Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shopping

I got $110 of stuff at Old Navy for $63. Sales + 20% online discount + free shipping + $5 rewards certificate = teh awesomeness.

Another New Hampshire link. I'm not sure if this adds or subtracts points.

Four quick thoughts:
1. Video games suck. Stupid hand-eye coordination.
2. I got up at 6:40 this morning and I'm tired.
3. I want ice cream.
4. Colorado acceptances should be out Monday.

Well, you know that it's going to be alright
I think it's gonna be alright
And everything will always be alright
When we go shopping
-Barenaked Ladies

Friday, April 28, 2006

We might have to move to New Hampshire

Did you know that the National ID proposal passed through the House and Senate last year, snuck into a military spending and tsunami relief bill? Yes, we are all slated to get National ID cards in 2008, probably with RFID chips, so that we will be able to do things like "travel on an airplane, open a bank account, sign up for Social Security or enter a federal building." Stop me if I'm wrong, but I thought I was already allowed to do all these things? The government must have forgotten that they don't *grant* me rights, they *protect* the rights that I already inherently have as an American citizen.

But DHS wants to go one step further even, and implement a global ID system.

"So this is how liberty dies, to the sound of thunderous applause."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cost-Benefit analysis

In fitting with my "hottie nerd" day today, I did a little math regarding gas prices and fuel efficiency. I keep seeing those "Slower Speeds Use Less Gas" signs on the highway, and was wondering if I was coming out ahead or not in terms of fuel consumption versus time. 60% of my commute is at highway speeds (7-8mph over); I never get over 55mph on the back roads or in the city. The internet tells me that for every 5mph that I exceed 55mph, I'm decreasing my fuel efficiency by 5%. So, let's see what happens.

Current price of gas = $3.06, current mpg = 30.
[insert a page of math here that I won't bore you with]
It costs me an extra 35.8 cents per trip to drive at my current speed than at 55mph. But I save 6.42 minutes per trip. Hopkins tells me that, as a grad student, my time is worth $12.81 an hour, or 21.4 cents per minute. So I'm "saving" $1.37 per trip, with a net "savings" of $2.02 per day.

Gas would have to more than triple in price before slowing down would make financial sense over the time savings. And if gas triples, I've got bigger problems than a reduction in fuel efficiency.

Oh, also while I was driving today, I saw a deaf guy riding in a car and signing to the driver (I mean to say, I assume he was deaf because he was signing to the driver). What I want to know is how she could possibly pay attention to the road and to what he was saying. That seems like an accident waiting to happen.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fun without the UF

So the ultimate frisbee at Carly and Eric's place definitely got rained out last night. We still all had an awesome time though. We grilled meats - mostly hot dogs (we're all so cheap), but Carly had bought a ginormous piece of beef that turned out to be a round roast, haha. She said it still ended up okay. There was poker (I won, against Cello!), video games (Rainbow Island and Mario Party), and my first ever foosball lesson from the master himself. I played defense with Jeremy against Eric and Mike. I heard "Good D!" several times throughout the hour, which made me very happy.

In poker, I took out Nate and Mike in one fell swoop. I had a pocket pair of twos (my only pocket pair the entire night) and flopped a set. There were also two hearts on the flop. Nate went all in, Cello folded, Mike called with maybe a pair? (I think he was getting tired of playing). I called as well. Nate had two more hearts, and caught his flush on the turn. I rivered the fourth two. BAM!

Other funny stuff from the evening:
"You're so hot right now, Steve." - Me, after Steve practically ran through an entire level of Rainbow Island with super-fast triple rainbows.

"It's like when you give a baby a pickle." - Matt describing Carly's face after she tasted one of Eric's microbrews.
"A pitbull???" - Carly, obviously mishearing Matt.

"It's a dirty old man!" - Me, describing one of the Rainbow Island end-of-level bosses (he looked like he was opening his coat and flashing the protagonist).

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mmmm, pimp

Pimp My Snack - I'm about 2/3 of the way through this site, and it is just great. The cultural differences are amusing to me also. I especially liked the giant Rollo and and the Snickers ice cream bar. Yum.

I did end up posting a second photoset yesterday. I'm such an over-achiever.

I showed Jim this picture the other day. His response: "Mm...so tender at that age."

No ultimate frisbee today, but the cookout is still on for this evening. Should be good times.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

One more thing

I forgot the other funny part of the engagement story. After all the hugs and congratulations and whatnot, this conversation transpired.
Me: And just think, mom and dad...you don't have to pay for this one!
Mom: Oh, that makes me even happier.
Dad: Yeah, because I'm all out of classic cars.
Tammy: My dad's got an extra backhoe!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Big News

Okay, so I finally got the blogger problem worked out (it was my fault, not theirs - stupid NoScript). Sooooo...some of you have already heard this, but my brother got engaged to his girlfriend, Tammy, on Easter :-)


Aren't they cute? He said that was the only way to guarantee that he wouldn't make a face in the picture :-P


And here's the ring...the shot didn't come out perfect, but you get the general idea. So now for the story. The ring is our great-grandmother's, and Saturday (when he was supposed to propose) would have been her 105th birthday. Except a few minutes after they got over to Tammy's parents' place, a massive hailstorm came through. Her parents ended up having to go out after the storm and take pictures of their siding, cars, etc for the insurance company. So Daniel figured her dad probably wouldn't be in a really good mood then.

So they went back over there Sunday after dinner. They were only supposed to go for about half an hour or so. Around 8pm, my mom says "I bet you guys a nickel he chickened out." Alyssa and I both bet that he hadn't, mom bet that he had, and Matt wouldn't take the bet either way. So when they finally got home around 8:30 Tammy says "Look what I got!" The first thing out of my mouth was a squeal. The second thing out of my mouth was "Mom owes me a nickel!" Apparantly she was totally surprised, even though she had accidentially seen the box earlier in the weekend (she thought they were earrings, because she had just lost a pair of hers the week before).

There isn't a date set yet, as Tammy is starting her LPN program in May (a 12-month degree) and Daniel is supposedly going to Iraq in May for 9 months. My best guess is sometime next summer or fall.

The rest of the weekend was nice as well - Easter dinner is always delicious, and we went out to Cafe DiVanzo with Robyn and Derrick on the way home Monday.

Other important updates:
-Sean and Jen's sonogram showed with 99.9% certainty that they are having a boy. I still think it's wrong :-)
-I posted a new set of photos on my photoblog.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Hope you guys all have a wonderful Easter Sunday, and that the Easter Bunny is good to you. I'll be back Monday night after a day with the fam and dinner with Robyn and Derrick on the way home tomorrow. I leave you with two more fun little ditties...good things come in twos right? Or maybe that's threes...I dunno.

Airport - a short animated film made entirely out of airport icons.

Air Force hangar fire drill goes horribly, hilariously wrong.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Buying stuff

I finally got Matt to take the picture of me for the ING Savings Account photo contest. I think it turned out pretty well, even with the file compression (stupid size limits). Then I went to church to reweed my garden plot because they didn't mulch it last time I cleared it. The lilac bush we planted last weekend has already started budding new leaves, so I think it'll make it. I also planted some hostas that were donated by another church member.

We went out together to run some errands this afternoon. We got a new bathmat for the bathroom at Bed Bath & Beyond (although it took like 20 minutes for the lady with the ladder to find one in the right size). I had a 20% off coupon and a $20 gift card so it was only $14. Then we went to Target to get some new tennis balls and blank CDs. I also picked up a pack of pink poppy seeds (again for the garden plot). I stopped by Starbucks and got a free frappuccino from the nice guy that usually only works during the weekday mornings, and then we went to the grocery store to get a few things for the salad I'm bringing to my parents' place tomorrow (tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella with parmesan italian dressing).

The green tea frappuccino is not bad, but still not as good as the chai. I love me some chai.

We're listening to DC101 right now. I used to be a huge DC101 fan back in the day (we're talking like, 8-10 years ago). I even had the yellow DC101 loyal listener's card, although being 17 I didn't really get to use it much. But they're still playing a lot of the music that I listened to in high school - Bush, Live, Silverchair, Candlebox, etc etc. It's quite a nice nostalgic feeling. And it made me remember something from, I think 8th or 9th grade. Martha and I used to keep notebooks instead of passing loose notes to each other, and in one of them we were writing about CDs we wanted to get. I said that I was thinking about getting Nirvana's Nevermind, and she wrote "Nirvana? What happened to Amy, Bryan and Celine?" (Those being Amy Grant, Bryan Adams and Celene Dion, if you couldn't figure it out). Ah, youth. Come to think of it, I never did get that CD after all.

Love it or hate it

I was just guessing at numbers and figures, pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start
-Coldplay, The Scientist

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New hobby, new link

You'll notice another link over there on the right. As part of my quest for new hobbies, I'm trying out some photoblogging. I'm using the term pretty loosely - I'm taking pictures and posting them on a blog :-) Anyway, let me know what you think!

This is what style we bring

I know Steve needs this page to relieve his unbearable work-related boredom. It's nice to be needed. So, on with the links.

iTick flash drive - ew :-) I wouldn't buy this. Any takers?

Satanist teens charged after disrupting church service
- The article doesn't say exactly what they were charged with, so I don't know if this is a 1st amendment issue or not. But the author makes a pretty good point, I think.

Why Liz should not move to Missouri: Read this first. Then read this. Yes, I realize I'm painting with a pretty wide brush here. But wow.

I read a bit in an article about how the average courtship (dating + engagement) is 2 years 4 months, and how the closer yours is to average, the more likely your marriage is to do well. No surprises there. What surprised me was that the "earlies" tend to fare better than the "lates." The theory:
While both very fast and very slow to marry couples are more likely to divorce than couples with an average-length courtship, the whirlwind pairs tend to remain married longer than the feet-draggers, staying hitched more than seven years on average. Why? "They start off on such an emotional high of passion that they're reluctant to give it up when problems arise," Huston says. The drawn-out-courtship couples, on the other hand, "often hope marriage will improve their relationship, and when it doesn't, they quickly conclude it isn't going to work," he says.
Verrry interesting. Oh, and right here - 2 years, 7 months. Booyah :-)

From a Fark comment thread: "IVF kills more embryos than stem cell research by orders of magnitude." It's interesting to me where some people draw lines in the sand on issues like this.

Okay, so that should be plenty to think about for a day or two.

Well a line is just a line
But when you turn it all
It's just another line again
-VaCo

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Another one for the books

I got an e-mail for a job listing at MedImmune today. I think MedImmune would be a neat place to work, mostly for the fact that it's only a mile away from where we live. The job listing was for an Intellectual Property and Patent Associate. PhD, no law experience required.
MedImmune is currently seeking Intellectual Property Associates to work closely with our scientific and legal staff to facilitate the creation and protection of MedImmune intellectual property. You will work closely with scientific teams to define new inventions, provide scientific advice and oversight in patent prosecution matters, prepare patent applications for filing, prosecute patents, monitor third party intellectual property, and assist with IP due diligence, litigations, interferences, and European oppositions.

I actually think that this would be really neat. Obviously I can't apply for this specific position, since I won't have my PhD for at least another 18 months, but it's definitely going on my potential job list. Oh, and salary.com says it meets my salary requirement as well. Those being that I want a job after I graduate where I make more money than Matt does at that time. Because I'm the one with the PhD!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday quotes

"That was so bad, it would have made Helen Keller cry." - Me on one of my tennis serves
"If I wanted to go that route, I could just walk around the mall thinking about Jesus." - Hank Hill on megachurches

WWIII, brought to you by Shrubya

U.S. is studying military strike options on Iran - Boy oh boy, just what I wanted to read with my morning OJ.

Some highlights:
- The Pentagon and CIA are evaluating two strike plans, a "limited airstrike aimed at key nuclear sites" versus "a more extensive bombing campaign designed to destroy an array of military and political targets." The latter would be directed at Shrubya's "broader goal of regime change."
- If we don't attack, Israel already has a contingency plan to do so.
- These airstrikes would, by necessity of the Iranian building structures, require the use of "tactical nuclear devices" (pot, meet kettle).
- A war games expert from the National Defense University "concluded that a military attack would not work, but said he believes the United States seems to be moving inexorably toward it."

The original article published in The New Yorker is here, and another article can be found here (I don't remember if TWP is account access only).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Don’t think that I can fake another hollow smile

On and on, the clouds have fought for control over the sky
And lately the weather has been so bipolar
And consequently so have I
Relient K - High of 75

Thursday: Went to the PostSecret exhibit/talk at the Rockville B&N. It was really cool. The author, Frank Warren, is a pretty unassuming and slightly nerdy guy. There's a neat article about him here. I really want to get the book, and two others - My Sister's Keeper and Black Boxes and Quantum Cats.

Friday: Thought I was going to have to work really late, but I made a critical planning error that ended up working out in my favor. I thought I was going to be rushing to do a 3 hour staining procedure on Friday afternoon (I couldn't start it until 2pm) but it turns out that you don't stain the cells until at least 48 hours after you irradiate them. So I got to put it off until Monday morning when I'll have much more time. I ended up getting to Let's Dish less than 15 minutes late, and still made it out a little early - with creme brulee french toast, thai flank steak, crab quesadillas, chicken marsala, cheese ravioli primavera, proscuitto-wrapped chicken, and philly steak sandwiches. Mmmmm.

Today we had lunch at the mall. I wanted to try on the dress I saw at ae.com (because I don't know what size to order) but they didn't have *any* dresses at the store. ANY. At all. Grrrr. I bought jelly bellies for the lab and a lilac bush for my garden plot at church.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Keeps going and going and

After reading Eric's post, Matt made me go to Krispy Kreme *on an empty stomach* on the way home from church tonight to get donuts. That was real fun. Thanks a lot, Eric!

There are two things that almost guarantee that I'll like a song. One is when there are two main male voices harmonizing, i.e. Barenaked Ladies, Vertical Horizon, Pat McGee Band, Virginia Coalition, etc. The second is when there is acoustic guitar, and you can hear the guitarist's fingers sliding over the frets. And if a song has both, boy howdy.

Nihilist resume. "OBJECTIVE: I have no objective. What's the point when cold death is the final destination for us all?" Funny.

Definition of nihilist. In case you needed it.

Changed my profile pic again. Looks familiar, eh?

Watch the world go twirling by

Oh seigh can ewe sea? - a neat little collection of poems making fun of spelling/pronounciation in the English language.

Look at these cuties!


And now the rest of the song, because I like it.

Cursed with reason in a world so defiant, without conclusion
This is the story, the story we live out and it is the moral too
Look at me I’m falling for you
Shaking, crying, hating lying to myself
I’m tired of telling myself it’s ok to be this tired
This sick and tired of the turns the world takes
And the people that it makes us be
And lately it appears to me that I’m falling, falling down...
Vertical Horizon - Falling Down

What the crap?

So I'm driving in to work today. Three blocks away from my parking garage, it starts snowing. HARD. It was a little surreal...I thought it was the little white petals blowing off of the trees at first. Until they started melting on my windshield. By the time I had parked my car and walked to my building 10 minutes later, it was sunny.

???

However, unlike the weather, some people are so predictable, it's sad. But funny. Allllllways funny.

I've not been lost, just feeling so alone inside
Take us away from this stressful life
Running out tomorrow, we got all the time
Pick me up and show me you're, you're so fine
-Pat McGee Band, Flooding the Both of Us

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Science goodness

I educated Staci on the wonders of the PrintScreen button today. Her life is immensely better because of it.

Lab-grown organs - this is so cool! Basically, 7 patients had cells taken from their body and used to grow bladders on a 3D mold, and then had the bladders transplanted back into their bodies. I was just thinking about stuff like this a day or two ago - how 50 years ago, the idea that we could grow human tissues outside of a human was completely unheard of, and what we'll be able to do 50 years from now. I was thinking about it in context of artificial wombs, and how that would make elective abortions a moot point. It would also open up a whole other host of sociological problems (like how the taxpayer bill would be over 2 trillion dollars by the time the first year of babies reached age 18) but that's material for another post.

Sesame Street angered the American Academy of Pediatricians by releasing a set of DVDs for the 0-3 age set, on the heels of Teletubbies and Baby Einstein. The AAP recommendation is zero TV for children under age two. Despite that, 2/3 of kids age two or under watch an average of 2 hours of TV a day.

Gotta finish my outline for my presentation today. Procrastination is fun!

Monday, April 03, 2006

I didn't know that

Me: Who do you think would win that fight, Jack Bauer or Chuck Norris?
Matt: Oh, Chuck Norris.
Me: Really?
Matt: Yeah...Chuck Norris pooped out CTU, you know.

65 years to go

According to MSN's lifespan calculator, I'm estimated to live to age 89. Yay! My parents, by my best estimate, only punched in at 57 and 78.

Where does the time go?
Spinning my wheels, standing still, it’s like running on ice
I only gain a little distance when I fall
How did I become a molecule in the concrete of this city?
Indifferent to my endless motion in a space too small to see
Nonetheless expected to be,
I only get a little attention when I fall
-Vertical Horizon, Falling Down

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Could you do it?

I couldn't.

Go a whole year without shopping. Except for the essentials, obviously. I thnk it's an incredibly interesting experiment - no purchases except those that are absolutely essential. By this author's definition, things like toilet paper, haircuts, basic foods and cleaning products are essential. Any food bought "out," clothes, desserts, entertainment, gourmet foods are not. And they did this for an entire year.

Thinking of all the things I would have to give up - eating out, movies, CDs, Old Navy, Starbucks, flavored water, and so on and so on. And it's not like they gave these things up to go be a missionary in Africa or something. They did this right in the middle of Urbania itself. I can honestly say that I could never do it.
-----
We went to my parents' place tonight. It was my mom's birthday, and we drove out to surprise her and have dinner with them and my sister. It was fun, and the restaurant (the Port Royal Tavern) was really nice - very 1800s setting and decor. I had the crabcakes (yum) and Matt had a steak, of course. We got my mom a super-pretty bunch of flowers, art supplies, and an Omaha Steak Company cheesecake.

Daylight savings time stinks in the spring, so I better get to bed.
Happy = extra hour of daylight, warm weather this weekend
Sad = one less hour of sleep, cold again after Tuesday