Wednesday, April 26, 2006


The Pit of Despair

For all the Princess Bride fans out there. Fortunately I'm not in one, but I'm miffed.

So I freaked and rescheduled my pre-oral. Then one Prof. had a conflict, so I moved it again. Then my advisor comes into today and says "Where are we meeting?" Uh, WTF mate? We're meeting in the conference room. In TWO DAYS! Oh. I can't do it then. Oh. I guess you didn't get the last email but Dr. so and so had a doctor's appointment and couldn't do it today. Well call my secretary and schedule it with her. So I sent out an email saying we couldn't do it on Friday and when is everyone available. Not until the end of May. Dr. doctor appointment is out of town until May 19th! I knew I had to get it done before the semester was over.

But it's ok. Now I'll be uber-prepared for it. And I know what I'll be doing at work for the next few weeks. Work, read, work, read, etc....

So it feels good to be back and even though there is still a monkey on my back, he lets me type if I give him bananas. And speaking of monkeys (apes actually) did you see that story about the Texan in Sierra Leone that got attacked by an older chimp? Check it out. I really wonder what Jane Goodall would have to say about that?

I really should've done a review of the talk she gave when she came here many moons ago. She said goodnight in chimp at the end. She is incredible. The world will be a darker place without her. But she is doing all she can so that her life's work will carry on.

So Evil Science Chick (whose link I need to update, Julie's too, and Slothy's) is in the market for a scooter aka moped. The moped is a popular mode of transportation in the sleepy hamlet that is Clemson, SC.

They are popular because:
Parking is much easier and closer to your classes
Amazing gas mileage (50-70 mpg)
No license required (hence they are sometimes called DUIcycles, pronounced Deweycycles)
No insurance required
High resale value (may only apply to here, but you never know)

So where do you start when you're in the moped market? You start at the top.
In business since 1946 and have sold over 16 million worldwide, they know what the hell it is they're doing. Italian design (Ferrari anyone?) and accessories custom-made for your Vespa. Gorgeous.

Only problem is that you're paying for all this heritage and fine Italian craftsmanship. They range from $3200 to $6000. Ouch. That's a used car. But if you live in tha ATL you have 2 semi-close dealers.

So you aren't crazy about the classic look of Vespas? Lucky for you, they purchased Piaggio last year. Also Italian but a little more avantgarde styling. Check this page out for their 6 different models. Cool, but unfortunately you're still paying the Italian premium price. These are right about in the same price range as the Vespas.

Okay, so you can't afford an Italian. Well, just one more. Aprilia. Makers of amazing V-twin crotch rockets and also a purveyor of scooters. This page is their line of traditional scooters.
This is NOT a traditional scooter. This is the raciest moped you're gonna find. You're gonna be the leader of your moped gang on this beast.
Just take a look at the display.

Amazing. You'll be the coolest kid in the tri-state area.

And all this for only 3 grand. Not bad. I think I found my scooter.

So still a little pricey? And you want to reduce your oil usage? Go Electric!

A full charge is good for 20+ miles and it only takes 5 hours for a full charge! And it's only $1200! I can hear Ed Begley Jr. jumping for joy now.

Too hippie? And you still love good ol' petrol? Japan to the rescue!
Yamaha showroom
Classic styling, prices from $1849, dependability and you have a conversation starter with the guy in full leathers on his GSXR 1000.
"Nice bike. That a Yamaha."
"Uh, yeah."
"Cool. So is mine."

Honda also has a full line of scooters. Prices ranging from $8500 to $1849. Big ones, little ones, red ones, silver ones.

If I wanted fun, I would get the Aprilia, but if I wanted utility, I would get the Honda Ruckus

Tough, rugged, surprisingly lots of storage space. Not tons, it's still a scooter but you could stuff a bag or something under the seat. And prices start at $2000, not bad at all.

So hope that helps and doesn't confuse.

Feels good to be back.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Almost there......

Friday is the big day. I'm gonna knock that muthatrucka outta the park yo. But I am well-prepared, both mentally and emotionally, for the onslaught that is a pre-oral.

Thanks for all the positive thoughts being sent this direction, both for me and for my co-worker.

The autocross went well yesterday. Had a good time not thinking about chemistry.
Results are here for the curious. I'm the Focus that got 14th out of 59.

Okay, I'll leave you with a story. J and I are going downtown to eat at Moe's. We are at the light a block down from there. There's a champagne Tahoe (or some SUV) in front of me at the light. Light turns green and I give him about 3-4 seconds, doesn't move, so I use my horn to gently remind him that he is behind the wheel of a vehicle and needs to pay attention. So I honk and then point at the light, indicating that it's green. He returns my finger wag with one of his own. So I give him another finger wag and get another in return. I decided to up the ante and bust out both pointer fingers criss-crossing and doing a little finger wangle dance. We get to the next light and I realize there are some prime downtown spots open directly across from Moe's. Awesome, just wait through this light and I'm gonna get an excellent parking spot. But before that happens I see the driver-side door of the Tahoe open up.
"This oughtta be good," I think to myself.
"There's no need to be rude."
(WTF is this guy talking about?)"I'm sorry you thought it was rude but the light was green and you weren't moving."
"I did think it was rude and there's no need for it."
(This whole time I'm half-keeping one eye on the light since we are 100% blocking traffic. About this time the light goes green.)
"You're doing it again."
"There's no need to be rude."
At this time I luckily remembered my defensive driving and thankfully didn't pull up directly behind this guy so I have space where I can pull out and pass him, which I do because he initially started to walk away but came back sort of, so I just whip out in between him and his SUV and park about 20 feet away.

As I get out I see him drive past. So I was reflecting on that and quite frankly was shaking, adrenaline I suppose, but then thought "What was rude?" Wanting him to pay attention and keep traffic moving? Not giving him 15 seconds to dawdle at the light. Or did he mistake my pointer finger ballet for a middle finger mosh pit? My money is on the latter, but we'll never know now.

Just for reference this guy had at least one other person in the car, was dressed in khakis and a polo, white I think, and was in his late 40's, early 50's. Oh and he was white and had on sunglasses. So if on the off chance that that guy stumbles onto this blog, I just want to know what did I do that was so rude?

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Happy 420!

And Happy Birthday to Hitler, who fortunate for everyone, is still pushin' up daisies.

If you could send some positive thoughts and prayers in the direction of our lab that would help out alot. A guy I work with is going through a really rough time. I might get into after my pre-oral, but he was recently separated and I know he doesn't really want it to be over, so hopefully logic and reason will win in the end, but we all know that isn't always true.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006



So most of you know that my pre-oral is coming up. Well, it's a bit more work than I had planned, blissful ignorance if you want to label it. So I might be postponing it a week, so that I can put some finishing touches on it and really make a solid presentation.

But in that vein, I probably won't be posting much, if at all, in the next couple weeks. Original pre-oral date is April 19th, freaking out and postponing date is April 26th. We'll see what happens, but before I leave a couple links stolen from Chris over at Cynical-C

Tut the cat barking/chirping at something outside, not a very well known cat sound, but cat people will know that some cats don't make "normal" cat sounds.

The other are cartoons about the whole image of Mohammed situation.


Update: It's official. I'm freakin' out. So all attempts will be made to postpone my talk until April 26th. I need that extra week badly.

Friday, April 07, 2006


All work and no play makes Seth something something

Replace "Seth" with "Homer" for the actual Simpsons quote.

No political rants today, I have work to do. Just a few quickies.

An update on a friend's mom, original post can be found here, who put peanut butter on everything. Her daughter told me that she has either started liking or always liked peanut butter and onion sandwiches. Red onions, raw, and peanut butter. That's not cool.

To find that post, I used my handy dandy search bar at the bottom of my blog and had it in no time flat. Thanks Google!

And for the uninititated, please visit but only if you're in need of a pick-me-up. And cynics be careful, it might give you new hope which might be scary.

Awwwwwwwwww, he's sooooooo cuuuuuuuute!

Thursday, April 06, 2006



So Smoove brought up a point: If you don't like the rich getting tax cuts, then get rich.
Why is everyone so upset about Bush's tax cuts that benefit the rich? The obvious solution is simple - get rich. Sort of like the obese jackasses incessantly whining about the high price of gasoline. Try walking once in a while and with the money you save buy some ExxonMobil, BP, or Chevron stock.

True. If you don't like your state in life, try your damndest to change it. And that's good advice. But I don't think investing in oil is the answer. Oil's time will hopefully be up soon (not bloody likely, maybe 30 or 40 years out, maybe longer) but investing is a good way to become wealthy.

It isn't the easiest thing to become wealthy either. Let's take our current President. Went to Yale (impressive). Made Cs (not so impressive). Ran a few Texas businesses into the ground. But he is a Bush. His pop was President and a savvy businessman, so GW was able to inherit his wealth. He's "old" money. "New" money is tough to come by, but it's possible.

All I want is for the rich (and I mean incomes of $10 million or more per year) to give a little extra back and help out the country that has been so generous. An extra half million from the 2.6 million Americans in that tax bracket would do great things for our country. So with a little math and lots of zeros, that is 1.3 trillion dollars that ol' GDub saved for his closest (read: richest) pals. I would also like to go ahead and trademark GDub if no one has already. That money could help our schools tremendously.

But we also have to look at the other extreme, I'm looking at you poor people. So you're on welfare. You got food stamps. You're in government housing. Pretty sweet huh? Well some things are about to change.
1) Get a job. ANYWHERE. Millions of immigrants come into this country and find jobs, why can't you?
2) To receive your welfare check, you have to be injected with birth control. Male and female alike. Breeding like rabbits is not the cure to poverty.
3) Did you graduate high school? No? GED? No? Then no welfare check for you. If you really can't get a GED, then get a job. Custodial engineers need very little training and education. Don't want to mop? Then become more educated. Sorry it's the 21st century, education is the key to your future.

I just want the economic gap closed a bit. And I want Congress to do something about our mounting trade defecit. Apparently this is too much to ask.

The sauteed jicama sounds good. I'll give that a try.

The CGSO (Chemistry Grad Student Org) made some T-shirts. If you would like a very orange shirt that says "Clemson Chemistry" on the front and has our department logo on it with an Albert Einstein quote: "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Let me know, and I'll get one in the mail for you once your Paypal or check clear. Let's say $11 ($10 + shipping and handling).

Also I wanted to know how many people would be interested in dried fruit? I've wanted a Ronco Food Dehydrator ever since I saw his infomercial in the 90's. But I have a proposition for you. I'm looking for some investors. What I'm proposing is that you would invest some money and in return, I would get the food dehydrator and you would get freshly dried fruit made with love. I'll be changing my Paypal donate button to reflect this proposition. You know you want some yummy banana chips and Granny Smith chips to magically appear in the mail.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006



I think I'm going to make some of that tonight, or maybe some potato bread. Neither from scratch.

First a BIG announcement: Joan started a blog! Yay!

Just Add Cheese is the name of it. It's brand spankin' new, she doesn't even have any links up yet, but stop by and say hey, if you want, or just stop by and lurk.

I bought some jicama at the store last night.

I have no idea how to prepare it. The sticker at Bi-Lo told me to cut it up and put it in salads raw, so maybe I'll do that. I'll probably try stir-frying some cuz I'm a stir-fry junkie.

We tried to buy lottery tickets last night, but they had stopped selling them. Well, J tried to buy lottery tickets, after my post on the odds of winning the lottery I can't bring myself to actually buy a ticket. Although I did get the urge last weekend to buy a ticket. Apparently that was a sign that I should've bought a ticket, but no one won the jackpot in Central, SC so I guess it wasn't a sign.

When I got this urge, I was driving home from work on a Saturday. J was somewhere, shopping maybe, and I didn't want to go home, so I cruised the neighborhoods, focusing (no pun intended, I was driving Tercel) on roads that I had never driven before. Oh the sights I saw! I need to get a pocket sized digicam just for trips like this. I found a place called "Redneck Engineering" and the sign said they make Harleys and Hotrods. And looking at their For Sale section, if they're actually getting 35 grand for their bikes, I would guess they're doing okay. Also ran across the "Upstate Co-op". I didn't stop and check it out, but luckily they have a website. Apparently you have to be a member to shop there and just being a member you can buy stuff at a 30% mark-up. If you work 4 hours/month, then the mark-up drops to 15%. Sounds pretty cool. They also have a $3 trial one month membership. We are definitely going to try that. Only problem is it has weird hours. The only days it's open past 2 pm are Thurs. and Sat. But being a grad student, I have weird hours, so it works out. And it'll be cool supporting local farmers and eating fresh produce that didn't travel on semi to get in my stomach.

Update: Captain Obvious flew by and showed me this
Study: Bush tax cuts making rich richer
I am soooooooo surprised by this. This study was hopefully paid for by poor white trash who voted for this joker.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Hazy days of winter

Nope, not down here. Gorgeous and in the low 80's I would guess, maybe high 70's.

So J and I slept in, actually an hour was stolen from us thanks to our drunken uncle Daylight Savings Time, so we slept in an hour less than we thought. Thanks for nothing government!

But as a treat I took J down to Lavonia, GA (Lavonia is pronounced as southern as possible, long o sound) because that is home to the closest Shoney's around. Shoney's has a breakfast bar that is hard to beat, but the best part is around 11-11:30 it turns into a brunch bar that skyrockets it to a wonderful place to get some mashed potatoes and gravy, french toast and grits on the same bar. It's wonderful. So I had half a biscuit and gravy, grits and cheese, a self-prepared sausage and egg biscuit, some chicken nuggets (real chicken) with honey, and a taste of mashed potatoes. Yum, a wonderful way to start a lazy Sunday. Then we returned home and I finished watching the F1 race from Melbourne, Australia. It actually aired live last night at 10:30 pm but we were at a friend's going away party. He got a job up in UK (University of Kentucky) in Lexington, which is a fairly cool town. So he'll at least fake to like Kentucky basketball and he should be okay. Good luck Jeff!

But since we were with our significant others (2 out of 3 who HATE racing, J doesn't mind it too much) we weren't able to watch the race. It was pretty good. Few good wrecks, some nail biting passes and a blow-out win by everyone's favorite 24 yr old Spaniard, Fernando Alonso. Last year's world champion actually. A quick pic for the ladies:

Followed by Kimi Raikkonen (few umalauts in there, he's Finnish) and Ralf Schumacher, German and little brother of the great Micheal Schumacher who slammed into a wall running 8th (if memory serves). The lone American driving for the Italian Red Bull team came in 8th. Go Scott Speed!

Speaking of Red Bull, the Red Bull chicks came out to the autocross on Saturday. And guess what they were driving. The new Red Bull Mini! It was so sick. I really wanted to jump on it and put it in my pocket and keep it as my pet. Fortunately for you, I snapped some pics with my friends digicam, so pics will be a-comin'. The autocross was good. Wicked fast, and as an anti-homage to NASCAR all but one turn were right handers (NASCRAP races on ovals going counter-clockwise making all turns left-handers). I placed 6th in class and 28th out of 73 cars. Seemingly slow, okay kind of actually slow, but there were plenty of fast cars and plenty of fast drivers and I was pleased with my performance and I'm also currently pleased with my financial investment, so I was happy and had a good day. Results are up but the web page currently isn't cooperating, so I'll post the link tomorrow. Speaking of which, do any of you actually look at the results? I'm guessing Smoove, but any others? Just curious. Results can be found here.

So I was laying in bed, watching Godzilla on the Showtime Freeview Weekend (Yay free channels for 3 days!) and suddenly realize that no cats or Js are around or can be heard. Weird, so I go in the living room and notice that their leashes are missing so I quickly put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and deduce that everyone has left me to go outside. But this gives me a chance to listen to my friend's voicemail. Turns out that a very close friend up and got married a couple weeks ago. Went up to Gatlinburg, TN and had a very small ceremony. No call, no nothing. I'm not offended, but I at least want a bleeding phonecall to know that one of my closest friends got hitched. So it went from 0 of 3 in relationships, to 3 for 3, to now 2 out of 3 married and I'm the lone not-really-free free man. Wow. So Congratulations Bryan and Mary! (Names changed to pseudo-protect the innocent) But I'm very glad and I'm sure you'll be very happy for a long long time.

Off to work, 3 weeks until my pre-oral!

Update: Someone got a good action pic of the Focus. Check it out.

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