Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I'm not sure which would be worse...

...Actually getting a cold or taking these Zicam. Yech.
I woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday with a sore throat, which I still had on Monday morning. I cannot be sick for my defense/subsequent vacation. Cannot. So I went out to Eckerd and got myself an anti-cold arsenal.
I've never tried Zicam but it says that it can reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms, exactly what I wanted. They had several forms of Zicam that you could take. Some lozenge-type things...some nose-swabby-type things, er... something else... Anyhow. I selected the 'strawberry flavored chews'. They looked tasty, like Starburst. I like Starburst. I went home and excitedly unwrapped my first one.
They taste like crap. I'm not sure I can even describe the crap-ness. Ok. So the initial flavor is good. Its very strawberry-ish. They smell good too. Then once you've given it a chew or two it turns into hell. It has this bizarre texture...like...papier mache? Metallic papier mache. And the strawberry flavor is completely replaced with gross flavor. Like ashes. Or how I would imagine ashes taste, anyhow. I've never actually eaten ashes.
Worse still, you cannot eat or drink for 15 minutes afterwards. So that taste! Goes nowhere! Ack.

We are leaving tomorrow morning for Cleveland. Very exciting. Cannot wait. Also, cannot wait for this to be over.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

My last fateful weekend without a Ph.D.

I stopped into work today, my last Saturday of graduate school, to go over my talk with my advisor. Which was all fine and now I can start practicing. Hooray!
I have several pictures to show here. First:

A Red-headed woodpecker! Although they are in NC year round, I've never seen one. The more recent field guide I have (i.e. the one I stole from my parents in Bar Harbor) lists them as 'uncommon'. Yesterday I was standing at the sink washing dishes and I saw him on the suet feeder. They are so striking. I almost dropped what I was washing. He came back a few times. I sat out on the deck for an hour, motionless, trying to get his picture. If he had come back to the suet feeder it would have been better (i.e. closer) but this is the best picture I got. If someone would like to buy me a fabulous present one day, a digital camera with a real zoom lens would be fab.

Also, we met with the builder and went through the house. Look! Stone!

Also, the hardwood floors are in and by now, most of the sheetrock is probably up.
Very exciting! I also wanted to post this picture which shows how the deck railing will be:

Instead of having vertical slats he's using these horizontal steel cables. They disappear into the background and don't disturb your view. Since we are avid birdwatchers, we're very excited about this.

As for our current house, we have a showing today! Hurrah! Now someone please buy it. Please.

Off to Cleveland on Wednesday. Very exciting! I'm already planning all the places I want to eat:
Great Lakes Brewing Company

Those are the biggies. Also, would like to go to the West Side Market and pick up some pierogies. Yum.
Then I'm flying off to NH on Saturday. Hurrah again!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Several items of gossip

1. The Smashing Pumpkins are getting back together! I am thrilled about this. No word on whether anyone other than Billy Corgan agreed to this, but I don't care because Billy Corgan is my favorite part of the Smashing Pumpkins anyhow. If you're scary, you will win!
2. "Beauty and the Geek", which is on the WB and Brian made me watch, got renewed. And I have now watched it two weeks in a row, and it is indeed interesting. And it was Ashton Kutcher's idea, which is something I'm just going to have to get over.
3. After my tirade about "Dancing with the Stars", I cannot believe that I neglected to mention that Evander Holyfield got booted last week. THANK GOD. The TV watchers of America aren't completely delusional.


Tell it sistahs!!

Most people are just not well-informed enough about how to dress for their body type to say no to these "trends" when appropriate. I would not wear something like this unless the alternative was nakedness. And perhaps even IF the alternative was nakedness. My butt is too big - that skirt would be tenting right off of it, making my butt look even larger than it in fact is. A similar effect would be achieved by the tenting off of "the shelf" with that shirt.

Similarly, I would also like to see the extreme low-rise thing END. I am not asking for pants to sit at the waist. That too is unflattering. But this very low-rise thing is terrible. There is an undergrad who works in our lab. She is beautiful, thin, you know, 19. Anyhow. She sometimes wears these low-rise jeans where the butt pockets are placed too low (because when the rise is THAT LOW, where else are you going to place these pockets?) and it makes her look like she's got a saggy ass. When of course, she doesn't. I really just want to take her aside and explain this, but I don't think that would go over well.

When jeans can make someone like this undergrad look dumpy, you know there's a problem.

New name

Well, as you can see I decided to change the blog title. Apparently my love of cheese is known far and wide, because virtually all ideas involved cheese. And sidecars. I like those too, thanks to Denise.

So there you go.

Also, a new look. With the pink love. My mother thinks it is hilarious that I am so enamored of pink now because when I was a teen I wouldn't be seen dead in pink. Looking back now I am so horrified at how I dressed in high school. I had so many t-shirts that Herryn called me t-shirt girl. And I wore them untucked *gasp*. I'm sorry mom. All those coordinated outfits I could have been wearing. What a waste!

Other news includes:
1. Mom and Dad have returned from their Rhine river cruise
2. Working on my talk and paper #2
3. Just bought my plane tickets for Clevo. All Clevelanders, I will be there thru Saturday afternoon. Friday night will occur somewhere in Coventry. But now that its not BW3 anymore and its not Panini's anymore, where do you people go?? Tips please.

Ok now, must go to lab meeting as I am supplying the bagels. And since someone didn't take me off the food list even though I haven't been coming to work much or going to lab meeting, I had to come in today specifically to supply these.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

cats 24/7

When Katie was graduating last year, we were all solicited for silly pictures. As I was going through my fabulous iPhoto collection, I noticed that I have about twice as many pictures of my cats as I do of people. I'm such a dork. Which you all knew.

Anyhow. So a while ago Brian told me about something he saw on TV about this book called Cats 24/7. Apparently there are many versions of these 24/7 books, but they're essentially picture coffee-table books. They were soliciting pictures for this book, so I sent a few in. I just found out that one of my photos was published in the book! I had submitted 5, so I wasn't sure which one. Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble and looked at the book. There are 48 pages (yes, I counted) that have 6 thumbnail pictures a piece on them at the top of the page. On page 165 there is a picture of Alton and Cherry at the top left of the page! Also, my name is in the credits at the back. So, I'm famous. And you all know me.

Oh. Here's the picture.

Hee. Look at how small Cherry is. Her head is like half the size of Alton's. This picture was taken last July. She's like a normal adult cat now.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

the long road to recovery

So, after turning in my thesis I spent a few days recovering. On Thursday I worked on my talk a little bit, but on Friday? Not for a second. I sat in a lounge chair on the deck working on my Irish tan (i.e. the accumulation of freckles) and spending a good deal of time (ok, practically the entire day) playing Game Boy. Oh, also I've been watching General Hospital again. In college, Amee and I planned our schedules around GH. Also, Days of our lives and Another World. But Days of our Lives is just so stupid now. I hate Marlena. And I hate um... that guy. John? Of course. He's dumb as rocks. Now, on GH there is some new person playing Felicia, which is crazy. I liked the old Felicia. I hate it when they have a new person playing a role, its very confusing. I couldn't figure out what was going on until they made a little announcement.

Oh my god. Tom and Katie got engaged?? Celebrities give marriage a bad name. They spoil it for the rest of us.

Ok, anyhow. I have also spent the last week watching season 1 of Arrested Development on DVD. I have to say, this is pretty much the funniest show on television. I can't believe I didn't watch it. I would have felt personally responsible if it had gotten cancelled because it doesn't get great ratings. Perhaps now I should begin a publicity campaign. Well, you should watch it. Its hilarious.

Yesterday we had TWO SHOWINGS. TWO. If we had gotten just one more we would have doubled our total number of showings in a single day. Today we're having an open house, so Brian and I came into work with the dog. Milo is not nuts about the idea of sitting here in Brian's office, but at least I get to use the computer. Hurrah! Now that I've got a little internet time, I'm buying my tickets to Manch-vegas, I think I'll be in NH from July 2-14. I'm looking forward to going up to the boat and sitting and eating cheese. Also will be going down to the Greenfields, so get my room ready!

Also yesterday Anna came over for dinner, brought a bottle of champagne and her dog Ostrich. He and Milo got along ok, which was good. We drank the champagne, we also drank from the Target Box-o-sangria that Brian just bought. Its good. Those Target box wines are actually decent, and CHEAP. This led to some drunkenness. Then Anna went home, Brian went to bed, and I commenced with the drunk phone calls.

First I called Marc, who I only ever get to talk to when I've had a few drinks. Marc lives in Portland and with the time change and the fact that the man doesn't get out of bed until 2 pm, the only time I'm awake late enough to call him is when I've been up doing something. While on the phone with Marc I called other people on my cell phone. Krishna, Amee. Katie. It was very exciting. Also Marc, I'm very sorry for taking the phone into the bathroom with me. I know we're good friends and all...
After I got off the phone with Marc I called my brother Jim. Talked to him for a while, finally went to bed. This morning? Not feeling that great.

The moral of the story is that I'm not buying the Target sangria anymore. Its far too easy to drink. Its like juice.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Waiting for Jacko

Defamer is liveblogging the Jacko verdict.
And no pajamas! Bummer.

Now what?

So! I'm done. I spent ALL MORNING printing, and I just dropped my 5 thesis copies off at Kinkos to be bound. And at 4 I will go to Kinkos and send them on out!

So now what?

Well first, I guess I'll have to think of a clever new name for my blog. I'll be taking suggestions in the comments.
It isn't going to be:
1. Anything composed of three layers of poultry
2. Something to do with my superhero name
3. Winnie-the-Pooh related
4. Relating to my father's profession (although the Breast Implant Times has sort of a ring to it...)
5. As seemingly random as 'Almost Candid'
... since those are all already taken. And I don't have a superhero name.

So there's that.

Ok, so realistically I will next be working on my talk, hopefully finishing up my next two papers, assembling embarassing pictures of all of my friends to use in my acknowledgements slides (and boy, do I have embarassing pictures!), cleaning out my freezers, cleaning up the disaster area that is my bench/desk, burning all my pictures and mp3s to CDs to transfer to my new fabulous laptop at my new fabulous postdoc...
Catching up on my TV, getting the spider ball on Metroid, going out for Sidecars with Chris and Denise (while Brian babysits? What do we think? I think its GENIUS!), and the all-important shopping for an outfit to wear for my defense.
Something that says: I'm stylish AND smart and no, I didn't gain two thousand pounds since I moved. Its harder than you think

total domination of the printer

Today is the day! The day of thesis printing and binding and FedExing to my committee!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Don't feel bad Microsoft, I hate you too.

Microsoft clearly hates me, and I'm just saying. The feeling is mutual.

Today I'm doing the final formatting of my thesis. It was all very exciting for a while. I recovered from the mis-paging that occurred after I formatted my citations. Then I made sure I had correctly italicized everything. Then I fixed all the stupid margins. Finally, I was ready to print to pdf. Which I did. And assembled it all into one file and was all happy. Then when I started scrolling through I realized that the page numbers on the pages I had switched to 'landscape' were on the wrong side. So I tried to fix that and it took for FREAKING EVER.

Microsoft. Lets have a little talk here. When there is a whole big document with both landscape and portrait pages, its probable that when the document is printed we're going to want all the pages to go the same way. We just want the words and pictures to be rotated 90 degrees. So the default shouldn't be to stupidly stick the page numbers on the side of the stupid page.

Ok. Then. I went through the whole stupid 200+ pages and fixed these all. Again, printed to pdf. Again, scrolled through. Now I find that only the very top of the page number printed out. So now I am manually moving all the page numbers up.
Hello Microsoft. Margins! Why on God's Green Earth would you stick the footer below the printable area of the page?

So MAYBE I'll get this printed this weekend.

Oh my god. I need a beer.

courgettes and aubergines

Melissa/Heidi's last comment about the 'Sith Sense' thing made me realize that as the wife of a Brit (and thus master of the British-to-English dictionary), I had a responsibility to clear something up for everyone.

Courgette = Zucchini
Aubergine = Eggplant

I know that if you took French (I did, and I still remember that fricking poem I learned for the speaking contest in 7th grade! L'hiver a ses plaisirs, et souvent le Dimanche, quand un peu du soleil jaunit le terre blanche, avec ma cousine on sort se promener...) you know what those words mean. What you do not know is that, despite all their dislike of the French, the Brits have decided to use these words to refer to these vegetables.

Brian went go to the grocery store once with a list that I gave him, on which I wrote:
2 medium zucchini

When he came home, he was zucchini-free, which he attributed to the fact that he didn't know what zucchini were. On his next shopping trip, I tried to be helpful. So I wrote:
2 medium courgettes

Again he returned zucchini-less. I asked why, and he said that he couldn't find them but had asked a grocery store employee where the courgettes were, and they didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

Curse you, Melissa!

Well. Now I'm addicted to this too.
Does it ever not get it? I've tried "water bottle" and "hedgehog" and it got both.
I'll have to keep at it. Persistence is everything!


These are the most comfortable shoes EVER.

Its like being barefoot without all the yucky barefootness.

Also, the fact that I am even wearing them out of the house speaks volumes, as pretty much the only time you'll catch me without some sort of heel is when I'm at the gym.

5 things plus one fug

The Fug girls have a little news for you. Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes!

I haven't had any coffee yet so my brain processes are a little slow right now. So here's what I've got:
1. Herryn moved into her new house! She's a grownup now!
2. Brian watched "Beauty and the Geeks" last night, TOTALLY UNPROVOKED BY ME (I wasn't even home!), and could not stop talking about how funny it was. So I'm going to have to watch it. Also, apparently my taste in semi-trashy TV is contagious.
3. Bayly went to the airport yesterday at 4:30 AM to drop someone off and she too almost got pulled over. But the cop ended up pulling over another guy on the road with her, who was going equally fast. So we've decided that they must have a quota to fill that is due soon.
4. I formatted my EndNote citations in my thesis yesterday and they totally screwed up all my page breaks. Which I knew would happen. So today? Re-paging!
5. If you ever want to get information out of Karl, give him a few beers. Also: contrary to our waitresses firm belief, Rogue Hazelnut Brown is not pink and does not taste like raspberry cider. Last night we concluded our annual get-together at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My new favorite website

Melissa...I mean Heidi... (identity crisis!) linked to this website on her blog. I am so totally amused by it. Hee.
I submitted a picture of Alton, so we'll have to see whether it gets posted. I love this picture, where Alton hates us because we're outside and he is not:

I would also like to add, for all you Northerners, that this picture was taken on New Years Day this year. Where it was warm and we had the windows open and were sitting out on the deck drinking mimosas.

I'm not trashy. Really.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I've been watching (and enjoying! I know!) 'Dancing with the Stars' on ABC. This shameful problem began when we tuned in to fill the void left by Lost (the best show on television!) when the season ended. Last night I actually stopped playing Metriod specifically to tune in again. I think I was somewhat predisposed to like this show because I really like watching dancing on TV. I watch those dance team and cheerleading championships on ESPN2 all the time, reliving my college years in the unflattering bright blue leotard (I much preferred the cute sequined thing we wore for football season!).
Anyhow. Dancing with the Stars. Right. So our "Stars" are Joey McIntyre (of New Kids on the Block fame, an obsession I am glad I didn't have when growing up), Trista Rehn...oops... Sutter (from the Bachelorette), Rachel Hunter, Evander Holyfield, this chick Kelly from General Hospital and J. Peterman from Seinfeld. Each of the "stars" are paired up with a professional ballroom dancer and each week they do one dance, get graded by these three judges and then at the end of the show you're suppossed to call in and vote American Idol-style. In the first week Kelly the GH girl got so unfairly hammered by the judges that I actually was moved to vote. I don't know what came over me. It was crazy. But seriously, Evander Holyfield came out ahead of her? Give me a break.
Last night the men had to do the quickstep while the women did the rhumba. Again, Evander Holyfield pretty much sucked and was carried completely by his partner, but Kelly improved substantially over last week (given the judges ridiculous criticisms mainly centering on her facial expressions). Trista totally dances like a cheerleader (which she was. Why do I know this? Someone help me); her footwork is good but her upper body is so stiff. So she did okay. The guy from Seinfeld is easily the most enjoyable to watch. The other two are good as well.
Then at the end of the show they eliminate one couple based on both the judges scores from the previous week and the audience vote. It came down to... I cant remember. Oh. Rachel Hunter (who I think is pretty good) and Trista. So since the world is pretty much sick of hearing about Trista by now, she got eliminated. In my opinion, she got robbed. There is NO WAY that Evander Holyfield should have lasted past the first elimination. Ack. But I am glad that Kelly was spared because she really did not deserve the scores she got from the judges on either night.

In other news, my parents are leaving on Saturday for their cruise down the Rhine River. Since they are leaving on MY ANNIVERSARY I thought they should be required to take me and Brian, but I guess they didn't feel the same. Darn.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Brains and eggs. No, seriously.

Already so much excitement today, and its only 1:30. Karl is in town for something mathy, so I picked him up at the airport. Not ten seconds after he got in the car and I pulled out of the terminal, I got pulled over. I haven't had a ticket since I was an undergrad! Evidently I was going 40 in a 20? 25? mph zone of the terminal. Which I really don't understand, but whatever. I have to go to traffic court (they don't tell you how much your ticket is apparently, you just HAVE to go to court) on the first day of my postdoc. So, hey new advisor? I'll be late because I'm going to be in court. Super.
Karl and I went to some place in Raleigh for breakfast. I had a hard time deciding what to get. It was either the enormo-pancake or... brains and eggs. Ick. I'm grossing myself out just typing that. In the 'gross-out' respect it has also been a trying morning. In the car on the way into Duke this morning, we heard a story about red blood cell donation on NPR. They were interviewing the guy while he was giving blood, so with the phlebotomist talking to him about the needle etc. I have a major needle phobia which results in my immediate crying as soon as needles that are meant for me come out. Its not like it really hurts or anything, its just a subconscious reaction. I think my mom used to think I was just a big whiner, until she took me to get my first allergy test... ack! So the blood donation people have told me not to come back. I used to try to give blood but usually got rejected because my iron was slightly too low (because of the whole vegetarian thing). So that way I didn't feel guilty about not giving blood. It was a good scam until I started to get through the iron test.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Not sure what to get that special someone?

Our 5th wedding anniversary is coming up next week (and no, I can't believe its been 5 years either!), so I was looking online to see what the 'traditional' 5th anniversary gift is.
I was more amused by the 'modern' gifts for some later anniversaries, particularly:
44th: groceries. heh. If Brian came home with groceries for our anniversary that would be the last one.
46th: original poetry tribute.
48th: optical goods (such as a microscope, for all that basement microbiology you're doing).
100th: 10 carat diamond. If you make it to your 100th wedding anniversart, I doubt you have the cognitive ability to go to the store and pick out a 10 carat diamond. Not to mention the fact that you've probably already spent all of your retirement money (because I bet you didn't think you'd live that long!)

a Wisconsin girl through and through

Denise? If you're reading this? I just wanted you to know I'm sitting here eating the cheese you left me.
Mmmmmm. Cheese.
And with that, you may continue to enjoy your vacation.

NC is not good for my hair.

So this morning? In the shower? I was washing my face (which was a little slippery as a result of having soap on it) and my hand slipped and i jammed my pinky up my nostril and gave myself a bloody nose.
And this is why they call me Grace.

Anyhow, this weekend was very exciting, starting with Friday. On Friday night Bayly and I had a night-o-shopping, of which the highlight was DSW, the most wonderful store on the planet. I bought only a SINGLE PAIR OF SHOES, exhibiting a great deal of restraint on my part. Brian likes to think I spend money right and left like a lunatic, however I'd like to point out that I'm very thrifty. I only looked at the clearance shoes, and I limited myself to one pair. AND I had a $10 off coupon that Lisa P. left me when she moved back to Clevo (I'd prefer she had not moved at all and kept the coupon for herself, but not much I can do about that!). So see? Thrift.

On Saturday we had two (TWO!) showings on the house. Both of which we had about 30 seconds of notice for. The first one occurred when the people who wanted to see the house showed up at the door with our agent on their cell phone. So I let them take a look around. That is so difficult, because I remember when we bought our first house that there were several homes where the current owners did not leave while we were having the showing, and I hated it. For the second showing, we got a phone call from the centralized showing service at 4:09 asking if we could have a showing from 4:10-5. Ooookay. So we took the dog for a walk. It was about nine hundred degrees out and 99.999999% humidity. The dog was thrilled. My hair looked like crap. Oh lets be honest, it still does. Stupid humidity. Why can I not have naturally straight frizz-free hair? Thanks Mom. I blame you and your hydroscopic hair.

Yesterday we went to see the new house, which has insulation now! We also went through the house a few doors down which was built by the same guy. It was beautiful inside, so I'm very excited about ours!

And I finally got the grapple beam in Metroid 2. I know you were all worried. I almost had to call Matt G for pointers, as I'm sure he's already beaten the game. He pulled WAY ahead of me in Metroid Prime (which I have just about given up on).

Oh also? I formatted my dissertation. But that was boring. Today I switch back into super paper mode, as I've got two more papers to get out the door. Hurrah for papers!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

No house action.

So far, no more action on the house front. We've still only had one showing in the 10 days the house has been on the market. Its sure different than Cleveland! I'm hoping that last weekend was slow (read: dead) because it was a holiday. What this means, of course, is that I've been making the bed every day for NOTHING. Er... I mean, I always make my bed, mom. Its like a habit.

I haven't posted any pictures for a while, so here are some of the house:

...which obviously is the front of the house.

...which is the kitchen. Which, I don't think I'm going to paint red this time. Sad. I love our red kitchen.

Also, another picture of Milo (and my dad, playing Milo's favorite game)

Very tired this morning, because Smokey (the old cat) has recently decided that she is too old to use the litterbox and just does her business wherever she happens to be at that moment. This morning it was at 5 am, and it was in the corner of the bedroom. So I got up to clean it up and (stupidly) decided to go back to bed afterwards, even though I knew the alarm was going off in an hour. Bad idea. That never works. Smokey seems to do something like this every time we sell our house. In Cleveland she started peeing on our new couch. THAT was a lot of fun. Once it was right before an open house. There isn't much we can do... she's old and blind and I don't think she knows her way around all that well anymore. And even though the other cats haven't really done anything to her, she's terrified that she'll run into them. Which she does (I mean literally, walk into them).