Sunday, July 31, 2005

Group Cycle Training

I fell in love with my group cycle teacher today. She was so good, I couldn't help it. I went to a training program for indoor cycle instructors (I found out I'm not allowed to call it "spinning" anymore because that's a trademark name) and got completely swept off my feet. She was smart, quick, to the point, interesting, inspiring, and most importantly TOTALLY HOT. I didn't think she was as hot at the beginning as I did at the end (although at the end she changed from a big Tshirt to a skimpy little tank top and that may have contributed). I got loads of good ideas, finally learned how to properly set up a bike and why (I won't have to make it up anymore!), chatted with some of my colleagues, wrote down some good song titles, got an awesome workout, and went home totally happy and satisfied. I decided it was well worth the horrifying drive into Uptown at 8 am on a Sunday. Maybe even worth the $50 and skipping lunch. Definitely worth converting to a lesbian.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cultural Modesty

At my boss' party Sunday night I had conversed lightly with him and his wife about how tough it is for women in our field because we're modest and self-depracating, and it's hard for women to launch into such a doubtful career when she can so easily talk herself out of it (whereas men don't ponder their success potential or the nature of the job itself nearly as much). This was actually originally my boss' theory but I agree with it and have tried to stop myself from letting my womanly nature change my career path (so far none of the women that have gotten a Ph.D. in our lab have gone on to be faculty at a research university, which is my goal... I think my boss is crossing his fingers that I'll make it).

So on Friday my boss told me in all modesty that the chair of my committee (also male) thought I was a little too modest (or even self-depracating) in my 9-month committee meeting on Thursday. They're good buddies and have probably discussed his theory so I don't think they were trying to be critical, they were just watching out for me and trying to make sure I don't ruin my potential by acting too modestly about my previous successes (think: job interview coming up in September). Nevertheless, because I'm a woman, criticism is always hard to take (especially from a respected male authority figure) so it took me most of the rest of the day to swallow it. Now that I've rolled it around my head for a while I've come up with the following conclusions:

To make it in this very male profession (8/28 people in our dpt are female, which is pretty good compared with national statistics) I will need to suppress some of my very female tendencies (particularly self-depracation, but also a little of the nurturing and nesting instincts as well). However, I am female and as such can bring to the table a whole new dynamic that can also be advantageous. For example, women are generally more social than men, forming a community where they will reach out and help each other with anything from the emotional to the technical - I wouldn't want to leave this behind for any job. I think that if there are enough brave females that enter a male profession then that profession will eventually begin to appreciate them (and not just the females that behave like males in order to fit in). I make it sound simple, but really what it comes down to is that there's no easy black and white on this one - as a woman you can't just act like a male without looking like a bitch (ex Martha Stewart) but many professions aren't suddenly going to become female friendly either (they haven't yet anyway).

I have realized recently that my boss is not just my advisor but my career idol; if I can be like him I think I would be happy. Except, I wouldn't want to be exactly like him because I'm not - I'm a woman. In that respect, I will have to be like him as best I can and sort out the rest for myself, and then I will be very happy.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

9-month

I did what we call in our program the "9-month" today which is conveniently the same length as human gestation. This "9-month" in our program is a meeting with your committee about 9 months before you expect to graduate, where your committee assesses your progress and sorts out your plans and approves or disapproves in general. They usually approve and it usually goes pretty well but I was a little nervous in general, particularly because I had to give a talk on some stuff I haven't talked about much yet and it was important that I be clear and confident. It was definitely good practice for my interview coming up in September. I got really positive feedback and a few glowing compliments that I think were well time since I was just getting myself all nervous about this upcoming interview.

I had been told through the grapevine that it's a good idea to bring food to all of your committee meetings so I went to a fancy grocery store in town (Lunds) and bought some good stuff and brought it today, and my committee members were all totally blown away and said they never get food except at oral exams (which two of them had been at that morning). It's these societal laws that always get me - to bring food or not to bring food? To cut up all the fruit and make a salad or to serve it separately? To use a fancy serving platter or to just throw it all on the table? These are the questions. I never know when it's appropriate to do what. That's why I like people who aren't offended by inappropriate behavior, like my boss, who didn't even notice a guy in our dpt that got all set up to do a sex-change surgery (before my time) which means he definitely wouldn't notice the appropriateness of my food display.

Bacterial Growth Curve

I just realized that almost everything can be compared to a bacterial growth curve (lag, exponential, stationary), such as:

Undergrad
Grad School
A new job
Preparing a talk
Writing a paper
Conversations

This just proves that microbiology is at the root of everything.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Introspect!

It seems we need some introspection every once in a while on our blogs so I decided to do some introspection myself. Today I'm going to introspect about Chipotle and farting (are these related? perhaps...).

O Chipotle why are you so yummy to me? Is it because you are spicy and tasty and cheap and fast all at the same time? Perhaps it is because the delicious herbs on your rice trigger my neurotransmitters like heroin and keep me coming back again and again. Maybe it's the tables outside that are so hip and happenin and groove with my beat. Maybe I like that there is one of you everywhere I turn (except Roseville) and I can get to you whenever I need you. O Chipotle why aren't you in Roseville? And for that matter why aren't you in Iowa or on the road to Iowa so I can eat you all the way to Iowa and whenever I go to Roseville? O Chipotle! I love you!!

My studly hubby once told me that the thing that surprised him most about me was how much I fart. I was so taken aback I farted. But as a microbiologist I know that each individual has their own farting risk level so perhaps mine is higher than average? But how would I know other than my studly hubby's perspective, which is compared to what? So I'm the first woman to fart in front of him, does that mean I fart more than other people? Actually, I probably do. I'm proud to be able to fart in front of my husband, I wouldn't have it any other way (that would just be uncomfortable). But, the problem with that is once you get used to farting in front of one person, you might accidentally let down your guard at work and have to figure out a way to cover it up because farting in public is a whole different story. At my work it's easy, you just open a bottle of something smelly and drop something noisy and nobody knows what happened (or so you tell yourself). But then it happens again the next day and the next because you do it all the time at home and can't remember the difference. Then suddenly you're known as The Farter and people are joking that your chair is going to get a big hole in it from all the fumes... no I wouldn't want that to happen at all so maybe I should reign it in a little.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Momento...

I better explain the very lewd comment my husband posted today. It was in response to a comment that was posted by a porno BLOG spammer. Yeah, that's right, they've reached a new low.

That comment had been removed by me as soon as I discovered it, which was unfortunately at the mass spec facility on a computer with a sign above it reading "DO NOT USE THESE COMPUTERS FOR ANY PURPOSE OTHER THAN MASS SPEC ANALYSIS." Clearly when the porno site came up on the computer my immediate response was to quickly close the viewer, remove the comment, and remove all evidence that I had been there, then move to the other side of the room.

I was on this illegal mass spec computer because I was a little shaky from a hard fall I made on the way to the facility and needed an excuse to sit down. I blasted past some dude and tore up the concrete steps, then tripped over my sandals and pitched forward onto my face at the top. The dude stepped over me and kindly said "are you ok?" I punched him in the face, picked myself up and launched off so I could make my appointment at the mass spec lab on time.

It wasn't my fault I was late to the mass spec facility. I had been previously distracted by a yo-yo craze that had overtaken our lab just prior. These yo-yo's were really cool and lit up when they spun, and it turns out my boss is an expert yo-yo'er and even knows how to "walk the dog." I had only ever seen that once before, when my yoga instructor - a former professional yo-yo'er (you better believe it!) - demonstrated for me in response to my doubt at his career claims.

The yo-yo craze was the fault of the New Girl in our lab, who wrote a nice sweet letter to the company that does iTRAQ, telling them how cool it is. In thanks, they sent her a bag full of glowing yo-yo's and she passed them all around the lab.

iTRAQ is a new mass spec technique that I was learning how to use down in the mass spec lab today.

Monday, July 25, 2005

... Wish it were Sunday...

I survived another Monday, this one was particularly brutal due to a late-night party at my boss' last night (late night is midnight these days, ah I do grow old...). He was throwing a goodbye party for my naked co-worker, who ships out this week but will be back briefly for a conference in Madison and one last week of partying.

I'm meeting with my committee this week to see whether they'll let me graduate someday and it's surprisingly hard preparing a list of what I want to do before I finish. I feel like there's a lot and not enough all at the same time.

I will leave you with some interesting things to do... my dad's ESL students have been exploring celebrity blogs and put up reviews of them, which I found very appealing. The whole blog-to-get-fans idea is interesting. It seems you have to make your blog, and your website, pretty freaking awesome to get people to talk enough to spread the word and get you more fans. It's worth a try though, especially if you don't mind the process in the first place. I have found blogging to be surprisingly refreshing. Another thing that's surprisingly refreshing is iced peppermint tea. Mmmmm! Here's another wild thing to check out: the Body Worlds Tour (in Cleveland right now!). This crazy German guy plasticates freshly dead people in interesting positions so their organs, blood vessels and nerves are totally preserved for your viewing pleasure. It was originally for education but now has become art. By boss' son was required to see both shows when they were in LA as part of his fancy art school program. I guess it's a little freaky but fascinating nonetheless.

And last but not least, Mohitos really are good drinks! Try one today. Immediately! I don't care if you're "working"!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

She's Back!

Sorry folks, I don't think I've ever been so long without blogging and it's certaining taking a toll. But here I am, you can all dance with glee and tell your friends! Let's see, where to start, where to start...

Well, the reason I was gone so long is a good place to start: HAIRY POOPER! Whoo!! Man that was a rush. I've never seen such an addictive piece of literature. There's all the good ole' stuff like badgers and chewing bubble gum and kicking ass, and some new stuff too like ever increasing plot suspense and TEENAGE LOVE (my favorite). I soaked it up like a rocker dropping acid. Then I spent an extra two hours re-reading all the good stuff to extract clues about the last book.

A lot of other stuff happened this week too: my friend and I organized our trip to Denmark, booked a hotel (that was a little complicated) and are all set, although we still have to prepare our poster presentations and get ourselves there. I also scheduled my interview in Seattle (the Friday after Labor Day). Meanwhile I'll be missing a month's worth of teaching spin classes at the gym so I had to find subs to fill them all. I also divorced my Studly Hubby, married a very rich guy, killed him, and inherited all his money. The Studly Hubby and I will be re-marrying once all the publicity dies down. My naked co-worker is on her way out of town next week but will be staying with us for a week in August while she finishes some things up - word has it that she's thinking about putting some clothes back on for her new job and we're all shocked. In her disoriented state upon deciding the fate of her nakedness, she accidentally gave away the ending of Hairy Pooper to another friend of ours and is deeply regretful.

And now, for a word about fried chicken: MMmmmm, fried chicken, you are so wonderful to me. My husband makes you with love and delivers you to me all hot and delicious and perfect. I yearn for you o fried chicken you are most cherished.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hold Please

Please hold while the operator reads the newest Hairy Pooper book....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Weekend Headlines: July 16th

My Dad started doing this thing where he reviews his life by headlines like you might see in the paper. I thought I might try it here. For reference, I'm J, my husband is D.

Weekend Headlines:

Heat wave continues to make midwesterners wish they were elsewhere (like Ohio)

D constantly harrasses J to come look at his balls (his "animated" balls)

Hairy Pooper no. 6 debuts, J nearly goes mad waiting for pre-ordered copy to arrive

J & D don swimsuits for first time this summer, J develops huge zit on her butt, has trouble sitting, wears swimsuit anyway

J gets asked to swing dance by a stranger, D is so excited he levitates at Junior Brown concert in downtown Mpls

J's boss offers freedom from the chains of school by December and discusses J's upcoming trips to Japan (possible), Florida (probable) and Denmark (imminent) this year

J begins vacation from teaching spin at the YWCA; proceeds to not exercise at all, zit on butt gets bigger due to butt expansion

J decides to contact one more person (in Toronto) about doing a post-doc; musters up nerve by trying to pop zit on butt

Zit on J's butt retaliates, J has to wear loose pants

J and D finally make it back to Dairy Queen, life resumes

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Husband's Balls

My husband just said to me,

"Wife, come over here and look at my balls," to which my response (of course) was,

"NO! You're disgusting."

It turns out he really did want me to look at his balls. Eventually he got me to come look at them and it turns out it was an animation of two balls bouncing around on his computer. Damn!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Total Link Haiku

Below is a haiku poem I wrote following all of my dad's complicated haiku rules: reference a state, be a little ambiguous, link all the words, one link goes to a season, another goes to a state. I think I got it!

The hardest part was definitely finding all the links. The links can totally change the meaning of the haiku and I'm not sure if I want any of it to have a particular meaning, plus hunting around on the internet for just the right thing always takes a little time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm Learning!

At any given moment I'm thick in the middle of all kinds of crazy stuff and a blog is a great place to document some of it. So here's a list of

The Things I Learned This Week:

0. You don't have to always start with 1.
1. My husband just spent the whole evening bouncing balls all over the living room (and video taping it) but I had to allow it because it was "homework."
2. The Dandy Warhols rock out. Rock out!
3. If you claim Ohio is not part of the midwest you piss all kinds of people off.
4. When it's too hot to go to Dairy Queen it's just too hot.
5. If you say "hey baby" while you're still half-asleep it sounds like "help me" and can really freak your husband out, especially after he says, "what? Are you ok?" and you don't respond because you fell back asleep.
6. Harry Potter books totally rule the second time around!! Totally!! Rule!!
7. Nick and Jessica of MTV's the Newlyweds are actually very good for society in that they directly argue against the theory that marriage and/or fame and/or fortune = paradise.
8. Netflix is super-great because you can rent things like MTV's the Newlyweds and it's free.
9. Onions are always bad, all the time (actually I didn't learn this just this week, I've known since mid-college, but it's worth documenting here).
10. If you give a good aching muscle a good long stretch you can really kill yourself.
11. Automatic spell-check is addictive (addictive in that you go through withdrawel symptoms when you don't have it, ex when blogging).
12. Birthday cards that say "You're Ass-Tastic" are way more fun than pretty flowery crappy ones.

Here's a few other notes about my week:

Notes about teaching aerobics: I get the week off next week from teaching spin and stretch classes at the YWCA because they're re-doing the floors. I gripe about this job sometimes, especially the class I have to get up at 5:45 am for on Fridays (blah!), but you know, when I found out I get the entire week off I felt a little lost and confused, and maybe even sad. I'm actually not sure I'll survive it. Whoa! That was the opposite of the reaction I thought I'd have.

Notes about my career: I got an interview! With the guru in Seattle! I was so delirious with excitement I fell over myself and couldn't remember my own name, then immediately became dysfunctionally nervous. Hopefully I can pull myself together before the Big Date (sometime in September).

bouncing farting rockin out midwestern DQ hairy potty oniony ass-tacticalness!

J-funk
12,342

More Tunes to Rock To

Another great band to rock out to happens to be that put together by my famous aunt in NYC. Her name is Margot Leverett and she has some serious Google rank. Her band, The Klezmer Mountain Boys, is made up of some of the best musicians around and really grooves (seriously) to the beat of an interesting combination of Klezmer and bluegrass. The Paul Taylor Dance Company recently discovered them and choreographed part of their show to some tracks on her new CD. To listen to some of the music on her CD, check out her website. She's thinking about starting up a blog like me because mine is so hip and happenin. Also she's thinking it'll get her some publicity by the method of Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and the Dixie Chicks. If anybody has any other thoughts on publicity for bands via websites and blogs please make comments so they can be pondered by all.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Pink Feathers

We finished up a fabulous weekend with glitter and spark and a pink feather boa. My very studly hubby bought me a gift certificate to iTunes and set it up for me with his own credit card for further purchases. I tell you, it's really lovely having a sugar daddy, and that iTunes world is pretty suite. We also grilled out in the sticky July heat and clucked as hens do with our good friends, prevailed in the sun on an adventure to the Dairy Queen, led an expedition through an exhausting spin class without air conditioning (that's right villainous YWCA, I am indestructable), and ate at Chipotle like monsters.

It looks like my naked co-worker is heading out the door in less than three weeks, she will be dearly missed. She leaves amidst chaos; soon we may be taking on Crazy Bow-Tie Man (rotating thusly) and High-Pitched Screaming Woman (joining our lab after a show-down with her previous prof). I personally prefer the naked simplicity of my naked co-worker but I guess I will grimace and bear the potential discomfort of my new environment. My naked co-worker will not leave without making her mark; in addition to urinating all over the lab she has broken most of our equipment, personally offended almost everyone (especially Crazy Bow-Tie Man), and outright refused to be productive for several months. Yet we will all be confused and lost without her; the lab may shut down to lament her loss for at least an afternoon while we go to a St. Paul Saints minor league baseball game. Maybe crazy bow-tie man and high-pitched screaming woman will toss in some of their own new flavor and excitement and we'll all be able to recover somehow.

Meanwhile I continue to sweat through this outrageous heat wave and hope that I will someday make it back to Dairy Queen where the heavenly Crunch Cone prolongs my survival.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Rockin' Out

I did a little research on the White Stripes after my Studly Hubby told me there are only two people in it that are brother and sister yet were married. Intrigued by the possibility of a gross brother-sister/husband-wife story, I googled them and found this very interesting article from some radio station. Apparently Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes are originally from the midwest (Detroit, Michigan IS part of the midwest, see below post). For some reason they did claim to be brother and sister and never quelched rumors that they were which made for good press (hey it made ME look them up), although the marriage and divorce certificates have been widely publicized and are hard to dispute. More interestingly, Meg had never played drums till she met Jack and yet they are revolutionizing rock with their unique stripped down rock flavor. They record only in old-school analog recording studios and have no bass player, which has not been tried successfully since the Doors. Another interesting bit of information: on the album Elephant (i.e. Seven Nation Army - Jack's "Salvation Army" as a kid) Jack plays a vintage "Res-O-Glas" Airline guitar that used to be a cheapo guitar distributed by Montgomery Wards, which he pumps through an octave peddle. Does this remind anyone of what Jimi Hendrix did to the electric guitar in the '60s? Good stuff.

On that same note, we watched a really fascinating movie last night called DIG!, recommended by the Netflix guy on his weekly review a local radio station. DIG! profiles two pretty decent rock bands, The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre from the very beginning of their careers, through the rise and fall, and rise again, of their inspiration, the record contracts, tours, drugs, and press, and we just realized that The Dandy Warhols were recently on the soundtrack for the OC. We never figured out what DIG! stands for but the movie was fascinating and very well done. Plus, both bands are pretty good.

Living on the Edge

My Dad says I'm living on the edge, I think that's because I claimed Ohio is not in the midwest against his expert opinion. My naked coworker and several others agree that Ohio is Midwest, however, explain these distinguishably non-midwestern features:

Ohio is in a DIFFERENT TIME ZONE
All the houses in Ohio are very East-Coast
You can drive to the OCEAN from Ohio in under a day

I hereby claim Ohio is Mideast (not to be confused with Middle East).

Midwest: Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missourri, Illinois, Kansas, and Michigan.

Unfortunately, the government does not agree with me and considers Ohio part of the midwest (although Kansas is not included on the list on the main page it is include on an official list found elsewhere on the site). I admit this only to prevent an all-out brawl on this thus-far peaceful blog.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

From Coast to Coast

You are extremely not like me if you:

Have a real job (and therefore make money)
Do not live in the midwest (Ohio is not the midwest)
Sit at a desk all day
Order fancy bottles of alcohol with dinner

So imagine my delight when a friend of mine from college (let's call her Steve) shot me an email about six months ago and said she has a job (a real desk job, where she makes money!) and does not live in the midwest anymore. Whoa! She has a COOL job, working for the government bossing people around and making sure they follow all their own environmental laws. Steve recently married an equally interesting guy, lets call him Jane, who is in LAW school at STANFORD. Whoa, WHOA!! You know what I always say: Lawyer friends are GOOD friends. We went out to eat, they ordered a fancy bottle of alcohol with dinner, I gawked for a while at them and then drank some of their alcohol. It turns out Steve met Jane when they were on the other coast, in DC, just after Steve and I graduated from college. Since Steve is originally from the midwest, and Jane is originally from the coast, they had really interesting perspectives on where they've lived and where they want to live. The most amazing thing, though, was that even though they seem way different from us, we have all this stuff in common with them: we also just got married and are still renting, we are all going to move again in a year, and we all love snow, Lord of the Rings and iTunes, and drinking alcohol with dinner.

I think Steve and Jane are our alter-ego reverse selves that live opposite lives. It's a really good thing Steve and I met in college, otherwise the Universe may have imploded. Also, coincidentally and kind of unrelated, Steve looks uncannily similar to an esteemed colleague of mine that is now working at Princeton (who also has a real job and makes real money, but his job isn't a desk job). It's possible that Steve is his alter-ego reverse self also, implying that it's possible to live more than one opposite life at once. If that's true, then I must have at least one other alter-ego reverse self as well. I vow to find and destroy all of my alter-ego reverse selves, except Steve and Jane because they're pretty fun.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ahhhh, the little things

And now I sit back and take pleasure in the little things in life...

- Farting in yoga class (oh yeah!)
- The Blogger T-shirt - this one's a keeper
- Japan's perverted junior high kids - a jewel editorial
- Farting into the fume hood at work (O sweet fume hood how we love thee)
- Co-workers who have the guts to just get naked
- Blueberries!
- Poison Ivy - I will defeat you yet, you bastard you, the war has just begun
- Blogging at work! Wheeee!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

ADD and... what?

A relative of mine is getting tested for attention deficit disorder, which is no surprise since I have it and it's genetic. Part of testing means you send out a questionaire to people who know you to fill out so they can answer questions like "does this person get set off easily?" or "does this person have trouble sitting still?" Clearly if you knew the symptoms for ADD and you had good friends you could rig it and get a fake diagnosis, but for those of us who actually do have ADD it's a very interesting wake-up call, especially when someone who knows you well, but is unrelated to you and doesn't have ADD (like perhaps your spouse) fills out the form. My husband is such a creature. Unlike me, neither of his parents have ADD and it was never considered normal in his household to have three separate conversations going on at dinner when only three people are present. For this reason, I had him help me fill out the form to get a better perspective (well sure, this person does fidget a lot but that's normal right?).

ADD in our society is an interesting phenomenon. In primitive times, it was probably really helpful to have a few members of the tribe that had it (they estimate about 4% of adults have it), to keep things interesting and provide a sensitive and creative perspective (article). Why is it suddenly a problem now? I think it's because our society in the late '90's took a swing towards crazy. Education is becoming more necessary for sucess, but is less and less optimal for kids with ADD (and kids in general) to get through (increasing class sizes, longer classes, no PE, recess, or art classes for outlet, etc). We have to be focused more and more and more to make it work, both in school and in our career, thus it's becoming very hard for people with ADD to find ways to make it work. That's why it's important to remember why it stuck around in our society all this time - because it really does benefit the population, and in today's crazy world there are still ways that having ADD can be really helpful. And, if you think really hard, you may realize that a few of the people who have contributed some of the most spectacular ideas to our society may have had ADD.

Are you thinking Einstein, Mozart, and Walt Disney yet?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Zonked

We just got back tonight from a lovely weekend adventure in Iowa - by the end I was thoroughly over-stimulated. Tonight I will get drunk and begin my recovery. Part of the overstimulation was due to some major storms sweeping through that caused problems at my mom's house with the electricity (including the water supply), phone, computer, tv antennae, and her coward dog (who jumped through a window to get IN to her house, have you ever heard of such a thing?). What's up with all these crazy storms this year? It was all very exciting. We went out in the rain to pick some rasberries this morning which is a lot more fun than it sounds, and I got one-on-one time with my horse, who continues to pretend he doesn't miss me but I've seen a few spots of affection leak out now and then (usually when he's been tranquilized by the vet). I'm pretty sure I got poison ivy again too, but what's a weekend trip to Iowa without poison ivy?