Friday, June 30, 2006

Now If Only I Had Something to Sell or Buy

I admit I am finally feeling the first chill of 1984--only 22 years too late--with the advent of Google Checkout.

Feral Kitten

Feral Kitten
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
Yet another baby (cord still attached!).

This is a big long story, but suffice it to know that the happy ending was that Mother Cat finally came and got the last baby after we thought it was likely abandoned.

I hope she will be able to save it after all it went through! At least it has a better chance with the mother.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Speaking of Cats

...which I wasn't, at least not here.

And I don't have one. But if I did, I would definitely want these! I've always had a problem with declawing cats, but also with letting them roam around outside (unless you have barn cats for mousing and are prepared for them to have short lives.)

Tactical Warfare

Distracting the enemy, or? Maybe they're on to something more important than simply cross-bred video games...

Monday, June 26, 2006

There Goes June

And how'd that happen?

When I say I've been "mostly" working on my data, what I really mean is that I have been really struggling to get my "quota" done, every single day. I didn't even shower over the weekend (sorry, TMI, but there it is.) It's a bit discouraging, as every morning I enthusiastically think that I will not only get my 10 surveys scored but also one or two of the other five dozen things I need to get done over the summer... and then by sunset each day I'm still just desperately trying to crank out the last of the ten surveys. I have a lot of additional unrelated things I really have to also get done before the baby comes (including preparations for applying for internships yet a-freakin'-gain.)

So basically I'm back to grad-school mode in which everything else in my life has to drop by the wayside as I try to get the work done (surveys scored and entered). This is so I can start doing the analyses and write at least a draft of my results section before the baby comes and changes everything.

Oddly, this feeling of intense continuous pressure always makes me blog more. This is partly because I spend more time in the house near the computer, and partly because I just feel more stressed and need some kind of outlet. (For complaining no doubt.)

Since a big part of the thesis of my research regards how individuals' ages and the time they've spent in college affects their level of prejudice, I am going to scream (more) if I continue to encounter primarily surveys filled out by 18-year-old freshpersons who've been in school exactly two weeks. I think they comprise 98% of the surveys I've scored so far; no exaggeration.

This is okay for the process of getting my actual dissertation done, as far as that goes, since one has only to show correct form in research and not necessarily results. However, as far as furthering the field of prejudice research, this is nearly useless and I am frankly surprised to see even the few significant correlations that are appearing so far.

An analogy would be that it's like trying to examine the coping mechanisms of people using prosthetic limbs solely in a population of professional athletes. Sure, if you get enough respondents, there will be a couple of people that may show the characteristics you're looking for, but you're sure looking at an awfully skewed sample.

I didn't realize that all the classes taught by my colleagues last fall included nothing but brand-new first-years. I really hope as I get further into the pile, I will encounter some groups of classes that include more people from other years. But I've done 70 out of 330, so that's considerable already.

The other thing that's annoying about this is that the very young can be so damned prejudiced and dichotomous in their thinking, due to their developmental stage. ("I'm right, everyone else is wrong," variety of self-righteousness.)

So I end up seeing page after page (these are loooong surveys even though they're mostly multiple-choice) of people selecting answers resembling the following: "African-Americans are lower in intelligence than other races: AGREE;" "Two women are jogging in sports bras and shorts and two men appear and rape them. The women provoked the rape: AGREE;" "AIDS came into being to punish the homosexual lifestyle: AGREE;" "Asian-American business owners are greedy: AGREE;" and even (you won't believe this) "Hitler had some justification in persecuting the Jews" AGREE." !!!

--and then on the final page, where they get to write in what has influenced their perspectives on cultural diversity, they write things like "I am very open-minded and have learned not to judge others by their race" and so forth. In fact it may be one of my findings that the higher the prejudice scores, the more likely they are to write about how open-minded they are.

Prejudiced and hypocritical little jerks. It's quite depressing and exhausting to have my face rubbed in this for hours every single day and to think that society is even worse than I imagined. It's making me prejudiced against undergrads!

So anyway. I hope that I get into some more older students soon, and I hope that I see what I predicted: they've dropped in prejudice as they've been in school.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Lately the thing I've been doing most is scoring my surveys and entering them into my SPSS database. I have about 350 of them, and it's hard to maintain my 10-per-day quota. My best time for completing one is about 17 minutes, but in practice it comes to about 2 per hour. And it's that kind of laborious-for-your-back work that doesn't seem to go really well with pregnancy. I keep trying to get more done per day, but 10's about the limit. It seems to take at least 8 hours overall no matter how I try to arrange my time.

Last weekend, however, I did take the time to put in seedlings and seeds for a small but quite overstocked (considering the size) vegetable garden in our back patio area, which was fun. Seedlings are on sale as the normal planting season is over. I left some volunteer plants from last year (most notably tomatoes and herbs) and transplanted them to new areas. I also left some sunflowers that have sprung up underneath the birdfeeder in the window, as you can see in the photo.

My prize find was a lone, puny pot of leek seedlings. Leeks! They're hard to even find in the produce section, and of course they're TheLimey's favorite vegetable. So now we'll have our own. I also planted a modified Three Sisters Garden area with my seed packets for sweet corn, pumpkins, and beans. (By modified I mean that I didn't do the plantings of the different seeds a week apart as one is really supposed to. Nor in giant mounds.)

Other plants included several varieties of tomato (chosen for different bearing times so we won't have 500 tomatoes one week like last year), sweet and hot peppers, sage (left from last year), onions, three different kinds of basil (standard, Thai, and purple), dill (volunteered from last year's seeds), rosemary, watermelon, cantaloupe, and of course it's all interspersed with lots of marigolds for insect control. I later found some radish seeds to plant among the melons to repel cucumber beetles (which like melons), but haven't yet planted those.

I also got some catnip to plant in a far corner of the lot, since the condo-neighborhood cats have been pestering "my" critters (squirrels and birds). Or maybe I just think it'll be fun to plant catnip. Underneath the honeysuckle along the back fence we have chives and...what, oregano? And mint in a pot. I got a chocolate-mint plant to put in another pot, as well as a little bit of lavender.

We had a brace of baby bluejays among the flagstones for a few days, which I thought to place in a box just a bit higher on a tree branch to keep them out of reach of the cats, which were really excited by their presence. However, it turns out that baby bluejays are extremely loud and squawky when grabbed, however briefly, and that bluejay parents believe that I am as big a threat as any cat. I had to be careful just going outside for the rest of the day! I think that one lived but I'm not sure about the other (smaller) one. It didn't seem able to hop as high and fast (into the trees) as its sibling, so I fear the cats may have gotten it after all.

In other animal news, the nearest squirrel became bolder and started taking bluejay-peanuts from the chair by the sliding back door. Then a couple of days ago I got up from my nap and went to survey my garden as usual, and found that the unripe-but-getting there head of the sunflower was completely gone. !!! Based on the scraps left at the crime scene as well as the leaning quality of the stalk, I deduced that the squirrel had decided to snack on it. Little bugger!

What's even funnier is this: I keep a dish of peanuts next to the back door on a ladder-like shelf, about 4" off the floor. Later that day I found in the dish a number of gnawed and empty shells that looked suspiciously like the traces left after outside peanut feasts. And it looked like a hole in the screen door was newly bigger than it had been before. So unless my husband has changed his snacking habits entirely, the little bandit snuck into the actual kitchen while I was napping on the couch and feasted on peanuts! (Wish I had woken up and seen it.)

So, the peanuts are now going on the other side of the house entirely, before our corn starts to grow, although it may already be too late to change those habits. When I came home the other day and saw the squirrel standing at attention on the sidewalk, I noticed newly-prominent mammary glands. I guess a passel of new babies to nurse would explain her new bold voraciousness. (Not that I identify at all...oh no!)

Now, back to my data-crunching sofa, and the so-far-disappointing England v. Ecuador game that is being exclaimed over downstairs.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Now that I've seen the posts of Library Liddy and and Library Squirrel, it occurs to me that my own high school graduation was 20 years ago this month.

I don't think the school I graduated from was big enough for the class to develop the critical mass of people caring enough to do reunions.

Not to mention, I wasn't even in the country at graduation time. I was in Norway, wishing the year wouldn't end so I could stay there.

Now, If Only We Had Startrekian Ethics, Too

At least we seem to have begun developing tricorders.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day

Now we have two new holidays to celebrate, though one could legitimately say we're jumping the gun just a little bit by claiming the "Mother" and "Father" titles. Nevertheless, it's been fun doing so. I allowed--nay, insisted that TheLimey choose activities for yesterday, after we had coffee, donuts, and newspapers in bed.

Let's just say the activities included a lot of World Cup watching, unsurprisingly, which was not terribly different from what happened the day before except it was done at home. (Although we also went to a nearby state park for a hike...okay, for me it was a hike/lumber, for him it was a mere stroll.)

I also made an orange-chocolate ice cream cake, which was fun. I've never made one before. Alternating layers of chocolate cake, orange cake, chocolate ice cream, and orange-flavored vanilla ice cream. Frosted with orange-y mousse. (I should tell you that the chocolate sprinkle topping was actually Ovaltine crystals, which sprinkled beautifully and dissolved into a nice misty chocolatey effect.)

I should also mention that the weekend started out by my using my Mother's Day gift certificate to a day spa. It was very fant-see, but I managed to get over that. (Though my car is still suffering from low self-esteem and/or resentment after being parked amongst all those Escalades.)

I could spend an entire post describing what went on there, but I'll just say that they gave me a giant wrap-around potholder (with snaps) to wear, with a matching short robe. Hee. Also, all my nails are now an unnatural shade of pink. And they used what I think was a Dremel on my toenails, though I can't say for sure as they continuously covered my eyes with one thing or another the whole time I was there, or in some cases had the lights out almost entirely. If that's not luxury, I don't know what is.

Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup Snax

I didn't set out to make a big spread, but that's just how it turned out. At least we finally got to eat the giant whopping gobs of seven-layer dip that one is generally too embarrassed to take at a party, since it was just the two of us. There's half of the dish left, and another entire dish still left in the fridge!

1. Seven-layer dip, though who's counting the layers? I replaced the wads of iceberg lettuce with just a little tiny bit of fresh romaine. (In the future, no lettuce at all. Too soggy-seeming and makes the dip hard to scoop out.) I also added another layer--refried black beans--as well as a layer of guacamole. (How can you have seven-layer dip without guac?) Served with lime tortilla chips.

2. Deviled eggs. (I use the basic recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but use half mayo, half Miracle Whip. I also add to the plain yellow mustard an additional portion of Dijon mustard.)

3. Brat-kebabs. Johnsonville smoked brats cut in chunks, interspersed with chunks of red onion and red bell peppers. (All previously marinated in a can of beer and the juice from a can of sauerkraut.) Broil or grill. The important thing is to serve this with a dipping sauce comprised of creamy horseradish, dijon mustard, a dash of malt vinegar, and enough beer to make it dippy instead of spready. I made this whole ensemble up and am unduly proud of it.

4. Cornbread. I'm sure you have a favorite recipe. I used a mix.

5. Cold bottles of Red Stripe Jamaican Lager. (Mummy didn't get to drink it, but did use it in the cooking.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Google Spreadsheet

From June 8: bloggerdown day.


What the heck is going on with Blogger today?!

In more interesting news, this morning I signed up and got me one-a them fantsee new Google Spreadsheets. I have been vaguely wanting a multi-user spreadsheet for a long time now, but this comes at an especially convenient time. I am hoping to have one or more undergrad assistants help me with this coding of my surveys, and if they can enter data online, that would be fantastic. (Of course I would have backups in case someone spectacularly messes something up.)

We have discovered that the one game we can play with the baby pre-birth is inherited from its father, with whom I can play No Sleepy Limey, with apologies to Juice. (Though really, I try not to be so cruel as to do this unless he's actually trying not to fall asleep.)

We have determined that the current baby game is No Sleepy LimeyBaby. The entire game consists of rolling over to my other side when I'm in bed, which basically turns the "room" upside down for the poor critter, so that s/he wakes up and jumps and bumps for a little while.

This is coincidentally the baby's only pre-birth game to play with me, called Kick the Mummy, apparently a precursor to football.

Kinda like now when I'm sitting here at the desk. Owtch, Baby!

For Pete's Sake

It's sure a good thing that I didn't see the Anne Coulter comments before I went to get my blood pressure taken today.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


As I have been complaining since long before marriage, this business with waking up to NPR can be very disheartening.

For TheLimey it's a gradual and gentle coming to awareness in which he doesn't hear the actual content of the news. For me the content is immediately front and center as I'm trying to awake. (Hence that ancient post about Felicity Forthright, which Blogger is now telling me can't be found in a search of this blog. Lying double-crossing Blogger.) [Ha--here it is, though I had to use Google to find it.]

So anyway, the worst is hearing ol' GW first thing in the morning. At the best of times, hearing his voice makes me shout "shutup shutup SHUTUP!" out loud as I reach out to turn off the radio just long enough to not have to hear him. But first thing in the morning that is difficult, especially as the radio alarm is on the other side of the bed.

Therefore I am stuck hearing whatever he has to say, which is particularly crappy of late, now that the political war machine is gearing up for elections. This has begun literally giving me nightmares.

This morning I dreamed that the US was becoming a Nazi state, complete with snipers shooting at my curiously windowful and curtain-free home (which was also in a river subsidence area and subject to frequent 5-foot floods.)