the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Friday, December 22, 2006

'Tis the Season for Parties

so, i've been thinking about this a lot lately, and i really want to have my tapas party SOON (i've wanted to throw a tapas party ever since i got back from spain in septemeber). for new year's, perhaps? i don't know if that will work since all my peeps are out of town until next week, and i won't see them until next friday. and we haven't really discussed new year's plans. but anyway... i've already started planning the menu in my head. i'd like to try my hand at making a small paella (though i do not have the traditional paella pan), veggie paella i think. also, i really want to make russian salad (i ate SO MUCH russian salad in spain, and it was delicious). i bought a cookbook called 'the best 100 tapas' at the airport in madrid, and it has some great recipes in it. i also want to make croquetas (fried balls of spanish goodness!), which i tried out shortly after returning to the states, and they turned out pretty tasty. and churros! so yummy. oh, and i can't forget tortilla española. i’ll probably make some other stuff, too, but i’ll have to pore through my cookbook for more ideas.

some of the recipes in that book sound absolutely disgusting. like baby eel tartlets. gross! but most sound delicious.

since it’s a party, i’ll also need some drinks. sangria sounds perfect. and mojitos! jose luis made us paella and mojitos in spain. i was deathly sick at the time, and when he handed me a mojito, jose luis was like, “some vitamins for you. it will make you feel better.”

i’ll also have the bottle of wine that chad got to bring home from the ice pilots’ christmas party (we said we wouldn’t drink it without you, nessa).

on the topic of alcoholic beverages, i recently procured a delightful book of alcoholism-in-the-making, the complete bartender. it has recipes for sangria and mojitos, and any drink you could possibly dream of. including pensacolas and scooby snacks! and they both sound delicious! maybe i could also serve pensacolas at my tapas party. they aren’t spanish, but pensacola was the first north american city to be colonized by the spanish, so that counts for something, right? they sound delicious. here’s what’s in a pensacola:

1.5 oz rum
0.5 oz guava nectar
0.5 oz orange juice
0.5 oz lemon juice

you blend it up with ice.

and, just for fun, here’s the recipe for scooby snacks:

0.75 oz vodka
0.75 oz Midori melon liqueur

0.75 oz Malibu
1 oz pineapple juice
0.5 oz cream

you blend that one up with ice, too.

i think i’ll share more festively named drink recipes with you when i don’t really have anything else to charm you with. we’ll all be raging alcoholics yet.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Finally, a Chemist I Can Connect With

i just spent half an hour on the phone with a chemist, and it actually didn't make me want to poke my eyes out. i won't lie. i made A's in chemistry, even the dreaded organic chemistry. but i hated every minute of it. plain old chemistry with the numbers wasn't so bad. neither was quantitative analysis. but i despised organic chemistry. it made my head hurt every day, with the crazy reactions and the concept of chirality, which eludes me to this very day.

and i just talked to an organic chemist for a half hour. and i'm not experiencing suicidal urges. weird. i guess i had to figure that working with chemical defenses in plants i'd encounter one sometime. anyway, i've kind of hit a wall in identifying some of the comounds in my seagrass tissue, and i needed help. because i have NO IDEA what i'm doing. i want to do GCMS (gas chromatography / mass spectroscopy), but there's one small problem. i've never done it before, and i don't know how.

the chemist i just talked to was very helpful. he's kind of goofy and very nice. plus, he's very patient with my lack of knowledge of organic chemistry. even though he knows i took it. and that i made an A in it. it didn't stick. it's nice to find someone who doesn't assume that we lowly students permanently absorb every absurd fact professors throw at us.

anyway, he emailed me a protocol for the GCMS thing and talked me out of ordering a $300 standard whose usefulness i was having doubts about anyway. hooray for dr. f.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


oh god. deep breaths, latina. i'm having severe flashbacks from last hockey season... only this year might be worse because the flyers suck, too. and i actually thought pensacola had a chance to be a decent hockey team at the start of the season. but things seem to be falling apart at the seams. first, mole gets called up. no big deal, we've got ayers to cover things in goal. but no. ayers wants to go play in denmark (not that i blame him). ok, we signed matt carmichael, and he was good the couple of games he played for pcola last season. but no, he was released. so who are we left with? ben gray, who apparently wasn't good enough to make the team in the first place! and another emergency backup goaltender (who is not chuck thuss. i just think it would be fun if chuck thuss would be our emergency backup for once).

on top of this, freakin' greg schuh is coaching this weekend... along with dwayne hay. hello! he can't play if he's coaching. but i guess he'd be better than greg schuh. no wonder they lost last night. i hate to say it, but they'll probably lose tonight, too, even though they're playing columbia, whose roster is, like, us from last season. maybe they'll kick ass and prove me wrong...

we've made so many roster moves this year... it's like a totally different team than the one we started with. but like last year, all these changes haven't really improved anything. and now we're getting players from the SPHL. geez. but i guess we did get that one guy with the weird name from augusta... he was #5 for them. i remember because i always made fun of his name. and you know, i've seen them, like, 4 times already.

i'm starting to lose hope here, people. will this team ever be decent again?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sidney Crosby Is Better Than Jarome Iginla?!?

wtf? what were you thinking, pierre mcguire? you had me on your side when you sided with us flyer fans and admitted that one interference call on todd fedoruk was totally bogus. i believe you called it a 'homer call'... and it resulted in a power play goal for pittsburgh, which made the situation worse. i was all like, "aww, i like you, pierre mcguire!"

but then you had to go and call sidney crosby the best player in the NHL right now. and then you revised that, saying that's he's not just the best right now. he's the best. blah. then i was all like, "i take it back!" one of the guys in the studio with pierre brought up jarome iginla (apparently, HE doesn't think sidney crosby is the best player in the league), and pierre mcguire insisted that sidney crosby is better. this may come as a shock to all sid the kid's fans out there, but i think he's overrated. i've said that before, although not in those exact words. he is a talented player, but he is not anywhere near the best player in the NHL. he certainly is not better than jarome iginla. i don't care what pierre mcguire says.

for one, jarome iginla does not whine anywhere near as often as sidney crosby... and he's putting up great numbers for calgary without getting to play a truly atrocious team 8 times. damn, i bet i could have 47 points by now, too if i was racking up 6 points a game when i played the flyers. geez. i love the flyers, but let's face it, they SUCK this season... and they play pittsburgh 8 times a year.

well, in the middle of my rant, i was rudely interrupted by the fire alarm, and now i'm afraid i've completely lost my train of thought. i'm at USA right now, analyzing some of my seagrass tissue for condensed tannins (a potential chemical defense). between assays, i decided to vent some of my feelings about pierre mcguire and last night's flyers/penguins game, and then the stupid fire alarm went off. if you're wondering, no, the building is not on fire. i did pack up my stuff (i.e., i shoved my computer into my bag and grabbed my notebook and data printouts. hey! that stuff is important! without that stuff, all those days i spent in port st. joe were for nothing!), before fleeing the life sciences building, even though i know you're just supposed to run out of the building, belongings be damned. i had a nice talk with a few profs and the marine sciences secretary while waiting for the police and fire dept to show up. then i hung out downstairs in the marine sciences office for a little while, upon determining that there is no fire. actually, i don't think the fire marshall ever did show, but we got police. last time the fire alarm went off when i was in here working (yes, this happens relatively often, and there has never been an actual fire), the fire marshall showed up and yelled at everyone for not waiting for him before re-entering the building. oh well.

anyway, back to the original point. i really did lose my train of thought, so i'll just start a list of players who are better than sidney crosby. feel free to add to this list... or tell me i'm off my rocker and that sidney crosby is the best player in the NHL.

Jarome Iginla (obviously)
Teemu Selanne
Chris Pronger
Peter Forsberg (when he's healthy)
Alexander Ovechkin (i say this because he embraces the physical part of the game AND makes great plays and scores amazing goals)
Daniel Briere (even though he pisses me off)

there are others. i know there are others. these are the 6 that jump to mind. i'm tempted to add a few more, but the other players who come to mind all have terrible +/- numbers, so i don't feel right about saying publicly that they're better than sidney crosby, who has a good +/- rating.

Friday, December 08, 2006


people say fantasies are harmless, but they can be dangerous. a lot of things have led up to these thoughts, some of which i'm not going to mention. two television programs in particular led me to write this. first, i was watching the lightning/thrashers game last night (tampa bay won 8-0!), and they did a segment during one of the intermissions on a children's book written by head coach john tortorella's wife. it's about the team and the lessons they've learned from the coach. during the segment, they showed footage of a bunch of kids that they brought into the lightning locker room to promote the book, and i started to think about what i would have felt when i was 12 if i were one of those kids. i realized that every single one of them walked into that locker room and immediately started to fantasize about something - being on the team, being friends with the players, something. i could see it in their faces. even though it was a long time ago, i clearly remember being 12, and i can imagine what i would have felt going into that situation.

the second show that led me here is last week's episode of the king of queens (oh, the magic of tivo). in it, carrie has to play the mom in a fake family that has been staged to help sell a model home. at first she hates the whole thing and can't imagine herself in the role of mommy, but as she pretends day after day, she completely loses herself in this fantasy family. and it makes her unhappy with her actual life.

and therein, my friends, lies the danger of the fantasy. if you let yourself get lost in the idea of the (non-existent) perfect life, you can become supremely disappointed with the life you're actually living. sure, a fantasy may drive you to make your own life better, but it could accomplish the exact opposite as well. indulging in a fantasy every now and then is fine, but it's a good idea not to let it go too far. take a step back, realize that a fantasy is not real and likely will never be real, and be happy with the life you've made for yourself instead.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How Bizarre

today is one of those rare days when i wake up and remember my dreams in vivid detail. but i sort of wish i didn't. because they were bizarre, man. i either had two weird and unconnected dreams or one singularly peculiar and somewhat frightening dream. the first one was more relevant to my actual life than the second but wasn't as cohesive.

Part I (Dream I?):
i only remember bits of this one that don't really seem to make much sense, so it might be a tad hard to follow. at the beginning, or the first thing i remember anyway, i was on a boat with kate (DISL chick that went to maine and spain and took the motorboat operator's certification course with me). there may or may not have been an unidentified boy on board with us. i don't really know why we were on the boat, but we were in pretty shallow water and in the middle of nowhere. but there was a small, marshy island that for some reason reminded me of return to the blue lagoon. that in itself was odd because i had the distinct impression that we were somewhere close to dauphin island... and there is definitely no water that clear anywhere close to DISL. but at the same time the general landscape reminded me of maine.

but anyway. one second we were on the boat and the next we were on this deserted little island being chased by someone who wanted to do us bodily harm. and there was a boy there. it was kyle from that show on usa, the 4400, and he was wearing this huge black life jacket that looked like those bullet proof vest thingies worn by the SWAT team. but it was definitely a life jacket. so, the three of us climed into this shallow pool and were hiding underneath a ledge and some unidentified voice was making vague threats and slowly approaching our hiding place. then the owner of the voice was standing on top of the ledge we were hiding under, and suddenly there was a small opening in the rock behind the threatening person. so kate and i climed up through the hole and ran like hell, but kyle from the 4400 with his ridiculously huge life jacket couldn't fit. so kate and i were running (back to the boat, presumably, but i don't really know) when kyle and his giant SWAT vest/life jacket suddenly appeared beside me.

and that's all i remember.

Part II is a little more disturbing and a lot more graphic.
here the first thing i remember is walking to some sort of huge outdoor party, a la the town gatherings on gilmore girls. but this time i wasn't myself. i was that guy rick from 24 Season 1. you know, that guy who helped kidnap jack's daughter and then felt bad about it. this could be because chad and i just watched an episode of that show before bed.

anyway, i was walking to this party when a group of girls (presumably my friends) stopped by in a jeep and picked me up. when we arrived at the party, there were tons of animals there, and i was really confused. the setting sort of looked like a huge, old university campus. there was tons of grass (a lawn, i guess), some trees, and lots of old brick buildings. but everyone was outside, and there were all these animals. which were very attracted to me. and not in a good way. all these dogs and cats and birds started attacking me, and i was fighting them off but getting pretty scatched up in the process. then there was this black panther that came running at me, and i fought it off (apparently rick from 24 is like superman).

then things changed a little, and the animals were magically gone. and all the people were gone, too. but for some reason i was hiding in a closet. then i felt that something (one of the crazed animals, perhaps) was hunting for me. so i snuck out of the closet and was crawling around the outside of a building when i came up on another building that looked like a tropical resort. it was all lit up outside, with an oddly shaped pool and lots of palm trees. then i heard this pained groan and half a guy fell out of a tree on top of me. it was really disgusting. his insides were all oozing out and stuff. then this crazed maniac ran out of the resort-ish building, chasing me. i grabbed a fake plant out of the pool that for some reason had a heavy concrete base (you know, so i could use it as a weapon) and made a run for it. i climbed up one of the trees in the old university-ish place, hoping the maniac wouldn't see me ('cause it was dark in this dream, did i mention that?). but he did. and he had a weapon - something huge and sharp and scary, but i don't remember exactly what it was. he tried to climb up the tree, but i was way up at the top in the flimsy part (something i would never actually do, being terrified of heights), and i started moving around and shaking the tree so that he fell out. but the top of the tree bent way down, almost to the ground, and he was almost able to reach me with his unidentified sharp scary thing that could hurt me bad. and then the maniac climed onto the roof of a building next to the tree and was jumping into the tree with me when i woke up.

see? bizarre.

Damn Sea Wolf

so i am right in the middle of writing a post about my bizarre dreams, but chad just called me and i couldn't wait to share. he couldn't wait to share either, apparently. it's good stuff. he called to tell me that he just met a former mobile mystick. wait for it... chuck thuss. i was all like, "dude, i totally remeber him!" and then i was like, "i remember thinking 'what kind of hockey player name is chuck?'" you know why i rememeber him? 'cause back when he played hockey i saw a bunch of games against mobile... and the damn sea wolves, who he also played for. check him out. i sort of had to rememeber him, 'cause he was a freakin' goalie. goalies stick with you, man. c'mon if i remember him, someone else out there has to (*cough* nessa).

anyway, chad's new friend chuck liked mobile so much he moved here, i guess. i mean, i don't really like mobile, but to each his own. it's better than canada, i bet. weather-wise anyway. so, chuck thuss owns a sports supply store here in mobile that sells lots of hockey stuff. chad tells me it's really cool, and i told him that we have to go there. he agreed. and chuck thuss has promised to find chad the rare and elusive mobile myticks jersey he's been looking for since last year. he doesn't think he has any in the store, 'cause he thinks he took 'em all home. so chad might finally get his jersey. i say 'might' because former mayor mike dow (who now works at the same company as chad) promised to find him a mysticks jersey last year and failed to come through.

but anyway, chad met a former mystick (who has been signed as mississippi's emergency backup goalie over the last few years, you know, before katrina wiped them out). isn't that cool?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Procrastination Catches Up

so, i've been putting off this whole presentation/paper thing pretty much since i got back from spain way back in september. i can't really say that it snuck up on me, but really, where did the time go? my presentation about my maine project is friday! as in three days from now! and my paper is due in a week! and i haven't started it yet! like, i don't even have any references!

i did manage to get the backbone of my presentation done last night. it only took about an hour. it's only a 10(ish) minute presentation, after all. i have 17 slides. now i'm trying to compile some references and fill out all the parts where i just made notes for myself. like ADD REFERENCE or MAP or PHOTO or just random words to remind me what i wanted to put on that slide. so far, i've dug up three or four papers that i already had in the file boxes in my office at home.

i've also been hella pissed at my dsl modem, which keeps randomly crapping out on me. for the most part, i really love my dsl, but it's a good thing i can still use the dial-up when i need to. for the last few days, my dsl modem just refuses to work at the most random and inopportune moments. and no matter what troubleshooting techniques i try, it just refuses to be fixed... until i check again in a few hours and it's magically better for a couple of hours. then it craps out again. the little dsl light just flashes and the stupid thing keeps thinking the cables aren't connected, even though i know they are, 'cause i haven't changed anything in the three months since we got it. a technician is coming out tomorrow to check it out. but just you wait and see, it will work like a charm for the tech and he'll think i'm on crack. then as soon as he steps out the door and i try to check my email it will start that evil flashing again. stupid dsl light, why can't you just be solid green? why do you insist on flashing? at least it's working for now.

so, i cooked thanksgiving dinner for the very first time this year, and i have to say that it was a brilliant success. who knew i could cook? the turkey was lovely and brown and perfect, and i picked a really tasty (and easy) dressing recipe from the food network site, and i made mashed potatoes (like, a ton of 'em) and gravy (my 1st attempt at gravy - it probably could have been better) and green beans and apple pie and cranberry sauce from a can. i had tons of leftovers.

i didn't go shopping on black friday (does anyone know why they call it that, btw?), though i was tempted. then i decided that it wasn't worth waking up that early. the only thing i was really interested in was an mp3 player that was way cheap and a 1GB flash drive that was also way cheap from walmart. but walmart the day after thanksgiving is scary. and i ended up getting a flash drive for, like, 87 cents more than walmart's 5 am sale price at best buy on saturday. i was excited. it had a $35 instant rebate, so i was way excited. chad and i also bought a wireless router (so i'm not chained to the office when i wanna surf the net on my spiffy laptop), which i can't use until i figure what the hell is up with my frickin' modem.

i did hit the mall on monday afternoon for a little christmas shopping. i had some coupons that needed to be used before december 4th ('cause they were for 30% off my entire purchase, and who wants to waste that? 30% off one item, i can let that go. but off everything? i can't pass it up, especially when everything is on sale anyway). first i hit up new york and co. (complete with giant mcdreamy and meredith in the window), where i scored HUGE. i bought 2 sweaters (BOGO 1/2 off), a pair of sweet gray cords ($10 off), and some earrings (50% off), then i got 15% off everything for opening a credit acct (i can't believe i didn't already have one there, actually. i shop there a lot), THEN i got my 30% off THAT. so i saved, like $35 just from the 15% and 30% off discounts, on top of the money the sales took off. all together, i think i saved about $68. i only spent $50. i went back later and bought some socks and a scarf and glove set for my granny.

after NY&Co. i spent quite a bit of $ in bath and body works. most of it was on christmas presents. i got $15 off in there, too, so i was happy. i bought four gift sets in there for my female family members (including the mother-in-law. chad thought it was sweet of me). i was tempted to buy some of the 3 for $10 soaps and lotions, but i didn't... mainly because i stocked up last week when they were 4 for $10.

finally, i went in victoria's secret (i got $10 off in there, plus everything i bought was on sale). i got another gift set... but it was for myself. dream angels desire. i like it a lot (i knew that already, 'cause i got a free teeny bottle of the perfume a couple of weeks ago). i also bought some lip gloss... which was of course on sale. ooh! and i got a free eye shadow! full sized, even! score!

deva and vanessa already know that i've done some online christmas shopping, as well (since i spilled the beans about ordering their gifts). pretty much the only people i don't have something for are damien and dylan. and i want to get something else for chad. plenty of time for that, though.

i put up my baby christmas tree yesterday. (see how much procrastinating i can do when i put my mind to it?) i intended to do actual work, but my dsl was having one of its bitchy moments, and downloading pdf's with dial-up is scary slow.

dudes! my internet light on my modem just went all devil red on me! that's a first. usually, the little dsl light just flashes and the internet light is off.

ok. all lights green and steady again. i better publish this thing while i still can.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Celebrating The Tina

i like birthdays. they're so much fun. it wasn't my birthday this past weekend, but my real birthday really sucked (you know, with my mom being in the hospital and all), so i didn't feel bad about pretending. i crashed at nessa's place this weekend, and she and deva treated me to an excellent weekend. we of course went to mcguires friday night for dinner (a birthday tradition in our group), and then we went to seville quarter (a really cool bar in pcola, for those who don't know what it is) for drinking and dancing. i had three drinks and was pretty sloshed (obviously, i'm a lightweight when it comes to the booze)... and as we all know, i'm a delightful drunk. so it was a blast. we took extra care getting dressed that night. we had to be sure to wear something kind of... scandalous. or slutty, if you prefer. i chose a (not at all slutty) knee length denim skirt, a top that showed a lot of skin and had strategically placed sparkles (i'll let your imagination figure out where they were), and the pride and joy of my shoe collection - my prostitute boots. they're dark brown suede with a wedge heel, and they hit just below my knees. i love them, slutty though they are.

anyway, i spent the night shutting down guys. it was kind of fun. see, i'm apparently a man magnet (i blame it on being married. i give off that 'you can't have me' vibe, and it drives the boys wild. or maybe it was my slutty boots). i'd told nessa and deva that if there was skeezy guy within 100 yards he'd come running for me, but i don't think they realized how true this was until they saw it first hand. i don't know, a couple of those guys weren't actually all that skeezy. like the first guy, zack. i thought he was checking out my girls (my back was to him, after all). i'd seen him in a few different rooms, and then the three of us decided to hang at a table for a while and people watch. every time i turned around to see if anyone interesting was coming through the door, this guy was looking over at our table, and i was like, "guys! the blond guy by the door is TOTALLY checking you out!" and about that time, he walks over, puts his hand on my back (why do they always wanna touch me?) and introduces himself. then he asks my name and i tell him, and he's like, "you're lying." which i wasn't. but i was sort of trying to draw attention to my left hand (and my wedding ring). finally, he looks down and sees it and goes "oh! you're married! sorry." then his friend walks over and goes, "hi. i'm the wingman. i'm just supposed to come over and talk." and zack's like, "dude. i'm bailing." it was pretty funny, and he was sort of cute. he should have stuck around and gotten to know my two amazing single girl pals, but alas, he did not. but he did hit on vanessa later on that night. too bad he missed his chance. you snooze, you lose, buddy.

and then there was the guy who was, like, the WORST pick-up artist EVER. he pretty much was a skeeze ball. he put his fist on the table and said, "what does this make you think of?" or something like that. i'm like, "rock!" and vanessa said that's what she thought, too. then he goes on this whole thing, playing rock paper scissors with us, and it was so WEIRD. and he kept asking what i was feeling when i was playing rock paper scissors. i was like, "like i was playing rock paper scissors." and he thought i was lying. so i said, "and like i was a little drunk." then he's like, "i'm a doctor. thanks for participating in my study." that guy asked deva to dance later on. she refused. 'cause he was a freak, man.

and then there was david, the boy i scored for nessa. we were dancing in our little girl group (but there was no ass slapping), and deva had seen this boy who was hot, and i was trying to get his attention and get him to dance with her. instead, i accidentally made eyes at the boy standing in front of him. good thing he was cute. anyway, he came over, and deva said 'hi', and he danced with us and asked me lots of questions (he liked my slutty boots), and i subtly tried to steer him toward vanessa. eventually, it worked, and they danced and talked, and at the end of the night she gave him her number. and they have a date tonight. we'll see how it goes. i'm so proud of me, hookin' up my girl (with a little help from deva).

then this other guy came over and started dancing with us, but he never said anything. his friend came over later and was trying to get the boy who didn't talk to ask me questions, and at the end of the night he was like, "i think you're the most intelligent woman i've ever met in a bar. can i have your number?" then i told him i'm married (which i told his friend, so i thought he knew that already), and he was like, "oh. sorry."

and then we were leaving, and nessa was going to give david her digits, so deva and i were waiting for her outside. there were all these people in animal suits (like mascot suits, but i don't really know who they were or why they were there) running around the bar all night, and one of them was a moose. while deva and i were standing outside, the moose came and put its arms around us (i actually suspect that the moose was a girl). then this guy came over and said something like, "these pretty girls don't want the moose touching them" or something. and he pointed at deva and said, "and this mean pretty girl's gonna kick the moose in the nuts." then the moose went away and the guy was just talking to us. i was all like, "why can't i be the mean one?" and he was making fun of how fast and excited i talk. he was like, "are you always like this?" yeah, pretty much. then nessa came out, and we were just gonna leave, and then that guy asked for my number. i said i don't think my husband would like that too much. geez. do guys not even check for rings these days?

so, that's how that night ended. the next day, we went to seaside (the SMALL town where the movie the truman show was filmed) for sight seeing and shopping. it was SO CUTE. we ate lunch at this really cute place called roly poly. it was bascially a wrap sandwich place, and it was quite tasty. after walking all over town and visiting their shops and cooing over how cute the whole place was, we headed for destin for some real shopping. i bought so much stuff... we hit the outlet mall first and spent a long time there. nessa and i bought matching dresses. they're so cute. it seems like we always end up buying something the same. 'cause we both have such good taste. deva and i bought the same clinique makeup/skincare kit. it was in such a cute bag. i am quite happy with all of my purchases, and i came away with lots of good stuff.

after the outlets, we hit destin commons for a while. i actually didn't buy anything there, but i love that place. it's so pretty. we saw a girl there who really did look slutty. her boots were much sluttier than mine. or maybe it's just that she was wearing hers with a short, slutty red dress... and it was cold. after a long day of shopping, we ate dinner at tony's ristorante, an italian place in destin commons. we ate outside. good thing they have heaters outdoors. it was delicious... i ended up taking most of my penne mediterranean home, and chad and i ate it for lunch sunday.

after dinner, we were gonna go party some more on pensacola beach, but it was pretty dead. we were all pretty tired after our late night friday anyway. i went home sunday morning with all my loot (plus all the cool stuff deva and nessa gave me).

all in all, it was a pretty great weekend.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cute Baby

my bro just sent me some new pics of my cute baby nephew. he's coming down for thanksgiving, and my bro and nephew will be spending a night at my house (yay for guests in the spiffy guest room!).

my bro and dylan. he's 18 months old now... just old enough to say, "hi!" and then "bye!" and hang up the phone on me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Coneheads Controversy

the title sounds weird, i know, but it will make so much sense once you've read this post. oh, and it doesn't have anything to do with aliens. it has to do with that blue-on-the-outside-pepto-bismol-pink on the inside restaurant just outside the park where i do research. as i'm sure i've mentioned, i went back to port st. joe on monday to take down the two experiments i had there. well, while i was freezing my ass off in the choppy water, one of the park rangers came and left a note on the DISL truck that i took on my trip (it was the monstrous ford f250 super duty that i hate for its hugeness but kind of like for its relative newness). the note was pretty vague. it just said "please stop by the office on your way out. thanks -- *** ******, park ranger." those ***s stand for a name, btw. i had no idea what it was about. i was thinking something along the lines of "hmm... maybe they want to search my coolers for the first time EVER." you know, to make sure i'm not collecting any critters that aren't on my permit(s).

anyway, that's not what the note was about. when i stopped at the office, i basically got accused of stealing food from coneheads... a restaurant in which i have not stepped foot since june. the ranger guy was like, "did you eat at coneheads? and did you pay?" and i was like, "i've been there before, but not today. i brought a sandwich" and he just said, "ok. that's all i wanted." but he was giving me that "i think you're lying but i just can't prove it" look. i thought the whole thing was supremely odd. i mean, why would a park ranger be trying to find someone who walked out on a check at a local restaurant? and what led him to think that i was the culprit?

well, my answers came a bit later when dottie called me. i got all excited when i heard 'the danger zone' ('cause that's my ringtone, remember?), and i just let it ring for a bit, but then i answered and it was dottie. she was calling to ask me about the whole coneheads situation... because the crazy bitch from the restaurant called DISL. how she got the number and why she would call a lab 5 hours away from her restaurant remain a mystery. the only plausible explanation is the she called the park and they told her that someone from DISL was working there that day (me) and that the helpful ranger dug up the number for ken's lab, because he's the one to call on all our permits. and that's when she called dottie and got all bitchy.

anyway, dottie said that the chick said the culprit was a small 27 year old girl with curly brown hair, wearing a brown uniform, driving a white truck with state tags on the front, who claimed to be heading to the park to collect endangered species. oh, and she then said something like, "i don't want the money. i just want you to let whoever did it know that they were caught." i imagine that this was followed by a witchy cackle. i guess it could be said that i am small (but i'm not freakishly small or anything... 5' 3.25" is a respectable height!); i am 24, not 27; i do have brown hair, but it is quite straight; i was not wearing anything brown (i was wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt from the aquarium in valencia over a striped purple bikini); i was driving a white truck with state tags on the back like a normal vehicle and it has a bright red fish on both front doors surrounded by the words "Dauphin Island Sea Lab"; and i would never have said that i was going to collect endangered species. i would have said something like, "i'm going to freeze my ass off taking down my grazing experiments in the seagrass beds." dottie specifically asked about the logo on the truck, because it is quite obvious. the chick replied, "i didn't pay that much attention to the truck." anyway, after talking with me dottie reached the conclusion that the chick from coneheads was smoking crack, and i thought the whole deal was done. but this story has spread through the entire lab like wildfire, and apparently some people acutally believe that i walked out on a check at coneheads. which i did not.

i do, however, have a theory. The Whore from the DEP (i'm not going to mention her actual name, lest she google herself and find out what i call her behind her back and smite any future attempts that i might make at getting a resesarch permit from her) was probably the culprit. and it's just my luck (or perhaps bad karma, you know, for referring to her as The Whore, and spreading that nickname around the entirety of DISL) that instead of pursuing her, everyone seems to think that i did it. which, once again, just for clarification, i DID NOT. you see, i think The Whore is pissed that i managed to go over her head and get not a permit but a deminimus exemption (lower on the totem pole than a permit) from my new buddy andy k when she tried so very hard to prevent me from collecting any seagrass in bay county. so she's trying to get back at me... by stealing food from coneheads and throwing all the suspicion onto innocent little me. she must be an evil genius, i tell you, to pull it off. but it kind of fits. the park service folks do wear brown uniforms and drive white trucks with state tags... and they even put tags on the front of their vehicles. sure, i don't know if The Whore is small or if she has curly brown hair ('cause i've never actually met her in person, just talked to her on the phone), but i'm nearly positive that it must have been her.

it's the only explanation.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cute Optometrists: Way Less Weird Than Cute OB/GYNs

what is with all my doctors getting switched around on me this year? first my gyencologist, now my optometrist. last year (and the couple of years prior to that) i had this really bitchy female optometrist whom i wasn't at all fond of. this year, i get a young hot guy. when i first saw him, i was reminded of the hot gynecologist to whom i exposed all my most intimate parts a few months ago. thankfully, i was fully clothed (more heavily clothed than usual, actually, since it was freakin' freezing this morning - well, it was 42 degrees, close enough) this time instead of stark naked under a flimsy hospital gown. and it's a hell of a lot less intimidating to have a cute boy looking deep into your eyes than to have one poking around your nether regions. well, perhaps not looking deep into your eyes. more like scrutinizing the surface of your cornea. but still.

obviously, i had my yearly eye exam today. it went well. for the first time since i first got my contacts five years ago, my vision has not gotten worse since my last exam. yay! and the guy wasn't bitchy and didn't yell at me for sleeping in my contact lenses... maybe because i stopped doing it after the bitchy lady chastised me for it. anyway... the verdict: my eyes look very healthy. the cute optometrist said so. and now i have a fresh supply of contacts, which was the reason for the visit in the first place. i went digging around my bathroom the other day, looking for a new box, and i discovered that i ran out. it's a good thing i had today free to make an appointment, because i'm heading back to port st. joe on monday, and doing field work (in the water) in glasses just seems like a huge pain in the ass. not to mention that wearing glasses all day makes my head hurt. i think it's just the presence of something behind my ears for long periods of time. headbands have the same result.

anyway, let's talk about a different kind of doctor for a bit. i am reviewing a journal article for marine biology, and i am really digging the feeling of power that i have right now. i mean, i hold in my hands the power to influence an editor's decision to publish (or not to publish) someone's work. it's weird to be reviewing and criticizing the work of an author whom i have cited many, many times. i kind of like it.

i met with dr. v. yesterday and told him a couple of concerns that i have about the article and my thoughts in general. then he told me to go ahead and write the review, then he'll look it over before we submit it (and he'll be sure to give me credit for writing it). i've written lots of these things for classes, but this is my first real one, and i totally love it. it turns out that i'm pretty awesome at giving constructive criticism. see? and i bet you all thought that i could only give the scathing, obscenity-ridden variety of criticism.

i know you're dying for more, but that's all i've got for right now. i'm in a pretty delightful mood today, and i have no desire to ruin with the bubbling anger over hockey that is buried deep inside me (for now).

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Did Freeze

yeah, i'll say that field work in the fall is definitely a BAD idea. i'll be glad when it's over. i wasn't alone in my suffering, though. rochelle valiantly stood by me... and we both bitched about it a lot. it was SO freakin' cold. it was the kind of cold where i stepped into the water and it immediately made my feet hurt. when rochelle and i were marking seagrass shoots so i can go back later and see how much they grew, my fingers went numb. it was horrible. oh, and sampling two experiments in one day is also a VERY BAD idea. we quite literally finished by the headlights of the suburban. and the park service guys so did not come kick us out when the park closed at sunset. so we finished processing the last sample in the bug-infested dark. i bought rochelle dinner that night. it was so awful, she deserved something good for helping me.

the day we left port st. joe was really pleasant, though. we slept in a little (well, we got to wake up after the sun was up, so it was an improvement), hung out on the balcony of our hotel room watching a swarm of seagulls and pelicans diving for fish (it was like an episode of Blue Planet, i swear), and then drove all the way back down hwy 98 to pensacola. once we arrived in pcola, i swung by the hangar and picked up my pretty, pretty ice pilots tickets. i squealed with excitement when i discovered the 'bring a friend' coupons. i was planning on bringing some friends at some point, and now i can bring them for free. then we stopped by cordova mall so rochelle could get her ring cleaned, and after that we continued our journey back to DISL, where we unloaded and cleaned out the suburban. then we headed back to mobile, and it was only 5 pm when i got home. it was pretty sweet.

i'm super excited about tonight. you know, the ice pilots' home opener. i was delighted to see that bridgeport finally assigned us a defenseman and that adam tichauer was waived. not that i have anything personal against adam tichauer, i've just always been pissed that half of this season's defense was here last year during The Worst Year Ever. somebody had to go.

i was also delighted last night by the flyers' game against atlanta. they actually managed to avoid looking horrible and pathetic for john stevens' NHL head coaching debut... and they won in a shootout. who would have thought that atlanta putting in a cold goaltender for the shootout would be a bad idea? i was so surprised to see kari lehtonen in the shootout when hedberg had played the whole game. it worked out well for the flyers, though, and they scored their second win of the season. man, that sounds sad.

anyway, i'm looking forward to tonight and to an ECHL season that will (hopefully) wipe the last one from memory.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm Going to Freeze

hello all. i am currently busy damning the fact that i chose to engage in field work in the fall. i have apparently just come to the realization that field work involves water, that water is wet, and that it gets cool and windy in the fall, especially at the beach. what the hell was i thinking? why would i ever think that getting wet and chopping up seagrass on a windy 46-50 degree morning (and on a day with an afternoon high of just 67-68) is a good idea? why? why would i do this to myself? i am not a masochist. i like myself kind of a lot. and yet i torture you, self...

as you might have guessed, i have to go port st. joe tomorrow to sample my field experiments. that really sucks, as the low tonight is 46, and the high tomorrow is 68. at least i won't get into the water until tomorrow afternoon. but tuesday... let's just say i'm going to freeze. the overnight low tomorrow is 43 degrees in port st. joe. add a 15-25 mph wind and water to that, and that makes for one shivering and miserable and wet latina.

rochelle is my bitch, er... helper for this trip, but i don't think she really minds the cold, being from st. louis and all. i've advised her to bring along a wetsuit just the same. i wonder if she'd be willing to come back with me in a couple of weeks when i take the experiments down... if not, i'd better start begging for help now. i guess she'll be able to make a more informed decision about next time after we return on wednesday. we shall see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


i thought that i'd be a little nervous this week because of the motorboat operator certification course and my complete and utter lack of experience pulling a trailer or driving a boat. but it isn't as bad as i thought it would be. i'm actually having fun with it. and all of this is coming from the girl who isn't even really comfortable backing the truck by itself.

yesterday was the first day of the class, and we spent the morning in the classroom going over the (extreme) basics... like the parts of the boat and trailer. then we went out and looked at the trailers and stuff and the different boats that DISL has. then we watched a video on visual distress signals. and then came the fun part... we went down to the beach and shot off some day/night flares. and we also had to practice putting out fires. i was a little nervous about that part. you know, with my being the queen of the kitchen fire and all. but it was fine. i showed that gasoline-fire-in-a-huge-metal-bowl who's boss (i am). after that, we watched another silly video on trailering, and then we had to actually practice trailering.

i don't think i did too horribly for someone with absolutely zero trailering experience. plus, i got stuck with the truck in which the bench seat in front doesn't move up (one of the lever things is broken), so i couldn't really reach the pedals without scooting up on the seat. that kind of sucked, but i managed. mike (guy teaching the course) told me i did pretty well, anyway. i only squished 2 out of 12 cones when we had to weave in and out of them. i pretended they were ducks. i was a little sad about the two 'ducks' that sacrificed themselves so that i could learn to drive a trailer properly. what if they had been real ducks? well, a real duck would probably have panicked and run/flown out of the way. but still...

i didn't squish any cones when i was backing onto the 'ramp' that was really just a space in between four cones. i had to start over a couple of times, but i just get so confused with all the mirrors and the trailer going the opposite way of the truck and all. it takes me a minute to readjust. after i successfully backed the boat onto the 'ramp' twice, mike was like, "gimme 5. now get out of here while you're ahead and get robbie in here." robbie was my partner. he was giving me directions while i was backing up. then i gave him directions. after all that, mike made me park the boat. i only had to start over once that time. like i told mike, there's no law that says you have to get the boat in the water on the first try... as long as i don't crash into anything i'll be fine.

tomorrow we have to practice falling overboard and hauling ourselves back into the boat. i think that's going to be hard. i'm having flashbacks of maine... you know, when SOB cameron jumped off the dock with me, and then three people had to grab me and pull me out 'cause i couldn't do it myself. in my defense, i was fully clothed in jeans and a jacket, and i was drunk, and i was holding a smirnoff ice and kate's glasses... and laughing and being pissed off all at the same time. i'm going to use the 'get one leg over the side and roll' technique. it's gonna be hard, and i'm probably gonna hurt myself, but by george, i can do it.

ooh! in other news, the flyers really suck and really need to get their shit together and are overall just really disappointing right now (i'm still hoping for improvement - they've got good stuff to work with, they should just never, ever let robert esche play again. 9 goals on 37 shots? that's pathetic, i don't care if his defense was non-existent). i couldn't even make myself watch all of their game against buffalo last night. yikes. after the 5th goal in the 2nd period, i was like, "that's it. i can't take anymore." and esche had such a brilliant 1st period... what the hell happened? so really, he allowed 9 goals on 25 shots just in the 2nd and 3rd periods. at least when niittymaki loses, the games are somewhat close. i know that the rest of team isn't exactly on top of its game, but esche isn't exactly playing well, either. i think it's about time niittymaki was officially named the flyers' #1 goalie... and for the rest of the team to learn how to finish on golden opportunities (of which mike richards seems to get more than most. i like the kid, but he needs to get it together, too).

that's not what i intended to write when i started with 'ooh! in other news...' i intended to say that i got a new cell phone, which wouldn't really be that exciting if it weren't for my brilliant choice of ring tones... wait for it... the danger zone! sweet! chad was like, "you would." i love it. to me, that song is hockey. the ice pilots should totally start coming out to that song again. it was so perfect. when i was choosing songs for my ringtone i was stuck in a 3-way tie among green day's "when i come around," bon jovi's "livin on a prayer," and billy idol's "rebel yell." those are all fantastic songs, i know, and they would all make great ring tones, but i just couldn't choose between them. and then in a moment of intense inspiration i knew what my ring tone should be. "the danger zone." kenny loggins. it's great, i tell you.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's Been a Busy Week

so it's been a while since i've updated this thing. kind of a lot has been going on. i went to port st. joe last weekend to set up two more field experiments. chad joined me. i missed what i've heard was a great hockey game saturday night between the (kinda sucky) flyers and the rangers, but chad and i did get to watch the lightning game, since port st. joe is in florida, and the local cable carries sunsports. (former ice pilot) ryan craig has got to be a freakin hero in tampa right now, since he's apparently the only member of the lightning who can score. well, fedotenko did score that one goal... anyway, i was proud. i was pissed that chad and i decided to watch the flyers/pittsburgh game thursday night instead of the lightning game (which they won in a shootout, and in which ryan craig scored both lightning goals in regulation). man, did that flyers game ever suck! what the hell was robert esche thinking? he was terrible in that game, and he hasn't played since. the game tuesday was good... niittymaki played well, and the flyers actually pulled off a win at madison square garden. maybe they should make that their home arena. they can win in that building. niittymaki also played well last night against montreal. his teammates just can't seem to score.

anyway, the day after chad and i came back from PSJ i received an email from DEP andy saying that our deminimus exemption is in the mail. i was excited that he came through for us... and that i hadn't just set up illegal field experiments. i'll be going back to PSJ week after next to sample. i'm in the process of begging for help. i think i have a taker. the problem is that i have to be gone for three days, and a lot of people are taking classes and thus don't have three consecutive days to spare.

i've been working on stats from my spain project with kelly a lot. we worked on it all day yesterday, and we're meeting tomorrow after our lecture to start on the presentation. today i finally got around to taking the boater safety certification exam to get my vessel operator's license. i kicked its ass, if i do say so myself. now i won't be completely clueless when i take the motorboat operator certification course next week. let's just hope i don't crash the trailer into the dock.

in more exciting news, the fedex guy delivered my flyers tickets today. they're so pretty... all nice and season ticket-y looking. there's a picture inside the wachovia center on them. section 109 row 12 seats 1 and 2. i can't wait til march.

chad and i also decided that we should take another day trip to atlanta this hockey season to see the lightning. or if you prefer, Ryan Craig vs Glen Metropolit. i wasn't even aware that metro was playing for the thrashers this year until i was watching a game the other day, and the announcers said his name about 5 times in a row. and then he scored the most beautiful goal against boston last night. i was all like, "hey! i took a picture with him when i was 14!" anyway, if anyone cares to join us for a marathon day either the day after christmas or a thursday in february, tickets were pretty cheap last year. they have a good college discount. i think it's two for one, so two tickets (pretty good seats, too) were only about $75.

well, that's all for now. adios!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ha Ha, Bitches!

so, kelly and i had our meeting at the DEP office in pensacola today. it was pretty much a big fat waste of time. at least we got a hot lunch date (with each other) out of it. but i so could have used that time to do something else, and everything that was accomplished could have been done over the phone. at least our new friend andy (DEP guy) was nice.

so, we started the day by picking up the sea lab car and taking the 9:30 ferry to fort morgan (which doesn't really save a lot of time, but it saves mileage on the car) and driving from there to downtown pensacola. we scoped out the building where we would meet our new buddy andy then headed over to mcguire's for lunch. kelly's boyfriend was a teeny bit jealous when she told him she had a hot lunch date... but he cooled off when she told him it was with moi.

kelly had never been to mcguire's before, and she totally dug it. we split a plate of nachos. kelly actually thought that i was exaggerating when i described the sheer massiveness of mcguire's nachos... until she spotted the waitress coming with our food. we barely put a dent in them, and each of us walked away with a full to-go box. but they were delicious. and the sea lab car now reeks of nachos.

anyway, after lunch we headed back to the DEP office at the governmental center for our 1 pm meeting with andy. pretty much, he asked exactly what we need to do, how much seagrass we need to take and why, what our exact methods are, etc, etc. so we told him. and i informed him that the total amount of seagrass we will need from all three bays is 3 square meters or less. and even that will be collected over the course of a year and from different places. his reaction: 'what? that's it? this is what all the fuss was about?' and then he said that we don't even need a permit. ahhh! wtf?!? i've been going through all this shit for 4 freakin' months, and i don't even need a freakin' permit?!? nope. instead, he's going to give us what's called a de minimus exemption. basically, that means that the amount of seagrass that we're taking is so small that it will pretty much have as much impact on the grass beds as a vacationer walking through them. all we have to do is email him a map of our specific sites, GPS coordinates (which they already have, 'cause i sent them to the last guy that told me the permit was practically in the mail), and a written description of exactly what we're doing at each site. no bigee. kelly and i will do that tomorrow. but i won't be truly happy until i am holding the exemption form in my hand. i've been promised results before, and to no avail. i'm trying to have faith in you, andy my friend, but i've been burned by the DEP before.

so, after a half hour conversation that could have taken place over the phone, kelly and i proceeded to miss the 2:45 ferry back to dauphin island and thus were forced to go to the fort morgan marina for ice cream and fuze drinks (they're supposed to be vitamin-packed and good for you). then we caught the 4:15 ferry back to the island.

end of story.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

In the Mood for Change

as you may have noticed, i woke up this morning feeling the need to make some changes. so i started with my blog template. after a year and a half of the same old template, i decided that my blog needs a fresh look. and i also decided to change my profile pic. i did this several times before sticking with the one you see here. it may change again soon. i have several pretty good ones. i might also change my facebook picture, even though i really dig the one i have on there now. nicole calls it a sex kitten picture.

i don't know about that. i took it sitting in front of my couch while wearing absolutely no makeup. can one be a sex kitten without makeup?

anyway, i am also planning to start seriously decorating my house. as soon as i find the time. damn, i'm going to be busy for the next month. see, i'm still dealing with the damn DEP in florida. i still haven't gotten that last permit that i need. and half the stupid DEP quit. and they switched our permit application from the panama city office to the pensacola office without telling anyone. anyway, we're meeting with those idiots tuesday to straighten this business out. then next weekend it's off to port st. joe with me to set up two field experiments. and i have prep work and data analysis from maine and spain. my spain presentation is october 27 (same day as the pilots home opener). i'm also taking the motorboat operator class at DISL so i can learn to drive a boat... and back a trailer. that's in the middle of the month.

ooh, i ordered almost 250 prints of pictures from maine and spain, so nessa and deva, you guys will have lots of photos to peruse when i see you guys again. i've got a ton on shutterfly, too. between the two trips, there are nearly 1000 photos total. we pooled all of our pictures, so i have access to everyone's, not just mine.

ok, that's enough for this morning. hope you guys dig the new template.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Philly, Here I Come!

it is official now, guys. chad and i are going to philadelphia in march. that will be an extremely busy month for me, with two scientific conferences (one at the beginning of march and one at the end of the month), the usual pilots games, probably a camping trip to port st. joe with the in-laws, and now a 4-day, 3-night excursion to philadelphia. i'm going to freeze my ass off in philly the 2nd week of march, but i'm going to love it. if i survived connecticut that time of year, i can definitely handle philly.

i bought our tickets for the flyers/panthers game on march 8th today. i even saved us $13 by ordering them through (where season ticket holders and others can offload tickets they aren't going to use) instead of through ticketmaster or the flyers website. that $13 kept the order from being over $200 (yeah, dudes, NHL tickets are pricey...well, good ones are pricey). they're pretty good seats. lower level, 12 rows up, in the corner, at the end where the flyers shoot twice. basically, they're in the same place as our seats in pensacola, only a few rows higher up. and they're better than any seats we could get by ordering them through the flyer website. i checked. and there were worse seats selling for more dinero on stubhub. i think i did good, especially considering that $80 each for the tickets, the 10% stubhub fee and the $12 shipping and handling charge (2 day shipping via fedex) still came out to be less than the total price would have been through other methods.

i also booked our flights and hotel today. we will be staying at the holiday inn philadelphia stadium, which is just about as close as we could get to the wachovia center. no parking trouble for us. we aren't going to bother renting a car while we're there. we'll take a taxi from the airport and then take the subway and trolleys wherever else we want to go. we'll be flying out of pensacola (which is $80 cheaper than flying out of mobile and the same price as gulfport) on march 7, hanging out in philly before the game, cheering on the flyers against florida march 8, then taking a trolley tour of the city on march 9, visiting the liberty bell and the constitution center and whatever other historical places we feel like, and we can't forget that we'll also visit the rocky statue and take lots of pictures. then we'll head back home on march 10.

i can't wait. i'm so excited. hopefully, the flyers' atrocious preseason record isn't an indication of how poorly they'll do during the regular season. i want them to actually win when i go to philly.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One Step Closer

that's right, guys. i am one step closer to getting my Ph.D. i FINALLY got my prospectus signed today at my committee meeting, and i've set a general time to take the dreaded comps (late spring). i was going to do this before maine, but then my mom got sick and stuff, and i lost my head. so today it got done. i just have to email my outside committee member (he's in pennsylvania) and see if dr. v. can sign his name, and then it goes to the department chair and off to the folks at the graduate school. and then i get a raise. yay!

i got another piece of exciting news today. you know what that was? in may i'll probably get to go to the bahamas for a week for free. yay again! dr. v. told me he was close to saying 'yes' to teaching the coral reef ecology class, which spends a week in the bahamas, and he said, "and i'll need a TA who can collect parrotfish-grazed turtlegrass for her project." sweet! that TA he was talking about is none other than yours truly. i've got a pretty sweet advisor, dudes.

it was also decided today that i should present at two conferences this spring instead of just the one that i was planning on. that's fine by me. i can do essentially the same talk at both of them. one will probably be at DISL (the one i didn't plan on), and the other one is in atlanta at georgia tech. my little italian friend from maine is supposed to be at that one. i'll miss 2 ice pilot home games, though, which is sad. :-( the conference is march 21-25. perhaps there's an interesting thrashers game during that time that i might convince someone to go to... hmm. san jose on the 22nd is the only home game during that time. i dunno about that one. maybe not. oh well.

ooh! but chad and i ARE seriously considering taking a trip to philadelphia this year. probably in march or april when it's not ass cold there. then i can lick the liberty bell! like on how i met your mother! if we go, we'll spend a few days and explore philly while we're there, eat real philly cheese steak and all. let's hope this really happens. if it does, we'll know soon, 'cause we'll order our tickets (and our plane tickets) far, far in advance. i like not taking regular classes, because i'm not limited in when we can go. awesome.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back in the States

hello all. i am once again back in the states, using my own computer instead of one with a spanish keyboard with extra keys and some in the wrong places. i was very excited to come home, though i had an excellent time in spain. when we got to the airport in memphis yesterday, kate, rochelle, and i were all excited about boys who don't look gay (i.e., no man capris or man purses), waiters who split checks and actually come to your table to check on you without your flagging them down first, not having to argue with people in a foreign language, being able to use a debit card anywhere, and a whole host of other american conveniences that i totally take for granted. it was an extremely long trip (23 hours if you count the time when we left our hostel), and i was beat when i got home. no jet lag on the return trip, no siree. i only slept for about an hour during the entire 23 hours we traveled, and we only got about 4 hours of sleep monday night in madrid.

our three nights in madrid were pretty excellent. just was worried about me, kate, and rochelle being alone in such a big city in a foreign country, but we took care of ourselves just fine. we literally took every form of transportation available while we were in spain - cars, planes, trains, taxis, buses, subways, and the airport shuttle. it was pretty crazy. we took a train from alicante to madrid on saturday and checked into our hostel, which we've been told was pretty sweet as hostels go. we were so starving when we arrived that we ate at burger king because it was the only place open (it was 5 pm, way past the spanish lunch time and way before the spanish dinner time). then we went out for a tapas dinner later on that night and split a pitcher of sangria. i was poco borracha on the walk back to the hostel. then we crashed relatively early because we had kind of a big day planned for sunday. between burger king and dinner, we met a bunch of people in our hostel by just hanging out in the common room for a while. they were a pretty cool bunch.

anyway, on sunday we visited el rostro, the huge flea market in madrid. i bought a really cute skirt there, and kate bought the same one. we got a wee bit lost on the way there, but it was ok. we stopped to take my picture by the la latina metro stop. the market was phenominally huge. we walked around there for hours. we saw a guy trying to steal a bunch of perfume, and the police took it away from him, then he tried to take it from the police, and they started hitting him with their night sticks, and the guy was still trying to take stuff from them.

after el rostro, we took the metro over to all the museums. they're free on sundays, which really cool, and that sunday was the last day of the picasso exhibit at museo del prado, which was even cooler. so we walked around the prado for hours, too, and it was awesome. i was disappointed in the lack of prints for sale in the gift shop, though. they had some postcards featuring some of the paintings, but they only had a couple of my favorties.

after walking all day long, the three of us went back to the hostel for a siesta, then we went out for a tapas dinner with our roommate michaela. after dinner, we met up with a bunch of people from our hostel and a couple of others in the area for a pub crawl. it was so much fun. we paid 10 euros to visit 4 pubs with a free shot and a discount on drinks at each one and then free admission to a salsa club. it was such a long night (we were dancing for 6 hours), but it was so much fun. everyone was pretty drunk. we got to meet tons of cool people through the pub crawl, though. we hung out a lot with a gay english boy named david, and he was a hoot. i danced salsa with him for a little while. unfortunately, i'm not good at salsa dancing. there was also an australian boy who was sort of stalking me all night. i'm pretty sure he said his name was bone. weird. he was cute, but he was a little frisky, and kate had to rescue me from him once on the dance floor at the 4th bar we went to. at one point at that bar, i was really hot and sweaty from all the dancing (as was everyone else), and i turned to rochelle and yelled over the music, "rochelle! blow me!" we do this thing where we blow on each other's faces to cool us off when we're hot and sweaty, but it sounded very inappropriate. david was like, "did she just shout 'blow me' in a club?" and the australian boy was like, "did you just say what i think you said?" then rochelle blew on my face and it was all good.

the australian boy had a spanish friend from the santa pola area (that's where we were before we went to madrid), and his name was juan. he said he didn't really like santa pola and that it was no fun. i told him that i had a ton of fun in santa pola at the clubs near the castle. he was all like, "what castle?" so that was weird, because the castle is right in downtown santa pola. anyway, since i managed to have fun in santa pola and i mentioned the castle, he started calling me the queen of santa pola. and then he bowed. it was kind funny, but also kind of weird.

we got home from the pub crawl around 5 am and slept for a few hours. then we got up and took a bus over to san lorenzo de escaloria to visit the monastary and stuff there. it's where all spanish monarchs are buried, and just told us it's a good lesson in spanish history. and when we got there, it was closed. that was disappointing, but we walked around the outside, which was beautiful and HUGE. then we walked around the little town for a while and had lunch, then headed back into madrid for some sweet shopping. we hit a souvenir shop and then a bunch of really expensive stores. and then we found it. the one store that made us all extremely happy. H & M. i know we have them in the states, but nowhere near mobile. and we found such cute stuff for so little money. i bought the cutest top for 2.90 euros. i literally squeaked when i found it. ask rochelle, she was there, and she made fun of me for it. i also bought a couple of super cheap tank tops and an adorable striped, short sleeve, button up shirt that i couldn't live without. in fact, i'm wearing it right now. i love it. it has a bit of spanish sluttiness to it, since the highest button is pretty much right between my boobs, but i still love it. that was a trend we noticed in spain - slutbag. we saw a 14 year old wearing ho-veralls (overall shorts that were pretty much up her ass), and we never felt like we dressed slutty enough to fit in at any of the clubs we went to. or even slutty enough to go shopping. that's how slutty the girls dress there on an everyday basis. everything is super short, super tight, and super low cut. and a lot of it is weird. but like i said, i found some cute stuff too. but i hate european sizing. it makes me feel fat. i bought a pair of shorts, and i had to get a size 40. ick. give me a size 8 or 9 in the states over a european 40 any day. i could fit a 38, but i felt like it squeezed in odd places, so i went for the bigger size.

after shopping, we went to dinner at the vacquita argentina, a little restaurant right near our hostel. i got veggie lasagna, and it was delicious. we ordered wine with our dinner, and when we told the waiter our first choice he looked horrified and asked, "are you sure?" so kate asked if it was really bad, and he recommended a different one for us. it was pretty good and not very expensive. that whole experience was pretty funny. after dinner, we went back to the hostel to pack, and we had a new roomie. it was an american boy who's been studying arabic named tully. i liked him. michaela was on the prowl for a cute spanish boy, but we told her to go for tully. he was american, but he was cute. and funny. he seemed like a nice guy. too bad he only got there the night before we left, so we didn't really have a chance to hang out. he was trying to study for the GRE while we were packing, and i'm sure he got nothing done.

so, that was our stay in madrid. the next morning, we caught the airport shuttle at 6:30 and began our long, long series of flights home. and i'm really glad to be back.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I´m Here for the Party

so, today was our last official day of the spain course. and, of course, we had to have a party to send off the class right. so, we had a huge shindig here at the lab last night. i don´t think i´ve mentioned that we american girls might have frightened the cute spanish boys here just a wee bit. i think they thought that kelly and i were stalking them at lunch, since that´s always when we´d see them. the two grad students who have been here since we arrived are named fran (short for francisco) and andres. they don´t really have much confidence in their english skills, so they were a tad afraid to talk to us at first. so kelly and i started talking to them at lunch every day. this was pure coincidence. they always just happened to come into the kitchen every day while kelly and i were eating. kelly and i are kind of silly together (as you might imagine), and i tend to talk sort of fast (as i´m sure you know). so they always had to tell me to slow down, but they were perfectly capable of having conversations with us in spanglish. my spanish isn´t great, but i can usually get my point across. anyway, i think they were a little intimidated by our hotness.

so, we kept trying to convince fran and andres to come out with us one night, and they both said they would definitely come to the party (which they did). it was a blast. one of the guys who works here made a HUGE bowl of sangria, there was much beer, and we did apple pie shots (apple juice, vodka, whipped cream, and cinnamon). i think i may have had a wee bit too much to drink. oh, did i mention that i haven´t slept since 11 am on thursday? it´s about 2 am saturday morning right now. i don´t possess the brain power to figure out how many hours i´ve been awake.

anyway, back to the story. there was much drinking, much dancing, more drinking, a little chasing, and lots of fun. we really brought fran out of his shell at the party. he´d always been a little shy before that. andres, on the other hand, is a dirty, dirty boy. but he´s a nice guy, and i took lots of cute pictures of myself with his camera.

let´s have a look at some photos of the madness, shall we?

here´s me wrestling whipped cream away from fran. he had sprayed it on me and nicole (also in the pic), and i wanted to get him back.

here´s one of fran taking an apple pie shot. it takes a lot of hands to coordinate those things.

now here´s one of andres after his team lost three rounds of flip cup in a row. for some reason, the idea to remove some clothing if that happened materialized. i never removed any clothing.

so, after all the madness here at the lab, just wasn´t ready to let the party go yet, so he took some of us into town for churros and dancing at a club. there were five of us who went - me, nicole, fran, just, and mercedes (one of the female grad students here, whom we just met). we ended up having tons of fun. fran even danced without any coaxing. he even twirled me of his own accord. then i twirled him. the nicole and i twirled each other, and just danced on a little stage thingie until he was mobbed by 40 year old women. it was funny.

see, the reason that only 5 of us went was because everyone else was in bed. because we didn´t leave until 3:30 am. and we went to the aquarium in valencia today. so we had to catch a train at 7 am. so nicole and i did not sleep. we got home from the club at 5:30, showered, and headed for the train station. then kelly and i had to take down an experiment after we got back from valencia at almost 10 pm, and i have been attempting to burn all of our pictures to dvd, but i am having some difficulties. seeing as i haven´t slept in nearly two days and that i am going to madrid tomorrow, i think i should go to sleep now.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


you know what´s almost as bad as losing your luggage in a foreign country? getting sick in a foreign country. that happened to me yesterday, and i still feel shitty today. after kelly and i collected our seagrass from the way salty mediterranean yesterday, my throat started to hurt like whoa, as kelly would say. i thought at first that it was just because i´d gotten so much salt water up my nose and in my ears, but i just kept feeling shittier as the day wore on. it was really bad because last night was our big party night in alicante, and i felt horrible. just ended up taking me back to the marine lab early (well, not exactly early, but earlier than everyone else).

we started out our trip to alicante with a tour of the castle there. it was really cool. then we girls did some good shopping while the boys hung out and had a drink or two. i bought some sweet knee length shorts and a really cute pair of brown sneakers. i also stopped at a pharmacy and bought some aspirin because my throat was killing me at that point. i took three, but it did nothing for me. we met up with the prof from the university of alicante for dinner, and we ate around 11 pm, which is pretty typical for spain. we had pitchers of sangria, which was really tasty, but i mostly drank water because i thought i was going to hurl. i didn´t eat much either, even though the food was tasty. whenever we go out as a group we always order about ten or twelve different tapas (snacks or appetizers) and split the ticket. all of it was tasty, but i didn´t feel like eating.

after dinner, we were planning to meet up with one of the grad students from the lab here for drinks and dancing. we did that, but i still felt like shit, so just took me home early. well, not really early. it was about 3 am. everyone else got home around 6:30 am. we all slept until 1 pm, then jose luis (the prof from alicante) came over and cooked us paella and made us mojitos. the magical mojitos perked me up a little. jose luis said it was vitamins for me. mojitos are really freakin good, dudes. we should all drink more of them. after paella and mojitos i went back to sleep for 3 hours. i think all the sleep did me good, though.

i have more, but i´m kind of tired. here are some pictures for your entertainment. i´ll have much more to tell you later, i´m sure.

this is nicole kissing antonio on the cheek at dino´s.

this is me and kelly cowering in fear at the bull run.

these are the bulls we were cowering in fear of.

this is an exapmle of all the sweet man capris (ignore the guy in the foreground).

this is antonio sticking his tongue out at me after he got into the whole ´sweet americana taking his picture´thing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mullets & Man Capris

check it out guys. the boys here in españa dress funny, and they dance with each other all close like girls sometimes do in the states. we went to the festival in santa pola last night for the running of the bulls (in which i did participate after all), and all of us americanas had a good laugh at the way the boys dress. they wear man capris and tight t-shirts, and they carry man purses. oh, and the mullets abound. but not just mullets. special european mullets in many different varieties. oh, and rat tails.

we went to a bar after the running of the bulls (actually, we went there before and after the bulls) called dino´s. there is a waiter there whose name is antonio, and he is muy guapo. he gave us two free shots, and they were yummy. kelly had flirted with him a little the day before, so when rochelle, kate, nicole, and i got there we knew his name already even though we weren´t there when everyone else had gone the first time. it sort of freaked him out that we knew his name. he liked talking to us because it gave him a chance to practice his english. we tried to get him to speak spanish to us, but he said something like, ¨you can speak spanish all the time, but i only get 5 minutes to speak english with you.¨ that was after he gave us the first free shot of black wildberry vodka and lemonade. then everyone else got there and he gave us another one. then marcus bought me a rum and coke with lemon. i usually don´t like alcoholic drinks with soda because it makes the soda taste flat, but that was really good. sometime over the course of all that i started taking random pictures of antonio with marcus´s camera. i think it weirded him out a little at first, and then he kind of got into it. in one, he stuck his tongue out at me. i like that one. after the bull thing we went back to dino´s, and i asked antonio if he would take a picture with nicole, and he said ok. then i was like, ¨kiss his cheek! kiss his cheek!¨so nicole did, and antonio didn´t seem to mind because nicole is cute. marcus´s camera is slow, so they ended up holding the pose for something like 20 seconds, and the picture turned out really cute. as soon as marcus puts his picutres on this computer, i´m going to post it.

earlier in the night, antonio had told just (our prof, pronounced joost) to tell us that the festival wasn´t celebrating santa pola, it was celebrating the fact that he´s not married. then he was asking for my address, which didn´t make any sense, and just was all like, ¨what do you do to make all these men love you?¨ because kate told him that all the boys in maine loved me. rochelle told him i´m married and wanted to know why he wanted my address, but i´d already told antonio that earlier. anyway, antonio just wanted copies of the pictures, and i got his email address instead of giving him mine. the thing is, i´m pretty sure he doesn´t know my name. it was interesting anyway.

as for the bulls, that was freakin´scary. i was the only one in our group who really didn´t want to do it, and when we got there i was more scared of getting lost in a crowd of skeezy men than of the bulls. we´d decided to meet up at dino´s after, but i wasn´t confident that i could find it on my own, and there were definitely some shady characters there. one of them grabbed rochelle´s boob during the bull run. i´m glad i decided not to hang by myself. anyway, i went into the street where they were running the bulls with everyone else. just asked what the plan was when the bulls came, and i said, ¨we run away!¨ so i hung out with andy and carly, and i ended up running and screaming like little girl and hiding behind andy when the bulls came. i never got close to one. carly took some good pictures, though. i´ll post them as soon as i can. after about half an hour, when the bulls really started to get confused and started veering over to the sides i was really over the whole bull thing, and i was scared anyway. when i was hiding behind andy i kept saying, ¨tengo miedo! tengo miedo!¨ so we crawled out under a barricade and went to dino´s. once it closed, antonio told us about a dance club that was open until 5 am (the bull run didn´t start until 1 am, and dino´s closed at 3 am) that was right around the corner, so we went there.

that was the place where we saw all the boys dancing very close to one another. we thought maybe antonio had sent us to a gay bar, but we kept getting hit on by guys, so i guess not. i had four different guys try to give me their drinks. not to buy me a drink, but to give me theirs. i refused. rochelle had some guy try to force a random shot on her, and marcus drank it for her. then this group of 18 year old boys came over and tried to hit on us. one of them flicked his lighter on my nose when i refused the cigarette he offered me. it was weird. then this other kid was standing beside me trying to get me to drink this random shot that had been sitting on the table for an hour. he kept putting his hand on my back, and i kept moving it off. then he tried to give me his drink, and i said no and told him i´m married and showed him my ring. then he left, and when he did he grabbed my ass. i was like, ¨i just got molested by an 18 year old boy.¨ that was so wrong.

at last call the bartender gave everyone in our group a free shot of this really tasty peach whiskey. then we drank lots of water and went home. we went to bed at 6 am. that was insane.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Greetings de España

hola, mis amigos out there in internet land. i have to say that my trip to spain did not start out on a pleasant note. neither did my friend kate´s. see, they lost our luggage. we have it now, but we´ve been here since sunday. it sucked. our luggage got stuck in amsterdam, and we went to madrid. it really sucks losing your bags in a foreign country (especially one whose language is not your own). but anyway, our luggage eventually made its way back to us, and i was really glad i packed some clothes in my carry-on.

our first night here, we spent the night in the dorms at the university of alicante, and we took a tour of the campus the next morning. there was drama over phone cards, but it all worked out. the next day, we made our way here to the marine lab, where we´ll be staying for the rest of the trip. the facility here is really nice (except that every time you take a shower, there is a lake in the bathroom floor). the weather is beautiful (i.e., not cold), and the mediterranean is amazing. we did some good snorkeling a couple of days ago before we had to actually start our projects. of course, in addition to the work we´ve been enjoying the spanish culture (our prof is from alicante) and having a little fun.

they eat weird things here, dude. i ate an ovary yestertay. how freakin´crazy is that? you did not read that wrong. one of the profs from the u of alicante bought it for us. it was a smoked and dried tuna ovary (called a hueva). it tasted extremely fishy, and the thought of eating an ovary just generally weirded us all out. i´ve also eaten cuttlefish since i´ve been here, but those were really tasty. our prof is making sure that we are well immersed in real spanish life.

there is a big festival in santa pola this week (santa pola is 5 minutes from the marine lab), and tonight a bunch of us are going to run with the bulls. not like in pamplona, though. this is supposed to be pretty tame. i´ll probably chicken out. it should be fun either way. there was drama this morning when we went to sign up, and some guy kept yelling and touching himself, and then he yelled at an old lady.

i need to run now, but i´ll try to update again soon. for those on facebook, there are a few pictures on there from maine and spain. i´ll put up albums of my own soon, though.

hasta luego!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Maine in Pictures

so, it's my one day at home between maine and spain, and i'm incredibly busy... but not too busy to share some photos of my trip to maine. i'm sure the whole thing sounded pretty crazy from my last couple of posts, and it was. i hereby make a solemn vow to drink less in spain than i did in maine. that actually shouldn't be that hard, seeing as all i'd have to do is stay sober for more than three nights. despite all the drinking, i was never hung over on the trip, and i never puked. i had one iffy moment after stupidly taking a swig of vodka straight from the bottle, but i got over it. i heard from cautious eric today, and apparently all the boys at the darling marine center miss us already. he says it's way too quiet without us wacky girls.

anyway, here are some photos.

the hill we walked up many times on the way from the wet lab to the cabins...

me and nicole making funny faces in a lobster

the dead seal we saw at the tide pools (gross!)

boston college mike, ali, and other mike

canadian ben and nicole

me with anothony the nice italian boy

bc mike, ali, other mike, and cameron

canadian ben, nicole, randi, cautious eric

that's all i've got for now, but i'll try to make an album to share soon.