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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Have I Mentioned I'm Reading a Book About the Pilgrims? SFN 2006

So I've returned from Atlanta, site of the big giant annual neuroscience convention. The above quote is from my advisor, who managed to drop some new little fact about the Pilgrims into every single conversation she had at the convention. Even the ones about science. Apparently, the lady was shocked to hear that the Pilgrims weren't quite as Puritan as we were led to believe. But that's because she didn't have AP History with Mr. Woolson, who taught us all about the sordid underbelly of our glorious nation. Duty sheep* included.

First off, I suppose my real introduction to the south came on the plane when the woman sitting next to me asked how I'd be getting to my hotel from the airport. I mentioned that I was thinking of the train at 10:30 that evening and she shot me a look of horror. "You know, the train stations get awful dark at night" she said in her accent. Then her voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper as she added, "and I don't mean the lights. It is full of the blacks." I did take a shuttle, but that had more to do with fear of getting lost. Because we don't have black people in Philly. Yep.

The hotel we all stayed at was in Buckhead, where they put all the student hotels. It is miles from downtown (and the convention center) and while we;d heard that Buckhead was a cool neighborhood with bars and food and shopping and such...not so much. There were bars, but they were frat boy-laden, and the restaurants were way spendy, and all the shopping was contained in strip malls. Swanky strip malls, sure, but as far as I'm concerned real cities don't have strip malls.

As for the actual meeting stuff, my poster went over well enough. I didn't learn too much interesting new science. I got two casual postdoc offers, but there's no way in hell I'm going to do a postdoc because I am tired of doing science. So I made a few contacts in the science writing arena. And I may have a possible part-time editing gig with a journal, if Elsevier comes through with some money (ha!). At least I have a Get Out Of Academic Science Tentative Game Plan now. There was also a meeting with the heads of a bunch of the NIH institutes, wherein they pretended that the funding situation isn't abysmal and then got politely contradicted by the assembled scientists who happen to know that, in fact, the funding situation sucks. About the only productive advice given by an NIH institute person was to vote...I think there may have been three Republicans at the entire conference. Something about immersing oneself in logic and experiments makes it difficult to believe in voodoo economics, I suppose.

I also got to spend some time with Rachel, poor thing is still in South Carolina and subject to the whims of a certain selfish bubble-dwelling PI. I didn't actually do to much drinking in Atlanta as I got sick. Boo airplane germs! But I did get free lab dinner and drinks with my advisor, who can handle about a glass and a half of wine before the dirt starts coming out.

But when I got back, I had a lovely skein of sock yarn I ordered from Alison's new store and a copy of Bend Over Boyfriend to review (um, did I neglect to mention that I've been reviewing allegedly woman-friendly p*rn lately?). Happy return home to me! Now I spend my mornings monitoring the estrous cycle of my rats. Every morning. It involves taking samples of vaginal cells and may actually be less fun for me than it is to them. See, science isn't all posters and meetings! It is rat vaginas too! See why I want out of the field yet?

*For those of you who did not experience the joy of AP with Mr. Woolson, we read a lot of primary documents from the colonial era, many of which made alarmingly casual mention of the, um, sexual use of the young male indentured servants brought here. They were referred to as "duty boys" and then he pointed out a casual mention of the use of sheep for, um, release by certain lonely settlers. Hence duty sheep. And why I love America.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

More Socks and a Brilliant Idea

I finished another pair of socks, though I don't like the feel of how these ones knit up. Must be the yarn. Anyway, they have purple, grey, and blue stripes but for some reason my camera doesn't seem to be capable of accurately photographing purple. Boo!

more socks

I will never make another fully ribbed leg again. It was boring, yet a little slow going (I'm just not a fast purler, I guess) and just no fun eventually. Though I learned a new stretchy cast-off method, so that was good.

I found an old videotape of stuff taped off TV from the CFEx era (the label was in his handwriting) that included, among other things, the Barenaked Ladies episode of Behind the Music. It is from that late era of Behind the Music, when they'd already covered all the bands with really big problems (like, say, waking up on the floor with the needle still hanging out of one's arm) and were left with "well, they were big in Canada but Americans just weren't into it!" And then someone got leukemia, which was sad, but he lived, so whatever. Anyway, there was a lot of old footage of them with their cute little Canadian accents and from their old shows. In which, among other antics, they performed many early-to-mid-nineties dances. Like the running man and the one where you hold your foot and sort of jerk your knee backwards and the one where you jump through the loop you create by holding onto your leg. And I got a brilliant idea: with the current resurgence of very bad 80s fashion (stirrup pants are seriously back, people!) the early nineties is obviously the Next Big Thing. And while fashion-wise it may be grunge that comes back, I think we may have a full-on early nineties trend. In preparation for that era, I think I should make a workout tape (or DVD, I suppose) of all the early nineties spastic-looking dances. Because the running man is a workout, people! And then you could take your newfound/recently discovered moves to the clubs in your baby doll dress and combat boots and you could be the awesomest person there! And I'd be rich!

Who wants to be on the early list for my background dancers?

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Timwatch 10/1

So over the weekend Tim had Pervez Musharraf, which I didn't pay that much attention to (seriously, dude is being interviewed everywhere and I'm bored with him). Then was the Senate debate series, this time Ohio, with Mike Dewine and Sherrod Brown. I wanted to pay attention but I was distracted by Dewine's face. He has that frog-face quality that seems common in certain Republican politicians (see Al D'Amato for the best example). And I was distracted because his particular facial froggishness was reminding me of someone that I just couldn't put my finger on.

Senator Dewine:

After a lot of Google Image-ing, I figured it out:

For those of you who don't know, that is Doc from Buffy. Not only is he a demon, he has a tail. Yeah, he's a little older than Dewine but I think we all know that's exactly what Dewine will look like in about ten years.

So you heard it here first, kids: Senator Mike Dewine is, in fact, a demon. And he has eight kids, who may or may not also have tails. Who needs to pay attention to his actual wrong-headed policy notions when he is obviously evil? Though if you really need a good reason to vote for Brown over Dewine, Brown voted against the PATRIOT act. And he does not seem to be a demon follower of Glorificus.

Why yes, the Buffy DVDs are in my netflix queue because I've been wanting a Buffy refresher. That has nothing to do with anything!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Lesson in Combining Alcohol and Handknits

I've been on a hat kick lately - I think I really, really want winter to come.

The first hat I ever made myself was a black one with cat ears from the first SnB book. I got a lot of compliments. Then I wore it out to Sex Dwarf, where I (of course) got obnoxiously drunk and somehow lost it. So let that be a lesson to all of you: if you are going to be drinking so much that your friends will have to literally carry you up to bed, perhaps you shouldn't wear anything you made. Or at least anything you made that you actually like. Because you may lose it in the cab. Or you may barf on it (which hasn't happened to me yet but may, at some point). I made other hats in the interim - like the Nautilus hat - but I really liked my old ear one. It was cute, plus it had earflaps! SO I made myself another one, and it looks way better than my old one did:
cat-ear hat

Please ignore my unmade bed. Well, futon. I'm totally in love with that yarn - the Malabrigo worsted weight. In fact, I went back and bought more because I have plans for mittens and maybe a scarf. It is really, really soft, which is good because I made the original kitty hat out of Cascade 220 and thought it was a little itchy. The color in the picture is bluer than it is in person - it is really more purple and black.

I will not be wearing this hat to Sex Dwarf, Immediate, Beatles and Stones, or any of those other places where I tend to drink far too much, dance around, and wind up cabbing home. Only to places where I don't drink too much or where I drink too much but get to keep my coat and such on my person and can walk home. Really.