bintlog v2.0
Thursday, January 26, 2006
My dogs are so cute
The Bintgoddess takes advantage of some delightful January morning sunshine...
McHound pics
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Communication breakdown
Me: A number 8, please.
Sullen Wendy's Employee: What kind of sauce?
Me: Buffalo ranch.
SWE: [blank look]
Me: [squinting uncertainly at menu] Buffalo ranch?
SWE: We don't have that kind.
Me: But it's on the menu! Right there - it says New! spicy buffalo ranch!
SWE: [stares at the menu for a good ten seconds] We don't have buffalo ranch. [Walks to rack of sauces. Takes white sauce and waves it at me] We just have regular ranch.
Me: Okay, fine, what *do* you have?
SWE: Spicy buffalo, honey mustard, ranch, blah blah blah.
Me: [amazed that the keyword "buffalo" has entirely failed to ring any bells with SWE] I'll take the spicy buffalo.
Me: [Five minutes later, opens bag, enjoys chicken strips with container of clearly labeled Spicy Buffalo Ranch sauce]
Reports from the urban nature front
1) The cardinals started their territorial songs this week. I could hear one at sunrise, singing his repetitive descending call (is that a territory thing or a "where's my woman" thing? I don't have a cardinal-English dictionary). Spring approacheth! But first: February and March. Ugh.

2) While waiting for the el this morning, I watched a hawk (prob. red-tailed) circling near Pulaski and Avondale. This is the second time I've seen a hawk flying in the neighborhood (not to mention the sharp-shinned hawk in a tree on Harding). I'm very curious to know where the hawk is living. I have heard there's a nest on the west side, on a smokestack, but there are also lots of big trees in our neighborhood.
Friday, January 20, 2006
I got off the train at Washington and Dearborn for my traditional Friday visit to the bank and the Daley Center Starbucks (and a quick trip to Walgreens for giant band-aids so I can rebandage Jazzy when I get home). For years I've been in the habit of holding my breath near the stairs, because the staircase is always clogged with lawyers and civil servants sucking on cigarettes. It's impossible to go from the El to the surface without passing through a dense cloud of carcinogens.

Today, a few days after the enactment of the citywide ban on smoking in all public places, the stairway was clear, the air was sweet (well, as sweet as it gets in a city). Where did the smokers go? Wherever it is, they're not actively killing me anymore, and I am content. Maybe they'll even be encouraged to stop actively killing themselves as well. Thank you, Chicago City Council.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Pet store fun
We went to the Petco in Niles over the weekend to get dog food, but of course got sidetracked by the animals. There was a little hamster who had figured out how to get from one compartment to another and was cruising back and forth between them, totally ignored by the occupants. She climbed up on top of water bottles, stretched her body up walls, and generally was just about as cute as an animal could be. We were sorely tempted to take her home, and I kept thinking, "She's doing all this because she wants out! How is this fun for her?" On the other hand, compared to a life as snake or owl-prey in the desert, life in a cushy cage is probably pretty swanky. I suppose the *real* reason we shouldn't get a hamster is that I don't want another thing in the house that I have to take care of. Hamster cages get kind of stinky.

The whole time we watched the animals, finches were swooping past our heads. I'm not sure if they were set free on purpose or not, but there were a good ten finches (the brown and white ones with the orange bills, the ones that say in nasally voices, "Ha!") flying around, landing on the merchandise, and being generally cute. Again, a pair of finches would be so adorable in their cage, but not as much fun as watching them fly free. And free-range finches in the house are not an option; I have some experience with what a bird can do to a house. Ugh.

Jazzy fell down the porch stairs on my watch last night. He really banged himself up, and I felt so awful. He's doing much better today, though. I think he just gets so stiff after a fall and needs a good night's sleep to ease out of it. He even went upstairs by himself today. Libby's funny when I've been bandaging Jazz. She gets jealous - "Why can't I have bandages too?" Just like little kids.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Evolution is...
"Evolution is the ghost at the banquet of life." (Rose and Mueller 2006)

Um... ?
Thursday, January 12, 2006
So DH is off skiing this week, up to his neck in fresh powder and fresh air and entertaining company, while I slog through life at home with a suddenly increasing school-related workload and an increasingly neurotic senior dog. The dog is especially fun; he has apparently begun to lose some control over bodily functions before I wake up, with the result being I jump awake at 5:30 to yell at him for eating (ugh), and stop him from sitting in, something gross. Then there's the clean-up... It's really not a good way to start the day, and hey, guess what? It's how I've started my day *every day this week*. My heart is constantly torn between "Poor Jazzy, it's not your fault, you're almost 14" and "Dammit, dog, why are you ruining my life?" Then I feel guilty and my mood spirals ever downward. The bright spots: he's still happy and healthy, his spirits are good. In later years I don't want to remember Jazzy as this aging, neurotic thing instead of the happy-go-lucky crackhound he used to be. I hate when people die and their pictures at funerals or on the news are of them at age 80 or so. Is that really how they wanted to be remembered? I'm guessing not.

I may go back later and delete the above. I'm just venting.

As for school, classes started this week, and I have two 500-level classes plus a TA, plus the twin spectres of prelims and the summer collecting season are lurking, plus I'm finally getting more done in the lab. I still don't have any stupid DATA, but I can sense it coming in my future. My first attempt at a cpDNA PCR failed, though, and none of my ITS segments will sequence. Someday I will successfully PCR and sequence one of the no-brainer plant primer pairs. If I haven't gotten them to work yet, does this mean I have less than no brain? Aggravating.

In any case, I'm counting on this being the semester when I get a ton of things done and finally feel like I have some business being in a PhD program. I have to think that once my required courses are done (and I'm nearly there) and my prelim is behind me, the rest of the time I can just focus on my project. I used to scoff at those who didn't want to take classes and just did research all week long -- it is *school*, isn't it?! -- but I'm coming around to their way of thinking. Classes are valuable but geez, they suck up so much time.

All of this will be easier to handle once M. gets home. Not that he can lighten my workload or my doggy nursing home duties, but at least I'll have someone to unload on in the evenings.

Part of my problem may be that I'm eating terribly this week. Over the weekend: leftover spaghetti and pizza alternating until both were gone. Monday for lunch: Power Bar. Monday for dinner: rice and vegetables, really bland and hard to get through despite addition of butter and salt. Felt virtuous and full of fiber. Tuesday lunch: another Power Bar. Dinner: more rice, with a scrambled egg and some cheese mixed in. Really *really* bland, though I had high hopes. Felt virtuous and economical, but a bit nauseous. Wednesday lunch: Wendy's, for the first meat (such as it is) I've eaten in I don't know how long, and fries, glorious fries. Wednesday dinner: spaghettios with franks. Today for lunch we're going out to a cafe. I can feel my cells yearning for some type of elaborate and flavorful sandwich, maybe with some potato chips. Still two more dinners to come up with.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Manly men
Had a dream last night that I was considering buying a several-book series on football written by Mike Ditka. The volume I was paging through was entitled "C'mon and Take It In the Pants Like a Man," with a highly suggestive pre-snap photo on the cover. Oh my!
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Memes drive me nuts - like those emails you get from friends once in a while with 20 questions about yourself that you're supposed to answer and send to 10 other friends and everyone will be so intrigued by everyone else's wittiness. Feh, whatever.

But today while carefully dissecting my southwestern salad, this meme popped into my head:

My life would be SO much easier if I only would....

...learn to like tomatoes.

In other news, am setting up a sequencing gel with minimal input from M. I actually couldn't sleep last night, fretting about it. I'm a big dork. So far so good, although I hope I haven't made any errors that are invisible but lethal/expensive/otherwise make good sequences go bad. I think my migraine and I need some food.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
The Trib's weather forecast: "Yet another damp, dreary day." How do they expect me to get out of bed in the morning?

I spent my walk home pondering the lyrics to Yankee Doodle (don't ask) and came to the conclusion that, although the story is that the song is meant to poke fun at the silly American colonists, it in fact characterizes American men as nancy-boys obsessed with dancing, clothes, and pedophilia. Amazing how the distance of twenty or thirty years can change your perspective on the songs you learned as a child!

Classes start next week, as do my TA duties. I foresee great busyness in my future. Must play my Sims while I still can.

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