Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I figured I'd post more when my test was over. I didn't figure on it taking so long to get over the test. I didn't feel like going out on Friday (shocker!!) so I sent PDM to our pub alone while I took a 3 hour nap. I slept super-late on Saturday and Sunday. Had to drink tea late Saturday afternoon to get enough energy to go out, and just gave up and took a long nap on Sunday afternoon. Work has been intense lately, so it is taking longer to get back to normal. But there is a holiday weekend coming up and I am optimistic about getting back to normal with the help of that extra day off.

We have Georgia Tech football season tickets, which includes Saturday night's game versus Notre Dame. It is looking like the tailgate parties are starting around noon, so it should be an all day party! We're still debating what we should bring -- we tailgate with a good group and the food is always excellent. I hope the game ends well for us. I'm cautiously optimistic. Tech tends to play at its best against very good opponents. (And worst against the lowest of opponents, but we'll not think of that yet.) Just to get you in the mood, here are a few pictures from our game against UConn last year:

We tailgate right next to "Yellow Jacket Alley". Here is the Ramblin' Wreck making its way to Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, with mascot Buzz.

Here is the band and some cheerleaders. Yeah, I was a band geek in college. What of it?

The team comes through last and gets the biggest cheers.

The pregame show. A lot of folks are still at their tailgate parties.

Friday, August 25, 2006

CatBlogging, sort of.

Moxy's been busy lately.

Too Tired to CatBlog

I'm back. That test was the shortest four hours of my life, but I think I did OK on it. Got back late last night.

Today (Thursday) was supposed to be an easy, happy day. It wasn't exactly. I slept in, because of being exhausted, and got to work late (they already knew to expect this, so it was alright). Managed to bump into a big concrete post while attempting to back into a parking spot this morning at work (and no, comments about 'women drivers' are NOT welcome, thankyouverymuch) and sort of dented my not-even-a-year-old bumper that was previously PERFECT. I'm still pissed off at myself about this, dammit. Got into work, expecting a nice easy day. But no. Not gonna happen. So I struggle through my day with the half of my brain still functioning, and there are some problems. One of which was that a procedure which requires a physicist is delayed, and delayed, and delayed again. Finally they get the necessary angiogram done for this poor patient, who has had a big metal frame thingy screwed into her skull since early in the morning. By the time they get around to this, I am the only physicist left at work, so I have to stay until they finish it. About 5:30pm, the doc gets to work on the treatment plan. I do my stuff, and one of our loyal physicists logs in from home and does the doublecheck. By the time everything has been planned, and checked, and done, I don't get to leave until around 7pm. Not exactly how I thought the day would go.

But PDM and I did have a nice time at the pub after I got back. What? You didn't think I'd come home and cook a meal after THAT kind of day, did you? I had the crawfish basket with extra remoulade sauce. It was tasty. The crawfish, not the basket. There's plenty of time for me to start cooking next week. And I won't burn the steaks like NYPinTA. ;-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One more day...

The exam is tomorrow. Today is a travel day. I'll see you when I get back!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Three days and counting...

Well, more like 2.5 days from the time I am writing this. The board exam is on Wednesday just after noon. I'm off work until after the test, so I will have extra time to study and/or freak out. At this point, I am working lots of practice problems and writing all the formulas and constants over and over again in an attempt to hardwire the memory of them into my brain.

All the new carry-on restrictions are still in force, so I am trying to figure out how to have what I need for an overnight trip without having to check a bag. I have no intention of spending any time in Baggage Claim, come hell or high water. It looks like the only toiletries that I can carry on are solid anti-perspirant and lip balm. I figure the hotel can be counted on for shampoo, and might possibly have conditioner, lotion, and toothpaste. I thought of taking a little baking soda to use as toothpaste, but a little container of white powder might be difficult to explain to security, even if I offer to eat a little of it right in front of them. I'm staying at a Wyndham hotel. I read that they are supplying their guests with nearly everything that has been banned from the airplane cabin. I hope that is true! If not, I'm prepared to have flat hair, or dry skin, or whatever else I can't fix without liquids or gels. This pretty much guarantees that I will see someone that I know during the trip. But hey - that is what ponytail holders and hats were made for!

I'm flying home Wednesday night after the test. It will be so great to get my life back!! It wasn't much of a summer for us. I tried my best to study every day, so there was no time for weekend getaways, or movies, or recreation, or much of anything fun. I was walking around my yard this morning and noticed my herb garden has completely gone to seed and was covered in weeds. Sigh. It will be nice to be able to work in my yard again, and start on more house projects. There is a lot to look forward to this fall: friends, football, home improvements, and even a mini-vacation in October. What I will enjoy the most is to be able to stop and do absolutely nothing.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Zima in the sun

Five days left until my exam. I've been so busy with working and studying that I almost forgot to CatBlog today.

This is Zima doing what she does best. She likes to nap in the sun.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nosy Neighbors

I think we may have some nosy neighbors.

You may recall my many posts about our lack of rain and my county's tight watering restrictions. The day back in June that Georgia was officially granted drought status, my county banned outdoor watering completely. Naturally, I was upset about this. We moved into this house over the winter, and since then I have spent many hours outside in the yard planting new perennials and sprucing up the landscaping that was already in place. I've put in too much of my time and effort (not to mention money) to watch all these new plants shrivel up and die. So I started collecting rainwater and gray water to use on them. Soon after this, my county replaced the total watering ban with a very restrictive twice-a-week midnight-to-10am watering schedule. Since I still can't water as often as some plants need a drink, I kept on collecting water to use in between watering days. Success! So far I haven't lost a single new plant. A few of the old dogwoods don't look too good, but they weren't in the best of shape when we moved in.

Well, today there was something on our front step when we came home from work. It was a stack of five identical brochures about the dangers of mosquitoes that was published by the county health department. Okaaaayyyy. I'm a little irritated by this. First of all, we are not stupid. I am well aware of the fact that mosquitoes breed in standing water, and I don't like mosquitoes. Clearly, I don't intend on breeding any extras. But I read the brochure (one of them, not all five), just in case there was any information I was missing. And there wasn't - except I found out that it takes two weeks for the adult to emerge from the larval stage. I thought it happened faster than that, and had been acting accordingly. The collected water doesn't last a week, so I seriously doubt that a single adult mosquito has ever emerged from any water I have collected. I simply don't keep it around long enough. Aside from putting a little bleach in the water to discourage critters, I keep an eye on the containers and if I see anything at all wiggling in there, I dump the whole thing out on a big plant. End of problem. But just in case there is the slightest possibility that even one mosquito gets by me, I will get some of those mosquito disks that you can put into water that prevent the larva action. I've been meaning to do that for a while, because it is less potentially harmful to the plants than the bleach, and probably more effective. I'm irritated, but I'm not going to be a jerk about it. I don't want mosquitoes any more than my nosy neighbors do.

The other thing about this that ticks me off is the pile of brochures. Why did they feel the need to leave FIVE of these things? Honestly, what was the point of this? Was it intended to indicate the importance of the information, or perhaps meant as a gauge of the seriousness of the perceived offense? There are only two of us living here, unless they are counting our cats as readers. I found it insulting and rude. You don't need to tell me something five times, OK?

I'm curious about who, exactly, dropped these off. I find it hard to believe the county did it, because I doubt they are that efficient. Although leaving five copies is stupid and wasteful, which points to it being them. The other possibility is that a "helpful, well-meaning" (and damn nosy) neighbor (busybody) took it upon themselves to show us the error of our ways. I'm leaning toward option B. So to whomever left them... Okay! I get it! You're concerned! Deeply upset! You think we're stupid! You think we can't read! Mosquitoes are going to take over the whole neighborhood and it's all our fault! You think we can't take a subtle hint so you decided to do the brochure equivalent of clubbing us over the head! You think our containers of rainwater are ugly! (No doubt this is closer to the real concern. I think they're ugly, too, but not as ugly as a yard full of dead plants. And it's temporary. When the watering restrictions loosen up, I'll stop collecting rainwater.) What-EVER. I suggest you worry about your own damn yards and stop sticking your nose into ours. Or a giant mosquito might bite your face off.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pushing Ice - a book review

My grade: A
Bottom Line: A good hard sci-fi read!

Book Cover

Once again, I couldn't help but stay up way past my bedtime to finish a book. This time it was because I got wrapped up in the end of Pushing Ice, by Alastair Reynolds, and couldn't put it down. I tried, but five minutes later I was heading out to the couch to keep reading into the wee hours without disturbing PDM.

An excerpt from the book description:
"2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it.

But when Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, inexplicably leaves its natural orbit and heads out of the solar system at high speed, Bella is ordered to shadow it for the few vital days before it falls forever out of reach.

In accepting this mission she sets her ship and her crew on a collision course with destiny-for Janus has many surprises in store, and not all of them are welcome... "

This is strong hard science fiction. The book benefits from the author's knowlegde of the science behind the fiction (Reynolds is a PhD astronomer who was an astrophysicist before he was a writer). The book is reminiscent of Clark's Rendezvous With Rama or Niven's Ringworld, but with a different twist. This tale is smaller in scope than Reynold's previous novels in the Revelation Space universe, but no less engaging. The only part of it that didn't work for me was the antagonistic relationship between the two leading female characters, which felt contrived at times and stiff - as if this aspect of their actions were needed purely as a plot device and didn't feel quite natural. But this is a small complaint. There are some interesting alien encounters, as well as some unusual human ones. The science is robust and is used well to bolster the story. The book makes you think about the big picture on human societal evolution and the eventual fate of any culture - human or alien. The ending is satisfying and not without surprises.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

E equals M C squared.

It's funny how just about everyone knows this formula, but hardly anyone knows what it means.

Yes, I've been studying physics all weekend. What of it? Massless, frictionless pulleys; springs; circuits; atomic structure; radioactive decay; and even Einstein's theory of relativity. It's nerd central here. :-)

Friday, August 11, 2006


Friday CatBlogging...

Isn't it sweet how my kitties get along? They don't usually use their claws, but the ratio of batting to licking is about 999 to 1.

Sorry about the lack of posts this week. Between the major software upgrade at work, test anxiety, studying for the test, and squeezing in an occasional nap to relieve my stress headaches, I haven't had time to write anything. I had planned a blog post about my grandfather, "Big Daddy", who turned 89 on Wednesday, but I want to do it right and didn't have time this week. He is quite a character!

In other news, I've been linked by the random squeegee! Head on over there and check it out for tales of Joe, and the Great Amazo. John's blog is one of the first ones I ever read. Either he is a trailblazer, or I live a sheltered life. Back then, I knew him as "generic_screenname" at Frell Me Dead.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I'm so thrilled that the airport security has been increased to volume 11 right before I have to fly next week. I had planned on packing light and carrying everything on since I will only be there overnight, but now will have to come up with some other way to still have all my girly lotions and potions while avoiding Baggage Claim. I don't know if I can make it half a day without my little bottle of hand lotion I keep in my purse. As soon as I wash my hands the first time they will dry out. I'm as addicted to hand lotion as I am to lip gloss. I'm willing to have flat hair for one day, but I have to draw the line at dry skin. And does anyone know if mascara counts as a "liquid"? *sigh* Terrorists suck.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Why do otherwise respectable people think nothing of throwing trash out of their cars? And yes, your half-smoked, still lit ciggie counts as trash, with or without a filter. This pisses me off every time I see it. Today it was a chick in a very expensive looking BMW who smoked about 15% of her fashionable, long/slim cigarette and then casually flicked it out the window with her carefully manicured hands. Bee-yotch. I hope the universe decides some karmic balancing of the scales is in order, such as having a very large dog with diarrhea crap on her carefully manicured lawn.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hi, Mom.

My mom reads my blog. She is one of my regular visitors (all 10 of 'em!). This came up in conversation at a family gathering today. My aunt was talking about my cousin's latest blog entry, about an idiot driver he encountered on his morning commute. She reads all of his blog entries and it was fun hearing them described with a mother's perspective. My mom never misses any of mine either. It made me wonder how common this is.

Does your mom read your blog? I know a few of yours do. If NYPinTA's mom hasn't read her excellent "mom entry" she really should. Trinamick has also written some hilarious entries about her mom recently. I wonder if her mom has read this one, or this other one? If Lord Loser's mom reads his blog, maybe next year she won't wake him up early on his only day to sleep in.

So, how about it? Does your mom read your blog? Any other family members? If not, why not? I'd enjoy hearing about your experiences in the comments.

For the record, my mom, my sister and my husband have been here. One of my brothers-in-law has checked it out. My sister (Terri) and husband (PDM) have left comments. So far, mom hasn't. If any other family members have been here, they haven't mentioned it to me.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

TV Meme

Saw this TV meme on Wordnerd's not-a-blog and liked it.

I see two distinct viewing patterns. There are a slew of shows that I saw mostly in reruns, either after school as a kid, or in that 5-7pm timeslot as an adult until about 3-4 years ago when I quit watching during this time. There are a lot of really awful shows in this category that I am almost embarrassed to admit I ever watched. The other group of shows I've seen a lot of are series that caught my imagination during the last 5-10 years. I've seen every episode of some of these because I liked them enough to buy the DVD boxed sets (Buffy, Angel, Farscape, B-5, Firefly, Red Dwarf, Wonderfalls), or I am such a fan that I make it a point to watch or tape them every time they air (new Battlestar Galactica, Sopranos, Monk, Psyche, Deadwood, New Doctor Who, Six Feet Under, CSI, 24, House, The 4400). A few of the shows are older ones that are so good they have been rerun enough for me to have seen every episode (Twilight Zone, M*A*S*H, and Star Trek come to mind).

The original instructions were to bold TV shows you've seen more than three times and to bold and italicize shows you have seen every episode of. Well, my blog font doesn't show bold as very different than not bold, so I am substituting underline for bold. Instructions for those who wish to blog this: Underline all of the following TV shows which you've ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Underline and Italicize a show if you're positive you've seen every episode of it. If you want, you can add up to three more shows to the list (but please keep the list in alphabetical order). I thought of more than three I could have added, so I selected my favorite three to include. My contributions to the list are Red Dwarf, Keen Eddie, and Animal Precinct.

Shows that I watched a lot of and did not add to the list include Carnivale (HBO), Arliss (HBO), Jeremiah (Showtime), and Eureka (SciFi, which is new this summer).

Feel free to copy and paste the list to your own blog.

3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven
Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Allo Allo
American Idol /Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America's Next Top Model/Germany's Next Top Model
Animal Precinct
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Bosom Buddies

Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Chappelle's Show
Charlie's Angels
China Beach
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Star
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci's Inquest
Dawson's Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Due South
Dungeons and Dragons (old cartoon)
Earth 2
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Family Guy
Family Ties
Fantasy Island

Fawlty Towers
Get Smart
Gilligan's Island

Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Wing
Grey's Anatomy
Growing Pains
Happy Days
Head of the Class
Hill Street Blues
Hogan's Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invader Zim
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)
Hell's Kitchen
John Doe
Kath and Kim
Keen Eddie
LA Law
Laverne and Shirley
Law and Order
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
Magnum P.I.
Malcolm in the Middle>
Married… With Children

Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible
Murphy Brown

My Family
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
Mork & Mindy
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
Night Court
Northern Exposure
One Tree Hill
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Pirates of Darkwater
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
Red Dwarf
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Samurai Jack
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
So Weird
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Square Pegs
St. Elsewhere
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis — New season
Stargate SG-1 — New season
Teen Titalns
That Girl
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Brady Bunch
The Colbert Report
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Jetsons
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters

The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Prisoner
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
Three's Company
Top Gear
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Upstairs, Downstairs
Veronica Mars
What Not To Wear (US)
What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will and Grace
Xena: Warrior Princess
Young Hercules

Friday, August 04, 2006

Moxy In Action

Friday CatBlogging.

Moxy loves her boa. The kitten-sized scratching post is looking smaller every day...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wildlife In The City

Look closely at the photo and you will see our reclusive visitor. [You may want to click on it to see a larger copy.] We have a creek (or "crick" as they say around here) running through our back yard, and it attracts a lot of wildlife that you wouldn't otherwise expect to find in a suburban neighborhood. The deer is probably out there more often than I notice it, but today it happened to catch my eye as I was sitting at the computer. I was able to get one low-quality picture through the window and screen before my cat came around the corner of the house and the deer took off.

The first time I saw the deer was about a month ago, and the sighting caused me to question my sanity. What happened was, I looked out my back sliding door real quick and caught a glimpse of what looked very much like dappled sunlight on a deer's rump, little white tail and all. I did a doubletake and looked again (after calling for PDM to come look) and I could see nothing. Neither could PDM, who gave me a kind, but skeptical, look. I checked every window facing out towards the back yard (and we have a lot of rear-facing windows) and saw nothing from any vantage point, upstairs or down. I even went outside and looked around by the creek, which is where I saw the rump (or the figment of my imagination). No sign of any deer. So I figured maybe I saw a dog, or just a trick of the sunlight on a tree trunk and my brain filled in the rest. And I started thinking maybe I was a little bit crazy -- seeing things that weren't there. I've been mentally tired and exhausted lately. I seriously wondered if all that studying was beginning to affect my mind. Not a very comfortable thing to ponder...

Then, last week I was doing a few garden chores outside when I heard a strange noise from the back of the house. Zima had come outside with me, so I thought there might be another cat out there challenging her. I went to check it out and found my cat and the deer about ten feet from each other having some sort of cross-species confrontation. The deer was making the noises at her, and she was defending her territory by showing it her scary puffy tail. The deer ran off when it saw me, following the creek bed in the same direction it ran today. I was elated. It meant I was not crazy after all!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Heat, work, study, repeat.

Quick update.

Congratulations to my friend Michelle, who took her Big Test in June and PASSED!!! They take their time grading them and sorting out the results, don't they? She waited on pins and needles for two months. She is now a Certified Medical Dosimetrist. She is one of the reasons my job is fun. And she reads my blog, so "Hi Michelle! You rock!"

It looked like we were going to get stiffed again, but then we got about 2-3 minutes of rain tonight. Whoop-dee-do. I can't say our heat wave is bothering me, since my home, office, and car are all air conditioned. I feel sorry for people who have to work outside in this. And I am very glad I don't still live in my old un-airconditioned house back in Massachusetts.

Work was absolutely crazy today. Most of the physics staff has been attending a meeting in Florida, so we had requested that the special procedures calendar be kept light. Naturally one of the doctors decided it would be a fine time to try something new and complicated. I didn't get to stop to eat lunch until 1:30, and had to stay late to (not) finish everything I was working on. We're having a major software upgrade over the weekend - from the beta version to production version of The Software That Runs Everything in the clinic. Can't wait. Last time we were working out bugs for weeks. I'm so glad they're doing this right before my big test. Because I am really looking forward to working overtime and then coming home to cram for the test. It should be better this time, but I am not optimistic.

The rest of the day was simple. Eat pizza. Study. Private lesson from PDM on circuit analysis. Unwind with wine and the last Nightmares and Dreamscapes episode. Catch up on blogs. Stay up 'til midnight to turn on soaker hoses legally.

We really live on the wild side, no? I promise more interesting updates after my test is over. I hope I'm not this boring forever.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It happened again. Unbelievable.

I really thought today's post was going to be about how we finally got some rain. It was looking very promising this evening. The sky grew very dark. The wind picked up. The air was noticably cooler. Thunder rumbled all around. There were even a few flashes of lightning in the distance. The radar showed a big-ass thunderstorm heading right for us and getting larger as it picked up steam.

As usual, somehow we got left out. I watched in disbelief as the big thunderstorm split into three parts just as it was getting close enough to smell the rain. You can guess the rest. The three parts took off in different directions like they were being repelled by a giant anti-rain forcefield with an epicenter located on our roof. It rained as close as three frelling blocks from us, but NOT ONE DROP here at home. This is extremely disappointing. Is it wrong of me to wish that Tropical Storm "Chris" will somehow end up over Atlanta? I don't want it to do anything bad to coastal people, but dang it - a tropical storm seems like our only hope of ever getting rain again.