Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Numbers

  • chatted with several PIs on Friday about my predicament and got some great encouragement and support
  • went to dinner at a new restaurant with our friend Chris. Did not have one beer - crazy right?
  • watched 2 Daily Show episodes on the internets.
  • ran errands on Saturday, but was so exhausted I ended up taking a 2 hour nap. Why am I exhausted? I have no idea...
  • watched 1 movie, Couples Retreat. I'll have a review later this week. Read 1 book Into Thin Air - will also have a review of that sometime soon.
  • made 2 batches of hummus, 1 banana bread and 1 pan of chocolate chip cookies.
  • spent Sunday doing yard work - planting about 30 bulbs and 1 Christmas tree. And I really screwed up my wrist doing so. I am now wearing 1 ace bandage on my right hand. Ugh.
  • was able to Skype with Randi and Casey for the first time! What a great chat! I loved seeing Casey in action. What a cutie-pa-tootie!
  • Attended and Oscar party with 8 people and 1 dog. Unfortunately, we had to leave before the good stuff was awarded, but we still had a great time. 
  • Today and tomorrow, lots of meetings and talks to attend. Someday I will write my thesis :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy BIrthday, Dad!

Wish I could be there to have a black and tan with you! 
Happy birthday! I hope it's wonderful!

A Few of my Favorite Things Haiku Friday

Wigwam socks, tall boots
dressing up, high heels, turtle 
fur hats, warm ski gloves.


Hot chamomile tea
shortbread cookies, thick, gooey
pizza, burritos.


Shoes without socks, short
sleeved tee shirts, gelato, warm
February day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Movie Review: 500 Days of Summer

Warning: Spoilers ahead...
As you all know by now, I am sucker for a romantic movie, and this one just tickled me. It's the story of Tom and Summer, who meet at work one day. And it's basically the opposite of any of the normal romantic comedies you see. Usually, the girl falls for a guy and can't get him out of her head, so she does something zany to make him fall for her. This movie, however, had the guy in that position. Tom is just desperate to fall in love and he thinks Summer's the one. She honest, funny, and totally straightforward with him - she's just not so sure. Partially, I loved this movie because Summer was so well played by Zooey Deschanel. Partially, I was thrilled that Summer was a strong, confident woman, unafraid to be alone and quite enthralled with the world around her. The long and the short of it is that things don't work out, for many reasons. I think most of us have been through that absolutely heart wrenching breakup, and this movie portrayed that really well, as did Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Tom. And, for some reason, the city of Los Angeles plays this lovely, romantic city in this movie. The characters ride the bus and the subway places, sit in parks on hills overlooking a skyline I've never seen, they show they beautiful, old fashioned buildings that I had no idea existed (for the longest time, I was trying to figure out where they were supposed to be!). The cinematography was beautiful, the music was really well done. All the characters were really well played, including the goofy side-kicks. And, in the end, Tom finds that he's just not happy, and that happiness isn't found in a person, it's found in yourself. And there's a cute ending where Tom and Summer become friends again, after enduring a terrible breakup. I know this is all fantasy, not reality, it's a movie, but I thought it was really great. It was quirky, well done and interesting, not too long, beautiful to look at, and wonderfully honest. If you haven't seen this movie, check it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Movie Review: The Millenium Trilogy

I was absolutely thrilled to see that Steig Larssons' Millenium Trilogy books had been made into movies in his native Sweden. I had heard of these movies, had heard they were very well done, and was really excited to see they were on Instant Play on Netflix. I've been battling off a cold (it didn't take me down, damnit!) and I was pretty low key for most of the weekend and the beginning of this week. I watched all three of the movies and I can't say enough about how well done they were. I've already told you how much I enjoyed the books, so it was really amazing to see things come to life on the big screen, so to speak. It was great just to see what Stockholm looks like, it was amazing to hear the names and places spoken in Swedish, and it was thrilling to watch the characters played by such amazing actors. I was enthralled, even though I knew what was going to happen. I think, by far, the first movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the best. It stuck so closely to the plot line of the book, it was eerie. I am usually disappointed by movie adaptations of books since they tend to leave out important details, but this adaptation was excellent. There are a few things the movies left out, for example, the relationship between Erika Berger and Mikael Blomqvist - although it was emphasized so much in the books, it wasn't really touched upon in the movies, except for some brief scenes. Noomi Rapace playing Lisbeth Salander was amazing. So amazing. I can't say enough about her - her acting was superb and I hung off of every word she said, every move she made. She is such an amazing heroine, and I was just thrilled to watch her. As a minor point, I was a bit disappointed in the portrayal of Erika Berger, a character I really admired in the books. Her role was, unfortunately, cut out of a lot of the plotline in the third movie, which streamlined the plot, but left a strong character looking fairly weak. Altogether, I loved these movies and I loved the characters coming to life. I likely would watch the American versions of these films when they come out, but I cannot imagine them being even comparable to the Swedish versions that were so well done.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Numbers

  • We performed our dance on Friday and it went off without a hitch! It was so much fun - I am pretty sure I had a super goofy grin on my face for the whole 2 minutes we danced! I didn't fill up my dance card, but I did get about 5 dances in with people other than Alex. The waltz, tho? The waltz is super hard!
  • Saturday, we ran errands, per usual. Its been pretty nice weather lately (relatively speaking - it's been in the 40s), so we wandered around and took in some sights for a bit. Then we headed home to do some stuff around the house. Alex fixed his bikes a bit while I finally finished all the Save the Date cards for the wedding. I still have a few stragglers, but those won't take too long.
  • While filling out the addresses, I watched So I Married an Axe Murderer for about the 1000th time. That movie is still funny and I just loved all those dumb jokes. I remember having that movie memorized when I was younger. Turns out, I still remember some of the parts verbatim. I think it's also funny because you can see Mike Myers other characters, from Austin Powers and Shrek come out in this movie, too. 
  • Sunday turned out to be a happy housewife day. I did not leave the house - hell, I didn't even get out of my pajamas, but I managed to make several dishes for dinner this week. I made Cuban black beans and rice, French Onion Soup, some fresh bread and some Scottish Shortbread to round it out. I also made a batch of regular black beans, should go well with eggs or on burritos. I had never made French Onion soup. It's kind of a pain in the rear to make it, but it was worth the time. You just have to put your onions in the oven for at least 3 hours (I was amazed they even resembled onions after that), deglaze the pan bout 4 times and then add your broths and seasonings and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  • We watched part of the Grammy Awards Show last night. I always like to see what the "kids these days" are up to. I did enjoy Cee Lo Green's song with Gwenyth Paltrow - I mean, how can you not like puppets and a giant peacock? I also liked Eminem and Rihanna's song, and I think I might have to download 3 or 4 songs today, just to keep up with the times
  • Today, once again, it's back to the grind. Writing and finishing up this chapter today, starting on an intro chapter tomorrow. I should finish with about 7 chapters, which is a ludicrous amount of information. Oh well, that's what happens when they don't let you graduate in a timely fashion.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today is the Day Haiku Friday

Dance showcase tonight
Been practicing for months now
I think we're ready.


Just have to figure
out what to wear, how to wear
bronze high heels with it.


Party down, dance it
up lots of people gonna
watch us get fun-kay!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dancing Machine

So, lately, Alex and I are all about dance. It's a great release, it requires very little brain power and I am learning how to dance in high heels, which is a feat in and of itself. So, this Friday, we are performing a lovely half rhumba, half hustle routine for the dance party at our studio. I am both excited and nervous, but as far as I can tell, we've got the routine down pretty good. As a big plus, the whole thing is about two minutes long, so it's not too crazy to think about. The studio likes to celebrate all holidays, so the party on Friday is a Valentine's Day party and the studio is doing a thing called "dance cards" where you get a card and fill out people's names for particular dances, like in the old days way back when. It always makes me think about the movie Meet Me in St. Louis, where Judy Garland plays the daughter of a business man who decides that the family has to move out of St. Louis right after Christmas. The family is devastated, but decides it's for the best, if it's for his job. Judy Garland and her sister attend the local Christmas dance, without dates, and fill out dance cards and dance the night away in these amazingly lovely gowns. Incidentally, Judy Garland's boyfriend then shows up and proposes in the most romantic way. I can't imagine any of these things happening at this dance party, but that is what I'm thinking about :)
So, we just agreed to be part of another performance, this one is a routine for a show at a reunion or something like that. We're part of a swing performance, which should be a blast. We just started taking double lessons on Wednesday nights with seven other couples (the couples are not yet complete, but the instructor is working on it). We'll perform sometime in April, and we might even be putting on more than one performance, which will be great. We've already learned the Charleston, which is a funny kind of dance. I've been doing it all over the house, and I know I look silly, but oh well! Alex and I are having a lot of fun, still taking some private lessons, and I think this is something we'll try to stick to as time goes on. I know life always gets in the way of things, but I hope that dance is something we can do for a long time.
Which brings me to my last thought. I was talking to another one of the girls in the swing show, Kara. She was saying that she had just gotten married and that she and her husband had really loved the dance lessons, so they decided to continue them. He always brings a bottle of wine, they try to get dinner before or after the lesson and it turns into a really nice date night. I said that I totally agreed with her and that Alex had gotten us group lessons as a birthday present to me a couple years ago. I thought it was such a great time that we ended up signing up for private lessons, which has been a great experience for us both. And then, I just started wondering why there are so few people who dance anymore. Why nobody has dinner and dancing as a date and why dancing has been relegated to clubs on Friday and Saturday nights. Why do guys dislike dancing so much that they won't take their significant others out for a lesson, just to get the feel of it? I'm always talking to people who are bored with the whole dating scene or who are sick of the whole dinner and a movie thing, yet nobody thinks about dance. I guess, in my mind, "date night" should be a regular thing, as regular as you can make it. It doesn't have to be a fancy show or a big dinner. Try dancing one time. Even in your living room, even in your yard. Try the waltz, try the salsa, take a lesson, check the Y. Lessons are usually 45 minutes long, and it ends up being a great time, especially because there's no pressure, there's no reason you need to be perfect or perform well. But you do get to communicate and laugh together and try to figure out how the other person works, which is always interesting. So, this V-Day, or beyond, you should try being a dancing machine. Just like MJ :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

I am not planning on reviewing these books, mostly because I believe most people have read them and have loved them. These books, to me, are like that old pair of comfy jeans - so familiar and comfortable and so enjoyable. The books open a whole new world to me, one that I always enjoy and one that I can't get enough of. Most of the experiences (in some way) I can identify with, the adolescence, the drama, the awkwardness, the family, the friendships - all are so universal. I love books that I can get so wrapped up in, that I can almost think I am taking part in the scenes, the action, the experiences. And when I read these books, these chapters before bed at night, I have these great dreams about running the halls of the Hogwarts castle with Harry and Ron and Hermione. I know, a little childish, but honestly, something that is really missing from my life of science and real world bills and responsibilities? Imagination. So, I can't exactly knock it. It's like directing my own movie in my head.
Alex and I were talking about whether Rowling would write more Harry Potter books, and I have to believe that she will. Alex thinks a prequel, dealing with Harry's family before he was born and their time at Hogwarts, or even a focus on Dumbledore might be fun. I was thinking that even a book just focusing on the normal, everyday life of kids at Hogwarts might be fun, especially for littler kids - simpler, schooltime adventures or some such thing. Alex firmly believes that anything taking place after Harry has killed Voldemort would be boring and wouldn't have much interest or excitement, but I beg to differ. I think the world that Rowling created is so imaginative, and the characters so identifiable, deep and memorable, that even simpler, shorter stories would hold interest for the fans.
I think one of my favorite things about the books is Hermione and Ginny (in the later books). They are both true modern feminists, portrayed as both brave and intelligent, able to complete any of the tasks the boys can, and never held back by traditional gender roles. These girls are wonderful role models for both girls and boys, helping to remind us all that we are all capable to doing what we put our minds to, no matter our background, our gender, or our families.
I think the most disappointing part of the books is the ending of the seventh book. While I like the ending, it is just a little too far out of my reach in terms of understanding and believability. I guess I don't understand why Harry couldn't be killed by Voldemort, but everyone else could be. And I understand that Rowling had to somehow explain all the things about Dumbledore, but I don't really love the scene that takes place when Harry is in "limbo" (I'm assuming that's what it is). And I think, for a romantic like me, I wanted more closure. I know that Voldemort is eliminated, and his Death Eaters go on the run, but some of the most enjoyable part of the books (for me) were Harry's experiences with his "family", the Weasleys, Hermione, the Order of the Phoenix, etc. I think I would have liked another chapter about his life, where he ends up, how he ends up there. And (while this is really complex, and likely not appropriate for a children's book) how the magical world recovers from such a thing as Voldemort. How do you first ask people to prove their "blood status" and then, relatively soon thereafter say "just kidding, go about your business". How do you go about reunification? I know that Germany struggled with this after WWII, and the US is certainly struggling with it 150 years after the Civil War. I realize these things are difficult to deal with, and perhaps I am reading too far into things....
The truth is that I love these books and I know I will read them to my future children - they have brought me joy and I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading them again and again. I am looking forward to the last movie in the series, although I am sure to be disappointed as the books are always better!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Numbers

  • Friday was a recruitment weekend. I got to meet up with 2 potential incoming grad students. Nothing like hanging out with a bunch of 22 year olds to make you feel old! It wasn't too bad, but when one guy asked me if I thought he'd make friends, I just couldn't identify. Just seemed like kindergarten all over again!
  • Saturday was miserable and rainy, so we took the bus down to Reading Terminal and TJ's and ran our errands. We ate at the KOV for the 2nd time in 2 weeks!
  • I was pretty useless this weekend, as I finished (finally) reading the 6th and 7th Harry Potter books. I just couldn't put them down, as I think it was only the 2nd time I'd read them. I did enjoy them immensely - that will be another post for this week.
  • I went for a 5 mile run on Sunday - it's been absolutely amazing weather these past two days. Well, I guess it's relative, right? It's been in the mid-40s with sunshine and the ice/snow is finally starting to melt. Seems glorious to me because the weather has been so nasty this winter, but likely to people in CA, it wouldn't be that nice :)
  • We went to a Superbowl party last night at a friend's house. There was about 20 people there, which was great. I couldn't hear the commentary, the commercials, or the halftime show, so I though it was all brilliant. And they switched to the Puppy Bowl during most commercials, which was kinda stupid, but kinda cute. I mean, what's not to like about puppies? And, I was glad to see the Steelers lose. And, I suppose Green Bay win, too. I think they're the only team that's actually owned by the people of Green Bay, which is pretty cool. Congrats, champs!
  • Today will again be glorious and gorgeous, and I am hoping to get out of here early (for me) to enjoy some of this weather. This week, we have our first ever dance showcase on Friday, so wish us luck! Should be fun, if nothing else! 
Happy Monday, y'all!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Read on a Biomed Library Desk

  • Don't for one second doubt your genius! OK, I won't
  • Makes me wanna holler
  • Many phone numbers with the words written, "Call for sex". (Does that actually happen? Um, yes, hello! I was studying in the library and I saw your number on the desk....)
  • Smile you know who is admiring you and your ass
  • Penne sucks!
  • I adore you O Christ and I bless you because of your holy cross you have redeemed the world
  • Alas, the onion you are eating is someone else's water lily
  • Baby Jargary
  • Son of Sam
  • Cindy N Brian
  • I wanna ace this exam
  • Forgiveness is more than sayin' sorry
  • I ought to die
  • I should too
  • Maybe I will
  • We will all eventually die
  • Syke
  • Astronomy blows :(
  • I hate people. People hate you too.
  • Dental School ROCKS
  • Pakistani Prince
  • He is the Jam Man The Beast

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pet Peeves about the Snow (because, really, what else would I talk about on Feb. 1st?)

  • Able bodied people who do not shovel their sidewalks, and leave them to just turn into an icy death trap for one and all. 
  • Enormous puddles of melted snow at every corner of the street, making it impossible to cross the street without stepping into them.
  • People who drive very quickly through enormous puddles and splash you.
  • Dirty snow. Yellow snow. Orange snow. Vomit snow.
  • Having to ride the bus daily. Having to take two buses to work.
  • Not being able to run or bike outside.
  • The panic/frantic-ness of a visit to the grocery store. You would think everyone is stocking up on food for the apocalypse, the way people shop during the winter. 
  • The lack of quality sunshine.
  • The cold.
  • Unplowed bike lanes.
  • The general lack of plowing in my neighborhood.
  • I miss the feeling of sunshine on my face. Oh, and probably a little bit of Vitamin D as well.
  • The loss of motivation, positivity, and a feeling of general malaise. I feel sleepy without adequate sunshine, I then sleep too much (or, alternatively, not at all) and then I walk around feeling like a zombie for the rest of the day.
  • The general absence of fresh, ripe, tasty fruit at the grocery stores.
  • Snowy streets and sidewalks force me to wear the same damn hiking boots every day. Because, apparently, nobody can be bothered to put a decent sole on cute shoes (all of mine are ridiculously slick on ice/snow).
  • Falling down for no real reason.
  • We just get "dug out" after a snow storm, and another is on it's way - this time, it will leave a lovely inch of ice on everything.
Oho, will I be glad when March gets here (and, boy is March usually nasty with rain and wind, but, man, I will take that anyday over this icy-snowy crap!). And I'm sure we're in for several more storms before the jig is up. Welcome, February. Can't wait till you're over!