Aaaaand, We’re Back!

How’s everyone’s vacation going?  I didn’t have easy access to wireless for my laptop over the last week, thus no new blog posts.  But y’all had better things to do than read my ramblings anyway, so we’ll just wipe our hands of that last week and pick it up where we left off.

I know that I have had a lovely time with family over the past week, and the Hubby and I took this entire week between Christmas and New Year’s off from work, so we’ve got another four days of stay-cation in Minneapolis.  We briefly considered doing a runaway last minute Thursday-Sunday deal down to someplace warm and sunny.  You know, pack a swimsuit, some flippy-floppies, the passports, a few pairs of underwear and just go lay on a beach for the next couple of days.  But after writing out the January rent check and tallying the Christmas spending…well…I may be able to squeeze in a trip to the indoor water park near the Mall of America

We’re going to run out and get some yummy gluten-free Original Pancake House for breakfast, and then today is Returns/Exchanges Day:

Technically, my duplicate Doubt has already been “returned”, which is why there is only one copy in the picture above, but there is a fun story associated with it.  My Mom, who gave me the second copy, thought it looked interesting and had started reading the first chapter before she wrapped it up.  When I opened it on Christmas day and gave her the half-amused, half-apologetic “Someone already gave me this” look, she eagerly took it back and said “Oh good!  I want to read this anyway.”  I think we ended up bartering a red sweater and some crazy expensive socks* for the book.

When we get back later today, I promise there will be a full accounting of all of the nerdy/geeky Christmas presents that I raked in this holiday – oh and there are some doozies!  Also, I took over 300 pictures in the Museum of Science and Industry on Tuesday’s day trip to Chicago, so after I pare those down I’ll share that adventure.

Happy Holidays!

~~~~~

*Who pays $17 for a pair of socks, Muh-ther?  This “smartwool” better be able to do differential equations.

Live Scorpion Christmas Ornament

Via 22 Words – So cool!

22 Words has given me quite a few laughs over the past couple of days, and I’ve wanted to repost just about EVERYTHING that he has had up lately.  But instead of doing that, I’d thought I’d post the link to his website. 

Click here to visit

22 Words

He has a lot of thought-provoking short videos and stories, amusing pictures, AND he’s in Minneapolis, so he posts local (for me, anyway) interest stories and pics.  Popular topics seem to be arts and entertainment, poking fun at the human race, talking about his family and language/vocabulary.

Stuck in the Lab

Work is crazy today; I’m probably going to be pulling a 16-hour shift today.  Yikes!

At my work we’ve got these high-demand instruments.  I signed up to use two of them on this date, so I get them for today.  Tomorrow some other lucky scientist gets to use them.  But my studies just keep going wrong…and by “my studies just keep going wrong” I mean I keep finding new and creative ways to screw them up, whether it’s running the wrong protocol, QNS-ing the samples (Science-nerd points and a hand-drawn picture from me for the first person who tells me what QNS stands for!), using the wrong sample type or screwing around for so long that I’ve left my reagents on the bench past their room temperature stability limit.  Yeesh!

So, if I want to finish my studies before I leave for Christmas break (and my boss assures me that yes, in fact I do) I’m stuck here until they’re done. 

Picture the Jeopardy theme song here.

Luckily, I have Qdoba lunch leftovers (from today, even!) and a full soda machine in the lunch room.  Oooo…and some Ghirardelli chocolate squares that I received as a Christmas present from a coworker!  So I shan’t starve this evening, which makes the prospect of being stuck here a little less depressing.  I’m actually wanting to go sleep on the phlebotomy cot in one of the labs, but I don’t think the night security guy would approve.

Ah, science - you cruel, cruel mistress, you.

DADT Repeal Signing Ceremony

And just in case you missed the title up there:

DADT REPEAL SIGNING CEREMONY!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd31FVdv93g

I listened to part of President Obama’s speech on NPR today while I was driving back from Qdoba.  You guys, I had tears in my eyes by the time I pulled into the parking lot.  Today an injustice was addressed.  I am so, so overjoyed that the gay men and women in this country who are putting their lives on the line to protect me and you and that jerk dinkus Fred Phelps will get to serve with honor and honesty.  That their partners will be able to be kept up to date on the status of the enlisted person when they are in combat.

Damn.  Tearing up again.

Of course, there is still work to do, and DADT is still in effect until the Defense Department and others have announced that they are able and ready to implement repeal of DADT, and then there is a 60-day waiting period after that

It will be interesting to see how the partners of gay and lesbian military personnel will be recognized.  Will they receive the same sort of benefits as heterosexual couples?  Does repealing DADT offer any sort of protection other than simply allow openly gay servicemembers to serve? 

Next stop:  Overturning the stupid rule that prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood.  Oh, you thought I was going to say marriage.  Sillies!  Gay marriage is a political-cultural war.  We can do it, but you know what’s even easier?  Convincing the FDA that scientific evidence  shows that specific, sensitive HIV-tests are currently on the market (p24, NAT, RNA viral load), and that the risk of false-negatives could be very, very low if we chose to use these as standard screening.  And if that don’t stop ‘em, convincing them that healthy gay men who don’t participate in country-hopping, needle-swapping, prostitution should be allowed to give every ounce as much as straight men.  Aaaaand barring that, to apply the same 12-month restriction on donation that straight men who engage in unprotected anal sex with a prostitute are under. 

Ugh!  I just went googled “Why can’t gay men” and this is what autofill popped up.  See?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Let’s GO, FDA!

Cross-Country Connections: Art

Cross-Country Connections is a biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take a picture of something in our area that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Art.

From Erin in Bellingham, WA

So yeah…. this started simply as one definition of art being handcrafting. I knit and have created what I think is a pretty cool demonstration of that art in a visual display in my home.  This is part of my sea wall, which I one day hope to move to a large glass fish tank.  I’m mostly a dork and think it could come out really cool.  Here is a crochet coral, knit nudibranch and sea star.  The aquarium of my dreams will have more crochet coral and various knit sea plants. There is a giant handsewn angel fish on the wall that just wouldn’t fit in the picture.

From me in Minneapolis, MN


This is a total cheat – I never made it to the Minneapolis Institute of Art like I had planned!  I took this picture a couple of months ago when I went to see Wicked.  This gigantic beast was rigged high above the stage.  I like that I can see some of the lights in silhouette iat the top of the photo.

From Mom in Carbondale, IL

This is one of the few pieces of art that I own that might actually be worth some money someday.  The Artist, Sarah Vaughn, won the total 2009 Ricket-Ziebold award.  It was the first time in 20 years that the prize wasn’t shared.  Her work is incredibly fragile and beautiful.


You can have a career, as long as you look good doing it.

Cross-Country Connections is going to be delayed by 24 hours due to extreme slackerdom and holiday-time distractions.  Until its arrival, I offer you a quote from Leslie M. McIntyre:

“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed and unaggressive.”

Does anybody know anything about Leslie M. McIntyre?  Google is failing me in my brief search; all I can find for “Leslie M. McIntyre” are references to the above quote, or possibly unrelated finds about random people named Leslie M. McIntyre who may have nothing to do with the quote.

In my search I did find this related quote from Gloria Steinem.  Not to worry, dear readers – Google totally knows who Gloria Steinem is.

“I’ve yet to be on a campus where most women weren’t worrying about some aspect of combining marriage, children, and a career. I’ve yet to find one where many men were worrying about the same thing.”

And with that, back to the end-of-year reports and experiments!

Too early for cute

Yesterday I worked from home and had a couple of distractions.  Well, one distraction a couple of three or four times.

I’m watching you…waiting for your weakness to show itself…and then, then I shall make my move!

Since you insist on ignoring me I shall make myself comfortable on these things you seem to find sooooo much more interesting than me.

A consequence of stepping away from the computer to stretch.  Never leave a cat in the same room as a warm chair, unless you want to stay standing.

And this morning I discovered the dangers of not folding my clothes immediately:

Mmmm…the bristly feel of dog hair on my towel after a nice shower.

Lab Supply Gingerbread Houses

A small group of us at work gathered together to celebrate the holidays.  A coworker and I planned the event and we decided to have a contest around building gingerbread houses…made of lab supplies! 

We supplied the glue guns, the cardboard bases and the little blue and green plastic squares (the first person who can tell me what they are will win my admiration and a hand-drawn picture by me!  Of course a drawing by me is more of a punishment than a prize…).  Five groups of two participated, and these are the results.

Now, it is important to remember that one can be a scientist AND an artist.  Indeed, I think science can open our eyes to beauty and elegance in all types of environments and situations which might otherwise go unnoticed. 

Ahem.  All types of environments.  Yeah…

******************

Update: 12/23/10

I finally got around to drawing MPM’s prize for being the first one to correctly identify the blue/green plates in the pictures above.  His answer is in the comments.

Pam Ann

What?  Busy…very busy!

Work is crazy.  I spent hours wrapping presents last night (I LOVE wrapping presents! Seriously, there was cloth ribbon and hot glue guns involved).  I haven’t had time to blog, but I have started four new drafts about all of the awesomeness that I’d like to share, so here’s hoping for a few free minutes.  For now, watch Pam Ann.   If you love crude and snooty-yet-trashy women, or airline humor, or British accents, I’d say that there is an excellent chance that maybe you’ll find her perhaps hilariously funny.

Cross-Country Connections: Tree

Cross-Country Connections is a biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take a picture of something in our area that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Tree, Trees or a Forest of Trees.

From Mom in Carbondale, IL:

This is my redbud which is so pretty in the spring.  Now, as winter arrives, the last seed pods are all that remain.

From Erin in Bellingham, WA

Brenner Creek in Granite Falls, WA.  This picture was taken by my husband, an archaeologist, who was working on a survey through a Pacific Northwest Coast rainforest.  The trees, and the sun shining through the trees, is one of our favorite things about this part of the country.

From me in Minneapolis, MN

 An early morning view from the office after our most recent blizzard.