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September 01, 2005

A letter from beyond

IMAO of all places posts a letter "from" Casey Sheehan to his mom.

This hits the nail on the head:

"...But here's the thing,[Mom,] I chose to go to Iraq. I re-enlisted in 2004, when all the arguments against the war there are now were already out there. I also volunteered for that mission in which I got killed. I was a grown man, and I made my choices. Maybe they were stupid choices and I got duped into this whole thing - I certainly didn't mean to die - but they were my decisions and I thought what I was doing was right.
You know how back when I was a kid you used to spit on napkin and wipe my face in front of my friends and I'd get all embarrassed? Well, this whole "Camp Casey" thing is like that times a million. I know you don't mean it that way, but you make it sound like I was some dumb kid led by the pied piper to Iraq. I knew exactly what I was doing, though, and I wasn’t a kid. Now, through your camp, my name is associated with all this people I wouldn't want anything to do with - people I don't think are your real friends either. Then the media has all these statements from you and everyone is trying to make it sound like you're some nut when I know you’re just trying your best to do right by me."

Well said, even for a ghost.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A little bit of Nawlins for you

I have been thinking of my trip to New Orleans. It was for a conference, but I also spent my birthday there during the trip, and I can't help but think of the afternoon of my birthday, and the 45 minutes my friend Heather and I spent at the Cafe du Monde, eating beignets and drinking Iced coffee, talking and laughing and having a wonderful time. It was one of the best times I've ever had on my birthday.

In honor of that day, straight from the Cafe du Monde, Beignets:

1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (shortening, not oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
4 to 4 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for deep frying (at CdM they use Louisiana Cottonseed Oil)
confectioners' (10X, powdered) sugar (lots and lots and lots!!!!)

Pour the lukewarm water in a shallow bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Allow the yeast to rest for 3 minutes, then mix well. Set in a warm, draft-free location (ie: an unlighted oven) for 10 minutes or until the yeast bubbles up and the mixture has almost doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, combine the granulated sugar, shortening and salt in a deep mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed and the beignet mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the heavy cream, the yeast mixture and the egg. Add 2 cups of flour, and when it's completely incorporated, beat in up to 2 1/2 cupsmore flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Add only enough flour to make the beignets dough smooth and not sticky. When the beignets dough becomes too stiff to stir with the spoon, work in the flour with your fingers.

Pour vegetable oil into a deep fryer to a depth of 2 or 3 inches and heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 360 degrees f. If your deep fryer doesn't have a thermostat, check the temperature with a deep-frying thermometer.

Gather the beignets dough into a ball, put it on a lightly-floured surface and pat into a rectangle about 1" thick. Dust a little flour on both sides of the beignets dough and roll it out, lifting and turning after each pass, until the rectangle is about 1/4" thick and about 25" long by 10" wide. If your beignets dough sticks to the surface, lift it with a metal spatula and sprinkle more flour under it.

With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 10 square beignets and deep fry, 2 at a time, immediately by dropping them into the hot oil and turning them over with a slotted spoon the moment they rise to the surface. Continue frying, turning the beignets often. until the beignets are crisp and golden on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. When they are done, transfer the beignets to brown paper or paper towels to drain. Immediately sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar and serve while still warm. Use the picture (above) as a guide for how much confectioner's sugar to use!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Christ on a crutch!

I am beyond disgusted by the wild-animal-Lord-of-the-Flies behavior in NOLA.

--Fires are being set near the Super Dome

--Shots were fired at National Guard rescue helicopters

--Looters are taking money, jewelry, and credit cards off of DEAD BODIES

--Riots nearly erupted as people pushed and shoved to get on the evacuation busses

--1500 cops have been switched from rescue duty to law and order duty because so many looters are out in the streets with GUNS

May I be politically incorrect for a moment? When you hear stories like these its almost EASY to understand why people in the South still use the N-word. And in this case it applies to the selfish fucking assholes of ALL RACES who are out there wasting resources, shooting each other, and having little regard for what their actions mean to everyone else in the area.

It almost makes me wish they would lose someone they love because a cop had to come out and take their gun away, rather than save that loved one.

Looters should be shot on sight. In the head. Take all the food, water, diapers, blankets, etc. that you want. I understand your need to survive. But TVs? Jewelry? Looting CORPSES????

These people don't deserve the help that's being offered to them.

Holy shit I sound like Rob.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:29 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Another worthy charity

Soldier's Angels has set up a fund specifically to help deployed soldiers and their families who live in the affected areas.

Operation Katrina Soldier's relief fund has been set up to

"help our soldiers and their families cope with and recover from this devastation. Your donation will help these families obtain essential personal items, temporary shelter and any other needs that can be met. Soldier's Angels will also work to provide information to the soldiers concerning their families whereabouts and needs. Now is the time to help protect those who have given up so much to protect us.

Click here for more info or to donate!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today is Blog for Katrina Day

Have you given something?


Thousands of people have lost their lives and as many as a million have lost EVERYTHING they had, including friends and family members.

But you can help, by making a donation.
See the extended entry for details:

Read More "Today is Blog for Katrina Day" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

Bloggers Rule

Yesterday's blog for Katrina was a smashing success, according to NZ Bear:

Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Weekend
Thursday, September 1 - Monday, September 5
$ 361,059
in contributions so far


Keep up the good work!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


This week's Carnival of the Recipes is up, hosted by Dave of The Glittering Eye.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

My last post on Katrina

I can't take it anymore. I'm not gonna write about it anymore.

says it better than I ever could. (some R-rated language).

"I find it f*cking sad that a f*cking animated squirrel has more sympathy than the actual human beings who are reporting it......"

(h/t JR via Margi)

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Easy way to donate -- Comment -a -thon!

it doesn't cost you a dime!

RomeoCat of Cathouse Chat is donating $5 for each comment up to a maximum of $300 for each of these charities:

The Red Cross here


Soldiers' Angels Operation Katrina here.

Click through and leave her a comment on each post, it's for a good cause!

(h/t Bad Harvey)

Linked to rusty's fatwa-a-thon

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Amazing News!

Long time readers will remember Roy Hallums, the American hostage held in Iraq for nearly a year. Well. word came today that Roy has been freed!

Rusty Shackelford, who has done so much to get Roy's story out there, has the details.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sense Memory

So I'm sitting here in DH's classroom. Tomorrow is the first day of school, and we're taking care of the last few odds and ends in getting the room ready: putting up the last few posters, getting rid of an extra filing cabinet, moving the tables around. DH himself is in a Pow Wow with two of the other middle school science teachers, planning for Science Fair,

But I digress. One of the more interesting things I learned in my neuroscience education was that sense memory, especially smell memory, is stronger than any other. As I sit here in the classroom waiting for DH, the school marching band is on the practice field, getting ready for football season. The band room must be nearby as well, because I could hear the drum line from the moment they started the cadence.

It about gave me chills.

For 2 years in high school (until my schedule got too full with AP classes) I was in colorguard. Some of my best friends were in the band, so it was like I never left. Just hearing the band reminded me of sweaty afternoons on the practice field, tripping in holes, arms aching from lugging a 40 pound shield around all day.

In college, neither of us was in band, but DH's best friend was an active member of the Spirit of Troy USC Trojan Marching Band, and wherever we went with him, there was always the band. We'd sit next to the band at football and hockey (yes, the band went to hockey games).

In any case, the drum line isn't so bad. A little slow at the end of the cadence, but all together, so you wouldn't be able to tell if you were simply a casual observer. It's actually quite comforting.

I actually miss those days. And yes, if you run into me in an elevator on a rainy day, I AM doing a colorguard flag routine with my closed umbrella :)

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Stupid Movies

So taking about the drumline reminded me of the movie Drumline. Which I really like. The funny thing about me and movies is that because I refuse to waste time on predictable situations, and I hate watching characters fall into embarrassing situations that I knew were coming, a lot of movies just don't make the cut for me. Even in good movies there are parts that I skip or fast forward because they make me squirm.

Thinking about Drumline made me think of movies that I like that I was certain I was going to hate (in many cases thanks to the USA and TNT networks). Here's a partial list, feel free to add your own in the comments:

The American President
Nothing to Lose
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
From Hell
The Searchers

More later when I think of them...

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Geek, reporting for duty!

This is awesome!

A comparison of the scale of the ships from nearly all of your favorite Sci-Fi worlds. There are also a couple of real ships thrown in for comparison.

You know what they say about men and the size of their vehicles.....
So what does that say about this guy? I guess that would also explain the light saber....

(h/t Harvey)

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

More geek....

Soon to be added to the blogroll: Tolkien Geek

Gary is blogging his way through the Lord of the Rings series, chapter by chapter, as he rereads the books. Interesting commentary and Tolkien trivia interspersed throughout.

Fellowship of the Ring starts here with the Prologue to Book 1.

Don't worry, you're not behind, the most recent entry is only Ch. 3.

(h/t those llama dudes)

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:48 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Holy Crap!

DH's class roster arrived. Here are the numbers:

Period 1 32 7th grade
Period 2 30 8th grade (Advisory)
Period 3 (prep & conference)
Period 4 38 8th grade
Period 5 31 8th grade
Period 6 28 8th grade
Period 7 27 8th grade

38!!!! The room only seats 32. There are 4 extra seats at what should be a workstation table, for a total of 36 in a PINCH.

And people wonder why teachers leave the profession so quickly....

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

I would be remiss...

... as I have been often of late, if I didn't say happy birthday to two of my favorite MuNuvians, Ted of Rocket Jones and Boudicca of Boudicca's Voice

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

keep your fingers crossed!

I have a job interview tomorrow later this morning for what I think is the job I really, really want. It may be a different job, or it may not be what I thought, but in any case, if it is the one I think it is, I need all the cosmic good vibrations I can get, so any prayers, good thoughts, good wishes, or just good vibes would be appreciated in the morning around 11 am PDT.

At this point, I could really use the job, and getting the one I want is just a bonus.

Also, thanks to Jen and Beau for reminding me that these things happen in His time, not mine. I had just read this post about half an hour before the phone rang. I've been dealing with the same challenges as Beau, just a little more urgently, since I don't have a job or school right now. I just need to keep reminding myself that faith brought me home and faith brought me a house and faith found DH a wonderful job at a great school with neat coworkers. Now I just need to keep having faith that my turn will come soon.

I'll let you all know tomorrow how it's going.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:15 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

fingers still crossed...

Well, it went well. This was a second interview for the same position I interviewed for earlier. This time I got to meet with the Chair, who of course has to approve any new hires. The meeting went well and he introduced me to the business manager, who would be my go to person once I get hired in terms of both pay and class scheduling. So that was good. He also told me he'd be meeting with the person I interviewed with earlier and the business manager to talk about getting things rolling or not.... but I think they want me. The distance between Pasadena and the University is the only factor against me, so they might need to schedule me around the traffic, although, in my previous interview he told me that wouldn't be a problem.....

He did tell me that they will meet soon because they need to get all their ducks in a row, so I'm hoping that means I'll be working this quarter.....

So keep those fingers crossed until I hear back one way or the other.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

easiest ever stuffed peppers

So DH asked for stuffed peppers the other night. Which was weird. I personally believe less is more when it comes to bell peppers, but hey, whatever, it was his first day at work.

So I went looking around the internet and here's what I came up with:
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
3 large green bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 - 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 jar your favorite spaghetti/marinara sauce (~27 oz)
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Place green bell peppers in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove peppers from the water and set aside in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown the ground beef; drain. Return to heat and mix in onion, cooked rice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour in tomato sauce and mix thoroughly. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Spoon the meat mixture onto each half of the green peppers. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until mixture begins to turn golden brown.
6. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of each stuffed pepper. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.

There will be PLENTY of the meat mixture unless you chose the world's largest peppers to stuff, so feel free to fill them up to the brim :)

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 09, 2005

Nothing to see here, move along....

I'm feeling pretty blah. Headache and heartache.

The Princess is going to have surgery on Tuesday for what we think are two separate benign growths, one in her mouth and one on her chest. The one in her mouth is almost certainly an epilus, since she had one before and the vet told us it might grow back (it did, almost exactly one year later) and the one on her chest is probably a lipoma, a common fat deposit, neither of which are anything to worry about, but still, she is my baby. The lipoma is too small to do a needle biopsy, but rather than waiting and watching it, we've decided to take it out as she's going to be asleep anyway....

I've got a busy weekend planned, too. Exgaucho Ben is coming down and we're going to the Dodger game with him and Bill and some of their friends on Saturday. Ben leaves on Sunday, and my parents will be here Monday and Tuesday. We're going to the Dodger game with them on Monday night because my Dad has never been to Dodger stadium.

So if you don't see anything new in this space, don't panic. We're just busy.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 10, 2005

Saturday quickies

I just have a few minutes until DH gets back because he's grading papers....

1. Dodgers Win! It was a blast, look for pictures from the game here or here.

2. New addiction: Dulce de Leche Hershey's Kisses (white chocolate with caramel swirl and dulce de leche caramel filling)

3. Exgaucho Ben has now seen the majority of Team America. F*ck Yeah!

4. VW Bug is back. Check out her post roundup.

Perhaps more later....

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Today's English lesson

You gotta love Jim and the crap that goes through his head.....

Homonyms and Homophones:

Her beau stood at the bow of the ship wearing, on his lapel, the red bow she had given him the day he won the archery championship using the bow he made from a bough of a hickory tree, and after which he proudly took a bow before the applauding audience.

Read the whole thing!

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

Good Advice....

This seems to be going around.... First Jon washed Angie's cell phone, now Army Wife has done it with her DH's. And it turns out, the garage door opener, too!

AW's DH has some good advice in the comments: If you live in the same house it helps to have the same kind of cell phone. That way there's more than one person who knows how to program it, more than one charging cord etc.

I say this extends to ALL electronics in the family. In our family, with the CIT parents 3,000 miles away until recently, it made sense for them to get the same model TV, VCR, and DVD player, so every time something needed to be reprogrammed or the power went out, I could just press the buttons on my own remote as I talked one of them through it. Furthermore, it's great to be able to say things like, "Now press the big purple button on the right. Ok. Now the pink one next to it..." etc.

Of course, that also means they WILL call you instead of reading the book....

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 13, 2005


Season #2 Premiere of House..... 9pm Eastern and Pacific.


Any predictions?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

All Purpose Update

The Princess came through surgery with flying colors. She was very sleepy all last night, but she doesn't seem to be in too much pain. At least, she's not eating any slower :)

She has a bunch of sore, burned tissue in her mouth where he cauterized the gum after removing the presumed epilus, and 3 little stitches on her chest where the presumed lipoma was. And because of the stitches, she can't have a bath for 2 weeks! (That would be her favorite part if she could tell me so)

Yesterday's interview went well (~2 hours) and they just about offered me a job that is along the lines of what I want, but may be at a much lower salary.... I am waiting for specific details from them. It would also be a closer commute than the other university I've been talking with....

House rocked last night. I love how they nearly always sneak in a little clever metaphor...... Cameron is just a little Pollyanna, huh? Even worse than I suspected. And bring back the old hairdresser, dammit. What was up with Cameron and Cuddy's hairdos???

On a more serious note, Pheochromocytoma is a (usually) non-malignant tumor of the adrenal glands. Like normal adrenal tissue, PCC tumors can also secrete adrenaline (epinephrine), but unlike adrenal tissue, the tumor does not respond properly to the body's fight or flight cues and can result in anything from rage attacks such as those perpetrated in the episode to panic attacks and paranoia. Also, as discussed previously in regards to House, small cell lung cancer is evil and one of two types of cancer that are still regarded as a complete death sentence (the other being glioblastoma multiforme).

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, Harv!

You asked for pictures of boobs, so here you go!
(completely SFW)....

Sorry Harv. Couldn't resist.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So Long Ronnie!

After 23 outstanding years and a couple of Stanley Cups (alas, in exile in Pittsburgh) and 3 Lady Byng trophies (as the league's most gentlemanly player). Ronnie Franchise is calling it quits and is retiring as a Hurricane.

I count it one of the greatest sports privileges that I have ever had to have been able to see Ronnie play as often as I could. And let me be the first to say, you'll always be OUR captain.

Here's one of my favorite Ron Francis moments, scoring the game-winning goal in Detroit vs the Dead Things in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.

(photo credit: art.com)

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What a news day....

Judge rules Pledge unconstitutional (again.....)

GOP-controlled House passes landmark anti-discrimination Hate Crime legislation

Car bombs kill over 150 and injure nearly 600 in Iraq today.

John Roberts eats Chuck Schumer's lunch and explains why the Ginsberg rule applies to him even though Schumer thinks he's ahead in the game.

Bet me money that the MAJORITY of tonight's news will be about the Katrina aftermath instead.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Curious George, the mischevious little monkey who is forever confounding the man in the yellow hat, almost wasn't.

This article tells the story of HA and Margaret Rey, and their escape from the Nazis....

Did you know George was almost Curious Fifi?

(Yellow h/t Lair Simon)

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

From the NO SHIT department

Presented without comment:

From AP/ Yahoo!: Major Quake Could Be Worse Than Katrina

"As many as 18,000 people dead. More than $250 billion in damages. Hundreds of thousands of people left homeless. That's not the latest estimate of Hurricane Katrina's toll on the Gulf Coast. That's a worst-case scenario if a major earthquake were to hit Los Angeles. ... California has been hit by significant quakes about every 15 years over the past century. Experts say there's a better-than 60 percent chance that a quake with a magnitude around 6.7 will hit Southern California or the Bay Area within decades."

No shit...

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Tales from the new house...

So when you move you expect to get some mail from the previous residents, right? The junk mail you toss, the catalogs you keep and look through, the bills and letters you mark to be forwarded.

But you don't expect phone calls. Usually the phone company keeps a number dormant for at least 6 months before reassigning it. In the the last 3 days we've had at least 4 "wrong number" calls, 3 of them in the SAME DAY for a guy named Matt, one for a chick named Brenna.....

Either that or Matt is giving out our number at a gay bar.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


As if this week wasn't TV good enough already (new House!), tomorrow night's the premiere of Season 11 of Survivor.....

16 new Survivors and two returning competitors......
Spoilers in the extended entry

Read More "Survivage!" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 08:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The learning curve.....

As many of you who are bloggers know, one of the most useful things you add to your page is a tracker that logs hits from search engines.....

Tonight I watched someone actually answer their question:"what's the f-bomb?"
(why am I NOT surprised that I am #1 for this string?)

the next search string I got hit for was: "fuckhead fuckwad fuckface"


Posted by caltechgirl at 09:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The President is Human!

Not a member of some inferior alien race.

The proof? He needs to pee too!

REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Yahoo!

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005.

The text of the message reads "I think I may need a bathroom break? Is this possible? Whe..."

I can just see the response from the Chimpy McSmirk crowd......

And yes, I'm sure he is potty trained and does in fact KNOW whether he needs to go or not.
(h/t Kevin at Wizbang!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

Silence is Golden

well, ok, not really. No internet at home today for some reason, so I'm blogging from my friend's house.

but in other news, Aussie Wife is back, and she has a yummy new recipe....

If we have internet later, I'll post one.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2005

One Down...

I got a job offer!!!!

Here's the pertinents (without mentioning the institution)
-Assistant Professor level, and even though they don't have a tenure structure, it is promotable to Full Professor

-year one: 30 hrs/week $40K + full faculty benefits
-year two: 40 hrs/week $52K + etc.

It involves setting up a new lab curriculum, choosing lab software to go with the curriculum and then integrating it into the classes that are already being taught. Then also some teaching. There's also a chance to do some independent lab work and supervise some student research.

It's not what I would be making as an Asst. Prof at a high caliber research institution, but there's no pressure to get grants and publish either (yay!)

Salary is commensurate with a postdoc, so it's appropriate for my employment level, and about what I was expecting.

I am now going to poke the other institution and see what they'll drop in my lap. Working for them was potentially more $$$.....

So what do you think (I mean seriously, beyond the YAY! factor)?

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:27 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 17, 2005

More good news!

I almost forgot in the light of other things, but both of the Princess's biopsies came back negative. The path report also says the vet was right, and both of the little growths were exactly what we thought they were, and completely harmless. So 3 stitches and several hundred dollars later, my piece of mind is restored, and my boo is more comfortable.....Yay!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Coolest new toy....

So we went to Target (pronounced tar-ZHAY, of course) today. We threw out the semi-busted alarm clock/CD player when we moved, and we're tired of waking up to the annoying cell phone beeper in the morning.

So we got a new one, and not only does it set its own time, it has 4 colors in the display, gets the weather stations and TV channels 2-13, has 18 presets for radio stations.

Also, and this is why we got it, when you set the alarm, not only can you set alarm 1 and alarm 2 for 2 different times, but for each alarm you can set the station or track you want (whether you choose CD or radio) and the VOLUME. Our biggest pet peeve with the old one was that if you wanted to fall asleep listening to the radio, you had to listen to it at the volume you wanted to wake up to. Not real conducive to sleeping. Now we can listen to the radio or CD quietly to fall asleep and wake up to earth shattering noise.

Also, in addition to the standard snooze and sleep features, it has a nap button so you can set it for one or two hours of naptime without messing up the regular alarm setting. Perfect for the girl who has taken more naps as an adult than she did as a toddler. :)


And the sound quality is better than the TV, so we're watching the fUCLA/OU game with the sound off and the radio on.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Blog parties are fun!

Just got back from the BFL barbecue. We all had a great time. Thanks to the lovely Little Miss Attila and her Hubby for hosting. It was awesome to finally meet Baldilocks, LMA, The Pirate, and Darleen Click and her husband. It was also great to see Justene and Rich, Flap, and Xrlq Sr and Jr again.

Did I miss anyone?

Highlights of the evening included a spirited discussion of the upcoming election and the BFL salon, watching Baby Xrlq play on the floor with Justene's cell phone, and getting USC-Arkansas updates via Flap's cell phone. Not to mention yummy food. Mmmmm....steak......Mmmm.......pie.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 18, 2005

Got some spare change lying around?

You know, those old vases and jars at the back of your closet. Too lazy to roll it all and count it? Too cheap to pay the counting fee at a Coinstar machine?

Well, now you don't have to.

At 3500 (soon to be 5000) locations nationwide, Coinstar is allowing consumers to forgo the fee if they convert their spare change into gift cards. Retailers currently include Starbucks and Amazon.com, and will soon include Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Pier One Imports, and others.

Since my collected spare change usually goes for a spluge item, turning it into an Amazon gift certificate seems like a good idea....

The details are here.

You can find a machine near you here. Choose "prepaid card" from the pulldown menu to find machines that dispense the cards.

(h/t Aziz P)

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

85 43 14 4 to go!

As of 8:18am PDT, SiteMeter reads 49, 915, which means I am 85 hits away from visitor #50,000!

WooHoo! I wasn't expecting this until Tuesday!

Update: 49,957 at 1:38 PM PDT

Update 2: 49,986 at 3:25 PM PDT

If you're Mr. or Ms. 50,000 get a screenshot for me. :)

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Milestone achieved!

Visitor #50,000 arrived at 4:38 pm PDT courtesy of the lovely Da Goddess, who linked to this post.

I'd like to thank my fairy blog parents, Jay and Deb, for poking me with sharp things until I started blogging; Pixy Misa (which is Aussie-speak for God of all things MT) for my pretty MuNu digs; Beth and HWNNL for giving me huge numbers of recipe readers every week; Baldilocks and Ith for asking me to guest-blog; all the BFLers (who are AWESOME) and especially, Da Goddess, without whose RACK I would not see half so many google hits...

And I how could I forget Boromir and his Fellowship of Ninja Wizards.....
You love me, you really, really love me.....[/sally field]

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September 19, 2005


It be talk like a pirate day you scurvy dogs!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Morning Grumble

Rachel Ann asks:

And your reaction is?

I really want to know. This is a kind of survey: could you all just copy the survey, fill it out and post it in the comments.

1.PETA--what is the first image that comes to your mind hearing the name?
2.How do you react emotionally?
3.Do you agree or disagree with PETA's overall message?
4.Do you agree or disagree with how PETA presents that message?
5.Are (or were) you a vegetarian?
6.Do you own any pets?
7.What rights over animals do you think humans should have?
8.Is experimentation on animals always wrong? Sometimes wrong? And if permissable when, what types of experiments, and how should they be conducted?
9. To what uses can we put animals? (Pets only, aide animals etc.)
10. Including PETA, what animal rights groups (if any) do you support?

My answers are in the extended entry. Drop by Rachel Ann's place and leave her your comments......

Read More "Morning Grumble" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 08:55 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Afternoon Grumble

Yet another reason why Cuba must be freed from her opressors: cagastro's regime denies an education to children whose parents have been trying to flee. From Cubanet:

Four years ago the political police seized the identity card of Bárbara Lorenzo de Armas. Without this document, Lorenzo de Armas cannot obtain a minor's identify card which the Adolfo del Castillo school requires in order to register her daughter.

Even if the school allowed Jessica to register, her mother couldn't buy the required uniform because this comes from a government store that requires a document to buy there, which was also seized four years ago.

This is just beyond sick. Like Val, I'm just speechless. I'd like to see any of you little communistas out there defend this one.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday!

To the god of MT and all things MuNuvian, Pixy Misa.

May your spams be few and your comments be many :)

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Interesting Schizophrenia update

Conventional wisdom in the Schizophrenia game has long held that the newer class of drugs, usually referred to as atypical antipsychotics, is more effective in treating both the positive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia. Specifically, it is widely known that older drugs, such as Haldol (haloperidol), fail to treat any of the negative symptoms (such as lack of affect and anhedonia).

However, a new study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine (by my former advisor and several of his colleagues that I know well and have worked with) shows that only Zyprexa (olanzapine) is really any better than prior treatments, despite the difficult side effects (weight gain and development of type II diabetes in some patients)....

This study is a product of a long term NIH funded study of early intervention in Schizophrenia by clinical screening and antipsychotic treatment.

You can read the mainstream press article here, the journal article here, and information about the CATIE study here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Question Bleg

So I have a meeting Thursday to finalize the details of the employment offer and ask whatever questions I want.

This is the first time I've had to do this, so I am completely unsure of what to do, except for a few questions I know I want to ask about daily activities and the benefits package.

What would you ask? What should I be thinking about? What are the smart questions no one asks? The details of the job offer are here.

This post will stay on top today in hopes of getting some answers.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:59 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

Summer night Thunderstorm

One of the things that I miss most about NC is the summer storms that wake you up with a terrible crash of thunder and a bright flash of lightning,

LA somehow managed to requisition such a storm just for me, and now I'm glad I'm an insomniac. I've been laying here enjoying the sound of the drops pattering on the bacony and smelling the wet air, listening to the thunder and warching the fireworks, so to speak.


Posted by caltechgirl at 12:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Still raining...

Excuse me while I curl up with a blanket and a good book while I still can......

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An important week

Over at Vodkapundit, Steve posits that the NY Times is making a bad business decision, between laying off hundreds of employees and charging for access to their opinion pages.

To me, it signals the end of a long era in journalism. The layoffs and the desperate bids for increased revenue tell me that the Times is bleeding and is trying unsuccessfully to staunch the flow. Instead of looking seriously at the big knife stuck in their chest, they're trying to stitch around it.

Ok, enough with the blood metaphor. Clearly the growth of new media and the internet has taken a chunk out of their business, and they are scrambling to catch up. You could argue that these layoffs represent the first concrete evidence that "flammable" media is dying. The problem is that like most large corporations, those who are responsible for fixing the problems refuse to examine their own biases. A paradigm shift has taken place in the last 5 years. Media consumers now have multiple sources for news, and freely compare the information they get from each. They don't just accept the editorializing found at one source or another. Editors and publishers haven't (as yet) been able to look carefully at their own papers or broadcasts to see what it is that consumers are turning away from.

The Times will never be the same. It will never wield the same kind of authority that it did in days past. Why? Because as they lay off reporters they will lose the newsroom flexibility to cover breaking news, update older stories, and fact check pieces before publication. Forget editing, if you've even perused the Grey Lady over the last couple of years, you know that went out the window a long time ago.

Another step away from the "old media" also took place this week, though it was largely symbolic. During Sunday night's Emmy broadcast, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and the late Peter Jennings were honored for their contributions to network news over the last two decades. Although the segment was supposed to serve as a memorial to Jennings, and a recognition of the careers of Brokaw and Rather, it was also a tacit memorial to the role of network news in American culture. Since the birth of TV, the majority of Americans got their national and international news from the evening broadcasts of each of the three major networks. With the retirement of Brokaw, the "retirement" of Rather, and the death of Jennings, clearly an era has ended. What remains to be seen is whether the evening news will ever be as important in American culture as it was before.

It is likely that in years to come we will look back at this week as highly significant in the history of media in that the events of this week represent the emerging importance of "new media" and the effect that internet journalism and blogging have on the bottom line of older media outlets.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 21, 2005

Meow! It's a hurri-cat!

Lair Simon and one of the kitties who lets him live in the house bring you a new way to measure hurricanes, or at least a way to tell if you're about to get swiped with a paw.....

The Piper Scale


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Just Yay!!

It's a Boy!

Congrats Margi and Koolaid!

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Too weird

Saw this loony quiz at Boudicca's and I knew I had to post it:

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for your home city.

Your days consisted of parading around your domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed.

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as "Emperor".

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Child of the '80s?

Remember Lite Brite? I loved it. Used to have all the picture cards, too. And extra pegs in special colors.

Now, you can play with Lite Brite without fear of stepping on the pegs.

Just go here for an online version.

(h/t Pam)

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

New blog!

You knew it was only a matter of time, but CBS has set up blog of former Survivor contestants to watch the show and snark back at it.

Oh yeah!

Survivors Strike Back is here.

(h/t Wizbang!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's National De-Lurker Day!

At least, according to the Commissar. I know you're there. Only half of my traffic is due to google!

Drop me a comment and let me know who you are!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:08 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

Just your typical Blah Friday

what can I say?

Yesterday I had the meeting about the preliminary offer and it went well, just waiting for them to get their ducks in a row. I'm supposed to hear today but I can't help but worry. There's still a chance (albeit small) that this could fall through....

Just trying to keep it together while I wait. I really want the job. Not to mention the paycheck.

Also, the Princess has an ear infection, and I can't find the freaking expensive antibiotic solution for her ears..... I can find the ear flush, the baby ear bulb, and everything else we usually use for her ears, but not the damn antibiotics. Arrgh.

On a more positive note, we got the first power bill yesterday: $102 for 6 weeks. Damn I love living here. It would have been >$150 for 4 weeks in Carolina what with having to run the AC 24 hours a day.... Ah well, it won't last. I suspect the next gas bill will kill me.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I do not think that word means what you think it means....

Funny, but this particular movie quote covers two of the new shows I saw this week.

First up, last night after CSI I caught the premiere of CBS' Criminal Minds starring, among others, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson, and Mandy Pantinkin (thus the Princess Bride quote). Patinkin's character is a FBI profiler who long ago "retired" to teaching at the academy and comes back out into the field to lead a team of profilers as they chase psychopaths and serial killers across the country. I had two impressions, first, that the pilot episode was all about Silence of the Lambs. There were a number of references to the film, both visual and plot-wise. Second, the show works hard to move away from those references. The episode started slow, but gained momentum as the hour went on, and I think I'll watch it again on Wednesday night at its regular time.

Next up, NBC's Inconceivable (only in this case it means EXACTLY what you think it means). I wasn't planning on watching this show. Between my loathing of any kind of baby show, and my preconceived notion that it was going to be sappy and dumb, I was rather planning on avoiding it and watching Numbers instead. However, I caught it before Numbers started and it hooked me. The show is a lot more like ER was at the beginning of its run than I expected. Of course Ming-Na as one of the stars doesn't hurt. The show focuses on the doctors and staff of a fertility clinic as they help their patients (and in some cases themselves) along the road to parenthood. Like ER, it was engaging and interesting, and in some cases altogether unexpected. For example, one of the storylines of this episode was what happens after a surrogate gave birth to her own baby, rather than the baby she was supposed to be carrying for an infertile couple. Not bad for a Friday night show. I'll probably try to see it next week.

The third new show I saw was E-ring, NBC's pentagon drama starring Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper. Not bad. Good suspense, although not quite a Tom Clancy novel. I'm sure military types will freak out about how unrealistic it is, but hell, I liked it, for what it's worth, as did DH, so we'll probably try to catch this one again.

Two shows I saw that I don't care if I see again: Bones (ruin a good book, why don'tcha?) and Martha's Apprentice (better than the Donald's, but eh. It's the Apprentice)

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 24, 2005

Yes, I guess I was bored

I got into the AIDS debate with Dean again. I know, I know, I really shouldn't, but this one pissed me off.

The argument is based on this article from the LA Times detailing the death of Eliza Jane Scovill, the 3 year old daughter of a well known "HIV does not cause AIDS" activist mother. EJ was conceived, carried, and breast-fed by an HIV positive mother who was not on medication and because of her beliefs, refused to have either EJ or her brother Charlie tested for HIV.

EJ's death was recently ruled by the LA county coroner's office to be due to "AIDS-related pneumonia".

This pissed me off on so many levels: the parents, the doctors, and the article.

1. The kid was sick with a cold and then an ear infection that got worse for over two weeks from the first peds visit until her death

2. Given her well documented risk, why did NONE of the 3 doctors who examined her even think to give her antibiotics or take a culture swab to see what was causing her symptoms? They knew mom was HIV+ and she was at risk (according to the article)

3. The second doctor suspected an ear infection but never gave her drugs, the third doctor FINALLY gave her an antibiotic the day before she died. I'm no fan of over medicating, but in a case where a kid (or an adult) is at risk of being severely immunocompromised, you do a swab and then use a drug that kills whatever you found. It's too easy for something relatively innocuous to take hold in someone who is already defenseless. I know from experience.

3.5 What about the drug they gave her? The article says she was vomiting severely the day after starting the amoxicillin. Was she having a reaction? Amox and the other cillins and some derivatives make me break out, vomit, or both. Did her reaction (if any) to the drug contribute to her death? Was she too sick before starting the drug to overcome any effects of a reaction? Did a drug reaction weaken her to the point that she could no longer fight the illness?

4. I don't appreciate anyone (this girl's mother) who equates "small apartments on busy streets, extended day care, and oscar mayer lunchables" with neglect. Just because not all parents can AFFORD to stay home and give their kids organic vegetables doesn't make their kids any less special than yours or make you any less neglectful and selfish. I'd rather VACCINATE my babies (which this mom didn't), make sure I knew what ALL their health issues were, and give them junk food than be so deep in denial that I can't face the fact that it might have killed my baby and let the doctors take the blame.

UPDATE: Dean points out in the comments that not all vaccines are safe and effective. I actually agree with him, but I had forgotten about the "new" vaccines, which I utterly disagree with: chicken pox, pneumonia, and ear infection. The long-term safety of these vaccines is clearly unknown as they are less than 10 years old, and the effectiveness of them is also in question, as a large chunk of kids who get these vaccines still get sick when exposed....

5. Where's the HIV test? They say she died of AIDS related pneumonia, but there was no mention of them even doing an HIV test. I know there are some legal issues with reporting someone's HIV status, but I assume the parents would want the truth to be told, since they say that they still believe HIV doesn't cause AIDS.

I guess what gets me here is the disconnect and the denial. On the part of the parents AND the doctors. Look, I respect your right to parent as you see fit, including whether or not you find out about your kids HIV status if they are at risk. However, that doesn't give you the right to act imprudently. Based on ALL the evidence out there, HIV is clearly linked to AIDS, and MOST LIKELY causes AIDS. If your child is at risk of being HIV+ and you choose not to find out, for whatever reason, then you have to be aware that when that child gets sick, it could spiral out of control quickly, as it may have in this case. If you choose not to vaccinate your child, you have to be aware of the risks that go along with that and the risks that your children import to other people because they have not been vaccinated. If you choose to avoid antibiotics, then you need to be aware that your child can die just as quickly from a bacterial infection as from a car accident. It can happen that fast.

In this case, prudence dicated an aggressive treatment strategy. One that should have started by determining what bacteria/virus/fungus was causing the symptoms, instead of looking, guessing, and sending the kid home. More than once. It took two weeks before she was given anything other than "naturopathic remedies"(link)

And what of the reporting? Surely the author of the 5 page LA Times article was intelligent enough to ask the questions I've raised. Especially with regard to the HIV testing. That's clearly relevant here. Perhaps the journalist wouldn't know enough about the possible side effects and reactions to amoxicillin, but a simple Google search would have sufficed. Also, the journalist doesn't appear to have enough healthy criticism of the doctors. While the writer allows Dr. Gordon to second-guess himself, Dr. Fleiss is paraded out as the pediatrician to the stars, notorious and controversial, but well established. Little criticism of the treatment strategy of any of the doctors is offered, except by unnamed, uncredentialed "experts". While it is likely that the little girl died of HIV related symptoms, no direct evidence to support this is presented except the single conclusion of the coroner.

I am flabbergasted by the ignorance and denial among educated people. By all accounts this was a healthy, active, intelligent child who should not have fallen so fast. Something was missed. Whether or not it was AIDS remains to be seen (where's the test??), but clearly there was more going on here than meets the eye.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

Help for Feisty

Formerly "Feisty" Christina is asking for your help. Her mom lives between Lake Charles, LA and Houston, and may be without power for quite a while. Chrissy may need to go get her and needs some specific information about the availability of gas and clearness of roads. If you've been in that area recently, or are in contact with someone who is or has been, please leave Chrissy a comment here.

In the mean time, please keep this family in your prayers and thoughts.


Posted by caltechgirl at 06:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Today's goofy quiz

From SarahK:

You are Proverbs
You are Proverbs.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I feel like crap

There are few things worse than having a cold.

Or if you heard me say that, it would be more like this: There are few thigs wurz thad habbig a code.

Every year when school starts all the new germs go around. Well, Mr. DH got them all and of course, brought them home. He was sick all weekend, and is better today. I woke up at 3:30 am sick, and well, you can guess the rest.

So no brilliance from me today. Instead, I offer you some links worth reading.

First up, this moving letter from George Moneo posting at Babalu about the castro regime, and the US' policy regarding Cuban refugees.

Next, Val at Babalu and Michelle Malkin both point us to this story. I hate Notre Dame football with a passion, but their coach is a good guy.

Patterico finds an interesting LA Times story that the Left would rather stay buried. Turns out whites make up the majority of casualties and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, not blacks and hispanics, as Charlie Rangel would have you believe.

Practigal Marie shares her thoughts on beggars who ARE choosers.

Bill has the lowdown on the 13 most corrupt members of Congress. Not surprisingly the list hits both Houses and members on both sides of the aisle.

VW of One Happy Dog Speaks has more cute pictures of Tater and Tot.

Phin wages the War of Lateral (Barbecue) Aggression.

Jay Tea at Wizbang! brings us an amusing tale of what happens when you commit TMI online.

Lair Simon is up and running (and back to work) after Rita, and he brings you the newest Foamy the Squirrel cartoon: Tech Support II.

triticale has this week's Carnival of the Recipes.

and finally, last but not least, Two Dogs of Mean Ol' Meany has some thoughts about the difference between Mississippi and Louisiana in terms of response to Katrina.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Do you hate automated phone systems as much as I do?

Well, bookmark this page, because it's the answer to your prayers. Courtesy of fellow MuNuvian Physics Geek, this site has the instructions for how to get to a REAL HUMAN BEING when you call in, from credit companies to airlines.

Kudos to Amazon for directly connecting you to a human every time you call!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shout Out: Love My Groomer!

The Princess and I just want to give some Kudos to Beth Johnston of Beauty Meets the Beast, who is the best dog groomer in Chapel Hill, NC and Carrboro, NC (where the shop is located).

Beth was our groomer for 5 years before we moved, and she never once gave my girl a bad cut or an ouchie. We started with her because she works with our vet, The Animal Hospital of Carrboro (also an EXCELLENT place), but we never had any reason to look elsewhere.

And she has the best customer service in town. I needed to get her notes for the Princess's next haircut, so she gets the right cut, and she called me from Chapel Hill to make sure I got the right instructions for the groomer and to chat and check up on how the Boo is doing.

So if any of you lurkers are in Chapel Hill (or anywhere else in the Triangle) and need a dog groomer, you couldn't do better than Beth. But beware, it's HARD to get an appointment. A sweeter person and a better groomer you just can't find anywhere.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This time it's a Girl!

For Jay and Deb, and a little sister for Sadie!

and she's sucking her thumb too.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

computer bleg

ok, so my husband's year old Dell Inspiron 9100 just out of the warranty period laptop just DIED. He was working on some grading and it just went off and then it would not power up. Doesn't power up with either the power cord or the battery (which is full). Ran through the whole diagnostic thing online, and it says "contact Dell support".

Totally not in the mood to pay Dell to talk to them. Anyone have any ideas or know someone else who is reasonably reliable?

Or should I just say fuck it and get a new one and swap out the hard drives? Because clearly the hard drive is good. It won't even get through the self-test at start up to get to the hard drive.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:26 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Thanks, but unfortunately....

We did try all of the battery tricks. That was the first thing we tried. My laptop (that I'm using at the moment) pulled the battery/power cord trick last year. The battery is hosed and won't run the computer, and then the power cord got surged during a particularly nasty T-storm. $21 and I was up and running.

This is different. It died while running from wall power. Reseating the battery didn't do it. Running it with the AC power without the battery in didn't do it. Running it off the (full) battery without the AC power in didn't do it.

The really ominous thing is that it never attempted to spin the drive or turn on the fans......

Anyway, Dell support got back to me, and they say that the mother (f'ing) board is toast and that I'll need to replace it.

Other than taking the computer apart, how hard is that to do? Is it something that someone who is relatively ok with popping open the case is going to be ok doing? Or should I call a techie friend? Or should I send to Dell? I've put in cards etc. before, memory and all that, but in a tower, and I know how to take the case apart of the laptop to get to the motherboard, but I'm not sure whether I want to try it myself....

Any advice on that subject would be much appreciated.
Or on whether there's a way to troubleshoot the board and fix just whatever blew up.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dell $500, Me 0

Well it turns out that it's about $30 difference between them doing it and me doing it, and if they do it, it gets recertified as working and all ok and they'll put a 90 day warranty on parts and labor, which is not bad.

So I just took the HD in to get the data migrated (dumb me didn't have a recent backup, although I do have an external drive that I use as a backup drive), and it's going out as soon as Dell ships me the box.

Here's something I learned today: If you use a Visa, MC, or Amex to buy the computer, it frequently gives you double the initial standard warranty via the credit card company. Discover does not (fuckers). So even if you have the cash, purchase your major electronics on credit and pay it off when you get the bill so that you're covered. Of course, check with your credit card company to be sure beforehand.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

Meet my new buddy

Click on the box to give him treats. Double click to drop them!

adopt your own virtual pet!

(h/t Gir)

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'd like a can of tuna, and then a nap

You are HOBBES! My personal favorite. You like to
eat, sleep, and live a good life. Me too.

Which CALVIN & HOBBES character YOU?
brought to you by Quizilla

Yay! Hobbes!
(h/t VW)

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


here's how pathetic I am: Since the other laptop died, I have been without a complete feedlist in my Sage RSS reader, so I took 2 hours this afternoon to go through and attempt to reconstruct the list from my blogroll and others (thanks Ith, Jay and Deb) since I have some blogs on my reading list that hadn't made it into my blogroll yet.

If I drop by your blog frequently, and you don't see me in the next few days, remind me to add you to the feed reader again :)

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I've been sitting on this until I got confirmation....

My job starts October 16th!

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:56 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

September 29, 2005

Happy Birthday!

To two very special people in the b'sphere, Jay and Deb's very precious and precocious Sadie Rose, who is celebrating her very first birthday, and the lovely Mrs. Smash, who isn't.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LA/Chatsworth Fire Info

as of 11:15 am:

1700 acres burned
1 home destroyed
1 commercial building destroyed (Rocketdyne)
1 injury (concussion from falling rock)
over 3000 firefighters from LA and Ventura counties, joined by crews from as far away as Tulare and Fresno counties.
Full fleet of fire airships making drops of water and Phoscheck (a fire retardant)
Today's weather: highs to the 100s, low humidity, and low winds from the west. Firefighters expect the onshore flow will help by bringing in moisture.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Congratulations Mr. Chief Justice!

John Roberts was confirmed today as the nation's youngest Chief Justice in 200 years by a vote of 78-22.

Now we move on to the next nominee.... This ought to be interesting...

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'll bet this woman donates to Peta too...

JimK over at Right Thoughts needs your help finding a home for a beautiful kitty in the New Haven, CT area.

I don't usually do this, but her story is pretty compelling. She definitely used up one of her 9 lives, but not in the way you might think.

Jim says:

Here’s her story: She’s a ten year-old very healthy, VERY friendly Siamese, she’s mostly dark chocolate with darker points and pale blue eyes…she’s fat and happy. Her previous owner brought her to my vet to be euthanized. Why? Because the new poodles the woman got don’t like her. She’s had the cat for ten years. TEN YEARS. And she wanted this perfectly healthy animal put down because she didn’t want to be bothered having to keep them separate all the time.

My vet said no way. They’re keeping her and looking for a home. If I didn’t already have five cats, she’d be with me now. She’s so sweet I can’t stand it. Just a big fluffy sweetheart of a cat. And she’s beautiful in person, my crappy phone pic did not do her justice. She’s had all her bloodwork done, shots, she’s fixed…she’s as ready to go as any cat could be.

If you are within driving distance of New Haven, CT and you’d like to meet her…let me know via email, stark23x at gmail dot com and I’ll get you the contact info.

Can you imagine the gall of that woman? Just because she doesn't want the cat anymore, she thinks she can throw it away like an old toy. Folks, owning a pet means that you are responsible for them for their whole life, or at least until you can find them a more suitable owner, it doesn't give you the right to end their lives on a whim. Would you do that to your kids? Thank goodness for people like Jim and his vet, who aren't willing to let a selfish woman have her way.

(h/t Lair, whose kitties are getting extra treats tonight)

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 30, 2005

I am SUCH a Geek!

So as you are well aware, the primary laptop (because it was running XP, this POS is running 98 and I'm afraid to upgrade....it runs pretty well) crashed and burned. So I have been catching up on making this little one as user friendly as the other was. First I upgraded Sage and added as many feeds as I could remember. Today was Firefox plugin day. I upgraded to the newest version of FF and then I added the Gmail delete button (YAY!!!), ForecastFox, FoxyTunes, FlashGot, IE Viewer, Translate, and my personal new favorite, ReminderFox, which is a handy lite calendar/to do list that pops up at the bottom of the screen. I hate outlook and all other full calendar programs, and I forget to use them. This one highlights at the bottom of the window when you have a current reminder, and you can just mouse over to see what you needed to remember. All in one window. Excellent.

Now I need to go get Gmail notifier since GoogleTalk doesn't run on Win 98...

Love me some Firefox. What are your favorite extensions and plugins?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Chicken Apple Curry

This is a simple, yummy curry that you can make with just ingredients that most of us keep in the kitchen. A flavorful, healthful change of pace. As written, it's mild enough that most kids will eat it. Of course you can use margarine, lo-fat or skim milk, and lo-fat, lo-salt chicken broth to make this better for you! This recipe increases and decreases easily. More variations found below the directions. Originally found here.

3 tablespoons butter
2 small onion, chopped
2 apples - peeled, cored and
finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup hot chicken broth
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2 Saute apple and onion in butter or margarine until
tender. Add curry powder and saute 1 minute more. Add flour
and continue to cook 1 minute longer. Add stock or broth
and milk; stir well.
3 Salt and pepper chicken breasts to taste and lay in a
single layer in a 9x13 inch (or larger) baking dish. Pour
sauce mixture over chicken breasts and bake in preheated
oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until chicken is done.

Serves 4-8 depending on the size of the chicken pieces and who you're feeding. Serve over basmati rice or bulgur (my favorite) or with naan bread (yum!)

Other variations: Use half and half, coconut milk, or yogurt instead of milk, depending on your taste and what's in your pantry. Also, if you're a heavy curry fan, you'll probably want to add more and/or some garam masala to your taste. Also good over turkey breast or pork tenderloin.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Kitty Update

Jim has more of the Kitty's story and several adorable (and sad) pictures up at Right Thoughts.

The cat’s name is Tagitha. So named because her former owners got her as a baby kitten at a tag sale, ten years ago. And raised her. how she turned out so sweet with these jerks in beyond me…but anyway back to the neck thing. They had a collar on her for years. The same one. She grew. The collar stayed. She grew and gained weight. THEY NEVER LOOSENED THE COLLAR. It had to be cut off it was on so tight. Her fur grew around the damned collar.

Grr. Some people should not be allowed to have pets.

What a (expletive deleted) I can't even say the words that come to my mind. What kind of sick fucks do this? This must be the nicest cat ever, since she's a Siamese and was mistreated so badly and she still likes to snuggle.

Anyway, if you're within driving distance to New Haven, CT and would like a friendly, snuggly female older cat with all her shots, spayed, and with a clean bill of health, email Jim.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack