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Bulk Mice

Opening up this e-mail from a coworker first thing this morning left a smile on my face all day today:

Has anyone had to purchase mice?  I need some mice and some specific reagent for an organ transplant surgeon.


No good reason, but smiles all around...still.
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Randall Munroe at Dartmouth

Who wants to come up?

--- Start of forwarded message ---

Fellow xkcd fans,

I am pleased to announce that Randall Munroe HAS agreed to
visit Dartmouth.(!!!)
Thank you again to everyone who took the time to email him;
your creativity and
sense of humor did the trick!

So here is where we currently stand:

Randall will be visiting in November (sorry to anyone who
will be off-campus
then; we'll take lots of pictures!). Now we need to tackle
funding and to
organize advertising and the event itself. (Yes, fall term
is a little ways off,
but we need to start early in order to ensure that
everything will run
smoothly.) So as you enjoy your summer, it would be awesome
if you could perhaps
find a pocket of time here or there to do any of the following
actually-not-at-all-strenuous tasks:

1) Tell your friends! Talk to people who already xkcd fans,
and convert as many
as-of-yet unenlightened math/science/other afficionados as
possible into xkcd
fans. Just build up excitement in the student body! If you
find anyone
interested in the event, forward this blitz and tell him/her
to blitz me (DND:
NYH) so I can add him/her to the blitz list.

2)  Use those brilliant minds of yours to dream up ways of
making Randall's
visit unforgettable. Here's what happened when Randall
visited MIT:
http://blag.xkcd.com/2007/05/16/mit-talk/ (Randall's own
blog report on the
event), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhZuC4ihBeo (video).
We can totally do
better than MIT!, right? And think outside the box -- the
pranks can (and
probably should) be spread out throughout the visit, not
just concentrated
during his actual speech. Browsing through the xkcd archive (
http://xkcd.com/archive/) might provide you with some good
ideas -- and a very
entertaining few hours, regardless of whether you come up
with any ideas! Blitz
back with any ideas for his visit or for pre-visit advertising.

3)  If anyone has any experience with bringing in speakers,
organizing large
events, and/or requesting funding, I would greatly
appreciate your advice.
(COSO-recognized and non-COSO-recognized clubs all have
valuable perspectives :)

Thanks very much, and enjoy your summer!

--- End of forwarded message ---
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Weekend Update

Friday: The garden party went very well.  Lisa's place is very inspiring, and the elaborate stonework terrace gave my aunt and I some great ideas for the layout of our future yard.  I had a very enjoyable time with electron100, and then took him home to go to bed before his final.  I arrived back home just in time for to meet cos at my door.

Saturday:  cos and I brought my aunt coffee at work, went to the farmers market, helped my friend John plant his tomato plants (which we named Sandy, Claire and Dwayne), and then drove out to Bethel to look at 4 different houses.  None of them were promising once we saw them.  The first was completely gutted, but showed a lot of potential.  It could have been fixed into a lovely place, had it not been down a steep one lane road, in a flood plain, within 10 feet of railroad tracks and surrounded by some exceptionally trashy neighbors.  The other three weren't quite so bad, but none were good.

Sunday: cos, electron100 and I went to hippy breakfast at the farmstead in Dorchester.  It was tasty, as always.  We had hoped to see trilobites and annodomini, but they did not make it.  I gave them the grand tour, and we played with farm animals in the sun.  We came home, and snuggled waiting for my co-worker to bring...

*drum roll please*

My new gigantic king size bed!  It's freaking huge!  I can totally sleep a whole softball team in here =)

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I found an excellent example of something I tried to explain to underwatercolor a few months back.  Most people think I'm a very quiet person, when in fact that's generally not the case.  I just don't speak when I don't feel I have something to add to the conversation.  Most of the time, my knowledge base does not match with those around me, and that which I can speak to in an intelligent manner does not come up in casual conversation.

Case and point: Womble decided that he's going to try to make soap from bacon grease and wood lye, and asked my advice.  I launched into a 5 minute lecture on how exactly to go about doing that, how to vary the ratio to change the texture of the final product, the different types of soap that different fats make, the difference between using potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide, etc.  The girl sitting next to me was completely taken aback, and asked how the hell I knew that.  I shrugged.

How often does that type of stuff come up in casual conversation?  How often will someone ask you what the best tomato variety is for their climate, or what's the best wood splitting technique, or how apple genetics work (it's very fascinating I assure you...).

All my friends are tech nerds, and every man I've ever dated has been a computer programmer.  I have very little to contribute to the sorts of nerdy conversations they're likely to get into.  I've been around it long enough that I can understand the lingo, but the converse is not true.  People rarely have any interest in the sorts of things I'm likely to rant about.  Thus, at just about any social gathering, I sit in the corner and people watch.  All the while, gathering a reputation as the quiet girl that one must be careful not to scare off or offend.  
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Labyrinth of the Breast

"No one who has true fiends can know what true solitude means, even if the whole world surrounding him should consist of adversaries.  Alas, I can see that you do not know what it means to be alone.  Wherever there have been powerful societies, governments, religions, or publio opinions--in short, wherever there was any kind of tyranny, it has hated the lonely philosopher;  for philosophy opens up a refuge for man where no tyranny can reach:  the cave of inwardness, the labyrinth of the breast; and that annoys all tyrants. That is where the lonely hide;  but there too they encounter their greatest danger..." --Existentialism, Kaufmann
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Gaming Furniture

A Co worker asked me to post this for him, as he has about 2 weeks to get rid of the stuff before he moves:

My wife and I have moved in to a smaller place and do not want to pay to store all of this furniture.  If you know of anyone who would be interested in buying any of it, please let me know.  2 years ago, all of it cost $5,000+.  We just need to get rid of it. 

The pool table, cue rack, balls, and cues for $500 and you move it.
The card table w/chairs and reversible top for $850.
The pub table w/chairs for $250.


Collapse )
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 I'm a little dissapointed at the moment.  I've been looking into grad school programs that I could do while working at my present job, since they've agreed to be very flexible in terms of scheduling to allow me to go back to school.

I've been thinking about the Dartmouth's Thayer school's Masters in Engineering Management program.  I wanted to see if I could take a class per term for a while until I've decided that's what I'd like to pursue.  It would take me about 16 courses to finish.  As an enrolled student, it's ~13,000 per quarter (3 courses), and you can apply for financial aid.  To take one course at a time it is $4,892 per course.  That's a lot...

The education benefits at work are not as good as I thought, and only pay up to $2,250 per year.  Thus, I really can't afford to go back to school.  I'm looking for ideas on how to make this work.  Any thoughts? 

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WIld Things

My mom just started a side job making dog toys out of real animal fur.  She's going to thrift stores and buying old fur coats, cutting them apart and making them into these:

They call them Wild Things.  Besides paying for all her expenses, they give her $7 each to sew them...and they sell to the consumer for about $25-30 each.

As most people, I'm disturbed by the concept of furs, but I'm not sure what to make of this use for them.  I've heard people argue that thrift store fur to be worn by people is different, because it's already been through one life cycle of purpose.  The gangly, dead head hippy that runs the thrift store out by me wears exclusively leather pants.  He's a vegan and opposed to leather, but he can feel sexy and socially conscious by getting thrift store leather because it's already dead and through one life.

I'm not entirely sure I agree, but my counter arguments are not well formed.  What do you think?
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Next Phase

A phase of my life ended last night, and a new one begins today.

For better or worse, Kat has been my best friend for the past 5 years.  The only person I was really close to.  There were plenty of times we wanted to kill each other, but at the end of the day, we still had each others back, no matter what. 

In the last few years, however, we've grown apart.  We're different people.  The things that gave us cause to care for one another have largely dissapeared, and our common interests are few and far between.  Neither of us wanted to admit it. 

I was willing to take the easy way out.  I know she's leaving for grad school in August.  I would have let it ride out, pretending that things were ok, pretending that we still shared this bond and that we still told each other everything.  She is stronger than that, and was not willing to compromise.  One of the things I love about her is she's the all or nothing sort.

She came over last night and broke up with me.  Just like that, my heterosexual life mate is out of my life.

She's been out of my life to a lesser degree for a long time now, but there is some finality in this, and it hurts.

Perhaps this is where the lacking in my life for the last 8ish months has stemmed from.  I lack a wing man. 

I know a great many people, but really none of which I'm close to.

Perhaps it's because I don't know how to be a friend in the traditional fashion.  I sure as hell don't know how to be a lover in the traditional fashion, so it's not an unreasonable assumption.

She made some good points to, about the behaviors I lack that are trademark in societies concept of a friend.  I don't really want to change any of those things about myself.  Thus, I've reached an impasse.

I seek meaning in life, because other than the hedonistic pleasure of the day, I can see none.  I see those around me that have found solice in religion, spouses, friends...all of which seem to lack a greater significance to me.  Religion is a cop out, a security blanket to duck under in case of nuclear holocaust.  Spouses, in the traditional monogamous sense, are an artificial creation developed to give added significance to the one person in the world desperate enough to cling to you and take solace in control over your genitalia.  And friends, I'm not sure what to do with friends.  There is no one person I want to see all the time.  I can only handle people with their individual issues in small doses.  So I end up like a hummingbird, flitting from flower to flower.  Having a very intense interaction with each one for mere moments before moving on.  That's not fair to them, as in the end it's one sided.  It provides them with no fulfillment, and in the long term, it provides me none either.

I want to say that I'm complete within myself.  It's a goal I've always had, and as I grow closer and closer to it I wonder what 'complete' really means.  I can have a pleasurable existence without the need for outside interaction, but to what end?  Where's the significance?  What scares me more is that there does not seem to be any more significance with the added influence of others on your existence, regardless of how much everyone pretends there is. 

I suppose existential crisis is a good first step in the next phase of my life; that is, in as much as I ever have a crisis.  I pride myself on the fact that nothing can get to me, nothing can hurt me.  Thus, this crisis, just as every other, is insignificant.  It barely skims my surface, and I'll go on as before.  Bouncy to the world around me, and as always, lacking direction and significance.