Jun 29, 2008

Day 25: Schrodinger's mailbox

I bought both seasons one and two of the Venture Bros. from Amazon recently, and in a rare bout of fiscal conservatism, I opted for the free shipping option. I got an email update telling me that it left their warehouse on June 25th and was due at my house on June 28th. June 28th has come and gone, and yet my DVD player remains venture-less. The real kicker here is that it has shipped from Munster IN, which is a mere hour and half away from where I live. My boss has recently discovered the Venture Bros. and he is arguably more eager for their arrival than I am; so much so, that I imagine he would have given me the afternoon off work to drive to Munster to fetch them. At least there are awesome new episodes online

Jun 28, 2008

Day 24: Hole habits die hard

I am making a mock cable cloth, which I started last night. It's a very pretty pattern, although using variegated cotton seems to be masking the cabling texture to a certain extent. Nonetheless, I think it will look fine when it is completed, and, as it is designed to catch a baby's throw-up, I'm thinking the visibility of the pattern may not be the user's main concern! My main gripe is that, having tried in a triumph of vain to avoid unwanted holes from appearing in another project, I am apparently incapable of using yarn-overs to make gaps where they are meant to be, and so have gone to a lot of psso-ing trouble to make something that is indistinguishable from a mindless junket through k2p2-land. The cotton I am using is slightly too bulky for the needle size I am using, but the main issue is that a combination of yarn-overs and cotton now evokes a Pavlovian-like compulsion in me to hide holes. I noticed the problem after the first pattern set was complete and did the yarn-overs in the other direction for the second set. Instead of pulling it all out, I am just going to do the final set the same way that I did the first. I have an unflappable faith in the ability of symmetry to emulate intention...

Jun 27, 2008

Day 23: I'm done with Fake-in-Knit!

Finally! I finished the faux cable socks I started in May, and I love them. They took as long as they did to complete, because they got bumped in favor of other projects: Faith's terrible gift and my new Addi Turbo sweater. The actual man-hours involved were minimal. The pattern was fun to follow, and I didn't even look at it for the second sock because it was so easy to remember. The colour isn't as garish as the photo makes it look; I pseudo-coloured it to make the cable texture more visible!

Jun 26, 2008

Day 22: You win again, Pauli!

I pre-adoptively named my cat Buttons, as in "as cute as a...". Thank goodness he is in fact cute, because smart he ain't! I have funneled my Big Ben-sized maternal clock soundings into my ownership of Buttons, and accordingly have become the overly proud parent. However, witnessing him be outsmarted by inanimate objects has put to rest my hopes for his intellect.
This is one of Buttons' finer moments, where he spent the better part of an evening attempting to catch a moth on the other side of the window. A few times he lunged head-first into the pane of glass; other times he tried to scale it. Both approaches ended up with him falling down the back of the couch. This went on for about two hours before I distracted him with Fancy Feast. If nothing else, he's persistent!

Jun 25, 2008

Day 21: Hi, My name's Liz and I'm a knitting addict...

I love Wednesdays. I get a break from thesis writing, experiments, and the ever expanding piles of laundry, and I head off for some well earned therapy masquerading as a knitting circle. We have a great group of girls, and I love getting to call each of them my friends. I have agreed to give up all diversions, so that I can focus on getting graduated, but I think keeping my appointment with my woolly support group keeps my productivity, and more importantly, my sanity, as well maintained as possible. For various reasons, a few people were absent this evening, but there's always someone to talk to. Definitely the highlight of my week!

(L-R): Sandy, Kayleigh, Kristine, Mary, Carly.

Jun 24, 2008

Day 20: We're only on number two, no need to worry just yet!

My boss had the audacity to tell me that the frogs I am forced to work with are clean, nice and harmless. I beg to differ. I had to inject six of my banes yesterday. As far as their cleanliness is concerned, they are slimy and stinky, and when you handle them, you too become slimy and stinky. They are also inexplicably armed with claws; a brain fart on the part of the spaghetti monster, I guess. So not only are you covered in ex-Xenopus ooze, but you now have open wounds, into which the detritus is now flowing... As Carly would say, Blech! Also, my definition of nice does not cover things that claw me. And as for their being harmless, I am not convinced. I see that look in their eyes. They're up to something. Take a look for yourself. Oh, and that particulate matter floating around in the water. Yup, that's their excrement and shed skin. I have to reach into that to get them. And they eat it!! So, it could well be 2nd generation poop..... Q.E.D!!!

Jun 23, 2008

Day 19: OH..... Rainbows!

I went to see Sex and the City with Carly last night, which I loved by the way. When we came out of the cinema, there was an amazing rainbow stretching the whole way across the sky to the east, and an amazing golden sunset to the west. I had never before seen a compete rainbow before, never mind one that vivid in colour. We both agreed that it was photo-worthy, as did a number of other people in the parking lot, an luckily Carly had her camera with her. It faded within minutes of us leaving the cinema so we were really lucky to see it. I realise that it's merely because refraction is wavelength dependent, but I still find rainbows as magical and awe inspiring as I did when I was a young child.

Jun 22, 2008

Day 18: When you reach 28, it's time to put some clothes on

Given I am in the final throes of thesis-writing (cultural reference intended), I am opting for smaller knitting projects in an attempt to minimize distractions. Socks are a good diversion in this respect, but I have grown a little weary of them, and I am running out of the sock-related puns (amusing only to me) that I use as project titles on ravelry. The secret item I am making for Faith should have been fast, but the number of times it has needed do-overs laid waste to that ambition. Luckily, Faith isn't showing yet, so I might leave that project until I am done with my dissertation. After all, knitting is meant to be a respite from stress, not a buttress for it.
However, I have absolutely no imagination to speak of where coming up with ideas for knitting projects is concerned. I got the sock-bug from Carly and Faith. Prior to that, I was making sweaters, a la some inspiration from Jessica. And before that, I was obediently making whatever Berroco told me to.
Fortunately, my ingenuity problem has been solved, or at least deferred. No, I haven't convinced my right lobe neurons to fire. Better! My friend, Tonya, has joined our knitting circle, and she was making a sweater for her teddy bear. I can't believe that had never occurred to me. Not only have I had Horatio for as long as I have been alive, but he was the reason I learned how to knit. When I was about 7 years old, my grandmother was annoyed by the fact that he had two holes, from which most of his stuffing was protruding. She taught me how to knit and so he was repaired with 2 knitted patches; one I made and one my grandmother made. My grandmother has since passed, and I love that I have this little piece of her. Making a little sweater for him is only logical, and pays tribute to my grandmother being my inspiration to knit.
I have started making him a cabled sweater out of yarn from a failed human sweater. Knitting bulky yarn on size 5 needles wasn't one of my finer ideas, nor was going to the trouble of following a cabled pattern using multi-colored yarn. Nonetheless, I am happy with how it is coming out. And after 28 years, Horatio will finally be safe from indecent exposure charges!

Jun 21, 2008

Day 17: Here comes the Bride

Weddings are a definite grab-bag as events go. Sometimes the ceremony was short and sweet; other times you were invited to a catholic wedding. Sometimes the reception was a great night out; other times you got stuck in cheesy hell doing the chicken dance. Sometimes you really know that the couple are just meant for each other; other times you have $20 riding in the "when this is going to end in divorce" pool.
Luckily, today's wedding that I attended was the former on all counts. My very good friend, Kayleigh, married her long-time boyfriend, Travis. The church was decorated beautifully, though it paled in comparison to how amazing Kayleigh looked. The ceremony was a reasonable length and a perfect mixture of religion, humour and tear-jerking. Kayleigh and Travis are just perfect together, and there is no doubt that they will have a wonderful marriage. The reception was a lot of fun, the food was amazing, the music was great, the cake was chocolaty heaven, and above all, no chicken dance.

Jun 20, 2008

Day 16: A Bug's Death

My friend Kristine says that I have the stereotypical taste of a boring Brit. She was referring to my selection of yarn colours, and I can't say that I disagree with her. My unimaginative, puritanical tastes extend to my beverage preferences. Unlike my boyfriend and my friend Zandra, both of whom take some weak coffee with their sugar and cream, I like my coffee strong with a small amount of creamer. I don't especially love flavouring or any of the other exciting things you can add to coffee these days. I am venturing into the brave new world of iced coffee, but that's about as daring as I am willing to get. The one thing I really don't like in my coffee is, alas, what I found it in it earlier today....


Jun 19, 2008

Day 15: Sure, I'll get right on that!

I was watching Arrested Development on Veoh today while reading some papers. As it is a legal site, commercials play every so often, and invariably, the sudden increase in volume makes me jump out of my seat and drop all my notes. However, Firefox has this wonderful plug-in that somehow manages to block commercials, so instead of some obnoxiously poly-decibel jingle, there is about 30 seconds of silence. Veoh/Hulu is so concerned that I'll miss hearing about what's new in SUV's/Dog food/Investment Banking, that it has taken to suggesting that I shut off this filter, and resume my tinnitus-building commerce... There are so many sardonic responses that I could make here, I can't pick just one! Maybe if they let me make 2 for the price of 1?

Jun 18, 2008

Day 14: It's not easy being green

Watching South Bend become environmentally conscientious is a little reminiscent of watching Bambi walk for the first time. While you can dispose of a metric tonne of landfill-destined waste with little hindrance, and virtually no expense, setting up recycling proves to be nothing short of an ordeal. I found a website where I could request delivery of a recycling bin, but, much to my chagrin, the link led to an "under construction" page. It did, however, have a phone number you could call to request the bin, so I called it. After some extensive menu navigation, I got to speak to a lady who told me, "You should be calling a different number to get a recycling bin delivered." Well, if you wanted me to call a different number, why do you have this one on your... never mind, what's the number I need to call? Another round of automated menu selection later, I finally found a human, who got a little confused about my address, but eventually we managed to get the bin ordered. A few weeks later it arrived and I can now feel I am doing a small part for the environment.
This morning I was driving into work (in my 4-cylinder, manual car). As I was crossing the bridge on Angela Boulevard, something made me laugh so hard I nearly crashed my car. The city council has painted bike lanes on either side of the road. This is great; it encourages people to cycle rather than to drive. One small problem. The only place they have designated bike lanes is on the bridge. I guess if your morning commute has you crossing the bridge over and over, but not driving anywhere else, you're sorted...

Jun 17, 2008

Day 13: Actually, we prefer the term “diskaidekaphilia”

I don't know if it's my being Irish, or if I am merely garden-variety insane, but I am superstitious about quite a few things. Where no predefined superstition exists, I have been known to invent personal rituals and convince myself that any deviation from them will result in abject failure. A perennial favourite of mine is a near clinical dose of triskaidekaphobia (thanks Wikipedia!). When I was a teenager, I loved playing Micro Machines on the Mega Drive. If I made it to the 13th level, I would never dream of stopping until I had at least passed level 15; the fact that 14 abuts 13 means it too is sullied with thirteen-ness. I have trained myself to be a little saner in recent years though I still avoid slot number 13 on the centrifuge where possible. I have a particular aversion to Friday the 13th. When the calendar inflicts one upon me, I prefer to play it safe by staying home. This year however, I was a big brave girl, and not only did I venture out of the house, I was the designated driver for some friends. Nothing bad happened, and in fact, we had a blast at our friend’s bachelorette party that night. However, I refused to date the cell culture media that I made that day properly.

One step at a time…

Jun 16, 2008

Day 12: Insomnia sucks

Sorry for the plebeian title - I am barely capable of spelling my own name today. Thank goodness for the spell-check on this site. A melange of pollen, heat and thesis-related stress have been conspiring against me recently. I think I got to sleep by about 4am last night, after I finally gave in and took a sleep-aid. My alarm went off at 8am but the sleep-aid still thinks I have another 4 hours of unconsciousness owing, so I have thus far demonstrated the synaptic firing patterns of a stapler. I don't have anything too taxing to accomplish today, other than an appointment with the ISSA where my famed ability to tolerate bureaucrats will be put to the test. My colleagues keep expecting me to finish sentences, which is a little more than I am willing to do, so I may hide in the microscope room until I feel a bit perkier. Roll on 6pm!

Jun 15, 2008

Day 11: Ahhh, darn it to the bowels of sanguinary heck!

I have a mouth like a sailor. I barely get through a sentence without dropping at least one F-bomb. I have managed thus far to fob it off as a "cultural" difference, but I think that excuse is beginning to wear thin. With each passing year, my accent softens, but at the same time, as I get further into thesis-writing, my mouth gets fouler. Adding to a pretty obvious list of reasons to clean up ye olde argot is the fact that I am frequently around a lot of children. Two of my colleagues have young daughters and my boss has two children under the age of 10. I love being around kids and want to have my own at some point, but I think it behooves me to clean up my diction prior to starting a family.

Children are, albeit indirectly, both the reason I want to break the habit of cursing and the reason I can't stop. I am knitting something for my friend Faith who is expecting her first child. It's meant to be a surprise (hence the B&W photo), although I am reasonably sure that Faith has seen me working on it already. I am using Lion Brand's ironically named Cotton-Ease yarn, and for some reason, when the pattern calls for a certain technique, the yarn forms huge, ugly holes. There are a number of ways to accomplish this technique, all of which I tried to no avail. I have tried the technique using a different yarn to eliminate my own ineptitude as the cause, and for once, that is not the problem. So, if you find me elbow-deep in Cotton-Angst yarn, impersonating a Tourette patient, just bear in mind that I'm doing it for the kids!

Jun 14, 2008

Day 10: I'm "literally" going to kill someone if I see this commercial again!

Most people have heard my rant about the Vehix commercial, but as I have seen it ad nauseam (lol) today, I decided to add it to my month in photos exercise.
The video opens with this woman in a ridiculous hat, sitting in the trunk of her car for some unknown reason. She kicks off the commercial with "So, I go on vehix.com and you can literally take a test drive". Those of us who are fleetingly familiar with the English language know that you can't literally test drive cars on a website. Indeed, our trendy hat-toter knows this too, as she, later in the commercial, says "You're practically driving the car." Well, which is it? You can't literally and practically do something; they mean opposite things. And take that stupid hat off! It's bad enough that you sound like an idiot. There's no need look like one too.

Juliet: Detective Lassiter is literally on fire.

Shawn: What kind of fire are we talking about? Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial fire or misusing the word "literally" fire?

Jun 13, 2008

Day 9: Murder, She Read

Hang on to your prune juice - I know you are all going to be as excited by this as I am. As the daughter of a writer, I know good literature when I see it, and this bookish offering that I stumbled upon when I was in Kansas has to be the holy grail for the intelligentsia. After Murder She Wrote was taken from us all too soon (i.e. after 12 seasons), nothing could fill the void left in our hearts. Until now that is. Yes, the best show on TV lives on in written form. And the icing on this magnum opus? Check out the first author. That's right, Jessica Fletcher is real!

Jun 12, 2008

Day 8: The Darling Buds of June

I'm only wrong when I think I'm right. As an ex-garden centre employee, and my BSc having been issued by UCD's department of Botany, I was telling my roommate when he should prune our rose bush. I don't remember during which season I said to do it, but he did so per my instruction last year and the plant never bloomed. This year he pruned it during whichever season I had said not to do so, and it is now blooming to spite me! It does look beautiful though.

Jun 11, 2008

Day 7: Fun with Palindromic Primes!

I am 32 seconds away from Asperger syndrome (at least in a world where Windows XP games are a diagnostic tool). Now to figure out what to do with the other 469s of my break from thesis writing...

Jun 10, 2008

Day 6: Flash drives cost nothing these days

I was uploading some pictures to my laptop at work during a break from thesis-writing. When I was done, the "safely remove hardware" function decided not to let me have my camera back. I got in a small temper and removed it anyway, but then realising that this could potentially damage my camera, I decided to take a picture in order to ensure everything was working properly. The flash going off caught the attention of my colleague, who looked at what I was taking a picture of, then looked at me with quite a puzzled expression on her face. I asked her why she was looking at me like I was doing something really bizarre, to which she replied jokingly,
"You know there are better ways to back up your thesis?"

Jun 9, 2008

Day 5: There ain't no bugs on me...

... The same, alas, cannot be said of my backdoor. According to the folks at the Smithsonian, there are 10 quintillion insects living on this planet at any given time. That averages out to about 200 million creepy-crawlies per person. I know where mine are...

Jun 8, 2008

Day 4: It's around here somewhere!

There are many things that suck about thesis-writing; the fear, the nightmares, the cold-sweats, even the odd blue screen of death right after you write an awesome paragraph but can't quite remember what you said. Aside from the emotional toll of wrapping up a doctorate, the thesis-writing process tends to wreak havoc on everything around you as well. When your big achievement of the last 48 hours is the inarticulate scrawling of a few sentences that don't stand a chance of surviving the first draft reading, guilt becomes an inherent feature of not only relaxation, but any activity. Dishes pile up the sink, your laundry pile becomes such a behemoth that it attacks your pet cat and ring binders and file cabinets are jettisoned in favour of the open-plan filing system.

I realized that my plan of keeping my primary literature out and where I need it, i.e. by my recliner where I work, was not quite the success I had hoped when I spent about 45 minutes looking for a review that I was sure I had brought home.

Maybe it's somewhere on my desk at work...

Jun 7, 2008

Day 3: I Hope They Serve Yarn in Hell

Thanks Kristine - My thesis, nay, my life is on hold until I get through the Yarn Harlot's book that you loaned to me!

I allowed myself to sleep in this morning as it is Saturday and I haven't slept properly all week. I must really have been stressed or sick or something, because I didn't wake up until 1pm. I have a Western blot transfer running overnight that I was meant to have dealt with this morning. I was packing my bag to go work, when I came across the copy of At Knit's End. I opened it to read one or two pages, in order to decide if it made the cut of "things I will agree to lug in my backpack all the way to work", an honor held by such prestigious objects as my target brand weight loss shake, a weird collection of grocery shopping receipts and a pattern for an ugly aran sweater that I have been carrying around for some reason.

As I said, it was my intention to read one or two entries, but Hey Presto! It's now half two. This woman is my idol. She is the Tucker Max of knitting. I want to be even half this entertaining in storytelling. The last time a book consumed me, instead of the other way around, was when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. I assume my protein has transferred right through the membrane by now, and the time I had set aside to get the sample through primary antibodies and onto secondary has elapsed. But it's my lazy Saturday, so maybe it was meant to happen this way. Besides, one of the entries in the book features a quote that is somewhat relevant to my day...

"I love deadlines. I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
- Douglas Adams

Jun 6, 2008

Day 2: Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!

As people go, I am a little prone to insomnia. It being my final year of grad school, I haven't found it easy to do that thing where you stand horizontally with your eyes closed and hallucinate for a few hours. Tonight, adding to my problems initiating or maintaining sleep are the heavenly aromas of sodium hypochlorite wafting around my bedroom. Why does my boudoir reek of a public swimming pool you ask? Well, the age-old war between Liz and Nature still wages. Mainly owing to some interesting design ideas on the part of the folks at Haier, there’s a big gaping hole in the barrier between separating my personal space from the world and the rich diversity of creatures therein.

I was getting into bed when I was unnerved by an unexpected movement in my peripheral vision. It wasn’t so much an insect crawling up the wall, as it was a medium-sized dog with an exoskeleton. With no undergrad handy, I was alone in dealing with this distressing athropodan invasion, so I instinctively grabbed my copy of Poirot in the Orient and introduced the critter to the genus Homogenate. Unfortunately, the ex-insect was rather large, and had what I deemed to be a rather impressive fat body so merely flicking his remains into my trash can wasn’t going to cut it. Luckily, I come prepared; I have a box of latex gloves from the lab, and the store-brand answer to every Clorox product at my disposal. My little hexapodous friend is en route to a burial at sea and I can rest assured that everything he touched now bears no trace of his filthy nature-ness, that is when the smell of cleaning products dissipates enough for me to fall asleep!

Jun 5, 2008

Day 1: Copycat

I am going to try to emulate my friend Carly's "A Month of Photos" idea. Aside from being a nice activity, my boyfriend's father just bought me a sweet Sony CyberShot so I thought this would be a fun way to break it in.

This is my claustrophilic cat Buttons in one of his favourite grocery bags... I worry that one of these days I'll hear meowing when I am walking through the store!

10 Things in 1000 days

I decided to rationalize my impulse purchasing of knitting books by setting myself a personal challenge.
Here's how long I have left:

Quotation of the Day

This Day in History

Is There Anybody Out There?

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