Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Prosperous Future

As I wrap up 2008, I have to admit it’s been a good year. Maybe that’s because it started off on the right foot.

I met a lot of new humans, most of who are so cool that I count myself lucky to be associated with them…one in particular is just realizing she controls her own hands.

I’ll usher in 2009 the same way I did with 2008: surrounded by friends. As a reader of too many news and science articles, I admit it is not always easy to maintain a rosy picture of our species and planet, but it is celebrations like tonight’s ritual renewal where I can’t help feel that everything will be just fine.

So I wish you and yours a Happy New Year!

See you on the other side.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I just wanted popcorn and Dots

Should I go see The Day the Earth Stood Still?

That was the question in mind when I jumped on the Goog. I read a few reviews and decided that every remake is castigated by critics...whatever, I’m going to see it anyway.

Then I checked the Goog Reader and saw that one of my favorite science sites had also reviewed it. But before they launched into their ‘meh’ review, they typed one of the most saddest things I’ve read:

“...they [astrobiologists] [ed note: I bet it sounds cooler than it really is] have speculated that more advanced lifeforms are exceedingly rare: consider that for 85 per cent of the 4 billion years life has existed on Earth, no multicellular creatures arose. So the rapid extinction of many species here would be a significant blow to the biodiversity of the entire galaxy, not just the Earth’s.”

Wow. Not only do humans shoulder the guilt for the Earth, but the entire Universe?


This movie review—-combined with the gloomy economic news, the freezing temperatures, the smelly homeless man that I couldn’t stand touching me on the train, and a week of restless sleep—-has me seriously in the negative on Respect-for-Humanity points. Tack onto that the clear realization that I am just as guilty! It’s not some phantom Republican who is burning “clean” coal in a hospital maternity ward. I carry my groceries home in plastic bags, for chrissakes! I’m a conspirator!

Luckily, there are two days ahead in which I have complete control over my schedule and I’m taking suggestions from you on how to balance myself out by Monday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sushi crime fighters

We can all attest with some sadness that Saturday morning cartoons are no longer what they used to be. We all had our favorites (though mine were limited because our antennaed television on the farm only picked up 4-5 channels) and look upon these creations as pure blasphemy.

Well, this morning I woke up early with nothing to do, so I went channel surfing. That's when I discovered the wacky world of the Sushi Pack. They are tiny pieces of sushi that fight crime using their wits first...and culinary weapons only as a last resort.

Villain: "No you don't, crab cakes!"

Weapons include the ability to shoot fish eggs or multicolored ink and lobster pinchers. A tiny sidekick (Wasabi) speaks incoherently while shooting fireballs.

My opinion: Too much awesomeness. But I wonder how many 3-6 year old hotdog eaters know what sushi is? Or does it matter?

Then again, I didn't know half of what was going on in He-Man, I just knew that I was going to be him when I grew up. Does that mean this new generation will grow up with fantasies of becoming crime-fighting condiments?

I now want a pet Wasabi for Christmas...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Never say never. Dare ya.

Regrets, as most will agree, are viewed as a waste of time. Some friends have expressed proudly to me that they have NO regrets. That’s like saying I’m above reality television: Bullshit.

Regrets can also conveniently be turned into learning experiences. In high school, I accidentally insulted the class Wiccan. He claimed the ability to make it rain, so you can imagine my horror of turning around and finding him staring deep into my now damned soul. I felt terrible and have ever since been more careful before making fun of others. This regret turned into a Life Lesson, therefore making me appreciate that it occurred in the first place.

But I will go on record right now as having one regret. Just one. And it's a biggie.

In college, for our annual Flunk Day celebration (school sanctioned celebration), I booked Chicago’s Kill Hannah as the musical entertainment instead of...


Ugh. Now you see why. There’s no lesson to be had. I couldn’t have seen a few months into the future when they’d release their sensational treadmill video. My error has forever left a void in the hearts of every student...a garish gash upon the gentle, porcelain veneer that is Coe College. No offense meant to Kill Hannah, of course.

What's your greatest regret?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My elitist magazine tastes pointed me to a very interesting New Yorker article written by none other than Jonah Lehrer.

Why does the article stand on its own? Because it includes a story about firefighters (awesome!) AND finding out exactly why humans have insights (Aha!).

Ever had a great idea in the shower? Read the latest theory on why.

And then subscribe to Lehrer's blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


By grace (and modern medicinal steroids), my eye has healed. As quick as the right retina contracted the eye cold, it just as quickly went back to normal.

Using my newfound 20/20, I read a fascinating study this morning which provides a perfectly adequate explanation for my response to the malady. The study says that the willpower contained in our prefrontal cortex is proportionate to the calculating load that our brains can manage. This means that if you are using lots of brainpower to concentrate on something big, the amount of willpower at your disposal will be severely lacking.

Stress eaters find this as no surprise, but I’ve never been one. Imagine my shock then, that by excessively worrying about my eye this week, I suddenly sought to satisfy my comfort cravings NO MATTER WHAT...and my diet growing up dictates that sugar is my comfort food. With a feeble brain on full pink eye alert, I had to hold back the urge to chug on packets of Splenda. Hour upon hour I would drink honey tea so full of sugar that it had the taste (and texture) of cotton candy.

Now, with the eye healed and stress dissipating, I get to confront a dark, visceral addiction to sweets. My usual afternoon snack of almonds tastes like cardboard. I choke on water. Irritable. Moody. Delusions that I can fly. Fantasies of building a refinery in my's getting out of control.

Of course, I’ll need massive amounts of caffeine just to make it through tomorrow...but that’ll be another entry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Catch-20/20 with no end in sight

I count myself lucky to so rarely take ill. Other than a seasonal cough, most bugs don’t stick around in my system for too long. This may very well explain why I’m such a whiny brat when my health gives the slightest sign of weakness.

Enter pink eye. Yes--that infection of the ocular nature everyone contracted once in grade school when it was okay to stick your dirty little grubs in other people’s faces.

Except I’m not nine years old. And I certainly don’t tolerate dirty hands touching my eyeballs. So, why me?

Beyond that, why pink eye? Instead of a nice, easy cold that I could suppress with trippy drugs and yummy teas, I instead get to wear the careless disregard for my immune system on my face! And people definitely treat you with less sympathy than if you had a nagging cough—-especially when I can’t seriously look them in the face because of a droopy eyelid. Damn you, conjunctivitis!

For many years, I’ve worn contacts. I wear them so much that I never replaced my broken eyeglasses from college. Now I stare back, red faced and pink eyed, at my optometrist who tells me that not only can I NOT wear my contacts, but I CANNOT get a new prescription for eyeglasses until my eye heals.

Do optometrists have to take the Hippocratic Oath like other doctors?