On The Week of January 28 - February 1

This is definitely a cross-section of a monocot: which corn is. The reddish cells are the xylem and phloem. Oh my god, I'm the nerdiest!

Posted on February 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm 2

On Boyfriends' Mothers, "Compassion," and Les Misérables

I've always thought of "Les Miz" as super Catholic and here is why. (By the way, I'm a fan of the book over the musical, but it comes to the same point.) Jean Valjean "sins" (steals the bread) but instead of asking for forgiveness (confession), he goes to jail, tries to escape, more punishment, finally "freed." Except he's still not "clean"; he's an ex-con and can't get a break. He steals again, but gets forgiven, and yet, he still won't "confess" his original sin. He does dedicate his life to God, as the Bishop asks him to.

Years and years of trying to be a good guy still won't do away with his original sin. He is hunted by Javert, he has to go into hiding (even after rescuing an orphan, because good deeds alone are not enough.) JVJ tries so hard his entire life: he builds a factory, he rescues people, he helps soldiers, he forgives Javert, and all of that isn't enough: even Cosette leaves him, and he is alone.

BUT, in the end, he writes his confession. He comes clean and asks for forgiveness. And that's the magic bullet: Cosette comes back and he's welcomed into heaven.

Now, if that isn't Catholic, I don't know what is.

Posted on January 26, 2013 at 8:05 am 3

On On Adding or Keeping Distances

@scully My mom is sort of like that: lower the rage a bit but up the anxiety A LOT. A wonderful therapist pointed out to me that my mom had this anxiety/rage and needed to relieve it, so she pushed it on me, to which I either played along or pushed it elsewhere (SO, coworkers, etc.) Now when she gets like this, I try to just not accept that behavior. I (try to) remain calm and if she remains crazypants, I just tell her I have to go. I'm able to do this about 80% of the time, and it has gotten better. Better, but not perfect.

Posted on June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm 3

On This is a Safe Space to Talk About Your Dissertation

I defended my thesis 14 years ago and still have nightmares about my adviser calling me to do one more thing before he'll let me graduate.

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm 3

On Escaping, Tipping, and Moving Forward

@eleven I did this as well (in some form), and totally the right choice, plus this was a hundred years ago when college was cheaper. Yeah, it seems like you've given up *so* *much* but then you'll have the funds to do the rest of your life.

One thing I would recommend is staying on campus as much as you can. If you zip in and out to classes, you do miss out on a lot. Join something, find a group to hang out with.

And, believe me, dorms are cool for about a month. You know how you can go home, study in relative quiet for a few hours, then go to sleep without a party down the hall? In a dorm, not so much.

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm 1

On Depends What You Mean by "Best"

@jace I used to work for one of these companies and I will tell you a lot of the policies that get a company on this list are never used. "Flexible working", that kind of nonsense: never happens. "But we have a policy!" It's a joke.

Posted on January 20, 2012 at 8:18 am 0

On Delicate Subjects, Erratic Cycles, and the "Best Friend"

My period has never, ever, ever been close to regular. Three-week cycles, then five weeks, then a run of exactly 28 days for a few months. Everything's fine, "normal", just annoying. Just wait until you hit your 40s, then the fun really begins.

Posted on January 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm 3

On Ask a Clean Person: Smelly, Scuffy, Dirty Shoes

@Carter DeShazo@facebook Microbiologist here. To "store" bacteria for longer periods of time, we pop it in a -70 freezer. It just keeps them from multiplying. Once you thraw them out, they're back in business.

Posted on May 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm 1

On What's in a Name?

My parents called their space heaters Chester and Stanley. When it got cold, they would just ask, "Can you bring Stanley in here?" I have no idea why they started doing this.

Posted on April 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm 2