Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: December, 2004


Tangled Bank #18 – This week’s compilation of excellent science posts around the blogosphere. If you need to read something today, read that. You don’t need to read my depressing posts.

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The Thursday Threesome: Christmas is Coming!

Onesome: Christmas–Hey, an easy start for you, what with the new layout and all: What is your favorite Christmas song? …and sung or played by whom? You know, the one you tend to listen for on the radio or hit ‘repeat’ on the player…

At the moment, I think I’m going to scream if I hear a Christmas song. Or any happy/cheerful/hopeful song at all.

Twosome: Is– Is the longer “Holiday Season” this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas making it easier to get your Christmas act together? Last year’s was short; has this year flowed any better for you?

No and no. I’m not helping any, am I? Well, moving right along…

Threesome: Coming– Ready or not, here it comes! Are you ready? What do you have left to do with just over a week to go? …or are you just cruising?

I’m not ready for anything. I’m taking the next couple weeks/months/years/what-have-you trying to master something that has taken other people lifetimes to understand.


Other people would have a breakdown, but I’m, well, I’m feeling a bit numb. I’m taking today as a sign that I need to reevaluate where my life is headed. I know before I’ve expressed a low opinion of people who want to “find themselves” but now, I’m not so sure my opinion is the “right” or even “responsible” one. Maybe later, I’ll be able to articulate what exactly went so wrong and then perhaps we’ll all have a laugh about it or just shake our heads and say, tsk, tsk. But oh, not today. Definitely not today.

Chicken Sans Head

Tomorrow, tomorrow, no matter what little orphan Annie says, tomorrow ain’t going to be better. I’m dreading it. All the little facts I’ve accumulated in my head up to now are probably packing their bags and preparing to flee like bats out of hell come tomorrow morning.

The earliest I’ll probably post next is Thursday. Don’t expect anything sooner–I’ll be licking my wounds tomorrow evening, if I’m still alive.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Plot:: Bunny
  2. Farce:: Play
  3. Unexpected:: Weather
  4. Siren:: Bell
  5. Ben:: Big
  6. Freshman:: Class
  7. Quicksand:: That experiment I saw on the Science website.
  8. 24 hours:: 7 days
  9. Spunky:: Funky
  10. Vicious:: Cad

A Free Moment

Benjamin Rosenbaum. (via Julie from Neoluddite) A writer who has a blog. I’ll look around some more whenever I have more free moments.

What Planet Are You From? (via Watermark) It says I’m from Neptune. Everyone’s from Neptune.

Skeletal Systems. An artist imagines what cartoon skeletons look like. I don’t think cartoons have skeletons. They’re just globs. (Otherwise, how would they bounce back after you hit them with a sledgehammer?)

Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make. Some tips that could apply to anyone making a website.

Contrarian finding: Computers are a drag on learning. I think it depends on how you use computers to augment education. But one thing’s for sure, you can’t sole rely on a machine to do the teaching for you.

Company lets U.S. travelers ‘Go Canadian’. The problem with Americans that believe this is a good idea is that they think everyone waves flags around to proclaim their country of citizenship just like they do. What I think will happen is that whenever someone sees a person wrapped around a Canadian flag, they’ll think it’s just some American pretending he’s Canadian. This will be bad for any real Canadians although whipping out the passport would probably erase any doubt. The actual problem, however, is that some people treat others as a national stereotype rather than an individual. There are rotten people and good people in every country and people have to remember that politics–no matter how crazy it gets–is no indication of anyone’s personality.

Dude–professor studies ‘dude’. “Kiesling says in the fall edition of American Speech that the word derives its power from something he calls cool solidarity — an effortless kinship that’s not too intimate.” It’s amusing, on the surface level, but this is one reason why the humanities never really interested me that much–they overanalyze everything.

Secrets of Firefox 1.0. Some interesting things you can do with your browser. The only thing I noticed before was how the address bar would change color when you entered a secure site or how a search bar would pop up on the bottom when you’re trying to search for a word on a webpage.

Firefox users ignore online ads, report says. Tell me something I don’t know.

God cut from dark Materials film and Deicide dropped from Pullman adaptation. I suppose as long as the author is okay with that, then it’s fine. But damn, I personally wouldn’t let the religious right bully me into doing anything.

End of the Personal Blogger. Eh. It’s like everything else. Mom and pop stores are bulldozed down to make way for giant retailers. A lone activist wouldn’t reach as many people as a giant organization. Most people are lazy, you see. They’ll just go to those professional sites because they have more resources to reach more people. Only people who stumble across personal websites by accident will read dinky blogs like this one.

The 100 Oldest Currently Registered .COM Domains. Enough said.

How to Survive a Zombie Epidemic. Good thing I have nails and hammers stockpiled.

Students fight for right to bare all. Er…okay.

Three Things

(via Shawn Allison) After this, it’s back to cramming for my qualifiers. I feel like for every fact I study, ten more leak out of my ears, never to return.

Three Names You Go By:
1. Thea
2. Big cabbage head (in Cantonese)
3. Grendel

Three Screennames You Have:
1. syaffolee
2. yellowrook
3. Metal Monkey

Three Things You Like About Yourself:
1. Self-sufficiency
2. Self-amusement
3. Complete lack of style

Three Things You Hate/Dislike About Yourself:
1. Self-sufficiency
2. Self-amusement
3. Complete lack of style

Three Parts of Your Heritage:
1. Chinese
2. Vietnamese
3. Canadian

Three Things That Scare You:
1. nightmares
2. ignorance
3. qualifiers

Three of Your Everyday Essentials:
1. air
2. water
3. food

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. sweater
2. jeans
3. socks

Three of Your Favorite Bands/Artists (at the moment):
1. Renée Fleming
2. Vladimir Ashkenazy
3. Yo-Yo Ma

Three of Your Favorite Songs at Present:
1. “Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me?” – George Frideric Handel
2. “Busy Child” – The Crystal Method
3. “Must Be Dreaming” – Frou Frou

Three New Things You Want to Try in the Next 12 Months:
1. make a theremin
2. make a bead curtain
3. skiing (maybe)

Three Things You Want in a Relationship (love is a given):
1. honesty
2. trust
3. understanding

Two Truths and a Lie*:
1. I have lived in Ohio.
2. I have lived in Kentucky.
3. I have lived in Tennessee.

Three Physical Things About the Opposite Sex That Appeal to You**:
1. um…
2. ah…
3. er…

Three Things You Just Can’t Do:
1. sing
2. not get annoyed
3. be stylish

Three of Your Favorite Hobbies:
1. writing
2. reading
3. sleeping

Three Things You Want to do Really Badly Right Now***:
1. sleep
2. sleep
3. sleep

Three Careers You’re Considering****:
1. research scientist
2. science consultant
3. writer

Three Places You Want to Go on Vacation:
1. Vancouver
2. London
3. Prague

Three Kids Names*****:
1. uh…
2. hm…
3. oh…

Three Things You Want to Do Before You Die:
1. graduate
2. publish something
3. do something meaningful

*Not in order.
**Actually, I don’t want to say. Any answer will make you roll your eyes and say, “Duh!”, because the reason is all so dang biological.
***Yes, two of the answers are cop outs. But really, what do you expect me to say?
****I am definitely not limiting myself to these three choices. If I really wanted to, I could become a plumber, but the probability of that happening is very, very low.
*****You would think that I would have this all down since I update a weblog on names, but I don’t. Ask me the question later, if I have any kids.

And Yet More Collected Notes

*An English professor recently told me that I had picked the wrong field because I can’t BS anything. Sure, science is extremely unforgiving when it comes to “interpretation”, but isn’t that a good thing? At least I will have credibility when I say something.

*You know my observations on human nature aren’t that keen when I have to be told that two people avoided each other because they don’t like each other and not because they move in different social circles.

*People can believe in whatever they want, but when they start ranting about “faith” in a non-religious venue, I start thinking about duct tape. I have little patience with people who waste breath on something that can be simply kept to themselves. Otherwise, they sound like mentally ill nutjobs.

*On complainers: If you don’t drive, then don’t complain about drivers who drive really slowly in bad weather. Ice was falling from the sky a few days ago, and believe me, if you went over 35 mph, you had a death wish.

*Why is it that people seem to think that I know all about fetishes and deviant behavior? I probably know about as much as the next guy. Most likely less.

The Thursday Threesome: Jingle Bells

Onesome- Dashing through the snow: Do you get much snow where you live? Do you enjoy winter sports like skiing or would you rather stay in by the cozy fire?

Yes, although at the moment, it’s more ice than snow. And I’d rather be inside.

Twosome- In a one horse open sleigh: Have you ever been on a sleigh ride or a carriage ride? Do you even like horses? Or would you just rather travel by your own two feet?

No. Or at least I don’t remember whether I’ve been on a sleigh/carriage ride before. My opinion on horses is moot since I’ve never been near one long enough to tell one way or another. In the meantime, walking is always good.

Threesome- O’er the fields we go: What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says field? Corn? Football field? Outfield?

Corn or maybe wheat. Sometimes asteroid. Never anything sports related.

An Important Note

If you live in the Upper Valley area and if you’ve ever had transportation issues, now’s the time to let your voice be heard! Advance Transit, the only public transportation system up here in the boondocks, might face budget cuts. Yeah, I know sometimes the buses aren’t on time, but you’ve got to cut them some slack. There are only so many roads up here and even though rush hour at some other places is worse, it’s still pretty bad. Besides, you can’t argue with the fact that the whole thing is free.

It would be really great if they had more buses on the road or extended their operating hours or even started offering rides on the weekend again. And wouldn’t you like to have some sort of backup transportation when your car breaks down? So if you’ve ever taken the shuttle, are thinking about taking the shuttle, or know someone taking the shuttle go to the town hall meeting at Lebanon City Hall on December 9 (Thursday), at 7pm. That’s tomorrow! If you can’t make it, call the city councilor (pdf).

More Collected Notes

*Overheard conversation on name calling: “[He] called [him] a piece of a booger! Hm, I wonder if it’s worse being a booger or just part of a booger.”

*After listening to some crazy anecdotes from a self-professed Italian ex-playboy, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re a single woman out to tour Italy, beware of your tour guide’s male friends who’ll tell you they’ll “show you a good time on the beach.”

*I’m realizing that fortuitous incidents happening by mere luck or hard work are two completely different things. I’m happy when after my own efforts, things go well. Being lucky, by probability, would make most people happy but is making me feel incredibly guilty. Other people deserve that luck more than I do.

*Resolution: I’m going to find some volunteer work to do the beginning of next year. Doing research is great and all, but after moldering in lab for so many months, I think I’m beginning to lose touch with the rest of humanity.

*Canadian ice wine is some good stuff.