March 25, 2009 at 5:15 pm (i'm too old to be a fangirl but..., insomnia, just pure awesome, life in general, teach this!)

Things I should be doing:
1. Preparing for my teaching test (bleh)
2. Cleaning (bleeeeh)
3. Planning experiments (meh)
4. Writing protocols for my eventual departure from the lab (BLEEEH)

What I am actually doing:
1). Reading Lucy Knisley’s comics. I followed a link about her on BoingBoing because she has the same last name as my best friend from middle school (Hello, Annick? Hello?) but now I am hooked, she is crazy amazing. And her assessment of the Twilight “books” are spot on.
2). Watching Spaced. Best. Show. Ever.
3). Thinking about how to design my wedding dress. But wait! It’s going to be a long She-ra dress with a rip away skirt so that I am left with a mini skirt bottom in case monsters attack or I need to dance! It’s going to be kickass.
4). Assessing the pros and cons of taking a nap so late in the day.

Gah! Must study!!

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Squirrel behavior, part 2- the scientific method

March 16, 2009 at 10:18 pm (animal behavior, i promise i was not drunk when i wrote this, insomnia, jinxing myself, simply flabbergasted, weirdness abounds)

We all know I loves me some science, as long as rat vaginas are not directly involved. Last week I posited the question, “what is this squirrel thinking?” and it turns out the correct answer was given by Kurt: “I think he’s plowed on fermented berries and is telling the tree “NO! No! I LOVE you, Man!!”.” This conclusion has since been supported by the following evidence.

This is normal squirrel behavior:
img_0821bShe’s* all “oh, hey, look, I’m a squirrel and I am foraging, looking all cute and stuff! If you are a scientist, back the fuck off! I know what you guys do in that lab of yours, you perverts!” You know, normal squirrel behavior.

This is how I found crazy squirrel the other day:
This is an instance of scientific observation that can only be described as “What the fuck??” I have been watching campus squirrels for almost 10 years now (sigh) and I have never seen crazy hangover-type behavior like this before. Oh, and he’s not dead- soon after I took this shot, he moved into a hole in the tree and proceeded to watch me, all creepy-drunk-peeping-tom-squirrel style:

So we can see that someone has been partying way too hard without inviting me, which is totally uncool because I had to molest many, many rats today and if anyone needs a drink, it’s me.  That or possibly that is an anti-gravity tree so he’s hanging on for dear life, and only barely made it to the hole before flying off into space. That’s how science works, people, you gotta examine all the possibilities.

Moral of the story? Not only do we have to watch out for scary jabberwocky trees, but also anti gravity trees and/or trees filled with hungover squirrels. It seems like trees were much safer when I was a kid and all they did was fling me to the ground at high rates of speed. I’m pretty sure my cocyx got broken once, but I never had to be on the lookout for drunk rodents! Also, while we’re on the subject of stuff and being old**, how come stuff takes so long now?? For example, it apparently has taken me 30 minutes to write this blog! I did have to adjust the pictures from their original 290844789 pixel size to something that wouldn’t crush the interwebs, but still, 30 minutes?!? And holy crap, studying takes me more time now, too! I’m brushing up*** on my physics for this massive test you have to take to be a science teacher in Texas, and it took me all night to read three chapters. Three chapters of easy stuff that I already know. How the hell did I do this in college??

Oh, right. I didn’t bother reading in college. Also I didn’t have a full time job. Also my brain wasn’t all higgedly-piggedly and in need of antidepressants. Also I have to get lots of sleep now in order to be fresh enough to face work and its crazies (including, yes, the rat vaginas. Don’t act like you didn’t want to hear about them again!), wheras in college as long as I got 5 hours I was just fine. Well, suck it. I don’t know who needs to suck it, specifically, but surely someone is in dire need of a good “suck it!”

I’m so tired. So many rat vaginas await me in the morning…

Time for sleep…

*It’s very easy to tell if a squirrel is a boy or girl. As Dr. FianceHusband puts it, the boys carry around an “air conditioning unit.” Seriously, their balls are bigger than their heads. Evolution- go figure!

**Old = 27 in my case = maybe I’m just lame.

***Brushing up = poking the brain cells that already know this stuff but went into hybernation once they figured out they were not needed for grad school. Hopefully the massive amounts of drinking I did in grad school did not kill those brain cells ’cause I need them now. Otherwise I might as well find myself a nice tree hole to live in and stock up on the rum!****

****That’s right, I will be teaching children soon (assuming I pass this test). I think now is a good time to look into homeschooling.

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follow up!

February 20, 2009 at 12:39 am (cats, insomnia, jinxing myself, monsters)

So, I wanted to follow up on my “where did the phrase ‘bat shit crazy’ come from” from the last post- this enigma was solved by Dr. FianceHusband!! He did a minor stint of bat field work, and one of the guys working with him told him that guano, since it is super good fertilizer, actually attracts a specific fungus that releases neurotoxins into the air that make you act all sorts of crazy. Hence, “bat shit crazy!” Everything is right with the world…ok maybe not but I do feel slightly more complete having not only solved that mystery but blogging about it as well. Ah, I love etymology…entomology is lovely too, but something completely different.

Also I’d like to point out, also in reference to my last post, that just because I push for treating blondes as real people does not mean that I don’t also respect people with other hair colors (or breast sizes). Seriously, I’m sorta not good at telling hair color anyway. I could’ve sworn that for most of my childhood my mom had red hair, when in actuality she only had red hair for a little while, while I was super young, then let it go brunette again. Still, every time I’d describe my mom she was always a red head in my brain. Imprinting is an amazing psychological thing, people!

In other news*, I think the spawn of the jabberwocky tree I saw last weekend have moved into the “attic” space above my apartment. We’re on the top floor, so I can’t hope that the crazy scrabbling noises that I hear coming from just a few feet above my head are being generated by a neighbor’s cat. Moon, who heard the monsters move in a couple weeks ago and kept trying to tell me by staring fixedly at a spot on the ceiling for hours, has totally been shooting me withering  “I told you so” glances all day. Or she’s just being her normal cat self. I seem to barely recall hearing the same noises for a while last year, but I take a lot of meds so memories are fuzzy things for me and tend to be highly influenced by whatever cartoon I just watched. And I certainly hope it’s jabberwocky spawn because if it is rats I’ll die of allergies (thank you very much, work!), and if it’s possum I will die of puking at the grossness. Raccoons I can handle. Monster spawn? I’d have to look into how to deal with them on an individual species basis. Personally I’m going to hope** it’s a family of obamacorns.

Technically I should be sleeping, since it’s a Thursday and all, but screw technicalities because I’m off tomorrow! I took the day off because tomorrow is my mom’s birthday (she would’ve been 52), and it’s a good thing ’cause I’ll need to spend it preparing for a TEACHING INTERVIEW!! After attending a career fair a couple weeks ago at my university (where I was the oldest “potential employee” and people kept asking me when I’d be graduating- jerks) I learned about this accelerated teaching certificate program, where you spend the summer cramming like mad about how to teach and deal with kids (I think there is a section on how to use flamethrowers), then you start teaching in the fall! Holy crap! On a whim I applied to it, which involved writing annoying essays which reminded me of high school which made me rethink wanting to be a teacher, even on a whim. Anyway the application went in and now I have to go teach other applicants something “age appropriate” which I have no idea what is. When I was in high school, age appropriate biology lessons involved making up answers for my biology worksheet because everyone knew that Coach Smith, who “taught” the class, had a volleyball game the night before and a rehearsal for his Christian folk band***, so there was no way he would actually be grading our work seriously. This was seriously my only biology class in high school, and yet I became a biologist. I always figured that being a scientist was way glamorous, but I am totally wrong. And you know what? Teaching pays WAY more than being a science tech. Also? No more begging for money worrying about funding cycles and grant renewals. And in all honesty, I actually really like teaching biology. Also I would totally be the hot but bat shit crazy teacher that everyone remembers forever, when they are off being doctors and real scientists and living in places that are not infested with monsters. Which by the way the cats are totally not interested in any more, which makes me think that the cats and the monsters have made a deal of some sort involving the monsters coming in and eating me in my sleep, as long as they are quiet and don’t wake up the cats****. Good thing I don’t have to work tomorrow! ‘Cause I’ll be staying up all night now, awaiting my monster-induced demise!

*HA! See, Kurt, “other news” stories are important!

**Haha, I was funny with out meaning to be!

***On days when we were supposed to be learning real science that made Coach Smith uncomfortable, like reproduction or evolution, he’d play us tapes of his Christian folk band rehearsals instead. How the hell did I become a biologist?!? The only piece of information that I remember “learning” from that guy was completely wrong- right before he turned on one of his rehearsal tapes, he told us “all you need to know about reproduction is that Y is dominant” with a stupid I’m-a-coach-not-a-real-teacher look on his face. This is wrong on so very many levels, people. Ethically, socially, but most importantly biologically. If you think that the Y chromosome is dominant I’ll let you blame it on a bad biology teacher but know now that this is a classic case in biology of there being no absolutes. Other than there being absolutely no people alive with only a Y and no X chromosome. Suck it, Coach Smith!

**** I told Dr. FianceHusband this theory and he reassuringly said “don’t worry, Moon wouldn’t let them eat me. She loves me.” True. However, I’m totally screwed. Kiwi loves me but is crazy dumb so he’d probably either pee on my laundry again or bring the monsters his toy, thinking we were playing a fun game and it was totally his turn to play. Or he’d just jump on my face.

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i hate insomnia

January 16, 2008 at 1:35 am (insomnia)

yup. hate it, hate it, hate it. i can feel how tired i am but i just can’t go to sleep. could it be because of the anxiety i have over an impending meeting with the boss and the witch? quite possibly. is there anything i can do about it? yes. eat a popsicle. even if i don’t get sleepy at least i got a popsicle. i have lovely tropical popsicles so i can pretend i’m on a beach somewhere, eating popsicles because i can’t sleep and what the heck is that fish smell? ’cause face it, people, beaches are pretty but they smell. that smell of rotting sea creatures is biological progress in action! i know! i have multiple degrees in marine biology! fear me!!!

the boy is sleeping his pretty little heart out in the other room, i am very jealous. the cats are all sleeping, and even the betas are sleeping. so what the hell is my problem?

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do stingrays dream of electric shrimp?

January 4, 2008 at 12:49 am (insomnia)

of course, i don’t know the answer to that, since a). i’m not a stingray and b). i can’t sleep. it does make for a catchy title, though, huh? another one i had was “restless meg syndrome.” what would the commercials be for that, i wonder? something along the lines of “take this magic pill to cure restless meg syndrome! side affects may include itchy knees, lack of late night blog spots, and a strange attraction to ninja turtles.” sweet! i don’t have itchy knees, but my palate itches when i eat walnuts or lettuce. awesome. just a random fact i thought i’d share with everyone.

so anyway…i was thinking about stingrays not only because of the name of my blog (dasyatis= genus of stingrays found all over the world, from the gulf of mexico to australia, e.g. the one that killed steve irwin. they aren’t all bad, though) but because i am currently missing the scientific convention that i usually go to, since i don’t have any fun new data to present and because i’m sick and broke. this convention is the one that i’ve gone to several times, with various labs, and several of my grad school and college friends have asked when they will see me there. well, um, maybe never, at least for this year. it’s being held in san antonio, which means i should be able to just get up and go to it, and i wish i could. it’s always really interesting and the crowd is always super friendly. but, alas, this stupid cold has me beat down. so, i’m going with the reasoning that it is is a good thing that the meeting is in san antonio this year- i’ve been there, and though i like the city i’m not aching to go there. the meetings that were in san diego and new orleans were super fun because i’d never (or almost never) gone to those cities, and even last year’s meeting in phoenix was cool since i’d only been in phoenix to camp (as a kid, with my family) or to change planes (stupid phoenix airport…). i do think it sucks that i don’t get to see my old lab mates and mentors, though, since i’m busy drowning in my own mucous. bleh.

anyway….um…it’s late and i can’t sleep. it is always fun to get up after “bedtime” and see what the cats are up to. moon is going crazy with a toy mouse, clio is walking around hoping i got up just to feed her, and there is no sign of jellybean- she’s a pretty heavy sleep so maybe she didn’t notice me get up.

i wonder if anyone else has noticed that if you take benedryl and tylenol at the same time, you lose the lovely sleep inducing function of the benedryl…i finally decided a little while ago that squinting my eyes shut and just hoping frantically that i’ll fall asleep doesn’t work all the time. being up made me realize that i was really hungry, though- being sick kinda dampens the hunger response, i’ve noticed. great for losing weight, not so great for those of us with low blood sugar levels. so here i am with a cold and what am i eating? vegetables? yeah right! cheese! i’m eating cheese! i love cheese! i have a cheese eater’s fisique! yes, i’m chubby and i just don’t care! i love cheese! i don’t care if it induces mucous production, i’m hungry and in need of some damn cheese…

i’m getting all stir crazy. i feel like the stingrays we kept in grad school- they were kept in these round tank called raceways, and when the rays were first introduced to the tank they would swim around and around and around the edge of the tank, looking for a way out. that’s how i feel- i’m trapped in my apartment by this stupid cold and i keep running back and forth between the bed (to nap), the kitchen (to snack and get tea) and the couch (to watch tv when i can’t nap). bleh! if i am correct in my stingray model analogy, soon i’ll just get grumpy and settle somewhere in the middle and glare at anyone who comes near me. our rays always did look pissed.

poot poot. i want to read my book (academ’s fury by jim butcher, the sequel to the book i just finished that was super good) but the book is in the bedroom, near the boy. the boy recently snapped at me for disturbing his sleep so i think i’ll just let him be for now. (by the way, for any new comers, the boy= my fiance, who is 25. my mom never called anyone by their real name, so when she asked about us she’d say things like “what did the boy get you” or “is the boy coming over for lunch?” it may not sound like it to people who didn’t know her but it was a term of endearment coming from her).

sigh, perhaps i should try sleeping again…i feel some hints of sleepiness, and i think my being up is riling up the cats. plus i’m out of crackers for my cheese. plus i just heard a weird noise that sounded like a voice where there was no one…um, creepy. time for bed!

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