Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Two NYT columns for this? Really?

Look, here's a NYT columnist who thinks he's both courageous and original for suggesting that women aren't as good as men at math and science:


Brilliant! To that I say -- great. Thanks a lot, you brave, original douchebag.

But in earnest, why does this one small section of science & technology legislation deserve such thorough discussion, in two separate columns from one writer? What is so troubling about requiring Federal science agencies to hold workshops to raise awareness about gender bias in research grant awards?
Heavens, no! Not workshops!!

If other countries can be highly competitive in math and science while maintaining less of a gender gap, then surely our country can, too. Dude, there is an institutional bias in these areas. If all you can come up with is to contest the existence of a bias, with no thoughts on how to remedy, don't write the column. It's not helping.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

belated holiday cheer

I know it's a little late, but maybe I'll come back and read this next year and enjoy it.

The Saturday before Christmas Kevin and I were running errands like mad before we headed out to his parents' house for dinner. When we got to the post office where I needed to buy various denominations of postage stamps, there was a line just to park. Kevin left me there so he could dash off to do some more shopping while I waited to buy stamps.

After about 45 minutes of standing in line, I finally entered the actual office part of the stuffy P.O. and was feeling a little hopeful to be able to see the clerks. A few minutes later, a woman several places in line behind me began humming loudly - the tune of What Child Is This? - with her eyes closed. It was a little odd, I thought, and it made me feel kind of uncomfortable. Her humming grew louder.

I wasn't sure what to think of this lady. On the one hand, there were all sorts of people at the post office who may not be celebrating Christmas like she was, and maybe they just wanted to mail something in peace. But on the other hand, when I considered how long I'd been waiting, it seemed unlikely that people might be so patient if they weren't sending cards and gifts to loved ones. So maybe I was just being too sensitive. But another part of me also thought she might be armed and dangerous.

Anyway, she then started to sing Silent Night out loud, and shortly thereafter a woman and her daughter joined in harmony with the first woman -- loudly, clearly, and perfectly tuned. It was lovely, actually. They laughed at the end, and continued with Jingle Bells, inviting others to join in.

And the next thing I knew, the 40 or so people crammed in the room with me were all singing and laughing together as we waited. The clerks seemed happy enough with it, and finally I reached the desk. The woman helping me said that she'd never seen anything like it happen before, but yelled out to the crowd that she'd been waiting for something like this!! I wanted to stay and listen for a while, since it had started to feel kind of like a Capra film, but needed to send out my greetings and hurry off. Outside people were honking horns and fighting over parking spots (I actually saw a woman get out of her car and bang on the driver-side window of someone who was blocking other drivers). But inside people were happy, singing, and enjoying something beautiful.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Oh, the carnage!

When Olivia doesn't like a toy we've humbly presented to her, she won't play with it. Billie, however, not wanting us to mistake her rage for simple indifference, takes a more direct approach...

Exhibit A - The orange pom-pom ball:

Exhibit B - Billie looking plainly self-satisfied:

Monday, February 16, 2009

clumsy on a good day.

I shouldn't have been offended when a wii fit on loan from a coworker asked "Do you trip a lot when you walk?"

Only a few days later on a friday night at 1 am, I painfully introduced my face to the corner of the living room wall. I was not intoxicated, only tired.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I'll have what she's having.

There's a new gym on the ground floor of our apartment building, occupying the space that was once one-half of the music store, before they downsized. I like to hit the treadmill fairly late in the evenings to avoid the after-work rush. I also prefer to avoid the grunters, those who are looking for a date, and even the gym employees - they're a little annoying as well.

I finished tonight's run around 8:45 or so, and grabbed a mat to stretch on. I looked around and noticed there was one person remaining - an older lady on the elliptical machine. I went about my routine over in a corner on the floor. The lady gradually increased her speed after a few minutes, and began to grunt a little..... then moan a little. She was muttering a few things that I couldn't quite understand, but it sounded like either she had a bad cramp, or else maybe she was having a really good time.

I realized she probably figured that she was alone. So I thought about clearing my throat or coughing - loud enough so that she'd hear it over the television, the radio, and her headphones.
But to do that when you're carefully balanced on one elbow and one knee could only end in disaster. So I continued stretching. And the lady became a little louder... a little louder.... and then, out of breath, she stopped the machine and got down.

Then she saw me and started explaining away - that she didn't think anyone was left, and that she wouldn't have been huffing and puffing quite so loudly otherwise. I told her not to worry, and we briefly chatted about how great it is to get through a really tough workout. But the whole time I was thinking, "did she just... ?", and "is that even possible... just from the elliptical machine?". And finally the only thing I could say was "at least you know you'll sleep well tonight!" And we parted ways.

But seriously - I salute you, elliptical machine-orgasm-enabled lady. When in just one hour of your Friday night you can get in a solid workout, watch some television, and take care of business, I say you're probably doing better than most of us.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A few things I appreciate...

  1. A great recipe for pumpkin cake, recommended by a fellow blogger and baker. Not so good for you, but it calls for homemade caramel, which is really fun to make. And it's really, seriously delicious.
  2. A very odd, very warm front that made its way through yesterday, melting about a third of the snow on our balcony. Now we can almost pretend that there has only been a moderate amount of snowfall this month.
  3. A really nice day with the in-laws yesterday. And 3a) their new Wii. Much extra gratitude for their new Wii.
  4. The big mess on my desk which serves as evidence of having written Christmas cards to almost everyone I'd wanted to, almost in time for the holidays. That's right, Kevin. I appreciate my own mess - let me know if you are able to make sense of that.
  5. Not having had time to put up our Christmas tree. And therefore not having to take it down again.
  6. Our new best friend, the television.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don't forget to take out the junk first...

Hi there, blog. I'm sorry about the ongoing neglect. Anyway...

I cooked a whole turkey for the first time this Thanksgiving. When I mentioned my plans to a coworker on Wednesday, he told me to "just remember to take out the junk first." And I did remember, kind of.

While prepping the bird I found a meaty
neck tucked into the cavity, and I put it in a container for future soup purposes. But the cavity was otherwise empty, unlike those of chicken I'm used to cooking, which would contain a variety of small visceral organs. Doubting that there were none included with this turkey, I asked Kevin to shine a flashlight up the bird's butt so I could have a better look, but still we found nothing.

So, feeling safe, I went ahead with roasting, and it came out really well. Then I started to carve. I cut right into a neat little pocket of neck skin that they'd tucked the organs into, wrapped in paper. Dammit. Was it safe to eat? Kevin's mom hurried over to say that the meat should be fine, but we just shouldn't eat the organs. I wondered who would have turned down a leg for, say, a nice chewy heart... but I didn't ask. So we ate it anyway, and it tasted fine, and no one got sick. I still don't fully understand why it's dangerous to leave the junk in, but it would be nice if they didn't hide it so well. At least now I know where to look.