bintlog v2.0
Friday, April 30, 2004
How embarrassing
Don't you hate when you search for something on Google and find that people can't spell? Don't you especially hate when you search for something and the only hit you get is your own website, because apparently you're the only person on the planet who spells it that way?

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Eat ice cream right before bed, and dream about:
Cavities. Lots and lots of cavities. Now, I actually have never had a cavity, but in my dream I was inspecting my teeth and finding these precise, dark holes all over, like they'd been created with a charred drill bit.

Blame it on Baskin Robbins' Free Cone Night. World Class Chocolate on a sugar cone... mmmmm!
On the El
Yesterday: UIC student reading The Sun Also Rises and taking notes on it, into her cell phone. Either an elaborate cheating mechanism, or the world's most inefficient notebook.

Today: Guy studying the Chicago Trolley Company's tourguide manual. On the page I saw were blurbs about Buildings Visible from Lake Shore Drive, the Century of Progress Fair of 1933, and Lake Point Tower. I think I would enjoy being a tour guide in the city (except for the whole public speaking thing). I'm adept at throwing little bits of trivia about the city at whoever I'm with, and then when they ask questions that I can't answer, neatly changing the subject.

Last class is today! And also, first class of Spring Ecology at the Botanic Garden. I'm starting to wonder if I will ever finish this certificate program. It doesn't help that they're restructuring the whole program, so I don't even know what certificate I'm working towards anymore.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Oh yeah...
Forgot to post this:

It reads like a headline from The Onion, but it's not. Crazy, huh?

Friday, April 23, 2004
My dogs
are on crack. I don't know where they get it, and why they're not sharing. Every single time I make a sudden movement, the slightest hint that I might be thinking about standing up, or even inhale or blink too hard, the dogs leap to their feet and start dancing around like demented deer, and the house is in an uproar for the next ten minutes. Must....move...slowly...

Jazzy has discovered that it's great fun to sneak up behind me when I'm at the computer and very lightly touch the region of my left kidney with his nose. He's getting all mushy and demonstrative in his old age.

So! I've joined the ranks of! Now everybody can come here and discover for themselves that I don't, in fact, have a whole lot to say. As a quick intro, I live in the Irving Park (or West Walker, for the purists) neighborhood on the Northwest side of Chicago. I have a husband, a cute little house, and two crackhounds, er, greyhounds. We're a short walk from the Blue Line, which I ride to UIC for work and school every day.

And just so you-all get some value for your clicking dollar, here is my current ongoing project: The McC Garden Census. Be amazed at how many plants can be crammed into a city lot-and-a-half, and boggle at the compulsiveness that makes me list scientific names *and* family names for every single one. Hey, I didn't take two years of high school Latin for nothing.
This photo, taken by a Defense Department contract worker in Kuwait:

got the photographer fired because DoD has a ban on all photos of our war dead returning home. DoD says the policy is meant to respect the feelings of the families, which I can understand. However, I'm not sure how respectful it is to send their children off to be killed in a questionable war in the first place.

What the photo does show is the degree of attention and honor afforded to those who lost their lives. It makes me glad to know they're being taken care of. But, jesus, there are a lot of flags in that picture.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
The problem with America these days
Nobody takes pride in their work! Specifically, the sullen red-headed tattooed chick at Subway made me a really bad sandwich. I ended up picking off the peppers (mmm, banana pepper rings) and tossing most of the sandwich. This is the danger of buying food at Subway before the lunch rush: a high likelihood of getting yesterday's bread, which apparently is stored unwrapped in front of a heat register all night. And she did that wonderful thing where all the toppings sort of perch up on top of the bread so that when I unwrap it on my desk, I find dry bread and meat enveloped in lettuce and sweet onion sauce. My apologies to any coworkers who end up sticking to the office doorknob today... blame it on Sullen Tattooed Chick.

Now, in *my* day, I made sure all the toppings were *in* the sandwich when it was wrapped, and all the vegetables were evenly spaced and reached to the ends of the bread. My subs were works of art, almost too pretty to eat. Damned kids these days - no pride in their crappy minimum-wage jobs. (They should just be thankful they don't have to wear cheesy construction hats to work. Seriously, they made me do this, when Subway was promoting the cold cut combo as the "Working Class Hero". Apparently, the Village People are big on cold cuts.)

Cubs are tied for 1st place! However, the entire division is tight, separated by only 1 1/2 games. I'm still a little puzzled as to why our division has 6 teams, and the AL West has 4. Doesn't that seem wrong somehow?

Having serious chocolate cravings. I was tempted to go out and buy a cake mix last night, but inertia and the Cub game kept me on the couch. Probably just as well.

Did my presentation yesterday. It actually went pretty well, and mine was by far not the worst one in the class! However, even though I wasn't very nervous, I did my usual thing where I forget to inhale while I'm talking. So, by Slide 15 or so, my voice was cracking and failing and I was starting to see black spots. Well, okay, not the spots part, but the voice failing, yes, totally. If I ever have to teach a class, I am in some serious trouble.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
"All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being."
--Kurt Vonnegut
Rumor has it that Starbucks is giving away free coffee cups tomorrow. It may be worth my time to wander over to NW Station and see if I can find them. Not that I need a coffee cup, but, you know, *free*! Some of us never get over our poor college student days, when everything not nailed down ended up in our backpacks. Witness the fine assortment of silverware from Saga (Alma's cafeteria) that I still have, and the cheap red polyester tablecloth that doesn't fit any table I own. (I considered the silverware thing to be a public service; over the course of 4 years, I gradually weeded out all the bizarre unmatched pieces, which improved Saga's atmosphere and reputation for fine dining, enabling them to charge even higher prices to the students who came later.)

Had a dream last night that the Creepy Gardener Guy who lives next door, over the course of one day, turned his property into a honky-tonk bar with an outdoor stage, beer garden, and assortment of neon beer signs. He disappeared as soon as the work was done, leaving us to sputter in astonishment and rant about zoning codes that allow homes to be converted into bars. Obviously, having live country music next door would suck, but the silver lining is that the Gardener left! I think it's a fair trade-off.

Have discovered He's actually a very good writer; who knew?! I feel a little bad about my days in the Wesley Crusher Must Die camp, but he seems to have come through mostly unscathed.
Monday, April 19, 2004
Week 14
My last semester as an undergrad is winding down. My fascinating Powerpoint on Ammophila breviligulata for bio is ready, and I'm trying not to panic about the presentation. Will never ever in my life get over this stage fright! Argh. We went over the biochem exam that I didn't turn in, and boy am I glad I didn't! I did a lot worse than I thought. Of course, I probably would have been more careful if it had been for real, but still.

We went to the game on Saturday (free tix courtesy of a vendor at Mark's work). Guy in front of us had some sort of glove fetish; he gestured and posed dramatically with his glove before every Cubs batter. Since we were sitting in foul territory, his ideal scenario apparently was catching a Cubbie home run off the foul pole. The high point of the game was a game-saving snowcone catch by Alou, but then Dusty left Kerry in too long and the umpire made two questionable calls and suddenly the Reds had pulled ahead in the 9th. Kerry bitched at the ump and the *ump* headed towards the mound (big no-no!), until Barrett intervened. Then, when Kerry was finally taken out, he charged the ump and had a screaming fit and got thrown out. Kerry went into the dugout, and then we saw a batting helmet come flying out. Temper, temper. The bleacher section expressed their disapproval of the ump by littering the field with cups. Anyway, we lost 3-2 when we should have won 2-1, but it was still a fun day. My left arm is still sunburned, and I never did get the ice cream I was craving, since it turned rather chilly in the late innings.

Bought some chewable Cosequin (glucosamine) for Jazzy. We're going to treat him for a while and see if it helps him get around more easily. According to the vet, only Cosequin and the human equivalent (Cosamine?) are proven to be bioavailable. I'm just recording this fact here because I'll certainly forget it in a few months!
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
I ditched lab only a little bit early today. I think I'm allowed to be a slacker one day each semester! Got to the game during the first inning. 'Twas sunny and warm, and my seat was great - one seat in from the right field wall, practically on the foul line. Saw two Ramirez homers and one by Alou, and watched the folks around me get increasingly drunk and slurry. Two shrill mommies were nearby and kept screaming at Sammy "Hey, Sammy, there's a kid over here! How 'bout a ball?" The new scoreboards are nice, and don't detract from the ambience. I find, though, that I miss the random obscure stats from the old board -- "Alex Gonzalez - 2 doubles on June 18, 1997" -- stuff like that. The "get the crowd excited by racing electronic objects across the board" races are much flashier now. I picked the glove to beat the bat and ball, and won!

Thing I learned today: Nike makes very sporty yarmulkes.

Another thing I learned today: It's better to catch the bus on Sheffield than on Clark.

Anyway, the outcome was: Cubs 8, Pirates 3. I'm happy.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I seem to have come down with a cold, or something. Not particularly sneezy, but way tired and cranky and tremendously antisocial. Also felt so nauseous on the train this morning that I debated getting off early and just sitting on a non-moving bench for a while. But it passed.

Had a dream last night that I was in a movie starring Tom Cruise, except *I* was Tom Cruise. The plot had something to do with buying dog food a long time ago from some guy who proceeded to stalk me/Tom for the next thirty years. I/Tom had to figure out who, and why, and eventually it was revealed that my stalker was none other than Joe Isuzu. In a big climactic moment, I tracked down Mr. Isuzu and confronted him with a bag of dog food that I had apparently saved for thirty years for just this moment. He looked at me blankly and said, "I don't know, I sold a lot of dog food back then. I don't remember you." And it was then that I realized that I had the wrong guy, or maybe that I wasn't being stalked at all, and it had all been a thirty-year delusion.

Why did I dream this? 1) I need to buy dog food. 2) I'm reading a book with a lot of Japanese characters. 3) I am being stalked by Joe Isuzu (j/k!). The Tom Cruise bit is a mystery to me.

We won't talk about yesterday's home opener. Suffice it to say the Cubs won't be selling bottled beer at Wrigley this year, and much money was made on 13-run pools across the country. The way I feel right now, I can't imagine actually going to the game tomorrow, but it is supposed to be warmer and maybe I'll feel better by then.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Overheard in Skokie
Grumpy teenaged girl: Nothing's open on Easter. I'm Jewish; I should know.

Spent most of today studying for biochem. Boy, was *that* fun! Carbohydrates will be the death of me, figuratively and literally. Can't I get an Atkins diet waiver and just learn the protein and lipid stuff?

Cubs won against Atlanta after 15 very tense innings late last night. Today, the game started out similarly, but the bullpen imploded in the 8th and we lost 5-2. Tomorrow I have to forego baseball because we'll be in Rockford for Easter, and I don't want to be one of those relatives who spend family gatherings staring at the tv instead of being sociable. The tv shouldn't even be on, unless we're all watching something together, which we never do anyway. Our family is all about eating and yakking and playing darts. Believe me, things can get pretty wild. :)
Friday, April 09, 2004
What's so good about it?
It's Good Friday, which means I'm at work but got my own seat on the train. I have exactly two things to do today. One, email a professor and ask a question re: affordable housing. Two, go to the library to hunt down some data, and if I find it, photocopy it. (And three, also at the library, get some articles for my project, but I'm going to wait until Monday b/c I may be getting some of them elsewhere.) Oh, and I should finish up my stuff for my annual review on Monday, when I will also announce my impending departure from the working life.

Boss: So let's talk about your goals and tasks for next year.
Me: Actually, it's funny you should mention that...

I guess the joke's on me if he secretly reads this page. Hi, Boss! [waves]
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Rabble rousing
UIC's student body is really not known for being outspoken on the issues of the day, although in the past few years, I've noticed a gradual increase in protests and mass meetings, usually regarding Iraq or GLBT rights, with the occasional unshowered dude handing out copies of The Worker in the student union. Well, today as I was heading to work after picking up my much-coveted Friar Tuck sandwich (chicken and cucumbers with hotsy-totsy sauce!), I walked into the middle of a protest in front of CCC. So, being the dedicated employee that I am, I sat down on a bench to watch the proceedings. Near the doors to CCC was a small group of pro-choice students with their faces covered, holding signs and red and black flags. They were shouting that they're American citizens and have a right to speak their mind, etc. etc., but it felt like they were only saying those things because that's how the protest script goes. Do all protests have such a hollow ring to them? The UIC police were keeping them from entering the building, I'm not sure on what grounds, and in a move that seemed to take the wind out of the protesters' sails, insisted they all dig out their wallets and show their student IDs.

Meanwhile, someone with a megaphone was shouting from across the street, and that was clearly where the action was so I walked down there. On the east side was the pro-choice crowd, although their position seemed to be broader and include anti-racism and anti-hatred. On the west side, all the way to Harrison, was the pro-life crowd. The pro-lifers had these dreadful posters showing aborted fetuses, and I looked all around for news cameras before I walked by because the last thing I want is to be on TV associated with such overemotional tripe. On the west side, I saw two guys get arrested, but I'm not sure what for. The whole event seemed tense but not violent. What prompted it in the first place, I don't know. Perhaps the pro-lifers were celebrating their new bulk-printing discount.

And just before I left the protest zone, some weird guy tried to sell me candy bars.

Monday, April 05, 2004
Opening Day!!
It's so nice to have Pat & Ron back in my office after a long cold winter! Everybody, sing with me: "Do they still play the blues in Chicago when baseball season rolls around?" It looks like the Cubs will be able to sell beer this year, because they didn't lose the opener. Har, that one never gets old!

Had a busy weekend filled with errands and home improvement. For future reference, do NOT buy the spray-on grout sealant! It eats caulk! Now, I was planning on replacing the caulking around the tub anyway, but suddenly it became an emergency instead of a task for when I had time and energy.

Friday, April 02, 2004
Well, I browsed templates from every two-bit template maker on the planet, and after becoming generally disillusioned by the whole free-sharing-of-information thing (Oh boy! Unlimited access to the work of 10-year-old designers!), I found absolutely nothing I'd be willing to put on my website. I mean, I realize my own website design is pretty dull, but at least it's not shocking pink on black, with big circles. So, I resorted to using a different Blogger template.

Meanwhile, two quick updates on the Mouse Story: We caught another (I've lost count now), under the porch, shortly after the weather warmed up. This morning, I also noticed that the peanut butter had been licked off one of the traps. Is the trap rusted open, or does Mousie just have a very light touch? Oh well, as long as they're not in the house, or leaping out at me from behind things, I don't really mind.
Seriously, how come everyone else's weblog is so cool-looking while mine is still a default Blogger template? How can an intelligent woman who knows html be so clueless? Must investigate. I have an hour and a half before the Mandatory Staff Meeting (i.e. hanging with coworkers at neighborhood bar) to research.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
May I introduce you to...
My New Plant!

Nepenthes ventrata (ventricosa x alata), a highland tropical pitcher plant

And, since it's nearly impossible to take a picture at our house without a dog getting into the act, here's Junior with Libby:

Now, really, isn't that the coolest plant EVER?

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