I have one last bribe

The fundraiser for Camp Quest ends on May 31st, and Team Awesome is still behind PZ by about $1,800 dollars. But I think we can do it, especially since many of us are resorting to bribery if we win:

* Since PZ Myers has offered to shave his beard into a hideous ’80s mustache if he wins — and really, you should donate to our side for that reason alone — Adam Lee at Daylight Atheism has agreed to grow a beard if Team Awesome wins. Thus preserving Atheist Blogger Beard Homeostasis, and preventing the world as we know it from collapsing into some sort of hideous beardly space-time nexus.

* Matt Dillahunty at The Atheist Experience TV program will do one episode of the show in drag.

* JT Eberhard of WWJTD? will shave his head… and wax his legs.

And what will Greta Christina do? I hear you cry.

* Greta Christina — she said, with a quiver of dread in her voice — will do karaoke.

Let me be very clear about this: I have never done karaoke. I have never wanted to do karaoke. I am a karaoke virgin. But if Team Awesome wins the Camp Quest fundraising challenge, I will pop my karaoke cherry. And I will get it on video, and post the video to this blog and to my Facebook page.

I’m throwing my own embarrassing bribe into the ring, though preventing PZ from performing beardocide should be motivation enough to donate to Team Awesome.

If Team Awesome raises more money than PZ by June 1st, I will attempt to learn how to ride a bicycle, and videotape the whole inevitably hilarious experience.

Yes, I never learned how to ride a bike. Yes, people (especially my family) like to tease me about this all the time. Yes, I feel ashamed when a 4 year old zips past me on the sidewalk without training wheels. No, you’re not the first person who came up with the joke “It’s just like riding a bike! …Oh.”

I say attempt in my statement because I can’t assure you that I will succeed. A boyfriend tried to teach me how to ride a couple of years ago, and I failed miserably. Partially because he gave up on me – yes, I was that bad. But I will attempt, and either way I promise you will get hilarious footage.

But only if you donate to Camp Quest. I’d say so children can learn to be skeptical and ride bikes, but I have no idea if they ride bikes at camp.

And if you don’t donate before May 31st? You will have to suffer through a 80’s porno mustache on PZ. Not to mention an even bigger ego – who knew that was possible?

So do it! Donate!

I must crush PZ…for the children!

Come on, you know you’re Team GHJJ – root for the underdogs!

Five awesome atheist bloggers are competing to see who can raise the most money to support Camp Quest!

Since one of those bloggers is the indomitable PZ Myers of Pharyngula, we have made two teams in order to make this competition more fair.

Team 1: Greta Christina of Greta Christina’s Blog, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag, and JT Eberhard of Zerowing21.

Team 2: PZ Myers of Pharyngula.

The first team to raise $5,000 for Camp Quest, or the team that has raised the most by June 1, 2011 will win!

What will the winning team receive? Bragging rights. Pure and simple.

You can help your favorite team win by donating through ChipIn to support the team of your choice. Early reports think PZ has this sewn up, so if you like underdogs, give to this ChipIn and help his competition. Or you can make help make the pharyngulation complete by supporting PZ’s ChipIn.

All contestants and contributors receive: the knowledge that they have supported a fantastic program for freethinking families and their children.

Read more in the post below about why you should support Camp Quest!

Camp Quest is an absolutely fabulous program for the children of freethinkers. If you want to help the future of secularism (and give me bragging rights), please consider a donation!

‘Tis a small world in biology

Today I was browsing through recent articles in Nature, looking for a potential genetics paper to present for my department’s Journal Club. ” “Somatic coding mutations in human induced pluripotent stem cells” catches my eye – I mean, come on, doesn’t that sound absolutely fascinating? I happen to glance at the name of the first author.

“Wait…Athurva Gore? …Who’s studying biomedical engineering? Hmmmm… Is that just a more common name than I think?”

After a couple seconds of Googling, I find a photo of him and some other scientists in their native habitat (awkwardly posed in front of expensive equipment) and confirm that yes, that is my ex-boyfriend’s friend that I spent a good part of undergrad hanging out with. Who I am now rediscovering while browsing genetics literature. Odd.

Congrats on the Nature paper, Athurva!

Well, if you even read this. I have no idea what the protocol is about reading friends’ ex-girlfriends’ blogs. Blogs before bros?

This makes me happy

As anyone who’s gone on a road trip with me knows, I have a penchant for Disney music. Which is why this video makes me all sorts of happy, and I command you to watch it:

That guy has talent.

Happy Saint Patricks Day!

Technically the McCreights (rhymes with “right”) are Scotch-Irish, but feel free to send kisses and green beer my way anyway. …Even though I’m actually more Greek than I am Irish or Scottish. Whatever, let me embrace my Irish-sounding surname!

Anyone celebrating today?

Dance Your PhD finalists are up!

If you’ve ever had a hard time explaining what your research is about, maybe you should consider interpretive dance. That’s what the Dance Your PhD contest at Science asks grad students to do. It’s fun, but the winner also gets a $500 dollar prize.

You can vote for whichever one you like the best here. To show I’m not inherently biased toward biology, my favorite was actually the chemistry one. I thought it did the best job at actually explaining the concept, while having the least abstract dancing. Oh, and I loved the part with Taq polymerase in the middle. Seriously, just watch it.

…Okay, it still had to do with DNA, shush.

Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be able to do this, though I kind of suck at dancing. Right now my lab rotation project wouldn’t be too interesting of a video though – not sure how to interpretively dance to coding in Python…

Blogathon 2010

It’s time for this blogger to go mad from sleep deprivation for charity! Again!

Those of you who have been here for a while (the “I read Blag Hag before boobquake” hipsters) may remember Blogathon from last year. Blogathon is just what it sounds like – a blogging marathon. Starting on Saturday, July 31st at 8am EST, I will make a new blog post every half hour until Sunday, August 1st at 8am EST. None of these posts will be made ahead of time or set to autopost at a certain time – I’ll be up blogging new material for the whole 24 hours.

But the purpose isn’t to spam your Google Reader; it’s to raise money for charity. You pledge on my behalf, just like you would for someone running a marathon. Except instead of showing my physical prowess, I’ll be sitting on my ass in front of a computer frantically typing away while consuming caffeine – an equally impressive display, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Like last year, my charity of choice is the Secular Student Alliance. I’ve gushed about them before, but let me reiterate what a fabulous organization the SSA is. The SSA aids secular, atheist, humanist, and freethinker student organizations across the US and the world. They help students start new groups at universities and high schools, provide information and event ideas to current groups, send great speakers to campuses, and encourage networking between the next generation of outspoken secular voices. If you’re reading my blog, I probably don’t have to explain why having these resources for young people is so important. For the sake of full disclosure, I am now a board member of the SSA. But that has just shown me how much hard work is going on behind the scenes at this organization.

Last year Blogathon was a great success. Not only did some of my readers have fun staying up with me during my increasing level of madness, but we raised $531.17 for the SSA! My readership has increased greatly since then, so I hope we can top that this year.

So what can you do to help?

1. Donate through this ChipIn widget, which goes to the SSA’s PayPal account. You can pledge a lump sum, or be more creative if you wish. Donate a sum of money based on my total word count, for every post you really liked, for every time you laugh, or for every time I say a particular word I overuse. Surprise me!

Oh, and $3,000 is kind of an arbitrary amount. I just think it’s fulfilling seeing that progress bar fill up, haha.

Spread the word! Post this on your blog, tweet it, tell a friend. And remind people to “tune in” on the 31st!

3. Inspire me! If I haven’t been answering your emails or questions on formspring.me, it’s because I’ve been saving up (sorry!). But I can never have too many blogging prompts. Ask me a question anonymously, or email me an idea at blaghagblog(at)gmail(dot)com.

4. Keep me company on the 31st. It helps knowing people are actually reading the posts I’m pumping out. And I try to keep them the same quality of my normal posts – I won’t throw up stupid filler just to meet my quota. It should be entertaining for everyone involved, especially since you can literally watch me get more delirious as the night goes on. And hey, it can get lonely at 5am. It’s good to know there’s another night owl out there.

So, help out a good cause and (hopefully) be entertained for a day!

Awesome godless party in Indianapolis!

Us godless heathens in Indiana have to stick together, and what better way to do so than with drinks and music? I won a VIP party at Howl at the Moon Indianapolis on June 11, and I figured I’d share the fun with my blog readers (man, what’s up with atheist bloggers winning VIP parties to Howl at the Moon?). Between 5pm and 8pm, we have:

– Free cover
– Free dinner buffet
– ½ price drinks

All you have to do is show up between that time and give my name at the door (Jennifer McCreight, pronounced McCRITE). I’ll probably get there between 5 and 6 to maximize my half priced drinks – Howl is tasty but kind of overpriced normally, so I suggest you do the same. Also, you have to be over 21. Sorry young people D:

If you’re coming, RSVP at the facebook event so I know who to expect. And don’t forget to say hello!

(Holy crap, I used the tags “Indiana” and “fun” in the same post! Never thought that would happen…)

What do you want to delete from your brain?

Sometimes I wish I could delete useless information that has slowly accumulated in my brain to make room for stuff that really matters. It makes me sad that I can still sing the whole Pokerap and every other song from the Pokemon CD, but memorizing stuff for biochemistry was nearly impossible. 150 Pokemon? No problem? 22 Amino acids and their structures? Gaaahhh! If only we made silly child jingles about biochemistry…

Though I do have one useful song I learned – a little ditty that sings every state in the US alphabetically! I’m amazed that I still remember it from 5th grade.

What useless knowledge would you delete from your brain if you could?