19 December 2007

The Great Vegetarian Experiment

For various reasons, I've been batting around the idea of becoming vegetarian for quite awhile now. It's mostly the moral issue of eating "nothing with a face" (I have no idea how I'll ever give up leather shoes, though).

I've decided to try out vegetarianism for the month of January. That way, once I go back to craving steaks I can do the American thing and not bother to feel guilty about my failure as a vegetarian since I promised to do it only during the month of January.

So three cheers for my favorite simulated chik'n patties and $4.00-a-dozen, cage-free eggs (since this is moral vegetarianism, I do try to buy the so-called "humane" eggs and whatnot - I can't imagine becoming vegan)! You'll no doubt be seeing me hanging out with the EEEEEEEEEEHHH HIPPIES at Strawberry Fields swapping stories of chickpea recipes gone horribly awry.

13 December 2007


My dad really likes cars. In fact, I think the only reason my parents have a computer is so he can search out cars on the Series of Tubes. He likes cars that aren't practical. I tend to agree with him: any household of two people really needs only one practical car. The other can be fun. So my mom drives a the practical one and my dad gets the fun one.

Long about the time we got them a computer, my dad decided he wanted to buy a Land Rover Defender 90. Looks something like this:

These beasts aren't even allowed to be imported into the US anymore. We saw quite a few of them in Ireland - several with the exhaust vented above the roof so you can forge a nearby loch.

So, I was home awhile back and dad told me to go into the garage. He'd gotten a new toy. Imagine my surprise:

Yep - the EXACT OPPOSITE direction of a Swiss military vehicle. Thing's a blast to drive and gets 35-40+ mpg (it's a manual).

So now I just have to lie in wait for dad to get bored with this one...

10 December 2007

Two New Annoying Things

For some reason, the National Geographic channel has decided to start calling itself "Nat Geo" in its promo commercials. Either the station cannot afford to spend the additional money in air time for the four extra syllables or it is trying to be hip in this "MTV culture" of ours. I can't decide which.

Although this annoys me, it does not rankle nearly as much as the tagline for one mobile phone company. I'm not sure which company it is, but said tagline is "Where you at?" Correct grammar is too much to ask for these day, apparently. Not to mention they end the sentence in a preposition.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you with a random picture of one of our cats, while I go yell at neighborhood kids to keep off the lawn.

06 December 2007

Mormons in the News--December 6 Edition

Ah...yeah...so Mitt's speech at Texas A & M ensures that I'm going to have to ask for a Republican ballot in the primary. Thus spake Mitt: "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

Then I, for one, prefer to perish. Since when does freedom require religion, and why is it that the only person I'm allowed to open the window and talk to is god? I can't talk to Buddha or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a yeti? I guess I'll be keeping the windows closed, then.

Mitt didn't bother to address the issue of the racist past of mormons, or why D&C 132 is still on the books (aka the "polygamy clause"), or why women can't hold the priesthood, etc.

In other mormon news today, an update on Warren Jeffs, who has asked for a new trial. According to the AP, Jeffs' attorneys filed a motion stating "errors and improprieties" in his trial. The motion didn't give specific information, but Jeff's attorneys think his prosecution was a form of religious persecution by state officials who oppose polygamy.

Uh yeah....they were probably opposed to polygamy because polygamy is ILLEGAL.

03 December 2007

Should I Become a Republican?

Well, here's the deal. I'm pretty sure that, in Illinois, you must declare some kind of party affiliation to vote in primaries - even if that's just asking for a Republican or Democrat ballot when you visit your polling place. Either way, I believe that once you do that, your name goes on some kind of list and behold! you are now affiliated with that party to some extent. This belief of mine is why I've never voted in primaries before. I don't want the local party office to come knocking at my door for stuff (i.e. money).

So, should I become a Republican? Now, don't be getting your panties all in a bunch. Hear me out: this would only be for the purposes of voting against Mitt Romney a/k/a "The mormon." I figure I could pick the least-likely Republican candidate and vote for him, which wouldn't do any real harm, but would be a vote against The mormon.

29 November 2007

I Want One

Saw one of these parked in the motorcycle lot across from my building. I am now in love with and want one.

It's called a "Twike" When I first saw the one across from my building, I just glanced at the name and misread it as "Twinkie," which would be a better name, I think.

27 November 2007

Xmas at the 5-Oh-7

Because I tend to get really grumpy about the holidays (I HATE shopping for gifts), I decided to talk Dr. Nate, Ph.D, into decorating the house...ya know - to get me into better spirits. And to make our trashy, little rental house look a bit less trashy. We went with some garland and bows on the porch (which plays off the lovely pink trim and teal shutters already on the house, don't you think?):

Internally, our "we bought it for $1.50 from the grocery store two Februarys ago" gold lame tree is, this year, enhanced by red ornaments!

And the cats were enhanced with antlers. One of them deigned to allow us to capture the moment:

Note the look of utter hatred.

So yeah, the whole decorating thing was fun while it lasted (pushing past the herds of wandering biddies at the place where we bought the decorations was not), but I'm pretty much back to being grumpy again, now that I have to start figuring out what to buy people.

Although, the holiday season does allow me the pleasure of cranking up Twisted Sister's "Twisted Christmas" on the stereo. For whatever reason, Nate won't allow me to play it all year long. Love that Dee Snider!

21 November 2007

Warren Jeffs Sentenced! Yay!

Also in the news today: Evil mormons... Warren Jeffs, leader of the polygamous FLDS cult was sentenced to five-years-to-life for his role in the arranged marriage of teenagers. This sentence was meted out in Utah. He faces other, similar, charges in Arizona.

I think 5-years-to-life is pretty vague, don't you? He can be out in five years? Sheesh.

Other interesting things to note: Jeffs attempted suicide while awaiting trial. He also released a statement while in jail saying he was "immoral" with a sister and daughter when he was younger, and calling himself the "one most wicked men on the face of the Earth since father Adam's time." Sounds like someone is trying to earn himself a pity party and a bit of sympathy because--suddenly--he's remorseful, eh? (And doesn't admitting to perceived incest ALWAYS earn you a sympathy vote?)

Either way, the score now stands as: Evil polygamist mormons-0; Us normal folks-1

(Incidentally, when I don't capitalize "mormon," my Firefox spell check calls it misspelled. And the first suggestion it gives me for the correct spelling? "Moron." Right on, Firefox, right on.)

Be Glad We Didn't Live in the Silurian Period

Just read this AP wire (edited for time allotted and to fit on your screen):

By THOMAS WAGNER Associated Press Writer

Nov 21st, 2007 | LONDON -- British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever.

How big? Bigger than you, and at 8 feet long as big as some Smart cars.

..NOTE: Love the comparison to a Smart car. I like Smart cars; I hate bugs...

The discovery in 390-million-year-old rocks suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were far larger in the past than previously thought, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol paleontologist and one of the study's three authors.

"We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies. But we never realized until now just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were," he said.

...say it with me folks: GROSS!...

20 November 2007

Disappointing Television

Thanks to Mike, Nate and I learned the wonders of a British t.v. program called "Ed vs. Spencer" wherein two roommates (the aforementioned Ed and Spencer) see who can win a given challenge. "Challenges" include: Who can survive in the woods the longest? Who can gain the most weight? Who do kids like more?

Wikipedia entry for Ed vs. Spencer

So, it was with great happiness that Nate and I anticipated the Comedy Central airing of "Kenny vs. Spenny," the Canadian show on which "Ed vs. Spencer" is based. Right at the beginning, I knew I was in for some disappointing t.v. Executive producers? The South Park guys. Now, I like South Park to a certain extent, but not so much that I want the sensibilities (a term which I use loosely here) of the South Park guys to be interfering with what is a good premise for a t.v. show.

So, "Kenny vs. Spenny"... we tried to watch the episode TiVo had recorded for us: 'Who can eat the most meat?' I don't think I actually saw any of the episode beyond the opening credits as it was so gross that I wasn't even watching it most of the time. See, I have a weird quirk about touching food or seeing food touched...too weird to go into (think of it as an anti-food-porn affliction) and just one of the many quirks I have. Another quirk being that I can't set my alarm clock to any number that it a multiple of 5, a palindrome, or looks the same right side up as upside down (think 6:59 on a digital clock). But I digress.... Besides, the show was simply unfunny.

So, yet another instance where the British version of something is better than the North American version.

16 November 2007

Late-Breaking Story: A Cult in the News!

Ah - I love me a good religious cult story. Just noticed this one while perusing CNN.com. To summarize:

There's this doomsday cult in Russia called the "True Russian Orthodox Church." The 29 members are holed up in a self-made cave and are threatening suicide if the authorities try to remove them from their cave. The cult members are living in the cave while they await the apocalypse (no word on whether said apocalypse is a zombie apocalypse or just an apocalypse of the regular variety), which is supposed to take place in May. They have supplies to last them until Spring. Four children are in the group.

Heck, I say let 'em hang out there until Spring. Who wants to live in a cave in Russia all winter long? The cult's leader certainly doesn't, and is trying to persuade the others to leave (they won't listen to him, as they believe he is under the influence of the Russian government). I bet they'd get bored and cold and hungry and just leave on their own in about two weeks, if left to their own devices.

12 November 2007

More Television I Love To Watch

Thanks to the Cyberninja for pointing out I'd left off Man vs. Wild (even with all the disclaimers that they add in now, Bear still eats various gross things on the show and gets naked fairly often which makes it tops in my book). Besides, I also saw Bear in what might arguably be a show even better than Man vs. Wild, called "Escape to the Legion."

Which lead me to think about all the other great shows I'd forgotten to mention. Mostly these shows are thanks to our digital cable subscription which includes Sundance, IFC, and BBCAmerica:

#1. John Safran vs. God: How could I have forgotten about this one?! I LOVE "John Safran vs. God" (even though it apparently ran for only one season and I think I've seen all of them). Plus, it's pretty apparent that John Safran does not like Mormons any more than I do.

#2. Peep Show: Saw an episode or two when we were in Ireland this year and loved it. Found out that the first season is on DVD and That's Rentertainment had it. Now I just have to either buy a Region 2 DVD player to watch the other seasons or wait patiently until they are released on Region 1 DVD.

#3. Shameless: Cuz they know how 'a throw a ppppaaaaaa-AAAAAA!The simple fact is that the Brits have better t.v. than we do. 'Benny Hill' being an exception (and I never really cared for any of the Rowan Aktinson vehicles). 'Peep Show,' 'Shameless,' and my one, true love 'Top Gear' are all British. And admit it--'Coupling' was far better than 'Friends.' Besides, British television brought us the best evil entities ever: Daleks!

Seek, locate, and exterminate!

Hair Band Boys Do Not Age Well

I've noticed, while watching television and coming across various "reality" shows (usually on VH1), that the hair band pretty boys of my teenage dreams do not age well at all. For instance:

Bret Michaels before:
Bret Michaels after (note the bad eye job):

Sebastian Bach (one of the prettiest of all the pretty boys) before:

Sebastian Bach after:

Surprisingly, two who have actually held up extremely well were two of the most notorious of them all (most noted for heroin usage and dying once or twice):

Nikki Sixx:
Slash:Okay, you can argue that Slash was never in a hair band and/or was never considered a pretty boy. Either way, he's held up well, considering the substance abuse and flatlining...

06 November 2007


Because everyone knows that the finest red tinsel is Cambodian...

Home Depot Cambodia Red Prelit Tinsel Tree

05 November 2007


Nate is at a science! conference so I went home to visit my parents and, on my way west on I-72, came across new Guns Save Life signage. I didn't see the first of the signs, but can paraphrase the others: "...in Darfur Sudan...all started with...a gun ban...GunsSaveLife.com." Ha. Gotta hand it to the redneck milita-types: those guys can rhyme!

Other things of note: a new Nova, the title of which is "Intelligent Design on Trial." Now, I can only assume that Nova will shred the intelligent design theory to pieces, and I will be really disappointed if they don't. Then again, often I hope for programs to cut down various idiots and am disappointed at the results. I was home early from work a few Fridays ago and, flipping through the channels, and noticed that Oprah was doing a show on polygamists. Yippee (even though I can't stand Oprah, I relented for this)! But no, she was soft on 'em (so was Lisa Ling, who did some of the interviews, and whom I usually like). Lisa and Oprah even went so far as to use what they called the "politically correct" term for polygamy--"plural marriages." What the hell?! Since when has polygamy been politically correct?! Damn mormon fundamentalist.

Anyhow. One can only hope Nova does some proper intelligent design-bashing. I may have to stop giving money to PBS if they don't.

And now, your "Random picture of one of our cats" image 'o the day:

24 October 2007

Good To Watch

I love television, I really do. Current things I like to watch:

#1 Top Gear (BBC America). It's just good--really, really good. Plus, I'm in love with The Stig.

#2 CSI and/or Law and Order (any flavor of each on myriad stations). Because, no matter when you turn on the t.v., at least one is always on and just entertaining enough to watch while on the treadmill or Nordictrack-thingy. And chances are that I haven't seen whatever episode is on, so that's even better when whiling away the time exercising.

#3 This Old House. One day I will own a house and, thanks to This Old House, I know to call people to fix things, rather than doing it myself.

#4 Hell's Kitchen (British or American). Gordon Ramsey making people cry is good television.

#5 Nova. Science is neato. Alas, I have to wait until summer for the return of Nova ScienceNOW and it's host Neil deGrasse Tyson.

#6 Sunrise Earth (Animal Planet). This is obviously the work of EEEEEHHHHHHH HIPPIES. It's just a camera set to capture nature doing..uh....natural things. No sound track, no voice over.

#7 Classic Arts Showcase. It's a whole channel, rather than one program. Nothing but videos of classical music, ballet, dance, etc. performances. There's some really weird stuff on it.

#8 Big Love (HBO). A poor substitution for other, better HBO shows that I loved but no longer exist: The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Carnivale. Big Love is about polyamist Mormons (which normally I'd be fervently opposed to), but it has Harry Dean Stanton in the cast. And I love Harry Dean Stanton more than The Stig, and perhaps even more than Neil deGrasse Tyson.

19 October 2007

Don't Win a Nobel

For all of you science folks out there: DO NOT WIN A NOBEL PRIZE. Obviously, winning one pretty much assures you'll end up becoming completely batty in your old age. Of course I'm talkin' about Dr. James Watson and his recent comments that have caused a deserved uproar. He's also been suspended from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

But, apparently, Crick, of Watson n' Crick fame, also ended up losing it a bit in his old age (according to Dr. Hatcher).

Also: William Shockley, who was pretty keen on eugenics and donated his, uh, seed to the "Genius Sperm Bank". In fact, the book David Plotz wrote on the subject--"The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank"-- is rather good.

So, in sum: strive for mediocre scientific work lest you end up like these cautionary tales.

15 October 2007

Who's in your top 5?

My top five list of living people who would be most interesting to sit around and have drinks with:

#1. Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister. This is based on one quote: "...I'd like to see Tracy Chapman or Paul Simon plug into two Marshall stacks and ride the lightening."

#2. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Obviously.

#3. Willie Nelson. Because no one is cooler than Willie Nelson. Not even Neil deGrasse Tyson.

#4. Helen Thomas, because I felt I needed a least one woman on the list.

#5. Yeah, not so sure who this would be.

12 October 2007

And speaking of science...

Another reason I will never live in Utah: B. Stanley Pons was once chair of the chemistry department at the University of Utah.

Who is B. Stanley Pons, you may ask? Oh, just one of the two guys that, in 1989, claimed to have discovered cold fusion (not ColdFusion as in the Adobe program, but cold fusion of the nuclear type.) And we all know how THAT turned out: "From Top of Their World to Professional Ostracism"

So, even beyond the whole Mormon-hatin', there's this.

6 reasons I live by "WWNdTD?"

I just want to spend this Friday reiterating how great Neil deGrasse Tyson is and how "What Would Neil deGrasse Tyson Do?" is a great means to sort out ones life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson

#1: Neil deGrasse Tyson has a penchant for whimsical vests, as evidenced by the picture above. I mean, really - how can you dislike a guy wearing a whimsical vest?!

#2: Neil deGrasse Tyson was named Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People magazine

#3: Neil deGrasse Tyson can dance

#4: Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't like string theory, which is cool because I don't understand string theory. So now I can just say, "Well, I agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson on the subject."

#5: Neil deGrasse Tyson made a lot of little kids cry. He's the primary reason Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore. Hate mail from second graders! Awesome!

#6: Neil deGrasse Tyson is an agnostic who believes the Intelligent Design people are idiot whack jobs hindering science. In fact, a quote from the man himself: "When people have used religious documents to make detailed predictions about the physical world they have been famously wrong. Science, in contrast, works." Right on, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Right on.

10 October 2007

From 90 to 50 in 3 seconds

Or rather three days. Monday we had the air conditioning on in the house. Tuesday the A/C went off and the windows opened. Wednesday the windows shut, the pilot light on the furnace has been lit, and the heat is on.

Poor Nate was working at home today and was so cold I found him huddled over a single, burning lump of coal, Bob Cratchit-style.

05 October 2007

One Reason I Hate Being a Librarian...

...crap like this:


Many librarians I come across are insufferable enough - what with their cat jewelry, sensible shoes, ever-present knitting bags, frowzy hair, and an overzealous love of Harry Potter (no kidding - there was a 30ish-year-old woman who was in one of my library sci. classes who actually carried around a Harry Potter bookbag). But a whole film made by librarians about the "stereotypical" librarian image? People! It's a job; it's not a life's calling. No one really cares about how librarians think other people see them...except other librarians. *snort*

01 October 2007

A coincidence? I think not

Since some of you already know very well about my deep anti-Mormon feelings, I'd like to point out the following. Not that I was the first to notice this, but it does bear repeating:

Mitt Romney

Sesame Street's Guy Smiley

You be the judge.

29 September 2007

Why I can't remember where I left my keys

Nate and I were out at dinner (Farren's - yes, he had The Russell) and ended up talking about typing, and the fact that Nate types with the weirdest 3-to-5-fingers-at-any-one-given-time method. How he ever typed his whole thesis in this manner, I'll never know. In fact, he types kind of like you'd expect a three-toed sloth to type. Only slower.
Funny thing is, I learned to type in high school and still remember one of the sentences in our typing text book: "Cy was the right man to blame for the big fight in the penalty box." Really. I'm not making this up. I ACTUALLY remember one of the sentences from a typing class from the early 1990s.

Which leads me to the point about why I can't remember where I left my keys. Because most of the space in my brain is being taken up with completely useless information like "Cy was the right man to blame for the big fight in the penalty box." I also remember the phone number to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. I was in Florence on vacation 7 years ago and stopped at an internet cafe to look up the phone number, so I could call and get tickets to the gallery. 055 294 883. So all this useless stuff is in my head, crowding out really important information like the 2nd law of thermodynamics, how to change a car tire, and where my keys are.

28 September 2007


When the going gets tough and you don't know what the correct answers to Life's Big Questions are, I have found that the best thing to do is ask yourself, "What would Neil deGrasse Tyson Do?"

(Photo courtesy of David Britt-Friedman / MSNBC.com file)

Often the answer involves astrophysics, which sometimes isn't too helpful for questions like, "Do I really need to buy that pair of shoes?" or "Which retirement plan is the best for me?". But nevertheless, I have found it an invaluable tool for stressful decision-making.

26 September 2007

Tee Hee, Warren Jeffs

Word came down yesterday that fundamentalist mormon sect leader Warren Jeffs was found guilty on two counts of being a horrid fundamentalist mormon sect leader. This will no doubt make a certain person we know (who has been hating mormons since 1997) very happy. I believe Jeffs was found guilty of marrying off 10 year old girls to creepy old men, killing puppies, and eating babies for dinner.

Really want to get your mormon-lovin' panties in a bunch? Read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer sometime.

21 September 2007

The beginnings of a blog

For those not familiar with the whole "lorem ipsum" thing (I thank my bachelor's degree in advertising for this): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorem_ipsum

I also thank same for teaching me that body copy should always use serif fonts, because they are easier for people to read. Take that, wikipedia!

Either way, I've invited my esteemed husband to post on this blog simply because he's probably got more to say, and more friends to whom to say it, than I do.