Friday, December 22, 2006

What is wrong with kids today?

I cannot believe that out of my three cousins in college, NONE of them have MySpaces. I'm going to send them a strongly worded letter.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

S3XXX!

The birth of hornymanatee.com (link goes to SFW article, not the actual site).

We got our yearly "this is your condo insurance policy" from Allstate today. Among other exclusions (including "insects" which would cover the killer bees that Matt was concerned about), this was also listed under the Family Liability and Guest Medical Protection section:
Your policy does not include venereal diseases, herpes, AIDS, AIDS related complex, or HIV under the definition of "bodily injury" (see definition of "bodily injury" in your policy). This means that there is no coverage for venereal diseases, herpes, AIDS, AIDS related complex or HIV under your policy.

So basically what the department of redundancy department is trying to say, is that if you get the clap while in our condo, don't come crying to us.

But thankfully there's no exclusion for robots.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Open mouth, insert foot

I bet Virginia voters are real proud that they elected this guy.

(P.S. Even if I thought he had a valid concern, the way he voiced it was absolutely terrible).

DMV suckitude

I think I went to high school with one of these guys (Will Carsola).

Monday, December 18, 2006

Braaaaaaaaains

I wouldn't wear this shirt, but it still amuses me.

"Makeup, ponies, stickers and myspace.com!"

Apparently people approve of my new MySpace profile picture, since I've gotten 8 random friend requests since I put it up yesterday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

MSN, Really...what the crap?

Okay, read the sub-headline and first two paragraphs of this article and tell me what's wrong.

Fuzzy math much??

Hanging by...a blood vessel?

Apparently the slim hold the democrats have on the senate is in jeopardy due to a congenital brain abnormality that hospitalized Sen. Tim Johnson this week. Cue Pat Robertson with the message that God struck him down to give control of this godless nation back to the chosen prophets in 3...2...1...

My "tuition" here is $16,100 a semester.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Two Letters

Dear Baltimore,
London called. They want their fog back.
Love, Courtney

--------

Dear Producers of "Now That's What I Call Christmas,"
Putting the word "christmas," "gift," or "holiday" into an R&B/pop/love song does not make it a Christmas song.
Love, Courtney

She's not crazy, just a little misunderstood

So I had no idea that so many people would interpret "red cells" as red BLOOD cells, and asked me if I was anemic or not feeling well.

The voice in the Giant self-checkout lanes says "lemons" extremely pleasantly. Sometimes I buy a lemon just to hear her say it. Okay, not really.

Last week I had to explain to Nick what a "sugar momma" was. That was an amusing conversation.

I love that VaCo leaves me comments on MySpace.

There's a billboard advertising Adult Swim on my way home from work. What I don't understand is how a pink cube with a >:[ face giving me the finger (well, there's no other reason for a "censored" sign over your hand, right?) is supposed to make me want to watch TV.

I'm so static-y in the winter time that if I'm listening to my iPod while taking my coat off, my headphones crackle.

Matt came home with a giant box the other day and said that it was my Christmas present. I have NO IDEA what it could be, since the two things I cut out of catalogs and stuck on his desk on November 15th could both fit inside a shoebox.

We have just about everything collected for the family we adopted at work. It's a dad with two boys (mom died in May of lupus). Their family wish was a Playstation 2. Check. We also got them stockings, sweatshirts, board games and books. Oh, and an extra controller, memory card, and Madden '07. I tried to get Madden '06 because it was half the price of '07...ordered it online, only to find out the next day that it was back-ordered until the 22nd. No one else had it in store, and to order it from any place else would have only been $5 cheaper than '07. Whatevs.

Got the Christmas cards out, packages mailed, all but one batch of cookies made/decorated. All presents made; all but five bought (and we don't need three of them until the 30th).

Matt got his Christmas bonus this week, and my preliminary number crunching for our taxes is showing another nice refund, even though we changed our withholding this past year to have less taken out. I'm not really complaining. I hope we can get a new mattress and go on vacation, maybe with Carly and Eric this year. I haven't been to the beach in a long time.

That's about all I've got.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I have...

RED CELLS.

It's okay that you don't understand that. Just trust me on the fact that this is a good thing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ain't it funny how we're all getting old

Apparently the new code word for civil war is "regional conflagration." Good to know we're all on the same page now.

I realized the other day that "A Toyota" is a palindrome. How do people come up with palindromes anyways? And I don't mean the lame ones, like "Did mom pop? Mom did." I mean the ones like "Go hang a salami. I'm a lasagna hog!"

I wish my hair looked as good dry as it did wet. Maybe I'll start a new trend. Instead of bed-head, I'll have shower-head.

As her voice becomes music, music the waltz
Which was over before it began
- VaCo

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Michigan sucks

Not the football team. Although I do think that it would have been a little silly for them to play Ohio State again. But I digress.

A newly passed law makes it a crime for a man to "'change or attempt to change an existing housing or cohabitation arrangement' with a pregnant significant other, to 'file or attempt to file for a divorce' from his pregnant wife or to 'withdraw or attempt to withdraw financial support' from a woman whom he has been supporting" if doing so could be construed as coercing her to have an abortion.

This law is wrong on so many counts that I simply don't know where to begin. Blech.

Monday, November 27, 2006

CD Reviews

So I acquired quite a bit of music in September...and I've been working on this post (and forgetting about this post) for three months. Here's my take on all of it...finally!

1. Barenaked Ladies Are Me - Barenaked Ladies
My opinion: This is by far the most "grown-up" album they've produced. It's uncharacteristically mature and mellow, in a really good way. I'd rate it as one of their best CDs; definitely better than Everything To Everyone.

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: Home, because it is such a beautiful song. But it's a tough choice. You really need, at minimum - Home, Sound of Your Voice, Easy and Maybe You're Right. Come on, it's only $3.96!

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Adrift (7/10) - Crescent moon sings me to sleep / The birches bark, the willows weep / But I lie awake / I'm adrift without a snowflake

Bank Job (5/10) - 'Cause you made a choice there, almost sublime / I'm all for compassion, just not on my dime / You looked like an amateur and that's the real crime / So I'll take a walk now and you'll do the time

Sound of Your Voice (8/10) - The saying goes, there will be other dances / And this little song is about second chances / Just say the word and I will rejoice / And wake up to the sound of your voice / Oh how I miss waking up to the sound of your voice

Easy (9/10) - Easy to be with you, easy to obey / Easy to forgive you at the end of the day / Easy now to judge you, easy to betray / Easy to adore you though you want to run away

Home (10/10) - End of the road I'm running, and look back to survey where I've been / Someday I'll write and ask you if you could imagine all I've seen / How could you think that I could turn my back on you / How did you think this would be turning out and turning 'round / What could I do but call you, what could I do but call this home / That's when I knew where I was, that's when I knew that I was home

Bull in a China Shop (6/10) - I'm a kid in a candy store / I'm a bull in a china shop / I'm a tired old metaphor / For everything you can't afford / And everything you can't afford to be

Everything Had Changed (3/10) - When in rags and when in wealth / a solemn promise never to give too much of myself / Despite the hopeful things I've said / I lived my life inside my head

Petersborough and the Kawarthas (7/10) - I'm going early, won't wave goodbye / Tell him I love him, look him in the eye / I've learned how to mourn, I've learned how to miss / Let me disappear with this kiss

Maybe You're Right (10/10) - Shall I take back everything I've ever said / And live my whole life in silence instead / Shall I take back all my attacks, all of my accusations / All my mistrust, we never discussed anyone's reservations

Take It Back (6/10) - It's hard to keep your mouth shut / Harder still to make noise / But we can't have the perfect 20/20 hindsight / That our fate enjoys

Vanishing (6/10) - Isn't that the necklace he found behind your ear / He's floating upside down below a chandelier / Wishing he had the power to make you reappear / He's a magician, hoping, wishing / And you're the one vanishing

Rule the World With Love (4/10) - I need to love you with an iron fist / I need to love you with a secret list / I need to love you 'til you don't exist / And rule the world with love

Wind It Up (6/10) - If you are leaving then I wish you luck / I hope someone can make your heart warm / I was a baby when I learned to suck / But you have raised it to an art form


2. Life In Slow Motion - David Gray
My opinion: This is pretty much quintessential David Gray, and that's both good and bad. The good is that he's an excellent musician and vocalist, the bad is that the tracks don't stand out from each other as much. It's still a great album, but I had to listen to it at least half a dozen times before the songs started to distinguish themselves.

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: The One I Love - great vocals and tune.

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Alibi (7/10) - How I long to / Bite every hand that feeds you more / Where'd it all go wrong / My Friday night enfant

The One I Love (10/10) - There's things I might have said / Only wish I could / Now I'm leaking life faster than I'm leaking blood / Tell the repo man and the stars above / You're the one I love

Lately (7/10) - Drag a salted kiss / From this cup of bliss / Watch a new lie twist on the breeze / You can paint it red / Leave it all for dead / But it's in my head always

Nos Da Cariad (6/10) - The sun above the cotton grass / Is sinking down like lead / The seagulls know the truth of it / And scream it overhead

Slow Motion (7/10) - While I was watching you did a slow dissolve / Did I imagine or do the walls have eyes / Did I imagine they held us hypnotized / Did I imagine or do the walls have eyes / Life in slow motion somehow it don't feel real

From Here You Can Almost See The Sea (9/10) - Here comes the cavalry / From here you can almost see the sea / Just another fool in the line / I dream of high clouds flushed with the light of daybreak / I'm gonna dive in to water so cold it makes your bones ache

Ain't No Love (9/10) - On winter trees the fruit of rain / Is hanging trembling in the branches / Like a thousand diamond buds / And waiting there in every pause / That old familiar fear that claws you / Tells you nothing ain't no good / Then pulling back you see it all / Down here so laughable and small / Hardly a quiver in the dirt / This ain't no love that's guiding me

Hospital Food (8/10) - Seeing it all so beautiful / The way it oughta be / Seeing it all so beautiful / And turning away, turning away, turning away

Now And Always (7/10) - The road I'm walking might fall away / You're in my mind baby now and always

Disappearing World (8/10) - Night falling on the city / Quite something to behold / Don't it just look so pretty / This disappearing world

Everybody's Leaving Town (6/10) - All the stores are closing down / Everybody's leaving town


3. Live at the 9:30 Club - Virginia Coalition
My opinion: A really great, rocking live album. A few of the songs get a little "long in the tooth" with the extended live jams (Walk To Work, Places People, Jerry Jermaine) but they really did an awesome job with this concert. And I was there!

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: That's What You Said. Not because the other ones aren't good, but because this song isn't on any of their albums. And it's got great vocals and a killer piano line. Voyager 2, Motown and Lonely Cowboy are also particularly well done.

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Walk To Work (7/10) - We keep doing our thing, for reasons / We keep doing our thing for reasons I'll never know / And I was born on the edge of something else / She said I'm leaving you for someday / And I gotta go

Green And Grey (7/10) - Maybe I won't love you this time around / Maybe I'll get mixed up / Maybe we're all just scared of growing old, she said / That's why we cry when the rain comes down / But it turns the dust to mud as the grass grows from the ground

Likeness (6/10) - Twisting on this broken swing / Talking about who was a fool born in love / I was just a red faced boy with a diamond ring / And no one left to love

Hurricane Song (8/10) - They were saying, why don't you stay with the natives / Burned and restless, they'll take you in / They're as warm as the sunlight that's rolling in / On hurricane island through all that hurricane wind

Voyager 2 (9/10) - I hear you clearly, though you're hardly in my view / For I listen in the way in which you told me / I hold them dearly, all these murmurs of the earth / Pushing forth like waves when something hits the water / And all directions, they point inside of you / And all connections to life beholding / The pebble in the puddle made the ripple in the water / Made the tree casting shadows by the river / Through the swaying limbs I see Voyager 2

Motown (8/10) - Black man sings a song of romance, that's all he needs / A little girl to make his life complete / Just like singing a serenade beneath your windowsill / Slow dancing on a Friday night

Stella (7/10) - Young man with a tear in his eye / A beginner to the broken heart / He said "Mama, no matter what glue I use, my world just falls apart" / So he packed his bags and cash, hitchhiked up 95 / It was 2am, the boy's eyes were red but he could see that skyline

Mason Dixon (7/10) - He's not on time, he's always on time / Turning the knob, the stars turn into light / Holding his hand, she'll finally sleep now

Meteor (8/10) - And now you've seen silver wings and so much faster things / Oh, they lift you up at night / And you need a dream to fly, not some paper airplane

Lean On Me (6/10)

Johnny Wonder (8/10) - I'd rather die in love than to live forever / It's like the feeling when your soul's saying now or never / Stop crying to the angels up above / You can live forever, I would rather die in love

Gates Of Wisdom (6/10) - Drop back to the gates of wisdom / Sign me up for another holy roller / I-I-I don't mind if I do

That's What You Said (10/10) - It follows me in every way, pushing me through cycles / I dreamed I had a purpose now, but only for a while / Plans forever unrehearsed streaming in through verses / You will feel elation realizing that you believed in you

Lonely Cowboy (9/10) - No obstacles between my heart and my words / My lips a great liaison to my soul / Girl you make me feel just like a lonely cowboy / Alone on the range late at night / You make me feel just like a lonely cowboy / But it's alright, it's alright, it's alright

Places People (6/10) - Don't ever let it get you down / You're gonna make a getaway plan to get yourself downtown / And then with all your friends around / This is now the place to be and everybody is getting down

Jerry Jermaine (5/10) - A little bit skinny, crazy and white / Said, don't sweat it baby, I can do it all night / You call the doctor when you're feeling pain / When you wanna feel good, call Jerry Jermaine

4. Save Me - Pat McGee Band
My opinion: It's just not the same since Al left the band. The songs are still good, but there isn't the amazing vocal harmonies that were classic of Revel and Shine. They've become "just another rock band." Still a good rock band, but a little too vanilla now. If you buy the whole album, make sure you get the one with the four bonus acoustic tracks.

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: Beautiful Ways is great, but it was the overplayed radio single. I'd recommend Wonderful as my pick, as the vocals are great there. Must Have Been Love is also great.

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Beautiful Ways (9/10) - Help me cause I’m off the radar screen / Help me cause you know just where I’ve been / Help me cause I lost my faith / I can’t afford to live this way / And I just can’t help myself / Have you lost your beautiful ways?

Must Have Been Love (10/10) - Your touch has me so unover you / If I could just get one night with you / Your eyes tell me that you want me too / Can I come over and stay with you?

You and I (7/10) - You and I / Let's lay down our pasts tonight / And you, yes you / Why won't you see this thing through? / What I wouldn't change / I think I've gone insane

Now (8/10) - After the stars fall down and there's nothing for wishing on / After the good-bye sound and love leaves her alone / She picks herself up off the ground / She won't bow down, she's come too far to give up now

Don't Give Up (7/10) - And when there's something more, oh, I'll know / I'm not afraid to say let go / I'm starting to believe / What if I could be / What if I could...

At It Again (6/10) - You've taken it all / I've taken the fall for your life but not for long / Who's right when everyone's wrong / I'll take on the pain for awhile / Once in your life just show a smile / And end this fight tonight

Annabel (7/10) - You give me all I'll ever need / I know that you were meant for me / Baby, I'm the lucky one / I'll scream out to everyone

Never Around (6/10) - And you know I don't understand the way / You sit there by yourself / And no, I don't want to gamble with / Leaving you by yourself

Wonderful (10/10) - If you could see behind my eyes / The more it hurts to love you / In my eyes you’re wonderful, and / In my mind it’s still possible / There is a picture, a time in my life / It’s standing beside me, everything’s right / Can you imagine this vision of mine?

Set Me Free (8/10) - You better come up and save me / From this love that escapes me in your eyes / It will always send it back to / Where I want, where I need / Set me free

Shady (4/10) - Tell me how I'm supposed to live / I don't know how much more to give / When will I ever learn / Here we are alone tonight / It's a shady time of wrong and right / I guess we're not that concerned / We'll learn

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Creative undertakings

So I've finalized my 2006 christmas cookie list. The lucky winners:
Cranberry Eggnog Twirls
Star Mint Cookies
Chocolate Orange Twists
Cashew Toffee Bars
Chocolate Chip (always for Matt)
Gingerbread Men
Chocolate Peanut Butter

And a pumpkin pie, per Daniel's request. For gift bags this year, I'm making homemade marshmallow stars and savory cracker twists. And some homemade wine marker rings for another gift.

I always feel very Martha Stewart-y this time of year.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Bits

* Thanksgiving = totally delish.
* A week ago I saw the lucky person in Maryland that got the VEE DUB license plate.
* I don't recognize any of the songs on "Now That's What I Call Music 23;" I think that means I'm officially old.
* Did it always get this dark at 5:30 in the afternoon? Somehow I don't remember this.
* My brother is due back on American soil in 9 days.
* Go Hokies!
* We have at least 1/3 of our holiday shopping done, and no, I did not shop on Black Friday.

Update: Ugh...this was the worst week in my ESPN College Pick'em. Totally gross...that killed my standings. Why, Clemson, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Arizona and NC State??

Update 2: Final ranking = 5285 (out of over 140,000), 97.7th percentile.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone gets their turkey on today. We're leaving in about 45 minutes to go to my parents for the best turkey ever, stuffing, gravy, rolls, sweet potatoes, green beans and creamed onions. I'm adding apple pie, cranberry crumb pie, baked stuffed pears and cranberry sauce (all homemade, of course) to the mix. See you back online late Friday night.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I like heat

We had our new heat pump and programmable thermostat installed today. The Sears people gave us an appointment time of 8-11am. Guess what time the contractors called to say they were almost there?
a. 7:05am
b. 8:30am
c. 10:59am
d. 2:00pm

If you guessed a, buy yourself a cookie, you smarty pants.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am a rock, I am an island

It's been tough to motivate myself to blog lately.

So, Saturday was fun. We went to Carly and Eric's place for ultimate frisbee, and ended up with 9 people - Dan brought his friend Simon and his cousin John (who were both really cool) and Chris Kessler came, who I hadn't seen in at least 5 years. Matt, Kessler, John and I were pitted against Carly, Dan, Nate, Tito and Simon. Even though we were short-handed we won the first game easily, 7-2. The second game was much tougher, but we still managed to pull off a 7-5 win. Pwnage!

Eric, Jeremy, Ashley, and Randi came after the ultimate frisbee. We threw stuff on the grill and were going to watch the VT-Kent State game, but it turned out that C and E didn't have ESPNU, so we watched the Maryland-Miami game (John and Simon had both gone to UMD). Then we watched the end of the Florida-South Carolina game, and then the end of the Cal-Arizona game.

Carly deemed me MVP (I did catch the game-winning pass in the second game) and apparently I'm also funny. We were talking about bisexuals, and I said "I don't get bisexuals...it's this or that, not a chinese menu." And then when I was describing Scary Gay Doug from high school and how he had a crush on Seth and sent cookies to him, Eric or Randi asked "Seth didn't want to be Scary Gay Seth?" and I responded "Seth is probably the least gay person I know...he's bizarro gay." We went over to Matt Green's afterward to get ice cream and play video games - Guitar Hero, which was cool, and Smash Bothers, which was stupid. And then when we left, Matt had a flat tire, so that was fun. I had to stand outside and shine my iPod on the wheel because we didn't have a flashlight.

I didn't feel well on Sunday so I stayed home from church and slept until 12:15, and then spent pretty much the rest of the day on the couch watching TV. Today was pretty rotten too - I had a three-day experiment planned, and when I took my cells over to the irradiator I found out that they had put a card swipe on the door and neglected to tell anyone. So there's a whole day wasted there. Then I stayed at work an extra hour and a half because I had a meeting at 7pm, but no one ever showed up. Nice.

I suppose we're going to go see the new James Bond movie this weekend...plus there's the VT-Wake Forest game. I'm torn in this week's ESPN picks - as much as I'd like VT to win, I just don't think I can pick them over Wake Forest. Le sigh.

Linkies:
A guy is arrested at a TSA checkpoint because of his super scary rubber band ball.
Robot jokes are funny.
Does the show "Lost" need to be fixed?
Katamari Damacy halloween costume - Matt Green said he'd date her.

And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.
-Simon and Garfunkel

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Coffee cup philosophy

"Life is a school for angels. Love is the Teacher, so do your homework without fear. Death is merely graduation." - Jeffrey Kuehl

I can't get better than 50/50

Yay: Gingerbread latte time at Starbucks, got all three class assignments turned in on time, currently have a 95% in class
Boo: Emissions inspection is actually due tomorrow and not the 14th, VEIP is closed for the "state holiday" today, I still feel sick from my flu vaccine last week

I love these illustrations of "teh internets"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Total Nerdage

With our birthday Best Buy cards (yes I know it's way past our birthdays, better late than never, right?) Matt and I got Guitar Hero for the PS2.

Our band's name is Poisson Sumac!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Witty-ness abounds

I saw a bumper sticker today that said IM4W. I wanted to put a post-it note on the car that said Y.

Nick didn't know was Mr. Pibb was. I told him that it was Dr. Pepper without the degree.

You want palak paneer with that?

Old and busted: outsourcing tech support
New hottness: outsourcing medical care

Math at its finest

Clicky

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Long time coming

She likes to sleep with the radio on
So she can dream of her favorite song
The one that no one has ever sung since she was small

She'll never know that she made it up
She had a soul and we ate it up
Thrown away like a paper cup, the music falls


Snorted some virus - check.
Muscle spasm - check.
Free drugs - check.
Family drama - check.
Major traffic back-up - check.
Huge home improvement purchase - check.
Got invited to a LAN party - check...?
Rocking the BNL on the iPod - check.

Two more days...

Won't it be dull when we rid ourselves
Of all these demons haunting us
To keep us company

Won't it be odd to be happy like we
Always thought we're supposed to feel
But never seem to be
- Barenaked Ladies, War on Drugs

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's not the way it goes, it's your book now

Steve came over Sunday and the three of us hiked 8.2 miles in the Seneca Creek Trail - end to end. It was pretty awesome, although my legs are killing me today.

I'm working on an attitude adjustment.

She's alone tonight with a bitter cup, and
She's undone tonight, she's all used up
She's been staring down the demons
Who've been screaming she's just another so and so
Another so and so

You are golden, you are golden child
You are golden, don't let go
Don't let go tonight
- Switchfoot

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Compensating?

I saw a car on I-95 a couple days ago with the license plate 06 BIGOT.

I think you have to be a pretty pompous arse to have that...on the back of your corvette.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Good Call

Matt and I were talking the other day while we were hiking.

C: I wonder if I should have taken my driver's license out of my purse before I locked it in the trunk of the car.
M: Why?
C: Well, what if I got eaten by a bear or something? How would they identify my body?
M: Dental records...and the pink shirt.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Busted Stuff

Oh, look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out onto Grey Street

She thinks, “Hey,
How did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world
But I can’t get out of this place”

There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart

She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together to grey
And it breaks her heart

-Dave Matthews Band, Grey Street

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend Fun

We had a bunch of plans this weekend to continue the birthday fun. I gave Matt his presents on Friday morning - Lego Star Wars (for the PS2), two Muse CDs, and two shirts. Friday night was just hanging out here. Saturday, we went to go see The Departed, which as Jason said, was very good. I liked the story a lot, once you get past the language and the blood spatters. Saturday night we went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Bethesda, setting the record for the most expensive dinner that we've paid for ourselves. But man, it was the best steak I've ever had. We had crab-stuffed mushrooms, caesar salads, yummy yummy steaks and garlic mashed potatoes. As is tradition (that...I just made up) I also had creme brulee for dessert. It was delicious.

Today after church and lunch we went to Seneca Creek State Park and hiked a different part of the trail (4.8 miles this time). It was a perfect day - cool and crisp, but sunny.



Head on over to the photoblog for more pictures.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Party Pics

This guy here is turning 26 today...and he's been lucky enough to have me in his life for six of those years!

So we had a little get-together at our place last night...I had invited about 15 people or so, thinking that we might get 4 or 5 on a Thursday night...we had 10! Other than the lack of a Hokie showing against BC, it was a good night.

Nerdy cake!

Matt, Randi, Dan, Phil, Gillian, Steve and Matt Green (G's Steve was changing Morwen's poopy diaper at the time)

Matt Green demonstrating how not to blink during a photograph

And just look at the results!

Matt continues to be Matt-in-the-hat thanks to a gift from Randi

Matt and Morwen

First football lesson

Early indoctrination

Auntie Randi and Morwen

Morwen expresses her exasperation at Iceweasel

Awwww, we're color-coordinated :-)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pants

Not Roxie Pants this time. My latest Old Navy order came today. I needed new pajama pants when I realized that mine were at least 8 years old and wearing a bit thin. I got a gray cotton pair, a blue polka-dotted flannel pair, and a purple modal pair with white lace trim. I am totally in love with their new modal fabric...I just recently bought like 4 modal shirts and they are soo soft and comfortable. I also got a pair of wool black and gray herringbone pants that I'm looking forward to wearing.

Why am I still awake? Because I washed pillows today, and they tricked me into thinking that they were dry. Rawr.

Cats to the vet tomorrow morning, then over to the fam's for the rest of the day. Keep it real, yo.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Life is a mixed bag

That's what our pastor always says during morning prayers when there are both praises and urgent requests. (Speaking of our pastor, he's on the transplant list for a kidney, so I'll say it again - if you're not already an organ donor, please please sign up).

Okay, off the soapbox. On to the news. If you haven't heard already, Matt's grandmother passed away Friday morning from breast cancer. She had been declining for a while, but lived longer than they expected to after her initial cancer last year. The services will be Saturday afternoon, and we've been spending a lot of time with his family recently. I saw her more often than I saw either of my own grandmothers (because they live much farther away) and I never felt like anything less than a granddaughter to her. I'll be at her house Wednesday-Friday to help the family box up her things for donation.

In happier news, welcome to Gillian and Jessica's new babies! Morwen Dupree Smith and Haley Addison Foster were both born yesterday. Maybe they're destined to be BFF. And maybe one of them will be lucky enough to marry baby Bennett in 20 years or so :-)

In other happy news, as of right now my brother is scheduled to come home for Christmas. Which leads me to my next topic - holiday plans. This year was hugely complicated by a lot of different factors, and it seems that the only way to solve it is to spend a couple days at my parents' place, catch a 4:45pm flight out of BWI on Christmas day, get to Charlotte in time for Christmas dinner and spend the rest of the week with Matt's parents. Why? Because we are selfless, loving children...who deserve lots of Christmas presents (heehee). I think next year after all this we might just stay home. We haven't set any of this in stone yet, but probably will within the next two weeks before flight prices go up (right now we've got them at $166/person).

We had a successful movie night this past weekend - which ended up including half watching the Georgie Tech-Virginia Tech game (ugh), a rousing game of Star Munchkin, an awesome dinner at Buca Di Beppo (mmm italian food), Spy Game and Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale. Steve also showed us the edited DVD of his Lion King show at Disney. Next Thursday we'll be getting the gang together for the Boston College game (hopefully the Hokies will do a little better) and cake at our place for Matt's impending birthday.

Captain Jack will get you by tonight - just a little push and you'll be smiling.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cah-raaaaaaazy cats

Roxie Pants! Randi's pants, to be specific.


Yes Randelinamire, I still have your pants that you loaned me almost 4 years ago after hot-tubbing with G. Yes, they've been packed and unpacked through three separate moves. No, I haven't worn them :-)

And since we're on the subject of cats, here's one I forgot to post a while back, of Roxie and Max getting ready for a trip through the washing machine.

(No, we don't actually launder our cats. Please don't call PETA.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good Idea, Bad Idea - TSA style

So the TSA is changing some of the screening rules about liquids and gels at security checkpoints.
...most liquids and gels that air travelers purchase in secure areas of airports will now be allowed on planes. That means that after passengers go through airport security checkpoints, they can purchase liquids at airport stores and take them onto their planes, said the official.
Makes sense to me. If you purchase it in the airport and it's marked as such, I think it's pretty safe to say that there's no chemicals or explosives in it. Good Idea.
New procedures also were being announced for products like lip gloss and hand lotion that passengers bring to the airport. Previously, those liquids have been confiscated at security checkpoints. Now, the official said, those products will be put in clear plastic bags at the checkpoint, screened and returned to the passenger if they pass screening.
Um, pass screening for what? Are you going to have a GC-MS set up at screening and analyze the chemical composition of my lip gloss to make sure there are no foreign substances in it? Bad Idea. Note that I still think that the ban was overreacting in the first place. But this is yet another example of "security theater" - playing up to the American public while doing nothing to actually make us "safer."

So in conclusion, I think we get a net gain of zero in terms of "safety" but at least they won't take my killer lip gloss. I wonder if they're confiscating spinach at security or customs though?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Christmas is coming


And I LOVE this shirt - it's so cute! Available at Catalog Favorites, if you're one to get your christmas shopping done early - size small, please ;-)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Risky?


Courtesy of Wired News.

Medical News

1. Two Republican senators (Jim DeMint, SC and David Vitter, LA) are planning on blocking the confirmation of FDA head nominee Andrew Von Eschenbach for political party reasons - halting sales of RU-486 and legalizing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, respectively. In the entirety of Bush's presidency thus far the FDA has been without a confirmed head for all but 18 months (source).

2. The CDC, through the AMA, has recommended that HIV screening become a routine part of bloodwork during physical examinations for patients aged 13-65 (just like you might get a cholesterol test or a glucose test). They hope to remove the stigma of HIV testing and reach an estimated 250,000 Americans that are unknowingly infected with the virus (source).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tidbits

A couple things I forgot in my previous posts:

- Beverages: Sourcy = good, Cassis = bad (Sourcy is like Sprite but not as sicky sweet, as they don't use high fructose corn syrup in their beverages. Cassis is blueberry juice and carbonated water, which sounds like it would be okay but it's really not.)

- Taxis: All the taxis are Mercedes, BMWs, and...Peugots. I didn't even know they still made those. I'm not sure I've ever seen a real Peugot before, much less rode in one.

- The Dutch: I think everyone in Amsterdam smokes and rides bicycles. Sometimes at the same time. We saw one woman riding a bike in a skirt and heels, smoking and talking on a cell phone. It was pretty impressive. They also have elaborate contraptions to tote their kids around on the bikes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Travel Post, Part III

Last of the three! If you haven't read Part I (Friday-Sunday) or Part II (Monday-Wednesday) yet, go do that first.

The conference started bright and early at 8am Thursday morning, which is 2AM east coast time. I hadn't slept very well the night before, maybe 3 hours total. We went to bed around 11PM and I woke up a little after 1AM, and could NOT fall back asleep. I tried having a snack, listening to music, saying my multiplication tables (which usually works like a charm). I think I managed another hour around 5-ish before we had to get up.

We had a full breakfast waiting for us in the hotel, which was nice. Europe seems to be the home of free full breakfasts, but charges 22 Euros for internet access. The conference this year was a joint meeting of "Perspectives in Melanoma," which is the clinical area, and "Melanoma Research Congress," which is the basic science ares, so there were over 700 attendees. There were sessions all morning, and then after lunch we walked down to the beach for a little while and took our shoes off. We had some pictures taken of us in the North Sea, which was really stinkin' cold. There were still at least a dozen little old ladies out there swimming though, which I found pretty crazy. Staci gave her presentation during the afternoon session on the first day. She was noticably nervous, but hardly the worst presenter of the week and I think overall it went fine. John came to the session to watch her talk, even though he had been as sick as a dog with a fever and such the day before (I think he eventually thought that he had an ear infection). They had a buffet reception dinner that evening, and a concert. Apparantly two of the people at the conference, John Kirkwood (one of the organizers) and Dave Fisher (one of the speakers) were quite skilled musically and played with John Kirkwood's mother and the hotel pianist. It was pretty nice. We walked a little bit around Noordwijk that evening, although it was a pretty small town so there wasn't much to see other than the main drag of restaurants and shops.

Friday was a pretty long day - very full of sessions, and even the lunch was a "working lunch" about immunotherapy. The afternoon was pretty clinical material about sentinal lymph nodes and stuff, so I skipped one of the shorter sessions to walk outside for a bit since I was feeling a bit drowsy - it turned out to be pretty helpful to my overall feeling. There was another reception that evening, but it turned out to only be drinks and appetizers. Dutch food is really nothing to write home about. The interesting thing though, was that we were apparantly befriended during the reception by Lex Eggermond, who was not only the head meeting coordinator but also the outgoing president of EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer). He's pretty much the most powerful person in cancer research in Europe, and he declared that Rhoda and I were going to be his dinner guests that evening, as he was going to a drug company dinner. So, with a mite of trepidation, I was off to Iels Anders ("Something Different") for a dinner with the head of Bristol Myers Squibb's melanoma immunotherapy division, Lex, Rhoda, and about 15 other prominent melanoma researchers. It was simultaneously awkward and entertaining, and I was very glad for my dinner etiquette class at Sweet Briar. I had beef carpaccio, glazed duck, and white chocolate mousse. Oh, and fries...everyone in The Netherlands eats fried potatoes, even with very fancy meals. But man were they good.

Saturday was the last day of the conference, and it was pretty good on the whole. My poster had gotten very minimal traffic, being placed all the way in the back of the room, but I suppose it was okay because there wasn't much data on it anyways. We finally left Noordwijk around 4:30PM and got back into Amsterdam around 6PM, by the time we had checked into our hotel. This time we were staying in the museum district in the southwest part of the city, which turned out to be a pretty "happenin" area. We went out walking to find a place to eat, and there must have been 400 restaurants in this part of the city - pretty much any kind of food you could possibly want. We settled on an italian place, and settled into "American or Not American?" with the people passing by.

After dinner we went walking/shopping. Rhoda has a bit of an insanity when it comes to shopping - it was all "oh look another store!" and then "oh look an H&M!" Before I knew it, we had walked halfway across the city! We ended up at the Palace and National Monument before we turned around. Then of couse, we had to walk all the way back. By the time we made it back to the area near our hotel, the Leidseplein (pleins are like city "squares") was in full action. I thought the guy walking down the street outside the italian restaurant wearing a leather vest and leather butt-less pants had been eye-popping, but here was a 95% nude man doing some kind of street performance with a rope on a big pole (like a tetherball pole). No, we didn't stick around to watch.

Sunday morning we went to a little cafe for pancakes (mine had apples) before we had to leave for the airport. We ended up taking the bus back to Schipol, which ended up being waaay cheaper than the taxi+train combo, and had the added benefit of letting us see a little more of the city (the financial/judicial district this time). The first leg of the flight was again uneventful, and we had another free hour or so in Iceland. I bought some beautiful postcards that I framed along with an Icelandic coin for our hallway. Rhoda was ALL about the duty-free shops. I think she went to every single one in the airport. We had to go through additional security since we were flying into the US, and then on the plane again. I'd say that this was the least pleasant leg of all four; it wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either. The meal wasn't as good as the previous three (fried fish with some kind of curry sauce and what i thought was cole slaw but turned out to be fish salad). I had planned on taking a short nap, but there were FOUR fussy children (ranging in age from 2-10) in the row behind us, and the mother wasn't making much of an effort to deter their crying and kicking and such. I ended up watching the in-flight movie, which was The Davinci Code.

We landed around 6:30PM, made it through customs in like 5 minutes, and finally got our bags. Rhoda's husband picked us up from the airport and took me back to Hopkins so I could get my car, and I drove home. I got there around 9pm and was in bed about half an hour later, having been up for another 18 hours straight as I had at the beginning of the trip. I slept until about 9:30AM today and spent a pretty low key day at home doing all my laundry and picking up a few things - some one-hour photos at Wal-mart, frames for my postcards and pictures, and the new Virginia Coalition CD from the concert that Phil and I went back to in January.

So that's everything, I think. Again, the pictures from The Netherlands are here if you didn't look at them from the last post. Thanks for sticking with me through all the details!

Travel Post, Part II

Okay, so if you haven't read Part I (below) about Kim and Mike's wedding, go do that first since it comes before this chronologically!

I stayed up until about 12:30AM packing and getting other things ready for Matt, and got up at 6:30AM in hopes that I would be tired enough to sleep on the plane that night. When I went to the bank after lunch on Monday to pick up my currency, I was immediately taken back to see the bank Vice President, who apologized profusely and had the Fed-Ex envelope on her desk. Well remedied, but BoA is still on probation until they credit the money from the first order back to our account.

We took a taxi to BWI and got there at 5:30PM, and there was practically no one there. We got through ticketing and security in about half an hour, and then had like 2 1/2 hours before boarding. It was a little weird that all the gate area TVs were playing the news reports on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. We just basically sat around and read for a while.

I tried to sleep on the first leg of the flight but for the most part was pretty unsuccessful. It wasn't that I wasn't tired; I just couldn't get comfortable enough to fall asleep. We had dinner on the plane, and then around 4 hours into the flight, an attendant came over the intercom asking if there was a doctor on the plane. Rhoda looked around for a minute to see if anyone else would stand up, and when no one did, she finally stood up and said "I'm a doctor." They asked her to come back and assist a woman who was having chest pains. It turned out that the woman was having a heart attack, but we were two hours away from land so there was nothing the plane could do in terms of an emergency landing. Rhoda did what she could in medical terms, and the woman (who was Icelandic and didn't speak English) ended up making it off the plane still alive and conscious; they had an ambulance waiting and EMTs boarded the plane as soon as we landed. At one point one of the flight attendants asked Rhoda "What kind of doctor are you?" When Rhoda told her "I'm a dermatologist" she asked "Do you know what you're doing??"

So we landed in Keflavik (right outside of Reykjavik, on the southwest tip of Iceland) at around 6am local time, and I've been up for 18 of the past 20 hours. We had about an hour and a half to get coffee and browse through the shops on the concourse. Two notable things about Iceland - one is that people really do look like the stereotypical Nordic, especially a lot of the flight attendants (tall, blonde and beautiful). Apparantly this is because their population has been relatively "undiluted" for almost 1000 years, and geneticists use Icelandic DNA for gene studies because it's such a pure population. The second is that people drink beer in Iceland at 6AM. I'm not kidding.

The second leg of our flight was uneventful, and we made it to our hotel around 3PM, after a short train ride from Schipol Airport to Centraal Station (our hotel was right across the street). We showered and changed and then went out into Amsterdam. We hadn't eaten since breakfast on the flight, so we stopped into a little tapas cafe for some bread and cheese (how very European). We walked around the Red Light District (during the day), which was an interesting experience. The marijuana cafes look a lot like regular coffee shops, except they don't have glass in the front windows. Instead, there's just big mattress-like couches, with guys lounging around doing bong hits. I've never seen a marijuana cafe right next to a McDonalds, but I guess from a practical perspective, it makes sense because if you get the munchies you can just go next door. They also had mushroom cafes (psilocybin), and some very interesting souvenir shops - places where you can buy such things as a set of salt and pepper shakers painted in the traditional delft pottery style. Except that they're shaped like giant penises, and they're painted with marijuana leaves. Oh, and they also have prostitutes in this area of the city, except that they're kind of old (45+ in my best guess) and pretty large.

So after that we decided to go to the Anne Frank House, which was pretty incredible. This was the house where the Frank Family hid out from the Nazis for two years, and Anne wrote her diary that was later published. So, you go through the warehouse area first, which was the cover for "The Annex." Then they have the bookcase that hid the secret stairs pulled halfway out, and you go up the stairs into their hiding place. It was pretty amazing. The furniture was gone, but they had pictures of how the room looked when they were there. Anne's room still had all the magazine pictures and movie stars glued to the walls. They had footage from Bergan-Belsen (where she died) and interviews with some of the other people (her father Otto and Miep, his secretary who was smuggling them food) at the end. I was glad I was able to see it all.

We went out for a glass of wine that evening and then crashed around 9:30PM - for 14 hours. I don't think I moved all night. The next day, we did a couple canal boat tours of the city and went to the Van Gogh Museum. The canal boat tours were great; you got to see a bunch of different places in the city and didn't have to walk. Well, that's the theory anyways. We took the first line that goes around the west part of the city and got off at the Museum, and spent a couple hours there. You're not supposed to take pictures (though I don't understand why), but I got a pretty decent one of Sunflowers and a slightly less decent one of Irises. Unfortunately my favorite painting was on loan in New York (two points if you know which one it is). Then we took the canal boat back up to Centraal station, and got on the line that goes through the east part of the city. We got off at City Hall to walk around and do a little bit of shopping, and got back to the boat stop at 6:08 for the last boat at 6:15...which never came. We waited for about half an hour before we decided to walk back to our hotel; I'm bad with distances but my estimate would be that it was something in the range of 1.5-2 miles. It was kind of nice to see the city though.

We took a train to Leiden that evening and then a taxi to Noordwijk (which ended up costing 35 Euros, almost $50, for about 20 minutes). The hotel we were staying at, Hotels van Oranje, was right on the coast of the North Sea. It was pretty awesome.

Pictures from the entire week are here, although Thursday-Sunday will be covered in Part III. Keep reading for more!

Travel Post, Part I

The first of a three-part series. It's been so long since I posted (though not as long as Steve!) and I've done so much that I decided to break this up into a couple separate posts for easier reading and commenting.

So, we went to Blacksburg for Kim and Mike's wedding on the 8th. We got in to B'burg around 12:30 and met Matt and Sarah at Fazoli's for the first of our throwbacks to the college dining heyday. The pasta and breadsticks were as good as I had remembered, which isn't too bad for fast food italian. We went to their place after lunch and hung out for an hour or so before the rehersal.

The rehersal was a little rushed, partly because several key people were running late (so we had various others stepping in and out of their roles, which occasionally got a little confusing) and we *had* to be out by 4pm because the church was setting up for a concert that evening prior to the wedding the next day. I was paired with Mike's friend Lane, who was just a hair shorter than me when I was in heels the next day. Matt was one of the door holders, so he was at the rehersal as well. Kim gave us our gifts at the end of the rehersal; I got the Burts Bees hand care and foot care sets and Sweet Pea lotion and room spray, while Matt got the Harrington on Hold'Em poker workbook. We then went to the rehersal dinner at the Sigma Grill in the VT Corporate Research Center. It was a nice little place, and after the meal Matt and I played pool. I won the first game and he won the second; by then there wasn't enough time for a rematch as most people were starting to leave.

We headed back to Matt and Sarah's place, after which I got a call that the girls *were* going out that night. So I went back over to the hotel, and a few of us took Kim out for the evening. We had to go to Wal-mart first, as we needed something to identify her as the bride-to-be, and because everyone goes to Wal-mart in college. We jazzed her up with some pink fixins and a bride's veil, and throughout the night had at least half a dozen people ask her "Is it your birthday?" We were taking pictures in the front of the store when the greeter came over and told us that it was against Wal-mart's policy to allow photographs without the permission of a customer service representative. Okay, everyone who's ever taken a picture inside of Wal-mart, please raise your hand. That's what I thought. So we just left and went to Applebees for munchies and drinks afterwards, where the waitstaff was MUCH more helpful than Wal-mart in taking pictures of us. Thank you, Andrew (our waiter) and Amy (the hostess)!

When I got back around 10:30 (can't keep the bride out too late the night before her wedding!) Dave and Christin, the other couple that was staying with Matt and Sarah had gotten there and everyone was drinking daquiris and playing Dirty Minds. I joined in with the next two games and won both of them. Then we played Battle of the Sexes, which was thoroughly entertaining. The guys won, but only because about halfway through the game they got a card that let them move one of their pieces into the endzone; otherwise it was very close. The best moment of the night, in my opinion, was during the question "What is the distance between the pitcher's mound and home plate?" posed to the girls. None of us knew, but Sarah knew that it was 90 feet base-to-base. So I did some quick trig estimates in my head using 90 feet as the hypotenuse of a right triangle. Then this was said:
Me: It's somewhere between 50 and 60 feet.
Matt (Holding the card): I need a more specific answer.
Me: 60 feet.
Matt: Sorry, it's 60 feet, 6 inches.
Me: I did TRIG IN MY HEAD and you're going to dock me for 6 inches?
Matt: Those are the rules.
Me: I'll dock you 6 inches!!

Anyway, by the time we went to bed it was 2:30am, and I had to be at the salon at 9am for hair and nails. So needless to say, I was pretty tired the next morning. I had my nails done first, and while I thought the pedicure was great, I was less than impressed with the manicure. She put the polish on way too thick, so that 3 hours later it was still gummy and I was messing it up on my dress hanger. Then I had my hair straightened and pinned back. We went back to the hotel to eat lunch from Macado's (yet another B'burg throwback) and then over to the church to get dressed. I was the last one ready because I had to help Kim lace up the back of her dress, but it was still in plenty of time for pictures. The wedding went well; as Kim said immediately afterwards "No one fainted, no one gave birth!" (Her sister Jessica was 9 months pregnant).

The reception was nice - we were seated with Matt and Sarah, Carly and Eric, Matt Green, and Ryan at the "West Ambler Johnston" table (all the table cards were the names of buildings at VT). They played the Hokie Pokie, of course, as well as the electric slide (as she's getting up, Carly says "I've never been to a wedding where I haven't done the electric slide!") and the YMCA for the guys, because they had to wait for the garter toss since Kim realized right before it that she had never put the garter on and had to run back to her room to get it. After the reception was over we changed and went over to Jim's place, where a bunch of people from the wedding as well as Nick and Paul were watching the Texas-OSU game. I was disappointed that Texas played so poorly, but it was good times nonetheless.

We went to Owens with a bunch of people on Sunday for lunch. I wanted a chicken taco salad, but for some reason they redid the menu and the taco salad no longer comes in the shell bowl, which was like the best part. So I had a philly cheese steak and a smoothie instead. We went to the bookstore after that, so that Matt could get a new VT hat; I also got a VT t-shirt that actually fits instead of the one I got from Ryan that I can only sleep in. We drove back in the afternoon and got some chinese food for dinner so I wouldn't have to cook, and I spent the rest of the night doing laundry and packing for the rest of the week.

A small photoset of pictures from the reception is here; I didn't get that many and I wasn't able to take any at the wedding (since I was in it) but hopefully Kim will put hers online when they come back so I'll be able to swipe a few from there then.

Thus ends the first chapter - keep reading for more!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pretty pretty


Matt and I at Kim and Mike's wedding. More coming later.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Why, UPS?

Why do you hate me?

I am just having NO luck with packages lately. I paid for two-day shipping on my Payless order (black boots and pink flats). I placed the order on the 3rd, and for whatever reason, it didn't actually ship until the 6th. Okay, so that meant they'd try to deliver on the 8th, which didn't work for me because we're leaving at 7:30am tomorrow for Blacksburg. I asked at the UPS center and they said I could call before 9am tomorrow and ask them to hold it (instead of trying to deliver it) and I can pick it up on Monday before I left. WELL, I just looked at the tracking info, which previously confirmed my two-day delivery, and now it's been rescheduled for delivery on the 11th. Which is NOT two-day shipping, but five-day shipping instead, and now I won't get the package until after I get back from Amsterdam.

AND I placed yet another order at Old Navy on the 2nd, including a bracelet that I wanted to wear with my outfit for the rehersal dinner tomorrow, except it didn't get picked up by UPS until an hour ago. So I won't have that until I get back either. RAWR.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Look out, Bank of America

You're ON NOTICE.


So I went to the bank today to pick up my foreign currency that I ordered last week. Apparantly you can't do that at the regular teller window, so I had to wait about 25 minutes for one of the customer service people. I get back there and tell her that I needed to pick up a foreign currency order. She says she doesn't think they've received a shipment, and calls two desks in the bank to ask if they've gotten one. Then she calls up my account and verifies that the transaction was debited from my account (on the 31st). So she calls the BoA foreign currency center to try to track my order. After 10 minutes or so on hold, she finally gets through to someone who looks up my order and said that it was processed, and that they'll try to track it using the FedEx number. Another 10 minutes go by, before someone finally comes back on the phone and tells the bank rep I'm with that the FedEx tracking says it was delivered on September 1, and was signed for by....the bank rep I'm talking to. So now she's frantically searching file drawers, her desk, etc. She can't find it. So she apologized profusely and said that she would immediately reorder it, and not charge me the handling/delivery fee. But the only problem is that I won't be able to pick it up until Monday. So if there are any additional problems, then I'm not going to have any cash with me on this trip. Needless to say, after an hour of bank trauma I was pretty unhappy. Grrrr.

But, the day got better. I finished the baby blanket I was working on last night (forgot to take a picture though - it was light green and navy blue fleece squares with a white back, and a fleece "B" on one corner). We went to see Sean and Jen and baby Bennett and to drop off some food from Let's Dish that I had made when I went last night. Ben didn't like me so much...he took to Matt a lot better. He's so little! And pretty good-looking for a 5-day old baby...I hear sometimes they can look a little lumpy at first. And then we went to Chili's for dinner, which was nice.

We took our 2006 lab photo today - we're really grown over the past year:


(Back row: Leslie, Byungwoo, Dave, Amena, Jason, Nick; Front row: Swathi, Megan, Raka, Rhoda, me, Staci)

Oh, and one more - the August birthday girls:


Aww.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Holy calendar, Batman!

So, September is shaping up to be a wild month! Already in just the first two days (I was supposed to post this on Saturday but Ryan is a slacker) Matt won $1,110 in a multi-table poker tournament, Jennifer had her baby, and Ryan got engaged. Plus I've got Kim and Mike's wedding this weekend and Europe next week. Whew!

We had a nice, low-key weekend. Mostly just hung around the house, got some chinese takeout for dinner on Friday, went to the mall on Saturday for a little shopping. I finished watching the first season of The OC (the thanksgiving episode was great) and worked on some personal projects. The rest of the week is going to be Let's Dish, work, finishing my poster slides, going to see the baby tomorrow, and packing.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The birthday gifts just keep a-comin'

My sister Alyssa is awesome. My birthday present (click for bigger size):


Now hanging in our hallway outside our bedroom.

I'm soo happy about the weather being cool tomorrow. The next couple days are going to rock. 3 1/2 day weekend (I'm leaving at 2pm tomorrow and have Monday off for Labor Day). I'm not doing much except lounging around, reading, coloring, watching some more of the first season of The OC. Then three days work, then B'burg Friday-Sunday, then flying out Monday night!

I had more to say but I can't remember it now. Maybe I'll think of it later.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Money money money money...MON-AY

On Tuesday I will be the proud owner of 90 Euros. Woo! Too bad we're not going to Japan, because I could have had 13,500 yen, and that just sounds cooler! Until you spend 460 yen on a hamburger. Ouch.

In other news, I dyed my hair on Friday and cut it on Monday. No one at work said anything. Woo.

Why is KY Jelly one of the approved "non-prescription" items allowed in your carry-on by the TSA? Apparantly the "war on moisture" still has provisions for joining the Mile High Club?

That's all for now.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Continuing to disappoint

"How come things disappoint us but don't appoint us?" - Me
(long pause)
"Because you broke English!" - Matt

UPS once again proves that they are teh suck. They tried to deliver a package yesterday at 2:30, even though no one is ever home during that time. I called last night around 11 to have them hold the package for pickup; the recording said that my package would be available from Tuesday to next Monday. Cue me in the UPS center this morning; no package. Apparantly I "called too late" and they "didn't get the message" and my package was out for delivery on the truck. Um, if there's a time cutoff for calling to have a package held, then why didn't you tell me that it wouldn't be available until Wednesday? So now I've wasted 50 minutes of my morning (30 of those waiting around the house because the place doesn't open until 9:30am). They told me to come back between 8:15 and 9pm tonight. So I did, and there are 8 people in front of me and of course as usual only one person working the counter. Rawr rawr rawr. But I did finally get my stuff. Now the weather just needs to cooperate so I can wear it!

I saw a bumper sticker today that said "1-20-08: The End." I googled it, thinking it was one of those "the world is going to end" things. It turned out to be a countdown to the end of Bush's presidency. The had some funny (mostly photoshopped) pictures of him on there as well. My favorite:


It's kitten-on-the-cob! Anyway, moving on to other things. The best comment I saw on Fark last night was in the thread about John Mark Karr being exonerated from the murder of Jon-Benet Ramsey through DNA evidence. In response to the (rhetorical) statement "I saw this coming from a mile away..." IXI Jim IXI gives us this gem:
Hell, dead people saw this coming a mile away. And not even the shuffling, "braaaainnnsss" kind of dead people either. I'm talking about the dead people with the common decency to lie down and stay dead...

Well said.

Alright, I'm off to finish this tasty pork barbeque on ciabatta bread. Chow! (teeheehee)

Look around me, I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be
I am older now, I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did

And there's so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

Oh, when you were young did you question all the answers?
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve?
Look around you now, you must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved

And there's so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

And there's so much love to make up everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
-Crosby Stills and Nash

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Weekends go too fast

I can't believe this one's almost over :-( I don't wanna go to work tomorrow!

I have found a neat show on Style OnDemand - "How Do I Look?" It's where an unfortunate fashion victim (so far I've watched goth-mom, a woman that only wore pink thrift-store purchases, and a skinny woman that only wore overalls, sweats, and mens XL T-shirts) gets made-over by two friends and a stylist. Each person throws out some of the stuff from the victim's closet and then create three outfits plus a hair and makeup recommendation, and then the victim has to pick one of the "collections" for their makeover. It's pretty entertaining, and I like a lot of the outfits that they put together. I think I'd be good at makeovers. Feel free to ask for one, I have tons of ideas.

We had Kim and Mike's shower yesterday; it turned out pretty nice (although I was a little disappointed at the turnout - I invited 27 people and only 10 made it). I made way too much food, and we played Dating Game and Wedding Trivia. The Dating Game was pretty entertaining; we pitted Carly and Eric (the seasoned couple) against Kim and Mike. Team Nusbaum won by one question. The best answer of the day was deemed to be Eric's response to the question "What would you say is her worst habit?" He wrote "Assumes I remember what she told me earlier" after Carly had ragged on him for not getting something in the first round that she claims to have told him. Other funny responses from Mike were "Your Mom!" to the question "Who in her family would she say she is most like?" and after I asked the question "Which of his friends does she like the least?" Mike asked me how did I spell my name. Har har.

We watched an episode of MST3K later that evening - Samson and the Vampire Women. It was as craptastic as you would expect.

Today was just church and lounging around. I was somewhat productive. Matt amazingly wanted to get chinese food for dinner, so we finally tried out Chop Stix. It was pretty good. We'll definitely be ordering again.

Oh, and I finally got my birthday present from my mom and dad...it was the pink leather tote bag that I wanted!! Hooray! I love it love it love it, it's so cute.

I'll be in The Netherlands in like two weeks...that's awesome :-)

Friday, August 25, 2006

You ain't seen nothing yet?

I just got a spam e-mail with the subject line "Time to save more ubteoe." I don't know what ubteoe is, but now I'm really worried that I'm not saving enough of it!

I am very happy that Plan B is being allowed to go forward as a "behind the counter" drug. Although it won't remove the problem of uninformed pharmacists withholding it from patients on moral grounds, I still think it is a big step forward in terms of access for people who need it. On the same subject, I am very angry at family.org and Concerned Women for America for writing out and out lies on their webpages regarding this issue, such as "Plan B is an abortifacent drug" (courtesy of f.o) and that Plan B contains "25 times the amount of hormones as regular birth control pills" (courtesy of CWA).

On another topic, my parents took Alyssa to the emergency room last night :-( She's been having some kind of allergic reaction to something this week - hives, face and hands swelling, etc. and yesterday she was having trouble breathing. They still don't know what it is she's reacting to but she's doing okay today so far.

I've been pretty bored this week since my meeting on Wednesday. There hasn't been much to do the past couple days, and I don't have anything else to work on that's not in the lab. I have started working on the coloring book I got last week (I hate saying "adult coloring book" because it sounds awfully tawdry). I've finished one easy one (nice and symmetrical) and I'm currently about a third of the way through a "crazy" one without any real patterns. I'm trying to make some method out of the madness, but I'm pretty sure it'll end up being a "this is your brain on drugs" thing in the end. I might scan a couple and post them for kicks when I'm done. (**I just realized that the way this paragraph was worded makes it sound like I'm coloring at work. I'm not.)

I wish I didn't have to sit here all day at work, because I've still got a ton of stuff to do for Kim and Mike's shower tomorrow! I think my birthday present from my parents might come today? I hope so, because I really want to know what it is! I also ordered my last bit of stuff from Old Navy that I wanted (including a SUPER CUTE short black trench-coat that I absolutely cannot wait to wear...the weather needs to cool off a bit first though) and the neat thing was, aside from getting $25 off, it was also during the MD sales tax holiday so I didn't have to pay any sales tax either. Awesome! It shipped today, so my guess is I'll be able to get it by Wednesday or Thursday.

Alright, I guess I'm about done here for now. Peace out homeslice (that's especially for you, Ryan!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another milestone come and gone

Don't download this song...no really, don't! Oh well, I warned you.

A study shows that left-handed men with college degrees earn more than their right-handed counterparts. Rock on!

If you get questioned by the TSA about your penis pump, don't tell them it's a bomb. Unless you're Austin Powers.

Rocked the thesis committee meeting, as expected. They were so dazzled that they told me to go ahead and start writing my thesis manuscript now. No, I'm kidding...they said "Nice presentation, see you in a year."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Holy crap, I'm 25

More on that in a moment. But first, last weekend, since it's been a while since I've posted. But not as much of a while as some people (cough*Steve*cough).

We went to NJ two weekends ago to stay with my grandma and go to a "going away party" for my cousins. Elizabeth is going to DeSales University and Laura is going to Rutgers (actually they're both already there by now). We left on Friday morning, and the worst traffic was at the Burger King at the first turnpike rest stop. The line took us over 30 minutes, ugh. We got there a little after 2pm, and played some Space Munchkin on the patio before dinner. We went out to dinner at The Spain, as usual, where much lobster, steak and seafood was had. On Saturday morning, we went over to Uncle Steve and Mel's place for some swimming and lunch. After we had showered and changed, we made our way out to Glen Gardner for the party. It was a good time, tons of food and all. We mostly hung out with my cousin Billy and his girlfriend Alicia, and played two games of Space Munchkin with them (which they thoroughly enjoyed). We came home on Sunday without too much traffic and fuss.

During this week, I've been ordering birthday gifts with money/gift cards I received while in NJ. My grandma gave me some money so I could get a travel jewelry case, and after a bit of hassle with FedEx it came on Friday. I got a Borders gift card from my aunt and uncle, so I ordered some books for my upcoming flight - The Time Traveller's Wife, Naked, and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats. I also got a "grown-up" coloring book with abstract geometric patterns. And of course I had previously ordered stuff from Old Navy with birthday money from Matt's parents and grandma. I plan on ordering just a few more things from there with a little bit more b-day money I have from them and my uncle. Matt gave me a peridot and pearl necklace, chocolates and colored pencils for my new coloring book. I am also eagerly waiting on my parents' gift, which they said wouldn't ship until the 25th.

Okay, on to birthday weekend. We got to Norm and Laura's place outside of Deep Creek Lake, elevation 2600ft, around 4pm (there was a fair bit of traffic in spots on I-70, so it took a little longer than we thought). We played croquet on the front lawn after we got there (Matt won) and then had dinner. Then we went to a scenic overlook for the sunset, and to Lakeside Creamery for ice cream. That night we had a campfire and toasted marshmallows in the woods behind their place. Saturday after breakfast, we went horseback riding. I had a horse named Trudie, and she was initially very stubborn (all she wanted to do was stop and eat). I think we eventually came to an understanding though, and it was a nice ride. We had picked up some sandwiches at Subway on the way over, and we went to Swallow Falls State Park for a picnic lunch. Then we spent several hours hiking around the falls and climbing on the rocks in and around the water. We took a scenic route back to the house, stopping at CandyLand on the way - it's a little roadside store that had aisles and aisles of bulk candy. We all had a good time filling up bags of different stuff. After dinner there was cake and ice cream, and sparklers. We ended the evening watching the new Jim Gaffigan stand-up comedy DVD that Kim and Mike sent me for my birthday present (thanks guys!) We were going to go do some more hiking on Sunday at a glacier swamp, but it rained in the morning so we just went out for breakfast and then lounged around playing games and reading until about 3pm when we closed the house up and headed out, stopping off at The Dip for some more ice cream. The trip back took a lot longer because of all the traffic, so Matt and I went out to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner where I had some delicious crab legs.

All said, it was a great weekend, and today has been a pretty lazy day at work. I'm probably going to leave early so I can go to the Columbia Mall and get my engagement ring cleaned and checked, and stop by Old Navy to see if they have a shirt I've wanted but has been sold out online. Maybe I'll get lucky.

Flickr photoset of weekend pictures here. More "artistic" pictures from the weekend are on the photoblog.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm so glad we didn't fly to NJ

Apparantly the government thinks that "maximum flexibility" means being able to bend the constitution any way they want to. Because neighbors reporting suspicious activity in the UK somehow means we need to give up even more US freedoms.

New math: too many cell phones + arabic last name = they're gonna blow up a bridge!!!

Apparantly the US bullied the UK into arresting the "hair gel bombers" even though many UK authorities believed there was no imminent danger. As in, no one had a plane ticket; some didn't even have a passport.

E-mails from the sheeple, posted on CNN.com:
If it wasn't for "annoying" security checks, these people wouldn't have been caught and the complaining people might have become our next photoboard of loved ones.
Riiight, soooo, I guess you must not know how to read, because all the news reports said that the suspects had been under surveillance, some for almost a year, and that the police had been tipped off by a report of suspicious activity by a neighbor.
And as for the people complaining about on-board restrictions, stop being so selfish. Authorities just possibly saved hundreds maybe thousands of lives.
So the best response is to lock the barn door after the horse is gone, because surely they must be out of ideas now. We're so smart.
I'm tired of people being upset for having to throw away liquids and gels! Come on people there is a sick group out there that is trying to blow your plane up and you want to complain! Get over yourself and your designer perfumes and listen to what the government is trying to do to keep you safe. I think no carry-on luggage should be in affect as of yesterday, lets keep everyone alive and safe.
You've obviously never flown. Because showing up at your destination, while your luggage shows up 1000 miles away, leaving you with no change of clothes, no medication, no glasses/contacts, no wallet/keys/phone is guaranteed to get your trip off to a good start. When the airlines have a 100% success rate with checked baggage, then I'll gladly give up my carry-on in the name of safety.
Thank God that the majority of people know that they too must be active and compliant in this and do all that they can to help prevent any future tragedies.
Thank God there's still a minority of people who aren't willing to bend over and have the US constitution shoved up their butt, by some government crony, in the name of providing an illusion of safety.

The *real* terrorist plot? Makes sense to me.

Oh, and apparantly the world's going to end on August 22nd anyways. Guess I don't need to worry about that thesis committee presentation after all!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Helpful advice?

11 "don't tell the husband" secrets all women keep

11 "don't tell the wife" secrets all men keep

Yes? No? Omissions?

I've been too angry lately to write about anything that's going on in my life. Some laundry just doesn't need to be aired online; I'm so glad I've learned this lesson, unlike some things I've seen on the internet.

New Jersey this Friday, Deep Creek Lake next Friday. I'm gonna be 25 in 10 days...that's crazy.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Milk reviews

419 of them, so far - from amazon.com's new grocery store offerings. A lot of them are awesomely funny. At one point I was laughing so hard I was crying. A taste:

"You do realise this is nothing more than a lightly processed bodily fluid from a live cow." - one star

"This is the richest, creamiest milk that has slid down my windpipe in ages. I can't believe this came out of a cow's teat, held lonesome in some old barn, flies around. And yet, that old world flavor! I don my tuscan breeches and hed for the sea. It's olive harvest time and my sister's friend is looking ripe." - five stars

"I used to think my rage was uncontrollable before I started using Tuscan Whole Milk. I've been moderately rage-free for 21 days now." - three stars

"Not a good manta ray repellent" - one star

"Milk is a good food. It cured my Dengue Fever. But then I was hit by a truck. Thanks a lot, milk. I hate you." - five stars

"I used my Tuscan Whole Milk to make me strong and it did the trick. The toughest guy in the neighborhood is my friend. I drank 3 big glasses of this milk (I was going for 4 but got full) to get strong. Then I told my tough guy friend I could beat him up because I was stronger. He looked at me like I was kind of weird. I'd like to give this Tuscan Whole Milk 5 stars, but a few things held me back. First, aforementioned by previous reviewers, is the lack of operating instructions. Luckily, I've had previous user experience. Second, I didn't like the way he looked at me. Pros: Makes you strong. Creamy. Cons: People look at you funny." - four stars

Oh, and $3.99 for a gallon of milk? What a rip.

Friday, August 04, 2006

That's just who I am this week

NARK!

It's been a tough week. To cap it all off, I came about 9 inches away from killing someone this morning. Some moron on a bike, riding the wrong way down the street, looking behind him instead of in front of him, rode right out in front of my car as I was entering an intersection. And of course he wasn't wearing a helmet, who are we kidding here? That would have been just dandy. Almost killing idiots before my morning coffee is NOT how I like to roll.

I went to Target to return the programmable thermostat that doesn't work with our wiring system because our heat pump is too old. As I was walking in from the parking lot, this guy totally did the "How you doin'?" thing. Eww factor - he was with ANOTHER GIRL. How much more sketch can we get here?

I'm also mad at Michaels, for going all pansy in their merchandise. It used to be a real crafts store; now you can't buy fabric or sewing notions. Just candles and silk flowers and scrapbooking materials and wedding junk.

My Old Navy "pre-birthday gift" package came today; Matt said signing for the package made him miss pocket Kings. Two pairs of dressy khaki pants, two sweaters, two button-down shirts, two long-sleeved shirts, a t-shirt and a strapless dress (that I had to reorder because I misgauged the size). Additional retail therapy was in the form of shoes. Hey, I told you it was a tough week. Men will never realize the magical chemistry combination of estrogen and a shoe sale. Take two pairs and call me in the morning - a pair in black and a pair in brown.

I don't get to say "Jigga wha??" nearly enough.

Let's Dish and dinner out with the boys tomorrow.

I need to go to bed soon.