not the rhino
Saturday, May 22, 2004
  Some people get their eyes poked out by birds

Here at the lab, I have lots of pets. Not in the house, mind you.

#1: Buffalos. I have lots of pet buffalos. You can see them in a previous post. Well, I guess they're not really my buffalos, but I do say hello to them everyday, so we're sort of developing a bond.

#2: Geese. The lab is pretty much infested with geese. They hang out near the liquid nitrogen tanks, on top of the buildings, and right by my house. Usually, the geese hang out in twos. Apparently, they mate for life.

You can see one such twosome in the pictures below, with some of their baby geese:

In the first picture, the geese are happily swimming along. The second picture, where the goose looks a little less happy, was taken right before I was attacked. No worries -- it didn't really get me.

I'll admit that I underestimated the geese. I was trying to get close to them to take the pictures, and at some point I realized that they might be ... how you say? "not so happy" ... about me getting near the babies. They were hissing up a storm, walking away from me, but I persisted. I kept following them... "I'm bigger than them. I could totally take those geese," I thought. That was until the goose shown close to me in the bottom picture started coming toward me instead of walking away from me. And it was coming fast. It started rushing toward me, beating its wings (which were quite large) loudly and squawking.

I had just a moment to have a flash of insight that what I was doing was really dumb. I tried to get away, while covering my head with my arms, and I guess the goose figured it'd scared me enough that it didn't need to peck out my eyes or anything too drastic. Phew.

Pet #3: We have a huge, fat raccoon that lives near our house. The funny thing about him is that he comes out around 6, 7, 8 pm, when it's still light. We almost named him 'slippery pete' but we realized he's not so slippery, as he bumbles across the grass in broad daylight, so he's 'not-slippery pete,' which contracts nicely into NSP, or just Pete. (NSP is also funny, because there's a theoretical particle called the LSP. Ah! Physics humor.)
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
  Etiquette rules for digital times

From Nerve:

How far removed should an acquaintance be before it’s acceptable to fool around with their significant other?
If the person in question is dating one of your friends that you would instant message, I would suggest you don’t hook up with them. But if it’s someone you know through another avenue, like Friendster, then you’re in the clear.

So only people on your Instant Messenger Buddy List are exempt?

Exactly. Because you can only fit 200 people on your Buddy List. You figure most people have two or three screen names, so that really only leaves room for 80 to 100 people. If they’re taking up a precious Buddy List slot, there’s got to be some kind of relationship there. But Friendster? Hell, everyone’s on your Friendster list. If I only know you through Friendster, your boyfriend’s fair game. 
Monday, May 17, 2004
  Where the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio come together

This last weekend I was in Pittsburgh to visit spoons, and we did a few fun things. We grilled fishes, using the ever-fabulous James Peterson Fish & Shellfish book as a guide. We did a little garden planning for spoons & his neighbors. We had good Vietnamese food at Tram's -- spoons said if it was on his block, he would eat there every week. :) They are apparently one of the best 'vegetarian' restaurants in Pittsburgh, but that's probably because their vegetarian dishes are full of broths and sauces that come from meat & fish. I like a lot of vegetarian food, but soups without meat or fish that taste really savory are hard to make.

We also made a short stop at the Church for a malty dessert. The Church is one of the places I encourage travellers to Pittsburgh to visit. It's a unique spot. How many churches have you ever been to with brew works on the alter? Not many, I bet.

We also spent some time reading the book. (Almost done! With the first of three, anyway.) Since the book deals, in part, with Newton and the Royal Society, it got me interested in James Gleick's Isaac Newton. Thumbs up -- good non-fiction. 
Sunday, May 16, 2004
  Do it yo' self.

In Ann Arbor, there are lots of things that I have gotten attached to, that just don't exist in Batavia.

Thing 1: Good bread. I used to live on the same block as Zingerman's so I could walk there and get a fresh loaf of bread whenever. Or a half loaf. They are always nice about such things.

Now, there's OK bread at the grocery store nearby, but I think I can do better. I bought myself a bread stone for the oven, and I have a great book about bread by Peter Reinhart.

I tried to make a sourdough starter when I first got to the lab, but it didn't go well. I need to give it another shot.

Thing 2: Uncomplicated laundry soap that makes clothes really soft... A company called (what else?) MoonWorks sells laundry soap that I like at the co-op in Michigan. I bought an extra bag to bring with me, and the bags last a long time, but I realized that I could probably make it myself.

I found a laundry soap recipe with the same ingredients that they use online, and I think I'll try that once I run out.

2 cups baking soda
1.5 cups borax
1 cups grated castile or glycerin soap flakes*
3/8 tablespoon lavender, lemon, or grapefruit essential oil

Combine baking soda, borax, and soap flakes, add essential oil, and mix with a wire whisk. Use 1/8 cup of powder per load = 2 Tablespoons

*You can buy bars of castile soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner's) and grate with a kitchen grater.

I'll let you know how it goes.

5/22/04 - a note from eileen! She says to use washing soda instead of baking soda. As long as you are careful.  
Saturday, May 15, 2004
  A great This American Life:

A man stops producing testosterone due to a medical condition, and they don't figure out for four months what the problem is. He says:

"Everything that I identify as being me: my ambition, my interest in things, my sense of humor, the inflection in my voice, I mean the quality of my speech even changed in the time that I was without a lot of the hormone. Yes, the introduction of testosterone returned everything...

I grew up in a culture, like all of us, that divides the soul from the body, and that that is your singleness, that is your uniqueness, and nothing can touch that. And then, I go through this experience where I have small amounts of a bodily chemical removed and then reintroduced, and it changes everything I know as my self, and it violates the sanctity of that understanding - that understanding that who you are exists independent of any other forces in the universe. You know? And that's humbling. And it's terrfying."

There's also the story woman becoming a man, who has been getting testosterone injections, and the story of the staff of the radio show getting their testosterone levels tested. Who will have the most? Do they care?

You can listen to it, online!

Screw you, prefixes.

Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.

As do privation and deprivation.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
  Oh, give me a home...

where the buffalo roam...

That's right. Those are baby buffalos. With their momma buffalos. Or buffalo. Or, more correctly, perhaps, "bison."

Here at the lab, we have our very own herd of american buffalo. I ride past them every morning & evening on my bike. Apparently, they are very special: They "have a reputation for being large and healthy animals and are much sought after by breeders."

Also, they are cute.

the newest little one!

This baby is only a few hours old -- it still had its umbilical cord hanging off of it when it stood up. It was amazing to me how well it could walk and even trot a bit alongside its mother... go, buffalos. 
i just don't know yet.

12.03 / 01.04 / 02.04 / 03.04 / 04.04 / 05.04 / 07.04 / 08.04 / 09.04 / 10.04 / 12.04 / 01.05 / 02.05 / 03.05 /

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