Pizza for Dinner
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Fashionista Police
To the two girls at the gym today---I doubt those sherpa boots are going to help you on any of the machines. I mean, the added weight might be good but I won't envy you the blisters you'll have later. And tell your friend that I really like her headband but any aerobic activity might be more comfortable in an actual shirt with an actual sports bra.

And to my perpetual shadow on the track that ended up walking right in front of my car as I was driving away---If you're running in the walking lane and wish to pass people that are actually walking in said lane, please make sure that I'm not already passing those people (by running in the middle lane), or pass all of us in the left lane. Snatch pastry.

(I actually do love the gym. And I added another half mile to my run today, getting closer to my resolution.)

Saturday, January 29, 2005
Validate Me!
I am reading a piece in the New York Times about baby blogging, featuring prominently Leta from Dooce. You can read it here. Most of the examples they give seem like normal people are writing about their lives, which include raising children. I agree with the benefits of an online community talking about the difficulties of raising children that aren't mentioned, although I don't see how anyone can honestly think of it as "sunshine and sippy cups." And I think there should be a line that you don't cross. Think of stories about you you wish your parents would never tell and then think about whether you'd like that published on the internet. Your child's life is separate from your own. Which brings me to my next point. Best illustrated first by this exerpt:

"A blog like this is narcissism in its most obscene flowering," she said. "But it's necessary. As a parent your days are consumed by other people's needs. This is payback for driving back and forth to gymnastics all week long."

I can see her point in the first sentence, although I think if done right a blog about parenting doesn't have to be a pitiful cry for some attention. That's what spouses, friends and family are for. They're supposed to see you as a person with children and not a parent. Unless that's changed and I missed the memo.

Her second sentence is blatantly false. Blogging about parenting is not necessary, it's an indulgence. An indulgence that can help, yes, but it isn't necessary for parenting or living. The last point frustrates me because it's the kind of comment made by a person who had children to validate themselves. Who expect their children to be in frozen animation when they're not being trotted out so the parent can get the benefits of appearing to have the all-american family. Don't resent your children for wanting to use their time constructively. Say they can't do an activity because it's expensive, or because they have enough activities already and can trade one but don't make them feel guilty about it. I don't care if you had your first kid when you were 35 and are used to feeling like the center of attention. Having children means they become your center of attention. (Well, that changes as they become more self sufficient. I'm not propagating smothering here.) Your friends and family, and your kids, will make you feel special. And if not then you can look inside yourself for validation and stop trying to get it from everyone and everyplace you go.

But as I'm sure critics will point out first, I don't have kids so I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about. :)

Friday, January 28, 2005
Tea Party!
I realized a few days ago that I have a half a dozen different kinds of tea at home. And I'm not even that big a tea drinker. I've figured out how I got all the tea and since if you're reading this you're used to minutiae I'm going to tell you how I accrued so much freakin' tea. To make it more interesting I'll grade the teas a la brunching shuttlecocks.

Orange Spice from the Christmas Tree Shops---I did not purchase this. I'm ashamed to even have held on to CTS merchandise for so long. If you're not from the Northeast or are unfamiliar with CTS they are basically a bargain basement crap bin that shills cheap food and decorations to working and middle class women who fancy themselves cosmopolitan and country. At least that's as much as I was able to glean from the commercials. This particular tea was left over from a roommate I had from 2000-2001. She had good intentions but was a little flakey, especially in the kitchen. Perhaps she left the tea because it had bested her, I'm not sure. She was an engineer who left oil in a heating pan and didn't realize it would a) catch fire and b) reignite after she took the pot lid off again. This was the first thing I owned that was burned that year. But, I do like her better than the other roommate who tried to piss me off and failed until she took my colander mistakenly believing it was hers, which was similar but had a nice melted edge on it. She took both. At the same time. Shut up, it was a nice colander. Anyway, the tea sucked so I pitched it. I guess I held on to it thinking some schmo would like like fake orange crappy spice tea. I don't know who I know that would fit that bill. D just for not actually inducing vomiting.

Some kind of lemon tea---From the same roommate, unopened. It's an actual good brand name so I'm hanging on to it. W for withdrawn. It'll re-enroll in the spring semester when lemon tea sounds like a good idea.

Red Rose---This was purchased by my mom when she visited a year and a half ago because she kept scarfing through my sweet and spicy tea. Hey, I wouldn't let her smoke so she needed to do something compulsively. It's a decent black tea but that's all it is so it's more of a default. C+

Sweet and Spicy tea---This was an experiment to find a good spiced tea, as is my preference. It's good but has some kind of mint or something in it as well as the usual spices so it's a bit different from most teas I've tried. Good but not for every mood. I think it comes with quotes from Picasso and Einstein on the tab: A-

Green tea with ginseng---This is a very good tea, especially with some honey and/or lemon. It's also more for summer weather, or at least the iced version is, but it is also nice for relaxing in the evening with a book. It doesn't have enough caffeine or a strong enough flavor to get me going in the morning but that's the only flaw I can think of at the moment. A

Spiced black chai---This is my most recent teacquisition. I really enjoy this tea. I like the spice. I like the chai. I like it with honey and milk, I like it plain. I like it on a train. With green eggs and ok I'll stop. This tea is strong enough to replace coffee in my morning routine. I've only had it twice and both times I've finished it before getting in to work. It's that freaking cold here. Although it was really yummy too, so it's much more than just hot water on a freezing day. A+

I totally typed these in no particular order but I just realized they're ascending in grade. Sweet.

Pretty much the best quiz ever
Liger(Please rate my quiz)

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

There are so many characters I want to be; I love that movie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
A Polite Request
First, to the makers of ladies' pants. Please develop a tag that does not pick at the fabric between it and my skin (or just my skin), namely my underwear. I did not pay good money to have a tennis ball-sized area of my underpants look like someone took a ball of steel wool to it. That's not really the kind of sexy I had in mind.

Second, to the coworker who is fond of evacuating various parts of his body in the lab please observe the following guidelines:
1. Cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing. Heck, even turn away so you aren't sneezing on equipment or my personal stuff.

2. Whatever deep recesses of your soul you are trying to cleanse with that hacking cough, please take it to the bathroom. It is inappropriate to do that in the presence of others, we should not worry about coming into contact with your phlegm at any point in time. Even if it is in the autoclave bag.

3. Blowing your nose often works as well as picking it, although you do need to use that pesky tissue that is in a box right next to your desk. If you must pick your nose again, go to the bathroom.

4. I don't know what it is you do in the bathroom but you never wash your hands in here so why don't you go ahead and give that a try. It's in the same memo as the TPS reports.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, January 24, 2005
I'm just doing all my posting for the week today.
Here's the first WTF link of 2005.

Rock Me Amadeus*
I've been thinking for a while and the indie quiz leaves a good opening to bring it up, but you can determine a lot about a person by their taste in music. This sounds obvious but you really can learn a lot about someone by perusing their CD collection. Not just, oh, there's a lot of country I wonder if this person is from a red state type of thing but really meaningful insights into how a person thinks and feels. Sometimes. An Ashlee Simpson-heavy playlist might tell you a lot about someone or it might just make you cringe. I mean, have you seen her show? She makes Jessica look cosmopolitan.

But I don't want to be cruel, so we'll move on.

My playlist on my mp3 player could easily go from Johnny Cash to N Sync to Rob Zombie to Norah Jones to Elliot Smith. This sounds insane, unless you have similar tastes. But each type of music suits a particular mood for me or a side of my personality. N Sync is my guilty pleasure, Rob Zombie is from the Matrix soundtrack, Johnny Cash is for when I feel like listening to Oldies (non motown, that's another mood), and Norah Jones and Elliot Smith are my more everyday choices. Although my mp3 player has really liked Norah Jones and Dido lately, so I'm a little bored an hoping it'll move on to some alternative or 80s music.

DVD and book choices are also good ways to get a feel on someone. (All jokes about judging a book by its cover can pass. :P) I buy DVDs discriminantly because they are expensive, even though most of my purchases are in the $10-20 range. It adds up. But because I can't record from TV onto a DVD at the moment I can't record crap that I'll be embarrased to own later on, my family's VHS collection comes to mind. I'm reminded of an Onion article about someone waking up from a one night stand and seeing the DVD collection of the person they slept with. You really want to know whether some has Weekend at Bernie's II on DVD or not before sleeping with them. I mean, VHS maybe. But DVD? That takes intent. Or a lot of spare cash.

Anyway, I just think that liking the same music is much more than just having similar tastes. It reflects people sharing a philosophy or demeanor. Music has the power to bring up memories or change moods with a few notes. See how fast you can identify songs if you don't believe me. Even a song you haven't heard in 10 years can bring you back to middle school within a few chords. It's more personal than sharing a preference for a type of food or even a profession.

Unless you're an MTV drone. :) You know, when they actually play music.

*This is more in reference to the movie Whoopee Boys starring the caddy from Caddyshack and Paul Rodriguez than anything else.

I was just thinking
Does it make me a huge geek or not that I get a little turned on by guys (ok, cute guys) who know something about my field of work? Guys who aren't biologists but find it interesting and are able to converse a bit on a topic or two. They don't need to be experts, but a little interest goes a long way.

This also extends to immediately liking people as friends if they know what I'm talking about. Other topics include monkeys, knowing of RPI, adult swim references, etc.

Saturday, January 22, 2005
Stormy Weather
Overheard on my way out of the gym:
Girl 1: (indignantly) I'm not wearing shorts. It's cold out.
Girl 2: Why didn't you put them on underneath your pants?
Girl 1: Silence (I'm imagining a lot of blinking here. Perhaps some chunking along of gears in her head as she searches for that word. What was it? Layers.)

If only this was my departing experience with the gym today. The midwest is currently being pummeled by snow but since my car has 4 wheel drive I attempted the short drive to the gym. The biggest problem I had was cleaning the 6-8 inches of snow on my car off. I was pretty much covered by the time my car was brushed off. Well, most of my car, the roof is hard to clean completely.

But I got to the gym and did my work out without incident. Then about 45 seconds after hearing the above exchange I saw that a truck had blocked my car into the parking spot. Apparently the guy was able to get out of his parking spot fine but had to stop quickly because another car had recklessly pulled out of the parking space. This left him stuck in the snow and the offending car long gone. Guys with shovels showed up, he said it should be only a few minutes until he could move his truck. Then someone pulled up directly behind him and they had to wait for that guy to back up so he could try backing up again. Then a Mercedes Douchebag decided to pull up IN FRONT of this poor guy, getting itself stuck in the process. So we now have his truck blocked on both sides, 2-3 guys with shovels, and a University plow all in a VERY small parking lot. Somehow he's able to move his truck forward enough for me to maneuver my car out. Luckily all the cars to one side of me had left since it had been at least half an hour since I left the gym and I was able to use that space. I left and had to wait for another awesome guy to back up and take a parking spot that wasn't in the middle of this melee. Because, apparently, it was too far away the first time he passed it and the area around the bright red truck stuck in the snow seemed like a good place to park.

People are awesome.

4 Wheel Drive is awesome. The other kind of awesome.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Top of the Muffin to You
I was unusually hungry for mid morning, perhaps because of waiting for the bus for an indeterminant amount of time after trudging through unshoveled sidewalks to get to the bus stop, perhaps simply because the thought of a pastry entered my head, so I went down to the coffee cart to get a snack. It was the cheese streusel muffin that caught my eye. It was pretty good too, considering it was a prepacked muffin, like the otis redenbacher muffins in the high school cafeteria, only a different brand. It was light on cheese for my tastes, heavy on streusel. Streusel of course being german for "capable of creating more crumbs than comprised the original mass of the muffin, thereby laughing in the face of physics."

Friday, January 14, 2005
Pootie Poot
I think we're allowed to hate him now. You know, if you feel like he's the student council president who won by taking kids for a ride in his dad's porsche but can't spell the school's name. Only worse. Much, much worse.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Stupid communists
This editorial in the New York Times points out that the infant mortality rate in the US is worse than that in Cuba or China. Along with this the chances of the woman dying in labor are increased. While the trend itself is of course scary (not because we lag behind Cuba and the developed world but because the actual numbers are so poor) and cause for concern I don't really buy the 'it might have to do with poverty but we can't think of anything else' argument presented at the end of the article. A few possibilities immediately came to my mind. One, poverty of course. Two, the obesity epidemic. Having a child when your body is so unhealthy and strained already can't be healthy for either mother or baby. You don't even need to be obese to have malnutrition or to malnourish your child. Soda shows up way to much in most people's diets and I've seen children eating fast food before they have all their teeth. And three, reproductive technologies. The US champions IVF and other infertility techniques, we're addicted to them in a way and ignore the low success rates, if ever called to our attention, because women in this country have a strong desire to have children. We're not alone in that, and we're not the only country making regular use of infertility treatments, but I think when you look at the number of couples using IVF, the number of embryos implanted per procedure, and the number of times the procedure is repeated we don't compare to other nations. It's almost irresponsible the number of times a woman has four, five or six children in one pregnancy. It barely makes the news anymore whereas five or six years ago it was headline news for months.

I think the editorial was interesting and I was certainly surprised to find out our infant mortality rate was so poor. I just also think there are a number of avenues that the CDC and other professionals are likely exploring or are aware of that went unmentioned.

Yes I am a biogeek.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Like I need withdrawal shakes
I opened up a new bag of coffee this morning and realized I had mistakenly purchased decaf. DECAF! It's almost negating the point of coffee. This usually isn't a problem because I usually just fill a bag of the store brand stuff but Starbucks was decently priced and I decided to mix things up.

It took me about a minute to get over it though because I don't think it's the actual caffeine I'm addicted to. Well, it probably is, but it does just make me jittery if I don't eat enough and make about 8 bathroom trips between 9am and 3pm if I have any water at all in that time period (and I have about half a liter in that time period, note decaf doesn't seem to have changed that much). I don't think the caffeine actually wakes me up or even keeps me from falling back asleep (although if I have coffee at night it does keep me from sleeping even if I'm tired). It might just be the actual coffee that I need to have before work. If it's the weekend or I'm on vacation I don't need coffee or make much effort to make coffee, but I will have some if I'm out or if someone else makes some.

So we'll see if I start getting headaches even more frequently and such. I think those symptoms will be masked by my working-out-again aches though. I jumped right back into my regular work out yesterday after about 3 weeks of slacking (read traveling and closed gym) and I added half a dozen pilates exercises with my new resistance band. I'm a little sore while walking today but surprisingly not dead. :)

(One day I'll just have a whole post of nested parentheses.)

Sunday, January 09, 2005
I think it was the Vulcan question that put me over the top
I am nerdier than 81% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Friday, January 07, 2005
Not the Michael Jackson bad, the regular bad
Sometimes I like things because they're bad. (Sometimes not, I do have a modicum of taste.) A bad joke. Local commercials. N SYNC. People wearing stirrup pants. You get the idea.

And of course a gold mine for crap is advertising. After the wedding reception of certain people a few of us stopped at a convenience store for some beer when I saw a small bag that brought such joy to my face that it prompted another person to buy it for me. You can find the badass corn nuts CORN GONE WRONG under my photo link on June 29 or you can find a more detailed explanation at this site, kindly provided by Matt.

I would not recommend eating corn nuts, however, as they were rather nasty. TO THE MAX!


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