Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oh and lest we forget

That depression study is still in the works. I've done a bit more studying and have diagrammed below an actual test that actual scientists use to measure depression.

Poor Willy
More to follow.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

This too Shall Pass or Can You Smell What the Science is Cooking?

This past July 4th weekend may have been the best time I've ever had in the city. My dad came up to visit and my brother and I showed him a hell of a time. Thursday was dinner at one of our favorite places. Friday we saw the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest (USA! USA!) and then fireworks on the Brooklyn side of the South Street Sea Port, close enough we felt our eyebrows smolder. Saturday was a BBQ with Aunts + Uncles, Sunday a Buckminster Fuller exhibit at the Whitney, and Monday before he flew off we got pizza and talked about Trotsky's assassination in Mexico.

Naturally after all that I assumed I was due for some astonishingly bad luck. That's not pessimism, just probability. And maybe a little pessimism, but after today I probably won't have to worry about it for a while. See I can have a bad day at work like anyone else. Quitting time rolls around and looking back you figure your productivity may actually have been higher if staying home with a pitcher of iced tea and the remains of the Sunday paper. The only difference with my bad days is that I work in a lab and as it turns out that makes a hell of a lot of a difference.

It started early, I had to check on some mice for a project at 10 and while I was picking up this 40 gram bastard he squirmed out of my grip and bit off a not small chunk of my thumb. I cursed, dropped him, swore vengeance and held a towel to my digit for a while. This is a rather too common occupational hazard and there are many first aid kits scattered throughout our lab walls and in various crowbar accessible crates.

The 10 o'clock project didn't start till 11, but at least it was something I was looking forward to, sacrificing mice on the altar of science and guess who was first on the chopping block?
Also I was killing the lot for another one of the attractive post docs I work with, and we had a pretty good time at it. Of course she also mentioned (reiterated actually) how she thought it was a really bad idear to date in the office. Balls. Actually I'm not exactly sure sure why it was she brought this up, I don't recall acting particularly flirtatious. Maybe it's just when you peal back a rib cage to reveal a still beating heart waiting for your needles well, these things cross the mind.

Or maybe other things.
An aside regarding the mouse sacrifice. The fuzzy little guy has received a few minutes prior an extremely lethal dose of Pentobarbital-and is before we begin checked carefully for reactions or responses to stimulus or pain before we get cracking. I'm not a monster...not all the time.

Anywho that finished I got to start on the next big project of the day. For that I was measuring how a completely different breed of mouse thermoregulated. That is, I put 2 dozen of them in the freezer and took their temperature every hour for a while. Now we've two means of measuring this-a fancy implanted probe that sits under the skin broadcasting information about the mouse temperature, mood, mass of the lass bowel movement whatever. The other method requires a lot of Vaseline.

Go ahead and guess which system I employed.

So I was walking out of the central lab area for the 2nd to last reading and I noticed a lot of red splotches on my glove. Right, the biting, I knocked around in a first aid kit wiped down my wound with alcohol and applied a fresh band aid. Then, when I turned about to walk out again I heard a sharp cracking sound and felt something small and likely expensive under my foot. I bent down to pick it up and-

Another aside, how do you think we learn about our environment, especially when were confronted with some really novel stimuli? Personally, and I don't have much to back this up with aside from my impromptu experiment, I think a lot of our tactics fall back on the old hunter/gatherer models. For instance imagine you've picked up something smallish, and new to you. You need to figure out if it's good to eat (and then eat it) or potentially dangerous (and give it to your neighbor). You must act quickly so the actions you follow aren't exactly on a conscious level, but it's simple stuff, just getting as much sensory data as you can. Touch, sight and smell, and so on.

So-you feel a thing, kinda papery but solid in the middle. Then your looking at it, but oops not wearing prescription today and the print is very tiny so hold it close, and as you pull it close*SNRF*, a quick smell. All pretty basic stuff, not the kind of thing you'd pay a second thought to unless it went, "Hmmm what's this say? Ammon*SNRF*AAAAAAAAAAARGH!"


Pretty decent zombie comic, and also OH GOD IT BURNED
"Tom what is it?" The post doc again, coincidentally, her bench is the closest to the first aid box.

"AGH it's this thing NO DON-"


"What IS it?!"

"Smelling Salts-get rid of it!" I had no idea how. If I threw it down the sink or in the trash I'd probably gas the lab or at least the cleaning lady. I ran to the underboss, the tiny capsul clenched tight in my fist "AGH! How do I get rid of this?"

"Get rid of what?" She reached for my hand.

"NO! It's Ammonium!" *SNRF*

"AGH! Tom what in the HELL are you doing with Ammonium? Get it in the hood in a container with a lid on it and a note!" And in it went to our dangerous chemical hood to be vented outside, presumably killing overflying birds and small aircrafts.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wherein I am tossed a shovel

This was all written on Tuesday by the by, my interents have been broken lately and I'm sure you care at all. One of these days I will put up that missive on what exactly my job entails, but once again I’ve been derailed with crazy shit going down in science town. For the time being know that I work on mice that possesses a certain awful neurodegenerative disease and despite our efforts that disease remains pretty much altogether incurable. It’s not the most uplifting of work. I mean it would be if we made any progress at all but as it stands right now not so much. Bah.

But it’s also very complicated work, and for an obsessive like me that’s pleasurable. In fact my employment is also rather complex, since there are a few different grants paying my salary and they’re not all from the same lab. This may actually be my saving grace, since my overseers aren’t sure if they can fire me without pissing off one of the others I toil for. One professor in particular is a floor higher and responsible for 20% of my salary. I don’t see him very often, and just this afternoon he noted this fact.

Dr. 1/5th: Say Tom it doesn’t look like your working anywhere near 20% of your time for me.

Me: Well um some weeks are more some are less but yeah pretty much no where close.

Dr. 1/5th: Indeed. Well I’ve got a new project in the works somewhat removed from the one you’ve been ignoring a while.

Me: Aright.

Dr. 1//5th: You would be working with my most attractive post doctoral student, she doesn’t really know much about mouse breeding.

Me: Oh? Well yeah I’d say my schedule is fairly-

Dr. 1/5th: I’ve also taken an interest in this matter, I think I could say of the work I’ve done in the past decade it’s the most promising line of research I’ve ever seen.

Me: Wow. For sure I could start-

Dr. 1/5th: Oh were also collaborating with Dr. _________ at the institute? You may remember him, he said it’s his most intriguing work to date. Really beyond anything he’d done before. Including the work he did for the Nobel.

Me: Oh that Dr. ______! Oh yeah, right so I’ll just talk to your student about when I should-

Dr. 1/5th: So basically it’s a model, in mice, of…


Me: Fuck.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Beat That My Heart Skipped

I've got a longish post in the works (tentatively "Why We Kill Mice") but what with the care and feeding of my strange uncle and various amusements my posting schedule languishes. Perhaps this weekend. In the meantime a small anecdote of science terror from just this afternoon.

Email from the lab underboss: ATTENTION ANIMAL USERS.

"Dear All,

Recently, 50 mice have been found dead in their cages due to a lack of ventilation from their Thoren-unit. The Thoren-unit had been unplugged accidentally."

A Thoren-Unit:

These steel behemoths can hold up to 600 mice and about half as many rats. They've got wheels to move em about and hookups to automated water and food systems and the previously mentioned ventilation system.

I was certain that once again I had accidentally murdered dozens and dozens of my mice. It's hard to explain the exact combination of feelings I had at that moment which is why I wish I spoke German. Terror-shame, hot buckets of it. I rushed to a fellow tech and told her to check her email.

She read and turned on me with the exact same look of Terror-shame writ large. "Oh my god she didn't say whose mice had died."
"I know, fuck, I moved a Thoren unit just yesterday."
"Me too. Fuck."
"Hey wait a sec,"She turned and looked at the screen. "Did you actually read this?"
I looked where she was pointing, one very important word above her well trimmed fingernail. Where I had read 'mice' it actually said 'rats'. We had no rats in our colonies, only mice. We chuckled nervously and then pondered why she seemed to get an allergic reaction to something in the lab every day at 4 in the afternoon.

So like a Latin dictator I was seeing enemies in every corner, and that would normally concern me. But at that moment I was pleasantly whelmed with relief. Someone we didn't know was having a shitty shameful day, wondering if they were about to lose their job. And that was a nice change of pace.

Also, this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The road to science is paved with mice

I really didn't want to make this post. I didn't want to post at all actually but my raid shark rodeo was canceled and I had some time on my hands. I had originally planned (I'm trying for weekly updates by the by) a sombre explanation of what the research I'm sacrificing my time, effort and mice is all about. But unlike the mice in question, last week's topic isn't dead yet.

No, enough of that. Actually it was

My meeting with the principal investigator-the guy who cuts the checks-went pretty much as I expected. Actually a hell of a lot better then I expected, since when I told him what I'd discovered about the mouse colony he just kind of breathed in sharply and nodded. He asked if these faulty mice had been used in any experiments? I said I'd checked, and no. He thought a minute, weighed the options and said he guessed I'd have to get rid of them. I nodded, said I'd get right on it. And I did, (damn it) the very next day.

I was thorough, and since my records were kept carefully I could identify every errant cage in the rack and put a little mark on them. I'd considered doing the deed myself but the easy way was just to easy. One of my minions the animal technicians would take care of them when they came in to clean the cages the next day. I lingered, wrapped in a cold shawl of Catholic guilt, thinking about all the ways this was very very wrong. And then I left. And that weekend I got good and drunk against the express advice of my gastroenterologist.

Monday back to work, and inevitably back to the now much emptier room where we kept our mice. In the back of my mind was a command from the underboss the director of mouse work to not forget about the old breeders of this colony, since they were to old to be used again. Since they weren't on my record sheet I'd probably missed them in the first pass. Sure enough, wedged between the wall and the mini-fridge there was the cage of the old girls. Still with the original ordering information, which I quickly scanned.

Then I put the cage back on the rack.

Then I muffled my screams with a handy lab coat.

Yes Dear Reader, my records were faulty, and the mice had been bred exactly as they were supposed to be. No miscegenation, oh outraged Victorian pedigree keepers, those 180+ mice were as pure as the driven snow. Were. Because now, they are dead. And I killed them. Perhaps we will meet again.

The weird thing is, I really have no idea how to even admit to this. Definitely, via means I haven't completely worked out, it's my fault and I'm retarded. But in a completely different way from what I've already owned up to! I was right, when I set up their breeding 9 months ago. But I forgot that, and then I mislabeled them in my records, and then lost the original paperwork. Before I could figure out what had actually happened I reported what seemed to have happened and then the mice were doomed doomed doomed.

So I might be wrong sometimes, but I can also be wrong about being wrong, and that's something to check before getting all kill crazed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Well lets restart this here science blog with a bit of science, whatdayahsay?

Ah science. I've been pretty fucking busy with it the past two years and also with the running about NYC and trying to not get killed (more on that later), but I did manage a few moments of what I do best. Fucking science up in a preposterously expensive way.

In deference to your feeble mortal brains, I'll be explaining these fuckups with as little actual science as possible. This is also handy because in the extremely unlikely event that someone from my job finds this blog and links me to it (Maybe I should go ahead and remove those photos now...) well then I won't have been passing on precious science secretes or secretions.

Good luck decoding my inconsistent and misleading metaphors!

So my most recent case of science fail has actually been ongoing for about 9 months, and was only discovered now because of an email I'd written to another lab. In a rough ranking of horrible stupidity I've inflected on my lab this ranks at least in the top three.

Roughly 1/3 of my time in the lab is spent working with mice. And the mice in our lab are an interesting bunch because they are immensely varied. Most of the breeds currently used are actually descended from mouse fanciers, circa the Victorian age. Those sexually frustrated gentlemen of that era, like our own, had the ability to devote stupid amounts of time to the most ridiculous of pursuits, be it lepidoptery, spanking, or animal breeding.

Why the hell am I talking about dear Queen Victoria, well mouse fanciers are pretty extinct by now but maybe you're all familiar with different breeds of dog. So, a chihuahua is unlike a Great Dane or a labradoodle but they're all still recognizably dog right? This is because even today a great deal of effort is taken to keep those breeds apart, efforts which occasionally fail:

Ok so the metaphors breaking down a bit but imagine it was really important that I breed about 300 Scottish Terriers. And I've been working on that since last September filling up our fucking what're they kennels? Ok, each Terrier gets food and water in his little kennel and he just sits there month after month shitting away our money. And then I'm told, well we've got plenty of Terriers, but you know what we need? Beagles. Call up this other lab and see if they'll send us some, coincidentally the same lab that gave us our Terriers originally.

And they will, god bless em, but as their version of me is checking over the paperwork I mailed em she picks something up. Something I'd missed for uh yeah exactly the past 9 months I'd been responsible for them dogs. Those terriers I was breeding? Yeah they were actually boxers. USELESS GODDAMN BOXERS!

So! Tomorrow I get to tell my big boss, about 3 levels above my normal boss, that the bitches I've been breeding are useless and also that the other lab can't ship us any Beagles OR Terriers for at least another month or two.

And I still don't think I'm gonna be fired. Because it's still not as bad as the worst thing I've done in this lab. But that is a tail for another time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I'd mostly forgotten about this but...

I may start posting here again...


If I don't get distracted with all my amazing new SCIENCE adventures here in New York City!

Stay tuned, or not, who knows!

Edit: Fuck. If I'd held out three more days it would have been two years since my last post. Meh.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Clean out the closet, pack up the books, and throw away the porn. In a matter of hours now I'll be in New York, possibly forever.

Possible, but not likely.

Anyway, I don't remember if I've mentioned this before but I'm not bringing my computer with me. Nor any other computer, for that matter. So forget what I said before, this really is the last post I'll make for a time. To my apparently regular readers, I hope you've enjoyed my fairly scattered, occasionally nonsensical, always tangential, and rarely grammatical posts. I generally I enjoyed writing them, though I couldn't bring myself to reread months past. Indelicacies of youth you understand.

I really really will keep in touch. I hope.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

She really doesn't like me, or it's the other way around

I vowed long ago to either never regret the things I did drunk, or not get drunk. It's an attitude that's served me well! I both have a way of coping with my ...confused memories and an out if I want to stop. And obviously, I can quit anytime I want.


I'm realizing that there's one really great benefit for me for moving away. I can get away from my own tip-of-the-tongue syndrome I get most days. Here's the rundown: I'll be sitting reading on the couch in a cafe and a stranger will waltz in. Then, they see me there glancing up with what they think is recognition (It is confusion). Big smile, a 'Hey To-oh-OM!' and shake hands. I go, 'Hey yah-you! I was just on the way to the bathroom!' I take a piss and talk to myself while I wash my hands, 'Craig? Did I play soccer with him? Dan? No but it's got a D sound.'

This happens at least once a day. Twice today! (Pierre! It was Pierre the boy with the French name!) And I gather it's not to unusual when you live in one place all your life. Only for me it's a bit worse because I did live elsewhere for about 4 years now. So they get to do the BIG smile hand laugh thing and I look like Tommy-McAss-Jerk. I hate that so I usually just make up a name. Good thing my friends are all very polite.

Anyway, I'm moving 600 miles away to a city 100 times the size. And that's one thing I can relax about.

Until one of you fuckers surprises me in Central Park I mean.

And here's that Washington thing I was talking about.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh, darn, out of time

As my life approaches a critical point I can feeel it gain momentum. Events and plans spiral out from me and collapse, or, come to fruition before I even grasp their antecedants. I am at once dazzled and numb.

But there is a cure.

Rather a treatment, and one I shall I follow as close as necessary. I'll be lucky enough to have lots of help in the matter.

That is to say, for possibly the last time I'll see them in quite a while, I'm going out to drink with my friends. I can't wait.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Clinging to life isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds

My plans to explore more of the ins and outs of Ann Arbor foundered recently when a sudden plague of microbes or Allergens or both washed over me just as obscenely humid weather descended. The predictable result was that I woke at 4 in the morning drenched in sweat, throat clenched and raw, while my bleary eyes desperately tried to close the windows and activate the AC. I managed neither but I did manage to make my way to the medicine cabinet. No small task as it's past several doors, house cats, and flight of stairs. After a cheerful breakfast of 'Tussin , IBprofin, and two different prescription allergy meds I returned to bed for roughly 18 hours.

I don't know why spring always surprises me so. I'm sure this has happened before so it's probably blooms and whatnot that did me in. On the other hand I've also been hanging out with plenty of sick people, not the fun moral sickness either. I suppose I've no problem blaming God, Man and everything in between because hey it's not like they'd care about my whinging* anyway. And sometimes a good whinges* just what you need.

So of course one day afterwards and just north of decrepit it happens that I go to Detroit for a party. This is after another 4AM wakeup mind you. And of course It aint no party like a Detroit party Cause a Detroit party dont stop. So that was last night and as opposed to most parties I attend I remember everything. Everything being a lot of music and me falling asleep on a couch or two.

Finally, in preparation for the move, I've had to start boxing up the things to be stowed away. For me this is mostly books of which I've got a few thousand. I'm not sure if anyone else collected as fervently as I did but looking back on my reading habits in those days is a bit embarrassing. So mostly I'm stowing away the mountains of paperbacks and keeping the good stuff front and center. Well. Better stuff anyway.

*Primarily British they tell me, but the I like the way those letters line up.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Possibly the last post for a while

Huh. My computer just alerted me that this evaluation copy of Windows will be expiring in an hour. I did know this would happen but it's about 60 days earlier then I expected. And of course I can't call Microsoft because they're help center's closed till Tuesday.

I'll just be furiously backing things up here then. Thanks Gates!

Edit:False alarm? The appointed hour arived and my computer suddenly shut down. But then it restarted with not a word about the warning it had delivered.

He's a wiley one Mr. Gates, I wish I knew his game.

Edit2: Ah, it will be shutting down with 1 hour notices randomly from now on. Good show old boy, I want to shit in your neck.

These are the songs that we sing

This post was originally composed on paper by candlelight. I’m not normally so romantic but a summer storm knocked out the power and I had both a candle and paper handy. It’s an interesting change of pace but not as different from a keyboard as you might think. Maybe it’s just a quirk of mine but I’ve always composed (and edited, and crossed out) in my head hours before I commit it to the page. The big difference with a pen and paper is that I can’t go back and switch words and grammar as I am wont to do. Of course this, what I’m writing now, must be transposed for others to read it. And why not edit then, it’s not like you-the reader-could stop me. Or that you’d ever know.

Pride holds me back.

Aside from scribbling with sharpened quill my other activity of late is reminiscence. I suppose it’s a bit premature (My only recently booked flight won’t leave for three weeks, June 14th if you like specifics.) but still hard to avoid. I’ll be driving along a peaceful throughway and think about how I’ll not control my means of transportation for years to come. Months may pass as I shuttle between cab, bus, train, and the underground before foot hits peddle again. Do I mind?

I’ll really miss the people though. A short 3 months ago I found a café (The Ambrosia Café on Maynard next to the parking structure and across from the Borders) I really like. And for just a few weeks now I’ve finally clawed my way to regular status (they might not know my name but they know I like room for cream). And in 3 weeks I toss it away, to begin the search anew in Brooklyn or around the east side. Not that I think it’s hard at all to find coffee in New York but will it be the right coffee? I can but hope.

Speaking of hope after the power went out brother, father and I piled into the minivan to the closest sports bar to watch the home team punish a series of interlopers intent on stealing our pride and trophies. It was a grand old time, especially when dad paid for our beers (like the Piston’s victory, his generosity was never really in doubt but one must go through the proper motions). One sore point and an increasingly common one as colleges empty and old strangers pile back into this the town of my childhood is that as I glanced around the packed bar I kept seeing people who I did and did not know. Names never entered into my ruminations as I stole glances at eerily familiar faces. All I really wondered was where I’d seen them before, and if I were also getting drunk at the time.

That there is the heart of what excites me about moving, and living in NYC. I’ll be removed almost wholly from the context of my development and adrift in a city to which I’ve only a genetic link to. I could remake my personality or modus operandi (Sister’s suggested I try for lady’s man. She’s very kind.) entirely, or simply act as I always do and observe if folks respond differently. So that’ll be kind of weird. But if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.

Still I realize as people everywhere are fond of telling me, that New York's a different kind of place. I'll need to be canny, and tough. Or something. Anyway I've already begun practicing protective falsehoods and deceptions.

I didn't really write this longhand. Not even a little bit.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Edit: It's very good you should all go read it now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's a strange feeling

Two items, of not insignificant importance. Item the first: I have a brand new cellular phone. I'd put the number here but I don't like having that information on the internet. A conundrum yes, if you've no other means of contacting me. Poppycock says I, if I haven't mumbled something to you via sattalite then send me an email to that effect and I'll make it right. Don't have my email either? Well...leave a meaningful comment here perhaps.

Item the second, I've accepted a formal offer to work at a lab in New York City. I'm tremendously excited about the prospect and all that it entails. Now the logistics of it all still need to be worked out, and I'm hoping this will be done over the next few days. Then I've got a few weeks to scout apartments, make arrangements around these parts and then holy christ Its off to the big city. If you'd like to know more perhaps we can talk about it on my cellular phone.

My my my.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Sunny days are here again.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Forsooth I return

It's been a quiet week here at chez Hennessey Filled as usual with contemplation, study and intellectual pursuits. And the occasional ninjanomics. Still in between slices of brie and the occasional snifter of brandy a few small items of note have occured here and there. A not exhaustive summery of some follow:

I gave up and gave up giving up coffee in the span of maybe 5 days. This morning actually was the first time I've made myself a cupa in a while. It was an excercise in hilarity. My folks bought this awesome grinder/brewing coffee pot which turns fresh beans into tasty drinks. So this morning I clean it carefully, add the beans and filter, and hit brew, 1-4 cups. Then, "oh crap! I forgot to add the water!" I look again. "Oh crap! I forgot to add the coffee pot!"


Then I got a haircut for reasons I'll eventually elaborate. The day before I got a post card from the group, locks of love, that I donated my pony-tail to. It said, Thomas went to great lengths to help a child. That was darling. My hair's so much more managable now. I only regret how little there is to run my hands through.

40 years from now I might find this post and let out a long bitter laugh.

I'll elaborate more now on this maybe possibly oppurtunity that I don't want to even think of counting on. It's at a neurodegenerative disease lab at Weill Medical school of Cornell in New York (City not state). I'd be a research tech in a lab studying how Huntington's disease can debilitate and destroy body's and minds. Lately I've been desperatly cramming background information about the research the lab has done so far. The reason is I've been invited to a conference where my possible future boss will be giving a presentation. It's here in Ann Arbor, on Monday. I''ve got a useful undercurrent of terror and hope motivating me now, which is a nice change of pace.

A week from now I might find this post and let out a long bitter laugh.

But for now, I'm feeling rather optimistic.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

One for the Don't Mix These files: Wine, beer, and weed. Oh man oh man oh man.

Monday, April 24, 2006


First an anecdote, from across the pond way back when in 2004. During one of my brother's trips to Spain he and some other members of his travel group went to a bar. There in the group, as was typical of the time, was your typical metrosexual male. Into this bar he went and once there he flipped up his shirt collar. Immediately after, a Spanish man punched him in the face.

"In Spain, when you do this!" he said, in Spanish, as he flipped up his own collar, "it means you want to fight!"

I would have given much to see that happen.

As for other events Job possibilities continue to swirl and as it stands I'm counting on nothing until I show up and start preparing mediums or somesuch. But even so, one of these possibilities is developing at Cornell in New York. So that's especially exciting.

In other other news, I've sworn off coffee for the time being and I have a headache.

Monday, April 10, 2006

So long suckers!

Leaving the internet for a few days as we've guests arriving any moment and the snaking Ethernet cord which connects my computer to the universe is an unsightly obstacle. Not a huge deal but if you never hear from me again tell Diablo 2 I love her.

In other news my parents did not great the news of my desire to emigrate as I expected. No discussion of finances, how they'd miss none of that. Immediately I mean within minutes of bringing it up my mom was on the phone with our New York relatives tracking down a place to live and possible job offers. Feel free to draw your own conclusions based on my hygiene and sleeping habits but I'd guess that while we do of course still love each other, everyone would be happier with a few hundred miles between us. Exciting times.

I've reread my old neuro notes and this time around I'll actually finish my assigned reading before I try to write a paper about it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The event was foretold

This past weekend was great, a wonderful time hopefully shared more or less across the board with everyone who made it. The final tally was Sam, Lacey, Katie (Lacey's little), Thom, Russ, John, and Jordan. That other kid backed out which is probably for the best since he would have gone in the bath tub. Another John stopped by Saturday night for some anime and a contact high. Much L5R was played, much alcohol drunk, much dried plant matter smoked. Sunday afternoon I had some fine sushi, but I was hoping for tea as well. Goodness knows I'll miss them.

Also I had a suspicion which proved correct, which is always a heartening thing. Though in this case I'm also concerned about ramifications and what nots. Not much I could or would do about it though, so I'll have to hope for the best.

I alternate between hope and bitterness about not having a job and I've realized I need something to fill my time. So I've decided to finish a paper for my Neuroscience class from last year. The story is, I cleared the topic with my professor (who was also one of the readers of my Comp), found some decent papers and underlined a book then never did it. This paper mind you was worth about a third of my grade. Got an A in the course which proves I really am the opposite of Thom. Not wholly sure why I recieved this gift of a passing grade but maybe its because we both did yoga. Any who while I was content to let it go 1, 2, 11 months now, I think that I'll buckle down and actually write the thing. Mostly because I'm planning on heading back Meadville way for Senior week and it would be just hilarious to turn it in then.

I'm actually looking forward to this, which shows you just how long I've been out of school.

I'm pretty sure this Saturday is my last Yoga class, or at least I hope I didn't miss the real last class.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I neglected this as I neglected most things

haaaaaaaaaaaa it's been two weeks? Two and a half? Might as well post this or that.

Still unemployed and still spending an unnerving number of hours reading, watching movies, or playing video games unshaven and wearing pajamas. Something has to change and I fear it'll be my pride. Ah well, easy come easy go.

On the upside former boss-lady wrote me a very nice letter of reference to bring to my next job interview. Sort of a, 'Hey no need to be that skittish with why I only worked 6 months at my last job' deal. I think it'll come in handy and I'm even considering applying at the university again.

See, I've been thinking about, and what it really feels like to be working full time. It's a lot like being in a romantic relationship. So much so that I can very clearly see a difference between when I was applying last summer and my current aspirations. Back then I was, for lack of a better term, virginal. Bright eyed, fresh faced and just out of college ready to be molded into the perfect laboratory functionary (or so they thought...). It was great while it lasted. God, I wish I had it back.

Now look at me, too dirty to pass for clean and not experienced enough to play the part. Is it any wonder I've run back to mother? Even so, despite it all, I remain hopeful. Feel free to bet amongst yourselfs as to when I'll swallow my pride and go back to working at Borders.

In not so uncomfortable news there'll be a small, nerdy gathering here at the homestead in less than a weeks time. Sam, John, Russ, Jordan, and Thom are the anticipated individuals and should be arriving Friday evening, nerding Saturday and departing Sunday. By way of making the experiance a fun one I'm thinking of restuarants we can make it too Saturday evening and maybe Sunday for lunch.

So of my prefered local dining establishments I've offered each 2 choices from Sushi, Thai, Middle Eastern or Indian. There are other places we could go but as I recall Meadville, these would be particuarly nice since their like is not to be found within a hundred miles of the place. The fun is in responses I've gathered:

Sam: Middle Eastern and Sushi
Thom: Not Thai
John: Is poor, but Indian twice.
Russ: ?????
Jordan: Jordan will not be eating.

So that'll take some figuring. But a chance to kick back, play some cards, smoke a bit, and go to a party should make it a very good weekend for all. With any luck.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I do believe my vapors are up

I have nothing to say. Or rather I might but in this sudden unforetold pleasent weather I've no will to compose my thoughts when I could instead by walking about in blue skies and balmy temperature. Ciao.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What we achieve too easily we esteem too lightly

And so I return alive and happy from Florida. If you at some point find you have a chance to leave these shores in the depths of face searing cold to visit those southern lands I encourage you to do so. I had particular pleasure in the company of my family (though we went our separate ways before we inevitably fell to each others throats) especially since my father was good enough to pay for most things. Perhaps I’ll have a more complete summery later but for now I’ll only say that Alligators are black not green. Really. You have been living a lie.

Dave and I went to see that new Milla Jovohovoitchitch film Ultraviolet last night and it is more terrible then I can easily convey. I’ll need to recalibrate my crap detection system since now its bar is set all too high. Or low, as the case may be. Indeed, Mrs. Milla's crushingly unexciting "film" is a long, jagged scar across our collective unconscious. It is your hopes and dreams replaced by a dying, weeping child crushed and all at once bereft of breath in your unconsoling - and inconsolable - embrace. It is blood in your stool on the eve of your wedding day. It is an unaccounted-for prosthetic eyeball swimming languidly in your vegetable pad thai. It is happiness itself blotted forever from the cosmos*.

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately and to rid my self of this worrisome habit I’ll now transcribe some of these thoughts to the internet:

-A religion that, without metaphor or simile, worships money and whose greatest sin is poverty. I thought of writing a story set in a land that follows the economics of faith. It wouldn’t be too odious I think but it might require further reading.

-The We Don’t Sell Books bookstore. This is a store I would really like to found but it’s creation would first require the accumulation of vast wealth or a generous grant from the NIA. The concept being I fill a store floor to ceiling with all my favorite books and then try to prevent them from leaving. There would be a register and yes even the occasional sale but only if the purchaser manages to convince me or my employees that they really really deserve their chosen book. Minimum purchase $100.

My haircut is nice, and a good change of pace. I still have the mind of a man with long hair though and I’m constantly adjusting clothes and scarfs around a ponytail that no longer exists. I’ll grow accustomed to it though, maybe by the time I let it grow back out again.

Traveling inspires in me a desire to travel further. We’ll see what develops.

*With appologies to this review of Chairman of the Board.

Friday, February 24, 2006




I can't sleep and so I post. Also that looks like meme looks like fun so I'm doing that.

Thomas looks like a vicious fish

Thomas looks like his old self

Thomas looks like a train wreck

Thomas looks like something that crawled out of the ass of an armadillo (from here, and yes)

Thomas Looks like ricky..

Thomas looks like a man on the run

Thomas looks like one of Piero della Freancesca's heavenly youths (Hurrah!)

Thomas looks like a fairly pure-blooded Congoid, but he seems to have the intelligence of a mulatto. (Oh no!)

Thomas looks like a power lifter and Pokey Reese looks like your average 7th grader

Thomas looks like he should be punched!!

Heh that was pretty fun. I go to sleep now. When I wake up, I might just go and get a haircut.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This is only a test

Do not be alarmed. I'll be signing off this evening and then not returning online for about a solid week and a half. There's a few reasons but the big two are that tonight and for the next few days my former babysitter, her current husband and 1-2 of her lovely children will be visiting the homestead. Since I have the largest available room it has been volunteered to them. I don't mind terribly much but in cleaning it up and out the internet must be disconnected so that toddlers do not toddle over the ethernet cable.

The second reason is that this coming Saturday myself, my parents, my sister, and younger brother will all be heading down to South Florida to see the Everglades, hike, boat, swim, tan, golf and whatnot. It'll be a grand old time but not a time conducive to internet connections. And nor should it. Truly I've been attached to this new fangled idiot box for a good long while now. So, ten days off (give or take) should do me some good.

In other developments I've been volunteering a lot lately. And if I were a senior on a fixed income, Medicare part D (D for Drug Benefit) would scare the shit out of me. See the trick is that even if you don't sign up for it-say you can't afford the hundreds of dollars of enrollment or the monthly fee-you might still lose out on free medication that was formerly given freely by drug companies. This is because the Office of the Inspector General has specifically warned drug manufacturers that if they provide free medication to seniors who could also be enrolled in Medicare Part D then their company could brought on Federal anti-kickback laws. Which means that millions of 65+ Americans who are already stretching food stamps, Social Security and anything else they have pretty tight to begin will now be paying something-perhaps quite a lot of something-more then free for their life saving medications. The really lucky won't have to choose between drugs, and heat.

Troubling times indeed.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I seem to have over ridden the last post previous to this one (i.e. February 4th's). I wonder how.

Reporting from Ann Arbor-Alive.

Until my life becomes substantially more exciting I think a good balance between to much and to little chronicaling will be a post about once a week. In case of fire flood or falling in love I will certainly update sooner. Unless I don't, so be prepared for that as well.

In the preceding week I applied for five more jobs practiced two half hours of Yoga and finished four substantial novels while drinking two cups of coffee. I also volunteered for seven hours at a free clinic 30 minutes outside of Ann Arbor. I paid 40 dollars in car insurance and 300 to the usurers that hold my college loans. I currently have zero health insurance coverage.

In more positive news I think I've finally settled on a cafe to wile away my many lazy afternoons. It's called Cafe Ambrosia it's near a bookstore on a side street in the middle of downtown. It's small but cozy, cheap but tasty, has glass mugs and the New York Times. In addition, I noticed today during my second visit, it is almost exactly like Grounds For Change at Allegheny. Right down to the blue travel mugs they used to (once again?) sell. A number of threadbare comfortable couches, odd music, and student artwork on the walls. I considered asking if it was a non-profit but decided against it. In any case very convivial, I am content to sit and read and occasionally converse with acquaintances I who have also made their way there. Good times.

February is a brief and unsettling month and I look forward to it's end. Already the days grow longer and the snow wetter. Mostly I look forward to March because one month after it is March it will probably be April. And I have plans for April, happy nerdy plans that have been plotted with like minded nerdy people. I do hope they bear fruit.

As for the coming week I'll continue applying for work and reading and yogaing and volunteering as these things come all along. After one or two heavy drinking episodes I expect.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Another Day Another Dollar.

Today was eventful, and it's not even half over. But first I shall cover the preceding week.

As posted below the required material for my computer's elective surgery arrived and were subsequently employed to good effect. With the replacing of my motherboard, CPU and RAM the performance of my computer has improved as follows: 200% additional sexy, 300% additional awesome and (if I've done my figures correctly) over 1000% of my daily recommended rock. Total price (including a new Power supply to keep up with the additional sexy) just shy of $400.

The other day I applied to be a substitute teacher in the Ann Arbor public schools. I thought that there might be somesort of review or selection process but the secretary at the administrative building made it seem like all I had to do was show up at orientation and I'd be allowed unfettered access to impressionable young minds. So long as I brought a current set of fingerprints.

I should also keep applying for 'real' work. If only because once the month ends I really can't in good conscience list my employment as July-current. I might get a job in the same lab my sister works at, we'll see.

Yoga this morning was slightly hampered by the 4 slices of unexpelled pepperoni pizza I enjoyed last night in a certain familiar state of altered consciousness. I was so worried about them...impeding my asanas, I also had a bowl of raisin bran this morning in the hopes of encouraging them be rid of me. No dice. It made me view the practice in a new and interesting manner. And I'm glad we didn't do any inverted poses.

Shortly afterwards I went to the library book sale, which is having it's big winter sell off this weekend. Today I purchases How Good Do We have to Be, Ethical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Lolita, My Antonia, The Best American Short stories-1998, Fifty Major philosophers, Emma, and Madame Bovary. and all for the low low price of 4 US dollars. Tomorrow is even more promising, as for that same price you are given a large, brown, paper bag which you can then fill with whatever it is that catches your eye.

Afterwards I lunched in the Cafe Felix to unwind and examine my purchases. Perhaps over this preceding week I'd built up somewhat unrealistic expectations of the place. Still whatever I hoped to find, the place came up lacking in every respect. The booth was torn and lacked certain supporting strings. The decor was pleasant but threadbare. The bathroom smelled of raspberries which I was thankful for as I unleashed my cramped and urgent burden. The service was nice but unenthusiastic, and the strawberry and banana crepe with nutella spread I selected felt burdensome to finish. The coffee tasted watery. Total price: $10 with tip, or 20 books.

Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained. I look forward to reading all of it, and I fear I must restrain my time on the computer or I'll have another sore and teary eyed night from overexposure to awesome. Such is life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


My hideous computer pieces have finally arived! Now to get to the getting on...


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Woah hey now

My new Yoga class is awesome, and I didn't realize how awesome it was until the very end of class today. That's when the strapping young man who teaches me and a half dozen women rubbed my neck and shoulders with some kind of minty icy-hot balm that stops soreness. It was really wonderful in that teacher/student I-wonder-if-he-like-likes-me kind of way. And my neck and shoulders feel great!

I visited another coffee shop and now I can definitly draw up a list of things I want

1. Nice ambience, with a comfy chairs.
2. Cermamic mugs.
3. Bagels

The Starbucks (baseline in this study) have so far only supplied 1 and 3 on the list, and sometimes not even 1. Sweetwaters (local place) has more potential, but suffers in that I think a former co-worker of mine might go there at some point. That's a totally stupid reason to avoid it, but I never claimed to be that smart. Espresso Royale (semi-local, the place I went today) was fine on all three counts but the whole time I was there I was wondering what it would be like if I had gone to Cafe Felix down the street. One day (maybe tomorrow!) that terrible knowledge will be mine.

This whole endevour of mine is starting to seem a bit too metaphorical for my tastes. But now I have no choice, science compells me.

Speaking of science, I'm preparing to gut and rebuild me computer. If I'm lucky I'll reformat half a hardrive after hours of work and several hundred dollars for an improvement that will last another 4 years at most. If I'm unlucky, two hardrives. The prospect fills me with fear, hope and sleepiness. Well the sleepiness is probably due more to the Yoga. Anyway, I order on Monday, only because I swore that I would think about it over the weekend.


*The 4th and final criteria is a high % of cute girls. Please don't tell anyone else.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The day so far.

A few quick vinyasanas this morning after I woke up which is good, but I slept in longer then I'd like which is bad. The weather was nice though so I went to get cash, margarine and a coffee at the grocery store. Starbucks is having a free coffee day, which is good. But it tasted like ass, which is bad. I drank most of it anyway-just to be sure-which is probably worse.

And now that I have the margarine I'm all ready to make cookies, which are delicious. Also, since Thom and Sam haven't been playing CoV I've not been playing it much myself. Camaraderie or somesuch. Thing is, I don't miss it much, which is interesting.

And that's that, at 2:13 pm January 19th. It's all right for now.

Edit: Well! The rest of the day turned out more interesting then I expected. Watched the movie Duma which was great, and then drank margarities from a leaky blender and whatever else was hanging around his house. Smoked a bit as well, and then when we (I, my friend, a half dozen of his roommates) were sufficiently impaired we all decided to make vegan chocolate chip cookies. It was a strange time.

A pleasant night indeed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Damn it all

I had a longish post ready to go to push the pic below down a bit so's not to take up so much of the real eastate. And then Firefox crashed, lost the whole thing. That's a first. Perhaps I'll take a more serious look at that 'Save as Draft' button.

I won't retype but the gist of it was I submitted to job apps today and am ambivalent about the possibilities they hold.

The other bit was about this young woman. As it turns out she is a fellow alumni of Community High School in Ann Arbor. This knowledge has left me feeling a much more personal fear then I have before in these situations.

End communication.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Murderful: A combination of Murderous and Wonderful

Image hosted by

If you have to ask, you don't need to know.