Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Actively selected against.

Cuervito once told me it was a miracle any botanists managed to reach an age where they could reproduce. We were discussing cold remedies, and they all involved placing significant stress on infecting organisms and minor stress on ourselves. I scoffed that hot showers, wasabi, scarves in the summer, and hot rags on the face could prove to be so harmful to humans that it reduced reproductive success.

I burned myself last week, doing that stupid thing I like to do with fire and cardboard. (It has resulted in minor disaster on about 44% of attempts. ) It's a tiny burn so no one looks twice. However, I did burn the skin to ash (again) there is a divot in the flesh of my finger (I never learn) and it did get infected.

Here's where my disparate topics can be woven together. I am currently in the Conquistador household where they are so perfect as to never have minor injuries that urgently require disinfection. I considered washing out my bitty burn with contact solution, creme hair bleach, antifungal ointment, CLR, 409, and hot water and soap.

You'll all be pleased to know I decided on hot water and soap.

Unless you read this for the schadenfreude.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My mother is right about another thing.

My mother always told me to be very nice to clerical staff. She said it's rarely their fault if things go wrong and they often know how to smooth the way.

Last summer, we were dead broke for a while- credit cards all maxed out, borrowing rent money from C's mom, really really glad about the extra fifty bucks Ryan and Amy gave us for the hotel room, because no one likes to chance running out of gas on highway 89. College broke. Except worse, because while I didn't have a job in college, I also didn't drop a k-plus on gasoline each month. Also car payments, student loans, hotel rooms in Bakersfield, apartment we couldn't really afford. Last summer can die in a fire.

The job was slow about reimbursing me. During the darkest days I suspected foul plots- in retrospect, I think I made a few errors in filling out the forms and the clerical division was understaffed. (I kept listing destinations that were not in their database. Also, most campgrounds don't give receipts.) It's hard to stare at the wreckage of your bank accounts and then go be pleasant to the person sorting out your travel. I tried to be pleasant, lord did I try.

It appears I succeeded, because the lovely woman who had me submit 36 lost receipt forms was at the conference, and she was delighted to see me. Also she now works for the most awesome database- I picked her brain, learned some of the problems they were having, and was actually able to make some suggestions! (Your problem will be totally fixed by entering the data I collected. Totally.) She's since sent me some plum state jobs- I don't know that I'm qualified, but I typically get a lot of overlap in jorb postings, so seeing new things is nice.

Yay Mom, ftw.
Pro tip for all you bundles of neuroses out there: if you do your wedding planning on a treadmill, you can outrun the panic attack. Also, the adrenaline boost makes you able to stay on the treadmill for a few extra minutes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ho ho, look at it snow.

It's really coming down out there. I knew knocking weather predictions would do it.

I went skiing today with a friend. It was her first time on and in skis, so we mostly mucked around on flat bits, showing what terrible shape I'm in, and gave skiing advice. I don't know how useful my "when in doubt, fall down" tip will be, but whatever.

We also talked about what good cardio the whole experience was, and how many calories we were burning. Then we went to the Goat and drank lots of beer. I lost track of what she ate- I believe there was a grilled vegetable salad- but I worked my way through the deep friend section of the menu.

The beer is doubtless why every other character tries to be ";". I think the random opening of tabs is probably the fault of cat2, but let's not rule out beer.

Oh! Out of nowhere, C announced that he was quitting every single Facebook game he was involved in. I am piqued about this, and I don't know why. It might be because I have a ten part plan to quit Farmville- I'd long ago accepted that Mafia Wars would haunt my life for eternity- and he's managed to quit more addictive games like that. Insert snark about how I wish he could do other generic activity as decisively. Grumble.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Watch me be snowed in by a terrible blizzard.

The conference is over, it went very well. I networked like a bee, and feel only slightly tarnished. I feel that I have a natural advantage over say, Drewscriver, because no one in botany really networks. I hand people a business card, or ask them about job details, and they act surprised and impressed. It feels disingenuous, because all they could pick up from such actions is that I am well prepared, organized, and good at following social convention. I probably couldn't misrepresent myself more if I worked at it.

But now it is over, and apparently I am feeling really tetchy. Yesterday, Cuervito offered some advice on making my business cards look less like I slapped them together on my mom's printer- and I kinda ate his face. I'm chalking it up to temporarily forgetting my manners- there are people where I have to dust off the tacts and sensitivities and consider their feelings and so forth, and then there are those really irritating people I get in a headlock and yell at about typefaces. Man, those people drive me up the wall. Also I date them exclusively.

There's also some sort of massive storm front coming in- I know this because "the weather" is one of the safe conversation topics in my house- no one will mutter about betrayal when we talk about the weather- and because I like plants, and plants like water, so I pay attention to the weather. I also know this because one of the aforementioned really irritating people sent a storm warning to the entire listserve. Thanks for warning me about a potentially life threatening situation, jerk. Right now it's 38 degrees and drizzling.

Biggest storm event in recent memory my foot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fun Game

When gossiping about someone extremely attractive and the poor sap afflicted with a crush, roll your eyes and say, "Oh, X. Everyone had a crush on X."

There's a 60% chance that your conversation partner will roll their eyes and agree. There's a much more entertaining 40% chance that you've uncovered their secret crush. They will either be amazed by your perspicacity or convinced that someone ratted them out.

Either way, it's a great way to kill an afternoon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Oh look, it's a video for C!

Redding Friends.

I have two more days until the poster deadline and I'm barely started. I really would like to have a couple of graphs, but that requires some data analysis, which has been eating all my time. Somehow all my pictures are in a strange and terrible order and my notes are a wreck. (Please note that hungover 19 year olds take terrible field notes.) I've spent too much time trying to do science- starting tomorrow I focus on pretty pictures.

Of course, this is why I'm up at one, typing on my blog as a break from hating my notes.

I wrote a screed knocking someone who snubbed my overatures on Facebook, and then realized how petty it seemed. I guess those ads on not cyberbullying really work.

On Farmville, I've just gotten 100,000 xp. That means I've clicked on 100,000 squares. I think... I think... I think it's time to stop playing. But also,

I suspect Zynga of some dark plot- particularly because there seems to be an unreasonable amount of clicking required to harvest chicken eggs and there's the stupid out of sync message which requires me to do all my clicking again. In my lighter moments, I assume they own stock in some mouse making company. In my darker moments, I assume that all of these pointless clicks fuel some engine which gradually summons the Elder Gods from beyond the veil.

It's definitely time to stop playing- but I'm almost to level three in sunflowers!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Back in 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC. As of today, I've heard reasons for them eliminating each word in their old name.

Kentucky: Kentucky passed a law charging for each commercialized use of the state's name. That's why you don't hear Randy Newman's "Old Kentucky Home" anymore. (I totally thought this was true for years, but today I thought at it a bit and find my reasoning shaky. I can't find any internet evidence that this is so, and it seems... plum crazy.)

Fried: Fried now has unhealthy connotations. (This is the reason on snopes. Fascinating, isn't it.)

Chicken: Genetically engineered super chickens with four legs and eight breasts can no longer be legally called "chicken". Instead, KFC. (I think they probably could legally be called chicken.)
I'm finally working on my poster, so I naturally have lots of ephemera to chat about.

First, it seems I did a terrible job collecting data this year. I should have given data collection an entire day and not lost my notes on the control transect. I should also have more than one control transect, although the Forest Service didn't plan their project so I could do that, and the nearest meadow to the experiment is a SPI clearcut. I guess I should have avoided getting my camera stolen, or gotten those photos off my dad's camera before he deleted them. I was reeeaaallllly depressed about the whole thing- fussing in little mental circles, trying to figure out how I could prevent doing something similar in the future- when C pointed out that buying a laptop and a backup system went a long way towards preventing future data loss. I guess I already fixed that problem then. Huh. Still, sorting out the data is proving to be a terrible pain- I wish I'd started sooner.

I'm listening to every song in my iTunes library that has the word "bird" somewhere in the notes. I thought this was a clever way to listen to both "Birds Flying Home" and everything by Redbird without bothering to make an actual playlist. I forgot that I have the Peterson Guide to North American Bird Calls in my library. You might think it's all melody, but most of it is rattling and chattering and horrible moans. If I had to rename this site, I'd name it "Least Bittern". Also, the cats are more disturbed by my owl call imitations than the actual owl calls. It's tough toes for them, because I really want to be able to do the hidden owl magic trick. I bet you a dollar Assisi used that one.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Poster Madness

Every single search function on my computer and my online accounts has "trout" as the last search. All of them.

Girl Scout Cookies

"Um, I'd love to help your daughter with Girl Scouts, but those cookies are delicious, and I have a thing where I don't eat things that aren't graded for human consumption. Non food grade cotton oil is scary, and we both know I wouldn't throw cookies away...."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Next Bubble: the Wedding Industrial Complex

I break the promise again while I wait for my ancient computer to move files around.

So y'all have already heard ALL about the event planning friends. I was a little surprised to have such a business in my wheelhouse- in my mind, all my friends are botanists and programmers. I'm not too startled when someone shows up with a grown-up job, (Oh you are a teacher? We are OLD.) but the whole quasi artistic/events industry has always seemed to belong to another class of person. You know, the people who'd like my taste in music, but for the wrong reasons. People who like the Be Good Tanyas for their harmonic structures instead of because it's field worker music. People who believe that pop country can be listened to ironically. People who eat a lot of local food and will be the first to die when the crash comes.

Right, that's a little bit of personal insecurity neatly exposed.

But I was looking through my Facebook friends, and I realized that I have three (3) wedding photographer friends. I have four friends who sell things (laser etched cutting boards! embroidered handkerchiefs!) that seem to exist only as wedding gifts and favor fodder. I have one friend (and her crowd) who do flowers for ceremonies. I am also apparently blessed with six acquaintances who are willing to officiate at weddings.

That's too many people working in the wedding industry. The center cannot hold.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Many of you have heard me expound on my family's recurring pfeffernusse madness. There's an old family recipe which involves a great deal of powdered sugar, a very slow oven, and a toothbreaking peppercorn lurking deep within the adamantine cookie. The smallest recipe is for one gross (144 cookies) and my great-aunts and cousins have been known to blithely double or triple it it. It's a given that we'd receive a several boxes containing a dozen of these terrifying pastries- my sainted mother even succumbed one year, though she hates the damn things. I've been insulated from the recipe- to avoid triggering the syndrome.

C and I were at Trader Joe's this week, and he snuck a box of pfeffernusse into the shopping basket. They're an entirely different cookie- tender little spice cakes with a dusting of powdered sugar. I'd like to make some, but I fear looking up a recipe will only call down the madness.

How do you get tiny spice cakes to not get all dry and hard?

Friday, January 1, 2010

I managed to avoid setting anyone on fire last night, so you know it's got to be in my top twenty New Year's Eves.