Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spam subject line of the day

Spam subject line of the day

Today's funny spam subject line is...

Reach out and bone someone

Hmm... How far out is the recipient supposed to reach? I'm kinda lazy, and my arms aren't all that long. Maybe I should try some stretching exercises, expand the pool of possibilities an extra couple inches.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

10 worst jobs in science

Think your job is bad? At least you aren't collecting whale feces, killing and pickling frogs, or even lying still for weeks on end. Check out the 10 worst jobs in science for a list of unpleasant alternatives to whatever you do for a living now. They make even my most boring meetings seem appealing by contrast.

Oh, and the clownfish eggs still haven't hatched. I can see little eyeballs in there, so I think they'll hatch tonight. I just hope we can get to the larvae before the other fish do, or else they'll become tasty aquatic snacks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My clownfish are expecting!

Back in July, I wrote about the anemones I bought for my clownfish. One of them survived and has grown quite a bit. The clowns love it! It must have helped them feel at home, because they spawned! There's a patch of bright orange clownfish eggs just under the anemone:
Tomato clownfish with anemone and eggs

So, we're studying up on how to raise baby clownfish. According to the information I found here, the eggs should hatch in around 8 days. We have to get special food and move them to a different tank when they hatch. I doubt we'll be successful, amateurs that we are, but it'll add some excitement to a dull, drab January. Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Love is thicker than blood

Every now and then, I run across a quote that resonates with me. This one appears in today's Dear Abby:

"Blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood." -- Goldie Nash

The Dear Abby column related to adopted children and stepchildren, but it makes me think of my friends. Other than my mother, husband, and son, I have no relatives that I'm especially close to. Growing up as an only child, I relied on my close friends for companionship and support. They were truly like family, much closer and more important to me than my cousins and other relatives. What matters to me is the relationship, that someone genuinely cares about me (and vice-versa), not blood or status or any of those other things people seem to worry about.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I've been up 19 hours and it's only 6:45 PM

I planned to write something clever tonight--some clever observations about air travel, Philadelphia, and meetings containing large quantities of librarians--but all that would require brain cells, and mine are taking a well-deserved rest. I spent all day Thursday flying to Philly and all day Friday in meetings. This morning, I got up before 4 AM EST (that's 1:00 AM my time!) to fly home. When I got here, the rain stopped, so I decided to do some yard work. It was actually therapeutic after sitting for about 8 hours, and there are now fewer wild blackberries in my yard and more dirt under my fingernails. But I don't have much energy left for blogging, so the best I can do is a list of some random observations from the last three days. Try to contain your excitement.

  • Flying makes people dumb. There must be something in airport ventilation systems that temporarily damages brain cells, because otherwise-intelligent people suddenly become clueless. They can't figure out how to fit a bag into the overhead bin, they can't walk in a straight line down the concourse, the "fasten seat belt" sign is a complete mystery, "one carry-on plus one personal item" is beyond comprehension, I (I mean *they*, yeah... *they*) become incapable of finding the correct seat, and despite prominent signs, the concept that the carry-on must be less than a certain size is just too complicated to grasp. Hint: If you can hide a body in it, it won't fit in the overhead bin.
  • Philadelphia must have a shortage of cab drivers. When I left the airport to grab a taxi, there weren't. There were quite a few people waiting in line for one, but not a single taxi could be found. When I asked someone why there were no taxis, he just shrugged and said, "That's Philadelphia. Things don't work very well here." Maybe, but everywhere else I've been, cabbies have been pretty eager for business.
  • Independence Hall is really small. I didn't get to go inside (too busy working), but, like last year, I caught a glimpse of it through the taxicab window. I always forget that buildings were a lot smaller way back then. Maybe next time I'm in Philly, I'll actually get to go inside.
  • In addition to Independence Hall, Philadelphia has some more amazing architecture. City Hall is stunning, and Arch Street United Methodist Church looks like a medieval cathedral. I never knew any Methodist churches were that ornate, and I've been a Methodist for awhile. Next to it is the Masonic Temple, which is also gorgeous.
  • Call me weird, but I was intrigued by the two subway stations I visited. The part of the subway I experienced is very old, built in the late 1920s and 1930s. One of the stations, a transfer point, had interesting little tunnels leading to the various lines. It felt very subterranean (yeah, I know, a subway is, by definition, subterranean. But the newer ones don't really feel like it). I think my roommate thought I was nuts. Who gets excited about a subway? But then I'm addicted to Cities of the Underworld on the History Channel, so it figures I'd be interested in old tunnels.
  • The East Coast is fascinating to a West Coast girl like me, because everything is so *old*. In California we had the missions, and some of the Gold Rush stuff was pretty old, but down there 1880 is really old. Here in Oregon, most of our cool old houses are from the early 20th century. But cities like Boston and Philadelphia have buildings that predate the Revolutionary War!
  • I'm grateful that Portland doesn't feel like a big city. I liked Philadelphia, but I can't imagine living in the city (well, at least not downtown). It's so busy and noisy and bustling and crowded. Downtown Portland is rarely that busy unless it's Rose Festival time.

That's about the best I can do. I had hoped to include a few pictures from the trip (and that's all I have, a *few* pictures, because I was working or traveling most of the time), but Flickr is down, so I can't upload or link to anything. Maybe I'll add some later.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hot words of 2007

Thanks to ResearchBuzz, a great blog for information junkies, for keeping me informed about the buzzwords of 2007. First, there's Google's year-end zeitgeist (see the ResearchBuzz post and the actual page). The page is fun, listing the hottest search terms for each quarter of 2007. The US list doesn't exactly restore my faith in humanity, but it isn't as bad as it could be. Sure, there's Anna Nicole Smith, but she's only #10. The list also includes slightly more substantive topics like MySpace, Facebook, and the iPhone. It would've been nice if people searched on Important Global Issues, but at least Britney Spears is nowhere to be found.

Then there's Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year, which is: w00t! I bet that's their first Word of the Year to contain numbers. The page also includes a top 10 words of the year, but I'm not sure how they compiled the list. There are a couple of new words on it, like "blamestorm" and "facebook" (as a verb), but the rest of the list consists of words that have been around awhile.

I had planned to come up with some clever comment about "w00t," but I'm much too sleepy. I have to drag my butt out of bed at about 4 AM tomorrow for an early flight (w00t! Not.) so I'll save the cleverness for another time.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Thinking outside the box

These aren't your usual Monopoly tokens, but then we aren't your usual family. Other people use the tokens that come with the game, but not us. Here are our tokens at the beginning of the Great New Year's Eve Monopoly Tournament:
Crum family Monopoly tokens

Hubby had Davy Crocket (the brown thing), Son had the toy soldier, Corbin the little pewter wizard, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you which one was mine.

Weird? Nope--we just think outside the box!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Our most literate cities

Dr. Jack Miller, President of Central Connecticut State University, has ranked major US cities (population > 250,000) according to how literate they are (see The rankings are based on a variety of different measures, which he divides into the following categories: "Booksellers; Educational attainment; Internet Resources; Library Resources; Newspaper Circulation; and Periodical publications." I've lived in three of the cities on the list: Portland, OR, my current home, which ranks #12; Seattle, WA, where I went to graduate school, way up at #2; and Stockton, CA, a short drive from my hometown as well as the home of my undergraduate alma mater, which ranks dead last (no surprise--it's hard to get much reading done when you're dodging bullets).

It would be interesting to see how these rankings correlate with other city characteristics. Are cities with lousy weather more literate than sunny places? That would explain why Minneapolis, Seattle, and St. Paul hold the top 3 spots. How about average commute time? That could be an advantage if audiobooks count. And how about the presence and quality of professional sports teams? Other recreation opportunities? And do literacy rates correlate positively or negatively with consumption of other media--music, movies, TV, etc.? I could make some assumptions, but the reality might not be so obvious. How about the birth rate? Reading in bed would tend to detract from other activities, and people with children have less time to read than the childless do (trust me--that one I know from firsthand experience).

Inquiring, literate minds want to know more...