bintlog v2.0
Friday, January 01, 2010
In case you couldn't tell
The Bintlog is on indefinite hiatus now that I have Twitter and Facebook to complain to on a daily basis. If you want to see recent updates and photos of garden, houseplants, or dogs, please visit my gardening blog, The Garden of Live Flowers.

Happy New Year. Peace.


Monday, February 16, 2009
2009 goals: progress report
Three weeks after beginning, am now at N-6. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Other goals: whatever, who cares. N-6!!!!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
If you're going to jinx someone, you might as well be thorough about it.

I said recently that I was happy Foley is such a healthy dog...
It's not a stuffed banana. It's a soft cast. It seems that Miss Foley has been stoically walking around on a broken leg for two or three weeks now. It's just a hairline and it had already started healing when we found it, but now that we know, it's limited activity and a cast for at least four weeks. She's finding it heavy and tedious to clump around with, and she sounds like Long John Silver on the hardwood floors.

The vets put the hearts on since it was Valentine's Day. What a romantic way to spend the day!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
I wish I could raise money for my research by selling something like Girl Scout cookies. Hubby and I made spectacles of ourselves when the Girl Scouts came to our door the other day. I need a scam like that! Maybe I should start selling M&Ms outside Barnes and Noble like the basketball players do.

In high school we sold donuts to raise money for prom. It was like printing money. I purchased rather a lot myself. The donuts may have been more memorable than the prom itself.

In related news: I'm down to N-2 already. I've been very good and not terribly unhappy so yay me!
Monday, January 26, 2009
To-do list
I don't make New Years resolutions anymore. I am definitely the sort to take new years, new beginnings to heart, but my years typically start in September, not January. I do like to reflect on the past year on January 1, to put it behind me if it was not so good (e.g. 2007) and to recall and reinforce the positives (e.g. last year). But empty vows to improve myself... if I really want to make the effort, I don't wait until January to do it. And I don't tell anyone that I'm trying, either. It's personal. I'm resolving stuff all the time.

However! All that being said, I do like to set goals for myself, things to do in the next 12 months. My end-of-the-century resolutions worked out very well so I hereby resolve (!) to set annual goals, publish them so the two people who read this can keep me honest, and then achieve them. Here we go!

1) Read On the Origin of Species. It's the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, 150th of the publication of Origin, and I'm an evolutionary biologist who has not read the book that started it all. In my defense, the science has come an awfully long way since then, and Darwin didn't know a thing about genetics, so I haven't missed anything scientifically. But still.

2) Do a scientific talk at a meeting. Scary! Should happen in July at the Botany meeting if all goes as planned. Don't want to think about that right now. *shudder*

3) Bring my weight down to N-8, where N is what I weighed this morning. Yeah, a weight-loss thing, but it's really more about getting healthier. I eat fine but I could stand to exercise once in a while.

4) Edge the gardens, do more planting, and essentially bring the existing gardens into neat and healthy condition. Also, plant containers and hanging pots. I've totally let the garden go over the last two years because I wasn't around much. I have a craving to reacquaint myself with the babies. Also, the Garden of Live Flowers blog keeps me motivated to plant, photograph, and fuss with the babies.

5) Get a little brother for Foley. Or a sister, but I really want a boy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009
OD on TV
I had the television all to myself this weekend and I'm afraid I may have gone a little nuts. In the past two days, I have consumed:
-Part 1 of PBS's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" (it's literature so thus excusable)
-5 episodes of House
-1 episode of Monk
-Movie "The Queen" (boring - sometimes I forget that such things as royalty still operate in the Western world and it boggles my mind)
-Movie "Enchanted" (surprisingly good, esp. in its send-ups of Disney princess movies)
-Movie "Regarding Henry"
-Movie "The Jane Austen Book Club" (not bad, needed to be about twice as long to do justice to its six plots; also made me want to read the books again)
-Movie "Pride and Prejudice" (the Keira Knightly one... not nearly as good as the Colin Firth one, of course, and Donald Sutherland drives me crazy and makes a TERRIBLE Mr. Bennet; also, literature, so not really TV, right?)
-Chicago's Lakefront Tour on PBS (and now I really wish spring would come because I want to visit the Stephen Douglas tomb at 35th St.)
-Season 1 summary of Damages; Battlestar Galactica webisodes; an hour of news and two hours of pointless sitcoms

Another point re: Pride and Prejudice: the actors, at the end, felt the need to say some extraneous dialog so modern audiences Got the Point. "Because, see, I was proud, and pride is bad, but I got over it! And then there was prejudice, but we took the time to actually learn what each other is like and that went away. Hence the title!" And then an excessively drawn-out scene of kissing and cuddling that would have made Ms. Austen stalk off the set in disgust.

Tess, however, is very good, and part 2 is on the Tivo right now. Ooh, I should watch it!! Or perhaps I'll just go to bed. And lest you think I'm a total slacker, I also edited a couple hundred DNA sequences, shoveled multiple times, took the dog in for her shots, and cleaned the kitchen and the tub. So nyah.

Speaking of the dog...

I don't think she was amused by the foot of snow we got.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I have just been horrified by a Facebook ad
"The Kit for Tween Girls. Prepare your daughter with The Dot Girl's First Period Kit. Stylish and cute. Moms and girls love it!"

Happy Festivus!!
A very restless dog during the night meant I got little sleep and also had completely bizarre dreams. First, I dream-watched the last few plays of the Bears game, and they lost. I woke up feeling sad that their playoff hopes are over, then thought, hey wait a minute, they *won* last night. Then, I had a long and elaborate dream about my college friends worried that I was going to commit suicide, and I wasn't but I really wanted to be left alone. I kept sneaking away and doing fun stuff, only to see them arrive a short time later, describing me to security personnel and then spotting me across the room with relief. It was very tiring. I'm reading the Bell Jar so that's an easy one. Then finally, I dreamed that I saw a man fall off a truck of laborers and get run over by another truck on the highway. I pulled over and went back to offer help but the laborers were apparently all paramedics and they had the situation well in hand. The man was dark purple and his head was flattened like it was made of dough, and his buddies were sitting around joking and waiting for him either to die or reinflate. As I watched, he did actually start to look more rounded and less purple, and I stood by helplessly with a bottle of water and sputtered in amazement.

I finished my Christmas shopping at pretty much the last possible minute. I was at the downtown Border's at 5:00 yesterday, along with 100,000 other people. Insane or efficient? You decide!

Overheard on the L this morning: a rant by a not entirely sane young woman who had some gripe against Mormons, the inbred Mormons of Chicago and the Midwest. She also helpfully explained to all of us what "inbred" means: it's the genes all smooshing together wrong. Religion + genetics = I wish I'd brought my iPod today.
Friday, December 12, 2008
12 shopping days until Christmas
From Daley Plaza, today:

The fractal Christmas tree. The tree is constructed from many smaller trees, each of which has tree-like branches, and so on, and so on, and so on.

The Big Man himself, giving his lap a rest

At the Kristkindlmarkt candy and nut shop. I did both!

Overheard at Kristkindlmarkt: [scornfully] "Pretzels? Bratwurst? It's like 'Christmas comes to Germany!'" The fact that themed festivals often have, you know, *themes*, is lost on some people.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
My governor is more corrupt than your governor
Just when it was no longer fun to take shots at Sarah Palin, Gov. Rod Blagojevich came along with his "Sure, I'll appoint Candidate A to fill Obama's Senate seat but what's in it for me??" renditions caught on tape. Why couldn't he just have sex with a hooker like regular governors?? I don't know if I should be more shocked at his general sliminess or at his utter stupidity, conspiring on his own phone while he knows he's under investigation. Or perhaps he's very, very ballsy. He did once brag of "testicular fortitude". He wasn't kidding!

So Illinois goes from being Capital of the Free World to Complete Embarrassment. Oh how I hate you right now, Rod. At least I didn't vote for you that second time. Fool me once, shame on... dammit, it's hard to remember anymore how that's supposed to go.

Note to the world: Illinois is a very nice place filled with lots of upstanding, hardworking, honest people. Our President-elect, for one, and as far as I know, all of the candidates for the open Senate seat. We just seem to have a problem electing good governors. Maybe there's a class we can take?
Friday, December 05, 2008
I was just a few days ago thinking how fortunate we are that Foley is so healthy and we haven't needed any trips to the vet in months and months. That was stupid of me, yes? I took her in yesterday and found that the mystery swelling in her foot is an abscess (and I have just now learned how to spell abscess) so no daycare for a while, plus antibiotics and epsom salts. We're trading off dogsitting duties until she can go back. She doesn't seem to mind hanging out at home with Mommy. It's Mommy who's bored out of her head!

Sunday, November 30, 2008
We're all mad here
Link from Snark: The Wonderland Expedition Kit, which combines things I adore: Victoriana and Alice in Wonderland. Ever wondered what a fetal mome rath looks like? Now you know!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Ninja Scientists
Over the last few summers I've become very adept at Ninja Botany. This is when I don't quite 100% have permission to take plant samples from a site, or even if I do, I'm usually required by permit and by convention only to sample when nobody is watching. It's bad form to let people, especially kids, see you taking plants from a preserve or botanic garden because they might either a) report you or b) think it's okay to do the same. So I've developed some clever tricks that allow me to get what I need, even from busy parks. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it involves leaping and scurrying and hiding behind trees. Sometimes it involves disguises or camouflage. Sometimes it involves crafty conversations with nosy park rangers. I will not tell you my methods, but I will say that in four summers of field collections, I've never been caught. Ninja Botanist! You never see her coming!

Today I had my first taste of Ninja Zoology. A colleague at UIC is studying squirrel genetics and is always looking for new material. An unfortunate grey squirrel obliged by dying on my neighbor's front lawn. We saw it in the early afternoon when we walked Miss Foley to the park. I did a flyby later but there were neighbors everywhere, doing yard work. I waited until after dark and successfully returned home with my prize. Some unpleasant sciencey stuff took place and now my friend will have one more data point for her project (assuming the DNA is still intact). Ninja success!

To erase any unpleasant images this post may have inspired, here is a fox squirrel that was in my yard eating fallen birdseed today and is to my knowledge still very much alive:

Lazy Saturday

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