Thursday, August 31, 2006

Can you raed tihs?

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe. URL: Newes form the Wlord Of Sceicne

Inretstnieg, ins't it? (It's autlclay vrey hrad to type wrods irrcontelcy on purospe!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

... and not a drop to drink

Wouldn't you know it, we finally get some rain in Austin (and I mean RAIN... it was pouring when I woke up this morning!) and in the midst of the deluge, there's no water coming from the taps in my house. hunh? Chalk up another new experience - calling the utility company to see what the hell is going on! Turns out there was a water main break between my house and the house next door. D'oh! The utility guy stopped by as I was eating breakfast and promised that the water would be fixed by the time I got home tonight. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, I have "Aqua Jog Challenge" at the gym tonight, so at least I'll get in a shower there if I can't have one at home. ;)

Things I never saw from my kitchen window in VA: (well, ok, my kitchen didn't actually have a window) a family of deer - a mom and 2 does - trotted by while I was making dinner last night. :) Wasn't fast enough on the camera to get a pic, although I suspect opening the back door would have just scared them away anyhow.

Friday, August 25, 2006

They're so clevah...

I love this Onion headline today: National Organization For Women Turns 39 Again

another day, another meme:

Stolen from Stick

The things I've done are in bold and blue.
**NOTE: The RSS feed of this page for some reason hasn't un-bolded some of Stick's answers. (I do not have any piercings other than my ears, for example.)

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with wild dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone

08. Said 'I love you' and meant it

09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped

11. Visited Paris

12. Watched a lightning storm at sea

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights

15. Gone to a huge sports game

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa

17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables

18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby's diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Gotten drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse

29. Asked out a stranger

30. Had a snowball fight

31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run

36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 10 provinces

41. Taken care of someone who was drunk

42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

44. Watched wild whales

45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe

47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving

51. Visited Ireland

52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them

54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow

56. Alphabetized your cds

57. Pretended to be a superhero

58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Posed nude in front of strangers

61. Gone scuba diving

62. Kissed in the rain

63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken

69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight

72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced

76. Gone without food for 5 days

77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice

80. Gotten a tattoo

81. Rafted the Snake River

82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"

83. Got flowers for no reason

84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark

88. Had a one-night stand

89. Gone to Thailand

90. Bought a house (condo)

91. Been in a combat zone

92. Buried one of your parents

93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently

95. Performed in Rocky Horror.

96. Reared children

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

98. Created and named your own constellation of stars

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery

104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived

105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds

107. Held someone while they were having a flashback

108. Piloted an airplane

109. Petted a stingray

110. Broken someone's heart

111. Helped an animal give birth

112. Won money on a T.V. game show

113. Broken a bone

114. Gone on an African photo safari

115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced

116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

118. Ridden a horse

119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states

124. Visited all 7 continents

125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days (raft, not canoe)

126. Eaten kangaroo meat (and camel, and alligator, and emu... we were in Australia!)

127. Eaten sushi

128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed

132. Petted a cockroach

133. Eaten fried green tomatoes

134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey

135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

137. Skipped all your school reunions

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

139. Been elected to public office

140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

143. Built your own PC from parts

144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you

145. Had a booth at a street fair

146: Dyed your hair

147: Been a DJ

148: Shaved your head

149: Caused a car accident

150: Saved someone's life

somehow it seems like the ones I have done are the less important ones... I've never saved someone's life, or grown my own veggies or seen the Northern Lights. I may have to come back to this list and highlight the ones I WANT to do for future planning. :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Poor AB!

I have really been enjoying Alton Brown's new Food Network show, "Feasting on Asphalt." In tonight's episode, the poor guy fell down in the desert outside Las Vegas, and cracked his collarbone. It's hard to watch him trying to cook and eat with his arm in a sling. :( But now he's in LA, so I have to pay attention and see if there's anything I need to try when I'm out there for Thanksgiving! Ooh, he's having a breakfast burrito - something that is immensely popular here in Austin. Where is Hawthorne, CA?

I feel like I'm almost as bruised as Alton... my trainer worked me to death tonight! I know I'm gonna be seriously achy tomorrow morning, but it's gonna be worth it, right? Right? I worked every muscle group and then some. ouch. Aleve is my best friend. :)

The head of the center apologized to me for not spending as much time with me as he had hoped... but since he's busy writing a proposal for a petascale supercomputer, I suppose he can be forgiven.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A link that made my day better

This is so fun! It will look like nothing's happening, until you run your mouse around in the browser window. Voila! and when you click, it changes colors!

It's been one of those days

This entire day had good news/bad news written all over it.

The good news was, I had organized my bathroom, bedroom and kitchen enough to be able to find everything I needed when I was getting ready for work, and I made it there in no time. The bad news was, I left the A/C at 76 degrees (instead of it going up to its balmy 82-degree setting for daytime when I'm not here). If I keep that up, it's gonna be an expensive electric bill. :(

The good news is, I found the Wonder Woman calendar, which I'd been searching for all weekend! It was in the very last box we packed in Arlington, where I stuck the few random things that hadn't fit anywhere else: my MBA diploma, a picture frame, and my ice cube trays -- which I already replaced, but more ice isn't a bad thing when it's 100 degrees outside! The bad news is, as I was putting away the scissors, I cut a hole in my shirt! My blue Superman shirt that I got from the now defunct Warner Bros store many years ago! :(

The good news is, I am blogging from home, which means that the cable guy was here and installed the cable modem, the phone line and the DVR! The bad news is, the DVR box was faulty and he didn't have an extra one in the truck, so he has to come back tomorrow morning and give me a new one. UGH. At least I have basic cable coming in now.

And now the generally positive news. Here are a few more pictures from my busy weekend of unpacking and cleaning up.

My bedroom now has curtains and a full bookcase in the corner. :) As it turns out, I don't really need the dark curtains as much as I did in VA because the backyard tends to be very dark at night, and the sun comes up on the other side of the house. But, they look pretty, don't they? I bought sheets in almost exactly the same shade of deep red - mostly accidentally. ;) And thanks to mom & dad for the lovely patriotic quilt.

I also thought you should see how nicely my washer and dryer fit into their little closet home. I even did a load of laundry on Saturday! The washing machine isn't particularly quiet, but it doesn't try to walk across the floor the way Randall's does! heh.
And finally, (last week when I was trying to figure out what day I should put the garbage out) I learned that in Austin, when you recycle cardboard boxes, you have to cut them down to 2' x 2' square and tie them up with twine. UGH. Have you seen the number of boxes I brought with me? Between the 100 or so boxes and the massive quantities of newspaper, the recycling people are going to loooooove me! This is the result of tonight's effort at bundling cardboard and bagging newspaper. Plenty more to do before Friday morning when they pick up. And don't even get me started on all the garbage! (four bags and counting)

Friday, August 18, 2006

... now the fun starts...

Here are a few pics of the place with my stuff in it... the living room here is much larger than my Arlington living room was, so I'm going to have to decide what to do with the extra space. (of course, in my old place, the living room also housed the dining room and the office... and all of those are now in separate rooms!)

There's also a few feet of empty space to the left of the sofa, which you can't see in this photo. Must buy bookcases!!

and, here's the bedroom. Since this photo was taken, I actually managed to empty out all but two of these boxes (or, um... moved one or two of them to the other bedroom so they were out of the way), and set up the stereo on top of the little dresser. (Can't unpack without music!)

It's pretty much pitch black in the apartment when all the lights are out - my windows don't face the street except in the kitchen, or when they do they're covered by trees or overhang. I think I might have to get an unobtrusive night light so I can find the bathroom! (that was the bonus of Randall's bathroom - the skylight was very helpful in the middle of the night) :)

I've now started a list of "things to find" in the remaining boxes -- ice cube trays, the little packet of picture-hanging materials, travel coffee mugs (now that the pod coffee machine has arrived - YUM!) ... I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

I will have no Internet access all weekend -- I checked, and there's one wireless connection in the neighborhood; unfortunately, it's WEP-keyed -- so by the time I post next week, there should be a LOT more done in the house! :) Anybody who feels like calling me this weekend... please call my cell! I'm sure I'll need a break!

It's official! I moved in!

Yipppeee!! The movers appeared yesterday morning at 9:15am with my stuff ... amazing that all 132 of my items fit in the front section of the 18-wheeler trailer. They managed to get everything off the truck in about 2 hours and most of it made it into the right room(s). Here's what the place looked like *before* they arrived:
<--- this is the kitchen, with the empty closet where the W/D will go on Saturday morning. :)

This is the living room. --> Every room has a ceiling fan... it's awesome. If I measured correctly, the LR is about 15' x 12'. That's my front door, but I don't think I'll be using it much since the driveway/garage is right next to the kitchen door. But there is a gorgeous wooden porch out there, which I'll have to photograph later.

This is the master bedroom (below). It's odd, the smaller bedroom has one large closet... the master has two smaller closets. The other oddity is that the air conditioning unit is literally directly outside my bedroom window. But the white noise doesn't bother me, it's actually what puts me to sleep. The window is behind me taking this picture... you get to see more of the room that way.

I didn't take a picture of the small bedroom - there wasn't a way to get a good angle on it. But I did take a picture of the bathroom, with my newly installed shower curtain -- it has a driving across America theme: the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and some other genuinely USA stuff. (Honestly. You're not surprised. But it was on sale for $7.99, so it was a no-brainer!)

Repairs I had to make after the movers left:
1. The backing on my dresser was loose, so the whole thing swayed like a boat on the high seas. Biggest challenge at that moment: Which box held my tool kit with the hammer and extra nails? Luckily, I opened the right box and found them pretty easily. Phew!
2. I managed to break part of my entertainment center putting the extra feet on the bottom of it (for future reference, tipping it to a 45 degree angle onto a small piece of crappy plyboard is a BAD idea) After a quick run to the home improvement store, I had new L-brackets and the whole thing sits nicely now. (it's probably better than it was the first time I put it together!)

Next entry - pics of the place *after* the movers left. Exhausting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Did humans evolve? Not us!

This little blip was in the New York Times today, from a report issued in Science Magazine:

In surveys conducted in 2005, people in the United States and 32 European countries were asked whether to respond "true," "false" or "not sure" to this statement: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." The United States had the second-highest percentage of adults who said the statement was false and the second-lowest percentage who said the statement was true, researchers reported in the current issue of Science.
Here's the graphic. See the US down there at the bottom?

This is what happens when you have a president who believes in intelligent design rather than evolution! (although to be sure, he hasn't evolved himself much past the orangutan stage...ha ha ) I will admit, I always found it hard to reconcile the story of Adam and Eve and X-begat-Y-begat-Z in the Torah with what I had learned about evolution and Darwin in biology class. But I'm much more inclined to go with the SCIENCE of things evolving rather than the belief that something "up there" made us.

There was a great episode of West Wing during last season's presidential campaign when Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) was asked about intelligent design when he was speaking to parents at an elementary school. His response:
"As a Catholic who attends church every Sunday, I do believe in God, and my faith tells me that there was a designer behind it all," he says. He goes on to explain that it would be difficult to teach science without the principle of evolution, but goes on to clarify, "I don't think it's contradictory to believe in science and believe in God." Finally he explains that he feels intelligent design should not be taught in science classes because it is not a scientific theory. [emphasis mine. And thanks to the Dickinson College Student Newspaper for a recap of this speech.]

THANK YOU! G-d does not = Science. Religion and Science do not mix. But clearly I'm in the minority in the good ol' U.S. of A. Sad.

Monday, August 14, 2006

World traveler - random fun

How many of the world's metro's have you been on? Here's my list. You can generate your own at

Some of them are easy to recognize, like London (top left) and DC (bottom right). Others include Atlanta (MARTA), San Francisco (BART), Paris ( 3rd row, right end), Madrid (3rd row, diamond shape), and New York City (MTA)... pretty cool! -- If you mouse over the logo you should get the city name.

Made from!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Slowly but surely...

Now that I found a place to live, I just want to MOVE IN! Of course, now is when time drags on as slowly as possible. I have started the process of changing my address with all of my various credit cards, magazines, airline memberships. (What in the world did we do about all this before the Internet?) It's so great to be able to log into my different accounts and change the address instantly. :) I will have to email everyone my new info soon, too.

Austin is such an advanced community - I signed up for my new electric/water/trash service online, too! They sent me a nice confirmation email. I actually had to call and talk to a real person to get my cable/DSL/phone service from Time Warner, which will be hooked up on Monday the 21st. (I have to go almost a WEEK without DSL?!?!) Of course, that depends on when the movers actually arrive with my stuff. Still no word on that, although I found out yesterday that my (132) items have now been loaded onto a truck for transport. Baby steps, I guess.

In the meantime, Thursday night a bunch of us girls from work are going to dinner and up to the new outlet mall in Round Rock... the same one that M and I tried to stop at on our way into town a month ago, but it wasn't open yet! Well, now it is!

Last weekend was pretty tame... Saturday morning I decided it was time I went down to Barton Springs and the park. Here's a map. Genius-girl (that's me) decided to go hiking at noon on a 100 degree day (although around here it doesn't hit 100 until later in the afternoon.) If you look at the map, I hiked from Zilker Park (top right) almost as far as the next little hiker symbol (about a mile) and back. It's a good thing I had Gatorade and an energy bar in the cooler in the car! Phew! After that I came home, rested, showered, napped... and went to dinner with some folks from work. We drove down to The Salt Lick (40 minutes south of town). ABSOLUTELY worth the drive and the ~1 hour wait. This is one of those uniquely Texas places that doesn't have a liquor license, so everyone brings a cooler full of beer/soda/wine/whatever. There's almost as much space for the people hanging out waiting for tables as there is for the actual dining tables. The food was excellent.

This coming weekend's big plan: buying a new Washer & Dryer, to be delivered next weekend. If I don't have working DSL, at least I can have clean clothes! :) [and don't say it, I know, I lead such an exciting life...]

Friday, August 04, 2006

How do you define "cheese"?

There was a blog posting on the Washington Post website today about "Uncool Songs it's OK to Admit you Love."

Tons of people commented and added their own lists - there is a range of music from the 60's onward... and most of my favorite 80's songs appear (multiple times). This list comes from a posting, toward the end, that made me laugh out loud -- many of these songs were played at my Bat Mitzvah in 1986! When I get an iPod (someday), I'll be putting a lot of these on there!

  • Tarzan Boy - Baltimora (the DJ played this by request!)
  • I Wanna Be a Cowboy - Boys Don't Cry
  • Never Surrender - Corey Hart (oh no, we wanted to hear Sunglasses at Night)
  • Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone - Glass Tiger
  • And We Danced - Hooters (Yes, I was a HUGE Hooters fan!)
  • Walkin' on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves (I still bop around the house when I hear this)
  • Break My Stride - Matthew Wilder
  • Jungle Love - Morris Day and the Time
  • One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head
  • Pass the Dutchie - Musical Youth
  • Cool It Now - New Edition
  • Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell
  • Sugar Walls - Sheena Easton (I think at some point I wanted to BE Sheena Easton....)
  • Heaven - Bryan Adams

But then there are the lists that are the same as some of my favorite 80's CDs - they may be cheesy, but I am NOT ashamed to admit I love them. Besides, you all know that by now. ;)

  • Jesse's Girl -- Rick Springfield
  • 867 -5309 -- Tommy TuTone
  • She Blinded Me with Science -- Thomas Dolby
  • Take on Me -- A-Ha
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Charlie Daniels (ok, that one is Bryan's fault, he gave it to me on a mix CD when he was at Emory.)
  • Tempted -- Squeeze
  • Come on Eileen-Dexy's Midnight Runners
  • Always Something There to Remind Me- Naked Eyes
  • (I Just) Died In Your Arms - Cutting Crew
  • Life in a Northern Town - Dream Academy (I believe I had the 45 of this...)
  • Time after Time - Cyndi Lauper
  • My Sharona- The Knack
  • 99 Luftballons - Nena

Any cheesy songs I missed? (opened the floodgates, didn't I?)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Weekend leftovers

It was a very full weekend... I'm still recovering.

On Saturday morning, I went to see the Yarn Harlot! It was arranged by Hill Country Weavers, but since their shop is actually quite small, she spoke next door at the Baptist Church. As she said (at the time, and again on her blog), she's probably the first harlot to speak from the church pulpit. :) She's just as funny in person as she is on her blog. And she's cute! (I don't know what I expected... but I don't remember seeing a pic of her before so I was pleasantly surprised.) I think most of her speech was reading from her new book, but I don't have it yet, so I can't say for sure.

I took my knitting bag with me, as did most of the women in the room. I made good progress on Sam's new sweater before and during Stephanie's talk.... that is, when I wasn't laughing hysterically! She told stories, and gave tips on how to spot knitters in a crowd, and sample answers to "Wow, you sure have a lot of yarn" -- my favorite - "Yarn? What yarn?" And while I take pictures of my knitting/crochet work inside my apartment (usually on the sofa), she tends to place her objects either on bushes, or in flowerbeds, or other outdoor lovely places. She said none of her neighbors ever say a word when she's out there putting her half-knitted sweaters in the bushes! I guess they've already decided that she's nuts. ;) If you look at her posting about Austin, you can actually see me in the group picture from the church - top picture, halfway down, along the aisle on the left side, there's a bright turquoise t-shirt. That's me! :)

Anyway, here's a pic of my work on Sunday night (after I had worked on it a while longer... my thumb started to hurt so I had to stop.) You can't really tell, but it's the body of a sweater (knit around sideways) with embellishments every few inches across. The safety pins on either side are where the arm holes are. I'm almost done with the body, next the sleeves!

I also decided to hell with it, and I finished off the Olympic scarf. I mean, really. It started in January. I still need to weave in all the ends. But I just couldn't face lugging the thing around in my knitting bag any more. So here's what it looks like. The yarn is Filatura Llanarota DK, same as for the sweater, although I did buy a nice selection of different colors. I think I still have a few skeins of a nice sea green... got to figure out what to do with it.

Saturday night, RTK hosted a bbq at my house. I mean, his house. :) It was fun, although I got eaten alive by the mosquitoes! He bought enough burgers and dogs for an army... so there's tons of food left over. The freezer is full! Literally half of the people introduced themselves with "I'm Randall's cousin." He has a lot of family around here! Aunt Sally is the best. She gave me a big hug and told me she had seen my announcement in the newspaper. ;) His cousin Sara is coming to Austin soon to go to business school... apparently I may have to share the house with her between when she arrives and when the movers arrive with my stuff at my new place.

Sunday morning I tried a new class at the gym. (This is the one that Jodi recommended last week when I was dying in the locker room.) ...and she was right! It's 15 minutes of spinning, 15 minutes of weight lifting (1 minute intervals rotating from station to station), another 15 minutes of spinning,and 15 more of weight intervals. Then cool down. It was probably the best workout I'd had! I loved it. I told her she was my hero. She thought I was crazy, but that's not news.

In the afternoon, a couple of us drove down to Kyle, TX to a barbecue fundraiser for our co-worker's son. He (Kaleb, known as Kowboy Kaleb cuz he always wears his cowboy hat and boots!) has leukemia. He's 4. He's adorable. He has a miniature horse, named (what else?) Trigger. :) I hope they raised a lot of money. They had a silent auction and a live auction. There were some interesting items... I know my cousins will get a kick out of this -- a guitar signed by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. I think it went for $600.

We'll have to see what fun stuff this weekend holds.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

They don't like him here, either...

On the way to work this morning, I was behind a Jeep with a bumper sticker that read:

< / W >

heh. Probably the simplest, best anti-Bush sticker I've seen! (...if you're a computer geek and know that it's written in html) :)

Also on the roads of Austin: Last week, I was on my way to put down the deposit for my new place. I was driving along Lamar in front of a guy in a Jeep Cherokee, who was drumming on his steering wheel along with the music... which wouldn't ordinarily be odd, except he was *using drumsticks* (with both hands) while he was driving!

Only in Austin. :)