29 August 2008

Guess the politician

...no experience in foreign affairs
...shading dealings
...blatant pandering to the public

who am I talking about??

Sarah Palin folks!
In his obvious pandering to the female vote, McCain finds himself someone who completely negates all of the arguments "lack of experience" against Obama. I mean seriously. McCain is 72. And, do you really think that for one second that this woman who just got sworn in as Alaska's governor (after an earth-shattering 14 year career in local politics) can fill the shoes as president?

28 August 2008

Much more cheerful post

...and more random.

It occured to me today that I wrote the book on Raman spectroscopy of cartilage and Raman spectroscopy of inorganic pigments. "So I have that going for me."

I need to pick up coffee tonight. And, I need to put up curtains in our bedroom. We do have shades, but our nocturnal feline loves to set up his night watch duties on our bedroom window sill. And all throughout the night, we hear the pitter patter of blinds hitting each other has Howie KATT runs through them. I think I can hear him thinking "I am praying for my loved ones" during the night.

I've been listening to Barenaked Ladies. I like their cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time": " but nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight --
got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight"
...so true eh?

BTW: major kudos and a large cheesecake to the first person to name the first quote.

27 August 2008


Maybe I'm being a bit controversial here, but let me ask this. When the high point of one's CV is something along the lines of "I've spent 5-6 years studying the scientific equivalent to basket weaving", can they really say things like 'salary requirements' and 'geographical preference'? The hubris of some people in this building sort of validates my hypothesis that grad school is partially about socialization into the academic world, and this sometimes makes me silently curse.

Ostensibly, one goes for graduate studies to advance their career. And if the career trajectory doesn't include academia, then I think there are certain things that every analytical chemist should know if they want a job. Like how to run an HPLC. Like how to not be a slave to one technique. Like how to think about solving a problem, not making the problem fit into your knowledge. I think that there are not enough analytical chemists who can solve problems, who can step into any lab and say "ok, i know how to basically use any piece of equipment. now lets get to work", who are taught HOW to think rather than WHAT to think.

It's been a rough day for me and encountering silly people. It's move-in weekend and the undergrads are descending on my campus. Kali is behaving erratically, maybe it's the electrical system. I don't know, but I have a feeling that I'll be spending a weekend to figure it out.

On a good note, I did register for the 2008 Detroit half. :D

22 August 2008

All aboard!

So I got a newsletter from my beloved only-major-airline-in-the-area-so-I'm-forced-to-use-their-frequent-miles-program airline (herein known as NWA) complete with my name in the headlines:"LJS you can save money using our Cash and Miles program"

I was enraptured. Two of my most favorite things 1) Travelling and 2) saving money; all rolled up into one sweet goodness of a deal!? I was panting with excitement, breathless with anticipation. Where would I go with my 36,000+ miles? Hawaii, Florida, Mexico?!?!

But then I read the promotion in more detail. Below is the most egregious example: Travel to Florida.

OK OK OK, you're reading that it's only $139 for roundtrip to Florida and thinking "that's not so bad, LJS is off her rocker" right? BUT! There are two issues, the first making me think that NWA is so very evel and the second making me think that people are seriously off their rocker to not research before spending money on travel.

So, in my very best McLaughlin voice...
Issue 1
If you were to buy miles from NWA, it would cost you about 3.8 cents for EACH mile. But the value of each mile is variable, depending on the normal cost of the trip.
So....0.038*10000=$380 at the high end. So that in addition to, at least, $139, and you're looking at a very expensive roundtrip ticket that would otherwise cost you...

Issue 2
...about $125-150 (taxes not included) from Detroit. A quick search on travelocity found this for me and potentially saved a bunch of money. Even better, most of the cheapie fares were through NWA's partner airlines, so you'd be earning miles not spending them.

All told, if you did the miles and cash "deal", your miles would only bring a value of 1.2 cents/mile which is a really poor number because it is the bare minimum value of a mile.

Bottom Line: Be smart about using your frequent flier miles. Know their value and use them wisely. I'll be saving my miles for Hawaii, where my miles would be worth anywhere between 2.5 and 4.0 cents/mile. :D

14 August 2008

Ambition in 0.2 miles

I've recently come to a sort of peace with the idea that I may never run a marathon. Some parts of me, namely the knee joints and leg tendons, are actually rejoicing at this revelation. But where the corporeal body is wise, the brain is silly. Ambition creeps in. And on days where my knees and hamstrings aren't screaming at me, I think that maybe 26.2 miles is do-able.

But yesterday I had a great run. It was one of those perfect days where the weather, my energy level and the music just came together in harmony. I'm looking forward to the Detroit (half) marathon not as a consolation for not being able to do the full 26.2 but rather as a fulfilling and worthwhile goal in and of itself. Is it maturity? Doubtful. Maybe it's happiness and appreciation that I'm healthy enough to run, have the support and time to run, and still really really enjoy running.

So, in celebration, I present to you: 13 songs for 13.1 miles. Mild favorites from my iTUNES

Mile 1: Something mellow for the warm up. "Ride" by Cary Brothers
Mile 2: Something to meditate on: "Clocks" by Coldplay
Mile 3: Something to get over the bridge: "Never Let me Down" by Depeche Mode
Mile 4: Something for a new country: "New Slang" by The Shins
Mile 5: Something for the big D: "The Big Three Killed My Baby" by the White Stripes
Mile 6: Something peppy for motivation: "Dashboard" by Modest Mouse
Mile 7: Something for the morning sun: "Hard Sun" by Eddie Vedder
Mile 8: Something for the tunnel: "Where I End and You Begin" by Radiohead
Mile 9: Something for the hardest mile and great views: "3x5" by John Mayer
Mile 10: Something for another hard mile: "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens
Mile 11: Something for the tired legs: "Black Math" by the White Stripes
Mile 12: Something for the mind: "Caught by the River" by Doves
Mile 13: Something for resolution: "How it ends" by DeVotchKa

06 August 2008

Funny? Now that's hot

Usually I'm not a fan of Paris Hilton, but this is a very funny response.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

04 August 2008

New Music Mania

Oh the musical treasure trove that is the local library! So this week's theme is "soundtracks", and I picked up three.
1) Scrubs
2) The Last Kiss
3) Little Miss Sunshine

At first listen, all three are great. One song in particular is striking, especially because I have days when just "riding" is so appealing. Let me introduce you to:

"Ride" by Cary Brothers

You are everything I wanted
The scars of all I’ll ever know

If I told you you were right
Would you take my hand tonight?
If I told you the reasons why
Would you leave your life and ride?
And ride…

You saw all my pieces broken
This darkness that I could never show

If I told you you were right
Would you take my hand tonight?
If I told you the reasons why
Would you leave your life and ride?
And ride…

In other news, I dropped my bike, hit 75 mph and fixed the brakes (but not necessarily in that order) . Now that the bike brakes are fixed, maybe now that ride is possible. I can go anywhere with my love by my side.
And, I finished "Pride and Prejudice". {swoon} What a lovely read! On to my next "summer reading" book.