purple fish guts

Monday, February 28, 2005

Gross not running for Gov.


DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Republican race for governor will be without Doug Gross.

The Des Moines attorney, who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Tom Vilsack in 2002, told The Associated Press Monday that he is not going to run because it would be too big a strain on his family.

I'm glad. I'm by no means a Vilsack fan, but there's just something about that guy that bugs.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I'm a ditz...

I'm not stupid, it's just that my brain is usually occupied with things much less practical than:
remember to turn off the lights in your car when you get home
you need to pay the bill before you leave the restaurant
you need to set the alarm if you are going to get up in the morning.

I don't have a fancy car that knows when to turn off the headlights. My reliable old Escort mistakenly trusts me to make that decision. So when my dear husband called me to turn around and return home so he could jump-start my car, I was a little irritated at myself, but not too surprised. No harm done... I was running a little early and had plenty of time to jump the car, drop off the kids and make it to Wellman's around 6.

That second one would have been a handy thought to think BEFORE I was almost home from Wellman's last night. I called Kris in a panic hoping she was still there and could pay for me. No such luck. My dear, sweet husband stopped by on his way home from band practice and took care of it for me.

When I woke up this morning I felt strangly rested. 8:30! We usually leave for church at 9... with a lot of scurrying we left around 9:30. The girls missed half of their Sunday School class, but didn't seem to mind. Again, my dear, sweet, wonderful husband was very understanding. We've been married for 12 years, so if I don't do something ditzy at least once a week he is probably surprised. (Three in less than 24 hours is more than average, though.)

So to the whole blogosphere (OK, the teeny percentage that drops by here) I want to say what a dear, sweet, wonderful, patient and good-humored husband I have. Thank you sweetie for continuing to put up with me. I love you :)

Saturday, February 26, 2005


I complemented Doug from Iowa Geek at the Iowa Blogger shindig on his cute daughter Brenna. I had seen pictures of her on his site, and she is a cutie. I know a cutie when I see one, because I have two of them :)

Iowa Bloggers

I enjoyed getting together tonight with other Iowa bloggers. I was a little distracted because tonight was the first time my two-year-old had ever been anywhere without her parents or grandparents. (She did fine, by the way.) Thanks to Jeff and his buddies Chad and Don from Tusk & Talon for the great idea. I now have some new (and old) "must reads" now that I have met the faces behind the words... They include Royce from the Iowa Libertarian, Jody and Doug from Iowa Geek, Dave from Hog Haven, Joe from Tax Updates, Brett from Beat Canvas, Kris from Random Mentality, Kris from Anywhere But Here, Steph from Bob, and Jarod from One Brick Shy. I hope we can do it again -- Hopefully blue fish can come too (and he can explain the origins of the name purple fish guts!)

Iowa Marine is a Hero

1st Sgt. Brad Kasal from southern Iowa was shot 7 times leading a group of Marines in a rescue mission. I get choked up reading how our men in uniform risk their lives for each other and our country. He might get the Medal of Honor for his bravery. I hope he does.

Hey Look...

I actually won a caption contest.


Friday, February 25, 2005

Indie Radio

I like Indie radio. I have since college. Unfortunately there's really only one station in my area that even remotely approaches the Indie category. It's a small college station that turns into a nightmarish kid's radio station (which my kids love) on the weekends.

But... there is hope. Check out Indie 103.1. They even have a M-F afternoon show hosted by Steve Jones. Many thanks to Greg at What Attitude Problem for the links.

Let's get the weird news out of the way: Steve Jones, the Sex Pistols guitarist, is now deriving his paycheck from Clear Channel...

Weirder still, it's all cool. Jones' five-day-a-week gig as a DJ at Indie 103, a Clear Channel-backed station in Los Angeles, is not a sign that he has pathetically sold out his youthful beliefs. "FCC no!" he says, dropping into his customary off-air vocabulary. "I'm out of here if they tell me what to FCCing play - that's it, mate." And the music on his two-hour show bears out his claim. A head-snappingly diverse jumble of vintage punk, unsigned local bands, ancient pop novelties, and a whole lot of vividly alive rock and roll, Jonesy's Jukebox is, according to Blender magazine, nothing less than "the best show on the radio."

Read the whole story at Wired.com

I'm listening to the morning show right now and they just played "Million Bucks" by All. That's a great song and I don't think I've ever heard it on the radio. This almost makes me want to shell out for one of those satellite radio thingies for my car.

Diversity Clubs

I was reading the Des Moines Register web-site this morning, looking for a laugh, and I found this article about a Diversity Club. "A Diversity Club?" I thought to myself. Isn't that bordering on the oxymoronic? I mean, aren't clubs, sorta by definition, comprised of people who have things in common?

Well, since we didn't have Diversity Clubs when I was in school, I thought I'd do a little more research. As it turns out, this is quite the craze. There's a whole bunch of them sprouting up all over the place. Where have I been?

There are even a couple 0n-line tutorials in case you are interested in starting your own Diversity Club.

How To Start a Diversity Club gives 10 easy steps. I found a couple of them to be rather amusing.

3. Be inclusive in your invitations to join your group. Invite your friends and family and encourage other members to do the same.

8. Involve adults as well. We all have a great deal to learn from each other!

Awwww....man. You mean I have to invite my parents? Why would I want to be in a club with my parents? They'll probably just want to sit around and talk about the good ol' days and play dominos. Or worse yet, they might push for a field trip to Furr's Cafeteria so we can see what old people eat like.

All One Heart seems to take a bit more of the "here's the way we do it.... so you should too" approach. They even provide The Pledge and What Can You Do.... Today? for you to print off and tape on your bathroom mirror.... and hand out to your members so they can all tape them on their bathroom mirrors. I don't know.... there's just something humerous about the idea of a formulaic diversity club.

After Googling a bit I started to realize that there are quite a few different interpretations of what a Diversity Club should be and do.

There are a whole bunch of the obligatory "We have a Diversity Club" web pages out there. In general, they look something like this and essentially give the message "The boss man says we have to have a Diversity Club. If you want to be a part go talk to a guidance counselor."

Some are trying to help kids learn about different cultures and customs... which is what I think they should be doing. A pretty good example of one of these is Greenhill School. They even have pictures of events on their site. It actually looks like it'd be fun.

The Diversity Club meets after school and is open to all Middle School students, faculty and parents. Each month we focus on a different part of the world. Students native to the country, or whose family is from the region, as well as students who have developed strong interests in the country, prepare informal presentations. Dance demonstrations, musical ensembles, and traditional clothing are part of the event. We always end the event by tasting authentic foods of the region covered.

Some have taken the cultural differences idea, combined it with the Gay Rights agenda, and then proceeded to focus on the negatives. There seems to be less of a "Let's learn about each other" mindset and more of a "This is the way we are.... so deal with it" attitude. I found evidence of some groups that appear to be a bit more militant, but overall I'd say Emmett O'Brien Technical High School is a pretty good example of this type.

The Diversity Club at Emmett O'Brien Tech for 2004-2005 is a merger of the two former clubs, Melange and Crossing the Line (Gay Straight Alliance). Because the goal of both groups is to increase tolerance and respect for people of all backgrounds, genders, races, religions, and abilities, we have combined the two groups and call ourselves Diversity/Alliance Club.

This club is open to all students who want to foster tolerance and respect for all students at Emmett O'Brien and in their communities. In October we participated in the National Mix-It Up At Lunch Day with schools all over the nation. It was an effort to have students sit at different tables during lunch so they could learn to know new people. We are also participating in No-Name-Calling Week from January 24-28 in order to encourage students to say positive things about each other rather than negative comments.

We are planning other activities including an international potluck and possibly a Talent Show. In the spring, we will participate in the National Day of Silence in memory of our GLBT friends who have been bullied, as well as possibly attend the True Colors Conference.

And then there were some that were just plain funny.... to me anyway.

Northfield High School

The Diversity Club is a place where any one can meet to discuss what to do about diverse issues like Martin Luther King Jr. day and Kwanzaa.

Penn State DuBois

Some common questions:
    What is diversity? Diversity according to the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary is "the condition of being diverse" (http://www.m-w.com/home.htm, January 22, 2001)

    Ok so know what is Diverse? Again, according to the dictionary it is "composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities" (http://www.m-w.com/home.htm, January 22, 2001)

    What is the club about? The club is about You and what you want to make of it.

Yes, I realize I'm going on and on and I don't really have a point to make. I was just curious what a "Diversity Club" might be, and I thought I'd pass on my findings.

There's still one thing that's bugging me about this whole thing. I've been to High School and I have a really hard time believing that kids are jumping on board with all this warm-n-fuzzy-embrace-diversity stuff. I mean the first thing that comes to mind when I hear "High School Diversity Club" is a bat that the football team keeps in the locker room. And I'm certain that somewhere there's a little pack of snotty teenage girls whispering:

    "Oh, my gawd. Can you believe her?"

    "No! No! I can't look."

    "She is like so completely weird."



    "I mean, she's not even a member of the diversity club."

    "That is like so un-cool"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

There's just something strange...

...about this German cantina which caters to anorexics and bulimics.
Sehnsucht ("Longing"), a cosy 50-seater cantina in the German capital's leafy Tiergarten district, is the brainchild of a former anorexic, employs a bulimic waitress and has an anorexic chef presiding over a menu that deliberately distances dishes from the ingredients they contain. Developed with the help of a nutritionist, the menu will list non-food names like Hallo (in reality a lobster bisque), Heisshunger ("Ravenous Hunger", a rack of lamb), and Seele ("Soul", which will appear at your table in the form of a cappuccino creme dessert).

Maybe it's the numerous SNL skit possibilities that fill my head or the idea of starting a restaurant with hopes of attracting people who consider food to be their nemesis. I don't know.... but something about it is strange.

It kinda makes me think of church. I've been talking to our pastors recently about who we, as a church, are hoping to attract. Apparently they see us as shooting for people with the "I'm really busy, barely have time for my kids, not really interested in church, tried it once and it was lame" mindset. Seems like a pretty tough crowd to me.

Maybe we could pick up some tips from the Sehnsucht folks.

Grand Rounds XXII

This week's Grand Rounds is at Catallarchy. It is the first Grand Rounds at a blog that is not exclusively a medical blog. Trent did a great job. I decided to submit on a whim, since this is also not exclusively a medical blog. (In fact, the post I submitted was my first medical one.) Welcome to any new readers!

One Hour Photo Paintings

Check out this One Hour Photo Paintings story over at J-Walk.

This helps confirm my belief that you "make it" as an artist by either making good stuff or by having a good gimmick that excuses the ugliness of your work.

Mark Takamichi Miller's gimmick? Steal photos of people you don't know and make paintings of them. This is a perfect scam because it takes the emphasis off of the quality of the artist's work. It doesn't really matter if the paintings are good or anything..... because that's not the point. The point is that the photos were stolen and that's why the work should be valued.

It's always fun to read the artistic-intellectual-speak that goes along with stuff like this.

I chose common snapshots as subject matter because I wanted to look very closely at something that wasn't intended to be looked at, except as a quick remembrance of something familiar (in this case a child's birthday party). I also wanted them to be people I didn't know so that I would not have any pre-conceived attitude towards them. In my paintings I tried to follow the pictures as exactly as I could. I attempted to transform them without the freedom to change the major parts of the photo. The painterly application de-emphasizes the story of the people and their party and emphasizes the unintentional formal elements.

These are private photos not intended for public viewing. I looked at them very carefully as I reproduced them as paintings for public viewing. This was an invasive and hostile act and is inherent to the work. They are intentional. They expose as an unwilling documentary the private lives of the subjects and the social rituals they engage in. But they also invade someone's privacy. There is no excuse for it except to say that the abrasive hostile act has always been one of the primary attractions to doing and viewing art. It is both a catharses for the maker and a private pleasure for the viewer. But this does not excuse the action. After doing this project, even I am afraid someone will have done something with my photos I leave for development. However, within the hostility, the paintings marry the engaged to the mundane, and in doing so make something beautiful where it was not.

From http://www.whitelead.com/markmiller/index.html

Uhhh... yeah... the hostility of your actions somehow makes your paintings beautiful. Sorry... not really seeing it.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Adventures in Microbiology

Science Fiction Twin feels his job in textbook publishing is too boring to blog about. Others like Streetdoc the paramedic blog exclusively about their jobs. A precious few like Kevin at Short Attention Span seem to have a job somewhat similar to mine, although I haven't found anyone with a job similar to mine who blogs about it. I have hesitated to blog about my job until now. Most people don't want to hear exciting exploits about E.coli or tapeworms. In fact, if you cringed at the word tapeworm, please stop reading now. My dear husband sweetly listens to my stories of work, but will beg me to share after the meal if the topic is unsettling. I forget that the topics we routinely talk about over lunch at work are not polite dinner conversation for the average person. "One of the patients at work had two different species of roundworm ova in his stool today! Please pass the spaghetti..."

I work in the microbiology department in a hospital. Some days I look at all of the urine cultures to determine what if any bacteria is growing in a patient's urine and what antibiotics the bacteria are susceptible to. Other days I might evaluate stool cultures, respiratory cultures, blood cultures, etc. Often the highlights come in parasitology. Des Moines has a sizable refugee population, and each refugee has a physical including an ova and parasite exam soon after he or she arrives. Many come harboring that which makes my job interesting.

The highlight this month was a tapeworm. We normally receive a stool specimen preserved in formalin. We examine the stool through a microscope looking for single-celled parasites like Giardia, or the ova (eggs) of the bigger parasites. In this case, though, the patient submitted about a dozen proglottids (segments of a tapeworm) for us to evaluate. After concentrating and examining the formalin the proglottids were submitted in, I found ova that were definately Taenia species. We typically don't differentiate between Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm). The eggs and proglottids look the same in both, and we rarely receive the proglottids. I've never been happy with just reporting Taenia species, because the pork tapeworm can cause a nasty complication called cysticercosis that the beef tapeworm doesn't. However, I had read somewhere that the species can be differentiated by injecting India ink into the uterine pore (hole in the side of the proglottid where eggs are laid) and counting the uterine branches. It took a couple of messy attempts, but I was ultimately sucessful determining the tapeworm to be Taenia saginata, the beef tapeworm. The patient and physician can rest assured that the patient is not harboring any nasty cysticerci.

My best days are the days when I can go the extra mile to help out a patient. And that is what makes an exciting day in microbiology...

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Kid Dictionary

diseasonine -- A kind of couch soap.... to be used on leather couches. It's also what makes the couch blue. You know.... like what we put on our food to make it taste good.... but it's for couches.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I bought a Mac

Heh, I can hear the Mac crowd now.
Rejoice! you tortured and wandering soul, for you have been found. Now, cast aside the false treasures of your sinful PC lifestyle. Cast them aside and join us. Yes, join us and take up your rightful place amidst the chosen few. Behold, the mighty translucent aura of the Apple. Yea! Salvation has come today!

Well... it's a Macintosh Performa 575 and I paid 8 bucks for it at Goodwill. It boots up and shuts down fine, but I don't have an Apple mouse.... so I really can't do anything else. Apparently the mid-90's Apple folks considered the Mac/mouse relationship to be a sacred bond which should never be broken.

I must say, it's been a hit with the girls. The moniter is the computer..... Ooooooh. A button on the keyboard makes it magically comes to life..... Aaaaaaah. And the screensaver has lots of fish and bubbles..... Ooooooh, aaaaah.

Now.... about the bubbles. They sound like farts. What's up with that? Why would I want to listen to my computer fart? And why are the farts immune to the volume buttons? Hmmmm... where did I put that Perry head.

It seems, to me at least, to be a border-line established fact that fart-like sounds are not really what the average person wants to listen to on a regular basis. This story about Flatulent Footwear seems to back me up on that one. Of course there are always exceptions. I can't actually think of any right now. Oh wait... maybe like when your ex-wife invites you to her wedding rehearsal dinner? Hmmm... not so sure about that one, but I'm sure occasions do exist where the occasional fart sound is the perfect mood-setter. In these situations, though, there is no need to turn to technology. Everything you need is on the value menu at your local Taco Bell, and you get a cheap meal out of the deal too.

So right now it's sitting on the living room floor farting occasionally as it mourns the loss of its soul-mate mouse. I don't know what to do with it. Counseling? A fresh Linux install should take care of its mouse-longing issues.... but the Linux success rate on these old Macs isn't terribly encouraging.

Maybe I'll just plug it in and tell the kids we got some new pet fish. We could name them Dorothy and Nemo and Bubbles and Li'l Farty. And we could feed them every day... two times a day... morning and night. We could love them and sing to them and take turns feeding them by stuffing tiny little bits of bread and leftover goldfish food into the floppy drive.

Or maybe I'll do the unthinkable and gut it of its inner Apple-ness and fill its empty carcass with PC stuff. Buaahhaaahahaaaa!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bunny Suicides

I was in the bookstore one day with the wife and kids when I found a great little book. I didn't buy it, but it appears someone has put a bunch of it up on the net.

Bunny Suicides


Young Psalmists

The hubby and I were asked to fill in to teach the Jr.High/High School Sunday school class last Sunday. The class was pretty excited when they heard the news, but disappointed when I showed up alone. (Hubby was home sick.) He is quite popular with the kids; he taught their Sunday school class when they were in 5th and 6th grade. It didn't hurt my feelings when they were disappointed -- He's quite popular with me, too.

The lesson was on the book of Psalms. I had several of the kids each read a Psalm (I picked ones with less than 15 verses), and after each Psalm was read we talked about the main emotion or idea that the author was trying to convey. Then we talked about the large variety -- from praise you Lord with loud cymbals to save me from my dastardly enemies. We spent the last half of classtime each writing a Psalm of our own. Their psalms were very thoughtful. It is great to hear kids articulate their faith. I've met so many kids raised in Christian homes who can spout the cliches, but have not developed a faith beyond their parent's faith. The idea is again (like in my previous post) for kids to learn to think for themselves. God is big enough and real enough to withstand the scrutiny of any sincere seeker, no matter how many questions or doubts.


Paul at Wizbang posts about a science project he was given in high school. I love it. He learned to view scientific data in a light that the environmentalist extremists have never seen. Maybe they need to go back to high school.

Too many people read the conclusions drawn from data without examining the data themselves. If a "scientist" concluded blah blah blah, then blah blah blah must be true, right? I'm all for teaching kids more than just facts or theories, but how to think.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


    [kid Z] Dad, where are we going to eat lunch?

    [kid A] e-i-o

    [me] I don't know.

    [Z] Dad, where are we going to eat lunch? A wants to go to McDonald's.

    [A] e-i-o e-i-o

    [me] Yeah, I know.

    [A] e-i-o e-i-o

    [me] Okay.

    [Z] Yea!

    [A] Yea!

    [Z] Yea!

    [A] Yea!

    [me] Okay already. Get your shoes on. Let's go.

Today wasn't quite the norm. It turns out that Wednesday is cheap Happy Meal day at our local McD's. The place was packed. The girls were good. They ate their food, got their My Little Pony's, and headed off to do battle in the playland.

It was the standard playland battle. Mission -- unknown. Teams -- standard (boys vs girls). Rules -- take no prisoners.

The girls had numbers... but the boys were fast and constantly on the move. A's first attempt to enter a tube was quickly denied by a cunning cross-action move by two of the boys. She fell flat on her butt and started crying. Z timed it a little better and made it into the tubes where she quickly teamed up with a girl from her ballet class. A sat on my lap and we watched as the battle continued.

The girls congregate. They talk, jump, play games. The boys prowl... faces stained with ketchup and chocolate milk... remnants of a previous kill. The boys attack. The girls shreik and run. Then it all starts again.

I'm torn. Being dad and all, I should be an advocate for the girls. But deep inside... I know the boys are right.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


While there is something appealing about Halle Berry dressed in leather..... she just wasn't a very convincing Catwoman. Maybe the script wasn't written for her... I don't know. It was disappointing, though, because I think she could be a good catwoman..... but... she wasn't.


The movie was lame. The story line was way too simple, the soundtrack sucked, and I didn't even like the costumes.

Architectural Art

I was wandering around snopes.com today and I found this story about a public toilet made out of mirrored glass.


It reminds me of my days in college studying architecture. We would have some of the weirdest assignments. Very rarely were they something like designing a house.... or anything else you might actually encounter while working as an architect. They were more along the lines of.... design a wall to put on this piece of land... and then they were judged based on what sort of meaning you could attribute to your wall. It's a strange process because it really isn't about what you design, it's just a matter of whether the jurors like and agree with the story you made up to go along with your wall you theoretically placed on a vacant piece of land.

I don't mean to say that all of our assignments were like this. We did do houses, museums, bakeries and other stuff. But it was never in a realistic sense. There was never any concern about cost, availability of materials, wishes of the client, or whether what you designed could even be built. It was always about the ideas and reasoning behind what you designed. It couldn't be a "Well, I just like it that way" kind of thing. There always had to be a deeper meaning. Something like:
The concept of how we react to "seeing but not being seen" was put to the test by 38-year-old architectural artist Monica Bonvicini in December 2003, when her work entitled "Don't Miss A Sec" was installed at a construction site...

...Bonvicini's creation is a public toilet enclosed within reflective glass walls that allow the user to see out but prevent those outside from seeing in, an exhibit that challenges whether we can adapt to the idea of being able to view others passing in close proximity to us while we engage in an activity which we don't want them to view — even when we know full well that they can't possibly see us...

...The title of the work refers to Ms. Bonvicini's observation that attendees at art openings were afraid to leave the room for fear of missing a key entrance or comment, hence her "Don't Miss A Sec" exhibit "reflects peoples' reluctance to leave the spectacle, and allows the art-goer to remain in the action, even while on the toilet." Her use of a stainless steel toilet and sink unit was inspired by the fact that the "Don't Miss A Sec" exhibition site once housed Millbank Penitentiary, a 19th century prison facility.

Anyway, it's funny because this sounds like one of those theoretical paper-only architecture projects... but it was actually built. That seems to be pretty rare. Usually the cost is too great. And if the projects are built they tend to be somewhat disappointing becuase the ideas portrayed with paper and words are not readily conveyed through the finished product. I mean... if you were to use this toilet would you realize that the stainless steel is a reference to the prison which was once located at the exhibition site? Or that your willingness to pee in public is somehow being tested? I doubt it.

I actually like this thing, though. Not because of the ideas and reasoning which have been associated with it... but simply because I like it. I think it looks nice. I just hope there aren't any lights inside for night-time use. That would certainly be quite a spectacle.

Monday, February 14, 2005


It's Valentine's Day... and we pay homage... to the mighty St. Valentine of Rome -- the patron saint of greeting card manufacturers worldwide.

So today... as we give and receive our pink sparkley heart shaped scraps of recycled paper saturated in bio-degradable soy ink... and as we partake of the heart-shaped candy sacraments... let us give thanks. Thanks for the incredibly diverse selection of greeting cards which were so richly bestowed upon us this past Christmas season, and for the safe, uncrumpled arrival of so many of those cards.

Let us also look forward to the coming Easter season and ask for blessings upon the multitudes of glitter-coated bunny cards anxiously awaiting the cue to descend and overtake the display racks of retail stores everywhere. May they sell like two-for-one ear rubs at a Ferengi singles bar and bring great wealth and fortune to the almighty church of Hallmark.

Amen. Sign of the H. Kiss. Kiss. Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Sorry... not feeling chatty today...

We watched High Fidelity last night.

Lotsa stars -- John Cusack, Jack Black, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joan Cusack, and Tim Robbins (as a "sensitive pony tail guy"). Oh yeah.... and Bruce Springsteen shows up for a bit. I recognized a few others too, but I can't remember their names.

Great movie. Go rent it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Attention Women

I heard a most disturbing ad on the radio. It encourages women to surprise their man this Valentine's Day by giving him a Gift Certificate Package to Signature Male -- "Iowa's only upscale barber and day spa just for men."


This is a bad idea.

Why you ask?

Well, let's take a look at one of these so-called Gift Certificate Packages that they would have you believe your man is anxiously hoping to receive.

    Mr Perfect (lunch included)
    30 MIN MASSAGE.............................................$247.00

I'm sorry, but that's not a gift. That's more like a concession you'd make during marriage counseling. "Okay honey... I promise.... I'll do the Mr Perfect thing..... but.... please... please... can I at least start sleeping in the garage again. It's really cold... and the dog keeps hogging the dog house."

Paraffin Foot Treatment? Foot Reflexology? Have I been bad?

Not to mention.... $247.00. That'd go a long way toward a new DFI NF-4 motherboard and CPU. Or a new video card. Or maybe even a new couch. Hey... I'd even be happy turning around and spending it all on my wife. But doing time at a day spa?

Trust me ladies. I am a man, and I have experienced Valentine's Day. For most men, it is a somewhat stressful time. It's sorta like your annual performance appraisal in romance..... a field in which you find yourself highly unqualified. A field in which the expectations are being set ever higher by the pretty boy Orlando Bloom types reading from scripts.

So... during this stressful Valentine's Day season, take care of your man. Show him you love him. Don't worry so much about gifts and stuff... because odds are he hasn't got a clue what to get you. And by all means, don't torture him by sending him off to be waxed and detailed at the local spa. Remember.... it's supposed to be about love.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Color Codes

J-Walk's got a post today about those little ribbon pins people wear to raise awareness for specific causes. The problem I always have is that I don't know what the different colors mean. Well, he also has a link to the color definitions and it appears that it is far more complicated than I had imagined.

I mean you see a woman walking down the street with a pink ribbon pin and you sort of assume it's got something to do with breast cancer. Maybe she's a survivor. Maybe she just want to raise awareness so people will support research. But after looking at this chart..... well.... she could be a transvestite with testicular cancer. Or maybe she has Hodgkin's disease. Or maybe she's a birth parent. What am I to think?

And then, if you start combining possible meanings, it's like a mix-n-match smorgasborg of mental images. Let's take green for example.

    Meet Joe construction worker. One day, while on the job, his mind starts to wander as he thinks of his child at home who seems to be chronically depressed. He thinks, "Maybe this weekend I'll take him out to the environmental preserve and we'll do some fishing. That'll cheer him up. Oh wait... it's a preserve... they won't let us fish." Depression starts to set in. "Oh yeah.... it's tick season too. Wouldn't want him getting Lyme disease. I wonder it there's a cure for that? Bone Marrow transplant maybe?"

    Suddenly the air-powered nail gun he's holding slips and a three-inch framing nail grazes his eye. He's rushed to the hospital. The doctors tell him he'll be fine but he needs to wear an eye patch for a couple weeks. After filling out all the necessary paperwork, he is released.

    As he's walking through the hospital lobby, a recent kidney transplant recipient notices the patch on his eye and the green pin on his jacket.

      "Hey... did you just donate your eye? That's so cool!"

      "What!" Joe replies.

      "The green pin on your jacket. Did you donate your eye?"

      "Are you kidding man? There's mass genocide in Darfur!"

Or maybe orange -- Hunger... Self-Injury... Leukemia... Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy... we must embrace them all. In the name of Cultural Diversity.

Black -- Prevent Gangs with Mourning and Melanoma.

Purple -- Macular Degeneration and Alzheimer's leads to Animal Abuse.

Blue -- Arthritic Child Abuser's with Reyes Syndrome....

Errr... I think I'd better stop there.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I'm Sick....

.... or at least I was sick. Now I'm just kinda sick. The wife stayed home from work yesterday and today to watch the kids so I could sleep, drink my fluids, and eat my JellO in peace.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling pretty iffy. By Sunday afternoon I knew I was sick and by Sunday night I was curled up under 2 blankets shivering with my fingers going numb. Just before bed, I took some medicine... which I promptly threw back up.

I hate being sick.

We watched Troy last night. Okay movie. It's got all the basic action-flick necessities covered. For the guys -- lots of action scenes with a bunch of dead bodies. For the girls -- brooding Brad Pitt and quixotic Orlando Bloom... complete with skin shots. It certainly isn't one of those happily ever after movies, though. It kinda makes me wonder if there was supposed to be some sort of a 'moral to the story'. I couldn't really come up with one. But, perhaps there are some lessons we can learn.

The first one that sticks out to me is... Don't mess around with the wife of a powerful king. Seems sensible. I mean, we could have avoided 95% of the movie and I think only one person would have died. But if you look at the whole story... Orlando and his babe are the only ones who end up anywhere close to a happily ever after. So, I'm not really sure what to make of that.

Some other, less likely, possibilites that crossed my mind.

    Don't listen to the prophet of Apollo... go with your kids instead.

    Being a cousin is dangerous. You have a 50/50 chance of dying before your cousin.

    Guns don't kill people - People kill people. A lot of people die in this movie and none of them have guns. hmmm...

    Women in close proximity to Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom have a strong desire to remove their clothes.

    If a guy comes up to your town yelling your name... have the archers take him out.

Given a more thorough study, I'm sure we could find other bits of wisdom to glean and insights to gain. But hey... I'm just a sick guy trying to keep his JellO where it belongs. So what am I taking out of this movie?

    If you happen upon a large wooden horse-like creature..... DO NOT take it home with you.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Pretending to drive

I sometimes blow off people with well-meaning parental advice. Sometimes I am right and sometimes I am wrong. I was wrong when I ignored advice not to let my kid sit on my lap and pretend to drive. When Z was 4, she and her 5 year old friend were waiting in the minivan (which was left running) while the Daddies stood outside looking at some land the church was considering purchasing. She decided to pretend to drive again. She forgot the part where I told her never to touch the gearshift. Fortunately, she only drove a few feet before she hit a curb and Daddy promptly rescued her. Needless to say, A has never sat on my lap pretending to drive.

I consider myself fortunate. I can't imagine being this mom answering a knock on the door in the middle of the night to a police officer with my 4 year old who was doing more than just pretending.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


I'm new to the blogging sphere, but am totally enthralled. I like the links blogs like J-Walk that take me to all kinds of crazy websites. I like the political blogs like The Diplomad (I'm going to miss you guys and your inside scoop *sniff*). I like the medical blogs like The Cheerful Oncologist that give me a perspective of patient care that is different than what I see as a microbiologist in a hospital laboratory. My favorites, though are the journals where people share their days, thoughts, feelings and lives. My intention was to do more of that myself, and my reluctance has pointed out to me the depth of my life-long shyness. If you can't share with complete strangers who have no influence on your day-to-day life, who can you share with?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Sadness for all

Yes it's true. Pope Soap-On-A-Rope is currently out of stock.

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But, have no fear.... Mr. T is still available.

Click Here

Friday, February 04, 2005

Wow... it's friday already???

Yesterday I helped Kris get her WiFi up and going. It was a bit tricky, but in the end I think it worked out pretty well. I learned a good bit about the whole wireless thing. Especially considering I knew nothing about it before I started. I also set it up with a pass-key... so her neighbor across the street with the "unsecured" wireless connection won't be tempted to dump their ISP and mooch. I kinda doubt they'd be able to do much on it, though. I figure if they're dumb enough to leave their access point unsecured.... they're probably not smart enough to figure out all the weird stuff I had to do to make her router cooperate. Anyway... I left Kris happily blogging away in a comfy chair in her living room.

Drive home to find kid A still up and fussing. Grab kid, insert The Bourne Supremacy, plop down in the La-Z-Boy and veg. Pretty lame movie. And where'd they get "Supremacy" from? What.... if you somehow survive several highly unrealistic chase scenes it somehow makes you supreme? *sigh* Not to mention... it's always sad when the best scene from a movie is the one they stuck in the commercials. It's not quite as bad as the movies that don't actually contain the scenes they stick in the commercials. I'm still a little bitter about Real Genius. Trivia question for you. Which scene from the trailer didn't make it into the movie?

Let's see.... ahhh yes.

Note to Harry Reid -- Embrace baldness. Many men have done quite well with it. Go ahead, give it a try. Some women even claim it's sexy.

So... someone called today doing a survey to find out my musical and radio station preferences. Normally, I'd just tune them out immediately and impatiently wait for the first opportunity to tell them I wasn't interested. But today was different. I was captivated by the tone of her voice. Was she real? Or was she a recording? She sounded real and there wasn't the typical background scratchiness that usually accompanies recorded messages. But she did the ask a question, pause slightly, and then continue talking without waiting for a response thing. I listened quietly studying her voice. Eventually she stopped.

Hello.... is anyone there?

Yeah, I was just trying to figure out if you were real or a computer.

Why, do I sound like a computer?

Kinda. You do the ask a question and then don't wait for an answer thing.

Oh. Anyway......

It was a curious survey. She asked me all about what radio stations I listen to and which morning personalities I like. I really only listen to 2 or 3 stations and rarely when a morning personality is on the air. She asked me to rate several local personalities on a scale of 1 (hate) to 5 (love). But... since I've never heard of Delilah or Moose or JimBobBillyJoe and/or his third cousin.... I didn't get to vote. But she did play several short music samples that I got to rate.

On a scale of 1 to 5 how would you rate this one?

I'd say 1. And I feel like I'm at the dentist and I have to leave right now.

What was that?

Uhhh.... 1.

Okay, how about this one?

Ummm... is there something less than one?


Okay. 1 then.

How about this one?

I'd say 2. Maybe 3. For the retro comedy value.

And this one?

Probably a 4.

Alright! Do you know of any stations in your area that play this sort of music?


Oh... okay then.

Well... I'll spare you the rest of the boring details of my phone survey. It's late... so I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Being a Dad

Go read Daddy Manifesto from ScienceFictionTwin.

Also, it's fun...

...to be THE authority on making Kraft macaroni and cheese.

...to receive great honors like...

    "Daddy you make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the whole world.... even better than Chili's."

...to be known as

    Daaaaaaadddddeeeeee -- with a melodic lilt in the middle

    Daddy's poop removal service

    Ginsu-Sock -- sock-wielding ninja-esque super-hero

    Spider-cutioner -- squasher of eight legged beings

...to receive great quantities of artwork on a regular basis.

...to mention "pink body splash" and watch two little girls go ballistic.

...to have in-depth discussions on topics such as...

    Why is Oscar the grouch in Ernie's bath song? He's a grouch... he's supposed to like mud baths.


    Which one is Mr. Noodle and which one is Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle?

And it's always nice to hear your daughter say "Daddy, I love you" simply because she can't think of anything else to say.

HaHa, I caught one



May I speak with Mr. or Mrs. Fish?

That's me.

Hi Mr. Fish, my name Ananias and I'm calling with the Republican issues committee. Do you approve, disapprove, or blah-blah of the Bush administration's blah-blah-blah blah-blah?

Ummm, is this one of these long surveys where you're going to ask for money at the end?

Yes...err...uhh...I mean NO...uhh...it's not that long...

No thanks.


Ahhh... the dreaded honesty gene.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Remember Pinky and the Brain?

Doesn't this seem like it should be part of one of Brain's elaborate schemes to take over the world?