Thursday, December 29, 2005

Vacay is over!

Well, we've returned from our Christmas vacay. Back to the house and the cats who are now attached to us like velcro, because they totally didn't think we were ever coming back. I had flown out alone last Tuesday, and Brian joined me after a midnight-noon drive up from NC. I couldn't believe that, I didn't know he was planning to do it in the middle of the night. I called him at 10 am the day I expected him to leave and asked where he was, to which he replied "Connecticut". To which I replied "bullshit". However, it was true. Doing it that way really saved time, because generally we sit in solid traffic from Virginia through Baltimore.

We went to the Outback for Brian's birthday with my parents and brother Jim, Matt and Mel, and college friend Marc who I only get to see at Christmasses when he's back visiting his family in Mass. Yum, delicious cinnamon pecans in the chopped salad. Then back to the house for some additional fun. We played 'Name that tune' or something like that, one of those board/DVD games. I'm sorry, it sucked. It did. And I'm not just saying that because I lost, Marc. Those DVD games have so much promise but then so few questions actually use the cool DVD part. The rest of the time you're just sitting there trying to get to the DVD questions. Booooooring. Sort of like 'Scene It', another boooooooring game.

The rest of the trip was filled with shopping, eating, and playing of video games. We played this bizarre game 'We love Katamari' which has a really silly premise (you go around with this sticky ball and roll things up) but was totally addicting. With Matt/Mel we played 'Karaoke Revolution Party', brought to you by the same wonderful people who bring us my favorite game, 'Dance Dance Revolution!'. For the record, when I launch my rock star career, I'm going to be starting by singing only Blondie songs. Because I'm AWESOME.

My parents took us to dinner at Smith and Wollensky, a fancy steakhouse, which is newish in Boston. How lucky a vegetarian I am to have gotten to go to TWO steak places for dinner! The food was good - I picked from the sides we ordered - but the service was TERRIBLE. Absolutely terrible. They guy screwed up our orders several times, and was real snooty about it when we tried to get them fixed. But. I did get some truffled mac and cheese which was great. I'm eating it for lunch today, in fact! You know how I love me some truffle. Oh, you don't? Well, I do. Love.

Drove back on Tuesday, all in one day. We woke up at 3:30 am and left the house by 4 am. Hurrah.

The whole thing went as well as could be expected, I guess. Upsetting, but we all survived. The one thing I can say about this whole horrible experience is that it has brought the family even closer together than we were before. So, thats a silver lining, I guess.

Also, we got a Dyson from my parents! So, come on over and clean!

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Christmas Miracle!

Two Christmas miracles have occurred:
1. My next paper FINALLY got submitted!
2. I got a $59 ticket (last minute!) to NH, so I'll be there tomorrow!

With 4 days of driving, it would have only left me three days really to be in NH with my family. This being the first Christmas since Ed died (and well, come on. Only what - 6 weeks since?) I really wanted to be there a bit longer. So Brian is going to drive up later with the dog and meet me, and we'll drive back together. Then he can listen to 'The Lord of the Rings' on CD for the 10 millionth time, and I won't even complain.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Oh also - ew.

Ok, I just got the Cell table of contents in my inbox and was totally grossed out by the cover photo:

Yuck. I couldn't imagine what this was suppossed to illlustrate that was published in Cell. Well. Here's the caption:

"The cover image exemplifies the saying “one bad apple ruins the bunch.” In this issue, Hill et al. (pp. 1001–1011) report that an epithelial cancer (the bad apple), through non-cell-autonomous mechanisms, induces a p53 tumor suppression response in associated fibroblasts (surrounding good apples). Due to ensuing selective pressures, highly proliferative mesenchyme harboring p53 deletions emerges, contributing to cancer progression, an observation that impacts both mechanistic understanding and clinical management of this disease. Cover photograph is courtesy of Cheryl Meissel."

So this was just gratitutious use of bugs on their part, as far as I'm concerned. Ick.

See? I do love you!

I changed it! No more pink!! Wahoo!
Also, I am at least skilled enough to change the fonts used in the basic template. I hate serifs. I am picky like that. So, go me!

Whats going on? Not much. Its raining here and cold, thus: Freezing Rain!! Dun dun dunnnnnnn...
As a result, we decided to sleep in this morning (until 8! wahoo!), I made the crust for my world-famous white chocolate mousse cake (for our holiday party this weekend), and I rolled in here at 10:30. The joys of being a postdoc!

I then proceeded to do my Westerns, which I have to say totally sucked. Four blots! All sucky!! I used a new gel system and I don't think the ideal conditions are the same as those for the one I normally use. Oh well. File that under 'Lisa does the experiment'.

Not too much else is going down. Trying to plan our trip back to NH for Christmas - which, if you're lucky, may be stopping in a CITY NEAR YOU!! Oh yes. Especially if you live in Philly - thats a definate stop. We'll be stopping in the city to visit college/grad school friend Anna. We're also auditioning Baltimore as a stop, but haven't bothered to find out whether our friend will be in town or not then. It is difficult to shack up at someone's home when they are not there.

We will also be making another trip with Milo (the dog), which will be exciting. Actually, Milo is fine in the car. Totally. He just hangs out. The only problem is that sometimes he slides around on the leather seats. Hee.

I've ordered myself a new Game Boy game too, so I'm all set with the sitting on my ass while Brian drives (he doesn't like to not be the driver, and I don't like driving - another good reason we married each other!).

So thats about it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

CBS does the experiment: Amazing Race Family Edition!

Todays screwup is not mine, but a screwup on the part of CBS.
Yesterday was the Amazing Race finale. Usually, this is my almost favorite show (I'm sorry, but nothing can top Lost) and the finale is met with much excitement at my house. However, for this season I couldn't have cared less. If you've not watched TAR before, teams of two people (who have a pre-existing relationship of some variety) travel all over the world based on clues that they receive at the beginning of each leg. They go really everywhere, they do a lot of neat things, and its generally pretty clever (i.e. tasks are not something like how much of this nasty crap can you eat, like on Survivor). So we love it. I also love the drama that occurs between teammates and between teams. Its great.
However, this season they elected to do a family version where teams of FOUR (all related in some way) do the race, except this time it was N. America only. It was just stupid. First of all, there were so many people to get familiar with (I don't remember how many teams of 4 started, 12 or 13 though) that you couldn't really have any real connection to any of them. So basically I just didn't really care that much who won. Secondly, the tasks were completely lame. I mean, lame like "Go watch Old Faithful erupt". So you just stand there. Um, ok.
In the regular version, there's a lot of room for strategy and constantly trying to improve your position, primarily in the way that you make your travel arrangements. For example, in the finale of the first season, a bad call travel-wise (I think it was take a bus instead of a taxi) caused one team to be so far behind the two leading teams that they actually never made it to the end (They were an easy team to hate though, so it was an exciting moment when they were unceremoniously told that the game had already ended and they were like a day behind). In the family edition, tickets were practically handed to you. In fact they were handed to you. Lame.

The only thing to keep it interesting last night was the fact that one team was so horrible and hated by Brian and I (and probably everyone else watching) that we just desperately wanted them to lose. As it turned out, they did. So that was good.

Fortunately, it seems as if they're switching back to the original format for the next season (which I think starts in February?) so prepare for some exciting world travel!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Just when you thought it was safe to drive...

Well! Apparently, yesterday was not a good car day for many people. At first I thought the curse was limited to 'people who know Karl' as one of the other bloggers he links to also had an accident yesterday (albeit, not his fault).

(Oh. Actually, his appears to have been on Sunday. We're going to selectively ignore that fact because it's more exciting if this all happened on the same day!)

This morning I found that the problem was far more widespread than I had thought. Luckily Eve's potential accident was narrowly avoided. But still!

Coincidence?? You be the judge.

Monday, December 12, 2005


A friend of mine who lost her mother a while ago told me that after her mom died she got in... four car accidents in three months? or three car accidents in four months? I can't remember which actually. One of those.

I thought - yeah, ok.

Well, I'll be damned if I didn't get into a little fender-bender myself this morning. On my way to work. I was on the interstate (the one that keeps changing the traffic pattern) getting ready to exit. There was traffic, and there was lots of lane changing. And for one of these reasons, the guy in front of me stopped quickly and I rear-ended him.

I have noticed that I have trouble concentrating at work. I used to be pretty good at multi-tasking, but not right now. I end up taking it one experiment at a time. Not getting as much done as I'd like, but oh well. At least I can manage to get through one experiment without totally screwing it up. I didn't notice the lack of concentration in the car (as I'm usually noticing the crying - you know, thats when I'm un-busy enough to actually get the time to think about things).

So, everyone was ok. He said his back bumper was messed up or something. I didn't see it, but whatever. Sadly, I have injured my wonderful wonderful Civic hybrid. The hood is bent up a bit and doesn't close correctly, and there's a big gouge in the paint near the headlights. The nice policeman came and didn't give me a ticket. Now I'll wait and see what happens.

I haven't had a car accident since I was 16 or 17, which I mentioned in the 8-trackmobile posting. And other than the freaking airport speeding ticket from this summer, my record has been pretty clean. So hopefully this won't have too much of an impact on our insurance.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Secret Agent

Technology has afforded me so many ways of spying on things, its so fun. For example, I have a sitemeter on this site. Not like I'm thinking 'ooh!! so many hits!'. Actually, Melissa turned me onto it first because she always knew what bizarre things people had searched for in Google to come up with her blog. So I can see that someone found my blog by searching for 'fried cheese' or 'girls wearing flip-flops'. Or that they came to my blog by way of one of my friends blogs. Or whatever. I can also see geographically where people are (roughly). Its fun trying to figure out who reads the blog.

The music sharing feature of iTunes provides me with similar levels of enjoyment. I like to look through peoples music libraries and see what they like - not that I know who they are, as you get to name your library whatever you want. Mine is of course named 'meandertail'. Usually I scoff at their music, because I am a music snob and very judgemental of people's taste in music (and yet, you all like me. I'm not really that bad, am I!). My favorite computer guy has told me before that he thinks I have good taste in music (after browsing my library, which btw is a sure way to make me want to be your friend) but I've never been able to see what his is, because he didn't share his library. This week he set his up to share, so I've been looking through it. I emailed him to say that I could forgive the show tunes (after all, I have both Jesus Christ Superstar and Guys and Dolls in my library), but did he really want everyone to know that he had bought a Rick Astley CD? Hee. I'm funny. Frankly, even more alarming is the fact that he also has something like 'Bea Arthur Sings Broadway Hits' or something like that. I'm totally not kidding. Alphabetically the next artist is the Beastie Boys. These are not two things you expect to see in the same place.
In addition to spying on what other people like, I can also spy on what people are listening to of mine with a fun widget. Someone listens to my stuff regularly but only to the Dave Matthews and the Sublime. Thats it. I have SO much better music than that. Come on. Live a little, people!

We do a little less hi-tech spying at work. There's this guy - lets call him Sweaterboy (because thats what we call him) - that we watch eagerly every day at lunch. He got that name because he wears the same blue sweater about 4/5 days of the week. This is only a small fraction of his appeal, however. Even more exciting is the fact that every day he comes down to the cafeteria, gets two containers of soup and two bottles of water, and either sits alone and eats them or packs them all into a plastic grocery bag that he brings with him. Some days he gets as many as FOUR containers of soup. Now, thats a lot of soup. The guy certainly does not have a hydration problem. We're starting to notice new things about him too. Like, sometimes he primps a little bit before he walks into the cafeteria. Also, yesterday he totally got three soups and a SMALL SALAD. I think he must have decided that he needed a little roughage in his diet. It was so unlike him, with the odd number of soups and the added excitement of salad!
The fact that we're so interested in Sweaterboy led someone at the table to ask whether we ever wondered whether we were someone elses Sweaterboy. Was there someone who was totally intrigued with us? I don't know. But its an interesting thing to think about.


So, when I was back in Mass. for Melissa's birthday, a lot of cooking was happening for her party. I made spinach and pesto lasagne. Matt and Mel had some of the ingredients already, we had to buy others. One of the ingredients that we did not buy were lasagne noodles; Mel had a box of Barilla oven-ready noodles that she had meant to use once but had never gotten around to. She did caution me that they were old. I was like, its pasta. What could happen?

After our marathon grocery shopping trip I set out to make the lasagne. I sloshed some sauce into the bottom of the pan and started laying noodles down. The fourth noodle dropped a rather alarming sort of powdery mess into the pan. Wha? Closer examination revealed that this mess was in fact A PILE OF DEAD, DESSICATED BUG. Oh my god. Of course I started shrieking (as I do), and Mel and I extricated the remaining noodles (which actually had some holes in them, I should have noticed) with a pair of tongs. And then washed the lasagne pan better than it has probably ever been washed in its life.

You can imagine the sense of deja vu and abject horror I felt when I read this article and the blog entry that it links to.

Lisa does the experiment: Ethanol on an unhealed wound.

When I was a grad student, I used to think it was strange that one of the postdocs in our lab didn't wear gloves when she did tissue culture. I guess it is strange, but now I do it too. I guess I'm too lazy to wear gloves. My new PI doesn't wear gloves for anything, even things I wouldn't dream of doing without gloves. And he is the one who taught me. Also, gloves are MURDER on my nails, which have enough problems as it is. So I just ethanol my hands real good while I'm doing TC.
Remember how I said that I had ripped a big strip of skin off of my pinky the other day? Well, I didn't. Until I ethanoled my hands. HOLY CRAP.

On the plus side, the wound is clean now. I don't know that my pain receptors will ever be the same, but we're clean.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Think pink!

Ok, so I've just about had it with the pink. I know! You're shocked. Me too. Its just so freaking PINK. Not easy on the eyes. I bet you're also thinking "...and difficult to pass off as a website that I should be viewing at work."
So thinking of you, dear readers, I did just try to switch to a new template. And apparently I'm completely incapable of doing so without completely screwing everything up. Ugh. So you're just going to have to deal for now.

Unrelated to the pinkness, but I talked to High School Boyfriend Bill yesterday. I do not talk to HSBB all that often, a couple of times a year if we're doing really well, which we never are. So scratch that. Maybe once a year. He called to offer his condolences and see how I was doing (yesterday = ok) which was nice.
Now recall that I was in band/orchestra/jazz band for most of my life. The vast majority of boyfriends I've ever had were also musicians, especially in high school.

(aside: Hm. Now I'm really thinking about this. Jerky college boyfriend Greg was not. Jerky boyfriend Sean was not. There's a pattern here!)

(second aside: Before I completely alienate former boyfriends who do read this, I seem to recall that you took guitar lessons. So I'm counting that, whether or not you still do. You're good.)

(disclaimer: I do know many non-musician men who are not jerks, I just didn't date them so I have nothing with which to compare)

(finally: I married Brian, and he doesn't play anything. There are exceptions to every rule)

HSBB is no exception. Unlike myself, HSBB has continued to play, lives in NYC now and has a fabulous life of wearing metallic-effect shirts and playing in Broadway shows. Such as now, he's playing in Sweet Charity. He offerred a tidbit of gossip that I CANNOT BELIEVE I did not pick up on before (especially because it doesn't seem to be too secret)- after Christina Applegate's run ends, it is possible that BRITNEY SPEARS will take over - although suppossedly she is no longer in talks about this (bummer!). OMG.

Of course, I love the celebrity gossip, so it stunned me that I hadn't heard this. But alas, I searched Gawker and I found an item about it. How can I be the last to know? Its like when my mom had to tell me about Nick and Jessica (which she heard from my Dad, which is even worse). I even missed the fact that the Britster had kicked her white trash husband out of the house, or whatever. I figured that out by reading a recent 'Go Fug Yourself' entry. Clearly I'm losing my touch.

Also, I'm going to have to get HSBB to read the blog, because he'll be pleased that I made a reference to his metallic shirt, which I saw once like 4 years ago. I'm telling you, it really made an impact!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Nothing like a pair of shoes to make you feel better.

When I was back in NH this summer after I finished my PhD, I went shopping with my mom and Melissa. As we do (New Hampshire is tax-free, you know!). At Marshalls, or TJ Maxx, one of those two, I saw I pair of shoes that I loved. They were pink. They were high. I thought they'd look great with jeans. Unfortunately, they were about half-a-size too big, and gapped a little bit at the back of my heel. I looked everywhere for a pair in the half-size down, but they were nowhere to be had.
At the end of October, I was back up in that area for Mel's 30th. At the party, her sister-in-law was describing how she buys everything on eBay, including this cute pair of mules she was wearing (I just cannot do mules. I always feel like they're going to fall off my feet). So I tried to search eBay for my wonderful dream shoes, but I couldn't find them. Probably because I didn't know what brand they even were. Bummer.

Cut to this past weekend, when I made the most depressing mall trip ever. Of course, I was already having a bad weekend so the last thing I wanted to do was go to the mall in the midst of holiday shopping. Come to think of it, that feeling is not all that unique to this year. I hate crowds. Well, anyhow, everyone is all chipper and doing their shopping, and I was going directly to the Hallmark to buy those thank you notes I was talking about. I don't usually go into the department stores, but I had parked outside of Hudson Belk because I knew that the Hallmark store was right outside. For some reason, I was pulled in the direction of the shoes. The clearance shoes. And there I found these:

I don't think they're the same shoes I saw before, but they're similar enough. These are more of a light mauve-y color than what I remember (not as almost silver-y as they look in this picture). But the other features were the same - the square toe, the sort of drawstring-y gathered effect, the heel. And of course, the only pair were my size, exactly!! Hurrah! I know you're jealous.

It hasn't rained all summer or fall, but its been raining buckets this last week, so I wasn't able to wear them until today (even though they were on clearance, they still cost more than I would normally spend on shoes, and I haven't had a chance to spray them with that anti-water spray). So exciting. And (and I know no one will believe this) they're relatively comfortable.

On a totally unrelated side note, as I was sitting here typing this I caught my finger between my chair and my desk and ripped off a little strip of skin. A relatively big strip of skin actually. I put a band-aid on it about 5 minutes ago and it has already soaked through rather extensively. Ack. Ack ack ack.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Also, by special request: Lessons learned.

There has been a request also for me to post this, an email I sent out to friends after we returned from the funeral. I just learned a whole lot of things about responding to the grief of others: things that I was glad that people had done and things that I really wished that people had done that they didn't. We don't deal with this often, as we're so young. I know what it is like to not know what to do for someone too. People are still calling too. People I don't talk to on a regular basis under normal circumstances have continued to invite us over or out somewhere, call, or send nice emails, just to see how I'm doing. It means an awful lot to me.

Anyhow, here's the email:

Hi all,
I wanted to say thanks so very much to those of you who were so thoughtful during this hard time. Several people sent beautiful flower arrangements to the funeral home which I really appreciated. Since I hadn't really lived in NH for any extended period of time, I didn't have many friends in the area, so only a few local friends were able to make it. It made me feel far less alone when I walked around and looked at all the cards from the flowers. I know others were trying to get out to NH to be with us, and I appreciate that as well. I know its hard to make travel arrangements at the absolute last minute!

Thanks also for the many supportive emails and phone calls and cards I recieved. Even if I did not get back to you (I'm going to try to over the next few days!), I got all of your messages and it really meant a lot to me that you were thinking of me and my family.

I just wanted to give an update and some thanks to everyone after everything that happened last week. We returned from NH on Saturday night. It was nice to be back with my family for the week. The wake was on Monday night and it was as nice as a wake can be. Many of my brothers' friends and my parents friends attended, as well as a few of mine. After the wake was over, my brother Jim and I attempted to leave a beer in the casket with Ed (we had actually left several things, but this one we tried to sneak in at the end). He was trying to hide it a little bit and so tried to put it next to Ed's leg. The loud 'clunk' that followed scared everyone to death - apparently the legs part of the casket isn't padded like the part you see. The beer had just clunked down to the bottom. It was a classic Ed and Jim moment. Luckily the funeral home people were there to save the day.
The funeral was also nice. Jim and I both did a reading, as did my Uncle Bart (who is Jim and Ed's godfather). Jim and my dad both said a little bit about Ed as well. He was buried in the nice old cemetery of Windham. There are two cemeteries (that I know of anyway), one of which is newer. This one is really small, on a hill surrounded by old stone walls. There are a lot of very old graves in here, from the 1700 and 1800s.

We're all so young that we've probably not had to go through anything like this before with our friends. I know that it is difficult to know what to do or what to say. I thought I would pass on a few things I've learned from this whole experience.

The most important thing is: don't ignore it. I know that its difficult to know what to say to someone who has just lost someone close to them. As my father said in the funeral, 'What you say is immaterial, its the fact that you were there that is important'. Or something like that. Its worse when you don't say anything. Don't be afraid to call or send an email. Send a card. If you're able to, come over. Don't wait to be asked. Before I left for NH, two friends here stopped by, even though I totally tried to talk them out of it because I didn't want to be a bother. I'm glad they ignored me. Bring over some food - just don't everybody bring lasagna! I swear, I may not be able to eat vegetable lasagna for a while. Send flowers to the funeral home, even if you think you're not supposed to - 'in lieu of flowers' seems like we don't want any flowers at all. I don't know why they put it that way, but thats not what it means.

Anyhow. Thanks again for thinking of me and my family.
Someone has made a website in memory of my brother:
if you're interested in that.


Avoiding all work

Today is Saturday, and I'm at work. Before you think to yourself how dedicated I am, let me tell you what I've been doing: surfing the web and listening to music. Well, its something to do. At first I was "waiting while my tissue culture media warmed up", but I'm pretty sure that its warm now so I'm going to have to come up with something else. I could just go home and play Pokemon, but you know what? After three solid days of it, I think I kinda OD'd. I know, thats hard to believe. Also, hello! Carpal tunnel! Maybe I should go to the grocery store. Haven't gone grocery shopping since we got back from NH, so the level of food in the house is LOW. I would say almost nonexistent. I've been eating dry Weetabix for breakfast and I'm officially out of frozen meals for lunch. Dinner is also sorely lacking at the Chadwick home, much to Brian's unabashed joy, because I'm far less resistant to the idea of getting takeout or pizza.

I could also go home and decorate the house or something. I know its Christmas and maybe I should feel a little Christmassy, but I really don't. I did put up a wreath on the door, so please give me some points for that. We did also take all of the Christmas crap boxes out of the attic, but they're still all sitting on the bed in the guest room. And we put our fake Christmas tree out of its misery last year, so we're tree-less (and before you get all up in arms that I have a fake tree, let me remind you that we're NEVER actually at our home at Xmas, and I don't like the thought of leaving a real one there to drop all its needles while I'm gone, or catch on fire in a freak accident). I'm thinking that the annual Chadwick cookie exchange is taking a break this year. Also, do not be shocked when none of you get Christmas cards from me this year, as I'm pretty sure that ain't happening. However, many of you will get something from me: an acknowledgement card. I didn't even know that these existed. They're like thank you notes for funerals. I've always been a terrible thank you note writer, terrible terrible. Generally at Christmas I would speak to the gift givers and say thanks on the phone. I know, Emily Post would not approve. With a Herculean effort, I did manage to do all of the wedding thank you notes. And I have made more of an effort the last few years, now that I'm a grown up.

Work is going okay. I had a bad day on Friday which was rife with bouts of bursting into tears at work, which is great. Way to keep up the image of tough female scientist, Lisa! Of course everyone is very nice, so I think I can keep my credibility a bit longer. I also had a good day on friday in that a) I had some possibly interesting data and b) it seems that I FINALLY FINALLY got RNAi to work in my stupid made of steel and stone cell line. So OMG. I've been working on that since August. Maybe I can keep my PhD after all, not that I've received my diploma yet. Apparently my department elected to not pay my last semester of tuition. I did contact them about this and they assured me that they would take care of it, however I know now that this is really not true because my account was turned over to collections. Hurrah. Yay for my credit.

Last night, we went over to the home of Denise/Jim/Mia/Mac/Mascot/Milo/Chessie/and an array of small dead animals that Chessie brings into the house with Chris/Leo/Adam/Grace. I think I need to have kids just to keep up. Anyhow! Back to the subject. Son Adam was wearing the absolute funniest t-shirt EVER that said 'Sarcasm is one of the services I offer'. Hee! Apparently preteen daughter Mia also owns a t-shirt that says 'Its cute how you think I'm listening to you' which of course her mother gave her. Hahaha. Funnily enough, Mia won't wear this shirt. She does however wear a shirt that says 'Science Rocks!' on it. Additionally, I am her idol. I go by the name of 'Lisa the Scientist'. I hoped I could parlay my fame into some wearing of the other t-shirt by Mia, but alas, no go. I remember in high school I wore t-shirts almost exclusively. Herryn called me 'T-shirt girl', I believe. And I wondered why I was not more popular with the boys.

I wish I could go back now and redo those parts of when I was younger and thinner. I would wear only flattering clothes. I would never have tried those blonde blonde highlights that ruined my hair for YEARS afterwards. I would have started shaping my eyebrows better much sooner. Seriously, I look back at pictures from college and the only thing I can think is 'Oh god! Those eyebrows!'. Not that I didn't pluck them or anything (I mean, I didn't have a monobrow, are you kidding?), but they were too much. My real hair color (not that any of you know what that is!) is much too dark and my Irish skin much too pale for those eyebrows. Oh well. Live and learn.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


So, Herryn and Matt got engaged! Hurrah!

Best of all is that I get to be a bridesmaid (and so does Kendra! Hi Kendra!). Hurrah again! Being a bridesmaid is like my favorite job EVER. I know. I'm weird like that. Even better is that Herryn doesn't live that far away, so I can actually participate in some of the planning events, which I wasn't able to do in the other weddings I've been in. Like my FAVORITE activity, which is looking for dresses.

The most exciting part of this perhaps is that the wedding is going to be in North Dakota! Hee. Awesome! Well, the wedding is going to be in Minnesota, the reception will be in ND. A double whammy!!
However the wedding will not take place in winter, so we will not need to bring our block heaters in order to start our cars. Darn. I guess you can't have it all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

back to work

Well, I figure its time to get back to blogging.

Its been nearly three weeks since Ed died, which is hard to believe. The night we found out that he had died, I didn't really think that I would make it through ONE more day. But here I am. So thats promising. Everyone says that it gets easier over time, which I am sure is true. However, it hasn't even really sunk in yet, which is strange. I mean, you go to the wake, you see him in the casket and you know that he is really dead. You bury him. But still, I find myself thinking of him as just being out of town. Or something. I don't know when that changes, or if it ever does.

It was nice to see all of our relatives that we don't often get to see. My dad's side of the family in particular is spread out across the country and thus it seems we only get together when people get married and when they die. And although none of my friends were able to make it from out of town (Melissa/Matt and Mel's family are relatively local, so they were there, as was a good friend from grad school who is now living and working in Boston) I got a lot of nice phone calls (which admittedly I have not returned yet), cards and flowers. It was funny, some people who I didn't really expect anything from really surprised me with their thoughtfulness, yet some others who I did expect to hear from haven't even called or sent an email since, which was equally surprising. I guess you never know.

Thanksgiving was more difficult than I thought it would be, as we don't usually all get together as a family on Thanksgiving (since I have been living far from home for so long), its not unusual for me not to see everyone on that day. We went to a friends house for dinner with the two girls from the lab who were suppossed to have spent Thanksgiving in Florida with us and my parents this year. I was okay during the day and dinner but a little sad when I got home. But my mom called, with impeccable timing, to give me some good news! Nick and Jessica had finally broken off their sham marriage!! Hurrah! Run, Nick! Run!

The single upshot of my Thanksgiving was that I was in town to see the Dandy Warhols play at Cat's Cradle. I love the Dandys. I dragged Brian along as well as some other friends from my current lab and from Duke. It was good. They were good, and also, the lead singer is hot and he took off his shirt. We liked that a lot. Who cares if he's a jerk (which I've heard)? I just want to look. Also, I really liked that there was actually a guy playing the trumpet in the concert. If you've listened to the Dandys, you'll know that a lot of the songs have trumpet in them. I kinda figured that was just something for the album and that it would be played on synthesizer or something at a concert. But no! I was wrong!

Finally, Brian knows how to take my mind off of things, so he bought me 2 video games. I have since been spending inordinate amounts of time training Pokemon (because yes, I am ten years old) and fighting in 'Pokemon Colesseum'! After I finish with this, its back to Final Fantasy X, which I've already played through, but I wanted to try again. And I had borrowed it from someone, so we had to buy it again. I'd better be done these by Christmas at which point I hope to be playing the new Dance Dance Revolution game with a set of new RedOctane dance pads! Hint hint!

Oh. Also have had some very good news from Herryn which I will wait to post about until it has been disseminated to all relevant parties.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My brother

As you may have heard by now, my brother Ed passed away on Thursday.
Brian and I are on our way to NH at the moment to be with my parents and my other brother Jim.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been calling and emailing. I really appreciate that you're all thinking of us.
At the moment, we don't know when the wake and services will take place, but I'll try to disseminate this information somehow (probably by email) when this has been planned.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I almost forgot.

Kristin sent me a link to this post, which I wanted to link here for everyone's enjoyment.

This is a thorough analysis of why the "Mom Jean" cut is not good for ANYONE. High waist? Tapered ankles? First of all, tapered ankles make your hips look bigger. No woman in the universe needs this, so please! Jeans-makers across the world, unite!! Save us from ourselves and do not make these!

The butt comparisons are also of note, although I personally couldn't wear the alternative pair of jeans because the pockets are too low on the butt.

Oh also, mom? Note the Camel Toe.
(A few weeks ago, our phone rang. I answered it, innocently. My mom was on the other line to ask me if I knew what a camel toe was.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

busy busy busy

The last week or two have been so busy, no time to blog!
I went to Boston... well, Medway anyhow, for the weekend for Melissa's 30th birthday. Very fun and exciting and filled with shopping and general eating of crap. Seriously, I do not have the ability to not eat things that are in front of me. Especially when they are that most wonderful treat of salted peanuts mixed with M&Ms, of which I think I ate about 12 pounds of. And ice cream sundaes immediately before bed, on more than one occasion.
I did not have any issues at all with USAir, so I have nothing to complain about. Which is too bad because we know how I love to complain. The only problem that I did have is that my iPod froze up, which has never happened to me before. I am a little bit of an obsessive music listener and must have a constant soundtrack in my life. Especially when in a boring place such as an airplane with a loud crying child behind me. I had to let the battery run down, which sucked because I wasn't able to find my wall charger before I left. This problem was solved by buying a car charger, which I kind of secretly wanted anyhow, as I just bought myself an iTrip (which broadcasts my iPod onto an empty radio station so that I can listen to it in the car). Then I was also able to charge the iPod in Matt and Mel's super ugly Honda Element.

I did try to surprise Melissa with this trip. In fact, Matt and I had an elaborate cell phone ruse that we tried in the car on the way home from the airport, which was almost tragically cut short by the fact that my cell phone seems to hold a charge for about 10 seconds, and was almost dead. I called Mel to 'chat' and Matt called her while I was on the phone with her to ask if she wanted him to bring anything home for dinner? I tried to maintain the charade while we were walking in the door, but of course Mel is COMPLETELY unsurprisable and watched me walking up the front walk, not surprised at all. She said mildly 'You're right out front' or something completely unsurprised like that. This is not the first time that Matt has arranged a surprise for Mel that I've been involved in, and this is also not the first time that she's been completely and utterly on to us. Oh well. Surprise or not, it was fun and I'm glad I could be there for the ascendancy into the 30s!

Almost immediately upon my return I attended an epigenetics meeting that thankfully was local. It was good, and mostly I just got to see some people from the old lab and from my PhD science-life. Also, there were some painfully bad graphs included in some of the talks, so I was happy to see Karl's recent post about bad graphs. It is sad when potentially interesting data is rendered completely incomprehensible by Microsoft Excel. And it happens a lot. And I won't even start on people's PowerPoint faux pas. I have very definate ideas about what makes a good slide and what makes a bad slide. Number 1: TOO MANY WORDS.

On Saturday I attended a Weight Watchers meeting with a friend from work. I had been taking Paxil for about a year to control my irritable bowel. It worked MIRACULOUSLY for that, but even though I was taking a very low dose, I did not escape the Paxil weight gain. After some reading on the internets I saw that the average person on Paxil gains 20 lbs. For me it was closer to 30 over the last year. Add that to the 10 pounds I gained in the selling house and moving frenzy of a few years ago, and you've got one big porker (Granted, I cannot blame this ALL on Paxil. Towards the end, I would be eating my pizza or whatever and literally think to myself, 'What the hell. I'll have another piece. I'm already fat!'). Because of that, I decided to stop taking it (for better or worse), so I stopped about 3 weeks ago. I did try going to the gym for a while, but it didn't seem to make a huge difference. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I was quite successful with WW once before, I lost 30 lbs in the year prior to my wedding and kept the vast majority of it off for several years. So I decided to go back again. I'm a lifetime member now (because I hit my goal weight before and stayed there) so I don't have to pay inititation fees etc. I did fine the first week, stayed the same the second week, and this Saturday gained 3.6 pounds (well, that was a 2 week total gain) after the party weekend and the ten million fun size Milky Way bars that I was completely incapable of not eating. Hurrah!!

So now I have to get back on the stick. And primarily I have to cut way down on the drinking. Too many of my points are spent on wine, which is not always accurately accounted for. Also, once I've had a glass or two I become more likely to eat those Milky Ways or whatever. I thought also I would mention my progress in the blog occasionally, so that I am accountable to someone other than me and my Weight Watchers book.

Other than that, not too much else going on. I got my hardback bound copies of my dissertation, which is cool. I wrote a book!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A new blog feature: Lisa does the experiment

I figured I could put my screwups in the lab to good use with a new feature, "Lisa does the experiment". All you non-lab people out there, don't worry. My screwups typically extend beyond the lab world, and they will also be included.

We'll start with a double-whammy today!

A. Western blotting mayhem
You know how you're suppossed to soak your membrane in methanol before you try to transfer proteins onto it? Did you ever wonder what would happen if you... say... forgot? Well, I did the experiment, so I can tell you! The proteins do not transfer! Hurrah.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't actually COMPLETE this experiment. I realized after I had assembled 4 blot sandwiches (yes I know non-science people, that sounds dumb. blot sandwiches.) that I hadn't done the methanol thing and I had the foresight to ask my PI what would happen. It turns out that he did the experiment in the past, all the way through to its sad finish.

B. Password-typing crazy
This morning I was sitting here and my screen saver came on. We have to have our screen savers password protected, so I had to input my password to get back into my computer. But it wasn't working. In fact, about 2/3 of my keyboard wasn't working. I thought I had broken my poor old powerbook and I very nearly called my wonderful mac support guy. But no! I had done the following experiment: What happens when you accidentally turn on 'number lock'? I'll tell you! only the keys that have numbers on them work!

Monday, October 24, 2005


My paper finally came out!! Hurrah. So much for the "September" issue, which comes out at the end of October. Hee.
Well, at least it now looks to the rest of the world like i did something in grad school. Now if I could just get my PhD advisor to get those other THREE papers off his desk, we'd be cooking with gas.

Also, Brian had one come out today. So tonight? We're going out for dinner!! Woohoo! Party!


An exciting weekend of excitingness:
1. On Friday we went to an institutional postdoc happy hour (that was off campus). And there were hm... 10 people there? Not the most social bunch, the fellows here. Also that night Stephanie came up from Fayetteville to take her pharmacy admittance exam at UNC the next day. We entertained ourselves by asking each other questions from her practice tests. Did I ever mention that I am a bit nerdy? I know, its a shock.

2. On Saturday we went to a big Halloween party at friends of friends house. 1/2 of the hosts were Aussies, who JUST LOST TO ENGLAND IN THE ASHES!!! The Ashes is an annual cricket match between England and Australia, which the Aussies usually win. Brian had the opportunity to bet on England against this guy and didn't because he didn't think the odds were that great. However! Would have been a good bet after all. So of course we dressed as English cricketers. Brian made a cricket bat and wickets out of wood. He was very proud of his work. I'm sure they were very accurate but you know, what do I know. I've been to one cricket match ever. Also, do you know how hard it is to find white pants in late October? Impossible.

3. Last night I went to see the Bravery with a friend from the new lab. They were playing at Cats Cradle in Carrboro. Every time I go to Carrboro I have major trouble, and last night was no different. I take I-85 to 15-501 to get there.

For as long as I cam remember, the exit from 85 has been TO THE LEFT. This is also the way that I go to work every morning (Except that I get on 147 instead) so... pretty sure I know what I am doing. However, last night? 15-501 exited to THE RIGHT. Huh??? They're doing a lot of construction here, so okay. But some warning that this was happening would have been helpful. I didn't figure it out until I was right on top of it and thus I missed the exit. Of course the next exit is seemingly 80 miles down the road. It took me a while to turn around, only to find that there WAS NO EXIT for 15-501 coming from the other direction. So, great. I was only ~15-20 minutes late because I had left myself some extra time, figuring that something would go wrong.
Anyhow, it didn't matter because the first band didn't even start until probably close to 9 pm. They were okay. Nothing that great. Then the next band came out and were great. And the funny thing was that I totally thought that it was the Bravery. Its not like I'm their biggest fan or anything, I only got to know them via the Musical Taste Project this summer. And the singer sounded Cure-esque, which I think the Bravery does - a more upbeat version of the Cure perhaps. But I kept thinking, I can't believe that they haven't played a single song that I've heard before! Well, duh. There were two opening bands. This one was VHS or Beta, and they were really great. So, a new fan has been minted.
The only problem with this scenario was that now it was 10pm, the Bravery hasn't come on yet, and I have to give lab meeting first thing the next morning. I have never felt so old and boring in my life. We stayed as long as we could, but they didn't come on until 10:45. Come on! We stayed for 4 songs and left. As it was, I didn't get home until 11:30, which is too late considering that we get up at 6 am. Blah. Also? Standing all night in heels is not good for the calves. Ow.

I'd like to think that I used to be a lot more fun than I am now, but I know that is probably not true. After all, even in college in the height of my fun-ness, I still turned into a pumpkin at midnight, generally leaving Amee stuck at BW3 with Marc and Krishna. Not that she minded.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Yesterday my dad came though on his bi-annual trip down to Florida. I picked him up in Chapel Hill yesterday after a long flight - the strong headwind had added almost 2 hours to the trip! In past years, he's flown down with Kola (the parrot) and Captain (the dog)

This year Wynton and Olly got to make the trip.

This was their first time in the plane, and neither are particularly fond of traveling in general. Olly has a really funny low-pitched meow, and apparently he was doing that continuously for a large part of the trip. Hee.

We went out to dinner to my favorite place, Pops. I got the shitaake mushroom pizza, although its not my favorite. It needs to be saltier than it is. But I cannot turn down the TRUFFLE OIL. I love truffle oil. I would marry truffle oil. I put some parmesan on it, and that helped.

(a truffle oil-related aside: We were playing taboo with Denise/Jim/Chris/Leo one night, and Brian was on my team. The word I was trying to get them to say was 'popcorn'. I said something like 'I put truffle oil on it!' because I thought Brian would know what I was talking about. Of course, he blanked, and the rest of the people playing just thought I was wierd. But really. Try it! Truffle oil drizzled over airpopped popcorn and salted. Its the BEST)

Also I had a martini, because I had had the Worst. Day. Ever (for this week anyhow). It was good. Mmmm gin.

This morning I took my dad to the airport for the return trip. That was an exciting trip in itself. First, my dad (who had Kola's carrier on his lap in the front seat) decided to open the cage and let Kola sit on his hand. Which was fine, until something freaked him out and he flapped his wings like crazy. Of course, then the bird-dust flies all over the place, and also the shredded newspaper lining the bottom of the carrier. So, that was nice. In my new car!! I'm sorry car.
Then, Wynton, who was not thrilled with being in the cat carrier in the first place, decided that he needed to puke. We were not too far from the airport, and I was hoping he could hold it, but apparently he was not interested in that. When we got to the airport, we tried to clean out the carrier - my dad cleaned up the puke with paper towels while I held the cat. The cat, who of course had puke all over his little kitty feet. Which were on my white shirt. Which now has cat-puke stains on it. Hurrah! I tried to wash it off as best I could, but I swear that I can still smell cat puke. The stains were all up on my left shoulder, so kind of close to my nose. Ew.

The cats will like it once they get down there though. The house opens up into the pool cage, which is essentially a screened-in backyard of sorts, so they can hang out outside.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This place is a prison, and these people aren't your friends

Well, in a crappy travel-related development: I just got a phone call from my mother, who is stranded in Charlotte for the next 4.5 hours on her way down to Florida. She is (unsurprisingly) flying on My Favorite Airline, USAirways (Please see my July 2005 archives) (and Karl's most recent post) (and all the posts he linked to) (Ok, those weren't specifically USAir related) (Hm.. How many parenthetical thoughts can make up one blog entry?).

She is stranded in Charlotte (which, and I know - another parenthetical thought, is a very nice airport) (especially when compared to DETROIT, aka the WORST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD) because when she was leaving Manch-vegas, someone who was servicing the aircraft forgot to close some panel or other. I know, a comforting thought, which they were informed of 20 min. after taking off (I always like that when they tell you that there is something wrong so that you can sit there in the cabin FREAKING out while you wait to land, thinking that you might die at any moment). So they had to turn back, close the panel, and fill out some paperwork, all of which took about an hour. So she missed her connection and there are no more flights until later this evening.

(I just realized that I'm flying on USAir for my next planned travel, because I am dumb and I do not learn from my mistakes.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I am a scientist.

For all you science dorks out there, here's another blog I have been reading. Its very funny. Ah. I remember back when I was premed. Good times, good times.

I liked the hall of fame post entitled 'hypertalkers'. I knew some of those in grad school. One in particular. And those of you who went to school with me know who I am talking about. And that his initials are MM. You probably also remember that landmark 'news and views'-type article, containing the still famous phrase: "intra-individual-specific proclivities".

I kept that paper. I still have it, how many years later? Wow. I am sort of pathetic.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I hate your way, a little more every day.

Neighbors. You can't live with them, you can't shoot them.

When we lived in Cleveland we had good neighbors who we loved, who moved away and left us with this Indian medical resident and his entire family (extended family too). Residents have a bad reputation (among me) as neighbors because they are too busy to give a crap about their home. In the n = 3 residents I've known in the neighborhoods I've lived in, 100% of them have not taken care of their homes or yards. I know you're busy, but so are we. Give me a break. I felt guilty this year because we didn't plant any flowers in the front yard (very busy what with the whole thesis thing, and besides. Gardening = bugs + dirt, so I hate it). These people don't mow their lawns until the grass is a foot tall. Anyhow, Cleveland resident neighbor backed into the decorative lightpost next to his driveway and left it there (until we moved, so who knows whats going on with it now) seriously cockeyed and with the broken light on top covered with a plastic bag. Nice. Also, the yellow tent-like roof on their playset had blown off and was just left hanging for months (again, until we moved). There were weeds in their grass that would kill you. I actually cut my ankle on the prickers of one of these weeds once when I was getting in the car. However, in that neighborhood there really were no enforcable rules to deal with this kind of thing, so we just griped to ourselves.

When we moved to Durham, we were excited about our new neighborhood because we had restrictive covenants and architectural guidelines. Finally, some control!! Hurrah. We were the 2nd people to move into the neighborhood so we didn't really know how it was going to turn out.

Our next-door neighbors seemed good on paper (he's a realtor, apparently) but in real life? They totally suck. They have 5 or 6 trashy cars parked out in their driveway at all times, plus 1 or 2 (lately its only been the one, thank god) parked in the circle. They have a two car garage, just like the rest of us, but none of these cars have ever been parked in the garage because they use it as a rec room. They have a front porch where they store a bunch of crap. Like, I don't know. Inflatable pool toys. Toolboxes. Other crap. Since their garage is not useful for storage of garage-type things, these are stored in the backyard. When we are sitting on our deck enjoying an evening meal, or entertaining, or whatever, we get to look at their lawnmower, their fertilizer spreader, a random piece of white vinyl lattice, their grill, a broken picnic table. All stored in their wooded area. Which is nice. They have huge parties on what seems like a weekly basis, where they blast the music until the early morning hours, and have their friends (all of whom seem to own HUGE SUVs) park wherever they feel like.

I'm on the architectural review board, which is made up of what sometimes seems to be the only people who give a crap about the neighborhood. We end up being the ones who enforce the covenants (or at least bring violations to the attention of the homeowners association guy who sends out the letters). I've actually been slightly too lazy to do much about this, I generally complain to the other people on the board and find that they've already contacted the guy about these things. With our neighbors, I think we've only complained about the car in the street. We've done it more than once, and the car is still there. I haven't even said anything about all the junk, although that too is a violation. The other weekend they also bought a portable basketball hoop - also a violation (permanent ones are okay, but portable are not because they can be brought into the street). I don't understand these people who move in but seem to have never read the covenants. It seems to be about half of the neighborhood.

So this weekend, my dad was in town and we went out to lunch in the newly renovated American Tobacco Historic District (which by the way is WONDERFUL and I love. And if you come to visit us I'll take you there and you will love it too). When we got back, one of the huge parties were going on, and some classic stupid parking had been done by two of their guests. See, we live in a cul-de-sac. For some reason these MORONS think that when the driveway is full you just keep parking out into the culdesac. Not true. Here's an illustration of what the parking was like when we got home:

We are the green car. The two blue cars are the offending moron cars. The red car is that stupid red car that they ALWAYS park there. It didn't directly impact the situation, but I included it because I hate it.

So obviously, we can't get into our driveway. Brian (who was driving) initially decided that the way to deal with this was to lay on the horn. Which he did. I got annoyed because I thought I could handle it better, so I made him stop and I got out of the car. I should really know myself better, because I... how best to put this... totally lost my shit. I was yelling at them about how they were not the only people who lived on the street, although they obviously think they are, and how they're obviously quite skilled at parking cars on the curb (because of the stupid red car, which I pointed out) and how did this skill seem to fail them all the time? Etc. etc. All the pent up hostility towards them came flying out at these two stupid cars.

The cars got moved and we parked in the garage. Then we went for a walk. My dad said that he was slightly concerned when Brian's approach was to lay on the horn, so he was relived that I had decided to go handle it. However, then kind of thinking that maybe he should have done the handling. Not that this is not precisely what my father expects of me, because I mean, he's known me for 30 years. I didn't just get like this.

Brian says that I have an 'aggressive' personality. I think that word has a negative connotation. I definately have an 'assertive' personality. Aggressive means like, picking fights. I don't do that. But, I do not suffer fools gladly, as my mom says. I think that I just do not take peoples crap. In this case I agree that I did cross the line from 'assertive' into 'aggressive'. Oh well.

I lost my girl to the Rolling Stones

Well, the Rolling Stones concert was on Saturday! How crazy was THAT? So crazy. I mean, beer was $7!!

No really, it was good. Here's a review from the News and Observer, which I must make sure to link to because I stole these pictures from their website. Its important to have visual aids to illustrate my points, and cameras were not allowed.

Ok, so stage? Very big. And people are sitting on it as well. I don't have photoshop yet so I cannot illustrate to you where they are, but you're going to have to trust me. See the purple stripes that are going out on either side of the big screen? They're sitting in those.

Mick Jagger was all over the place. The guy is 62. Holy crap. I mean, he was dancing like a crazy man. From far away you would not know he was an old man. Er.. an older man (I get in trouble if I call 60 old because my dad is now 60. And so's my Aunt Ruth! Hi Ruth! Happy Birthday!). However, from close up? No argument:

In this picture I think you could mistake him for a televangelist. An old one. I mean OLDER.

He did take a little break during the show where Keith Richards sang two songs. You think ol' Mick looks old? Oh my GOD. I think Keith Richards might actually already be dead:

But they were rocking out anyhow. They played some the faves (Brown Sugar! Honky Tonk Woman! Sympathy for the Devil!) and some new stuff, and some crap (She's So Cold. That song was CRAP). None of my absolute faves, Mother's Little Helper, Paint it Black and Under My Thumb, but I'll forgive that. After all, they are old and forgetful.

It rained a bit during the show but that was okay, because my hair looked like crap anyhow. Hee. And you know, I was with my dad. And I don't think he cared.

Took us an hour just to get out of the Duke campus, so didn't get home until midnight. We were both totally awake, so dad and I stayed up and had a drink and didn't go to bed until 1am (yes, you read that right. Dad was up until 1 am!!!).

Friday, October 07, 2005

I kind of rule.

Since I started my postdoc, I have been doing all kinds of new experiments. New to me anyhow, as my grad school science life centered pretty much around ensuring the good sex lives of my mice, doing PCR, and bugging Karl to analyze my data. My postdoc science life on the other hand involves all these new kinds of experiments. Like plasmid preps! Real-time PCR! Western blots!! Cell culture!!!!

What I've been trying to do since I started is knock down gene expression in cultured cells using a technology called RNA interference. So non-science people, I'm trying to turn off genes by putting this very small piece of RNA into the cell. Sort of. Anyhow. I am of course working with the most difficult to transfect cell line in the entire universe. That means that I can't get my very small piece of RNA into the cell so that it can do its job. However today??? I have done it. I rule.

I can't get the genes to turn off to the same degree as I can in a cell line that is easily transfected - where I can get the small RNA into the cells with little or no problem. I can get about 50-60% knockdown in gene expression, rather than 80-90%. But still, its a start!

Of course, I did this experiment in cells that also happened to be contaminated with bacteria. Well done on my part. This might affect the results, so I may either get better knockdown or worse knockdown when I do the experiment again with clean cells. However, for a start? I am thrilled.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I almost forgot all of the exciting hollywood news that I need to catch you up on!

- Linsday Lohan can't drive!

- Nick and Jessica finally broke up! Oh, no they didn't!
(Seriously, how long is this going to go on? I'm guessing until they fulfill their 'Nick & Jessica' show contract with ABC!)

- Katie Holmes is carrying the spawn of the devil!
(Wow. That was SOME contract!)

- Rachael Ray will NEVER leave you alone!


So. Last night? I'm driving home, like I do every night. I drive home on Hwy 147 which, although it is not technically an interstate, is set up like one. An interstate-like driving experience without all the states. Anyhow, suddenly a spontaneous traffic jam occurred. I couldn't tell what the hell was going on. I finally crawled past right after the fire/ambulance/police had shown up. At this point now I can see things but still, no clue what happened. There was a guy sprawled out on the road. It didn't appear that he had been thrown from any car or anything, as I didn't see a wrecked car or motorcycle. This morning I found out what happened. The guy decided to CROSS THE HIGHWAY on foot. During RUSH HOUR. Some poor woman hit him and now he is dead. It doesn't say that in the article here, but I saw it on the news this morning. I feel so badly for this woman, because seriously? Ten seconds later and it could have been me who hit him. You just don't expect some moron to run across the interstate. She's probably feeling horribly guilty and it is totally not her fault. Moron.

I also missed Lost last night which, I'm dying. Dying. Because it looked like it was going to be good in the preview. It has taken all of my strength to not read the recaplet on TWoP, but I've managed to keep it up all day! So hurrah. We were at a friends house last night entertaining a postdoc candidate, and because I was late getting home, I forgot to set the VCR before I left. Another party attendee did tape it, but she forgot to bring it to me today. So now I have to wait until TOMORROW. And what if she forgets it again? Death.

Also happening tomorrow: my dad is coming to town for his 60th birthday present. It struck me that I have not yet told you what that is, even though I was so excited about it when I bought it. I'm taking him to see the Rolling Stones on Saturday at Duke. That will be fun. Unfortunately I am not also going to the World Beer Festival that day, because it is SOLD OUT. We went last year and it was the Best. Day. EVER. Here is a picture of Lisa P. and I at the beer festival:

Oh well. We can't all drink beer all day for $25 I guess.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Crazy Wedding update

I know you were all just dying to know what has become of the crazy wedding couple, Jules and Dave. I'm happy to report that all is well on the newlywed front. I saw them this weekend, about a week after they returned from their honeymoon in Mexico. I got a little behind the scenes scoop too, which was all very funny. Julie said she's just about ready to laugh at it a little bit. Heh. I'm glad, because on the big sign-able picture frame they had at the wedding, I wrote 'Wish you were here!'. My absolute favorite part was when she was in the ambulance going from the chapel to the hospital and they asked her, 'On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, how nauseated are you?' To which she answered "8....9.....*barf*" Now, thats comedy right there.

She said that she heard other new brides at the resort complaining about what had gone wrong at their weddings.... a flat tire, etc. Julie just smiled, as she's clearly ahead of ANYONE in terms of wedding mishaps.

Thank god for the new TV season

The new television season has started well, hurrah!
First and foremost, Lost is FANTASTIC. I missed the airing of the first episode last Wednesday because I was at a retreat for work, but Brian taped it for me so I saw it on Friday night. Oh my god. Dying. Just DYING. When they were going down the hatch? And the scary light came on? Oh. And who was that guy? Was he the running up the stairs guy? I was happy I was watching it on tape because at least I didn't have to suffer through the commercials. So thank you Lost for delivering on all your promise, I love you. I was so hyped up after I watched it, I needed someone to talk to, so I called Pop-Pop (who watches it too).

Desperate Housewives, not so much. I think my disappointment with it comes from the fact that it was so hyped, now I feel that it doesn't live up to its expectations. As oppossed to say... Grey's Anatomy. Which I had no preconceived notion of, so I was able to just enjoy it. Its not an amazing show, but it is fun to watch. So... DH might not be must-see for me any more. I'll give it some time, but it just doesn't seem that great. And SO did not deserve to win the Emmy, so I'm glad that it didn't.

Another great great show is Arrested Development, which Bayly got us watching this summer. I would have felt personally responsible if that had gotten cancelled for lack of viewers. Thank god it is still hanging in there. Its on Monday nights on Fox, so please tune in. It is hysterically funny. When the show won an Emmy last week, in the speech they said something funny like "We'd just like to point out to you that this is the second year in a row that we're getting awards for a show that NONE OF YOU ARE WATCHING". Heh.

Diet Coke please.

The new Diet Coke guy (dancing in his red socks and suit) is my new television boyfriend. And now I can go to the website and watch his commercial any time I want.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Several items of note.

1. On Thursday night, we went to a live taping of 'Wait wait, don't tell me' at UNC. This episode will be airing on your local NPR station today! Or tomorrow!! So listen in.

2. Courtney Love has some fashion advice for Renee Zellweger and the Britster.

3. We're on our way to Chapel Hill for the Walk for PKD. Pictures coming soon!

4. My dad is at the Reno Air Races this weekend. Jealous!! I've been with him a couple of times and would love to go again. Maybe next year. Go Rare Bear!!

5. I have a cold, so I'm whiny and miserable. Apologies in advance for anyone who has to deal with me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

hummingbird nest

This morning we got an email on the all-work email list that someone had brought in a hummingbird nest, and it was available in the library for public viewing. So...being the nerds that we are, several of us went to see it. It was SO COOL. It was probably 2 inches across or so, a perfect little cup stuck onto a tree branch. I wish I had had my camera, but I didn't know. Don't normally bring my camera to work. Not that much of a dork.

Instead I found this cool website that shows daily photographs of the goings-on inside a hummingbird nest, from the time the eggs are laid until the chicks leave the nest. The nest pictured here is a lot more fluffy than the one we saw here, which was almost like a cup molded out of mud and lichen and tree bark. I read somewhere that hummingbirds use spider webs as 'glue' in their nest building and that they mould the sides of the nest between their body and their wings (like, in their armpit, if a hummer had an armpit).

We only have ruby-throats here, but I would like to see some out west or in Mexico or something where they have a lot more varieties around.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dear The Gap

Dear The Gap,
Thank you for finally realizing that women have hips.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Craziest. Wedding. EVER.

I love weddings. I’m also a bit of a sucker for wedding bloopers (or just bloopers in general) so I always watch those stupid shows like ‘Wild Weddings!!!’ or ‘Weddings Gone Bananas!!!’ or whatever. However, this weekend I attended a wedding that was way way up there on the craziness scale. This is the tale of the wedding of Julie and Dave, a tragic (well, not totally!) opera in three parts.

Overture: The night before
Julie, a postdoc in my Ph.D. lab, also did her Ph.D. up in Cleveland, so many many mutual friends came down from Clevo for the wedding. It was a lot of fun to see everyone, some of whom I hadn’t seen since we moved to NC almost 2.5 years ago, so we gathered everyone (including our five houseguests!) at our house for some drinking the night before the wedding. At about 10:30, one of our guests (Dr. Jeff… er … I mean Dr. Sandwich – an actual medical doctor!) received a phone call from a slightly panicked bridesmaid saying that the bride was not feeling well, and what was his medical advice? We didn’t really know the details but all were waiting to see how she was going to feel the next day, sure that she just had a case of the pre-wedding jitters (“Did you check her feet? Are they cold?”).

Part I: The ceremony
(I would like to begin this part by stating that in the car on the way over to the ceremony? I felt totally nervous and slightly nauseated. So if I turn out to be psychic, this will have been one of the first examples of my powers.)
At 2pm, we all show up at the Duke Chapel, where the wedding was to take place. Everything is beautiful. We get our programs, are ush-ed to our seats, and sit down to listen to the pre-wedding organ music. After a while the priest comes out with the groom, and we all get a little nervous. The priest tells us that our Jules is not feeling well enough to get married. She’s not really strong enough to walk down the aisle, and it has been decided that we’d try again later at the reception. He did stress that she wasn’t having cold feet and that she was, in fact, actually at the chapel in the back room, but secretly we wondered. Their engagement had been called off once before, and although things seemed to be fine this time, we thought that it was theoretically possible that she was having second thoughts, and had gotten herself so stressed out about it that it made her sick. Hey. It could happen.
Anyhow, the ambulance came and carted her off to the Duke Hospital. Most people had left by this point, but a few remained, and we actually went into the chapel and staged pictures – sat one person in each aisle seat and had the bridesmaids and groomsmen pretend to process for some pictures. It was pretty amusing. Here are Amy and Missy during the fake picture posing:

Part II: The reception
At 5:30, the cocktail hour begins. The reception is at this swanky country club. Everything is beautiful. I drink gin and tonics. Mmm. And later gin gimlets, which are really quite tasty. We all chat. Here's Bayly, Kristin, Tori and Karen chatting:

We file into the reception hall to be seated for dinner. Eat our salads… still not quite sure what is going on. The head table has all the bridesmaids and groomsmen sitting at it, but the bride and groom seats in the middle are empty. Next, dinner. Dinner itself is eaten, still no sign of the bride and groom. By the time we get to dessert, we’re pretty sure they aren’t getting married that night. The DJ tries to get everyone dancing and my friends and I are happy to comply. It was still pretty bizarre though, because we were celebrating a wedding that still had not occurred, without the primary participants. At about 9:30 or so, Dave (groom) and parents arrive without Julie. Here's Dave being grilled for info (At first, I felt tacky about taking this picture as it seemed a bit like rubbernecking, but I saw the hired photographer doing it too, so I felt better):

Mom and Dad of the bride give a speech to tell us what is going on. Julie’s dehydrated and her electrolytes are all out of whack – she’s been on an IV at the hospital getting back in shape. They were concerned about possible unexpected side effects if they let her out of the hospital early, so she ended up staying, but the wedding was going to take place after all, at the hospital (!), with room only for a few people. Also, hey! We need to eat the cake, so someone cut it and they served it. Crazy. It was tasty though. Yum! We had about an hour and a half until everyone was leaving for the hospital wedding, so the strange party continued.

(A side note: at some point during the night, I found out that I had pulled an Alexandra Kerry and that my undergarments were visible under my dress in all the flash photography. See here (in the daylight):

and here (with a flash):

At least I was wearing a cute bra, but I was wearing FUNCTIONAL (read: ugly) underwear. Hurrah. So when everyone develops their pictures and sees me in my undies, thats what happened. I am not the wedding floozy! It was an accident!! The dress was DARK MAROON for gods sake!)

Part III. The hospital
We show up to the hospital at about 10:45ish, and had a very surreal conversation with the security guard where we said ‘We’re here for the wedding’ and he pointed us towards the hospital chapel. The room was very small, but I’d estimate that about 40 people were crammed in there, including the wedding party:

The bridesmaids filed in, we all hummed the wedding march, and Jules came in looking radiant in her actual wedding dress and veil. A short but sweet ceremony followed:

and they were married! Hurrah!

Then we went downstairs to the hospital lobby for pictures:

Epilogue: Our house
We got home at probably 1 am, but everyone was wide awake from all the excitement. And we wanted some drinks. So other Clevelanders also came over for the planned merriment. HOWEVER. We do not typically lock the door that goes from our garage into our home, as the garage doors themselves are locked, and there is no alternate way into the garage. But this time someone had inadvertently locked the door on their way out. And we had no house keys. I have mine on my car key ring, and I hadn’t driven to the wedding and had only a cute LITTLE purse, so no keys. Brian doesn’t carry his house key on his car key ring, he’s got this little key wallet – which he hadn’t brought. Of course, we’re in the garage with all of the tools, so everyone gave their best shot at picking our lock (where was brother Jim when we needed him):

But we gave in eventually and ended up calling a locksmith.

A good time was had by all. The End.

P.S. to wedding attendees - I will post pictures online and send you all a link, and I hope you will do the same!! I'm dying to see the pics!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Various updates.

Hope everyone had a nice Labor day weekend. Like a good little postdoc, I spent much of it working. Well, I was actually getting DATA! From actual EXPERIMENTS! How very exciting. So I couldn't wait until the end of the weekend to see the results and I had to come in. Because thats just how geeky I am, in case you were questioning it.

We did do some fun things though. We had a Labor Day potluck dinner which was fun, and Mehrnaz brought the best samosas I've ever tasted in my LIFE. I already miss those samosas and I had the leftovers for dinner on Monday, so its not like we've been apart that long. Samosas really are the best food ever. Spicy, starchy food wrapped in lovely pastry and deep fried. The only thing better really is deep fried cheese.

The PKD fundraising is going well! I've surpassed my target by $70, but I'm continuing my efforts to raise more money than Leo. There's still time to donate online here, or you can make donations to me in person. You'll also find some more helpful information about polycystic kidney disease on my fundraising page. Also check out Brian's (click on 'Tobias Team' over on the left side of the page and then on Brian's name). Brian did his PhD in one of the labs where the PKD gene was cloned, so he has a personal connection to it.

I know that many of you are putting your charity dollars to Hurricane related causes as well. Here are links to several worthy causes: The Salvation Army for general relief, and Noah's Wish or the Humane Society of America, two groups that aim to assist all the pets and animals that were left behind.

EDITED: New PKD Update!! Team Tobias is in 3rd place for fundraising at the Chapel Hill Walk for PKD! Behind such creatively named teams as 'Cease and De-cyst'. HAHA. See... we're trying to cure polyCYSTic kidney disease? Get it? Hee. Ok, I'm a dork.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

its a gas!

I'm enjoying monitoring the gas mileage in my new Civic hybrid. There is a real-time gas mileage indicator, and it also indicates the average gas mileage for your trip on the trip meter. I reset the trip meter when i filled the tank with gas. On my first tank, I was averaging about 38 mpg with the air conditioning on, which seemed a little low. So I started to pay attention to how I was driving, to see if I could improve the mileage a little bit. Mostly I started using the cruise control, which made a big difference. About 2/3 of my drive each day is on highways, and this upped my average mpg for that tank up to 40-41. I refilled the tank last week and have been driving like this all the time now (still with the air on though) and I'm up to 42-43 average, which is more like it. I imagine by the next tank I can turn the air off and I should get up several mpg into the published range of 47/48.

Brian has also been paying attention to mileage as he's driving the Pilot every day. On his last tank he was pleased to see that he got 20 mpg! See, we average out ok.

An update on the musical taste project - Death Cab for Cutie was a great pick by Larry, I totally love it. I also bought 'Sumday' by Grandaddy which I really like. That wasn't a suggestion from the MTP, but something I heard playing when we were out for pizza with someone. I found out what it was and wrote myself a little stickie note on my desktop to remember to buy it... and then I never did. Well, bummer. Because its really good.

Friday, August 26, 2005

and yet, no marmite.

My new favorite blog to read is "The Sneeze", which I have linked over there on the side. Those of you with children would also appreciate it, as many of his posts deal with the doings of his young son. Anyhow, a favorite feature of mine is Steve, don't eat it!, where he tries various disgusting things at the grocery store. The first one is 'potted meat'. That remids me of when I was a freshman in college, boyfriends mother sent him a care package that contained a can of 'deviled ham' that we were not quite sure what to do with. Certainly he was not going to eat it. Instead he opened the top and hid the can in the backpack of a certain fraternity brother. Said fraternity brother did not go to class much in these days, so his backpack didn't see a whole lot of action. It was pretty smelly. I was amused, because I am twelve.

I really think that Marmite should be on this list. I mean, lets think about this here. Its Guinness sludge. Not that I do not love Guinness, I do! Very much. But this stuff is the tar on the bottom of the vat that you were never meant to eat. Brian of course LOVES Marmite, in phases anyhow. Thank god we're not currently in a Marmite phase... peanut butter smells so much better. When he opens the Marmite jar, a horrible stench fills the room. Then he glops it on his english muffin, like... ew. Like the tar that it is. After this horrible concoction is eaten, Brian is not allowed to have his face anywhere near mine, because there is no smell so foul as Marmite breath. Interestingly, the Marmite slogan is something about "You either love it or you hate it". I'm firmly in the hate camp. Actually, the 'hate' website is pretty amusing, with some recipes, or '10 ways to ruin a perfectly good sandwich'.

Oddly enough, I kind of like 'Twiglets' which are like a Marmite Cheet-o or something. I mean, I wouldn't eat a whole bag, or even a whole SERVING of Twiglets. But they're tolerable.

Monday, August 22, 2005

mysterious non-pooping geese

So, the place where I work now is situated on a beautiful park-like campus. There's a big pond right outside, the whole place is wooded. There are a bunch of walking trails - not that I've used them or anything... There are a million gazillion geese everywhere. When we lived in Wind Point there was a pond in the middle of our development where the geese hung out. Of course the place was loaded with goose poop. I noticed that here, even though there are ten million geese everywhere there is no poop. I thought perhaps they had engineered non-pooping geese (or toilet trained?). But I found out that someone actually goes around and removes it. Hm!!

We had a good weekend - on Friday we went to Tyler's Taproom with Julie/Bayly/many others for J/B birthdays. The food was just ok, but they had a great beer selection. They had Rogue Hazelnut brown nectar on tap!! ON TAP, I tell you!! Its so good. On Saturday we had a new friend over for dinner - she works on the same floor as me and started on the same day I did. It was fun. My mom said I'm Martha Stewart now with the entertaining! Hey, its the only way I get the floors vacuumed anymore. I'm just kidding. Sort of. Anyhow, I made something that was very very very good from the September issue of Bon Appetit. It was a pizza made on ciabatta bread with sweet walnut pesto, havarti, pears, gorgonzola and arugula. It was fantastic. It probably is not up on yet. I also made pasta with tomatoes (from our garden) basil (from Kristin's garden! I'm rooting it so maybe I can plant it) garlic and pinenuts. And we drank many bottles of wine. A good time was had by all.

Now back to work! I'm taking a class here this week to learn how to do RNA interference. First class started this morning at 8am. I'm a morning person too, but I didn't get a chance to get any coffee first so I was dragging a bit!

Monday, August 15, 2005

I would lose my will to live.

This post was hysterical. If this had happened to me I would have simply lost my will to live. Right there. In front of the trash can.

When I was younger I was terrified of June bugs (er... lets clarify: still terrified of June bugs) and I would not enter a door at night that was lit because it would invariably be surrounded by flying horrors. I would enter through the garage door, because it was a double door and the lights were on either side. So in the middle, you were good if you ran really fast. Anyhow, one time I was on the phone with someone (Kendra?) sitting in the front seat of my parents car that was parked in the driveway. Why? Who knows. But it got dark while I was out there and for some reason I couldn't open the garage door. So I had to have whoever I was on the phone with hang up and call my house again to ask someone to open the garage so I could get in.

I am still just as pathetic, I am happy to report.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Many new things to screw up

So I've finished my first week of postdoc! It was very exciting. I have a fancy name tag on a fancy lanyard now. And a new parking pass.

I started the week off on a good note by driving out to Raleigh for traffic court. THAT was an experience. I've never gone to traffic court before, so I didn't really know what to expect. When I got up to the traffic court floor of the courthouse it was just MAYHEM. Seriously, it took me a good ten minutes just to find the end of the line I was suppossed to be waiting in. It was very difficult because the line wound around the room TWICE. I waited in line for 45 minutes. There is not much that you can do to entertain yourself when you're waiting in line, so I entertained myself by checking out all the fashion disasters surrounding me. I was struck too by the people in line who knew other people in line. I mean, are you at traffic court like every week? I don't think this is the kind of place where you want to be considered a "regular".
When I finally got up to the end of the line, you get to this desk where a woman asked me what I wanted to do with my ticket. I had no idea that I had options. So I said I didn't know, I'd never been here before. She told me to go talk to the ADA that was at the desk. This was a very nice woman who asked me if I wanted the ticket reduced. Sure! So she did. It was still $110 though, only 10 of which reflected the actual FINE. Oh well. It shouldn't cause any problems with my insurance now, which was the major concern.

At work I decided to jump right on in and start doing work. After discussing with my new advisor, he had suggested a project to start on that was similar to one I had been interested in doing that he didn't think was technically possible at the moment. Since I hadn't been doing lab work for a while, I kind of missed it and I was excited to actually DO SOMETHING. In general the week went okay, but yesterday I screwed up Every. Single. Thing. I. Did. Minipreps? Easy, right? Not when you forget to label the tubes. Of course, these were my second minipreps of the same thing, because the day before I had done them and forgotten to save some of the culture for a frozen stock. I did 4 maxipreps but stupidly stupidly used glass tubes when precipitating my DNA and even more stupidly centrifuged these at speeds that are apparently MUCH higher than they're physically able to go. How do I know? One of the tubes shattered in the machine and I lost the whole sample. And had quite a glass-powder mess to clean up. Ran a gel and forgot to load the size standards. Screwed up my tissue culture.

Once I get into it I know I'll be ok, but yesterday was a very frustrating day.

Fortunately I got to do out for drinks after work, because Karrie and Ben were staying with us on their way from Cleveland to some beach in NC. They got to the house right before I did, and we went to the Federal for dinner and beers. They have great sandwiches and the BEST FRIES EVER. As well as a great beer selection, including one of my new favorites: Tuppers Hop Pocket. Mmmmm....hoppy!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Ugly Cars and nostalgia.

I told Brian about the Ugly Cars discussion, and he was a little surprised that I didn't include the ugly pimp-mobiles we see around our neighborhood. Not that we live in a pimp neighborhood or anything, but I think we are surrounded by a few poseur pimps. Anyhow. The problem was that I didn't really know what they were. I'm going to have to do more research on that. Although I think at least one of them is the Cadillac that Eve was talking about... it looks like Lionel Richie (There was a car that my mom and I used to say looked like Lionel Richie and now I forget what it was!).

Anyhow, since I couldn't remember the names of any of these cars, I googled 'ugly cars' and came up with this, the Car Talk guys top ten Ugly Cars of 2005. Now, I don't want to ruin the surprise or anything, but I think many of you will agree wholeheartedly with their pick for #1 ugliest car. Also look at this, their favorite comments recieved on Ugly Car nomination forms. I like one from the Aztek "Lets face it, not every engineering student gets an "A". The "D" students need work also." Hee. And I'm sure none of those were trained in the Cleveland Institute of Art Industrial Design department, although given some of the stuff I've seen at their student shows? I don't know.

For old times sake, I also wanted to post a picture of this (I know its too big for the width of the page, but I wanted you to get the full effect!):

which some of you will recognize as... (dun-dun-dunnnnn!)
The 8-trackmobile!!!

My first car, which had been my parents car before me. A 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, which my parents lovingly removed the 8-track player from and replaced with a cassette player so that I would not need to entertain my friends with Neil Sedaka or the BeeGees. Obviously, this is not my ACTUAL first car, but one I saw driving in the Memorial Day (or whatever holiday, I forget) parade outside our house in Cleveland. However, many of the details are right. The two tone silver. The hugeness. However, mine had a black velvety interior, rather than this sort of scary red. And I don't think the pinstripe was red on mine either.

Ah, the 8-trackmobile. Site of much exciting highschool fun. My favorite 8-trackmobile memories include:
1. Driving with Herryn to take the PSAT or some other test in the bitter Wisconsin cold, and the latch on the passenger side door froze so that the door wouldn't close. So Herryn had to hold it shut the entire way to Gilmore. Hee.
2. Egging unsuspecting people at Pershing Park (those losers deserved it though) and standing in line at the Dairy Queen.
3. Kendra getting bruises all over her upper arms from egging unsuspecting people and then having to have her senior pictures taken.
3a. Also, one time Kendra missed with the egg and egged the inside of the car. We had to stop at the Spur (where we had bought the eggs, incidentally) and clean it up. However, that was the night I started hooking up with whom I had long been boy crazy about, so it was all good.
4. With Elizabeth and Becky, finding roadkill on the cabbage-scented roads of Franksville to transport on the hood of the car (as we drove slowly) and deposit on the front porch of a guy we knew. This was always followed the next day by questioning said guy to see if he would mention it... like "Sooooo! Anything exciting happen this morning?" He never said anything, so either he was onto us, or roadkill on the front porch was nothing out of the ordinary at his house.
5. Getting back from a jazz band trip to LaCrosse or Eau Claire or something at like one in the morning in (again) the dead of winter, going out and turning the car on to warm up while we loaded stuff into the trunk and then-boyfriend Jason R. locking the doors, with the keys in and the car running. So had to call my parents to come out and help out.
6. Driving back from a party at UW-Parkside where a kid I went to school with (names changed to protect the innocent!) drank like one beer and smoked a cigar and then threw up on Herryn, her new shoes, her boyfriend, and everything in the back seat of my car. Then Kendra sprayed 'Red Door' and I cannot smell that to this day without being overcome with nausea.
7. Having to drive around the Rockingham Park Mall parking lot for like seven hours (it was Christmas) with Melissa because when we found a spot it was one I didn't feel I could fit into.

Of course my car is not pictured here because it pretty much self-destructed. I played a small role in its self-destruction (you will recall the infamous rear-ending-sneeze incident where I rear-ended someones brand new SUV when I sneezed mightily, thus failing to notice that all the cars in front of me had stopped because a tractor was also driving down the road). After that, the fiberglass front of the car had some bolts in it to hold it back together. I also had a small depth-perception incident (at least thats how I like to think of it) when I drove a little too close to the island around the gas pump and did a little damage on the passenger side door.

But the car had problems that were larger than anything that I could do to it. At some point the trunk stopped opening reliably, so I had to store everything important in the back seat. This included sheet music and music books, my golf clubs, etc. Remember when Brian Drier puked in the back seat? Also all over all of this stuff. I lost a lot of music that day. Wherever there was fluid in the car there was a problem of some sort. First, there was a phantom hole in the brake fluid line somewhere that caused a bubble or something to periodically interrupt the flow of brake fluid to the brakes, thus the brakes would pretty much stop working. That was fun, and in fact contributed in part to the 'sneeze' incident. The oil also seemed to vaporize such that I needed to (or my dad needed to) give it oil on an all too regular basis. The most exciting thing was that the gas tank had rusted out. Now, remember I was a poor high school student, so I didn't ever have the cash to purchase an entire 50 gallon tank of gas (ok, maybe it wasn't 50 gallons, but it was huge). I would buy like, 5 dollars of gas at a time. 10 if I was rich. I remember quite distinctly everyone in the car gathering up all their change and buying like, $1.67 worth of gas.

Anyhow, one day my mom and I drove up to Grand Avenue to go shopping (almost certainly we had planned around Macadamia Nut Custard day at Kopps) and took my car. She bought me a whole tank of gas before we left. We got up there, parked in the parking garage and started shopping. Then we heard an announcement over the loudspeaker saying "Would the owner of a two-tone silver Pontiac Grand Prix please come to the information desk". Huh? We were standing at the info desk when we ran into a guy I knew from GMYWE. He said, 'Thats your car? They've put orange cones all around it and they're directing traffic around it!'. Ok. Well, it turns out that the gas tank was ~half rusted, so the gas was just leaking right out of it. We had to push the car out of the parking garage and leave. It was a little mortifying, but funny now.

The Grand Prix finally succumbed to an electrical problem of some sort. My brothers and I would be driving to Pinkerton and the car would just randomly turn off. I'd have to wrench it over to the side of the road (no power steering when no power!) and wait for a few minutes, then try again to restart the car. I think my dad had hoped to keep the car (because it was going to be a classic!!) but the mechanic talked him out of it.

So please. Leave your 8-trackmobile memories in the comments section. I know you have them.