Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a model? model citizen, maybe

A while ago, APHL (the people sponsoring my fellowship program) came to my lab to do a photo shoot for their website and quarterly lab magazine.

They took a lot of great pictures of people working in my lab... including a few of me! And they used three of my pictures as thumbnails on their website. All three are pictures of me in the BSL-3 suite, with a surgical gown and respirator mask on... So if you want to check it out...

Professional Development main page, next to "developing laboratory leaders"

Scientific Programs main page, next to "Pre-event plan for public health laboratories"

Programs --> Emergency Preparedness & Response, next to "for public Health Laboratory Preparedness and Response"

Honestly, you wouldn't have any idea it was me in those pictures because a.) they're tiny, and b.) I'm totally suited up. But I know it's me. And now, you do too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Supportive data, FTW

Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Personality tendencies grouped by region. It's pretty interesting.

Ohio, to no surprise of mine, ranked super high on the Neuroticism scale.... aaand pretty low on the Conscienciousness scale. I definitely think neuroticism gives rise to a distinct flavor of humor. And weirdness. And high sales of Zoloft.

I was VERY surprised to see that Virginia scored very low on the Agreeableness scale. That doesn't match my experience at all. I think the data-skewing factor is Northern Virginia (or NoVa, as they call it here)-- the outer Washington, D.C. area. High population of people, all concentric to the hive of scum and villainy (okay, not scum and villainy, but certainly terrible traffic, high crime, and high cost-of-living) characteristic of DC.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

iTunes Roundup, take two

I had another go at my $25 iTunes gift card from last Christmas ...

(here's hoping for a repeat this Christmas... wink wink nudge nudge)

Stay (I Missed You) -- Lisa Loeb - My brother used to say Lisa Loeb reminded him of me. I took it as a compliment. I do have a pair of LL-esque glasses. I'm even wearing them right now. AND she loves Hello Kitty.

One Headlight -- The Wallflowers - 90's nostalgia. Plus, what a good name for a band!

Money For Nothing -- Dire Straits - Part of the reason I love this song (aside from its auditory pleasance) is that it was occasionally referenced in the 1st major CGI cartoon, ReBoot. Does anyone else remember that show? Anyone I know? I loved it.

California Dreamin -- The Mamas and The Papas - Oldies classic.

Workin For The Weekend -- Loverboy - This song's eighties awesomeness is so huge that it overcomes the fact that my good friend's ex-boyfriend made a hilarious music video to this song. With himself playing all four people in the band. It was honestly funny. The whole EX thing is a lot less funny. But above all: the 80's hair bands transcend social ills.

P.S. Has anyone had a go at the church sign generator yet? Big time fun ...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

miscellaneous junk

I don't care what anybody says, Strong Bad emails can still crack me up after all these years.

Become an instant Virginian-- make your own vanity license plate.

For more online tomfoolery-- the church sign generator

and.... mix tape generator.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're really doing it, huh, Harry?

I finally scheduled myself to take the GRE on November 15.

I'm going to grad school....?

I'm Ron Burgundy?


Anyway, yeah. All circuits are go with beginning grad school part-time next fall. Barring any sudden (and lasting) inspiration to change careers or something, that's the plan.

With the return of the internet to my dusty, crotchety ol' dinosaur of a computer, I was finally able to download all those iTunes singles I'd been jonesing after for the past... what... year and a half? Songs that I like enough to buy alone, but not enough to justify buying the entire artist's album. Not even used (although I probably would buy Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs used if someone were dumb enough to part with it, but I haven't seen it lying around anywheres).

Here are the songs I grabbed the day the internet was restored:

Get It On (Bang A Gong) -- T. Rex - classic awesome.

Final Countdown -- Europe - if you know me at all, then I don't have to explain that one.

Relax -- Frankie Goes To Hollywood - why are the songs with dirty meanings always so catchy?

Road To Nowhere -- Talking Heads - well, I actually would buy another Talking Heads album. this was a last-minute addition, though. I remembered liking it from the end of the movie Little Monsters. it's that romanticized nostalgia thing.

Wonderwall -- Oasis - because I am a sap.

Learning To Fly -- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - loved it from Elizabethtown. didn't love the movie, though. but that's neither here nor there.

Wicked Game -- Chris Isaak - I guess we'd file that one under 'guilty pleasure.' *shrug*

Barracuda -- Heart - not motivated by the Sarah Palin RNC theme debacle, although reading about that did remind me how much I like this song. that, and Guitar Hero.


Layla -- Derek and The Dominos - wow, what a song. I remember the first time I heard it on the radio (um... last fall... heh). all I knew from my lifetime was Clapton's 1993 unplugged version that won him a Grammy for Best Song. and sure, I guess I liked that. but I did not realize where it came from. whoa, have I got some music education to acquire, or what?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

oh goody

Good morning, youse.

I joined the 21st century last night and got wireless internet and cable avec DV-R in my apartment. I went for a year without having my own computer hooked up, and with no TV stations except fuzzy versions of the big three networks.

In fact, at my old place, one evening I wanted to watch LOST (I usually watch it with friends on a fancy toob), and the absolute only way I could get ABC reception on Tiffany's tv was if I took the cable (the unhooked tv cable, mind you) and held it in ONE EXACT POSITION where part of the cable grazed the top left front corner of the TV. Anything else and the picture and/or sound would be lost. So I had to TAPE the cable to the front corner of the television -- scotch tape, no less -- in order to watch a show that requires ALL attention be paid. One false move and the picture goes fuzzy, the sound blasts into static, and I've missed a crucial element to answering one of the six trillion questions we all have about the series.

Anyway... no more of that. Last night I was like a kid in a candy store. I can watch videos online. I can watch from of a seemingly endless array of TV show choices. I can download music. I can update my blog. I can create memes specific to my social circle. I can screw around on Facebook. I can join Match.com (it's okay to look!!!).

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's so funny about Ohio?

I have a hypothesis that there is something about Ohio that breeds funny people.

I'd be remiss if, being an Ohioan myself, I didn't point out the obvious bias.

I'm not saying everyone in Ohio is funny. They sure aren't.
I'm also not saying that people outside Ohio are less funny. Also untrue.

What I AM trying to do is suggest an anomaly in the Buckeye state. Is there something about the place that just breeds a certain blend of humor? It's been said there's not much to do in Columbus other than eat, shop, and watch movies ... I can't really refute that claim too much, being somewhat portly, materialistic, and obsessed with pop culture myself... and it seemed like all anyone in Ohio ever wanted to do was get out of Ohio...

(i never particularly felt that way, but i can't say i hate it here in VA...)

I think the frustration of being in such a place with such tendencies certainly fosters an environment of growth for the bizarre, dry, disaffected-intelligent, and sarcastic wit. Maybe Ohio's unofficial state motto should be, "Ohio! There's So Much To Criticize!" Because, while I can't account for some other major cities, Columbus is chock full o' complainers. I have nothing to back that claim up with, but hell, I was THERE. Complain-fest 2k8.

For some examples of Ohio's finest humor, check my links to the right. But before you do that, you should be informed that Bill Watterson went to college in Ohio (Kenyon), and lived in Chagrin Falls while drawing Calvin and Hobbes. BILL WATTERSON! Drew, the writer of Toothpaste For Dinner and Married To The Sea, is an Ohioan, as is his wife, Natalie Dee, and they live in Columbus. The writer of Indexed also lives in Columbus.

Other funny Ohioans: (and I have to use the term "funny" loosely in some cases... )
Erma Bombeck
Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson et al)
Dave Chappele
Drew Carey
Tim Conway (of Carol Burnett fame)
Phyllis Diller
Cathy Guisewite, creator of "Cathy" cartoon
Rachael Harris (of VH1's I Love the 80's/90's commentary fame... aka MY DREAM JOB)
Bob Hope
Molly Shannon
Hal Sparks (again, of VH1 commentary fame)
James Thurber (cartoonist for The New Yorker among other things)
aaand basically most of my friends and family from Ohio. i think we're pretty funny.

I dunno. Think about it. Think about the Ohioans you may know.
(...yours truly, if i may be so bold?)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

you could use a little 'psst' and some 'shh'

What IS it that makes some people chronically unaware of the volume of their voices?

Do they really not understand that hearing their voice ricochet off of every surface in the building makes a person want to resort to violence of comic proportions?

I have earplugs in, and still... her voice just drills into my precariously balanced, high-strung soul... not unlike the way the bitter, damp cold of a January blizzard in Columbus just soaks into the deepest marrow of one's skeleton....

Like.... um... let me try to describe what this does to me.

Imagine you're back in college, poring over a complex scientific paper (if you're not a scientist, well then... all the better). It's 3 a.m., you're in the science library (the one that's dead silent, the one that's open all night, the one where the Asians have been hiding all quarter, curing cancer and designing particle accelerators and other such what-have-you. This is no big deal, they're here all the time-- it just adds to the mix that they're here working hard all year and you're sitting there like a fat American doofus who doesn't really understand nested qPCR even after having read over the textbook definition for the fortieth time). This is how I feel EVERY DAY.

Okay, got that? Now imagine Elmo busts out of the elevator, right behind you. It's Elmo... and he's got a pair of cymbals. And a cell phone that has something by Fergie as a ringtone.

The pointless noise, it penetrates your soul. Well, there might be a point to the noise, but it's got nothing to do with you. And nobody else in the library has the fortitude to approach Elmo and break it to him, gently-- "hey, you're disrupting my otherwise acceptable life. could you be a lamb and NOT make me want to smother you?"

Good God.

Just turn it down a couple of notches, arright? Don't yell.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

J.Crew has my number

Not news: My favorite store.
Not news: My favorite season...
Blogworthy: My favorite city!?

J.Crew's fall line advertisements are all based in *gasp, swoon, stagger* Prague.

And one of their "looks" for the season... black and grey. gray. grey.

Short of someone with a severe depressive disorder/ desperate attempt to be emo, you will not find anyone who wears more black and gray than yours truly.


Are they trying to get my business or what?


I didn't come up with the idea myself, but I think it's worth repeating: I wish I were more like a dog. And by that I only mean I lived every day with the attitude of "OH BOY, THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!"

I mean, shoot. Dogs are so dang happy all the time. Case in point:

see more puppies

Just a thought.

To be fair, though, I've yet to meet the dog who has had an entire year's worth of work deleted from his/her supposedly secure work hard drive for no apparent reason.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cruel summer

When I returned to work after vacation, I discovered that I'd been deleted from the network.

Yep, just plain deleted. As in, all my files, folders, and work e-mail... deleted. Why, exactly? Nobody knows. Who filed the paperwork that has to be completed in order for a deletion to take place? Nobody knows. Who approved said paperwork? Nobody knows. Everybody's just kind of shrugging and looking at each other.

Really? Thanks guys.

At least I'm still getting paid.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Particleboard Furniture and Other Dreams-Come-True of The College Graduate

Nuff said, right? I'm the new queen of DIY transitional furniture. Of the five major pieces of furniture in my bedroom, 5/5 were
a.) purchased at Target and
b.) put together by yours truly

(not to mention that 3/5 were hauled through the backyard, up the stairs, and into said bedroom by yours truly).

*flexes and frowns charismatically*

New furniture, new apartment, new roommate, new phone, new relationship status (went from "it's complicated" to "business as usual"*), and the beginning of a new year in Richmond.

That's right... I've been here for one year now. One year in Richmond, and counting. Even though I constantly re-evaluate my life and plans, scrapping one grad school idea for another, I'm still fairly settled on the thought of starting work on my Master's next fall here at VCU. I've got a decent niche; it'll do until further notice. I like it here.

I still can't get comfortable committing to anything permanently. Hence, particleboard furniture. I'm still too, like... free spirited...young... unsettled... or whatever... to plunk down some Benjamins on a fancypants mahogany sleigh bed that says HAY WORLD, I'M-A PLOP DOWN RIGHT HERE AND GROW ME SOME ROOTS.

Particleboard. It's a step above Sterilite plastic containers (notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththemmindyouinfacti'mgonnahangontominecauseyouneverknowwhenthey'llcomeinhandy), and it says "i've got the look of someone who has their stuff together, but i can be easily jettisoned on craigslist for a cool thirty dollars." It's transitional furniture. And I give it a thumbs-up.

*yes, that means "single."