Thursday, May 31, 2007


I put some seed out on the outer window sill to attract some entertainment for Moxy. This little squirrel looks brave, but it didn't take him long to figure out that the scary cat couldn't get him. Moxy went bananas at first, but finally got tuckered out and that is when I took this photo.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Eight Random Things

I've been tagged by Beth for another meme. I'm supposed to list eight facts about myself, and then tag eight more lucky bloggers. I put it off for the holiday weekend, but that's over now, so here goes:

1. I have an unusual educational background. Oh, my education was normal enough through high school, and even part of college, but at some point it skittered off the tracks a bit. I'm a dropout. A PhD dropout, that is. After four years of graduate school, all the required classes, passing the comprehensive exam, and doing some research, I got tired of how damn long everything was taking and quit. I had a MS Physics degree so I went out and found a job. More than a decade later at age thirty eight, I went back to school full time and got a second MS - this one is in Medical Physics. I think I'm probably done with school, but you never know... one day I might get a hankerin' to finish that PhD.

2. I'm on my second career. This is somewhat related to #1 above. I spent 12+ years living in Massachusetts working as an optical design engineer. It was OK, but when I decided to move back to Atlanta, I knew I would have trouble finding work doing the kind of engineering I had the most experience with. That is when I decided to go back to school. I chose Medical Physics because I was looking for something I could do using my physics background. Georgia Tech had a brand new masters program in MP, so I signed up with the first group of grad students. I've been working as a medical physicist for about two years now, and I like it better than engineering. It will take me at least another two years of working and test taking to attain board certification in this field.

3. You probably already know that I read a lot of science fiction. You may not know that I have a goal to read all of the Hugo and Nebula Award winning novels. (Stand-alone novels, anyway. I'm skipping the ones that are part of a series, unless it is the first one or I have read the other books in the series.) I've read 33 Hugos and 20 Nebulas. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm discovering a lot of good books and authors this way, especially some of the older sci fi from the 50s and 60s.

4. I was a band geek. I played oboe in concert band (one of the geekiest of all the instruments). I was also in marching band, and you can't march with an oboe. After playing cymbals for the first football season (boring for those of us used to playing melodies), I joined the flag corps for the remaining high school football seasons. It was partly because it was fun and partly because of the uniforms; not as slutty as the drill team uniforms, but WAY cuter than a band uniform. Perfect! In college, I played oboe in concert band and orchestra, and piccolo in marching band (not very well, I might add, but back then at Tech they didn't care - if you were conscious on game day and could march while holding an instrument, you were in). I spent my last year in the GT marching band as the 'ADADM' (Assistant Dumb-Ass Drum Major).

5. When The Empire Strikes Back came out, I loved it beyond the point of obsession. I must have been too young to get a fan crush on Star Wars when it came out, but Empire really struck a chord with me. I saw it countless times, read everything I could get my hands on, joined the fan club, bought a metric crapload of trading cards and books, and basically wished I could live a long time ago in that galaxy far away so I could ride around in space ships and fight in space battles.

6. I inhaled. I don't any more. 'Nuff said.

7. I'm divorced. That's right. I was married to someone before I was married to PDM. I made a very bad choice and it turned out to be a horrible mistake. It took years to dig out of the hole I ended up in afterwards, but now things are much better. PDM and I are best friends and we're well-suited for each other. We like a lot of the same stuff, but not so much that it gets boring. I don't forsee any more divorces in my future. If you are single, my advice is to take your time finding the right person and don't get married if you don't - even if you think it is 'time' or you want babies, or a big wedding, or whatever it is that seems so important. Also don't ignore that shy person who doesn't seem like your type (I met PDM many years ago and did just that) - if you dig a little deeper, you might find that they are exactly your type.

8. Today is my birthday. I took a vacation day and Mom is coming over to help me celebrate. I like my job, but I like not working even more.

I tag thewritegirl, wa11z, jim, dave, kat, bc, taylor, and ctheokas to do the meme if you want to. If not, that's cool too. If anyone else wants to do the meme and didn't get tagged, consider yourself tagged now (make it a baker's eight).

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday CatBlogging - Catnip Bliss

This is Zima, just after her catnip romp. That is one happy kitty.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rain Dance

Georgia needs rain. Badly. Do a rain dance for us. Send us watery wishes. Pray for rain. Whatever it takes. The dark areas of the map above are the driest. Our whole state is in trouble. This is much worse, much earlier than last year. I can't remember the last time we had several days of rain. It has been a long time since we've had more than a few scattered showers. Every time I check the 10-day forecast, it is as if I live in California -- every day fair and sunny. It sounds nice, but it isn't. We need rain. Days and days of steady rain. It has been so long I almost don't remember what that is like. This isn't about green lawns, or watering restrictions, or any of that. It is about farmers going broke, and native species going extinct. This is serious. And we need rain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stoner Cat

I've been tagged by Beth, but until I get to that, here is a photo collage of Zima getting stoned on catnip. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Be My Monkey

I spent some time outside when I got home from work today. As usual, it was a pretty day, and I like to putz around in the yard, just doing whatever. Zima put on quite the show in the catnip patch (pictures to be posted later!), so I ended up watching her roll around in a catnip-induced haze of bliss. I got back into the house and started on the newspaper, then fired up the laptop to catch up on the internet. A few times I think I feel something in my hair, but I had it pulled back in a ponytail today and figured that was causing the unusual feeling. I reached up and didn't feel anything alarming, so I put it out of my mind.

Fast forward to an hour or so later, as PDM and I are on our way to get supper. I'm driving and we're almost at the pub when once again, I feel something weird in my hair. And it feels like it's moving. Only this time, I see the top of my head in the rear view mirror (yes, I was driving), and it is a BUG!! I mildly flip out trying to get it the hell out of my hair. Yes, while I was driving. It was a hairy couple of seconds, pun intended. I think I got it out with my wild gesticulating, but I was not sure, and this made me nervous.

"PDM," I say, "you've got to look and see if I got that bug out as soon as we get there."

"What? Like a monkey?" He replies, mimicking the monkey act of picking bugs out of another monkey's fur and eating them. (Ha, ha. He's funny like that.)

"Yes," I tell him. "I'm asking you to be my monkey." I have a straight face, and I am going to hold him to it.

He didn't find any bugs. We had a nice dinner, and got home in plenty of time to watch the season finale of Heroes: "How To Stop An Exploding Man. (Which was AWESOME and we loved it! There is something worse than Sylar - holy cow!!! And Peter and Nathan.... oh noooooooo.) But anyway. I wish I knew how to stop my skin from crawling. A bug - ick! And even worse, that little sucker hitched a ride in there for over an hour. Double ick!!

And this means that there is a hair-infesting bug in my car. This is a problem. Crap!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I have created a monster.

I've noticed a sharp upturn in the amount of hunting that Zima is doing lately. After not bringing home any catches all winter, she's leaving an awful lot of small critters at the doorstep for us. A week ago it was a small rabbit, yesterday it was a chipmunk, and today she left a half-chewed chipmunk with a leg missing. But something about today's offering gave me a hint as to what may be responsible for her recent killing spree. Remember that catnip I planted for her amusement? Well, right next to the dead chipmunk was a sprig of that catnip plant. It appears that the cat is getting all hopped up on the 'nip and then chasing down some wildlife. I'm not sure if I should feel guilty about this or not. Maybe she is just killing more right now because this is the time when there are more young animals that aren't as savvy about predators as their parents. Or maybe it is an unintended consequence of the 'feline opium den' I planted. Looking at the bright side... she's an old cat, and at least she is getting some exercise (and supplementing her diet).

Here's a picture of the evidence (with dead chipmunk removed).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Go see 'Waitress'. You won't be sorry.

Went to see Waitress tonight with a friend. It was a very good movie, and I am not just saying so because it stars Nathan Fillion. But you don't have to take my word for it - this movie rates 90% fresh on the Tomatometer!

I laughed. I cried. Now I really want some pie. And the movie's pie names are part of the fun:

I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie
Kick In The Pants Pie
Pregnant Miserable Self Pitying Loser Pie
I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong And I Don’t Want Earl To Kill Me Pie
Falling In Love Pie

Like I said, the movie really made me want pie. And Nathan Fillion. ;-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Instant Karma

Instant karma's gonna get you. Although I'm not sure stealing a car warrants a death sentence. Maybe she did a lot of other mean stuff.

Monday, May 14, 2007


So I went to the eye doctor today. It didn't go so well. We discussed the use of bifocals and/or reading glasses. Gawd. I was depressed for the rest of the day. I don't have a single gray hair, but my eyes think they're 60.

Oh, and I will NOT be getting bifocals. Hmpf.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Zima slays the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh

Yesterday morning, Zima bravely slew the Rabbit of Caerbannog, otherwise known as the Killer Rabbit.

What? You're not buying it? OK. What really happened is that she mortally wounded a cute little baby rabbit, and brought it into the house. Sometimes the Circle of Life is not such a wonderful thing.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Whatever happened to Hoppy?

'Hoppy' was the nickname that PDM and I gave the scrappy little cardinal who showed up at our feeder one day with a broken leg. This was three summers ago, just after we were married. We were living in an apartment and had hung a couple of bird feeders on our balcony to give us (and Zima) something interesting to look at besides the TV. Hoppy's leg was twisted at an odd angle and her foot was all curled up and useless. I was sure she'd never make it. She surprised me by coming around again and again. Over the next few weeks, the foot on the injured leg slowly shriveled up until one day it was just gone. It was a good thing when the foot finally fell off, because she got around on the leg stump much better without the twisted foot getting in her way. She became very adept at getting around with only one leg, and was a ton of fun to watch. We called her 'Hoppy' for obvious reasons, and looked forward to her regular visits. She came around with some other birds nearly every day and got her fill at the feeder. We probably had a lot of repeat customers, but she was the only one distinct enough to recognize individually.

In February of last year, we moved out of that apartment and into our house. I felt a pang of guilt about leaving Hoppy, but what can you do? Now we are feeding a different flock of cardinals a few miles away. Sometimes when I watch the birds at our feeders, I wonder what became of Hoppy. I hope that she has found another feeder nearby and has managed to avoid predators and hunger. I'd like to think that someone somewhere is writing a blog post about the cute little one-legged cardinal with the big personality who started showing up at their feeder late in the winter of 2006.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Commuter Rant No. 427

It is fine to use the ‘turn only’ lane to pass twenty or thirty cars that are stopped at a red light during rush hour if you, in fact, TURN at the end of it. It is NOT cool to pull this maneuver and then zip into the head of the line of cars going straight. Cars that patiently waited their turn, unlike you. Jackass.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Day Off

PDM and I took today off work. We both needed it, for different reasons. This morning we went out and applied for passports. It could have gone more smoothly than it did, but it ended up OK. Hopefully sometime between now and August (when we would like to travel) our shiny new passports will show up in the mail.

After a quick trip to the Pub for lunch, we decided to go see Spidey 3. It was fun, but the movie could have been shorter without losing anything. I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two. It was a bit predictable, and parts of it seemed contrived. But hey, it sure beat working!

Now I'm trying to decide between goofing off the rest of the day and doing something useful. Believe it or not, I'm leaning towards doing something useful.

And of course, we'll be glued to the TV at 9pm for the next installment of Heroes. Tonight's episode: "The Hard Part".

Friday, May 04, 2007

Zima and the Mac

Watching the iTunes visualizer. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Alien Landscapes

Check out today's Astronomy Picture of the Day. It shows an artist's vision of what the newly discovered 'earth-like planet' Gliese 581c might look like, complete with very large and dim red dwarf sun looming low on the horizon. In addition to being a larger star than our sun, this star would look huge to planet dwellers due to the very close orbital distance (closer than Mercury's orbit around our sun). None of us will ever experience a truly alien landscape such as this, but it is interesting to speculate about what it would be like.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

How's your May Day going? I'm stuck inside an overly air-conditioned workplace with almost nothing to do except look at the gorgeous day outside and wish I was somewhere else. I like to stay busy at work. This is the main reason why I don't really like my "alternate work location" that I have to go to 2-3 days a week. The other reasons? Parking sucks, the food sucks, and the computer sucks. I had about four applications open and the dang computer was making such a ruckus I started to worry for my own safety. Something in there was spinning around faster than Linda Blair's head and I was concerned that any minute it would break through the case and come flying out at me at warp speed. Well. Anyway. It didn't.

One of the things I do to keep myself from talking to the walls is to bring in the local newspaper when, like today, I suspect work is going to be slow. In today's edition, I found out that Atlanta has an official "Smog Season" which starts today and lasts until the end of September. I did not know that... mostly because there is smog here pretty much all year 'round, any time the weather is nice and it doesn't rain for a while. Ozone in the stratosphere is a good thing, but in the troposphere - not so much. When I'm outside this evening, I'll be sure to cough and wheeze festively, in honor of the occasion.

I'm thinking of celebrating May Day (or the Opening Day Of Smog Season In Atlanta, whichever) by buying some shoes. Zima will probably celebrate by getting stoned on catnip over and over (it's hard to keep her away from there now). But if your May Day is not complete without someone dancing around a May Pole (I almost referred to this as 'pole dancing' - whoops), then here ya go:

Happy May Day, Lei Day (Hawaii), Beltane, Workers Day/Labor Day/Day of the International Solidarity of Workers, "National Love Day" (Czech), "Lusty Month of May" (Camelot), Mother Goose Day, Save The Rhino Day, First Day of Smog Season (Atlanta), etc.

Go out and be happy! If you're not happy, watch the video. It'll help, I swear.