Monday, February 28, 2005
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Spring is in the air, despite the subzero windchills today. I mean, seriously, wtf?! But the snowdrops next door are blossoming, my daffodils and crocuses have emerged (although they're probably feeling betrayed and irritable), and pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training. And Sammy Sosa is an Oriole, of all things!! I have nothing against the Orioles, but they do have rather silly hats.
Per an article on great baseball books on the ESPN website, here is my shopping list in preparation for spring:
The Southpaw - Mark Harris
The Great American Novel - Philip Roth
The Natural - Bernard Malamud
Ball Four - Jim Bouton
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (just because the movie is coming out soon)
Yet another brilliant and likely unworkable project idea has suggested itself to me. Sigh. Learned this week how to do ligations and transformations, and am struggling to actually understand why we do them, rather than just follow the protocols blindly.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Your kids may be fascinating but you are not
I was trapped in the middle of a very loud and boring conversation on the El this morning between two people agonizing over finding the right schools for their various kids (at least one of whom was named Taylor, of course). Male Loud Parent (who sighed impatiently when passengers dared to stand between him and his friend across the aisle) apparently has interviewed teachers at and applied to every single school in the Chicago area and all of them are so deeply flawed that he fears for his children's future. One of the daughters is *three*, for goodness sake! I remember my preschool. They had monkeybars and puppets and snacks, and we all turned out reasonably well as far as I know.
But the real kicker was when Male Loud Parent was expressing how thrilled he was that his older daughter is being exposed to such DIVERSITY! so many DIFFERENT points of view! Diversity is so important in this day and age, you know! Her mother and I want her to be exposed to as many cultures as possible! And what, you may ask, does this diversity consist of? Her class has one Asian girl, and a half-Asian half-Hispanic girl. One and a half Asians! You can practically feel her mind broadening.
This on top of the yuppie parents feeding white wine to their toddler at the restaurant last night. I'm feeling generally disapproving of parents in general today.
VD weekend, part 2
Went to Evanston to see the movie "Sideways", and had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's, capped off with some sort of evil chocolate cake with chocolate gelato on the side... mmmmmmmm. Have eaten a LOT of chocolate the last few days, and our game plan for tonight is making a cake. Plus, one of my labmates is treating us to some yummy treats from Artopolis today. All pretense of health has gone out the window.
We parked the truck in the Maple St. garage before the movie, but somehow managed to find a staircase that led nowhere, and we ended up behind the structure in an eerily abandoned loading zone. We figured we could just walk around the building, but ended up faced with a wrought-iron fence. So, with little hesitation, we squeezed around the end of the fence and the ineffectual metal strips meant to keep folks from doing just that, and, slightly damp from the wet metal, made our movie just as the previews began. Take that, Evanston! You can't keep us city folks in your sorry little cages!
Saturday, February 12, 2005
VD weekend, part 1
1) An ad for FTD on the radio. I was only half-listening and misheard it as "STD", which triggered an amusing series of jokes about the thoughtfulness of having an STD delivered to your sweetie for Valentine's Day.
2) Walked to the cute little coffeeshop near our house for coffee this morning. Hubby risked a carrot cake muffin, assured by the very friendly counter guy that there were no nuts in it. He nibbled a tiny bit, and a tiny bit more, and thought he felt a reaction so we had to rush home. Coffee guy was dismayed and apologetic. At home, reaction had stopped, and hubby thought maybe it was a false alarm, so he dissected the muffin, and sure enough, a big honkin' walnut was lurking inside. We'll go back to the coffeeshop soon, though, to reassure the guy that we don't blame him.
3) Went to lunch at Applebee's, only because we had a gift card. Their service is traditionally sucky and today was no exception. Also, my "medium" burger had apparently been dropped directly into the fire. But hey, free lunch is free lunch.
4) Attempted to go to the Chocolate Festival at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The line was way out the door, there were school buses and cars everywhere and no parking in sight... utter chaos. So, we skipped it and hubby whisked me away to Ghirardelli's on Superior for hot fudge brownie sundaes instead. Happy Bintie! It is a lovely day, spring is in the air, and our travels took us all over the city, where we saw some of the most depressed (with CPD cameras mounted on poles), trendy, and shockingly wealthy neighborhoods sometimes just blocks apart. Also saw a stretch of the Boulevard system that I'd never seen before - Franklin Blvd on the West Side - that is just *crying* for development. We also got to experience the thrill of driving under the El on Lake; the supports are *just* far enough apart to allow two lanes of traffic, and there is no room for error!
Friday, February 11, 2005
Baseball, creation myths, and evolution
Stephen Jay Gould: The Creation Myths of Cooperstown
Am doing a Happy Friday Dance today (but without actually moving, as am at the office and that would be embarrassing). This has been a v. long week, for all residents of the McC household, but the prospect of a Valentine's Day Eve movie and dinner is cheering.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Il nome della rosa
I finished The Name of the Rose today; am still exhausted from the effort. To counteract it, I have Portnoy's Complaint at home (there is a similar amount of sex and guilt in both - Benedictine monks and New Jersey Jews are more alike than you'd expect!) but first must study for my first exam since I started the program. Never realized evolution would have so much *math* in it - not that I have a problem with math, but it did come as a surprise. It's like those bumper stickers that say "Ecology is as simple as [some complicated formula for biodiversity measurement]". I need a bumper sticker that says "Evolution is as simple as f_t+1 = [1/2N + (1-1/2N)f_t](1-u)^2".