Monday, April 30, 2007


Weekend update post coming, today's been crazy, we're still trying to find a place to live

Thursday, April 26, 2007


From where does it come?

Originally this was titled "Where does it come from?" but I switched it. I suppose it's better grammar but I don't feel good about it.

There is a water leak in our lab. It happens once or twice every 3-6 months. Maintanence has been up here at least 7 times. We think it comes from a loose pipe under a neighboring lab's sink. It most definitely is not coming from any of our sinks. We flood the labs downstairs, not our own. So we're fed up and just ignore it instead of trying to fix it or explain to maintenance that it isn't our sinks that are the problem.

I've just been informed that we have a 9 am meeting with Bossman tomorrow, so I'll need to get some things in order for that meeting.

Last lab is today! Woo-hoo!

I also discovered that one of my lab students is apparently a Mario Kart 64 player and is supposed to be pretty good, so we're having a showdown tonight in the student center at 7:30. It's on! I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The Julio Saga

Julio was last seen in the afternoon of April 14th. We have put fliers up on dumpsters, put them on people's cars, put them on people's houses, gave them to people, gave them to little kids; we've done everything except drop them from the sky. We call his name and whistle when we leave in the morning and when we get home at night and sometimes before we go to bed. We received a few phone calls last Sat. morning that some people had seen him (or a similar orange striped tabby) walking along the road that is on the other side of the woods behind our house.

Sat. we walked along the road looking for him. These are the woods behind our house. They aren't gigantic but they're big enough so a cat could lose himself for a week or two. Most of the calls came from people who live on War Branch. As J likes to point out, most everyone in that development had pets so are very sympathetic. That evening I left to head towards ATL and our camping spot. We opted not to go with a GA state park because you almost have to reserve a tent camping spot, some don't even allow camping on a trail, and you have to reserve, and pay ahead of time, for 2 nights. What if you're not staying two nights? Apparently they don't give a shit. But you can't fault them too much because they're just trying to make a little extra money for upkeep around these huge parks. So we stayed here. Yeah. It's a lake with a small ring of property around it for parking and there is a grassy area for tents. So locals come, pay their $9.50/person and fish and drink and enjoy the night.

J walked along the road Sun. but to no avail. I drove by there on my way to work this morning and saw an orange cat! But he sort of looked like Julio and didn't seem very trusting of people, definitely not Julio. And the stripes on his rear haunches weren't as defined as Julio and his eye color was wrong.

Mystery Orange Cat also had more white on his face than our dear JuJu.

We haven't given up hope. A lady J works with said her cat was gone for 18 days and then randomly showed back up. I'm personally giving myself at least a month before all hope is gone. I've already shed my tears for him so now we can focus on finding him.

We're going with the theory that he is still in the surrounding area somewhere so we're trying to canvas said area with fliers and get more pairs of eyes looking for him. Hopefully he's still alright.

I was in a climbing competition last night. I came in 2nd in the Men's Beginner class. The guy who won had never climbed before but was in particularly good shape and was a yoga attender if not a yoga instructor and flexibility is definitely part of being a great climber. I'm still working on my flexibility and I also need some help with my finger strength. Subaru and his wife have a hangboard and a campusboard in their garage but I still haven't used it. I know that is why they're so good. That and they both weigh hardly anything. Good times and I got a T-shirt out of it.

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Monday, April 23, 2007


Now where did I put that grindstone?

Yep, back to work.

Edit: Happy Earth Day! Try and think about how you impact the Earth today and whether it's a positive impact or a negative one. And for the love, plant something!

Initial thoughts about my pre-oral. It went well, but it was definitely tough. They pointed out some things I need to work on, mostly my crystal structures (I need to know them like the back of my hand), but they said I had much improved over last time, so bonus.

It was such a relief to finally be done with it, but at the same time now that that hurdle has been cleared there are still 2-3 major ones depending on your views. Writing my dissertation and defending it being the big 2 and I also have to give a final seminar for the department, which is a big deal but not as big a deal as the other two.

And after seeing my labmate slave over his dissertation for 3-4 months, I will be starting it as soon as freakin' possible. I am also gonna try my damndest to get out in May '08. Yeah, that's a solid 7 yrs. of grad school but I've only been in this group for 4, so it balances out a tad, but not enough to make me pretend I haven't been here since Aug. of 2001.

If anyone in ATL felt something a little different in the air yesterday, that was me. I was in Atlanta, the Turner Field parking lot to be specific, for an autocross with the Atlanta region of the SCCA. My fresh new tires that look like this:

are straight from Japan courtesy of Falken Tires and they are their very sticky RT-615. Lots of grip and very predictable at the limit. These will be just autocross tires and I'm hoping to get at least 2 years of autocrossing out of them.

I got the chance to race against a good guy I know from GA Tech. His name's Jeremy and he's very fast in his red 90's Saturn SC2. He won second in our class (STS) and was off the nationally prepped class winning Civic by only a second or two. My (time) goal for the day was mid 53's and I barely eeked into the 53s with a 53.999 on my last run. It felt so good and fast though. It was so good that it made me pissed that I had pussy footed it around the course the first time with a 56.058. I improved a full two seconds and there was still more time out there, but that's what I get for not having autocrossed since December.

But it was a good practice day for the real event, which is the SouthEastern Focus Autocross Showdown that is coming up this Sunday. The Focus boards I roam around in, a bunch of us in the Southeast, all autocross our Foci (plural of Focus) and wanted an event that was central enough that a large contigent of SE Focaljet people could make it to the race. That race just happens to be 45 minutes from my house. There are already some predictions being tossed around:
Prediction :
1st place: MichaelXi
2nd: Me
3rd: Jim Smola (my co-driver)
4th: Mutant1
5th: Seth (Silonius) Sorry Seth, I've seen Mutant rule on GT4. I see you gots the Falkens! SWEEET!
6th: ZX3autoxstasy
7th: CCC (but could be a sleeper)
No 5th isn't that high, but the other guys have extremely well set-up cars, have lots more experience, and are generally better drivers than I, but that's why we race the race, to see how it all shakes down. I'm gonna give it my all and see if I can't take down some of the big guns.

Now that my evenings have been freed up a bit, I'm planning on going through my archives (archiving, if you will) and coming up with some "Best of Seth" posts and I'll be sure and highlight the ones that I will be taking down before I start my job search, that should at least start around December. So keep an eye out for those posts.

I saw a billboard for Amendment 2 in Georgia that you'll be voting on on Nov. 7. It had something to do with the outdoors. I can't remember the website and googling it wasn't helpful. Any Georgians have any details?

I wonder what we're voting on this year and the next? Hopefully I won't be around to vote in next year's elections though. At least not from this state.

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Friday, April 20, 2007



This post is comin' atcha live from Best Buy. There's a computer running Vista (which looks pretty, but that could also be the wide screen monitor it's on) that has an open internet connection, so I can blog, although it might have to be cut short.

Focus is currently at the Toyota dealership (BB is next door) getting an alignment and my brand new tires mounted on my set of stock steelies that came with the car. I decided to go with street tires over race tires because they'll last longer and if something bad happens to my everyday tires, then we'll have a back-up.

Haha, some lady just asked why Dyson vacuums are so expensive. Cuz they kick ass lady. Why are black truffles and cognac so expensive? Cuz they kick ass too.

Ok, this is weird and even though no one has asked yet, I'm gonna go. I'll be back either later today or tomorrow morning. Shit almost forgot!

HAPPY 420 EVERYONE! And also a birthday shout out to Adolf Hitler, you were a great leader and how you got an entire nation to support genocide, I'll never know.

So however you decide to celebrate today, be safe and treat your fellow man with courtesy.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


I was gonna post but now I have to teach lab.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Who's your PhD candidate?

Yep, it's done and I passed!

Celebrating today and then back to work!


Monday, April 16, 2007


I really don't need this now

First things first: Remember last year that Julio ran away? And then I found him a day later? J and I used to walk the cats on leashes, to guarantee that they come home safe and sound. But then we got lazy and just started letting them out on their own recognizance. They usually came back that night, but sometimes Leon would stay out till the next morning and then come dashing in from the woods.

I woke up around 9 Sat. morning and studied some. If you've never owned cats, they're not very conducive to studying. Constantly walking across the desk, jumping in your lap, generally wanting some attention after a night being locked out of the master bedroom. Leon once even plopped down in the middle of an open 3-ring binder that was in my lap. Yeah, they're hardcore nappers. I went in to talk to Sleepy J who was still asleep and asked her if she wanted me to let the cats out. A sleepy grunt/sigh emitted somewhere beneath the warm folds of the covers and I let the cats out. I told them to come back around lunch time. They both came back but just to check in and then run off for more furry adventures.

That was the last time we saw Julio. He's been out since Sat. morning without food or water (both of which he could probably find easy enough) and it was 48 hours this morning. So I made up a LOST! flier and J and I will canvas the surrounding neighborhoods this evening. I'm fairly certain he's still in the area somewhere but don't know why he won't come home. Maybe he can't. Your mind always goes to the worst case scenarios in these instances and this one is no different. I won't go into it, but please send out some more good thoughts that Julio is safe and sound and will come home in once piece.

I don't want to work; I just want to traipse through the woods looking for my lost cat. JULIO!

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Friday, April 13, 2007


Busy weekend

Last weekend before the pre-oral. We know what that means right? Exactly. All work and no play will officially get Seth into the PhD program. I'll be here but probably won't be blogging. Big shock, no posts on the weekend.

I was eating breakfast (some leftover polenta with cheese, pasta sauce and I added some shredded chicken) and saw that F1 practice was on. So I know how I'll be starting my Saturday and Sunday. It will go something like this. Wake up. Plop onto couch and Sat. watch qualifying, while watching, eat breakfast and while making breakfast, make lunch, finish qualifying, then go to work for at least 6 hours, maybe more. Come home, eat dinner, study, sleep. Wake up and repeat except replace qualifying with the race. They're in Bahrain this weekend and were in Malayasia last weekend. In addition to the exorbitant amounts of money these cars cost to develop and build, another huge expense is flying your huge crew around the world in short amounts of time.

Should be a good one. It's always a fight between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikonnen, but we'll have to see if anyone else makes a run for the top spot on the podium.

Found 2 awesome blogs/posts yesterday. One is from Jon, Bill and Nick over at Progressive Boink. They recap Calvin and Hobbes' 25 greatest comic strips. If you've never read Calvin and Hobbes, do yourself a favor and read through at least one of their books. Bill Waterson has such incredible talent and such a wicked sense of humor. I would like to think he helped make me the sarcastic smart ass I am today. Thanks Bill!

I also stumbled across Lobstar's "Tribute to the Cover Song" blog. Some good covers and it's always interesting to hear other people's interpretations of songs. The title of the blog is Copy, Right?

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


RIP Kurt

Kurt Vonnegut passed away Wednesday at the ripe old age of 84.

You will be missed.



Eeeew, what's that stuck in your head?

I woke up this morning and had My Humps stuck in my head. Not Fergie's version but Alanis' version. It had its 15 seconds of internet fame last week, but I never actually watched it. It's kind of like the sad, slow version of "America, Fuck Yeah!" from Team America: World Police.

Guess who ran into Dave Chappelle the other day! Me? I wish. No, some guy named Photo Matt. To prove he isn't a liar, he deftly snapped a pic with his Blackberry. He might need some more ninja photo practice, cuz I think Dave noticed. But it's a nice story. Dave insisted they get on the escalator before him and then called after them when Matt's wife dropped her parking ticket. How did I find this? I was listening to some of Dave's stand-up on Youtube as I was working last night and started to miss him, so I googled him to see if he had a blog or anything that had his current projects or what he had for breakfast last Monday, but found Matt's story instead. So as of almost 1.5 weeks ago, Dave was in a mall in San Francisco. As a public service announcement for famous and infamous people, if they have a catch phrase that is exceedingly popular, don't continually scream it at them. It might get old and they might want some payback, so you know what happens then? They hire a PI to follow you or ask your friends for an expression you use alot, let's pretend you say "crotchweasel" alot. So now this person, who probably has more money, free time and connections than you, can start a national campaign to get you known as that "Crotchweasel guy" and people will incessantly call you Crotchweasel. Hey crotchweasel! How's that crotchweasel, crotchweasel?

I love it when you say or write something too much that you don't normally say or write alot; the word almost loses all meaning. I just had to google weasel to make sure I was spelling it right, but that didn't occur to me until after I wrote it 5 or 6 times. I've also done it with the word geography. Instead of pronouncing it the correct way, you pronounce the "geo-" like geology and then "-graphy" will sound more like Grammy. I complete forgot how to say it the proper way for a few seconds. Try it with some word you use everyday. It's fun.

Pre-oral is less than a week away! Go time!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Who you callin' a quickie?

Damn. Damn damn. I need to make my own dietary supplements. Check it:
Under the 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, nutritional supplements do not have to be tested for safety or effectiveness before going on the market. As long as the manufacturer doesn't claim that a product treats or cures a specific disease, it can advertise any health benefit whatsoever. The next time you're in a health food store, just count the bottles that promise to "strengthen your immune system."
And Americans spend at least $5.8 billion on dietary supplements each year. Apparently all you need is a snazzy label, some vague health related promises, a bunch of chemicals mixed in with some filler and ta-da! You've got yourself the modern equivalent of Snake Oil, cures what ails ya, guaranteed!

I'll start working on that after my pre-oral. And I'll definitely need a good name. I can just make up a doctor recommending it right? Isn't that what everyone else does?

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More Spam!

Mmmmm, got some delicious spam today. Apparently Vodafone (but just the Dutch branch) had a contest and I'm a winner! All I have to do is contact some Dutch bank and get my money! Sure the school's spam filter says that it strongly resembles those Nigeria scams, and the title of the email is in all caps, and I never entered any contest, but I won! Woo-hoo! I wish I had time to see what goes into this scam but I'm busy. I would at the very least let Vodafone know that someone is using their name for spam. Because they do sponsor Fernando Alonso and the new British driving sensation that is Lewis Hamilton and I should at least do my part and watch out for them for dropping so much money just for my viewing pleasure.

They're drivers for Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes' F1 team if you didn't know. Both young gents too. Fernando is 25 (I think) and the pride of Spain and Lewis Hamilton is just 21 years old and already has 2 podiums under his belt in 2 F1 starts. Not too shabby.

Thanks to Mclaren for hosting that pic, and good luck to Fernando and Lewis in Bahrain this weekend.

But an even bigger good luck to all my Red Bull drivers, Mark Webber, pride of the Land Down Under, and just keeps getting faster and faster, David Coulthard, Scotsman and I hear one of the nicest guys around, Scott Speed, plugging away and consistently finishing and now just needs to get faster, and Vitantonio Liuzzi, Italian and determined. Good luck Red Bull Renault and Scuderia Toro Rosso this weekend!

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Monday, April 09, 2007


Was that a rose?

This one brought tears to my eyes.

Please read the Washington Post's story about how they sent Joshua Bell, one of the world's best violin players with his instrument, hand-crafted by Stardivari 1713, to a Metro station, L'Enfant, in DC at 7:51 am on Friday, January 12th.

And next time you see or hear something beautiful, stop for a second and appreciate it, no matter how busy you are.

Pearls Before Breakfast by Gene Weingarten

Friday, April 06, 2007


Marge! You can't compare us to an American family!

- Homer from the "All's Fair in Oven War" episode. Lots of great quotes from that one.

2nd to last weekend before the storm, so I'll be in lab almost constantly this weekend. Zero promises on updates.

J has today off like most people who don't get Spring Break anymore. So she was fast asleep when I left for work at 8ish. For breakfast I had some cheese toast. We're currently eating everything in the house, to cut down on expenses and so we can start over and get ingredients we can use. I'm looking forward to pancakes and/or waffles and maybe I'll even throw in some of those frozen cherries I've been hanging onto or maybe I'll make a fruit compote to go on top. You're right, compote doesn't sound very appetizing. How about a Fruit Extravaganza to go on top!

The climbing wall was fun yesterday. We made fun of some noob climbers and their sorostitute friend who set the route. I'm serious when I say a quadraplegic monkey could climb the route. Super duper beginner, the only thing that would be easier would be a ladder. The wall gets frustrating sometimes because the routes they put up are either freakin' impossibe or waay too easy. No middle ground for slightly advanced climbers such as myself. It's still fun though, but I'm straying away from the point. I was belaying (holding the rope in case the climber falls so they don't hit the ground) for Subaru's wife when my phone rings. Weird. I know J is on her way home from work, hope everything is okay. I try and make it over to the bench holding my phone before she started climbing, but didn't make it and Safety First Seth knew that I should make sure my climber is not going to die before doing anything else. But once she came down (she successfully made it to the top, she's rapidly turning into a good climber), the phone was retrieved and I made the call. (Also noticing that my "new to me" Nokia doesn't display "missed call" when it's in screen saver mode/key lock mode, which I don't like because I have to touch my phone for it to tell me if I missed a call) It's J and she tells me that I should be careful on the way home cuz there is a cop sitting where we turn into our house at the bottom of the hill. Speed limit is 25 and it's exceptionally easy to be going much faster than that once you hit the bottom of the hill.

Ugh, new paragraph. Hmm, thanks for the warning sweetheart but I always slow down there because that is one place I know cops love to sit and wait so they can write some basic speeding/fundraiser tickets. Then she tells me that she got a speeding ticket. crap.
Was the radar detector on?
No, it fell down on my way home from work and I didn't feel like putting it back.
Great, that act of laziness will cost us $76 and 2 points on Speed Demon's license. She has been a little better recently. But just a little.

We were supposed to go to a fancy pants Easter buffet at the Hilton in Greenville this Sunday but as punishment, we are probably going to use that money to pay for the ticket. The buffet was going to be $27.95 a person, plus gas and maybe a tip and that just about equals $76.

I hope she learns her lesson. And I hope I pass my pre-oral.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007


You just grab that brownish area by its points and you don't let go no matter what your mom says!

- Buster Bluth played by the wonderful, hilarious and fellow Samford alumnus Tony Hale. He is also great in "Stranger Than Fiction" and in Andy Richter's new show "Andy Barker, P.I." Tony, if you're ever near South Carolina, drop me a line, we can hang out and talk Samford. I just googled "Tony Hale Samford" and I'm up to the third page! Woohoo! I'm sure Tony will find this and it'll be cool. Currently I'm listening to an interview from Nontourage with Tony Hale.

Tragic news to share unfortunately, director Robert Clark of "A Christmas Story" and "Porky's" fame passed away with his son yesterday. At 2:30 am a nonlicensed drunken driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava, 24 of LA, was driving on the wrong side of the road with a passenger and struck Bob's car head on. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter. Alcohol strikes again. Such senseless stupidity claims more lives.

J is enjoying her prescribed amphetamines. She was happy and very busy at work and loved it. And she went to sleep last night, which is what I was worried about. So we'll see how it goes. She might like it a bit too much but we'll be keeping an eye on that.

Ah, most people come up with nicknames for people you don't really know but encounter frequently. Freshman year at my undergrad, my friends and I came up with quite a few. Here is a list of ones that I can remember:
Grey (or Gray)
Most Underrated Girl at Samford
Just woke up and having the worst day of her life (self-explanatory and so horribly true)
High Pants Rider (he's who inspired me to remember these, I'll tell the story later)
Fake Perfection
Perfect Human (six foot something, blond hair, blue eyes others called him Aryan)
FMILC (slight change from Tommy Boy's "Fat guy in a little coat", switch guy for man, also lots of fun to say)
Spanish Class
Playboy Playmate (she really looked like a Playmate)

Crap, there are so many others and I just can't remember them right now.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I have advanced degrees in Murderonomy and Murderology.

- Dr. Zoidberg, from the "Tales of Interest I" episode of Futurama

Big big news in the world of 2WD rallying! A new non-profit organization, the Rallysports Group of America, RSGA, has created the Max Attack Triple Crown Rally Series! Basically it is a prize fund to encourage competition and promote 2WD rallying. Everyone knows Travis Pastrana and his 4WD Subaru, but not many people know the names of nationally competitive 2 wheel drive cars. The prize schedule is:
1st - $2,000
2nd - $1,600
3rd - $1,400
4th - $1,200
5th - $1,000
6th - $800
So very big money when compared to nothing. The reason the RSGA is doing this is because most people get into rallying via 2WD cars. They're cheaper to buy, cheaper to turn into a rally car and they have the ability to teach you how to go fast through turns without the benefit of all your wheels churning at the dirt. Most rallyers will tell you to start in a low powered 2WD car (like a Ford Focus) and learn the proper techniques and how to hold your momentum through the turn and then when you graduate to 4WD, you'll be that much faster.

The other good part about this is it transcends sanctioning bodies. Currently there are 2 premiere rally series in the States, Rally America (what used to be SCCA) and NASA Rallysport. Their schedules don't overlap but they don't really work together either. So hopefully this will at the very least encourage some discussion between the two bodies so that they can realize that they both want the same thing (for rallying to be uber-popular in the US) and that neither one wants to see the other go out of business.

What does this mean to me? It means that I need to get back to work on my pre-oral and pass it so I'll get my PhD and then a decent paying job, not have any kids for a bit, and then I will finally get my rally car. Oh yeah, that's the dream baby.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Sacre bleu!

Zat eez one fast traen! - my apologies to the French for trying to recreate their accent in written form. But that is what you sound like. Did you know that each language has its own take on what other languages sound like? Chinese to us sounds different from Chinese to a Hispanic. I can only imagine what English sounds like to Chinese people.

The actual point of that article is that France got one of their TGV trains up to 357.2 mph or 574.8 kph, setting a land speed record for conventional rail trains. The train was outfitted with larger wheels, which would increase the work they do by covering more track with each rotation, and a super beefy 25,000 horsepower engine. That's like a train being pulled by 192 Ford Foci (plural of Focus)! That would be a sight. They also increased the voltage from the overhead cable from 25,000 to 31,000 Volts.

Sorry this blog is getting a little rundown and there are some cobwebs building up in the corners, but I'm focusing on work right now. Until someone hires me to blog, or be a rally driver or even a combination of rally driver and rally blog creator, which incindentally would cost no more than $125,000 for an initial investment, and would be less each subsequent year and be great marketing for your company or product, I have to focus on my self-chosen career of becoming a chemist. Technically I am a chemist but I only have a B.S. after my name right now which doesn't mean much to other chemists.

Thanks for continually stopping by and get ready for some interesting stories, updates, "blast from the past" posts, and maybe even a new template!?!?!?!

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Monday, April 02, 2007



Mondays blow. Pre-oral is rapidly approaching. Picked up a book through interlibrary loan this morning. I'll read through that tonight. Hopefully it will be very enlightening.

Please be kind, rewind.


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