April 06, 2005

This is a test

this is only as test. To see what a regular post will look like. la la la. I am such a bad blogger. I have been neglecting you all because I have been messing with this page.....

Read More "This is a test" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 01:14 PM | Comments (3)

April 09, 2005


I'm a marauding marsupial again. I put in the request to get the blog stats switched over, but it's evidently not changed yet.

Sitemeter seems to be working, though.

Does anyone know whethetr the TTLB change request code goes in the od blog or new blog? I did just have it in the old blog, but now it's in both. The instructions weren't clear....

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:38 PM | Comments (3)

April 11, 2005

Thanks and welcome!

Well, sitemeter seems to be working about as well as it ever did, and it looks like most of you have found your way over here to my new home. Thanks for making the trip. I apologize for the dearth of content. I haven't had that much time to write anything that doesn't contribute to graduation lately, but I promise to try to rectify that in the near future :)

Just wanted to say thanks to those of you who thought it was important enough to announce the big move. so thanks to:
Jay and Deb
Not Dale Gribble
Blogchild Paul
Y'all made me feel pretty special!! If I forgot anyone's announcement, let me know and I'll put up a happy link to you too.

Update: thanks also to a Queen and a Paladin!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:44 PM | Comments (3)

I love it when a plan comes together

except that I didn't plan this.

I made it home in time to see the Sox-Yanks game. Well, from the bottom of the 2nd, anyway. Home opener at Fenway, and World Series ring day. The Sox have always been my AL team, although I really don't know why. Maybe it was the fact that they are perennial losers (except for last year). Probably though, it's because as a Dodger fan, my hatred of the Yankees is nearly genetic. You can't bleed Dodger blue and like the Yanks. So I guess it's no surprise that I like the Sox.

The rings are just gorgeous. The Red Sox B in rubies over a field of diamonds and blue sapphires on the face. One side is inscribed with each player's name and number, the other bears the motto "The Greatest Comeback in History". Inside each ring is inscribed "86 years 10/27/04"
Here's Manny Ramirez's:

AP Photo for ESPN

Anyway, top of the third right now, 2-0 Sox with 1 out, 1 on...

(h/t Michele (sorry) for the Boston Herald article)

7-1 Sox at the end of the 4th. 8-1 Sox Win!

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

April 12, 2005

This ABSOLUTELY made my day

Thanks Michele.

The Top 25 Sesame Street moments (according to Mike)

My personal favorite: #12. Of course.

Go here to see an updated version of the 12 song. You may have to save it to your hard drive, but it's worth it! (includes the classic pinball animation)

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:14 AM | Comments (4)

April 15, 2005

It pays to be with it

Here it is again, Tax day. Most of you probably have not even pulled out the forms. I realize taxes are quite a chore for most people, but for us (no kids, no IRA, no self-employment tax) they're pretty straightforward. So I usually do the forms in February, as soon as I get the W-2s and interest statements. This year I filled them out, figured out what we were getting back, and then promptly forgot to make them pretty (redo them in ink) and send them. Until about a month ago.

See, if you send in your forms on March 15, then April 15th isn't Tax day, it's REFUND day! WooHoo!

State refund was in the mail last night and the Federal refund was in my checking account this morning! Yay!

In case you're wondering, assuming I get a Postdoc, that $$ is earmarked for our moving money for the trek back to Cali.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:04 PM | Comments (4)

April 19, 2005

a brief recollection

It seems strange to me that it's been 10 years since the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. I was home sick that day, curled up in Mom's chair with a blanket trying not to hurt. I was in the same place two years earlier when the Waco complex was blown up by the ATF/FBI/etc. Funny.

Four years and one day after Oklahoma City I was working on a paper in my bedroom with the LA news on when they broke in with the Columbine shooting story.

This week in history mostly sucks. Let's get on with it.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:30 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2005

NFL officially returns tomorrow


Football is a big thing in our house thanks to the DH. College, NFL, he doesn't really care. He'll even watch Arena Football, but usually we'll take a pass.

So the NFL season officially kicks off with tomorrow's draft. I'm a little tired of it after a week of hype, but I'm stil gonna watch the first round. I always do.

Who do you think will go first? My money's on Aaron Rodgers of Cal to the 49ers. I know that most people think Alex Smith of Utah is the top choice, but I can't imagine that the Niners would pass up a chance to go with a Golden Bear, especially since the team has so much history with Cal. Three years ago, the Carolina Panthers made a surprise move and did the same thing, picking Julius Peppers of UNC 3rd overall. They made sure to get their hands on a great player with a strong local draw. Most Bay Area folks have at least heard of Rodgers, and he's a strong quarterback. Hell, he beat USC against a Heisman winner. But Alex Smith is strong too, and he's younger. Tough to say.

Also, I think we'll see a few last minute deals to trade up for players. there haven't been many of these deals in the last few years, with the closest thing in last year's draft being the trade of Eli Manning and Philip Rivers... which doesn't really count.

What do you think? Predictions? Surprises?

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

Why yes.

My day WAS kinda crappy so far. How was yours?

Going out tonight. Maybe to a flick, maybe just to Target to buy one on DVD and then watch it at home....

Update: We went to Target and got South Park Season 5 on DVD. Excellent. I laughed hard enough that I feel much better now. Two of my favorite episodes of all time are in this set: "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants" and "Cripple Fight!" (including the classic 20 minute fight from "They Live")

Also, for those of you who have been wondering, Team America will be released on DVD on May 17th....

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2005

Content takes a backseat

Working feverishly on thesis....

Need to have last 2 chapters of a first draft mostly done by tomorrow.
Check out some of the fine folks on the blogrolls!

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2005

101 things to do while waiting for the scope to be done...

1. read blogs. Turns out the computer this baby is hooked to has enough power to acquire massive graphics and read webpages at the same time! WooHoo! No more boring 2 hour scans!

Do you need any more things to do?

Answers to the Tag meme tonight when I get stuck in thesis writing....

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Wouldn't you know?

So I was frustrated today and I went for a walk at work this afternoon. I found the nicest little walk, from the hospital to the new student center via a new path, and then around the bell tower and the stadium and back to the hospital. Probably 1/2 to 3/4 mile, up and downhill, but nothing steep. The perfect 15 minute escape from the lab.

And I find it 3 weeks before I'm done!!!! ARRRRGH!!!!

Ok, to be fair, it didn't exist a couple of months ago, since the new building wasn't done, but, still.

BTW, I'm starting the dress diet today. The wedding I'm a bridesmaid in is July 30th, and I'm hoping to need my mom to do some 'good' alterations. The dress fits great now, but I'd like it to fit better, if you know what I mean, and the fact that it's sleeveless is an incentive to start lifting again... even if it is just 3lbs at a time. I get the feeling my fitness ball and I are going to know each other quite well in the next few weeks....

Plus I'd like to be in better shape when we move. The stronger my muscles are, the less stress I put on my joints when I lift heavy things and pack boxes. Writing forces me to sit on my can, and well, I'm pretty bored with it.

I'll keep you updated.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005

One down....

I just sent the first draft of my thesis to my PI and my committee chair to look over.

The hard part is done.

Now I just wait for the comments..... :)

Update: she wants 5 more pages of Ch. 3 by tomorrow AM

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

May 07, 2005

Light posting over the weekend

Must keep writing....Open thread for the rest of you.

What's up?

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:21 PM | Comments (4)

May 08, 2005

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to my Mom and all of the rest of you who are worth so much more than you receive for all of the things you do, especially some of my favorite bloggy moms:

Da Goddess
Daisy Girl
And anybody else I missed....Have a wonderful day!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:49 AM | Comments (8)

May 09, 2005

Glad Tidings!

The always interesting Steve of VodkaPundit has a good reason for being distracted. He and the lovely Melissa are expecting a little stranger in December.

Drop in and offer him your congratulations!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005

Angels among us...

Bou posted this the other night about angels in her life, and I have a story I wanted to share too, although nowhere near as spooky cool as what she experienced.

You know how sometimes the answers are in front of you, but you can't see them? How sometimes you need a gentle prod in the right direction? Well, today I was feeling pretty wretched, and I got an email from a friend. Well, not really even a friend. She's the fiancee of one of my college roommates, a guy who I am pleased and proud to call a brother, though not blood. In fact, she and I didn't even know each other in college, I was acquainted with her through her sister and some mutual friends who were in my class. But I guess we're friends now, since if we weren't I wouldn't let her marry my boy :)

She's also a grad student in biology, and she emailed me for some advice. After answering her questions, I let her know we'll be missing the wedding because we'll be out in LA, hopefully finding a place to live. Instead of being put out that we would be missing the wedding (which is on the East Coast near her parents), she was just so happy we were finally coming back, and even told us to look into moving into their neighborhood. It just made my day.

I realized that's something I've missed. Having the people that mean the most to you nearby, so you can spend time with them without having to make a major production number out of it is something a lot of people take for granted.

I'd been pretty torn up about moving. We have friends here, and I love the small town and the trees and the animals. This is the only place we've lived together as husband and wife. But today I realized that I've been missing something that means so much to me, and it's changed me. I'm not the person I was 5 years ago, and not just because I'm not 22 anymore.

Going home is a good good thing for me and my husband and it doesn't matter whether I have a job lined up or not right now. What matters is that I'm not leaving somewhere, I'm going home, I just needed to be reminded of it. Thanks.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:52 PM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2005

Draft II done

I added the references and made some changes to one of the data sections based on new observations and now all I have to do is make corrections based on what the boss tells me I need to work on, and fix the figures and make sure the numbering is consistent. Yay!

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

May 16, 2005

Science's equivalent of a home run

This week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, an astonishing breakthrough in the treatment of some hematological cancers was announced.

The drug Revlimid was tested in 115 patients with MDS, or myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition in which the bone marrow can not make enough mature, healthy blood cells. MDS, while little known, is actually more common in American adults than Leukemia, and results in anemia and fatigue, and eventually death from somatic oxygen deprivation. MDS patients require frequent transfusions to keep them alive, and there are few drugs available to treat the symptoms of the disease.

According to the authors of the study, Revlimid was initially tried in order to ease the symptoms of the disease, but to their surprise, doctors found that Revlimid actually was curing the disease itself.

After about six months on the drug, 66 percent no longer needed blood transfusions, said the study's leader, Dr. Alan List of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. A year later, three-fourths of them still don't need transfusions.

But the big surprise was that signs of the genetic mutation fueling the disease diminished in 81 patients and vanished in 51.

"The chromosome abnormality completely disappeared, something we've never seen before" from a drug aimed just at boosting red blood cells, List said.

That's amazing. It seems to have at least temporarily CURED nearly half the patients in a reasonably sized study, and more patients than that had their main symptoms alleviated. Drugs don't usually do so well in this kind of study, especially when their mechanism of action is unknown.

Revlimid is chemically related to thalidomide, and like its notorious cousin, little in known about how Revlimid works, except that it boosts certain aspects of the immune system. So far, according to the authors, the drug has been well-tolerated with few serious side effects.

I'll be keeping an eye on this one, it may turn out to be a real boon to millions of people.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

Stick a fork in me...

I'm DONE!!!!

Finished getting all of the little glitches and goofs out of the thesis, and made a pdf so I can email it to my advisor (in New York) and another of my committee members (in Europe).

Now I just to print 4 more copies of the bugger and distribute them, and then prep for my meeting next Thursday!


Posted by caltechgirl at 11:59 AM | Comments (5)

May 27, 2005

Home Sweet Home

It's amazing what kind of things you forget when you leave what you love for so long and don't come back often....

The clarity of the light. In LA the light is different than anywhere else. It seems so sharp and white, even through the smog.

The blue sky, not as blue as Carolina's, but somehow bigger as if the world itself was expanded.

The technicolor flowers, from the pink and orange roses to the purple jacaranda blooms that fall on green grass.

The fact that people understand how to use a left turn lane!

Gridded streets.

Real ethnic food.

Dry heat.

The way that although some things change, others will always be the same in unexpected and delightful ways.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:09 PM | Comments (1)


A great big Thank You! to everyone who left such nice messages yesterday. I really appreciate it!

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2005

We're off!

Leaving for home this afternoon. See you all tomorrow :)

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005

The things you miss

I spent much of yesterday on a plane. More on that later.....

As if I didn't need a reminder, I missed 2 very important things....

1. Deep Throat is #2.

2. Jen's Beau is now Jen's fiancee (yay!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2005

Children are the best birth control EVER....

So, flying from LA to Phoenix there was a 5 year old behind me. I was in the window seat, the middle was empty and DH was on the aisle. The kid's mom was in the middle and someone else was on the aisle.

I'm thinking, it's only an hour, it won't be a problem. WRONG.

For those of you lucky enough to have never flown out of LAX, take-off is over the water. That kept the kid occupied for about 10 minutes, then....

To find out the rest, read the extended entry....

Read More "Children are the best birth control EVER...." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 08:13 PM | Comments (8)

June 06, 2005

Hell of a week in history

June 4, 1989:

June 5, 2004:

June 6, 1944:

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2005

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

Gone too soon...

Anne Bancroft, the legendary actress who brought Mrs. Robinson to life in The Graduate, and wife of the incredibly awesome Mel Brooks, has died at age 73 of uterine cancer.

Born Anna Maria Italiano in 1931 in New York's Bronx borough, she got her start in movies in the 1950s.

She won an Oscar for her 1962 film "The Miracle Worker," where she played Annie Sullivan, the extraordinary teacher to blind, deaf and speechless Helen Keller in the movie directed by Arthur Penn.

Over her long career, she garnered a further four Academy Award nominations for "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964), "The Graduate" (1967), "The Turning Point" (1977), and "Agnes of God" (1985).

She also won two Tony Awards for her work on the Broadway stage, including one for the stage version of "The Miracle Worker" in 1960.

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson,
Jesus loves you more than you will know
Wo wo wo
God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson,
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

Reason #347 why I'm glad I'm not a parent....

According to this new study, it's unsafe for kids under the age of 15 to ride in the front seat.

Therefore in some states, it's legal to drive a car before it's safe to sit in the front.

Hey, I've got an idea. Let's make the airbags adjustable. It is possible. The technology exists NOW. You can even have them removed in 2-seaters ifyou have kids. The driver just flips a switch: Adult setting and the airbag is armed, child setting, and it isn't. Of course in this day and age you have to sign a waiver saying that you accept responsibility for failing to protect an adult or a child adequately.

Then we could put rear facing child seats in the front for small babies again. That's been shown to be FAR safer than a rear facing seat in the back since it's a little hard for the driver to check on a baby they can't see.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)

June 09, 2005

Test making stinks

I just wrote the first of 2 tests that I have to give in the class I'm teaching.

65 multiple choice, and 43 fill-the-name-in-the-diagram questions.

In 90 minutes. Shouldn't be a problem.

The REAL problem is the M**^(^F&%^*$G COPIER that won't do more than 40 sheets at a time before the roller heats up and the pages stick......

And it's always THE SAME F*)^%$$@G PAGE!


Did I mention it's past midnight?

So I'm here blogging and checking mail waiting for the stupid bitch copier to cool down...

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:47 AM | Comments (4)

June 11, 2005

SOOO looking forward to moving

Well, we're officially moving.

We've contracted with a moving company. For the charming price of 60⊄ per pound, these lovely people will load their truck with my stuff, drive it to CA, and unload it for me. All I have to do is pack and unpack.

They even solved a big problem for me. They told us that they can't guarantee a delivery date until the end of July. Which is fine. See, our friends are trying to move out of their house into a condo. We're trying to move into their house. But the landlord of the condo is giving them the runaround. The actual landlord is out of the country on vacation, and the management company won't do anything about them wanting to move in until this lady gets back. Meanwhile they're getting married and going on their honeymoon.... So we wouldn't be able to move in until they get back from Hawaii in the middle of July at the earliest, even assuming all of the variables fall into place and they are approved by the condo owner and we are approved by the house owner... Anyway, if the stuff doesn't come until the end of July, that's fine by me, now.

It's times like this that make me INCREDIBLY happy I own an SUV. We can haul enough stuff across the country on our own that we don't need to have furniture for a month. And we can stay with family and friends if we have to. We were planning on spending a good chunk of July in Fresno anyway.

Today's other good news: We went to Costco to pick up the dog's prescription and found exactly what we needed for a reasonable price. They had a "deluxe moving pack" from Allied, and it contains 30 boxes (most of them 18x12x12, which is great for books), 5 rolls of bubble wrap, 4 pounds of packing paper, 36 foam sleeves, 3 dividers for glasses, 3 rolls of packing tape, 2 tape dispensers, and 2 markers (not that we needed the markers....) for $50.00. Not bad considering that in the packing stores around here the boxes sell for more that $1 apiece and they really gouge you on the other stuff, like paper and bubble wrap.

The current plan is to have the stuff shipped to Fresno, and then we can UHaul it down to Pasadena when we know where we're going to live.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:41 AM | Comments (8)

June 12, 2005

Yet another sweet blog baby!

Craig of MTpolitics and the Spousal Unit are the new parents of a daughter, Kiran Lee, born in the wee sma's this morning....

Go congratulate them and check out the pictures!

She couldn't ask for nicer parents....

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:27 PM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2005

Stressed??? Who you callin' stressed???

Mom and Dad arrive tomorrow, just in time to go to one of our favorite places for dinner (yummmmm....piggy.....)

I had to do an hour-plus power point presentation for tomorrow's class. Learning and Memory.... Need to do two more for Wednesday and Thursday and then make a test for Friday....

I'm baking a cake for Dad's birthday...

Need to bake banana bread tonight before the bananas completely die....

Need to build a 50 minute presentation for my defense

Public defense seminar on the 23rd, followed by party....

Need to make a list of people to email about the defense...

Text corrections from committee members need to be added to my dissertation and done in time to get all my paperwork in before I leave.

Moving van comes on the 29th

No (firm) job (for either of us right now), no house. Just winging it.

Mom and Dad leave on the 30th

We leave on the 1st.

Must Pack. Must Clean. Must finish graduation requirements. Must get mail forwarded.

Sleep??? Ha. I need no sleep. Bring me caffeine!!!!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:42 PM | Comments (2)

June 16, 2005

Gone too soon

MommaBear's beloved PoppaBear has passed away.

So terribly sad. There's not much else to say. Our thoughts and prayers are with her. Drop be and let her know you care.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2005

Today's the big day...

At 2:30 pm EDT say a little prayer for my mouth, that it doesn't flub up.

As you can see, the counter's down to less than a day. When I finish, I will have completed all my program's requirements, and other than some paperwork, I'll be a free-and-clear Doctor (Technically, I already am since the paperwork's in, but hey....)

I am so mental....

We're having a party afterward. I'll let you know how it went.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:51 AM | Comments (11)

July 01, 2005

OnThe Road AGAIN....

DH and I are in Harrison, OH: exactly 1 mile from what would be our 6th state of the day.... but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

For those of you keeping track, that's NC, VA, WV, KY, and now OH... and more different freeways than I can count....

The Princess has been very good so far, she even helped her Daddy get $$ today!

Next stop: La Crosse, WI, and if all goes well, dinner with my blogchild.

After that:
7/3 Rapid City, SD
7/4 Billings, MT
7/5 Spokane, WA and hoping to meet up with these folks
7/6 Medford, OR
7/7 Fresno, CA (my parent's house)
7/8 Pasadena, CA (to meet the potential landlords)
7/9 Fresno, CA.

You'll forgive me if I don't see you until the 10th or so :)

The moving went really, really well. The movers were really nice and very efficient and careful. I can't say enough how nice they were. It remains to be seen how well I like them after we get the stuff.....

One last funny before I go...
I couldn't get a photo of the sign because there was a truck in the way, but there is a State Park in KY called Big Bone Lick.... and it's in Richwood.
Draw your own conclusions.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:06 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

Rest Stop...

We're in Medford, OR, crashing and resting up for our last big road day tomorrow. We'll have lunch with a friend in Stockton, and hopefully arrive in Fresno tomorrow afternoon sometime. Then it's off to Pasadena to meet the potential future landlords and then back to Fresno for a few days.

Last night was our stop over in Spokane, where we had dinner with Margi and Mitch and The Boy. Between pasta and ice cream, we had a really great visit and laughed so much I think we chased people out of the restaurant!

And don't let her tell you she looks like a horse or a house or a whale, or anything else like that. You look great, sweetie!

Tomorrow home, and after the 8th or 9th, more pictures from the road....

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

We're Hee-eere

We're in Fresno. Safe and Sound.

Pictures tomorrow when my brain works and/or I get the wi-fi all hooked up to Mom's computer....

Now, if the folks we're supposed to meet with will just call back so we can get into our house....


Posted by caltechgirl at 11:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005


DH said the test went pretty well, and the reunion was fun. People were actually getting along....

Two comments from friends really sum up the night..."Either the assh*les were plastered or they kept it to themselves.." and "Wow, your class has less of a stick up its a$$ than my class did..."

Who else has been to a reunion and found it extremely creepy that:
1. Everyone instantly breaks up into the same groups as before
2. Said groups gravitate to the same parts of the room as before
3. You're sitting with the people you ate lunch with every day when you were 15, and you're discussing kids and houses and law school and grad school.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005

bleg interrupted...

DH HAS A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE ALSO GOT THE HOUSE. We sign the lease this afternoon.

Now as for me..... well, I have time to look and not worry so much, now.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:55 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 09, 2005

Welcome Home!

The crew of STS-114 arrived safely at Edwards AFB in Mojave aboard an intact shuttle Discovery shortly after 5 am PDT.

I was awake, of course, watching it on TV and with the NASA feed on the computer. If you were asleep or otherwise engaged, the NASA video is here.

I didn't need to be. The sonic boom was all the news I needed.... Here in Pasadena it was like a long boom of rolling thunder, which of course reminded me of summer nights in Carolina.... Almost like a welcome home to me too!

After the last two and a half years, this was the best picture of the day:

(photos courtesy of NASA)
The post-landing crew press conference can be found here

Job well done, folks. Now let's hope that we'll see Atlantis fly again in November.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

Feeling somewhat accomplished again

1. I can get my rent paid for September and October despite being jobless.

2. I FINALLY got an email back from someone I submitted an application to. YES! Of course, they just wanted my CV for their files, but at least it was a response!

3. I applied for an administrative job at my alma mater and I'm really proud of the cover letter I wrote, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this one will come through even if the others don't.

4. I have 3 applications ready to be printed up and go out in the mail. I just need to drop by and pick up my Caltech transcripts from the registrar's office.

On another note, don't you hate it when you think of something you want to blog about, something that really drives you batsh*t and then when you actually sit down in front of the computer so much else has happened that you have COMPLETELY forgotten what it was that you wanted to write about? Arrgh!

Oh yeah, and click the button on the left to donate to Project Valour-IT.

I just realized what one of the things I wanted to talk about was: that vile Sheehan woman. Her son died right next to my b-i-l. They were friends. More on that later when I can "use my words".

But there was something else less vitriolic that I wanted to write about too... Oh well. Must be old age creeping up on me....

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

It's Official

I am officially Dr. Caltechgirl. This was posted yesterday!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:24 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 27, 2005

So what's up?

It's Saturday night. For me that means football (Go Broncos!!!) and (Deb and Margi close your eyes...) crocheting. Trying out a new blanket pattern. (Ok, you can open them now) and of course soaking up the air con.

So, what are you all up to? Why are you web surfing instead of out doing something?

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005


Everyone and their aunt is blogging the hurricane, which is the closest I get to round-the-clock coverage without cable....

The best on the web?
--Live coverage from NOLA CBS affiliate WWL here (click on live coverage link)

--Irish Trojan Brendan Loy has comprehensive updates

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

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

September 08, 2005

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

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

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


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

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

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

September 19, 2005

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......

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | 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

September 26, 2005

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

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

September 27, 2005

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

September 29, 2005

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

October 02, 2005

Still here, still hacking

the damn cold seems to hang on like a bear. Urgh. So I'm just blah. I'll be back to myself tomorrow.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

How do you Moms do it?

I swear, it's insane to be in the car all day.

Here's my day (up to 3pm):
Over to my future employer to drop off my transcripts since they didn't make it over there in the mail on time.

From there, back down the freeway to Target to get a trash can for the downstairs bathroom, more Hallowe'en candy, and a card and a birthday present for Baby Xrlq.

Then to Ralph's for some groceries. How ironic is it that a VERY popular grocery store is named the same thing as puking????

Then home, to put away groceries, call UNC Hospital patient accounts (they keep sending bills even though I paid my last bill and their computer shows a $0 balance) before their office closed at 5pm EDT, and make my driver's license renewal appointment (YAY for DMV appointments!).

Next, out the door again. First to the Caltech recycling center to dump the last of Mt. Boxmore (the last HUGE pile of boxes from the unpacking), then to Whole Foods to pick up some things to replenish the stockpiles in the fridge (I can SERIOUSLY recommend the bulk chocolate chips. Yummy) and replace the things we left behind in the move. And a couple of indulgences from the deli for dinner tonight :) I am a little disappointed. This WF is much bigger than the one in Chapel Hill, but it was hard to find some of my favorite things, and some of the prepared foods that were our favorites (the lasagna etc.) were AWOL. :( Nice wine and beer section, though.

Then, I confess, I did stop at Whorebucks. It's right next to Whole Foods. Venti Pumpkin Spice Frappucino. Which I really liked. Be sure to get it with whipped cream.

Finally, home again to put away the things from Whole Foods. And if you're reading this, DH, your favorite things from WF are waiting for you. One on the counter and one in the fridge (hint, hint)

Just looking at what I wrote makes me tired..... I couldn't do this every day and tote kids around too.... Sheesh.

Ah shite. I forgot to get the makeup that I ran out of and wrapping paper. I even had a frickin' list!
Well, maybe I'll get DH to go out with me AGAIN tonight.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

On an unrelated note

Watching the KCAL 9 News at 2, and they're showing a preview of the Air Force One exhibit soon to be open at the Reagan Library.

The story should be on the 5/5:30/6 news, and may be carried elsewhere.

Is it me, or does the exhibit look WAY TOO MUCH like the AF1 hangar in the arctic base in Perfect Dark?

Sorry, I've just been exposed to too many N64 games (although PD was pretty good, loved the alien "Elvis")

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

Not so stately Wayne Manor

A beautiful, classic Pasadena landmark burned last night. The house at 160 S. San Rafael was undergoing renovations, and was a total loss.

The house was owned by the grandon of Armand Hammer and his family, and they had put over $30 Million into renovating and restoring the house to its former glory.

You might be familiar with the house as it "starred" in episodes of Murder, She Wrote, Rocky V and especially, the Batman movies. Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer each lived there as Bruce Wayne. Interestingly, Adam West's Bruce Wayne did not. He lived down the street at 380 San Rafael. That house still stands, although it was a near miss. The prompt and professional response of the Pasadena Fire department saved the fire from spreading down the entire Arroyo under Santa Ana conditions.

The whole story is here.



both images courtesy Newsreel/NBC4TV

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

Sunburn? Check.

Yesterday, DH and I got up at oh-dark thirty and drove out to the boat house to meet Bill, Ed, Elizabeth, and Kate for a trip out to Catalina.

After a few hitches and a bit of electrical tape, we went out on the water. The weather was beautiful, with a light wind and moderate swells.

Of course, this means that we were bumping up and down through the swells. Note to self: Next time don't sit up on formerly broken tailbone..... I ended up having to lay down on the deck rather than land on my butt every 2 seconds.

We went to Two Harbors and then pulled Ed around on skis. Later we anchored in a cove where I distinguished myself by jumping in the water and having a system shock freak out. Then I did my best Sea Lion impression hauling myself back up into the boat and pinching my arm on the side of the boat.

Don't ask. I was utterly useless and pathetic yesterday. I feel bad for everyone that had to put up with me.

Then I treated myself to an hour's lie out on the deck to dry. Good thing no one got a shot of me with my face covered.....

Then we cruised down south of Avalon and back before coming back to LB. The ride back was actually better, a surprise since the seas are usually rougher in the afternoon.

Halfway back, we stopped and rode around, playing with these guys:

There was a large pod of perhaps 30 of them swimming up to the boat and playing in the wake.

The rest of the trip was uneventful except for a couple of wake crossings and Ed's hat flying off..... Sorry, dude!

Anyway, despite SPF 45 I am a mess. Well, half a mess. I look like Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, half white, half red. I was cozied up to the starboard side of the boat, and it shielded half of my body from the sun....

But it was totally worth it. Glad I don't have to go to work until next week :)

Bill has more great dolphin pics here....

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005

Things happen...

I just found out this morning that someone I love is sick and it may be very bad. We'll find out soon.

If you pray, I'd appreciate a few for my family for good health and that things work out for the best for us.

If you have my number, call me. I could use a hug.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:50 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Long F'ing morning ALREADY

Holy Crap.

Up at 5 am when DH's alarm went off
Took DH to school at 7 because he left his bike there yesterday
Home briefly to change out of PJs, then over to the Pasadena DMV. The place opens at 8 am, I was there at 8:07 and I still had to wait. Only about 5 minutes though.
Dropped $25 to get my license renewed and a new picture taken, although I am partial to the pic of me at 17 with glasses, frizzy hair, and braces.
Then over to the Pasadena Municipal Services to get the dog licensed. The vet told me several weeks ago that ALL I needed was a Rabies certificate, because it states that the dog is spayed and the Vet signed it.

WRONG. The dude there told me in no uncertain terms he needed a separate Certificate of Sterility. Great.... the vet who spayed her is in Carrboro, NC. SO...... I haul back over to our new vet, and the Vet tech who helped me was thoroughly confused as to why I should need the spay cert. when no one else ever seems to ask for one. However, after we reckoned up the spay date, she printed one for me, and I was on my way.

Good Karma: I found a parking spot with 23 minutes on the meter when I got back!

I stood around in there for 18 minutes waiting for the guy to get the info in the computer and then paid $10.07 to get the dog legal.

I got home at 9:30. Rather than feeling accomplished, I've got a headache.

Did I mention that DH's school, the DMV, and the Vet are all on the other side of town, and that our house and the City Services building are on the other? I could just feel the money draining out of my wallet as I used up the gas.....

I still have to go down to Alhambra to Costco to get prescriptions refilled for the first time since we moved.....

After all that, maybe some laundry.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 14, 2005

Another Day, Another pile of forms....

Today was my last official week day as a housewife! My job starts Monday. So how did I celebrate? Of course I went and got poked and prodded! Today was my pre-employment physical. Vision, hearing, TB, pee in a cup, etc. And they had to poke me twice to get blood. But that's nothing new. I don't bleed easily.

Then down to the HR office to finish up the employment forms and take my ID pic. I'm good to go except for my benefits orientation on Monday, and getting my office and keys.

I'm so excited. I can hardly wait for that first paycheck..... I wonder if they do direct deposit....

I'm going to try to celebrate tonight by going out to get my moisturizer while it's still Clinique bonus time.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 18, 2005

Settling in

Sorry I ignored y'all yesterday. I was busy.

Arrived at work around 9 am, and met with HR for my benefits orientation. Then I went to the clinic where I had my physical to get my TB test read. Of course negative. Then back to work for a sit down with my new Supervisor and finally I was introduced to my new office. It's about 5x8 with a real window and a door. Bookshelves and a HUGE filing cabinet that I got the keys to today (yay!). It's also in the back corner of our little group, so I can see and hear all of the comings and goings (no more sneaking up on me because my back is to the room). It's also mine alone, so I can shut the door and work or listen to the radio or whatever, and no one can bitch at me. There's also a bulletin board and a white board.

Spent nearly the entire day bending the computer to my will (single click files, firefox extensions, RSS feeds) and installed my brand new printer. Yay! New printer.

I have a hella cool chair too. Better than DH's pathetic teacher chair in his classroom. Although his computer has a bigger monitor....

Holy crap. I just realized this is a wireless keyboard and mouse. I can write from across the room with my feet up on the window.

Today I brought in my big box o' toys and made the office look a little more like home. Now I need to bring in the posters (same picture, but the caption on mine reads "They've saved more lives than 911") and my coffee cups and we'll be good to go.

I need some freaking coffee. But I'm not gonna go down the street to Whorebucks.....

Ok, back to work.... I can't believe they pay me for this stuff!

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

October 20, 2005

NBA Dress Code

I have been listening to the sports radio station in the morning as I drive to work because I can't stand the bitch on in the morning on Star. I couldn't stand her 6 years ago, and guess who's still there when I come back?

But I digress. One of the topics between 8:30 and 9 was the NBA dress code, and the special guest that called in to discuss it was none other than Sir Cheese and Broccoli (Charles Barkley).

Interestingly, he immediately dismissed the whining of several NBA players, including Allen Iverson, that individuality was more important, or that as other players have alleged, the new code was racist. Charles said, "It's not about racism. Every other league has a dress code, every workplace has a dress code, why can't the NBA?"

This is true. Sure, I can wear jeans and birkenstocks to work, but they must still be neat and clean, and I need to wear something nicer if I have a meeting.

Then he went on to say something very significant, which was this, "Young blacks look up NBA players. We can't have a bunch of black millionaires going around dressed like thugs because the kids see that and they think it's ok to dress like thugs. Young black kids aren't going to be able to get jobs if they dress like thugs"
"But it is racial, too. We have a lot of problems in the black community today. If you get good grades, you get accused of acting white, if you dress nice, you get made fun of. Why is that? Why can't a young brother look nice? We need to tell these black kids that it's ok to do well and look nice. Maybe these NBA players can help us do that"

It was very refreshing to hear this point of view, which has been all but ignored in this latest brouhaha. Cheese is right. A kid in a throwback jersey and pants around his hips is less likely to get a job than a kid in a t-shirt and nicely fitting (if ratty) jeans with the same qualifications, and both are less likely to get a job than the 3rd kid who wears slacks and a tie to his interview. Even for McDonalds. I find it both telling and sad that these players would rather flaunt their wealth as a mark of their personal style than accept their responsibility as role models to the black community. Barkley went on to say that there's a time and a place for that kind of dress and behavior, and that the time comes when tthese guys need to step up and be men and take responsibility. Kids wear throwback jerseys. Men don't. He asked the host if he could imagine himself (Barkley) going to a parent-teacher conference in a throwback. This got a lot of laughs.

Barkley made another point: This is all about $$. Big money in sports comes from corporate dollars: Sponsorships, Commercials, Luxury Suites. The NBA can afford to risk alienating a few kids or slowing sales of $350 throwback jerseys because presenting their players as professionals courts earns $350,000 more corporate dollars from another sold commercial spot. And that's the $$ they want.

Maybe this is just me, looking in on this debate from the outside, but it is, in a nutshell, really an example of some of what's wrong with society in general. Individualism and wealth have become so important that people have forgotten what's appropriate. When businessmen and women dress, they hold themselves to a certain standard of what is appropriate. Not only because it is expected of them, but because it is a mark of respect to the people thet work with that they dress in such a manner. If I walked into a business meeting in ratty jeans and sandals, the people I was meeting would feel disrespected. Wouldn't you? These men are also professionals and businessmen. They should dress accordingly as a measure of respect for the people they interact with, in this case, other players, team administration, and the fans. It is appropriate.

This extends to other parts of life too. When you see someone that needs help, do you ignore, or offer? To offer to help is appropriate, even if it's something as simple as opening the door for a colleague that has his/her arms full, yet each of us can probably count on both hands the number of times we've seen some one too wrapped up in themselves to notice.

Or turning off your cell phone. I try very hard to NOT use my phone in public, and I make sure it's off in meetings, classes, and other places where it would be inappropriate to chat on the phone. If I need to speak to someone while I'm in a restaurant or store, I try to speak low and cover my mouth so others are not disturbed.

Here's the thing. Standards used to be important. Somewhere along the line, individualism became more important and standards went out the window. Now everyone is an individual and everyone is special. Maybe it's time that we realized that what makes things work is a balance between the two.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:28 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

WTF with generic drugs?

warning, serious TMI below in the extended....

Read More "WTF with generic drugs?" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 12:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 22, 2005

How NOT to get caught cheating in DH's class

DH just assigned his first research assignment, a 1-2 page essay on an element, and it was due last week. We've been grading them this weekend, and it's unbelievable how brazen some of these kids are about plagiarism.

Clearly these kids are too stupid to know how NOT to get caught. I'd like to point out a few things they can do to keep from getting caught:

1. You're 12 or 13. You don't know what the word "albeit" means. Or the word "allotropic". Or the word "criticality". Is that even a real word????

2. You're AMERICAN, so you don't spell using "oxidises", "grey", or "colourless". Not to mention "Aluminium".

3. Changing the color of the text doesn't make it any harder for me to google the OBVIOUS copied phrases in your paper, like "Plutonium has assumed the position of dominant importance among the transuranium elements because of its successful use as an explosive ingredient in nuclear weapons and the place which it holds as a key material in the development of industrial use of nuclear power."

You need a PhD to write a run-on sentence like that. Hell, I have a PhD and I can barely make sense of it.

4. When you cut and paste text that includes links, try to remove the underlines and change the text color to match the stuff you actually wrote, mm'kay?.

5. Utterly ruining the grammar of the sentence doesn't stop me from googling and catching you cheating. (ex: "He was impressed by the vivid colors of the chromium compounds, and such a joy after the endless colorlessness of sodium and potassium compounds." ain't a good way to hide the sentence "He was impressed by the vivid colors of the chromium compounds, such a joy after the endless colorlessness of sodium and potassium compounds." An eighth-grader DOES NOT use words like "endless colorlessness" anyway, duh.)

6. When cutting and pasting from two different sources, be sure you don't include the same information twice. This is a dead giveaway that you have no idea what's on your paper.

7. When cutting and pasting, try not to get the "Back to the Top" link at the bottom of the page.

8. Mr. DH is smarter than you. He knows when you are talking straight out your ass. Mrs. DH is also smarter than you, and she is VERY GOOD with Google. Keep these things in mind.

At least 4 of the little turds are going to get referred to the counselor. After I found the pages they copied from, I bookmarked them, and when we take the computer upstairs, DH is going to print them out. I wrote the URLs of the "suspected" sources on the papers marking the plagiarized text, as well.

Moral: Don't cheat, but if you do, only use sources you COMPLETLY understand and proofread, dammit!!!

I can't believe how easy it was to catch the little fuckers.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:28 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Caffeine, Sweet Caffeine!

Oh, man, I don't think I could have gone another day without coffee in my office. Yeah, I could walk the block down to Whorebucks, but I am not that weak.

Among the other items my parents brought this weekend (read: unloaded on us poor kids) was a cup at a time coffee maker that dispenses into its own travel mug. She got it as a promotional gift for a book fair or something, and as her caffeine addiction is usually sated by tea rather than coffee, she passed it along to me.


I am on cup number 3 as we speak. Ghirardelli Chocolate Hazlenut coffee with Coffee-Mate Cinnamon Vanilla. Mmmmmmmm.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

Sorry for the lack of posting

It's been one of those days.

At work I'm trying to review Physics lab software so that we can include some simulations into the lab experience next semester, reading a book on non-traditional paths to college, and trying to chase down the information for the class I'm teaching next semester.

Outside of that I finally got through to the cable company (Charter's live chat option is great!) and am set up for an install on Friday afternoon. Not bad. I just get to work from home on Friday. I'm hoping by then I can get the materials to start planning my class and do that while I wait.

Other than that, very very distracted waiting to hear what the surgeon has to say about my Dad. Start up those prayers and good wishes again. Last time it worked great, we got reasonably good news from the pathology report.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005


They say that beyond any real meaning, dreams are a way to re-evaluate the images and concepts that you have been contemplating during the day, and may actually be a by-product of the consolidation of new memories into easily-retrievable long-term memories.

I dunno about that, but the re-examination of the day's events sure as hell is true...

So last night before bed, I watched Criminal Minds on CBS, which is about a group of profilers that travel around catching psychopaths. I also did some blog reading and emailing.

Therefore it's not surprising that I dreamed I was part of a team of detectives chasing some bad guy (who I never caught), however, the other detectives included Michele, Bou (who for some reason was blonde....), Phin (a large, orange goldfish. Don't ask), and Christina. And we were riding around in an old yellow school bus. Not sure where that came from. I think Juliette and Joanie and Paul were there too.

I think AcidDude might have been the bad guy, but we never caught him before I woke up.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

To the objects of my (dis)affection

You know who you are.

First, for the little twerp in the Chartreuse metal flake Kia Rio with the tinted windows, I know how manly you are. Your sweet little ride is all I need to see to know you are indeed a stud. You even drive like one, thinking you can merge in front of me and cut me off..... See, your POS little KIA has even less to recommend it in the power department than most. Probably just like you. I know all I need to know about your sense of humor, too. You are the funniest human being on earth for cutting back in front of me and riding your brakes. I hope you were laughing too when you got stuck behind that semi.....

Second, for the busy gentleman in the silver Elantra at Costco. I don't know what is so attractive about me that you felt you needed to cut me off to get into the gas station, and then the ultimate was when you laughed at me because my Costco card is demagnetized and I had to get the Costco guy to come help me get the pump to work because you "weren't going to fall for" me asking you to slide your Costco card so that the INCREDIBLY impatient man behind you could get to the gas faster.... I want you to know I am indebted to you forever for allowing me to flip you off as you drove away in your smugness and your cheapass car.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bueller? Bueller? Anybody?

Anybody else think that those "Breasts Not Bombs" chicks would get a LOT more sympathy if they shaved their pits?????

Just sayin'....

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:10 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

Lawyers and Biology...Do Not Mix

I have a confession.

I know nothing about rocket science, chemistry or physics.

I was a Political Science, English, and History major.

However, I did take biology in the tenth grade.

In fact, my blood type is A+.

Back in the days before AIDS was an issue (so, I'm thirty-eight), one of the labs in biology was to determine blood type with litmus paper. To perform our experiments, we were issued little pointed tools to plunge into our fingers to make them bleed, as well as different colored slips of tiny paper on which to put droplets of blood to observe reactions and determine blood types.

Note, we were not offered latex gloves. The only other items provided were alcohol wipes and band-aids.

Now that I think about it, I probably contracted hepatitis...

In any event, there was this guy named Darrin in my class. He was an obnoxious sort and after everyone chose their respective lab partners, he was, not surprisingly, the odd man out.

Unfortunately for me, my partner and I were one of the first people finished with typing our blood and Darrin asked me to help him as he was having great difficulty poking himself in the finger. He kept stabbing himself, but was not doing it hard enough to actually break the skin.


I begged off because we still needed to clean our station; however, my disloyal lab partner volunteered to do it for us and I was left to assist gross guy.

I realize "gross" and "obnoxious" may well be generic terms, but they so fail to do justice to Darrin. The poor guy was one of those persecuted souls that no one liked. His appearance and aromatic body habitus aside, he was loud, a know-it-all when he knew nothing, and spit all over everyone and everything whenever he spoke. He was altogether an odious and objectionable human.

Add to the mix he had the most annoying habit of following me around.

To say the very least, Darrin was not on my top 2000 list of favorite humans. Secondly, I was easily annoyed back then and had something of a temper.

I declined to assist Darrin with his experiment, but my rejection was overheard by the Biology teacher, Coach Allgood. That was when things turned all bad, at least for poor Darrin. Coach insisted I assist and while most of the rest of the class pointed and snickered, I grabbed his hand, cleaned off one of his offensive fingers, took the cap off the needle, and plunged it forceably into his appendage.

I could not have predicted what would next transpire.

The poor boy dropped to his knees in pain then keeled over in a dead faint at the sight of his own blood.

There really wasn't that much blood, but apparently it was far too much for him.

I learned two things from this experience:

  • Darrin's blood type was O+

  • How to get a guy to completely lose all interest in me
  • All and all, I think it went very well.

    Posted by Christina at 12:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 16, 2005

    Living Right

    I must not be, living right that is.

    I'm allergic to chocolate and alcohol in that they both induce migraines.

    Sucks, right?!

    Because there is little else left but sex and caffeine and the first is not always so convenient, I tend to indulge in the latter.

    I have never acquired a taste for coffee and prefer to take my caffeine in the form of soda, particularly Diet Coke.

    Well, hell, apparently THAT's not good for me, either.

    Sometimes, it just sucks to be me!

    Posted by Christina at 08:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 20, 2005

    Reggie Bush got me out of my underwear last night

    Only too true.

    Back at home as of noon yesterday. My husband's best buddy in college gifted us with AWESOME tickets to last night's USC/Fresno State game.

    Which was both the most awesome and most insane game I have ever been too.

    Anyway, somewhere in the middle of the game, Reggie Bush took off on a 65 yard TD run and I was jumping up and down so hard that this amply endowed girl came right out of a certain support garment.....

    I must have been a sight. Pigtails and other things flapping, jumping up and down, screaming "Run Reggie Run" over and over again.

    We also got to meet Reggie's little bro (before the game) and Mike Garrett, Heisman trophy winner and USC athletic director (after the game)

    The officiating was terrible, the stats were insane, and I'm gonna love going back to Fresno on Wednesday :)

    Also, quickly before I go, Dad is doing ok. He's getting up and walking a little, sitting in the chair, pissing off the nurses because he wants to get up more than they want him to. His blood sugars are high, but they tell us his pancreas is still recuperating from being cut into, so hopefully that will ease off and he won't need insulin.

    That would piss me off. His pancreas was perfectly healthy, no blood sugar issues, no cancer, and they removed part of it "Just to be safe". Yeah. Don't fuck with my pancreas, thanks. Take everything else.

    Anyway, so much more to say, but I have to pick up the threads of my life and get back to normal. More tomorrow.

    Thanks to the fabuloso guest bloggers who kept everyone entertained and made me laugh this week :)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:45 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 23, 2005

    So much to be thankful for

    As I suspect is the case for most of us, I'll be offline until Monday, although I will still be checking email....

    I just wanted to take a moment, before I get too carried away with work, to share some of the things I'm thankful for this year, in no particular order:

    for health, even though it's not always the best
    for Love, which sustains me every day
    for my wonderful husband who makes me laugh every day
    for my family, who have always been there for me and for each other
    for my wonderful job that makes me happy and pays me better than I imagined
    for DH's job, with normal students that don't try to hurt him
    for my house, which we despaired of finding, and then of keeping, but which is wonderful
    for my puppy, who is 6 years old and worth her weight in Molybdenum, but is still my Princess
    for all our servicepeople, who sacrifice so much and so willingly that the rest of us don't have to...
    for our police and firemen and paramedics who do the same at home
    for our nation, that we can enjoy the freedoms we have
    for good doctors and kind nurses
    for funny emails that made me laugh when I was so stressed
    for the friends and family that gathered around my mother on the day of Dad's surgery
    for all of the generous folks who pitched in to make our Valour-IT fundraiser so spectacular. We raised over $75,000 together. That's a lot of laptops.

    for wonderful friends, online, offline, and both. Y'all bring so much to my life

    What are you thankful for this year?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    November 29, 2005

    Just when you think....

    That you've passed another stage in your life, it comes right back up to bite you in the ass.

    As many of you know, last week was my 29th birthday, last month I started my first "real job", and for the last two years, everyone around me has been getting married (or divorced) and having babies. Lots of babies. There were 8 in my office alone last year. This makes it really easy to think,"Ok, this is the stage where people are having kids. Wow I feel old."

    Makes sense right??? Wrong.

    This week, it's been back to High School. Nothing wrong with it, of course, it's just amusing that suddenly out of the blue two of my friends are working on new relationships. And it's like HS all over again. Giddiness, giggling fits, gross make out details.

    I actually said EWWWWWWWWW more than once yesterday. And giggled.

    And the thing is, I love these people, and I couldn't be happier for them, and I love listening to their giggles and insecurities and hopefulness, but at the same time, it is kind of jarring. But in a good way.

    /stream of consciousness

    PS if this is about you (you know who you are) and anything I said bothers you, talk to me. I'm merely venting my overwhelming sense of irony. I laughed more last night talking to you then I have in a long time!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2005

    one down....

    Grant application out the door.

    Of course, I got a much larger one to review and work on last night, so here we go again :)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 02, 2005

    I had intended to write something intelligent but I just can't seem to

    My brain is elsewhere today. Really elsewhere. Probably the result of rainy skies (which I love), too much cold medicine, and RIVALRY WEEK!

    Tomorrow is the big game, and today I'm wearing my National Championship shirt and my USC hairbows. Like a 5 year old. Should I put up a picture?

    Fight On Trojans! UCLA SUCKS! (turn it up, these are audio links)

    I did want to talk about PJM for a second. I am so f*cking tired of this guy and that guy and the other guy taking offense or calling someone else jealous or whatever. It's all a crock. However good an idea it is/was/whatever, you people are losing readership directly because of your association with PJM. You know why? BECAUSE I CAN'T GET YOUR DAMN PAGE TO LOAD BECAUSE OF THE PJM ADS. And frankly, Your Puppy-Blenderness, I am not going to wait 2 minutes for your page to load on our T3 here at work just to see what you said "Heh" about this time.

    Also, re: the President's speech at Annapolis this week. Quit yer bitching about not seeing this plan 3 years ago. Isn't it enough that the President actually has a rational and reasonable plan? You know who you are (and you're not liberals either), so I don't have to link you.

    To Patterico: Sorry my friend, as they say in the business, you wuz Scooped. Too bad. But him or you, it still makes your point, I guess.

    On a happier note, Chuck Z is back home, recovering from his latest heavyweight match with the surgeon.

    I need coffee. I particular, the coffee from this place. They have their own blend, which you can buy in the restaurant but sadly enough, not via their webpage. Arrgh.....

    Moving along. Geez. I really feel like GIR today..... Taquitos!

    Speaking of which, the CotR for last week is up at Like News but Tasty.

    Speaking of news, Dad should be home Monday. Yay!

    Rob is still sober. YAY! And blogging good. Check him out.

    One last, a little Cuban-flavored humor for you, courtesy of the crack staff of Babalu.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2005

    Cwithmath cahdth

    96% done (I need 2 more addresses from my Mother) and my tongue is tired and immune to the taste of the envelope glue. Yecch. Ptui.

    Good thing DH is making dinner :)

    If I have your snail mail address already, you're getting a card, otherwise I'm sending the same thing via email :)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 05, 2005

    Me, trendy???

    According to this BBC article, Knitting is the new Yoga.

    Stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts, Uma Thurman and Madonna have been recently revealed as knitters.

    John Lewis haberdashery buyer Lucy Wright said chunky knitwear was featuring on catwalks and knitting was "being referred to as the new yoga".

    Heh. Although I've moved on to crocheting, now that I figured out how to hold the hook. Crocheting is easier on rheumatic hands since you're never holdign up the entire weight of the piece, as you often do while knitting.

    And I'm up to my ears in big pieces (hint, hint)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:54 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    So glad I don't have a brother!

    According to this BBC article, parents spend more money on their sons at Christmas than on their daughters.

    Some 3,500 parents with children under 16 were surveyed by the retailer in the first week of November.

    The poll found parents spend an average of £223 on presents for boys, compared with just £127 for girls.

    The top five boys' toys for Christmas add up to £428.95, but just £162.45 for girls.

    The Beeb thinks that this is because dollies and board games and books cost less than video games and electronics. I dunno, I think there are just as many girls who want an iPod or an XBox360 as those who want a Pink Glow-Doodle Bear.

    In my experience, my parents and my friends' parents generally had a budget for each kid, and if Kid #1 got a big ticket item (like a Nintendo or a bike), the other presents were smaller or there were fewer of them than the other kids got. So they spent roughly the same amount on each kid.

    In one foul and evil case, budgets being what they were, a friend got a Nintendo for Christmas, including 2 controllers and the obligatory Super Mario, but the siblings got all of the rest of the games, so the SuperNES lived in the living room and he had to ASK one of the others if he wanted to play a different game :)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 06, 2005

    Having a good day!

    Working from home today so I could run a few errands and do some cleaning in and around grant reading and prepping for my class next semester.

    I just wanted to point out that I love Target. No really. Beyond all bounds. I found just about everything I was looking to get for DH for Christmas, and the printer we picked up for $17 on Black Friday just paid for itself by printing the address labels for the Christmas Cards!

    Not to mention that that was the EASIEST printer install of all time. Yay!

    Now to label the envelopes and then off to the PO!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    More Goodies!

    I scored us tickets to Barenaked Ladies!!! We kept missing them in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. I found out they were coming entirely by accident, and I snapped up a couple of tickets. Yeah, they're in the back, but who cares.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 07, 2005

    One of those days....

    I get to work at 9:30. Strangely enough, there was a kick-ass parking spot open. Yay! So then I walk into the office, only to be greeted by "Yeah, uh, we don't have internet". So I sat and did what I could, then went and told our business manager that I was leaving. And left.

    Got on the 110 N coming home, and (for a change) it was not bad. In fact it was wide open except for the I-10 interchange. I fly through downtown, and coming through the last tunnel in the RIGHT lane I see it all stopped ahead of me. DEAD stop. Shit. Can't get over for the exit. STUCK.


    At least the right lane appears to be moving reasonably well compared to the other 2 lanes......

    Then I hear "honk!!!! honk!!!!" behind me. Here comes the fire truck. SO I had to squeeze over for him to get through. Nice thing, though, I got back behind the fire truck, which cut off a lot of traffic.

    Eventually we see what happened, a white Acura trying to take that first curve too fast (probably >80) flipped in the left lane and landed upside down in the right. These people should know, if the sign says 40, 80 ain't gonna do it.

    Just before the exit. Grrrr.....

    Anyway, the FD and ambulance were leaving as I got there, and the rest of the ride was uneventful.

    Until....I get over to the right lane to turn right at the end of the freeway, and there's orange cones everywhere. Right and middle lanes, so I had to fight my way back left just to go right.

    At least I made it home. Better than I can say for the dude in the Acura......

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 09, 2005

    Yay for the Internets!

    After several days of working at home (who wants to make a stressful 40-55 minute commute only to discover that their office is bereft of the internet), I braved the traffic to tie up loose ends at the office and discovered that my internet connection is back on line, meaning I can download grant stuff and send email and get images for my lectures. Yay!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Oh, and one more thing

    If I sent you a Christmas Card, and you got it, let me know, so I won't worry that I sent it to the wrong place or that a pack of rabid wolves ripped the mailbag off the poor carrier's back and took it back to their den for sh*ts and giggles. Or whatever rabid wolves do instead....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:32 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    December 12, 2005

    More Sad News

    I swear I'm never putting the computer down again.

    First, we learned this weekend of the passing of Steven Malcolm Anderson, a longtime denizen of Dean's World and minion of QOAE Rosemary, and quite an amazing character in his own right. I will miss his quirky individualism and his tradmark signoff: "HAIL TO THE QUEEN OF ALL EVIL!!!"

    Also, this weekend, Bill Frey, father of BFLer Patterico passed away at his home. Patrick wrote a touching tribute to his dad that you can read here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 14, 2005

    We actually went out! To a concert!

    I just saw the Terrence and Philip MovieBarenaked Ladies! Who wants to touch me? I said who wants to f*ckin' touch me???? < /cartman>

    The show was a blast, mostly because it was at the Santa Monica Civic, which seats about 2,000 people, so it had almost a small room feel and there was no issue with parking or lines.....

    Last night's opening act was the LeeVees, and they were fantastic. A Jewish band that writes and sings Hanukkah songs! Consider this a recommendation to any of you who are Jewish or want an album full of songs about Latkes and Hanukkah. They were funny as well as reasonably good musicians and songwriters.

    BNL came on around 8:30 and played a 90 minute set. The first part included a kids choir from Orange, CA, and most of their parents were in the audience. The kids have been traveling with them for about a month and I think this was their last show, so there was much hamming and showing off from the kids.

    Lots of BNL favorites and most of their holiday album, too. As usual, they were INSANE. From Ed and Steven being goofy to Tyler's "get off your lazy drummer ass" version of Feliz Navidad, it was a really fun show.

    In a few days, I'll be downloading the concert from here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 19, 2005

    So much to blog, so little time

    I have el zilcho for motivation today. Not for work or blogging or anything.

    But I suppose getting woken up at the ass crack of dawn because DH couldn't find his school keys AGAIN doesn't help either.....

    So here are some random thoughts while I wait for cuppa coffee #2

    Bubbles in the water cooler are nice.

    The mall is empty on Sunday morning. You can even park.

    There's nothing I would like better than to get the hell out of here and go home and curl up with the princess under my favorite blanket next to the Christmas tree.

    Eggnog Chai Latte is about the worst possible culinary idea of all time. Yecch. Of course it is served by Whorebucks.

    Speaking of, my cup at a time takes less than 5 minutes to brew.

    Saw about 3 minutes of the Prez on the CNN rerun last night. The man has balls. Stupid like a fox, I tell you.

    There's nothing quite so good as The Full Monty on one channel and Sherlock Holmes mysteries on the next. With staggered commercials!

    Damn the Redskins kicked the Cowboys' asses! Yay! (Hope my boyz in Charlotte are watching the tape..... they play the Cowboys next week)

    Holy Crap! Christmas is in 6 days!!!!

    It's amusing to sit down on Sunday afternoon and chat with a friend over IM and then realize that it's Monday where she is. Hence why she is working at home (hi Amanda!)

    I seem to be a magnet for friends named Amanda. Or maybe it's just my age. My best friend growing up is Amanda, my best friend in grad school is Amanda, and two of my best blog buddies are also Amanda. Bizarre, I say. Bizarre.

    The sad thing is, I want to go home to get things done, but I know I wouldn't. So I sit here and try to think about work.....

    More later, and perhaps even coherently :)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:03 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 20, 2005

    More Christmas Meme-age

    1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate.  Definitely.

    2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? If Santa is me, then yes.  When I was a kid (and even some years since I've been "growed up") Santa even used to leave me a map to a special present.

    3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Multi-colored on the tree, same outside.  This year we have loops on the patio fence and lights wrapped around the balcony railing upstairs.  White lights are boring.

    4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but my Mom has a kissing ball hanging year round in her dining room.

    5. When do you put your decorations up? ASAP after thanksgiving.

    6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My stuffing or cranberry sauce.  Hard to decide.

    7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Santa Maps (see above).

    8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth?  You mean that he is the embodiment of the spirit of giving?  A long time ago.

    9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes.  My family generally gets together (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc.) and we open those presents on Christmas Eve

    10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? It varies.  Anything from homemade fudge to popcorn to Oreos.  Whatever Santa wants ;)

    11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it!!!!  Especially how quiet it is outside when it is snowing.

    12. Can you ice skate? Oh hell no.

    13. Do you remember your favorite gift as a child? Barbie.  Preferably with a fancy dress.

    14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being together with the family, seeing everyone enjoy their gifts.

    15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Cheesecake, fudge, and cookies.

    16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve with the family, opening one gift at a time on Christmas Day.  Yes, we even take turns.

    17. What tops your tree? A big Winnie the Pooh Angel

    18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Both

    19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? I have several: We Three Kings, Oh Holy Night, O Come Emmanuel, and Adeste Fideles

    20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? YUMMY!  but Peppermint only, please.

    What about you?
    Found here and here

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 22, 2005

    Not sure why this is affecting me....

    But I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of James Dungy, 18-year-old son and second child of Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren.

    It's always sad to hear of the death of a young person, especially this close to the holidays, but this really got to me, probably because I know the Dungys are a very close family and it must have been hard for them to let their son move back to Tampa, only to lose him so soon.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Dungys and their friends and family as they cope with this devastating loss and search for answers.  I pray that their strong and deeply felt faith will guide them through this difficult time.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Not for the kiddies

    An oldie but a goodie, Foamy the Squirrel and the War on Christmas.  NSFW unless you have headphones....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Good News for Gwen and Gavin!

    Say what you want about her fashion sense and her latest album, but Gwen Stefani is one of my favorite singers, and until this album, one of my favorite female songwriters.  She's smart and funny and kind of a geek.

    And she's pregnant.  Gwen told the audience last night at her concert in Ft. Lauderdale that the baby is due in June and she's taking an indefinite break from the biz.

    I know she's wanted this for a long time, and I'm really happy for her and her husband.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 26, 2005

    Odds and Ends

    Well, as usual I come back to the computer to find that momentous events have taken place in my absence. It is with deep sorrow that I report Jack's father, William Martin Grant, lost his battle with cancer this morning. Understandibly, Jack has comments off, but if you know Jack, drop him a note and let him know how much we're all thinking of him and his mom right now.

    On a happier note, junior Diva London Avery was born last Tuesday morning to Phoenix of Villains Vanquished and her Prince Charming.

    Also, the fair Jen and her Beau are preparing for their wedding on Saturday. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, especially the Bridezilla

    Christmas was good for us. Lots of presents, most notably one of these for DH and one of these for yours truly.

    So, was Santa (or the Hanukkah Fairy, for that matter) good to you this year? What did you get (good or bad)?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    December 28, 2005

    I love rainy days with nothing to do

    DH and I are just lazing in bed. Mostly staying out of the way of the laundry fairy (my mother) and enjoying the rainy gray weather (yay!!!).

    Although it's supposed to rain on my parade on Monday..... Oh well.

    Went to see Narnia last night courtesy of some movie passes Santa was supposed to leave in my stocking. It was excellent. However, I would think twice about taking younger kids to see it. Much more explicitly violent than I imagined it would be. Hell it's a Disney film. More thoughts on the film in the extended...

    On today's agenda: Dressed-Up Family pics with the inlaws. Oh joy Oh bliss. Pray for me around 6:30 PM PST, ok?

    Read More "I love rainy days with nothing to do" »
    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 30, 2005

    We're baaaack

    Just finished some freezer pizza as we unwind and sort through the piles of loot we hauled up from the car.
    Sheesh.  Does the stuff multiply on the way here from Fresno?

    Must clean before house guests arrive on Sunday afternoon....

    What are you up to this fine evening?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    January 01, 2006

    Thinking Pink...

    As you requested, Kelley, sweets.

    So excited for you and Pete and Spidey and numbah one son!

    Happy New Year indeed!

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

    January 02, 2006

    Rose Parade!

    It was wet and miserable on the parade route this morning, and I was wearing rain gear...

    Still downloading the couple hundred photos we took.  Gallery available tomorrow!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 03, 2006

    On a related note....

    Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary to my Blogparents, Jay and Deb of Accidental Verbosity!!
    Jay says,

    "Two years have seemed like no time and a lifetime.  It's easy to imagine looking back from thirty years out and saying "has it really been that long? And was what came before really as long or longer?""
    I'm saying the same thing about 6 and a half years.  After spending the last two nights in the company of our newlywed friends (married in June, July, and July, respectively), last night DH and I discussed the fact that even disregarding much of the time he was away in the army, we've now been married longer than we were dating and engaged.  It has seemed, in Jay's words, both a lifetime and no time.

    Somehow I think that's exactly why it's right, and exactly how it works.

    Congratulations you two crazy kids, on finding your soulmate and being smart enough to snap them up, no matter how insane and improbable the circumstances were!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 04, 2006

    So I was trying to write this Meme....

    ...that Margi tagged me with, and I was watching the PC about the miner who went to the hospital, when a woman ran up to Anderson Cooper screaming that all the other miners were dead.  Seems that just when they told us all was well, the worst possible thing happened.  And I'm sobbing.  Just sobbing.

    How in God's name did they fuck this up so badly?  We were wondering why we didn't see the miners come out, why the ambulances weren't running, why the hospital only received one patient.

    Now we know.  What kind of cruel bastard would let this happen to these poor people who have suffered so much over the last two days?  How could they have been taken from the depths of despair to utter joy, back to horrified pain again?

    The president of the mine company is on TV right now, eating a big shit sandwich.  Trying to cover his ass, but frankly the man is going to burn for it.  He says his company never said everyone was alive.  But in reality, they never said that they weren't either.  His company could have avoided this SNAFU by saying that they COULD NOT CONFIRM that there were any survivors.

    Now he's spinning like a top.  Your ass is SO toast buddy.  Your company is going down in a blaze of courtroom glory.

    Anyway, maybe tomorrow I'll answer that meme and Fight On! for USC, but tonight, I just don't have the heart.

    Let your dear ones know you love them everyday.  You never know which day is the one when they won't come back to you.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    This stays at the top all day.... Scroll down for new content

    Fight on Trojans!

    Beat the Longhorns!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 05, 2006

    PostGame Show

    Well, more like PostGame blogmeet.

    This lovely lady and her husband and some friends were parked outside of our house during the game, and they were nice enough to drop in and say hello after the game.  Then we all went out and had some food since they had been at the stadium all day.

    Despite differences in allegiance, a good time was had by all and I was pleased to see so many SC fans congratulate the UT fans on their win.  In fact, the folks at the next table were the family and friends of the UT placekicker.  Not a great night for him, but his mom was so happy.

    They had an early flight, so I hope they're well on their way back home.

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

    January 10, 2006

    Odds and Ends

    Not much going on with me today.  Half listening to the Alito confirmation hearing, and he's dancing around the senators quite nicely.  Go Sam!

    So here's what's up with the rest of the bloggy-web:

    AWTM is without blog access as her computers have died.  Not to worry, she's got plenty of help (Mwahahahahahahahhha!  Look out, Mom!)....

    SGT Hook has a story you won't see in the MSM: Iraqi troops on patrol caused some terrorist scumbag kidnappers to flee, and the French hostage they were holding ran to safety at a checkpoint manned by US soldiers.

    Trajectory over at TBX reports on some interesting new methods in contraception for deer...

    Tammi pays off her bet at last weekend's FritzFest. Check out the dude in the kilt!

    Dash has an excellent way to avoid those long Post Office lines this week.

    Too bad Anita hasn't seen it.....

    Dave has some thoughts on the new Ecosystem system

    Lair has an idea for solving Houston's crime problem

    Tolkien Geek is almost done.  Follow along with ROTK Bk 5, Ch9

    Got a problem with Wet Foot/Dry Foot?  email Homeland Security and tell them why it's a pile of crap.  Babalu already has.

    Jay needs your help deciding on a gadget for mobile email etc.

    Ith is home from vacation, and Jen and Beau have returned from their honeymoon.  Nice pictures!

    Gordon has the story of an early entrant in this year's Darwin Awards.

    That's enough for now, don'tcha think? Go on. Read.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 11, 2006

    Two Words

    Mi. Graine.

    Excuse me if I seem not so chatty today....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Good News and Bad....

    First the good news:
    My migraine is much better. My usual remedy: a long VERY HOT shower, Tylenol Flu (which they evidently no longer make due to Psudoephedrine issues.... but Walgreens does. Yay!), and a nap. Somedays it just takes a while. I don't have BAD headaches very often, but when I do.... well, that's probably better left unsaid....

    Looks like Baby Xrlq is about to have a brother or sister. Of the human kind, this time, rather than the canine and feline ones he has now.

    CPT Z seems to have come through the latest round of surgery with flying colors and is resting up at Walter Reed for hopefully the last time for a while.

    Kevin K likewise is doing well after his surgery and is back home.

    And now the bad:

    Helen had a rotten day, and she could sure use a hug and some words of encouragement, especially from anyone who's been on the IVF Merry-Go-Round (which is, of course, far from Merry by all accounts)

    Vicky is still not making much progress. While she has a diagnosis, the doctors are still pretty concerned with everything that's going on and are talking about sending her to a bigger hospital with more resources. Drop by Matt's blog or Vicky's to see how to send her a note directly or leave a tuppence in the tip jar, as there's about to be a big hotel bill to go along with the hospital ones. I wish Dr. House was real so I could send him down to take care of Matt and Vicky.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 12, 2006

    Better than I thought (Updated!)

    Wow, the trip we took this summer really filled in my map.....If we had taken I-94 instead of I-90, we would have driven through ND too....

    Interestingly, I've been within 5 miles of two of the states I have not visited (MS and NH), and really, the only time I was in AL was in the Birmingham airport on the way home from New Orleans once.

    create your own personalized map of the USA

    Sweeet. Planning on going to MI for a conference in May, and I guess I'll have to do a tour of the Northeast sometime soon....
    h/t Gay Patriot

    In case you're interested how most of the map gets filled out, various major trips are included below the fold...

    Read More "Better than I thought (Updated!)" »
    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    So wrong I had to post it

    Not surprisingly, lifted from a couple of llamas.....

    Knight Rider Hasselhoff

    You are Knight Rider Hasselhoff. You kick ass, you're dead sexy, AND you are the proud owner (or perhaps life partner) of a talking black Trans-Am. What else could one ask for?

    Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

    Well, duh. KITT is my friend!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Storm Warning officially canceled for Los Angeles Area

    "`Thunder' and `Lightning' are gone from USC."

    So said Reggie Bush this afternoon, referring to himself and rushing partner LenDale White during the press conference to announce his departure from USC for the NFL.

    Good Luck, Reg.  You're a good guy and I wish you the best.  LenDale, Matt, and the rest, too.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 13, 2006

    Boundaries: Online and Off

    An open series of questions to any of you with blogs, we'll call this the last audience participation special of National De-Lurking Week:

    Do you blog under your real name?
    Do your family/ off-line friends know about the blog?
    Is that a reason you don't use your real name?
    If you blog anonymously, have your off-line friends who know about the blog ever outed you to someone you'd prefer to keep away from your blog?
    Doesn't it piss you off when people cross your personal blog boundaries?
    How do you go about handling something like that (which is really an invasion of your privacy)?

    I ask this because dear Helen just experienced a major betrayal of her boundaries at an incredibly bad time, and I had a similar, though not nearly so devastating experience recently, and I know others who have (or are about to) run screaming from their old blogs because of trolls they knew in real life (you know who you are).

    Your thoughts?  Any advice for Helen?  I really am interested to hear what you have to say. Email me if you don't feel all that comfortable leaving a comment....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:41 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    That's why I love these guys....

    If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know there's no love lost between me and the VA Tech (c)Hokeys.  They are a dirty football team, and their fans are the single rudest group of people I have ever encountered, and I've been to any number of games in multiple sports.  The Trojans on the other hand, well, they couldn't be more classy and sportsmanlike.  Especially off the field.

    Looks like I'm not alone in my opinion.

    h/t Kipper

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


    Oh Yeah!

    You Are a Boston Creme Donut

    You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.

    But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.

    You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.

    You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

    What Donut Are You?

    from another Boston Creme, near Boston, appropriately enough......

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    One more, because it was right....

    You Are Likely an Only Child
    At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
    At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
    When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

    In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
    Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
    You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.
    The Birth Order Predictor
    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    One last quiz

    Sadly enough, this is 100% on the money.  100%.  No idea I was so frigging predictable.

    You Have a Choleric Temperament

    You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things.
    Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life.
    You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation.

    You posses a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon.
    Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy can break down any wall.
    You're an instantly passionate person - and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others.

    At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults.
    Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion.
    A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior.

    What Temperment Are You?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 15, 2006

    Terrible News

    Fellow MuNuvian and BFL'er Mad Mikey has suffered a stroke and continues bleeding into his brain.  Please send up all the good thoughts and prayers you can spare for him and his family.  Mikey's had a lot of health challenges (he is also on dialysis), and lately just seemed to be getting one hit after another.  More updates as they come in.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 17, 2006

    The everything post

    Just catching up with my life:

    First and foremost, Mikey updates are here and here. If you can help with flight vouchers or airline tickets to get Amy's mom out to San Diego leave a comment here. Also, thanks to mega-bloggers Michelle Malkin and LaShawn Barber for getting the word out about Mike and how you can help.

    Also, on the bad news front, fellow BFLer Kevin McGehee's father passed away yesterday.

    Now, under the heading of "life goes on"...

    At work for a marathon day. Had a HS site visit this morning, and I am teaching tonight, so all in all a minimum 12 hour day (I work 6 hrs usually)...

    My software came in! Yay! May I recommend Academic Superstore as a great resource to any of you in the educational sphere. Teachers, students, and faculty all qualify for DEEP educational discounts on software and techy toys. For example, I just got Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional (retails for $499.99) for $149.99, and there was a free shipping promotion. There are some caveats about ID and establishing your eligibility, but the process was realtively painless and certainly worth the price.

    Football was so AWESOME this weekend. Go Broncos! Go Panthers! (although I'm cool if the Steelers win too. I love the Bus.)

    24. Holy Cow! Hooked again. I watched Seasons 1 and 2 religiously and then kind of fell out of it, but the 4 hours so far have been really, really good. Although it is distracting to see Sean Astin from the waist up and keep wondering if he's wearing the hobbit feet or not.....

    More later, and Mikey updates if they come in.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 19, 2006

    Am I really this predictable? Sheesh!

    Notice I scored 100% on Biology and Psychology.... Pretty much Neurobiology, I'd say...

    You scored as Biology. You should be a Biology major! You are passionate about the sciences, and you enjoy studying cell growth and evolutionary concepts which enable living organisms to survive. Pursue that!





























    What is your Perfect Major?
    created with QuizFarm.com

    This quiz even had a tie breaker! Cool!
    h/t wanna-be English Major Jay

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    January 22, 2006

    An up and down weekend.

    Saturday was lovely and restful, and we got some inportant shopping and laundry done  to boot.

    Today, however, well, let's say I'd like to start over.  Today started with the chance that both of my teams would meet in the Big Game, and sure as hell, looks it will be neither of them.

    Dammit.  Drowning my football sorrows in the rest of my Hart to Hart DVDs.

    Also, Mikey had an up and down weekend, contracting an MRSA staph infection.  He appears to be beating it, but it was touch and go for a while, and he's not out of the woods yet.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

    Baby Barrett Elijah Paladin also had a rough weekend, as the doctors discovered he's got two small holes in his heart, and they're assessing what will need to be done.  Keep all of the family in your thoughts and prayers as well.

    Oh well, back to laundry and avoiding football.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 24, 2006

    Real life intervenes

    Grant due 1/27/06, on which I am the Co-PI.

    and my boss is LOCA. But I love her.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 25, 2006

    Dear Grim Reaper

    Dear Grim Reaper,

    I know it must seem presumptuous, that I, a mere mortal, dare to question you and your doings, but in this case I have to ask, how could you take the wrong Penn brother? I'm certain that list for yesterday said "Sean" and not "Chris".

    Please rectify this error immediately! Thanks.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 27, 2006

    I'd just like to point out

    That the fine folks at Target.com rule.  The shipping estimate for my end tables was next Monday, and they arrived today.

    When we bought the coffee table we had no need for the end tables, so now we have a beat up coffee table and two matching brand new end tables.... Oh well.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    And, for the record

    I could really give two shits about this whole Google in China brouhaha.

    You can have my Gmail account when you pry the keyboard from my cold dead fingers.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:44 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    January 30, 2006

    Very Little from me today

    I'm feeling rotten.

    All this weekend I was dealing with an RA flare, and as soon as I get better (last night) I must have eaten something that was bad. After spending most of the late evening dealing with various stomach-related issues, I decided it was best to nurse my poor, painful tummy and stay home and finish correcting HW and write an exam for the class I'm teaching.

    However, if you insist on something interesting to read, try these non-political gems:

    Bou wraps up the school carnival

    Ith's resident office mouse is a smartie

    Margi writes Peanut's birth story

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    January 31, 2006

    Going Postal, again

    From the Ass.Press, via Yahoo!:

    "A former postal worker who had been put on medical leave for psychological problems shot five people to death at a huge mail-processing center and then killed herself in what was believed to be the nation's deadliest workplace shooting ever carried out by a woman.

    The attack Monday night was also the biggest bloodbath at a U.S. postal installation since a massacre 20 years ago helped give rise to the term "going postal.""
    Holy Crap!  Goleta is the hometown of UCSB, and this facility is just a couple of blocks off campus.  Good thing she offed herself rather than going on a worse rampage.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 01, 2006

    For the record, I was in Ruddock House

    Page House is known for two things:
    1.  Being very Frat like and jock filled
    2.  Having a Beer Room instead of a Library.

    Also, it's a Fine House (rotation rules and the honor code require I point this out, even as an alum).

    For those of you not in the know, Caltech requires each Freshman to live on campus during their first year, and they must stay in one of 7 on campus houses (Hovses).  Rather than assigning students randomly, Caltech uses a "rotation" process similar to frat/sorority rush week on other campuses.  Each hovse has its own character and traditions, and the Freshman choose/are chosen into the Hovse they fit with best (usually).

    After students choose/are chosen by their hovses, each hovse has its own initiation ritual. Page House's ritual involves elaborate costumes and a hike back to campus from the top of Mount Wilson.

    This year, it didn't work out too well.... but regardless of the headline, nothing that goes on at Caltech is anything like hazing.  First, saying no is ALWAYS an option.  Second, it's always in fun.  It's  not about making the frosh hurt.

    Also, the school in the video, DEFINITELY NOT Caltech.  Get it right, morons.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 05, 2006

    The rose candle journey....

    Ok, I'll admit it.  I am a candle junkie.

    Not like some people, but I have a few laying around.  In fact, I left more candles in NC than I brought with me.  However, that's beside the point.

    A little background:  My wonderful husband, although agreeable in most other respects, is allergic to many scents, and thus anything scented has to be approved by The Man before I can bring it into the house, unless I want to deal with hives and benedryl.  In terms of my candle habit this has limited the scents I can purchase on my own to Pumpkin Spice, Spiced Apple, or Peppermint.  Which are nice but somehow boring....

    Many moons ago I purchased a lovely rose scented candle.  Not too heavy, not too fruity, a wonderfully pleasant rose smell.  The problem?  It was a special Valentine's Day candle, and it disappeared after VDay.

    Ever since then, I have been on a quest to replace the Perfect Rose Candle.  Believe me, I have tried every brand, every store, and always, something was not right.  Usually you'd open the top and it would smell like a whore's bathroom (I hate the smell of smoke, so I always get jar candles)...

    So fast forward 8 or so years later, every store, every brand tried and finally, FINALLY I go into Wal-Mart just to wander around, and so as I passed the candle display, I made my usual stop and sniff, and I found it.  Right there on the shelf.  I popped the lid, and thought, "Wow, this is pretty close", and I passed it on to the man for approval, and it didn't make him ill, so I brought it home, and tonight, I fired it up.

    And damn, if it isn't the Perfect Rose Candle reborn.  Must go stock up on them now, while they're still in the store.  Damn.  That means I have to go back to Wal Mart.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    February 06, 2006

    Sometimes the IRS is cool

    "If you are an employee, you must work full time in the general area of your new workplace for at least 39 weeks during the 12 months right after you move. If you are self-employed, you must work full time in the general area of your new workplace for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months and a total of at least 78 weeks during the 24 months right after you move.

    If you expect to meet the time test, you can deduct your moving expenses in the year you move."
    Yeah, I can do that.  No problem.  $5k deduction here I come!
    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2006

    Taking Bets

    El Plomero (the plumber) is supposed to arrive between 10 and 12.  I have a meeting at 12:30.  I KNOW (for a fact) that I won't make it to the meeting, and I've already dealt with that.

    So, when do you think the plumber will arrive?  It is 10:07 now.

    BTW if the problem turns out to be as nasty as we suspect, I'll post pictures of him ripping out the wall of my closet!

    Update: 11:15, still no dude....

    Update II:
    Dude never showed. Landlady called at 12:05. wondering why I hadn't called her yet. Long story short, dude is supposedly coming Thursday AM. I'll let you know.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    February 15, 2006

    Wanna know what my Hubby did for me for Valentine's Day?

    His pathetic loser ass got his iPod stolen.

    Which, if you know him, is par for the course.

    So lovely and romantic, don't you think?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


    Winamp loves me today.  The randomizer matches my foul mood.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 16, 2006

    To the morons who hacked Flap's Blog


    Just so you know.

    Glad you're back, Flap.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Plumbing update (Updated!)

    El Plomero has returned and is currently ensconced in the POS master bath (which is the most ridiculously designed, inconvenient space in this house... e.g. you can't shut the door if you are already seated upon the throne), and is banging away merrily at the old-ass fixtures.

    Seems the problem was that the fixtures themselves are old and leaky and that's what's been causing the problem, drip by drip, for years.

    Now perhaps I will be able to enjoy a tub bath without accompanying rain shower during the fill period, as until today (and the new fixtures) I could never switch the diverter completely to tub.


    Update: Done! Ceiling downstairs to be fixed next week sometime....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Tartan Day is Coming!

    Get ready for it.

    If it's not Scottish, it's crap! 

    Even us (part)Scots-Irish, dammit.

    If you're interested in joining the Gathering of the Blogs, you can get more info here.

    For the clan-challenged, here's a great Tartan Generator so you can pretend you're not crap. 

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:01 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    February 21, 2006

    The Waiting is the Hardest Part...

    Jay and Deb were off to the hospital this morning around the time I fell asleep (2:30 am in Cali, 5:30 am in MA), and we should be hearing news any time now...

    Yay Valerie!

    PS Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where the post title comes from!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    She's here!

    Welcome to the world, little one:

    Valerie Ruth Ellis

    born 2/21/06 8:07 am
    8 lbs, 21 inches
    dark hair, brown eyes

    Congratulations Jay and Deb and big sister Sadie!
    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    And also from the baby department...

    Announcing the arrival of:

    Lindsey Nicole Gunderloy
    born 2/20/06 at 5:36 am
    8 lbs, 13.5 oz;  21.5 inches
    dark hair, brown eyes

    Congrats to Mom Dana, Dad Mike, big brothers Adam and Thomas, and big sister Kayla! 

    h/t Lindsey's future MIL ;)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 22, 2006

    A Letter to my furry friends...

    My Dear Dogs and Cats,

    The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food.  Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate of food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

    The stairway was not designed by NASCAR, and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object.  Tripping me doesn't help, because I fall faster than you can run.  

    I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed.  I am very sorry about this.  Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort.  Dogs and cats can actually curl  up in a ball when they sleep.  It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular  to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible.  I also  know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the  other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

    For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the  bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there, and  manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to  turn the knob or get your paw under the edge, and try to pull the door open.  I must exit through the same door I entered.  Also, I have been  using the bathroom for years - canine or feline attendance is NOT mandatory.

    The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's bottoms.  I cannot stress this enough!

    To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the  following message on our front door:

    Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Would Like to Complain About Our Pets:

    1. They live here.  You don't.

    2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

    3. I like my pets a lot better than most people.

    4. To you, it's an animal.  To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter...who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.  Dogs and cats are better
    than kids.  They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called,
    never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes and don't need a gazillion dollars for college!


    h/t CaltechMom
    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:36 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    February 23, 2006

    Here's a sport I could set the World Record in...

    The new Olympic sport of Cursing.

    As some of you know, I can hold my own with sailors in more than one language.  I'm sure I'd at least qualify to represent my country proudly.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    February 25, 2006


    You may not have heard this one, as Hollywood also lost Barney Fife and Mr. Furley today, but one of my favorite Hollywood Dads passed away today as well.

    Darrren McGavin, who played the Dad in A Christmas Story, and in many other films, died today in Los Angeles of natural causes.

    God bless, and I hope you spirit flies as freely as the clouds of obscenity still floating somewhere over Lake Michigan

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 27, 2006

    Dancin' ! -- Or how to turn a PhD into a blithering idiot...

    Ok, so you probably know I was hooked on Dancing with the Stars this season like it was my own personal crack.

    Yes, I even skipped Survivor to watch it a couple times.

    Last night I was the ultimate reality show buffoon. Yelling at the TV, calling my show buddy (CaltechMom) repeatedly, and generally being an idiot.

    At least I didn't throw anything. (ask my DH about football and why my remote on/off button barely works....)

    As you may know, after Thursday's final dances, Drew and Cheryl led with a perfect score of 60.  Stacy and Tony were behind with a score of 56, and Jerry and Anna were in the rear with 53.  Well, there was a final dance last night to complete the judges scores.  Jerry and Anna went first, and scored 27/30 a personal best.  Then Stacy and Tony did a good number and scored a perfect 30/30.  I agreed, as it was the best dance I had seen from them in the 8 weeks of the show.  Drew and Cheryl were last, and they were fabulous.  But they only scored 27.  Enough to stay in first place by one point....

    I call my mother.  "Rigged!" I scream when she answers the phone.  I agree, she says, and then my dad chimes in with "Crap!"

    Which is about as bad as he'll get.

    We agree it's rigged for Stacy, and we hang up.

    10 min later, they announce the third place contestant---- (wait for it....)


    Wha???  Ok.  I was convinced Drew and Cheryl were done for.  Sweeeet.

    So Drew and Cheryl were eventually named the winners, and I couldn't be happier.

    To see what all the fuss is about, here's Drew and Cheryl's "Thrilling" Pasa Doble, and here is their perfect score freestyle dance from Thursday, set to Big and Rich's "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy"

    And Drew's brother Nick? Daypass material. Especially now that he ditched Daisy Duke.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    On the subject of Dancing

    I've joined the Cotillion, so watch this space for lots of Conservative female fun and a new blogroll...  Yeah, maybe I should revamp the way this place looks.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    A five year old's world

    Thirdee of Code Red interviews her five year old about life and current events.  With some surprising answers...

    2.    Who is the President? George Washington-Bush.
    3.    Who is the Vice President? My teacher didn't tell me that.
    10.  Are you a Conservative or a Liberal? A liberal.
    13.  Are guns good or bad? Good.
    20.  Is President Bush a good President? Yes.
    The rest is priceless...
    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:29 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    March 01, 2006

    I'm taking a poll...

    I am seriously thinking of cutting my hair.... 

    These two lovely ladies did it, and I'm thinking of jumping on the bandwagon.

    My hair is my one vanity, see, and that makes it hard.  It's brown/auburn, slightly wavy (more so when it's shorter) hangs almost to my rear and is super thick, so it knots constantly and there's not much I can do with it other that a simple knot or one of the vast array of charming Princess Leia hairdos.

    and I'm tired of putting it up  in a knot everyday....

    I want something shorter, with a lot of body to it.  I think that would be fun and look nice...

    Thinking of something like this.  What do you think? (Eva's hair, not Tony's :-) )

    here's a similar style....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:26 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

    March 06, 2006

    Rest in Peace, Kirby

    After suffering a massive stroke yesterday at his home in Arizona, family members chose to remove Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett from life support this afternoon, and he passed away at age 45.

    Not surprisingly, the Strib has a great story on one of the good guys:

    "Puckett rose from a Chicago housing project and became a Minnesota sports icon, bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 1984 with an energetic style and an effervescent smile, each all his own.

    He led the Twins to the World Series in 1987 and 1991, leaping into walls as their center fielder and swinging with a might that belied his stocky, 5-8 frame.

    He often said he played every game as if it were his last, and sure enough, on March 28, 1996, Puckett awoke with blurred vision in his right eye.

    He never played again. He was diagnosed with glaucoma and retired on July 12, 1996.

    For the next five years, Puckett remained a smiling fixture on the Minnesota scene, working as an executive vice president for the Twins in an ambassadorial role.

    In 2001, he became a first-ballot inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 2,304 career hits, 10 All-Star selections and six Gold Glove Awards."

    Despite some trying times, including never substantiated allegations of abuse and sexual harassment, Kirby's legacy is that of a star fallen too soon, and now, gone too soon.

    I'm a huge Dodger fan, but Kirby Puckett was always one of my favorites, and I will miss him.  May his family have peace in this difficult time.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 08, 2006

    My Own Feminist Manifesto

    This post also marks my Cotillion debut!

    **The following post contains R-rated language**

    Today is International Women's Day.

    I could give a shit.

    Truth be told, in my entire life I've never had much use for the feminist movement. Sure, I've benefited from my "sisters" who came before me. I suppose. But I feel like I've had to make my own way. I work in a profession dominated by men. I went to a university where men outnumbered women by as much as 8 to 1. And yet, I have never experienced discrimination because I am a female.

    Yeah, maybe it's because I don't act like a girl. I'm loud, ballsy, and I like to be right. I WILL stand up for what I believe to be the right thing. I give as good as I get in the chain-yanking department, and I have been known to make the men I work with blush because of what I say.

    Or maybe it's because I don't look like what the magazines say I should. I'm short, dark, and big. No barbie doll here. Her boobs, maybe, but that's about it. :)

    See the rest in the extended....

    Read More "My Own Feminist Manifesto" »
    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:40 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    March 09, 2006


    I came to a realization this morning while the coffee was brewing:

    I am a reality TV junkie.

    Funny thing, though, it almost happened by default.  See I have always been a people watcher.  Get me to Disneyland and I love nothing better than to sit out in front of the castle on a bench, eat some overpriced ice cream and see who walks by.  So I suppose watching reality shows is a natural extension of that.  Don't get me wrong, I don't watch them all, in fact, I am pretty discriminating in my choices.

    For example, my "must watch" shows this season include AI (but only AFTER the top 24 are picked), TAR, Survivor, Dog the Bounty Hunter (on the 12 am rerun), EM: Home Edition, and the recently concluded Dancing with the Stars, Skating with Celebrities, and Project Runway (yay Chloe!).  The only scripted "must watches" on the list are House (which is the bloody best show on TV!) and 24.

    One step down, the "will watch" list includes a lot of scripted shows, like the various L and O franchises, CSI, Criminal Minds (love it, never remember when it's on), and Numbers.  The reality "will watch" list includes Mythbusters (on at the SAME F-ING TIME as House and Dog), various Discovery Channels series (I was soooo hooked on Dangerous Catch and Iceberg Cowboys), Queer Eye, and Supernanny/ Nanny 911.

    Ok, maybe I do watch a lot of TV, but as the inimitable Tim Gunn says, "It relaxes me."  Watching stupid people do stupid things is a great way to wind down from a long day of BS.

    Also, like Ben, it's wallpaper much of the time.  Just sound on for noise to help me concentrate on whatever I'm doing at the time.

    Yeah, I'm weird.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


    The Phinlet is here!

    Boy 8lbs 14ozs, born between 1 and 2 am this morning, all other details are classified.

    Mom and Babe are fine.  No word yet on the Phishy.

    Congrats to all the family!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Well Duh

    It's dook.

    Wouldn't expect any less :-)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Paging Dr. Google

    As many of you know, Dilbert cartoonist (and blogger) Scott Adams has a dystonia which prevents him from drawing without the aid of a computer.  About a year ago he started having problems speaking in public as well.

    None of the remedies prescribed by the doctors seemed to be working, and one day he realized that the voice problems he was experiencing might be tied to his dystonia.  So he asked Dr. Google, who returned the result "Spasmodic Dysphonia", an extremely rare condition resulting in voice changes very similar to what he was experiencing, and to top it off, this condition was more likely to co-occur in people experiencing dystonias.

    Here is Scott's account of his search for a doctor who would actually test for the Zebra, even though the entire stable of horses were absent.  With a correct diagnosis he's now able to resume public speaking, even if the treatment is a little grody....

    What's interesting about the story isn't merely that the doctors were unwilling to listen, but rather it highlights what could have happened if the patient in question wasn't a famous artist with access to a doctor specializing in his particular disorder.  Imagine the merry-go-round of drugs, tests, and therapies any of us regular joes might have gone through.  Imagine what might have happened if he hadn't had the computer skills to look for what he was experiencing.

    Are our doctors willing to go the extra mile?  To sort through every possibility in the differential diagnosis to find the right answer?  To listen carefully when a patient says "These are my symptoms, and it says here that I could have this"?

    Kinda makes you think, huh?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    March 14, 2006

    Huge Fabulous Congratulations are in Order!

    The Lintefiniel one caught the Blog Baby Bug!

    Precious cargo due in mid-November (the BEST time to be born, IMHO)

    Drop in and wish Jen and Beau the best!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 20, 2006

    Weekend Highlights

    Pretty good weekend hereabouts.

    Saturday we spent the last of DH's "new teacher credit" at the school supply store, and as we were in a town that had one (20 miles from here!), we indulged in some Southern Fast Food.
    I even got to meet one of the cows!  I think we'll be driving out that way more often.

    We forgot to stop at the donut place that we love out that way, because we were running low on gas, so we made up for it by making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies and watching On-Demand movies (did I mention how much I love free on-demand with the Movie channels?  Which are also free with the deal we got from the cable company because they screwed up!  I have been told this by them, we're not stealing anything)

    We watched Shaolin Soccer (funny!) and Finding Neverland (excellent!).

    I guess we made up for it yesterday, as we were both feeling a little under the weather, and I have a temp, so I'm working from home today....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 21, 2006

    For Joe

    The Top 10 Best Alarm Clocks, guaranteed to WAKE YOUR ASS UP!!!

    (our roommate senior year, the aforementioned Joe, was and is a notoriously heavy sleeper. Even kicking him didn't work at times....)

    h/t McGehee

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 28, 2006

    Marriage-- For Whites Only?

    Much has been made of the Joy Jones article in yesterday's Washington Post regarding the attitudes of young blacks towards marriage.

    The best (bar none) commentary on this article I have seen is this piece by LaShawn Barber.  I'm not always in agreement with LaShawn, but in this case she hits the nail squarely on the head.  She says, in part:

    "In my admittedly biased, unscientific observations, it appears that black boys are not being socialized to marry and take care of families, and black girls are not being socialized to accept nothing less than an honorable man who will marry and care for them. Generally speaking, boys are not being groomed to be husbands and breadwinners, and girls are not being groomed to keep their legs closed until marriage.

    Why are these things so, and why is “black marriage” in such a dismal state? I believe the reasons boil down to two factions: fatherless homes and the weakening of the social stigma against illegitimacy."

    There's a lot more, so do go read the rest.  I'll wait here, I promise.

    As an educator in a university that was founded specifically to train minority students in the sciences, these attitudes in the Black community are critical to what I do everyday.  It's hard to combat the idea that a college education and a stable family aren't things that are for whites only.  It's hard to get a kid whose brother is in jail to believe that he or she can get into med school.  The kids (anecdotally) who end up making the decision to commit to college and be successful are more likely to be the ones that have a stronger base at home, either Mom and Dad, or parent and step-parent.

    Furthermore, I find it ironic that this attitude reflects a self-imposed social segregation.  Many have written, and eloquently, about the re-segregation of the Black community, from the suburbs back to the urban ghettoes, and the embracing of ghetto culture as something unimpeachably "Ours".  In this mentality, wealth, education, and social well-being are disregarded as anathema to one's ethnic identity.  All under the guise of "keeping it real".

    Since when is caring for your children, earning enough money to provide for them properly, and encouraging them to get an education NOT "real".  Or is "real" just another word for "victim"?

    Which brings me to my own question about this article.  I get the sense that this attitude is a reflection of the broader feeling that Black=Victim (and, as a corollary, White=Abuser).  Why is it so important for the Black community to be the victim?  Is that the only identity that they can cling to?  Let's look at the evidence (using generalities here): Black communities come together in poor urban centers, they shun education and professional attitudes (see "uncle toms" and "oreos", the NBA Dress Code debacle, or Chris Rock's "Master's" skit), and now apparently devalue marriage and co-parenting.

    Maybe the reason that marriage "isn't" for Blacks is that anything that "builds up" a family is incompatible with the community mentality.

    I'm sure that I'm going to get a lot of sh*t from Black folks on this.  Yes, I am a white girl talking about Black culture.  But I work in this community.  I teach in this community.  And I see how the choices that people make impact their children's lives and choices.  The real issue shouldn't be who's asking the question, but rather how do we go about answering the problems.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:02 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    April 06, 2006

    Strange Sightings

    (title lifted from here)

    On the freeway this morning I drove by two unusual vehicles....
    One of these:

    Turns out it was a "studio vehicle," no doubt on its way to a shoot somewhere;

    and the delivery van from this place, which was of course, featured on this show.

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

    April 11, 2006

    ...Contact, it's the answer, it's the reason, that everything happens...

    3, 2, 1

    Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three events, two births and one death, including the year.

    On November 10:
    1766 - The last Colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, signs the charter of Queen's College (later renamed Rutgers University).

    1871 - Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika saying "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

    1938 - Kate Smith, on her weekly radio show, sings Irving Berlin's God Bless America for the first time.

    1483 - Martin Luther, German protestant reformer (d. 1546)

    1775 -The Continental Congress passes a resolution creating the Continental Marines (later renamed the United States Marine Corps) to serve as landing troops for the recently created Continental Navy.
    Ok, that was technically not a birth, so how about my favorite movie helicopter pilot? (bonus points if you know the movie...)

    1932 - Roy Scheider, American actor

    1982 - Leonid Brezhnev, ruler of the Soviet Union (b. 1906)

    seen everywhere, first here

    Oh, and more bonus points if you know what the title of this post means

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    More to come

    Of course, as is usual, I have lots to talk about but no damn time.

    Watch this space for my thoughts on body image, insomnia, and maybe immigration (if I feel like raising my blood pressure...)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Office Vocabulary

    Basil posted this, but I have the original memo...


    It has been brought to the management's attention that some individuals have been using foul language in the course of normal conversation between employees. Due to complaints from some more easily offended workers, this conduct will no longer be tolerated.

    The management does, however, realize the importance of each person being able to properly express their feelings when communicating with their fellow employees. Therefore the management has compiled the following code phrases, so that the proper exchange of ideas and information can continue unabated.

    Old Phrase New Phrase
    No f*cking way I'm not certain that's feasible.
    You've got to be sh*tting me Really?
    Tell someone who gives a f*ck Perhaps you should check with ...
    Ask me if I give a f*ck Of course I'm concerned.
    It's not my f*cking problem I wasn't involved in that project.
    What the f*ck? That's interesting behavior.
    F*ck it, it won't work I'm not sure I can implement this.
    Why the f*ck didn't you tell me that sooner? I'll try to schedule that.
    When the f*ck do you expect me to do this? Perhaps I can work late.
    Who the f*ck cares? Are you sure it's a problem?
    He's got his head up his a$$ He's not familiar with that problem.
    Eat sh*t You don't say.
    Eat sh*t and die Excuse me?
    Eat sh*t and die motherf*cker Excuse me, sir?
    What the f*ck do they want from me? They weren't happy with it?
    Kiss my a$$ So you'd like help with it?
    F*ck it. I'm on salary I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.
    Shove it up your a$$ I don't think you understand.
    This job sucks I love a challenge.
    Who the hell died and made you boss? You want me to take care of this?
    Blow me I see.
    Blow yourself Do you see?
    Another f*cking meeting Yes, we should discuss this.
    I really don't give a sh*t I don't think it will be a problem.
    F*ck you How nice.
    F*ck you sideways How very nice.
    He's a f*cking pr*ck. He's somewhat insensitive.
    She's a ball busting bitch. She's an aggressive go getter.
    You don't know what the f*ck you're doing. I think you could use more training.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 13, 2006

    Would you rather....?

    Found here

    *Barefoot or Shoes? BAREFOOT.  And I wear Birkies when I can get away with it.  MUST be able to take my shoes off under my desk or a table

    *Tea- Sweet or Unsweetened? SWEET!  I was always a no-sweetner girl until I moved to NC where you pretty much can't get it without sugar.  The sweeter the better, I say.

    *Clothes- fitted or loose? Loose.  PJs and no bra if I can get away with it.

    *Fish- fresh water or salt water? Not the biggest fish fan, but that which I will eat is all salt-water: Tuna steaks, Salmon, Scallops, Clam Chowder...

    *Gravy or plain? Pass the gravy.  I usually get it on the side because I like the taste of my food and I can dip in or add it as I please.  For mashed taters, I usually go without and add cheese and sour cream instead

    *House- spotless or lived in? Lived in.  I only lose things when I tidy up.

    *Solitude or people? I would have to say people. But there are definitely moments when I need to be alone

    *Beer or alcohol? I can't drink except on rare occasions thanks to my wonderful medication, but when I do it's almost ALWAYS a floofy girly drink.  With an umbrella or a fruit garnish.  So yeah, alcohol.

    *Fiction or non-fiction? Fiction.  I love mysteries and interesting characters

    *Weather- hot or cold?  Cold.  Definitely cold.  I love it when it rains or snows.  I love walking in the snow.  I love sleeping under a pile of blankets with the window open for some fresh air.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 18, 2006

    Shake, Rattle, and Roll

    photo courtesy LearnCalifornia.Org

    On April 18, 1906, just after 5 AM, the peaceful slumber of the citizens of San Francisco was shattered forever.  A masssive earthquake, still one of the largest ever recorded, crippled the entire region.  The quake was felt hundreds of miles away, and nearly burned the entire city of San Francisco to the ground.

    More on the "great quake":
    The Beeb
    SF Museum

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 19, 2006

    It seems like it can't have been that long ago

    13 years ago today I was curled in a ball in my Mom's recliner, cuddled under a blanket and drinking hot tea. I was at home sick, and watching CNN. The ATF had held the Branch Davidian Complex under siege for 51 days before raiding their compound, killing 76 people, including the Davidian's leader, David Koresh.

    I remember the whole screen erupting in flames as the buildings caught on fire, and wondering why in hell someone would ever think of doing that....or did the ATF do it? Turns out they set themselves on fire. Silly, really.

    Two years later, I was home again. Maybe it was Spring Break. I don't recall. But I was watching again as the helicopters swirled around the Murrah building in Oklahoma City and firefighters rushed to save whoever they could. I remember thinking it was the "Arabs" because of the recent attack (first attack) on the World Trade Center. When we found out it was two white guys with an axe to grind we were flabbergasted, but in a way, not really surprised. Especially after the link to the Branch Davidians came out.

    Fast forward 4 years and one day. College now, in fact it was my senior year and I was deep in the throes of choosing a grad school and planning a wedding. DH and I were in our bedroom in our apartment (with the only working TV). I was watching the news and he was writing a paper. Breaking News! Shootout in a Colorado HS! At least 12 people dead, including the stupid bastards who did the shooting. In later days, as we learned more about the lives of the two shooters, we were sobered by the fact that this could have been us. Some of you will recall our own "trenchcoat mafia" and the rumors of their weapons and intentions....

    My own prayer is that we get through today and tomorrow without yet another somber anniversary.

    Many touching remembrances of the OKC bombing across the web today, particularly this one, this one, and this one

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 21, 2006

    Thom Crews: Moron

    Like we needed MORE evidence:

    Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' choice of a Hebrew flavored name for their newborn daughter has speakers of the language scratching their heads.
    Baby Suri's name can be traced to a Hebrew word meaning "princess" or "noblewoman," but by such a circuitous route that the connection is lost on most Israelis. Since the birth Tuesday in Los Angeles, bemused Israeli TV and radio presenters have debated the word's origins.

    "Nobody here has ever really heard of it," an announcer on Israel's Army Radio said during a discussion Thursday. The Yediot Ahronot newspaper agreed in its half page splash on the celebrity birth.

    "We seem to have learned a new Hebrew word and from Tom Cruise, no less," said a Channel 2 TV anchorman.
    Suri is a pet name for Sarah," Koor told Army Radio. "The Ashkenazi Jews of Poland and Hungary pronounce it Suri."

    In ancient Hebrew, Sarah is the feminine form of "Sar," or lord. In modern Hebrew, the word means a Cabinet Minister.


    I believe the name they were looking for is Sarai. That was Abraham's wife's name (in the bible) before it was changed to Sarah. Which means Princess, according to most baby books.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    May 15, 2006

    Took the weekend off

    Of course I missed you all terribly, but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right?

    And especially after a day like Friday....

    Friday morning, I got up (late as usual) and realized that I needed to get gas.  So I dressed quickly and ran out to the car.  I get in the car, get it started and realize my sunglasses are upstairs in my bedroom.  As anyone who has ever lived in a town house will realize, that means two flights.  So I said fuck it and dug in the console for an old pair of hubby's.  Which were servicable despite huge scratches.  Then I go to back out of the garage, and as I hang the garage door clicker on the sunshade, somehow I hit the button as I am backing out.

    Crash.  Car, meet door.  Door, meet car.

    Thank God it stopped and rolled up on its tracks.  No Damage.

    So I make it to Costco without incident for gas.  The whole way, praying that I have enough to make it....and wait in the line.

    When I get there, the line fills the entire gas area (which is about 1/3 of the parking lot)... MUCH more traffic than usual, especially for the time of day.  Turns out only half the pumps are working for some unknown reason....  Sheesh.

    Finally, I get out of there, get on the freeway and make it to work.  Our department took one of my colleagues out to lunch for his birthday (and to celebrate his new US Citizenship!), and while we were waiting for him to meet us, the birthday boy got a Jaywalking ticket crossing between his building and ours.  Sheesh.

    **In CA, jaywalking is defined as crossing the street between two signal controlled intersections not in a crosswalk** (for those USC students on the corner of Hoover and Jeff.)

    So the lunch that was supposed to start at 12 didn't start unti 1:30.

    And traffic home was a nightmare.  When I got on the freeway, I saw the Goodyear Blimp rising from its hangar south of me in Carson, CA.  When I transitioned to the 110 freeway, the Blimp flew directly OVER me.  As I was passing through Downtown, the blimp was in front of me.  That sucks.  Photographic evidence when I get it uploaded later!

    So I spent the last 2 days curled up with a good book (The Count of Monte Cristo, my favorite)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 12, 2006

    We could use a cat like that here, too

    After the recent rash of local bear-in-swimming-pool stories, I bet some people would be happy to have Jack the Tabby around:

    A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey.

    The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack.

    The terrified bear was only able to make its escape when owner Donna Dickey called the hissing cat into the house.

    Go get 'em kitty cat!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 13, 2006

    Damn Good Day!

    I woke up to hear that dookie Golden Boy and probably 1st-round NBA pick JJ Redick was busted for DWI (that's driving while impaired for all you non- Tar Heels) at 1am last night.  Evidently Mr. Smartypants thought he could make an illegal U-turn to avoid a DUI checkpoint.  Yeah, nothing like calling attention to yourself, right, Star-Boy?

    Then, I got to work, checked the news and heard that President Ballsy Bush made a surprise trip to Baghdad, where he visited briefly with troops in the Green Zone and met with the new Iraqi cabinet.

    Also, we're having a potluck for lunch and I have a long meeting that gets me out of sitting in my office.  Yay!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 14, 2006

    Update to yesterday

    Yesterday actually ended up pretty good.  I got some business taken care of, I had a good meeting with my boss, traffic was decent, and I got new seat covers for my car.

    Any of you with leather seats (not by my choice, this was the car they had on the lot with the other features I wanted) will understand that summer + leather seats = ouch.  The old sheepskin seat cover had seen better days, so we went to Target last night and replaced it.  Yay!

    Then my hubby took me out to dinner :)  What a nice guy.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 15, 2006


    So yesterday was a BP day for me.  As in HIGH BP.

    -- Talking about this bullsh*t

    --F*cking Dodger game next Friday is sold out in 2 days

    --F*cking Hurricanes lose in OT

    --Goddamn pissy bastard at Wal-Mart trying to tell me that the garden center is closed 45 seconds after the storewide announcement: "The Garden Center will be closing in 5 minutes."(presumably at 9pm)   THEN he shows me his watch and says, "See??  It's 9:01".  My response: "That's not my problem.  Get the person who makes the PA announcements to set her clock forward".  His manager told him to ring me up and the 3 ladies behind me who also wanted to leave from the garden center.  His response?  "But I never got my break".  Whiny asshole.

    --I had this dream last night where something happened, and DH knew what it was, but I was prevented from seeing it by him (not a bad thing, though), and no one would tell me what was going on.  I kept asking, and no one would answer me.  The last thing I remember is punching Ben in the face repeatedly for smirking, talking to other people, and not answering me.  I also remember considering jumping up on the coffee table and firing a gun into the ceiling to get people's attention.  Then I woke up with fists clenched and really pissed off.  Ask my DH.  He thought I was gonna punch him.

    Moral of the story?  Don't F*ck with Wendy Testaburger.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 23, 2006

    Skool's out for summer....

    Taking today off to help hubby clean out his classroom.  He has to be done by 12:30 or so.  And then he gets something like 4 weeks off before he starts a summer workshop.  At least he's getting paid for it!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 24, 2006

    They grow up so fast!

    My darling blog-child celebrates (real life) birthday number 50 today!

    Happy Birthday, Paul, and many many more!

    Drop by and leave him a note, would you?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 26, 2006

    Sad News

    My evil Fairy blogfather, Rob Smith, also known as Acidman of Gut Rumbles, passed away this morning.

    Not many details are available.

    My thoughts and prayers are with his daughter Sam and son Quinton, who I know will miss him very much.

    I'll miss you, you lousy cracker son-of-a-bitch.  And I regret that I never was able to meet you and buy you a drink (back in the day when you actually partook).

    If Rob was a part of your life, let Sam know, and leave her a comment here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 27, 2006

    The perfect sendoff

    "Dear Lord, we give you Acidman. Try not to piss him off."--JD

    Thanks, Chris.  He would have been so pleased.  Of course, he would have made fun of it the whole time.

    It's amazing how someone you've never met can mean so much to your life.  Especially someone as f'ed up as Rob.  But he made me laugh everyday, he sent biting little emails designed to knock me out of my happy place, and he MEANT it when he called me darlin'.

    One of the finest compliments I've received in blogging was being asked to cover for him while he was in Willingway, and so many of the blogfriends I've made, I've made through Rob.  He touched a lot of people.

    Sam and Quinton, your daddy was a lot of things, many of them not great, but he was a gifted writer and musician, and his unique perspective meant a lot to a lot of people.  I hope that in time you'll be blessed by this and you'll come to value the gift that he leaves behind in his archives.  Most kids don't get to look into their parent's thoughts, but you have a treasure trove of pieces of your Dad's life.  I hope that his writings show you how much he loved you and your uncle and your grandmother and great-grandmother, because family was clearly the best thing in his life.

    I will miss him more than I should, I think, and when next I lift a glass, it will be in his memory.  Godspeed, Aciddude.

    And Rob would have loved this, too.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 13, 2006

    Happy, Happy!

    Happy Birthday to AWTM and Rave!

    I would have gotten you presents, but I think you've already got your hands full.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 19, 2006

    Happy Happy!

    It's the Big 3-0 for sarahk, and she's not having the best day, despite some awesome presents!

    Go give her some love!

    And Happy Belated 31 to my favorite NC phishy!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 22, 2006

    1:00 AM

    Yeah, I know, why am I up this late?

    It's hot as hell and I'm freaking pissed, that's why. Today was full of those little annoyances that make us all want to slash our wrists every once in a while. I woke up with a backache. Then I was late for work AND I had to go to the gas station. Finally I get on the freeway, and there are more frigging trucks than I have ever seen, and I freaking hate playing dodge-a-truck. Nearly missed the exit.

    Then, as if there weren't already too few parking spaces, a bunch of jackasses evidently didn't understand what the lines were for, one of them in 2 HANDICAPPED spaces. I'm guessing that particular assclown got his blue placard for being mentally handicapped.

    I go to the lab to talk to my student, but she's later than I am, and there's no point in me sticking around. So I go over to my office. Did I mention it was hot?

    I go into my office and settle in, putting out the usual fires, answering emails, dealing with a couple of projects that are ongoing in the department and the college. Things are going ok. I eat lunch and chat a bit with my colleagues who share the lab space.

    About 2 pm I look down and there is a steady stream of ants crossing my floor. Mind you, this is hardly new. My office is on the ground floor and they've been doing a lot of landscaping work recently. However, I just had an invasion 2 weeks ago, and I about soaked the place in what is supposed to be a 3-month repellant. We're prepared for this, and I go get the industrial sized bottle of ant spray.

    Turns out they were coming in from the one place I hadn't sprayed: the port jacks. There's a small wallplate on the far wall of my office with the phone and ethernet jacks. They were coming out the holes, down the ethernet cord, and along the floor, nicely arcing around my chair to the trash, which contained yesterday's coffee grounds, and a box with some granola bars, which interestingly enough, they couldn't get into.

    I soaked the wall and the floor with spray and the carried the trash all the way through the building to the outside trash can. Then I washed the now dead ants remaining off the trash can in the bathroom.

    I couldn't take the fumes, so I hit the road. I'm not even on the freeway yet when our business manager calls my cell phone..... Grrr. Thank God for hands free. And why God is traffic always so bad on Friday? The same number of people leave work every other day of the week.

    By the time I get home, I feel like I'm crawling with bugs even though there are no ants on me, so I email my business manager and go up to the shower. Afterwards, I lay down for a nap, and Hubby says, "I'll take the dog out". When I wake up an hour later, neither of them is apparent either by sight or sound. I of course freak out. To which I get answered with "Are you hungry, I'm making dinner"

    Why is it that men will double check the most insignificant detail that they CAN NOT fuck up 400 hundred times (pasta sauce, I have no preference as I only buy what I like) but the thing that is wrong they'll just merrily carry on with and not even bother to ask (the pasta)???


    And now he's upstairs snoring away as he fell asleep in the middle of a conversation, as usual, and doesn't seem to understand that not only is it FUCKING RUDE, but that it's the same thing that ALWAYS bothers me. I doubt he has any idea I'm not there.

    I wish I could sleep like that.

    But for all of these annoyances, I count my blessings. He's an idiot, but he's sleeping in my bed. And the Princess is up there too, and I have Air Conditioning and on and on. And the best part is that tomorrow I get to start over from square one. Hopefully sans backache.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:21 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 28, 2006

    Happy Birthday Tammi!

    And many many more!  Not to mention maybe one of these showing up in real life!

    (Oddy gets the best presents, I can't top her!)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 31, 2006

    Dash's All New Cheap Diet (barking and scratching optional)

    Dash evidently came up with a new money-saving diet plan:  eating the dog's food.

    Of course, I don't think Skeet and Riley are too keen on it, nor evidently is the woman at PetSmart.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 02, 2006

    Happy Birthday, Silent Bob!

    Genius filmmaker and blogger Kevin Smith turns 36 today!

    And many more!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 04, 2006

    Sunny Birthdays!

    Happy Happy to two of my favorite Florida ladies:  VW Bug and Pam!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 09, 2006

    Holy crap you people are creative

    I was offline all day yesterday and much of today due to a work excursion, and when I came back, there was a real story in place of the two paragraphs I left!

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

    August 11, 2006

    All work and no play....

    ... makes this girl boring as hell.

    We're off to La Playa for a couple of days of sun and sand.

    Be good while I'm gone, and play nice!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:23 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 19, 2006

    More Map Coolness and a Guessing Game

    Have you checked out Wikimapia yet?

    I found it this morning and spent 20 minutes adding the places from my childhood.  And, what a treat, the pictures are several years old, so I was able to find this:

    This is the place where my darling husband proposed to me.  It's a Costco and a Home Depot now.  Anyone wanna guess what it was?  (hint: the left side is already being demolished, the right side is still intact...)  Anyone who ACTUALLY knows the answer (BN, SS, etc.) isn't allowed to play!

    h/t Cobb, who put in a lot of cool places, too.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:39 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    August 28, 2006


    To Xrlq and the lovely Mrs. X on the birth of their second son, Xrlq 3.0!  And also to big brother Xrlq 2.0

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 29, 2006


    Worst news I can think of.  I think I'll go have a little sympathy cry for my friend now.

    Why is it that crackwhores can pop out 85 healthy kids just by sneezing but someone who desperately wants to have their own child and will care for it better than most can not?

    I love you, hon and if you need ANYTHING, let me know, ok?

    Oh, and Twosday Fun will return next week. I'm just not in the mood today.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:59 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    August 31, 2006

    A Journey of 10,000 Steps....

    Google Maps has yet another great feature:  an accurate pedometer!

    With the GMaps Pedometer, you can trace your route and figure out how far you've walked.  Even for crazy paths.  And there's a calorie counter, too!

    h/t Deb

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    September 07, 2006

    Busy Busy

    It's that time of year again.  Today is my DH's first day of school, so yesterday, of course, we spent all day making his classroom look pretty and organizing all of his books and papers and supplies.

    33-36 students per class.  And as of 5:30 pm yesterday, he only had 32 chairs.  You gotta love it.  Hopefully that will be rectified soon.

    And he doesn't have the worst of it.  The thermostat in the room next door went haywire over the summer and now only blows hot air.  In CA.  In Spetember.  With 37 bodies.  They told the teacher in that room that if they can't get it fixed today they will move him into another room until they can get the AC working.  On the other side of his room, there's no power to the outlets in the lab tables or the walls....  So having to play musical chairs doesn't really seem so bad.

    One thing I do appreciate, though, is that he is teaching just one kind of class.  The same subject 5 times a day, rather than one class of this, one class of that, and three classes of the other.  It cuts his out-of-class work by 2/3!  Which is good.  With almost 200 students, he has a lot to do anyway.  I think we figured that he starts with 175 this year, which means it will be about 185 before the end of the month.

    As for myself, we've been back to school for 3 weeks now, and things are starting to hit their rhythm.  I'm the course director for our freshman class, which means that I don't have to teach every day, but I am in charge and I have to make sure every thing is working according to plan.  Lecture and Lab both.

    So far so good.  We have more students this year than last, and I think the students are all pretty smart.  I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish this year.

    I had an epiphany on the freeway this am, while I was stuck in traffic.  But it must not have been that important, as I have no forgotten what exactly it was....  that's what it's been like lately.

    I need a vacation just to catch up.  And maybe clean the house.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 11, 2006

    The WTC and Me...

    When I was 17 years old, in the summer of 1994, I was part of a summer program that invited science students to New York for two week to study and be a part of "real" high level research. Among the amazing and wonderful things we did that summer was a tour of New York City. After taking the Circle line out to the Statue of Liberty and back, we boarded the bus and went into downtown. We stopped at the foot of the World Trade Center.

    I remember looking up and up and up, unable to see the top. Wondering at the immense feat of engineering standing before me. Face to face with these twin giants, my friend and I laughed at the presumption of a handful of terrorists who tried to bring it down with a truck bomb. My friend J said, "You know, they built the towers to withstand a hit by a 747." We were all duly impressed. It seemed like overkill.

    And it became a joke amongst us.

    Fast forward 7 years.

    September 11, 2001. 9 am.
    I was sleeping in. It had been a late night Monday night, as a friend who had been staying with us in NC was set to fly back to CA that afternoon. Also, I was supposed to teach that afternoon after taking her to the airport.

    The phone rang. It was my husband, stationed in TX in the army. "Turn on the TV." he said. "Any channel".

    I fumbled for the remote, half awake, and turned on the TV to see the WTC, one tower standing, the other on fire from a gaping hole near the top. The morning show people were just beginning to realize that it wasn't a cessna that hit the building, but a fully loaded jumbo jetliner.

    Before I could comprehend that, another jet hit the other tower. And I knew.

    My heart stood still. But still, I thought, the buildings will stand. The people can get out, or be rescued from the roof, right?

    I called my parents and Ben, woke up my friends, and crawled to the big TV in the den. What next? Were there more planes? Were any of my friends there?

    The rest of the day is a blur of images: People jumping from the buildings, the towers collapsing in a cloud of ash, that video of the asian woman running in high heels and nearly being run down as the towers collapsed behind her. I remember screaming "just take your damn shoes off so you can run..."

    I don't remember eating, and I don't think I slept. I just sat in front of the tv. The towers came down. They were supposed to withstand the unthinkable, that kind of hit, but they came down anyway.

    I spoke to my friend a few days later. We reminisced about that day at the towers, and how we all believed them to be invincible. And how that came to stand for a lot of things. And now those things were gone.

    I think we grew up a lot on September 11, 2001. But it's easy to forget. It's easy to over analyze and twist the facts to fit your own mindset instead of facing the difficult facts:

    +Nineteen Islamofascist fuckheads hijacked four planes
    +They deliberately chose flights that would be the fullest and carry the most fuel
    +They succeeded in crashing three of those planes into pre-selected targets
    +It was NOT a government conspiracy. Unless you mean the governments of Iran, Syria, etc.
    +2,996 innocent people died. Many of them heroes who died trying to save the lives of others
    +Unless we wipe jihadist thinking from the face of this planet, something like 9/11 WILL happen again

    And if you don't believe that with even some small part of your soul, then you need to get your head out of your ass.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 13, 2006

    I'll be in the Ladies Room

    I just got FLOOR TICKETS to the Barenaked Ladies.

    Tickets don't go on sale for another week, but Ladies Room members got first dibs today!


    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    September 16, 2006

    Out of place, much?

    Hubby and I were doing some shopping today, and we went into a local home and decorating store.  I was looking for a large casserole dish, so we went over to the kitchen section.

    As we browsed the Clearance section, I noticed what clearly HAD to be a Wilton Armetale tray.  These things just don't hang around long enough to make it to clearance, you know?  I was intrigued to say the least.

    So I asked him to pick it up:

    The pattern on the edge was a bit unusual, so I looked at it more closely:

    Yep, that's the Baltimore Ravens' logo.  When we turned the tray over, it indeed said Wilton Armetale, but it also said "manufactured for Smyth and Co, Official Jewelers of the Baltimore Ravens".

    So if you're a Ravens fan stuck in SoCal, and you'd like to have a fancy tailgate party, let me know and I'll tell you where you can find a nice serving tray for cheap.

    BTW, nice pics for a camera phone, huh?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:52 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 18, 2006

    Must... Get Through... Today....

    I think I've got a concussion.

    I was sitting at the base of our stairs because it's a good place to watch TV and talk on the phone (to this lovely lady, my homeboy, and then my Mom last night, actually).  It's far enough away from the TV that it's not blaring into the phone, but directly across from the screen.  Plus the carpet is pretty nice.  Nicest carpet we've ever had, in fact.

    So I was chatting away with Mom and the Princess decided to favor me with one of her toys.  Not thinking clearly, I leaned over to pick it up, and then sat up to toss it for her.

    When I sat up, I brought the top of my head into direct contact with the bottom end of the handrail of the stairs at full speed.

    You know the little birdies on the Warner Brothers' cartoons?  Yeah, I saw those.

    Anyway, after about 30 minutes of ice and two Advil, I was ok, but this morning I'm sore all over and the headache?  She refuses the Advil and caffeine treatment.  I've had post concussion syndrome before (dropped on my head in college), so I know the drill.  At least it's just a regular headache, not a migraine, although even my damn teeth hurt.

    Now it's just a matter of sitting here two hours and then driving home.  Yay, home.  Maybe I'll bugger off early.  I do have things I need to work on at home....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:45 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 19, 2006

    I guess I'm growing up...

    As some of you may know, I felt like shit last night.  On top of
    whacking my head sunday night, the sinuses on the other side decided it
    was time to play catch-up, including a sore throat.  Well, nothing
    worked, and even the damn chloraseptic wore off too soon, so I asked hubby
    to go out and get us milkshakes to fix my throat.  He got back about 10, just
    in time to put on the news, right?

    I get about halfway through my milkshake, look up, and there's
    John Fucking FlipFlopper KetchupBoy spewing about how his religion
    makes him who he is and how that should be important to everyone at
    some speech he gave at Pepperdine (he was really in town to raise $$
    for Angelides....)

    I DID NOT throw my milkshake at the TV.  It was hard.  I DID
    manage to grab the remote and change the channel, though.  But my hands
    were shaking and I had to actually tell myself to put down the cup and
    get the remote.

    Hubby said he was proud of me.  Probably because he would have had to clean it up.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    October 01, 2006

    Feeling better, thanks

    A good night's sleep and adding this to the regimen did the trick.  It's funny how fast the right medicine can make you feel better!

    Among today's activities, we did some laundry, including changing the sheets on our bed.  Somedays, I really wonder why we bother:

    That's our Princess, sacked out on the mattress pad next to the pillow cases that were about to be put on the pillows.  Notice also the laptop's power cord running across the bed..... Oh well.  She's going to sleep on top of the covers anyway, might as well get some dog hair under them too :-)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 25, 2006

    Since she posted it.....

    Super Duper congratulations to the lovely Carmen of I'll do what I wanna do....

    It's been a hell of week for her.  First she got married.  Then she got some really good news and some even better news!  Drop by her blog for the big news!

    Congrats also to soon-to-be-Great Aunt Tammi!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    The Big 6-0

    Denny of Grouchy Old Cripple hits the sextagenarian mark today.

    Happy Birthday!  and many more, at least as many as there are bottles left to drink!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    An even dozen... definitely not cheap!

    Happy Anniversary to the most darling man in the world.

    I love you.

    Everything I said last year?  Still true, and more than ever.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    October 26, 2006

    There's nothing like a coupon...

    To send the fat chicks swarming.

    Admittedly it was a good damn coupon.  And before you get pissed, remember that I know of which I speak, being 1) a fat chick, and 2) Armenian (read: cheap)

    The local Lane Bryant had a grand re-opening today, with 40% off EVERYTHING in the store.  I needed a belt and so friend Kj and I were off to the mall this evening.

    HOLY SHIT.  I've never seen so many people in a store.

    The new store is divided in half, with one half devoted to clothes and accessories, and the other half to lingerie and sleepwear.  The entire lingerie half was so full you couldn't move.  Not with people picking out bras and panties, but with the LINE FOR THE CASH REGISTER.  It was like Disneyland without the ride payoff.

    Needless to say we put back the things we were considering and went across to Torrid and spent our money there.  And then I came home and ordered the belt I was looking at for about the same price online as in the store (20% off all online purchases plus another coupon!)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 06, 2006

    For Aciddude...

    One of my girly pals was visiting from out of town, so we all went to get pedicures together, and as I chose the color for my toes, I couldn't help but think of Rob....

    It's my favorite nail polish color, too.  Althugh I suspect he would shit on me about the flowers....

    I miss you, you crusty old cracker bastard.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 07, 2006

    I suck

    I just spent the last 2+ hours cleaning my office. In the 13 months I've been here, I hadn't ever set up my filing cabinet, and the piles kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And, as I have been assigned more projects, it was getting a lot harder to keep things separate.

    Yeah, I know. more than a year, but I'm one of those people who has a photographic memory for messes. I know right where everything is and when i put it there, so there was a lot of inertia on this one.

    What decided me to do it today, you ask? Well, I decided that I needed to keep all of the paperwork for each of my students together in one file folder, and that just started the avalanche.

    But it looks a heck of a lot better in here. And I discovered that my linoleum is wearing out where my chair rolls over it all the time. Time for an office mat. But that will have to wait until next week when my business manager gets back from a conference so I can order it....

    And before you ask, no, I haven't voted yet. DH and I usually go together so that we can confuse them with two different last names :-) Also, our polling place is at a high school, so it's just not a good idea to attempt to vote before 9AM or between 2 and 4PM. We'll vote around 5 or 5:30 and then go out to eat, as we usually do.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    November 10, 2006

    It's the big 3-0

    So of course I celebrated like an adult:

    I went to the zoo and then I came home and took a nap.

    Of course, I did take a lot of fabulous pictures. The best were of course of the chimps.  I take better pictures of chimps than anything else.  Here are a couple:

    Happy Birthday to me!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:33 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack

    November 13, 2006

    Happy Birthday!

     To Richmond!

    Here's hoping you have a wonderful day, and a year full of everything you could wish for, my friend!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 22, 2006

    They say the way to a man's heart is through is his stomach...

    I don't know about his heart, but certain other organs sure seem to respond to food:

    Thirty-one men, aged 18 to 64 years... underwent olfactory testing with the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT), a 40-item, forced choice, scratch and sniff odor detection and identification test...  The effects of 30 odors on penile blood flow were assessed by comparing a subject's brachial penile index while wearing an odorized mask to his average index while wearing an unodorized mask. This was done for each subject for each odor.

    Here are the 10 odors that elicited the largest responses:
    1.  Lavender and pumpkin pie
    2.  Doughnut and black licorice
    3.  Pumpkin pie and doughnut
    4.  Orange
    5.  Lavender and doughnut
    6.  Black licorice and cola
    7.  Black licorice
    8.  Doughnut and cola
    9.  Lily of the valley
    10. Buttered popcorn
    Well, I know doughnuts, black licorice, cola, and pie are some of MY husband's favorite foods, but I had no idea they could have such an effect on him.

    This study explains a lot.

    h/t AWTM

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:17 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2006

    The Bitch Grinch is back!

    Did you miss me? Of course not, there was too much going on.

    Kudos to Rachel for jumping in and covering for me with such a great post!

    I just spent 3 days locked in Los Angeles area hotel (literally) at a planning retreat for our university.  Interesting to say the least, and definitely worth the trip in terms of understanding the individuals and issues in my workplace..... but still, I am VERY glad to be home in my own bed with DH and our princess puppy.

    The hotel's king sized bed was comfy, but somehow I missed my two living hot water bottles an awful lot.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    December 05, 2006

    merry f**cking christmas...

    I don't know what the f*ck is wrong with me. I STG it's already December 5 and I have no decorations up, no cards sent, and no gorram christmas tree.

    ME. The queen of Christmas. The one who has the Christmas blog theme up and running by Thanksgiving. The one who counts down the days until her Hubby will let her sing Christmas songs. The one who drags other people into the spirit.

    Yeah, not feeling it so much this year. I've seen White Christmas twice and Ralphie 3 times. I watched half of Miracle on 34th St last night (the original) before I fell asleep, but that's it. I haven't seen Love, Actually yet this year, or any of the others. I haven't switched the CDs in the car over to the christmas ones or anything.

    I guess everyone has an off year, huh? Maybe next week.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:10 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    December 06, 2006

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

    About 8:00 tonight I finally got my "Christmas" on. We cleaned up the house and brought out the decorations. The wreaths are up, the door hangers are out, and the countdown clock and advent calendar are out. I need to put up the rest of the outdoor lights (upstairs ones) and the indoor garlands and the stockings, and we need to get a tree, but things are looking a wee bit more seasonal already.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 08, 2006

    i told you it was looking a lot like Christmas.....

    See, I did decorate....


    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    December 10, 2006

    Holiday Update

    The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

    And there's a tree up, too.  Decorated, even.

    Pics later.  Maybe.

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

    December 13, 2006

    Throwing myself headlong at Christmas...

    I changed out the CDs in the car today. Now we have the following as accompaniment to LA traffic:

    1. Wintersong - Sarah McLachlan
    2. Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis with Percy Faith and His Orchestra
    3. Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics (South Park)
    4. Beyond the Season - Garth Brooks
    5. Love Actually soundtrack
    6. Barenaked for the Holidays - Barenaked Ladies

    And from that last album, here's what may be my favorite 'new' Christmas song:

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Passing Gas

    Or, How the Very Expensive Plumber f*cked up....

    So our next-door neighbor, a lovely woman who I will refer to as "JoAnn" has been having some trouble with her hot water heater. Including a hell of a flood last week. Good thing we have clear drainage. She decided to replace it sooner rather than later, and sooner turned out to be yesterday. As she told me last night, she chose the most expensive plumber to do the replacement simply because he had a reputation for NOT screwing things up.

    In any case, JoAnn works strange hours. Like she leaves the house between 10 and 11 in the morning, and usually returns after 9 at night. So in this case, she left them the spare garage door opener to get access to the garage, where the water heater lives, with the understanding that they would bill her and close the door after the new machine was up and running.

    One thing about the garage. JoAnn's garage and ours are under our respective houses and are connected by a walkway and a staircase that leads to each of our back doors. So you can enter either of our garages from the other. This, in fact, is why we knew in advance about the repair. She wanted to let us know that strangers would have access to our garage. No big deal, unless of course they like to steal empty cardboard boxes or Army uniforms. Or laundry detergent.

    So I leave the house at 6:30 am, husband in tow, and drop DH at work before I go on to my own office. I had meetings and things all day yesterday, culminating with a staff meeting/ party. So I don't get home until 6:30 PM. All I wanted to do was address Christmas cards and veg in front of the TV. And go to bed early.

    Did I mention I left here at 5:30? Fucking LA trafffic.

    Anyway. By the time I arrived home it had been at least 3-4 hours since anyone had been in either garage. I pull into the driveway and roll down my window for the garage opener (which has a weak ass signal) and as the door opens, I smell something.

    By the time I pull in and turn the car off, I know what it is: Gas. Immediately I go into panic mode. I run out on to the driveway and dial the house, meanwhile yelling at DH to pick up the phone. He picks up the phone and I ask him to open the back door and tell me what he smells. He concurs that it is gas and rings off to call JoAnn's cell.

    In the meantime I have recovered sufficiently to realize that if I could drive into the garage that there's not enough gas to flash over, so I go over to JoAnn's garage and hit the button to open the door and turn off the light in my garage and then back the car out and park it on the street.

    DH then went down to the HOA reps' house and asked about the shut offs, and she brought out the gas wrench, and we turned off JoAnn's gas at the main. Within 10 minutes, all of the gas had cleared.

    I'll find out from her this afternoon why this happened, whether it was a blown pilot light or a loose connection or what.

    Scary, though.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    December 14, 2006

    80-some down.....

    I finally got the damn cards in the mail today!


    Some of you should be expecting them within a few days, I hope.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 15, 2006

    home, sick

    I think I caught a cold.  So I'm working from my couch today, rather than my office.

    I like working in my jammies.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:24 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Happy Hanukkah!

    To all of you who celebrate, Happy Hanukkah! (or Chanukah or Chanukkah or however you spell it!)

    Save some latkes for me!

    And here's a Hanukkah carol from one of my favorite bands, The LeeVees:

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 17, 2006


    I finally had a chance to speak to the next-door neighbor today.  Turns out that the plumber didn't carefully tighten down one of the several connections in the gas line.

    However, he did come out in the middle of the night to do it. And then the gas company inspector checked several times after he re lit all the pilots.

    So we're gas-safe again.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 18, 2006

    I am thankful for...

    The elixir of the gods:

    Oh yeah. 

    Funny thing, I used to run and hide from the stuff as a kid.  Still tastes just as nasty, but now I prefer not hacking up a lung, thank you very much.

    Oh and BTW, as I know I got this POS cold from a friend who recently flew on Air France, why can't French germs be cheese-eating surrender monkeys, too?

    Ugh.  If you want me you know where to find me.  I'll be the one groaning in between sniffles....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 19, 2006

    Happy Happy!

    Happy Birthday to Beth of Blue Star Chronicles, an all around classy chick!

    Her mom and sisters have posted some incriminating photos of the birthday girl.....

    As for me, I'll just wish her the nicest of days and a big piece of birthday cake!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 21, 2006

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

    Have you stopped by to check out the newest member of the Bad Example Bunch?  It's Bitterroot, also known as =HC=, husband of my blog sis Mrs_Who.

    And he's got a great story to tell about their Golden Retriever.....

    "...Mothers can tell what every different nuance in a baby's cry means.  I've never understood that.  But I can understand my dog. 

    I can tell the difference between a cat in the parkbark, a strange dogs are in my yard!  bark, and even a neighbor girl and her boyfriend are talking/making-out in her driveway bark.  There's also the strangers walking past the yard bark, and of course the usual bored reply to the other barking dog down the street bark.

    But at about 2:30 this morning, she was barking something different.  It definitely wasn't a bored or cat bark - it was more insistent.  She almost sounded scared.  As I listened, her barking intensified - whatever it was was really unnerving her - she was already up to DefCon 2.  I got up and went to the family room at the other end of the house and peered out the windows.  I saw nothing.  By this time, Dog is going positively ape-shit out there.  Something or someone is in the yard, and it's definitely a stranger bark!  I moved as quickly as I dared through the darkened house to secure my gun and flashlight.  (I know, I know)   They should have been in my hands before I went to investigate.)  Damn!  Mrs. Who or the kids - okay, maybe even *I* left the MagLite somewhere other than where it was supposed to be.  Too late, I can't turn-on lights to search for it.  There's no time, and I'll only handicap my own night-adjusted eyes - blinding myself and possibly even making a silhouette of myself!...."

    Read the rest, and find out WHY she went to DefCon 2

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    It's gotta be the Holly-Daze

    This blog is now officially on hiatus for the holidays.

    Of course, as loyal readers, you know that probably means I'll be posting pretty frequently. :-)

    Anyway, I leave you with this, a message of love, peace, and tolerance for the Holidays...
    (NSFW without headphones)

    Merry F*cking Christmas, y'all!

    h/t Linda

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    December 31, 2006

    It's that time of year again...

    New Year's Eve.  A time to reflect.  To join with friends to celebrate another year past and a new year to come.  To watch football, and drink (responsibly) and remember that a baby born tonight gives you a year's worth of tax help :-)

    2006 has been in many ways a year of grace for us.  Quiet and unremarkable, which is good after 2005's roller coaster.  There were many moments of peace and thankfulness: our one year anniversary of our move back to CA, my Dad's cancer-free anniversary, milestones and accomplishments at work.  Quiet evenings at home, evenings spent at parties and games.  Moments spent with new friends and old.  Just moments unremarkable except that we were able to enjoy them.  All in all a good year.

    There are many things I could say that I want for next year: better health, to become a homeownwer, to get a raise at work, for DH to have an easier group of students.  But really, if 2007 is anything like 2006, I'll be more than happy with its quiet, steady passage.

    A blessed and Happy New Year to each of you, may 2007 bring health, happiness, and dreams come true.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:18 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    January 01, 2007

    Happy New Year!

    It's been a heck of a busy day.

    Too much Champagne, too little sleep, up early for the Rose Parade, too much traffic, rich food, USC football, and the coolest damn game I've ever seen, courtesy of Boise State.

    Parade pictures tomorrow after work, including the starring appearance by Robbo, Steve-o, and friends.

    My lucky bastard husband is off another week.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:41 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    January 04, 2007

    Still recovering....

    I suppose I owe you all an update.  Haven't really written anything of consequence for a while.  Sorry about that, but I've been a little out of pocket.

    Christmas was great.  We spent the week in Fresno, enjoying the cold and the fog as only natives or long-time residents can.  Santa Claus was particularly nice to us, actually.  I got a small (read: $30 on Black Friday sale) microwave for my office and a new bluetooth headset for my cell phone (it looks like a ladybug!).  DH got a fishing pole and a tackle box, as he has recently resumed his fishing habit with my dad, aka FishMagnet.  We also got to play with the nieces and nephew.

    However, the best part of the week was just being able to sleep late and relax and not be on a schedule.

    Since we got back, work has been kicking my ass.  I did a lot of extra stuff before the break so that I would have it done. Good damn thing I did, because I would otherwise be living at the office trying to keep up!  Good thing that microwave was under the tree :-)

    I feel highly unmotivated to discuss politics or current events.  There's just not much worth mentioning.  The Democrats are doing their "In your face" dance, Jerry Ford is still dead, and so is Saddam.  Castro is still NOT dead.  Using the Koran at the swearing in is literally a tempest in a teapot, even if the bastard is only doing it to make a political point.  The shit never changes, you know.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


    In anticipation of today's Friday F*ck Off, here's a list of people I'd like to tell to F*ck off:

    LA Drivers
    Leftards who let power go to their heads
    People who pick on the weak
    assholes who don't pay their child support
    People who slam their siblings in public
    People who don't pick up their dog poo
    Cashiers who don't know how to use their registers
    jackass house guests who complain for a week.  About EVERYTHING
    Fucktards who drive SLLLLLOW in the left lane.  Especially on the Arroyo Parkway.
    cagastro and pals
    that little ronery North Korean fuck, too
    TV network executives
    Sales tax
    Stuffed shirt bureaucrats
    the replacement mailman
    idiots who wash their sidewalks.  Talk about wasting water. Fuckers.  This is CA.
    dook basketball
    Nick Saban
    Dan LeBatard.  Where the Fuck is Wilbon, goddammit??
    the NIH study section who told me that they love my science and acknowledge that I have the expertise to do the work, but they don't think I have enough experience.
    Ads on the delete screen on the TiVo.  WTF is that about?  I pay enough for the fucking service as it is.
    Sorority Chicklets
    The Girls Gone Wild guy.  And all the little sluts on those videos too.  Cheap much?
    vegan evangelists
    Clueless fucks who think that if they keep those Kerry/ Edwards bumper stickers on, that they can live in denial that the election is over.
    John Kerry
    John Edwards
    sheeple who actually believe the media in all instances without question
    and did I mention fucking stupid LA drivers?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:54 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    January 09, 2007

    Frigging LIVID

    That is all.

    UPDATE: fixed.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:34 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    January 12, 2007

    Goodnight Ralph

    2007 has been a rotten year for the Georgia Aquarium so far. First they lost Gasper, a male beluga whale, when he had to be euthanized because of a long illness with osteomyelitis.  Yesterday they lost another of their stars, a young adult male Whale Shark named Ralph.  No one knows yet what caused his rapid deterioration.

    Here's Ralph happily swimming along in October, when I visited:

    And here's Gasper:
    Sad, especially as the Georgia Aquarium is a lovely facility.  Very clean and well organized, and the animals are clearly well taken care of.  Another fun thing about the place, as you can see from these 2 photos, it is PERFECT for photography when other people don't get in the way and/ or leave the flash off.  there are tanks overhead and underfoot and makes for some neat viewing of the marine (and river) animals on display.  I was quite taken with the place, and I hope that these are two isolated incidents that don't repeat themselves in the other exhibitions.
    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 13, 2007


    This blog has often looked at the subject of Karma, perhaps a funny thing for me to believe in, but time and time again it has proved to be exactly how things work.

    Today, two examples of Karma, one good, and one bad.

    First, good karma in the story of Shawn Hornbeck.  When their son disappeared 4 and a half years ago, Pam and Craig Akers took a proactive role.  They never lost hope, they learned what they would need to do to bring Shawn home, and they formed a foundation to bring information and hope to families in the same situation.  The Shawn Hornbeck foundation has helped many people in the last 4 and a half years.  And today, Shawn is home, thanks to another kid and a pair of alert policemen.  Karma.

    Second, bad karma.  You know how every time you call a repairman or have something installed you have to wait for them?  In our case it's a new dishwasher that should have been installed a week ago.  For some reason it had to be installed today instead of last week.

    The instructions were that the dude was supposed to call before he arrived so that we could call the landlord, since he had to approve any extra installation expenses.

    Well, as you can imagine, he didn't call, and so we had to call the landlord after he arrived.

    Which means he had to wait for us. He was not happy. And then when he found out that the landlord doesn't live in our complex he walked out in a huff.

    It was all I could do not to laugh.

    Karma.  What can I say.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 16, 2007

    Happy Birth-day

    Jesse "Speaks" arrived safely into the world via C-section at 3 am Tuesday January 16, 2007

    7lbs 5oz, 20 1/4 in long, dark brown hair

    Mom, Dad, and Baby are all doing well!

    Jesse is really adorable.  Drop by Jen's page to see baby's first photos and leave them your best!

    And many thanks to Aunt Jaynee for springing the news!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 18, 2007

    It's another Boy!

    Congratulations to the Smallholder and Mrs. Smallholder on the birth of the latest Jr. Smallholder, who weighed in at 8lbs, 6 oz, and is reported to have lots of red hair!

    h/t YML

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 24, 2007

    Happy Clam Day!

    See here for details!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 13, 2007

    It's official. I am in fact a child.

    Sorry for the lack of posting, but now I know for sure why I have been feeling like poo: I have an ear infection. Courtesy of someone else's child.

    As the doctor said today, one of the crappier things about being treated for RA is that you catch EVERYTHING that comes along because the drugs suppress your immune system.  In my case allergies = vulnerable sinuses -> sinus infection -> ear infection.

    So excuse me while I suck my thumb and tug on my left ear until the antibiotics kick in.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:51 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    Why am I against the new HPV vaccine?

    This is why.

    This is the SECOND rotavirus vaccine to cause these problems in young children and infants.  In 1999, the Rotashield vaccine caused the same problems.

    Until we know FOR SURE that the Gardasil vaccine is safe, it is entirely irresponsible to mandate it for every female child.

    Furthermore, Rachel makes a good point here:

    "We (the collective) do not want the government to pass laws about our right to murder our unborn children, but we're not up in arms about the government forcing us to inject foreign matter into our little girls' bodies?"
    Intellectual Disconnect much?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2007

    Because the night....

    If the timestamp on this thing posts even remotely correctly, you'll see that it's well after 1am here on the left coast.  Although the insomnia is a constant presence, I was holding it at bay pretty well over the last few weeks courtesy of some sleepytime allergy meds that were helping me get to sleep.  Then this sinus thing came along, with Phinneas Gage pain.  Literally.  I've thought about bashing in the left side of my face more than once in the last week.  It has to be less painful than what has been keeping me up at night.

    And really, that's why I went to the damn doctor at all.  I hate fucking doctors, really.  They always want to tell me that they know more than I do about what's wrong with me.  Really, ego man?  Living in my body doesn't give me any clues?  Not to mention that I have TAUGHT doctors before.  Nervous system of the head and neck.  Just happens to be my specialty.

    Either that or they want to shit on me for being fat.  Guess what?  That's an easy answer, but it's wrong.  WRONG.  My heart's good, my BP is good, my load-bearing joints are healthy, and frankly, none of that has ANYTHING to do with why my fucking face hurts, thank you very much.

    So it's taken me a while to actually go in and see someone.  In fact, I hadn't even been to a primary care doc since before I left NC.  I've been seeing my EXCELLENT, KICK-ASS rheumo like clockwork for a year, and I've been for my annual girly parts checkup, but I've never had a reason to see anyone else.  So I put it off until I couldn't put it off any more.

    I actually liked the doc.  I liked that she sat and talked to me for a few minutes, that she seemed interested in making sure the RA was getting taken care of, and that she didn't seem to be in a rush to put me out on the street again.

    But I digress.  Evidently the little troll in my ear decided it doesn't like broad spectrum antibiotic therapy.  It is currently throwing a tantrum in my left ear that feels like my teeth are turning to molten lava and my jaw is about to follow suit, and then everything is going to drain out my ear canal.  So I'm propped up on the couch, trying to drink warm chai tea and relax enough to do some meditative breathing in addition to the pain pills I took earlier.  Hopefully that will put the monster off.  It worked this afternoon, but the pain wasn't so intense.

    I really don't know how people handled shit like this before good damn drugs.

    On the other hand, I think I now know why Van Gogh cut off his ear.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:26 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    February 15, 2007


    One of the things I find most useful in recovery from ANY illness is laughter. Especially the drop your teeth, wipe off the keyboard , run for the bathroom kind of laughter you find all over the net.

    Today, I bring you three examples of such. And if you don't think it's that funny, you must excuse my sense of humor. It's high on cold medicine.

    First up, political humor from Goldstein (too good to NOT steal)
    "Q: Why did the Neocon cross the road?"

    a. To push over an old woman and take away her healthcare subsidies
    b. To beat those Dixie Chicks traitors with a tire iron
    c. Because, though he was really hungry for the blood of an innocent brown person, he decided to settle for some McNuggets and a medium Diet Coke
    e. To burn down a Planned Parenthood, deny battered women a voice, and further the aims of the Christofascist Patriarchy
    f. all of the above
    g. none of the above
    h. don't even look at me, you same-sex married homosexual gay fag
    And from my dear friend Vanessa, some IVF TMI.

    Finally, photoshop phun from Darleen.  Or should that be phrom Darleen?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 16, 2007

    going dark briefly

    On hiatus for the long weekend. Have a good one, everybody!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 27, 2007

    Cloudy with a chance of fire alarm

    As is usual for a Tuesday morning, DH's alarm went off at 5:30 am. Unusually enough, however, he opened our sliding glass door and woke me so I could enjoy the sound of the rain.  Then he got back into bed and we snuggled with the dog and listened to this morning's storm.

    Until about 5:50.  At 5:45 there was a terrific downburst and a great gust of wind.

    And then the neighbor's alarm system went off.  The rain had shorted the alarm bell mechanism on the fire system in the townhouses next door.  By 6:05 the firemen were knocking on doors looking for a fire or malfunctioning sprinklers.  Finding none, they left.

    Alarm still ringing. E flat, in case you were wondering.

    The alarm FINALLY was silenced at about 7:30 am, although I'm not sure if it dried out or they got an alarm repairman in to fix it.

    It was a hell of a morning!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Quiet around here, no?

    Real life interferes.  Between work, choir rehearsals, and a pair of illnesses (DH and I both had the creeping crud) I've been neglecting y'all.

    And frankly, I haven't been that motivated by what's going on in the world.  More like disgusted into oblivion.  Lately it's been easier to just turn it off than to vent about it.

    We did watch the Oscars, though.  As expected it was a lovefest for Manbearpig, who didn't really win an Oscar.  He wasn't eligible, actually.  Also not surprising, the adoration heaped on Hollywood's two "current" issues: global warming and gayness.


    Do some people just not get it?  There was NO major hoohah (which was a good damn thing, IMO) when two black actors won, or that latinos and asians were front runners in several categories.  Just "the most diverse Oscars ever."  So can we get over the Gay thing already?  Please.  Hell, gay people have been winning Academy Awards for years.  Really.  And they get married and have babies, too.  It's a beautiful thing, so can we just move on?

    And this whole Global warming thing.  Honestly people, 30 years ago we were terrified of a new ICE AGE.  Really and truly.  30 years from now, we'll be back there.  I promise.  And the Apostle of this new religion is the BIGGEST wastrel of all.

    There's nothing wrong with being an environmentalist.  I think it's important to conserve and recycle and reuse and repurpose and be smart about our energy choices and decreasing pollution in general, not just CO2.  But we can not get hung up on the idea that WE are causing global warming.  That's like saying a bucketful of water drains the ocean.  On a 5 billion year old planet, with a sun that provides millions of times MORE energy than we can ever hope to produce without nukes, it is difficult to predict exactly how our weather is affected, if at all, by us.

    What we should do is continue to study the Earth's processes and how we affect them, how other factors affect them, and how time affects them.  This will take longer than the 20-some years we have been hooked on global warming.  Far longer, in fact.  Especially as we know that weather cycles are probably a century long, or longer.

    And, if we really want conservation, we need to practice what we preach.  Like Ed Begley, Jr ., rather than algore.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 02, 2007

    I got nothin'

    What are YOU doing this weekend?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:49 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

    April 04, 2007

    Now this is more like it

    I would use some cliche title like "Fat and Happy" but that would insult ME, so I didn't.

    This so perfectly expresses my attitude about my body. 

    Fat happens.  Get over it.  Yes, I can diet and exercise. In fact, I do.  But my body happens to LIKE being this size, I guess.  So what?  Why should you care?  Projecting YOUR insecurities on me, huh?  I'm happy, my husband thinks I'm sexy, and the doctor says I'm 100% healthy except for a disease that has NOTHING to do with my weight.

    So why should I waste my time being upset about it?  Seriously.

    As my buddy Cartman once put it, "I'm not fat, I'm festively plump."
    h/t RG

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    It's not often when you know the genesis of a story idea

    ...and you don't even know the reporter.

    But this story, from Sunday's Raleigh News and Observer, well, it's not hard.

    Hispanic DWIs rooted in immigrants' culture

    When Eliseo Hernandez came to the United States 30 years ago, he thought he drove better after a few beers. Driving drunk had been normal back in Mexico, he said. But Hernandez, 54, learned of its perils firsthand. He quit the practice after falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a tree 18 years ago.

    Then, last year, a young Hispanic man who authorities say was drunk nearly killed Hernandez's only son, Diego, in a crash on a rural Johnston County road. Eliseo Hernandez's daughter, who was nine months pregnant, lost her unborn child in the accident.

    Hernandez has spent the past year following Diego through four hospitals and 14 brain surgeries. Diego only recently began to smile again and might never walk.

    Hernandez said he hopes his painful journey will teach his friends and family a lesson. Car accidents are the top killer of Hispanics in North Carolina, and the disproportionate number of alcohol-related arrests and wrecks are an embarrassment to a minority already beleaguered by hard feelings over illegal immigration.

    "It makes the Mexicans look bad, very bad," Hernandez said. "The American people say 'Oh, it's just another Hispanic, the same as the others.' "

    It was a commonly held assumption among the Orange County sheriff's deputies and other local cops that a hispanic man driving to the ABC (state-owned liquor store) was probably already drunk.  And that if you pulled over a hispanic man, chances are he would fail a roadside sobriety test.

    DWIs are far higher among hispanics than any other culture in NC, and for a while this was seen as racial profiling by police and State Troopers.  In CA, many times the DWI hispanic driver is also an illegal alien. Interesting now to see this article owning that DWI/DUI is sometimes part of the culture.

    The first step is admitting you have a problem.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 05, 2007

    This gives a WHOLE NEW MEANING to the "troll under the bridge"

    Let's put it this way, if I was the mama Billy Goat Gruff, I wouldn't go near this bridge myself, let alone the little BGG....

    Paroled sex offenders living under Miami highway bridge
    MIAMI -- Several paroled sex offenders are living under a noisy highway bridge and fending off rats each night, because they cannot find housing in compliance with strict county ordinances for violators, state officials and one of the men said Thursday.

    At least three men are making their home under the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which connects Miami with neighboring Miami Beach, said Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Corrections Department. One of the men under the bridge said he was among five.

    The state decided they could live under the bridge because the men were unable to find housing they could afford and that did not violate Miami-Dade county rules, which say sex offenders must live at least 2,500 feet from places children gather.

    They must stay there between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. because a parole officer checks on them nearly every night, Plessinger said.

    "This is not an ideal situation for anybody, but at this point we don't have any other options," Plessinger said. "We're still looking, the offenders are still actively searching for residences."


    "This is an injustice," said the man who wouldn't give his name. "I completed my sentence."

    The man refused to discuss the crime that landed him under the bridge, but state records show a host of offenses for the men who live there: sexual battery, molestation, abuse, grand theft. Many of the crimes are against children.

    "Public safety is our main focus and we feel like public safety is being achieved in these individuals," Plessinger said. "But this is a problem that is going to have to be addressed. If we drive these offenders so far underground or we can't supervise them because they become so transient it's not making us safer."

    Most homeless shelters won't take the men, Plessinger said, because they're sex offenders. One that would is within the prohibited range of a school or daycare center. She said one of the men, for example, found dozens of residences he was happy to live in, but parole officers vetoed all of them because they violated county rules.

    Plessinger said she believed the state first authorized sex offenders to live under a bridge last June. Before the causeway, some of the men lived under a bridge in downtown Miami. They were forced to leave, Plessinger said, when it was determined they were within range of a daycare center.

    The man under the causeway on Thursday said he had been there for about six weeks. He said he fears for his life.

    Here's the creepy part:

    Ironically, putting the men here hasn't kept them out of reach of children. On Thursday afternoon, down the concrete slope from the men's makeshift home, a family with young children played in the bay next to their boat, oblivious to the sex offenders who call a place under a bridge their home. (emphasis mine, --Ed.)
    Personally,I could give a crap that they can't find a place to live.  Shoulda thought of that BEFORE you raped or molested, asshole.  Living with rats is HIGHLY appropriate for this kind of vermin.

    At least the state isn't putting them up at taxpayers' expense.  Out of prison, off the taxpayers' dole and still living in shit.  Nice Job.

    h/t LindaSoG
    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 08, 2007

    Science and Belief, Not Incompatible

    As you all know, I am a scientist. Most of my friends are scientists, my colleagues are scientists, and I have had the privilege of meeting many of the world's deepest and most renowned scientific thinkers.

    And again and again, I am struck by the depth of faith to be found in the scientific community. While laypeople bitch and moan over Evolution, Creation, and Intelligent Design, many scientists simply don't see the incongruity.

    The more you know about the amazing intricacies of the world around us, the easier it is to believe in an omniscient supreme being as designer and creator. It's all just so smart you know?

    Anyway, the point of this post is to share with you a bit of this piece from CNN, where Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project at NIH, discusses his faith and how one can be a scientist AND a believer.

    So, some have asked, doesn't your brain explode? Can you both pursue an understanding of how life works using the tools of genetics and molecular biology, and worship a creator God? Aren't evolution and faith in God incompatible? Can a scientist believe in miracles like the resurrection?

    Actually, I find no conflict here, and neither apparently do the 40 percent of working scientists who claim to be believers. Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.

    But why couldn't this be God's plan for creation? True, this is incompatible with an ultra-literal interpretation of Genesis, but long before Darwin, there were many thoughtful interpreters like St. Augustine, who found it impossible to be exactly sure what the meaning of that amazing creation story was supposed to be. So attaching oneself to such literal interpretations in the face of compelling scientific evidence pointing to the ancient age of Earth and the relatedness of living things by evolution seems neither wise nor necessary for the believer.

    I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.

    That's absolutely how I feel, and I know many others who feel the same way. Science and Faith go hand in hand. Science is the discovery of the majesty of our world, and revealing the wonder of the universe gives glory to its author.

    Have a Blessed Easter, Passover, or whatever you choose to celebrate this weekend!

    h/t John at Wait 'til Next Year

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:43 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    April 11, 2007

    A Literary Loss

    Kurt Vonnegut died today at the age of 84.  You might be surprised to find me a Vonnegut fan, given his politics, but he had a GENIUS way with words.

    Breakfast of Champions was the first Vonnegut I read.  In high school.  In between giggling at his picture of an a$$hole....

    I discovered the first REALLY SMART book I ever read.  Admittedly it took me a couple of trips through before I really got it.

    And I was hooked.  Over the years, I've put a lot of Vonnegut between my ears, including many of the lesser known books, especially Hocus Pocus, which gave me one of my favorite phrases ever, "When the Excrement Hit the Air Conditioning".... And yes, he capitalized it just like that.

    His sense of the euphemism was unmatched, and he used them like metaphors.  In a world of fumbling double entendre and pathetic punnery, his phrases stand out for their lack of self-importance.

    My favorite of his works, though, was his last novel, Timequake, a book I love so dearly that I have thumb tabbed a number of quotes.
    I have two favorite passages, a short one I will share with you here, and a longer bit below the jump (profanity below the jump, BTW).

    Vonnegut's advice to the physicist Leo Seren, who apologized for participating in the atomic bomb production:

    "Somebody should have told him that being a physicist on a planet where the smartest animals hate being alive so much means never having to say you're sorry."
    h/t Jack of Random Fate

    Read More "A Literary Loss" »
    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 12, 2007

    For those of you in the know...

    They say no news is good news, right?  I'll let you know when I know more.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    April 13, 2007

    Would that more journalists saw things this way

    ESPN.com's Jemele Hill apologizes to the Duke Lacrosse players wrongfully accused of rape (it's a long passage, but well worth the time and bandwidth):

    My being a black woman, my knowing too many athletes who treat women like items to be purchased in a vending machine, and my witnessing enough athlete rape trials where accusers are overwhelmed by their fame and fortune -- it all tainted my perception and made me doubt your innocence.

    I feel stupid now.

    I could blame Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong, but that would be too easy. Oh, he's a lout, no doubt. He played upon the emotions of a community and its long-held hostilities, and put his reelection bid above morality and common sense. He played all of us and should be punished with nothing less than disbarment.

    I could blame Jesse Jackson, who I have hoped for years would disappear to a faraway land where CNN wouldn't follow. As usual, Jesse showed up and showed out. He incited the masses and then left everyone else to sort out the wreckage. And if Jesse wants to gain an ounce of the credibility he no longer has, he would find the nearest camera -- and we know he's good at that -- and express sorrow with all the sincerity he can muster. But the day Jesse apologizes for causing a scene is the day Rosie O'Donnell wears a muzzle.

    But if there is anything to be learned from Don Imus' fall, it's that real apologies are never accompanied by rationalizations.

    So to Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, the three Duke lacrosse players whose lives were mangled by an unsupported rape accusation, I say two of the hardest words in the English language:

    I'm sorry.

    It's not enough, and I won't pretend that it is. For the last year, your lives and those of your families have been more difficult than any of us can possibly imagine. I'll never know what it was like walking around normal society labeled a rapist. I'll never know what it's like to lose everything -- your school, your program and your life -- because of one unproven accusation.

    You deserve all of that back and then some, but unfortunately, you won't get it. You have every right to not trust anyone and think less of people. Duke University abandoned you. An overzealous prosecutor tormented you. A community, a nation, didn't believe you. Journalists everywhere, sensing ratings and salivating over the salaciousness of black strippers and white athletes, chose to keep you under attack.

    Not that this is a contest to see who was wronged the most, but the Rutgers women's basketball team at least received justice, because Imus was suspended and dropped by MSNBC, which simulcasts his morning show. Plenty of people are outraged on their behalf.

    But who is outraged on your behalf? What justice will you receive? Will the same networks that willingly aided in destroying your reputations now give you airtime to vent your frustrations? Will Jesse Jackson now offer the three of you a free scholarship like he did the "victim," since he helped assist in your battered reputation?

    Maybe the only modicum of fairness you have received is that the News & Observer in Raleigh decided to print the name of your accuser. I don't normally advocate that the names of alleged victims be printed, but it feels right in this instance.

    I know I'd certainly like to ask your accuser a few questions, even though she stood by her story as North Carolina's attorney general vehemently proclaimed your innocence. Does she understand she has tanked not only her credibility, but that of other women, too? Does she understand the next time a woman comes forward with an allegation this serious, all of our minds will scroll back to this case, and we will be less inclined to believe her? Does she know women with legitimate sexual-assault complaints will look at this furor and decide silence is best?

    I can't deny that your race, gender and class have everything to do with how you were treated then and how you are treated now. Some people believe white men are exempt from sympathy and incapable of being maligned, so they will not swallow their pride and offer you the decency you should have received in the first place. Yes, you made an unwise decision to entertain strippers at a residence, but that just makes you guilty of being like 90 percent of college males.

    Read the rest here.

    Bravo to Ms. Hill, who put politics and BS aside in the face of what is right, and my best wishes to these three young men, who have learned a very painful lesson about race, class, and sex in this country.  I hope that they are able to pick up where they left off, and come to a place where people don't know their names except based on their accomplishments and kindnesses.

    h/t Goldstein

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 19, 2007

    A lack of posting on my part....

    Sorry folks, real life intervenes.  More this weekend, I hope.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 24, 2007

    Armenian Martyrs' Day

    April 24th is the day we remember the victims of a forgotten genocide.

    On April 24, 1915, turkish soldiers arrested 250 Armenians in the first of hundreds of raids designed to wipe out the Armenian population of turkey.

    Armenian villages were rousted one by one, and the men ordered to leave at once and serve the turkish army.  Boys as young as 9 or 10, and men as old as 70.  Many never made that far, as turkish soldiers often took these "new recruits" not to the army camps but out to the woods, where they were summarily executed.  The women and girls, thus undefended, were easy prey for the turkish soldiers.

    Those who remained behind were forced from their lands, homes, and belongings, and force-marched to "settlement camps" in remote areas.  Many died along the way from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure to the elements.  According to French scholars Joel Kotek and Pierre Rigoulot, there were up to 25 such camps.

    But the Armenian's plight was nowhere near as unknown, even in that day, as it is now.  Despite the lack of internet, video cameras, and TV screens, in 1915 the plight of the Armenians was a worldwide topic of discussion.  US Consular officials, as early as July of 1915, were concerned enough to beg the US government to step in. 

    (click to enlarge)

    No less than Winston Churchill, then Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty noted, "the clearance of race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act could be...There is no reason to doubt that that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions."  And he was then in the midst of the "war to end all wars" against Germany!

    During 1915, the New York Times paper published 145 articles about the mass murder of the Armenian people, describing the massacre as "systematic, "authorized" and "organized by the government." In 1918, Theodore Roosevelt called it "the greatest crime of the war."

    But today, no one even knows it happened

    Denialists of all stripes, from US and EU officials who find turkey's past "annoying", to the turks themselves who believe such raids were justified to "pick up deserters" (yeah, little old men, deserters.  right.) have managed to decrease the general public's awareness of these atrocities.  But they happened.  There was no Photoshop in 1915.  All of the horrible pictures you see here are real.

    Despite missions from the US and UK, Austria, France, and others, the plight of the Armenians faded off the radar screen as war in Europe intensified.

    Looks a lot like Germany around 1942, huh? 

    In fact,  Adolf Hitler said of the Armenian Genocide: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"as his justification for the atrocities carried out on the Jews and others during the Nazi's reign over Germany.

    We did not forget.  We do not forget.  We will always remember.

    My previous remembrances here.  This stays on top all day.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 25, 2007

    Keeping up with the Memers

    Velocidude recently posted a cartoon short that was one of his favorites as a kid.

    So I tried to find mine, but alas, it is NOT available on the web.  Ugh.

    You see, I was always a Merrie Melodies gal.  Not so big on the Bugs Bunny and pals, but I loved the Mel Blanc shorts.  My all time favorite is a bit from 1953 called "A Sheep in the Deep" starring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, who many of you will recognize a an early version of Foghorn Leghorn's nemesis George P. Dog and Wile E. Coyote.

    If you have never seen any of the series, the premise is that Sam and Ralph are buddies, except at work, where the sheepdog's job is to keep the wolf away from the sheep, and the wolf's job is to catch them.  Sam and Ralph clock in and clock out every day.

    "Mornin' Sam.  Oh, Good Morning Ralph."

    And to appease those of you who MUST have a video, my favorite of the modern Warner Bros. cartoons. Pinky and the Brain present "The Parts of the Brain:"

    For the curious, this little ditty was actually part of my PhD thesis talk. No, really.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:38 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    Done deal

    Pending escrow, we've got a house!

    I know I haven't posted about it much, but that's because it has been BEYOND stressful, including some nasty negotiations, 7 counteroffers, and a lot of threats to walk away from the deal.

    Here's hoping the rest of the deal goes smoother than the contract negotiations.

    Escrow opens tomorrow!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:04 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

    April 30, 2007

    I've been keeping a secret.....

    It's not MY secret, so I don't feel so bad.  And in fact, in some ways it may be among the worst-kept secrets in blogdom.... 

    Even so I feel pretty honored to have been trusted with it for so long, but now the proverbial cat's officially out of the bag, and I can share it with y'all.

    My darling girl Helen is up the duff!  (that's p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t for you yanks!)

    After many ups and downs, failed rounds of IVF, and many other difficulties, it seems Helen and her man Angus are about to become parents.  To twins!

    I wish you both (publicly for the first time!!!) all the joy and happiness in the world over the next few months and the double blessing of two healthy babies in October!

    These two little angels couldn't have picked a better mum and dad, who are thoughtful, and caring, and deeply committed to each other, and of course, already completely besotted with their very-much-wanted pair of babies.

    If you're so inclined, drop by and share in their joy!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    May 14, 2007

    Reflecting from the other side of the fence

    When I was a student, in high school, college, and even in graduate school, I had it impressed on me that the BEST way to make a good impression on my teachers was to work hard, be polite, and keep my sh*t together.

    And frankly it always seemed to me to be a good idea, especially when asking for a favor such as extra help, a letter of recommendation, or a sit-down meeting outside the classroom.

    I wonder sometimes if those lessons have been lost on the next generation. (BTW, next generation?  As if.  I was there myself less than 10 years ago!)

    I am the initial point of contact for students in two of our programs once they have been accepted.  Among my many jobs is testing coordinator, and so once students know that they are coming to our school, they contact me to set up placement exams.

    I can't believe the way these kids talk to me.  Do they not recognize that I am one of their professors?  Do they not have any respect for my position or the impact I can have on their future careers?

    Here's a brief list of do's and don'ts for those of you still in school:

    DO introduce yourself to your professor and ask any questions you would like answered.

    DO NOT call your professor THAT YOU HAVE NEVER MET BEFORE by his/ her first name.

    DO be timely in responding to any communication from the school you will be attending

    DO NOT use that response to ask for special favors or to complain about what we are asking you to do.

    DO purchase your class materials and texts ahead of time

    DO NOT whine at me because you couldn't get your sh*t together before class begins

    DO arrive at class on time, with your notebook, and ready to listen

    DO NOT eat, check your email, or text your friends in my class.  This will NOT help you get a good grade.  Listening and taking notes will.

    DO your homework when assigned

    DO NOT ask me for extra time because you are confused.  No one else is.

    I just wish someone could tell MY students this!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:04 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    May 15, 2007

    Attention all Chris Muir stalkers

    (that means YOU, wRitersBlock, and you Harvey)

    Chris Muir will be the guest on tomorrow's Steve H. Graham Blogtalk Radio show.

    9:30pm Eastern, Wednesday May 16.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 22, 2007

    Note to self:

    Red Eye flights are great if you actually manage to get some sleep. You know, instead of reading books.

    Also, what the holy blue f*ck is it about flying that makes you so f*cking tired and sore at the end of a flight?  Even a short flight? I swear to all the deities I can think of (including the God of Partial Credit) it was a 51 minute flight from Chicago to Detroit, and I could barely haul my cookies out to the frigging curb afterward.

    I just want to go home!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 24, 2007

    Moms and Sons

    Today was a good day for mother-son blogging:

    Oddy shares some pie with her little man.

    Bou and Bones discuss girls

    Seaturtle just doesn't understand where they get it from.

    VW shares pictures from PreK graduation fun

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 27, 2007

    Movin' on up.....

    Well, we finally closed on the house on Thursday.

    According to the contract, they had to be out at 5 pm that day.  We arrive at 5:05 with a pile of new locks and a bottle of champagne.

    By 8 pm ALL the locks had been changed.

    Anyway, we arrived at 5:05.  To find that the MOTHERFUCKERS had had the power turned off.  And the water, too.  This is POST 5  pm on Thursday before Memorial Day.  My choices are get it turned on Friday or go camping in my new house til Tuesday.

    8:00 am Friday, I called our friends at Pasadena Water and Power.  I explained my plight and told her that we had been TOLD.  EXPLICITLY. that the services would be on, and that we would merely have to call.  And what was I supposed to do with nowhere else to go before Tuesday? (we are in the process of furniture moving, and we will be actually living there starting tomorrow night).

    She took pity on me, charged me a small fee for same day service (they usually will not do same-day on Friday or the day before a holiday) and told me it would be on by 7pm.

    A lovely gentleman was there by noon.

    He, it turns out, is the dude responsible for our service area, and was ALSO the dude who turned the power and water OFF the previous afternoon.  He told us a very interesting story.  Seems Pasadena removes the actual water and power meters from a residence if it is to be vacant more than a couple of days to prevent meter theft.  His paperwork actually asked him to remove both meters because the house was supposedly going to be empty for quite a while.

    However, as he is frequently in the neighborhood, he had seen the "For Sale" sign and had seen it being taken down, so he decided to save himself some work, and left the meters behind, as he assumed (correctly) that removal of the sign meant the house had been sold.

    So when he got the call from dispatch he said "I knew it" and drove right over and turned us back on.  Took him 3 minutes.

    Best $40 I ever spent.  Thanks Pasadena Water and Power.

    Fucking cocksuckers.  Trying to screw me over again.  I hope they rot in hell.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:25 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    May 29, 2007

    Useful links for my LA area peeps

    First up, for those of you in the SGV area, a great new blog: Foothill Cities.  FCblog focuses on local happenings and politics in the cities along the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains from Pasadena down to Pomona.  It's how I keep up with local Pasadena news.  PS-N is nowhere near as responsive or informative!

    And for everyone in LA, the LAFD News and Information blog, the official blog of the Los Angeles Fire Department Media and Public Relations office.  Great informative site about major fire incidents, including details, traffic difficulties, etc.  Also a great source of info about the department and department-sponsored public events.  I wish more public service agencies would maintain similar sites (hint hint LAPD, Pasadena PD, CHP, etc.).  Recently, their coverage of the Griffith Park fire and resulting evacuations and closures was EXCELLENT.

    Thumbs up to both sites!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    May 31, 2007

    A Modern Commandment

    Of Ellison:

    "Thou shalt take thy garbage out from thy dwelling-place when the midden-heap becometh full, and deposit it in the Great Big Rolly Thing By The Driveway. Do this, lest thy habitation become stinky: I am the Lawd.

    "On the second day and on the fifth day, thou shalt roll the Great Big Rolly Thing to the boundary of thy driveway, even unto the edge of thy driveway, that the Garbage Men may come to remove it from thy dwelling-place.

    "And on the first of the month, thou shalt send thy Check-Offering unto the Garbage-Men, that they may continue to do their service, and the Crap in thy Dwelling-Place shall not become as numerous as the stars in the sky. It shall be a commandment unto you from generation to generation."


    Read the rest of Ellison's thoughts on modern life and it's reliance on waste removal.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 01, 2007

    Actually, Glenn...

    The question SHOULD be: Why isn't this a list of gifts for Mother's Day?  Lots of moms like power tools and grills and camera accessories, too!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    June 05, 2007

    Real life intervenes

    Working on a book chapter. If you have keys, feel free to pop in and post! Otherwise, chat in the comments, I guess.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 08, 2007

    Suck it up, twat. a.k.a. Paris goes to jail Part Deux

    You play, you pay, little girl. 

    This is what happens when you drive drunk.  You go to jail.  PERIOD.  Rich and Famous means nothing to Justice.  Remember, she's blind.

    Suck it up Paris.  Maybe you'll actually learn a lesson from this.  You know, that Mommy and Daddy can't cover for you for the rest of your life.

    Here's my favorite part:

    As [deputy city attorney, David Bozanich] made the final pitch for Hilton's further incarceration, Hilton's entire body began trembling. She had a ball of tissue clutched in her hand and tears ran down her face.

    Seconds later the judge announced his decision.

    "The defendant is remanded to county jail to serve the remainder of her 45-day sentence. This order is forthwith," he said.

    Hilton screamed.

    The courtroom was surrounded with eight deputies who immediately ordered all spectators out.

    Hilton's mother Kathy threw her arms around her husband Rick and sobbed uncontrollably.

    Deputies escorted Hilton out of the room, holding each of her arms as she looked back.

    Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 dollars. Not that you need it.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:05 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    June 11, 2007

    Book Chapter: sent

    FINALLY. Only 10 days late. 7, 329 words, 5 figures, references and an abstract.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:27 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    I am not worthy to call myself your friend

    I couldn't do what you have just done.  But I am so much more than proud.  Godspeed.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 12, 2007

    Mr. Wizard, Don Herbert, Dead at age 89

    The man who taught millions of young Americans about science through fun experiments has died.

    Don Herbert, who as television's "Mr. Wizard" introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science, died Tuesday. He was 89. Herbert, who had bone cancer, died at his suburban Bell Canyon home, said his son-in-law, Tom Nikosey.

    "He really taught kids how to use the thinking skills of a scientist," said former colleague Steve Jacobs. He worked with Herbert on a 1980s show that echoed the original 1950s "Watch Mr. Wizard" series, which became a fond baby boomer memory.

    In "Watch Mr. Wizard," which was produced from 1951 to 1964 and received a Peabody Award in 1954, Herbert turned TV into an entertaining classroom. On a simple, workshop-like set, he demonstrated experiments using household items.

    "He modeled how to predict and measure and analyze. ... The show today might seem slow but it was in-depth and forced you to think along," Jacobs said. "You were learning about the forces of nature."

    Herbert encouraged children to duplicate experiments at home, said Jacobs, who recounted serving as a behind-the-scenes "science sidekick" to Herbert on the '80s "Mr. Wizard's World" that aired on the Nickelodeon channel.

    I watched Mr. Wizard on Nick, and he was always my favorite. You can keep your Bill Nye and Beekman. Mr. Wizard was the man.  Rest in Peace, Science man.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 13, 2007

    Play Free Bird!

    An explanation here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 14, 2007

    Happy Birthday Dad!

    The wonderful and amazing Caltech Dad turns 73 today.  Those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting him know that "wonderful and amazing" is pretty much an understatement.

    I love you Daddy. Have a wonderful day!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:23 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    June 19, 2007

    There are no words

    Charleston, SC mourns nine of its bravest today:

    Fire swept through a furniture warehouse, collapsing its roof and killing nine firefighters inside in a disaster the mayor described Tuesday as "difficult to fathom or quantify."

    "Nine brave, heroic, courageous firefighters of the city of Charleston have perished fighting fire in a most courageous and fearless manner, carrying out their duties," Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley said at a morning news conference. "To all of their loved ones, our heart goes out to them."

    Two employees in the building were rescued from the blaze, which broke out at about 7 p.m. Monday in the Sofa Super Store and warehouse, Riley said. One was rescued quickly, and firefighters punched a hole through a wall of the warehouse to reach the other, he said.

    Firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers saluted as the firefighters' bodies were carried from the warehouse during the night.

    "To lose nine is just a tragedy of immense proportions," Riley said. "To lose nine is just unbelievable."

    The department has 237 firefighters in 19 companies located throughout the city of about 106,000.

    My heart goes out to their families and they are in my thoughts and prayers.

    UPDATE: The nine Firefighters have been identified

    Capt. William "Billy" Hutchinson, 48
    Capt. Mike Benke, 49
    Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34
    Engineer Mark Kelsey, 40
    Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, 37
    Assistant Engineer Michael French, 27
    James "Earl" Drayton, 56
    Brandon Thompson, 27
    Melven Champaign, 46


    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Cheap DSL Internet!

    AT&T is offering $10/month DSL service to some eligible customers as part of a deal brokered with the FCC to garner approval for their takeover of BellSouth:

    The $10 offer is available to customers in the 22-state AT&T service region, which includes former BellSouth areas, who have never had AT&T or BellSouth broadband, spokesman Michael Coe confirmed Monday. Local phone service and a one-year contract are required. The modem is free.

    The plan was not mentioned in a Friday news release about AT&T's DSL plans, and is slightly hidden on the AT&T Web site. A page describing DSL options doesn't mention it, but clicking a link for "Term contract plans" reveals it. It's also presented to customers who go into the application process, Coe said.

    The service provides download speeds of up to 768 kilobits per second and upload speeds of up to 128 kbps, matching the speeds of the cheapest advertised AT&T plan, which costs $19.95 per month in the nine-state former BellSouth area and $14.99 in the 13 states covered by AT&T before the acquisition.
    If you're interested click here for more information (AT&T and/or former SBC customers) or here and scroll down to "Term contract plans available" (former BellSouth Customers).

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    June 21, 2007

    It's a....

    As if I'd tell you. 

    Helen and Angus found out what flavor(s) of twins they're getting. 

    I'll let her tell you, though.

    Now that I know, however, it's off to the yarn store for appropriate baby-colored yarn.  I already have a pattern in mind.

    I wish all you people would just quit having babies, already!  I'm already behind with their presents! (j/k)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 26, 2007

    An update, I suppose

    It's time for a brain dump.  I have been posting like crap over the last few weeks.  Going through the house buying process will do that to you , I suppose.  Not to mention that I have to go to work and get that paycheck for the mortgage.....

    Anyway, we are mostly settled.  Oh yeah, the house still looks like a box tornado hit it.  Boxes in every room.  But everyday the number of boxes decreases, and every day we get a little closer to "settled".

    This weekend we focused on the backyard. We planted tomatoes and peppers and flowers.  We ripped out a bunch of trash (dying annuals) that the previous owners planted to make the house pretty.  Oh, and we mowed the lawn.  Yep, we bought a lawnmower. We also attacked the honeysuckle bush that grows over the top of our patio's arbor.  It was far to heavy for it's own good, and the growth underneath is dying from lack of sun, so we cut it way back. 

    We're also trying out different types of squirrel repellent.  I hate the little bastards.  They ate ALL of our apricots, and are currently trying to duplicate that feat with the plums. DH says he's like Ralphie, and he wants a BB gun for Christmas.

    I don't think he'll shoot his eye out, do you?

    The list of things we want to do to the house keeps getting longer, as we get settled.  However, it's also getting pushed back by the list of things we NEED to do in the house.... like when the hot water in the shower mysteriously stops working all of a sudden...Needless to say, DH is now known far and wide as MASTER PLUMBER.  It was a $25 repair, the plumber would have charged me AT LEAST 10X as much.

    Things at work are settling down, too.  My book chapter is in.  Not quite on time, but certainly not the last one, either.  I have been busy doing the part of my job that I refer to as "the other stuff": student business, community outreach, etc.  I sure as hell like this stuff better than being in the lab.

    I know I haven't blogged about it much, but I have been keeping up with the news.  This Jessie Davis case has made me sick.  What the hell kind of asshole kills the mother of his child, and his unborn child when his wife already knows about them?  He had nothing to gain from killing Jessie and Chloe.  Not a damn thing.  And now his little boy will grow up without either of his parents.

    And I must tell you, I am so glad this whole Paris Hilton crap is over. I STG I now know why people in other countries hate us and think we're weak.  We watch a billionaire's daughter get chauffered to and from jail.  And this is SUPPOSEWDLY IMPORTANT.  Never mind that people are fighting and dying in places most Americans can't find on a map, a rich blonde is going to jail!  Stop the presses!

    Give me a friggin' break.

    I'm still on the Fred bandwagon.  The more I hear from Fred, the more I like.  And the thing is, Fred and I may disagree on some issues, but he has the cojones to get the job done.  I really believe it.  Like Reagan, there's something about Fred that tells me he's got an agenda, and nothing is going to stop him from making it happen.  The comparison to Reagan, is especially apt, I think.  Not even because Fred is also an actor.  But maybe that gives him an edge, too.  He has ties outside of Washington, he's in touch with the rest of the world. I mean, heck, he has a BLOG!  He actually blogs (sometimes, the majority of the posts are excerpts from his daily commentaries).  And he's already spoken out on a number of very touchy issues that others won't touch: Cuba, Israel, National Health Care.

    I suppose that's about it for now. I'm sure I'll think of something else later....

    Oh, and it's been one year since we lost Acidman.  I still have him on the blogroll, listed as the "Evil Fairy Godfather"  which, in many ways, he was to me.  At least in the blogworld.  Rob was always good for a laugh, and he always spoke his mind, a rare enough trait in this world.  Rob introduced me to many many folks I am proud to call friends, and made me feel welcome when I was just a noob.

    Rob wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but he was always a gentleman to me, and I loved him for it.

    Why, Rob, did you have to drink so much? And leave the party so early?  We loved you just as well sober.  And I know you wanted to spend more time with Sam and Quinton and Mommie.

    I wish I could have met you.  I tried, you know.  God damn food poisoning.  I thought we'd have more time, and more chances.

    In my mind's eye there's a beach and a bar out there somewhere, and a guitar with soft strings, and wimmin with red toenails aplenty.... rest in peace.  Or not.  I suppose raising hell is more your style.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:55 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    Here's some good news for a change

    The Shackleford clan has increased by one.  Mrs. Rusty gave birth via C-section to a healthy daughter earlier today.  Drop by the Jawas and give Rusty and family some love.

    I sure hope she takes after her mom.  Dad is on the left, below:

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 30, 2007

    Happy, Happy!

    A little bird tells me that today is a very special day for a very special person!

    Chrissie turns the big 4-0 today! Drop by and wish her all the best, as I do.

    Happy Birthday my friend, and may the next year bring immeasurable blessings... in straightforward and entirely pleasant ways!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 02, 2007

    You heard it here first...

    Given all of the chatter going 'round about the UK bombings, and how this hearkens back to the heyday of the IRA and all that, I can't help but wonder two things:

    1. Did these bomb plotters actually hire former IRA bombmakers to teach them what to do?


    2. Did those IRA bombmakers intentionally fuck them over so they wouldn't hurt anyone and would get caught?

    I mean, the IRA hates the UK, but it's their island. Letting muslim terrorists blow it up kind of negates their point, right?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Her Dad would have been so proud....

    Fresno's best export in the world of entertainment (NO, not K-Fed. As if) is about to hit the small screen full-time in the Grey's Anatomy spinoff series "Private Practice":

    Broadway actress Audra McDonald is set to co-star in ABC's Grey's Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice, where she will replace Merrin Dungey.

    The new medical drama centers on neonatal surgeon, Addison Forbes Montgomery (Kate Walsh), who moves to Los Angeles and joins the private medical practice of her once-married, newly divorced medical school friends, Naomi and Sam Bennett.

    McDonald will play Naomi Bennett, a role played by Dungey in the two-hour "Grey's" episode that launched "Practice." (Sam Bennett is played by Taye Diggs.)

    McDonald has won four Tony Awards, and was nominated for a fifth this year for her lead role in the Roundabout Theatre's revival of the musical "110 in the Shade."  She next appears in ABC's adaptation of the play "A Raisin in the Sun," reprising her role as Sean Combs' wife in the 2004 revival of Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 play about black identity.

    While I only met Audra briefly, years ago, her dad was my HS principal, and a pretty good dude. He died earlier this spring, and I know this news would have made his day, as a prouder Dad of all his kids you would be hard pressed to find.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 03, 2007

    Man is prone to evil as the sparks fly upward....

    Babies as young as 6 months are capable of deception:

    Behavioural experts have found that infants begin to lie from as young as six months. Simple fibs help to train them for more complex deceptions in later life.

    Until now, psychologists had thought the developing brains were not capable of the difficult art of lying until four years old.

    Following studies of more than 50 children and interviews with parents, Dr Vasudevi Reddy, of the University of Portsmouth's psychology department, says she has identified seven categories of deception used between six months and three-years-old.

    Infants quickly learnt that using tactics such as fake crying and pretend laughing could win them attention. By eight months, more difficult deceptions became apparent, such as concealing forbidden activities or trying to distract parents' attention.

    By the age of two, toddlers could use far more devious techniques, such as bluffing when threatened with a punishment.

    Dr Reddy said: "Fake crying is one of the earliest forms of deception to emerge, and infants use it to get attention even though nothing is wrong. You can tell, as they will then pause while they wait to hear if their mother is responding, before crying again.

    "It demonstrates they're clearly able to distinguish that what they are doing will have an effect. This is essentially all adults do when they tell lies, except in adults it becomes more morally loaded."

    So babies are pushing their boundaries almost from day 1. It's really no surprise to a developmental biologist. Children's brains are built to explore, and from the moment they exit the womb they are continually surveying their environment for cues as to "the rules", this includes everything from object permanence to gravity, to the social niceties of their individual culture. These early manipulations are simply another form of exploration; that is, figuring out how to most effectively get the reward (attention, approval, toys, food, etc.) that they want.

    It kind of makes me sad though, as I'd prefer to see babies as little innocents, rather than this more cynical view of children as pre-programed manipulation machines.

    Oh, and 10 points to the first person who identifies the source of the title....don't Google it, Google has a bunch of sources....

    h/t Wired Science

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    July 04, 2007

    Who knew?

    A Prius can do 100 MPH!

    The 24-year-old son of former Vice President Al Gore was arrested for drug possession on Wednesday after he was stopped for allegedly speeding in his hybrid Toyota Prius, a sheriff's official said.

    Al Gore III -- whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming -- was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff's deputy at about 2:15 a.m..

    A subsequent search yielded a small amount of marijuana, along with prescription drugs including Valium, Xanax, Vicodin and Adderall, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. There were no prescriptions found, he said.

    Gore was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and booked into the Inmate Reception Center in Santa Ana, about 34 miles south of Los Angeles, on $20,000 bail, he said.
    Well, that answers a burning question of mine.... I was wondering if the Prius had any guts. Turns out that it might not be worthless as a vehicle, after all,

    As for algore, junior, MWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. Moron.

    h/t Steve-O

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

    July 10, 2007

    Ex-Fresno State coach wins multi-million $$ lawsuit against the school!

    I hate to say it, but Fresno State has a history of robbing the poor (women's sports programs) to feed the rich (men's football and basketball).  Volleyball coach Lindy Vivas was fired for standing up to them, so she took them to court.

    And won.  $5.85 MILLION.  And guess what?  She's not the only one.  There are two more lawsuits pending, including one from the former women's basketball coach that ought to blow the doors off the good ol' boys club that is the FSU athletic office.

    A jury on Monday awarded a former Fresno State volleyball coach $5.85 million in damages, ruling that the school discriminated against her for speaking up on behalf of female athletes.

    Lindy Vivas, 50, was fired in 2004, two years after coaching her team to its best season in history. University officials said Vivas was let go because she did not meet performance goals and ran a program that often played in empty arenas.

    Vivas sued in civil court, saying her contract was not renewed because she raised her voice to advocate for equal treatment of women athletes and access to facilities at Fresno State, a Division I school with a sprawling central California campus.

    The jury award, which took into account Vivas' back wages, future lost pay and emotional distress, is likely the largest ever granted to a coach suing for retaliation under Title IX, a landmark federal law requiring gender equity in scholastic athletics, said the coach's lawyer, Dan Siegel.

    "Fresno State wants to be a big-time athletic power, but it has to start acting like one. That means treating men and women the same," Siegel said. "This is a complete vindication of her and who Lindy is as a person, as a coach, and what she had to live with as a result of their actions."

    The university, of course, released a statement whining about pretrial publicity influencing the jury. Umm? Dude. You're FRESNO STATE. Get a few male football fans on that jury, you shouldn't have had to worry, but you STILL LOST. Get over yourselves. The athletic office has screwed women's sports programs six ways from Sunday. It's time you were held accountable for it.

    Read the whole thing here, or the local article here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 16, 2007

    Big Super Triple Happy!

    First, two Happy Birthdays:
    Ith and Ktreva both have their special day today!

    And also, Happy 41st wedding anniversary to CaltechMom and CaltechDad. I love you.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 23, 2007

    This is funny

    From the Bookworm Geek:

    What Kind of Geek Are You?

    You're a movie geek! You're the type who camps out in lines to score opening-night tickets to Star Wars and Charlie's Angels sequels and probably have stalked more than one celebrity for their autograph. Your home movie collection is to be envied - only some of it pirated, honest!
    Take this quiz!

    As of my taking this, I was only the 6th person to get this result!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Fun with Google Talk

    I know, I am both a geek and a Google whore.

    But I love google talk.  Not the least of which includes the fact that you can run Gtalk from your Gmail without having to download the chat program or that you don't need to add people to your list manually, all you have to do is send them an email from your Gmail account.

    But by far my favorite aspect of google talk is the "status message" that you can customize.  That's so much better than "available" or "not available"

    Recent status messages I've posted:

    I am not among the rice-eating robots
    I wish I'd never been broiled
    I have a date with Harry Potter
    Ice!  We have Ice!
    I'm afraid of Farmer Shootypants too

    I've noticed some of you getting into the act too! Notably sarahk and Paul Burgess who usually have an amusing message attached to their avatar...

    So, fellow googleheads, do you have Gtalk?  Do you like to leave wacky messages on your "status" line too?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:45 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    July 25, 2007

    Revenge of Son of Book Chapter....

    Turns out that I need to make some serious edits to the book chapter that I sent out a month ago. I needed to resize figures and fix some of the formatting of the text before it could be accepted, so I am taking today to work on the chapter and get some house work done. And of course the programs that I need for the figures are on Hubby's laptop, and not mine. So I needed to commandeer it yesterday for more than two hours. To get the pictures sized appropriately at the right resolution, I have a bizarre workaround that involves a statistics program of all things, and that program is on DH's computer.

    Did I mention that's also the laptop with the screen that works sporadically and is hooked to an external monitor and is effectively a desktop. A desktop set up for a lefty? And I'm trying to do graphics on it???

    Yeah. Migraine city. But I think I have the figures mostly done, as well as the text formatting, and I am going to do some more editing while I have the chance.

    And since I need to work on the figures at home, rather than in the office, I'm at home today, watching Fox News (as usual) and doing laundry. With all of the work we've been doing ON the house, the work IN the house has been getting neglected, especially the laundry. I've been putting off the heavy house work until everything is put away (I mean really, what is the use of mopping around boxes???), and we have slowly been making progress on the house in fits and starts. Last weekend we finished the sitting room side of the front room (except for the pictures and most of the geegaws) and it's quite a comfy little reading space with an oversized chair and lots of books grouped around the fireplace. Pictures later, I promise, as soon as I'm done putting stuff out. We still need to finish the kitchen/ utility room and get all of the last few things in cabinets and on countertops and clean up some of the moving detritus.

    Also, I've discovered a recently blossoming local blog scene, and when I get around to it, I'll be putting up a Pasadena Bloggers blogroll, especially as many of them have been kind enough to put me on their rolls. It's been interesting to get to know these blogs. On a national sense, our politics are often diametrically opposed, but when it comes to home, we're all interested in the same things. Look for that soon.

    More later. Back to work.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    July 30, 2007

    Mutter, Mutter, Who's got the Mutter.....

    Here we go again.....

    1. Traditional ::
    2. Popeye ::
    3. Gin ::
    4. Harsh ::
    5. Topless ::
    6. The thing ::
    7. Defiant ::
    8. Huge ::
    9. Food ::
    10. Lenny ::

    You know the rules. My answers in the extended post.....

    Read More "Mutter, Mutter, Who's got the Mutter....." »
    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:16 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    August 06, 2007

    Bullets Over Pasadena

    Or, I have a lot to say and not much time....

    -- So we did a LOT of home improvement type stuff this weekend. Here's a partial list: New bathroom sink, new bathroom light fixture, new TP holder attached to sink cabinet, old TP holder and towel bar removed, wall heater removed, installed two new light fixtures, repaired the old ceiling fan in our den (it still squeaks, but we're no longer afraid it will detach itself from the ceiling and careen around the room) replaced the dimmer switch in dining room, and prepped our ceiling for the ceiling fan we bought. Today, hubby did the exterior paint touch up work left from the termite repair work and cleaned out and re-seated the rain gutters. Next up: shelves in the linen closet, two ceiling fans, a chandelier in the dining room, and paint touch-ups. I'll get some pictures up soon. Now that 90% of the crap is put away, it's easier to do these silly little things that take so long and make you so frustrated....

    -- Thursday night we went to the Dodgers/Giants game. The Dodgers' staff are super nice and helpful when you have obnoxious idiots in your section. Everyone in our section thinks they asked us to leave for asking them to remove people, but guess what? This "fat fucking bitch" (yes, that's what she called me) got better seats in another section for the rest of the game thanks to you being an asshole. Oh, and Barry still sucks.

    --We're WAAAAY behind on TV. I've got about 12 hours of catch up from this week's TV (we just got through The Closer from Monday, and we watch that religiously! Usually we see it on Monday or Tuesday at the latest)... Mom and Dad were here Wednesday to Sunday (we took them to the game, and Dad helped with the various bathroom projects), and that also cut into TV time.

    --We've been having a visitor of another sort as well. Guest blogger/ frequent commenter/ buddy ZTZCheese and her hubby are on vacation, and their bearded dragon has been living on our patio, eating his worms and soaking up the sunshine. Pictures soon if I get the ok from his humans.

    -- I missed a bunch of people's birthdays this last week. Sorry guys. I was a little out of it. Much love to all of you. You know who you are.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:00 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    August 09, 2007

    Does he squeak?

    I think we'll be getting one of these for the Princess!

    h/t Ken S

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 10, 2007

    I suppose this belongs on this week's FFO thread*, but what the hell...

    The universe is conspiring against me.

    It's the small pathetic things that rankle so much.  Like your husband
    being called into jury duty on FRIDAY after being told to go about his
    business all week and basically being told that he will be sitting on
    his ass from 7:30 am until 4pm, thank you very much, on THE day you
    made plans to go out of town early, and for which you took the day off
    of work.... and since you are sitting at home, the cable decides to go
    out,and of course the internet with it.  And when the son-of-a-bitch
    finally comes back up, the fucking router refuses to do its job, so I'm
    now within 6 inches of no internet and the TV is fuzzy on and off.

    Not to mention that he got lost driving into downtown, ended
    up in East LA and I had to talk him in to where he was going after
    figuring out where he was.  FROM 10 MILES AWAY.

    Big things I can handle.  I can deal.  I have a gameplan.  This piddly little shit?  I could murder someone today.

    *FFO = Friday Fuck Off.  Here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 14, 2007

    Sorry, Crap mood here

    Too much crappy stuff going on around me.  It rubs off.

    UPDATE: Work is working itself out without me needing to do anything else at the moment.  Feeling much smiley-er.

    Thanks for the well-wishes, they were much appreciated!

    Now, off to buy a screen door!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:31 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 20, 2007

    It's a Boy!

    Congratulations Jay and Deb on the arrival of baby #3!!!

    From the super happy proud Papa:
    7:57 AM
    B lbs 4 oz
    18 inches
    Sooo cute. All boy. Looks like me and Sadie.
    Drop by and give them your best! Pictures as soon as Daddy gets to download them from the camera!
    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    It's official

    August 2007 is officially Fucking Asshole Ex-Spouse month. I know of at least 6 separate incidents (both online and in RL) where my friends and their children have been having issues with psycho evil exes, for seemingly no reason.

    Is there something in the water?

    Y'all have my love and my sympathy, and the fucking bitches/ dickless assholes on the other side of the equation can just FOAD. Eternally. If there's anything I can do, you know where to find me. I just hope this sentiment isn't contagious.

    Don't you stupid fuckers know that the ONLY ones who get hurt in these scenarios are your KIDS?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Michael Vick - The case explained

    Over at Patterico's, guest blogger WLS does a great job of laying out the prosecutorial process in the Michael Vick case.

    WLS explains the strategy of the superseding indictment, offense level, the possibility of sentence enhancement, the discretion of the judge in sentencing, and why the prosecution is pushing for a sentence of more than 12 months.

    There's lots of great question and answer in the comments, too, so pop over and find out what you've been dying to know.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 28, 2007

    School Daze....

    Today was the first day of school here at Tiny U.    We've recently developed a new program that funnels most of its students into my class, so the class was double the size this year.

    That's 12 instead of 6.

    It's an interesting mix.  I have everything from 17 and 18 year old traditional freshmen to students who are my age and returning to finish up the prerequisite classes for medical school.  Most of them are very bright, and you can bet I'm going to be riding the asses of the low ones to keep up, because they all have serious potential to do well.

    As usual, the first class was pretty short.  I had a 15 slide power point which was both introductory material (biological chemistry stuff) and points about the syllabus (show up, don't cheat, do your work, come to office hours).  Then we talked briefly about lab safety and all the dos and don'ts of the lab.  Most of which are common sense.  Like don't touch a hot plate, you can't tell if it's too hot or not.  Or never pipet by mouth.  Umm.  EWWWWW.  And yet, there are idiots in this world who do.  I swear.

    We were done by the time I should have been done lecturing.  Yay me.  So I spent the next hour wrestling a copier and copying the first two chapters for students whose books still haven't arrived.  See, one of the drawbacks of being Tiny U. is that we don't have a bookstore.  So students have to order their books online or look for them at USC, UCLA, or some other large bookstore.  And that can take time.  In a class I taught 2 years ago, the books were backordered from the publisher and we couldn't do anything about it for 3 weeks.  Ugh.  What a mess.

    The other thing about this class is that it starts at 8am.  Which means that to get here on time I need to leave my house before 7am.  6:30 if I need to make a stop at the gas station or Whorebucks. (or Coffee Bean.... or Peet's).  And then when I get here, it's a toss up as to whether I'll be able to get set up as I need security to let me in to the classroom and to open up the computer podium for me.  Urg.  Try finding a security guard when you need one.  In the hood.....

    Anyway, if you need me 8-12 Tuesday and Thursday or 9-10 Friday, Pacific Time, AM, you know where I'll be.  Broadening young minds.  Heh.  Yeah, that's it.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:37 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2007

    A good day so far

    College Football's first Saturday of the year and I've got one of these babies blowing on me.  Yaaaaaah. I can dig it.

    USC starts in 15 minutes.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 07, 2007

    I STA* I am going to start keeping alcohol in my desk

    For days like today.

    No, really.  7am-7pm.  I'm going to have to move my office and share with someone else, and some dickhole in another program is using his status as faculty to piss on his students and make their lives miserable and it's my job to defend them.

    It's a good damn thing my bartender doesn't drink.  They're stronger that way.

    *Swear To Allah

    UPDATE: Actually I left AFTER 7:30pm..... I ended up going home, eating, and crashing. Alky tonight :-)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:43 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    September 10, 2007

    Truer words and all that....

    I think a person's politics are defined mainly by which nutjobs piss them off the most.

       - Exgaucho Ben

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 11, 2007

    It's Tuesday Morning again.....

    I've started this post a thousand times in my head, each different, and yet what keeps coming back over and over is Tuesday.  It's Tuesday morning again.  September 11, Tuesday.  And I have go teach class.

    September 11, 2001 was supposed to be the same way.  We were living in Chapel Hill, and a friend was visiting.  I had planned to take her to the airport in Raleigh before making my way to school to teach my lab section.  I didn't make that trip for almost three weeks.

    I've told my story of that horrible day before.  That day that broke all of us inside.  That day that so many people are eager to forget, to push away the pain that makes it real, to scapegoat because that's easier than seeing the truth.

    I think back a lot to how it used to be, how I used to be.  I was so different.  But something inside broke that day, sitting in my chair that I used to love, my big orange 1970's wing chair rocker, and watching people fall from the sky.

    When I think back to 9/11/01, that's what I remember.  Not the buildings collapsing in a heap of ash, or the bright flash of a 747 hitting the side of the towers. Just  brave men and women choosing their own destiny, rather than waiting for the suffocating horror of flame and falling debris.  What a beautiful last gift to their loved ones: to know they didn't suffer, and that at the end, they were truly free.

    Six years later, those images still haunt me.

    But life goes on they say, and so must we. And here I am again.  Tuesday Morning.  September 11.  Only it's 2007 this time and I made it to school.  I taught my class and the lab that goes with it.  Had a meeting with my dean.  When I finish this, I'll make a cup of tea.

    And yet, there's a part of me still sitting in that chair, unable to turn away from the news for weeks.  I left parts of me behind that day, and came away with something new.  Tougher maybe, sadder, more vigilant, and definitely PISSED OFF.  So pissed off I'm still mad today.

    What makes me more angry though, are the ones who don't know, those who forgot, and the ones who seek to tarnish the truth through conspiracy theory and supposition.

    The truth, my friends is this:  Evil exists.  We saw its hand on September 11, 2001, and still we feel its icy grip.

    Forgetting this cheapens the memory of the ones we lost, the innocent, the heroes, and those left behind.

    Yes, it's hard.  Staring evil in the face is the most difficult thing we can do in life.  Remembering who we've lost and what we've lost is just as hard.  But that doesn't excuse us from remembering, from hurting, from pausing every once in a while to think about what happened that day and vowing to never let it happen again.

    There have been thousands of tributes, but I'll share with you MY favorite because it's message, in the end, is hope.

    If the video won't work, click here.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 14, 2007

    Because it's Friday, I have to teach, and I'm grumpy.

    Stolen from wRitErsbLock...

    Tired of those same old 55 questions about me surveys? Well here are 55 I guarantee you've never answered.

    1. Is your second toe longer than your first?
    both of them

    2. Do you have a favorite type of pen?

    3. Look at your planner for March 14, what are you doing?
    eating Pi. DUUUUUH

    4. What color are your toenails usually?
    Red. Always red. For Rob.  He said I had nice feet.

    5. What was the last thing you highlighted?
    text.  Oh you mean with a pen?  Hmmm... probably transcripts during application season

    6. What color are your bedroom curtains?
    Actually, we don't have any right now.  We took down the crappy ones that were there when we moved in, but our room is in the back, so we don't need curtains and haven't replaced them

    7. What color are the seats in your car?
    Gray leather covered with brown fuzzy seatcovers with paw prints

    8. Have you ever had a black and white cat?
    Nope.  Can't live with a cat.  But I'm sure DH has.

    9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on?
    My mortgage payment.  Only thing I don't pay electronically, since those assholes at Wells Fargo would charge me FREAKING $10 for the convenience.  Kiss MY ass.

    10. Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming?

    11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time?
    What is this ATM of which you speak?  I usually use Target or Trader Joes as an ATM.

    12. Whose is the last baby that you held?
    Hmmmm... Probably this guy that goes to my parents' church

    13. Unlucky #?
    not really.  I like 13.

    14. Do you like Cinnamon toothpaste?
    Blecccccch.  The Vanilla and Orange are rotten too.

    15. What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago?
    Ford Escape

    16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators?
    Florida teams are seriously overrated, USC TROJANS, bay-bee

    17. Last time you went to Six Flags?

    18. Do you have any wallpaper in your house?
    hell no

    19. Closest thing to you that is yellow?
    Winnie the Pooh on my mouse pad

    20. Last person to give you a business card?
    our business development guy

    21. Who is the last person you wrote a check to?
    the mortgage company.

    22. Closest framed picture to you?
    The Princess in the snow.

    23. Last time you had someone cook for you?
    two nights ago

    24. Have you ever applied for welfare?
    um, no

    25. How many emails do you have?
    more than a dozen

    26. Last time you received flowers?

    27. Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man & woman?

    28. Do you play air guitar?

    29. Has anyone ever proposed to you?
    yes. I suppose.  We did get married, after all.

    30. Do you take anything in your coffee?
    lots of cream, lots of Sweet and Low

    31. Do you have any Willow Tree figurines?

    32. What is/was your high school's rival mascot?
    Depends on which school you think of as a rival.... The Fresno High Warriors or the Roosevelt Roughriders or the Hoover Patriots or the Bullard Knights (Yankees)

    33. Last person you spoke to from high school?
    my husband

    34. Last time you used hand sanitizer?
    I don't use hand sanitizer.  It creates super bugs.

    35. Would you like to learn to play the drums?
    Hell Yeah

    36. What color are the blinds in your living room?
    no blinds.  The blinds in the kitchen are wood.

    38. Last thing you read in the newspaper?
    you mean the LA Dog Trainer?

    39. What was the last pageant you attended?
    you mean a beauty pageant or a school pageant?  I've been to school pageants.

    40. What is the last place you bought pizza from?
    Sadly enough, Pizza Hut.

    41. Have you ever worn a crown?
    Love my Tiara.

    42. What is the last thing you stapled?
    Packing slips and order confirmation

    43. Did you ever drink clear Pepsi?
    yeah,  it was ok.

    44. Are you ticklish?
    in the extreme

    45. Last time you saw fireworks?
    4th of July

    46. Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
    When I was still living in NC

    47. Who is the last person that left you a message & you actually returned it?
    a student

    48. Last time you parked under a carport?
    our college apartment

    49. Do you have a black dog?
    Black and white, actually.

    50 . Have you had your mid life crisis yet?
    I hope not.

    51. Are you an aunt or uncle?
    yes.  To three

    52. Who has the prettiest eyes that you know of?
    my honey

    53. What kind of soap or body wash do you use?
    Aveeno sensitive skin with Oatmeal

    54. Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe?

    55. Do you have a little black dress?
    yes, but considering it little is a bit of a stretch.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:33 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    September 18, 2007

    Why TF

    is it that on the nights I NEED to get some sleep (aka Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights) I just can't? And other nights I'm good?

    Seriously. It's 2:30. I need to be out the door by 6:45 or I'll never get to class on time. Last night I was out at 12. Maybe because I slept in and then I napped during football. Which was not intentional. Although the sleeping in was planned.

    So I'm doing exactly what they tell you NOT to do to sleep. Watching TV and using the computer. See, I need to distract myself. Otherwise I'll just toss and turn and listen to night noises and freak out.

    I think I'm worried about work. I made a major change in a group project of my own volition and I suppose I'm apprehensive about the feedback..... Plus I have an important meeting after class for a symposium I got nominated to attend. And said group project, a grant, is due tomorrow. Not to mention I am teaching from 8 to 12 (lecture, then lab). Although the lab ought to be fun. It's the first time they get to play with microscopes and living organisms. Including spearing some termites to look at the symbionts living in their guts. Yummy.  And I signed up to run this show.

    Oh, and if you have a minute, do pop over and give the lovely Helen some love. Poor girl is having pretty difficult false labor and feeling positively enormous (although she looks amazing!) and exhausted as she faces the end of her pregnancy and a possibly stressful week with family visiting.  She could use a good cheer-up.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:41 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    Well, it's almost 2:30 again

    I did get SOME sleep.  Between about 3:30 and 6.  I got out the door about 10 minutes later than I wanted to, but other than that, so far so good.  My changes in the group project were well received and the meeting was ok.

    But Good Lord I need to sleep. I'm not sleepy or anything, but I can feel a headache building and I don't have a hell of a lot of pep in my step.

    BTW, the termite symbionts were a BIG hit in class, even if the lab did run over.  That's ok.  We'll finish up on Thursday.  Yay. Less stuff for me to plan/ set up/ worry about it working then.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 23, 2007

    A mime is a teriible thing to waste..

    So let's take a minute to mourn the passing of the greatest mime ever, Marcel Marceau.

    Marcel Marceau, the world's best-known mime artist who for decades moved audiences across the globe without uttering a single word, has died aged 84.

    The Frenchman's extensive tours and appearances on camera brought his silent art to people around the world. His comic and tragic sketches appealed on a universal level, with each audience interpreting his performance in its own way.

    "Mime, like music, knows neither borders nor nationalities," he once said. "If laughter and tears are the characteristics of humanity, all cultures are steeped in our discipline."

    But Marceau was much more than a mime, he was a member of the French Resistance in WWII and later served in the French Army with the German Occupying Force after the war. The cause of his death is unknown at this time. Rest in Peace.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Wii are the world....

    We had decided a while back that what we wanted for our birthdays (5 days apart) was a Wii. But as most of you know, they are in scarce supply, and we had no idea when they would be shipping, or even if they would be in stock come November. To this end, we've been saving our pennies.

    Well, Saturday afternoon, we made a quick trip to the local Tar-zhay, and on our way over to the Halloween section, we decided to duck into the Wii aisle on a whim. There were 7 white boxes on the bottom shelf of the case. Yep, they were in stock. Just in, too, according to the guy working there. Long story short, when we left the store, there were only 6 white boxes in the case. And the price was $50 less than what we were seeing them for previously. Woot!

    So we spent basically the rest of the weekend proving that 30 year olds don't have teenage bodies anymore. Did I mention my right arm feels like I spent too much time on weights at the gym? But it was hella fun and I totally see how Wii could be a part of anyone's exercise regimen. Especially the boxing game in Wii Sports. That's quite a cardio workout, holding up your arms and punching...

    Honestly, though, my favorite part is that I'm actually pretty good at some of this. Unlike games with the traditional controllers.

    So I probably won't be around much this week....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:49 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    September 25, 2007

    Life is what happens, they say, when you are busy making other plans

    It's awfully funny how our lives go through these cycles. When you're busy, it gets worse, when you're not busy nothing happens for weeks.

    And by now, busy is an understatement. Both of us are teaching full time, GMT back at his High School, me with a 5 unit biology class (double lab periods!) which adds up to about 9 hours a week in class. I am also the chair of a couple of active committees, and I serve on several others. As it's the beginning of school, everyone is trying to get all their meeting ducks in a row and it's taking a lot of time.

    I'm supposed to attend a seminar Thursday- Saturday, and all I want to do is go out with my friends on Friday night, as we're all supposed to have dinner at one of our friend's places.

    Oh, and I got asked to work on a paper with one of my colleagues. It's actually very interesting, and as it's Public Health research, not too time consuming. Also a field I'm keen to get some insight into. So I'm working on research again, too.

    And then there's homework to grade, papers to read, and my own field of research to deal with.

    And I'm supposed to clean house, do laundry, be a pleasant hostess, and occasionally go out for a fun time???? Fuck that. Something has to go. Lately it's been the cleaning. Not that the house is a pigsty, mind you, just messy. And there are a million unfinished projects we need to work on.

    I do love most of my job. I love my students, and I love working with them. I'm just maxxed out. The motivation is toast at the moment. I notice I haven't been doing a hell of a lot of blog reading, and those of you who see me in their email often probably have noticed a drop off in the volume.

    No, I'm not going anywhere, just ratcheting back a bit for the forseeable future. Real Life Intervenes.

    I didn't intend to write that last paragraph, it just kind of came out of my fingers Ouija-style, so I guess I'm going to go with it. New content probably every couple of days, some funnies, Mutterings, Fred, that kind of thing, but if you want the serious analytical stuff, then Sorry, but we're fresh out.

    Until then, I'll be lurking in your comments.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:47 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    September 27, 2007

    Ground Rules

    I have decided that somewhere along the line I became one of those fucking people I hate.  I work a lot.  Yeah, my "on-campus" time is pretty low, and I admit, I was 100% scarce over the summer, but I do an awful lot of work at home.  Grading, answering emails, writing, etc.  I even agreed to give up half of my fucking weekend to attend a seminar Thursday thru Saturday.

    It has got to stop.  It winds me up and I don't have any me time.  The TiVo is proof enough.  In the last 6 months it's just loaded up over and over again.  Hell, I never watched the last 8 episodes of House last season!  Yeah, you read that right.  House.  I want to catch up before we get going again.  And I have almost a whole season of Painkiller Jane and The Riches to finish.  I've seen maybe two episodes of each.

    I haven't crocheted in months.  It took me weeks to get the camera sent off to Sony for the recall repair work.  I barely keep up with my calendar.  If I don't get something scheduled right away, I miss it.  My brain feels 10 steps behind.

    I have a story I'd like to write, but I can't get up the motivation to put it down and it keeps rattling around, waiting for me to get to it.  I hope it doesn't get stale.

    So I've decided that work is going to stop following me home.  Grading I'll do, but I am not going to check email or worry about assholes or agree to do anything outside of business hours anymore.  It fucks me up too much.

    Maybe I'll even be able to blog again on a regular basis.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:32 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    October 01, 2007

    Weird Sh*t happens when I take the weekend off

    Good and bad.

    Our Sadie-girl celebrated her 3rd birthday.

    Contagion had a birthday, too

    Helen awaits the arrival of the Lemonheads with humor.  Or should that be humour?

    Mrs. Who and BR found out that there's about to be another birthday in the HoZ

    Denny's back safely from Bonaire.  Oh to be an SRF, too!

    SWWBO learned to drive the tractor

    Oddy's Dad is doing well after a serious motorcycle crash

    Cox and Forkum are quitting

    Richmond and family lost one of the dynamic duo

    And me, well, I am just trying to keep my head down and get on with things!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 02, 2007

    Waiting for Nick and Nora....

    It's been a long 7 months since Helen and Angus first found out about the impending arrival of the twins, and now they're almost here.

    Helen has been admitted to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect $200, with a C-section scheduled for Monday.  Assuming there's no reason to yank the bebes before then.

    Think happy thoughts in her direction, and pray to the benevolent deity of your choice for a safe delivery and a happy, healthy new family.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 12, 2007

    Top Ten signs I've gotten into Pasadena Politics...

    I get all of these jokes....

    Lifted shamelessly 100% from FCBlog.  For all you SoCaler's:

    With all the talk about the Rose Parade and the China controversy and our fearless (?) leaders international dealings..it's time for another Top Ten.

    From the home office in Beijing, China:

    10. Chris Hansen's Dateline NBC Decoy Float For Internet Pedophiles
    9. The Ad Hoc Committee On Floats Float
    8. The Other Guy In Wham! Float
    7. The Turkish-Armenian Friendship Float
    6. The Float Put Together By PUSD Kids Who Get All F's
    5. The Sid Tyler Float Of "Tobaccy & Shoe Polish"
    4. Al-Qaeda's "Death To America" Float
    3. Sock On Float
    2. Anthony Portantino Ate My Float
    1. Robin Salzer's Float Of Roses Smothered In Brown Mustard & BBQ Sauce

    And you really should vote for Robin's.  Mmmmmmm Robin's.  We were there Wednesday night in fact.  I wonder.... if I say how much I love the Spud Skins (This is the ONLY way I will eat potato skin. And only at Robin's.) will Robin write me up in the next menu, too?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 15, 2007

    Wracking my brain

    The headache, that is.  I came home from work early.  Like super early.  I left before 1pm. I had promised hubby that I would run some errands on the way home from work, so my respite was delayed by a trip to Costco (dead empty on Monday afternoon, BTW) for supplies and gas.  There was no way in hell I was up to the grocery store, though, so he'll have to hit Ralphito's tonight after I go to Glee Club.  Yeah, I know my head hurts, but singing helps.  And I will have napped.

    Since I got nothing, this made me laugh, and I will share:

    I loved it.  I am a Lolcat addict.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    October 17, 2007

    Boring is good

    Things around here are pretty blah (thank God).  The idiots have gone back to their caves, and I seem to be pretty well settled into my new one.  I just need a desk instead of this temporary table I've been using in my new office, and a filing cabinet, and I'll be good to go, as the phone was installed this AM.

    Headache is FINALLY gone, after two days, a couple of rounds of blurry vision, and a wicked moment of nausea while driving home yesterday.  I think it was the nap on the couch during (tivoed) PTI last night and the chicken soup that finally beat the bastard into submission.

    Currently, I am trying to stay awake in case any of my students drops in for office hours.  Somehow I doubt they'll show.... 32 minutes left.... I think I will probably check my office mail now, and maybe there will be work to be taken care of.  We'll see.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 18, 2007

    Your daily funny

    Ladies and Gentlemen, my morning commute:

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    October 22, 2007

    Southern California Fire Information Roudup

    Dozens of wildfires all over the Southern California area.

    View Larger Map

    Most seem to be natural or accidental in nature (mostly from wind-downed high voltage lines), but the Santiago Canyon fire near Irvine was deliberately set. Bastards.

    Fires in LA in October is as natural as Hurricanes in Florida in August. Northeasterly winds, called the Santa Anas bring hot dry air down from the high desert into the valleys and foothills, and well, it doesn't take much to start a big fire.

    The LA Times has a good round-up and photo galleries. KCAL 9 is on the air live with updates, as new fires continue to pop up every hour or so in addition to the major fires in Malibu, Castaic, Canyon Country, San Diego, Irvine, Ontario, and Lake Arrowhead......

    Here's links to information on School Closures and Evacuation Centers.

    Folks with large animals can take them to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Orange County Fairgrounds, or Pierce College Equestrian Center. Bring Food, Water, Water Tubs, and Medicine. Many animal shelters and vet offices will care for smaller pets, too. Call around for information. In emergencies, pet owners can call (818) 991-6384 to set up an emergency rescue in the Malibu OR Agua Dulce areas. For more animal info, check here.

    It goes without saying, folks, but if you're in the fire area, get out when they tell you to leave, and if you're not in a fire area, stay the hell out. The firefighters need to get in and out without having to drive around your looky-loo ass.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:52 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    October 23, 2007

    San Diego Fire News

    Joanie is almost literally liveblogging the fires from Northern San Diego County.  Lots of pictures, information, and links on her site.

    Be sure to scroll down through the posts over the last few days!

    Stay safe, Darlin'!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Playing around with the camera tonight

    And I got a few nice shots. Posted to flickr.

    Smells as good as it looks

    Can you tell how much I love having my camera back?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 30, 2007

    RIP Robert Goulet

    Singer and actor Robert Goulet has passed away at age 73.

    Robert Goulet, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in "Camelot" launched an award-winning stage and recording career, has died. He was 73.

    The singer died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital while awaiting a lung transplant, said Goulet spokesman Norm Johnson.

    He had been awaiting a lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being found last month to have a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis.

    While Mr. Goulet will always be famous for his roles on Broadway and his many TV appearances, I think his last stint in front of the camera sums up his humor best:

    I hope he'll still appear at 3pm..... ghost Robert Goulet is even scarier.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:39 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    November 05, 2007

    So it's November....

    Yeah, it's also NaNoWriMo. And I am flirting with a long story. I don't plan on churning out a novel, but it's as good an excuse as any to work on the fiction....

    So watch this space. I may or may not decide to share.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 10, 2007

    Happy Birthday to ME!

    31 today. Pictures tomorrow.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:07 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

    November 12, 2007

    Ok, so I was a day late with the pictures.

    We had a minor plumbing emergency.... click over to flickr to see more!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    November 13, 2007

    Even Darth Vader has to eat sometime...

    At the Death Star Canteen.....

    DEFINITELY NSFW (language)

    I love Eddie Izzard. This is a great bit!

    h/t Denny

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 20, 2007

    Happy Turkey Day, Y'all!

    Since we'll be busy with family stuff until Sunday, and I'm pretty sure I won't get a chance to post anything, I thought I'd leave you with this.....

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:52 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    November 30, 2007

    Revenge of Son of Stuffy Nose


    Why do these things all come at once, really?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 10, 2007


    Warning: disjointed thoughts ahead!

    Over the last few days I've been thinking a lot about the amazing bumper sticker of awesomeness and how we parent our children. When I say "parent our children", I mean in the general sense, that is, how ADULTS guide and direct children towards what's right and instill in them a sense of right and wrong. Not just their parents, biological or otherwise, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, mentors, and friends. Hillary said that it takes a village to raise a child, and although her application of that message was far more socialist than I agree with, her point is well-taken. Children grow up surrounded by adults. ALL of those adults have something to do with raising them, even just reinforcing proper behavior.

    I've often heard it said (and I believe it) that parenting is an act of will. As a parent, you are the boss, and what the kids want is secondary. It seems to me that a hell of a lot of ADULTS are abdicating this responsibility because they just don't want to "hurt the kid's feelings" or they'd rather let someone else be the bad guy.

    See, here's the thing, and this is what has come up over and over and over in conversations about the bumper sticker, good kids are NOT kids who never think of doing bad things. Good kids are not kids who say "it's wrong, so I won't do it." At least not all the time. Good kids are good simply because they know what will happen to them if they get caught doing what they want to do that their parents disapprove of. They have rules and boundaries and consequences. Consistent, very negative consequences. I was one of those goody-two-shoes kids. But sure as hell NOT because it was wrong to do bad things. Oh hells no. I was terrified of what my parents would do if they caught me.

    Good parents make it possible for their kids to reach the stage in their life, where as adults, they can recognize all of their right and wrong steps in the past and use that knowledge to "parent" other children: their own, nieces and nephews, students, mentees, etc.

    I've gone down the road before about no consequences for kids and how THAT turns out. But I'll sum up. Kids who don't understand that their actions have consequences CAN NOT succeed in life. They don't turn in homework, but they expect an A. They can't show up to work on time, but they'll sue you for firing them. They expect hand up after hand up and if they don't get one, it's YOUR fault. Mom and Dad fix everything, from a bad grade to a parking ticket to getting kicked out of college because of academic dishonesty. Kids who don't understand that actions have consequences are precisely the ones who will take a gun and try to make their own.

    It's a simple principal of Psychology: Associative Learning. If I get zapped every time I press the red button, pretty soon I'll learn not to touch it any more. It's not just a fancy trick, either. This is how the mammalian brain is wired. We learn by experience, both positively and negatively.

    Which brings me to a recent experience. I was involved with a community outreach program sponsored by our school a few weeks back. Two groups of high school students were assigned to be helpers to the college students and faculty involved with the program. One group of kids was from a high-achieving science-related magnet school. The other was from a "cultural" charter school. The difference between the two groups was remarkable, and not surprisingly, correlated with the expectations of the adults around them AND the consequences of their actions.

    The "magnet" kids were friendly and polite, they pitched in to clean up without being asked. They were creative and helpful and spoke respectfully to each other and to us.

    The charter kids were (with a few exceptions) just the opposite. They were loud and lazy, they yelled at each other and spent their time making messes and trying to break things rather than helping out, and when faced directly with consequences, they ignored requests to sit down and/or be quiet from their teachers and principal. Which, I later understood, because the threatened consequences never materialized.

    What you don't know is that these kids all come from the same background: ethnically diverse, lower-middle-class and underprivileged homes. They all live in the same neighborhoods, have the same kinds of "stereotypical" families. What's different about them is the expectation that positive and negative behavior each have their own set of consequences. It couldn't be more striking.

    So yeah, it's not about the damn guns. It's about shitty adults who think "kid gloves" means "use with children" instead of "made from baby goats".

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    December 18, 2007

    Busy like the bee

    Quick update:

    Mom is doing great! Really great! The therapist was really impressed with her today!

    Mom came home Sunday afternoon, and ever since it's been a whirlwind of therapy, continuous passive motion machine, walker exercises, and puppies.

    I did manage to pay my bills and get all of the Christmas cards done.  If I have your address, you should be getting one....

    On tap for this afternoon, Round 2 of puppy booster shots at the Vet and sorting all the Christmas presents that need to be wrapped. And then maybe some Christmas decorating, I hope.

    In other news, it's pouring like the proverbial SOB here in Fresburg, which I love, especially at the holidays.  There should be a TON of snow in the mountains.  YAY!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    December 26, 2007

    So WTF have I been up to?

    I haven't been ignoring y'all on purpose. Really. I've just been super busy. Mom is doing very well, walking around on short excursions with just her cane and doing therapy twice a week. Staples SHOULD come out at her DR appointment tomorrow, which is a HUGE milestone because that means she can shower without wrapping her leg in plastic and tape....

    Santa Claus was DAMN good to me this year. I didn't think I was THAT good a girl.... I got a Kitchenaid mixer. It's PURPLE! and n AWESOME digital photo keychain. Hubby got a telescope (for school, actually) and PS2 games. And a bad case of the Flu. Dad had it first, then me, then hub. Ugh.

    Puppies also scored. New leashes and food dishes and beds. Princess got lots of dog treats, too.

    More later, as it appears to be dinner time!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 27, 2007

    When you're done with those presents...

    Tony over at A Red Mind in a Blue State has some interesting thoughts on the state of the economy and how it's reported:

    Will it stop? The unending media hysteria about the economy?

    The story this morning is that Internet plus brick and mortar sales are up 2.4% this season.

    Given the incessant drumbeat of bad economy, bad economy, bad economy-- I thought the tag on the story would be, hey, not bad!

    But no. For whatever reason-- incompetence, latent Bush-bashing, the inability to ever report good news-- the headlines were mostly negative. Sluggish. Poor. Disappointing.

    How could 2.4% growth in the "teeth" of this mortgage meltdown, etc. be deemed disappointing?

    Read the rest, including some interesting facts about gift card sales.

    I think Tony has a point. Sales ARE up. Doesn't that mean people have the $$ to spend? Or does it mean that they'd rather sink farther into their credit bills so the kids can have the Wii and the computer and the new iPod?

    Either way, it means they plan on having a place to keep what they bought, so people must be somewhat more than negative-feeling about the whole housing/mortgage/ interest rate business.

    Even more interesting was the item about gift card sales. I wonder what the total figures would be with those included. Especially as sales of gift cards increased ALONG with the direct sales increases reported.

    What do you think?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    January 02, 2008

    Of Parades and Politics

    So you may have seen that there was much hoo-hah about a float honoring the 2008 Beijing Olympics in yesterday's Rose parade.

    I was front and center for the spectacle, and my take on it may surprise some of you.

    We left the house at 5:15 am, drove to a nearby church, parked the car and had a lovely pancake breakfast, then we walked to Colorado and Orange Grove, where our seats were located in the Grandstands, just to the side of the HGTV booth.  We were asked to be in place by 6:30 AM so that the Parade organizers could stage the "opening number".  We were in our seats at about 6:15.  I people-watched until the parade got going, and hubby took a catnap or two, wrapped in our warmest USC gear and sitting on a thick blanket instead of a cold metal bench....

    What happened was that a protest was organized wherein people were supposed to stand and turn their backs on the float as it passed, a sign that you disagree with China and it's human rights abuses.  There was a pro-float group on our left, and an anti-float group on our right.

    Here is the very beautiful and fun float in question:

    First of all, where we were, VERY few people stood other than the few who were present specifically for that purpose.  Most of us were too busy taking pictures of an adorable float and the acrobats and dancers hired to accompany it down the parade route.  The few who did stand were real assholes about it, getting in front of people taking pictures and trying to be dickheads.

    Which really detracts from a message of human rights and peace, in my book.

    I hadn't really known how I was going to react.  I am no fan of China's human rights practices, but at the same time, I had no animus against the float itself or the actors and dancers paid to make it fun.  As the float passed us, and the spectacle unfolded, I came to a realization:  The Rose Parade is not a venue for politics.  The parade is about fun and spectacle and celebration.  It's a moment for the thousands of kids who raised millions of dollars  JUST TO BE THERE IN THE PARADE to enjoy their (cold) morning in the sun.  It's a celebration.  It's for the kids.  Kids and politics shouldn't mix.

    There were two beautiful little girls sitting in front of us.  They were enchanted by the lion dancers and plate spinners and acrobats.  As the float in question passed, and the little girls couldn't see it, they were debating their favorite floats.  One preferred the circus float and the other preferred the Princesses and Rose Queen with their bouquets and big pearl crown.  They could give a crap about China.  They just wanted to see the floats and dance to the bands.  Which is what the Parade is all about.

    So keep the politics out of the Parade.  Protest before the parade, stage a vigil at the float viewing sheds tomorrow and the next day, but keep it away from the magic of New Year's Morning.

    Our kids have so little innocence anymore, and are severely short on magic.  The Rose Parade gives them at least a couple hours of kid fun.

    And for the record, this protest was, IMO, a truly cheap political stunt.  Why, you ask?  Well, first of all the float wasn't funded by the Chinese government, it was funded by a coalition of American companies and individuals, most notably the Avery-Dennison Corporation, a worldwide manufacturer of paper and office products based here in Pasadena.  Furthermore, the float didn't promote the Chinese government, either.  It promoted the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Beijing.  And don't the Olympics themselves promote equality and human rights?  So if they were protesting the idiocy of the International Olympic Committee being bullshitted about human rights improvements by the Chinese government, I'd almost understand the sentiment, but protesting China just makes it a cheap, opportunistic stunt staged for the TV cameras.

    More pictures of the Beijing 2008 float can be seen along with the rest of my 2008 Rose Parade pictures here on Flickr.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 06, 2008

    This is what has been keeping me away from the computer

    Don't let her sleeping, jailed appearance fool you.  This is a high-speed, mightily independent monster with a bladder the size of a thimble and big, nasty teeth! (well, ok, little nasty teeth...)

    It's a miracle she even sleeps.  She didn't shut up until 6 AM Saturday, and last night was pretty bad, although she quit crying a LOT earlier.  I'm hopeful that sleeping in the crate/ pen/ whatever means she's ok with it now......

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:17 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    January 08, 2008

    well, it started out as a good day...

    I went to work, the traffic wasn't bad, I came home, took the dogs to the vet, and everything was fine.  That was clearly BEFORE noon.

    Then I whacked my forehead on a tree chasing the puppy, scared her (no big deal, I just put a little pressure on her shot site when I picked her up and it hurt) and then spent the afternoon trying to get her to calm down.

    i quit.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:16 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    January 10, 2008

    Meme to an end?

    Ok, it was the only cool title I could think of. 

    This one seems to be going around, and I thought it was interesting enough to do.  Evidently the idea is to explore "privilege" (whatever that is) and see what bloggers have in common....  For more background, see it comes in pints?, McGehee, or Dustbury.

    Obligatory Legal Mumbojumbo:

    Premise: bold each of the statements that applies.

    Original source: The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

    Okey Dokey. Onward to the list:

    Father went to college

    Father finished college

    Mother went to college

    Mother finished college

    Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (I assume cousins of my own or subsequent generations don't count as they were not already practicing, and thus could not serve as role models)

    Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (my teachers had way more $$ than we did)

    Had more than 50 books in your childhood home Hello, Mom's a Children's Librarian....

    Had more than 500 books in your childhood home See Above.

    Were read children's books by a parent This is getting redonkulous

    Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 Violin lessons

    Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 and Dance lessons, too, I realize.

    The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (Have you seen a scientist on TV lately? Yeah.)

    Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18 (Credit Card? I was 21 before I had a credit card!)

    Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs (Does the Caltech Scholarship Fund count? I didn't think so.)

    Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs (HA!)

    Went to a private high school (the private high schools in Fresno SUCK. I got a MUCH better education at the math/science magnet)

    Went to summer camp (Church Camp)

    Had a private tutor before you turned 18 (I WAS the F-ing tutor)

    Family vacations involved staying at hotels (Hell no, we stayed with relatives or at friends' houses, except one large trip)

    Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (Mom sews. You should see some of my pretty dresses)

    Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (My Neon. Loved it. Dad's car was too unreliable to pass on, and Mom's was new then, too)

    There was original art in your house when you were a child (I'm guessing my kindergarten scrawls don't count?)

    Had a phone in your room before you turned 18 Hello, former teenage girl here.

    You and your family lived in a single family house

    Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home Still do, in fact. But for my generation, this really isn't as much of a sign of privilege as it might be now given housing prices then vs now.

    You had your own room as a child Only child, duh.

    Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (No, but I TOOK the SAT when I was 12)

    Had your own TV in your room in High School After my grandmother moved in with us, I got her TV AND cable!

    Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College (you're shittin' me, right? I barely knew what a mutual fund WAS)

    Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (Nope, I was 17 the first time. I flew to NY and back by myself)

    Went on a cruise with your family (I'm guessing the Catalina Ferry doesn't count. I've never been on a cruise)

    Went on more than one cruise with your family (see above. What's a cruise?)

    Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up Museums, but not galleries.

    You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family (Nope, I always knew. Mom used it as an illustration of why we conserve energy.)

    Wow, I guess I was a poor little rascal. At least, according to this metric. Funny how we thought we were doing well....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    January 14, 2008

    Drowning in work, but I needed to pop in and ramble and be political and stuff

    - First of all, I want to start out by saying tonight's Golden Globes were the BEST AWARDS SHOW EVAH.  I'm certain that I am not the first to say so, but it was delightfully refreshing to not have to listen to blather about designer dresses and celebrity dates and political bullshit speeches from idiots who, for the most part, are merely talking out their asses.  Not to mention 3 hours of bad comedy and rotten stage numbers.  Thirty minutes.  No bullshit.  I loved it.

    Thanks Writer's Guild.  I wish we could have you picket ALL the awards shows.

    On the other hand, I think you writers are a bunch of selfish bastards.  See, LA really is a company town.  And all the NON-writers are really suffering.  One of the news stations reported that if the parties accompanying the awards shows are cancelled, just the parties, that's $80 MILLION out of the area economy.  $80,000,000.00.  That's a hell of a lot of crews and waiters and caterers and delivery guys and lots of others who are barely hanging on in the best of times, and who are facing a serious crisis because a bunch of writers want 2 more cents per DVD.  The actors say they're in solidarity with you, but they can afford to.  Strangely enough, it's the richest among them who are calling for your selfishness to end.  George Clooney and others have begged the parties to come back to the bargaining table, someplace they haven't met in WELL over a month.

    In the meantime, crew members, caterers, security guards, and all the other "little people" are struggling.  Not to mention the store owners, construction firms, barbers, restaurants, and other businesses that aren't getting business because Hollywood is essentially shut down.

    Get your shit together and grow up.  That is all.  But do skip the awards shows.

    -Top Gun is an ass-kicking movie.  I think more people should watch the first half-hour and the last half-hour, and think about the implications of what's going on for TODAY.  We came to the conclusion that if more people actually THINK about what's going on in the world, you'd hear a HELL of a lot less whining about the war.

    -Psych is the best show on TV.  If you don't watch it you should.  Especially as NBC will be running episodes starting in February. 

    -We watched a lot of TV tonight.  I needed the mental break.  On a whim we flipped it to "Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant" on VH1.  It was actually funny.  And it had a damn good soundtrack (incl. Depeche Mode and The Cure).  We also watched Home Makeover.  Damn if that show doesn't make me cry every time I see it.

    -The Puppies are beginning to get along.  I even have photographic evidence.  They were in the same chair.  I was so shocked I jumped up to get the camera before they could figure out I was going to take pictures.  I'll post them tomorrow when the camera and I are in the same room.

    -Who turned on Fred's Espresso machine?  Seriously.  WooHoooooo!

    -My mind must be on another planet.  I usually have a mind like a steel trap, but I have forgotten a ton of things this weekend.  Stress, and a working subconscious.  First, Attila Girl asked me to guestblog for her for a few days.  And I forgot.  I was supposed to begin calling for jury duty this weekend, and guess when I remembered to do that?  11:05 PM, when the news dude started talking about Brit-Brit going to court tomorrow.... yeah.  Go me.  And I forgot a bunch of work stuff I need to get done before tomorrow.

    And what am I doing?  Blogging and procrastinating.  Because I can.

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

    January 15, 2008

    A religion quiz for the heck of it

    Seen at the LlamaButchers'.

    Your Results:

    The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

    Interesting, as my religious upbringing is #3 and #5, being both Orthodox and Methodist.

    1. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (100%)
    2. Orthodox Quaker (93%)
    3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (88%)
    4. Seventh Day Adventist (79%)
    5. Eastern Orthodox (75%)
    6. Roman Catholic (75%)
    7. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (64%)
    8. Liberal Quakers (56%)
    9. Unitarian Universalism (54%)
    10. Orthodox Judaism (53%)
    11. Reform Judaism (51%)
    12. Sikhism (50%)
    13. Islam (48%)
    14. Jehovah's Witness (47%)
    15. Bahá'í Faith (47%)
    16. Hinduism (46%)
    17. Mahayana Buddhism (42%)
    18. Neo-Pagan (42%)
    19. Theravada Buddhism (42%)
    20. New Age (40%)
    21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (33%)
    22. Jainism (31%)
    23. Nontheist (30%)
    24. New Thought (28%)
    25. Taoism (28%)
    26. Scientology (26%)
    27. Secular Humanism (25%)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 16, 2008

    Santa Ana Nights

    Usually Pasadena is pretty calm on Santa Ana wind days. But tonight it's been blowing up a storm. I'm not sure what the top gusts have been, but 30-40 MPH is a good estimate. It's blown all kinds of things around our yard, and I am currently waiting to hear the big citrus trees in the sideyard come down on the roof.... So we moved into another room, on the lee side of the house. The dogs are actually pretty freaked out, which is a first for a non-thunderstorm.

    We've been through a bunch of hurricanes, and at times it's sounded eerily like those did. I wouldn't be surprised to see hurricane or at least tropical storm force sustained winds through the passes with higher gusts.

    Holy cow.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    I question the timing

    I get to go in for Jury Duty tomorrow.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 17, 2008

    JD Hell Part Deux

    So I am not on a jury, yet. I am, however, in a jury pool for a particular case which I may not discuss except to say it's a criminal matter. I must return to the Courthouse of Doom tomorrow for further waiting around with my thumb up my butt sitting in a courtroom with nothing to do but listen to idiots spew their biases in an effort to get out of service, as reading in the courtroom is prohibited and I suspect that if I piss this judge off it won't be that good for me....

    And, joy of joys, it might go through to Tuesday before they actually get around to picking a jury. So much for work this week and next.....

    The only bright spot is that I am 7 from the back of the queue....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    January 18, 2008

    Jury Duty Day 2: The Jury Duty Strikes Back

    So first off, the reason we can't read is that the judge wants everyone to pay attention. The way she runs voir dire in her courtroom is that she questions the panel aloud en banc, and should any of us not yet in the privileged seats move up, she wants us to be aware of what we are going to be asked. It saves time in questioning the people who get seated later.

    So I have been learning a lot about my fellow jurors. Seems there are a lot of people who have really negative opinions about cops and judges and attorneys. And a lot of people who have been harassed by cops or know someone who has.

    This is one hundred percent outside my worldview.

    It's an interesting exercise in psychology listening to people talk about their experiences and feelings, and then to see the judge and attorneys' reactions. And it certainly makes things less boring, especially for a people-watcher like me.

    And, I get to go back in Tuesday morning. As expected, they have already chewed through 36 of the original 55 of us, and the last 7 of those are still actively in voir dire. I expect the jury will be picked and sworn Tuesday, whether or not I get chosen. At this point, I'd almost RATHER be chosen, as it will be 3 days out of my life already, and I'm interested to find out what happens.....

    But, joy of joys, I GOT A METRO PASS!!!! No more $5/day to go back and forth. No more bums staring at me while I feed bills into the ticket machine.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 23, 2008

    Jury Duty 33 1/3: The end.

    So after 3 days of sitting on my ass on hard wooden benches or stone benches in the hallway, I was excused.  I was #47.  They got to #45 before they finally empaneled a jury.

    The case was this one, since I can now talk about it.  Clearly it took longer than anticipated, as the trial actually began this morning.

    The most interesting aspect of this case, I learn now, is one that would not be presented to the jury.  That is the REASON it took 2.5 + years to come to trial: the whistleblower cop was fired for reporting the alleged brutality.

    Below the jump is a cached version of an article about the case from last May including info on the corruption aspects of the case....

    Read More "Jury Duty 33 1/3: The end." »
    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 28, 2008

    Green Eggs and Ham Tomato Soup

    So on Saturday we did a bit of yard work.  The Bougainvillea fell over on our gorgeous (and still producing!) yellow tomato plant, effectively killing it.  Once we removed the bougie back to upright status, we found dozens of small green tomatoes still growing on the dying vine.  So we harvested at least 4 quarts of beautiful green tomatoes.

    Ironically enough, fried green tomatoes is one of the FEW fried, Southern dishes that I DON'T like.  So I went to Chef Google to find some different recipes for using up the garden's bounty.  One of the first that I turned up was this recipe for Green Tomato Soup.  I made this last night, and by all accounts it was a BIG winner.

    Believe it or not.  Originally found here. The recipe below contains my modifications.


    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    4 oz Cubed Pancetta (1/2 cup)
    1 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (from 1 bunch)
    1 tablespoon crushed garlic
    1 pinch dried bay leaf pieces, scattered in the oil
    2 lb green unripe tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized chunks
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    Garnish: fat-free plain yogurt 


    Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, add bay leaf bits, then cook pancetta, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add scallions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Add tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer on medium heat, partially covered, until tomatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

    To serve, put a dollop of yogurt in the bottom of the soup bowl and ladle soup over the top.  Yum.

    Makes about 6 bowls of soup.

    Multiple possible variations on this one, including a lower-fat meat (like turkey bacon, ham, or low-fat sausage), and sour cream or creme freche for the garnish.  Also, some people dislike the broth to stuff ratio, so add more broth if you feel the soup is too chunky.  Finally, if the soup seems too tart, add one tsp. sugar (or one packet sweet n low or splenda) to the pot to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.  DO NOT use Equal.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    January 29, 2008

    Swallowing my bile....

    Fred was the man.

    Let's face it.  Dropping all the hype and the hyperbole, Fred was the only candidate LIKELY to punch the hippies.  And turn the terrorists into nuclear waste.

    Because the truth is, I am a one-issue voter:  National security.  As far as I am concerned, the rest of this bullshit can take care of itself.

    Abortion? I could care less what you do with your body

    Gay Marriage? See above.

    The Economy?  Market forces will foster self-correction.  Together with greed, that's how the market stays afloat, not some shitty presidential policy.

    So for me, it's all about Security.  Iraq, terror, the border, all of that.

    With Fred out of the race there's no candidate that I trust to have the balls to pull the big trigger.  Period.

    Forget the Democrats. They're tripping over their ownselves trying to beat each other out of the middle east, and forget regulating the borders, after all, they want Mexican votes. And they'll say whatever they need to say to get them.

    And what about the Republicans?  Huckabee is a whiny-ass pussy, Giuliani is not really sure what he wants, Romney is a slick used car salesman (AND he was Governor of Massachusetts, so his conservative credentials seem rather fake to me), and that leaves John McCain.

    Eight years ago, I was on the McCain train when he ran against GWB for the nomination.  Then, he seemed like Fred, the only one who was willing to kick ass and take names.

    Which frankly, IS the best job description for the President of the United States, IMO.

    Today, I am not so sure.  McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14 antics, among other things, have made me re-think my McCain-iac status, but all in all, today, I think he's the best candidate with regard to what I consider to be the PARAMOUNT issue facing our nation. He's the only one that I think would NOT be a pussy.

    So I'll be supporting McCain.  With a little "s". 

    Fred, why oh why were you such a lazy asshole?  You could have won the whole thing.  Late start or no.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:12 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    January 30, 2008

    sucky blogger #1

    That would be me.  I have a lot of things I'd like to post on.  The election, ABC's use of the new show Eli Stone to promote their (completely wrong) agenda about autism, football, idiots, work, and the puppy (who is doing just fine, thank you very much.  At least she was when I shut her into the bathroom this morning (the bathroom is her safe room, with her bed and food and toys and puppy pads on the floor and nothing she can tear up or piddle on).

    Honestly, I'm not sure where my brain is right now.  I haven't really been on track since before the holidays, and I am trying to get back into the usual routine.  Just as I was getting back in to the swing of things, jury duty fried my brain.

    It's amazing how sitting on your ass all day in a terribly uncomfortable seat, surrounded by strangers, and being forced to pay attention can totally zap your energy.  For days.

    I have been trying to pick it up, though.  Going to bed earlier, doing things around the house, cooking and baking, yard work.  Pretty much anything to keep me from just falling into the sleepy trap I have been in the last couple of weeks.

    Things are slowly improving, though, and at least the insomnia beast hasn't reared its ugly head in weeks.  Sleeping is about what I do best these days.  Damn, I just want to go to sleep RIGHT NOW.  As I type this.

    I think the best thing for me to do now is just pack it up, go home, and try to get some work done there.  If I go now, it takes me about half as long to get there as it would if I leave an hour from now.  And I get puppy time.  Which is much more fun than sitting in my office all day.  And maybe I can get some laundry done, too.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 02:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    February 19, 2008


    It was a hell of a week last week.  Pretty much a downer everywhere you turned.  Plus I was getting out a grant, and any of you who have been around long enough know what that means: life shutdown until that magic email appears from the funding agency with the words "submission successful."

    And then Friday afternoon I morphed into an alligator wrangler trying to get both dogs to the vet.  Puppy decided that we HATE her and ABUSE her (of course, we were just putting the leash on her collar and asking her to go to the car from the porch) and generally had a freak out.  I swear she is half cat.  Princess, on the other hand hopped up in the car and sat patiently to be buckled in.  She didn't start growling until puppy tried to crawl UNDER her to hide from evil mom and dad.

    But the weekend?  She was good.  We road-tripped all around SoCal on  Saturday, touring every major appliance seller we could find. Hubby's retro check came through last month, and we have BIG plans for it:  a dishwasher.  Hence the grand tour of appliance showrooms.

    Silly us, we could have saved all that time and gas.  The best deal on the one we wanted was right in our own backyard at Sears.  We bought this one (in white) in case you were wondering.

    Yes, I did look online, but the deal at Sears was far better than I could find elsewhere. Plus 0% for a year, so I can pay it off $50 at a time if I want.

    Anyway, we used to have this dishwasher, or at least a previous version of this dishwasher, in Chapel Hill.  It was really quiet, got things clean, and best of all, it holds a hell of a lot of dishes.  Also has a sweet delay feature, so you can start the washer and then go finish your laundry before the damn thing comes on and robs all your hot water... Needless to say, we knew what we wanted, walking in.

    Of course, getting a dishwasher means tearing up part of our kitchen, so I also got this.  YAY! Power tools!  And then we had to go to IKEA to get a smaller piece to go in that corner.  We had this by the dishwasher space, but we'd never get the door open with that in place, so we needed something narrower.

    So Saturday night we went to IKEA and picked up this little guy.  Fits perfectly.  YAY.  And now I have space to put out my mixer!

    Sunday was a lazy day.  We cleaned house and moved (and built!)kitchen furniture.

    Yesterday I went shopping and bought a new pair of jeans.  YAY!  I haven't found a pair of jeans that fits this well in YEARS.  And they appear to be a size smaller (although who knows, they changed the sizing numbers). Then I purged my closet and tossed about half of it to be given away.  Go me.

    And then I woke up  TODAY to drizzle and the news that cagastro resigned.  Big whoop.  Let me know when the comemierda is really dead.  And his brotherpuppet Raul, too.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 18, 2008

    Notes from Real Life..

    Crazy doesn't begin to cover it, folks.

    And yet I can't think of a better word to describe the last week.

    It started out great. I was very productive at work, got through my "pre-Friday" to-do list on Wednesday, if you can believe it, and got my classes back on schedule. No mean feat, I assure you. Wednesday night I went to rehearsal, we went out to dinner and did some shopping, and then we had a quiet evening in front of the TV.

    Thursday we awoke to what sounded like a helicopter hovering over the house. And then, as we both got up and began to move about, we noticed that the water pressure in the house seemed very low. But, neither of us needed a shower, and we both had to be out of the house early, so we put it on the mental back burner.

    Until I opened the front door to go out to the car. I was greeted by a fountain and a flood.

    Some IDIOT thought it would be funny to break our hosepipe off at the top of the dirt. Oh well, they got theirs...a face full of water. HA. MORON. You could see where they were standing... clearly they were in the path of the fountain.

    But seriously, what kind of IDIOT doesn't know that there's water in water pipes. No shit.

    We called the police, and the officers who came out were highly amused. To say the least. Like us, they figure it was probably a kid. Especially since Hubby had a kid threaten to egg our house earlier in the week. This is being followed up by the PD and at the school.

    Friday was a boring day. I can't remember what I did. No kidding.

    Saturday we worked all day in the yard, doing a lot of ripping and planting. We had IHOP green eggs and ham and Who Cakes for breakfast. YUMMY!

    Sunday I woke up sick. SICK. Like bad tummy sick. If that wasn't bad enough, I had to be at a "work retreat" at 5pm.

    I am still moderately queasy. So I am staying home today.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    March 26, 2008

    Bucking Trends

    We do that a lot around here I guess. First we bought a house when everyone said we should wait (if we had waited, we would never have closed on a mortgage courtesy of everyone and their aunt foreclosing...)

    And now we bought a dishwasher (custom order since it's white... and the date stamped on the back is actually 3 days after we paid for it) when durable goods orders are "inexplicably" down.

    Oh well. It's nice to contribute to the economy!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 04, 2008

    It's Friday night, so WTF (severe profanity alert)

    I rant, you decide:

    If I see this so-called "pregnant man" again, I think I am going to puke.

    Gender politics aside, this is NOT a man. Legally, sure. I can agree with that. Phenotypically, even. I can agree he's a man.

    But don't fucking go around trumpeting that you're a MAN and you're pregnant. That's not the case, except perhaps on paper. And it's no fucking miracle. You stopped taking your testosterone and the female hormones made by your INTACT OVARIES AND UTERUS THAT YOU WERE BORN WITH started working again. There's no miracle there. That's how your body is supposed to work.

    Then you inserted sperm, and voila! The process worked the way it was designed to. Funny that. You got pregnant the same way that every other person born with a uterus tries to. In fact, from what I understand, you had an easier time than a lot of us uterus-bearers, whatever gender our driver's license says we are.

    You're not a pregnant man. You are a pregnant ex-female who chose to remain reproductively intact despite partial gender reassignment surgery. Let's be clear on the terminology.

    A pregnant man WOULD be worth shouting about, and it would be a miracle. Seeing as how MEN are born without the means of conceiving and carrying a baby INSIDE their body. A pregnant MAN worth studying would be someone who is able to carry a fetus on the inside, and is born with sex chromosomes that say "XY" instead of "XX", and who are born with testes, and vas deferens and a prostate and a penis . Not a "man" born with a uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and a vagina.

    That's no reason to get on Oprah and every other fucking show on TV, ok?

    And before you fucking go off on me about being insensitive to transgender people, please understand that I could care less which set of chromosomes you were born with, and whether they match what you show on the outside. Just keep your crotch out of my face. When you go around showing pictures of your beard and man's chest and pregnant stomach, that's tantamount to waving your nuts in my face, which I don't appreciate. And don't go around acting like you got pregnant from sperm inserted up your fake dick, whether you have one or not, when you got pregnant the same way everyone else does. That's nothing to write home about.

    All that being said, I wish you and your wife a lifetime of happiness and the blessings of a healthy child, as every family deserves happiness and health. Just not in my face. If nothing else, out of respect for your child's well-being.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 11, 2008


    The best laid plans of mice and men....

    I was on my way to work this morning, right near the freeway on-ramp, when I heard BOOM. Then rattlerattlerattle.

    Yep, I blew out a tire. So I had to cancel my AM class and call AAA to come put on the donut for me. And, since the donut can't handle freeway speed, I had to get it taken care of right away. As we speak, I am waiting for 4 brand-spanking-new tires (it was high time to change them, anyway) and then I'll be on my not-so-merry way to work, I suppose.


    UPDATE: 4 tires = $781. And I made it to work well in time for my 12 pm meeting.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 19, 2008

    Blogging in the 'Dena

    Local blogging is alive and well in Pasadena, and the bloggers are a great crew to hang out with!

    Just got home from the reasonably-semi-annually Pasadena bloggers picnic. Ok, it was really Foothill Cities, as the actual group who were there span an area from La Canada to San Dimas, and blog on everything from photography to journalism, to local politics.

    Hubby and I decided to take the Princesses, and they were super well behaved. And of course, after running around the park all afternoon they are too pooped to pop! Both of them are napping on the bed at the moment.

    Check out the blogs of the folks who were there:
    Miss Havisham, who organized the whole shindig (YAY!)
    Aaron Proctor
    West Coast Grrlie Blather
    Palm Axis
    The Real Zajac
    Pasadena Daily Photo
    Eye Level Pasadena
    LA Times Pressmens 20 year club

    And I know I missed a couple of people, so if you were there and aren't represented, or you see someone not on the list, let me know in the comments.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:29 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    May 01, 2008

    i owe you people something like an update

    It has been a crazy week since I last posted.

    Tuesday night we cleaned the house in preparation for an out-of-town guest. After we finished putting things away, vacuuming, and changing the sheets on the guest bed, we decided a shower was in order. Usually, since it's just the 2 of us, I turn on the shower, jump in and wash and step out, then DH jumps in and turns off the shower. Except the goddamned thing wouldn't turn off all the way. So hubby hauled out the tools and stripped the hot water handle back to the stem, then used pliers to get the stem turned off.

    For those of you keeping score, this is the THIRD problem with the shower/tub handles since we bought the house. THIRD. By this time, however, it's well after midnight, and there's little that can be done except to get the water turned off and go to bed.

    Wednesday, I got up and went to work, and then picked up my friend from the airport. We went straight from LAX to the beach, as she'd never put her tootsies in the Pacific. We had lunch at the Kettle (my favorite MB comfort food place) and then walked down to the waves. After goofing around for about 15 minutes and introducing her to the joys of squishing kelp bobbers, we walked back up to the car and made our way back to the casa. We got her gear stowed, watched some TV and went to choir rehearsal.

    Thursday I dragged her to school with me, and she got to sit in for the final fetal pig lab of the year. Of course her patience was rewarded with a trip out to Melrose to shop at Fluevog and Kidrobot and lunch at Johnny Rocket's.

    Friday we went to the Dodger game (Joe Torre Bobblehead night!).

    Saturday was plumbing day 1. We took the access panel off the wall to see how difficult it would be to replace the diverter/valve/handle thingy. As usual, it wasn't that simple. As with the dishwasher, one plumbing job quickly became three, as we discovered that the water shutoff valves for the shower were broken OPEN. So we had to turn all of the house water off to replace those. AND we discovered that the shower would take a hell of a lot more work to replace... so we decided to cap the leaking valves and put the rest off, as we were having people over for a BBQ so that our friends could meet our guest. Much meat and wine took the edge off of the plumbing mess.

    Sunday we went to see the Big Fat Rat. It turns out that was an excellent day to go. Not terribly hot, and not terribly crowded either. We rode all the big rides, and most of the smaller ones, too. The longest line we stood in was 45 minutes, for the Nemo submarines. Everything else was 20 minutes or less, including Indy! We had "linner" at the Blue Bayou (yum!) and went to Downtown Disney to the Lego Store via Monorail. We left at 9 because Monday is a work day, but everyone was exhausted by then anyway.

    Monday was plumbing day 2. We fixed the valves and tackled the shower/diverter replacement. It quickly became evident that the geometry of the house made it IMPOSSIBLE to remove the pipes via the access panel. So we cut a hole in the side of the house! Extreme, but it was either that or rip out the fiberglass shower surround. And anyway, our house is covered in flat wood panels (1x 12's) with wood shingle siding attached, so what we cut out came out in one single piece (which we screwed back on when we were done). Once we could actually REACH the plumbing, the shower replacement was a piece of cake. And now it works great. YAY Hubby!

    Tuesday was my class's final, and then another trip to Kidrobot and a tour of Hollywood Boulevard.

    Wednesday I dropped my friend back at LAX, and our whirlwind week was over. Back to real life, and fast. I got a hell of a curve ball at work, and then I had to grade exams.

    Today I finally got to do my ACTUAL job. Wow.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:28 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    May 05, 2008

    My Baby turns 9 today

    OK, so she's not my baby in the usual sense, but she IS my child. The favorite, the spoiled one, the one who gives me kisses and runs to see me when I come home every afternoon. She watches while I sleep and gets offended when her Daddy and I argue with each other. She loves books and kleenex (to eat) and cheese and chicken and eggs that escape from my breakfast burritos. She's Daddy's girl when he's got trail mix and Mommy's shadow whenever there's a glass of Dr. Pepper poured out. My 35 pound hot water bottle who loves the snow beyond reason and runs from rain drops. My "worth her weight in Molybdenum" hound who has cost me more than a fortune in tests and specialists and pills and special dog food, and finally human anti-rejection meds for an allergy that only took a move home to California to cure.

    But for all that, we wouldn't trade a moment with our "border spaniel cocker collie" and all the ways she's spoiled us.

    I love you, my Princess.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:22 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    May 06, 2008


    that's what it looks like outside, and it's kinda how I feel. Now, today wasn't a bad day, not by any stretch, at least not so far, but it was just kinda blah.

    I went to therapy today, which was good. Cold, once I got out of the pool, but good. As usual, my PT kicked my pathetic ass. I was doing leg lifts in the deep end. Ever used a Roman chair? You know, the one with the arm rests and grips and you hang from them and use your lower abs to lift your legs? Yeah. It ain't any easier using floating dumbbells to hold yourself steady in the water and raise your legs. Even if the water makes your legs weight less. I feel like I did 500 sit ups instead of 2 sets of 10 of right, center, left, center.

    After therapy I showered and changed and went to work. Whereupon I was handed a nasty project with the deadline ASAP. And then I had to show someone how to work the AV system in one of the classrooms so we could get it set up for a speaker. A speaker, who, by the way I had to go listen to for an hour, when I could have been working on the aforementioned project from hell.

    So yeah, blah. Just blah. And I get to spend this evening working on crap I don't want to do. But it is somewhat important, so I'll make sure it gets done.

    And I'm tired. More mentally than physically. It's the end of the school year, university politics is eating my soul, and feel like my therapy should be having more obvious effects than it is. I need a vacation, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

    I think I'm gonna curl up with a blanket and a puppy or two and just try to turn my brain off for a while.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    May 24, 2008

    365 Days and 30 minutes ago....

    We walked into our house for the first time as its owners. It was kind of a surreal moment, to say the least. It was a Thursday afternoon, and we had no idea when the title would be recorded, so we gave the previous owners until 5pm to leave.

    Of course, they took advantage of that, and the fact that it was memorial day weekend to to have the power and water shut off on us, pettily hoping that that they could screw us over and force us to be uncomfortable until the next Tuesday.

    Happily, however, Pasadena Water and Power are AWESOME and everything was back on by Noon, Friday.

    It's been a crazy year. Somehow we've managed to rip out two wall heaters, install a ceiling fan, a chandelier, change two more light fixtures, fix another ceiling fan, install a brand new bathroom sink, run a water line to the refrigerator, cap off a number of useless pipes, completely replace the plumbing for the shower and the kitchen sink, and install a dishwasher. Oh, and hang lights on the pergola, rip out three trees, hack away a number of bushes, and plant two rose bushes, azaleas, calla lilies, carnations, lilacs, hydrangea, and two summers' worth of garden.

    Not to mention replacing a broken window and installing an alarm system. And bringing home a new puppy.

    Wow. That's a hell of a lot more than I realized.

    This weekend's project? Why plastering the holes from the plumbing job and repainting the bathroom, of course. And hanging our Anniversary present to ourselves:

    Cardinals singing in a magnolia tree above a creek. And it will look fabulous above our bed, so who cares if it's a mass-produced IKEA painting? It makes me happy.

    More pictures on Flickr as soon as I have a moment to download from the camera, probably late tomorrow!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:38 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    May 29, 2008

    Like a duck to water

    I've always been a big fan of turtles. More the idea of turtle than real turtles, mind you, but the symbolism of the turtle means a lot to me: wisdom, strength, balance. The notion that the turtle holds the whole world on its shell speaks to me. That's the way I feel a lot.

    But there's a new animal on my mind lately. The duck. Like a duck swimming in a pond, it's all about what's on top of the water. The duck makes it look easy, right? Above the surface it's all a graceful glide. Under the water is a different story. The damn duck is paddling for all its worth.

    This image occurs to me twice a week as I "jog" in the deep water of the therapy pool. My head and shoulders glide above the water, but below the surface my arms and legs are churning away. And the better I do this, the more still I look above the surface of the water.

    We've also talked a lot about the duck in choir. Brahms' Requiem is a bitch, even for professionals. And we're a small group that doesn't rehearse nearly as much as a big group does. And a lot of people are overwhelmed. But like the Duck, we smile and pretend everything is under control. And the performance is wonderful.

    It's amazing how well that works. If I smile and tell you I'm ok, you assume it's the truth and you don't look for my rapidly paddling legs under the surface.... If you tell me you're doing well, I don't look for the balls you're juggling in the hand that's behind your back.

    So this week, I meditate on the duck. See the duck, be the duck. Glide along, make it across the pond. That's all I need to do between now and next Monday.


    Posted by caltechgirl at 08:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Heaven is a funnier place tonight

    Rest in peace, Harvey Korman.

    Harvey Korman, an Emmy-winning comedic actor best known for playing the self-described "luminous second banana" for a decade on television's "The Carol Burnett Show" and for starring in such Mel Brooks films as "Blazing Saddles," has died. He was 81.

    Korman, who had undergone several major operations, died Thursday at UCLA Medical Center of complications from an abdominal aortic aneurysm that ruptured four months ago...

    ...With a knack for physical humor and oddball accents, Korman was a master sketch comic who did his best-known work on Burnett's variety show beginning in 1967 in an ensemble that included Tim Conway.

    "It's a 45-year friendship," Conway said. "It was a great ride; we worked together probably 30 years, plus the Burnett show, which was about as good as it gets."

    Brooks called Korman "a major, major talent, and he could have very easily have done Shakespearean drama. That's how gifted and talented Harvey was. . . I loved working with him."

    Conway said Korman had "a complete understanding of comedy and comedy timing."
    Not surprisingly, Hedley Lamarr is probably my favorite character in Blazing Saddles, which probably my favorite movie of all time.

    A classic moment from Blazing Saddles, and one of the funniest lines in the movie:

    "I want Rustlers, Cutthroats, Murderers, Bounty Hunters, Desperados, Mugs, Pugs, Thugs, Nitwits, Halfwits, Dimwits, Vipers, Snipers, Con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, Muggers, Buggerers, Bushwackers, Hornswogglers, Horse thieves, Bull dykes, Train robbers, Bank robbers, Asskickers, Shitkickers, and METHODISTS!"

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    June 05, 2008

    Maybe I shouldn't have been such a good girl...

    Seems a new study indicates that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the chance of getting RA by 50%:

    All participants were quizzed about their lifestyle, including how much they smoked and drank. And blood samples were taken to check for genetic risk factors.

    The results showed that drinking alcohol was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. And the more alcohol was consumed, the lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

    Among those who drank regularly, the quarter with the highest consumption were up to 50% less likely to develop the disease compared with the half who drank the least.

    The effect was the same for both men and women.
    I guess this means that glass of red wine is back on the schedule. Just wish the alcohol and the medication didn't interact.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 11, 2008

    I've been tagged

    Wow, it's been a hell of a long time since someone ACTUALLY tagged me with a meme.

    So here we go...

    The rules:
    1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
    2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
    3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read the player's blog.
    4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

    What were you doing five years ago?
    Hmmm..... June 2003 I was probably in the lab doing experiments, in the exact middle of my Graduate School career. Hubby was just beginning his masters' program.

    What are five things on your to-do list for today?
    1. Laundry (running as we speak)
    2. Finish my animal protocol
    3. Get PT prescription from the Rheumo's office (assuming they don't hang up on me again)
    4. Glee Club rehearsal for Caltech's graduation
    5. Freeze the rest of the prepared Apricots.

    What are five snacks you enjoy?
    1. Fruit, especially grapes, apricots, berries, and apple slices
    2. Meat. I know it sounds weird, but I often snack on grilled chicken breast cubes. Also beef jerky or lunchmeat Protein is good for you.
    3. Tortilla chips and something (cheese, salsa, hummus, guac, etc.)
    4. Cheese
    5. Tasty carbs: garlic bagel chips, chex mix, cheetos, pretzels

    What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
    1. Pay off my house and my mother's house
    2. Pay all my other debts
    3. Buy a great big beach house on the central coast
    4. Travel
    5. Endow something completely frivolous at one of my alma maters

    What are five of your bad habits?
    1. Procrastinating
    2. Swearing
    3. Speaking too quickly
    4. Speeding
    5. Criticizing others

    What are five places where you have lived?
    1. Fresno, CA
    2. Pasadena, CA
    3. Carrboro, NC
    4. Chapel Hill, NC
    5. Pasadena, CA
    (in that order)

    What are five jobs you’ve had?
    1. Office Assistant for a Truck Broker
    2. Student intern for Alumni/ Development office
    3. Fish feeder
    4. Graduate Student
    5. Assistant Professor

    Five people I tag:
    Yeah, so not doing this. If you want to pick up the meme, tag, you're it!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 12, 2008

    I can't resist a good story....

    Bou took a look at the number of condoms delivered to Antarctica and she did the math....

    The just shipped 16500 condoms for the US Antartic base, for 125 scientists and staff. Its supposed to be a year’s supply.

    If you assume everyone is acting responsibly and using birth control and that 120 of the 125 pair up, that’s 60 couples. That’s assuming there is a 50/50 split male to female ratio. And if you assume 10% of the women are on the pill… then you get 54 couples that need condoms.

    Divided into 16500… that’s 305 per couple to last 365 days. I’m sorry, but I think that’s not enough. Everyone is different, but there are going to be twice a day couples and once a day couples, and then of course, crazy all the time couples.

    Then again, eh, assume that of the 125, you truly only have 25 couples whiling away the hours getting to know each other in the Biblical sense and assuming 10% of the women on the pill… leaving 23 couples, that’s now 717 condoms per couple and that seems… more likely.


    Seems like an awful lot of condoms for so few people.

    Reminds me of my time at Caltech. Condoms were (and are) freely available on campus. You could get them from the Health Center, from a house Health Advocate, or often from a basket in any bathroom, men's, women's, or unisex.

    When I lived in Avery House, our Health Ad used to put all of the condoms out in the bathrooms. She would split a box of 1000 condoms between 8 bathrooms. That's 125 condoms per bathroom, folks. For about 12 residents per bathroom. And they would be gone in 48 hours. Every week she would replace them, and every week, they would be gone.

    Caltech, as you know, has a ratio of 3 guys for every girl enrolled. The ratio at Avery house was even higher, more like 6:1. And NONE of these dudes had a girlfriend. So we always wondered what they were doing with the condoms. Stocking up? Balloons? We never found out, but the condoms always disappeared. They didn't even show up on Ditch Day....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:33 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    June 16, 2008

    good wishes/prayers/happy thoughts needed UPDATED

    My always wonderful Daddy is going in for a total knee replacement at 7 this morning. Predictably, I can't sleep and he's sawing logs.

    Although the doctors have all given their blessing, and even say he's in great shape, we can use all the good juju we can get, so if you have a moment I'd appreciate it if you could spare a thought and a prayer in his direction.

    Update: Dad is out of surgery and resting comfortably in his room. He's already had a stream of visitors and a tuna sandwich.

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

    June 18, 2008

    TMI for fun and profit

    The bad news is getting a norovirus sucks worse at 31 than it does at 11. Adults should be immune to these frigging things.

    The good news is that the trashcan in Mom's bathroom is watertight.

    The better news is that the internet is back on at the house so I can at least get something done while I feel like ass.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    June 25, 2008

    Because I am avoiding work... one blog entry at a time

    Stolen from the lovely and talented Phoenix.

    Only ONE word can be used in your answer and it can NOT be used twice.

    1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
    2. Your significant other? Home
    3. Your hair? Messy
    4. Your mother? Tired
    5. Your father? Gimpy
    6. Your favourite time of day? Night
    7. Your dream last night? Cops
    8. Your favourite drink? Dr.Pepper
    9. Your dream goal? Leisure
    10. The room you're in? Office
    11. Your ex? Goofball
    12. Your fear? Snakes
    13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Elsewhere
    14. What you are not? Shy
    15. Your Favourite meal? Lunch
    16. One of your wish list items? Time
    17. The last thing you did? Carried
    18. Where you grew up? House
    19. What are you wearing? Dress
    20. Your TV is? Old
    21. Your pets? Puppies
    22. Your computer? Laptop
    23. Your life? Content
    24. Your mood? Annoyed
    25. Missing someone? Hubby
    26. Your car? Filthy
    27. Something you're not wearing? Pants
    28. Favourite store? Target
    29. Your summer? Hot
    30. Your favourite colour? Green
    31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
    32. When is the last time you cried? Yesterday
    33. Your health? OK
    34. Your children? None
    35. Your future? Open
    36. Your beliefs? Personal
    37. Young or old? Childish
    38. Your image? Confident
    39. Your appearance? Comfortable
    40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? Duh

    Feel free to jump in and play along, y'all!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 02, 2008


    You'll find some changes in the right-hand sidebar. Many dormant and dead blogs sadly deleted, a few new additions (especially under the Green Parrot -- Pasadena Bloggers) and a long list of NEW bloggers I have actually met.

    I'll be uploading pictures to Flickr, too, sometime later tonight or tomorrow, so check here for new pics shortly.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 09:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 04, 2008

    In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

    When in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one
    People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

    Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the Present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let the Facts be submitted to a candid World.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People; unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.
    He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
    He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and Amount and Payment of their Salaries.
    He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance.
    He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislature.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:
    For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:
    For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:
    For transporting us beyond the Seas to be tried for pretended Offences:
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule in these Colonies:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Powers to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
    He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic Insurrections among us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

    Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

    Signed by ORDER and







    Happy 4th of July, everyone!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 07, 2008

    The NEW Racism: Picky Eating

    A government-sponsored organization (organisation) in the UK now says that picky-eating toddlers may be "exhibiting racist behaviours" bt refusing to eat or saying 'yuck' to flavorful foreign foods. A daily Telegraph article says:

    " The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: "Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships."

    It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: "blackie", "Pakis", "those people" or "they smell".

    The guide goes on to warn that children might also "react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying 'yuk'".

    Staff are told: "No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action."

    OFCS*. Are you KIDDING ME??? A three year old says "yuk" to spicy food and automatically they're considered little KKK-wannabes?? Some of those words, sure, those are clearly racist, but even then it goes a bit too far to suggest that a TODDLER has malice in their heart for a specific group of people.

    If a three year old hears a group of people called "apples" or "chairs" they'll use that word just the same as if it was (as mentioned above) "blackies" or "pakis". All they understand is the LABEL, if that. They are incapable of attaching racist meaning to it at that age because they are incapable of understanding (in an adult sense) what race is.

    Furthermore, I find it highly unlikely that a toddler can associate foods with races. Oh, I don't like curry because THEY eat it, where they is some other group.

    As for the other labels mentioned in the article "those people" is a way that small children break down the world. These people vs those people, us vs them. It's an easy way for their young brain to learn to classify people and things, to sort out their environment and make sense of everything around them. It's not evil. It's not denigrating, it's just a baby brain learning to work.

    I think my favorite of the report's objections, and the one that best demonstrates nanny-ism run amok, though, is "they smell."

    Let's face it, small children are absurdly honest and have no politeness filter. they say what's on their mind. Including that some people smell funny to them. It's clear that different cultures come from homes that smell differently. Some burn incense or use flavorful, aromatic spices in daily cooking. To a toddler unused to those smells, someone who comes from that environment WOULD smell funny. Again, not racist, just honest.

    The bottom line here is that kids are kids. They are simple, funny, honest, and open. Because they haven't learned how to be polite or appropriate yet. They don't understand that what they say can hurt. And frankly, if a toddler wants to insult you, they're more likely to say "poopyhead" than "blackie" or "paki". A kid who is rude or insulting should be dealt with, but not as an incipient racist. They should be disciplined accordingly, and taught that ALL rudeness and insult is unacceptable, including racism. We should explain why it's not nice to say that another child smells funny without pointing fingers and shouting accusations.

    This report, in sum, says a WHOLE LOT MORE to me about the agenda of the authors than the intent of the toddlers.

    This whole debate about racism and children is funny to me. Children today are so unaware of racism. They get their ideas about it from what WE (the ADULTS) project on to them. Kids are blissfully unaware of race problems until we tell them that they should be experiencing them.

    This brought to mind a more local story. Charter Oak High School in Covina recently discovered that parodic African-American sounding names ("Tay Tay Shaniqua," "Crisphy Nanos" and "Laquan White") were printed in the yearbook under a picture of the Black Student Union, apparently as a racist joke.

    I can't help but wonder if the motivation was really racist in nature or just bad taste, and a joke gone sadly awry. Do teenagers really harbor the kind of overt racist feelings implied by these actions? Was it entirely about race? Or were they just making fun of some kids they didn't like, by badly ripping off certain black comedians?

    The community is up in arms and the parents are demanding action, but I have to wonder if we're missing something. Are our kids racist? Did WE make them that way? If not, why do they do and say racist things? Is it because they are SO OVER racism, that it CAN be a joke for them. Wouldn't that be considered a good thing?

    It's like that classic South Park Question: How long does it have to be with us before AIDS is funny? When can we laugh? Can we EVER laugh about racism? And if we do, who gets to laugh? The opressed? The reformed opressor? The subsequent, non-racist generations? When does it get to be OK? For whom?

    *Oh For Christ's Sake!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:39 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    Possibly the BEST LOLCat of all time

    Sums up my life most days.....


    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 10, 2008

    Puppy's First....

    ... real bath!

    Pictures posted to Flickr... here's a preview:

    black, white, and blue

    Posted by caltechgirl at 07:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 15, 2008

    I don't need your affirmative action OR your pity

    According to some, the "lack" of women in science and engineering is so critical that Title IX-like protections should be put in place until women are equally represented.

    Are you f*cking kidding me? Women have no barriers in science, probably fewer than in any other general field. Over half of students entering medical school this year are women. More than 60% of graduate students in biology and biochemistry and psychology are female. My department chair is a woman. There's no lack of women in science, even at the highest levels.

    Yes, you might argue, but the article focuses on Physics and Engineering. And true, there are relatively few women in physics and engineering. But is it possible that maybe women don't choose these fields because they are less interested? Should we force girls into jobs they don't want? It's not like the demands of an academic career in physics are that different from the demands of an academic career in biology or biochemistry. Which even these researchers had to admit was the case:

    [T]he institute found that women with physics degrees go on to doctorates, teaching jobs and tenure at the same rate that men do. The gender gap is a result of earlier decisions. While girls make up nearly half of high school physics students, they're less likely than boys to take Advanced Placement courses or go on to a college degree in physics.(emphasis mine)
    At least the Universities so far are ignoring it:
    So far, these Title IX compliance reviews haven't had much visible impact on campuses beyond inspiring a few complaints from faculty members. (The journal Science quoted Amber Miller, a physicist at Columbia, as calling her interview "a complete waste of time.") But some critics fear that the process could lead to a quota system that could seriously hurt scientific research and do more harm than good for women.
    Yep. And considering today's cuts in research funding and endless Federal investigations looking for reasons to increase cuts, this could be a nightmare for small institutions that don't have the resources to bring in enough female scientists to meet an arbitrary quota.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 21, 2008

    Forest for the trees (and some TV notes)

    It was a busy weekend at the Casa de CTG. For the first weekend in about a month it was cool enough to work outside, and we were actually IN TOWN to get things done.

    Despite the fact that GMT is home for the summer, the yard has been getting away from us shamefully. It has just been too hot to work in the yard for long periods, so the list of things to be done has far outpaced the the things we can GET done. Add to that a tree that decided to DIE in the middle of the yard, and well, it was starting to look like there were a few dead cars arriving to be parked on the lawn in a week or so.

    Finally this weekend we were able to tackle some big projects. First up was the dead tree. Our lovely plum tree just turned brown and withered. We'd known it was sick, with some disease that didn't affect the other fruit trees in the yard, or the neighbors yard. But then it just up and died. So we took it down before it fell and killed someone.

    Hubby clipped off all of the small limbs and branches with pruning shears and then we borrowed a friend's chainsaw and chopped it down a piece at time into a rather cheerful looking pile of firewood.

    When Hubby got to the stump, the reason for the tree's downfall became immediately clear: Termites had infested the base of the tree and killed it from the inside out. Of course, we sprayed the stump with bug spray and threw the termite pieces in the trash. They live in the soil in Pasadena, I know, but the fewer the better is my motto when it comes to Termites.

    When the plum tree was done, we moved the operation to the front yard, and using our awesome pole trimmer and tree saw, we took out all of the lower branches on the nasty tree that shades our driveway (and drops leaves and makes the car sticky from its secretions), mostly because the branches were likely the cause of our cable having loose connections, and because the branches were beginning to brush the roof. Yeah, not good. I've noticed these trees all over Pasadena, and it seems to me that most people who park under then DO NOT experience sticky, leafy car like we do, and I realized, most of the other trees are higher above the cars, so hopefully the trim will help with that, too.

    Then, later last night we went over to some other friends' house and picked up their mini-whisper-chipper. This should allow us to get rid of most of the tree waste by making it into some lovely mulch. YAY!

    I am totally exhausted.

    Also from this weekend, it seems we stopped watching House entirely about the time we went into escrow on the house. Regular lurkers will know that was well over a season ago, strike or no strike. So this weekend we picked up where we left off, and have watched 9 episodes or so, which brings us up to just about the last pre-strike episode. It's nice to have all that TiVo space back, too. Just 12 to go. I expect we'll get through them in the next couple of days. Then we have a whole season of Ugly Betty to get through. As well as a whole slate of summer shows.

    Speaking of summer shows, we were both very impressed with A&E's The Cleaner, starring Benjamin Bratt. Despite a few cheesy moments (including a Pulp Fiction-esque heroin rescue and a very amateurly foreshadowed suicide), it was gripping and we're looking forward to the second episode on Tuesday.

    Also, our all-time favorite, Psych, is back on USA. This season started off with what I consider to be just a "meh" episode, despite the much ballyhooed arrival of Shawn's Mom: Cybill Shepherd. She was actually excellent, and seemed to fit right into the cast. The plot was MORE than a tad contrived, with Shawn resorting to fraud and blackmail to keep Gus's "dayjob" from forcing him out of the agency. Not his best work, and certainly not the best script of the show. Surprisingly adorable: Henry getting all mushy about his ex and Lassiter crying on the therapy couch after boasting to Jules that he was kicking a$$. Looking forward to a much better season once the writers get over their long winter break.

    And a final thought on TV: All-time Foodie fave Ted Allen returns to weekly TV with a new show on Food Network starting next Tuesday (7/29). It's called "Food Detectives" and looks to be the gay love child of Alton Brown's Good Eats and MythBusters. Even if the concept wasn't so cool, I'd be all over this show. How can you not love the man who once advocated that bacon should be its own food group, and later described it as the "best two words in food: Ba. Con."?

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 22, 2008

    Summer Reruns

    One of my favorite things about summer is that my schedule is less crazy and I have the flexibility to do things I usually can't in the winter: catch up on TV, knit and crochet, read good books, and especially, cook.

    Hubby has been working like a fiend in the yard getting all the detritus up from this weekend's festivities and mulching it with the mini chipper of doom. So I thought I would treat him with one of his favorites, Stuffed Peppers. I hate 'em, but I'll totally eat the filling and we had some beautiful green peppers I picked up at the Fresno State farm market last week when we were in town that I needed to use.

    My stuffed pepper recipe is the easiest ever (especially when you use pre-cooked rice from Trader Joe's), so it makes a quick summer rerun. And a very happy hubby, too!

    Go here to see just how awesomely easy it is!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 06:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 23, 2008

    Blogging from the deep end

    I haven't really had a chance to brain dump lately. Despite the fact that it is summer, and therefore I am NOT teaching, I have been as busy as ever. Stuff just piles up on my desk and I am trying to get through a thousand small things just to get to see the top of my desk.

    In some sense this is my fault. Being the person who is NOT on vacation means a lot of things that wouldn't otherwise come my way get shifted to me. Plus I am adding a new class in the Fall which I have to prep. Although it has been taught before, the focus of the class is changing, and the massive increase in enrollment (5 to 15, yeah I know, but it is TRIPLED) means I have to rethink the way labs and some assignments are done, almost as if it were a new class. I am also taking the opportunity to switch to a more rigorous text and need to make the syllabus reflect that text. With my "old" class, I need to re-arrange some of the units and make the syllabus more reflective of our designated Student Learning Outcomes (yes, we are going through Accreditation, why do you ask?) and combine the lab and lecture syllabi into one with a less formal schedule for the lab, because, as we all know, sh!t happens.

    Along with this is the possibility of getting some grant $$ for research, which means I need to write a formal animal protocol which explains exactly what I plan on doing with my animals and how and when and why. This is the last thing I want to do. Boring. And pissy. And I really really really could give 2 shits about doing research anymore. Srsly. And anyway, I research stress hormones. Why on Earth would I want to hurt my animals? It only screws up my data.

    I am also deeply embroiled in University politics. So far I have managed to play the naive child role well enough to slide through some serious controversial sh!t, while behind the scenes I plot and maneuver and try to come up with mature solutions. Who ever it was that said that Academic politics are worse because they are meaningless was right.

    It doesn't help that I am trying to work from home as much as possible. On days when I can really focus, telecommuting is great. I can work all day on my schedule and get other things (like laundry or a trip to the dentist) done at the same time. I don't have to waste time or $$ on driving in to campus, either. I figure it costs me about $60-70/ week to drive in, just in gas costs. The inconvenience and creepiness of the Public transit makes that a less useful choice. Especially the creepiness. Someone was shot at the stop for my office a few weeks ago, and there have been a number of muggings and other violence.

    Outside of work, things keep swimming along. Tomorrow is our 9th Anniversary. I can't believe it's already late July. Classes start again in a month. Also, I've "graduated" from physical therapy, and I continue in the pool, working on my own. So far so good. I like the pool, I like the workout, and I've gotten to know the group of "regulars" at the therapy pool who come every morning (lucky retired gals) to workout. Most of them are also therapy graduates. We switched my class schedule so that I can continue going to the pool in the morning twice a week. YAY.

    Oh, and I have a ton of pictures to post. I'll try to do that tonight after I get home. I'm staying late for a student orientation "mixer" on campus. Yecch. But it gets me out of tomorrow's festivities and therefore I can hang out with hubby for our anniversary!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:54 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    July 24, 2008

    Nine, nine, number nine.

    Happy Anniversary to the sweetest husband a girl could ever imagine. Even if you are a complete and utter dork.

    I like you that way.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 03:44 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    July 25, 2008

    A Rose by any other name...UPDATED

    Helen's post yesterday, about names, got me thinking. You see, I can't just say these are the names I would choose for my children without explaining why. There's a whole list of rules that hubby and I came up with many, many years ago. Long before we even started dating.

    You know those long, rambling conversations you can have with your closest friends? The rules sprung from one of those. WE were just sitting around, BS'ing one day. I don't even know what started it off, but eventually both of us (and Ben. He was there, too) were tossing out rules for what names you can and can't give your kid. Over the years, we've gone back to them, as friends have had and named their own kids, and had a few laughs, I must admit.

    So here's a list of our rules:
    1. It must be a classic American name, spelled in the most standard way. Our children's heritage is classic EuroMutt with a dash of Native American and heaping helping of Armenian. The best way to describe them will be American. So we think their names should be, too.

    2. It can not be one of certain names. I would list them, but I don't want to piss people off. It's just that, with a few exceptions, in our collective experience, everyone we know with these names is some kind of asshole. To the point that it's like "well his name is (one of those), you expect that".

    3. It can't be a family name. Too much animosity. If I name my kids after my side of the family you can bet his family would be pissed. And vice versa. There may be some leeway for dead relatives used as middle names, but in general, it would cause more fuss than I'd care to deal with.

    4. Probably best listed as a corollary to 3: There will be no juniors. There's enough confusion in the house with 4 different names now (two of which, I might add, belong to DOGS), I don't need to add on the confusion of calling for DH and getting answered by DH, Jr. Plus, we both think our kids should have their own names.

    5. They must be full names. Alexander, Elizabeth, Johnathan, Katharine are all acceptable, for example, while Alex, Beth, Jon, and Kathy are not. Give the kid the whole name, and they can choose from a multitude of nicknames for themselves.

    6. The Asswipe (that's Os-Wee-Pay) Rule: No easily made fun of names. Hubby's name is very similar to the quirky title character of a popular song during his childhood, and my last name laid me open to years of taunting comparing me to a comic villain. We'd like to spare our kids as much as possible. So under this rule, no Richard (Dick), Peter, Johnson, etc.

    7. No rhyming. Dear God no. Thankfully, neither of our last names rhymes with many first names.

    8. No multiples. This is mostly an issue for people with first names as last names, and we'd really have to stretch it to get that to work for us, but seriously. You couldn't think of anything more creative than Thomas Thomas (my mother's orthopedic surgeon) or Martin M. Martin (a teacher at our high school)?

    9. No objects. Thing names are for animals. "This is our daughter, Ladybug." "This is my cat, Ladybug." "how nice." NOT. There's a reason some names refer to people. Abstracts are ok, however, such as Faith, Joy, Hope, Honor, etc. Although in my experience such names often turn out to be no more than wishful thinking on the part of the parents....

    10. Fictional Characters are sometimes ok, under these conditions: the character must have a real name (Luke is acceptable, Han is not), and the character's reputation won't come back to bite the kid in the ass (again, Luke is acceptable, Homer is not). Naming your kid after a villain is usually a bad idea, as well. Especially if it's a villain in a kid's movie....

    11. There should be a reason you're willing to share. Someday your kid will ask you "mom, dad, why did you call me Paris Nooner Lastname" and you have to be willing to explain your quick trip back to the hotel that ended up being more than a bag drop-off....

    12. Gender appropriate names are a must. Gender neutral names are ok, but for GAWDS SAKE, don't give a girl a boy's name or vice versa. Even if it is acceptable as a name for the opposite gender. Leslie is a girl's name. As is Stacy. Cameron is a boy's name (see Ferris Bueller). So is Kendall. Trust me, it's hard enough to pronounce the names people give their kids. Don't make me look a fool by calling a "he" a "she" in class.

    I'm sure some of our rules go against what you like or even some of your names, but this is what we want for our kids. Because life is hard enough without being known as Chlamydia Vagina.

    More on the worst baby names ever compiled here.

    So what do you think? What are your rules? Which of these do you agree with? Disagree with? That's what the comments are for, hint, hint.

    UPDATE: Check out this poor girl's name. I would like to beat her parents. (h/t Richard Cocking)

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:45 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

    RIP, Randy Pausch

    The "last lecture" Professor has gone. He passed away this morning at age 47 from the Pancreatic cancer he fought so well and so long. I hope his sons come to understand how much their father's grace and courage meant to so many people.

    I can only hope my final lecture teaches half so much.

    Below is the entire lecture, all hour and 16 minutes of it.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 29, 2008

    We're ok

    Officially re-revised to 5.4. Some loose plumbing under the sink, but nothing fell or shook loose. Pictures didn't even move askew on the walls.

    Dogs were completely non-plussed. One was laying in the grass chewing a toy, the other was chilling under the coffee table.

    At least now we know what the house does in an earthquake.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:43 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 30, 2008

    Wonderful weekend

    This weekend was our un-official staycation. We went out and had fun on both Saturday and Sunday.

    Saturday evening, Hubby's college roomie and his wife joined us for dinner and a movie. Had some terribly overpriced Mexican food at Paseo Cantina and then wandered over to the Paseo theater for a moderately over priced film. $21 just for the tickets. Ouch. Especially considering the last time we went to movies regularly, we'd get in for just $10. For both of us. Of course, this is was Sunday afternoons in Chapel Hill, not Friday night in Pasadena.

    In case you're wondering, we saw the X-Files movie. It wasn't terrible. I'd give it 3 stars out of 5. Mostly because there was nary an alien to be found. It was, has our friend described it a "monster-of-the-week" episode, albeit a long one. Mulder-Scully shippers will truly appreciate the film, because (spoiler here, sorry) it pretty much answers the "Are they or Aren't they?" question once and for all, portraying our favorite odd couple in a long term, somewhat committed, and intelllectually intimate relationship. My take: It was a good X-files fanfic. But I appreciate that as a Mulder/Scully fan.

    On Sunday we drove out to Simi Valley and took in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We also met Jen and Beau and Jesse "Speaks" there! They are in CA on vacation, and were staying with family in Santa Barbara, so we met in the middle!

    Jen and Beau are both as fun and awesome as you would imagine from their blogs, and that little Jesse is a charmer. If a bit shy.... although he seemed to really warm up to DH and even let DH hold him for a bit in the elevator!

    The museum itself is really amazing. It was a lot like the Presidential Gallery in the Smithsonian, but more up close and personal. My favorite exhibit, other than Air Force One, which deserves its own post, was the Reagan Diaries display with his personal diary on the desk, laid open to March 30, 1981, the day he was shot. At the top of the right-hand page, he wrote "Getting shot hurts."

    DH was also a big fan of the doodads and geegaws and random things that were given to the Reagans as gifts from people around the world. The sheer randomness of some of it was just unbelievable.

    A funny story: The former president oversaw much of the construction detail, especially the White House replicas (the South Portico, Colonnade, and the Oval Office), and he was very concerned when the contractor indicated that the Oval Office would be an exact replica of the White House, except for the ceiling, which would have to be 2.5 feet lower in the museum due to the building's engineering. Never one to back down, Mr. Reagan replied, "Well, if you can't raise the ceiling, lower the floor." And indeed, you must go down a ramp to the Oval Office, and then up 4 stairs to the rest of the museum and the gardens.

    We took lots of pictures, which are posted at my Flickr page. Most of them are public, so click over!

    After the museum we headed over to Marie Callendar's for dinner. Now, I know it's maybe not the nicest place in town, but I knew where exactly 3 restaurants were in Simi, and they have Applebee's and Chili's in Virginia! So Marie's it was. Food was good, company was better, and we had a nice meal. And pie. Until Jesse got tired and his dad had to take him out, so we finished our pie and said goodbye to the Speaks clan, knowing Jesse would conk out in the car on the way back to SB.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 04:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 04, 2008

    It must be Birthday Day in FL!

    Happy Birthday to two of my favorite ladies!

    Mrs. Who made each of them the perfect birthday card, I canna compete. See here and here.

    But I did get y'all some balloons.....

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 05, 2008

    For the record,

    How the F**k did it get to be AUGUST 5th already??

    That is all.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 10:40 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    August 08, 2008

    The OTHER biggest douche in the Universe*

    I should post something about the Silky Pony. So here it is.




    Once a fucking jackass, always a fucking jackass. Now you're a slimy fucking jackass. Couldn't you keep it in your pants?

    * John Edward used to be the biggest douche in the universe. Now it's John Edwards.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 05:58 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 13, 2008

    Back, y'all

    Had a lovely vacation over the weekend on the coast and then at tonight's Dodger game. Many, many pictures as soon as I get the camera hooked up. Maybe tomorrow since I took tomorrow off too. Until then, nappy nap time.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Show some blog love, won't you?

    I know if there was any other way, Jay and Deb wouldn't be asking for help, but they need a significant amount of cash to help keep the lights on after August 22. If you can help out, even by tossing them a couple of dollars, it will be more than appreciated.

    They're more than my blogparents, they're friends, and they've had a rough year financially trying to raise three kids. After some really rough patches, expensive car problems, sick kids, and ambulance trips, they are about to get back to being financially stable, except for this one large debt the state allowed them to run up. Jay explains what happened, here.

    If you would like to pick up some lovely crocheted items, rather than making a simple donation, you can visit Deb's etsy store. Also, if you're looking for a domain name for a software project, Jay has one for sale. See here.

    I'd be so happy if I clicked over there tomorrow and saw that the bills were taken care of. I know you all are so generous and wonderful. It would be awesome to see the B-sphere support people who really need the help rather than funding another Andrew Sullivan vacation!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 18, 2008

    The Book

    When I was in college, I carried around this little book. It was about 4 x 2.5 inches and it was blank inside. Well, not blank in the plain white paper sense, but it was lined, and those lines were blank. It was paperbound, with a picture of Albert Einstein on the cover. No, I didn't get it to make me feel smarter, I got it because that's what was available at the Caltech Bookstore.

    For much of college Einie was my constant companion. Each line of each page held a reminder of something to do, from the utterly mundane (buy a new toothbrush) to the critically important (get letters of recommendation for grad school) it was all in my little book. I used to mark the last completed page with a receipt for a bookmark, and I was religious about not moving it until I had crossed every item off the list as "done" and made a vertical slash through the list on that page.

    My roommate did the same thing, and in fact, he's the one that I stole the idea from. But somewhere along the line, somewhere in grad school, I stopped using the book.

    I still make a million small lists, email this person, call that person prep this lecture, call the groomer, etc., but they kind of scatter. I have so many lists now, I forget what's written where. On my desk at the moment are about four small papers with notes, a whiteboard full of notes on things I needed to do last semester, and a big scratch sheet with notes and diagrams and 3 different lists from the last week alone.

    I need one list. One that I can carry around and edit. It's funny. I mean, I have always had a memory like a steel trap, but these days I am so busy I have reached the working memory buffer limit. Which is seven items, BTW, which is why phone numbers are 7 digits in this country. Really. Ma Bell hired psychologists to determine the best length to remember...

    Anyway, because of this I have become an aficionado of Google Calendar. It's easy to edit, smart, and follows me everywhere. And yet my to-do list has taken a step back in technology. My life in a million little pieces. Of paper.

    I so need a useful, carry-able to do list again. Einie was awesome. I need to dig out the empty books I have in a box somewhere and start anew. Although, an online list would be helpful as well. One that I can edit and store online, and most importantly access and edit anywhere. Because you never know when I'll remember something I need to do. Anybody know a good one?

    The thing is, I don't do PDAs, I never had a smartphone (although that is coming in the next couple of weeks) and the idea of ANOTHER gadget just to keep my to-do list is utterly ridiculous. But you all are super bright, and well, frankly, often a LOT more tech-savvy than I am. So any suggestions you have for a high-tech replacement for good old einie are VERY welcome and will be much appreciated.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:26 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    August 20, 2008

    The Solution

    Thanks for all your suggestions.

    I think I'm going to go with Toodledoo, at least for the time being. It has a really useful Firefox widget, and seems to be a small enough page to load well on the phone.

    But my favorite feature? You can print out the top 110 items on your list and make a little booklet to carry around and cross out. Best of both worlds!

    I'll let you know how it goes!

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 28, 2008

    The internet f*cking rocks

    An internet forum may have saved this beautiful baby's life.

    See the discoloration in her left eye? That's caused by retinoblastoma, a deadly and devastating childhood cancer. Her mom was concerned about the discoloration and posted this picture to an internet discussion group she had joined, where another mom recognized it as a possible sign of cancer.
    "When 32-year-old Megan Santos of Riverview, Fla., noticed that one of her baby daughter's eyes was a slightly different color than the other, her intuition told her that something was wrong.

    Concerned, Santos posted a picture of 1-year-old Rowan Santos on the online pregnancy community BabyFit.com, of which she is a member. The picture clearly showed a hazy, white glow in Rowan's left eye -- an atypical reflection of the camera flash not seen in the infant's other eye.

    She soon received a message from Madeleine Robb, another 32-year-old mother living in Stretford, the United Kingdom, encouraging her to ask her doctor about a rare but serious cancer that can bring about such a color difference.

    Santos followed Robb's advice. And as it turned out, Santos' post may have well saved her child's life.

    "After I put the picture up, she saw it, and she sent me a private e-mail in which she said that Rowan might have retinoblastoma in her left eye," Santos said. "She said, 'Not to worry you, but I think you should look at this Web site.'"

    The Web site detailed the condition known as retinoblastoma -- a potentially deadly form of childhood cancer that can affect one or both eyes. Immediately, Santos contacted her doctor. She saw him the next day, on the morning of Aug. 8, and he, in turn, referred her to ophthalmology and cancer specialists.

    A battery of scans and other tests revealed that Rowan did, in fact, have a cancerous tumor growing on the retina of her left eye.

    "Her prognosis is good, as far as the doctor can tell," Santos said. "[The cancer] had not yet reached her optic nerve, which would have then brought it directly to her brain."
    Amazing. It never ceases to amaze me how the interwebtubes bring us close together in ways we would never have imagined before.

    If you're so inclined, say a prayer for Rowan, for healing and a happy, healthy long cancer-free life.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2008

    Weighing in on Sarah Palin

    I've been quietly cheering behind the scenes since Friday's announcement, waiting to see how things would shake out.

    Day after day, the more I learn about Gov. Palin, the more impressed I am. Why you ask? Because I am convinced that she is a genuine person who is committed to the ideals of public service that this country was founded on.

    Remember the movie Dave? How Dave is motivated to be involved in making a difference because he sees how important it is after pretending to be President? I am convinced that Sarah Palin feels that way. She started out in the PTA, and then the city council before being elected Mayor. Her track record shows that she is interested in fair government, small government, and reform above all else.

    I am excited to have a politician on the national scene for once who "gets it" , and who is in fact a public servant, rather than a self-serving politico, although I have some concerns about some of her views.

    The other thing I like about Sarah Palin is that she is just normal. She's a mom, juggling work and her 5 kids with the help of a seemingly devoted husband. It pisses me off that some would insinuate that her husband is incapable of helping her take care of the kids. He may be a man's man (from all appearances) but he also seems to love being a dad and relish the chance to be involved with his kids' lives. And so what if her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. Does that really reflect on the parents anymore? Is it a shameful thing these days to have a child out of wedlock?

    I'd argue that it doesn't and it isn't. And furthermore, whether Palin is elected VP or not, I'd say that Bristol and Levi's baby is starting his/her life with a lot more on the plus side than most babies born to teen moms and dads.

    If anything, Bristol's pregnancy and her parents' support reflects positively on the Palin family. That they love their daughter and support her in the face of what must be an incredibly difficult time for her. Some might say that Gov. Palin is selfish, campaigning and putting her daughter in the spotlight while she copes with the difficulties of being pregnant and the idiots who would rebuke her for being so young and unmarried. And yet it seems that this would be Bristol Palin's fate anyway. After all, her mom IS the governor. And anyway, having a baby is a blessing, not a catastrophe.

    I can't wait until one of the attack dogs representing the Obamamama campaign tries to make Bristol Palin into this year's Mary Cheney. That's when the metaphorical excrement will be hitting the air conditioning...

    Yeah, I like that she's a conservative and that she is an NRA member and all that. But that's not what makes her so refreshing as a candidate, and it's not what is energizing the party.

    And the left is energized too. I mean, they must be so scared they're running in circles. They can't criticize Gov. Palin. They can't find trash on her, so they invent stories. Some of which are so far off base that they're scientifically IMPOSSIBLE. I laughed out loud at Alan Colmes' insinuation that poor prenatal care was the cause of Trig Palin's Downs Syndrome.

    This is the voice of the left, my friends, shrill and irrational, grasping at any straw to tear down their opponents, regardless of party. It's almost like Colmes felt so compelled to say something, ANYTHING, that he opened his mouth to get in on the dead air first. That he spoke before he even knew what he was saying.

    If the liberals are reaching so hard that all they can do is make shit up, we on the right have every reason to rejoice and support a ticket that CAN win in November.

    Posted by caltechgirl at 01:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack