Let Leaping Dogs Fly

Woman, mother, scientist, wife, human. I post occasionally about any and all of these things. Whatever strikes my fancy.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dulce et decorum est pro patria lavi

With all apologies to Wilfred Owen, I must herein celebrate the newest addition to our household: a dishwasher. It is sweet and right to wash for one's country, with a portable Whirlpool dishwasher that's nearly 2/3 the size of your refrigerator. I tried to say "It is sweet and right to wash dishes with a machine" but I couldn't find the appropriate vocabulary. No wonder latin is a dead language, you can't use it to describe anything cool. That's almost as bad as not being able to create acronyms in ideogrammatic languages (which is apparently a big hurdle on the road to brevity for communications within the Chinese space agency).

In other news, I' m heading off to an academic conference for the next couple of days, where I'll be presenting a short 15 minute talk on my research and hobnobbing with other scientists from around the state. I plan to use lots of feeding films and expansive hand gestures to distract the audience from the fact that I don't have any quantified data to talk about. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Nostalgia, circa twenty-aught-five

Recently, Mike and I were watching a fun little show on the Travel Channel called Amazing Vacation Homes (some of which are amazing, and I can't understand why their owners don't live there full time. A few can be seen here). Cue commercial, cue theme music, and before I can figure out why, cue a thousand memories of my years on the debate team in high school. Somehow, the amazing They Might Be Giants have branched out to television tunes, and their theme sent me down memory lane. It seems only fitting, that one of the quirkiest musical groups I've ever known should be asked to do a song for a show about quirky houses. What is truly unfortunate, however, is that because of the way my brain works I am stuck with Birdhouse in your Soul playing endless loops in my head, which in turn has led me to dream about debate tournaments. I even found myself grouping topics as "Ads" and "DAs" as I took notes in my genetics class yesterday. Believe me, if I could suppress this reaction I would; by the time I graduated, debate was one of my least favorite activities at school and I would rather not remember it (fabulous partner aside). Why didn't I quit, you ask? I was, and still am, unable to stop doing something when other people are counting on me to do it.

Speaking of fabulous debate partners, I believe I will forward a copy of this post to my former partner, Plucky Duck, because she was the person who introduced me to TMBG back in the day. Of course that's her real name! This all might seem fairly ordinary to you, but in fact it isn't. You see, I haven't actually communicated with Ms. Duck in several years, yet I can quickly reach her by email. How, you ask? I, dear readers, am an internet spy. It gives me a great deal of secret pleasure to find out the current life status of people who may or may not remember who I am and who are almost certainly not sitting around wondering what I'm doing with my life. It's another side effect of sitting in front of a computer all day with nothing to occupy my time. I'm forced to invent little games for myself, like "I wonder what my lab partner from AP Biology class is up to?". As it happens, she's got a Medical Degree from Harvard. How about my best friend from the 5th grade? She just finished her PhD. Does this make me a stalker, I wonder? I don't DO anything with this information, it just scratches the itch of curiosity. The information is public, and I'm certainly not paying for anyone to "check up on them". My big brain demands answers, and like I said, I can't say no when something is expected of me.

{Before you think I really am a stalker, I should say in my defense I've looked up a total of about 5 people. Most of them are lawyers, and lawyers are registered in a big public database because they're certified professionals with unique areas of expertise. They're very easy to locate, if you know that they're lawyers to begin with. The others have a googleable public web presence. No prying was actually involved in finding this stuff.}

So anyway, Plucky, I hope you stop by here sometime and say Hi. It would be good to hear from you. We can talk about our salad days and wax nostalgic for when CDs were a novelty and you had the first Macintosh computer on the block.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I'm waiting....

Dear Internet,

where is the instant fame and glory I was promised for starting this blog? I've been up and running for at least 5 days now, and what do I get? Nada. I saw what you did for Pets.com stock values back in 1999, and I have to say that I'm at least as novel as they were. I am even skilled enough to create a cheesy sock-puppet mascot and offer free shipping on 50lb. bags of dog food, should you demand it of me. I daresay all these other upstarts can't say the same. Do I have to prove myself to you, internet, by casually mentioning that my Yahoo! mail account dates back to 1997? That I used to play text-only MUDs on my 2800-baud modem? It's true I haven't kept up with your latest gewgaws but I was there for you, Internet! I stuck around in 1993 after I tried to send that photo by email even though it couldn't be done yet! I found a job online before they even invented Monster.com! Do I have to mention how much love I have for Craigslist? I didn't think so. So c'mon, internet, cough up what you owe me before I start with the real threats. You know how much you hate it when I stay out all night watching PBS...

Muchas smuchas, internet,


How could I not marry him?

The scene: we are on the couch, watching Episode III.

Mike: Yoda's really a badass.
Me: Yeah, he's the ultimate Jedi.
Mike: He's so badass, he's probably got his own underwear line.

And so you see why I am compelled to spend the rest of my life with this man.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Canis coprophagicus

I understand that when you're a dog, the poorly-digested excrement of other animals can be the tastiest, most mind-alteringly delicious snack you've ever encountered in your whole entire life. What I cannot understand, Ripley, is why you must express your post-consumptive glee by licking as much of the exposed skin on my arms and hands as you can reach. Why, dog, why?

Les Naifs de Blog

It appears that I have a family full of people who are new to the world of online publishing. This has led to a series of amusing little exchanges between my mother, my sister and myself about the ins and outs of the medium, along with a whole bunch of explanations ("Who's Dave?" being principal among them). Since the whole point of blogging (or at least something of the point of this blog) is to cut down on the number of times I have to repeat myself sequentially to relatives after the "phone tree" gets activated, I do hereby solemnly swear to try to write it all down here first so you don't all have to call me and email me to get the latest dish.

Once upon a time, a long time ago in 2000, I had a job which kept me in front of a computer all day long. When you have time to kill but you can't leave your computer and you can't play solitaire, you quickly discover that there are magical websites where people talk about themselves and you can eavesdrop without getting in trouble. The "Weblog". I was a regular reader of the message boards at The Motley Fool website, and one day someone mentioned a craft blog they followed, Not Martha. From Not Martha, I found loobylu. From loobylu, I found Sewgeeky, from Sewgeeky I found Going Bridal (she was planning her wedding and going crazy) and Going Jesus (after she climbed off the crazy wedding train), French Toast Girl, Keri Smith, and Super Hero Designs, and the world was suddenly beautiful. People around the world talking about making things! Then the mothership, Dooce. Then there were the political blogs, a can of worms to be sure, which I won't list here. People speaking for themselves, outside the pressbox. Blogs have opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart. Blogs have shaped me and helped me to define myself more clearly, at a time when I feel less and less connected to "the world" as it is portrayed by mainstream media. In the blog world, your mainstream is whatever you choose it to be. This is my kind of place.

Sometime soon I'll edit my linkbar on the left and you can take a tour of the voices and ideas that I seek out every day. Many of the blogs in the previous paragraph are still at the top of my list today. I hope to introduce some of you to these same voices that we might share them together.

The reason I "blame" Dave for inspiring me to create this blog is that Dave is the first blogger I know personally. We worked together in California, and recently I tracked him down to see what he was up to. He pointed me to his blog, and suddenly my blog experience was transformed from an impersonal to a personal one. If Dave could do it, I could do it. So here I am.

The way the blog should work, if we all follow the same protocol, is that I will write about something and post it here for you to read. When you read it, you may find that you have a question or a comment about what I have written. There's a little piece of text at the bottom of each new post that says "# Comments" (where # ranges from 0 to any number). If you click on that text you can leave a comment for me right there in the blog. No more pesky emails or phone calls! Plus, the comment is permanently associated with the post, so we'll always know what we were talking about. It's pure genius, I tell you!