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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Weekends Just Drag on Forever

Yeah, much weekend mayhem.

Friday I went to 700 with Kathy, and some program people were there. Hi, separate universes colliding that shouldn't and all. I believe I even said to one, "What are you doing here?! You'd better not fuck with my game!" Since my game is, um, nonexistent. I was fine, a bit drunk but still coherent, and I talked to people and met and danced with and got the number of a boy who reminded me of Richard. And then...all of a sudden I was totally gone. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I couldn't stand and Kathy put me in a cab with Ed and I barfed out the window (the cab driver was so very not pleased). Much of my evening is shrouded in blackness, which is totally not okay. It took most of Saturday to recover, and by the time I'd stopped barfing and I'd washed the vomit out of my hair (yum!) it was time to go to Steve's barbecue. Which was also fun, and I made a valiant effort at flip cup but chugging keg PBR was not going over well with my insides, so I watched other people get drunk. Which I enjoy.

Then the party migrated to Julia's, which was exceptionally well-stocked with fancy-pants booze. She made me a bunch of white Russians and I managed to get a bit off, but stayed far behind everyone else. I talked to said past indiscretion boy a bit, he was, of course, drunk. So he was affectionate. This thing with all of us being reasonably attractive, painfully single, and really affectionate while drunk is the source of so very many problems. He did make a point of talking to me a little, I think his way of trying to see if everything was okay between us. Which it isn't, but I'm not super-mad and I'm sure as hell not going to make a public scene. Eventually, there was a couch lovefest, which can be seen here. At one point, I was talking to the friend I kissed in the cab and we talked about that, and about last week's possible boob-fondling and all is well. It was just so awesome to get that stuff out, even though none of it is major. The evening wound up with four of us arranged on the couch. Being drunk scientists, we were all cuddling. And group dynamics are odd things.

And I slept through the first half of Tim Sunday. I just missed more Iraq stuff. The second half was a bunch of generals discussing...Iraq. BUT, Tim is back and that was the only thing that kept me watching. Dear Tim: please don't ever go away again. Love, Cara.

And I have this raging insomnia thing happening - last night I couldn't fall asleep until 5am, so I didn't even go to lab until the afternoon. The insomnia has been creeping back, and I'm always freaked out by it since I associate it with The Very Crazy Period, which was a horrible dark place I'd rather not go back to, ever. But worrying that you're falling back into the darkness isn't really conducive to sleep either, so I got a bunch of knitting done and I cleaned my floors. Boy, are they shiny now! I may be going nuts, but my floors are clean and that makes up for it, right?

Sidebar to Tiff: does that mean Brian is a lapsed Congregationalist too? Just asking...

Friday, August 26, 2005


I am quite poor. Grad-student poor. Last year, when I was also poor, I came across an ad in the Daily Pennsylvanian soliciting egg donors. Jewish egg donors with a "proven record of academic achievement" no less. Compensation up to $60,000. That's right, I emailed the firm. And although I'm quite short, I'm also a nice Jewish girl with blue eyes and fantastic standardized test scores, not to mention musical ability. Apparently I'm an excellent candidate. And since I don't think I want kids of my own, it isn't like my ova are really doing anything in there, they might as well be useful, right? And frankly, I could use the cash. Hell, I'd probably settle for $20,000.

Yes, I know the idea of having my genetic material floating out there and growing up is creepy. And the badness of massive superovulation-inducing daily hormone injections. And let's not talk to much about the egg harvesting procedure, which involves the words "needle" and "intravaginal." These are all very good reasons egg donation gave me pause, despite the zeroes. Oh, and the whole buying designer babies thing - the class issues of assisted reproduction weird me out a bit.

No, what it came down to was that I had this image of a little me being raised by a nice Jewish family in Westchester or Merrick or some hellish upper-middle-class suburb and just being the most wretchedly disappointing creature ever. Since despite my actual religious observance (and I most certainly do practice) by most surface measures I am a spectacularly bad Jew. There's the tattoo, for starters. And the unholy love of bacon. And the fact that I've never actually dated someone Jewish, since most of the Jewish guys I meet are far too nebbishy and I am just so not sleeping with that. I seem to fall for WASPs, specifically lapsed Presbyterians, though I've got my sights on a Congregationalist at the moment. I mean, I thought Presbyterian was as WASPy as one could get until I met someone whose distant ancestor basically founded Congregationalism back when Massachusetts was still a colony. I mean, that is like the apex of fabulous New England WASPism, is it not? Yum.

So I can foresee this poor hypothetical child from my egg being about 16, her parents trying to get her to date nice Jewish boys and avoid pork products crying and freaking out because she just doesn't understand why all her fantasies involve bacon and tall skinny WASPs. She won't be able to stop fantasizing about whipping Presbyterians with slabs of bacon, and one day she'll just jump off a bridge and it will have been my fault.

And I just couldn't do that to an innocent child. One person in this world fantasizing about WASPy boys and bacon is more than enough.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mayhem! And Timwatch 8/21

So Friday there was much madness. It started when I went to happy hour with other Solomon people, because 22oz of tequila-based frozen fruity goodness somehow always seems like a good idea Friday afternoons. I went home, sobered up (slowly), and fully intended to go to bed at a reasonable hour and be all "productive" with my Saturday when Rachel called and said that I must go to Ludwig's as everyone was there. So I did. And I wasn't all that drunk when we left Ludwig's as the tequila was still working its way out of my system and was none too pleased to see the giant things of weird German beer that were there to replace it. Ingrid decided to host an after-party, at which more beer was consumed and then there were shots. Oh yes, the sober phase of my evening was certainly over. Most people had the good sense to leave by four, except for four of us (plus the two who lived there), who seemed to think it was a good idea to keep drinking. Until six. At which point there was major highschool-ish drama about the sleeping arrangements as Ingrid was whining amusingly about wanting someone to hold her (methinks this may have been prompted by her bridesmaid dress fashion show) and it was just weird, four boys and two girls and two beds plus a pullout. The dynamics of trying to go to bed (for sleeping) with a bunch of other very drunk, mostly single peers, all of whom are in their mid- to late-twenties shouldn't be so hard, right? Except it was, and Steve and I started to sleep on the pullout but that left Rachel alone as both John and Alice were with Ingrid and her holding needs and she didn't want to sleep on the pullout with us (duh, she has a lovely bed but we didn't want all the setting up of the couch to go to waste) so we went up there with her. She gave us pajama pants, it was a lovely gesture. Except then I couldn't stop laughing which would make Steve start and at this point we'd regressed to about seventh grade. And I'm pretty sure I got felt up but I chose to ignore that as who could tell if it was intentional or caused by some booze/half-sleep combo? Plus my breasts, they are hard to resist. Or something.

Ingrid woke us at about 10:30 and I was mostly okay except for a headache but she was still drunk and the rest were way hung over. So we went to brunch, except for Steve who had stuff to do and Rachel, who got sick. We are far far too old for this, so why do we keep doing it? Saturday I just met Arielle for a beer at Grace, it was far more subdued and my liver was relieved. And she's engaged, so she likes to ask me about singlehood and at least with weirdness like that I have much to amuse her with.

As for Tim on Sunday, again it was Tim-less. The host was the guy who is NBC's White House correspondent and he is no Tim. Russ Feingold was first, I really like him. Except I think he must be lonely since Wellstone died since that makes him just about the only true Progressive left in the Senate. And the whole running for President thing was brought up (can we seriously call a moratorium on that until after the 2006 election is over? Pretty please?) which he hedged on. And of course I'd vote for him, but he has the same problem as Rendell and Spitzer and Schumer which is: he's Jewish. And sorry, but I really really don't think we'll have a Jewish president, at least not in the near future. I wish it wasn't the case, but I really feel like anti-Semitic feelings are swelling in this country, in the Christian communities and in certain segments of the Left. Anyway, then was Trent Lott, who has a book out. I just don't like him. Maybe it is the accent, maybe the racism, maybe the other forms of bigotry, maybe it is because I think we could really do better without the state of Mississippi. Though I do like that he apparently rips on Frist in his book and hedged on whether Frist would have his support in 2008. It was mean while still being rather politic and diplomatic, which was fun to see. Since it was directed at another Southern Senator I'd love to see gone. Anyway, let's hope Tim is back soon, his replacements suck and they don't push the guests hard enough. And because I miss him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Return of the Torsos!

The torsos, they have returned. Sort of.

The sidewalk outside Frankiln Field was torso-free for about two weeks, when suddenly...torsos again! Except this time, the torsos were being undressed and deflated. The clothes and the sad, flattened torsos were being packed onto big pallets and wrapped in plastic. I noticed that the torsos all had straps on them, probably to stop them from flying off and being escaped torso balloons.

I realized: people were getting paid to inflate dress, undress, deflate, and stack torsos. Probably a bunch of 22-year-old PAs. So why am I in graduate school?! I could be a professional torso wrangler! Seriously, I bet I am totally overqualified for this. I would be the bestest little torso wrangler ever, I swear.

Fun fact about Philly: the tree streets are named in order of descending hardness from north (Chestnut) to south (Pine). This also makes me feel better, since I was totally convinced that there was such a thing as a Sansom tree and I just didn't know because I'm not horticulturally inclined. Screw you, William Penn! Also, in reference to the damn NYT Sunday Styles piece, Philadelphia has never, ever, on pain of no longer ripping on Jersey referred to itself as "the sixth borough." NEVER. The only assclowns who might possibly utter such a phrase have obviously not spent more than a week in this city (or they're Jessica Pressler). Philadelphia is NOT the new Brooklyn, for fuck's sake don't try to make it the new Brooklyn! Yes, rent is eons cheaper than NYC (though you can't get an $800 1br on the Square itself, those are mostly highrise condos) but good luck getting a decent job. SEPTA sucks, the schools are a mess, and the public library is in Dewey. I really like Philadelphia. Really. But if fucking Brooklyn people (many of whom aren't really Brooklyn people, they're from everywhere else in the country and couldn't afford to move to Manhattan) move here and drive up prices even more, bad things will happen to them. Keep your $5 beer and overpriced studios in NYC and leave me with my $700 1br (with yard!) and my $1.75 bottles of Lager.

But Jersey sucks, right? I mean, we've got that in common.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Timwatch 8/14

Meet the Press without Tim just isn't the same. In fact, it sucks ass. His sub was some woman (Andrea Mitchell) who had that awful Barbara Walters-type inflection. Ugh. The first guest was our ambassador to Iraq being optimistic (no, really - the insurgents are losing!) and then was Joe Biden. Now, we all know I like Joe Biden. But he's already said he's running in 2008 and while there is no doubt I'd vote for him I actually think the man has a smaller chance of getting elected than Hillary. I mean, he's from Delaware. I'd forget it was a state if it wasn't 20 minutes away with cheap booze outlets and I'm guessing most Americans, not being the beneficiaries of said booze, have no clue where it is. Second, the whole plagiarism thing. Third, he's had two aneuyurisms. Ouch. But hey, he's always great on Meet the Press! After Biden was the lamest roundtable ever, there were only two guests and one was this asshat Byron York of the National Review, who is like Tucker Carlson without the charm. Or the bowtie. The man's face just makes me want to spit, even before he opens his mouth.

So all in all a pretty craptacular Meet the Press. The one good thing I learned? Meet the Press Podcast! Now, it won't be as much fun as the show since you can't critique Tim's tie via podcast but it seems like a good deal for those times I sleep through it. Damn alcohol. Anyway, you can get it on the Meet the Press page here.

In life news, my life is lame. I went to a dinner party Thursday night where six of us drank 4 or 5 bottles of wine and had very very excellent food (salmon in puff pastry) made by Kathy's bf since they got back together. Again. And he decided to get off to a good start by making dinner for a bunch of science girls. I was impressed not only by the food but by the fact that he actually has dorkier tattoos than I do. I mean, a DNA armband pales in comparison to getting your name done in binary on the scale of dorktastic commitment. And I went to another West Philly party this weekend, but it was too hot to dance and I wasn't really drunk enough and there weren't really any boys of note. Though the scientist-to-normal-people ratio was refreshingly low.

The advisor is away again, which means two-hour lunches, Happy Hour, coming late, leaving early, and yet somehow managing to get far more done than I normally do. Sometimes I think that is she was away more I'd be a lot closer to finishing this damn degree. The program average has climbed to 6.5 years, which sounds like a really long time until you realize that many people had to take 7 or 8 to push the average that high. The thought of eight years of this is what wakes me up in the middle of the night shaking.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Timwatch 8/7

Maybe it was fact that I was so hungover I couldn't stomach any coffee yet, but Sunday's Tim really pissed me off.

First off was the whole Roberts/Catholic/scary issue. Though my lovely Mario Cuomo was on (sweetie, I love you, but those are some very very big eyebags) giving a very polite verbal beat-down to some conservative Catholic from Pepperdine, my head really wanted to leak out my ears so all I could do was notice that Mr. Pepperdine wasn't making very many apt points. If the Church wasn't so up on threatening to excommunicate people for disagreeing with them, this wouldn't be such an issue. Plus, it is mean: excommunication just seems really awful. And hypocritical, since I haven't seen them threatening to excommunicate Catholic Congressmen who voted to invade Iraq or who support the death penalty or have (GASP!) used birth control. I think asking a Court nominee what he would do if upholding the Constitution will get him denied communion or excommunicated is a legit query. And the whole debacle reinforces my love of Judiasm in all its nonevangelical glory. My pledge: if one day I am elected or appointed to public office, I will not try to push the tenets of my faith on all the citizens of the nation. That is to say: don't worry, your pork chops are safe.

Then the real badness started when Tim had on two people to "debate" whether vaccines cause autism. Slow news week, anyone? It just brought up every reason I hatehatehate coverage of science in the lay press. I don't know if the general public is really or lazy or what but any actual read of the evidence shows that thimerosal did not cause the rise in autism, okay? Repeat after me: a temporal correlation is not causation. A temporal correlation is not causation. Better? Aside from the fact that none of the epidemiological studies have shown a link between vaccination and autism, the whole idea is a bit off. Yes, mercury is very bad and poison-y and such. But the big scary mercury, the one that keeps pregnant women away from fish, is methylmercury. Thimerosal is ethylmercury, which is not the same thing. An analogy: your friendly neighborhood vodka is ethyl alcohol. The bottle of alcohol that will blind you and possibly kill you is methyl alcohol. Now while ethanol may not be all that great for you, saying that because methanol causes hard core damage ethanol does too is just crap. Get it? Of course, we all know that the vaccine/autism link is being suppressed by the Big Evil Scientist Conspiracy. Those nasty educated scientists thinking that with their statistics and their studies and their logic and their peer-review process they can prove me wrong! Ha!

Sorry, but shit like this just infuriates me. Have I mentioned that there is no global warming and that the universe's complexity is evidence that it had to be Designed lately?

Off the soapbox, I need to not talk to people when I'm drunk as I do things like admit to having had a crush on Formerly Primary Science Crushboy to said boy. In my defense, he started the conversation. Though I'm not sure how it metamorphosed to my little confession, but whatever. The funniest part was right after the phrase "you had your chance" escaped my lips, he looked at me, and I looked away and said "I am not drunk enough to have this conversation with you." Um, yeah. Who knew that two-dollar Lionshead was actually truth serum?

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Philadelphia Tourism Slogan

So last week I was walking to lab when I saw the following outside Franklin Field:

That is, a big pile of head and torso only inflatable mannequins in various states of inflation, and people putting clothes on them. I knew there was a reason I started carrying my camera: random shit happens all the time here.

Anyway, turns out that the torsos are to be used in a crowd scene for an upcoming movie with Mark Whalberg, who will forever remain Marky Mark in my heart. That's right kids: Marky Mark himself is in Philly and he's going to be doing some of that "acting" stuff on this very campus. Interestingly, Donnie Whalberg (better known as "Bad New Kid") was also filming something here last year. He stayed by the convention center and apparently ate at Chili's almost every night, where he ordered the same stupid chicken thing that wasn't actually on the menu (I know because our current lab tech served him). There are TONS of great restaurants here, why anyone would choose Chili's is beyond me.

Now, if you're keeping track, that is two whole Whalbergs. I think the current Philly tourism slogan - "the city that loves you back - just really, really sucks. Though not as much as the gay tourism slogan (yes, Philadelphia is specifically trying to get gay tourists. Seems to me that not re-electing Santorum would be a better message than some lame ad campaign, but whatever), which is "Get your history straight and your nightlife gay." My slogan? "Philly. Good enough for Whalbergs." It works, right?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lawyer's Daughter

So Saturday night Rachel, Ingrid, Cassia, and I went to a chichi dinner and then to a bar that I will not name since rumor had it there was a dollar-drink happy hour until ten. Except there wasn't, the bar was insanely bad (in the New Jersey way) and there were two bachelorette parties going on. Not exactly my people. So we went next door to another bar that I also shall not name, as I am embarrassed that my pointy-toed shoes ever crossed the threshold. In fairness, none of us had been to said bar, we just knew that there was a good shot of getting cheap booze until ten, that it was next door, and that there would be a dance floor. Having somehow weasled out of the six-dollar cover, we went in, had cheap booze, and made fun of people. I should say that at this point I could tolerate the music as it was all 80s pop, though more top 40 pop than I'd like. The people, though...all former frat boys and their female counterparts, totally bridge-and-tunnel drinkers. Then two guys that worked there started pulling girls up onto these ledges and pouring booze down their throats. Right out of the bottle. I should point out that the four of us were not doing a good job of hiding as we got sent up too and I must admit that I had some strange guy tilt my head back and pour faux Midori straight down the back of my throat. To the tune of "Humping Around" at that. I stayed out of the line of fire after that, though Ingrid and Cassia also got up for an unidentified red bottle.

My first thought after I got down from the booze ledge? "There has to be some sort of liability issue there." Seriously, how have they not gotten sued after a car wreck or sexual assault or something? Especially since most of their patrons will be driving over the Delaware to re-enter Jersey?

Anyway, I stayed for a bit but once the damn new R&B/MTV crap started playing, Rachel and I left and went to 700 Club. Of course. And since I was drunk and thus prone to stupidity, I told her about last weekend's events and while I made her swear on pain of facial mutilation not to tell anyone, I still think that telling was a bad idea. Eventually Cassia and Ingrid came to 700 too, Cassia and I danced and talked to boys that weren't from New Jersey and all was good in the world again.

Tim was boring this weekend, mostly talk of NASA. Why do journalists feel the need to keep asking astronauts about whether they believe there is other intelligent life out there, anyway? Can't they come up with any legitimate astrophysics questions? Like whether Pluto should really be classified as planet? Grrr. But good news in the political world: Santorum has said he won't run in 2008 and since I've convinced myself he's losing his upcoming re-election (though I won't vote for Casey as he is antichoice and I still vote in NY anyway), that might just bring us into a Santorum-free age. And Pataki isn't running for governor again since everyone knows Spitzer was totally going to kick his ass. So, two good things in politics in one week: haven't seen that in awhile. Though I'm still boning up on my Gordon Lightfoot, just in case.