The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Two weeks ago the Hubby and I flew down to Orlando, Florida to spend a week with my Mom at Universal Studios.

We stayed at a hotel on the Universal park campus and were a short bus ride away from the gates. The hotel is called Cabana Bay Beach Resort and it was… an experience. It’s styled after Vegas resorts of the 1950s-60s: classic cars parked outside of the main entrance, posters bearing over-the-top Beaver Cleaveresque-like messages like “Have a SWELL day” plastered up throughout the hallways and elevators, 50s music and retro commercials playing in the main dining area, a Jack LaLanne exercise studio and a bowling alley.

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Religious Freedom Restoration Act

I hadn’t given much thought to the legal basis upon which Hobby Lobby and similar corporations are fighting against birth control for their employees. I knew that it had to do claims that their religious freedom was being threatened, and I assumed that this must have something to do the First Amendment, which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It was as I was listening to the most recent RH Reality Cast yesterday morning that I heard Amanda Marcotte mention that these recent attacks are not appeals to the First Amendment. What, what? Marcotte was interviewing Gretchen Borchelt, Senior Counsel and Director of State Reproductive Health Policy at the National Women’s Law Center, and they were discussing corporate-driven lawsuits attacking employee access to contraception. It was here that I learned that these types of lawsuits are not direct appeals to constitutional freedoms, but to a federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA, pronounced by Marcotte as “Riffrah”).

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A Big, Painful, Good Decision

There’s something that I’m finding myself saying more and more often these days that is very painful for me to say:

I’ve decided not to apply to medical school. I’ve decided not to apply for nursing school. I’ve decided not to pursue any advanced degrees in medicine.

(but I always whisper “For now…who knows what the future holds?”)

You see, I really, really like medicine. I like the science that is medicine and the art and politics that is health care. I like when people have the most current and accurate information that can help them make informed decisions. I like leading teams. Working in a field that has a direct impact on people’s health, safety and empowerment would be a dream for me. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a little girl. I’ve wanted to be a doctor all through high school, and in college I majored in a field that would prepare me to apply for medical school, joined Pre-Med Club and studied for the MCAT. I’ve wanted to be a doctor when I took time after graduation to work and gather experience, and while I tried to figure out how to get all of my ducks in a row so that I could go to medical school.

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On my way to DC

Who has two thumbs and is blogging at 30,000 feet?

Laptop selfie of moi with a "thumbs at me" pose

I needed one hand free to click the “shutter” for the laptop selfie, so you’ll just have to trust me on the whole “two thumbs” claim.

Everyone at my workplace has Monday off for Labor Day. I was feeling wanderlusty (heh – that should be a real word) and had three days with not much planned that couldn’t be put off. I browsed airfare to see if I could get anywhere close to Red Rock country; I’ve been wanting to get back to Arches or one of the other big parks in the southwest. Moab, Utah would have been good, but flights were in the $700-$900 range, which was more than I wanted to spend for a spur of the moment get-away.

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Musings on Pasta

Today I read an article on the blog, Musings of an Aspie. The title of the article was grabbing: The Importance of the Pasta on the Left. It’s grabbing because I don’t think of pasta, even at it’s most delicious, as important. And why would the pasta of the left be more important than the pasta on the right? And… well, I had to read more. From the article:

Mother: “James, come and let’s pick out some cereal.”

James (appears from around the corner): “But I haven’t finished looking at all the pasta. I looked at the pasta on the right but I didn’t look at the pasta on the left.”

Mother: “We need to pick out your cereal.”

James (sounding panicked, voice rapidly rising into hysteria): “But I need to look at all the pasta! I haven’t looked at the pasta on the left. I need–“

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Cross-Country Connections: Clouds

Cross-Country Connections took a break, but I missed doing it so we’re bringing it back!

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 different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Clouds.

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Bugs in the City

NOTE: The Smithsonian is crowdsourcing! Read all the way (or skip) to the bottom to learn how to become an online volunteer for the Smithsonian Museum’s bumblebee records project!

One thing that is extremely noticeable about our new location is the increase in the number of bugs inside the house. In South Minneapolis we had the occasional ant attack, and once some demon flies infested the apartment after I downloaded a desktop wallpaper, but here it seems that there are more and greater varieties of insect home invaders than we experienced in the city. It makes sense; our new house is in a more wooded area, and we now have a direct entry to the house rather than an apartment lobby entry. But what can you do? Once we got over our initial revulsion it just became a fact of life. Bought a fly swatter and it’s all good now. The cat is ecstatic to be able to put her long-dormant hunting skills back into play.

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Why I work late

Oy. Tonight was a long one. Deadlines aren’t always as flexible as one might hope, and science sometimes does not play by human clocks. But it’s all worth it for a chance to piss off the anti-science, pro-God set. One of my secret atheist coworker friends (we have a secret handshake okay no we do not but I’d totally learn one because who doesn’t want to be part of a club that has secret handshakes), gave this to me today:

2014-07-29 13.15.51

Text on a small scrap of paper says: “SCIENCE: The study and investigation of phenomena based on rigorous study and experiment, conducted solely for the purpose of pissing off those who think God did it all.”

Yup. As Fox News has known for years, science-ing is actually part of the Atheist Agenda. I do what I can. You’re welcome.