Thursday, February 28, 2008

Adventures in Biology

As many of you know, it's my senior year of college and I'm finally taking the introduction to biology course that all undergraduates at UD are required to take. I put it off this long because in general biology is squishy and gross, and I was kind of hoping that there would be a change to the course bulletin so I wouldn't have to take it. Alas, that was not to be, and the registrar held a gun to my head and made me sign up for the class.

The past two weeks the laboratory portion of the class has been a non-starter. Last week the lab about fruit fly genetics* didn't happen because mites decimated the school's fruit fly herd. The lab assistant and Dr. D spent an hour explaining in detail why we weren't doing the lab, and what we would have done if we had done the lab. That's an hour of my life that I will never be able to get back. It's unknown at this point whether or not we will have to make that lab up at a latter date.

This week we were supposed to be determining our blood type, a process which takes about a minute. You put three dots of your blood on a slide each, and mix each dot with a different chemical. You wait a second, and the way the blood reacts to the chemicals indicates your blood type. This is an easy enough process, except that due to all the typing** I do, the skin on my finger tips is really thick, and I wasn't able to draw blood with the little lancets the lab has. I got tired of cutting up my fingertip for no reason, so I typed my lab partner's blood instead. For the record, Anita is AB+***

One can only wonder what sort of pitiful excuse for science we will preform next week.


*No one's been able to tell me why I'm supposed to care about whether or not short wings are a recessive or dominant trait.
**Not to mention knitting, crocheting, and sewing that involves me regularly jamming sharp pointy things into my fingertips
***my other lab partner, Taylor, is O-, which means that his blood reacted to the lovely chemicals in exactly the opposite way hers did, and he's also the universal donor

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The 7th Inning Stretch

I'm right smack dab in the middle of everything here in the hovel, so it's time to take a break and stretch before my muscles cramp permanently into a somehow-still-sitting-improperly-despite-using-an-ergonomic-chair position.

My application to Oxford was completed last month, so I'm waiting to hear back from them. I'm working on applications to King's College London, Saint Louis University, and Columbia. All three of those are in the rounding up recommendations and transcripts stage, which means that all I have to do in order to complete those applications is nag other people.

The first round of tests and papers has been passed, and passed well, so I can stop worrying about that for a little bit.

Pearl Dust is taking a ridiculously long time to type up. I wrote a lot more than I remembered I had, and there's far more to be done in revisions. Outlining for 9 Revolutions -- my next big project -- has hit a snag because a couple of the characters are not talking to me at the moment. In the meantime, I have an idea for a short story that I want to get to work on while I still think its a good idea, so it's not as if I'm without a writing project.

In the sticks and string front, the maroon scarf of fuzzy DOOM! is finally complete. I have three more projects started which I can see from where I'm sitting: four if you count the one for which I need to buy more yarn.

I really want a cup of coffee, but I can't have it because I gave up caffeine for Lent. I'm ready for Easter to get here, I don't remember the headache lasting this long in previous years.


Friday, February 15, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Dinner

Experience has shown me that whenever I ask a person to give me directions, I always get where I'm going without problems, but when I consult a map, a computer, a guidebook, or, God forbid, a computerized map in a guidebook, I always get lost. 9 times out of 10, this is because the map bears little to no resemblance to the actual place. I thought I was done with aimless wandering when I returned from Europe, under the mistaken assumption that I know my way around town pretty well. This is, alas, not so.

A couple days ago Aerisith and I decided that we wanted a pizza, and not just any pizza, because we were not going to pay more than $5.00+tax for one, which was not coincidently all the spending money we had between the two of us. The only way to get 1 large pizza for $5.00+tax* is to go to Little Ceaser's, a chain which has only recently moved into our neck of the woods. We knew of one up in L-ville, but not wanting to drive 15 miles one way for a $5 pizza, I used the locate a store feature on the company's website to find one closer to home.

We looked at the address, compared it to a couple of maps, and concluded that we knew where it was and could get there easily. How wrong we were. A couple minutes of driving later, we arrived at the spot indicated by the Internet and discovered that it was actually the parking lot of the Police Station. Next door were the Fire Station, City Hall, and the Public Library. If there was a pizza place there, it was evidently hiding up in a tree or something, were we missed it because it was after dark. We went further down the block, and while other assorted fast food places did materialize out of the gloom, none of them had cheap pizza.

We gave it up and went to the one on Main Street in L-ville, because we knew where it was.

In other news, classes are proceeding well, the first German paper, the first German test, the first paper about Camus, and the first long lab write-up have all been turned in, leaving me with little to do this weekend. The maroon scarf of fuzzy doom now officially stretches from the floor to my shoulders, and I am currently accepting bets on whether or not it will be taller than I am when I finish it. The yarn is approximately 3/16ths of an inch thick, and remaining ball is roughly 3 inches in diameter. I estimate that I would need 36 more rows to make it over my head.

I think I may have finally finished this draft of Pearl Dust, so that's one project at least that is all over but the typing. Of course, I finally thought of a way to get rid of that first part, which I never really liked, but doing so will require a lot of restructuring of the rest of it, so I have my work cut out for me in the revision.

I also got a quick ego boost in the form of this:

How grammatically correct are you? (Revised with answer key)

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

Congratulations! If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. You can smell a grammatical inaccuracy from fifty yards. Your speech is revered by the underlings, though some may blaspheme and call you a snob. They're just jealous. Go out there and change the world.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

That's it for now,


*short of you know, making it ourselves

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Maroon Scarf of Fuzzy DOOM!

As many of you are doubtless aware, I must either do something with my hands or fall asleep. I do not handle sitting still and doing nothing very well.* The end result is that I usually have multiple knit/crochet/embroidery/quilt/doodle/novel projects going at once.

One such project, pictured here, is the Maroon Scarf of Fuzzy DOOM! It started with the discovery of not one, not two, but three skeins of maroon chenille yarn in the stash of truly random yarn which appeared, seemingly by spontaneous generation, in one corner of the office closet, right in front of the fusebox. Eager for a fast and simple project, I cast on and declared it my Sitting-in-front-of-the- computer-reading-the-10-page-pdfs-that-my-professors-are-so-fond-of project. The picture shows the scarf after one skein was used, but before I added the second. As you can see, when I cast on I dramatically underestimated just how big 31 stitches with a thick yarn and size 13 needles really are. For those of you playing at home, the answer is as wide as a large pizza box, and a bit longer. As I type this, I am half-way through the second skein, and the Maroon Scarf of Fuzzy DOOM reaches from the floor to mid-thigh. If this thing does not eat me when I finish it, it will at least be warm, which is good, as all the schools which have caught my eye seem to be in the Frozen North.

This morning I got an uncomfortable brush with the Uncomfortably Chilly South, as I emerged from my den woke up early so I could participate in one of the more beloved Groundhog's Day** Traditions: Mimosas on the Mall. Estimates on the actual temperature outside vary according to who's computer you want to listen to, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 Degrees when I joined Nick and Treco for the drive across the street to campus.***

I should include a bit of information about Nick's car at this point. It is a little Toyota, which is amusing because both of the guys are over 6 feet tall. Needless to say, there is no leg room in the back seat, on account of both the driver and passenger side chairs being pushed all the way back. So anyone in the back seat (i.e. me) must sort of stretch their legs over all three seats in the back to be kind of comfortable, in much the same way that I must shoehorn potential passengers into the back of my Civic. We drive to the parking lot closest to the science building only to discover that all the parking places are, alas, all taken, except for one guy who was parked in two spaces.

Against both Treco's protestations and mine, that he will probably loose one or both wing mirrors if he tries it, Nick was able to squeeze his narrow little car between the offending van and the SUV to its left, blocking the offender's driver side door almost completely. The three of us however, still had enough space to get out**** of our vehicle, and Nick was actually entirely within the lines of his newly claimed space. Satisfied that a suitably obnoxious counter-maneuver had been executed, we continued to the Mall, where the traditional Groundhog Day Mimosas were waiting for us.

Now we did not spend a lot of time waiting for the Groundhog***** to emerge from the tower and tell us if we will have another 6 weeks of psudo-winter, because soon after we satisfied the CSO guy at the drinks table that we were over 21, and therefore allowed champaign in our orange juice, it was announced that the breakfast buffet was open.+ No alcohol being allowed inside, the mimosas were consumed rather quickly before heading in to the nice warm building to get food that I was only eating because it was free, and beggars can't be choosers.

If I don't kill my loud, party going neighbors*, I'll post again soon.


*Because I tend to zone out, and fifteen minutes later I have no idea what line of the poem the rest of the class is examining, or even if I'm looking at the right poem.

**The most beloved holiday in UD's calender, for reasons that are not entirely clear to anyone, but we have been celebrating for several decades, so it's a tradition and we can't change it now, now can we?

***Of course we drove. It was cold out and, as seniors, we are nothing if not lazy.

****Although the door I used was actually the hatchback: it was just easier that way.

*****Dr. O in a Groundhog Suit.

+I do not like ending a sentence with a preposition like that, but it has already gone on long enough, and I do not feel like reformulating the whole sentence just to avoid that construction, especially since I think that 'open' is being used as an adjective, not a preposition, in this sentence. Debate?

*I.e. Everyone in the apartment complex except for me, or at least that's what it seems like some days.