Tuesday, May 31, 2005

T minus 16 days

So, I have to turn in my dissertation in 16 days. The freakout level is rising. I'm just in the final tweaking stage, and I know everything will get finished just fine. But still? Freaking.

This weekend was full of fun. On Saturday I went to the Taste of Durham festival with Julie, Dave and Bayly. Clearly the ToD folk did not plan for the crowds; the thing was from 11-5, but when we arrived at 2 most of the food was sold out. I did have a fantastic truffled leek and potato tartlet from Pop's, my favorite restaurant. Last time I went there I had a great apple and brie pizza. I also ran into the other two post-docs in my new lab. Afterward was the IGSP picnic at the Durham Bulls game, which was fun. Much beer was drunk.
Sunday we stopped by the new house. The brick-laying is finished so the exterior looks almost done (still no stone yet), but the inside looks much the same. i.e. studs. While we were there, our friends from our current neighborhood drove through to check the placeout. We decided to move so quickly that we hadn't gotten a chance to tell them, so when they walked past our house and saw the for sale sign they were a little surprised! They wanted to check out the new place to make sure they approved. Hee. We're hoping to meet with the builder this week, and I've got to run to Chapel Hill to check out the selections the builder and decorator have made as far as tile, granite, fixtures, etc.
On Sunday night we met Chris/Leo/Denise/Jim/kids at Foster's. More yummy food. It was a big weekend of eating. Luckily I made it to the gym on Saturday morning. We brought Milo to Foster's, as its outside and we thought everyone would like to meet him.
Then yesterday was a big day-o-thesis. Hurrah. I made a figure. For all my complaining about Photoshop? Its not that bad once you figure out how to use it. However the learning curve is VERY STEEP.

So, a good weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2005

A moment of silence, please.

Oh, its a sad day in celebrity gossip.
1. Janice Dickinson is the best part of America's Next Top Model. And now she's leaving . As Becky said, "why can't they get rid of Nole and his stupid dog?"
2. It appears that the initial Defamer blind item guess was wrong, and that Toothy Tile (secretly gay but starting to be either careless or coming out) is not Chris Klein (thus blowing my whole Tom/Katie theory), and is quite obviously Jake Gyllenhall. Which is sad. Because he is beautiful and now I am no longer his type.
3. Viggo, viggo, viggo. My Lord. I need something to keep me interested enough to appease Brian and watch "Lord of the Rings". You're not helping.

Now, straddle step with the knee...

Okay, I have one more thing to complain about today. Its about step class.
Brian and I joined the gym a few months ago, as we were feeling a little porky. It could be due in part to the thousands of jelly bellies and sour gummy bears I consumed in the early stages of thesis writing. It is probably also due to my new routine for managing the famous Helbling intestines. However, it WORKS. So, I'll deal with the associated weight gain. Its better than having to know the location of every public restroom within a 10 mile radius.

(Too much information? Normally, probably so. However you've all ridden in a car with me at some point, so you all have experience with this.)

Anyhow. The gym. I hate all the aerobics stuff like the treadmill, bike, etc. But I do like taking classes, so I've been taking ~four classes a week: two step classes and two cardiosculpt classes. However, the last two weeks have been so hectic with my dad coming to town, the sudden decision to move and subsequent purchasing of new home and listing of current home, and the impending turn-in date for my dissertation (must FedEx to Cleveland by ~June 15). So I've missed many of the classes. The step class is VERY INTENSE. More intense than I am in shape for. I've definately increased my endurance for this and now I generally manage to make it through the whole thing. Last night, not so much. Dying.

However, I was reminded of my pet peeve about step class. Its the new people. I understand that when you're just starting, its difficult to follow the steps. There is a learning curve associated with this. But you know, the entire room is doing the step, which we repeat at least 8 times in a row (and more often it seems like we repeat it 10 million times) before switching to something different. And its really the same steps through the whole class, just in different combinations. So when something new starts, you watch what everyone else is doing and then give it a shot. Eventually you'll catch on. Until you do, you can just do an easier step. We seem to get new people though who just STAND THERE and look flummoxed. Literally, through the ENTIRE CLASS, they just stand there in front of their steps. We just did the horseshoe 16 times. Did you see?? I realize I'm exceptionally coordinated (Hee. Not.), and that not everyone is going to be a step expert. I just hate it when people don't even try.

Oh Britney...

I make no secret of my deep and abiding love for Britney Spears. It looks like my science career is going to work out after all, but if it hadn't? Britney Spears was my next career choice.
My girl has been making some questionable choices lately that I can no longer ignore. Witness:
Questionable choice #1. Marrying that one guy in Vegas.
Questionable choice #2. Making out with Madonna (sorry, I can't stand Madonna. Guy Ritchie! You deserve someone so much better! Call me!)
Questionable choice #3. Marrying K-Fed and his manpris.
Questionable choice #4. Televising her relationship with the manpris.

I had the misfortune of catching 'Britney and Kevin: Chaotic' last night. I could only handle a few minutes before I had to turn the TV off. You know, I really wanted to believe that Brit was not trashy. But I was so mistaken. And K-Fed? I don't care how he cleaned up on the cover of Details magazine. That was a ONE TIME DEAL. And so not worth the rest of your life with him.


Who am I kidding. The rest of her life? Hee.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Not the oasis that I thought?

Since we moved to Durham, I always felt it was sort of an oasis of normalcy in the otherwise um... Southern state of North Carolina. Well, the Triangle area as a whole, really. There are so many transplanted Northerners here that you can easily forget that you're in the South. However, last night we had some cross burnings! One of them was not too far from our house, on our way to work. I'm not sure I realized that this attitude towards minorities still existed so strongly here (although of course as these were probably set by a small group of morons, this probably does not represent the views of the majority of Triangle residents). We have several friends who have lived in this area their whole lives. They're aware when they have non-PC ideas or say something inapproptiate, and they do make an effort to change them. Which I can understand. When you're raised to believe something it gets ingrained in your mind, even when you don't believe it anymore. Generally I don't notice a ton of racial tension here (although, I may be oblivious), so this cross-burning really surprised me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What is wrong with this picture?

Oh. Not a good look for when you're on trial.

How does one get ones hair to do that? Its amazing.

I love Katie Holmes too.

Heidi Ellis (if that is indeed your real name) talked on her blog about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes relationship and how they're just SO OVER THE TOP about how much in looooooooove they are. I think we all know that Tom Cruise is gay. I mean, come on. It is also rumored (via Ted Casablanca's blind item) that Chris Klein (Katie's ex-fiance) is as well (unlesss the Defamer guessers are wrong). Anyhow, the point being that this "relationship" is clearly fake and irritating the crap out of me.
I hate listening to celebrities talk about their relationships. They are always so gushy about their partner, how dreamily wonderful their relationship is, how blissfully happy they are. Maybe I'm just not that eloquent, but when I'm discussing my relationship with Brian I don't really talk like that. Nor do I wear an amulet of his blood around my neck like Angelina/Billy Bob. I often think, have I missed something? I've never had a relationship that led me to gush like J. Lo about Marc Anthony (or Ben??).
And then they all break up and get divorced and I realize that we're normal, and that their relationships were ridiculous to start with. Hurrah!

In other news, I realized that I can change the comments setting so that you don't have to register with blogger.com to make comments. So comment away.

In still other news... there still has been only one showing of the house. The real estate market is so different here. In Cleveland we had a lot of showings and sold the house in 10 days (after 3 or 4 offers). Here, not so much. Its because of all the new construction here. We thought the same thing when we moved here, we looked at one or two resales and decided we wanted something brand new. So, we'll see how it goes.

Final other news. My new postdoc advisor emailed me about ordering a computer for me, and asked me to decide what I wanted. However, his lab is currently all PC, so no Macs. I am so so sad. I will so dearly miss my iMac when I leave this lab. I have the older style, where the computer part is a dome-shaped thing and the flat screen monitor swivels around above it. I love it. I'm not as nuts about the new style (where everything is contained in the monitor), but I'm sure I'd like it if I had one.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Oh, Desperate Housewives. You disappoint me so.

After all the crazy hyping of the DH finale, I found it a little bit...meh. Am I alone in this?
What did we really learn that we didn't already know (or sort of know?) Not a ton. That said, I will be very sad to see Rex go.
Now the Lost finale will seem EVEN MORE WONDERFUL!
Brian decided to watch "Star Wars:The Second of Three Boring Prequels" instead (it is really saying something when even Ewan McGregor cannot save a movie for me. Jar-Jar Binks ruined it ALL!), although for the majority of the movie the sound and picture were about 15 seconds off from one another. Even in the commercials, which was a little strange. You'd be watching one commercial and listening to the sound from the previous one.

Also: The recent Kelly Clarkson entry in the fug blog is hilarious. I really did not even know you could buy those bodysuits anymore, nor can I understand why you would want to. This look is 10x worse than the thong + super low-rise pants combo.

Also also: First showing of the house!! I hoped they would ring our phone off the hook later that night begging to buy the place at twice the asking price. But alas, not so much.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Which Celebrity it-girl are YOU?

Take the quiz: "Which Celebrity It Girl are You?"

You are Hilary. Well arn't you just the cutest thing on the block? Your style is cutesy fashion, and your attitude is definitly positive. You do have a problem with feeling the need to be sweet and cutesy all the time. That is gonna get old eventually. Come out and play. There is a big wild world for you to get lost in. Oh....leave the hag(your sister) at home!

back on the market

Well... in a surprise development we have put our house on the market and made an offer on another one. Really, I was thinking that I just didn't have enough to do with finishing up my thesis (now 100% in the fixing up after Hunt gives his comments stage!), so I should probably spend some time making sure that the house looks showable all the time. When we sold our house in Cleveland, I think it took 10 days, and it was 10 days of hell. This time I'm hoping it will be better because at least there are no daily blizzards here, so we don't have to shovel the driveway every single day, just in case someone comes over to show it.
The new house is still under construction, so we wouldn't close until the end of August. So at least I will have been working for a few weeks before we have to move. Theoretically.
Anyhow, very exciting. The new house has WAY MORE BATHROOMS than the current one, which is of course a major point. So if you want to come visit us, you'll have your own bathroom and think you're in a hotel. However, if you want to visit while we still have the pool (and it gets pretty damn hot here)? You'd better get a move on. The new neighborhood doesn't have one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Balancing your left and right brain

Today I got an email from CWRU that my college chemistry professor had died suddenly, apparently of a heart attack. I used to still see his car around when we lived in Cleveland, instantly recognized by its liscense plate: "DOC OC".
He made an effort every year to meet everyone in his large class, and he knew us all by name. I didn't even know us all by name after four years.
Anyhow, when I was still a music performance major we had to play juries where we got judged on our playing by the music faculty. I was having a hard time finding an accompianist, but Doc Oc turned out to be a classically trained pianist, with several degrees in piano performance. Crazy. And he was my accompianist for all of my juries. I'm always impressed (and slightly jealous) when people can effectively manage both the science and the artistic sides of their personalities. I cannot. Or rather, I have not. It was difficult in college (and why I eventually dropped my music major) because I had a hard enough time keeping up with my math and science classes, not to mention ear-training and harmony. It was difficult to compete with the CIM students who didn't have the same courseload. And now in grad school its much the same.

Not to fear though, mom and dad. The many years of driving me to lessons and practices (not to mention the money spent on said lessons and instruments and ten thousand broken reeds) have paid off, even though I do not play much anymore. Fear of failure must be overcome to be a beginning oboist, as you pretty much sound like a tortured duck for many years. Also, getting up in front of crowds is not as huge a problem for me as I imagine it would have been without all the solo performances. I certainly developed an appreciation for music, although my mom often disagreed when she was subjected to my CD choices in the car.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

and now for my political views.

My friend pointed to this website on her blog, so I tried it. Here's my results, which are interesting. I told you I wasn't an evangelical christian.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 65% Conservative, 35% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Ethics: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

apparently i was at a loss for words?

That last post really did have some content. I don't know where it went.
Anyway, the bottom line was... thesis going ok. Still sick of writing. On target for my June 30 defense, after which point I will expect everyone to refer to me as 'Dr. Lisa' or 'Lisa, Ph.D.' At least for a little while. After all, I did not spend six years in grad school for nothing.
Aaaaaand thats why I haven't posted much, because we are too cheap to have internet access at home. I've been home writing most days, hanging out with the dog and the cat army.

Today's news is that my dad is here for a few days. He's flying through on his way back up north. When he got here on Thursday, one of the postdocs in our lab brought her 4 year old to the airport so that he could see the plane. He thought it was pretty cool!
My dad brought Kola (who is an African Grey parrot) who has thoroughly freaked the cats out. Kola is a good alarm clock, as he begins going loudly through his repetoire as soon as the room he's in starts to get light (his repetoire is much larger than this, these are just my personal favorites):

"Bob? Where are you??"
"Are you going bye-bye? Mommy going bye-bye? Byeee-byeeeeeeee!"
"Do you wanna step up?"
"Can you be a roo? rooster!"
...and an assortment of random noises, like the telephone, the car door locking beep, etc. He's quite amusing though, and if we did not both work so much, we'd love to get a parrot. They really need regular interaction.

Today we're going to the Durham Bulls game with some of our friends, which will be fun. Minor league games are really cool because the stadium is so much smaller, you're literally right on top of the players. Right now we're at work while my dad prints out all the current and forecast weather maps. Then we're going to drive down to Raleigh with Milo for a TSR adopt-a-thon event. Should be fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Friday, May 06, 2005


Given that success, I'm going to go really crazy here and do photos AND links... in one entry!!

Some of my friends have children... we get a dog. Very similar, except slightly more furry. I think my mother would have preferred we had a less furry baby (...I know! You never bother me about this, Mom!), however this is going to have to do for now.

Milo is a 6 year old Shetland Sheepdog that we adopted through a local rescue group, Triangle Sheltie Rescue. He's a blue merle, which is a mutation on the tricolor background that causes this gray mottled phenotype. And if you didn't know I was a genetics nerd, you do now. I wonder if its an epigenetic mutation? I've tried to look this up but I haven't found any real detailed information about the nature of the merle gene. Again, more confirmation of that whole genetics nerd thing, in case you weren't convinced.


The cat army is adjusting okay to the new addition to the house. Cherry and Alton don't seem too afraid anymore, and even Beamish is coming out from under the bed on a regular basis. The only one who seems completely unaffected is Smokey, and I'm pretty sure thats only because she a) is blind and b) spends 99.5% of her time sitting on the back of the couch where Milo can't get to her.

We were amazed to find out how many breed rescue groups there are. TSR is just for shelties in NC. These are dogs that are found in shelters or surrendered by their owners who just don't want them anymore. Or, to be fair, are somehow physically unable to care for them. It shocks me that whoever owned Milo gave him up after almost 6 years with him, because they were moving. I know people who have moved here from overseas and brought their dogs with them. I can't imagine not doing everything I could to keep a loyal companion.

And Milo is a loyal companion. He follows me around Every. Where. I. Go. He sits by the door when I leave the house and waits for me to come home. I think he's become more attached to me than Brian, because I spent most of his first week with us at home with him, while I was working on my thesis.

To be fair, I must also post a picture of one of the cats. Equal time and all.

So here's Cherry.

posting pictures

This is entry is a bit of a practice with posting pictures. So, here's a Carolina Wren building a nest in the hanging basket on our deck.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

because i'm too lazy to go to the library

I so love that Genetics has archived articles in pdf format going back to... forever! It is easy to lose track of the older literature. Especially now, when we're all used to having instant access to articles over the internet, rather than having to go to the library. As a consequence, the "older" literature ends up being anything pre ~1995. So, hurrah for Genetics!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

another distraction

It has become apparent that every other person in the universe has a blog.
Actually, what a great idea. I love to talk incessantly, and now I can do it even when there's no one physically listening to me (without appearing like I have multiple personality disorder, anyhow)! Hurrah!