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Five questions meme, y'all know the drill.  Comment with "FIGHT THE HEBETUDE!" if you want me to ask you some questions.  :D

Here are the ones newroticgirl asked me:

1) What did you love the most about where you grew up?

How it felt like I could ride my bike absolutely anywhere.  Looking back, there were lots of places that I couldn't get to by bike -- the library, the mall, Anderson's bookstore -- but I just remember how great it was to feel like I could hop on my bike and just head out, deciding where I wanted to go once I was already a few blocks away.  I'd go to friends' houses, or the pool, or White Hen Pantry (think 7-11), or a playground, or the school, or the awesomely named Dragon Lake Forest Preserve.  The last inspired quite a bit of bad poetry on my part, and wasn't nearly as beautiful as the places I go to be outdoors here in the northwest -- but it was a great place for feeling like you were truly getting away from it all.

2) Who was your first TV/movie/music crush?

Donny Osmond.  In fact, here I am in my oh-so-sparkly-glittery Donny Osmond t-shirt!  I also had a huge think for Jimmy Carter, and for KISS. 

3) What inspires you?

Awesome trees.  Babies.  Mountains.  Stars.  Bluegrass music.  My friends.  Thunder.  The awesome squiggly feeling I get in my the pit of my stomach when I've leapt off a scary cliff for something I really want in my life. 

4) What is the most unusual/interesting/weird job you've ever had?

Squatting over the bomber bay of an airplane, and dropping biscuits with a rabies vaccine in them down to coyotes and foxes across Texas. I've had a lot of jobs that have *seemed* weird or interesting to me, but this one seems odd to just about everyone. 

5) (Stealing this from the questions I got!) Tell me something that your internet friends probably don't know about you but you've always wanted to share.

Probably that I am virtually never offended by curious questions, but I do get irritated sometimes when people make assumptions about me, or my life, or my beliefs. 

Also, that I am currently sitting under my skylight during a thunderstorm, and it is freaky, loud, and awesome.  :D

Poll of procrastinatory purchasing

Somehow, googling "kickass usb drives" doesn't actually get me what I was looking for.  But I am a persistent girl, and I found the MOTHERLODE!

Which utterly awesome thumb drive should I get?



So, I am officially Planning Ahead and working on my costume for kaerfel s book launch party.  The book (The Rise of Renegade X, which is AWESOME) is about superheroes and supervillains, and so of course there is a deep need to dress up like superheroes and supervillains, and I am totally the kind of nerd that would be a superhero instead of a supervillain. 

And in fact, not only am I that kind of nerd, I am even super-nerdier than that, and I have a giant ribbon to prove it!  :p  I am going as Dabbler Girl, and my super power is that I Can Do Anything Once, and my costume will have BADGES for all those things that I have done once.  So if I use my walking-through-walls powers to save a kitten from drowning in a toilet, I will have a badge for that.  If I use my super-xray-vision powers to tattle on election officials in Florida for vote tampering, I will have a badge for that.   

The question is, of course, what badges should I have, and what should they look like?  For reference, the badges will be circles about 1" in diameter, with a ring around them, somewhat like the Girl Scout junior badges as exemplified by this puberty badge.

Drug disposal


I frequently have leftover drugs that I need to get rid of, especially because I never use as much pain meds as my docs want me to.  It kills fishes and such if you flush them down the toilet, and just tossing them in the trash makes for a theft risk.  It used to be that pharmacies would accept leftover meds for disposal, but they will no longer accept any "controlled" meds -- which are exactly the ones you don't want to toss in the trash, duh. 

The new recommendation for pain med disposal that I am getting from official websites and from pharmacies?

Mix them in with the used cat litter waste, and then put in the trash. 

There are a number of reasons this sounds like a bad idea, but a split open bag of cat litter waste on my sidewalk next to the trash can tops the list.  I should have taken a picture. 

M is for Mondays and Memage

Swiped from skaldic 

Place an X by all the things you've done and remove the X from the ones you have not.  (I added a couple of comments here and there...}

Things you have done during your lifetime:

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Science is awesome

jello brain
And so is Carl Zimmer, for letting me know that I have a Halle Berry neuron in my brain, and you probably do, too!  And also, a Matthew Broderick neuron.  And a jaylake  neuron, and a csinman  neuron, and a frabjouslinz  neuron.  I wonder who they're sitting next to in my brain?  Are they in alphabetical order?  Or when I met them order?  Or how hot they are order? 

yay for my new hair!

I have been trying to talk hair stylists into chopping off most of my hair for a couple of years now, and they always talk me out of it.  Not this time, and I am so insanely glad.  My short hair makes me happy -- I don't know if I'll ever grow it longer than this again. 


requested pic:

Want to help me do SCIENCE?

For a study I am currently planning, I need to compile lists of popular media (TV shows, DVDs, video and computer games) across four categories.  I had one of my interns give it a try, but she is not really a gamer type, and like most people, probably watches a pretty narrow band of TV/movies. 

These lists are for media that would commonly be used/watched by 10-14 year-olds -- so, both stuff intended for that age group, plus stuff aimed at older teens or adults but which a good chunk of 10-14 year-olds would still use/watch.  I'm not trying to be comprehensive here -- we don't need every title for each category, just enough so that if a kid is watching a new show or playing a new game, he can look at this list and easily get a good sense of which category it belongs in.
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Cool science!

This article about the evolution of the current "swine flu" strain of influenza (by Carl Zimmer) is cool for a bunch of reasons.  First, it just gives some neat insights into how science *works* when dealing with relatively urgent issues like this.  Second, the graphic at the bottom (put together by the scientists he is talking about, not by Zimmer), does an awesome job of explaining everything that is freaky about this flu strain all in one picture.  Back when I had thought I wanted to do bench science, I was torn between tumor immunnology and viral phylogenetics, so it's always cool to see where those fields are going.  :D

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November 2009