Holiday Office Party

Hi everybody!drnick


The days and nights have been just packed. I’ve had no time for catching up on current events or really having much of a life, and so no blogging. It’s been a whirlwind of holiday cooking, shopping, wrapping, and decorating.

Today is the office holiday potluck! Last night I diced 10 tomatoes, eight limes, two onions, chopped two bunches of cilantro, smashed an entire bulb of garlic, and slow-cooked eight pounds of carnitas overnight. The house smelled really good this morning.

The four of us who share an office have decorated it to the nines for the cube decorating contest. Live tree and all, yo. People are really getting in to it this year. I spent an hour on Sunday making ornaments (images of our company’s products taped onto ornaments), my officemate made garland out of expired plastic labware over the weekend, we saw one of our coworkers carrying a surge protector to his cube, and another guy brought in a working electric train set. Unfortunately I can’t post photos of the cube decorations because there’s too much confidential paperwork in the background of all the shots, but believe me when I say that it is a fabulously festive office environment this year.

I can share this photo:

Ugly Sweater ContestMy “Ugly Sweater Contest” entry. Once seen, it can never be unseen.

Happy holidays to those of you who celebrate!

Gangland Turkey Killing

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate the holiday! I have a few odds and ends for today’s post, and then I’m getting back to the party!

Things are all a-flurry in the Bilyeu-Hubby family households. Over the past two days I have made gluten-free mincemeat pie, Mom’s made cranberry sauce, many board games have been played, and much 12-year Glenlivet has been drunkified.

I’m hosting Atheists Talk on Sunday. You can listen live at 9am CST when we interview Dr. Ivan R. Schwab about his new book Evolution’s Witness: How Eyes Evolved.  I can already tell this interview is going to be a blast; in 2006 Dr. Schwab won an Ig Nobel award in ornithology and he wore a giant, red woodpecker hat for his acceptance speech! Silly + Science Talk sounds like a good reason to wake up early on a Sunday to me! If you listen live, remember that you can always call or email us with questions during the show. We love that. Doooo eeet!

Here’s a little holiday-themed stupidness that my brain did when I was glancing at the newspaper yesterday:

Of course, the image is associated with the article beneath it, but at first glance I thought Thanskgiving had gotten really weird this year. Considering the seriousness of the first story, I have to say that’s some odd article formatting, Star Tribune.

Here are links to the first, very not-funny story about a gang feud in St. Paul, and to the second story about the weird not-really-a-pardon-more-of-a-stay-of-execution for the turkey named Bipartisan. 

And with that I’m back to the holiday chaos!  Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend!

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.

Camping always makes me mellow.

I took a couple days off of work and went camping in St. Croix State Park this weekend.  We were rained upon – quite mightily – by both rain and mosquitos.  It rained on Thursday night.  It rained intermittently on Friday and Saturday.  The weather was kind on Sunday in that we were able to pack up camp and get everything in the truck before it started raining again.  Also, I went through an entire can of bug spray, but I haven’t found any ticks (yet).  I heart DEET.

The sky was crystal clear on Friday evening.  I felt like I was in a planetarium exhibit because there were just too many stars visible for the view to be natural.  We watched a deer meander across one of the dirt roads on our drive out to the campsite.  We hiked some of the trails in the area – during the day and then in the late evening (more bug spray).  My phone worked, but it drained the battery in a matter of hours, so I left it on airplane mode for most of the weekend.  Why airplane mode?  Can’t…turn…phone…off!

And even returning to the daily rituals is no chore.  I had a shiny new Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe waiting for me on the iPod for the morning commute.  At work I have an interesting experiment to run on a new instrument, and tonight is W00tstock v2.3 at the Guthrie.  I think  I’ll ride my bicycle downtown for the show.