Thursday, November 30, 2006


I know, it's awful.

I blow NaBloPoMo and I stop writing.

It's just that since I have been back from the most wonderful visit to Buffalo, I am FREAKING OUT about the amount of work that must get done in the next few weeks.

So, the cell phone ringer has been off, the blog-checking has been kept to a minimum, and I am officially in study-hibernation.

It seems about time for study-hibernation, with the cold front about to hit the Little Town.

And thus, I apologize for posting sporadically. I'll try to keep the focus and update as frequently as I can!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Black Friday = Death of NaBloPoMo

Curses. Foiled again.

I wasn't able to blog every day for the month of November.

It was Black Friday that did me in.

For the first 5.5 hours of Black Friday, I was in line at Circuit City and then wrestling people for good deals (more on that soon).

The next 3.5 hours were spent shopping around the mall and getting annoyed with other bargain-hunters.

Then Ry and I spent 4 hours trying to get in a bit of sleep, showering, eating, and packing up the car with all of our purchases, all of our luggage, and all of the Christmas gifts my crazy family sent home with us, since we won't be back with them until after the holidays (they are too generous).

Then it was 7 hours of taking turns driving and sleeping (never driving while sleeping) all the way back to the Little Town.

We then spent 1.5 hours unpacking my car and packing up his car with half of the items from my car for him to drive back to his own little town.

Which left me alone in my house with 2.5 hours to write a blog. Purely exhausted, I reached for my laptop and turned on.

No wireless internet.

My grad student poverty prevents the purchase of my own internet connection. So I faithfully rely on "Shishwlan", the higher being who provides me with a connection to cyberspace.

All hail Shishwlan.

Who apparently also takes time off for the Thanksgiving holiday. I guess even higher-beings need a day off for family, turkey, and remarkable deals on electronics and sweaters. Regardless of my need to blog each day.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

Stay tuned for photos of all of the fun Ry and I had during our Buffalo visit!

Miss you Buffalonians already!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope you gobble your way through the day!
I'm off to make an apple pie (recipe to follow); go to the movies with Ry, little bro, and K; shop the ads for tomorrow's buys; eat lots of food; and head out to the stores at midnight to get in line for our Black Friday shopping. Yes, Midnight!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Opps ... almost forgot!

At Anna & George's with some of the coolest people ever.

Drinking BLUE, playing guitar hero, and having fun!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gears of War?

What is it with boys and video games?

I just don't get it. I am dating a successful, intelligent, driven, kind, respectful man. Who likes videogames.

We spent a wonderful day with my parents and were later joined by my little bro and his gf for a nice dinner by the Falls and then drove around to see the Festival of Lights in Canada. Awesome day.

But, the talk of the day was Ry's purchase of the XBOX360. He already has a perfectly fine Playstation 2. But this is "the next generation of video games". OK, whatever.

Luckily, he thinks I am the super coolest girlfriend, because I "allowed" him to buy the video game. With his own, hard-earned money. And, he is now spending the evening bonding with my little bro over some stupid videogames.

And he can never complain when I buy yarn or shoes or .... whatever other senseless thing I can think of to buy ....

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fly me to the moon ...

Can someone explain to me how the airlines determine their ticket prices? I seriously do NOT understand.

I would like to buy a ticket to go down to do field work this spring, but I just can't commit.

Below is a graph from (cool travel website). You see that the X- axis represents a given purchase date from September until today. The Y-axis, also called the "dependent axis" represents the cost of a plane ticket. Yes, as you see, the COST is DEPENDENT on the DAY that one might purchase the ticket. How can the cost change based on day of purchase?

Nothing else changes about the flight or the traveling. The exact flight costs $400 one day and $600 the next? But it is THE SAME FLIGHT. Same departure, same plane, same destination, same too-small seats, same crappy food, same annoying flight attendants, SAME FLIGHT.

I, being a bargain shopper, can understand if the lower price were due to a SALE. For example, sometimes, a 12-pack of diet coke is on sale 4 for $10. Regular price is $4.99. When I go to the store, I expect to pay $4.99 and get happy when there is a SALE. I don't go into the store, wondering what price diet coke might be at today. It is set, and sometimes it goes on sale. And when it is on sale, the sale lasts at least a week. Or at least 3 days. And there is an ad. It's published, therefore, it is official.

Why do we allow this, people???

Sunday, November 19, 2006


So much fun at DDs Birthday party.

So much food and drinks and laughter.

So late leaving.

So much work to do today.

So tired.

So cold in my apartment.

So happy to leave for Buffalo in 24 hours!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Da Vinci Code & A birthday bash!

Last night Ry and I rented DaVinci Code. I have been whining about it since before it came out. It happened to be in theaters while Dancing Fish and I were down in Texas, and because the closest movie theater was 80 miles away from where we satyed, we did not make it to see it. Then, when I got back to the Little Town, Ry wanted to take me to see X-men 3 (which was OK, but NOT DaVinci Code!).

The movie was good, but it just confirms my theory that the book is always better than the movie!! Seriously. I read the book 3 years ago now, and I still remember it being amazing. Best book ever! The movie was bound to disappoint, even with Tom Hanks!

But good news -- the DVD told us that Angels & Demons is currently filming! YAY! Loved that book too!

OK, I am off now because it's Double D's 33rd birthday today! We're heading down south soon to celebrate in style with football on direct TV and grilled meats! DD's a super great guy (post doc in Ry's lab), so we made him a spectacular birthday T-shirt. It was Ry's idea, but I have the experience (and the supplies for) making iron-on T-shirts, so it was a joint effort. I will take some pictures today so you can also enjoy our crafty-ness! And everyone's drunkenness!

Have a happy Saturday!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Yes, they're smarter and they sing better than me!

Some dolphin news for you!

dododododododododo bat maaaaaaaaan!
(photo by Ry, this summer at Marineland)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dr. Bass, Fish Scientist

Today was a busy, but fun day!

The graduate student organization invited Dr. Andy Bass, from Cornell University to talk about midshipman fish -- their vocal behavior, their hormones, their brains. It was a spectacular talk, a wonderful reception after, and an amazing dinner at South Side Steel with Dr. Bass, Ry, BJ & his wifey. We talked about science (a little), movies, life, comic books, and the amazing food!

Someday, I hope to be the scientist that gets invited to give a talk somewhere, and then hang out with other scientists all evening!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Saying goodbye to Clyde

With my office and lab being on top of a mountain, it is difficult (impossible, really) to walk between where I do work and where I teach and have class, so I take the University bus up and down a few times a week.

Being a frequent rider, I often chat with the bus drivers. There's classic-rock guy, who chats with me about my hometown and sports; there's Kentucky boyfriend with whom I talk about football and his family; and then there's Clyde -- this charming old man who loves to travel and talk about his trips (or dreams of trips) and who will complain about the often-times-snotty undergrads.

Clyde was always my favorite. He would laugh at the discussion/fights BJ and I would have on our way to classes, and always tell me to break-up with Ry (who he just happens to love almost as much as I do). His hearty laugh always made me cheer-up as I trekked around the mountain.

But, today was Clyde's last day. He is retiring. Dancing Fish and I made some assorted baked goods and got everyone to sign a card for him. Then we and Ry went out to visit Clyde on his last day of bus runs and wished him luck with life!

It's just sad saying goodbye to people. It makes me think of all of the wonderful people that have been in my life that made me smile and I will probably never see again. I guess life is just like that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Working from home ... sorta

So, with the Qs approaching like a freight train (or maybe a supersonic jet), I decided to work from home today in hopes of actually accomplishing something. I have to go in late in the afternoon for a seminar and to see if my fish laid eggs (yes, my life revolves around fish having sex). But I had hoped to get lots done at home first.

But, I had to run some errands this morning because normally I am at school from 7am until at least 5pm, so places that have "normal" hours never get a visit from me. With the opportunity to go many places, I went to the bank (to desposit the check I have been waiting for which FINALLY came) and the post office (to FINALLY get stamps -- Gorgeous, sorry your birthday card is now 2 weeks late! I kept forgetting to get stamps!!). Then, of course, the grocery store is right there, so I stopped in to pick up some staples (e.g., diet coke).

I should mention that day-time grocery store customers are very polite. I sneezed a few times and 4 different people said "bless you". And a lady gave me a coupon (for cat food, so I didn't use it, but still, it was a nice gesture). And a guy (that did not work at the store) took my cart when I was done and put it in the coral. Very nice all around. I usually shop on Saturdays when the store is CRAZY or at 10pm, when the store is DEAD. I am going to try to shop on weekdays more often.

But I digress ...

So, after my productive (yet not productive enough) morning, it's time to hit it hard and get some work done.

For a couple of hours ...

Monday, November 13, 2006

One week until we shuffle off ...


Another Monday complete. Mondays are my longest days and I look forward to them being over. I have Developmental Neurobiology class from 9 until 11 (which means I must be in to my office by 7am to review before class), then I travel down the mountain (literally) to teach a Genetics Lab, which takes me right up to my evening class of Sensory Neurobiology. It's just too much super-crazy thinking without any break!

But this week I am comforted by the fact that in exactly one week, Ry and I will be on our way to my family's house for Thanksgiving! We haven't been home since July and I can't wait to go for a visit (even though it is short!). I really, really, really hope that it snows!! Especially since I will be spending Christmas here in the Littletown with Ry's family and they never get as much snow as Buffalo!

I don't know why it is, but every since I moved away, I appreciate my family so much more. i don't know if it's because we're all older, or because I rarely get the chance to spend time with them, but I really enjoy my time with my family now. So much more than when I lived with them or very close to them. Maybe it's because I have Ry to share my whole family with now that I get so excited to go home and am sad to leave. Does anyone else out there feel this way about family?

Hope you're all looking forward to Thanksgiving as much as I am!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In the fridge

Before meeting the girls for a stitch'n'bitch, I went into my office to get some work done (which was pretty successful, thank you very much). But, as it was afternoon and I had yet to have a caffeinated beverage, I opened the office mini-fridge in hopes of a stray diet coke.

I was not lucky enough to find a diet coke, but we did have:

  • a small can of V-8
  • an ice cube tray
  • a can of whipped cream
  • a NuvaRing
Only the whipped cream was mine. And seeing as though it has no caffeine, I was not interested.

I am happy to report that the stitch'n'bitch was both fun and productive! One of these days I will have to get some photos posted to show you what I have been working on!

Now, back to work ... sans caffeine ...

AH! Sunday already!

Why do weekends go by so quickly?

Perhaps it is because I have spent far too much time changing my blog background and starting the new blog for Project 365.

Though I am SO excited about project 365. You can checkout my new blog "The Oddity Effect: Project 365" and I will have photos up as of January 1 -- everyday (well, at least a photo for everyday, though I may post them every few days)!

But, now I must focus on some GnRH neurons, the star-nosed mole, and, if I can make it, a bit of a stitch'n'bitch this afternoon!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Woo Hoo!

My blog inspired someone!!

Well, something I posted from someone else inspired someone, but that still makes me happy!

Snoskred read about Project365 and is going to join in on the "photo-a-day" project! She's encouraging people to sign up at her new blog "A Photo A Day".

Now I am definitely going to do the photo-a-day starting January 1, 2007! I think the hardest part is going to be choosing only ONE photo to represent each day of the year!

Thanks for taking a read Snoskred!

And, for those other readers out there -- please drop a comment if you too find anything I post interesting, or annoying, or you disagree, or you just want to say hi!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Why do whales strand?

As a known whale hugger, I am often asked questions about whales (if you have any, please feel free to post them to me).

One that I have no good answer for is "Why do whales strand themselves on beaches?". No one really has a good answer to this. Could be an infection that affects their echolocation and leads to stranding. Could be loud radar noises that interfere with their navigating. Could be that one or many of the whales are sick and the whole pod strands. Or maybe the whales just want a margarita, so they head to the beach. There just hasn't been enough scientific research to really understand the cause of the strandings. And once we know the cause, we might be able to prevent the strandings somehow.

But, sadly, today marked the first pilot whale mass stranding of the summer season in New Zealand. Pilot whales tend to strand more often than other species and numerous strandings are reported each year up and down the New Zealand coast.

As a scientist, conservationist, and whale-hugger, I urge you to learn more about whales and contribute to research programs that study whales (such as The Whale Museum Research Program, The Center for Whale Research, The CRCC, the WWF, or the Animal Behavior Society's Cetacean Research Grant Program). With the governmental funding agencies being so tight with money lately, it is difficult to receive grants for research -- especially whale behavior research which probably will not cure cancer. Probably.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Work it girl!

Officially 8 weeks until The Qs.

8 weeks.

ONLY 8 weeks.

In addition to the Q exam, I also have a presentation on the star-nosed mole, a big paper/research proposal on GnRH neurons, grading of my students' lab reports, teaching a few more genetics labs, and a final in Sensory Neurobiology. Sigh.

And one week of those 8 is going to be spent with my family back home! I am so so so excited to go home for Thanksgiving and see my family and take Ry around the city in the fall/winter. But I am starting to get anxious about the inevitable Qs!

Please keep your fingers crossed for me during these next 8 weeks!
Or maybe just once a day for 8 weeks, not the whole time. It would be difficult to do many things with your fingers crossed, like start your car, type, zip your pants ....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Photo 365

A week in to this "blog-a-day" adventure and I am already thinking of a second project:

Project 365

Yep. A photo a day for a whole year.

I saw a link for it today on a knitting blog (check out The Bookish Girl, I like her!) and thought it was brilliant.

Then I went to the link to see the on-going Project 365 2006. And I was very touched by the whole idea.

So, maybe, starting January 1, I will begin the year long project. This would be especially easy if I were to get a new digital camera for christmas (Ry -- are you reading this??) :)

The idea of having one photo to represent everyday just seems ... cool ...

A whole year!

I realized that I have yet to tell you all about my WONDERFUL weekend with Ry! In addition to it being his 27th birthday, it was also our one-year anniversary!

Now, if you know me, I like to celebrate other peoples birthdays. I wanted to make a big deal about his birthday, but Ry also likes to make a big deal about things and wanted to make a big deal about being together for a year!

We started our weekend of fun Saturday when he showed up at my house with a dozen roses!! This was very exciting for me! I am not used to getting flowers! And I have never been given a dozen roses before! The picture above does not do them justice (but I keep forgetting to bring my digital camera home to take a good photo! This one is from my camera phone!)! The flowers are just beautiful!

I then gave Ry his birthday gifts -- some shirts and sweaters (that didn't really fit) and cologne (so he'd have a bottle at my place) and a silly bat that flies around in circles (that I got on clearance after Halloween and was, of course, his favorite gift).

And THEN he took me for a fancy dinner at Grille 3501! The martinis were good and the food was amazing! He had this great chicken dish and I have pork tenderloins. Amazing!

We skipped dessert at the super-nice restaurant to come home and have homemade brownie sundaes (his favorite!). Lot's of hot fudge and whipped cream ....

After a peaceful evening of snuggling, we celebrated Ry's birthday in style with friends at Dr. D & wife's new house! Dr. D. made beer-can chicken on the grill, made a spectacular scooby-doo cake, and put football on the big HDTV! I wish I had photos for you! Dr. D's a Packers fan and Ry & I are Bills fans -- it was a very exciting game for us to watch thanks to the NFL ticket! We were so excited to see the Bills actually win!! And we ate and drank and had the best time!!

Such a wonderful weekend! I couldn't be happier -- thanks to my wonderful RyGuy! I look forward to celebrating many, many more birthdays and anniversaries with him! And I wish everyone the happiness that I have in my life!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Get your vote on!

Yes, I believe that we, as Americans, should definitely vote.

It's important. It's how we control our destiny.

But, I did not vote.

I know, it's horrible.

But, I am not resident here in the Littletown.

I am from the big, snowy city. A whole state away.

And, sure, I could have applied for an absentee ballot. But, I did not.

But, not to make too many excuses, I feel as though my vote really did not matter.

I have no education to vote at the very local level back home.

And, as for statewide races, let me let you all in on a secret:
Hillary Clinton would have won with or without my vote.
I think she won 6 votes to 1.

Hillary for President '08??

100% Fun!

This is it.
My 100th post!
Officially a dork now.
For some exciting facts about 100, please visit the Wikipedia website "100 (number)"!

100 is special for many reasons:
  • It is the sum of the first nine prime numbers
  • The sum of two prime numbers (47 + 53)
  • The sum of the cubes of the first four integers (100 = 13 + 23 + 33 + 43)
  • 100 is the atomic number of fermium, an actinide
  • 100 degrees Celsius is the boiling temperature of pure water at sea level
  • The number of tiles in a standard Scrabble set
  • In Greece, India and Israel, 100 is the police telephone number
  • In Belgium, 100 is the ambulance telephone number
  • In United Kingdom, 100 is the operator telephone number

Monday, November 06, 2006


Yes, you too can make your own official seal at the Official Seal Generator!

Here's one I made for "National Blog Posting Month", as I am still trying to get focused by blogging everyday this month (along with many other bloggers -- see NaBloPoMo!)!!

Blog or Die!

Halloween Recap!

Halloween is always a fun event, and I thought I might share a few pictures from last weekend to express just how much fun was had!

Ry's advisor threw a "come as you AREN'T" party last Saturday evening. The photos almost speak for themselves ....

Ry & I were bad-ass bikers. Complete with tatoos, leather, and (yes) Ry's "chopper"


Ry's advisor as "a republican voter". (Yes, I said Ry's ADVISOR)


Hamster_grl as a "girly girl".
Check out her blog to find out what happens when a girly girl tries to steal my biker boyfriend!


Dancing Fish & V as communists.


I think Double D was supposed to be something like an investment banker. Or maybe he was just supposed to be well dressed and smelling good.

Regardless of costume intent, at this point, Dr. D is just drunk.


Franklin was wearing a T-shirt that read "I'm not interested in what you are eating" and had pictures of him with a cat and squirrel that said "Best Friends Forever".


Maybe I should dress this the next time I am back in my home town for 4th of July ...

I would also need a baby ....

(no, Mom, the cigarette isn't real)


BJ & his soon-to-be-wifey, about to hunt up some grub

Ry's advisor dancing the night away with 2%, the neuron fairy ...


Ry and I at another halloween party ... dressed as we "are" ...

Him as Goldielocks, and me as "just right" for him!

Yes, we're that cheesey!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Day!

Quick update (because the laptop battery is about to die and I MUST get my reading done before class tomorrow!!!)

Greatest weekend that included:
~anniversary dinner
~a Bills win
~and the best times with Ry
~but not too much work

More later!!

Happy Day!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A year of happiness

It's hard to believe a whole year has gone by since Ry & I first kissed!


In addition to our one-year anniversary, it's also Ry's 27th birthday tomorrow!

Needless to say, it's a wonderful weekend of celebrating!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Big One

The date has been set.

(Not for my wedding!)

For my qualifying exams. Also referred to as THE BIG TEST.

And actually, it's dateS.

January 4th & 5th for the writtens and the 15th for the orals.

Let the countdown begin.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I wouldn't want it any other way ...

I was chatting last night with the girl-with-whom-I-share-a-brain, who also happens to be in pursuit of PhD-ness, when she asked me a question that a mutual (obviously male) friend of ours asked her:

"When you're a PhD, are you going to be "normal" or are you going to be one of those "female-bitch professors"?"

To which we shared the answer: BOTH.

I like to think of myself as "normal", in the best possible sense. You know, I rarely think seriously about suicide and I can, for the most part, be taken in public and not embarrass those around me. I do have many "abnormal" tendencies -- such as a severe fondness for bleach and a dire need to bake pies and send greeting cards. But, overall, I think I'd be considered "normal".

But, despite normalcy, can a female be a professor without being known as a "bitch"? I look to my current department, and while I like all of the female professors (and I am grateful that we have many), I can think of instances when each of them has been referred to as a bitch. She's a bitch if she: grades too harshly, stands her ground, focuses on her research, scolds inappropriate behavior, has high expectations for students, isn't always nice, gossips too much, or, basically, exists.

The men in the department are never called bitches (well, Ry's advisor is a self-proclaimed bitch ... but that's a story for another day). An occasional "asshole", but, more often than not, they are described as "driven", or "dedicated", or "serious". When they hold high expectations for students, they are commended. All of the traits that they possess as men are admired, but when women possess these same traits they are quickly labeled as, simply, a bitch.

Well, then I have no problem being a bitch. None what-so-ever. If being a bitch means I want my students to do well and I have a great research program and I hold high expectations for myself and those around me, then Bitch I am.

But please, at least call me Dr. Bitch.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Unbeknownst to me as I made my solem vow to find focus in my life my blogging each day, November is National Blog Posting Month!

And many, many bloggers out there are going to be blogging everyday this month!

Check out more info at! And get ready for a month of blog postings!

Money ... that's what I want.

The best things in life are free.

I firmly believe that.

Unfortunately, some of the "less than best" things in life cost money.

In case you haven't guessed, I spent the start of my morning in the financial assistance office (why is financial "aid" no longer PC?). Many graduate students get loans during their pursuit of higher education. But I, as always, tend to make things more difficult for myself.

Like I turned in the application late. Without W2s. Then I forgot that at the beginning of 2005, I wasn't actually here (despite the sense of permanance at my current university), so I had to get a second W2. And the financial assistance office refuses to understand that it is impossible for me to be living in Buffalo, NY and going to school in PA, so they consistently send my mail to my parents' house, then my poor mother has to send it back to me in PA. So, the relatively easy process of getting a student loan has taken months (hello -- the semester is almost OVER!). Sigh. I hope they get it right this time and I actually see a check before Christmas.

Not that I want anyone to think I am desperate for money. I get paid enough as a teaching assistant to get by. But there are a few things I would like money for this semester that are just out of my current financial reach.
For example:
~ fixing the brakes on my car so that the grinding metal noise stops
~ paying off some credit card debt (APR > 20%, as opposed to student loan of 0)
~ buying some plane tickets to Costa Rica

Now, I know the last one seems a bit frivolous. But, the Costa Rican plane tickets are not for a "Grad Students Gone Wild" Spring Break. The trip will actually be for some field work on the fish that I study here in the lab in PA. I really like the work that I am doing studying these fish and their behavior. But every good behavioral scientists knows that some field work to help support the ideas of laboratory work is not only a good idea but necessary for a great dissertation.

So, please keep your fingers crossed for me as I await a check!