Monday, July 30, 2007

Zima's Better

CatBlogging: Special Edition

Q: How do you know when your cat is getting over being sick?

A: When she takes an interest in her "feline opium den" (otherwise known as the catnip patch) again.

Zima had been ill for several weeks, but after two rounds of antibiotics, twice daily antihistamines, several vet visits, and messy eardrops, she is finally feeling more like herself. No more sneezing, no more raspy meow, and no more slinking around hiding under the furniture. I am so relieved!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

He's a lumberjack and he's OK...

The physics meeting last week included a "night out" event, that was held at Nicollet Island Park just over the Mississippi. They had food and a beer tent, a roving Dixieland band, a dance band in a highly air-conditioned building, and something called a "Lumberjack Show". I had never seen one, but speculated that it involved men, plaid shirts, axes, and saws. Turns out that was a pretty good guess.

The show was loads of fun. They divided the crowd into two camps, one for each competing lumberjack. We were encouraged to cheer for our guy and jeer the other one. The host, or whatever you call him in lumberjack terms, explained each event and its significance in old fashioned logging. There was an axe throw, speed carving, power sawing, speed climbing, springboard chopping, log rolling, and more. All three guys made lots of corny jokes and puns, and generally made things fun for everyone. Although the show itself was very entertaining, it was almost as entertaining to watch all the physicists in the crowd so far out of their element. Especially the nerdier ones.

I'll come clean and admit that part of what I enjoyed about the show was the scenery. And I'm not talking about the river. Before the log roll, the females in the audience convinced one of the lumberjacks to remove his shirt. These guys had some very well-developed upper bodies. My pictures definitely do not do these men justice. They had the natural kind of athletic build that comes from physical activity, not steroidally-out-of-proportion weight-lifter type musculature. It was quite nice to look at. Ahem. So the ladies in particular seemed to enjoy the show.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's good to be back home.

This is what I treated myself to on my last evening in Minneapolis. There is no way I can put this on my expense report, but I don't care. It was fantastic wine and well worth the cost.

The meeting was good. I learned a lot, met a lot of physicists, and have come back with a few research ideas to pursue at work based on information presented at the meeting. But it is damn good to be back home.

Here are a few more images from my week in Minneapolis. I'm not including any from the lumberjack show, which was lots of fun and will be covered in a separate post.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wild and Crazy Physicists

I’m having a better time than I expected at the physics meeting this week. It turns out that these medical physicists are a fun, friendly group of people. For example, I was walking to lunch yesterday with three other female physicists and all of a sudden we were joined by a group of five physicists that we don’t know, and we all ended up going to lunch together and getting to know each other. We were laughing about it later – it’s like we got hijacked. But this kind of thing is how I’ve met a lot of new people, especially other physicists who, like me, are in the process of getting board certification. The small groups of physicists walking around Minneapolis seem to aggregate into larger groups at random.

Given that there seem to be some wild and crazy physicists here, the “night out” tonight should be a hoot! On tap: food and drink, live music, and a “lumberjack show” (whatever that is). I’ll tell you all about it next time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I hate packing.

I'm flying to Minneapolis tomorrow evening for a professional meeting. I'm taking a review class on Saturday-Sunday that will be helpful when I take the next part of the Board Exams. Then I will be attending presentations and poster sessions and the like until Thursday morning. I'll get back home by rush hour that day. I am feeling very tired and stressed. Unrested. Unsettled. Not exactly the best frame of mind (or body) for going on a trip. I woke up this morning with a headache not unlike a hangover, and kept it for most of the day, but I didn't have any wine last night. Hmpf.

I'm supposed to be all packed by now. It is 8pm, and all I have gotten together for the trip is my gadgets, software, books and DVDs. Not a lick of clothing has gone into a suitcase. What should be packed? I'm always afraid I will forget something crucial. It doesn't matter how many lists I try to make, it will feel like I'm forgetting something. I'm not much of a plan ahead person. Trying to figure out what I want to wear for the next week is not easy for me. I haven't been to one of these meetings before. I will probably err to the conservative side, i.e. boring business attire. According to the weather sites it will be hotter there than it is here. Hope those skyways are air conditioned... I don't fancy walking through a greenhouse-like tube for blocks and blocks in 95 degree heat. Maybe I'll make the employer spring for a cab ride here or there. Again, here is the lack of a plan showing it's ugly head. There are some other people from work going, but we are all in different hotels. It will probably work out alright.

I'm taking my notebook computer and camera, so there might be some posts while I'm gone. At the very least, I will be keeping up with your blogs. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Hype Heartburn

A surefire way to turn me off of something is to hype it to death. The most recent prime example? Harry Potter. It is impossible to avoid hearing about the oh-so-eagerly-and-anxiously awaited final book in the series, not to mention the latest movie. Speculation about the fate of Harry has been ongoing for months and has hit a crescendo in recent weeks. And I'm really tired of hearing about it, period. I feel sorry for the people who actually want to read it in a leisurely fashion and not be spoiled by knowing how it ends. Aside from becoming a hermit, I don't see how any of us is going to avoid knowing all about it.

This absurd level of attention to all things Potter is nothing new, unfortunately. Remember when Richard Harris died? I thought it was awful that after such a long and distinguished career, the news coverage seemed inordinately focused on who they would get to replace him as Dumbledore.

I'm sure that they are very good books, and I'm happy that Rowling has become the richest woman in England through a literary effort (although I'm sure the movies don't hurt). But thanks to the seemingly non-stop hype, I don't want to have anything to do with this series of books or movies. Perhaps in a decade or two when the hype dies down I will get out my copy of the first book and finally see what all the fuss is about. Maybe.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Name Games

I finally got my passport.

I would like to be happy about this, but I'm not. They misspelled my name, so now I have to send it back to them and then wait 10-12 more weeks to get a replacement. Plus, the birth certificate that I need to send back to them to prove the correct spelling of my name hasn't yet been returned to me. Your government at work... sharp, efficient. Good thing I don't need it for the two trips coming up over the next few weeks.

This was the last thing I needed to find out after getting home from work at 10:45pm. More hassles for me. Super! Can't wait. And the other "last thing I needed tonight" was my husband interrupting my ranting about it to tell me to "Get over it." He quickly apologized, which was good, because I wasn't just ranting about the damn passport. The passport was the last straw. There were a lot of other aggravations piled on ahead of that one. But I poured some wine and wrote in my blog, and I'm OK now.

This isn't the first time I have had problems with my name being misspelled on a government-issued document. I once received a replacement social security card with my first and last names so horribly butchered they were nearly unrecognizable. Missing so many vowels they resembled Czech names. I don't understand how this happens. Why were they typing in my name for a replacement card? Isn't it already in their labyrinthine database somewhere? I won't give away my last name by telling you how they got it wrong, but my first name was written as "CHNSHE". Can I buy a vowel, please?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

PDM Speaks

In case you missed it, here is the long-assed, but humerous, comment that PDM left last night on the birthday post of a few days ago:

"Yea, verily and the Chosen One didst go forth among the benighted, to spread the Gospel of Partying-Down; and there was much rejoicing amongst the fishermen,and the plowmen,and the carpenters, and the tax-collectors, and the painted harlots of the Strip-Bar-Next-To-The-Pub.

"And then didst speak the Blessed One, saying, "Go forth upon the Earth, rejoice in the Lord's gifts, and Partiest Thyself Down"; and there was much rejoicing among the green-grocers, and the toaster-repairmen, and the and the orangutans,and the llamas, and the wildebeests, and the (unladen) European swallows.

"And then His Party-Downness did declare a great feast, and there was great rejoicing, and the drinking of wine and spirits, and the consumption of pork barbeque, and Jamaican jerk chicken. And thus did the pigs and chickens cease to rejoice, and go into hiding for fear of their lives; but it was all for naught, because the feasters did hunt them to the ends of the Earth, and consume of their flesh, and give thanks for the bounty of their feast.

"And then, amongst the devoted followers of His Party-Downness, there was heard a great cry, that rang from mountain-top to mountain top; that pealed to the very depths of the Earth and echoed to the farthest shores of the most distant oceans:


Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday FlowerBlogging

I'm giving the CatBlogging a break today, since I have had several cat-related posts of late*. In addition to cats, I also like to photograph plants and flowers. This petunia has fantastic color and texture. Those water spots look like a constellation. Other than cropping, the original photo was not modified. (And no, Beth, I am not at all implying that I am in any way like a petunia. It's just a pretty photo subject.)

I'm off work today as comp time for the nights and weekends I've been putting in. I plan to buy the food for the party and clean up so our friends won't know how messy the house usually is. In spite of the mountain of housework, I'm sure I will still find time to goof off and read your blogs. I'm also planning on sleeping until mid-morning, or at least until Silvio gets restless and wakes me up. Once PDM gets home he wants to make the sauces and marinades for the party menu, then we'll probably do our regular Friday stuff. The pub, dinner, then watch (or record) Monk, Psych, and Doctor Who.

*Zima went to the vet today. I'll get her test results tomorrow, and she was sent home with an array of kitty drugs to help her feel better. Have you ever given a cat medicine? It is not a fun experience. I'll be doing it twice a day for the next week or so.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Old Man

Today is PDM's birthday.

His age?

I'll give you a hint (this one's a gimme for you science fiction fans): It's the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

If you're not a sci-fi fan and are curious to know the answer, you can find out here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Zima's not acting like herself lately. She's keeping to herself more, and eating less. It could be her unhappiness at the new kitty, and there is a neighborhood cat who has been getting in her face outside, but it could be something more serious. I need to take her to the vet for some bloodwork. I'm worried.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Doctor Who and Cuban Pork Roast

Another weekend bites the dust. It started out pretty good: left work at 3:55pm on Friday guilt-free, then made it to the pub early enough to see the old guys who come in for happy hour. Got caught up with a girlfriend who I haven't seen in a month and chatted with a few of the other regulars. Then it was off to Mellow Mushroom for a medium pizza with pepperoni, sausage, onion and jalapeño to go. We timed it so that we'd be home for the season three (US) premier of Doctor Who, and we were already stocked up with wine and beer for the event.

Saturday was kind of "blah". I read a lot (but not the newspaper, which apparently I neglected to renew our subscription for - oops), took a nap, and played with the cats.

Today I went into work to do some of the annual testing on the linear accelerator ("linac") - it has to be done after hours when there are no patients being treated. I got a decent chunk of it done. I'm working tomorrow evening and might be caught up with the annual as much as is possible for now. In return for working two of the last three weekends, I am taking Friday off.

While I was working, PDM was in the kitchen going through a trial run with a new recipe - Cuban pork roast. It took him 8 hours start to finish, not counting the 24-hour soak in a brine solution. We're making this and lots of other yummy Caribbean-themed dishes next weekend for our summer cookout and needed to know how long it takes and whether or not the recipe needs any adjustments. Taste testing is a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. And I am happy to report that it was very good. PDM served it up with "mo jo sauce", black beans, jalapeño cheddar cornbread, and plantain chips. Hungry now?

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Big Honkin' First Blog-O-Versary Post

It has been one year since I started the blog one evening on a whim. I believe there was some alcohol involved. Shocking, no? All of you who not only stop in here on a regular basis, but who take the time to comment, are the reason I am still writing posts a year later. It wouldn't be fun and interesting without you. I mean, come ON! Someone's got to come up with good content, and it usually isn't me. It started with a few people that I knew from the old 'Frell Me Dead' Farscape message board, and through the magic of links and getting to know your commenters, it eventually grew to a damn good set of regulars. So today I am giving a shout out to everyone who has ever contributed a comment here. THANKS!

The cast, in order of appearance:

Madre Farbot
Chelle Belle
dr sardonicus
Jim Donahue
Eartha Kitsch
Brooklyn Frank
mr. schprock
Paul Champagne

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Quick Cat Update

Zima's voice is back. Meow!

Moxy seems ever-so-slightly less concerned about Silvio, but still follows him around all the time.

Silvio is having a blast when we let him roam the house, even with Moxy following him around and occasionally whapping him with her paw for no good reason. The good news is that he hasn't peed on the bed again. The bad news is that he barfed on it last night, much to PDM's dismay (it was his turn to sleep with the little guy). Kids...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Hard Times in the Cat House

All is not well in the house of three cats.

Silvio is a cute little guy, but it was not very cute when he peed on the bed this morning. On the quilt that I made for PDM by hand. That is not all that washable. *sigh*

Zima has lost her voice. Friday she could say "Meow." By Sunday all she could do was croak a staccato "Maa." I took her to the vet today. There was no obvious cause, so we have to watch her over the next few days.

Moxy is very unsettled. She "plays with" Silvio, sort of. But mostly she watches his every move like a hawk. I don't think she cares much for being a "middle child". She is curious and interested in Silvio, but jealous at the same time.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Job Opening

Male? Unemployed? Willing to relocate? Have I found the job for you!

India (yes, the country) is looking for just the right guy to be their very own Mr. Condom. You should have a dynamic personality, enjoy talking about sex, and have a passion for promoting condom use. Having a taste for curry is a plus. Any takers?