Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hey Santa Claus! Where have you been?

Yesterday I drove down Main Street in my parents' town, and saw Santa Claus by the Post Office. I drove home and asked Mr M if he wanted to go sit on Santa's lap to tell him what he wanted for Christmas.

"No. I already wrote him a letter. He already knows what I want."

"He's also giving out candy. Do you want to go get free candy?"

"No! I don't want to sit on Santa's lap."

So, I had my youngest sister, my niece, and my two older kids get in the car so they could sit on Santa's lap. I dropped them off, and decided I'd go back to my parents' to get the younger kids that were still there.

I pulled up to the house, and all the younger boys were playing in the front yard. I told them to get in the car and I was going to take them to see Santa. They all got really excited. Except for Mr M.

"I said I don't want to go."

"I know. But you're going. Get in the car."

He did.

I told my nephews to be thinking about what they wanted to ask Santa to bring them for Christmas. They talked excitedly about what was appropriate to ask for and what wasn't.

"Can we ask him for money?"

"I don't know. Maybe you should think of something else. Like some kind of toy."

"Can we ask for Bakugan cards?"

"What? Baklava?"

"NO! Bakugan cards. They have little balls that open into some little Bakugan things."

"Ok. Ask him for those."

We pulled up to the curb only to see that Santa was no longer sitting there. In the amount of time it took me to go back and get the boys, he'd packed up shop. I had to tell the boys that we were too late. They were all disappointed and let out a collective "Aughhhh!"

Except Mr M. He yelled out, "YES!" and pumped his fist in the air.

The kid did NOT want to see Santa.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Can you imagine the clones at war with the 'bots?

The people in my research group meet every Friday to discuss a recent journal article pertaining to the research we do. A few weeks ago our class was cancelled because most everyone was going to be out of town, so the grad student who was assigned to lead the discussion postponed her paper for a couple weeks. Her paper was to be on a study that used the entire mitochondrial genome to examine population structure of woolly mammoths. Once class was cancelled for the week, I decided to put off reading it until the week that we were going to discuss it.

The following week, another grad student (who studies birds) was having some difficulty settling on a paper, so called me to see if I had any suggestions. She mentioned that she wanted to have us read a paper that used the entire mitochondrial genome to address similar questions with bears. All I could remember was the journal and the complete mitochondrial genome part, so told her I thought that was the one the other grad student had already picked, so she decided to go with a different paper instead. It turned out that I was wrong, so the following email exchange went over our listserv.

Student 2: Hi. Sorry it's late, I wanted to do the bear papers but [Minnow] said [Student 1] was going to do, so found something else.

Student 1: What bear paper??? Unless bear = mammoth...

Advisor: Bears, Mammoths...all the same to bird people...

Student 3: Or fish people...

Me: You mean bears aren't mammoths? I thought they were the same species. My bad.

Student 4: When I read the email I assumed there must have been a new statistical phylogeography study on bears; that concluded mammoths were in fact nested in with the bears. [Minnow] confirmed to me that he knows mammoths aren't bears.

When we finally got around to discussing the mammoth paper, we ended with a discussion about the possibility of cloning a mammoth. One of the professors had this to say afterward: "Cloning a mammoth. That's not interesting. Cloning a Neanderthal, now that's interesting. Maybe we could clone eleven of them and see if they could play football. I'd pay to watch that."

So now we have a practical application and wouldn't be cloning Neanderthals just to see if it could be done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'

Today I drove to my parents' house for the holiday weekend. We got a later start than we wanted, so I ended up stopping at a Wendy's about an hour away from there to feed my kids. Once we got back in the car and headed a few miles down the road I had the following conversation with my daughter:

Tortellini: It's good that we're not eating chicken tomorrow.

Me: Why's that?

Tortellini: Because it makes me sick.

Me: If that's the case, then why did you just order a chicken sandwich? Retard!

Tortellini: Um, because it looked good?

Did you think I wouldn't recognize this compromise, am I just too stupid to realize?

Now it's time to share some tips on how to write, as given to me by my advisor:

"Simplification is always good. You should assume* that the people who are reading your work are stupider than you."

I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult.

*And people wonder why scientists tend to be arrogant. With training like that, how can we help it?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On a rainy Monday

Me: This morning I told Mr M that he needed to take a jacket with him to school. He didn't want to, but I told him just to keep it in his backpack just in case he wanted it later. Then, when I dropped him off he put his backpack against the wall and ran to play with his classmates. About halfway there he turned around, went back and got the jacket out and put it on.

Friend: That's kind of funny.

Me: I keep telling Tortellini and Togers to check the weather before going to school, but they don't seem to want to listen to me.

Friend: Why? What do they wear to school?

Me: Tortellini usually goes wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Togers has been going in shorts and t-shirts every day. Neither of them take jackets. Temperatures are supposed to drop this week, and I just know they're going to be stuck walking home in the cold on the first day that happens.

Friend: Yeah, later in the week the highs are supposed to be in the fifties, with a fifty percent chance of . . .

[Just then a girl with enormous breasts passed by us.]

Friend (finishing his sentence without missing a beat): . . . warm milk.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nacho nacho man, I wanna be a nacho man

Mr M: I love you Dad.

Me: I love you too, Kiddo.

Mr M: Do you love nachos too?

Me: I do love nachos.

Mr M: Which do you love more, me, or nachos?

Me: Uh, I'm going to have to go with nachos.

Mr M: I love you infinity more than nachos.

Me: That's sweet, but for me it's the reverse. I love nachos infinitely more than I love you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

'Cause tonight baby I wanna get freaky with you

It's opening week for our men's basketball team, and I've been able to attend three of the four home games they've played. Students get in free, and I normally print my ticket beforehand, but yesterday the free ticket option didn't show up in my online account, so I figured I'd just let them scan my card at the gate as they've done in the past.

At the foot of the stairs below the student entrance there were some ladies who were frisking people. I find the whole routine rather ridiculous, because it still wouldn't be that hard to sneak something in, so I was thinking "Here we go again," and must have been smiling to myself as I approached. The woman looked at me and said, "Step on up here. You know you're going to enjoy this." Then she frisked me. She was more thorough than most, and when she finished she said, "You could go ahead and stand here all night."

I laughed and headed up the stairs.

However, when I gave the ticket lady my card she said, "Oh. I'm sorry, but you have to go downstairs and get a ticket first. I can't scan this anymore. And just so you know, that's how it'll be for all the games so you'll want to make sure you get a ticket beforehand from here on out."

I'm guessing this new policy has to do with some of the recurring problems they had last season where the card reader wouldn't recognize a lot of graduate students as full time. Not a big deal. I went downstairs, got my ticket, and ended up going back through the same woman to be frisked again. She gave me a puzzled look so I said, "I liked it so much the first time, I thought I'd come back for more."

I could still hear her laughing when I was at the top of the stairs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

All I want is to be a happy man

While at a sushi restaurant the other night, I realized that there are things I'm going to miss when I move away from Vegas. Luckily, my friend had his camera phone out, so I made* him sneak a few pictures. Here they are. See if you can guess what things I'll miss the most. I'll give you a hint: It won't be the menus, or the table.

*Because I'm creepy like that**.

**But also so I could share with you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light?

I was talking with a couple of guys I work with, and we came up with a new system that married men can use to rank women. I've taken the liberty to assign each level a letter grade.

In reverse order
Level F: Women you won't sleep with under any circumstances.

Level D: Women you might have slept with in your bachelor days if you were drunk enough.

Level C: Women you would sleep with if you weren't married.

Level B: Women you would sleep with even though you are married.

Level A: Women you would sleep with even though you are married, and your wife wouldn't get mad.

Obviously Level A women are the true cream of the crop.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It sounded like the hum of insects nesting in my hair

Me: Go comb your hair.

Mr M: I did comb my hair.

Me: Well go fix it. It looks creepy.

Mr M: I like being creepy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

She's got to be strong to fight them, so she's taking lots of vitamins

Tortellini showed me some of the drawings she's done at school. Not in art class, mind you, but in her other classes. Presumably when she's either supposed to be listening to the teacher, or working on homework.

Doodles in Science:

Doodles in Study Skills:

I'd say they're pretty good. She almost gives me and Flieswithoutwings a run for our money. Almost. I'm particularly fond of the Skittles shooting cannon in the first drawing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And there were trees around that they kept burning burning

Professor: The landscape of the Iberian Peninsula has just been hammered through history. I mean, you had the Moors coming up from Africa and going around doing all their raping and pillaging. Then there was the Spanish Inquisition, where people were going around burning everything. Other than that, it's a really nice place to visit.

Me: It sounds like it could be a nice place to visit even with all of that. It just depends on what side of the burning, raping and pillaging you're on.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's ok to eat fish 'cause they don't have any feelings

What do you suppose this guy wants to convey about himself with this vanity plate?

Is he a butcher? A rancher? Anti-vegan? Gay?

I need to know these things.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The truth will not set you free, it's ok to believe that you're not good enough

Me: Hello?

Ex-Wife: [Mr M] has something to tell you.

Me: Ok, put him on the phone.

Mr M: Dad, did you know that if you have a whole bunch of kids, and you don't want all of 'em then you can kill one?

Me: Nope. I didn't know that.

Mr M: You can. And you get to choose which one you want to kill.

Me: Wow. So which one of you guys do I want to choose?

Ex-Wife: He just rolled his eyes and handed me the phone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

School's out forever

Many of the buildings on campus require a key card in order to gain access after hours. Mine quit working Monday. That means for three days, including the holiday yesterday, I've been reliant on others to let me into the buildings where my office and labs are.

I think the University's trying to tell me that it's time to get the fuck out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Across the desert I'll be there

Friend: How was your blind date*?

Me: You talking about last night? It was quite awkward.

Friend: Yeah, you looked horrified.

Me: Really? I thought I hid it.

Friend: You looked like someone threw a baby in the fire.

Me: I talked to her mostly because I felt obligated, but I shouldn't've**.

*It wasn't really a blind date. Rather, someone brought a girl along to a gathering in the desert*** because he wanted me to meet her, but I had no prior knowledge of that happening.

**Felt obligated that is.

***It was another good old fashioned book burning on the dry lake bed, except this time we only burned one textbook.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Don't be sorry, what's done now is done, and this is who you are

Last week I had to proctor another exam. I usually take a copy to thumb through between watching for cheaters and playing "Who's best?" My name showed up three different times on this one. Here are the questions:

The rate of transpiration DECLINES as which of the following occurs (in an evolutionary sense)?
a) as the surface to volume ratio of the leaves becomes larger.
b) as stomata become superficial (from recessed).
c) as guard cells become more common on the upper side of the leaf.
d) as the cuticle becomes thinner.
e) as the leaf produces numerous trichomes.
f) [Female Student] shall speak into the microphone on this question. And to think that [Minnow] asked me to ask her to talk, well, let us say "not clean", the nerve of this guy...

Internal fertilization might be selected for because of which of the following?
a) fewer sperm required.
b) allows mobility of the female partner.
c) creates a period of extended parental care.
d) confers immunity to female partner.
e) none of the above applies.
f) I should like to consult [Minnow] on this issue, he is a wellspring of knowledge on the subject.

Species diversity in general increases as which of the following occurs?
a) heterogeneity declines.
b) wetness declines.
c) frequency of radial symmetry increases.
d) area increases.
e) temperature decreases.
f) wherever [Minnow] has priorly tread, or so the theory goes [legend has it he has speciated fifty times if you know what I mean...]

I no longer need to wonder how certain rumors about me get spread among the ranks of undergraduates.

Friday, November 07, 2008

But my future tense is past

Yesterday I cracked open a fortune cookie, excited to see what the future had in store, but it was empty.

I thought it meant I had no future.

My friend thought it was just unfortunate.

(Thank you, thank you, we'll be here all week.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hey ladies in the place I'm callin' out to ya

I was recently contacted by a girl I used to have a crush on. She's been living in southern California for a few years, but said that she'd recently moved to Vegas and wanted to have dinner sometime so we could catch up. A few days later I mentioned it to one of my friends.

Friend: So are you going to have dinner with her?

Me: I don't know. Probably not. But if I do, it won't be like that.

Friend: What do you mean?

Me: Well, I used to have a thing for her, but not anymore. Although, back then I had the impression that she liked me too. She kept trying to get me to take her out to dinner, it just never happened.

Friend: You are the weirdest person when it comes to girls. If a girl even looks at me I assume she's interested. If she's asking me to dinner, she's definitely interested. Instead, I can picture you saying, "This girl just showed me her boobs. I think she might like me, but I don't know."

Me: You make a good point.

So ladies, if you're reading this, I promise that from now on if you show me your boobs, I'll assume it's because you like me.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

If you're not lurking behind every curtain

Here's my list of failed Halloween costumes, and the reasons why I didn't go with them.

Pau Gasol

I'm incapable of growing a neck beard.

Bill Phelps: Michael Phelps estranged step-brother

I don't have a "good" enough body to show off, plus I'm not hung like there's a cucumber in my speedo.


I couldn't find a battle-ax.

Lance Armstrong

I have both of my testicles.

Pedophile Cowboy

Didn't want to have to bother with finding a molester van to drive around.

Altar Boy: First Communion

I didn't want to have to constantly look over my shoulder to make sure Pedophile Cowboy wasn't trying to stick something up my butthole*.

Trick or Treat Octopus

I couldn't find a pumpkin.

*That's especially for the anonymous comment from the other day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Burn through the witches

This year for Halloween there were Super Heroes:

Super Villains:

And Rock Stars:

With awesome tattoos:

Stay tuned for failed costume ideas.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Do it and do it again

Silentkid: There was a guy there last night who was older than my dad. I looked over at him and should've said, "Hey, what are you doin' here?" There were only like four girls in the whole place.

Me: You should've hit on that one girl.

Silenkid: What one girl? The refreshment girl? The one I was staring at all night?

Me: I don't know. What was she wearing?

Silentkid: Something red, with a little cape.

Me: Yeah, that one.

Silentkid: She was flirting with a gay pirate.

Me: What you should've done was tapped the gay pirate on the shoulder and said, "Mind if I cut in?" and then put it in her butt.

Silentkid: Just like that.

Me: Yup. I wonder how long it'd take you to finish if you're raping someone in public.

Silentkid: That is a good question. I don't know.

Me: There's really only one way to find out.