Friday, March 26, 2010

Haiku Sickie Face Friday

Home with a cold, blech.
Stuffy head, sore throat, coughing.
No fever, thank god.


Nice to catch up on
old shows that I love: Sex and
the city, movies.


Silence and quiet
Refrigerator hum
and cars motor by.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Club: The Commitment by Dan Savage

I loved this book. As someone considering heading into the realm of marriage, I think this book does justice to the idea of "commitment" and "marriage" and what they mean to modern couples today. I'm not sure this is an actual "gay manifesto" as it is made out to be. I think it's more of a person's struggle with the idea of marriage and the whole idea of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I think it's hard to understand how different marriage is now as compared to it in our grandparents (or even parents) age. I have multiple friends who cohabitate and have made a "commitment". I have friends who are married, yet engage in "swinging" or partner exchange, or whatever you might want to call it. I know people who have had kids and THEN decided to get married. As for myself, my boyfriend and I have lived together for years, yet something (societal or familial or maybe something more) pushes us to "validate" our relationship by getting married. I think Savage lends an honest glimpse into what his relationship with Terry is like, and concludes that it might not be what your relationship is like with your partner. I think the nice thing about marriage now is that we can define it how we want to define it - as open, closed, common law, multiple partner, etc. I think that gay people should have the right to do the same thing (to perhaps screw it up as much as us straight folks have?). Savage's writing is easy, entertaining, and funny. I laughed out loud more often than not and am very glad to have read this prior to making a decision on getting married. Savage humanizes the debate, putting his family at the middle of it (I would love to see what Dobson et al think of Terry, the stay-at-home-dad, or the kid who opposes gay marriage). It comes down to the idea that life isn't perfect, you can't plan everything and live and let live. I loved, loved, loved this book and highly recommend it.

I posted this in the comments section of the book club discussion as well. Comments here are disabled, to comment, head here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I've started watching the NBC show Parenthood, which comes on after The Biggest Loser. Originally, I thought the promos for this show looked cute, and I could never turn down Lauren Graham (who played Lorelai Gilmore on the Gilmore Girls), so we decided to check it out. It is nothing like the movie Parenthood, starring Steve Martin, but I guess I wasn't expecting that either. There are some things about this show that are a little much (like the ENORMOUS house the parents live in, or the fact that one of the somewhat unemployed "kids" lives in a boat on the SF marina), but I am willing to suspend disbelief for an hour. What I do like about this show is that it has so far portrayed a couple with a stay at home dad and a power attorney mom, a mom who married a loser, had two kids and now has to move home with Mom and Dad in order to regroup, a guy who is so freaked out by any sort of commitment that he can barely stand it when his girlfriend sleeps over, etc. I like the characters, I like the story line. It's easy on the eyes and, although I lack 4 brothers and sisters and have no children, I identify with a lot of the plotlines - usually from the parents' perspective, now - scary, eh? Tuesday nights episode dealt with one of the teen boys wanting to take approximately 7 showers a day to masturbate - what one earth do you do about that one? It also involved a teen daughter hiding her boyfriend from her parents (I totally did that) and then her parents found out and her dad went ballistic (yeah, totally lived that one too). The actors, I thought, were really good; in that, I felt uncomfortable and squirmy while watching the aforementioned scenes. And it's a nice change from the Law & Order or CSI type show, which seems to be on every night. I'm looking forward to seeing where this show goes - hopefully up!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Philadelphia Cleaner Emissions Fail

epic fail pictures

Why, yes, that is SEPTA! On Walnut St, nonetheless!


Every morning I walk through the center of campus, an area called College Green, which contains some large sections of grass, among other things. This is an area, for those of you unfamiliar with the campus, that contains the main library, a large button sculpture, a large statue of Ben Franklin, a miniature "LOVE" sculpture, several large, Ivy-League-looking buildings and "The Castle", a frat house that literally looks like a castle. For the last few mornings, there have been college kids "camping out" on the green, either hanging out on a big tarp, or relaxing in folding chairs outside a big tent. Usually, these things are some kind of charity work, like, "We're sleeping outside to raise money and awareness for the homeless", or "We're pedaling our stationary bike for 48 hrs nonstop to raise money for kids with cancer" or some type of raising money/awareness for some bad situation. These people have no signs. They have no information sheets, no flyers to hand out, nothing. The women have Coach purses and Macbooks, designer jeans and high heels and look a little bedraggled from being outdoors. The men have aviator glasses on, wearing designer ripped jeans and polo shirts, and are constantly checking their Blackberrys. Alex and I have postulated that perhaps they are all pledges for fraternities or sororities? But that doesn't make sense, since the Greeks would be all over them for hazing. Nobody knows...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yes, I live in 2009.

I finally convinced my boyfriend to sit down and watch The Hangover, a movie we've had for about a month. It's difficult to get him to sit still, so this was a real treat! As basically everyone on the planet has already seen this movie, it needs little introduction or review. We both loved. Alex loved it so much, he launched into that silent laughter where no noise comes out and you have a hard time breathing. It totally cracked me up. I think Bradley Cooper is super cute and I really loved Heather Graham in her role as well. Basically, it was a great movie, and perhaps is going on the list of movies to buy. Mostly because I want to see what kind of ridiculousness is involved in the extras and special features.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ides of March

When I was 15 or so, I switched high schools from this teeny, tiny Christian school to this "bigger" Catholic School. I was really excited to go to the same school as Randi, who I had grown up with. We hadn't attended school together since kindergarten, so I thought this would be a real treat. Plus, I hated the tiny Christian school and all it stood for: hypocrisy, secrets, and disgusting behavior (real Christian, right?). We had this awesome English teacher, Mrs. W. She was super cool - I remember loving her class all the time. She had us read "Hotel California" by the Eagles and dissect its parts to determine its meaning. She also had us read Julius Caesar by Shakespeare. Having missed the Freshman year discussion of Romeo and Juliet, I had no idea what to expect from discussions of Julius Caesar. I was really intimidated by Shakespeare, with its fancy language and hidden meanings. I thought I would never understand what all those characters were trying to say. And I never thought I could understand the storyline. What Mrs. W did was allow us to read Julius Caesar over a period of several weeks. She let us read it slowly, and then talked to us about what those passages meant. She also emphasized the simplicity of the play: Shakespeare gives little direction on the parts of the play, merely indicating when characters enter or exit, or perhaps the time of day or the date to give context. Which is one of the reasons why Shakespeare is so timeless. I'm not sure whether we were reading Julius Caesar specifically on the Ides of March, or whether Mrs. W later pointed that out to us. I just know that every Ides of March since then (I've had nearly 20!) I have thought about Julius Caesar, Mrs. W and Shakespeare.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Independence Collage

terrible poetry to apologies :)

I've come to believe, the older I grow,
the more I hear music, the more that I know,
it's the songs that I heard, as a tiny wee teen
that most of my life, the most they will mean.

Not sure what that means, nostalgia or what,
I've had these songs in my mind, perhaps in a rut?
All the songs I hear today, all the tunes, all the words
Sound like copycats, reissues; I think it's for the birds.

Lady Gaga, to me, you will never achieve,
the talent, the awesome, Madonna would receive.
Flashback the synthesizer, tune up the machine drums
I've heard it all before, it gives me the ho-hums.

The legwarmers, the neon, the big hair, the tights,
We wore it all better, with more spunk, with more lights.
We weren't afraid to carry the boom box, to shout,
To announce our independence, to earn us some clout.

The movies, the pop culture, the fashion, the clothes,
To me, now, even the teeny kids look like hos.
That wasn't the idea, over sex the whole world,
It was more about statements, a chance to be heard.

I guess that it's true - I guess I'm just old,
there's not much to say, no more to be told.
Just respect your elders, pay us some homage,
Because we all started it, with our fancy plumage.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

On Saturday, we were lucky enough to get into a showing of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I really, really loved this movie. I must admit, it's been a long time since I've thought about anything Lewis Carroll related - I know I read the books with my mom ages ago, but I don't remember much about them. I am sure I saw the Disney movie several times, and I have definitely been on the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland (wow...that's a whole other post!). I know that Burton and his screenwriters took liberties with the storyline, but I couldn't recall the original, so that was fine with me. The acting was phenomenal - what I would expect from Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Crispin Glover. The young Alice was also amazing - she embodied the perfect mix of awkward, unsure teenager, and confident, settled adult. The animated characters were quite well done - not distracting at all, and the scenery was very moody - going with the mood of the characters, so to speak. The cinematography was really amazing and the story line was so well done, I felt like standing up and cheering at the end. The movie is well done - not too long, not too short. The characters are well developed, and the message is quite clear. The only thing I would warn about is this movie is NOT for children. It's quite scary in parts, and altogether frightening in others. It is not your "feel good" kids movie. It has adult themes and an adult story line, and I heard many children in the theatre screaming or crying over the movie, which can't be good. We did not partake in the 3D phenomenon, so I couldn't tell you if it's worth the extra $5 or not. The scenery was beautiful, but I wasn't really willing to risk severe motion sickness over it. Altogether, go see this movie. I was so pleased.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dancing Machine

Dance lesson last night
Box step, rhumba, swing and more
So super goofy!


But who knows? Maybe
one day you will see us on
Dancing with the Stars!


Dancing is a great
way to hang out and learn to
communicate well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stuck in the Middle

A girl in my program defended her thesis today. She did a great job and I was really kinda amazed at how well she did - how composed, etc. She had a nice story and backed it up with some nice data and I thought it all came together well. She started grad school a year after me, which kinda sucks. Science takes a really long time to do careful experimentation. And, of course, I pick the kind of science to do that takes even longer because I am working with living animals who have to produce embryos that have to be a certain quality in order to do the experiments. I also have a boss who is the worlds worst procrastinator. For example, he asked me to write a review article for an online journal which solicited this review from us. A review article is exactly what is sounds like - a survey of current and past literature on a particular subject framed in the context of general scientific scrutiny and skepticism. We were solicited in Dec 2007. I completed the manuscript in Feb 2008, after taking some time (likely about a month) to do the research and to bring together a comprehensive review article on what we know about a particular class of transcriptional repressors. This manuscript has been on the desk of my boss since then. He has not read it, he has not asked for any more input from me. Obviously the literature has advanced (meaning, it would take a major re-write on my part to bring it up to date). Absolutely nothing has been done in over 2 years. How frustrating is that? And to think, I have to get out, not one, not two, but likely three different papers this year, hopefully within the next few months. He has no concept of time, no idea how frustrating this whole thing is to me, even though I've told him over and over again. I have a feeling I would have graduated by now if I had chosen another lab to do my work in. Instead, I fester, and infuriate myself. And hope this is all preparing me for my future career. Whenever I get there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Random Tidbits

  • I enjoyed watching the Olympics -the athletes are so inspiring! But, I must admit, I will be happy to go back to no TV watching for a while. Little bit of TV overload.
  • Philadelphia has experienced the most snow ever recorded this year. And more is on the way tomorrow/Wed. I don't know how people deal with it in places like Buffalo and MN. I am so sick of snow turning into ice and then nearly killing myself walking everywhere. I am also sick of wearing boots. I am currently thinking about getting a pair of lab slippers.
  • That being said, this past weekend was gorgeous - I never thought 45 would be gorgeous, but when the sun is out and it feels even slightly warm through your coat and you can take off your hat for part of the day, it's soooooooo nice!
  • Work has been pretty busy, but I've just not felt too motivated lately. I think, in general, Feb should just be a month with less productivity because I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep until Spring.
  • I have to start looking for postdoc positions. There are some labs I really like, and some labs that look interesting. So far, my most favorite lab is in Utah. Yeah, Utah. Not sure about the place, but the lab, people, campus, funding situation, research looks great. Another interesting one is at the Salk Institute in the Whale's Vagina. That could be super cool too.
  • I went bra shopping this past weekend because Macy's was having a sale. Can you tell me why something made of metal and not a lot of fabric costs so damn much? Seriously, why is underwear so expensive? It's not like there are a lot of design choices or anything. Two straps, an underwire and some padding and it's $40? Ridiculous, I say!
  • I am pretty sure that I could write a scientific paper on my cat. She has a brain tumor which causes her to have diabetes. I've been researching all of her symptoms, and we're now trying her on human meds, trying to control her blood sugar. As far as I can tell, she's the only cat on these meds. Should be interesting....
  • I think today might be a "home sick" day. We went out last night to watch the USA-Canada hockey game and ate some nachos and beer. For some reason, my stomach is VERY angry about this. We'll see if things improve, but I must admit, a day home watching 90210 sounds pretty appealing right now!