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The man should be on TV all the time. Who doesn't love Tim Gunn?

Edited to add that I've misted up watching this show in both episodes so far.
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I went all out and took the extended test:

1. Botanist
2. Business Systems Analyst
3. Microbiologist
4. Database Developer
5. Environmental Consultant
6. Ecologist
7. Marine Biologist
8. Biologist
9. Researcher
10. GIS Specialist
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The FDA has an RSS feed for all the latest food recall news.
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My poor computer's hard drive seemed to do some choking thing earlier this week when I tried to copy 5 GB of data to started running really slow and then basically after the usual disk repair/reinstall system stuff (which took eight hours! That is not right), it just stopped booting at all. I was able to get it into target disk mode and get the data off of the drive, but it took three hours to transfer 10 GB of data off of it. Clearly something was crazy wrong with the drive. Of course, its Applecare plan expired in June.

So I took it to Di-No Computers in Pasadena, where other people from the Garden have gone to get their computers fixed. They were awesome. The tech who helped me booted it into target disk mode and tried to diagnose the drive, but by now, it was failing to mount at all. Bad. We decided the safest thing to do was to replace the hard drive entirely and then try to recover the data. When I came in to pick it up, the tech said that during the recovery, the disk died entirely and he had to actually dismantle the hard drive to get the data off. He was successful, though, for the most part: the system and applications and the pictures and music are saved, but I'm going to need to pull my personal documents and whatnot from the backup I made yesterday. Another tech said that data recovery in those situations is pretty tricky, so I think I am very lucky that I was able to save everything off the drive before it died outright.

So now Bitey has a new disk that is twice as big as before, all my data is safe, and this all happened in less than a day and for less than $350. Woo! In addition, I hadn't noticed until now, with my new shiny drive, that the old drive was really loud. It used to make weird whirring noises when I tilted it, like it was some sort of dysfunctional gyroscope. It's weirdly quiet now. I think the whirring was probably not a good sign for the health of that hard drive.

Lesson to be learned here: backups GOOD. Instead of reminding you all of this lesson from the bad point of view, I can remind you from the good point of view: when I transfer back my data from my backup, everything will be back the way it was, but better! All in less than 24 hours and $350.


Aug. 9th, 2007 09:09 pm
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I'm making soft roman shades for the living room. Currently, the shades are these cheapo roller shades that I bought for $10 each at Pier One a few years back. The main problem with those, however, is that the dogs keep trying to nose the blinds out of the way so they can look through the window. That knocks the shade out of place and screws up the mechanism. So, I am adapting the existing blinds' mechanism and making microsuede roman shades that have the mechanism fully attached to the shade. I think this should help the problem.

Pictures )

[Poll #1036635]
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Current location:

I am at a field station in the middle of the Sierras, north of Tahoe. I am surfing the internet wirelessly. No cell access here, but wireless internet is available. Crazy!

Apparently it is currently satellite wireless, but they are getting a T1 line in soon. HOW?

in line

Jun. 29th, 2007 10:14 am
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Am standing in line for iPhone on Tom's behalf. Am I an idiot? I don't even want one myself.
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If anyone is watching "On the Lot," we know one of the contestants! Tom has been working on a lot of projects for Mateen Kamet, one of the 50 contestants on the show. Tom edited the trailer for his submission movie.

IMO, Mateen is a perfect reality show person. Articulate, friendly dude, great backstory (came from the Bronx projects, worked on Wall Street, is now trying to break into Hollywood), has a good look for TV. I'm not at all interested in the show for its content, but I am going to watch because I've never known anyone who got on a big reality show before.
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I seem to have strained my right pinky finger over the weekend. I believe the injury was caused by holding these one-handed while reading all weekend. Pretty entertaining read, though.
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Specifically, things that make me not want to eat at a restaurant for fear of food poisoning.

  1. Discount sushi
  2. Hot pot buffet dessert bars
  3. Cheap buffet restaurants
  4. Buffets served for "brunch" at restaurants that don't normally have buffets
  5. Chinese restaurants (and Thai ones are sometimes like this too) that serve fried rice with all meals as a normal option
  6. Obviously, anything that rates below a "B" on the LA County sanitation rating system
  7. Sandwiches with meat fillings sitting out on the counter at room temperature
  8. Delis with large mounds of composed salads that look like they have a vague skin on them
  9. Burrito bars where the rice seems to have gone crusty

Weirdly, or perhaps not weirdly, I am more afraid of food-borne illness when it looks like it's been sitting out or if it's been handled by too many people than I am of pest-borne food poisoning. Not that I'm a fan of either.
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V. excited: I'm author on three abstracts for the Botany conference this year. This will be my first big conference where I'm actually doing stuff.

The actual presentation I'm giving, about a subset of my dissertation research.

A poster I'm presenting about some independent research I'm doing.

A poster I'm not presenting, but that I have done a lot of work on.

I also am working on a new (or at least much better) protocol for genomic DNA extraction of mucilaginous cactus tissue. It's a lot easier and cheaper than the protocol we've been using, and gives me better results.

I feel like I'm doing Science.
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Yesterday, Tom and I were going out to dinner. We were headed down Foothill Blvd when Tom noted that a car that had veered ahead of us was now driving in the parking lane at full speed. Tom said something like, "that car needs to slow down" and as he said that, the car rammed into a parked motorboat on a trailer at 35-40 mph, crunching up the car completely and destroying the boat. I pulled over into the parking lot that was right at the scene of the accident (we were the first ones there) and Tom called 911 while I went to see if the driver was ok. A guy who'd seen the accident from the supermarket came over and we went to see if the driver was conscious or obviously wounded. Airbags had deployed, obviously. The driver seemed dazed and not very coherent, but responsive. We decided to just try to keep talking to the man but not to move him, since there seemed to be no fuel leaking or anything.

The next person on the scene was a security officer from the CVS down the street. He said that the driver had been to the hospital earlier in the day because he was acting strangely, and had left his car at the CVS. When he came back (I guess with some sort of police or fire people?), the security guy asked them to take the guy's keys away because he clearly wasn't in any state to drive, but they didn't. The security guy said the man had taken some sort of sleeping pill, and when we tried to ask the driver about that, he said that he'd taken an antidepressant. Another woman who was at the CVS said that the man had been revving his engine to redline (I'm guessing) at the CVS for at least 30 minutes before he actually left, and when people tried to get him to stop, he was uncooperative. Apparently he'd peeled out of the parking lot, nearly taking out a pedestrian and dangerously cutting off another car before ramming into the boat, about two blocks away from the CVS. We'd noted a strange smell right before the guy hit the boat, which must've been either the engine or the parking brake, which might've been left on. It certainly wasn't the regular brakes, as the guy didn't slow down at all.

Anyway, we waited for the police to get there, gave our written statements as eyewitnesses, and tried to not get in their way. I'm not sure what happened in the end...I'm wondering if the guy is ok, and if he is, if he's going to get charged with some sort of DUI, because it definitely seemed like he was not in any fit state to drive. It's a good thing he hit a parked boat and not a pedestrian or another vehicle. That was one of the weirder things I've been eyewitness to. It's strange to have so many people come down from another store to tell their stories of what they saw before the incident. He must've been acting really weird to have so many people follow up to see what happened.

The boat guy is probably pretty pissed. His boat is destroyed (although he was trying to sell it, as it had a "for sale" sign on it with his number, which is how a passerby contacted him), the trailer it was on is destroyed, and the truck it was attached to is seriously squished in the back.
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Yesterday, soon after I got home from the trip back from D.C., I got a phone call from Phil, calling from Asha's phone, in NYC. Apparently, they were outside Jon's apartment, but Phil's phone, which had Jon's number, was dead, and Asha's didn't have it. Phil wanted to know if I had Jon's number, but since I'd just met him for the first time about three days ago, I did not. I asked Phil if he wanted me to try to find him on AIM, which I also did not know the handle for. Phil thought he knew, so I messaged Jon, all "hey, phil and asha are outside your building."

Weird internet moment.

quick poll

Mar. 20th, 2007 03:28 pm
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Who's had a cold in the past week? Tom and I turned out to both have colds while I was in D.C. Andrea had one as well. Keri says she has one, although clearly it's completely unrelated. I'm just curious: who else currently has a cold or just got over one in the past week?
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I just realized that I drunk bought books on Amazon last night.

1 "Crime and Punishment (Penguin Popular Classics)"
F.M. Dostoevsky; Paperback; $4.80

Sold by:
1 "Candide: Or, Optimism (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)"
Francois Voltaire; Paperback; $8.80

Sold by:
1 "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Ken Kesey; Paperback; $7.99

Sold by:
1 "Anna Karenina (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics)"
Leo Tolstoy; Paperback; $8.95
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To assuage my pique at getting my DS chewed by Jodie, I got a new ice-blue one on eBay. Pretty!

I will try EXTRA-HARD to keep this one out of dog reach.

In an attempt to divert Jodie from the plastic electronics, I got her a hard Nylabone, which to me seems to be similar in texture to yummy electronics. When I gave her the Nylabone, she completely ignored it, and half an hour later, I caught her trying to eat the Powerbook power adapter (yes, again). Fortunately, I was right there and stopped her. Gah. We do put that away when we're not using it, but at the time, I was sitting at the coffee table using the adapter. Crazy dog.
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TiVo remote: Brett
receiver remote: Brett
memory stick: Jodie
2 Powerbook power adapters: Jodie
iPod microphone: unknown
old Sony Ericsson cell phone: Jodie
digital camera: unknown
old cordless phone: Jodie
Nokia charger: Jodie
DVD case: Jodie
Logitech wireless controller: Jodie
a/c remote: Jodie
markers and pens: both
DS Lite: Jodie

That latest one is really pissing me off. Bad dog! Jodie really likes eating plastic way too much.
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I weighed one pump of liquid hand soap vs. one pump of foaming hand soap. The liquid soap weighed 2 g, while the foam soap only weighed .83 g. If you want to save soap, the foam is definitely the way to go.
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I have never heard this before, but it's awesome: "The woman doesn't have issues, she has subscriptions."
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