Monday, July 31, 2006

heh, heh, heh, I'm plagiarizing myself!

Scott has been in Ft. Worth for the past 2 weekends, so I took advantage of his absence to see two movies that he most likely would not want to see, namely A Scanner Darkly and The Devil Wears Prada.

He really likes Philip K. Dick, but the rotoscoping of Waking Life made him dizzy and sick, so he really didn't want to see it because of that, which is a shame. (and speaking of Waking Life, Scott had Robert Solomon for Philosophy 610QA and/or B)

We didn't discuss seeing Devil, but he might actually like it -- the script was funny and witty -- a good summer movie. Favorite quote -- Nigel (Stanley Tucci) to Andy (Anne Hathaway): "Don't make me feed you to one of the models!" Meryl Streep was a terror of a boss, and it's a credit to her acting that she was able to portray this without raising her voice once. I've worked for that character before. Once in Germany -- she had totally terrorized the person I replaced, but I was able to tame her with my powers of calmness and reason. Once in TX -- this boss-lady could be a "yeller" -- and worse, you never knew what would set her off on any particular day. One day you could put something in front of her and she'd approve it, and the next day the same thing would start a long, raging tirade. Current boss? As long as I say, "That was my mistake, I'll fix it and never do it again," (and then NEVER DO IT AGAIN) she's pretty cool (even though she did terrify me at first.)

Seeing that does make me wonder about my supervisory skills. For the most part I'm pretty laid back with my staff as long as they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. I never yell, although I have been known to say through gritted teeth, "This really isn't working out. Perhaps you should consider another line of work?!" I really shouldn't have let things go that far. The supervisory part of my job is perhaps my least favorite, but hey, it has to be done.

Out of the two, I think I liked Scanner better, just because I like darker movies.

Autoerotic Crucifixion (just seeing how long 'til this comes up on google)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fruity Oaty Bars

Can't get that Fruity Oaty Bars song outta my head!

Little Scampish Cats

We need to spend some $ to upgrade our hall bathroom. How could we have not noticed what a mess it was when we first looked at the house? The cabinets are o.k., and I don't think we'd need to change them. The floor is tile -- sort of meh yellow/brown and very slick when wet. Not my favorite, but we could live with it -- and it does match the tile in the foyer and hallway.

Now we start getting into yuccky. The walls are purple. I like purple, but this is a dark, muddy purple, and it makes the room look too small and dark. The worst part is that the purple is really FABRIC. Can you say mold? Yecch. How could we have missed this?

The bathtub is surrounded on 3 sides by this cheesy pale yellow/buff/manila or something plastic "bath unit". Should be replaced, since there is a crack on one side, and it just doesn't look nice.

The sink & vanity -- the sink should be replaced and the vanity -- how could we not have seen this? The vanity was painted with a cream colored latex looking textured paint. It looks like someone spread yellow cottage cheese all over. The worst part is that THE PAINT IS PEELING OFF THE VANITY. Yecch -- how could we not have noticed this?

What does this have to do with cats, you may think? Well, we were ready to get a granite vanity & new sink and perhaps some other things for that bathroom, but we made the mistake of taking the youngest cat, Yuki, to the vet for his annual checkup (which he was a bit overdue for.) He'd never had a dental and needed one, so last week Scott took him in. After a couple of hours, we got a call -- apparently Yuki had two severely cracked teeth that most likely would not heal, and did we want them to extract them?

Sooo, instead of nice new sink and vanity top, we spent lots of $$$ on Yuki.

When Scott brought Yuki home, he had a package of special dental chew pellets that the vet recommended. I stupidly didn't put them in the cat food cabinet, and one morning I woke up to find that one of the little scamps had broken into the package and eaten half of the chews and the other half are all over the floor. Great. So I pick them up and put them in a slightly heavier plastic back AND STUPIDLY NEGLECTED TO PUT THEM IN THE CAT FOOD CABINET. Which means that when I go up this morning, someone had broken into them again, and eaten all but about two of the chews.

I'm not sure exactly which cat is the culprit. Knowing those three, it may well be a group effort.

The good news is that I took him in for his one week checkup, and he's healing just nicely. I invested double digits for another package of dental chews, and the first thing I did was put them in the cat food cabinet -- although it wouldn't surprise me if they learn how to break into the cabinet -- perhaps we should keep them under lock and key.

Perhaps I'll have a pic of Yuki doing something cute in a couple of days -- he really is lovely -- lean, shorthaired grey kitty. He's got a sweet, loving personality, and he's very athletic -- we just love to watch him jumping and leaping.

Friday, July 21, 2006

What Dr. Who Character are You?

Should I be somewhat concerned that I rate as 50% Dalek????!!!!

You scored as 4th Doctor. Wild, eccentric, wacky! do you want a jelly babie?

4th Doctor


3rd doctor


1st Doctor


9th Doctor


5th Doctor


7th Doctor


a Dalek


8th Doctor


6th doctor


2nd doctor


10th Doctor




What Doctor Who character are You?
created with

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stem Cell Veto: What's Next? Snowflake Brigades?

Now that GWB has vetoed the bill to relax some of the stem cell research regulations (for projects receiving federal funding), is he going to go after in vitro fertilization? After all, where are all of those little "snowflakes" coming from? If embryonic stem cell research is morally wrong, then in vitro fertilization is wrong.

Or maybe young women should be "volunteered" to carry the hundreds of thousands of blastocysts that would otherwise be discarded. (I should NOT be giving these people ideas -- I'm feeling more and more that Atwood was prophetic in her Handmaid's Tale.)

Perhaps this would be a "The Handmaid's Tale" prequel. (or Gattica meets The Handmaid's Tale?) In order to continue the never ending war on terror, the draft is re-instituted; however, women are not drafted into the armed forces -- they are drafted into "Snowflake Brigades" and forced to serve as incubators for the detritus of decades of in vitro fertilization. After all, we do need more cannon fodder (and cannon fodder incubators) for the legions needed for an unending war.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Google Earth Time Travel

After traveling all around the world on Google Earth, I was sorely disappointed that I couldn't go back as far in time as I would have liked. I know that the views of our area are at least a couple of years old -- the carport on our house isn't there, and the stupid apparently abandoned white pickup that was across the street from our old duplex (rudely parked so as to make backing out of our driveway inconvenient and hazardous for pedestrians, forcing young couples with baby strollers out into the street) was there. (The pickup just disappeared one day.)

I suppose that a google earth could be kludged together with some of the oldest satellite pics, so you could go back a few decades, and the zoom levels wouldn't be that great, but I want more than that -- I want to be able to look back a few hundred or a few thousand years. Or how about Google Earth Time Travel Video?!

S. said I should submit my request to Google, but I'm thinking that my physics majors would be a better bet.

Tales of the Lost and Found in the RLM @ UT Austin

Byron came to our office this afternoon to help us figure out why jgar5 couldn't print PDF files. It was some pretty obscure thing that I would never have figured out, so we're glad we have Byron to help. When he left, he found a cell phone in the hallway and gave it to jgar5 who promptly called back a couple of the people who had recently called that phone in hopes of getting some clue as to who owns it.

Half and hour or so later, a very loud "DA DA DADA DA DADA DA DADAAAA DA DADA DADADADADADA" spewed forth from jgar's desk. "Jesse, be quiet -- there's someone taking a linear algebra test in the conference room!" (I thought the noise was coming from his computer.) When I looked up I saw that he had picked up the found cell phone (still blaring "DA DA DADA DA DADA DA DADA") and was trying to figure out how to answer the darn thing. (which is playing "Mexican Hat Dance" in case you weren't able to recognize my dada da's.)

"Hello? Yes, I called your number because someone lost this phone, and we're calling people this person recently called to help us find the owner of the phone. Do you know who this number belongs to? Uh, you're calling from India? O.K., O.K. Can you spell that name? D - I - V - Y - A. O.K. OK., So, you'll send her an e-mail to tell her we have her phone? We're in RLM 4.101. Well, ok, then, thank you!"

After everyone left the office this afternoon, I was trying to tidy up the detritus of our last freshmen orientation when the phone started blaring its DA DA DADA again. I rushed over to jgar5's desk, picked up the phone, tried to flip it open, but it wasn't a flipable phone (hey, the light was off in that office, and the phone was still making that thor-awful noise), but by the time I figured it out, whoever had called had disconnected.

So, Divya shall have to wait until tomorrow to get her phone back.

(We also get a lot of phones back to their rightful owners when they think to call their own number.)

UPDATE: Divya came to the office to claim her phone. We usually ask for some sort of I.D. before we give lost & found stuff back, and she said, "Oh, just a minute, I've left my purse in the library!" Um, what is WRONG with that sentence?! I don't even leave my handbag with S. to watch. Stuff can disappear from this place in a blink of an eye.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lady Murasaki is so Inscrutable

This is our girl cat, Lady Murasaki. She is very shy around anyone other than us -- probably because she & Genji were barn kitties who have never really been around other humans.

She seems to be the smartest of the 3 cats, although the boys seem to have an edge on figuring out technology (door handles!)

Genji and Saki are siblings -- Yuki is a latecoming interloper, at least according to Saki. More on the relationship between the cats when I post Yuki's picture.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Genji Cat Sleepathon

(click on Little Genji to see a picture of Big Genji)

Genji stayed in this postition for about 6 hours straight Sunday -- well, he flopped from side to side a couple of times -- but for the most part, he looked just like this. (And be easy on the big guy -- he thinks the camera adds 5 pounds.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

You're a Little Late to be Asking about the Asteroid

1:30 p.m. CDT
I answer the phone at work, "Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy Advising Center."

A voice a bit older than most of my students says, "Uh, I heard there was an asteroid heading toward earth today."

Me: "This is the undergraduate advising office, let me get you the Astronomy Department."

but then I thought: "Oh, I read about that at lunch -- the asteroid has already passed by."

Man: "I need to know whether I need to be packing things up, you know."

Me: "The asteroid already passed by -- it didn't even come as close as the moon. I read it online a while ago. (looking it up) . . . ah, here, 'Large Asteroid Zips Past Earth' -- 'A huge asteroid whizzed by Earth early Monday, passing about 269,000 miles from the planet's surface -- slightly farther away than the moon.' "

Man: (still unsure that he is safe) "But this is Monday."

Me: "Yes, but it said it passed by EARLY Monday -- this is the afternoon."

Man: "O.K."

Me: "Bye now."

I would have put the BBC as the title link above, but they hadn't updated their article -- it just said it was due to pass near earth -- closest to the west coast of North America around 0444 GMT.

We get calls like this from time to time -- how to work math problems, grand unification theories, etc. Some of the stuff we'll try to help with, but I always send the grand unification theories upstairs!