More tree monsters!

April 23, 2009 at 10:39 am (monsters, reality is not for me, weirdness abounds)

I discovered another scary tree yesterday, and this one was worse than the jabberwocky tree because it turns out it lives on the campus where I work! Not only that but I’ve been standing at the bus stop in front of it for years and until yesterday always turned a blind eye to the evil that lurked so close by.*

This particular breed of tree monster is especially heinous, as it can affect people who come near it and learn its secret! Case in point- I am home from work today, hoped up on vicodin from a busted back muscle, all because I care about you people and want to warn you about the dangers of monster trees. But no tree monster will keep me from telling you about…the angry radish tree!
For those without the blessing/curse of monster vision:


This monster tree is a particularly angry breed, as it has to sit and watch all day while college kids throw frisbees at it, make out under it, and/or throw up from too much beer around it, and all the monster tree can do is sit and fume because it has such tiny, useless legs. Overtime, it has developed a way to shoot curse lasers out of its crazy eyes, as you can see clearly depicted above. So this guy just sits and wiggles his tiny, useless arms and legs all day while shooting curse lasers at anyone who gets too close- like poor, unsuspecting me. The curses take time to set it but apparently manifest as pulled shoulder/neck muscles that you don’t feel until you wake up, at which point you can barely move and Dr. FianceeHusband has to wash your hair for you because you can’t move your arms up that high, and then you take a vicodin left over from when you were in the hospital last year because you think it is a muscle relaxant and it turns out it totally isn’t,  but who cares because even though you are still in pain, you feel awesome about it. Side effects of the curse (or possibly the vicodin) include moments of severe clarity and madness sprinkled between serious space out periods, aka cat-like behavior.

So this tree may sort of look like a radish at first, but if you dare to look close enough you can actually see that it is much more serious than that. It is actually a pecan tree that grew up out of a live oak trunk, deforming both in the process. No wonder it is so evil. But also seriously a cool example of biology in action!

And we all know that the live oak part must be the evil part, as scientific evidence has shown** that pecan always makes things awesome, not evil.

I think my vicodin has worn off because my awesomeness has decreased drastically and my pain is starting to matter again. Stupid tree curse!

*Unintentional rhymage is all part of the curse. Or the vicodin.
** Scientific evidence= me growing up in Austin, pecan-central. Mmm…

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invasion of the laurel-crocodile hybrids

March 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm (i promise i was not drunk when i wrote this, weirdness abounds)

Today someone came and got the larval jabberwocky that have been living in my apartment walls for about a month and it turned out they were actually just one really fat squirrel, which sorta explains why that “drunk” squirrel has been haunting me recently. Obviously I’ve been targeted by some international squirrel conspiracy and I’m under 24 hour squirrel surveillance. Well, screw you, squirrel dudes! What will you do now, huh? The exterminator guy said he was going to drive out five miles and then release you back into the wild, what are you going to do about that?? All I know is that now my cats will have to find a new reason to stare at the walls and freak me out.

In other news, there are mutant trees on my campus. Exhibit A:
A nice, normal laurel bush, right? Well, observe Exhibit B:
I’m not sure if this picture does it justice but those sure look like crocodile hands to me! And they are growing out of the tree!! Now, I’m not a plant person and I’m much too lazy to look it up, but this does not seem normal. So what we have on our hands is a laurel-croc hybrid! Scourge of campuses everywhere or at least mine! And by scourge I mean no one has noticed it but me. But that’s just how I roll- I’m always looking out for you people, watching for monsters.

Speaking of clueless masses, I’d like to address my coworker…

Dear AlphaTroll,
We are not friends. You called me a narrow-minded bitch and said that everyone in lab hated me when I told you it was not cool to make people cry, so stop acting like we’re all cool now because if this grackle represents how I normally feel about you:
then this is how I feel when you act like we’re buddies all the sudden:

My emotions get all pissed and fluffed out in anger. Suck it. Mostly, though, I just keeping thinking “two and a half more months until I’m gone and you’re screwed!” so suck it some more.

By the way, for all you doubting Dennises (i.e. MY DAD) I totally take all the weird ass pictures you see on my blog, be they enraged grackels, drunk squirrels, or operatic turtles. Just so you know.

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and now for something completely different

March 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm (animal behavior, art?, austin awesome, just pure awesome, life in general, weirdness abounds)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce… Turtle Opera.

No, I have no idea what he/she* is doing, but my guess is opera because it isn’t turtle mating season yet. You can tell some of the turtles on campus want to be ninja turtles when they grow up, though:
He/she’s totally working his/her biceps.

And I stick by my theory that too much of anything gets a little creepy, aka swarms are gross and too many turtles start to look disturbingly like bugs:

which is probably why this guy/gal decided to make a break for it:
This is how I imagine these turtles are interacting:

Big turtle: Noooo! Take me with you!
Little turtle: Screw you, I need to be free! Also you don’t share your algae/fish/french fries/whatever turtles eat with me! Goodbye forever! Or at least until I chicken out and jump back into the water!

The best thing about red-eared slider turtles? This:
Turtle smile!

*short of cutting it open, I have no idea how to sex a turtle unless I am watching them mate**.

**I probably need to clarify that I mean watching it mate with another turtle. You crazy readers…***

***I should probably further clarify that I am not some crazy who goes around watching turtles mate on purpose, I just see it at zoos or on TV or in the above turtle population sometimes and if you have never seen a turtle couple getting it on, you should google it because that shit is HILARIOUS. ****

****”that shit is hilarious” is totally a scientific phrase. Also, there’s this:
Interesting street art is almost as cool as crazy opera turtles in my book.

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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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25 more

March 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm (history of meg, life in general, weirdness abounds)

I love factoids, almost as I love a good, random list. I already did the 25 things about me list on Facebook, so for the two of you readers who read that (and thus know my secret identity!) I’m going to make a list of 25 extremely strange and random things about me*. Why? ‘Cause I’ve been stuck in a dark closet with my face glued to a microscope for several days now and I feel like sharing some silly things with the masses instead of stabbing myself in the eye with a slide. You know, typical Meg stuff.

1). I have a weird form of synesthesia where if I touch my eyeball, I taste powdered donuts.

2). When I was in high school I worked at the bowling alley around the corner from my house. I still have nightmares about working there, that I’ll end up having to go back because all my other career options failed. Oddly I never have science-related nightmares, but I still have bowling alley-related ones.

3). When Dr. FianceHusband and I were freshmen in high school, we basically hated each other. We were both the “smart kid” in our biology class, and there’s no room for two smart kids. I made him write in my yearbook and he wrote a big thing about how our torrid affair must end because the circus was calling to him.It was basically a big sarcastic way of saying “I don’t know who you are and I don’t like you.” I totally forgot about him for a year after that.

4). Many of my life choices were made on a whim. For example, when I was a junior in high school I decided I could relate my “love life” to the type of snack I was enjoying- I had been eating poptarts and they were starting to bore me, and really I wanted a Twix. In my teenage brain, this equated to how I was tired of my old, smokey boyfriend and needed to find myself a new, fresh, perhaps caramelly new crush. I looked around my pre-cal class room and settled my eyes on the cutest guy in the room and decided, “Yup, that’s the one.”  That guy was Dr. FianceHusband. He didn’t stand a chance.

5). One of the worst experiences I had in grad school involved having to help clean out a “carcass containment freezer” which was where bodies of big marine animals were “stored” until the naturalist at the school where I went had a chance to look at them. He totally never bothered looking at them, though, and eventually I was drafted to help him clean it out. So, one hot summer day in South Texas, I helped haul the dead and quickly-thawing bodies of sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and birds into what was basically a mass grave. It was horrible and I had to throw out the three pairs of shoes I wore through that experience because so much goo and ick got into them. Let’s not talk about those nightmares. Nothing screams horror like carcass after carcass of animals that have been rotting on a beach before being thrown in a freezer, that then start to thaw…

6). All of my expensive shoes totally smell like rotting turtle carcasses even though I bought them way after that experience. I don’t know what is up with that.

7). I get asked “what’s your favorite movie” a lot and I am always hard pressed to come up with answer, but I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to Monty Python’s Holy Grail and Beetlejuice

8 ). I am going to go see Spamalot tonight and I am very, very excited. This will be the first Broadway/off Broadway/traveling Broadway/whatever show I’ve ever seen.

9). My brain feels like it’s split into two parts- the thinky part and the back part, which is always either continuously playing some song or telling me horrible things like “i hate kids” that the thinky part then has to shout over.

10). Sometimes the song stuck in my head (the back part, see #9) is so loud that I can’t think.

11). I am totally going to make my own wedding dress and it is basically going to be a long version of a She-ra costume. By which I mean AWESOME.

12). The back, grumpy part of my head doesn’t like people at all but when I ignore it and do go hang with my friends I realize that there is something to the whole “socializing with your peers” thing…

13). I secretly wish I could take my cat with me everywhere. Ok, not so secretly. I totally, openly wish I could take Kiwi with me to work.

14). I talk to myself a lot. I think it might be because the thinky part of my brain thinks the back, grumpy part of my brain is a big jerk who plays her music too loud so they don’t talk. Damn kids. And brain parts.

15). I love cartoons. Not the crap cartoons of my youth, really, but the snarky sarcastic ones of today, such as Flapjack and Venture Brothers and Frisky Dingo. I only wish there were more…

16). When I was a kid my grandpa gave me the soundtrack to the Phantom of the Opera** and I loved the crap out of it. I never actually saw the musical, so I basically made it up in my head to go along with the music. I used to sing it at the top of my lungs on my playground. Needless to say, when I finally saw the movie version I was totally unimpressed- it totally did not live up to the version in my head.

17). I really like watching operas. Most ballets bore the crap out of me. Symphonies make me jealous because I’m not playing in them, unless they have bassoons and then I’m just pissed because bassoons get all the good parts that would otherwise go to the bass clarinets. Suck, double reeds!

18 ). In almost all situations, I’d rather be reading a book. Outside in a hammock, preferably. With a cat on me.

19). Dr. FianceHusband and I have plans to write a series of graphic novels together. Because we are nerds, but creative nerds.

20). Following up on the nerd factor, I totally want our honeymoon*** to be at the San Diego Comicon.

21). The main reason I want to be able to buy a house is so that I can have a yard in which to put a hammock. See #18 for reference.

22). Technically, my name is Megan. Everyone on the planet who is not my dad or brother is supposed to call me that, according to the grumpy part of my brain- my dad and brother call me Meg, and I always refer to myself as Meg. However, the front, thinky part of brain who is not a jerk always tells people that either is fine. Whenever non-my-dad-or-brother people call me Meg, I think it sounds all crazy and weird and both parts of my brain are in agreement that we don’t like it, and yet I never correct anyone. Obviously, I am a crazy freak in this regard.

23). I finally have to deal with the fact that I am, sadly, lactose intolerant. This sucks because I could eat cheese forever. Fortunately there is Lactaid! Unfortunately I discovered that I really am lactose intolerant after making homemade cheese with a friend. Holy crap it was good, but I felt like I was dying a few hours later.

24). Sometimes I get so distracted with all the crap I have to do at work that I forget to go to the bathroom, for, like, 8 hours at a time. I’m always surprised as to why my bladder hurts so much.

25). I might be the only formally trained marine biologist in the universe who basically is terrified of going in the ocean. Not because of sharks or other fish or anything else like that, but because of all the gross, disgusting, neurotoxic micro-organisms that I know live there. Did you know that there is a species of dinoflagellate (a small, single celled alga) that releases a neurotoxin that makes you forget how to read?? That is some serious shit, people. Also, sushi terrifies me because I once saw a talk at a national meeting about all the parasites that live in fish, so screw that. Also I think sushi is slimy. I know that officially makes me uncool but I don’t care. If you need me I’ll be reading a book while you eat your possibly parasite infested, slimy fish.

*some of the things on this list and the original might overlap because I am too lazy to be bothered to go read what I wrote on the other one.

**He gave it to me as a joke, actually, because I would tease him about listening to opera.

***HA! Like we’ll ever take a honeymoon…

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denial ain't just a river, it's my state of being

February 12, 2009 at 11:18 pm (cold, continuing depression, jinxing myself, just pure awesome, mom, the boy, weirdness abounds)

i don’t want to think about what today really is for me, so instead here is a picture i took of the hawk that likes to hang out in the trees above the creek outside my office/lab. also work is still abysmal, my boss and i were supposed to meet yesterday to talk about how i am terrified that the students are going to make me lose my job and how uncomfortable i am around them, but she never showed up for the meeting. when i asked her about it her reply was, “i can’t remember why we were meeting, so it must not have been important!”


anyway, here’s the hawk. today i saw him swoop down and catch a frog, maybe. or it could’ve been a rat or  small dragon or a gnome, i didn’t get a good look at it.

the intended meal, be it frog, rat or gnome or other, is under the claw you can’t see. the hawk wouldn’t start eating while i was watching it. i try not to think that whatever small animal was caught by this majestic bird was originally some poor lab animal that escaped, only to be devoured. not only is that a shitty fate (but such an apt metaphor for life!) but imagine how many weird chemicals would be coursing through the hawk’s veins if it were true.  just for the record, all my rats are accounted for! no estrogen and/or pcb filled hawk treats are on my conscience, thank you very much.

also, how freakin’ awesome is this picture?

the correct answer is, of course, quite. quite awesome indeed. and that’s the original pic, no color adjustment or anything. if you’re not from austin, just know that this monstrous fork (it’s probably 2 stories high, maybe?) is a classic landmark for a sorta so-so restaurant (sorry, sad but true, even if the hot waiters do flirt with me), and the object at impaled on the fork changes sometimes. for a while it was a sad looking birthday cake, and before that i think it was fries, maybe… anyway, the point is i was walking by today and snapped a picture around sunset and it turned out FANTASTIC! i plan to use it in my valentine for the boy. we never do valentines stuff, so this’ll be a surprise.

lastly, because i love a good photo-rich blog post, the boy and i went to a local sculpture garden that we’d never been to before a while back for our anniversary. my favorite thing there was that there were a ton of guard lion statues! you know, the kind that are paired up so they flank the entrance to a house or library or court house. oh, just look at the picture:
i tried to skew the perspective on purpose because i thought he deserved to look as regal and majestic as possible, but it might still be obvious that this guy’s only about a foot tall. anyway, he was my favorite of the three or four pairs of lions we saw.

also, this statue, the last in a series of season statues on display in the sculpture garden, reminds me of my mom for some reason:
the chin, maybe? but no, my mom and i have the same crazy pointed irish chin, so i don’t know if that’s it. maybe the tilt of her head? in any case, how apt is it that she represents winter? i know i haven’t been truly warm on the inside for four years, to the day.

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dear who ever searched and found my blog with the phrase "my mom thinks a marine biologist is a stupid career"

January 30, 2009 at 9:52 am (just pure awesome, weirdness abounds)

I just want to say that marine biology is the shit. Of all the scientists I’ve known, they are the most laid back. Half your freakin’ career is spent doing what other people pay tons of money to do and only do a few times in their life (that is, taking cruises and living on the beach)!! So do it. There is a point where you have to do things for yourself and just roll your eyes at the nay sayers. Trust me on this.

Also, to the person who searched and found me with the terms “impromptu bookcase”: I’m sorry I was probably totally not what you were looking for, but wouldn’t “Impromptu Bookcases” be a kick ass band name??

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