sally header2

Monday, April 30, 2007

cool science updates

Back in November, I posted about 'panda porn.' Turns out, CNN is reporting this again today but it really didn't work. Artificial insemination will be used instead. I didn't research this enough to know why they were trying it in the first place. I thought pandas were pretty solitary so when in the wild would they have ever seen other pandas going at it anyways? Maybe they learn other things in captivity from watching other pandas? Maybe they are just trying anything and everything they can think of? Either way, I still have to giggle that Google alerts will give me 'the latest news update on panda porn' though. I'm 12.

On a different note, you may remember that I recently endorsed 'Billie' in the Great Turtle Race. It was a tough call. I almost went with 'Stephanie Colbertle' but in the end, it was Billie, with a good combination of nest number, clutch size and experience (been laying since 1995) that I had to support. And SHE WON, taking a more Northern route than any of the other turtles. Way to go Billie!


Saturday, April 28, 2007

As promised

Don't think I'd leave you hanging, promising bunnies and never delivering!
I am back at the DO and am running experiments after a day of technical difficulties. The folks here replaced a plug that last week was shooting flames at me (not just sparks!) but in doing so, had the power turned. My timers controlling the light cycle for my animals got messed up because of this power outage. Sigh. A one day set back is not the end of the world. It IS annoying though.

So far I have been running only Experiment 1 but I am on the verge of also starting Experiment 3. Experiment 2 is a field study that will wait till I have a field assistant in June. And by 'field assistant' I mean V. Anyways, Experiment 3 is my big-time-super-cool-awesome experiment. I am pretty psyched to finally be starting it but I think all my tinkering with Experiment 1 will allow it to get off the ground pretty quickly.
I know this blog has sort of just been a record of highs and lows as far as research and life goes lately and hopefully that will change a bit. There will be a big productivity push from now till I leave for the wedding. I am actively fighting the usual depression of returning to DO and really can't afford the laziness in work that has been associated with it the last couple of times. I am knitting (turning the heel of my Jaywalker this evening!), running (as soon as I finish this post) and trying not to virtually disappear for about 10 days. Of course, the bunnies help too.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An approximation

I am still in IL. Storms down south and cancelled flights meant I wasn't getting on a plane today so hopefully I will get back tomorrow. I am going to get some writing done this afternoon and play with some data. Or at least catch up on permit paperwork, thank yous from my shower and my Moms Jaywalker...

The fitting yesterday could have gone better. People keep telling me I am handling it well. The dress was 3.5 inches too short. I picked shoes based on the length of the sample dress so it wasn't the addition of the shoes. They got the sample and had me put it on. Low and behold! It was longer! They are sending my dress back to the designer after measuring the length difference. I won't be back till 4 days pre-wedding. If there is anything wrong then... well, I am trying not to think about it. Instead, I came up with the following artistic interpretation of 'DancingFish as Bride with short dress.' It is not my actual dress and while my real feet ARE sort of giant, they are obviously not proportional. I did this while having my coffee this morning and just gave up on the feet. Imagine what I could have done if I were sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight for 10 hours....

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 23, 2007

How are these NOT wedding shoes?

My Mom and I went shopping today. It was a fun time and the final pieces of wedding related stuff is coming together. I got undergarments and earrings. The earrings were 50% off! Woo Hoo!
Thanks to my hefty tax return and my Moms' encouragement, we went into Anthropologie. I spend hours drooling over their clothes online at Desert Outpost. I was appalled last time (the first time) I went there and discovered my ribcage was to big for any dress I liked. This time wasn't as bad. I wanted this....
However, the biggest size they had was a 4. Me in a 4? Yeah right. Instead I found a cute little blue/red stripey number (on sale!) that will be perfect for the post wedding Cubbymoon (we have super awesome access to great seats for the Cubs game 2 days after the wedding). No picture online anymore though. I also got this to dress up my wardrobe a bit...
I think it might be the first thing that is pink that I have owned in a looooong time. It was %50 off as well =)
Finally, I found my shoes for the wedding. I am still working on securing the color I want in the size I prefer (So far I have them in one EU size too small but they fit and aren't uncomfortable. They might be tight with socks on). The sales guy was appalled at the idea they would be wedding shoes. He gave us his card and wants pictures of these with the dress. I figure what is the point of buying nice shoes to wear only once under a long dress? I will wear these ALL. THE. TIME. They are really, really comfortable and there is no way I will slip and fall even if it rains. The company seems like a good, environmentally conscious one. The vegetable based dyeing process, use of recycled and natural rubber, and hand-stitched upper make them seem like they are a good investment that will last a very long time. They match our colors even! I absolutely love them!!! I must attend to a kitty now...

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 22, 2007

2 for 2

I am in IL now and am exhausted. I was on the road at 5am (and was up late celebrating!), caught an earlier flight than I had planned into Chicago, drove straight to Milwaukee for my Grandpas 88th birthday lunch surprise and now am finally relaxing. The conference was a blur of folks I knew (from my MS) and know (from my current work) and need to impress (my outside committee member). My talk went really well. I got a full room and folks were even standing. People really responded to my story and Sneks is the coolest for sending me video clips to add in- people loved them!
My favorite responses were from a couple of female undergraduate students. They tracked me down at the poster session and were all excited and nervous but really enthusiastic about the work. I am used to being a student and looking up to more advanced students, postdocs or faculty. It was the first time I had younger students take notice of my research and approach me in the same way. It was pretty cool...
Even cooler is that I got one of the student grants! I am officially two for two in terms of funded grants this year! It is so great to know that I will be able to afford my field work! Of course it also feels really good knowing that other people think my ideas are alright too! Woo hoo!!

Labels: , ,


I wanted to address the VT incident and I didn't know what to say and couldn't articulate anything that hadn't already been said. Particularly how disturbing it is to think of how many universities are vulnerable due to the underlying ideals and design in the first place. As the media attention has died down- or at least been calmed by the backlash against having shown too graphic of images, my thoughts are still with the families and the VT community.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fit to be tied

I am in wedding dress fitting hell. Despite being a week and a few thousand miles away from any actual dress fitting. We are getting jerked around by the bridal shop. The dress will be in in March, the dress will be in in April, the dress is in the store room, the dress won't be shipped till mid-May. I started leaving bitchy messages yesterday and V called me a bridezilla for the first time. Finally I got a real-sounding answer that the dress will be in by next week. In order to save my sanity and hopefully start my cool big time experiment sometime soon, I am piggybacking a trip to IL onto my trip to a conference this week. I will get to fly out of a bigger airport that I am close to anyways as opposed to driving 4 hours each way to fly out of a smaller airport. We will have to see how that goes...

Yesterday I got a call from a co-workers wife. He is out of town so she invited me to stay in their extra room for the week. I jumped at the opportunity, despite having only met her and her daughter once. A real bed, a great big hot shower (with a water softener!) and non-microwaved meals. Plus they have cute chickens and kitties and bunnies!! (don't worry I am taking my camera with me tonight!). It is just so nice of her to think of me and everything- it is probably the nicest thing anyone has done for me since I got here. Given that I am scheduled to drive all day Thursday (with a stop at my field site) and give a talk on Friday, a few good nights sleep will be important for me this week. Plus. BUNNIES!

Labels: ,

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Great Turtle Race!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."

So, Kurt Vonnegut died. He gave a talk at my university right before I got there. It got a lot of press at our small institution and people still have quotes and pictures up from it. I have only ever read 'Slaughterhouse-Five' by him but started 'Breakfast of Champions' about 10 days ago. It was the only thing I have with me that I thought might be enjoyable enough to follow Barbara Kingsolvers' 'The Poinsonwood Bible' (which I loooovvvvved).

When I was in college, I ran around with a bunch of English/Music major types. There was an underlying interest in counter culture. Some were really into the beat poets, perhaps a bit preoccupied with being expatriates, DOING things, MAKING things, READING things (lots of times all this doing etc. was done heavily under the influence of large jugs of wine). It was all very hip considering that Freshman year most of them lived in the honors dorm and a good number went on to grad school.
I associate Vonnegut with that group of people. While I am not close with a lot of them anymore, I still hold on to all the ideas and ideals. His death is like another piece of that whole picture falling away. It isn't necessarily bad, just a strange feeling of letting old things go...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More interesting than the last one...I promise

Wow, sorry about that ultra boring last post there, peeps!

I am still knitting on the Fetching gloves- I will have all but the thumbs done tonight. I am a bit nervous about the thumbs with them being made with live stitches from waste yarn....
I took yesterday off from knitting and went for a run instead. I was up to 4 times a week before my trip to IL but between having a cold and it being cold outside- I haven't run since then. Luckily the weather looks good all week!

On the work front- I sent the first draft of the major manuscript to my advisor today. Yay!! It is a really rough draft but I am so intimidated by it being such a major manuscript that I am completely stuck with it where it is. I used to think that papers needed to be perfect before anyone else saw them. Things would sit on my desk or on my computer screen for days, weeks, months at a time while I tweaked and revised them. Currently, I think that if stuck the best thing to do is to get it to a coauthor. A different perspective might fix MY stuck issue in a matter of hours. Even small edits might get me into thinking about the issue differently to fix it myself. Especially on projects that are not my dissertation work, I will take as much help as possible from anyone willing to give it.

Finally- I just bought my ticket to fly home for my wedding! V is a bit bothered that I bought plane tickets for a wedding taking place 3 weeks after ours before buying a ticket for our own wedding. Tickets for the later one were cheap so I pounced! Plus, I wasn't 100% about when/how I was getting back to Desert Outpost after our wedding so I waited. Anyways, Yippee! So excited!!! Here's a cat!!!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Slow weekend

Yesterday it was snowing here at Desert Outpost. The sun is finally coming out although I am still huddled by my little space heater to keep my toes from going numb.
I am running trials, in which I do a short thing with an hour interval between each time I do it. This goes on for 6 hours. All the running around and keeping an eye on my watch keeps me from getting too involved with anything important, but I did manage to get some writing done this week and it is perfect for working on slides for an upcoming conference or running stats.

It is also good for catching up on all my shows ABC puts online. 42-44 minute show means I can check my email and watch an episode every interval. Now, I never would do this while my coworkers were here but it is the weekend and I am the only one around. I have been good about keeping up with LOST (although I'm not even sure it is worth it) but I have been slipping with Ugly Betty. It has been so long that they took down episodes that I hadn't yet watched from February! Whoops! I also just realized that the last two up on the website are reruns! Darn, I guess I should work or something (or something = knit)...

I have to go do a thing now...

Labels: ,

Friday, April 06, 2007

Old Project, New Project, Sock Project, Blue Project!

I realize I never showed you the completed first ever sock. It's a beauty! Well, It's a sock at least. I am not a huge fan of the yarn or pattern so I am not planning on making the second one anytime soon.

For my next sock-related trick.....

This is going to be a Jaywalker!

I avoided even casting on for the second of my silk armwarmers but did begin a pair of Fetching. I couldn't resist any longer. They will go to Artgirl who once upon a time, I made a bright red alpaca hat.
I am totally making them for myself too- So. Cute. Plus a fun, quick knit. I must say though- the cabling in the round? Not as easy as it seems- especially on a turbulent airplane. I am glad I had cable experience before these otherwise I would have given up and never cable knit again.

I also finally finished my Branching Out. It only took me a year and a half. While I was messing with my computer to go through airport security, the yarn got stuck in the zipper of my backpack. It broke when I pulled it out. Now my beautiful, years-in-the-making lace scarf has a big ol' hole in it. The horror...

(I actually don't have any decent pictures of the is my moms' cat instead)

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 05, 2007

pomp and kitchen tools

I was in IL for my bridal shower last weekend and can not believe the amount of stuff we got! Everyone was so generous and I am really amazed at (but totally appreciate) the amount of support and good wishes for our wedding. Here are me and Artgirl, my maid of honor (and as of this afternoon, a new homeowner!) looking confused. A common look for both of us.
Like my corsage? My mom made me wear it. She was even kind enough to take me shopping for clothes so I didn't look nearly as dirty as I do on a usual day to day basis. I even got my hair cut for the second time in 18 months! It was really great to see everyone, but I feel like I only got to talk to anyone for about 45 seconds each. It was difficult to try to split my short amount of time because I haven't seen any of my own friends in 4 months, let alone my extended family, V's family and my mom's friends.

Returning to the desert and my lonely trailer has left me in a funk. I am not feeling well either which really doesn't help. My animals got messed up while I was gone so I am just now starting trials again. Also, been forcing myself to finish writing a little grant proposal due in a week. The big time grant proposal I submitted in January is supposed to be announced this week and I have all but figured out I didn't get it and wasn't even close. On the application, it said advisors would be contacted for references if the proposal was shortlisted. I asked mine if he was contacted but he had no clue what I was talking about. Darn. I thought that one was really good too.
Oh- I did a lot of knitting during my travels too, but haven't uploaded pictures yet so check back for those updates later!