Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sleeping with the Enemy

Kyle and I have a big spoon/little spoon arrangement that requires both of us to sleep on our right sides. Last week, Kyle hurt his ribs at soccer and asked if we could switch sides of the bed so that he could lay on his uninjured left side.

Me nattering away:
We can switch.
But I don't want to be close to the alarm clock. The light keeps me awake.
You know what I read? Most people sleep on their right sides and scientists think that it's because sleeping on your right puts less strain on your heart.
Also, you know how people have a "good side" and a "bad side" of their face? I heard somewhere that the bad or ugly side of your face is the one that you squish all night while sleeping on your side.

Kyle interrupting:
So you mainly sleep on your stomach?

Me continuing to natter:
No actually, I prefer to sleep on my side....


Kyle kills himself laughing while Iadminister the beats.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weird Science

While I was doing my master's degree, I spent a lot of time searching for articles and books in various university libraries. One day in the medical library, I was delighted to find a whole three-foot shelf filled with bound copies of the academic journal "Diseases in Poultry". It blew my mind that there are people out there who devote their working lives to the research of chicken sickness.

My experience in graduate school is that there are a lot of people in academia who become fascinated with a very specific topic and dive deeply into it. More deeply than anyone else could possibly care to go. At research presentations, I usually followed for the first five minutes after which time I blanked out and began hatching various escape plans.

Some people sneer at academics and their whole-hearted pursuit of one microscopic corner of the world. Others resent government money devoted to research, especially research that seems impractical or disconnected from daily life. While I understand these reactions, I love to know that there people who are passionately pursuing knowledge. I appreciate that our society supports the love of learning and diving deeply. And I especially love the ridiculous outcomes...

Each year, Harvard gives out Ig Nobel Prizes, awards for bizarre and funny research. In 2009, prizes were awarded for the following:
Veterinary medicine prize - cows with names give more milk than cows without names
Peace prize - empty beer bottles make better weapons than full ones, being more likely to fracture skulls in bar brawls
Chemistry prize - researchers found a way to make diamonds from tequila
Physics prize - physicists outlined the reasons that pregnant women don't tip over
Biology prize - researchers discovered that kitchen waste can be reduced to 90% of it's weight by exposing it to the bacteria in panda poop
Public health prize - the invention of a bra that in case of emergency, can be converted into two protective face masks, one for the now braless woman and another for a needy bystander. Below is a photo of the inventor accepting her Ig Nobel prize.

Monday, January 11, 2010

At least one wish came true

Someone at work asked me to describe Kyle. Among with many positive adjectives, I used the word "unsentimental" to describe him.

This past summer, we attended the wedding of a lovely couple. After signing the guest book, we were directed to a table that was covered in rocks and sparkly pens. The couple wanted every guest to be involved in the ceremony and had requested that each person write a wish or prayer for the couple on a stone. At a later point in the ceremony, every guest would walk toward the blissful couple and place his or her rock in a vase.

I felt some pressure as considered how I would distill my hopes for them into one power-house of a word. I wanted my word to be unique, meaningful, and not cheesy. I can't remember now but I think that after much deliberation, I settled on "laughter". My choice was disappointingly cheesy and not very unique, considering the fact that a person can buy stones with gold etching of this word in any new-agey bookstore or card shop.

Throughout my agonizing search for the prefect word that would express my soul, I couldn't help but notice that Kyle had quickly finished writing on his stone. Had he had some kind of epiphany? Was writing on rocks the secret key to Kyle's self-expression?

I asked to see his stone and when he handed it over, read the following:

Many rocks

Friday, January 1, 2010

Year of the manatee

I hope all of you had a peace and joy-filled holiday. Kyle and I had a variety of delicious Christmas dinners with many lovely people - Dec 23 stew with Kyle's family, Christmas-eve goose with Kyle's cousins, Christmas day turkey with my clan, and another fabulous boxing day pizza party/80s dance-off at Murray's house.

My family has become very laid-back about presents, which I appreciate immensely. The new rule is that you don't have to buy anybody a present unless you see something that you really want to get for them. And if you get a present from somebody you don't need to reciprocate.

This year my present from my parents was this -

Rosa the Manatee - An Undersea Adventure
: a plush Manatee with cassette tape. It totally cracks me up.The box has a very 1990s liberal feel - allowing consumers to sleep well at night knowing that in addition to buying a plush toy, they have donated money that will "directly help in protecting a manatee and his habitat from endangerment". I haven't listened to the tape yet but I assume it outlines Rosa's idyllic aquatic life as it is interrupted by heinous motor boat propellers. My mom says she found it in a bargain bin somewhere a few years ago.

This morning I stumbled upon a funny post outlining "Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling" . What better way is there to start the New Year than with a little grammatical self-improvement? And much to my delight, the author used a manatee to illustrate proper use of it's/its. (click on the picture to enlarge)

Background by Jennifer Furlotte / Pixels and IceCream