've got nothin
I've slept about 21 hours over the past two nights. I don't know why I'm that tired. Or rather was that tired, I don't think I'll be sleeping at a normal hour tonight.

At least I had a good time when I was awake. And I got a few things done yesterday. Today looks like I'll get less done, but maybe I can get into the lab early tomorrow to make up for it.

I also need to step up my workouts to lose my 4 holiday pounds. My intentions to have chicken parm and ice cream tonight probably won't help with that. Come on over to help me eat it! I'll be in my pajamas, hope you don't mind. :-p

In my reading yesterday I learned that several playmates have had a very few partners/boyfriends. This reminded me of Jenna Jameson, who has really only dated 4 people, two of whom she married. Except the whole porn star thing. And Angelina Jolie, who claims that she has only slept with her husbands. I find it a little odd that people we picture as very sexual are, but aren't easy. Except the whole porn star thing. I'd totally expect these women and other actors and actresses to have dated a lot. I guess maybe there's a difficulty with being busy and famous (and intimidating). Or they're just like many people who are selective. There's no further point to this really, I just thought it was a little interesting.

Like the title says ...
Thursday, January 22, 2004
What's going on?
I don't like public bathrooms. More often than not there are undesirable fluids and traces of DNA strewn about, along with toilet paper. Apparently the toilet throughs a Mardi Gras-esque celebration for certain patrons that I never get to enjoy. (One hundredth customer!) Maybe that's why it takes women so long to use the bathroom. For the guys information, your bathrooms are invariably cleaner than the corresponding ladies' room. I've checked several times. I know. (The odd thing is that the few women I've had conversations about this with have also expressed disgust and surprise at the state of public restrooms. Apparently the 4 of us are the only ones capable of hitting the bowl, working the toilet paper dispenser and flushing in less than 10 minutes. To be fair, we are all in grad school.)

Now, the restroom on my floor in the cancer center is cleaner than most, and I appreciate that. I use it frequently due to my coffee/water habits. But a different problem emerges. I run into people at the sink that I see but don't really know. I stay in my lab, they stay in theirs, everyone is happy. We venture out to borrow things occasionally but since I'm not in the China clique, mostly by not being from China, I don't really know anyone else outside of the lab. I don't like talking to acquaintances in the bathroom. I prefer the 1-3-5 rule I learned about from guy friends in college. You stand at the urinal staggered out and no one speaks to anyone else. Sounds good to me. I want to do what I have to do and leave, I don't want to have a conversation with you right after you wiped your ass.

One of the best times I've had in this bathroom was when I went enter a stall, seeing the door customarily ajar and found a woman there. She was standing and clothed, so I thought maybe she went to leave but had to reflush or something. There were embarrassed apologies exchanged (at least I think that's what she was saying, no English out of her at all) although she did give me this 'how odd of you to intrude on me as I was clearly silently standing in an opened stall' look.


In the bathroom again, someone's in the stall next to mine, walk past---the door is open. Not just unlocked, open. It's her again.

And again. And again.

Cultural differences be damned, the door is there to protect everyone's privacy. Is this the result of communism repressing your sexual urges to the point where you must use public facilities to flaunt your snatch for all the world to see? Perhaps you don't know how to use a simple lever. In which case I suggest you not do research in a cancer laboratory.

If I wanted to see a half naked woman peeing I'd buy one of those german DVDs I keep getting e-mails about.
This one got away from me
When the NY Times runs an article on a fad you know it's on the way out. At best past its peak.

Google bombing has apparently been around for years but only recently has it become popular enough to override google whacking. (A google search on "google bombing" returns >9000 hits, most seem to be within the past month.) The idea is that you get enough people to link to a webpage using a specific phrase, thereby making the webpage the number one google hit for that search phrase. The most popular is the George W. Bush biography with the search phrase 'miserable failure.'

Google is a little peeved with this manipulation of their engine but insists it will fade out as people try it once and get bored. Still I'm up for trying it once. Now, to think of a good link/phrase. ...
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Public Service Announcement
Eating even small, semiregular amounts of soy and green tea can help prevent prostate cancer. This may extend to breast cancer as well but that's not my specialty. As much as prostate cancer is my specialty at this point.
She's on Fire
So, it appears that GTA Vice City was based on the movie Scarface, with the soundtrack of GTA III. It freaked me out at first (hey, I know that car ... hey, I know that street, my hotel is right over there) but not nearly as much as Mary Elizabeth Mastriontonio's hair. Seriously out of control. Also, fyi, if you need to shove your head in a pile of coke to get high, it's likely you have a problem.

Good movie but a bit long if you're anxious to get back to home to play more zelda.
Monday, January 19, 2004
Compassion in the Courtroom
I read this a few minutes ago.

There's sometimes room for compassion in justice. The Jean-Valjean-steal-a-loaf-of-bread-to-survive situations where the crime was justified by a need to survive or protect others. Those situations are fairly easy to identify, although the prosecuters/judge/jury involved may not always act on their feelings. I believe compassion is justified if it serves a greater justice. Then there are situations like the OJ trial where the guilt of the defendant is virtually universally known but he was acquitted due to technicalities and huge mistakes by LAPD. This is a murkier situation. I want to see the guilty imprisoned but the integrity of our legal system is more important.

I do not really follow the Bryant rape case. I don't know if he's guilty or not and do not particularly care. But this article brings up an interesting issue that is representative of some of the gray area aspects of our legal system. Certainly, the stigma of rape can be overwhelming for the victim. There is guilt and shame involved and judgement from others. Although I am willing to bet that the death threats in this case are because of who the accused is, it is probably not a unique situation. Keeping an accuser's identity secret raises a few issues, least important the public's right to information. Most important is the safety of the accuser. The physical safety and the right to heal without the watchful eye of the ever-curious American public are the chief concerns of those introducing this issue. However, there is also the matter of the defendant's right to face his accuser. He may physical face her in a closed courtroom, but without her real identity his defense is incomplete. If the accuser is bringing false charges the defense may not be able to prove that without her identity. They also missed an issue entirely, in my opinion. What if the defendant is acquitted? His name was already splashed around the media, how can he return to his own life even after a not guilty verdict. There will always be the suspicion that he is guilty but the DA couldn't prove it.

If you're going to keep the accuser's identity secret and close the courtroom, then keep the defendant's identity secret too. At least until after the trial. If he's convicted he deserves to go to jail and suffer the consequences of Megan's law upon his release.
That guy from Creed
While Nick Lachey and SNL were mocking him last Saturday Matt said that the Celebrity Poker I missed included this tool and that he was the worst poker player he had ever seen. I saw the episode last night and that comment is generous. Certainly he was at the game and participated but to say he played poker is an insult to the fine tradition of gamblling and liquor. He didn't know when to call, raise, check or fold and was apparently unfamiliar with the cards themselves as when all hands were shown and the announcer would say "Carrie Fisher takes the pot with a pair of kings and a pair of 2s" this douche would stand up and say "Wait, I have a pair." It took the whole table to explain that a pair of 4s does not beat two pair. Even then he looked skeptical. To make matters worse he approached the game with a I-know-what-I'm-doing-and-am-totally-in-control-especially-with-Jesus-on-my-side-Jew-boy-David-from-Arrested-Development attitude. Now, Carrie Fisher wasn't a great player but she stayed in the game for a while and at least knew what hand beat what and asked questions like, I can raise or call now, right? She probably had little experience but knew what to ask. It was like this Scott guy had no short term memory or ablility to think. He even made a comment that he thought he was better than David (Cross?) and that he was just lucky. Right, cause luck will win you the game. It helps, but it's not the only component of poker. This installment was amusing for a while but got to be painful whenever Creed boy spoke. Anyway, I loved that series and the finale was great. Catch the reruns on Bravo.
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Photos! Huzzah!
I now have a link for photos provided by fotolog. I get to add one a day without paying, $5 a month gives me 6 photos a day. I'll stick with the free stuff for now. I have no money (despite that I keep buying books, it's a weakness, but I justify it) and I really don't have too many photos to share, despite my tendencies to be a Japanese tourist when on vacation. I actually saw Japanese tourists when I was in Monet's garden, all stereotypes were fulfilled. They took every permutation of photo possible with the number of people and cameras they had. It was great, except they took over the bridge over the waterlilies for like 20 minutes.

So this is about where the power went out on me yesterday. Losing power in winter is fantastic, my apartment got cold very fast. I went out in search of food and warmth with Matt and we ended up at Nessa and Dave's, who were not even aware of the snowstorm. Nessa and I are both still sick and mixing liquour with strong sinus medication gives hilarious results. I love that I have friends that I laugh so much with. Also, the SNL with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey was surprisingly funny. I highly recommend watching it, they make fun of themselves a lot and really do some funny skits. Kinda sadly, it was one of the best of the season.

So my neighbors were fighting again yesterday. They woke me up. At first it sounded like they were fighting because she wanted to get out of bed and he wanted to sleep more. Then it was because she drove x hours to see him and he was having friends over. I caught such great exchanges as 'last time we dated it was my fault now it's your,' 'you're bipolar,' 'stupid bitch' and of course 'get out SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM.' They shake my apartment with slamming doors or whatever it is. I don't want to confront them for fear of my own safety but I'll have to if they do this again. Or just call the police.

Seriously, why would you date this person again. There are situations where if people reconciled I would not think less of them (ie left things on a good note) but situations involving cheating and abuse, uh no. You need to move away from each other as much as possible, at least for my sleeping benefit. When you fight so much the neighbor pounds on your wall because her apartment is shaking and you BANG BACK you are a crazy fuckwad and need to not let your equally crazy girlfriend back in the apartment. I think everyone I know has had crazy neighbors at some point. It's a little worrisome for society.

Now I have to get going with my day. I need to workout and read for prelims and fix SPH's comments.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Now with comments! (again)
So, my comments disappeared randomly the other day. Apparently blogspeak had server problems and had to turn the reins over to Haloscan. The email I finally got this morning from the former Blogspeak provider is interesting, it basically says little but gives the impression it was out of his control and thanks Haloscan for taking over. I thought it would have been appropriate for him to send an email. Although he did respond to the one I sent after a few days of lost comments.

Anyway, a lot of sleep has helped my cold, so hopefully it'll be gone soon. It's snowing again and my street isn't plowed so I don't know if I'll be able to get to the gym today. I'd really like to, I'm back in a workout schedule and I don't want to mess it up already. Plus I swear exercise really helps with colds. The natural fever of breaking a sweat can help a lot.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll try getting photos linked next but I need to get some work done today too. Stupid prelims.
Friday, January 16, 2004
Honestly, Germans
What are you thinking?
Thursday, January 15, 2004
New Laptop!
My laptop is finally here. It is so much better than the old one, I can't even explain. Well, I'll try. The old one would crash randomly when I used powerpoint, excel or a web browser. And it had some problem with some of the DNA analysis software I installed. And would take hours to print a pdf file if not sent to the large printer in the hall. This one has done none of those things in the 23 hours I've had it. It's an IBM thinkpad with a 15" monitor. RPI would require thinkpads for the classes starting the year after mine and a number of complaints arose about them but so far, so good. Not that I expected it to break immediately.

Anyway, it snowed like crazy all day yesterday. It's these times that I love my explorer. No slippage whatsoever. Fantastic. Although in a college town you do run into people that have absolutely no idea how to drive in the snow, and I did run into these people on my way home from working out. It took about 15-20 min to go a mile. Rush hour plus snow storm equals creeping traffic. I didn't clean off my car on the way to working out since I could clear the windshield and back window with the wipers and my lights and mirrors were clear, but someone did clean off my car in the time between my return last night and when I woke this morning. Weird. Thanks though, I appreciate it. It won't help with my laziness though.

About working out. I had fun playing basketball with Matt, even though he whipped my ass. Hey, I haven't played at all in 5-6 years and I wasn't that good when I stopped. It was mostly a gym class thing since I didn't have a hoop at home. Plus I'm sick. Which isn't fun. Usually exercise helps but I'm a bit worse today. Still functional though, and I don't think I'm contagious. Did you ever notice how as soon as you say you're sick 9 out of 10 people do the 'stay away from me then' thing? I don't want to get sick either but show a little compassion. I'm not talking about strangers only, close friends and family have done this. I don't expect them to be my nurse but don't treat me like a leper. I think it was shittyex who really pissed me off with that response. I spent the night in the hospital with him when he had an appendectomy. Sure it's not contagious, but I had class the next day. That's why he's shittyex. I digress. So halfway through our game this kid comes over to use the hoop and we team up against Matt. Sadly, he beat us by one basket. This kid was totally bad mouthing me though. I'm sorry I suck, you were still wetting your pants the last time I played, cut me some slack, I'm your damn teammate. It didn't really bother me though. It's not like I haven't run into a guy that makes fun of me constantly before. It's more rare for me to find a male above age 9 that doesn't make fun of me 99% of the time. That's how I know they want sex. Anyway, the game was fun and if I can solve my hitting the rim instead of the basket problem I'd really kick ass.

Some other odd things happened today that I thought I'd share. A couple people complimented me on my coffee mug within about an hour. It is awesome, so they should, but it rarely happens so frequently. FYI, it's a red cylindrical travel mug with chrome on the lid and sorta a wavy design to the body. No handle, for sleekness. It's from Espresso Royale Cafe. It reminded me of the time I was in my apartment office and the slow woman that works there complimented my mug and asked if it kept beverages cold or hot. I'll give you a moment to register that, keeping in mind it does say Espresso Royale on it. I replied either, she thought I said neither, and said, oh well at least it's pretty. I let it go at that. This is the woman who tried to explain the difference between my building and apartment keys. One is a house key, the other is larger and square, like an office key at a university. She made no comment on the laundry key that is exactly the same as the building key but for a few letters on it.

Anyway, the other weird thing was a lone glove in the stairwell. This wasn't positioned like gloves usually are when someone finds it on the floor and puts it in sight in case the owner backtracks to find it. It looked like an invisibly man was gripping the railing. I was a little curious how they got it to stick like that. I'm sorry, little things amuse me. Think of it as a I don't have to try so hard to impress her thing instead of an option that makes me seem dumb. I'm really not but I'm thinking about so many things at once usually that minutiae get stuck in my head and sometimes verbalized.

It occurs to me that I should do some work before free lunch seminar today. I also need to order a new despair calendar from thinkgeek.

Oh, the comments should be back soon. Apparently the blogspeak people are being taken over by someone else and the comments are temporarily disabled.
Monday, January 12, 2004
Fluff piece
Congrats, you do parenthood proud.

Now, I'm just thinking outloud here, but it seems that a side effect of the womens movement was the establishment of a dual income economy. My parents were raised in an era when mothers stayed home, as a rule. I was raised in the 80s, when both my parents had to work full time to scrape by. This isn't the case for all families but it seems the percentage of families requiring two incomes to get by is rising.

I would like to get married and have children some day. And I intend to stay home with them until they are in school. I understand this limits my career opportunities, but if my husband will make more money in his career it makes sense for me to be the one to stay home. I want to contribute to science and society but I believe if you have a family they should be your priority. I will have children because I want to raise them with my husband, not with an entourage of day care and babysitters. Sure family will watch the kids sometimes or we'll get babysitters, they'll probably stay at daycare or afterschool programs for an hour or two until one of us gets out of work but it's not the same as leaving your 6 month old baby out of either parent's care all day. It's almost lucky that these guys had a hard time getting children, now both parents and children can benefit from them knowing how much the babies mean to them.

One of my personal mottos is applicable---anything worth doing is worth doing right.
Satan has a perm
Sort of. It's a cross between dreadlocks and a large curl perm. Any further analysis would require talking to Satan which isn't going to happen.

I'm back in the lab. I'm happy to be, actually, since there are a number of things I need to get done including but not limited to research and my prelim. I'll need a vacation from my vacation/work in a few weeks but that should be taken care of by a trip to Missouri to watch the RPI freakout broadcast. I figure St. Louis and anywhere else in Missouri is a good introduction to the area. Maybe if I'm brave we can venture to Missoura for a while. I hear there's a byob bar/strip club near the army base in Waynesville. Good stuff.

Anyway, MStores still has backordered my laptop so Evan's going to harass them and possibly just get another somewhere else. I'll be grateful to have a good laptop in the lab finally. My cells all died over the break but I got new ones from the guy who was babysitting them so it's fine. Sometimes the cells grow fine, sometimes they take forever, and sometimes they get contaminated even though I am the only person to use gloves and ethanol to clean the hood. Just how it goes.

So I'm very much a creature of habit. I'm trying to get back into a workout schedule and hopefully if I tie it in with Nessa and Matt we can keep each other relatively in line. Any tips on a good pilates video are welcomed. I also have about the same schedule every week day. I wake up at the last second to get in by 9:30 at the latest, rush a breakfast and lunch prep, go into the lab for 8-9 hours, at least, return home. Sometimes coffee is mixed in there with varying concentrations. At home I mix more work with relaxing and cooking dinner/doing chores. My big three forms of relaxing now are reading (DaVinci Code currently), playing my guitar, and playing my PS2 or gamecube. I then watch my few shows on primetime and adult swim and go to sleep. It's nice to have a regular sleep schedule although it's out of whack at the moment.

Another amusing anecdote from conversations with my brother is that we both think we have some mild learning disorders. Specifically ADD and dyslexia. Our attention spans are about 3 minutes in class and slightly longer when relaxing or with friends. Luckily I've been getting by quite well with that, which surprises me. I don't think I know how to focus because I really haven't had to up until now, and now I only need to focus when doing research. It's a nice combination with the obsessive compulsive/neat freak part of me. Anyway, I am feeling quite out of it as I'm writing today and can't control the jumping around, transposing letters, running words into each other thing as well as usual. My brother might have a more noticeable condition, at least because I remember when he was first learning letters that he would write some backwards repeatedly. I don't know if I did that at the same age but I do remember confusing 5 and f a lot. I actually sorta still do that. At least I didn't think Russia was part of America like Andy did. He also couldn't spell my name until like middle school/high school. At least he didn't try being cute like some friends and do the Megh thing for Meg.

It strikes me that I've had much the same interests all my life. I've always read and biked, I still love swimming. I want to go camping still because I never have but it looked like fun. I didn't do girl scouts because they didn't go camping and the rest looked lame. I used to play the flute and now I'm learning the guitar. Ok, they're not so similar but they're both instruments. I've always liked games, both the trivial pursuit/parcheesi variety and the atari/ps2 variety. It's odd, because I feel like I've expanded my interests and such, yet in a broad way I'm much the same. I guess I found what I liked early and stuck with it. Good to know.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
The Fam
My family is a bit dysfunctional. By that I mean I love them but they are, as a whole, quite dysfunctional. It's mostly my parents since their divorce, but everyone contributes a bit. Fortunately, for some members this is in the form of amusing anecdotes.

For example, my granpa. Granpa is my mom's dad and he's about 87 and Polish. This is a great formula for amusement since the polish are generally tactless (at least in my family) and old men just don't give a shit. Now, I love my Granpa a lot but he does provide my mom and aunt with some ammunition for making fun of him. First off though, when I was little Granpa often looked after me and my brother after school or during the summer. We formed a bond with him early. He would spoil us with Burger King (I learned to order a milkshake then wash out the cup in the bathroom and refill with soda from him) and give us $10 each for washing his truck. Which my mom promptly took away and which he then secretly returned to us. He would also fake sounds of braking when the car would stop at lights and make our stuffed animals talk, but only to him. In short, he performed his grandparent duties well. I have many fond memories of him from my childhood.

My granpa is also the guy who told his nephew by marriage at his nephew's mother's wake that it looked like he gained some weight. The sick part is that my cousin barely noticed as he was so excited to see his uncle Bill. His inlaws adore him, it's odd. And my grandma had a large family, 7 siblings producing 55 ish cousins for my mom. 18 in one family. My grandma died about 40 years ago and her sisters even tried to set him up on dates. It's odd but everyone's happy so I guess it's fine. Granpa's brothers are even worse. Mischievous is the perfect term for them; during the Depression they ran moonshine for example. So since this is the norm for my granpa, it's no surprise that there was a bit of an incident at his wedding. It seems his best man had a bit to drink and found himself in the wedding cake. Bodily. My granpa thinks they had left the reception by then but remembers the best man's wife being livid. Oddly neither he nor my grandma seemed to mind. I guess they had already eaten some and left so it's just funny.

There's also my brother. You've met people like Andy. He wears almost entirely Abercrombie and Fitch which he gets at a discount because he always has a friend working there. He didn't try very hard in high school and is now in a mediocre college doing average work since he is also working to put himself through it. He used to spend most of his free time playing sports and drinking but has narrowed that down to drinking since college. He goes to every DMB concert between Boston and New York. He's totalled 2 cars and lost a third because the cylinder cracked on a back road. He's the guy who saw this hot girl at a party that a few of his friends were totally into and, even though he wasn't particularly interested in her, spent the night making out with her in plain site. He's also the kid who knocked your parents mailbox off the post with an old toaster from the swap shack at the dump. (I believe I've explained my hometown enough that this ritual shouldn't sound out of place.) This is my younger brother. We haven't got a lot in common but he's fun to talk to just the same. Oddly, we seem to have the same politics. At any rate, he makes hanging around the rest of the family easier. Like when my granpa asked if he had a girlfriend (they always ask him that, and they ask me if he has a girlfriend, as if I'd know) and my aunt said he was too young to have a steady girlfriend. And so was I. Well, you see where that went. I'm the age my mom was when she got married so I don't think it unreasonable that I start a serious relationship at this point. It'd be a few years before I get married anyway. This is despite the fact that I have already had relationships. Whatever. (As a side note, my brother probably would have had a girlfriend but he doesn't want to ruin a friendship with his friend Kristin. I told him to go for it despite that, that things could work out fine but he did not and hasn't spoken of his feelings for her in a year or two. Although he did visit her while in Florida as she was nearby visiting her grandparents.)

So, one of the best stories involving Andy is about one of his fake IDs. He's 20 at the moment and about a year ago found a CT driver's license on a bathroom floor in NYC. The guy looks faguely like him, in that he's white and has brown hair, but it's a closer approximation than his other ID. I actually think that ID has Dave Matthews picture on it. So he pockets this treasure. A while later he's talking with a coworker and finds out that this guy is from the same town on his ID, which he did not recognize. This is odd, since CT is very small and all the towns are familiar to us both in name and general location. So he asks about Moodus or whatever the town's name is and finds out that it's in Chesire. Then he asks if his coworker knows the guy on his ID. He says, Yeah, his brother is dating my sister. Huh, small world. Apparently the guy thought he lost his ID in Boston, which is where he's living now. These things don't really happen to me but Andy has been lucky that way. He also found a wallet with a few hundred dollars in it by the side of the road once, although that explanation is a touch sketchy. He's not a bad person though so I'm not too worried.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
I'm Back
It's nice to be home.

LA was a great trip, despite the fact that the team didn't play their best. It was fun just being there though. Santa Monica beach was beautiful and our quick trip through Hollywood sightseeing was a lot of fun. I have some good photos of stars and handprints. One of the things I'll be working on in the next few days is photo linking somehow. I have a few options. Anyway, for fans of The Dude, I ate at In and Out Burger. It took a while to get our food, they were quite busy, but it was delicious and less expensive than your average fast food place. Definitely a place to go to if you have the chance. It's a slimmer chance than you might think, I believe we saw two restaurants in the area and one was located in a magical zone unreachable by current transportation methods. The hot tub at the hotel was also a highlight. Hot tubs are fantastic, I totally need one in my apartment. After waking at 5am and walking/standing all day at the parade and the bowl game it was a great thing to come home to.

The Tampa trip was fun too. It was fairly warm there, at least compared to Detroit. Well, quite warm compared to Detroit actually. It was good to see the family and my brother and I had fun making fun of my Mom behind her back. Nothing mean but when you can't work the automatic lock on the car and tell my brother to ask directions because you're lost (and driving) but he knows where he is on the map (as navigator) and then bring up the fact that you don't know St. Pete in every conversation, you bring it upon yourself. I feel bad for my Granpa, he gets crap from my Mom and Aunt about stuff that they do exactly the same. It's family, there's not much you can do about them. My brother is hilarious though, I'll have to share some Andy stories.

Anyway, it's great to be back to and spend some time with friends before getting back to work in the lab. I really need to do some laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning though. My apartment is as much of a sty as it ever gets. Of course, I'm a homemaker type so for me a sty basically consists of some dust and clutter in the dining/living room area. Still, I need to clean. I also need to get readjusted, all this traveling and time zone changing has me a bit off. But I've updated the blog, so the priorities are taken care of. :-)
Monday, January 05, 2004
12 hours in Michigan
So, I'm back from LA just long enough to repack and sleep before going to Tampa to see my mom. I'll be happy to stop going to the airport every few days, even though that means I'll be hella busy in lab and doing prelims. (They scare me since I have a lot of work to do that doesn't actually relate to my thesis and can be interrogated on anything bio, anything at all during the process, but more on that later.)

Interestingly, 2003 was the only year that I made and followed through with a New Year's Resolution. I'm a little proud of myself. I won't be doing this any longer since I am now PERFECT. Just kidding, but I'm a lot happier and I think a better person than I was a year ago. Not that I wasn't awesome then, but you get the idea. I've gotten a few comments so I know it's not just in my imagination. And thank you to the people that have noticed, it's helped me along.

Well, that's enough for now. I'm sure I'll have a few lengthy entries on my return to talk about LA and the Rose Bowl and visiting my mom and that side of the family. Yeah, I'd like to get some sleep tonight so off I am to pack. Again.

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