Monthly Archives: July 2009

Domain 133tness

It’s that time of year again for me. Yep, domain renewal time! I just braved GoDaddy’s eye-raping website to ensure that my little corners of the Internet remain mine for another year. I spent quite a chunk of change, but to me, domain shopping is as thrilling as buying stocks or gambling and can be as rewarding as some women (who I adore) find shopping for shoes.

Anyway, I repointed the nameservers while I was on GoDaddy so now you can access this blog by going directly to You can also still access it at it’s old address,, as well and it will redirect to my domain so no need to change your blogrolls.

K thx!


Once a Scibling, always a Scibling

You may notice as you scroll down through my blog that I’ve made some additions to my sidebar links. It’s no secret that I used to overlord at ScienceBlogs, and that when I was laid off I was pretty devastated. I was in it to win it with that group of wacky bloggers, and it’s been hard to transition away from the job that I saw myself making a lifelong career out of. Furthermore, there’s a large community aspect within that network (at least there used to be, I hope there still is), and as older and wiser professionals in the science world and all-around amazing people, I came to rely on them for guidance and support just as much as they relied on me to solve their problems and fix their broken technology. Basically, it’s been hard for me to look at the site since I left. I didn’t really know how to navigate maintaining the social ties that existed with many of the bloggers, and so I just decided to leave the network alone. Not look at it or link to it or anything.

But I don’t really know what the point of that was anymore. Regardless of domain, we’re all on the same network — everyone on the Internet that is. And it seems that people will find each other, and find ways to connect over similarities, regardless of what their platform is or where their site is hosted. So I just spent a few hours going back through all the blogs on ScienceBlogs and adding my old Sciblings to my blogroll. Because they say, once a Scibling, always a Scibling, and I still have a ScienceBlogs t-shirt that says Cat Herder on it. (Ok… I borrowed it from Ginny and never gave it back, but it’s MINE now. Sorry.) I must admit it was strange typing out the url extensions and names that I must have typed thousands of times over the past year. It felt so natural, yet empty at the same time. But in doing so, I think it means I am really ready to move on in my career as it pertains to the science blogosphere.

And just so you all know, I tried to be selective. I was not planning on putting every single one of you on my blogroll, but going through the list it seemed that every blog author I came across had some kind of meaning to me. Maybe we’ve never spoken outside of mass email communication but I just always liked your writing. Or maybe we’ve conversed on AIM into the wee hours of the morning. Maybe you sent me a pair of shoes for Christmas, or a big flower basket when I got laid off, or a cat with a Helskini t-shirt, or wrote me a letter of recommendation. Or maybe, just maybe, we’ve gotten wasted on motherfucking Jameson and I saved you from getting hit by a bus. These are all things that happen when one is a Cat Herder. It’s an eventful job. And I loved doing it for all of you. So I feel much better now that you are on my blogroll. Don’t feel obligated to put me on yours or anything, this blog’s pretty lame. Just know I’ll be around, and that you can come and say hi whenever you want.

Also, I coppied my “Essentials” from the blogroll on Page 3.14. I made that entire page after all.

Sciblings at ScienceOnline09

Me and my Sciblings at ScienceOnline09.

Why TV sucks but The X-Files is AWESOME (Video of the best monologue in TV history)

I don’t watch TV. I’ve only had cable for probably three or four years in my life, and I don’t desire to have it now. I didn’t notice for weeks when the cable companies switched everything over to digital, and since noticing I’ve never bothered to get the free converter to have basic channels. I hate being advertised at and think most every series is mind-numbing crap – especially reality TV. I would rather read the worst book in the world than watch the best episode of reality TV. When I do watch TV, I make sure it’s with my quirkier friends who won’t mind my cynical analyses of how different aspects of the programming are exploitative or manipulative.

Because I watch TV so rarely, whenever I do watch it I feel estranged from the bulk of humanity. Like how do enough people place enough value in this show to keep it on-air? Maybe this makes me out-of-touch, I don’t know, but I’d like to think that by controlling the way I consume media, using the Internet as practically my sole method of obtaining and verifying information about the world, I am more in-touch than those who fill their brains with memories of whateverthefuck the characters on The Hills names are ate for dinner last week. To each her own, but I tend to subscribe to Chomsky’s idea that things like shitty TV serve to distract people from stuff that’s really important.

That said, I am an X-Files fanatic. Not as much of a fanatic as many, I’m sure. But watching this series (the early seasons) is what I consider to be one of life’s finer pleasures.


In the summer of 2007, I watched 100 episodes of the X-files back-to-back, checking out every disc of seasons one through four. The librarian at the UnderGraduate LibrarY got to know well for that, and out of some kind of solidarity over the X-Files he waved my late fees whenever he had the chance.

You may find it hypocritical, given my stance on TV in general, but I think the X-Files is different from other shows. I hold it partially responsible for my healthy sense of skepticism, and find that it nurtures, not distorts, my sense about science and journalistic inquisitiveness. Yes, the show involves paranormal activity, but the science is astoundingly solid compared to almost any other show I’ve seen. Through the dynamic interactions of the main characters, FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, different philosophical concepts of science are explored as these individuals attempt to explain the things they encounter. Scully always approaches situations from her base of medical and scientific knowledge, often ruling out Mulder’s initial hypotheses as unfeasible. But she reevaluates her belief system in a Bayesian manner when new evidence is presented, which is a crucial ability of good scientists, IMO.

I haven’t watched it years, mainly because I watched most of those 100 episodes with my ex-boyfriend and it still reminds me of him, but yesterday I rented season 4. My motivation for doing so was actually rather vindictive; the other day my roommate borrowed a movie called the Audition and left it sitting by the DVD player. She thought it would be about an actual audition, and she’s a dancer so that sounded interesting to her. But after watching it and discovering it’s actually a really fucked-up and gruesome Japanese horror movie about an woman who maims and tortures the object of her sexual desire (needles through eyes, severed foot, ugh), she NEGLECTED to WARN me about it and just left it sitting there! And then she thought it was funny when I sent her text messages telling her I was on the verge of puking after watching it and am traumatized for life with those images burned into my mind, because for some reason it didn’t phase her. That may sound dramatic but I don’t watch TV!!! I’m easily affected by the media! OK I’m over it now (good thing I’m resillient). But I still wanted payback. Even though my roomie is apparently more hardcore than Rob Zombie when it comes to gory films, we’ve been best friends since we were 10 years old, so I know that what DOES phase her is inbred mutant people — especially inbred mutant babies. So I rented the X-Files season that contains an episode with that very subject matter, and just so happens to be the only episode that the Fox network refused to play again after it initially aired in 1996 (although they did play it once again years later on Halloween with an MA rating), and made her watch it with me last night.

PAYBACK! She’s going to have nightmares for weeks! We really do love each other though.

Anyway, now that I’ve got the whole season, I can’t not watch every single one of them. They’re SO AMAZINGLY GOOD. It’s the perfect balance of suspense, horror, comic relief, and of course… sexual tension.


Scully, you know you want to lean in a little closer…

Ahem, anyway, I just started watching one of the best episodes ever — the episode that goes into the back-story of Cigarette Smoking Man, AKA Cancer Man, who is actually a really sensitive guy who only wanted to publish a novel but after being rejected by the publishers, assassinated JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. instead. Hey, we can’t all have our first-choice careers. Here is one of the greatest monologues of all time that makes me weirdly happy inside because, for one, I can be a raging cynic despite my outwardly cheery disposition, and two, I have always thought Forest Gump was a terrible movie that got way too much credit.

Dear roommie,

The utmost temptation.

The utmost temptation

I ate all your ice cream. I’m sorry! It was sitting in there for a WEEK – a whole week. Every time I opened the freezer it was just staring at me. At first I only took a few bites because I knew you wouldn’t mind. But then you didn’t eat any more the next day so I put quite a dent in it. But I was so nice, I SAVED you some, and you still didn’t eat it! Now, I just ate the last bite, and some night you will go to look for it in the freezer and be disappointed. But you know what? You should know better by now. THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME!!!!!!! I have a terrible addiction, and it is not very supportive of you to tease me that way. So don’t be upset, because you know that if you buy a pint of Ben and Jerrys and don’t eat it right away, it will be gone — ESPECIALLY if it is a NEW LIMITED EDITION flavor that tastes like magic and sunshine.



A lesson not so well learned


I’ve kept a diary since I was five years old. I call it a journal now because that makes it seem more like something a professional journalist would write and less something that is exciting/scandalous/filled with all the juicy details of my life. [Gets up, reallocates new hiding place for diary].

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An ode to Myiopsitta monachus

I used to have a quaker parrot named Kiwi and he was my best friend. He flew away four years ago and I still stay up some nights thinking about what may have happened to him and how I could have prevented his departure. I miss him dearly. Once you’ve known the joys of parrot ownership, I don’t think life can ever be quite the same without one.

My baby, telling me all about his day.

My baby, telling me all about his day.

Sometimes I wonder if he’s still out there somewhere. Every now and then I will scour the web with keywords like the date he flew away, city, state, description, and the number from his ID bracelet, hoping that someone posted a clue or a Found ad that I missed, or that Google has gotten better. But nothing ever turns up. So I hit up YouTube, and watch videos of the other little green clowns in the world.

Here are some of my favorites:

I love the “YAAAY” at the end.

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R.I.P. Zanzibar

I am in serious mourning right now. Earlier tonight, one of my best friends from college (you might call him my partner in crime) sent me a g-talk message to deliver “urgent, terrible news.” It is with great sadness and regret I must announce, that Zanzibar, the pan South American bistro in Ann Arbor that hosts my absolute, #1, hands-down FAVORITE happy hour in the entire world is CLOSING — for EVER!!!!!

TO which I responded,


You will always be open for happy hour in my heart, Zanzibar.

You will always be open for happy hour in my heart, Zanzibar.

You see, Zanzibar is where I developed my refined palate for fine cocktails. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 after my Philosophy of Science course, I would walk from down State Street, my mind spiraling with thoughts on demarcation criteria and evidence and predictive power, and I would collapse into my favorite booth, ready for one hour of beverage bliss. Never fail, my partner in crime would saunter in five minutes later with an expression of bored pretension and sit down across from me, ready to gossip about the dramatics of being editors at our college newspaper.

And then Julie would walk up and smile at me. She was tall and sultry with a no-nonsense attitude, and she took every one of my classic cocktail v-cards. She was my first gin martini, up, with blue cheese olives; my first side car with finely-ground cane sugar on the rim, of which I would lick every particle while my friend grimaced and told me I needed to get laid; my first Caipirinha, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge and Smoky Martini – which will kick your ass and make you feel like you could breath fire if you had a match. And best of all, Julie made me dozens of the most amazing mojitos in the world. They were swampy with mint, pieces of which I would carefully extract with two straws as if they were chopsticks and eat. No bartender in New York City has ever even come close to replicating Julie’s mojito to my liking but I present an open challange if any would like to try ;)

But the most amazing thing about Zanzibar’s happy hour was that ALL of the drinks on the menu were half off. It was none of this $15 a cocktail bullshit. They were $4 a piece, max. I can honestly say that if it was not for Zanzibar, I would probably still be drinking Vodka Redbull and Sex on the Beach.

After happy hour, my friend would stumble off to his 5:30 English course to critique documentaries and I would head to Edit Board and deliver choice opinionated remarks that would eventually be transformed into “The voice of the Daily”. Zanzibar was a place that transformed inspiration into influence. We always planned to go back there when we were in our ’30s and reminisce, but now we never will.

So you see what a true tragedy this is.

Rest in peace, Zanzibar. Every time I think of you, it will be happy hour in my heart.