Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


Man, I am telling you. Just try moving 3000 miles from home and try to escape the never ending plethora of people who want to see you while you're home. Yah, I'm that popular. Granted, I love seeing people more than I love sitting at home doing nothing, but still. Holy Moly. Oh, and try a reminder of why I despise LA. Sat in traffic for 4 hours trying to get to a Christmas party Sat night. Four hours! And you know how far away it really is? An hour and a half. Jeez! Anyways, don't get me wrong. I love coming home. So much better than the freezing ass cold it is in Philly right now. However, I am looking forward to some potential couch/beer/bonding time with Randi tonight. Lordy, lordy is it good to have friends!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Haiku Headin' Home Friday

Flight to CA tonight
Hoping everything is on
time and I have seat.


Leaving the boyfriend
to head home to his home town
Sucks to be apart.


Old friends, family
Christmas cheer, toasts, good food, naps
I can't wait for it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Report Thursday

I finished reading Robert Bausch's A Hole in the Earth a few weeks ago and never posted anything interesting about it (as far as I can remember). Upon Cod's recommendation a while ago, I checked out this book from the Penn library, hoping to enjoy some light reading. What I found was not necessarily "light" reading and I am still not sure what my opinion is of this book. We follow Henry Porter, a middle aged, single man whose life is turned upside down one summer. His daughter from a previous marriage turns up (having just graduated high school and turned 18) and his girlfriend of several years tells him she's pregnant. Henry is a school teacher with very little money, so he supplements his income with gambling at the racetrack, which is one of the reasons his first wife left him. I am not sure if this novel is an accurate representation of a middle aged man not wanting to take responsibility for his life or if its the representation of a whiny, immature little boy who never grew up. I so disliked the main character during the first few chapters that I could barely get myself to read the book. Thankfully, the chapters are short and quick so that made it easier to get through. As we grow older, our focus tends to be more on those around us than ourselves and our lives. Narcicissm and insularity are reserved for our adolesence and college years and then we have to grow up and take responsiblity for our lives. I think this book is about this man's journey to that point (at 40!) but to be honest with you, I could not identify with any of the characters, save for maybe the 18 year old daughter. Henry hems and haws over his girlfriend's pregnancy, worrying about telling his family (you're 40 for crissake!) and his daughter and how he will be perceived. He fixates on how much his father hates him and how much of a disappointment he's been to his entire family. And yet, he does nothing to change his life of make improvements of things. He does nothing to take responsiblity for the family he has and the family that is just beginning. He leaves his girlfriend hanging and eventually helps her to see the light that he is not the greatest guy and she should just raise the kid on her own. I think I disliked Henry so much because he was lazy and he was not proactive. He just let things happen to him without taking part in his own life. He never fully took control of his predicament, allowing people to come and go in and out of his life without the slightest inclination towards trying to keep them in (or out of) his life. He complained and made up ridiculous excuses for why things were the way they were without really doing anything about it, which really pisses me off in general. And then he disappears. Without a trace. At the time when people need him the most, he leaves. Granted, he does come back in the end. But his behavior throughout the book set the tone. No matter what he did at the end, I was convinced he would always be the guy that lets stuff happen instead of getting things done. And, unfortunately, this is just not someone I can identify with.
As for the book itself, I must admit after the first several chapters I really got into it. I guess just because I didn't like the character, I was somehow invested in their lives and wanted to know how things turned out. I did wake up super early one morning and read the last 150 pages because I couldn't put the book down or get it out of my mind. I think once I accepted that I did not like the title character and that I don't always have to identify with characters, the book became easier to read. Bausch is an excellent writer, forming images in my head that persist weeks later. Altogether, it was a difficult book to get through, but I think it was well worth it. It has made me think aboutmy own life and why I've had such a visceral dislike of the title character. And it's kept me thinking about it for several weeks. That, to me, is the sign of a good book.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Day Late

Borrowed from Randi:
  1. 5 things on your Christmas wish list. An IPod Nano, shirt, sweater, thank you notes, diamond anything :)
  2. 5 things on your tree, (if you’ve put one up yet.) An Oscar, lots of Pooh ornaments, some crazy kitty ornaments, swaddling clothes, and candy canes.
  3. 5 of your Christmas traditions. Christmas Eve with Randi and family, early morning present opening while eating Grandma's coffee cake and pears, a fire in the fireplace Christmas morning, baking up a storm with my mom, watching lots of Christmas-themed movies.
  4. 5 things you like about Christmas. The lights, the chill in the air, the decorations, the cheesy music I can sing out loud, seeing family and friends.
  5. 5 things you don’t like about Christmas. The impatience, the expectation of finding the perfect gift, the debt, too much indulgence, too little time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh, Tannenbaum

Perhaps it's the many years in Christian school, but kitty under the tree always makes me think of this:

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out to the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Yes, kitty is Jesus. And the Oscar is an angel. Don't you agree?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

This past weekend was great. I'm doing this outreach project with some local high school kids and I got to hang out with them Friday afternoon to come up with some cool science fair projects they can do. I loved chatting with the kids (they are really smart) and I loved getting to know one of the undergrads I'll be working with. It's so great to get out in the community since I'm always just in lab, doing my own thing. I am really excited to see where our projects will go.
Friday night, we watched this weird movie with some friends of ours. Let me tell you, do not watch Gummo. It's horrible. And awful. And just a terrible movie altogether. It was fun to watch it with other like-minded individuals, tho. We had a blast critiquing it fer shure.
On Saturday, Alex and I took some Latin dance lessons and signed up to take some more. It's part of my birthday present, I we had a blast! It was so fun to just let loose, not have to do well, and crack up a lot. We hit the defunct Ben Franklin museum for some giggles and then hit up Triumph Brewing Co for some lunch. We lucked out and scored some tickets to Hairspray for Sat night. It was a blast - I was singing and dancing in my seat the whole time (yes, I'm one of those!). It was a fun-filled day all around. On Sunday, I did some shopping around town and I've started to prepare to head home for the holidays. I'm bummed out that Alex won't be there, but I think it's great we both get to see our families. I am sure one day soon enough, we'll have to coordinate two families, kids, and all that crazy jazz. It's nice to not have to do that yet! Anyways, just a few more days to crank it out and then home to relax. So looking forward to it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Political Wednesday

I don't have much to say except this: while I am sure both male and female politicians are involved in corrupt back room dealings, only the men are stupid enough to get caught. Seriously, trying to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat for half a million? How stupid can you get? Buying prostitutes while in office? Seriously, fellas. You are not invincible, you are an elected official. Stop dicking around and do your job.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Haiku Getting Started Friday

High School, man, how long
has it been? Lockers, Backpacks
Long, crowded hallways.


Went back yesterday
Helping with the science fair.
Kids are super smart!


Planning some fun stuff.
Play with glowing fish, fruit flies
So much fun to teach!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Favorite Part of the Macy's Parade (belated)

At Long Last

The phenomenal South Street Bridge is closing this coming week. I can't believe an era that started in 1924 is over (thank god!). The bridge, as you can see, is crumbling to bits and I am so glad they've decided, even in this shitty economy, to shut 'er down. For posterity, I decided to take some pics since they'll be tearing this sucker down in a few days.

What I see every day walking to work.

See, the sign says so!

It's become a haven for artists of all types (some talented and some not). I've always enjoyed my walks into work to see what's new.

I personally enjoy the eyeball. Unfortunately, they painted over all the naked pics that were posted.

But, seriously, when you have to repair sidewalks with metal plates, I think it's time to go.

You can actually see the freeway below through this!
And the "turrets" are crumbling beyond belief.

But the view of the city you can't beat. I'll miss you, SSB. Mostly because you're the most direct route from my house to my work. But also, you've represented the crumbing infrastructure and blight that most cities are facing these days. I hope the destruction of this bridge and the building of a new one represent a "new day" for our American cities. And more jobs. And a better economy. And a better President. Oh, wait, we already got that!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear India

I am so sorry for what they've done to you. I've never felt more welcomed or more overwhelmed in another country. To take advantage of your openness, your attempts to allow all individuals live together in harmony, is disgusting. I'm apalled at the brazen terrorist attacks in Mumbai and only hope that healing will begin soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lurky Turkey

On the Eve of Thanksgiving
I'm looking forward to
baking pies and eating
watching parades, too.

A few people coming over
Some football to watch
Missing my family
Hoping the turkey we won't botch!

Coming down with a cold
Bundling up inside
Convinced Alex we need
warmth by the fireside.

Here's to you and yours
A happy, happy day
Filled with laughter, warmth and love
And some booze on the way!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
And special thanks to Cod, for the inspiration :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birthday Weekend Wrap-up - A Reflection on Age

So, my birthday, for once, fell on the weekend before Thanksgiving, instead of it's usual during Thanksgiving weekend, so I thought I would have a party. I go to school with a fair number of people, so I thought it would be fun to invite some friends and hang out. I spent a fair amount of Friday night as well as all day Saturday making food, baking a cake, cleaning house, etc. By the time it was party time, I was pretty pooped. I always make too much food, even though I am not from the Midwest. I feel it's important to have snacks on hand while drinking. The party was fun, although the air was FRIGID. Man, was it cold! The cool thing about that, tho, was that the backyard turned into our fridge. All the beer and white wine was stored outside - something we've never been able to do in CA. I guess there are some good things about living east. Anyways, people didn't start showing up until 10ish, and the party got underway. There was not a really ridiculous crowd, just small groups of people hanging out. A couple friends brought friends, which was cool. I had a nice time chatting with people and all that jazz. At some point in the night, somebody threw up in the bathroom sink (which is, like, 2 feet away from the toilet - how hard was it to make it to the toilet?) and someone ripped the cover off a magazine I had in the bathroom. The next day, we noticed that the wall leading up the stairs had a big smudge on it, and the kitchen floor was a sticky mess that attracted a large horde of ants. While all of these things are minor, and the party was a nice time, it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. Don't get me wrong, I had a lovely birthday, I just think next year I might do something different. For one, I didn't get to talk to everyone I wanted to talk to. I didn't really get to hang with the folks I wanted to hang with, and I found myself still up and chatting to people who came to my house basically for the free booze at 2:30am. We had some randoms and we had some stragglers, and we even had some people there who I did not want there at all. It's funny because when I was in college, we used to have huge parties with kegs and tons of people. We rarely had any problems, and we always had a blast, with the stereo blasting, dancing in the living room, and the keg and bar out back. We'd have randoms and stragglers, but usually it was a so fun and I loved it. Now, at the age of 31, I've begun to realize that what I really want in my busy, hectic life, is a chance to sit and chat with my friends, who I don't often get to catch up with. I've got a lot of acquaintances, and a fair number of people I'd call friends, and most of us are not really into the "party" scene anymore. I'll have a few drinks over the course of the night, but I gotta tell you, that hangover the next day is just not worth it for me. So, what happened at my party was that most of the people who I wanted to show up did not, and most of the people who I did not want to show up, did. So, it's made me learn a lesson on the first day of my 31st year. My next party will be a dinner party, where we can sit around and tell funny stories and get to know one another. I'll have a couple bottles of wine and a birthday cake and I will have a great time. I think I might be done throwing the random "Come One, Come All" party. I am certainly somewhat done attending them. And I can say I've learned a valuable lesson. At my age, it's not important to make more and more friends. It's important to keep the ones you have. I hope it's the beginning of a beautiful year :) Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I wish we all lived closer to celebrate together :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Mayor Nutter,

Look, I know that Philadelphia is facing a pretty big budget problem. I understand that the entire economy is tanking and that there's something that we should do in order to make ends meet in terms of the city and its fiscal health. However, closing libraries and public pools is not the answer. Kids already have a hard enough time finding things to do and places to go after school on the weekends. Apparently, malls are even kicking them out. But closing a bunch of the library branches? This is beyond ridiculous. Especially in this bad economy, we, as citizens, needs places we can go for free entertainment and distraction. The Philadelphia Free Library is a wonderful library system that lends videos, DVDs, books, manuscripts, newspapers, etc. They provide a safe and warm environment for kids to go to for research. There are free computers and access to community groups. There are meeting places for local charities, lectures on myriad interests (I once saw Will Shortz of NY Times Crossword Puzzle Fame) and a plethora of things to do, explore and learn. When I was a kid, I visited the Oxnard Public Library every week with my Grandma, and I am pretty sure I checked out every Nancy Drew book they had at the library. Kids need access to good books, lots of them, and they need encouragement to read and write as often as possible. The library is a center for education, a center for community awareness, and a way to get in touch with your neighbors, your roots, anything you might be interested in. To close a library because of a budget shortfall is a disgrace to this city and and insult to education (which we are trying to improve around here!). And while I'm at it, please don't close those public pools! There are so few here in the city, and they are not open for very long (two months at most). They provide employment for local kids, a place to learn how to swim in a safe environment, and a great place to cool off in the dead heat of summer. The public pools are safe, popular and a great place for kids to hang out in the summer. Please don't elminate these perks (the very few) that our neighborhoods enjoy. I understand you are taking a pay cut (as are many other city employees), which I commend you for. I also understand you are working hard to make the budget balanced, which is something your predecessors may not have done. I think those are all good things to try to do. But when you are cutting services that are so popular, so needed in most of our city neighborhoods, you are asking us to sacrifice too much. We'd like to see the city sacrifice some of it's self instead of taking away our perks. Many things have been suggested, like changing to a computer based system to eliminate paper waste. What about increasing recycling? The city can definitely make money off that. Please, Mayor Nutter, think about this. A whole generation of kids growing up without libraries? I can't bear to think about it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

This past weekend sent Alex and I into suburbia, pretending to live in the vast outreaches of our grand old city. We rented a car and drove out to the western Philly 'burbs and then headed down to Dela-where? for some shopping. As we soon discovered, the only good thing about Delaware is that it has no sales tax. Meaning, the price tag on that thing is what you pay. How weird, right? The mall was filled with bored kids and over-wrought parents and old folks. We ate at Red Robin (not very good, by the way). And we checked out a sign that met us at the entrance to the mall saying that "Parental Guidance Required". I'm sorry, what? The sign basically said that kids under 17 years old were required to have a parent with them at all times. What a dumb rule! I think I started going to the mall alone (with Randi, of course) around 12 or 13 years old. It was a great way to get away from your parents, check out a bargain movie, and sift through each and every store in the mall 100 times. Seriously, I have NO idea how we spent an ENTIRE day at the teeny, tiny 'Splanade, but we did. And we had a blast. What are kids today supossed to do? Sit around and play video games? At least you're walking around in the mall. I feel really bad for kids growing up in Delaware. How boring. Anyways, after the mall, we hit the liquor store and then another mall w/ Target and Petsmart and all those great places. Then it was time for hibachi dinner (which was great, although he threw the shrimp at my cleavage instead of my mouth!) and then we saw the new Bond movie. The theatre was really, really nice - way fancier than anything we have here in the city. And I wasn't that surprised to pay $10.25 for a movie, since I thought the experience would be pretty fun - I mean, there's no other way to watch a James Bond flick than at the theatre, right? Luckily, we got into a later show so it wasn't too crowded. And the seats were super comfy and no one lit up their cell phone during the film (surprisingly) since there had to be 100 warnings to turn off your phone before the movie. The sound was kinda fucked up, but otherwise the film was excellent. Lots of violence and lots of noise. And damn if Daniel Craig is not the sexiest thing I've seen in a long time. They've finally given an opportunity to a female lead to have something to do with the plot, so I liked that the Bond girl was not a constant "damsel in distress". Altogether it was a good film, with great car chases and even a dogfight scene, which was pretty rad. As always, it hits a little to close to home and you wonder if that's how things operate in large first-world governments, but I try not to dwell on it too much. To sum up our trip to the 'burbs, it was a nice change from the status quo, but I am glad I live in the city. I think there's a more heterogenous population here, and I get to experience different things, as opposed to the chain restaurants and stores that spread all over the place. I'm sure we'll be back, but hopefully not soon :)
Oh, and BTW, whoever said a Ford Focus is a nice car is delusional. It does not even have headlights that illuminate the road in front of you! And it's so light, it's super squirrely on wet roads. No thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Know what?

I just feel blah today. It's raining and chilly out and my head's a bit of a mess - the first of the winter colds coming on? Yesterday, I went to a seminar entitled "Finding Balance in your Life". It was pretty interesting, but they spent more time trying to help us identify when we felt out of balance that telling us ways to combat it. I think I've felt out of balance all week because I am writing a paper with the most anal person on the planet. He's been questioning my data, questioning my presentation of my data and been all around condescending and snobby about the whole affair. Oh yeah, AND he's another student. What a pain in the ass. The paper is due tomorrow or Sat, so hopefully my boss will get a chance to read it and make comments on it soon. And it's comforting to know that a few weeks from now I might have my first publication! Whoopee! OK, now I am going to crawl back into my little hole and finish working on the paper....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Lesson Learned

I often find it hard to think about the future and where I want to go and what I want to do with my life. I've been in school for just over 5 years now and will soon be finishing up and heading off into the great unknown. It's scary to move on from something I've been doing for a while and someplace I'm comfortable and a city I know pretty well. But at the same time, I can feel that old familiar "chomping a the bit" feeling. Remember that from grade school or college? That, "Let me outta here! I'm ready to fly!" feeling? Yeah, I get that sometimes. So last Friday, I attended a happy hour / talk given by 4 past members of our program on what they've done since they graduated and what their jobs are like. It was a really interesting talk; it was great to see some familiar faces. But it was also such a great reminder that life is a journey, not a destination. I have such a hard time remembering that sometimes; it's great to be reminded of it. When I was in college, I worked my ass off, sometimes taking 20 units (during a quarter, it's not that easy!). I would spend hours in the library or at the UCen studying, writing papers, catching up on literature. I did make time for my friends and I did get to spend a lot of time on the beach (studying, of course!) and, altogether, I really had a blast. But my last quarter at school, I really started to look around. I started to appreciate my lectures and the teachers who were giving them. I started to look at my fellow students in a different light. I started to "stop and smell the roses", so to speak. I hung out with my friends a lot more, invited new people to our parties, attended as many fun things as I could. I went out on dates with guys I would never have considered dating before. I met people and enjoyed them and really had such a great time. It made my last few months at school so much more special. And when I think about college, I think about those last few months and it always puts a smile on my face. Why isn't my life more like that? I am always working to get somewhere, do something, reach some sort of arbitrary goal without stopping to appreciate my surroundings and my life as I know it. And it all happens so fast. People come and go, the seasons change, the earth keeps spinning, yet I am always working to make something happen, can't wait til this is over, etc. Life is a journey and we all make our own paths. There's not one right or wrong way to do something. We'll all get there someday. But today, I'm going to try to remember to stop, appreciate, and notice what's going on around me. Maybe you should try it, too :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Haiku Historic Friday

What a week, you guys!
History happening right
before our own eyes.


Our first African
American President
headed to White House.


Hope he can turn it
around: economy, jobs,
wars, rights, taxes, change.


Barak's got a lot
to deal with. I hope we can
come together now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear California,

"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." quoted from the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution states that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law".

What was Prop 8 really about? Was it really about "protecting marriage", or was it really a thinly veiled act of discrimination? I would argue the latter and would hope that if not the Supreme Court of CA, then most certainly the US Supreme Court would strike down this CA Constitutional Amendment based on the clauses I quoted above. Marriage, as viewed by the state, is a contract two people enter into to share properties, taxes, children, etc. The states recognize these unions, and as such, people are treated differently. For example, you cannot be compelled to testify in court against your spouse. You have the legal right to make decisions on the health care of your spouse in an emergency. You would file taxes together as a couple and the government would recognize you as a joined entity, not two individuals, if you so choose. Each of you owns 50% of your collective properties. There are lots of ways that a government would recognize a marriage that have nothing to do with religion whatsoever (remember that whole "separation of church and state" Constitutional Amendment?). Marriage in a church is a whole different matter, and can be defined however that church wants to define marriage. I believe in separation of Church and State because I don't want some religious people telling me what to do with my time and my money. And I also believe that the religious have no right in saying who can and cannot get married. I also think that passing a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman by a slight majority is ludicrous. Amendments to the US Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority, not barely above 50%.
And really, what is their argument? That your children will be "indoctrinated" into the "gay culture"? What the hell does that mean? Is gay a cult? Is it like Scientology? Is it outlawed in Germany? No. Homosexuality has been clearly defined as something you are born as. Just as you are born black or white or Asian or African. Just as you are born with blue eyes or brown, black hair or red, weird toes or long defined fingernails. It's in your DNA. It's in your wiring. You are just wired that way. It has nothing to do with how you are raised, what your parents are like, how many Broadway shows you saw as a kid. There is nothing wrong with being gay. It just is. Get over it. You cannot catch it, your kid will not be "indoctrinated" into it, there is nothing wrong with being gay. What might happen (god forbid) is that people might be more tolerant of homosexuals. Maybe some kids might feel more comfortable coming out of the closet. Maybe more people might be supportive. Perhaps fewer and fewer young homosexuals will come close to suicide. Perhaps our culture as a whole will become more accepting of everyone, no matter what their orientation or color or creed is. I know that if I had kids, I would want them to know I love them no matter what. I would want them to feel comfortable being themselves. And I would want them to be allowed to get married to whomever they choose and to have those rights under the law. I firmly believe this is another clear civil rights movement. And I am behind you 100%. Straight but not narrow. And ready to fight!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm still reeling, as I am sure most of you are. We have a new president. An African American president. I remember watching movies or TV shows with black presidents and thinking (literally), "That will never happen" and it has! It's unreal to me, and I still don't really believe it. There are so many things about Obama and his family that people can identify with. Being a single mom, living on welfare, trying to support your family. For once, a politician has spoken to America about things that we face every day. For once, someone has addressed the elephants in the room all over the country. Turn off your TV, let your kids learn something in school. Let's make healthcare affordable, because everyone needs it. The economy is in the shitter, I have a plan to do somethings about it. Yes, I'm black, there are issues about being black, lets talk about them. Jobs are leaving our country, how can we support our families? The world is a scary place, let's try talking to people instead of pretending like we're in 7th grade and not talking to them. Let's get the fuck out of Iraq. Let's do something about Afghanistan. Let's take care of our veterans. Let's get our kids into college and push them to do community service. I don't know how it was that Obama was able to get to the core of our beings and speak to us, not as a black man, not as a politician, but as an American. He ran a phenomenal (and largely positive) campaign that I marvel at. We're dying for some form of positivity. Something that we can rally behind because we've been divided for so long. We've needed this for a long, long time and I am so proud to have been a part of it. I am so proud to have seen it happening. People walking the streets last night, chanting, "Yes, We Can!" People honking horns and hanging out car and apartment windows to shout and yell and scream, "We Did It!" The feeling of elation and giddiness is palpable. It's been a phenomenal run, Obama. I can't wait to see what you'll do next. Congrats, Americans. For once, I AM proud to be and American.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Didja Vote?

I voted this morning, only a couple people in line. It feels good. I'm proud to say that I voted for the first woman in history to run for President and I just cast my vote for the first African American President. What a glass-ceiling shattering year it's been! Tonight, we'll watch the tallies come in with our friends (and probably partake in some booze as well). Looking forward to celebrating and (hopefully) waking up to a Democratic President tomorrow!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Phillies Celebrations!

Taken with my very own camera - it was hysterical!

Weekend Wrap Up

Philly pride, courtesy of the Cira Center

Everybody loves a parade, even the Phanatic!

I know my pics aren't the best, but over on the left is our mayor, Michael Nutter, with a shit-eating grin, holding the World Series trophy.

Jamie Moyer, Greg Dobbs and Ryan Madson, plus families on one of the Phillies floats.

Jayson Werth and JP Romero waving at us!

It looks like Jimmy Rollins is looking right at us! (L side)

They threw pretzels off of the floats - LOL!

I can't really comprehend how many people were there, but it was a TON! And it was great fun! Congrats, Phillies!

More pics to come, perhaps even videos (which I find quite hysterical).....

Friday, October 31, 2008


What a crazy week!
Victory for the Phillies!
Twenty eight years wait!


Parade today - no
one's at work. Party started
Wed and continues!


Haven't stopped screaming,
seeing the boys up close and
cheering with the fans!

Oh, and Happy Halloween, too! Pics to follow....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Two Cents

With the election fast approaching, I am more and more shocked at what political campaigns will do and how much they will lie in order to try to win (ever seen Election?). The McCain campaign continues to awe me in the sheer stupidity of all the things they do. The latest thing is our dear friend Sarah Palin, the (good god, does she know ANYTHING?) VP candidate for the Republican party. She was recently talking about "earmarks" which politicians tack on to bills to get their special interests taken care of. She happened to screech over into my territory (research) and she really made a misstep. She claimed that earmarks had been going to "Fruit Fly Research in Paris, France". She then said, "I kid you not, this is where money is going and it's not benefiting all Americans".
Here you go, Sarah, straight from my heart.

As scientists, we're a plucky group. We're unable to do research on human beings (that whole unethical thing) so we tend to use "model systems". These are well studied, generally genetically similar or identical animal models which we can use to model disease states, try to figure out how stuff works, etc. One of the model systems we use is the "fruit fly", otherwise known as Drosophila, and it was originally used in breeding experiments. Work on Drosophila by Thomas Hunt Morgan led to some major advancements in modern genetics as well as its use in modern labs today. Drosophila is a little powerhouse. They are really amazing creatures and we can study everything from early development to cell movement, biochemistry, adult behavior, stem cell maintenance and self renewal, aging, life extension, diabetes, alzheimers, as well as a plethora of other things. And do you wanna know a secret. Lean in close, because it's a doozy! Lots of the things the Drosophila have, you have too! Drosophila have many, many genes that are conserved right up to human. And you know what else is amazing? These gene products behave similarly too! Can you believe it? So, essentially, we can study processes that occur in a whole organism, generate many, many, many of these organisms, and try to make predictions on how things will behave in humans. We can then translate our findings in Drosophila and try them out in, say, mice. They're vertebrates, mammalian, so a little closer to what humans might be like. Because of evolution, so many things, including which genes you have and how they function are conserved from a tiny little fruit fly to human beings! Isn't that amazing? But, of course, I can't expect the VP candidate to understand this. I can't expect her to condone things that might further support evolution, can I? The funny thing is that she was talking about trying to get money for kids with disabilities and kids with special needs. She didn't even realize that perhaps some of the "Fruit fly research" could eventually lead to some treatments for diseases that kids with special needs have! Her son has Down's syndrome, which is caused by trisomy 21, meaning individuals with this have three copies of chromosome 21 (instead of 2 - usually have two from their mother and one from their father) - a genetic disease which is being studied in these "model systems" which the government's money supports.
The government supports medical based research through the National Institutes of Health, a part of the federal gov't supported with taxpayer money. If we did not support research, how would we come up with the causes and treatments for diseases or try to understand how stem cell work for therapeutic work? How would we study the causes of breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) which involves genome instability, errant development, and (possibly) cells adopting a "stem cell-like" fate? Sadly, all of us will, at one point, be touched very closely by disease. For me, my Uncle Dennis died at a very young age from prostate cancer. This research is necessary, it is vital to the health of our country and our world. It is not something to make fun of, just because you don't understand the value of research done on model organism. I like Obama's approach best - let the scientists figure it out and base policies on their findings. Smart man.

Let's talk about "Clean Coal"

Random Snippets

  • Yes, it's still raining. And the wind chill is below freezing. It's snowing already in the Poke-her-nose. Yuck!
  • Whenever I think of the word "blustery", I think of Winnie the Pooh. And then it makes me think of my favorite poem by A. A. Milne (words to live by, fer shure):
"Now we are Six"

When I was one,
I had just begun,
When I was two,
I was nearly new,
When I was three,
I was hardly me,
When I was four,
I was not much more,
When I was five,
I was barely alive,
Now that I'm six,
I'm as clever as clever,
I think I'll stay six now
forever and ever.

  • The more I hear about Sarah Palin, the more I just despise her. She misspeaks so much it drives me mad. Maybe I'll blog about that more sometime.
  • Wish I could just curl up with a good book today instead of working. But I do get to try out my new snow boots (which are quite snuggy, thank you very much!
  • Cod reminded me of something that happened to me a while ago. I was getting ready to leave for Philly to start my PhD. I ran into our old English teacher from high school while I was at the mall with Randi. Instead of asking how we were and what we were up to, she promptly laid into me for a paper I never turned in (which, by the was was due AFTER graduation! - who turns in a paper after grad? I had already gotten into UCSB and was headed there in the fall - why bother?). Anyways, I managed to tell her I was starting my PhD at Penn in a couple weeks. The look on her face was priceless :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Phillies Phever

If you haven't heard, the Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series. I've been hesitant to write about this since Randi is such a big Dodgers fan and the Phillies beat the Dodgers, but it's a subject I've just got to talk about. The Phillies are beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3 games to 1 and tonight could be the last game of the Series if the Phils win. Since the Phillies have been in the playoffs, this city has been insane. Everywhere you turn, people are wearing Phillies shirts, hats, shoes, sweatshirts, jerseys, etc. The entire city has turned red, including all the buildings downtown (which are normally pink this time of year for breast cancer awareness). Everyone's talking about it, everyone's house is displaying Phillies signs and gear. Kids have hung up "Go Phillies!" signs in their front windows (see, we don't have front yards here, just sidewalks, so you can see them everywhere). Of course, the Phillies signs are next to the "Got Hope? Obama for President" signs as well. This city is just crazy about their sports teams. And I gotta admit, I can't think of another city more desrving of a World Series win. This city exists on the eastern seaboard between NYC and Washington DC and as long as I have lived here has had an inferiority complex. We've got crime stats that will blow your mind, high unemployment, a disproportionate number of poor people, failing schools, failing infrastructure, a blue collar / union class that's seeing their jobs shipped overseas or out of the state, low retention rate of students and professionals who come here for education, corrupt government, and many, many other problems that are highlighted with some frequency on the national news. We do have wonderful things like arts and sciences and performances (which, if you've read my blog before, are generally pretty good) plus lots of history and great areas to walk, bike, hike, etc. It's a good city with a heart of gold and a pulse that beats with every game of the Phils, the Eagles, the Flyers or the Sixers. People here aren't just "sports fans". They're SPORTS FANS. Everyone knows stats, who played for whom during what season, where the old and the new stadiums were, when the last championships were and what McNabb ate for lunch yesterday. This city breathes sports, pulsates sports and watches sports fanatically. Every sport. All the time. We're notorious for boo-ing Santa Claus, for boo-ing our own teams when they're doing poorly, because we know they're so much better than that. (Hell, we scream "Eva" every time Evan Longoria comes up to bat - I think we've really got in his head lately!) And we come back every year, hoping, wishing, bearing talismans and charms, buying beers and rooting for the home team. That's the kind of city we are. This love crosses lines, crosses neighborhoods, barriers, rich and poor, black or white - it's all over the city. So, I think Philly deserves a little bit of good news, a little bit of good press, and a whole lotta love. This team has gone from our hometown favorite to the national news and we couldn't be prouder. And you can bet that rain delay, wind, cold weather - nothing- will stop the millions of fans in the area from being glued to the game tonight. Go Phils!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Parsons Dance Co.

Over the summer, Alex and I visited his Aunt and Uncle in western MA. We hade the chance to attend a performance by the Ballet Boyz at the historic Jacob's Pillow, a dance retreat where gifted individuals come to retreat and learn dance by a myriad of artists who visit the Pillow over the summer. The artists perform at the festival, a wonderful small theatre that looks like a barn on the inside and seats a very small number of people. Alex's Aunt and Uncle are members, and his Aunt described her experience over the years at the Pillow as enriching and feeding her soul. She was right, the performances (as well as the atmosphere) was amazing. Kind of like summer camp because of the setting in the Berkshires, but then also serious, because of the many many professional and talented dancers and performers walking around. It was a wonderful experience - one I'd like to repeat! So, occasionally, Alex and I try to take advantage of the discounts and free stuff associated with being a student here at Penn. A few weeks ago, I saw a promotion for $5 tickets for the Dance Celebration happening at the Annenberg Center here on campus. We rushed to the box office and bought a series of tickets for upcoming dance performaces ($5!! can you believe it??). Our first one was last night, the Parsons Dance Co. The performance was amazingly beautiful, with simple costumes that showed off the dancer's movements and the amazing abilities they have. The music was uplifting and energy-filled and the dancing was breathtaking. I wish I could move that way! I have no idea what it is about dance that really inspires me and lifts my soul. I love everything about it, the athletic ability, the amazing flexibility, the feats of movement, the gymnastics, even the running about on stage, puts a stupid grin across my face every time! They are best known for the performance of "Caught", a dance somewhat highlighted in the Youtube post below this one. The house lights go to completely dark, and the only thing you see is a dancer in the spotlight on the stage. When she begins to move around, the spotlight goes out and a strobe light comes on. At each strobe, she was in a different position on the stage, usually jumping in the air, making it look like she was literally flying around the stage - it was amazing! All of the performances were interesting and provocative. I loved every minute of it and did not want it to end! While I am no dance expert (and perhaps this is only one of the first dance shows I have been to) this company was wonderful. Their mission as a company is to "deliver positive, affirming and life-enriching experiences to audiences worldwide, through the medium of dance/movement". Well, they certainly accomplished that for this viewer! If they are coming to your area, or if you are in NYC, stop by to see them. I promise you won't be disappointed!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When did it get to be OCTOBER?

Seriously, where has the time gone? I have no idea when and how it got to be October. All of a sudden I'm thinking about buying tickets home (which, BTW are ATROCIOUSLY priced) for the holidays and all the shit I should buy for people. And realistically? I'd just like to stay here. I have been to CA a total of 3 times this year and I feel it's a bit much. I'd much rather stay here and get to kinda relax and hang out at my house than travel all the way across the country in the craptastic holiday season. Jaded, much? Perhaps I just traveled too much this year. The weather is slowly starting to change around here and the leaves on the trees are almost at peak color right now. The weather has been gloriously warm and inviting, but will soon change to a high of 55 this weekend. I like fall and all, but, man, do I hate winter. Apparently, this has turned into a bitching blog all of a sudden. (Ha! like I don't bitch, like, every day!). Oh well, so here's some bullets about stuff I'm thinking about...

  • one of my friends works at an architecture firm here in Philly. He just had to lay off 2 workers because of the downturn in the economy. Scary, eh?
  • My labmate is gone to Europe for two more glorious days. I love it! I can listen to whatever crackheaded music I want!
  • More and more, I wish I had a car to get out of the city and check out the surroundings. I think I'm missing out on a lot of stuff by not being able to leave the city. But then parking's a bitch and I can't afford it...blech.
  • Jeez, my birthday's coming up! Can't believe I'm gonna be a year older! And wiser, too, right?
All right, that's all I got (not much). Have a lover-ly day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a symposium on evolution. Penn is putting together a year -long celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and this symposium was part of that celebration. I was able to hear talks by incredibly famous scientists from all over the country on topics such as the Big Bang, Darwin's finches on the Galapagos Islands and baboon behavior in the wild. It was a really great day. The last talk, however, was the one that really got me thinking. It was given by Judge John E. Jones III who is the Federal Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. He ruled in a landmark case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in late 2005 on the teaching of Intelligent Design (ID) in public classrooms. He found that ID is thinly veiled New Earth Creationism and that teaching that alongside the well tested and widely accepted scientific theory of evolution would be violating the First Amendment of the Constitution. Judge Jones gave a really intriguing and thought-provoking speech that got me thinking about our society as a whole and what on earth we're trying to do with it. His speech mainly focused on education, both in civics and science, and that we are really doing a disservice to our children by not emphasizing these subjects in schools. He noted that only 15% of people polled could name on judge on the Supreme Court, but most could readily name the judges on American Idol. I find this really sad and completely unacceptable. And I just wonder if I'm in the minority, having a natural curiousity for the world around me and what's going on in it? When I didn't understand how the Electoral College works, I looked it up. When the Judge talked about the "Establishment Clause" and I wasn't sure what that was about, I looked it up. I have so much curiousity about the elections coming up, I can't stop myself reading the NYTimes every day (especially the Opinion section, I eat that UP!). I listen to NPR most afternoons and sometimes in the mornings. I realize that perhaps I am somewhat of an extremist, and there are sometimes when the election and the rhetoric and the slinging of lies gets to me and I just have to shut it down. But, I must admit, I am fascinated by how our government works. And I'm so unbelievably thankful for some of the rights that the Constitution is afforded me. The right to vote? Thank you very much! Separation of church and state? Thank you very much! Freedom of the press? Yes, please. Abolish Slavery? Yeah, that's a good idea. When Sarah Palin could not name one Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade - that really gets to me! I think that our elected officials should be experts at government. I think they should know the Constitution and the rights afforded us in this way. For a governor of a state to not know this stuff is ridiculous. But I think what irks me the most is that people in the US want to shove their values on me. They want my kids to learn their fucked up religion based idea of how the world came about, they want my friends to not be able to marry each other, they want women to be unable to choose what they do with their bodies....and on and on and on. I'm all for beliefs, religion, what ever you like. Have at it. Wear a burka, for all I care. But don't try to pass off your fucked up religious "values" as law. And just so my little history lesson doesn't stop there...as a reminder, the preamble to the constitution states:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

If you don't know what your rights are, then you are going to lose them. Vote No on Prop 8. Oh, and for good measure, vote Yes on Prop 2. Animals need protection, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wild Week Haiku Friday

Gotta admit that
game was good. Both teams should be
very proud. So glad.


Stress at home. Moue the
dictator has a sicky face.
At the vet all day.


Trying to salvage
what's left of the week. Gotta
get some stuff done, dude!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Book Review Thursday

I just had the pleasure of completing a book recommended several months ago by Cod. She recommended Personal History by Katherine Graham, an autobiography written by the Washington Post publisher near the end of her life. I checked this book out of the library right before my trip to Germany. At over 600 pages, I figured I couldn't go wrong by taking it with me for the long flight. The truth is that I've been reading it ever since (shows you how much time I have to read for pleasure, eh?). This book was really phenomenal and something that, towards the end, I just could not put down. As one of the first women in business during the 60s (not really by choice, either), Kay Graham made a way for herself and her family to still own and manage the Washington Post Company and all that it entails. She is very modest and honest in her book, even though she was able to essentially break that glass ceiling that women were unable to do back then (oh, yeah, and she knew all the presidents personally!). She was involved in Watergate, publishing of the Pentagon Papers as well as a pressmen's strike that led to some very interesting stories about a business I am not very familiar with. It was a touching and lovely story of a life well lived and a very interesting read, especially for women trying to crack that glass ceiling or trying to move up in a man's world. I second Cod's recommendation!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Favorite Quote

from tonight's debate?
"The Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one..." when referring to McCain's description of Obama's economic plans.

Politics as usual Tuesday

Dudes, I don't even know where to start today. It seems like overnight all the problems of the world are coming to a head and nobody seems to know what's going on or where to go. The economy is in a shambles and more and more people keep thinking that this will not only be a recession (which I have lived through), but a depression (which I have not lived through, but I've heard enough about that I don't want to!). The global nature of our economy had led to the tanking of banks around the globe, especially in Europe, where they have a centralized monetary system, but not yet a centralized banking system, leading to questions of where money will come from to back up failing banks and investments. This situation calls for obvious leadership, small goals, baby steps, if you will, at getting our economy to recover. I have not yet found a satisfying answer as to what the bailout plan is and why it's needed (they tell me I need it, but nobody can explain it!) and even WITH the bailout plan, Wall St is still tanking and more and more people are claiming that there will be more bank failures and more investment funds failures. I really thought that Bear Stearns failure was the culmination of laziness, lax investments, poor choices and then the running up of the rumor mill, but it's become obvious that it was merely the tip of the iceberg. And what about "Joe Sixpack"? What about the rest of us who make middle class incomes who live on "Main St" and who are taking a hit every which way for things we have no control over? What about the rest of us, who have been resposible with our money, who carry student loans, but not home loans? Who can barely afford food and clothes for the upcoming winter? What about our parents who are retired and on a fixed income?What about my cousin who's a new mother and a teacher who's now considering taking a SECOND job because her and her husband can't afford the basic needs for their kid? I know that a lot of us have parents or siblings or friends who might be able to help us out in a rough patch when we need a hand. I know that I am far better off than a lot of other Americans. But I am really hoping the polls are right going into this election. We can't have more of the same. We can't have more republican failed economic policies!
PS: Yes, we can.
PPS: if you want to watch an interesting documentary on the types of failed economic policies John McCain supports and would presumably enact during his presidency, go here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

At loggerheads

Dude, now what am I supposed to do? My two favorite teams are playing each other FOR THE CHANCE TO GO TO THE WORLD SERIES? I can't choose. And I can't get involved in why one or another should win. Because I want them both to win. I grew up with the Dodgers, loving the games, memorizing the players, listening to Doug scream and yell. It's great. But I love this city and I love what good sports does for this city - I love the positive attention, the good press, the coming together of all parts, all sides of the city that are normally at odds. I love that it's the top story on the news, that the ball players are all over the news, promoting their causes and going to the local schools and hospitals. I think I love it because I am witnessing it firsthand, and while I grew up close to LA, I was never in the neighborhood of the stadium. I've been to Phillies games this year, whereas my last Dodgers game was last year (when they played the Phils!). Oh, in conflict, I have no idea where to go with this. I suppose the upside is that one of my favorite teams will go to the World Series. That's gotta mean something. (And I have to say, it's still a little weird to see Manny and Nomar and Joe Torre in Dodgers uniforms!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Haiku What a Mess Friday

Seriously could
not get through it without booze.
Paying the price now.


Economy in
a rut and getting deeper
Wars, aid, policies.


Never have I watched
so intently the polls
and the election.

Man, I hope Obama wins....

Just a Reminder...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Busy Week

Man, you guys! Has this week been crazy. Let's review.
  • how about that debate, eh? I thought Obama did well, but McCain can be such a pain sometimes. We think he's coming down with dementia because he keeps saying the same things over and over again.
  • Dear people who drive, Hi, I;m a pedestrian. We walk on these things called "sidewalks" which are generally exclusively for pedestrians. You should look for us when you drive through them. Thanks.....
  • Seen those interviews with Sarah Palin? Scary, eh? I can't believe she can't name any other Supreme Court decisions other than Roe v. Wade. I also can't believe she has no idea what the Bush Doctrine is.
  • Dear Sarah Palin, golly gee, gosh darn it, I am AN INTELLIGENT WOMAN WHO IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO IS INTELLIGENT TO LEAD THE COUNTRY. Not you. You know what, you don't have to talk down to me, or wink at me, or act all cutesy at me during your debate. You can actually just tell me how you feel about the issues you are concerned with. You don't have to use your sex as a tool to get people to listen to you.
  • Ummm...hello? Both the Phillies and the Dodgers in the playoffs? OMG...I am in heaven! Unless they play each other....oh, that's gonna be a tough one....
  • I kid you not, I went to a seminar today. The boss introduced his student as having recently practiced "reproductive biology" because she just had a kid in July. Are you kidding me? Can you say "sexism" in front of 50 people? When is this OK? NEVER.
  • This is the first time in my 30 years of being alive that I am actually considering living outside of the US. Really, is it that bad? Yes, it is. Funding for professors is the lowest it's been in years. The gov't no longer wants to fund basic science research and if McCain is elected then this trend will continue. And no jobs will be found for me and my boyfriend leading me to leave the country. Nice, right?
  • BTW, in case you are wondering, DRILLING OFFSHORE WILL RUIN OUR ECOLOGY AND OUR COASTLINE. Just in case you were wondering.
  • Sorry this post is so schitzo, but I've been drinking in order to deal with the whole debate and the election coming up. Anxiety much? Yes, absolutely.

Monday, September 29, 2008

From Planned Parenthood on why Sarah Palin is not my candidate

Dear Sarah Palin,

You are not our candidate.

You are not our candidate because you required women in Wasilla to pay for their own medical examinations after being raped.

You are not our candidate because you do not support a woman's right to choose, even in the case of rape or incest.

You are not our candidate because you've cut funding for teen moms and comprehensive sex education, while promoting failed abstinence-only programs.

You are not our candidate because, as vice president — a heartbeat away from the presidency — you would jeopardize health care for women everywhere.

We are teachers, doctors, athletes, programmers, artists, lawyers, secretaries, CEOs, students, designers, nurses, factory workers, mothers, and fathers. We are conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, country and city people. We are women and men. We are voters. We are the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

We believe in a woman's right to choose and the right of every person to have access to complete reproductive health care. We are hundreds of thousands strong, and we are doing everything we can to make sure you are not elected.

You are not our candidate.


If you want to sign this letter to be delivered to Sarah Palin at her vice-presidentail debate next week, go here.

Katie, I'd like to use a lifeline...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Haiku WTF Friday

more economic
woes for us to bear. when will it
stop? help us, barak!


the debate is on!
get me some alcohol, I
can't watch it without.


is it just me or
is Palin an idiot
in all interviews?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The many faces of my friend Randi

so pretty! happy for her brother and sister in law...

who is screaming "mine" in the middle of the ceremony making auntie laugh?

the minute brother cries, sister cries too. I called that, I might add.

two old friends reunited. so good to see you. and still can't believe I held your baby brother in my arms as a kid and now he's married with a kid of his own....

so sleepy....time to go to bed, papa bear.

hope you get some rest before the madness ensues again. great to see you, my best friend. hope we get to do it again soon. LYLAS!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


your new favorite t-shirt...can't help it, I think it's funny :)

My Trip to Germany

This is the view from my room. Pretty? Absolutely!

Yay! I love science! And wine!

My boss and I discussing science (with alcohol - always a good conversation!)

Yes, I did actually present a poster and do some science :)

But, I also found time to dance with some famous scientists! LOL! (notice the conga line behind us? Yah, it was a fun, fun time!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This pretty much sums it up...

What is Feminism?

With all the brou-ha-ha surrounding the election, it's got me thinking about feminism and what exactly it is. You see, I'm a 30-year old woman and I never really experienced the "feminist movement" - or maybe I did, but just to a lesser extent. My mom was a radical in her time. She entered a program in the early 60s which allowed her to go to school for free in return for several years working for the government. My mom obtained a master's in mathematics and entered a world dominated by men and the "old boys network" when she worked for 40 years in the Dept of the Navy. She is a very meek person, one who would rather not "cause problems" than speak up against her superiors and because of that, she endured ridiculous sexism, condescention, and all-together bad attitudes by men who had no idea how to work with or treat a woman outside of the home. My mom was a ground-breaker, fer shure, and I am super proud of her contribution to women in the workplace, equality and an end (fingers crossed) to blatant sexism. By the time I came along, I had most every opportunity given to me. As far as I know, I have never been paid differently based on my sex, I have experienced little in terms of sexual harassment (normal joking aside), and my ablilities have not been questioned because I have a vagina. There has been a huge amout of progress in the last 40 years towards a positive solution for sexism. I realize there are still glass ceilings, and I realize there are still areas where women make up a very small percentage of the workforce (engineering and mathematics). I see the women who came before me in science - they have a different type of persona in order to adjust to the "old boys network" stillprevalent at Ivy League Schools. Some of the profs are bitches, through and through, putting up a tough, thick wall around them which no one can penetrate. I don't blame them after hearing some of my mom's and other women's stories. Others are very nice, but brusque, more open and friendly, but below this is a serious "don't fuck with me AT ALL" type of attitude. The younger profs have a sweeter demeanor, may be much more approachable, but also have some sort of protective, thick skin underneath. And none of these women are afraid to use their intelligence and their abilities to basically defend themselves, their research or their point of view. I must say, I admire all of these women, if for different reasons. To be successful with the best of the best of the old boys club takes balls, excuse the term. I admire alot of different types of women, even those who have decided they want to take time off and be a full time mom. I think it takes a lot of courage to make that decision, and I cannot understand how people would view this choice as a cop-out. Raising the next generation is an admirable job, in my book.
I believe that women deserve equal pay for equal work. I believe women are just as qualified to do any job a man can do. I also belive that there are some jobs ONLY a woman can do, such as birth a child. I think this situation needs to be acknowledged and that women leaving the workforce to have children should not be punished or passed by for jobs because they chose to raise kids for a few years. I think that women can make diverse choices, and that ultimately, in a perfect world, any woman can do any job she wants to do. Including, and not limited to, President of the Unites States, Pope, preist, doctor, lawyer, Speaker of the House, Mayor, and the list goes on and on. I think Hillary Clinton did a fantastic job and ran a decent campaign. I really think she did make 18million cracks in that glass ceiling. And Hillary was battered, let me tell you. She was knocked around, poked fun of, her wardrobe was judged over and over again. She didn't seem to bat an eyelash and she often reminded me of my father telling me to let things roll off my back. As soon as they get a rise out of you, as soon as they know the button to push, they're off and running with it. And, how many buttons did they push? Quite a few - so much so that a few journalists were fired over remarks they made that were over the line (I don't think they were policed well enough tho!). Anyways, where is my rambling headed? Of course, to Sarah Palin. You see, Sarah, as a feminist, I belive that women have lots of rights in this country. I don't believe that we just need to "prove ourselves better and work harder" - we deserve equal pay for equal work. I believe that women (and men, actually) have the right to know and understand our bodies. I believe children have the right to sex education, to knowing what the hell is going on with their bodies during puberty and to make smart choices when it comes to sex. It's clear to me that hiding information from kids, as in abstinence only education (which you support) is detrimental to the lives of teens because they end up knocked up (as your daughter is) or with a plethora of incurable diseases (which your daughter may or may not have...). I find it disturbing and disgusting that your daughter is being forced into marriage at 17 in order to "keep up appearances". It reminds me of the "non-denominational school I attended my freshman year of high school. The algebra teacher was banging one of the juniors, knocked her up, left his wife and married the 16 year old girl. Another teacher was molesting at least one girl, if not more. He was quitely moved to work in the office, still on campus, still close enough to the young girls. And my favorite, when the "promise keepers" contract came around pledging virginity until marriage, everyone signed it with their parents. And then all the girls went behind the dumpster at school to give their boyfriends blow-jobs. Hypocritical much? I belive that science should be taught in the public schools, not some made-up religious story about creation that has no basis in scientific fact. I believe you are actually reversing the course of technology by supporting creationism in the publich classroom. If you want your kids to learn religion, send them to Sunday School. I am not viting for you because your values and your ideas do not align with mine. Don't cry sexism when people ask you the tough questions. What IS your foreign policy experience? Why did you support the "Bridge to Nowhere" yet lie and say you did not? Why did you say you sold the Alaska governor's private jet on Ebay when, in fact, you did not? Why did you repeatedly try to figure out how to ban books from the local library? Why did your tiny little town in Alaska with a population of 5,000 people get nearly 27 million in federal government money through earmarks, when cities such as Boise, Idaho, with nearly 40 times the population don't even get that much money? What, exactly, is your experience? Why on God's green earth did you name your kids Track and Trig and Beluga? What the hell?
I am clearly voting for Obama, and I am waiting patiently for Palin to be taken down. Not because she's a woman. More power to her for that. But because she's a terrible politician whose views, as far as I can see, would take us back in time to the early 20th century.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Haiku Headin' Out Friday

All the kids return
to campus. Get back to school.
Crowded walkways, halls.


New people, different
perspectives, making new friends.
I've done this a lot.


Heading out to my
European Xenopus
meeting. See you soon!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the best so far...

So far,

My favorite thing about the elections is the Daily Show. If you don't watch it, you should.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I find the nomination of Sarah Palin and insult to all women everywhere. Any woman who does not believe in equal pay for equal work, does not believe that a woman has a right to choose what she does with her body, not the government, is not a groundbreaking person to me. I think McCain nominated her to "shake things up" and to try to appeal to those of us who voted for Hillary Clinton. Know what? I think we're smarter than that. I also think he chose her to get more areas in Alaska to drill. No McCain, more of the same, fer shure.
I also feel bad for her daughter, who will be forced to have a child at a young age (I am sure she was given no choice) and will be forced to marry the boy who knocked her up. If that's not evidence that abstinece only education does not work, I don't know what is. Her life is screwed now because I am sure she won't be allowed to go to school or college. What the hell is the republican party stuck in? 1880?
man, I hope Obama wins....get out the vote!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Historic Friday Haiku

What an historic
week we've had! Celebrating
women's right to vote.


Watch the first female
Speaker of the House call for
the nomination.


The first African
American in the run
to the big white house.


The first woman to
go so far. Eighteen million
cracks indeed, Mrs. C.


I hope he wins it!
I have a dream that we
can do better. Hope!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't wait, appreciate.

I've been slacking on the appreciating of my life lately. I've had a great summer, a few bumps in the road to get over, but who doesn't? I got to see one of my closest friends get married, and my best friend get engaged to a guy who seems like exactly the kind of guy I would have chosen for her. I've been there as my Uncle passed from this life into another and I've grown closer to my family than ever before. I've made better friends here and opened myself up to more and more people, reserving judgment and trying (as hard as it is...) to go with the flow. I participated in a major international meeting here at Penn and got to show it off (and the meeting went very very well!) I've made some progress in my work and I'm on schedule to graduate someday, so that's good news. And I'll have the opportunity to meet with and hang out with some of the premier scientists in my field in a couple weeks in this tiny tiny town in Germany. I've got a great house, great job, great boyfriend, great family, great pets and great friends. And I just wanted to acknowledge that because it feels like I don't do that enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Didja see this? Amazing.


Went for a bike ride this morning with my boyfriend. It was a nice morning, kinda chilly, but once we got going, it was really pretty out. Went along the loop and Alex got a little overzealous and tried to pass someone on a blind corner. Ended up in an accident with the biggest asshole on the planet. The first thing Alex did was ask the guy if he was all right. The guy didn't respond for several minutes and then just started talking about how his bike was brand new and that it was broken (it was not broken). They guy never asked if Alex was OK, never even said anything to us and started riding his bike away after Alex tried to help him straighten out the handlebars. So, we decided to leave, not really knowing what to do, and the guy let loose a tirade of ridiculousness. He started calling Alex every name in the book, started yelling at him for riding they way he did. Alex was not hurt, he was over the line a tad, but this guy was also going too fast to make it around the corner. He didn't even brake! So, clearly, from an observer's perspective, both were at fault. Alex admitted fault at first and made sure the guy was all right (isn't that what you're supposed to do?) but the guy couldn't get over his new bike being broken (it was not broken). It was clear he has bought some fancy - schmancy bike for $5000 and didn't know how to ride it or how to maneuver it. And it just so happened that we were in the same place at the same time. Figures. Anyways, as far as I could tell, both were fine, a little shaken up, but fine. And the experience could have been so much better if the guy hadn't been such an asshole.