Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday sky and a distinct lack of progress

It's overcast and cool today and threatening rain. Which is too bad because we're supposed to drive down to Chicago this evening for Ravinia and listen to Strauss in the park. I'll be sad if it gets rained out.

The trip to Ravinia is representative of why I'm not getting any knitting done. Along with copious research work and a daily 2-hour class on radioisotope safety, I'm mentoring the undergraduate summer research program. This means I help the students with presentations, watch said presentations, coordinate many social events, and attend said social events. This is pretty fun and I get paid to do it, but it also means that my calendar is pretty darned full right now. For instance, Wednesday we had a big bowling party, last night we went on the Lakefront brewery tour and had a fish fry and today we're going to Ravinia. We had to cancel an ice cream social because there was just too much going on. I've become a regular little social butterfly. I hope to get some sock work done on the way to Chicago and during the concert itself. As long as the light holds out, baby! :)

Ooh, and last night New Friend Veronica took me to Target. The Dollar Spot did not let me down! Hello kitty food containers! Cute!!

Its such a good thing that it takes so little to excite me. Really, it is.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Since I'm deep in the bowels of science right about now (my advisor is out of town and wants a laundry list of results when she returns) and I can't show you the Gator sock I completed last night, I don't have much in the way of time or content to blog. Harumph.

I will take a quick minute to make a movie recommendation though, if you don't mind. Last week I went with New Friend Veronica to see a movie I didn't know anything about except that its soundtrack was selling like crazy on iTunes even though the indie movie was only in limited release. It's called Once, and it was a really sweet little film. It's Irish and features a Guy, a Girl, and the music they make together. The Guy appears to be the long lost love child of Hugh Laurie and Paul McCartney while the Girl reminds me of someone but I can't think who. None of this matters because the real star of the movie is the music -- the melodies, the lyrics, and the process of bringing them together. There's a beautiful message, too. The Guy starts as a lone man with a beat-up guitar playing on the street for a pittance and no idea where his life is going. Only when other voices and instruments are added to the songs of his life is he able to find a direction and break free from inertia. I'd watch a couple dozen more times. I just ordered the CD from Amazon -- can't wait for it to get here!

Now back to my regularly scheduled crazy-ass schedule. Ta!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Nothing new, so something old (ish)

I'm not flaking right now because I'm trying to get Gator's socks done before his birthday. Can't show progress because I want the color and style to be a surprise to him. The rest of the world has been taken over by Harry Potter-dom, in which I do not indulge. This makes for boring blogging. Sorry.

So I'll tell you about last weekend, which I never got around to blogging about at the time. It'll be like time travel! Exciting!

As I've said before, Milwaukee is the City of Festivals. All summer long there are festivals for this and that -- mostly ethnic in nature -- plus fairs and church festivals and myriad reasons to spend all your money on various foods on sticks. Many of the festivals make some sort of sense, reflect the culture of the ancestry of large contingencies of SE Wisconsin residents, etc. Heck, any reason to party, right? There's Polish Fest, German Fest, Irish Fest, Arab Fest, African Fest, Festa Mexicana, Festa Italiana and...

Bastille Days
! Yes, the French residents of Beer Town (both of them) are well represented in the festival circuit. Somewhere along the line, someone salvaged a 40-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower (which apparently was once part of an Estee Lauder mall display), turned it over to the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the lit it up, set it in a park, and now we party around it and have an excuse to drink wine as well as beer! Genius!

Did they at least have a variety of French wares and food items to get people into the mood? Of course not! The closest we could find was some Cajun offerings. And in true festival form, I had mine on a stick. New Friend Veronica and I pondered the moral (and kinda icky) implications of my possible enjoyment of gator (little "g")-on-a-stick, but since Gator (big "G") wasn't there to witness the actual mastication and (mostly) because it was just too cool to pass up, I did, in fact, order gator-on-a-stick. It was okay. But it t'weren't no brat. (Why don't they serve brats on sticks???) I also enjoyed some Cajun spiced "French" fries. Oh la la!!

Of course, they tried to make things more French. They did sell beignets, but they were little more than glorified funnel cakes. I'm sure they were a slap in the face to French chefs everywhere. I had two.

NFV had two, too!

They did manage to book some fairly decent French music and an act that was reminiscent of Cirq de Soleil (but much more "Milwaukee"). A good time was had by all. If only I knew enough French to say something witty or pithy in French now! Ceci nes pas un witty saying!

I crack my ass up.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Think a bloody mary would help?

I think I have a food hangover.

Yesterday, New Friend Veronica successfully defended her Masters thesis (Yay, V! Congratulations, you Master, you!), which totally called for a party. V, Anne and I loaded up on the snacks and settled in for a guilty pleasure -- watching the ridiculous dance movie Step Up. Wow. That movie is bad. HI-larious. Completely fun to watch and make fun of.

I ate a turkey leg. I ate spinach and artichoke dip. I ate pasta salad. I ate tortilla chips. I ate cake and ice cream.

It's an interesting flavor combination, I realize.

I had crazy dreams last night.

I still feel bloated and want to sleep for a year.

The irony (the Alanis Morissette definition, naturally)? Today I have to starve cells in preparation for a mating. Starving sounds like a pretty sweet deal right now.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fruitful trip and lucky socks

Well, hello again! It seems I just keep going on trips and leaving you hanging. Oh, what's that you say? You didn't notice? Figures.

I spent last week in Toronto at York University doing experiments. Here's the quick and dirty -- Since February, I've been trying to repeat an immunocytochemistry experiment that a lab at York has been doing for a year. I've attempted this experiment dozens of times with no discernible result. If you think that didn't frustrate the H-E-double hockey sticks outta me... So, Doc packed me up and sent me to the source where I spent five days doing two matings, collections, round after round of immunofluorescence and a Western blot. The result? A result! Yes, the experiment worked just as it should have. Wonderful! What's not so wonderful? I have no idea why. There was nothing in their protocol that was appreciably different from the way I've been doing it down here. Argh. So now I'm going through the experiment with a fine toothed comb and repeating here again, hopeful that some Canadian magic rubbed off on me and it will work here. Wish me luck. If it turns out to just be the air up there I'm totally screwed.

While there I did get to ride the Rocket into the city and stroll around for a bit. I'd not been to Toronto before and everyone always says it's so nice. And it is nice, but I spent much of my time walking around thinking that it's just not quite as nice as Milwaukee. I swear I should be put on a payroll somewhere for constantly squealing my love for Beer Town. My incredible bias aside, I snapped some pics of my quite enjoyable little jaunts.

I admit I was totally on the lookout for a close encounter with Geddy, Neil, or Alex but, alas, it was not to be. I'll get to see them in Milwaukee on Sept. 5 -- w00t! Instead, I encountered ginormous fallopian tube-shaped public art.

Down along the harborfront are many apartments, condos, and office buildings. But nestled among them is a little treat -- Captain John's Seafood Boat. I was completely tempted to sample some of their fine wares but, surprisingly, frugality prevailed.

I gazed longingly at their menu and am relieved to be able to say yes, Anne, they have chicken fingers. You could survive here. ;)

Chinatown was bustling and full of really foreign (and not entirely pleasant) smells. I know, I'm sure I'm a spoiled American brat, but if the Hy-Vee ever smelled like those markets, I wouldn't go inside. It was still fun, though.

And I did find a really great Chinese bakery where they make delicious meat-filled buns that I would totally eat every day if I could. They were awesome.

I have no explanation for the gigantic metal pipe fashioned into a "tree" which has become home to enormous woodpeckers. This thing is several stories high in front of the convention center.

Only in Canada. They really know how to make a billboard you notice. This one was at Union Station.

So, did anyone else in my corner of the blogosphere watch and lurve a 90's television show called Forever Knight? Besides Rush, that show is what I most associate with Toronto. The show opened every week with a cityscape featuring, of course, the CN Tower. So I was happy to get a somewhat dramatic, dusky photo of the tower. Watch out for vampires!

Before it got too dusky, I went down to the harbor and watched the boats for a bit. What did I do while I watched? I worked on Second Sock, of course! Sock and I enjoyed the view very much.

Between labwork and sight seeing, I didn't have much time to work on Second Sock, but my flights were another story. So, without further ado, I present to you in all their finished glory...


Yay! They're all done and they're wonderful!!! I absolutely adore them. I wore them to the Brewer's game on Sunday and it turns out that they're lucky socks, to boot! Fab! I'm just tickled every color in the box.

I've already started my next pair of socks, but they're a gift so I can't post pics until they're done and received. Gator requested a pair for his birthday -- which is August 1, so I don't know if I'll make it -- which surprised me a little because of the extra care involved with handmade socks. I'm happy he wants some though. I love making things for him. :)

I had a great trip, but I'm glad to be home now. There are no more trips on the horizon, so the blogging can resume uninterrupted.

Y'all can rest easy.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

And she's off!

I'm leaving today for Toronto for heavy duty science action! Hold down the blogosphere while I'm gone and don't do anything I wouldn't do. I'll see you all next week!



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Blogging has made me a bi7ch

Happy Super Lucky Day! (07/07/07 -- all sevens, all the time!)

It is hot and oh so humid this morning. I have the air on and two fans blowing and I still just can't seem to feel dry. Sticky, icky. The sky is deceptively pretty:

I need to clean my apartment today, and I hate doing that when it's hot and sticky. I will sweat and fan myself with my shirt. I know that this is a normal response to this situation, but it still makes me feel like I'm turning into my mother.

Okay, now I'll explain the title of this post. I started this blog to record daily stuff for Gator, friends and family when I moved away to start grad school. I emailed the blog address to everyone. If anyone wants to know what's going on with me, it's on my blog. This is really as exciting as it gets. Some of my friends have blogs as well, and I keep up with them. And if I get behind, I go check it out before I email them. That way I don't ask them questions that are answered in their blog. Makes sense, right?

Now, I'm lazy as all get-out, I readily admit it. I also started this blog so that I could write stuff once and everyone could read it, rather than writing it in a dozen individual emails, which would be annoying (to me), or sending a page of mundane crap about myself as a mass mailing to everyone in my address book, which would also be annoying (to them).

So here's where I become a beyotch. It annoys me when sweet people that I love very much email me and ask me what I'm up to and if I'm in Missouri for the summer or if I have to take classes and stay in Wisconsin. I've given this person my blog addy several times. And if you read my blog at all, you know the answers to these questions. I don't want to re-write all my summer activities. Because I'm lazy and selfish. I also don't want to just respond with "It's all in my blog, go read it," because I don't want to appear lazy and selfish.

I don't like this about myself, mind you. But I know myself very well. If I tried to change it -- even if it was the best-intentioned attempt ever -- it wouldn't last. I'd give me about two weeks. Okay, I'm totally lying. I'd give myself three days before I got distracted by the rest of my life and just started being myself again. And myself has become an email bi7ch.



Friday, July 06, 2007

This just crazy excites me

Houston, we have a sock! I finished it last night, put it on, and was thrilled when it fit like a glove! I've been very lucky with my first sock and have experienced no major problems (knock on wood). Silver and her wonder tutorial can take most of the credit.

I'll cast on the mate tonight and take it with me to Toronto. Maybe I'll become like one of those people who take pictures of their socks in exciting and exotic locales. Like we used to with the Lando and Mulder action figures. Just trading one form of dorkiness for another, here, kids. ;)


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Reuben rolls and sweet tarts

I had a wonderfully lazy Independence Day. I sat by the pool and knit on my sock, talked to neighbors, and generally soaked up the sun. Last night, the roof was the place to be! About a quarter after nine, it started -- all the city parks and nearby suburbs started their fireworks shows and we could see them all from our rooftop perch. We have a not-quite 360 degree view and there were more than forty separate shows we could see going on at the same time. At one point it looked like the whole world was lighting up -- in every direction there were beautiful displays. Spectacular! They had forecast rain, and there were some threatening looking clouds to the southwest, but they managed to miss us.

We were not so lucky on Tuesday night. That was the night I went to Summerfest to see Weird Al. It started raining an hour before the show while we waited for Al and all through the performance. Of course, after the encore, it stopped. Figures.

The Summerfest grounds near the skylifts

Egg rolls? No, silly rabbit, these are Mader's Reuben rolls!!

The south end of the grounds from the north

While I wandered around, I discovered a really fun cover band (metal-techno versions of everything from Mamma Mia to Sweet Home Alabama) called the Sweet Tarts. They're going to play at the Wisconsin State Fair, too, so I hope to see them again.

Sorry, no pictures of Al due to the copious amounts of raindrops falling on my head. It was a fabulous time anyway. He played most of my faves, including the two most important -- The Saga Begins and Yoda. The geeks were out in fine force. It was awesome.

I hope all of you from the U.S. had a fabulous holiday and I hope the rest of you had a peachy day, too! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Playing catch-up

Hang on to yer hankies, kids, it's all happening. Everything I've promised to show and failed miserably to follow through on. So sit back, get comfy, and bask in the part of my life that doesn't involve sucking up protozoa through a teeny tiny tube.

First off, unfinished Snowflake Mondays business. Yesterday's flake is now blocked and stiffened.

I'm not happy with it, but it's my fault, not the design's. First of all, I switched from a commercial stiffener to a mixture of white glue and water and it just isn't very stiff. Many people swear by the white glue, but so far I'm not impressed. Also, if I do it again I will use bigger thread (this is #20). You should have seen it in the voodoo stage -- it was just a sea of pinheads. There was barely room for me to pin some parts. Oh well, live and learn. But I love the design. Thanks again, Judy!

The Zodiac is finished except for the zipper (which I haven't purchased yet) and embroidery. The I-cord isn't perfect, but I got so frustrated with it that I was happy when it turned out this well. Otherwise I might have thrown it across the room and given up. So, in the interest of my mental health I decided to let go a little, slip out of the perfectionist persona, and call any errors "artifacts of a lovingly hand-made item". Plus, the wonky bit is mostly in the back where I can't see it, so I can live in denial. :)

Oh! And I found the cutest little buttons that I think are perfect for it! Cute, cheerful and bright. Lurve them!

Now, I realize that my previous photo of my first sock was barely a start at all. It wasn't a sock, it was jut a little tube -- it could have been anything! But now -- now -- it can only be one thing...

That, kids, is a SOCK!! Still don't believe me? Would it help if I stuck a poorly pedicured foot in it? It would? Okay, then...

Yep, that's a sock alright. Whee!

Last Saturday, I went on a little outing. There's a yarn store called Ruhama's to the north, up in Whitefish Bay, that has a nice website and is, most importantly, just a couple of blocks from a bus stop. It's also only about six blocks from Bayshore Town Center, a big new outdoor mall. I decided to make a day of it.

I did remember to take my camera with me. But, did I remember to actually take any pictures during the day? Of course not! This is Sus! Sus is an idiot! When Sus is shopping, she becomes as a chimpanzee! "Oh, look! Shiny! Ooooh! No! Look there! Shinier!" The best laid plans become dim, distant memories swept over by a sea of pretty things that Sus does not, but possibly could, own. I swear I'm a walking advertisement for evolution. 'Cause there ain't nothin' intelligent 'bout this design.

Now, you would think, since it was my first stop and the idea was fresh in my mind, that I would at least remember to take some photos of the great selection at Ruhama's, and I did. Remember, that is. But, thought me, I won't just barge into this lovely little shop, run, I'm sure, by sweet ladies, and start randomly photographing their stuff. So, my great plan went, I would go in, look around, chat with the yarn store people, develop a bit of a rapport, then start randomly photographing their stuff. A fine plan, I'm sure. But then, then, I was distracted...

... by CLEARANCE YARN!! Stacks and stacks of bags of yarn offered for less than half price! Alpaca! Silk! Mohair! Merino! Cotton! It was everywhere! I was helpless -- completely, utterly helpless. I looked, I stroked, I dreamed, I selected, I did mental math, I purchased! All thoughts of grand plans flew straight out me wee noggin. I was able somehow, mostly by thoughts of eviction and sitting in the dark without internet access due to bill nonpayment, to keep my fiscal sanity. But I did a mighty fine job, methinks.

Now, this is serious yarn pr0n. You may want to avert your eyes. Some of you won't care a whit, but some of you will. And I do and, really, isn't that what's important? ;)

Dale of Norway's Stork 100% cotton fingering weight, color "5", a pale, pale green. Two balls, 390 yds total. Destined to become Breeze socks.

Rowan Classic Natural Silk Aran, 73% viscose, 15% silk, 12% linen, color 464 "Aero". Four balls, 284 yds total. Destiny undetermined.

Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Baby Alpaca Sport Weight. Five balls, 600 yds total. Destiny undetermined.

Whew! I may need a nap now. ;)

So, that's what I've been up to. Upcoming fun? Well, tonight it's Summerfest to see Weird Al, and next week I travel to Toronto for a week to visit a lab at York University to learn an immunocytochemistry technique. And I'm gonna try real, real hard with that picture takin' thang.

Really, I am!!


Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm not making this up!

Your Daddy Is Darth Vader

What You Call Him: Old Man

Why You Love Him: You don't love him, you just love calling him "daddy"


Delayed gratification

Okay, I know I promised pictures of pr0n, and I have some, but I'm in a hurry this morning (mating Tetrahymenae wait for no man!) so the pr0n will just have to wait. Sorry! Maybe waiting will just make it better.

I do have a sad, sad picture of a snowflake for your perusal, however. I finished it this morning (I was nodding off while crocheting it last night, so I decided to give it up for the night), so it's not blocked and stiffened. But it's a flake! I'm back, baby! w00t!

This is a sweet little pattern by my blog buddy, Judy. She designed it based on a photo of a real snowflake, and she did an awesome job. Once it's blocked I'll repost so you can see how nice the design really is.

Okay, off to separate individual mating pairs of single-celled protozoa by sucking them up a teeny tiny tube. You are SO jealous!!!