Friday, November 30, 2007

Alicia's Bengali Lessons

I forgot to mention this from my DC trip. While there, I dropped my cellphone in a taxi and didnt' realize it till later in the day. As good fortune had it, the cabbie gave me his number for a later pickup, so I called and we eventually met up after dinner. Turned out he's from Bangladesh.

So I mentioned Alicia and her arsenic Fulbright and we chatted at length. I mentioned Alicia is cramming Bengali lessons before leaving, he offered his whole family to help out with training. Lots of unmarried brothers apparently, so I did some matchmaking while at it.

So Alicia, I got your back. Jewel the cabdriver is waiting for your call ;-)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ischial Callosicities

I promised I wouldn't reuse any skeleton action figures, and so will stay true to that credo, but if I could, I'd simply re-post the skeleton at her desk with a big ole stack of folders. 'Twas today's activity, going thru the job candidate packets with a fine-toothed comb. We've got some great candidates for the new bio position, this should be an enjoyable search. Chairing the committee however, not so much fun... Still, I'm psyched by the potential new colleague we will welcome next year.

Dated But Fitting

Change "Sharon" to "Olmert" and the article still works...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Home and Hearth

I wish I had a hearth...maybe someday. Glad to be back home though. Easy flight again. What's going on????

The panel finished up, tiring but enjoyable as always. Turned out our conference room was located in the Polar Research wing at NSF, so I got a chance to talk to some of the folks doing work (or sponsoring work) in Antarctica. Unfortunately I can't get to McMurdo while I'm there because it's on the other side of the ice (I forgot the continent is larger than the US and Mexico combined), but I did score a chance to visit the Palmer Research Center up on the peninsula (where we'll be). Should be cool.

The one advantage to traveling is the kittie response when I get home. I'm no sooner seated than I have 3 hairy boys snuggled up against me. I should point out, give the picture to the right, that there are only 3 cats at my house (and the last one is Jaime's and Alicia's fault). That still qualifies me for the title 'spinster' or 'cat lady', but it's not QUITE as bad the picture.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bone Tired

Rarely have I seen so pathetic a group of adults as our panel at 5:30 today. Didn't know people could develop such big bags under their eyes (except me of course, fresh as a daisy -- that's been sprayed with Round-up). It is such a pleasure to serve on this panel, it might be the most personally rewarding thing I do each semester -- but BOY is it taxing. We all went out to dinner afterwards...somehow the prospect of cold beer livened up the crowd...

This thing is a reminder of how old I'm getting -- one of the panel members, a former undergrad research assistant, is now up for tenure. And I learned tonight that I was the TA for two others while at Colorado. We went around the table to figure out how we all knew each other and realized there was about 1/2 a degree of separation for us all. And as luck would have it, one of the guys was present for the filming of "Gorillas in the Mist" and met Sigorney Weaver, who worked with a writer on Ghost Busters, who likewise wrote for Animal House, which had as one of its bit guessed it, Kevin Bacon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Spent the day huddled in my room finishing NSF proposals. Apparently the only difference between me and the other members of the panel -- they did the same on planes, arriving this evening.

When Sloan Williams arrived, we went off to dinner. Decided that because we'd been virtuous and stayed at a Best Western rather than the Hilton, we could afford a nice dinner, so off we went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Crystal City.

Nice view and good steak, but I'm not sure I quite get all the PR about the place. The waiter told us about their specialty steaks (for a mere $68 ala carte)- Kobe beef - fed beer daily and rubbed down with Saki, making for a VERY relaxed cow and thus supposedly tender beef. We passed. I will say, their house Pinot Noir was excellent, highlight of the meal. That, the view, and the company.

Random News

Star Trek's 10 Cheesiest Classic Creatures
By Lore Sjöberg
Wired, 11.19.07

A little Star Trek fun. The first monster in the sequence (the Salt Vampire) brought a laugh -- once, while babysitting, I watched this episode with my 'charge'. About a week later, her parents called my house because their little daughter hadn't been able to sleep for a week without the lights on, afraid something was coming to suck off her face. And thus was demonstrated my natural affinity with children ;-)

Shipwreck tourists flown to Chile, 11.25.07

This is one way to get an extra dot on your "places I have visited" map...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dolin' out some dough

I'm off again, this time to DC for a NSF Grant Review panel. Pretty fun, tho' a TON of work. And the cats gave me some seriously dirty looks as I was packing. I think the leftover turkey helped however ;-) Matt is taking care of 'the boys' while I'm gone.

While I'm in flight, Notre Dame will be playing their last game of the season. Something tells me there'll be no bowl this winter... I figured this final football skeleton in-action figure was fitting for the season as a whole.

UPDATE -- easy flights, tho' always tiring. And ND won! Didn't see that one coming.

Best of all...although a dump, the hotel has the SciFi channel -- Battlestar here I come!

Battlestar is back...momentarily

Review: 'Battlestar Galactica: Razor' on Sci Fi
November 23, 2007

Tomorrow night on Sci Fi. Hope my flight isn't delayed...and the hotel gets the Sci Fi channel!!


154 Rescued After Antarctic Cruise Ship Hits Ice
NY Times, November 24, 2007

Everyone was okay, after 5 hours in lifeboats. Sounds chilly.

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Hisham and Lesley!!

I hope it's an enjoyable day, with plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers on hand!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving !!

A "white thanksgiving", lot's o' snow today. Pretty to look at -- perfect day to stay inside, make turkey, chat with family, sleep in late. Minus the turkey making part, that might very well be my busy schedule for tomorrow - with some grant reading and packing tossed in since I head to DC on Saturday.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving !!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A+ Students

Icky, rainy, cold, grey day just before Thanksgiving...and yet, students were still in class. Notre Dame, you gotta love it. I'm off to grocery shop after classes are done (while these guys are dedicated...I don't imagine they'll be trudging over to the lab in the rain in the late afternoon today). Waiting till today to shop may not have been my wisest choice...

Better Late Than Never

They won while I was gone, figured it was a rare enough event it was worth a late posting. Bumped us up to a whopping 2-9 on the season. At least the seniors got a final home game win. Stanford on Thanksgiving...not sure it'll be the same outcome.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things are Lookin' Up

The day improved considerably. First, the computer guys came over to bring my new MacBook Pro. It is a thing of beauty indeed. Big bright screen, smokin' fast, tons o' memory, and actually lighter than my 12" G4.

And then, the unthinkable happened. I was all set to give them my old Mac so they could rip the brains out to salvage my data when it came back to life.

IT'S A MAC MIRACLE!! That computer has no business whatsoever working -- it's been dropped twice now, the screen popped off, it lost a key, and the frame is bent such that you can't change the battery. Also, the only plug that works in it is the one that was attached during the first drop back in Germany. And yet, the little tyke takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin!!

This afternoon I got the word on my Jeep as well -- needed a new alternator and battery. But it's purring like...Wiley when his food dish is filled. Not a cheap afternoon, but one that's got me up and running again.

All in all - I witnessed a miracle, learned the bus system, found a great mechanic, and got a new computer - this one goes in the plus column.

Oh yeah, and they figured out how to do stem cells without the controversy. That's good too ;-)


Been a slightly complex couple 'o days. Dropped my computer while in San Diego -- and as great as Mac's are, they don't bounce. As luck would have it, I had a new computer on order, which came in yesterday, so hopefully by today's end I'll be back up and running. 'Cept that all my skeleton action figures (and email and stuff) are on the broken computer...

And yesterday, went out to drive home, totally dead car. Matt tried jumping things and rescued me with a ride home. Learned the bus system today to get to campus (super duper easy, may just be puttin' it to use more often!), and they're coming out to put a new battery in in the next hour.

It's the Bab edh-Dhra' curse, for sure. What else could it be???

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Work Avoidance...

As the first picture shows, we've a pretty nice view in the daylight as well. Everything in the room has a giant "S" on it, obviously personally inscribed for moi! And should my paper not go well and I decide to leap from my you can see from the second picture, I'll just get wet. Water comes right up to the hotel.

Ooo la la

Hello from sunny San Diego. We are at a Sheraton for the ASOR meetings, and I don't know what I did exactly, but I have the swankiest room ever! Since I haven't finish my presentation yet (it's not till Saturday morning...plenty o' time...), I will likely be spending pretty much all day tomorrow sitting on said balcony powerpointing till I drop (if that's not a verb, it should be).

So, till I depart my room, ma isalameh.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bah Humbug

Icky ugly grey day. It seemed everyone (present company included) was either lethargic or grumpy (or both). It was warm - but I'd take cold and crisp with blue skies any day. Harumph!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

At Long Last

Here are the long overdue Halloween winners for the department -- Ian as Tinkerbell Gone to Seed, and Agustin as a Banana Ecosystem. Enjoy.

News Stories

Why Female Genital Mutilation Won't Get You Asylum
by Bonnie Goldstein, Nov. 9, 2007

Hardships increase in isolated Gaza
By Steven Erlanger
Internat'l Herald Tribune, Nov 10, 2007

Go Ahead, Rationalize. Monkeys Do It, Too
NY Times, November 6, 2007

Invention Of the Year: The iPhone
By LEV GROSSMAN, Nov. 5, 2007

The Tide Has Turned

Today we play Air Force, with the outcome in serious question. Weis has decided to start Klausen, not quite sure why. Talking to the students, they said that last week, at the end of the game when they play the song where everyone shouts "Weis", people boo-ed instead.

Another telling sign - when I asked some of the students in my large class whether the story was true, every one of them said that either they didn't stay till the end of the game, or they didn't go at all. Times they are a' changin'.

UPDATE: Air Force 41, Notre Dame 24. And so it continues... I have to confess that a nap overtook me at halftime and I had to go look up the final score (not that it was really in question).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fall Canceled

This explains everything!

It's been pretty cold around here the last week. The pretty trees lasted about 3 days, then the windy weather took care of much of that around campus. Below average cold for the past week, with snow and sleet in small doses (mostly at night). Seems more "wintery" I think because of the darker evenings with the time change.

Okay, I'm done whining...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

News Stories

West Bank settlements 'expanding', Nov. 7, 2007

Here we go again...and again...and again...

Curry-derived Molecules Might Be Too Spicy For Colorectal Cancers
ScienceDaily, Nov 6, 2007

Not that we really need an excuse to eat Indian food, but here ya go.

Paper or Plastic … or Neither
by Brendan I. Koerner, Nov. 6, 2007

Nice follow-up to the plastic bag overconsumption pictures from my Sept 22 (A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words) post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day

One year left till the really important election day!! My "Until Bush Leaves Office" widget still says 440 days, but I'm going for the glass-half-full approach ;-)

For those who know Ellen, her father won the Mayoral race here in South Bend. The ads got a bit nasty towards the end, nice to have that done with, for the short term anyway.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Israeli Archaeology

Here are 2 articles that are interestingly intertwined. The first is about a Palestinian-American professor at Barnard College whose tenure was in question because she published a book in 2001 saying that Israeli archaeology is driven to provide a basis for the existence of the country. The second is about Israeli prehistory being destroyed because, as an Israeli archaeologist says, the Israeli government is only interested in sites that provide information on the history of the Israeli state. Hmmmm.

After Battle, Barnard Professor Given Tenure
By Annie Karni
New York Sun, Nov 2, 2007

Prehistoric Treasures Lost Forever
by Liana B. Baker
The Media Line, Nov 01, 2007

Fall Colors

Although today is a windy overcast day, this weekend was gorgeous, complimented considerably by the Fall foliage. Nice time of year to be in South Bend.

Today harkens the perma-grey that's about to descend, but it had a nice prelude for sure.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ahhh, Days of Yore

Didn't change my clocks last night as my wise father told me to, so got up today rather late, realized it was actually an hour earlier than I thought, rolled back over with the express desire to sleep some more. Unfortunately, Wiley's tummy didn't know about the time change, and thus the nagging began. Doh! Admittedly, I don't want him to waste away to nothing, so I got up and did my parental duty.

I liked it better when we lived in the timewarp bubble of never changing clocks. Life was simpler then ;-)

And since I'm up, here are some news stories:

King Tut's face Unveiled to World, Nov. 4, 2007
Something doesn't seem right about this. Maybe it's the typical Hawass commentary. Don't know, but it bothered me.

Spurning leftovers may hurt climate, Nov. 3, 2007

Works at home, but what about the carryout container trash??

Cremated Son Later Found Alive, Nov. 4, 2007
This would suck...for somebody.