Thursday, March 30, 2006

The People's Court

Whenever I get home before 6 pm, I excitedly run to the TV and turn on The People's Court. It's so good! So good! You may be thinking, wow, what the heck is this all about, but no! You should watch it! The drama! The action! The whining and crying and screaming and sighing!

The next show on my list of shows that only fill up space but are oh-so-captivating is Deal or No Deal. Now that's one empty show, but yet it reels you in and keeps you gasping for more. I try not to even let myself watch it for five seconds or the whole night is blown.

So why am I so excited about tv all of a sudden? Because I just turned in that heinous grant proposal, all 32 single-spaced 0.5" margined pages of it, that's why! I finally got hooked up with someone who knows what she's doing and got my hand held through the most gruesome part; printing out the stuff and checking it over for mistakes. I don't trust myself any more than I could throw myself so I was glad to have a second set of eyes looking it over. Now that it's done, I look forward to a long night of tv and then another three weeks at my computer writing my thesis (and another three weeks after that writing a paper). Ahhhh, the glories of grad school. The one really great part is that once you get through a string of stressors like this you take a vacation from it all and find yourself more relaxed and satisfied and proud of yourself than you could ever be otherwise. Is that why I keep doing this to myself? for the grand final break? It's like a drug or something.

Well I better run, People's Court is on and I wouldn't want to miss it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Do you recognize this man?

That's right, it's Superman. But beneath the skin-tight blue shirt and widely recognized S emblem, it is yet another Iowa-born Hollywood star, Brandon Routh. I went to the University of Iowa with him! He's only one class below me!

That's right, Iowa puts out some handsome men... good thing I nabbed my Studly Iowa Hubby from there before he also got lured to Hollywood.

An expletive of a movie

A new movie coming out through independent distributor ThinkFilm has an interesting title - the F-word. According to a dude at ThinkFilm,

"the entire title is an expletive, and it's going to be interesting to see how we'll get away with it"

The film will be unrated.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What! It's getting warmer...?

What a shocker! The world is getting warmer. Actually the shocker is that everyone seems to finally be admitting it (although the US still doesn't want to do anything about it). For a depressing but informative synopsis, read this article from Time (put out by CNN)

The Big Iowa Wedding

We just returned from a super-quick jaunt down to Iowa to see my cousin get married in quite a good show. She had the fully-decked-out deal going on; big chapel, big dress, lots o' guests, all the wedding traditions, etc. She must be exhausted now, but I'm sure it was probably worth it. I went for most of that myself and didn't regret it. You do regret having to write all those thank-you cards, but I guess that's worth all the loot you take home from it. That was some good loot, too!

I tried to take lots of pictures but churches are tough, the lighting is never good so not only do you blind everyone with your flash but you also never get all that much that's good (although we got a lot of good stuff at our wedding because we were outside - that's one big plus of doing it outside). For our wedding, our photographer took a good sweet year to get us all our pictures back so I was really grateful to everyone who had taken pictures, and was still grateful even after we got the photographer's pictures back - the ones my friends and family took were really good!

The reception of this weekend's wedding was at a Mississippi River Museum, complete with a live alligator and rattlesnake (behind glass of course). The rattlesnake lured my Studly Hubby into its hypnotizing gaze; the alligator did the same to my mom. In the end, I had to drag them both away by their scruffs and smack some sense into them in the parking lot. It was an interesting reception venue, I rather enjoyed the change of scenery from the usual fancy hotel reception scene. The food was surprisingly yummy too. Well done!

A Potty Tale

My Studly Hubby and I were on the way back from Iowa, and stopped off at the Top of Iowa rest stop (have you been there? It's a pretty neat-o big red barn). I went into the ladies' room and found myself face-to-face with a 12-year old boy. Alarmed I had gone into the wrong bathroom (this has happened before), I looked around to find two other women, so I breathed a sigh of relief. One of them instructed the boy in a motherly tone, so I assumed he must be with her. The boy went into a stall, and preceded to pee everywhere (as I found out when I went in there afterwards). He didn't lift up the lid of the toilet, he apparently didn't bother to aim, and definitely didn't clean up after all that. I walked in, walked right back out, and left the restroom a little stunned. Why does a 12-yr-old boy have to go into the ladies' room? And who never taught him to lift the lid, or aim for the toilet? This is an intriguing question. But I must tell you, I learned an important lesson today. I will always, forever after this, cover the toilet seat with toilet paper before I sit down. Maybe even in my own apartment. Because, you never know who might have been in there before you and where they think it's appropriate to pee.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Conference Mania

I've had two dreams in a row now that I'm at a conference, and they were so much fun I thought I'd share.

In the first, I went with the post-doc in our lab and he had to give four talks (similar to the four talks I found out my Dad had to give at his recent Fla conference, obviously that traumatized me enough to dream about it). The second talk the post-doc gave was an immunology (ick) talk, and I blazenly skipped it and had a margarita by the pool in the beautiful weather while watching my boss enjoy the going down the waterslide.

The second dream I had was a little more vague. My Studly Hubby's friends were there, and I broke my foot or something so they carried me to this to conference party where somehow we all got separated and I had a few adventures and then found them again just in time for a big group picture.

Sometimes, when you're stuck in front of your computer for weeks at a time, you really look forward to all the fun you may have in your dreams. This is one of those times.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Finished!

I've finished the first draft of the grant I'm writing, and sent it over to my future boss to read. I got some extremely helpful advice from a former colleague and rewrote it several times so hopefully it's ok. Since my new boss hasn't actually bossed me yet, I'm not sure what his bossing techniques are and so I'm waiting and wondering what this will be like.

I guess the midwest got some major snow yesterday. We never saw it, which is weird, because I think we're part of the midwest. It stayed well south of us, and dumped all over Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio (still waiting to hear about Iowa, they never mention Iowa on CNN so I have to rely on my relatives). Late-March snow is always a wild scene. If I wasn't so busy I would have really enjoyed ours - it's perfect, sunny, nice weather for skiing or whatever. I'm usually way too busy in March to enjoy the snow though.

Speaking of a busy March, I got CPR trained on Saturday and reflected on all the busy March CPR trainings I've had to endure. The first was a week before my comps. Last year, it was in between some big lectures I was giving and while I was fighting to get a paper out. This year, it was during major grant and thesis writing. And it seems like I always have a conference or somewhere to go in March. Why is March always so busy?

Well, you'll all be happy to know that now I'm super-CPR trained. I can go out and fight CPR crime wherever I go with the zest of a recently minted Red Cross certification. Yea!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

All the Pretty Snow

We got even more snow this week, and a friend of mine up north (on the southern shore of Lake Superior, in Wisconsin) said they got 26 inches of snow, highways were closed, and she got stuck in a sleepy town an hour away from where she meant to be. She got her thesis finished in her isolation, so it sounds like she made the best of it.

*sigh*

I hate it when people remind me of my thesis, especially when they remind me of it by finishing theirs. But, I will be happy for her anyway (grits teeth) (sighs again)

Here's some good news: in the middle of the throes of my grant-writing, I found out I won an award! It's an award given by my program that has some c-c-c-cash attached to it, which I will dutifully spend on a new bike to replace the one that was stolen this winter. I think I got the award because I convinced my boss to write me a GOOD letter of recommendation. Actually, it was probably that really spectacular paper I got accepted and published last fall, or maybe a combination of the two. Anyhow, now I'm at last an awardee with some c-c-c-cash on hand.

And now for a bit of gross news: I seriously dug into my belly-button tonight and found some really old-looking lint. I think maybe I outta clean that thing out more often.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

writing writing writing

Ever since I got back from my blissful trip to Florida I have been writing like mad to get a grant done for my next position. This thing is due April 5, but I have to have it done a few weeks before to give my new boss sufficient time to look it over and make changes. This whole thing makes me nervous for several reasons. First, it is my first real interaction with my new boss and I don't want him to think I'm a moron, or worse, I don't want to find out he's a moron; second, this project is one of two that I hope will carry me into a brilliant and bright future, so every time I see a competitor in the literature or think of a potential roadblock I have a small anxiety attack; third, this stuff is not the stuff I'm used to writing about, so at first I felt like I was writing in French (having to first learn the language before I could start writing); fourth, having just gotten back from a conference I went into this whole ordeal a little short on time and out of breath, so I have to make tracks and get it done fast, which always sucks when you're facing all the above challenges.

Needless to say, I've been pretty much glued to my computer for the past week (since I only play computer-boggle in my spare time) and am starting to have some good old-fashioned chronic computer-user problems to complain about, like an enormous headache that hits right about 3 pm every day and a butt that's numb just about all the time. Since I'm not normally at my computer this much (it's usually less than 10% of my day), I had to make a few adjustments. First, I put my computer on top of three textbooks on my desk, so the monitor is the same height as my head. That took care of the headache. Then, I came up with a genius plan to make myself get up from my computer every hour or so to give my numb butt (and bleary eyes) a break. I skip lunch entirely, and only grab a little food at a time. That way, every hour, I get a little hungry and thus get up and go pilfer in the kitchen. This also keeps me refilling my water glass. We have pretty healthy food in our kitchen, like cookies and Dove dark chocolate, so I believe this keeps the calories down too.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Home Safe and Snow

We got home late Sat night and I slept like a rock, then got up to go teach my Sun morning spin class only to realize when I got there that the sub I had gotten and then tried to cancel didn't get my message (mostly because I cancelled the wrong sub) and was there to teach anyhow. So I took the class from her, which was a refreshing relief, and then came home exhausted and slept most of the rest of the day. I did take a few breaks to eat the cookies my husband had made, watch the new Harry Potter movie my husband bought for me while I was gone (thanks Studly Hubby!), and give my husband a few presents I got for him in Orlando - a Mickey wizard magnet, a huge bag full of every color M&Ms ever made, a plastic killer whale lunch box, a little Epcott soccer ball, and a mickey barrett. Ok the barrett was for me but I showed it to him anyway and he wore it around for a bit.

Then starting last night the Minnesota Snow started coming down, so that when I woke up this morning it looked like the picture on the left (the snow-covered car on the street is my previously mentioned Super-Camry) - this was taken from our front porch. I would like to demonstrate the contrast I dealt with this weekend, so I am also including a picture from Sat night at our hotel in Orlando. This was after the conference was over, as we were waiting for our airport taxi and hanging out at the hotel pool (our hotel is on the left, an adjacent hotel on the right, and someone else's kid is in the foreground). You may be able to make out the swan boats on the lake - yes, these are real swan-shaped paddle boats. Apparently these are big in Orlando, at Sea World they had similar paddle boats that looked like pink flamingos. Only the pink flamingos were all tilted to one side because they each had a dad on one side weighing it down and their kid on the other side. I guess the dad's, especially the heavy ones, really go for those pink flamingos.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Orlando...!

We've begun the science, and boy is it science-ey! Synopsis:

- we found out Epcott is indeed mostly outside and went there yesterday afternoon for an afternoon around the world and a few science rides to boot
- we came back, I practiced my talk till I lost my voice
- went to bed, slept well
- spent next day hanging with a super-great chick we met from NIH
- we saw some talks, some great, some not so much
- I gave my talk, it went well, got a crowd of well-wishers afterwards which is a good sign
- had some interesting conversations with a few of the well-wishers
- picked up some toothpaste and dental floss at the vendors during the poster session, and bought an electric toothbrush for 1/3 the retail price - victory is mine!
- went to a U of M reception, for some reason one of the NIH administrators was there and sat at our table and engaged us in a totally interesting and hilarious conversation about fruit flies
- was joined by the chick from NIH who had tracked us down to invite us to dinner with her and her buddies from Colgate
- went out to dinner with Colgate buddies, got free booze, sushi, dessert, and some more interesting conversation (isn't this what these conferences are all about? wow, what a rush of free sushi)
- came back to hotel room, blogged before passing out

*currently passing out

one more day to go!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sea World!!

We arrived safe in Orlando yesterday, registered for our conference, went and did some science, then busted out for a night on the town with some of my Florida relatives and then spent the day today at Sea World. It is SO GREAT to see some sun and grass in March, although I did not burn myself crispy like I usually do when I go someplace sunny. Maybe I'm getting better at that whole sunblock thing. We had so much fun in the sun that we decided to do another outdoor thing (Disney's Animal Kingdom) tomorrow afternoon instead of the indoor thing (Epcott) we had originally planned. We only bought a half-day pass though, so we poured over the tourist book tonight in our hotel (after doing some fusion yoga/kung-fu) to maximize our time there. I then practiced my talk, which was smooth on Monday but somehow fell all apart today - I guess the sun has confused me. So tomorrow night, the night before my talk, I am going to subject my kung-fu co-worker to it over and over until she has it memorized and can tell me my lines if I forget them.

Florida is pretty fun, esp in March, but I can't even comprehend the amount of money that flows through this place. Our hotel is insanely expensive, and yet we still have to pay for everything from continental breakfast to use of the gym. You pay $60 to get into Sea World, and then still have to pay for some of the rides. Although one thing that that maybe would be worth paying for is the swim-with-the-sharks deal. That deal looked cool. Anyhow, what family of four wouldn't spend their life savings going to a place like this? And what for? I'd rather play boggle (although if my hotel and flight is payed for then ok, maybe I'll go to Sea World).

And the sun, and the weather, oh my! This would be worth paying for.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Packing ...!

Packing can be such a nightmare. Especially when you're going someplace where you have to dress differently than what you're used to - i.e. Florida, a slightly dressy conference, etc (both of which is what I'm going to). I actually had a nightmare last night about packing - I dreamt I packed all the wrong stuff but didn't realize it until I got there. I woke up thinking, wow, I better give myself extra time to make sure I get all the right stuff packed. And here I am, my Studly Hubby is out running errands for me so I have more time to pack and I dread it so much I get on the blogger to sit here and complain about it instead of just doing it.

complain, complain, complain

(sits and complains internally for a while)

groans aloud

...decides maybe to go pack...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Party with my gals

I went out last night for a party with the gals that was conveniently located at the restaraunt only two blocks away. We started it off with real dinner and a bottle of wine and wound up buying more booze and a large piece of cake, then tootling off to the movie theater a few miles down the way (the sober one drove). At the theater we kicked back and watched Memoirs of a Geisha, which in our post-booze and post-chocolate cake haze was completely hysterical. I came home after midnight, knocked everything in our apartment over on the way to the bedroom, then couldn't find my pajamas and fell over my desk chair trying to get into bed. I'm pretty sure my husband didn't sleep through all that.

In my chronically full and serious life these days a night on the town was exactly what I needed, although I ended up sleeping in a few hours later than I intended this morning and getting started yet a few more hours after that - certainly not something I could schedule every day. But it was a good reminder to me to keep having fun even when things are getting really serious.

So on that note, I seriously plan to have some fun next week while I'm in Orlando for the dental conference. I'm giving a talk on Friday but before that I'll be visiting Sea World, Disney World, the hotel swimming pool (which has a water slide!) and as many restaraunts and umbrella drinks as I can find. I'm taking three swimsuits baby! Watch out (and shield your eyes - I've been in Minnesota all winter and have not a sunspot on me).

Friday, March 03, 2006

Beer, Science and Pizza

My new boss came to town yesterday to give a talk, so I had an interesting mix of worlds: new boss and old boss hanging out with me, the chair of my thesis committee, my boss' wife, and a few pitchers of beer. Then I got a ride home with the chair of my thesis committee in his new BMW M3 convertible with heated leather seats and an engine that can accelerate from 0-60 in 4 seconds. I'm not a car person but this car was pretty sweet. I wouldn't want to drive it though; it might detract from my love for my own 1989 Toyota Camry that can accelerate from 0-60 in about 15 minutes.

My Studly Hubby has figured out how to make The Most Amazing Pizza in the Whole Wide World. He puts olive oil on the crust (reminiscent of the wet Neopolitan-style pizza we had at Punch's a few weeks ago) and pineapple and organic pepperoni and jalepinos and pepperoncini. MMmmm, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. If we knew the first thing about running a restaraunt I think we would do well to open a pizza place, but not in Minnesota. They only like cardboard and ketchup in Minnesota.