School Starts Again Today

And in honor of that, and in honor of mother’s day last week I give you “the Biologist’s Mother’s Day Song”.

Happy Monday!

Those Dang Brits! *Well ok, it’s really the Irish but…

No, I’m not posting about the royal wedding, I didn’t watch the wedding, I know nothing about the wedding.  I’m going to go a different direction. I’m going with death*.

Well, not really.

I’m actually going to tell you about “Skulduggery Pleasant” which is the title of a book and of a series of books and also happens to be the name of one of the characters in the book and the series of books, although, oddly enough, not really the main character.  That would be Stephanie Edgley.  Or Valkyrie Cain. Or…

What it all comes down to is that they’re charming books and you should all rush right out and buy them (yes, buy them, don’t just rent them from the library, I need you to increase the sales in the US so that they’re easier to get.  We sent a gal to England to get the last two books for us but she says that she probably won’t be going again and there are two more books to come and…)

The point is that they’re good, funny and interesting and if you’re into audiobooks you should definitely do these in audio because they’re set in Ireland and they’re read by an Irish (I assume) guy and that accent is just so fantastic that I might cry for you if you miss it.

So there you have it, Skulduggery Pleasant.  Get on it.

*Skulduggery also happens to be dead (see the skeleton) so see, death.  I wasn’t kidding.


If you tell your daughter that she does not have to go to school but that she may not be in the house for the 8 hours that she would be at school (and you be sure that you’ve got her iPod in your pocket) and it’s cold and rainy outside it will only take her about 15 minutes to give up and go to school.

(I wonder how that scene will play out in her movie?)


When they make a movie of my children’s lives, in the one scene where they show me, to explain what their childhood was like and therefore why they are the way they end up being, is it going to be the scene where I’m laughing and hugging them or the one where I’m impatient and yelling at them?

Getting Away With Murder and Other Passtimes

I want to make it clear right up front that I am in no way complaining here.  I don’t mind that this is happening per se.  I just think it’s interesting.

I’ve accidentally become teacher’s pet.

It started out innocently enough, answering questions in class, usually correctly although occasionally not, asking pertinent questions, laughing at her jokes (I thought they were funny).  Maybe it was my interest in the subject matter or maybe it was my lack of total disinterest (you should see the looks on the faces of some of the people in this class) whatever it was I think she likes me.  I think that’s great, I like to be liked.

I first noticed that this might be working to my advantage when we went over the last test in class.  I did well on the test, I knew the material, I mostly understood what she was getting at in her questions and answered mostly appropriately.  But there were a few questions as we went over the test and she told us what specifically she had been looking for in the answers that I wondered.  It wasn’t that I had gotten the question wrong, it was just that I had described the process without putting the name to it.  I knew the name, I should have included it but for whatever reason when writing my paragraph answer to her question I failed to use the name.  I got the question right anyway.  Now in my defense, I did describe the process which shows an understanding of what’s really going on which is, to my mind, more important than giving the name of the process.  I appreciated her giving me the benefit of the doubt, but I wouldn’t have faulted her for taking off a point.

Last week I turned in a draft of a research paper for this class.  In class she had mentioned that it needed to be 2 pages long.  I did some research, finding myself almost obsessively interested in the subject matter (see this post) and wrote 2 1/2 pages on the flu.  It wasn’t until after I had turned it in that I read through the actual requirements for the 2 pages draft.  They include things like a preliminary works cited page, which I haven’t gotten around to working on yet, and at least 3 in text citations, again, not something I bothered with.  Oh well, I thought, I’ll probably still get in the mid 80% range and my grade so far in this class is such that that won’t be a problem.

I got my score today, 100%.

As I mentioned at the outset, I’m not complaining.  It was a draft which I don’t usually write, that’s just not how I roll. It didn’t even begin to follow the outline that I had turned in a month before (in conjunction with not drafting I do not outline stuff before I write it, at least not on paper) in fact, I didn’t even keep a copy of the outline that I had sent in so I couldn’t have followed it if I wanted to.  And in reality, as an indicator of how the whole thing is going to turn out it’s 100% work.  My final paper will be good, it will have all the necessary points as far as numbers of references and in text citations, it will be the correct length and it will be as science heavy as I can make it (which was not my plan when I chose my topic, in fact I chose that topic because it has a lot of historical implications and at the time I thought that I was going to find that a lot more interesting.  I was wrong, microbiology is fascinating and I’m loving the science) all things that are going to make it a paper worthy of a grade in the mid to high 90’s. And I’m certainly not complaining about not missing points but…


64 Degrees

When it’s sixty four degrees in my house and I’m wearing a sweatshirt, snuggling under a blanket and complaining that it’s freezing.  Right now it’s sixty four degrees outside and I’m considering stripping down to my bathing suit and sunbathing.

A Post Far Too Long For the Pointless Point I’m Trying to Get Across

For six years, from the age of 12, when my older brother left for college, until the age of 18 when I left for college, I got up every morning at 4:00.  Or maybe it was 4:30.  It might have been 5:00 in the summers.  Shoot, that was a long time ago, I can’t remember.  The point is that I was getting up at dawn’s tramp stamp (because it was just a little before the crack…).  And not only getting up but getting up to deliver newspapers.  Newspapers that had to be placed on doorsteps, none of this end of the driveway crap for us (I can’t remember if that was the Washington Post’s rule or our distributor’s rule or my parents rule but the fact remains that that was the rule (keep your shirt on, I’m getting to the point.) and I’ve always been more or less of a rule follower so I followed it.) which meant that I spent many hours of my formative years wandering around in the out of doors at the crack of dawn (and before) in all kinds of weather (Speaking of all kinds of weather, I remember the year of the storms that they made that movie “the Perfect Storm” about and while I was not swordfishing off the east coast through that series of storms I was living in Virginia which is on the east coast and I was delivering newspapers in snow up to my hips and I was doing it even though the US postal service had opted to not deliver mail.  Through rain and snow and dark of night… my left foot…) and in all seasons.

That’s what I’ve been trying to get to, the “all seasons” part.

Yesterday I had to be to work by 6:30 which meant that at 6:00 (a time affectionately known as dawn’s dimple) I was walking from my house to my car.  It was chilly, it was a bit windy, but I found as I put the key into the lock on the drivers door I looked up and one thought passed through my mind, “spring”.  There was something in the quality of the air, the way it felt and sounded that told me very clearly it’s spring.

Today it’s sunny, beautiful and 65 degrees.  Now I’m not saying that it won’t snow again this season, I’m not saying that I won’t spend a little more time cursing the cold before I start cursing the heat, I’m just saying that it’s spring.

And I’m not saying that I caused it, I’m just saying I was there when it happened.

Crossing Over

You know you’ve reached a whole new level of geekdom when you find that you can’t put down the book on the flu virus that you got to use as a reference on the paper you have to write for your microbiology class.

“Obvious Advice is the Worst Thing About Facebook”

This morning my sister posted this status on facebook: “i’m past the point of yelling….i’ve entered the defeated stage.” I responded with something (two things actually) about how I was right there with her but this other woman, someone who I’m sure is a completely lovely person, responded with “It gets better, I promise!”

Really? Really? Was this response necessary? Of course it gets better, the fact that there are still humans on the planet proves that it gets better. If it didn’t get better then our parents would have killed us all when we were kids and driving them crazy and we wouldn’t be here to have kids of our own to drive us crazy (in what some like to call the great circle of life).

Why do people feel the need to post, or even say, things like that?

When I complain (which I do with some regularity) I don’t want reassurance, I know that “this too shall pass”, and that “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” (or permanently debilitated), and I know that “it gets better”. I don’t need you to tell me. I don’t want you to tell me.

If that’s all you have to say then I want you to leave me alone.

However, because I am nothing if not helpful and accommodating, here is a list of the kinds responses that I will accept.

1. Snark right back. I comment that I hate the weather go ahead and tell me that the weather hates me too.
2. Tell me to get over myself. This is best done with overblown and somewhat amorphous problems used in comparison (“really, your kids are crying? Well there are kids in Libya who can’t cry because their despot governmental leader will kill them if they do”) as compared to something more tangible (“Your husband worked all day? Well my sister’s husband just bankrupted the family and then took off leaving her alone with 4 kids under 5”) but really the point is the same either way, in the grand scheme of things I don’t have it so bad.
3. Give me your comparable story. This is not done in the spirit of one-upmanship, I don’t want to hear about how your day was so much worse because… just tell me about how yours was bad too, misery loves company after all. (Unless your day really was that much worse, if I’m complaining that I stubbed my toe and you broke your femur you can go ahead and tell me to “get over it you whiny little baby.”)
4. Blow it out of proportion. I tell you that I messed up dinner, tell me that you’re so sorry for my loss (of dinner) and you hope that with some time to mourn and some therapy I can move on and still make something of my life. There’s nothing like blowing something even farther out of proportion to give a little perspective.
5. Make me laugh. Seriously, something, anything. In context or out, if you can make me laugh you’re golden.
6. Give me an “amen.” If you agree with me, you know what I’m saying and you agree with me and have felt or are feeling the same way toss me a “sing it sister” and be done with it.
7. Just stay silent. Often when I’m complaining I just want to get it out. I don’t need your support, I’m not looking for your sympathy, I just want to get it out there. If I’ve done that then my job is done. You read it and if you have nothing to add then your job is done. Wasn’t that easy?

I have one more thing to say because as obnoxious as the pointless platitudes are there is one thing that makes me want to stab myself (and the commenter) in the eye it’s the (((hugs))). Seriously people.

Bucking the System

For your listening pleasure, one of the least romantic songs ever written (that’s not of the “love stinks” variety).

Happy Valentine’s day.

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