Monday, February 27, 2006

Stretching my time

Blog posts may be a little slow the next few weeks - I'm buried under some major deadlines (grant to write, talk to give, thesis to write) and meanwhile have some significant scheduling crunches to deal with, including an annual 5 h CPR course I have to take for the YWCA which always gets scheduled on the worst possible day of the year. If I skip it though I get suspended (I tried this last year and did indeed get suspended). I am going to try skipping all my sexual harrassment trainings this year though (for both the Y and the U of Mn) and see whether that's as important as the CPR. I have the feeling it's not. I have been doing these things for years now, by the way, and consider myself an expert in both.

I thought I would give myself a break from writing serious stuff and get on the ole' blog machine and rock out with some much-needed appreciation for the things we sometimes forget to appreciate in life. And thus, I will begin part I of the Ode series:

An Ode to My:

Bubba Gump Shrimp Cup, which I got in Honolulu and loved so much I bought another one at the Mall of America. It's big, and has two straws in it, and it goes wherever I go (the cup, not the Mall of America).

Car. She takes a dunkin' and keeps on truckin'. And I found out this weekend that if she was in good enough condition, her parts could be worth $14,000 (!!). Good thing she has just enough rust on her to keep anybody from thinking about doing such awful things.

Peppermint Tea. I couldn't live without it.

Studly Hubby. He is so Studly! Thank goodness he's MY Studly Hubby.

Giant Flower Shaped Cookies (given to us by my Studly Hubby's Studly Parents). Sometimes these are just what you need to get through the day.

I think I'll quit there for now but I could go on. If you liked that, hang on tight for Part II of the Ode series. It'll come soon - or not so soon - or not at all, depending on how the mood strikes.

Ode out!

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Better and Better Day

I had one of those days today that just get better and better. First, in the spin class I taught this morning, a new person said, "I heard you were good so I thought I'd try your class out!" and I was flattered. Then after the stretch class I taught, somebody else said, "boy, you're getting really good at yoga!" and I was also flattered (I owe this to hot yoga, which I don't even do more than twice a month, it's that helpful). And, I drove my car to the YWCA because the windshield wipers are now fixed, and I love my car because it kicks butt so that was great too.

Then, my experiment finally worked. I've been workng on this dang-blasted experiment for a year now (on and off, don't think that's all I've been doing). It was one of the last things I needed for my dang-blasted thesis, and I have had all sorts of problems. Basically, what I was trying to measure was too small of a change to measure by the methods I was using, so I was trying all these different methods and I finally found something that works yesterday, and repeated it today and got consistent and nice looking results. Whoo! I was so excited I showed my data to everyone, including my friend's advisor who has no idea what I do or even who I am.

THEN, my husband found out at work that he may be able to get a transfer out to Seattle. Now this is really big news. He still hasn't told them he's leaving; this is tentative information based on something his boss said today in passing, but it's looking good and that's great. My husband likes his job and likes making money so naturally he's excited.

Then, to sweeten the whole day, a woman in my department told me today that she loves my boots. Things like that are always nice but on a day like today it was icing on the cake.

And, I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but I now have three friends that are having babies. Congrats to all of you and your amazing baby-making powers! I hope the stork brings a good one to each of you.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Barking up the wrong tree

All of the houses on our block have dogs, and all the people in the houses haven't learned the value of keeping their dogs quiet. Therefore, there is almost always a dog on our block barking. Sometimes, they all get together and bark. I don't mind this so much during the day, because I'm not here, but at night it's unbelievably obnoxious. Last night, a dog was barking when we went to bed at 11:00 pm. At 2 am, he was still barking. I put earplugs in. They fell out around 5 am (I think I toss a lot at night because my earplugs always fall out) and the dog was still barking. I found the earplugs, put them back in, and the dog was miraculously not barking when we woke up at 7 am. I guess maybe the dog's owner took him out for a walk so he could bark in another neighborhood for a while.

We have called Animal Control in Minneapolis. Apparently, if a dog is barking for more than 5 minutes straight, you can call Animal Control and complain. If this happens three times in a row, Animal Control will step in and do something (I'm not sure what...). The problem is, in order to file a formal complaint you have to 1) know which dog it is (and in our neighborhood, I'm not going to go out at 2 am and wander around trying to figure out which dog is barking) and 2) you have to record it barking for the whole 5 minutes. That would have been easy last night, but I suppose I would have to hang around outside with a tape recorder to get a good recording, and that would suck for a variety of reasons. So basically, I don't think we'll ever get it together to complain. Somebody does complain every once in a while though, because there's an entire call center at Animal Control that's set up for dealing with complaints. Maybe in the summer it's easier.

I have had dogs. It is not that hard to keep them from barking. You go outside and get them, and bring them in. They may bark occasionally, but I have never had a dog bark for the entire night. And I grew up in the country where it doesn't matter if your dog barks all night. So I wonder, what is the matter with these people that live in a densely populated neighborhood and then let their dogs bark all night? It's keeping the whole neighborhood up. Are they deaf? Do they really sleep that heavily? My studly hubby could sleep through a train wreck and was woken up last night by this dog, so I honestly doubt that possibility.

Aaaaah, the dog is barking again. Excellent. Maybe tonight I'll go out and buy a tape recorder.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

winning boggle

I won boggle tonight! It was kind of lucky, I must admit, because there were only 11 possible points and I typed in random combinations of letters until I got all of them (that's the beauty of online boggle), but still! I won!!

We came out of deep freeze only to find ourselves in Static World. This is the life in Static World: you get shocked by anything you touch (be afraid to kiss your spouse good-bye), your hair is constantly sticking straight up, your tv doesn't work for no reason, you can't sort through papers because they stick together, and when you wake up in the morning you are hanging upside-down from the ceiling. Yes, that's right; it's pretty surreal.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

coming out of deep freeze

It's funny, when it's been minus 10F for three days you cheer when it gets up to 15F and go outside without your coat on and drink a margarita on your porch or sunbathe on the lawn. Or at least, that's what the people around here in Minnesota do. I still stayed inside complaining. I'm waiting for 25 to go outside, and maybe at 40 I'll sunbathe. Not nude though. That won't happen until it gets to 70 and I can be sure there's some papparrazi climbing my backyard fence ready to take some pictures.

one of three lines

My studly hubby found three lines of dialogue for his animation assignment, although it was surprisingly hard to do so. He needs a good line to animate a character to, and a lot of good lines are muddled by naughty language, crappy music or other distracting sounds or are not very good when they stand alone. Plus he was looking for something around 10 seconds and to get all that in ten seconds is even harder. We probably only found one good line for every two movies we watched, although there may have been some other good ones that were missed. So, we watched a lot of movies this week, some faster than others (did you know you can speed a movie up to 1.5x speed and it is still pretty watchable? I should start doing that, then I could watch more movies).

What with all the movie watching, I barely had any time for anything else this weekend, although I did excavate my bedroom closet. I found things in there I didn't even know I had. And I kicked up so much dust I had to take an allergy pill (although that's not too much dust, I am extremely dust-sensitive, which is why I avoid cleaning at all costs). When it was all over I had gotten rid of two more bags of clothes, and then I went crazy and cleaned off my desk. I had a high school flashback cleaning that thing off, I'm going to have to get rid of the desk so I don't have any more of those nasty flashbacks. But now it's all empty and calling to me to put my computer on it, and maybe a few papers, and really get rolling on my thesis. Or maybe I'll write a short murder-mystery novella that takes place at my work instead. Wouldn't that be good?

happy birthday to my little bro Noey! May your extra year of wisdom lend you more boggle skillz so that we can team up and whoop everyone.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

My Famous Aunt Margot

My famous Aunt Margot bopped through town Thursday night on her way to Albuquerque to do some klezmer music at the annual Klezmerquerque festival there. It was super great to see her and hear about life in NYC, which is all glitz and glam by our midwest-city perspective. I guess they have NUDE hot yoga there, which blew me away. We got ourselves all updated on each other's lives and then took her back to the airport to catch her next flight.

FYI, if any of all y'all ever fly through the Minneapolis airport and have a long layover, you can take the lightrail to the Mall of America, which is only ten minutes and $1.75 away. Or, if you know my phone number, you can call me up and I'll take you there for free.

Friday, February 17, 2006

wiping it up

The wipers on my car cost $11.21. I don't think I've ever had a lower bill at the car mechanic. I also commend them for completely cleaning off my windshield and checking over all of the circuitry in my car for any potential power surges before giving it back to me. What service, for $11.21!! Wow. All this from the Studly Mechanics at Como Imports in Minneapolis. I sent them a card a while back to thank them for saving my car from total flood devastation and they put it on their board, and said they get comments on it all the time. I feel like I'm part of their family now. Even though I only know the one guy who picks up the phone, and the other guy who once called me to tell me somebody had glued a penny on the bottom of my clutch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

News Updates

My Grandpa, who lives in Florida and has been battling dementia (Lewy Body disease) for a few years now, died today. He had just been admitted to the hospital due to his dementia, and the family was working on determining where to go from there, when he became suddenly very ill and went downhill at top speed. It was difficult for the family, and seemed rather sudden, but it was a relief that it didn't get dragged out and it may have also been a relief for him as he found himself entering the final stages of his illness. His sudden illness and death were difficult to face but those sentiments helped ease the pain.

To try to cheer the mood of this blog, I am now changing the subject. Not because my Grandpa has already been forgotten, but because I think it's better in general to be cheery instead of gloomy.

More news: we haven't been robbed since December so we're celebrating by fixing the windshield wipers on my car. We may also wash it, although that hasn't been decided for sure yet. In addition, I began writing my thesis last week, and have made little to no progress. I still have a few more experiments in the lab to finish up, and have been very good at finding ways to procrastinate (including major traveling and grant writing in March), so don't expect me to get that graduation thing done anytime soon. I just thought I'd give you all a heads up that I did get the ball rolling so everybody better get out of the way.

My blog-visiting co-working Ms. KT is giving her big second-year seminar tomorrow. When I gave my second-year seminar, I became catatonic with anxiety, and sat stiff as a board in front of my computer for the entire day, not moving, not blinking, not thinking and not hardly breathing. Then I was exhausted for an entire month afterwards. I wish the best of luck to ya KT! Hopefully you won't get as freaked as I did, there really isn't any need for all that.

Torino!


I haven't really watched enough of the winter olympics this year but I thought I'd blog about it anyway. There's some good stuff going on! I can't say what, specifically, because I don't know. But! It's good! The ladies at work have been talking it over and hashing it out, apparently there's some speed skater hottie (Apolo Anton Ohno, below, he's from Seattle!) who has a little goatee and a baby-soft face that they love but I saw him and he's not that hot. The image, at left, was hijacked from a website, Dave Black's Photography, that has some really spectacular images from both the winter and summer games, as well as some other good stuff. It probably isn't too hard to get spectacular pictures from the olympics - so maybe that isn't that impressive, but they're always fun to look at.

I think they should have the next winter games in Minnesota. They love winter here! They live for it! They say, 30 below, bring it on man!! The problem is we don't seem to get very much snow anymore, or at least it's not very predictable, and we don't have any good mountains or even hills for downhill skiing (although there's something because there are a few places to go skiing). Also, it may actually be too cold for the weiner rest of the world that isn't really into hanging around outside when it's 30 below.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cowboy Options

Now that I've broken in my new cowboy boots (at right), and properly horrified or positively thrilled those boot reactionaries around me, I went on a little research hunt on how to wear them. Here are the three options I came up with:

1. With boot-cut jeans or pants pulled over them.

This is the least conspicuous and the easiest - since most of my pants are boot-cut, and most everything goes with green (especially a green sweater). This has been my cowboy-boot wearing option of choice so far.

2. With a skirt - boho style

This is a little trickier, since it's winter in Minnesota and I work in a research lab where things often catch on fire and/or get caught in chemical warfare. I am interested in trying it out, but from what I hear I have to act quick because boho has been around at least a year and the cowboy boot-with-skirt scene is going to drive everyone crazy pretty quickly - so both may already be circling back out of the trend circuit.

3. With "skinny jeans" tucked in.

According to a recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "skinny jeans" (those that are tight at the ankle) are BACK! I'm totally traumatized by this; however I remember distinctly being traumatized by the tube top coming back and then shopping aggressively for one not three months later, so who knows what might happen with this one?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm a Chipotle FAN

I'd like to share with all y'all the wealth of knowledge available at www.chipotlefan.com. You can calculate how many calories your burrito is (and find some easy ways to cut those calories), make their excellent guacomole from the best-guess recipes they have, and hook up with your burrito soulmate (that one person out there that orders the exact same burito as you). Enjoy!

The Contemporary Swan Lake

On Thursday night my Studly Hubby took me to see Swan Lake for an early Valentine's Day date. Beforehand, we went to the high-class Craftsman restaraunt in our neighborhood, which was a bit of a disappointment although not totally awful. It was one of those places that's priced high for no good reason - the food was average, the service kind of sucked (I ordered a glass of wine, and only got about 1/4 of a glass of wine - that's not good service, right?), but yet Minnesotans love it because they seem to unexplainably love bland, boring food at overpriced restaraunts with bad service. Anyhow, we threw all our food at our waiter, broke out all the windows and left laughing anyway and went over to the georgeous State Theater for some Swan Lake action.

It turns out the Swan Lake was a contemporary version where the swans are dudes and two dudes hooked up at the end. That was a little unexpected, so I was kind of confused, but what really got to me were the enormous plot holes - the main dude was happy to meet the swan dudes in a huge scene just before the intermission, but then he was still all upset after intermission and pulled a gun on his mom's crazy motorcycle gangsta boyfriend. Then everybody died for some reason. It was all a little chaotic and nonlinear. My Studly Hubby of course totally loved it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Netflix Strikes

According to an article on cnn.com, Netflix has been cheating their frequent DVD renters (which would include my Studly Hubby and I). Apparently, it costs them about 80 cents per movie rental for shipping so they lose money if you rent more than 20 or so movies a month on their $17.99/mo plan. So for so-called 'frequent renters' (I'm not sure where the cutoff is here), they delay shipment on movies by a day or so to reduce the amount of movies that can be rented. In addition, the frequently rented movies (ie New Releases) that have a long wait are preferentially sent to new and infrequent Netflix renters. They apparently didn't originally disclose this little part of their renting policy in their contract and there was a class-action suit filed against them in 2005 - now it's all in there.

Although their strategy makes sense, my Studly Hubby and I are feeling a little ripped off (even though we hadn't previously been upset with them and had never noticed any delayed shipment). Maybe we'll get over it. Or, maybe we'll switch over to Blockbuster.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pick a Line

My Studly Hubby's next assignment is to find a ten second audio clip to animate his little dude to. He can pick it from anything (or even make one himself). So all week we've been quoting famous lines from our favorite movies, like:

"ONE POINT TWENTY ONE JIGAWATTS!!"
"Way to go Hamilton!"
"That's INCONCEIVABLE!"
"I'm a Dapper Dan man!"
"I know Kung Fu"

(can you guess all the movies?)

BUT those lines aren't so great because they are TOO famous, he really needs something a little less famous but still pretty good. So we get to watch some movies the next two weeks, which is one of my favorite things to do in general but especially when there's a mission to it. The mission changes my whole perspective and makes each movie seem like new to me (kind of like a rerun you've never seen before), plus I can brag to everyone about how busy I am helping my Studly Hubby with his homework.

Strength in Numbers

Our neighborhood is deteriorating but I refuse to stop going to the Y because of it, so I teamed up with some gals in my yoga class so we can walk out to our cars together (the most complicated part of the plan is strategically parking in the same area of the lot before class). Together we are the Gal-Pal Yoga Power Group, and we can kick anyone's ass with our stealthy downward dog and plank poses. I award myself a billion points for coming up with such a genius plan.

The Team Boggle Experience

We (or at least, my Uncle Smarty-Pants) discovered how to play Team Boggle. Oh! The Glory! It turns out all you have to do is type in Team _____ as your name and then you are playing as part of that team. So all your points combine into one set of points and you are elevated to a new level of boggliness. The trouble is, you never know who else is on your team or what words they are guessing, and you can't razz each other unless you also have a video conferencing thing going on. But it's still pretty boggly-cool.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Code Black?

My Studly Hubby and I settled in for a night of supertastic Superbowl watching (with chicken wangs and guacomole dip and everything) and were very intrigued by the constant Grey's Anatomy advertisements with the mysterious "Code Black." We came up with a list of things that might warrant a "Code Black" in the world of J & D:

1) If Chipotle ran out of carnitas
2) If Arby's ran out of curly fries
3) If Dairy Queen ran out of oreo blizzards (particularly in the summer)
4) If my Studly Hubby lost his pants at work

Thankfully, a J & D "Code Black" has never happened so we have yet to find out what the outcome is.

It was pretty fun watching the superbowl. My Studly Hubby of course somehow knows all the rules of football (part of the penis manual I think) and we had a party-for-two at our apartment while I recovered from some early-morning hot yoga and spin classes the last two days. I was excited about the halftime show - the Rolling Stones is the best concert I've ever been to I think, but I was disappointed in the lack of a wardrobe malfunction during their stellar performance (Mick's belt was pretty wicked awesome though).

proposals and poodles

My Studly Hubby is working on his latest and greatest animation; a guy proposes and mid-proposal discovers the ring is missing out of the ring box. It's a pretty good one, but indeed warrents some uninvited psycho-analysis. First, I wonder, is this every dude's greatest fear? Or at least was it my Studly Hubby's greatest fear? The little dude he's animating looks uncannily like my Studly Hubby and I have to laugh thinking of him worrying, of all things, about whether the ring is in the box (he does admit that at our wedding this was a major concern). Or does my Studly Hubby's animation instead reflect a deeper worry that something obvious is missing from his life? Like perhaps he has always wanted a cute little poodle that he can cuddle and kiss but his greater manly self has been denying him recognition of this desire. "No!" my Studly Hubby says to me over and over, "we will not a get a dog! But if we do, we're going to name it Funk-Train."

Yes, I believe that this animation my Studly Hubby is working on represents his life-long desire to get a fluffy cute little poodle (a miniature, not a toy - toy poodles are just nasty) to bring home and love. As he becomes more in touch with his subconscious desires he will come to terms with this and I will be fighting to talk reason with him about toy poodles vs miniature poodles and one poodles vs five or seven. The day is coming soon, I can sense it....

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Punch!

Last night my Studly Hubby took me to City Pages' Best Pizza 2004 of the Twin Cities, located at the restaraunt Punch in Highland Park (St. Paul). It was indeed a very good restaraunt, but I'm blogging about it not because it was yummy but because I experienced a few new things at this place:

1) they serve so-called "neopolitan-style" pizza which is a "wet" pizza that really is soaking wet. You get it all over yourself when you eat it but it's yummy-delicious and well worth it. I think what makes it wet is extra olive oil and tomato sauce.

2) the place was the most packed restaraunt I've ever been to. We got there at 5:35 on Friday and got a table. By 5:45 (we hadn't even ordered yet) there was a line out the door. By 6:00 they had lit a fire outside and people were standing around in 15 degree weather waiting outside for tables.

3) the place has a brick oven for cooking the pizza that also contributed to the yummy flavor but we left the place reeking of campfire smoke. I've never had that happen to me at a restaraunt before.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm a Dentist!

I've been invited to talk at a dental conference in March. I'm nervous, partly because it's the first talk at a meeting I've ever given and partly because it's at a meeting full of dentists. I went a few years ago and gave a poster, and had a lot of fun picking up free samples from Crest and Listerine and all those tooth-y companies, but they spoke a language I didn't understand. Now I will be trying to speak that language (or speaking my own language and getting blank stares from the audience). Or maybe I should compromise and speak the universal language (in the US anyway), English. To make things worse, the title of the section I'm part of has nothing to do with anything I've ever had any knowledge of (Clinical Oral Microbiology). Fortunately the other people giving talks in my section seem to be in the same boat as me (I think they put all us foreigners together).

A guy in my lab gave me a refresher course in 12th grade math today. You know, the good stuff like finding the log of something or determining X when X is the power of 2 and the whole thing equals 10,000. I never had any need for that stuff until today and then WHOA it all came back to me like a jellyfish (that bit me on the ass on its way by). Fortunately this guy in my lab has a much better memory than me and got it all figured out right quick. Now I'm a GENIUS. You should all call me anytime you need to figure out X when X is the power of 2 and the whole thing equals 10,000. I'm not sure I can do much else but I got that one figured out. (it's around 14 by the way but I wouldn't expect you to know that).