bintlog v2.0
Friday, December 31, 2004
Don't be Jack
New CTA signs!

Had another crazy dream last night. I can only remember the end of it, in which I was in a coffee shop with my mom and feeling very uneasy and frightened about whatever had been happening earlier in the dream. My mom was humoring me but it was clear she thought I was overreacting. I went up to the counter and sat next to Kendra, a friend from college, and started showing her the coins in my pocket. Each was about the size and color of regular U.S. coins, but the designs were entirely different: one was some sort of Nazi coin, another was intricately carved like some sort of boar or warthog, and others seemed to represent various times and places in history. Kendra was not sure why I was showing them to her. I waved a nickel at her and tried to make her see that it wasn't a regular nickel, but she just shrugged. "Don't you remember this?" I said, sketching an abstract Monticello on a napkin. She didn't know what I was talking about. So, I returned to my mom's table, feeling more and more sure that I was in some crazy universe where alternate historical timelines had actually come true. I tried to get my mom to pay attention to the warthog coin, and she finally said, "Look, Diane, are you sure you aren't crazy?" I thought about that for a moment, decided that insanity was preferable to the terrifying parallel universe thing, and gave in to it with a feeling of great relief. Then I woke up.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Bang a gong
So, I had a dream last night that a Tyrannosaurus Rex blackmailed me into letting him live in my house. It wasn't really my house, though, it was my high school biology teacher's house. It's surprisingly easy to hide a T. rex in a house, and Mr. Gray was suspicious but didn't ask nosy questions. He was none too pleased by the dollops of orange dinosaur poop on his furniture, but I quickly agreed to clean it up. Finally, though, I realized that the strain of keeping this secret was worse than the blackmail material being revealed, and I vowed to come clean. Just in time, too, because when I came home I found massive claw marks in all the woodwork and I think that would have been hard to cover up.

In more reality-based news, today I did my very first PCR. I got a band! Woo! And I'm slowly setting up my lab bench. I have brightly colored boxes and tape and sharpies and little plastic bits of things to play with. Eat your heart out, Office Depot!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
People who ride the CTA are strange
But, of course, you knew that already. This morning, while waiting at Washington after getting my latte and muffin, a 30-ish bald black man wandered up to me and asked politely how tall I am. I quickly processed his question for danger or freakishness and found none, so I told him I'm about 5-8". He said "Then I guess I'm probably about 5-7"?" I agreed that he was probably right, and he thanked me and went away.

I can just see it: his girlfriend said to him on the phone, "Yes, you can come see me, but if you get here and you don't know how tall you are, we're THROUGH!" Glad I could help out.
Thursday, December 23, 2004

Monday, December 20, 2004
Sea legs
So, we just got home from a four-day cruise (Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas) from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West to Cozumel and back. I have much to say but am too tired to write it now. However, wanted to get this down, courtesy of our cruise director:
A frog walks into a bank and goes to talk to one of the loan officers. The frog's name is Frog Jagger; the loan officer is Patty Whack. "I would like to apply for a loan," says the frog.
The officer looks doubtful. "We don't usually lend money to frogs."
"The bank manager will say yes; he knows who I am," the frog says confidently.
"Well, okay, what do you have for collateral?" says the officer.
The frog pulls out a little ceramic pig and hands it to her. She walks into the bank manager's office. "Sir, there's a frog here who wants a loan, and he gave me this for collateral. What is it?"
The bank manager answers, "It's a knick-knack, Patty Whack! Give the frog a loan! His old man's a Rolling Stone!"

Well, it was funnier live. :)
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
It's hallelujah day!
People who walk through the pedway connecting the Washington stops on the Red and Blue lines are familiar with the Funky Keyboard Guy. He sits on a bucket midway down the corridor and plays endless descending series of jazzy chords that always sound like they're about to resolve and then *don't*, and you want to knock his hands aside and just play the damn C-major and END THE SONG. Or maybe that's just me. Oh, and while playing these funky progressions, he shouts "Wooooo!" because he's imbued with the spirit of music. It's quite uplifting, really.

Well, yesterday I cut through the pedway to avoid the cold as I made my way to Border's (and why I dared enter the only major bookstore in the Loop a few days before Christmas remains a mystery to me) and there was Funky Keyboard Guy, trying out a new shtick. While erratically tapping on a five-gallon bucket, he sang with great joy in his heart, "It's hallelujah day! It's hallelujah day!" to the tune of the Howdy Doody song.

Now how did I never notice before that Howdy Doody and "Ta-ra-ra-BOOM-de-ay" are the same song?!

I stopped at the Kristkindlmarket (sp) on Daley Plaza and was immediately adopted by a sweet old German lady who decided that she and I were going to solve the mystery of what these glowing candleholders were made of. As she kindly clutched my arm and expressed amused shock at the price tags, my eyes darted around the crowd looking for a polite way out, which finally came in the form of a guy who works for the candle company. "Salt rock," he informed us. "Hunks of salt mined from..." well, somewhere with a lot of salt. "Probably don't want to get it wet," I kidded, and he laughed and said probably not. "What's that you say?" said the sweet German lady, and he told her we were saying you shouldn't get the salt rock wet. "Oh, no, no, it's not for water, it's for candles!" she protested. I let the employee try to talk his way out of that one and skedaddled.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
So, been a while since I've posted... I was having trouble with Blogger and got frustrated and gave up for a while. But now I'm back, bay-bee! Yeah!!

Not that I have anything to say. Next week I turn in my first paper and have my first presentation of my PhD career and am unaccountably nervous about both. I'm so used to whatever I manage to throw together still being stellar work and I'm positive that eventually someone's going to notice that my usual isn't in fact good enough and I could do much better if I just worked a little harder. Maybe now is that time. Or maybe that time will never come. I know for a fact I'd never let this paper go for publication without completely re-researching and re-writing it, because my standards for schoolwork are more shoddy than those for work or publication. It's just school, after all. I'll have to be confident that when it matters, when it's publication or dissertation time, my output will be as good as I know I can do.

I'm rambling. Enough!

We're going on a 4-day cruise for our anniversary this year. I had idle thoughts of losing some weight before then, but, you know, holidays and such. I did stop eating so much crap, though, and I feel better about myself for that alone, so I suppose I've done some good. Only lost about 3 pounds. Am starting to recall fondly the days when women wore loose-fitting swimsuits to their knees.

The drive to Michigan for Thanksgiving was *dreadful*, even more dreadful than I can really get across in words. It took us 9 1/2 hours to get there. It started snowing in Hyde Park and snowed the whole way, sometimes in near-white-out conditions. Cars were in the ditches all over. Mark was tense and careful, I was concentrating on not climbing the walls with claustrophobia because I couldn't see out the front window very well. It rained the whole way home, sometimes heavily, and it was a blessing and relief and we didn't mind a bit.

Bought ingredients for making Christmas cookies. (What was that about a diet?) I. from school is not familiar with the American tradition of Christmas cookies (Christmas is in the summer where she comes from, and baked goods are not so appealing in summertime) so I want to take some to our final presentation at Joel's on Tuesday.

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