Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

  • had 6 people for Thanksgiving - I think it was a total success, even if one guest was terrified of cats and jumped every time a cat walked near him.
  • have so much turkey, I have no idea what to do with it - want some?
  • did absolutely nothing but sit on my ass Friday. Barely even cleaned up after dinner. Tryptophan indeed.
  • Had a lovely day walking about on Saturday. Checked out Christmas displays, looked in windows at all the things I can't afford and caught part of the Macy's lights show in the old Wanamaker building.
  • Found out that the display on Princess Diana at the Constitution Center costs nearly $30 to get into. Doesn't that seem excessive for a display on someone so rich?
  • Hit up the movies, which was a treat.
  • Had several lazy mornings, reading the paper and drinking coffee.
  • Went for a 3 mile run yesterday, and MAN was it hard! I guess eating all that food sure can kill your stamina.
  • Can't believe it's almost December!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Alex and I caught a showing of The Fantastic Mr. Fox last night. It's a Wes Anderson film, and I honestly has not heard about it or seen any previews of it anywhere. It stars George Clooney as Mr. Fox and Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox, Jason Schwartzmann as their son, Ash and several other big names (Willem Defoe as a bad rat, etc). I must say, the cast list is impressive. Plus, it's stop motion animation, which I have loved ever since the debut of the California Raisins. I might have been a little old to have read this book as a kid - I don't really recall. The story follows Mr. Fox and his family. A former chicken stealer, Mr. Fox settled down with his wife, Felicity, to have a family (his son, Ash) and decided to give up chicken stealing (it's dangerous, you know!). Upon moving the family from a burrow to a tree, Mr. Fox is tempted one again to steal farmed fowl from the nearby farms owned by some nasty farmers. He successfully breaks into the farms, steals various fowl and food and humiliates the farmers, who vow to get him back. The story is a little bizarre (the original was written by Roald Dahl, which might explain it) and I was constantly looking for "other meanings" in the story (and I am not so sure this movie has underlying meanings or themes). I was incredibly pleased by the animation, the characters, and the plotline. Mr. Fox indeed is fantastic, and I cannot think of anyone better to play him than Clooney. The supporting characters are brilliant, and everything turns out OK in the end. Plus, there are little snippets like, "Everyone knows that Beagles love blueberries!" which just kinda make you giggle. I was surprised to see a theatre full of people watching this movie on a Saturday night, but it was super entertaining and a great example of stop motion cinematography (although perhaps not as great as Wallace and Grommet, which I think is the best!).

Monday, November 23, 2009

I ran a race....

On the day before my 32nd birthday.

Prior to starting, I was in my corral, waiting for the race to start. The mayor was an MC- literally "singing" (if that's what you'd call it) the theme song to Rocky prior to the start of the race. I was freezing my rear off and goofing for the camera!

Here I come into the chute, ready to cross the finish line....

Sometimes, I run like a gazelle. I know you're jealous....

Official time: 51 mins, 47 seconds to run 5 miles. About a 10:25 mile - not too bad in my book!
I think I'll keep doing this!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Poem about Running

As and ode to my health, to prove I'm not old,
I am running on Sunday, even in the cold.

The last day I can say: I'm but thirty 0ne
Thirty two I will be on Monday - hope it's fun!

While I'm running the course with thousands of others
I'll be thinking of you and everyone's mothers.

So, if you happen to wake early on Sunday morn,
Think of me and the thousand of others in the Philly marathon!

I'll be huffing and puffing long before eight,
here's to the weekend! I hope it will be great!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Bicycle Riders,

You are a moving vehicle - stay off the sidewalk and don't try to run over pedestrians. There is a bike lane for your use. It's clearly marked. Use it, not my sidewalk.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Christian Fascists,

Please don't hand out an edited version of Darwin's book On the Origin of Species as a cheap ploy to get me to listen to your intelligent design/creationism bull shit. I don't take your Bible and edit it to support my views on life (oh, wait, you already do that!). I am perfectly happy with the absence of religion in my life and I don't need you to hang out on the campus of a medical school, for Christ's sake and try to trick people into believing you are celebrating the publication of Darwin's groundbreaking work. I am sorry that you feel the need to edit and alter Darwin's work to serve your own goals. I am also sorry that your arguments are so thinly veiled and so easily discounted. I think it's sad when you take quotations out of context and you use the wonderful openness, and peer review process of science to attempt to prove your points. It's also a shame that all of your bibliography consists of references to Newsweek articles and Creationist publications and websites. What? You couldn't find any legitimate, peer reviewed articles to quote? Not even from your friend Richard Beehe? The fact remains that you are trying to force your brand of religion on the rest of us, on our schoolchildren, and on the public in general. This is precisely why there is a clause in the Constitution regarding the Separation of Church and State. If you are so concerned about your children learning false viewpoints, then, by all means, teach them all you want. Just don't usurp our scholarly and scientific texts to try to shove some Christian Fascist bullshit down our throats. Your book will be stoking our Thanksgiving Day fire. And so concludes my rant for the day.

"Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and 'cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents'."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My labmate is graduating. She's a year ahead of me and has been working on her thesis for a while. She's not really sure what to do with herself after she graduates, so she's been exploring lots of different career options. She's limited to a certain area because her husband has a job at a somewhat local school, and the economy's been shitty (as if you hadn't noticed). Having worked in industry, I keep encouraging her to stay patient and on top of things and that, eventually, she'll get the job she wants. Sometimes it's hard to take your own advice. You see, I have a problem with my boss. I need to publish at least one first author paper in order to graduate. I will have done enough work for (hopefully) three first author papers by the time I'm ready to graduate. My boss has some weird aversion to publishing. He doesn't like to read the things you send him unless it's under a deadline. When I wrote a grant with him a few years ago, I was up all night the night before, getting revisions from him until 3AM. Honestly, it was kind of a nightmare since I'm not really a procrastinator. I try to finish things up with plenty of time. So, on top of all the worry and anxiety of dealing with and getting through grad school, I have to now figure out a way to get my boss to read and critique and publish my papers. It's pretty stressful to say the least. I'm also trying to consider where I will go next, what I want to work on, what type of environment I want to look for and where I want to live. Needless to say, I've got a lot of anxiety in my life right now. I've been trying to develop my "patience" skill. I don't have a lot of it, especially since I moved East. It's definitely a skill I'd like to develop! I've also been running a lot. I run at least three times a week. It feels great to get out all that energy and decompress. I don't listen to my headphones, I don't do anything but focus on my breathing and my stride and I run. It makes me feel like a kid again (although I don't have nearly the amount of endurance or energy as I did when I was a kid). I'm not very fast, and I probably have all the wrong form. But it helps. And I just have to trust that when the time comes, things will work out for the best.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, Monday

So, my birthday's coming up in a week. I am glad it doesn't fall directly on T-Day this year (yay, I can have cake instead of pumpkin pie!). I usually get really excited for my birthday, and this year is no exception. I've asked Alex over and over again what he's getting me for my birthday, and he just won't say. You see, Alex has a wee bit of a gift confidence problem. He is not too sure how to buy me gifts (yes, we've been together for nearly 4 years now LOL). So, I hinted heavily that I needed some new slippers. Mine have gone to hell in a handbasket, let me tell you. So, over the summer, we visited the LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine, and I found the slippers I wanted. Fast forward to a few days ago. I was falling asleep one night, while Alex was reading something in bed. I woke up to a sound downstairs, wondering what was going on. Alex wasn't in bed anymore and I asked him what was going on. Turned out, he had walked into his bike, making the noise. Asking what he was doing downstairs, he said he was checking the lock on the back door (a door we hadn't opened in quite a while, since it's been freezing lately). He came back to bed and I saw him try to slide something underneath the bed. I started bugging him about it. Turns out, he was hoping to replace my old, beat up, nasty old slippers with the new ones I had wanted. Had I stayed asleep, he could have pulled it off. Instead, the bike gave him away. I have to say, it was a wonderful surprise either way and I am so pleased to have warm, fuzzy toes for the winter!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Haiku Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday the
Thirteenth. Superstitious say
it should be bad luck.


I always think it
can't be that bad, right? It is
Friday, after all.


Ten days to go till
the big three two. And to think
I still feel fourteen!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Julie Andrews,

There's been a theme in my life. And I'm not quite sure where it came from, but Julie Andrews has always been in it. I think, perhaps, it's because my mom always sings in this false operatic voice (and, trust me, she is constantly singing) that sounds somewhat like Julie Andrews. Perhaps my mom always sang Julie Andrews songs ("What do the Simple Folk Do?" from Camelot comes to mind, as well as the Do Re Mi song). I have always sort of thought of my mom as a cross between Angela Landsbury (she is always reading and solving mysteries) and Julie Andrews. As you can imagine, I loved The Sound of Music, and had never quite experienced it in such a way before. We had the great pleasure of attending the Doug Elkins & Friends performance of Fraulein Maria, a dance/vaudeville interpretation of The Sound of Music, complete with Rodgers and Hammerstein original cast recording as music. I was even involved in the show! I broke the 4th wall! The show stays fairly true to the original storyline, but includes not one, but three Fraulein Marias (one of them a man!) and included lots of wonderful dance moves, including classical, modern and even hip hop. Their portrayal of Germany invading Austria was carried out by Elkins himself (along with our lovable MC) fighting over the seat on a bench - one of the most innovative ways I could think to show invasions of countries. The final scene, danced to "Something Good", the couples include, not only Fraulein Maria and her handsome man, but also a female-female couple and a male-male couple, nicely bringing in some modern twists to the plot. The show is funny, moving, sad and wonderful. The dancers are fantastic and I loved every minute of the hour long show (in fact, I wish it was longer). This troupe is based out of NYC, but if you get the chance to see this amazingly innovative and entertaining show, DO IT!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Veterans,

Thank you. I don't think we say it enough.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Love's Labour Lost

I went to a Shakespeare play. Not just any Shakespeare play, but a good one, put on by Skakespeare's own Globe Theatre Company. With proper British accents, impeccable acting, beautiful singing, and a lot of laughter. I felt compelled to attend because I am neither an English major, nor am I knowledgeable about Shakespeare. I read the requisite Romeo and Juliet and Julius Ceasar and I'm sure a few sonnets in high school but that's about it. I recall Shakespeare being difficult to understand, and having to go line by line through the parts in order to understand nuances and innuendo and to get the the gist of it all. In general, I think I had pretty good English teachers who helped me to understand the interesting parts of the plays. I also recall them being very minimalist, not describing a single direction or stage cue or lighting or anything. Which, in general, makes them a wonderful thing to interpret, right? I enjoyed Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet when I was a kid, most probably because it had the My So-Called life girl in it with Leonardo DiCaprio. And I had read it before, thanks to Mr. Lewis, I believe in freshman year English.
However, this was different. A true acting troupe, fully realizing the characters on stage. The performance was wonderful, beginning with a group of musicians wandering about the area outside the theatre, playing lovely tunes on their (presumably) 16th-17th century era instruments. There was no curtain, and the actors marched into the theatre together, along with the musicians. The actors were truly brilliant: pantomiming, enunciating, emphasizing Shakespeare's unbelievable ability to write poetry. The costumes were beautiful, and the storyline and plot was truly hysterical. I am so glad I took the time to see Shakespeare performed as I would imagine it was performed way back when. I am hoping to not be so intimidated to see another difficult play again. And, surprisingly, the second act was much easier to follow than the first. I guess I must have a small English major deep within my psyche!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009