Friday, December 30, 2005

Hwang, You Suck

If you haven't already heard, stem-cell "pioneer" Hwang Woo-suk was found to not only be a partial fraud, but a COMPLETE fraud. He made his entire data set up. Frankly, I'm very disappointed for several reasons. First and most obvious, I'm disappointed as a scientist. Having been forced by Hopkins to take three sets of ethics classes, including a lecture on the Ethics of Writing (where this very topic was discussed), a stunt like this hits the entire research community below the belt, so to say. Second, I'm disappointed as a writer. Being acutely familiar with the publishing process, I have to ask, "Where were the reviewers?" Science is a self-correcting subject because of the peer-review process, and the reviewers of this article have failed the community as well. Third, I'm disappointed as someone who still believes that stem cell research holds great promise, and in how Hwang has tainted the field for anyone else still in it. This will only serve to fuel the religious right's opposition to the research (an opposition that I disagree with about 90%), place even tighter restrictions on research being currently conducted, and call into question any past and future results from the field - all in all, quite a discouraging package to anyone who is considering the prospect of a future in stem cell research. Some of the future great minds might not find it worth the trouble to undertake future research because this man so severely crippled it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Today

Had lunch with Matt at Ruby Tuesdays.

Went to CVS for some hair stuff and new eyeliner.

I straightened my hair using the EasyStraight system. It's not as straight as I would have preferred, but it's definitely going to cut my work at least in half. I think I might give it a few extra minutes next time...I was having trouble determining the thickness of my hair, and decided to play it safe than risk going too long. So now instead of heavy kinks and curls (see photo at right), I have some loose waves in the back and at the ends. I'll have to see how it looks in a few days before deciding about a haircut...I can't wash my hair or use the straightening iron for 2 days.

I just realized that I should have taken a "before" and "after" picture, in the mirror or something. Oh well.

Watched girly movies and ate ice cream - Legally Blonde and Mona Lisa Smile, and Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, respectively.

In the process of making some enchiladas for dinner. Then who knows what?

Apparantly now we're going to Springfield tomorrow around 3:30. I need to finish my gift bags tonight, I suppose.

I wish my new clothes would get here. My stuff from Old Navy isn't slated for delivery until January 3rd. My JC Penney order *could* theoretically get to the catalogue department tomorrow for pickup, but it probably won't because I ordered one thing that had to be "transferred" from another warehouse so I'm supposed to allow an extra 1-3 business days on top of the standard 4-7 for delivery. And I'll have to wait another week before I can exchange two other shirts at Old Navy. But when all is said and done, I'll have 4 striped button down shirts (1 pink, 1 white, 2 blue), 3 long sleeved t-shirts (pink, white and red), a bright pink wrap top, two sweaters (pink and blue), a pink fleece pullover, and a blue knot-front long sleeved shirt. Along with the black long sleeved t-shirt and blue turtleneck sweater I got at Old Navy this week that actually fit, I think I'm done until summer. I love Christmas money.

Wow, my life has been boring this week.

UPDATE: You didn't really think that I was done shopping until summer, did you? :-) It's not that bad though...I only need about $225 more of clothes to complete my wardrobe. Matt said he'd buy me an iPod way back when if he won enough poker money, and now that I have an iPod I said I wanted clothes instead. He said that wasn't the deal. Booooooo!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Additions

To our DVD collection, that is.

We got Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, Office Space, William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Rounders, and Swordfish with our Best Buy gift cards.

Bet you can't guess which ones I picked out.

Trick question! I picked all of them out except Rounders (lest you think that I somehow ended up with more Best Buy gift cards than Matt, he also got a new FM transmitter for his iPod).

We also saw The Family Stone today. It was extremely well done, but different than what I expected (not as much of a comedy as the previews made it out to be).

I just told Matt that I was getting hungry and I either needed to make dinner or eat more ice cream. I thought it was an obvious choice, but he's making me make dinner. I suppose the ice cream will have to wait a bit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Less than 5 days left

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. - Bill Vaughan

I have no idea who Bill Vaughan is, but I'm wavering between the two right now. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Apparantly we're not going to VA until sometime Saturday now. So I'll be sitting around the house for the next three days doing pretty much nothing. Awesome.

One of the things that bothers me most is when things deviate from the plan, especially in the 11th hour.

Pictures


The whole family - my brother Daniel, Dad, Matt, Mom, my sister Alyssa, me, my Uncle Tim.


Alyssa, Daniel, and me.


My parents' dog Emily opening her gift (bones) from Max and Roxie.


We even had a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree (tm)!

A sad day today

I found the cutest shoes online today (the pink ones). I can't find them available ANYWHERE :-( All of my google search attempts took me to the same website, zappos.com, that only had the green ones. If anyone finds me a pair, size 8, I'll love you forever!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Money Update

Budget = balanced
Laptop = ordered! I should have it no later than January 17th.

I also ordered $300 of clothes from jcpenney.com for $135.
I am so awesome.

Monies FTW, sort of

So I checked on my HP shopping cart today. It turns out that this week, the 512MB RAM and the BrightView WXGA widescreen are offered as free upgrades! And free 5-7 day shipping! Combined with the $50 mail-in rebate that's good until the end of the year, my computer is now only $838!! The crazy thing is that it's less than what this thing cost 18 months ago (I think this was about $875) . We're going to order it tonight after we balance our budget, and it's currently slated to build on January 10th. Yay!

Saving $150 on the laptop makes me feel a little less bitter about the fact that we just bumped up from the 15% to the 25% tax bracket. Hey, you make too much money - Merry Christmas from Uncle Sam. The government helped themselves to an extra $1000 from Matt's Christmas bonus. Disgusting. At least we won't be moving up to 28% for a good while, and then it's not as much of a jump anyways. 15% to 25% hurts like a mofo. 25% to 28% is just a little pinch.

Another Christmas Come and Gone

So we're back home again. Had a nice couple of days with my family. I made some yummy desserts (Christmas Cannoli Cake and Cranberry Crumb Pie) that everyone really enjoyed (including me). I got a beautiful 3-stone 0.25 carat diamond necklace and some gift cards from Matt, a scarf from my sister, Best Buy gift cards from my brother and my Uncle Tim, a laptop dock, a turtleneck sweater and puffy vest, a denim blazer, The Apprentice The Game, and little dangly silver earrings from my parents. My dad got all the cool gifts this year - a telescope and an atomic clock (from mom) and the complete Monty Python's Flying Circus DVD set (from us). My parents had gotten my brother a digital camera, so he had fun learning how to use that and taking pictures. I took a few with our camera as well; I'll put them up a little later tonight or tomorrow.

The food was, as usual, excellent. We had crabmeat-stuffed jumbo shrimp on beds of garlicky spinach for Christmas Eve, and Beef Wellington (filet mignon tenderloin rolled in mushroom-pate' paste and wrapped in puff pastry) with roasted potatoes, creamed onions, and green beans with almonds for Christmas dinner. A bunch of people came over for dessert that night, and Seth managed to make it over for a few hours as well, which was very cool. He gave me a New Mexico cookbook...is he trying to tell me something?

Matt and my dad bonded this weekend over shooting videos on the computer and talking about religion. I was pleased. It only took, what, 5 years? :-)

I managed to copy a few of my parents' classic rock CDs into iTunes before we left today. I'm currently listening to Derek and the Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs...in reverse order (because I'm running the stereo off of my "Recently Added" playlist). Which is interesting, because supposedly the whole album is about Eric Clapton's affair and subsequent breakup with George Harrison's wife Linda. So it's now playing in reverse chronological order, going from the aftermath of the split back to the early days of their relationship. Interesting.

I have the rest of the week off...tomorrow will be spent doing laundry/cleaning and repacking for the rest of the week. Probably get some reading in as well, and finish the wrapping for our last gift exchange. We'll probably head over to Matt's grandma's or aunt's place on Wednesday and stay through Sunday night.

I think I'm done now. Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It doesn't feel like vacation yet...

Hi, my name is Courtney, and I conduct electricity like nobody's bizness.
(Hi, Courtney.)
Once, I shorted out Matt's plastic mouse just by touching it. He had to get a USB mouse because the mouse jack on his computer didn't work anymore. I shock myself getting out of the car every day - doesn't matter what the season, temperature, or humidity is. The cats run from me when I come inside with my coat on. I also shock myself on the coffee maker at work while touching nothing but a styrofoam cup (the coffee maker is also plastic). I've shocked myself on lightswitches (somehow I always manage to touch the little screw), doorknobs, faucets, and metal folding chairs - through a wool coat, no less.

All I want for Christmas is a static-free existance.

I went to 4 stores tonight for pate' for my mom.
Whole Foods Market ftw.

I don't have to work again for 11 days. Not that I was accomplishing much anyways. I do have a buttload of reading to do though. I called about my lab results, but the clinic wouldn't give them to me over the phone. Grr.

I think I have SAD. I hope my mood starts to pick up soon.

She, she screams in silence
A sullen riot penetrating through her mind
- Green Day

Sad

Elrod Hendricks Dies From Heart Attack - Elrod was the guest of honor at this year's Baltimore Heart Walk. He was at the AHA recognition dinner that I went to last week. He shook my hand.

One more life lost to heart disease.

I will be walking again next year. Please think about donating again when the time comes...or make general donation to the American Heart Association (donate before January 3rd and it will be credited to your 2005 tax return).

Last Day!

I'm printing out my holiday reading after lunch. It's about 40 articles for the background section of my proposal. w00t...or not.

Internet roundup for this morning = scary and funny.

First, a bit from an editorial written by digital security expert Bruce Schneier:
"This is indefinite dictatorial power. And I don't use that term lightly; the very definition of a dictatorship is a system that puts a ruler above the law. In the weeks after 9/11, while America and the world were grieving, Bush built a legal rationale for a dictatorship. Then he immediately started using it to avoid the law. This is, fundamentally, why this issue crossed political lines in Congress. If the president can ignore laws regulating surveillance and wiretapping, why is Congress bothering to debate reauthorizing certain provisions of the Patriot Act? Any debate over laws is predicated on the belief that the executive branch will follow the law."

Nice. TPA also got extended for 6 months, to continue to look at civil rights protections. Not that it probably mattered either way.

Next, a link to a Salon article about why Bush won't be impeached - blaming the media and the apathy of the Democrats, mostly.

And finally, something to cheer you up after all that doom and gloom: Pac-Man being chased by a ghost through the University of Michigan's library and computer lab. Requires Quicktime. Every now and then, when I see stuff like this, I get a small twinge of envy for people who went to big schools where stuff like this happens. It doesn't last for long though.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

One more day...

Of work before the holidays, that is. Well, a day plus another hour and a half here.

I got three more songs off of iTunes today:
James Taylor - "Your Smiling Face"
Ben Folds - "Landed"
Lenny Kravitz - "Can't Get You Off My Mind"

I also made a playlist with a dozen or so songs that I remember my dad playing on the guitar way back when. I hope to be adding to that as well (I had to request two from iTunes because they weren't in the current catalogue).

"What's wrong with a homosexual priest? Aren't priests supposed to be celibate? Why does the Vatican care about what kind of sex they're NOT having? Well, the Catholic Church doesn't want women either, because priests are supposed to be like the apostles. Meaning that they must be male, olive-skinned, speak Aramaic, and live in 1st century Judea. If you don't fit those criteria, well, don't let the narthex hit ya where the good Lord split ya!"
- Heard on The Colbert Report last night.

I'm entering a Book Collection contest. I did one once, back in college, and won 1st place ($100). This one is sponsored by Hopkins, and the prizes are $1000 and $500 for 1st and 2nd. Also, the entries are divided into undergraduate and graduate students, so I won't have as much competition. I dug out my old entry and plan on brushing it up for submission in February.

Pathobiology of Cancer workshop application should be coming up soon as well.

Church concert is tonight; Matt's grandma and aunt are stopping by to see our place afterwards. Still have to wrap presents, package cookies, finish a few more ornament/gift bag packages, and pack for vacation.

That's all I got.

Ancient History

All roads lead to Rome.

No wait, that's not what I wanted to talk about. I've been reading some old LiveJournal entries of a friend of a friend of a friend (hereafter referred to as FOAF3). A Bacon Number of 3, if you will. Also, the transitive property does not apply here.

Anyway, FOAF3 was writing about breakups, and how if someone breaks up with you then it means that they don't love you and never did, because love should be enough to survive anything. Some people agreed, others disagreed - pointing out that while love is necessary, it's not sufficient and that other things like distance, conflicting schedules, changing interests/situations, changes in common goals, etc. can override the romantic notion of love surviving everything.

So, who's right - The Beatles or Patti Smyth?

From my own experience, I agree with the "love is necessary but not sufficient" arguement. Not always quite romantic, but there needs to be a balance between romance and practicality for survival. Sometimes one may outweigh the other, depending on the current situation, but both should always be there.

Case in point - my last breakup.
Love...check.
Distance...check (five times more than I had signed on for).
Conflicting schedules...check (nights vs. days).
Change in situation and comon goals...check (college vs. "uncollege" being the biggest one).
Psychological issues...check (at the time, on both sides).

Maybe I didn't do the best job, at the time or after, but I was going off of what had worked in the past. It just happened to be the one "oddball situation," out of a dozen or so, that ended up a complete mess.

All you need is love - The Beatles
Baby, sometimes love just ain't enough - Patti Smyth

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Computer?

So it looks like we'll be ordering a customized HP Pavilion dv1000 online next week. Configuration:
– Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with SP2
– Intel Celeron M 380 (1.6 GHz)
– 14.0" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x768)
– Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 - Celeron
– 512MB DDR SDRAM (2x256MB)
– 60 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
– DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive
– 54g 802.11b/g WLAN w/ 125HSM/SpeedBooster
– 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

I believe it meets all of my criteria listed below...it might be pushing the weight line a tad with the 12-cell battery, but it's still gotta be better than this 8.5lb clunker.

$992, with 2-day shipping, after mail-in rebate.

Everyone's happy (I think).

Self-Esteem Booster

Media Photoshop Retouching - a little project someone undertook to show how extensively magazine photos are retouched from the original before being published (requires Flash). You'll probably never look at magazine photos, or yourself, the same way again.

Commute debate:
-Taking 270-495-95 from G'burg to B'more is 1:15 minimum, 1:20-1:45 on a normal day, 2:00+ on a bad day. Of course, none of this is known in advance (other than that it is only 1:15 before 6am or after 11am in the morning; before 3pm or after 7pm in the evening. None of which makes for a very desirable day. Well, I wouldn't mind working 12:15-2:45, but other people might have issues with it.)
-Taking 28-198-29-32-95 is about 1:30, but frustrating because there is still a decent volume and the lights are timed very short and has a lot of left turns.
-Taking 27-a bunch of unnumbered backroads-108-100-95 is about 1:30, but not an option in bad weather. And there is little volume, but also NO place to pass so it would only take one old person to screw things up.

Went to Chili's last night. Had probably the best service we've had in months. Our orders were perfect, everything was well-timed, she was very nice and attentive (she even noticed that I had taken Matt's lemon from his water and brought out his second glass with no lemon). Matt left her a 25% tip. My faith in restaurant service is restored.

We looked at a few computers at Best Buy last night. I was having trouble navigating their website because it wouldn't let me sort by anything that was important to me, and I didn't want to look at the specs of 41 individual computers. I saw a Gateway that I liked, but everyone says not to buy Gateway. I also looked at an HP Special Edition, but I'm a little less enthused about its asthetics.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Computer Madness

So I'm shopping around for a new laptop, and then I can give this junker to Matt.

I really only have a few minimum criteria. Why is this so hard??

I just want it to be:
-less than 5.5 pounds (I carry it back and forth every day)
-reasonably fast
-512MB of RAM
-have internal wireless instead of the pop-out card
-6-cell battery or better (looking for really good battery life)

Matt wants it to be:
-less than $1100

Grumblecakes.

Party Roundup

Okay, crazy party weekend is over. I guess that's the price you pay for being popular. So here's the weekend in review (for some reason I just typed "weeding" there...I don't know why).

Friday - Carly and Eric's place, Reston VA
We got to their place on time - which meant we were an hour early. I didn't get the memo on that one. Anyway, there was much appetizers and drinkage to be had. We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas while we waited for everyone else to get there. Sometime during this hour the ex came (I didn't even notice until later). I guess that's a step forward? I'll never know...the online discussion is "friends only" (and I am most definitely not considered a friend). Anyway, the holiday gift exchange was first. Matt and I ended up picking numbers toward the end of the draw - I got a gift bag of wine, a candle and a holiday tea towel. Matt stole Cranium from Randi (I was glad, because I wanted it but didn't want to be the first "steal.") After the gift exchange, the ex disappeared upstairs for the rest of the time we were there (and Josh didn't get the memo about why he would do that, and kept yelling for him to come downstairs); everyone else played holiday trivia. Eric had come up with a bunch of really hard questions, and the idea was to yell out the answers. Some of them, you really just had to yell out random stuff until you hit on something. There were Monty Python references ("A duck!"), my Friends reference ("A ghost!"), and many other amusing answers. But the best was Josh, who yelled out "Jews!" to every question. After that was a little bit of video gaming (I hate video games, but Samba de Amigo was tolerable.) We headed home around 11, and presumably the ex came downstairs after that. Good times nonetheless.

Saturday - Kim's place, Timonium MD
There were 9 of us in all (Ryan and Staci were last minute cancels; Ryan had an emergency work trip to B-burg and Staci had to take Ellie to the vet). I brought a food-ornament gift bag for Kim and Mike, and she got me an iTunes gift card. We started out watching some of Phil Gordon's commentary DVD on playing poker. Matt was taking mental notes. Potluck dinner/desserts, then we split into three teams to play Trivial Pursuit:90s Edition. Kim and Ray were on my team - we were up against Matt-Phil-Sid and Mike-Matt Sprinkle-Jim. It was close at the end...we made it to the center spot 4 times and failed before finally winning it on the 5th try. The problem was we would get it down to two answers, and argue vehemently for a few minutes. One person would inevitably not be sure of an answer, and cast the tie-breaking vote for the wrong answer. Grrrr.

Sunday - Chuck and Peggy's place, Silver Spring MD
This was a last minute addition to the party list (we got the invitation on Tuesday I think). It was a cookie exchange/dinner, so I had to add two batches of holly clusters to my baking list. My criteria for choosing my exchange cookie was "What can I make that requires me to buy the least amount of ingredients?" When we got there, everyone was watching the end of the Redskins-Cowboys game. Once that was over (like the 'Skins weren't going to win by the 4th quarter) we had dinner. Then we watched The Holiday Yule Log. Yes, that's italicized because it's a title. Of a movie. Some genius videotaped a fireplace for 45 minutes, made VHS tapes of it (in 1987) and is probably a wealthy man now. There were many jokes and "cheers" during the movie. The funniest part was that it was a bootleg tape - they had gotten a copy from someone who actually owned the original. After all that festivity was the cookie exchange. Basically, you went around the dining room table 3 or 4 times and picked up a couple of each kind of cookie each time. At the end, you have a nice assortment of 8 or so. I would have been more enthusiastic if I hadn't already had a freezer full of cookies at home, but we got a couple dozen anyways.

So...that was my weekend.

Today's commute sucked because I tried to take a backroad over to 95, missed a turn, ended up on another road that was closed, and had to backtrack. I'll give it another shot tomorrow but I'm skeptical that it will cut any time off of my commute, based on my estimate.

But I got free lunch.

Had my iron and thyroid levels checked to try to find out why I'm so damn tired all the time. Seriously, I'm in bed by 11 almost every night and I still can't get out of bed before 8am. Will find out about those Wednesday or Thursday. Driving home to my parents' on Friday. Between now and then, I have GOT to get some work done on this thesis proposal. I have no work motivation right now...I hope the holidays will fix this.

I think that's everything for now. Remember, broken cookies don't count in your weight management plan because all the calories fell out!

She's so pretty but she doesn't always act that way
Her moods are swinging on the swingset almost every day
She said to me that she's so stressed out, it's soothing
And all I said was "someone get that girl a mood ring."
-Relient K

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Things I Hate Today

I hate being behind stuck behind a van going 10 miles under instead of 10 miles over the speed limit.

I hate when a car is making an illegal u-turn where there's no turn lane and I can't get around them because everyone behind me is pulling around them.

I hate that I could not get a green light to save my life this morning.

I hate killing myself to get here at 10am to meet someone and then they never show up.

I hate that no one in my lab answered their cell phones so I could tell someone that I was running a few minutes late.

I hate politics. I hate politicians.

I hate the Patriot Act, and how some genius stuck an anti-meth proposition as part of the Patriot Act renewal bill. So that anyone who votes against renewing the Patriot Act will later be spun as "not taking a stand against meth."

I hate the politics of the FDA that refuse to initiate a nationwide vaccination program against cervical cancer on the flawed and unproven theory that vaccinating young women against a STD will increase promiscuity and abortions.

I hate that there aren't 26 hours in a day in December.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ex0rant

How did I ever live without parchment paper??

I am flying through these cookies. It's awesome.

Three down, four to go.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Okay, NOW it's Christmas

Got the tree and other various decorations up today. I figured two snows was good enough to kick off the season. Also did some christmas shopping at Lakeforest Mall - got gifts for my mom and sister, Matt's mom, sister and grandma, and our gift exchanges for the party on Friday. I also ordered Matt's christmas presents today...and accidentially sent the confirmation e-mail to his hotmail account because I didn't realize I was using his amazon.com login. I quickly corrected the error :-) Still have to shop for both our dads and my brother, and then I think that's it as far as gifts.

I hung lights on the front windows but I don't like how they are right now because I had to run the lights down one side and behind the couch to get to the outlet. I'm going to get a white extension cord at Target when I go tomorrow and then redo them.

The cats enjoy sitting under the tree again but other than that they dont seem to be making too much of a fuss about the decorations.

We reconstructed our budget this morning (Matt formatted the windows partition on his computer and accidentially forgot to back up the file). It was a pain and took over an hour, but we managed to account for everything except about $158. It should naturally correct itself in a few months, but until then we're hanging on to that money as a sort of "undesignated funds."

I love the detachable part of the wireless iPod transmitter that lets you play iTunes on your stereo.

Roxie is getting a bath tonight because she smells like poo. This should be interesting.

UPDATE: The bath was relatively painless. She didn't cry or squirm too much. And she still likes us. w00t! I think we're going to try to keep her hiney-hair trimmed to help keep her tidier.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Irrational Fears

Also known as "the heebie-jeebies."

So I was browsing around on snopes.com yesterday, and I came across one of those tales of "so-and-so went to a third world country and two weeks after they came back they got a rash and it turned out to have [insert creepy crawly here] growing in it!!!1!"

This one had a PICTURE.

Yes, I know the story is fake. Yes, I know the picture is photoshopped. It doesn't make me feel any less squeamish. Because those things look like eyes to me. And that gives me the ultimate creeps.

For more evidence, watch this movie. Same idea. As the poster on boingboing put it, "...made my stomach do one of those slow somersaults you get when you step on a turd. Something about these evinces a genuinely atavistic reaction, a whole-body squick."

As an exercise for the reader, there is also a Stephen King short story called "I Am The Doorway" that has a guy with alien eyes growing in his hands and chest.

Ewwwww.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas Awesomeness

A Christmas Story - in 30 seconds, reenacted by bunnies.

And for the rest, go here (Star Wars coming on December 16th!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Airplane Incident

I'm sure you heard about the air marshal incident at Miami-Dade Airport this afternoon. I just think it sucks that it turned out to be unnecessary for them to kill the suspect. I'm not saying they should have opened fire or not; I don't know all the circumstances. But...
1) How could he have gotten a bomb onto the plane in a carry-on? Doesn't the TSA screen for all that stuff (x-rays, dogs, bag checks, etc)?
2) His wife told the air marshals that he had a mental disorder and hadn't taken his medication that day.
3) It turns out that the guy was a missionary (in Peru).

4) They also blew up two other bags that the bomb-sniffing dogs deemed "suspicious." Sucks to be those two people. Does the TSA reimburse them or are they SOL?

Internet roundup

Global warming!! Oh wait, just kidding.

Oh Bushie, how could you? Seriously though, this doesn't bother me.

I would so not want to be this guy.

When did innocent verdicts become "setbacks" to homeland security? I think that's an extremely dangerous line of thinking.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Monumentous Occasion



Yes, that's right. This is post #300. That's a pretty good run for me...a little over a year to get 300 posts; that's more than a post every other day. Rock on.

I bought my first song from iTunes the other day. It's the song from the new Volvo commercial that I thought was Bob Dylan, but it's not.

In the chilly hours and minutes
Of uncertainty, I want to be
In the warm hold of your loving mind.

To feel you all around me
And to take your hand, along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

When sundown pales the sky
I want to hide a while, behind your smile
And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find.

For me to love you now
Would be the sweetest thing, 'twould make me sing
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near, to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind.

For standin' in your heart
Is where I want to be, and long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

-Donovan, Catch the Wind

I don't know if I ever posted this link of the interview with Tony Campolo, but it's a good one. I want to read his book.

That's all I got. I have to give a presentation at lab meeting tomorrow that I haven't started yet. Yay for procrastination!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekend Update

After much frustration, I (and Matt after I gave up) have my new IPod and ITunes set up.
IPod fully loaded with CD collection and mp3s = check.
(ERROR: I have 10.2G available on my IPod and only 8.1G available on my laptop hard drive.)
(Half an hour later: I got it up to 9.6G. I could free up another 600MB but I have to ask before i uninstall some stuff. I think I could get rid of several things that seem to be duplicates. Like the 4 older versions of Java runtime environment - seriously, is it not uninstalling the old one when it updates?)

Matt's holiday party was really nice, as usual. And the punk won a 15" flatscreen TV in the door prize drawing. We're going to get a wall shelf and put it in our bedroom - one more thing competing for our time :-)

Kim and Mike finally got engaged. Yay! I'm a bridesmaid. Yay! Stressed-out bridesmaids killing bridezillas is an acceptable insanity defense in thirteen states. Yay! I totally just made that last part up...or did I? Kim better behave herself :-)
-----
Holidays:
10 Dozen truffles (chocolate, almond, coconut, and vanilla eggnog) made = check.

One holiday party down, three to go. Did I mention that those three parties are all in THE SAME WEEK?

Still to do: finish ornaments, assemble gift bags, bake cookies, shopping and wrapping, put up the tree, mail packages and christmas cards.

Bring it on.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Places where politics do not belong

Congressman says BCS 'deeply flawed' - Why does Congress care about the BCS?

Are we surprised that a Texas Republican is the one calling for congressional hearings?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Merry Christmas to me!

I just got a concert ticket to see Virginia Coalition at the 9:30 club on January 6th.

For their live CD/DVD recording concert.

(grins)

Oh, and Phil's coming with me :-)

35 days...

Sometimes I say funny things

Me: That's not snow. It's...crispy rain.
Matt: Snow is crispy rain!!

Me: That's ininterpretable.
Matt: What? INinterpretable? You don't say inindivisible, you say divisible.
Me: Fine, "terpretable."

Phil: Yeah, I had that problem a few versions ago.
Me: Well, Matt just put it on my computer like, two weeks ago, so unless they're going through versions like Paris Hilton goes through shoes, I've got the newest version.

And over IM:
Seth: pretty much, the only ones [webpages] with content are yours, carly's, eric's and liz's
Me: <---highfives self, pokes self in eye
Seth: good job!
Seth: you better post that

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why I *really* got married

So Matt was up in Abingdon today for the Microsoft new software launch. I kept wanting to say Aberdeen. He stayed late past the conference and ate dinner up there to avoid the traffic coming home. I had two cheddar biscuits and several handfuls of shredded coconut (I was making coconut truffles tonight) for dinner.

Vindication

I did a few google searches tonight, on some of the "popular" people from my high school. Turns out that there's not much out there in cyberspace on most of them. Ah, the sweet smell of success. It smells like chocolate.

Open up your eyes and see the wonder that is me

I always thought ebola was cool. For a while I wanted to be a field epidemiologist (hence my minor in anthropology). So I enjoyed reading that, after almost 30 years, researchers finally found the animal reservoir of the virus (that means the animal that carries the virus in nature but doesn't display symptoms) - it's three species of fruit bats. Lesson here: don't eat fruit bats.

ps - read The Hot Zone, if you haven't already. And then read The Cobra Effect - fiction, but scarier.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Conspiracy Theories

1. Lucky Charms (the cereal) is trying to brainwash our children with Christian propoganda.

What we have here are the three cereal forms in Lucky Charms. From left to right, we can obviously see a) a fish, or the symbol for Christianity, b) the Greek letter Chi, which is often used to represent Christ in writings, and c) a Christmas tree, symbolic of the holiday that celebrates Jesus's birth.

2. 24 (the hit Fox TV show) is the brainchild of Dick Cheney. In the show, Jack Bauer often resorts to torture to obtain information from a suspect. Information he needs to prevent a terrorist attack on US soil. If Jack Bauer does it, it must be okay, right? So by watching 24 the government is slowly indoctrinating the public with the idea that torture is acceptable...as they recently tried to convince Congress to allow the CIA exemptions from torture laws.


3. The pharmaceutical companies are to blame for the nation's obesity epidemic. The hormones in the pill are dosed for approximately a 155lb woman. Women defined as "overweight" by their BMIs have a 60% higher failure risk and "obese" women have a 120% higher failure risk. Therefore, overweight women are more likely to have unexpected pregnancies than non-overweight women...which means more overweight kids (through genetics or teaching lifestyle choices or both). And we all know that overweight America has more health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, that the pharmaceutical companies can now sell drugs for!

This post brought to you by the fear-mongering media (but the ideas are my own creativity!)

Can't we all just get along?

A Christian man is walking down the street. As he passes a black man, he says, "Merry Christmas." The black man replies, "Happy Kwanzaa." A block or so later, he passes an elderly lady. He says, "Merry Christmas." The woman replies, "Happy Hanukkah." A little farther down the street, he passes a liberal athiest lawyer. He says, "Merry Christmas." The lawyer replies, "How offensive! What if I had been black or jewish?"

But seriously, do I really need to boycott James Dobson's blacklist of businesses that don't say "Merry Christmas"? Come on now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Babies are cute!

Awwwww!

Make sure you look at the slide show too. :-)

p.s. The thing I hate about this time of year is that it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. Boo that. But maybe my iPod will be delivered today! Time to go fight the traffic and find out.

What I really do at work



Another prospect for the drug companies

I was Kansas-bound, lost and found
Isabella with a heart of gold
Thought I'd see her through it but the devil made me do it
It's a story I've never told
Spent a little time, and never learned to rhyme
I guess I never will
She sang a song about Wichita now, I can't sit still
Went a little like this...

It's only a minute and half long or so, but I always turn my speakers way way up whenever it comes on.

Molecule gives passionate lovers just one year - but if we could bottle this, think of the possibilities!

I've had some...difficult service lately. We went to dinner at Lonestar last night. We got our appetizer, then waited eons for our salads, and then our meals came out 30 seconds after the salad. Bad timing. I had ordered a steak with mushroom sauce and a loaded baked potato. I got...a plain steak and a plain baked potato. Several minutes later, I managed to flag her down and explain the problem. She took it back to the kitchen and came out a few minutes later, telling me they didn't have mushroom sauce. My baked potato had butter and sour cream, still a far cry from being loaded. Matt gave me his baked potato (he had a humongous steak to make his way through).

Let me pause for a minute and ask, why do women feel the need to apologize for things that aren't their fault? When I was talking to the waitress about my order last night, I started off my sentence with "I'm sorry, but..." I don't know why I did that. Matt didn't do that when he was asking her to correct something on the check. It's silly, but I do it.

Anyway. Back to my service issues. I went to Target this morning to pick some stuff up. One of the things I was getting was a standing grater for Matt's mom, to replace her lousy flat one. The graters were on a shelf, with a "Price Cut $3.99" tag below. The regular price label was underneath the sale tag. When I got to the register, it rang up at the regular price. I explained that there was a sale tag on the shelf. The cashier told me I was incorrect, so I offered to show her the tag on the shelf. We went back there, I showed her the tag, and she told me it was for something else. It turned out that it really was for something else (in small print on the bottom of the tag), but who puts a sale tag below something that's not on sale, and *over top* of the price of the thing that's not on sale?? Grrrr.

UPS.com says my iPod is out for delivery today. Let's see if they can get it right this time.

I keep thinking today is Wednesday.

Isabella, won't you sing your song again for me?
Wichita never shined its light on me
-VaCo, "Wichita/Wichita Reprise"

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mondays

Some company must have just sold my yahoo mail address recently. I used to get a spam e-mail every other day or so. About two weeks ago it shot up to 8-10 per day. Jerks.

I did *not* sleep well last night.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

And we're home

Vacation was good. As always, I'm glad to be home though.

I bought an iPod tonight. We went and looked at them at Best Buy, but I was cranky then because it was $50 more than I had thought and I was still feeling envious that Matt got his for free but I would have had to spend *all* my Christmas money on mine. I ended up just getting two DVDs then (Crash and Mona Lisa Smile). We watched Crash when we got home; Matt had never seen it. It was as good as I remembered it. So anyways, I was looking around on Yahoo Shopping tonight, and I found a merchant with good customer ratings that was selling iPods for $239.99, no tax or shipping. So it ended up being about $75 cheaper than Best Buy, and I should have it in 3-5 days.

Got the rest of the Christmas-present-making supplies, made two more cookie doughs (I'm done with that!) and went to JC Penney too - I wanted some camis for Christmas parties this year, and I ended up getting cute pajamas for Julie's Christmas present (no, she can't use the computer yet).

Getting close to the 300th post...should make it before the end of the year.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Papers Please?

United States vs. Deborah Davis - Hmm, this sounds familiar to me. Oh wait, Nazi Germany. That's right. I especially liked the one cop telling her, "...everyone had to show ID any time they were asked by the police, adding that if she were in a Wal-Mart and was asked by the police for ID, that she would have to show it there, too." Um, no, that would be against the 4th amendment protecting citizens against search without a warrent. There's no law saying you even have to CARRY an ID, much less produce it on demand.

Rawr rawr rawr.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Birthday!

To my webpage, that is :-) It was on Sunday. And I forgot because I spent 8 hours in the car. But it's been a year of posting...w00t!

Sucks to be you

If you bought a Panda Ticket online, that is.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Car Ride

Did you know John Tesh has a radio show?

John Tesh: And in the next hour of the John Tesh Show, find out if your marriage is on the road to divorce!
Me: Oh no, Matt! We won't be in the car long enough to find out if we're on the road to divorce!
Matt: No, we're on 161.
(long silence)
Me: PUNCH!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sweating...

I told Matt not to turn on the Georgia Tech-Miami game. We turned on the OSU game when they were up 28-12 over Texas, and OSU didn't score again the rest of the game. And lost.

Georgia Tech hasn't scored since we turned on the game right after the half. They're up by 4 points with about 6 minutes left in the game...and Miami has the ball.

To Be Continued.

UPDATE (11:12pm) - So that was the longest 6 minutes EVAR. The score? 14-10 Georgia Tech!! VT for teh other win!!

Football Hilarity

Matt Green: My TV weighs about 120 pounds.
Randi: That's like a cheerleader and a half!
Matt Green: Except not as much fun.
Matt: What are you going to do with half a cheerleader?
Matt Green: Oh, I think you know.

VT for teh win!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Second Bunch of Stuff

I decided to make a second post because my mental list was getting too long. What are we on, 15?

15. Politics
This is why I hate the republicans, and the democrats.

16. Julie
One of Julie's therapists gave her a yes/no box so she can answer questions. She responds by pushing the yes or no button and it says that answer. She's also eating salad, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and other foods. I can't wait to see her again! It's only been about 6 weeks or so for me, but Matt hasn't seen her since the beginning of July - I think he'll be pleasantly surprised.

17. Lyrics
My current favorite BNL song is "The Wrong Man Was Convicted."

Who's lonely now? Which one of us is suffering?
Who's in his cups? Which one of us recovering?
Who likes to look at pictures and cries, but way too late?
Who doesn't want to change a thing, accepting it was fate?

The wrong man was convicted
You know I did the deed
I thought that you would wait for me
Your wants I needn't heed
The wrong man lies beside you
And waits for you to wake
And all because I lacked conviction
The judgment's my mistake

Who's breathless now? Who only hyperventilates?
Who'd die for you? Who's dying inside anyway?
Which one of us is sunshine and which one's growing dim?
Two men dream of you at night, do you just dream of him?

The wrong man was convicted
You know I did the deed
I thought that you would wait for me
Your wants I needn't heed
The wrong man lies beside you
And waits for you to wake
And all because I lacked conviction
The judgment's my mistake

Who's lonely now? Who's reaching out to no one?
Who's lonely now? It takes one to know one

I changed my mind, you said that I could change it back
I wanted space, and now change has fallen through the cracks
If I'm again beside your body, don't tell me where it's been
It's cruel, unusual punishment to kiss fingerprinted skin

The wrong man was convicted
You know I did the deed
I thought that you would wait for me
Your wants I needn't heed
The wrong man lies beside you
And waits for you to wake
And all because I lacked conviction
The judgment's my mistake
It's my mistake

Bunches of stuffs

Okaaaay...so that post I promised the other day didn't happen quite on time. But here you go. For readability, I've decided to number things because I have a bunch of stuff.

1. Travel
So I went to New Jersey last weekend to visit people and get some stuff. I ended up with two bedside tables (Matt doesn't like them) and $2156. w00t! My cousins Rachel and Michael liked my laptop more than me, I think. I made the mistake of letting them play "Shark Dominoes" when I got there. I can't count how many times I heard "Let's just play Shark Dominoes" that weekend (sometimes even in the middle of another game). I also had my obligatory trip to The Spain (complete with mandatory lobster) and saw my Nana and Aunt Mary as well.

2. Movies
I really want to see Walk the Line. And Shark Boy and Lava Girl 3D is one of the worst movies I've seen in a while.

3. Temperature
It's really freaking cold out now. The other morning, I told Matt "It's 35 degrees outside." He checked weather.com and said "No, it's 36 degrees." I said "Okay then, let me get my shorts." The upside is that I can wear my cute pink-and-green-striped SBC scarf!

4. Traffic
So I thought it was going to take me 5 1/2 to 6 hours to get to NJ. I was supposed to be there around 2pm Friday. I got there at 11:45. However, I made up for it on Wednesday when it took me 2 hours and 10 minutes to drive 31 miles from work to church.

5. Pet Peeve
Something that's really been bothering me lately is when I make a space for you in traffic and either a) you don't take it or b) you don't give me "the wave." What happened to the wave? I do something polite, you acknowledge me. It's simple.

6. Cookies
I have 4 doughs made (out of 7). And I'm out of eggs. Stupid birds.

7. Links
The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles - this was a pretty cool article...who knew it would be so tough to make colored bubbles?

Superhero or Household Cleaner? - It's harder than you think. I got 14 out of 20.

8. Thesis Proposal
I have a hypothesis. Want to hear it? "Downregulation of Hif-1 alpha by an unknown mechanism confers an apoptotic advantage to a tumor cell but creates an angiogenic defect for the tumor mass, leading to increased early metastasis." Yeah, I know I'm awesome. I have 8 pages written.

9. More Awesomeness
This is quite possibly my best comment ever (scroll to the bottom of the comments list).

10. Football
VT versus UVA!! Should be a good game. I'm making chili. And cupcakes (I tried to do it last night; see #6). Ryan's making cornbread. You know you want to be there.

11. Marine Corps Quotes
The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!
Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945

Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985

Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat.
RAdm. "Jay" R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995

12. Census
Did you know that you are legally bound to respond to the US Census? And that if you refuse, or knowingly provide false information, you can be fined up to $500. The problem I have with this, is that it seems that the new census is asking for some increasingly private information, and citizens have no rights to refuse. Things such as what time you leave for work in the morning, how much you pay for insurance/property taxes/rent or mortgage, do you have disabilities, etc. Now I am not opposed to data aggregation; my problem is that you cannot opt out, and that all this information is tied to your social security number (as opposed to anonymous surveys). I don't like the idea that the government can come to my door and obtain any kind of information they wish under the umbrella of the census, and I have no rights to refuse.

13. Punctuation
Why am I incapable of hitting the " ' key on the first try? I always end up with a ; in my contractions.

14. To Be Continued?
I feel like there's more to say. I may edit this post throughout the day if I think of other stuff, so check back later if you care.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Internet silliness

I'm such a lemming :-)

1. Matt -- 2. Julia -- 3. Seth -- 4. Carly -- 5. Phil -- 6. Matt M. -- 7. Ryan
8. Eric -- 9. Matt G. -- 10. Robyn -- 11. Gillian -- 12. Randi -- 13. Staci
14. Kim -- 15. Mike -- 16. Dan -- 17. Jason -- 18. Megan -- 19. Michael
20. Lisa

How did you meet 13?
She was one of the “tour guides” when I visited Johns Hopkins

What would you do if you never met 5?
Not have nightmares about being stuffed in a refrigerator

What do you honestly think of 10? Honestly?
I wish she lived closer to me!

Have you ever liked 3?
Yep, but he wouldn’t take me to the ROTC ball so we broke up.

If 1 died tomorrow, what is one thing that you would need them to know?
That I love him, and how to do the laundry now that I’m dead.
(Okay, so I totally misread this question at first.)

Would 2 and 11 make a good couple?
No, but they made good bridesmaids.

Do you think 12 is hot?
All the time.

Would 1 and 17 make a lovely couple?
No, Matt’s too tall for Jason.

Tell me something humiliating about 11.
She fainted at my wedding.

Do you know any of 3’s family members?
Yes, I’m one of like three people outside his family that his dad talks to.

On a scale of 1-10 how cute is 14?
8

What would you do if 4 just professed their undying love for you?
Probably not invite her to poker night next time.

What language does 19 speak?
English?

Who is 8 going out with?
I assume he’s still “going out” with Carly…

Is 9 a boy or a girl?
Boy oh boy!

Would 18 and 4 make a good couple?
All of my couples are girls…

When was the last time you talked to 5?
Wow…um, a couple weeks ago?

What is 1’s favorite band?
Switchfoot?

Does 2 have any siblings?
Nope

Would you ever date 6? Would you ever date 7?
Probably not 6…maybe 7 a long time ago.

Would you ever date 8?
Nah.

Is 15 single?
Nope.

What is 19’s last name?
Allen

What is 4’s middle name?
Ummm…Beth? If it’s not, it sounds good anyways.

What is 10’s fantasy?
I have no idea…I guess in the short term for VT to beat UVA this weekend.

Would 14 and 19 make a good couple?
No, they have different…tastes.

What school does 16 go to?
Dan went to Carnegie Mellon...who knows where he'll be next year for grad school.

What school does 1 go to?
I know Matt is a Hokie.

Where does 9 live?
In the bedroom next to Ryan, unless he already moved, in which case, Chantilly.

Would you make out with 13?
No.

Are 5 and 6 best friends?
Enough to live together.

Is 20 older than you?
Yes.

Is 4 the sexiest bitch alive?
You know it ;-)
--------

I'll have a real post later on today.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kitties!

I took this picture the other day of the "intruder" that came to visit Max and Roxie. Max was visably upset, even after the other cat left (he ran around to all the windows to try to find it). Roxie was considerably more laid back.

One half of the story

What keeps a husband crazy in love - a list of 13 suggestions of things wives can do for their husbands. I'm amused that the first one on the list is "play poker." Check. Good list? Bad list? Guys will have to weigh in on this one. What I'd like to see now is a list for husbands. Suggestions?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cookies!

So I made my cookie plan for this year (I do the baking for both sides of the family, as well as my own people). The menu:
-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal (my favorite)
-Ginger Drops
-Santa's Whiskers (a coconut-cherry cookie)
-Holly Leaves
-Cranberry Double-Chip
-Almond Candy Kiss
-Fudge
-Chocolate Chip (for Matt)

I also decided what the "grown-ups" gift would be this year - because we have so many aunts/uncles/etc we get everyone the same thing. Last year it was olive wood ornaments from Jordan. This year I'm doing a homemade food/ornament dealy - spiced nuts and flavored truffles, with a curly wire ball ornament. I'm excited about this endeavor...hopefully it will work out well! I already went to Joann Fabrics tonight on the way home from church to get stuff for the ornaments. The cats like the flashy wire strands. It's actually kind of annoying.

I feel snarky today...so much I'd love to say and can't. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Teh Monies

Earn under $57,343? Watch out - interesting article about the breakdown of homes by salary rank and what proportion each group pays in taxes. Who knew we were so wealthy by comparison?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Marcus Vick owes me $10

SIX TURNOVERS. Six. When I need two hands to count your turnovers, something is very wrong. I just made good on my debts to Matt and Paul. Other than decorating my desk with Miami logos and such, they were pretty nice about it. I plan on submitting a form for reimbursement.

We watched the whole entire game, from kickoff to the final knee Miami took. I believed that we were going to see a whole different team come out of the locker room after halftime. I believed we could win, up until the very end of the third quarter. I remembered that Tech scored three touchdowns in the span of like five minutes in the 3rd quarter to beat Georgia Tech last year. I thought they could still come back until Vick's endzone fumble was recovered by Miami for their 4th score of the game. Then I just hoped we wouldn't get shutout. What made it bearable? Two martinis, and Laurie's friend Kylie. She is hilarious. Matt and I almost fell off the couch laughing at things she said several times. A sampling:

At halftime:
Kylie: I'm going to go down there and knife someone. Or stab. Knife...is that the right term?
C: It depends on where you're going. People get stabbed in Blacksburg. People get knifed in Miami.

Right after Tech scored their only touchdown:
K: I figured out the trick! Laurie was sitting on my lap when they scored!
Entire room: Get back in here Laurie!!

After the game:
K: There aren't enough meatballs in the world to fill this hole. (She wanted a Wawa meatball sub earlier).

and
K: I'm going to need seven orgies to forget this game. And I'm a woman, so you know I'm not gonna plan them!

Also said:
Nate: There's this drink...it's a mix of vodka, nyquil, and ecstasy.
K: I don't think we have any ecstacy.
C: Well, you know what Meatloaf said - two out of three ain't bad.

K: Can you snort crack?
C: No, I think the rocks get stuck in your nose.

N: You're the best Hokie that didn't go to VT that I've ever met.

Yeah, that's right. Maybe I don't know the fight song (Matt doesn't either) but I know the Hokie High cheer. I've rattled my keys on third down and sang "Stick it In" with the marching band. I never went to the school other than weekends and one class with Matt, but I'm a Hokie fan whether they're 10-0 or 0-10. I don't "own" the Hokies only when they're good. I consider myself a Hokie because I like them, I married into the VT family, and at least 75% of my friends are Hokies (at Matt's b-day party last month, everyone there was a Hokie except for me and Dan). So there.

Oh yeah, what's with Notre Dame (6-2) being ranked higher in the human polls than VT (8-1)? I swear, ND is the most overrated team in NCAA football. At least the BCS rankings look fairly reasonable right now...ugh, who ever thought the BCS standings would be good.

Now, for my essay of the day: Why I will never go back to Pep Boys.

So, I got a flat tire in the parking lot on Saturday, somehow. AAA came out on Sunday and put the spare on, but by the time they made it out here it was too late to have the tire fixed. So I had to go this morning. Now, I will tell you that Matt told me to go to Pep Boys. He will tell you that he told me to go to Washington Lube first. But that's beside the point now.

As a customer, I expect several things.
1. When I come up to the counter, I expect to be acknowledged. Even if you are on the phone or something, a simple "Be with you in a minute" will suffice. Or even eye contact. I do not expect to be ignored by 6 different people behind the counter for over 10 minutes when I'm the only one waiting.

2. I expect that the job will take reasonably close to the amount of time you tell me. If you say "about an hour" I expect an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. I do not expect it to take almost 3 times that long. Putting on two new tires does not take an additional hour and 45 minutes after the hour I waited for you to tell me you couldn't patch my tire (also suspect, but I have no way of proving it).

3. I expect to be treated like a regular customer and not a "girl." Do not call me "dear" or ask me if I'm waiting here or going shopping. I just told you I was waiting here. You wouldn't ask a man that.

4. When I pay, I expect you to have my keys ready for me or to have my car brought around. I do not expect to have to stand on the sidewalk for several minutes like a twit, walk over to the side where my car is parked and look inside to see if the keys are in the ignition, and then have to go back inside to ask for my keys. And when I do come back up to the counter, don't say "Oh, need your keys?" Of course I need my keys, you jerk. I am not capable of performing a vulcan mind meld on the engine block.

Okay, that's all. I'm angry again now. And who knows when I'll be leaving, since I didn't get here (or get to eat anything) until 1:30. What a waste of a day.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Success

Nothing much to report at work, but I was able to make sweet potato french fries tonight without burning the building down with boiling oil. Or personal injury...we all know how prone I am to self-induced burn injuries.

I plan on collecting $10 on Monday after VT's win this weekend. I had already made a bet with Matt Vaughn, and today at lunch Paul was making all sorts of comments about VT losing. Finally, I said "Are you going to keep talking trash or are you going to put your money where your mouth is?" So he went in for $5 too...he said any more and he would have had to get permission from his wife :-)

I need to make food and clean tonight and tomorrow. But we're watching Welcome to Mooseport right now...I'll have to work it into my schedule.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It seemed so glamorous before

I realized today that a successful graduate career consists mainly of transferring minute amounts of liquid from one tube to another. Seriously. That's it. I envisioned myself in an interview a few years down the road:

Interviewer: So, Ms. Silverthorn...I see you have a PhD from Johns Hopkins...very impressive. What did you do in your graduate work?
Me: Well, I moved small amounts of liquid from one tube to another tube. And then I put the tube into a machine, and a Nobel Prize popped out!

Heehee, I wish.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'm confused

Why is Pres. Bush "unveiling" his flu strategy to NIH scientists and not vice versa? And why does his flu strategy have the Dept of Homeland Security as the point organization and not Health and Human Services?

I'm scared to cough...

...I might be accused of being a terrorist.

Monday, October 31, 2005

James Dobson is dressing up as Two-Face for Halloween

Collected from several news articles, and press releases from Focus on the Family's website (all bold emphases mine).

James Dobson issued this statement on October 3rd, 2005: "We welcome the president's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. He pledged emphatically during his campaign to appoint judges who will interpret the law rather than create it. He also promised to select competent judges who will 'not use the bench to write social policy.' To this point, President Bush's appointments to the federal bench appear to have been remarkably consistent with that stated philosophy. Based on the information known generally about Harriet Miers, and President Bush's personal knowledge of her, we believe that she will not prove to be a lone exception.

"On the other hand, one cannot know absolutely about matters of integrity and philosophy until a jurist is given the tremendous power and influence of their position. As Lord Acton said: 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Sadly, that seems to have happened to Justices Souter and Kennedy. All we can say now is that Harriet Miers appears to be an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court.

----

Quoted on the Christian Broadcasting Network webpage: "Others such as Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson support her. Dobson supported Miers since the beginning. He was quoted on his radio show saying, "When you know some of the things I know - that I probably shouldn't know, that would take me in this direction - you would understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice."

----

From a transcript of Dr. Dobson's radio broadcast on October 11th: I shared my opinion, that Harriet Miers might well be more in keeping with our views than they might think and that I did believe that she was a far better choice than many of my colleagues were saying and that they obviously believed.

...Karl Rove had shared with me her judicial philosophy which was consistent with the promises that President Bush had made when he was campaigning...the President promised to appoint people who would uphold the Constitution and not use their powers to advance their own political agenda. Now, Mr. Rove assured me in that telephone conversation that Harriet Miers fit that description and that the President knew her well enough to say so with complete confidence.

Then he suggested that I might want to validate that opinion by talking to people in Texas who knew Miers personally and he gave me the names of some individuals that I could call. And I quickly followed up on that conversation and got glowing reports...Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life. In other words, there is a characterization of her that was given to me before the President had actually made this decision.

Harriet Miers is a strict constructionist, which is why the President likes her. And you know, I've never met her; I don't have any personal communication with her. I've never received a letter or a phone call from her or any firsthand knowledge, but I do believe President Bush is serious when he says this is the kind of person I'm looking for and Harriet Miers is such a person.

----

On October 27th, James Dobson was singing a different tune: "I believe the president has made a wise decision in accepting Harriet Miers' withdrawal as a nominee to the Supreme Court. "In recent days I have grown increasingly concerned about her conservative credentials, and I was dismayed to learn this week about her speech in 1993, in which she sounded pro-abortion themes, and expressed so much praise for left-wing feminist leaders. "When the president announced this nominee, I expressed my tentative support, based on what I was able to discover about her. But I also said I would await the hearings to learn more about her judicial philosophy. Based on what we now know about Miss Miers, it appears that we would not have been able to support her candidacy. Thankfully, that difficult evaluation is no longer necessary."

----

And now, Dr. Dobson's opinion on Judge Samuel Alito, released today: "Perhaps the most encouraging early indication that Judge Alito will make a great justice is that liberal senators such as Harry Reid and Charles Schumer and leftist pressure groups such as People for the American Way and Planned Parenthood have been lining up all day to scream that the sky is falling. Any nominee who so worries the radical left is worthy of serious consideration. Based on what is now known about Judge Alito, we applaud the president for this outstanding nomination."

So basically, as long as Bushie likes you and the liberals hate you, you've got the okay from the Christian Right.

Rampant second-half comebacks

#2 Texas down 28-12 at the half, beat Oklahoma State 47-28.
#6 Miami down 16-7 at the half, beat UNC 34-16.
#8 UCLA down 14-3 in the third quarter, beat Stanford 30-27 in OT.
#10 FSU down 21-14 at the half, beat Maryland 35-27.
#12 Ohio State tied 17-17 at the half, beat Minnesota 45-31.
#20 TCU down 13-7 at the half, beat San Diego State 23-20.

And the weekend's one upset: #16 Florida over #4 Georgia, 14-10. Git 'er done.

Yes, I know that Michigan beat Northwestern and South Carolina beat Tennessee. I only consider it an "upset" if a low or unranked team beats someone in the top 10. Otherwise it's just a good win.

/Reluctantly accepts 3rd place for VT
//I guess I'm okay with that
///Texas better beat USC

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cold-induced randomness

"We got information in the Information Age
But do we know what life is
Outside of our convenient Lexus cages?"
-Switchfoot, "Gone"

I haven't really felt like posting this week. Monday and Tuesday were terrible. Wednesday was alright. Thursday and Friday I was at the Resources for Melanoma Research conference. It was held in Gaithersburg - nice to only have a 5 minute commute instead of 90.

We watched the VT-BC game at Ryan's place on Thursday with Dave, Randi, Dan and Crystal (who fortunately did not go into labor that night). I made dinner. It was a pretty good game - better than Maryland anyways. Afterwards, we initiated Randi into the goodness that is Strongbad with some key e-mail viewing. Good stuff.

Yesterday was the walk for the American Heart Association. It was a good day, once it warmed up above refrigerator temperatures. The walk raised over $317,000 for heart disease and stroke research - $675 of that was mine. Thanks to everyone who donated, and if you didn't, don't worry - I plan on doing it again next year.

We watched Stand By Me last night, which Matt hadn't seen. We watched North By Northwest tonight, which I hadn't seen. Mike has never seen The Usual Suspects. 40 lashes with a wet noodle for that one. Maybe we should have a movie night.

I caught a cold from Stephen Hewitt - the NCI researcher that developed the first melanoma tissue microarray. He sat next to me at the conference on Thursday. The NCI has a crappy website. I need to take more cold medicine, although I hate it because it makes me feel dizzy.

I'm making stuffed mushrooms and brownie bites for Randi's party this weekend. Hopefully my head won't asplode before then. It's gotta be the dextromethorphan - Sudafed never makes me feel this funny.

I've seen an awful lot of good links lately, but I don't have any of them now. Maybe I should keep a running file or something. Nah, that would require work.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Better than the average marriage

I guess 8 years, 2 months and 5 days is a pretty good run.

This frightens me

DUI Blog : Bad Drunk Driving Laws, False Evidence and a Fading Constitution - About 2/3 of the way down, on the right, is a list of articles under the heading "The Library." Read them. They will scare you. The idea that I, or someone I know, can be falsely arrested and convicted for a crime that I didn't commit, with little legal recourse and possibly not even a trial by a jury, is very wrong, unamerican, and terrifying.

Monday morning again??

I am sooo tired. And I had some WEIRD dreams last night. Among them, a dream about some crazy english class assignment that I thought I was going to fail, blowing my nose and losing 80 pounds, competitive interpretive dance, marrying a fat woman, and pulling taffy on those big rotary things. I really don't know. Must have been that hot fudge sundae at 9:30pm.

Current temperature is 51 - I'm so wearing my new sweater. Saturday looks to be sunny and 60 - perfect for the American Heart Association walk! There's still time to donate if you haven't yet - clicky over on the right.

Matt won an iPod nano last night in the blogger poker tournament. And after how long I've wanted one, he won't give it to me! So unfair. And he's guaranteed to win Question of the Day too.

I don't want to go to work. But I want the results of this experiment tomorrow. I need to invent a teleporter. Or long-distance telekinesis. Someone needs to get on the ball with this!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Food-related stuff

We had lunch at Silver Diner today with my poker winnings. Again, it was just "alright." I had done something out of character (I can't remember what it was now) and Matt said, "Who are you? What have you done with my wife?? And are you still paying for lunch?"

Roxie spent about 10 minutes trying to get into my bag of flipz (chocolate covered pretzles). She kept crawling back and forth over my lap every time I moved the bag to my other side, or lying on my arms, or kneading my stomach. I think she thought they were treats.

Not food-related, but I picked up my clothes order at JC Penney today. When I got home, I realized that the two sweaters I had ordered were not the same size, although they were both labeled small. The blue one was several inches longer and wider than the pink one. How annoying. So I had to take it back, and they didn't know how to code the return. They finally figured something out, and it should come in 3-4 days.

Matt beat Wil Wheaton in a poker tournament. I didn't know he was on Star Trek - I thought he was an editor at fark. Turns out he just has his own category because they think he's cool.

Success!

Matt's party last night was a hit (and a surprise!) - much pizza, poker, football, and such was to be had. Photos here (I set up a Flickr set today; apparantly they're part of Yahoo now). Thanks to everyone who came!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Take that, Matt Green

Matt Green said on Thursday (in one of his many hysterical comments) that I couldn't go a week without posting something political on my blog. I forget the context or why it was funny at the time. But the point is that I haven't posted anything political-related since last Wednesday, so there.

Anyway. Harriet Miers is pro-affirmative action. And I mean REALLY pro. As in, allowed quota systems when she was president of the Texas Bar Association. Specifically, she encouraged law firms to hire one minority lawyer out of every 10, and set aside a certain number of seats on the board for women and minorities. Now, I am in favor of programs that help make minorities and women more competitive, to "level the playing field," if you will. Because the fact is that sometimes talented minorities just don't have the same opportunities as white males. But I am opposed to a quota system that say you must (or "should") hire a certain number of people for the sake of diversity. I think that, in the end, it helps no one and is even insulting.

I also think we're going to "invade" Syria soon (I use quotes because I don't think we technically invaded Iraq either, we were just there to "help"). There was a UN report out yesterday that implicated the Syrian government in the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister, and Pres. Bush called for "an appropriate world response." And we all know that, according to Bush, the "appropriate world response" to anything is US military action. Ugh.

This is disgusting. If I ever start doing this 15 years down the road or so, someone please slap me.

Today will be a better day than yesterday :-)

Friday, October 21, 2005

The only part of the song that I like

It's not the way that you say it
When you do those things to me
It's more the way that you mean it
When you tell me what will be

And when you stop to think about it
You won't believe it's true
That all the love you've been giving
Has all been meant for you

I'm looking for someone to change my life
I'm looking for a miracle in my life
And if you could see, what it's done to me
To lose the love I knew
And safely lead me through

Between the silence of the mountains
And the crashing of the sea
There lies a land I once lived in
And she's waiting there for me

But in the gray of the morning
My mind becomes confused
Between the dead and the sleeping
And the road that I must choose

I'm looking for someone to change my life
I'm looking for a miracle in my life
And if you could see, what it's done to me
To lose the love I knew
And safely lead me to
The land that I once knew
To learn as we grow old
The secrets of our souls

It's not the way that you say it
When you do those things to me
It's more the way you really mean it
When you tell me what will be

--Moody Blues, Question

Friday Night

And I'm tiiired. But I'm listening to the mix CD that I just burned:
Moody Blues - Question * Radiohead - High and Dry * Warren Sroka - American Folk Song * Barenaked Ladies - Upside Down * Jason Mraz - No Doubling Back * Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road * Indigo Girls - Nashville * Coldplay - Kingdom Come * Jars of Clay - Worlds Apart * David Crowder Band - I Will Not Be Silent * Dixie Chicks - Fly * Moody Blues - In Your Wildest Dreams * Phil Vassar - American Child * Simon and Garfunkel - Homeward Bound * Switchfoot - Gone * Virginia Coalition - A Song

Yes, I have very broad tastes in music. I have Mara, Hilary and Carrie from freshman year of college (country) and my dad (classic rock) to thank for helping.

California Pizza Kitchen was...okay. I think I'll have garlic breath for like, the next 3 days. Maybe I'll try the pasta next time. I just felt weird not ordering pizza on my first visit, but also not bold enough to try something really eclectic.

A conundrum, if you will

I never would have seen this problem coming. Matt votes for source code availability. I suppose I would as well (although I don't know much about source code copyrights).

Up to 6 pages in the thesis proposal. Going to try out California Pizza Kitchen tonight (we got a coupon). Everyone seems crabby today - I think it's the weather.

Football

I don't know who was on the field during the first half of the VT-Maryland game, but it certainly wasn't the Hokies. 7-3 at the half. Boston College isn't going to let us get away with crap like I saw last night. They managed to pull off a 28-9 win, however, and hopefully they've gotten all that stuff out of their system in preparation for BC and Miami at home.

This photo of a rose frozen in liquid nitrogen being shot is awesome.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pet Peeves

Two things that have been bothering me lately:
- People who do their own window tinting with that film crap. It looks terrible with all those bubbles and creases. Just pay someone to do it.
-The media's insistence on combining couples' names into one name. Yes, Bennifer was cute. But TomKat and Brangelina make we want to punch someone.

My brush with death, I mean, a celebrity

This phone call took place on my way to work this morning.
Me: You'll never guess who's behind me on the beltway right now.
Matt: I don't know, who?
Me: Matthew Lesko.
Matt: I don't know who tha--Matthew Lesko??
Me: Yep.
Matt: No way!
Me: He's driving right behind me on the beltway, I swear.
Matt: Nuh-uh.
Me: He has an orange scion with black questionmarks on it, and he's wearing a black suit with white questionmarks on it.
Matt: (laughing) You should slam on your brakes.
Me: What??
Matt: And then ask him, "Hey Matt - you got a program for this?"

Days like this make me wish I had a camera phone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday Stuff

So the memorial service for Tom was very nice today. You could really tell that he had a hand in planning the details before he died. They had a slideshow going of pictures of him with friends and family and such, a 6-piece contemporary band playing some of his favorite Christian songs, a woman he helped lead to Christ who he had asked to sing "Amazing Grace" a capella (and she had a beautiful voice), and a number of personal memories from close friends of his. It was truly a celebration of his life, and I feel like I know him better now than I did when he was alive.

I only have a few hours before I have to go back to church for the board of deacons meeting tonight...I plan on relaxing!

Seems like Eric has made an enemy, though I can't figure out why. It's mildly amusing though.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I've got an outline!

For my thesis proposal, that is. Now I just need to fill in the 9-22 pages of real stuff. In the next 6 weeks. Bleh.

So, Friday was a long day. I didn't leave work until a little after 5 (which is late for me on Fridays). And Friday was "family crisis night" - no details, please don't ask for 'em - but I was up fairly well past my bedtime.

Saturday, I went to (and survived) the dentist. No cavities, but they did say that my bite is horribly misaligned. Basically, my teeth line up on the left side of my mouth but on the right side, the bottom ones are farther over than the top. I had to have molds made with this nasty, nasty rubber stuff that I couldn't get the taste of out of my mouth for hours. After talking to Megan today, the orthodontics involved sound pretty horrible (and I don't see how it would help, because then my teeth would align but the flat surfaces of my molars wouldn't meet) so I'm undecided if I'm going to do anything about it yet or not. Right now I'm leaning towards "not."

On a side note, it amuses me that every specialist I see thinks that my almost daily headaches are due to something that their specialty treats. So my (former) chiropractor thought that it was because my spine, and thus my neck, were misaligned. My (former) therapist said it was stress-induced. My dentist says that it's because my jaw is misaligned. I bet if I went to an oncologist, they'd tell me I had a brain tumor because that's what they're "supposed" to say. I wonder what would happen if I went to like, a podiatrist.

Sunday was church, and I left a little early to get to the college fair in Columbia. It was fun, better than the last one, I think. It was a little long though (3 hours) and I actually gave away all my booklets in like, the first hour and a half. I think I mentioned last time that there were a lot of parents sans kids at the last one - there were still a fair number of those, but what I noticed more this time around was that there were a lot of *younger* students or parents of younger students. And by younger, I mean SEVENTH GRADE. Seriously, what good is taking a 7th grader to a college fair going to do? They don't know what they want to do, they don't know what kind of grades they have (performance in MS is not always indicative of performance in HS). It's terrible. I didn't go to a college fair or start visiting/looking at colleges until the summer before my senior year of HS. Parents seem to fall into two extremes - micromanage or don't care. What happened to normal parents?

I have a $5 bet against Matt Vaughn on the VT-Miami game. Silly, silly Matt. His prediction for the Rose Bowl is USC and Alabama. Ooh, and BCS comes out tonight - that should be exciting. Here's hoping for #2 based on Texas's lousy strength of schedule. No numerical strength of schedule computation (or quality win adjustment) in the BCS standings this year. I didn't think they could make the BCS worse, but they did.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

These are broken

This one took me a minute.

Slightly less subtle.


For more like these ones we found, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Yom Kippur!

No wait, wrong holiday.

Happy 25th birthday, Matt! 5 years ago today was Matt's 20th birthday, and on that day he had no idea that he was going to meet his future wife in less than 36 hours. Winzorz :-)

We had some funny conversations recently. First, we got home last night at exactly the same time (around 9pm) and hadn't seen each other at all since about 6:30 that morning:
C: Howdy, stranger.
M: You don't even know me anymore!
C: It has been over 12 hours.
M: You're right. Have you lost weight?

Then, this morning, I was telling him about a dream I had the night before:
C: So I was at your mom's house, looking through some old pictures and there were a bunch of you with this other woman and two kids. And it turned out that you had been married before you met me. And her name was Pam.
M: Impossible. I would never marry a woman named Pam; I don't like that name.
C: So you're telling me that you could have met an otherwise perfect woman, but just because her name was Pam, you wouldn't even consider her?
M: And here we are today.

I got Matt floor seats to see Chris Tomlin this Saturday.
Happy Birthday, hun! Love you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hysterical laughter

This experiment on Zug.com made me laugh so hard I cried. Read it. It will cheer you up.

Daily News Summary e-mail tidbit

USA Today leads with a newly released CIA-sponsored report concluding that the administration--hold on to your hats--covered its eyes when it came to pre-war intel suggesting that Iraq might unravel after Saddam's fall. The report, which was written by former CIA guys and commissioned by former chief George Tenet, concludes, "In an ironic twist, the policy community was receptive to technical intelligence (the weapons program), where the analysis was wrong, but apparently paid little attention to intelligence on cultural and political issues (post-Saddam Iraq), where the analysis was right."

This makes me happy. This makes me unhappy. If you've read this page for any length of time, you can probably figure out why to both.

Marios.64. - pure genius.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Having solved all other crimes, the FBI tries to eradicate porn

Seriously, what is up with this new FBI obscenity squad? I don't agree with the content of these targeted sites, nor would I ever partake in the content. But in my opinion, erotica and pornography of consenting adults, marketed by and to consenting adults, is not a crime and I resent that my tax dollars are being spent on such trivial matters when there are REAL criminals wandering the streets.

Another rainy Tuesday

Things have been pretty slow around here lately. Must be the weather.

Speaking of the weather, we didn't make it to Matt and Sarah's wedding on Saturday because of it. I was very, very disappointed. To me, once you RSVP for a wedding, you better do everything in your power to be there. But it wasn't my call.

Sunday was church, out to lunch with Laura and the girls at Don Pablos, and then over to Matt's aunt's for dinner/birthday celebrations for Matt, his Aunt Leslie and his uncle's business partner, Brian (the "adopted child.") The steak and best buy gift cards were flowing aplenty. Leslie liked the sweater we got her - I just tried to find a picture but struck out. It was a medium blue scoopneck sweater with a matching crocheted scarf.

I found out on Sunday that Tom Rogers, the guy from our church who needed a liver transplant, died on Saturday night. That makes me very sad. I'll say it again - if you're not an organ donor, please sign up. Thousands of people die on the waiting lists because there aren't enough potential donors.

Monday was work, work, work. The virus I worked on the past couple weeks failed for the second time (clearly this is not one of my strong areas). I only got a 3% infection rate - normal is 60-70%. Grrrr. It aggrevates me, because it's such a simple question to answer and can be completed in two easy experiments, and I haven't been able to do it for over 3 months because I can't make the dumb virus. Staci also just told me that both of our power supplies for running gels, etc are dead. Nice.

Matt's birthday is Thursday, and I have the college fair in Columbia on Sunday. A dentist appointment (shudder), a doctor's appointment, and then the Baltimore Heart Walk! I am very close to making my goal (and would LOVE to surpass it)...please consider making a donation! The link is over to your right.