Friday, February 24, 2006

Wartroos, Credit Scores, and A Tag

First, I want you to know that I'm very disappointed that this conservative-run mocracy of a government let Jack Hanna appear on Good Morning America with a kangaroo that had an affinity for wart hogs. Jack claimed that the kangaroo had never acted like this before, but I find that hard to believe. Once a wart hog humper, always a wart hog humper...or so I've heard. There is something ungodly about wartroos being conceived on television, I'm sure.

Second, FYI for all of you who don't know (although maybe I'm the only idiot out here): unpaid medical bills can appear on your credit report and hurt your credit score. Even if it is not your fault and you and your insurance company are fighting the hospital, if the bill gets sent to a collections agency, you are screwed (although it doesn't seem to impact your score that much). Their advice to me, you ask?

"Even though this will be resolved and you will not owe this ridiculous amount of money, we suggest you pay it until things get sorted out, and you will be reimbursed later on. This will prevent your credit from being damaged."

You can fill in all of the things that I'm yelling at that "advice" right now. When did North Korea take over our medical system? Rat bastards.

Third, Edie tagged me so I'll play along.

So, you are supposed to acknowledge with a link who tagged you (see above), answer the questions, and then tag four fellow bloggers.

1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?

Both. I do, however, have an extreme aversion to movies with a yellow/warm tint. A lot of movies in the 70's have a warm tone, and I can not watch them. It took all I had to make it through "The Shining" because of this adversion.

2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?

Post-game sports analyses. They are out of control. They have followed the lead of 24-hr news programs that will take something that needs little explanation and expound on it for a needless amount of time. Boring.

Oh, and I can not watch Ann Coulter interviews. I can not be entertained by interviews of people who have nothing to say. It's like random dinner-party dribble. Who cares?

3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium
for prerecorded music?

Medium doesn't matter as long as I'm listening to something that moves me. There are certain artists that I prefer to hear on record, because that is how I first heard them and fell in love with them. I don't think I have any tapes that didn't melt in my old beater car, so I guess you can cross that off the list.

4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going… Ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?

No. I wouldn't even consider it. What's the point of being alive without other people?

5: Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?

A lack of real civic/social awareness. All pressing issues trickle down from this.

6: How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue?

I don't know. I spend restless nights thinking about this--I just don't know.

7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?

I wish I could go back and be a better daughter and sister. I wish I could go back and be more selfless. I'm getting better, but I wish I would have started sooner.

8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?

I don't really know enough about history to answer this question responsibly. I've recently been trying to catch up in this area, so maybe I'll be able to answer this question in the future.

9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry–Which do you choose?


10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve?

There are a lot of crimes that I'm interested in: Jack the Ripper, Jimmy Hoffa, the Zodiac killer, etc. I think, however, the unsolved crime that I would personally pursue is the mass murdering of women in Ciudad Juarez.

A young girl who goes down to Aruba, gets trashed, runs off into the night with a strange man and then disappears gets over a year's worth of press and "analyses", causing many outraged American vacationers to ban travel to Aruba. At the same time, over 300 women have been abducted, raped, and brutally murdered in Mexico without a peep from the American press.

There's a reason why books like "Crime and Punishment" mean so much to me.

11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?

I now make it a point to never try to meet any of my heroes. I've had the opportunity to meet some writers and scientists who I looked up to and admired, only to be disappointed. I like blind love better than reality.

12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky— what's the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?

I would start robbing rich people and leaving the money in the mailboxes of the poor. I live my life the way I want to now, so I don't think there's anything that I would want to do differently.

Now, the hard part: who to tag next.

Dr. Zeus: because he's a coroner and must have something unique to add

Shrinky: because she always has something interesting to say

Trisha: because she is finding herself right now and I miss her

PK: because she is freakin' hilarious

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Comcast, Publishing, and Tears of Something

Comcast and I are not friends right now. They tried to tell me that my endless internet problems are resulting from "something" bumping the modem button. "Maybe a cat or a pet?" the Man says with lackluster helpfulness.

My modem is locked up in a room that the animals haven't seen...ever.

Regardless, I have a connection right now. We'll see how long it lasts. I thought I'd try to post before it goes out again.

My big announcement for this special moment in internet bliss is that my paper got accepted at a really good journal. Not a Science or a Nature, but still a journal with a nice impact factor.

I've been crying non-stop since I read the acceptance email this morning.

I don't know why I can't stop crying. Maybe it has something to do with 5-years of wanting, yearning for some sort of positive reinforcement, some type of "good job, ole chap".

I thought I'd dance around in a circle when this happened, but no...just tears.

Go me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My urinal looks a bit girly

I know...sorry, I've been busy.

First, without beating a dead horse or anything, I would like to point out that my childhood friends and neighbors have gone out hunting with real bullets since they day they turned 13, often drunk and groggy from heading out before 5am, and there hasn't been a hunting accident in my town as long as I've been alive. Well, a cow did get killed, but they do kind of look like deer.

Second, my V-day was really sweet and fun, and my husband got me the most gorgeous calla lilies because he knows that I turn up my nose at roses. Actually, I just heart calla lilies a million times more than any other flower.

So, in the spirit of the calla, you must go here. It redefines the saying "when nature calls".

Sunday, February 12, 2006

It doesn't take a brain surgeon

I love people who think that they should "gas it" when they are stuck in the snow. I especially enjoy it when people "gas it" while you are trying to push them out of the ditch in which they got themselves stuck. After you yell at them to lay off the gas several times, they relent. Oh the joy on their faces when they finally find themselves magically on their way.

I love driving by those people when they get stuck a second time because they still believe, with all of their hearts, that hitting the gas in the snow is the best strategy.

This is why we need better science education. If your hypothesis is that a lead foot will get you out of the snow, and someone comes along and proves the null hypothesis, you should learn something.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Poetry, Dr. Phil, and Avoidance Strategies

I want

There's my poem for the day.

On another note, sometimes when I'm bashing the illogical babble-speak that spews from Dr. Phil's mouth, that effusive little bastard, people ask me "what kind of doctor is he?"

Well, he got a PhD in clinical psychology...from the University of North Texas.

Then, he started a clinical practice...with his father.

Then, he left the practice to start a business advising lawyers how to pick jurors...using his expert "psychology" knowledge. He helped Oprah when she was being sued for saying that she was never going to eat beef again after the mad cow panic a few years ago.

Apparently now he wants to practice an arena where he talks at his clients (the TV audience) rather than in a setting where he has to put forth a tremendous amount of effort absorbing what clients say and offering strategies, advice, etc. based on their individual experiences and needs and mental state. Generic, unsolicited self-help from a man who constantly contradicts himself is what I always dreamed to find on TV.

Ooooo, you can use this Dr. Phil Random quote generator if you need some morning advice from the wise one.

I got this one:
"You don't need endless supplies of avocados to pee in a monastery."

For some reason this morning, I'm really agitated by Dr. Phil.

Regardless, I must stain the last of my slides to see if our freezer breakdown ruined all of my remaining tissue. I've been putting it off for a few weeks now, dreading it.

You see, my anger at Dr. Phil is much more complex than it appears to all can be traced to the freezer breakdown...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chapter 5

I have a chapter done for my thesis. It's Chapter 5. I started with chapter 5 because it was already semi-put together in manuscript form. I lifted about 1/2 of the chapter from the manuscript, and then I just had to write the other half and rework the whole thing so it flows smoothly.

It is about 50 pages--I still have to put together a few figures, so it could be plus or minus a few pages. If I have 6 chapters, plus references and random stupid pages (a whole page just to say "this work is copyright protected"), then I should be somewhere around 300 pages when I'm finished. I don't want it to be over 300 pages because then it will have to be organized into two volumes, and that annoys me for some unexplainable reason. Regardless, I feel good knowing that I'm on my way.

I feel like I should have a party for myself, or something.

What's that you say? You want to read some of it? OK, here's an excerpt:

DNA[Fe(II)] + H2O2 -->
DNA[Fe(III)] + ·OH + OH-

Isn't it poetic?

Monday, February 06, 2006

I've been aiming too low

When I was little, I always told people that I wanted to win the Nobel Prize.

Then, the other day while having dinner with friends, we got on the topic of the IgNobel Prize.

This all came about because one of the people at the table had once tried to microwave ants that had crawled onto his slice of pizza. He noticed that they didn't die unless they touched the cheese/sauce. So, he did a little experiment and came to the conclusion that ants were highly resistant to the killing effect of microwaves. Because he is a genius, he decided that his observations could be explained by the ants' low water content and surface to volume ratio or something or other--he's the physics genius, not I.

Then he brought up the IgNobels, and I was enthralled. Now, maybe all of you have seen this before, but it's new to me.

are some recent winners.

I really like the medical winner for their development of Neuticles. I also really like the study where they monitored a locust's brain cell activity while it watched Star Wars--that won a peace prize.

If you scroll down to the 2004 winners, you will notice that in public health, someone (Jillian Clarke) actually tested the validity of the 5-second rule.

I've been setting the bar too low. I've got to start writing up some of my interesting self-funded projects.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Dear God,
Please let the Steelers win so that my husband is happy. If my husband is happy, he will clean off the stovetop tomorrow and put his multiple, random sock piles in the dirty-clothes basket, freeing me of those two dreaded tasks. I hate to bother you for a sporting event, because I believe that people who pray for their team to win need to reconsider their priorities when it comes to contacting almighty, supreme beings. I hate it when people ask me for stupid things that really don't matter, and in turn I usually respond by being less than helpful. I'm sure that upon extrapolating those behaviors to a God level, annoying "chatter" down here makes God send down asteroids and famine and avian flu. Nevertheless, if I have to sit here and watch people praying for all this crap that they deem important, I might as well throw one out there. There's so much chatter on Superbowl Sunday, you probably won't even figure out who said what, so I'm safe, I think.

Me at my wit's end

It is not legal

So, your comments have encouraged me to get off my ass and do some detective work. The last 5 students to graduate had their insurance cut off the day they took their paperwork in. However, in the insurance information book, it claims that we will have our insurance until August 14th, even if we graduate before that.

The student insurance office has confirmed the information booklet. I did not get a straight answer on the COBRA stuff.

Now I must go snoop around the University administration offices since the insurance company is claiming it's innocence.

Friday, February 03, 2006

How is that legal?

I don't understand. The Man, he is trying to kick my ass once again.

In August, my health insurance premium is deducted, in full, from my grant. My insurance then runs until the following August. August 14th to be exact.

You can not pay by semester, you must pay for the full year.

You can not take that money out of your grant to pay for different insurance. It is allowable by the grantor, but not by the University. I think it's because they can't figure out how to do it, so they just claim that it is not allowed.

Regardless, I have paid for the 2005-2006 academic year for this crappy, shitty student insurance. Heaven forbid you are even slightly unhealthy when you decide to enter a life of poverty in order to cure diseases and contribute to the world's scientific knowledge. This year, I managed to rack up several thousand dollars in bills with my wonderful insurance. Thank God they pay me so well.

OK, so here's the most craptacular part--the part I don't get.

Your insurance is cut off the exact day you turn in your paperwork, right after you pass your oral defense and hand in your written thesis.

No COBRA, no you-have-your-insurance-until-the-end-of-the-month, no exceptions, no refunds, no prorating of your premium. No nothin'.

Thank you, have a nice day, don't get sick, and let the door slam you in the ass, while praying it doesn't break anything in the process, on the way out, sucker.

How is that legal?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Don't Get Bit by Kama Sutra

If you haven't already done so, please update your virus definition files so that you don't get killed by the Kama Sutra virus tomorrow.

From my UIS peeps:

Infected computers are exposed to programmed attacks scheduled to run on the third day of every month, beginning on February 3, 2006. The worm destroys antivirus software, leaving your system vulnerable to further attack. All Win32 computers ( Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP) can be affected by the worm.

Beware: The worm generates e-mails with familiar or inviting subject lines such as "Fwd", "Re", or "My photos." Once in your computer, it can destroy an array of files, leaving nothing but an error title, "DATA Error [47 0F 94 93 F4 K5]", in its place. Take precautions now, before the worm has a chance to remove items that run on computer startup, such as antivirus software and other security applications that are essential to protecting your computer.

Go Here To Remove It
More info here and here

I've been tagged

Science woman tagged me, so here goes:

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

1) BrightStar
2) Seeking Solace
3) Statgirl
4) ScienceWoman
5.) She Falters to Rise

Next select five people to tag (Sorry!):
If you have not been tagged for this one, please consider yourself tagged, and let me know when you do it so I can list you. This is called delegating responsibility, people.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was beginning my second semester of my freshman year of college. It was cold, and I believe we probably had about 20 inches of snow on the ground. I was happy, but in a manic, crazy kind of way so I don't know if that counts. It was the last time that I had a large group of friends that I hung out with, drank with, cried with, and got into mischief with. I was single, which meant that I spent a lot of time on the prowl, cherishing every Red Lobster dinner I could manage to squeeze out of the cheap frat guys. Because I generally refused the midnight booty calls, I spent a lot of time at Burger King. Valentine's day was coming so I had a guy from back home lined up just in case--it turns out the steroids both killed his brain and made him very angry when my roomate laughed at him for being a phys-ed major so that V-day was, um, bad.

I was also working part time at a deli, making sandwiches and trying not to kill the owner's 18-year old daughter who decided not to go to college (because she couldn't get into any) so that she could manage the deli. Her idea of managing consisted of sucking her boyfriend's face in the back while she yelled out random orders and told all of the employees how stupid they were. It's funny that on the day the electricity got knocked out by the snow, she wigged because she couldn't figure out how we were going to calculate diner's bills without a register. She, my friends, was a certifiable jackass.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Praying that this stupid PhD thing would be over soon. Worrying about my brother who had taken ill again. Basically, exactly what I'm doing now.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. cheese of anykind except for the blue kind
2. tomato and basil wedged between fresh (real) mozzarella
3. peanuts and almonds mixed with raisins
4. super nachos
5. Sheetz MTOs

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
I'm going to give you song groups instead of individuals because I tend to learn the lyrics to all of the songs by particular artists

1. Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, Hurt -- Johnny Cash
2. TNT, Dirty Deeds, and anything else by AC DC
3. All of the songs from the Wall + Wish You were Here--Pink Floyd
4. Yellow -- Cold Play
5. The entire Stripped CD -- Christina Aguilera

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Set my family up (including my in-laws) so that they never have to work for the Man ever again
2. Pay for my husband to explore every hobby, interest, or occupation that he desires
3. Travel--back to Costa Rica and then off to Turkey, Australia, Spain and everywhere else
4. Buy/build a house and decorate it with real furniture and matching everything
5. Start up a chain of wonderful communities staffed with kind, caring people to house, employ, entertain, and educate people with mental disorders and disabilities

Five bad habits:
1. worrying
2. passive aggressive revenge
3. being stubborn in a maladaptive sort of way
4. not putting my laundry away
5. leaving half-full glasses of water all over the house

Five things you like doing:
1. spending time with my husband (especially if I'm getting head rubs) and my family in general
2. playing with my dog
3. reading
4. not thinking
5. doing artsy things

Five things you would never wear again:
1. anything made with wool
2. my little blue dress (it was really little)
3. my crushed-velvet boots
4. belts around my oversized shirts
5. jelly shoes

Five favorite toys:
1. books (I'm not much of a "toy") person
2. Japanese Chef knife
3. laptop
4. digital camera
5. my vocal chords

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A childish moment in science

This is me when I see the man. The man does not hear my inside voice. The man, he sees only the smile. He thinks, "Ah, the man, he is a good man. See how she smiles. She does not care that the man used up all of the paper that she brought from home to print her very important documents."

The man knew that the paper was not from the lab.

Turd. Posted by Picasa

Who Knows?

I have just spent 10 minutes discussing with my dog all the reasons explaining why I chose not to organize my data CDs by date. Everything I do is organized in color-coordinated folders and bins. In fact, Ikea should dedicate their office section to me because I'm pretty sure I funded its recent expansion at the store by my house.

So why on earth do I have 200 CDs/DVDs that are arranged in no particular order?
Why? How did this happen?

Oscar doesn't know either. After I took this picture, he ran over to his toy bin, pulled out his tug toy and shook it at me. I'm not sure what shaking toys means, but I have a feeling it's his way of trying to communicate with a crazy person.

I'd like to point out that his toy bin is organized by frequency of toy use. Moreover, because Oscar's play area is in my office/dining room, I've also made sure that his toy bin matches my file folders and desk organizers.

Why didn't I invest less time in his toy bin and more time in CD organization?
Why? Posted by Picasa