Pizza for Dinner
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
tomato triangle
I will be embarking on my elaborate holiday travelling plans tomorrow. I'll be spending nearly a week in Ruskin, Florida (near Tampa) the self-proclaimed tomato capital of the US. Needless to say I will not have internet access there. But cross your fingers and perhaps I'll return with some photos of 10lb tubs of lard in the supermarket again. After that I'll be home a few days before going to Connecticut for a bit to visit the other half of my family. I'm surprised my parents haven't moved further apart from each other by now. Anyway, the holidays are stressful because of these and other family issues as I'm sure many of you can relate, but hopefully I'll be able to relax and have a good time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, Vegetable Lasagna said that holiday plans get easier when you're married, something about doubling the number of people to visit that makes the family realize you can't spend two weeks with them. I don't know if that will work with my family or if they'll just see the in laws as more competition, but we'll see. Anyway, this post wasn't supposed to be ominous, just a note that I'll be so technologically devoid that I'll only be able to watch NBC. If another hurricane doesn't blow through. :)

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2004
You know how you hold your building door open so you can bend down to pick up stuff you had to put down in order to unlock the door and then on the way back up you smack the small of your back on the doorknob so hard you can feel the bruise forming, much like the time you watched the unicorn lick bruise form on your leg after dropping your couch and then you go to get your mail and realize the only things in your mailbox are a letter from your granpa and a playboy magazine and the juxtaposition is just too much you have to go ice your back and fall asleep on the couch watching bad television and looking at naked pictures of Jenny McCarthy?

No? Just me?

Friday, December 17, 2004
Recap Request
Joe has asked me over IM and Matt's comments to publish a long, deep, insightful commentary on Buffy and Angel. While I was planning on writing a few thoughts down deep and insightful aren't me. But long is! So here's a long winded account of my feelings on Buffy and some on Angel, I'll likely save most of my comments on Angel for when I see the last season of that series. Although I would like to say again that I agree with Joe's assessment of the Wesley character. Watching earlier episodes really puts it in perspective.

I really like Buffy and Angel. They're written/developed etc by a lot of the same people, they have overlapping characters, and the same basic mission against evil so it's not a surprise that I like them both. The dialogue is well written, the comic relief is especially great, and the plot is well developed. I appreciate that the continuity especially holds up, although the only question I have is why there wasn't a third Slayer after Buffy died the second time and was brought back to life. That may have been explained in season 6, but it's been a while since I've seen it. I'm going to break with the populace here and say that I enjoy Buffy a bit more than Angel, although that's like saying I like a pile of sapphires more than a pile of rubies. I think this is mainly because Buffy was where most of the characters were introduced to me and I'm used to them in that world. Or maybe because there's more sex. :P I think I'm just more comfortable with Sunnydale and the dynamic there, as I had 3 years to get to know the gang there before some of them took off to LA.

I think the rest of my thoughts would be best organized by commenting on specific characters. Or maybe not, we'll see.

Buffy-It's expected by now that I like the protagonist. I also identify with her. Not because I have super powers and two hot vampire boyfriends fighting over me, but a girl can dream. (And there will be some kind of oil involved.) I'm not sure why, maybe I just empathize with her situation. It's not hard to feel sympathy for someone who fights evil all day long and still has regular problems to deal with. I also really like her wardrobe, I'd wear about 95% of it. She and Anya have the best clothes on the show. I also noticed that in the final season the real Buffy wore a lot of white and the image of Buffy that The One took wore darker colors. I don't know if this was on purpose or if it meant more than good/evil Buffy, but it did help a few times when it wasn't clear yet which one she was. I'm not sure what else to say, she's just an amazing character. I would like to be able to kick ass like that. Or sleep with David Boreanaz. One or the other is fine, I'm not being greedy here.

Willow-I'm probably more like Willow than Buffy, since I'm a geek. But again, I am without sweet magical powers. And I'm not a lesbian. That transition took a little while for me to get used to. And I didn't like Kennedy as the new girlfriend in season 7. It was too soon for Willow, Kennedy basically manipulated her into it and I didn't like Kennedy to begin with. She was bossy and opinionated when she didn't have a full perspective of the situation and, as was said, she was a brat. I thought their relationship was shallow, as most new couples are, when it was clear she was supposed to be some sort of stabilizing factor for Willow. I just don't think that bond was developed. Anyway, I got off track but Kennedy is getting her own paragraph, she looks too much like J. Lo. Evil Willow scared me because I didn't know how they'd get the real Willow back into the series. Turns out that worked out well and she was appropriately wary of her magic powers. I still would have liked to see more of Oz in the show, but I enjoyed Tara as his replacement, those relationships of hers were well developed. And of course she and Xander had a great bond that was shown beautifully.

Xander-I didn't notice he was the only one that wasn't magical somehow until he pointed it out to Dawn. I think that's because he already rocked in my opinion, he was always in the middle of the fight, always doing what he could, he was a real guy that was clearly there as the everyman for people to relate to, as Matt said. I was bummed that he and Anya broke up, although married scoobies would've created a dynamic that would've been hard to write around, I think. And I was totally freaked when he lost an eye.

Giles-I liked him as the teacher, I liked him as an equal in the gang, I missed him when he was just a special guest star. The series didn't suffer for it though and it was important that he and Joyce Summers had limited appearances after a while as Buffy became an adult. That he was a closeted rock star was icing on the cake.

Dawn-I didn't like Dawn at first and there were many points where her angsty brattiness was more annoying than realistic. At least when I look back at my own teenage years. She just wasn't rational AT ALL several times, much like Connor on Angel. Killing a virgin to birth his baby, ok, Angel perhaps, maybe, possibly not complete evil, NEVER! I realized he was raised to think that and he was struggling with it for a while but I was glad when they made him a real boy, so to speak. Anyway, Dawn was ok by the end of the series. I guess they needed some family link for Buffy but there were times I felt it disrupted the scooby dynamic.

Anya-I like Anya a lot. She's sassy, she always speaks the truth, it's how I would be if I embraced my tactless Polish heritage. Plus she was hot. Like most of the cast. And she really did become a caring, loving person after a while, even when she redemonized herself. That was a well written personal struggle. The only thing I fault her character for was her comment in season 7 about Buffy being born the slayer and not earning it like the rest of them had to. Buffy fought evil on the hell mouth for 7 years and died twice, I'm thinking she earned it. But that whole scene resolved well the next episode. Spike's speech was great and was exactly what I was thinking. I liked that it wasn't just a Buffy saves the world again apocalypse, that there were struggles within the group and that everyone knew they were valuable by the end. A natural reaction for a large group of people in a crisis is to mutiny (not every time but it's one of many responses). A mutiny, even if it makes things worse, may feel like it's better by giving people a choice.

Faith-I like Eliza Dushku and she usually plays the bad girl. She does it well. Her roles in Angel season 4 and Buffy season 7 were great because she really developed and started trusting people. She complemented Buffy well this time while, obviously, in season 3 she became the antagonist. Although she did that well too. It was always sorta understood though that Buffy was the better slayer, I'm not sure if that was just because she was the lead role or if there were other intentions deeper than making Buffy the hero. Well, the hero of heros I guess is more accurate.

Angel-Angel is great. I love it when he gets silly, like when he sings Mandy. I love watching him and Spike fight over Buffy like teenagers. I really like how he does Angelus, he totally captures pure, masochistic evil. He has a subtle strength as both Angel and Angelus. I like that he and Buffy will get together again, although it's something the viewer will never see.

Spike-I love that Billy Idol took his look from Spike. I like that he fell in love with Buffy even before he had a soul, that he was doing good things because of her (although he was not doing bad things because of the chip). Their sex scenes were awesome, probably better than porn. Well, most porn. He went from trying to kill Buffy to always getting her back, yet even she was reluctant to give him a thank you of any kind.

As a whole the series was fantastic. I could say a lot more but then I'd be getting into more specifics and I've been writing long enough already. Plus I have to go to the lab holiday party.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Migraine Fun
I've had a headache every day since Monday. Last week. It goes away eventually but I think I've had enough excitement for the time being. Let me stop you now and say it's not a tumor. I think. :)

Monday, December 13, 2004
How to make two women want to kill you
My day is plenty full, and all by like 1 pm. I want to go home and take a nap but I really should do more of this research stuff.

I started the morning by getting my oil changed and having them look into the squeaky noise my car recently started making. My serpentine belt is beyond bad, it's under the "You're lucky it didn't break while you were driving here" category, according to the strips of rubber tacked to the wall. It's also rusty, which is odd since it's rubber. Anyway, I'm happy about this because $50 for parts and labor is much better than what it would cost for a realignment or new transmission or whatever else could go wrong with a car and manifest as squeaking. Although I have to wait until tomorrow when they get the part in.

So then I got into the lab and good progressed to weird. I went to the restroom and heard this weird noise that sounded like a vibrator. I'm betting it's a breast pump but this being a floor where we're all apparently comfortable enough to pee in front of each other (but not flush the toilet with our hands, feet only) does not rule out vibrator as quickly as it should. I tried making more noise in case they didn't realize they weren't alone. It was an interesting experience but on the whole better than other sights or smells coming from that room on a semiregular basis. Although I do think it's a way of suggesting that women stay out of work until they're done breast feeding. That way you don't need to think about whether it's more embarrassing to have your tit pop out at lunch with your coworkers or have the whole floor think you use a vibrator in public. Although I'm biased, I'd really like to be home with my kids until they're in school. I think I can do some consulting and write articles and such from the home so I'd still be able to stay working in some capacity and hopefully stay sane. I don't think I'll be a woman that talks baby talk to everyone though because I never have while babysitting so I think I'll be able to keep that annoying habit to a minimum. But I digress.

Now, the point where you understand the title of the post. Sars boy walked into the lab, did one experiment, and now feels comfortable enough to say my protein is not a metastasis suppressor gene. Despite data from this lab and others. Regardless of the fact that he didn't use proper (cough, any, cough cough) controls. Even though he doesn't know a thing about what he is doing. Because clearly, as a young, American woman, I am wrong and he is right. So because of this I am doing experiments to find out why the antibody he used showed us one thing while all other data showed another. Why isn't he doing this? He doesn't think it's a big deal. It's only a HUGE deal. Nothing to get your thesis in a bunch over. Anyway, he of course thinks he is correct and we should all pray to his data now so we may be as lucky to get such beautiful results. I would like to know what is going on. So, I do an experiment that tells me part of his results are not correct, but the two antibodies to the same protein are still showing different results in the same cell lines, so there's obviously a problem. So I do another experiment that you don't care about and it shows results we can't quite interpret but that suggest there's something wonky with his antibody. Holiday Pepsi, who because Holiday Pepsi sounds like Vegetable Lasagna and she's Italian with dietary restrictions I will now refer to as Vegetable Lasagna (really I just love that whole episode of Seinfeld) brings Sars boy into our conversation to help figure out what is going on. He should be, yes, but he's wicked annoying and so I know it'll be a bad thing to have him speak. He asks us questions we had JUST explained to him so frequently that he couldn't have possibly been listening to a word we said, spends every word he says trying to make me look like an idiot and his result as correct, and spends all his energy smirking at me and generally being a dick. He apparently didn't hear any of the times we said we weren't blaming anyone, just trying to figure out what was going on. Like, scientists and stuff. He maintains it is impossible that I could do anything right. Because if there is a disagreement I am always wrong, obviously. It was a situation that had Aforementioned Male Colleague laughing at Vegetable Lasagna and I from across the room. We couldn't really remember everything he said afterward. It was just impressions and snippets. Probably because of some combination of frustration and understanding every sentence said but not understanding what the hell he was talking about. She was ready to throttle him, I just wanted the conversation to be done. And the phone to stop ringing. Someone should really answer the phone.

Anyway, then my Dad emailed me about visiting for Christmas and even though he only got back to me on Saturday about when I could visit felt it necessary to say the magic words that cause me to get pissed off at my parents while also having to do damage control: I haven't heard from you.

But my car will be ok! Without a lot of money! And Vegetable Lasagna brought in cookies! So it's been a good day on the whole but a little too action packed for Monday mornings. For me anyway.

Sunday, December 12, 2004
By Request
To placate Joe and Erin I've updated my photo link to show a pic of my new haircut. I didn't think anyone other than me would notice that it's a bit shorter and blonder but several people in the lab mentioned it. Anyway, my hair looks decent and had accepted some of the styling I tried to impose on it. I look like a bit of a spaz, though, as I inevitably do when I take my own photo. But I like the hair and I think it'll stay this length/color for a while.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Yes, Sanjay, I am the Back-up Titties (To be said like Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus)
Before I explain I would like to say that everyone should spend a significant amount of time with their boss while he is on narcotics. I thought he actually fell asleep at one point but he was either deep in thought or woke up.

Let me back up.

A male coworker of mine summed up my lab the best: "When I first presented my work to the lab (under an interview/recruitment type situation) I thought the whole lab was chinese. Then I meet everyone and realize the lab is 3x the size I thought it was and that in addition to the people I knew there was [white man], Meg, [white woman], [white woman], and [white woman]." (I'm omitting real names in an attempt to remain anonymous/maintain deniability/protect the innocent.) As he was saying this his gestures indicated a clear separation of the man from the women. "I thought to myself what the hell is going on in this lab. ..."

I said this once to Sanjay while explaining my lab in general. When I explained that of the other three white women two were very part time and one was living with my PI he responded with "Oooohhh. So you're the back-up titties."

Fast forward about a year and a half. While talking in the lab to the aforementioned male coworker and one of the guys working for the summer, I think we were cleaning out the hood after some disaster or another left it contaminated, they joked that to get a PI to marry me I should cut my hair short and dye it blonde. (The soon-to-be second wife has short blonde hair as does at least one other woman in the building who is married to her boss. Don't get me wrong, they're nice people, but scientists sometimes pick up on patterns and trends like that. It's what we do.) I laughed and said that I was actually thinking of cutting my hair shorter and dyeing it blonde but that I wouldn't want to marry any of the Primary Investigators in this building.

Shortly after that conversation I did indeed dye and cut my hair. But because it takes a while to get the red hair color replaced with blonde, or the closest to blonde my naturally dark brown hair will get, it's not really showing up as blondish until now. And since I had my hair cut a little shorter than shoulder length, instead of shoulder length as I had done in the summer, it's a little more noticeable that my hair is different.

So I meet with my advisor today. He's been travelling a lot and has been home with horrible back pain the last few weeks so we've been relying on email for communication for a while. The back pain, while something I would only possibly wish on a few select people in the world, does require a lot of pain relief, hence the narcotics. I think I like him on drugs though, he said a lot of good things about my work and about my plans to work through the hurdles and hang ups and such. I don't know if this is the drugs talking or if he decided he hadn't said anything nice in a while and that I was responding well the the crack of the whip and deserved a little break, with praise but it was nice.

We're talking a few minutes and he mentions my hair. It's shorter and lighter, he says, it looks good. I say thank you and that I like it and other such responses and we get back to business. Actually we badmouthed satan a little and talk about divorced family situations at the holidays as well (He and his ex-wife are both in town here but he wants to know what to do in the future when his kids start moving away from home. He basically said my parents were putting a lot of pressure on my brother and I to be the adults in the organizing the holiday visits situation, I said you're not kidding, I think he learned how not to act, but the details could be another post entirely.)

I leave the meeting excited to tell the aforementioned male coworker and the female coworker who bought the holiday spice pepsi about the meeting. The whole thing, but particularly the hair part because they know the back-up titty story and they know about my blog and the name boobtacula and so sometimes call me BT. They find it hilarious. In a sad, scary, hilarious kind of way. I am, for the record, fervently trying to ignore the potential for creepiness that this situation holds and clinging to the amusing factor. Because even though I don't think he meant anything by it if he did I would not be interested. No no no no no. Although I wouldn't make him wear disney polo shirts, so there is that to be said for my appeal.

Friday, December 03, 2004
Public Service Announcement
A labmate of mine wanted to try the holiday spice flavored pepsi and since a case of such pepsi was on sale at Meijer for $3 she bought a case and brought it into lab. Her reasoning was that if she bought it and didn't like it she could push it off on us. (Her husband does not drink weird flavored soda and her kids are under 10 years old so they wouldn't be having a lot anyway.) This seemed like sound reasoning to me but I was still scared of trying holiday spice pepsi. It's just too vague a flavoring, I was sure it would have a crapload of nutmeg or essence de fruit cake. And I'm a coke person, so pepsi generally isn't for me anyway (too sweet for one, tastes different for another).

I'm here to tell you not to worry. Two people in the lab thought it was gross, but one of those people only eats the frosting on cake and not the cake. But she will eat a cupcake whole. Those of you who know that a cupcake is just a cake in smaller form understand why I've asterisked her assessment of this product. The rest of us decided that it basically tasted like coke. After some discussion and confirmation from the website we realized that the holiday spices were, in fact, only cinnamon and ginger. And you really only taste the spice for like 3 seconds of the first sip.

We also thought that it made sense that ginger would be in coke (if it is) since it was, at one point, a medical elixir.

I'm not sure if this whole escapade should be filed under lab dysfunction or not. Most of the people involved are the 'normal' lab members.


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