Friday, February 29, 2008

Did "Seinfeld" ever cover this one?

I've got a question for everyone out there.

Let's say you shake hands with someone in a setting of a professional transaction. Say you shake hands with them multiple times on multiple dates.

Let's say that on two of these hand-shaking occasions, the person with whom you shook hands kept their ring and pinky fingers bent and closed into their palm as they shook hands with you. This caused the knuckles of said ring and pinky fingers to dig into your palm as you received their handshake. A very weird feeling indeed.

My question for you: Does that mean something?

Further clarifying or compounding facts:

  • The other person is a male who is less than ten years my senior.
  • He was able to perform a normal handhake, as well as other dexterity-requiring motor skills, on another occasion.
  • He does have a girlfriend.
  • He does not seem otherwise sleazy.

Did I miss the cue on a secret handshake? Does a knuckle pressed in your palm mean "meet me in the back hallway in 5 minutes" or something like that? Help me out here. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Okay. Everyone who has healthy teeth, step forward.

Whoa, not so fast there, Andrea!


I went to the dentist today to take care of my broken tooth. I thought it was very simple: I was eating, my tooth broke, leaving the both the base of the tooth and the filling intact. That's what it looked like to me, anyway. But not so. The reason my tooth broke is because there was a HUGE cavity underneath my old filling. And the rest of my tooth was just sitting there, decaying all the while, until enough force hit it to shatter the tooth.

The dentist took an x-ray, which pointed out that cavity plus a few more. She said she would take out the old filling and try to get out all the blugh (my word, not hers) behind it, provided that the decay did not go all the way up to the nerve (she couldn't tell based on the x-ray).

What happens if the decay goes all the way up to the nerve? ROOT CANAL!!!!!!


So I get the pleasure of having a cavity drilled, plus the capacity for a BIG surprise if she discovers, once halfway carved into my face, that we are getting too close to The Nerve. And just how, I wonder, do we discover what "too close" is?

Well... thank God, she said she was able to get out all the blugh. But I may still need a root canal. It'll depend on how my tooth feels over time. Which, essentially, is up to me. How much pain can I endure? No, just kidding. I swear. WHY on earth do we have teeth made out of such crappy, delicate material? Couldn't we have teeth made out of adamantium or diamonds or something that won't break or decay? NALGENE TEETH! There we go.

Like it or not, I have to go back. I have to get the rest of my teeth examined, and then I have to get the other cavities drilled. And then I have to get a crown. Neato.

I always feel completely defeated after I leave the dentist because it is ALWAYS bad news. Like, that's it. I'm done for; I'm a failure at life. I have nothing left to give. For the love, don't give me anything significant to do with my life-- I can't even take care of my teeth.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Free tail wags? Sign me up.

I started voluntering at the SPCA this weekend. This means I get to spend quality time with dogs and cats. This makes me SO happy!!!

Honestly, I can not describe how happy I was when I got to go in to Vivian's little room (Vivian being a dog at the shelter) and just HANG OUT with her. I just went in and scratched her head, and played with her, and talked to her, and she was so great to be with! I just think dogs and cats are so great. It's a precious, happy little life rolled up in a furry little body. Most dogs and cats at a place like the SPCA are just so glad to have some company and attention, and it does good for me to receive some back.

Friday, February 22, 2008

swf iso roflcopter

While I was catching up on my Mental Floss reading yesterday, I found an article on "7 Incredibly Specific Dating Sites."

The two I was most interested in investigating were "Darwin Dating" (be sure to check out the acception criteria) and "Sweet on Geeks." For completely opposing reasons, though. Well... maybe not, actually. What I wanted to find out was essentially how unfit I was for either site. AND HOW!

Occasionally I consider going fishing for menfolk on the internets. No, really, I do. Just for kicks and giggles. And the possible odd deep and meaningful relationship. I just haven't done it. I do however, have fun imagining the kind of advertisement I'd make for myself.

When you're with a friend who's single and hating it, you're often inclined to say things like, "Why wouldn't anyone want to date you? You're funny, you're smart, you're kind, blah blah blah," and sometimes you throw in other deal-boosters like, "You love Mystery Science Theater 3000, you know how to ballroom dance, you do a killer Shirley Bassey impersonation, and whoa-nelly, nobody makes a meaner quesadilla."

So anyway, if/when I finally man up enough to join or eharmony, I look forward to compiling a Relationship Resume/Curriculum Vitale (or what some people would call a "profile") that highlights some of my possibly-overlooked and underrated ... things... that... are... supposed to be attractive? To... men? You know, the real deal-boosters.
"I don't care if you leave the toilet seat up."
"I drive a stickshift."
"I love MacGyver."
"I have a boy's sense of humor."
"I like video games."
"Maybe I should have been a boy."
"A boy who likes Hello Kitty and makeup."
"A very gay boy."

nah. I should have someone else write my profile.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

oh, also-- i hate going to the dentist

I've got an appointment to get the sorry remains of my tooth looked at. It's a dentist that everyone at work recommends, so... that's, um, good...

Did I mention that I have nightmares about my teeth? Because I do. Frequently.

I rarely have nightmares. It honestly takes a lot to really scare me. Horror movies-- not a big deal. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-- loved it. I have no lingering fears about serial killers, or stalkers, or snakes, or sharks, or getting lost, or the boogie man, or the melting faces from Raiders of The Lost Ark or anything.

But I have nightmares where my teeth fall out. They get loose and fall right out, or they just shatter. Um, KIND OF LIKE THE OTHER NIGHT. Because then what happens when your teeth break or fall out? THEY DON'T GROW BACK! Cut your hair, it grows back. Bruise or scratch your skin, it heals. Break a nail, it comes back. Lose a tooth as a grown up? It's gone FOREVER. And there's NOTHING you can do about it, except pay to have some polymer slapped on there. Polymer that's just going to shatter in five years when you're just sitting there, minding your own business.

And then there's the stigma. "How can you NOT still have all your teeth? What did you DO to them? Did you not take CARE of your teeth? Do you have a HYGEINE PROBLEM? YOU ARE A FAILURE AT LIFE, ANDREA!"


They're all going to know... they're ALL going to know I didn't... floss... regularly...


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

brief weekend recap

Friday: Sick all day.

Saturday: Sick all day.

Sunday: Sick all day.

Monday: bought teal Chuck Taylors for $20 and a coffee grinder. Broke a tooth.

helluva weekend.


I can't believe my tooth freaking broke in half. I was just sitting there, minding my own business, eating something crunchy when BAM. No more bicuspid. I mean, it didn't HURT or anything... I remember thinking, "wow, this is hard. you could break a tooth eating this stuff." And wouldn't you know it. The outer half of the tooth-- completely gone, all the way up to the gum.

It looks really disgusting. As does my new white trash smile. Like I came straight out of the holler. Fishin fer crawdads in the crick. I'll just tell everyone I broke it trying to open a bottle of moonshine with my teeth.

No, really. fantastic.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I genuintely do not know what the point is.

You can tell I'm starting to freak out when I start looking at graduate schools.

My life needs a spark.

I've got a good set-up here, and an equally good set-up back home in Columbus (and I suspect if I moved on to another location that I'd find a niche there as well). By good set-up, I mean a job opportunity, living arrangements, friends, and a comfortable metropolis. Yes, I could stay here. That would not be difficult. Yes, I could go back home. That would not be difficult, either. And furthermore, I believe it wouldn't be that difficult to try living somewhere new altogether.

BUT. All those things are a good base for a life. A good base for living does not a life make.

It's like the part in Dead Poets Society where Mr. Keating describes the studies the boys of Welton are going after -- let me paraphrase: "Medicine, Law, Business: all noble pursuits. All necessary to sustain life. But poetry, art, [whatever]-- those are the things we stay alive for."

I'm still looking for the spark. The poetry. The art. The [whatever].

Let's say I went back to Columbus and got some nice job in a lab. I'd have my family and friends, and a nice church, a good city to live in, and all that. I could make myself content if I had to. I could be "happy."

But the pursuit of plain, generic "happiness" is not enough for me. I need a point.

I'd have to ask myself-- why did I go back? Or, why did I stay in Richmond? Because it was easy? Because of the laws of inertia? Because I knew people there and knew I'd have a cushy-but-just-okay job to depend on?

Well, shoot-- on that wavelength, let's say I just take the ol' plunge-a-roo and go to grad school or take a job in a new place. Okay, why did I move to this new place? Because I was just seeking another thrill or adventure? Because I wanted to try and outrun whatever it is that's keeping me from having a sense of fulfillment?

Now, which of those "because"-s am I willing to live with? Do I keep looking for something that may not even exist, or wait until it finds me, or what?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

ten little valentines

This is the first Valentine's Day where I haven't received a copious amount of candy from my Mom. This year, I just got a card. I'm not complaining, now-- I'm very lucky to have a Mom who still sends me cards. But it's just another sign that I'm past the point of no return when it comes to all things growing up. No more snacky treats in shiny red containers.

Lauren and I hung out last week and made valentines together. We really made some beautiful ones, too. She has a pirate's trove of scrap paper and metallic pens, and I was delighted to take some of it off her hands.

So... I made ten valentines. By the time I got to ten, we had both had enough of the rubber cement and rick-rack, and we called it a night. And so I've got ten lovely handmade valentines, and I don't know what I'm going to do with them. I almost want to horde them so I can admire my handiwork for years to come. But that's not only pathetic, it's a fire hazard. And a gateway into hoarding/crazy cat lady/old maid kingdom. I'm not going to tempt fate.

...want one?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I summon my Level 30 Sugar Daddy.

Someone sent this link around the lab today:

All of us public health scientists had a collective Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot moment. Where are these $60-70k a year (average!) scientist jobs? Because none of us are making that kind of money.

Although, I have looked at entry-level scientist jobs at NIH in Bethesda, MD. The starting salary is... um... a good bit closer to the level reported in the article, but considering the cost of living in the Baltimore-DC area?

Blecch. Money.

I'd like to pull an Anna Nicole. Anybody know an aging billionaire with a fondness for chunky, sarcastic women? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let's hope I've matured.

I dug back in the archives of my college blog and found the song I mentioned yesterday. Here's a link to the original post:

What I had not previously put together, somehow, was that I wrote it exactly one week after I kinda-sorta-maybe broke somebody's heart. And there I went, writing some campy, tacky song about being alone on Valentine's Day. I can imagine what the guy must have thought if he read my blog back then-- "You dumb broad, you're the one who broke things off with me, and now you're whining about not getting flowers for Valentine's Day. You are a real catch."
I was the Queen of Tact in 2005. *sigh*

So with that flagrant breach of discretion in mind, I think I'll dedicate the rest of my Singles Awareness Week energy to finding fun and happy Valentine-y things to enjoy on Das Internets.

To start with:

Monday, February 11, 2008


When I was at a friend's place on Friday, I caught the beginning of the MTV show, "Beauty and The Geek." The opening theme was none other than Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities," which happens to be the secondary tagline to my weblog ("I've got the brains, you've got the looks; let's make lots of money") . That made me sad. It makes my tagline seem like a lot less of a clever find. I mean, I heard that Pet Shop Boys song on internet radio fair and square, and then MTV goes and shoves it into the mainstream slop trough. Way to steal my retro thunder, MTV.

And that's another thing. People will watch a show with beautiful women and smart, geeky men. But do you think they'll ever do a reverse Beauty and The Geek, with handsome men and smart, geeky, and unattractive women? HECK NO. Because it doesn't work like that.

That seems like a good enough segue into Singles Awareness Week. Which is right now. The week where all of us otherwise-content, single adults are reminded, "Hey, wait. Didn't you want to be in a serious relationship by now? Because I'm pretty sure you did." Thanks, Hallmark and your many minions-- you're right. I forgot. I meant not to be single by now. Shucks.

Tomorrow, I think I'll bring out that song I wrote a couple of years ago about Valentine's Day, written to the tune of a Sugar Ray hit. Yeah. I'll do just that.

Friday, February 8, 2008

hot wheels

It's Day Three of car ownership, and I'm still madly in love with the Rabbit.

I'm not quite sure yet about names, though. I've given it some thought, and there are a few directions I could take in naming this car:

1.) Color Me Awesome: As I did with the Beige Wonder, I could name this car based on her color. Black Beauty. The Black Bunny. Black Magic. Black & Mild. Janara's Dad.

2.) Eastern Bloc Party: It's a German car. I'm a Slavic sweetheart with rugged Central European good looks. Thus, she could easily be given a name brimming with Teutonic flair: Brunhilde. Jurgita. Ludmila. Brigitte.

3.) Rabbit Fever: Flopsy. Mopsy. Cottontail. Peter? Peter could be a girl. Jessica Rabbit.

4.) Arbitrary Female Names: Off the top of my head... Babs. Rita. Gladys. Lola. Donna. Phoebe.

Shoot, I kind of like ALL these names. It's gonna be tough.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I bought a bunny

I did it. I bought a new car.

And oh my goodness, it is beautiful. She just kinda... takes your breath away. It's a black 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit, manual transmission, 4-door, with all manner of bells and whistles Namely, a sunroof.
Rest in peace, Beige Wonder. We had some great times together. Now maybe... maybe you can bring someone else the joy you brought me. Also, BW, thanks for fetching $400 more at the dealer than you did at Carmax. It was like you were saying, "Andrea, I know our time together is through. But let me help you... just one last time."


But boy howdy, the new ride is a piece of work. She is so much fun to drive. After coming home last night I kept walking back into the kitchen to look out the window and make sure she was still there, parked all snug and peaceful behind the apartment. I feel like a new parent... in a very lame way. I just want to dress her up in frilly little things (for example, Hello Kitty floor mats, courtesy of Emily) and take her out to show her off. And wash your hands before you touch her, you don't know where those hands have been!!!
I'm so used to driving a bare-minimum kind of car, I hardly know what to do with myself. Power windows? What? Air conditioning? Such excess! Doors that lock from the inside AND the outside... AND with the push of a button? Get OUT of here!!! But I've got all the time in the world to get used to that.
I just want to go drive now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

In this case, the answers are not in the back of the text.

This morning I got my Virginia driver's license. The quality of photography is a dramatic improvement over my last Ohio license, but still-- when it comes to me vs. the license picture, I always lose.

I worried about the implication this has, this whole getting-a-VA-license thing. In short, I had a nagging feeling that it would mean, "HA HA, NOW YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE!" Which, obviously, it doesn't.

But what if I stay?

I'm really being forced to take a sense of ownership over my life. I was always content to let my life flow along the course dug out by other people's decisions. As much as I'd love for someone to tell me exactly what car to buy, for example, nobody's going to do that (which is essentially good, because it just means that the people in my life respect my need to become an independent adult who makes her own mistakes).

And yet I keep fishing for direction from other people. Because if it's someone else's direction that I follow, then I never really have to make a stand for anything I do. It's so much easier for me to say "I took this job because that's where they placed me" rather than "I chose to be here." I'd rather say "this is the car everyone said I should get" than "this is the car I wanted."

I'd rather say "this is the life that seemed to fit in the best with everything else that was going on" than "this is the life I chose to live." Sick, isn't it? Passivity is so comfortable. I really don't think this is how it's supposed to be. The life I live is supposed to be one I wanted and tried to achieve, not one that just sort of happened as a result of other people's good intentions.

We're supposed to lead lives crafted from decisions, not from indecision.

... right? NO! Don't answer that. See, there I go again.

I have the biggest headache...

Monday, February 4, 2008

If you don't care about cars, you'd better just skip this and play on Facebook or something.

I've been on another planet lately.

Planet Claire?

No. Planet Car.

It's all I can think about. It is my nerd project. Well... that, and the real work they've given me to do. I spend a little time on that, too.

I've done as much research as I can on the kind of cars I can afford. In the end it came down to three cars that rivaled each other in terms of price, user reviews, reliability, resale value, and overall personal appeal. The finalists weren't completely equal on all parameters, but I felt that each represented a good balance of all the factors that were important to me. So I test drove a Scion tC, a VW Rabbit, and a Honda Civic on Saturday. I brought a nice male friend along for moral support and for hey-thurr-little-lady-what-can-I-do-ya-for repellent. (Thanks, Matt.)

The winning car was the VW Rabbit. I absolutely loved the way it drove. I had expected to be most interested in the Civic by sole merit of its gas mileage, reputation, and other such swoon-worthy honor badges that everyone associates with that model. And don't get me wrong-- I'm sure all the accolades are deserved. However... it just didn't feel Right. And the Rabbit felt Right.

So... here's the tricky part. Two-door or Four-door? The problem here is that the four-door model only comes in an upgraded trim level: better interior fabric, sunroof, six-cd changer... things I don't need. Things I don't want to pay for. I can definitely afford the two-door. But unless the price is right (and it's close... it all depends on what kind of quotes I get back from the dealers), it's a bit of a stretch to afford the four-door. But I really want those two extra doors. I plan to have this car for a VERY long time, and down the road I'm afraid I may regret having skimped such a feature just to be more frugal.

Now... here's another thing. One day this fellowship is gonna be over, and the kinds of jobs I'll be qualified for, frankly, will pay a good bit more. (Thanks a lot, Beige Wonder-- couldn't you have waited until I had a REAL job to plotz out on me?)

So... I dunno. Hopefully I can get a dealership to come down to a number where I won't have any trouble making the call. Let's hope so.