Pizza for Dinner
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
I'm back
And I'm tired. I slept on the plane, which was great. We had to circle for almost an hour before we could land so that wasn't so great. The conference was fun though. My hotel was nice, I met some people while working my poster, had some great food on the University's budget. Some people were impressed that I did all this work by my second year. I feel I should have more, I had two papers from a month and a half my first summer but that might be more of a fluke. Regardless, it was a nice change to hear from established people that I'm awesome. I like being awesome.

I don't really feel up to posting. I'm going to be busy with my prelims for a while. I'll probably need many distractions so I'm not going to avoid blogging or anything. Dinner time!
Monday, March 29, 2004
AACR so far
The trip is great so far. My hotel is nice, I'm taking full advantage of the food budget, I saw my mom and aunt for an afternoon and they brought homemade cookies. I can deal with all the free stuff. The conference itself is overwhelming, there are literally thousands of people here. But, I found some interesting info from the National Cancer Institute so I feel productive for the day, so far. Tomorrow morning I display my poster so we'll see how that goes. I may give a real update when I return and have more time. All I will say now is the transcription of a short conversation between two 13 year old (so they're probably 11) girls on the plane.
Micro ho 1: Where's your water bottle?
Micro ho 2: I drunked it.
MH1: Dranked it.
MH2: Drinked it.

To be fair they were much more a pleasure to be around than the very loud, very large family filling the 3 entire rows in front of me.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Story time
So, for the second time in about 6 weeks the same friend of mine is having a party that I can't make because I'm going out of town. For the second time in 6 weeks. I don't know how he does it, but Joe will get a copy of my travelling schedule from now on. So, I have been busy and so have Joe and Vicki so I haven't seen them in a while. He sent me an update e-mail today and asked for a bit of one in return just to keep up. I read his and sent mine but felt it was WAY too lame in comparison. So I have composed a faux update. I think I'll post it here. As a young teen I would go into chat rooms with friends and make up false back stories with them when talking to others, it was fun. Usually (always) I have a compulsion to tell the truth. Even if I know I will never see someone again and it's a harmless lie I can't let a lie stand. I can be imaginative though, like when the same friend and I had a conversation in Denny's about my superhero costume. Think superwoman with lasers coming out of the umlauts on my belt. Cause I'm UberHot.

Long story short, here's the summary of Joe's update: He's been admitted to the top film grad school in the country. Not just admitted, they're seducing him heavily, flew him out just to tell him he was admitted, trying to get him a fellowship, etc. Plus, he's engaged to Vicki. I'm not surprised by this (third couple I've met as a couple that's gotten engaged in the last ~2 years) but it is awesome nonetheless. You can get an idea of my response: I have prelims coming up, I'm going to a conference which is great, but it'll mean a lot more work as soon as I pass the prelims to get a paper out of the data, Satan is reaching out through e-mail now to harass me, not much time for fun but I still relax on the weekend, no stalkers in the past few weeks. There's good, there's bad, but nothing terribly exciting. The conference is in Orlando, that's about the best news. But with prepping for it while working on the prelims it's just more stressful sometimes. I'll get to see my mom and aunt for an afternoon while down there though, they're coming up from Tampa, and we'll likely go to Sea World. On the whole the trip is good.

Here's my faux update: So, I'm telling people that I'm going to a conference in Orlando but I'm really going to elope with Prince William. We're keeping it quiet so the paparazzi stays away. I'll be back after April 12, I just tell people I'm studying for my prelims. I really don't need to take them, it's a formality but I'm so awesome they are excusing me from having to really put in the effort. I get to talk about my own research instead.
So I'm excited about marrying a sexy prince. Also satan is leaving the lab soon. Not for a new job but because she's been exposed as a fraud and a spy and is being painfully interrogated by the CIA. Now my advisor understands and is thrilled with my devotion and work, cause he can actually see what they are now.
I'll miss you guys while on my honeymoon but I'll be back. I'm staying in the program here so we'll live in Ann Arbor and keep places in LA, NYC, London and Nice. As well as his families homes. You can meet Will soon, we'll have a party. If Vicki's interested a three way can be arranged with me and Will, but you don't have to pass that along. :-p If you guys are more comfortable she can just touch his naked, bulging chest.

More comparable to Joe's level of awesome update, I think. Oh, and Joe is one my my guy friends that I joke about sex with. Actually he jokes about it with everyone, saying he'll repay them for favors with sex. I'm using a proxy so when he's big in Hollywood I can cash in my points on some sexy leading actor. But it does add to a list of guy friends that have established a fake sexual relationship of some sort with me with no intentions of following through. Hmm.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
cookie monster
I got another package from my dad today. It contained five boxes of girl scout cookies among the contents. Thin mints, samoas, and chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Yum. I love girl scout cookies.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Satan won't leave me alone.
I can't sign into my e-mail.
I can't get a latte.
And I couldn't blog about it because my modem died, again. I should be thankful they're coming tomorrow to give me my third (fourth?) modem in a year in a half. Maybe this one won't be a crapfest virus magnet.
Monday, March 22, 2004
I live in the twilight zone
Sometimes it really feels that way.
I left my apartment for seminar today with my discman and nalgene for working out afterward, my purse, and some recycling. What ensued moments later was a comedy of errors only possible in my universe.
I take literally three steps out my door, the discman on my waist playing No Doubt, tra la la. Suddenly my discman decides it'd rather die than listen to gwen stefani and plunges to its death. I was not running, I was not bending at the waist, there is no good reason for the clip to have stopped functioning while maintaining structural integrity. And to make it better, the discman hits the pavement at the perfect angle to separate it from the headphones, scratch the outside, pop off the lid and pop out the cd. As the CD rolled away I stared for a moment not believing this really happened. It's like the time I was stirring some instant breakfast into the last of my milk when and a round hole popped out the side, the glass intact (I'll post a photo when the site lets me). Just then a gust of wind started blowing the CD and the bits of my jog proof discman around. It was a fun game of put down the recycling and gather the discman then gather the recycling before everything blows away. I managed to get the lid back on but the little piece that connects the buttons on the lid to the rest of the discman is proving to be difficult to get back in while simutaneously getting the metal springs that hold the lid on lined up. I'm bummed, I use this while working out. And I just used a gift certificate yesterday that could have bought me a new one.

Speaking of comedies of error. On the way back from St. Louis last month we stopped in Illinois at a rest stop. I ran into the bathroom and noticed it was colder than I was hoping. I went into a stall, locked the door, and tried to put some toilet paper on the seat. It kept falling off into the bowl. Repeatedly. It was then I noticed a large ceiling fan. Well, we'll have to do this the hard way and squat, I thought. So I turned around noticed that the door had opened and didn't close properly. Oh, it gets better. Things were uneventful for a few moments, until I tried to flush. This proved harder than I'm sure was intended by the inventor of indoor plumbing. Then came washing my hands. Well, some girl was spending an inordinate amount of time on her mullet so I chose the other sink. Which had no soap. Or paper towels. Luckily she had both and I left without being gross. But still, how much trouble should that really have been.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Maybe I'll go naked
After another shopping trip filled with horrifying dresses and dresses that are ok except for part of the cut or the fabric (honestly, do not take polyester and try to make burlap out of it. Nothing could be more unappealing to the skin.) Nessa and I decided that the spring fashion's are a cruel joke by designers to see what they could get the public to wear. Seriously, hot pink under black lace so stiff you'd think it was starched with a fake diamond broach AND giant string of pearls. No. And by giant I mean long and marble sized fake pearls. I had a few moments of relief when one of my weekly Victoria's Secret catalogues came in. I found nice dresses! For a reasonable price! But, the ones I can afford and want aren't available until after Nessa and Dave's wedding. Boo. I wanted to wear a nice black cocktail dress but it looks like I'm forced to go with one of my flowery dresses. Not that I don't love them, but a new dress is fun. And I don't have a "little black dress." At least I bought those shoes.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Totally me.
The day after
I've never had much to drink on St. Patrick's Day, but I do usually make corned beef and cabbage. And soda bread. I love irish soda bread. So I'm not hung over today but I do have a lot of food left. It was a good end to a day that brought long meetings ending in my having to do more work for my prelims and poster for the AACR. And Satan just diving off the precipice of crazy bitch into pathological psycho. And my blog going down for no reason. At least I got new shoes the other day, even though I can't get the dress I wanted to go with them. But that means dress shopping! Hopefully to a place that sells dresses that are somewhat wearable, unlike our last trip. Here are some guidelines to fashion moguls and/or stores, failing Donatella doesn't listen:

Please remove all enormous flowers from everything before I enter the building

Pink is not to be used lightly. Well, actually it is to be used lightly. No crazy bright pinks. Save entirely pink garments for underwear, pajamas, and shirts. Skirts, pants and dresses will need to be approved on a one by one basis.

Giant flowers are not limited to pins, please destroy any fabrics with this pattern.

If the cut of a black dress makes me look like a witch, it better be in a costume shop.

Nothing remotely flourescent. I'm sorry but dresses haven't been made of these colors since the 80s, and they should stay there.

Sequins have a time and place. They don't have to be huge and covering every dress.

Please, think twice about the colors and cuts you're using. Keep embellishments to a minimum.
Thank you.
Monday, March 15, 2004
I define myself by internet quizzes
I am an Intellectual

Which America Hating Minority Are You?

Take More Robert & Tim Quizzes
Watch Robert & Tim Cartoons

And I like any result that gives me intellectual superiority. Even if it is only in my opinion.
Friday, March 12, 2004
I'm freaking out back here man
So, I take my prelims in a month exactly. I have 3 weeks to write the faux grant proposal and a week beyond that to prepare a powerpoint presentation and cram as much information on anything biology related into my brain for my two hour inquisition. They gave me exactly the minimum amount of time to prepare this as allowed by protocol, a little extra present for being proactive and getting this done before the others. I have almost the entire rough draft now, but 6 people need to read it and give me input on it and considering the amount of time it took to get the abstract oked I'm thinking 3 weeks is exactly what I need. Especially with the 5 days I'll be at a conference in Orlando.

My advisor made me relax and freak out within about 20 seconds today, regarding the prelims. We were talking about wrapping up a section of research to publish asap and I was feeling stupid for having worked on the project so long and having contradictory results every few months when he said that for the next month I could basically not show up to lab if I didn't need to. Just keep my cells going, come in to meet with him, do any experiments I'm up to, etc. This should give me more flexibility with my time and the ability to work from home. Yay! Except he went on about how he's seen people fail and I really need to cram now and learn as much as possible and have the other people in the lab question me a few weeks from now and such. Enter panic, stage left. When your advisor tells you not to do his research even though he's competing with others to get publications out, the prelims must be hard.

On the other hand, he's making Satan do work now and he defended me against her several times in the lab meeting so I'm feeling good about that. And my parents and friends are showing support for me and telling me I'll be fine and stuff, which is nice to hear. Confidence and preparedness is what this is about so that helps with half of it. But then I worry about letting everyone (including me) down if I fail or pass conditionally or something. I'm going to just work at it and not think about the stress as much as possible. However, I would like to implement a 5 tiered stress indicator, a la homeland security. It is explained below.

Monkey: Basal level stress. Basically I'm myself. My chinese zodiac is a monkey, I like monkeys, I can be goofy. It fits. This will mostly be reserved for good days and vacation time when I have it.

Squirrel: Low level stress. I'm under a bit of pressure or whatnot and my quirks are exaggerated. I'm acting a bit nutty, if you will. Ha ha. Yes, I did get that joke from Highlights.

Cat: Moderate level stress. I pay little attention to others unless I want to have fun. And I'm a little bitchy. Well, maybe less bitchy and antisocial than cats but it depends on the cat. This is where moodiness might start to be noticeable although I am honestly making an effort (and progress) in controlling that. So I'll be a good cat and not an evil Siamese like in Lady and the Tramp.

Chihuahua: High level stress. It's likely I am physically twitchy due to either nerves or more caffeine than solid food. Not more coffee than solid food, more caffeine. This has happened before. I also may freak out at all provocation, although to be fair to my friend's chihuahua it freaked out once after my brother gave it some binaca so some provocations are excusable. Although I do recommend binaca for pets.

Postal Worker: Extreme stress. (I told you this package must be shipped priority.) This hasn't really happened yet, I take action at chihuahua or before. I'm betting I'd win most fights though.

Ok, maybe this is kinda lame but I'm between cat and chihuahua so humor me.

From Penny Arcade:
"If you want to coexist with different breeds of geeks, you need to adopt a value-neutral approach to the platforms. So, while there are many conversations one can have regarding different computing methods, I typically do not choose to have them. Gabriel and I no longer discuss God for the same reason - people express themselves via means as divergent as spirituality and operating systems, so as soon as the topic starts to get interesting it invariably becomes personal. Obviously, that has a tendency to occlude rational dialogue. There might have been a point where I had a surplus of energy to invest in philosophical cul-de-sacs. I no longer remember it."

Further in the post some remarks are made about Apple that I enjoy. See how I give you a taste and then make you go to the site for more? Web comics are like crack that way. Except I don't get money for pimping them. I should look into that.

Server problems
Apparently the umich mail server is having problems this morning. The phone message said users with a uniqname starting with M, Q or X are unable to sign in at this time and they are working to correct the problem. Could someone explain how all usernames starting with these letters, and only these letters, can have a problem?
Thursday, March 11, 2004
You're a cold one
Sometimes I meet a person who is so absurdly self promoting that I'm tempted to pat them on the head and ask them if they want a cookie for being such a good girl or boy. Sometimes I get the impression that the person giving a seminar has this type of relationship with their advisor. (You did a literature search? My, aren't we industrious!)

While my mind was wandering just now I had the idea that I could be a mega bitch and actually carry around a bag of cookies for this purpose. Instead of sassily asking someone if they want a cookie in a derogatory tone, I could just give them one. I think the real meaning would be lost on most recipients, though.

Come to think of it, I'd probably just get hungry and eat the cookies.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
fun zone
Not to be confused with fungizone, which I use to eliminate fungal infections from cell culture.

I was making a baked potato last week and as I added a dollop of sour cream I realized that the name sour cream pretty much encapsulates all properties of sour cream. Sure it's white and dairy, but most cream is. And it has uses but if someone said this is sour cream and you took them literally, there would be few surprises. So I thought about other nouns whose names almost entirely describe what they are. Like onomatopoeia without sounds. Here are a few more:
sesame balls
wish list
floppy disk
waste basket
clip board
navel ring/earring/etc

For some reason I'm thinking of Futurama. I'm Bender. I went to Bending College. Etc.

Feel free to play along at home.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
So, I've linked to my amazon wish list. This is not meant to encourage anyone to buy me gifts, but if you wish to there are many things I like there. I didn't go through everything Amazon has to offer, so some of the jewelry/games/books suggestions are representative. Other things are too expensive. I'd love diamond solataire earrings, for example, but I can't really ask for something that costs a couple of hundred dollars. Well, I can but I don't know anyone who makes enough for me not to feel guilty. There's also Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease which I'd like but Amazon only links to it. It's actually part of a 5 DVD set. In my opinion every girl should have a video like this.

Anyway, if you ever need help thinking of a gift for me for my birthday or Christmas or because I'm the awesome, there you go. Don't feel pressured, I don't expect anyone to actually get me anything. Most stuff is kinda pricy, or I'd get it myself. :-)
Monday, March 08, 2004
turn, turn, turn
So, we used to have a refridgerated centrifuge in the lab. Occasionally, we need to centrifuge samples that must remain cold. A refridgerated centrifuge is a much better option than walking to the cold room (meat locker) to spin them in a regular centrifuge. About a year ago I got fed up with the one we had and told the lab tech we had to order a new one. It was bad enough that the the lid stopped fitting and that satan would insist it would, forcing me to spend 10 minutes under her watch trying to get the lid on until she left and I spun it without the lid (horrible, horrible noise). But I spun something once and found pieces of the rotor broken off when the spin was done. Yes, it was so abused that pieces of the rotor crumbled off. Mei Lan asked me what I did. Like you could do that to a rotor that wasn't damaged with anything short of a chisel. Mei Lan did not order a new centrifuge because it was "too expensive." She didn't even call to have it looked at. This is why she was fired.

Long story over, we have a new lab tech and a new refridgerated centrifuge. It's fabulous. It's quiet, it's shiny, I love it. I like it when inanimate objects fulfill their purpose. It's all I ask.
Friday, March 05, 2004
monsters in my closet
Sometimes I wake up from a dream and have this fear that someone has broken into my apartment. Last night it was because I thought I heard glass breaking and woke up to that. I didn't find anything broken, so I'm betting this is just because I watched a few hours of Buffy before bed. In other apartments I've lived in the chances of someone breaking in were fairly high but my current abode is in a good neighborhood, in a locked building and on the third floor. I think the squirrels are even too fat to jump from the tree outside my living room to the window.

Anyhow, when you're a woman and living alone and you wake up from a deep sleep early in the morning sometimes your dreams take ahold of your better judgement and you have to force yourself to relax and go back to sleep. After checking all the rooms, that is.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
picture perfect
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love my camera. It's a year old so it's 4megapixels and not 5 but that's plenty for me. At least for the moment. When I show pictures on my TV or computer the medium quality setting isn't grainy or blurry at all. And I got it at like ~50% off. I say this because I had a really long day yesterday and not everything went right but I picked up some photos after I left the lab and they came out great. Many are posted on my photo link to the right, which no one looks at. The ones of the arch in St. Louis are especially nice. I'm totally going to be like my mother and take a thousand photos of my kids by the time they celebrate their first birthday. Whatever, it'll be my priveledge as a parent.

So, as much as I was stressing yesterday Lauren's day was worse. She was blinded to a mouse study she and Jinlu were doing, but when he revealed the groups to her so she could go over the data things didn't add up. It's like he switched the control and experimental groups. In fact, in retrospect she thinks he did confuse the two tubes of antibodies. There's also other weird stuff going on. And it took a year to do. Good times. I'm still wrapping up my year and a half long testosterone study, but that's because the first year or so was ripe with confusion and errors. Not all due to me. At least a paper may come out of this soon, and I have a review paper submitted. More on that later. It's just stressful to publish two papers from a summer of work and then hit such a long dry spell.

Yeah, so I've got nothing else. I finished Al Franken's book last night and practiced my guitaring. No weird cramps/nerve tenderness this time so the arm pain this weekend was probably (hopefully) a fluke. Nerve weirdness=bad.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Screw you guys
I am very happy today, despite having to get to the mechanic at 8am. About a month ago I took my car in to get a recall part replaced and when the Ford people were doing a free inspection they found that 3 of my ball joints in the steering were loose. They quoted me about 6hrs of labor and $250 in parts, totalling $750. I said puh hah. This the same day I was served glass. The guy was very panicky on the phone until he said the total, then he was calm and told me my car was ok to pick up and they could take care of it later. Amazingly, I could find very little information on this with my Google search. I managed to find out that each ball joint was $15-25 and that labor took about an hour and a half, max. And that the ball joints "helped with the steering." Thanks Ford, I got that on my own. My friend Sam asked around Boeing and said that if there was a problem I would first experience difficulty steering. This was in line with what I was expecting. I had no trouble steering, no weird noises, no leaking fluids. We took my car to St. Louis, it was fine. While there I get an email back from the Car Talk guys who were concerned and said that my wheel could fall off if the problem went unchecked. I didn't want my wheel to fall off, so I finally got around to getting a second opinion.

After a day of emails figuring out who could give me a ride I dropped my car off this morning and waited for Nessa to pick me up. They completed the inspection as she got there.

There's nothing wrong with my car. Nothing. It's great. It doesn't have enough mileage to even worry about this yet. By like 20000 miles. The guy at Tuffy's was great. He showed me my car and explained how the ball joints worked. He showed me a new ball joint and explained how some movement was needed to function properly and that I was well within the limits set by Ford. He was peeved. I was relieved.

In summary, Varsity Ford Ann Arbor sucks. Tuffy's is fantastic. BBB may hear from me.

In other mega biatch news, satan has asked the new lab tech to put a sign up sheet next to the hood. Why does this bother me? Well, partly because some people won't sign up and some people will sign up for like 2 hours more than they need, messing up my schedule. Most days we don't need a sign up sheet at all. Mostly I'm a little irritated because I know why she's asking this. Because she's unbalanced. And because I got to the hood before her today. Kitagawa finished, he turned the light off and left it clean. This means no one had asked him when he would be done and to let them know so they could use the hood next. This is how we typically handle the days when the hood is busy. Yeah, I saw some media in the water bath heating up, but I didn't know whose it was or how long it had been there. And the other hood was 5 minutes from being vacated. So, after she stared at me for a while and tapped her pen she asked me if I was using the hood. While I was putting things in the hood and looking at cells under the microscope. I said yes. She said she only needed it for two minutes to change some media. Importantly, she never actually asked to use the hood. I told her the other hood was opening up and that I wouldn't be too long in this one. It took about 45 min, a little longer than I anticipated. She then repeated she only needed it for two minutes. I told her Chris was finishing in the other hood and I went about my business. I'm not going to let her contaminate the hood I'm already using. Please. Wait your turn. It's something civilized humans do.
Monday, March 01, 2004
Some time ago Sam pointed out that my parents always called on the same or consecutive nights. Rather, my parents interrupted our IM conversations on the same or consecutive nights. Long story short, I spoke with both of my parents in the last 24 hours. And both caused me to ask what the hell they meant in a sharp tone, hence the title of the post.

My brother's 21st birthday is tomorrow but he hasn't told anyone what he wants yet, so my mom was asking me if I had any ideas. She also said he told her he planned on going to a bar with friends and promised to have a DD. She then nonchalantly said, he's probably going to a strip club. Why this is appropriate or the obvious conclusion is beyond me. She doesn't know he already goes to bars but still.

My dad asked me today if I was getting married. As in soon. Because yesterday was leap day and apparently traditionally the day when women ask men to marry them. Call me traditional, but when I get engaged my boyfriend will do the asking, after we have a conversation about it.

I think my parents like to make stuff up.

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