bintlog v2.0
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Leap Day!
Cubs tickets went on sale on Friday. I basically did no work that day (the one bit of work I did caused Netscape to crash, and that was *not* acceptable) and hung out in the accursed Virtual Waiting Room. I succeeded in getting tickets for three games, two of which were games that I really wanted, and I got a single seat down the right field line for the second home game (Prior should be starting!). First spring training game is this Thursday. My life has meaning again :)

Today: shopping, enjoying the awakening spring weather, and starting my final project for the Plant Families of the Midwest class that just ended. I should sign up for spring ecology, too, before it sells out. I wanted to finish the naturalist certificate before grad school, but that isn't going to happen. I can come close, at least.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Forgot to mention, my daffodils and hyacinths are coming up. First saw them on the 21st. Hopefully we won't get a big nasty cold snap that melts the poor little flower buds!

We wandered around campus looking at various gymnosperms for lab today. There is a female ginkgo tree on Taylor, and the ground was totally covered with mushy, slippery, vomit-scented seeds (not fruits! seeds!). I was tempted to pick one up and take it home, see if it would germinate, but I didn't really want to a) handle a vomity seed, and b) reveal to my classmates that I carry empty baggies in my bag for just such a purpose. Bio Geek!! :P

Monday, February 23, 2004
For she's a jolly good fellow
In August of 2001, I cut my work hours to half time and began BIO 103 at Northeastern.

On February 23, 2004, I learned that I am receiving a fellowship to enter the PhD program in Ecology and Evolution at UIC in the fall.

I'm so excited I could just about pop!! Unfortunately, I can't afford to pop because I have a biochem exam tomorrow.


Thursday, February 19, 2004
I'm Gumby, dammit!
Why do baseball websites have action photographs of pitchers in mid-pitch? Arms are just not meant to bend that way. Instead of looking like smooth, talented physical specimens, they just look creepy and deformed. On the plus side, photos of Wood, Prior, and Maddux in Cubbie blue are circulating. Maddux is short!!

Finished Bellwether. Was vaguely disappointed by the ending; it seemed to be working up to something a whole lot cooler. Maybe on second reading it will be better, when I can pick out the subtle triggers, like an Easter egg hunt. Returned to the map book (it's important to carry two books at all times, in case one runs out!), which took a turn for the depressingingly introspective right near the end. I felt a great sympathy for the map thief; yeah, he did some awful things, but he did his time, and now he has this author stalking him and publishing details about his life. I would have felt much better about the book if, at the first mention of the thief's name, the words "(not his real name)" had followed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
I should be working
Quick update on What the Bintgoddess is Reading: Bellwether, by Connie Willis, one of my Valentine's gifts; Trixie Belden #3 (Gatehouse); the TB Quiz Book #1 (Thanks, eBay!); and The Island of Lost Maps, which is good but too serious and I had to set it aside for a while. Anyway, Bellwether is *so* wonderful and I think Ms. Willis is one of those authors where if I don't consume her entire oeuvre immediately, I will go insane. (Sorry about the $10 word--it's one of those words I will only use when writing because saying it aloud makes me sound pompous, and I'd probably pronounce it wrong anyway and everyone would stare at me and say "her entire WHAT?" Anyway.) I just spent 10 minutes trying to articulate what I think of her writing, and failed miserably. Suffice it to say that I wish I could plot a novel, and turn a phrase, like she does.

And it has sheep! How can you not like a book that has sheep?

In other news, pitchers and catchers report today, bringing Greg Maddux with them! I'm cautiously optimistic. He's still one of the best pitchers out there, despite his age. Also a very good fielder, something the rest of the Cubs pitching staff could stand to practice. Tickets go on sale in a week and a half. I am going to pick up a wristband, just to see if it improves my chances. I expect tickets to be tight this year.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Birdie update
I wandered around the Web and found some pictures that suggest that my bird friend was Accipiter striatus, the sharp-shinned hawk. Is it a resident, or a passing migrant?

On the way to the El
There were two people a few yards ahead of me, a tall, balding white man and a shorter Hispanic woman. They seemed to be having a argument, and with the snow-narrowed sidewalks, I hoped they got it straightened out before I had to squeeze past them. Then the man's anger suddenly ramped up and he turned around and started SCREAMING in my general direction, something like "You f***ing bigot, you have no g****** right!" He hurried past me (phew!), still yelling, and when I turned to see who he was yelling at (there was nobody there), he had thrown his leather briefcase in anger. Then the woman took his hand and tugged him along towards the train, saying comforting things, and I kept going, feeling vaguely freaked out. I'm guessing someone in traffic said something rude to the woman, and the man's rage grew and grew until long after the person was gone, and finally he just had to do something to blow off steam. People can be such jerks, and there's nothing we can do except just be pissed off about it. He was probably mostly angry at himself for not acting immediately to defend his friend/wife/girlfriend's honor, and angry at a world where she could take an insult in stride because she'd heard it plenty of times before.

I saw them on the El platform a few minutes later, and he seemed much cheerier.

Saw a strange bird on my street the other day. I dug through my bird books but couldn't find a picture that matched, I only saw it from the back and the books only show frontal views. It was a raptor, about the size of a crow, with a slim shape (not bulky like most hawks), dark blue-grey coloring, wide black bars on the tail and possibly a reddish breast. He was just above my head in a tree outside the brick Italianate hidden by overgrown evergreens. I think it was the first time I've gone past that house and *not* seen a thousand pigeons (the people sprinkle birdseed on the ground). I wish the mystery bird would camp out at my house! Anyway, my first guess was a peregrine falcon, since I know those are around, but the picture wasn't right.

Friday, February 13, 2004
Not grr.
So, after venting in my last entry, I was in a doubly pissy mood and stomped off to take the El to the bank and then go home and growl at the dogs. However, when I left the CBOT building, I said to myself, "I deserve a donut!" and walked over to Krispy Kreme for my favorite, chocolate frosted cream-filled. I rummaged for coins, but the cashier smiled and said "Happy Valentine's Day" and waved off my money. I thanked him profusely and wished him a good weekend, and bounced back to the El feeling much better about the world. Sometimes it pays to be cute and female, because I noticed that the guy ahead of me in line didn't get *his* donut for free!

Then I came home and called my dad, and we had a nice chat. I have a free donut and a Dew and it's Friday and life is good.

I am tired of hearing mentions of the 3-day weekend. *Some* of us don't have Monday off. In fact, *some* of us have a biochem quiz on Monday. Hmph.

It's been such a boring week. I'm going absolutely loonybats with cabin fever, and I'm sick to death of movies and TV and books and school and work and people and sleep and being awake. Even Phoebe's wedding on Friends last night failed to amuse, with the actors all seeming like they were barely concealing their hostility and just want to get this endless series over with. Right now I'm at work, learning Arcview because I have nothing else to do, and even though I'm full from lunch, all I can think about is Ding-dongs and Mountain Dew and anything that will distract me for a while. I should just go home, but at least when I'm at work I can maintain the illusion that I'm "out" and "doing something". I wish the stupid weather would warm up!!

I don't usually hate winter. There's just something about this winter that is killing me, and I hate it because it justifies all those folks who live in hot, soulless places like Phoenix or LA or Florida and laugh at anyone who chooses to live in a cold place. I *like* Chicago. I *like* winter. I like the change of the seasons, and the sun glinting off snow, and the several-month reprieve from having to do any yardwork or even pretending to exercise. Just not this year.

Maybe I'll just go to the bank. That'll be fun.

Sunday, February 08, 2004
I finally dug out the box of Trixie Beldens from the basement and reread most of #1 yesterday. Boy, the books sure seem different now that I've been reading fanfic than they did when I was 10! I'm most of the way through this really good series called A Simple Kind of Fear, by Jelly Baby. I've also been trying to figure out what the adult versions characters look like in my head. I think Honey must look something like Jennifer Aniston, and Di I'm just not sure, but I finally found a good Trixie:

Yes, that's Charlize Theron. And it's Trixie!! Two girls in one!

In other news, DH quit his job and is moving on to better things. Yay!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Personal assistant, redux.
Had to go *back* to Northeastern this afternoon to retrieve the aforementioned letter. There were no fewer than three people in the bio office at the time. Hey, here's a thought: How about staggering your shifts?! This is why I am studying the sciences, because I clearly would be a failure at office management.

Anyway, on the way to campus the truck was acting really bizarre and seemed to be stuck in 4x4 mode (which I used to get out of the garage because the snow is deep and rutted in the alley). After a couple of panicky miles of slow, careful driving and staring at the mirror for glimpses of smoke or transmission parts, something under the truck suddenly made a loud scraping sound and then the 4x4 light finally shut off and I was back in good old normal D! I stared under the truck after I parked it, looking for anything obvious like the engine lying on the ground, and then called Mark to get his opinion.

I really hate cars sometimes.

I need a personal assistant.
Took most of the morning off work so I could drive to Northeastern in the pouring snow (was behind a van that had no traction, and I was starting to wonder if I'd ever actually get out of the neighborhood) and get my transcript and the AWOL letter of recommendation. (Turns out he did in fact send it, but UIC lost it. I'm not entirely shocked.) Anyway, would you believe that the bio office there doesn't open until NOON? I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this concept. There is nobody in charge or answering phones or doing paperwork except between noon and four. Every day. *boggle*

I have rediscovered Trixie Belden books! I read a really excellent fanfic whose URL I can't remember now, and it rekindled my interest in the series. I even went so far as to go downstairs and stare at the heap of boxes, somewhere at the bottom of which is the box of "kiddie" books I packed away long ago. Then I went back upstairs.

Monday, February 02, 2004
You are a loser.
Candy wrappers and bottle tops make me so sad when I open them and read "You are not a winner." I usually am not even aware there's a game going on, and it's rather disheartening to prepare for a tasty treat and instead discover that PepsiCo Thinks I Suck. Today I sent in my Dentyne Secret Code in the hopes of winning a Fabulous Prize, and instead got back an email that says SORRY. YOU ARE NOT A WINNER. And I actually had to go to some effort to find that out!

Finished G&G last night. The book takes us to the verge of Gettysburg and then leaves us alone at the edge of a windswept cemetery, feeling bewildered. The book is a prequel to The Killer Angels, which is about Gettysburg, and which was written by this author's father. I suppose now this author's *son* will have to write a book about the Spanish-American War.

Am now reading Red Dwarf, a very Hitchhikeresque romp through the solar system. Speaking of Hitchhiker, there's a movie version being made. Yum.

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