Sunday, October 30, 2005

Break-in at the Hotel J & D Rock

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

There's been a break-in at the hotel J & D Rock, thought to have occurred at approximately 2 am Sunday, October 30. Two bikes, a blue one belonging to the D and a red one belonging to the J, are the only things that appear to have been stolen. They were taken from the basement of the 4-plex that the Hotel J & D Rock is part of, the perpetrators entered through the back door after breaking a window. The approximate value of the bikes and accessories stolen is $900. Fortunately, J & D carry renter's insurance and a claim has been reported.

Upon hearing the news, the landlord of the building cussed a stream of swear words and immediately changed his plans for the day so that he could change the locks, fix the window, frost the basement windows, and speak to the neighbors and police. Several tenants in the building subsequently came home to find the locks had been changed and they had no key, and had to ring all the other tenant's doorbells to be let in. In addition, the spray paint used to frost the windows caused all the tenants to experience dizziness and creative hallucinations.

J & D, as well as another tenant we shall call "Truck," heard the break-in but were unaware that it was not just a third tenant, who we shall call "Lamp," getting home. "Lamp" actually did get home around the same time as the break-in occurred, but was drunk, and came in a different door, so didn't suspect anything unusual. The noise that occurred during the break-in was quite unusual and J & D considered going out in the hallway to check things out, thinking "Lamp" may have passed out in the hallway or something, but decided not to and are now glad they didn't considering the scene they might have found was beyond what they could have dealt with in their pajamas in the middle of the night. These thiefs may have been coming home from a costume party! They may have been dressed up like some scary political figures like George W and Dick Cheney! And worse, they may have been riding J & D's bikes as they fled the scene!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Heptamurder by PrgY

I gave lab meeting this week at work that I titled Heptamurder by PrgY, which is a nerdy Halloween reference to my project. But, I'm proud of it so I'm posting it. I also found the following picture to put on the first slide:

I'm not sure if anyone even noticed it because they were too busy oggling over the beer I brought, which was a big hit. We all got wasted, went bar hopping, and I came home with two strangers that my husband had to angrily send home. Who ever knew lab meeting could get so wild! I also made pumpkin pie, as practice for my upcoming favorite holiday (Thanksgiving). So, I am publicly patting myself on the back for such a great show at lab meeting, even though I had hardly any data to present due to my month-long absence from the lab.

I also hung up some pumpkin lights in our window in celebration of Halloween. We have some eyeball lights, but from the street you can't tell they're eyeballs so I decided to make them Christmas eyeball lights and hang them up at Christmas. This may greatly anger some of you, and I know it's not right, but it's just the way it is and there's nothing that can be done about it.

We won't be going to any parties this year, because my naked co-worker who usually throws a good party and even puts some clothes on for halloween is now living in Portland and it's just too far. So this year we probably won't dress up at all and since we live in an apartment we have never gotten any trick-or-treaters so it should be a pretty mellow night. I did buy a bag of candy about a month ago in case we got a trick-or-treater but the bag got eaten much faster than I anticipated due to the enormous capacity of my candy-fanatic-husband. So now if we get any trick-or-treaters we'll just have to yell at them out the window to go away.

I guess in Sweden they have a day near Easter where all the little kids dress up like witches and go out with their broomsticks to collect candy from people. They all like a good strong coffee there and since no witch would ever be without her coffee pot the kids actually collect the candy in the coffee pots instead of in plastic pumpkins like US kids do. I guess that ensures a perpetually good coffee market there whereas here it's more like a perpetual love for pumpkins and pumpkin pie, although we still have a pretty good coffee market.

Speaking of pumpkins, I have to mention that and several other sources are reporting the phenomenon of the new trendy "ghost pumpkins" (white pumpkins). You can also buy miniature white pumpkins, which are called "baby boos." While the sexual orientation of these white pumpkins has been brought to question, it appears that this new trend is in large part due to a recent spread in Martha Stewart Living. These new "designer pumpkins" are expanding to include green, blue, and beige pumpkins (according to the Chicago Tribune). Personally, I'm impressed. Our society never ceases to find new twists to old themes and market them into popularity.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Big Thank You

I got my car back yesterday from my Studly Mechanic at Como Imports. I owe them a big thank you for putting in all the extra work without charging the extra buck for it. They even kept it in their garage overnight with the windows open to help air it out (carpet is almost dry now). It's running pretty good and has a turn signal and seat belt back where it belongs and it starts when it should and all those nice things good legal cars do. I'm still mulling over exactly what to do to thank them and thought I'd start with a nice card that goes something like this...

The card has a BEFORE pic on the front:

Then inside is the AFTER pic:

and then a big THANK YOU!!!!

Some of you that have seen my car may be thinking, wow, I don't remember it being so shiny and new looking and rust-free and all the same color like that. Some of you that are more observant may be saying to yourself, hey, I'm pretty sure J-Funk's car isn't a station wagon. Well, you are all correct in your wondering because this isn't really my car, even though it's the same color and definitely just as fine. I hijacked this pic off of a website advertising this 1989 Toyota Camry for sale for $4,599. It only has 128,249 miles on it. It even resides in the groovy state of Washington. If you're interested you can check it out yourself at

I've been thinking, if I could get on Pimp My Ride and get my car fixed up all nice maybe it would be worth that, too. Only a few dollars less because of all those extra miles. And maybe a few dollars less than that because of those couple of blemishes in the History Report (what deep water? accidents?). But I could still at least make back what I've spent this month don't you think?

So here's a summary:
Having your car towed to Como Imports: $80
Getting the water drained out from under the hood and all the spark plugs replaced: $200
Pop-starting your car to get it back to Como Imports: free (thank goodness)
New starter, alternator belt, and some pre-deep water long-needed maintenance like a new turn signal: more than I care to admit
Having an old car: PRICELESS

Let's go over what's so great about having an old car, just so we're on the same page. I can bop up onto a curb, run into a street sign, drive into a ditch, get keyed on the street, get my trunk busted into, leave it unlocked at night (which may prevent getting the trunk busted into again), and run into it with a shopping cart... all with the worry-free attitude of an old car owner. Plus I pay less in car insurance because if I wreck it I sure won't fix it.

Now we just have to decide... is it safe enough to drive out of the neighborhood?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hurricane Wilma

Another hurricane was heading for Florida on Sunday so of course my mom hopped a plane heading straight into it and dragged my grandma with her. My uncle (her brother) is getting married Wednesday near Orlando and they had originally planned to go Monday. They thought they would go a day early instead to be sure to be there for all the chaos. From the sounds of it, some fruit got blown off the trees, a few branches fell here and there, the fence is looking a little worse, but all seems to be ok. I guess when it comes down to it there's actually not much to do but stay inside and wait it out, and that's exactly what they had to do. They sent a few emails to me and checked my blog, and probably watched some tv and took a nap, and then when it was all over they went outside and helped clean up the yard. I guess in addition to the hurricane there were a few tornados and unfortunately the golf course was closed today and several people in the party had wanted to go play.

Most important, the wedding is still on (I think) and all the activities are resuming as planned this afternoon, without the golfing. Congrats Steve and Sandy! Sorry I couldn't be there!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pork Chops

Exerpt from an email I wrote this morning (I think it's very funny so I thought I'd post it):

"My Studly Hubby had something he had to finish at work - he had to set up this thing to 'render' which I guess takes about an hour. So I thought I'd sit down and write a few emails and all of a sudden he started cooking pork chops at the stove behind me. It's 8 am! I don't get it.

"Ok I just asked him what the hell, are we eating dinner now or what? because it smells damn good and now I want some. He pushed me away and exclaimed No! this is going in the crockpot for dinner. I was like, Damn! We had a brawl with some kung fu action and now I guess I lost because I'm back at the computer finishing up my email and he's still cooking pork chops."

Girls are BETTER

More evidence that girls are better:

This week's issue of Nature has an article about how pollution increases the probability of girls being born in that area. In addition,
"Research shows that natural disasters and crises such as terrorist attacks can increase the probability that a newborn is female."

Why would this be?

According to the article, there are two possiblities:
1. "This is thought to be the safer reproductive bet, as girls are likely to grow up and have a few children of their own. Boys are a more risky venture: they could father dozens of children, or none at all."

2. Boys are the weaker sex: "...
some scientists speculate that Y-chromosome sperm, which will produce boys, are weaker than X-chromosome sperm, and therefore more susceptible to environmental stresses. But that has not actually been proven..."

I venture a third option:
3. GIRLS ARE SMARTER, PRETTIER, and REQUIRE FEWER RESOURCES, therefore are better able to survive and overturn challenging circumstances.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Attention Germ-Phobes!

Finally! A study is done that shows the ineffectiveness of antibacterial soap!

Please stop filling our sewers up with antiobiotics and chemicals and use plain old soap that works just as well. These antibacterial soaps can be "evolution in action" and promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria, right on your hands after you wash them. According to this same article (through, the FDA is considering putting warning labels on antibacterial soaps due to their potential danger to the environment.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Successful Pop-Start

I found out today that I can successfully pop-start a car. It was extremely fun. For those of you who want to try it, I suggest the following:

1. Find a high traffic area, such as a freeway or major intersection.
2. Push uphill
3. Recruit the weakest-looking person you can find to push your car, and have someone very very heavy drive it, and throw some bowling balls in the trunk for extra weight.
4. Put your car in any gear but 2nd
5. Keep the car going very slow, if the speedometer moves it's too fast
6. Leave the emergency brake on
7. Get drunk first

If you follow these seven tips, I guarantee you will have an exciting adventure.

Looooong Week

I haven't blogged since Monday, so I will sum up for all y'all (that's a Texan plural) in case you missed me.

Discovered something I have been working on at the lab for the last three months was impossible due to an error I found in the sequence, banged my head against the wall all day. Got home, meant to take my car in to the mechanic to have a few more minor things looked at, and the car wouldn't start. Tried to pop-start it with no luck, but my Studly Hubby is only one man and couldn't push as fast as perhaps him and a football player would. So I called up my football player friend and made a date for Saturday. Went to yoga at the YWCA, was too pissed off to loosen up, ended up pulling a muscle in my hip.

Wednesday: Can't remember due to severe rage leftover from Tuesday.

Thursday: Went out to lunch with a person applying to do a post-doc in our lab. She paid (yay!). At 5:00, a mechanic at the car place called. He thought the problem was the safety on the clutch (a button on the floor that is depressed by the clutch when it's in - this ensures that the car can't be started without the clutch being in, because if it were started in gear and the clutch was out the car would lurch forward dangerously, hence it's called the 'safety'). I've been having problems with the safety on my car and apparently the mechanic found a penny super-glued to the bottom of the clutch so it could better reach the button. This penny fell off when he discovered it, and he super-glued it back on and thought maybe it had fallen off again. For the record, I had no previous knowledge of this penny. Apparently one of my old mechanics did this and forgot to tell me. Everyone at work decided I should name my car "Lucky Penny" or "Calamady Jane" depending on how things went that night.

Thursday night: my car's name became "Calamady Jane." I called the mechanic and discussed with him whether I should tow it back to the mechanic or off to the junk yard. His advice of course was to tow it to him (we now think the starter is broken) but I still haven't decided. We're still planning to try to pop-start it on Sat.

Friday: Taught a painful spin and stretch class in the wee hours of the morning, cleaned out the cold room and freezers at work and found some interesting stuff, including a clear plastic bag full of contaminated liquid sitting on a lead plate in the cold room. Finally heard from my long-lost naked co-worker in Oregon, it turns out she's been "busy." Overheard an interesting conversation between my boss and the new visiting Swedish post-doc about antibiotic development and how bad vancomycin is (the current "last-resort" antibiotic) - and how any newly developed antibiotic, when compared to vancomycin, looks like the new wonder-drug. Apparently drug development companies, after they've developed a new drug, have to make a large, clean quantity of it that can cost millions in order to test it on all the different levels required by the FDA. This visiting post-doc is a clinician that likes to swab people's butts in the ICU of the hospital to see what kinds of antibiotic resistant bugs they are carrying around, so her input on our research has really opened up some new considerations.We have had one other Swede in our lab in the time I've been there, and both of them have offered an interesting perspective on what I thought I knew about science and technology and industry.

Monday, October 17, 2005


If you do a search for ME on PubMed you will now find an article in PNAS....! My Studly Hubby claims total lack of comprehension of even the abstract so I apologize if you are also confused. This abstract was actually much more comprehendable than my last one so you all should really be thanking me.

Gvisit and Blog Sloggers

I have had my website monitored by a tool available at gvisit. You can see who is visiting my website here. I, of course, am obsessed with it and check it quite frequently and have realized the following:

- a LOT of random people visit my website (welcome! grab a cookie!)
- a few of these random people visit my website regularly (glad to see you again! more cookies?)
- my friends visit my website less regularly (what happened to 50 times a day people? You've been slacking! RSS feeds don't cut it!)
- the gvisit thing misses a few visits, and misplaces even more visits, but gives me a pretty good idea of the kind of traffic I'm getting which is quite fun - the bad thing is it only updates about three times a day
- I visit my own website obsessively

I have also had quite a few blog sloggers come through here. This is my definition of any kind of solicitor, but is not limited to that definition as I have used it before to describe other kinds of blogging. When I changed the comments section to require re-entry of a random string of letters the frequency of blog sloggers went way down, but I still get a few. One was specifically for a post I made about giant microbes (a few down) and may have been the result of a smart kind of web crawler search engine thingy that I was pretty impressed by. I want to get one of those thingies. I would search out all blogs that mention ME and then comment about MYSELF on their blog. That's probably only a few blogs, and they are probably all blogs I know about. But still! it would be pretty neat-o.

You look as good as me.... and I look REALLY good!

My day today (atypical):

7:20 - drag myself out of bed
8:00 - drag myself to work, check email, set up short experiment
8:30 - 10:00 - mtg with visiting faculty - find out during the meeting that I may have to present something but hadn't prepared and was saved by the bell
10:00 - 11:00 - get back to the lab and am mobbed by an undergrad full of questions
11:00 - attempt to finish my experiment, run to the sequencing facility to drop it off
12:00 - attend seminar
1:00 - 2:30 - lunch with visiting faculty, I ask: "as a woman, what's your advice to a woman going into your field?" her response: "hire a housecleaner"
2:30 - 3:30 - drop off the receipt for lunch, watch a "car commercial" halloween joke sent through email by a friend and pee my pants when a ghost jumps out at the end, have to go change my pants
3:30 - 4:30 - Go to a presentation on a journal club article I hadn't read, realize as usual I should have read it
4:30 - 5:30 - attend 'beer and science,' eat half a bag of salt and vinegar chips despite still being totally full from lunch
5:30 - waddle home
6:00 - go out running with husband, pass TWO people that come to my cycle class at the gym, ask my husband "do I look like a slog when I'm running?" and my husband responds, "you look as good as me... and I look REALLY good!"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

More Giant Microbes

Again, speaking of giant microbes, I have been trying to keep the microbes at bay that are growing in the carpets of my still-wet car. Last Thursday I implemented a genius plan, hatched with the help of one of my fully clothed co-workers, to rent a carpet cleaner from Menards (only $15!!). I borrowed another friend's garage and shopvac and went crazy. Unfortunately it was dark so I wasn't sure how good of a job I was doing until later but it turns out I did something right because the next morning the car no longer smelled of swamp or of Febreeze but instead reeked of the heavenly scent of carpet shampoo (which I'm just as allergic to but at least it's a more appropriate smell for a car than swamp). I'm not totally in the clear yet though, the automatic seatbelts are still not working (although there is a manual override buried deep in a hard-to-reach crevice between the front and back door, and I'm working on manually inching them back into place). The overhead light is dead, the turn signal still hasn't been fixed, and a huge hunk of rust fell off the bottom of the driver's side door last week leading me to believe that the door may not be 100% protective from the elements anymore. In addition, the safety on the clutch has thrown a fit and now you have to stomp the clutch in with all your might to get the car to start (it was already what the car mechanics would call 'theft protected' - incredibly difficult to get the clutch in far enough to start - now it's nearly 'owner protected' as well). I will take it back to my mechanic next week with some fresh-baked cookies and see what kinds of things we can rig up. Ignoring all these little setbacks however the car is doing great and purrs like a kitten when driven through the neighborhood (we won't venture onto the freeways for fear of our lives).

Since I was at a conference all weekend I feel like tonight, Sunday night, is Friday, except there will be no weekend tomorrow. This is going to be a long week. Or perhaps I'll have to throw a little weekend into the middle of my week.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Giant Microbe

An undergrad I supervised on a directed research project a few years ago recently sent me a stuffed giant microbe. They don't make one for the bug I work on so he sent me the Flesh Eating Strep bug, which is the most closely related one that they make. Since Great Science Nerds think alike I was already aware of this company and had previously given a Giant Microbe to My Naked Coworker as she bolted out of town a few months ago - since she was going out to the west coast to work on gonorrhea I gave her the Clap. Now I can tell everyone I gave my Naked Coworker the Clap, which is something I had always wanted to say but had never actually wanted to do. Anyways the gift from my former undergrad was a nice token of appreciation and made me feel squishy good all over which is always great, plus I finally got a Giant Microbe for myself.

Speaking of giant microbes, the Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference is being hosted here at the University of Minnesota this weekend which the chair of my committee organized so I felt obligated to attend and present a poster of my recent work. Plus, a post-doc in my lab presented early this morning and was preceeded by two former post-docs of the lab I'm going to in Seattle, so I had even more motivation to go so I could introduce myself to my future colleagues and see what everyone had to say. It was for the most part a good show. The post-doc from my lab said at the beginning of his talk, which was about the bug we work on (Enterococcus faecalis): "you may not know much about Enterococcus faecalis but it certainly knows you." I thought that was pretty funny since Enterococcus faecalis is a poop-bacteria. As he was talking I was thinking Poop! Bacteria! Poop! Bacteria! My advisor has actually been known to show a picture of his own colon on occasion when introducing our beloved poop bacteria at national conferences.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


My plans tonight were thwarted - I had rented garage space over at a friend's house who lives in the neighborhood so I could clean the carpets of my car using their shopvac. It was a pretty sweet deal - they have all the things you don't find out on the street like good lighting, electricity, shelter from the rain (and it's raining) - however one of them is sick and they have a baby so we postponed for tomorrow night. I instead settled for spraying a half a bottle of Febreeze on the carpets to calm the stench. Now it stenches of Febreeze but I think that's better than the previous stench which was something like dirty laundry and swamp, not that I'm totally sure what a swamp smells like since I'm from Iowa.

I was all psyched up to clean my car tonight so when I couldn't it was too late to psych myself up for another project. I instead decided to watch Buffy on DVD but my Studly Hubby, in a moment of extreme un-Studliness, kicked me off the tv to watch Martha Stewart's The Apprentice. Zing! If you think that's pretty un-Studly of him, you should let him know at his blog. I think he'd really appreciate it. I found a way to circumvent this - since I am pretty studly myself, I have a laptop that plays DVD's so I retreated to the bedroom to watch Buffy on my laptop in peace and quiet - no boys allowed. In the event that my un-studly husband discovers that Martha Stewart isn't all he thought it was going to be, I barricaded the door with tampons and nail polish and de-cootied myself with lavender scented body spray. That'll stop him! Or at least make him extremely uncomfortable! Although after watching Martha Stewart my diversions may not prove nearly as effective.

Well, I better move on to the Buffy-thon without further ado.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Car Homecoming

My car has been diagnosed healthy and was brought back home today with a prescription for heavy driving and lots and lots of shifting. I guess some water got into the transmission when it was flood out by - ahem - a little water in the road - and they're afraid it's going to rust and lock up, so keeping the gears moving will help prevent that. So, my Studly Hubby has been assigned the task of taking it to work and driving it all around which should give it the ego boost it needs right now.

The car has suffered some permanent damage. The automatic seatbelts, which were on the fritz for many many years, have finally declared life too difficult and thrown in the towel. I will discuss with the mechanic later this week my options for locking them permanently back into place. Also, the "fasten seatbelts" light, obviously traumatized by this whole ordeal, is no longer on or off, but constantly flashing. Since tonight is the first time I've been able to drive it, I still haven't properly washed the carpets so they are starting to stink just a wee bit - I will do my best tomorrow cleaning them out but I fear there may always linger a slight stench. And most disconcerting, and possibly what may be the eventual doom of my car, the clutch now sticks when you push it in, although shifting through the gears is fine. It also idles nice and smooth, starts up well, stops and goes as usual, and maintains a generally cheerful disposition. My 1989 Toyota Camry will never die!

In other news, my mom's car is most likely totalled. She's upset but it was insured so it's not as bad as it could be. We sent off the proofs for my PNAS paper today, which means it will be coming out within the month (or so they say), and I spent the evening helping my Studly Hubby videotape himself pushing his car up the alley so he could have reference material for a "big push" animation he's working on. As he replayed the movie, he discovered some audio commentary on it describing his bulging muscles and amazing strength. I don't know who did that, but it wasn't me!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Car Prognosis

My Studly Mechanic called me today to let me know he thinks he can fix my car up - it needs to have the water drained out and the spark plugs replaced and the oil and filter changed but it seems to be ok. It still hasn't started however because they haven't actually done anything but look at it. He estimated it would cost about $250. Not bad! Now I just need to remember not to do it again.

We are having totally fantastic fall weather here, this is the best season in the midwest. We have loads of sunshine, warm weather during the day, and lots of autumn smells and colors. Everyone tries to get out in it as much as possible since every nice day may be the last.

After a distracting week last week my Studly Hubby had to spend the entire weekend trying to get his assignment done at top-speed. He pulled out all the stops to maximize his work time and was so exhausted after he turned in the assignment Sun night he could hardly see straight. Not too exhausted to go to Chipotle though.

Mmmmm, Chipotle.

A Happy Birthday to my little bro Eli tomorrow! Hope being four is as good as being three. It certainly was for me.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Angry Cars

I think the entire race of cars are out to get me and my family. Or, a higher Car Accident God is trying to get us and the cars themselves are actually fighting it, because we've all stayed relatively safe (and dry). My little brother on my Mom's side got into a doozy of an accident last night taking some ladies to homecoming - they were all dressed up and caravanning there, picking up people all over the country side when a corner was taken too fast and a rollover ensued. Everyone made it out safe and sound although the car may be done for. And last night, my husband's car tricked me into forgetting to turn the lights on TWICE and I almost hit someone.

Another funny thing happened last night. I went to the airport to pick someone up, parked in the short-term GREEN lot, followed the signs to the international pickup area, found the person I was picking up, then all the elevators changed location and the GREEN lot moved to another side of the airport. I swear. It took us forty-five minutes to find it again.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Angry Furnace

We turned on the heat yesterday because it was getting really cold but mostly because we were having some friends over last night and didn't want everybody to be chattering their teeth. In Minnesota people generally go as long as they possibly can in the fall without turning their heat on and we're typically no exception to that rule. When we turned on our heat yesterday our furnace got angry and sent out as much heat as it possibly could full-blast until we called our landlord to come turn it off again. It turns out some valve was catching on something so it was constantly in the 'open' position. Anyway our apt got up to 90 degrees and wouldn't go below 85 even with all the windows wide open. Our friends were very toasty warm last night.

Today I made use of my wide-open afternoon and took four towels over to my car to towel-dry the carpet. I folded the towels, set them on the floor in the front or back seat, then hopped in and stomped on top of them as they soaked up all the water. Then I came home and threw the towels straight into the laundry. It seemed to be a very effective method because the carpet was starting to finally just feel damp at the end instead of sopping wet, and the towels also seem to be ok (I was afraid they would stain but they didn't). The only part that I can't do this to is the patch of carpet under the seat, and I may have to use creative and excessive measures to get that part dry but the rest of it has been surprisingly easy to deal with.

I also got some specific instructions on how to pop open the distributor to let it dry and excitedly went back to my car, popped open the hood, then stared under it with increasing disappointment as I realized I know nothing about where anything is under there and even if I did I am not strong enough to pry off a distributor that hasn't been touched in 17 years without killing myself in the process. I called up the tow company, found out it'll cost $100 to tow my car the 3 miles to the mechanic, and tried to convince my Studly Hubby that it's worth pushing it over there instead. Then my Studly Hubby decided maybe he's like to help me with the distributor and we settled on a date for tomorrow afternoon, at my car, dressed for success. Wish us luck.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Free Pizza and Oreos!

My day has just been made. I had free pizza at 10:30 and oreos (4 so far) at 11:00. Now I really feel like a nap.

I have learned two things from the google map thing:

1. Google maps are highly inaccurate - when I check my own website from my apartment in Minneapolis the Google map tells me it was in St Paul and indicates on the map that it was Washington, DC. Hrm.

2. You people don't check my blog enough, or the Google map isn't keeping track of you very well. I insist you all check my blog every hour at least!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I know where you are!

Thanks to, I can now keep track of all of you!

This sweet little map by google shows me (and you) where you all are. Super fun!

Helloooooo Munich!

Car Visit

We visited my car yesterday. She's kind of lonely over there in that strange neighborhood four blocks away but my Studly Hubby thinks it's good for her to socialize with new people and new cars. She still wouldn't start, even when my Studly Hubby's Studly Geo tried to lend her a battery jump-start. She's trying to turn over with normal sounds but not actually starting which my Studly Hubby's car-knowledgable dad thought meant that the distributor got wet and my Studly mechanic over at Como Imports thinks may be a good sign (at least the motor isn't wet and it didn't get water-locked like two other cars he got in yesterday - they both had to have new motors put in). Anyway we're going to give it another day or two to dry out and then we may give up and tow it over to the Studly mechanic over at Como Imports.

In other news - our phone got fixed yesterday two days ahead of schedule which was really exciting, although the blogspot website seemed to be down all night so again I am posting while at work today. We heard on the news that there was water damage all over the city from the storm and it was a crazy amount of water we received (equivalent to 6 feet of snow) - the most in one storm all year and comparable to a chaotic mess in 1987 when the 494 freeway was flooded and people could jump off the overpasses straight into the water (I'm not sure whether anybody did, I wasn't here at the time).

Stay dry everyone! And keep warm - winter's coming (I wore my coat today!).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Tuesday Soak

I had to drive to the YWCA last night in the pouring rain because I'm a die-hard Yoga fan and also because I didn't realize how hard it was raining until I pulled into the YWCA parking lot. It was raining so hard that in the 20 feet between my car and the front door of the YWCA I got completely soaked, and it continued to rain that hard through my 30 min run, 1 hr yoga class, and another 15 minutes later as I stood outside hoping it would let up (and it didn't). So for at least two hours it was a torrential downpour, and understandably my drive home was a little challenging. Visibility was really bad (even with the wipers on full-blast), and the streets were flooded enough that you couldn't tell what was deep water and what was shallow. Thinking I was being smart, I stayed on the main road but found out soon it wasn't the high road and ended up driving through (or you could say under) a flooded intersection. My impressively tough car made it through the deepest stuff (the wheels lifted off the ground a little during the worst of it but touched down again before I ran out of momentum), but then my car stalled out as I hit the more shallow middle of the block. I conveniently stalled out about 10 feet from a cop car, who was blocking the intersection from the other direction. After my car stalled I opened my door to check out the situation and found that the water was almost up to the door, about an inch below the floor of my car (and this is the shallowest part of the road). I'm guessing that was about 6-8 inches, and I'm thinking the deepest part was somewhere between 3 and 5 feet, since the water was over the hood of my car. Since I had nowhere to go, I rolled down my windows and leaned out and had a look around. The rain was starting to let up and I could finally see more than a half a block, and I found that there were stranded people all around me - a car was being jump-started in a parking lot across the street, an SUV was stranded right behind me, and down on the other side of the intersection were at least five more cars that were more deeply submerged (but all bigger than me). I want to make a note here that of all the other cars in the intersection, mine was the one that made it the furthest, AND mine was the smallest (since they were all SUV's or minivans, although mine is no small potato of a car).

The cops finally wondered what I was going to do and pulled up alongside me - since I was in the more shallow part of the block I was the only one they could reach by car. I rolled down the window and the dialogue went something like this:

Me: "what do I do?"
Them: "we dunno. Damn, that's deep back there."
Me: "Yeah, it went over my windshield!"
Them: "Yeah, we saw, it was AWESOME when you went through it!"
Me: "So what do I do?"
Them: "we dunno. Maybe try restarting it in a few minutes after it dries out?"

So I continued to sit. The cops got called away and disappeared. Meanwhile, I saved a few oncoming cars from the same fate as mine by flashing my lights and yelling at them before they could get past me. A few didn't get the signal soon enough and ended up stalled out in the middle of it with the rest of them. After about five minutes, I tried restarting my car again with no luck (although it was turning over which I consider a good sign). I heard some yelling and car horns behind me and looked out the window again and saw a city bus coming down the block. I had been sitting with my lights and flashers off, except when a car approached, so I turned everything back on and watched in horror as the bus actually sped up, hoping to make it through the intersection and around all the submerged cars. Both me and the stalled car behind me were immediately in the middle of the road and I braced myself as the oncoming bus made its path directly for us. At the last minute the bus swerved one way to miss the car behind me and then went the other way to miss me, coming within a foot of my back bumper and causing a huge wake that rocked my car forward a few feet and filled up the floor of my car with two inches of water. I knew there was another bus coming soon and I would wreck my car if I stayed there (if it wasn't wrecked already), so I opened my car door but before I stepped out the woman in the car behind me came wading over. The water was up to her knees, and she was wearing a dress and tights that I'm sure were ruined. She offered to push me out, and told me her car was unpushable due to something or other (it was locked in gear or something). She wanted to get me out of the way though so the next bus could get by and a tow truck could get in. As soon as she got behind my car, three guys came out of nowhere to help (I think they had also been sitting in stalled cars down the block). Since my car was half floating, they easily pushed it up into the parking lot (which was dry) and pushed me into a parking space. I tried to start it again, with no luck, then got out but they were already gone, wading through the water down the block to push the next car out. Again I heard yelling and honking, and another city bus came barreling by, but this time it slowed right in the middle of the deepest part of the intersection because another car was trying to get through. Both stalled, the people on the bus were yelling, the people on the street were yelling, and next thing I knew the bus had started up again and gone on its way and there was yet another car that needed to be pushed out.

At this point I had to decide what to do - I either would wade in and help push cars out, which could take all night, or go home four blocks to my husband who was no doubt very worried. I opted for the latter, since there seemed to be quite a few car-pushers already and I didn't have a cell phone to check in with the husband. I yelled to make sure they didn't need anything, like a cell phone or a flashlight, and then began trotting home. I trotted because I was in the one part of our neighborhood that I would consider sketchy - and once I left the well-populated lake-block full of stranded people there was nobody and poor lighting and a big scary park for a whole block. But, my shoes were still dry which was amazing so I figured I could make it. About halfway there my husband found me in his car, I was drenched, without a car and a little wild-eyed but glad to see him. We opted not to go back, since his car is smaller than mine and I wasn't totally sure where the flooding would start getting bad. I still feel a little guilty that I couldn't thank those people for helping me, so I guess I will someday have to repay the favor to someone else that's stranded.

This morning we went back to get my car and it still wouldn't start. We had to get it out of the parking lot, so we pushed it down the block to a spot on the street. All the submerged cars were gone, the street was dry, and everything looked normal. I'll keep you posted on the car.

A soak of a Tuesday

we had some more big rains last night and an exciting involuntary adventure in the water (more later) but for now I want to let everyone know that our main phone line is out (including our DSL line) so if you want to call us either email or use our cell phone number. The phone will be out till Friday.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Soaking up the Sunday

Last night we finally got around to celebrating all the good stuff - my new job in Seattle, sending off the final proofs for my PNAS paper, and a great summer. My Studly Hubby made up a pitcher of mojitos - my new favorite drink, and we watched crappy tv and made out like high school kids right on our couch. This morning we cheered at the sweaty whipped crowds at mile 19 of the Twin Cities Marathon, then went out to a long brunch with our good friends and talked careers and big decisions and moving and all that grown-up stuff. To counter that, we went out to Afton Apple Farm and picked rasberries till our hands were red and our faces were sunburned and we couldn't eat - no wait, pick - any more. We competed for who could find the most perfect one (my Studly Hubby said, "I found the most perfect one of all - you!") and then we battled the hoards of city folk like us at the check-out lanes where we purchased our pickins and bought some apple cider (NOT as good as Sand Road Orchard Apple Cider that can only be found in good ole Iowa City, but close).

The rasberries at this place are from the Twilight Zone. They are growing full-throttle for about three months straight (late July through the end of October), they can survive repeated light frosts and mobs of children and adults and yet the rasberries are constantly ripe and delicious and plentiful (although a little less so at the end of a long beautiful weekend this year than they were at the time of our visit last year due to thorough cleaning-out by the city folk like us). We have now found out the Afton Apple Farm secret: they grow lots of kinds of rasberries, so some kind is always growing (there are apparently summer-season berries and fall-season berries and they have lots of both) and they have a sprinkler system that sprays water in a protective arc over the berries whenever it frosts so they can extend the season a little longer. Genius! And I thought it was smart to put my bread in the freezer so it doesn't mold - I guess I have a lot to learn.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sweet Weather Saturday

We are having a bit of sweet beautiful weather before winter and cold sets in. I woke up this morning excited to spend the day outside, but by mid-afternoon I couldn't take the sun anymore and had to move indoors - I guess my body is ready for winter. Before that I got a good share of the sun and outdoors at the Farmer's market, where I had some tamales (yum!), and walked around some. I had a post-traumatic stress massage this morning to try to help along my recovery from the last two months, then immediately had a chiropractic appointment, and my muscles are now all confused and disoriented from being ordered to relax after such a long time being tense.

Tomorrow is the Twin Cities Marathon, and the route goes down the Mississippi River Blvd which is about five blocks from our apartment. We are going to go watch and cheer on one of my good friends who is running the marathon for the fourth or fifth time and hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon (in her age group that means finishing in about 3 hrs 40 min, which means maintaining 8-8.5 min miles throughout the 26 mile race). In past events she has been extremely close and I have my fingers crossed she'll make it this time (she got sick just before the last two and was significantly slowed down but has been in good health all week, and we're having good weather, so things are looking up this time).

My Studly Hubby is working diligently on the second part of his first assignment for class - it's a Dejected Walk, complete with Anticipation of Dejection at the beginning. He's been acting all dejected all week, everywhere he walks, whatever I say to him, wherever we're going. It's rather entertaining but a little weird. I hope he's not doing it at work too.

I rented my own personal chick flick to watch this weekend while my Studly Hubby is preoccupied with dejection. It's Ella Enchanted, and I think it's going to be awesome. So get ready! Here I go...