Thursday, July 27, 2006

Because Insects Are Cool.

This post comes with a shoutout to all my U of I Entomology buddies. (Reasons why the class rocked: Taught by Tom Hanks's brother; good friends to "study" with; fun bug collecting excursions; lunches at Murphy's after class; etc. etc. etc.)

Being the nerd that I am, I routinely check out headlines from and I thought this article was an interesting study of insect behavior (sarcasm free here: this stuff fascinates me!). Plus it's kind of funny because the headline itself belongs in the "Well, Duh!" department:

See, you really do learn something new every day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Latinos - 1 ; Vegetarians - 0

Sometimes the perfect item to blog about just falls right in your lap. I came across this brilliant article today and I figured it was a hilarious commentary just waiting to happen.

It seems that in honor of requests from the Latino community, Milwaukee's Miller Park will be adding a Chorizo Sausage - wearing red, green and white and complete with a sombrero - to their trademark sixth inning Sausage Races during Brewers' baseball games. Routine racers include the Hot Dog, Polish Sausage, Bratwurst, and Italian Sausage (or rather adults wearing oversized anthropomorphic costumes of said links) and the Chorizo will be the newest addition since Hot Dog joined the scene in the 90's. Although I'm always glad to see strides made for Latino equality, this move comes as a slap in the face to Vegetarians, and specifically to PETA, who in 2002 tried unsuccessfully to gain a position in the race for their meatless "Soysage".

All I can say to the Chorizo is good luck and watch out for Randall Simon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Theft, Sundaes, & Frogs

No those aren't random Blogger Comment words, they're words to summarize my evening yesterday. I'll start with the worst which came up first: my wallet was stolen.
  • Normally I keep my bag (with my purse in it) stowed away under my desk at work but I was in a rush yesterday morning and left it sitting on my chair. I was out of the lab for several hours in the morning for a training class which gave the thief ample opportunity to swipe it. Unfortunately I didn't notice it missing until I went to leave at the end of the day. So I had to stay late filing a police report and calling my credit/debit card companies to cancel everything. Frustrating? Heck yeah. But in a way I am lucky though because they didn't take my whole purse which means I still had my cell phone, keys, and driver's license (no one will ever think I'm strange again for keeping my ID in a separate sleeve of my purse).
Aside from the obvious feeling of victimization, the annoying part of the ordeal was being stuck so late at work. I was supposed to be on a bus at 5 on my way to the Museum of Science and Industry to meet Tony for the annual Members Open House that we reserved tickets for. It started at 5:30 but since I missed the last bus Tony picked me up at work and we headed over there together. This meant that we didn't get there until 7 but the event went until 9:30 so we still had time to see most of it.
  • I wasn't expecting much from the event - mostly I wanted to go because parking was free and it was a chance to see the museum at night and hopefully with less crowds - but I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. It was something of an all-access pass to the museum and if seeing behind the scenes with the train set operators and security wasn't cool enough we were also treated to cookies, punch and a sundae bar! I'm guessing few have experienced it so let me just go on record as saying few things are cooler than wandering a museum after hours while building your own ice cream creation. There were also plenty of staff members chatting about their work, various science demonstrations, and circus performers throughout the main exhibit areas. It was a really awesome event and I'm considering renewing my membership just to do it again next year. (Plus we received information "off the record" that Body Worlds 2 might be arriving next spring.)
Also interesting about the Open House was that we were able to visit one of the special exhibits we had been wanting to see but haven't had time for on a weekend.
  • We got to see Frogs: A Chorus of Colors and it was a really awesome exhibit. I've never seen so many sizes and colors of frogs and, like most of the MSI's exhibits, it was a perfect balance of education and aesthetics. Another great part of this exhibit was the reminder of what a genuinely nice man I'm married to. Sorry if that sounds ridiculously sappy but seriously, there's times where I'm just struck by how good and caring he is (and smart, handsome and funny too, of course). Not only did he drive way out of the way in crazy traffic to pick me up so I didn't have to hail a cab, but he bought me a frog. Not a real one, but a little stuffed green one. Okay, that sounds really cheesy but it was a sweet way to cheer me up after a rough day. I'll try to post a picture of it here later - I named it Dewey (long story) and he's super cute.
So that was my evening yesterday. Frustration and anger giving way to thankfulness at thoughts of "things could be worse"; low expectations being exceptionally exceeded; worries erased by a smiling green frog. Hopeless optimist: guilty as charged!

Friday, July 14, 2006


Consider this a series of random thoughts that have nothing to do with each other besides being simultaneously swimming in my head. Anyone who's a Red Eye reader can consider this my version of Ebersole's "Nine Lines".
  • I had a Mountain Dew and a banana for breakfast this morning. What's worse is that I actually consider that a well-balanced meal. It was a weird Friday craving though, not a daily habit.
  • Reflecting on a critic's review of the not-in-time-for-my-birthday but soon-to-be-released Fragile Things, author Neil Gaiman said:
    "Also nice to learn that I'm a neo-goth-pulp-noir author. Next time anyone asks me what kind of an author I am, I can finally tell them. I wonder if there are any other neo-goth-pulp-noir authors out there. We could form a society or something."
    I don't quite know why that cracked me up but he just keeps on earning his place on my Bestest Authors Ever List.
  • Okay - I don't really have a Bestest Authors Ever List but now I think I should probably start one.
  • Thanks to Lauren for unintentionally informing me that the Raconteurs sing "Steady as She Goes". I like that song and I hear it all the time on XRT and get it stuck in my head everytime I so much as think about the title. Thanks for letting me know which group is to blame for me humming it for the rest of my day/week/month/life...
  • This blog is going nowhere - or maybe everywhere - fast. And to think, like my day, it all started with Mountain Dew.
  • Speaking of Mountain Dew, they no longer serve it at Red Robin. They switched over to Coke products without my knowledge and I made a fool of myself ordering Dew there when the happy little Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite icons were smiling up at me from the bottom of the menu.
  • They weren't actually smiling at me. That was just a lack of caffeine side-effect which is why I was trying to order MD in the first place (the drink, not the doctor). And then the waitress was being all polite and said "We don't have Mountain Dew... We have Sprite?" As if Sprite and Mountain Dew are even CLOSE to comparable - SHYEAH RIGHT!!!! Do you not understand the importance of caffeination??? Or should I say Dewfeination?!?? Okay calming down. "Steady as she goes, are you steady now..."
That's my thoughts for the day. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not Quite Shakespeare

Here's an article for all the bibliophiles out there. In a literary parody contest in LA, authors were asked to submit their imaginary worst first sentence of a novel. I've been trying to concoct what my own entry would be and I guarantee it would not have come close to the winning gem submitted by Jim Guigli :
"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."
What would your entry be?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why I Love The Home Run Derby

Here we are, once again in the middle of summer and on the brink of MLB's All-Star game and I have six words to share: I Love The Home Run Derby! Seriously, folks, whoever invented this competition deserves an honorary spot in the Hall of Fame (of course as far as I know he - or she? - already has one). If anyone's unfamiliar with this rockin' event - it was on last night, I'm really sorry if you missed it - it involves a bunch of baseball's best sluggers of the season trying to do nothing other than hit the ball outta the park. That's it. No full-counts, no running bases, no pitchers' pick-off moves - it's all home runs, all the time! Each player gets an unlimited number of pitches so they can wait for the one they like best and then just swing away. For every hit ball that's not a home run it counts as an "out" but they up the margin from 3 to 10 so each guy gets quite a few chances.

But my favorite thing about the HRD is that it generally constitutes a complete role reversal in that players are the fans and fans become the players. Here's a group of big-tough-guy baseball players unabashedly cheering each other on. As with the All-Star game it's National vs. American League, so you'll get Yankees supporting Red Sox and Cardinals rooting for an Astro - meanwhile the fans show all the outfield talent, performing Olympic quality stunts to try to catch some of the balls. Last night's challenge at PNC park was exceptionally hilarious because of the Allegheny River that runs adjacent to the field. You might guess that a river would deter fans from gathering outside the park to fight for the far hit homer but instead it seemed actually to encourage them. I can just picture the conversations that occurred all over Pittsburgh's suburbs: "Honey, let's go kyaking... And bring your baseball glove!!"

As with most sporting events there's little at stake besides bragging rights and the Home Run Derby is ultimately all about fun and entertainment. For those that missed the actual event, the MLB video games for PS2 (and likely XBox as well) have a Home Run Derby level for do-it-yourself HRD entertainment. Unfortunately, the game doesn't come with crazy fans outside the stadiums but you will get the luxury of entering any player you like into the competition. Tony and I once created a "Funny Batting Stance" Home Run Derby and chose players such as Moises Alou, Gary Sheffield and Craig Counsel simply based on the silliness of their pre-swing stances. Our HR tallys never got high - likely because accuracy gave way to laughter a few too many times. Entertainment, pure and simple. And that, my friends, is why I Love the Home Run Derby.