Monday, April 28, 2008



We've had a bit of life-changing drama around the chemistry department recently. Two married continuing education graduate students, the wife in our dept. and the husband in some sort of engineering, joined the university last year sometime. Last Monday his body was found in his lab suspended by a cord around his neck. It was initially ruled a suicide but the wife suspects foul play. In fact, one of my labmates is working with the guy who actually cut him down and he said, "Something looked fishy," so I'll keep you posted with developments as I get them but please keep his wife and 12 yr. old daughter in your thoughts as they struggle through this awful and confusing time.

My parents were in town this weekend and we all had a good time. J and I picked them up at the bus station, after first going to where the bus station used to be then calling the cell phone on the bus that my mom borrowed and getting the directions of "I see Chili's and Wal-Mart" and luckily being a small town and knowing roughly where they were. Picked them up and ate dinner back in Clemson. I apologized for the squeaks and rattles and squealing belt but that's another post for another time. We get back home and talk and relax and enjoy each other's company. Saturday we wake up, grab some breakfast and then head off to our adventures! We drove up here again to hike to the waterfall lookout that J and I found a few years ago. Then we were ravenously hungry and we headed back down the mountain to try and eat at Sweet Basil, the most delicious Thai place in SC, but they close from 2:30-5 and we literally arrived 5 minutes too late. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! So we ate at Moe's which was very good in a non-curry and coconut milk kind of way. With full bellies and feeling very satisfied, we headed over to J's new building! Her company is moving to a fancy pants new building instead of their converted church cafeteria where they are now. From there it was off to Pelzer, SC. What's in Pelzer you ask? I will tell you. Just the happiest cows this side of the Mississippi! They have the best milk I've tasted in a long time. It's non-homogenized just like your parents and grand-parents had delivered to their houses in the glass bottles, so you have to shake it to distribute the cream, or you can let it settle on top and eat that for super fatty goodness. Chocolate milk, blueberry cheddar, spicy pepper jack, cottage cheese, cream cheese and much more was purchased, all from happy cows fed by all-natural SC grass and weeds. So good. They even have pick your own strawberries starting in May. J and I will be going back.

We headed home and all told drove about 120 miles or so and I was glad to get home and sit while not driving. The rest of the day was more chatting, some dinner, grocery shopping and watching Qualifying for the F1 race outside of Barcelona.

Sunday my folks got up and went to the church that sent a work group down to help them out a few weeks ago. J and I did not go. I watched the race while J slept. We were supposed to grill out but the weather didn't cooperate so I kept everything in the kitchen and still made a delicious meal of turkey burgers, hot italian turkey sausage, sesame ginger chicken drumsticks, roasted vegetables and mac & cheese. Naps after cleaning up and then more resting and relaxing. Then we busted out the Wii and bowled some, played some golf and my dad boxed a couple guys. Since their train left at 5:30 am this morning, Mom and Dad turned in at 7:46 pm, J and I watched NBC's shows from Thursday (30 Rock is all kinds of awesome, as are the others) while J was neck deep in a case of the Sunday blues.

The two other cars on the road this morning didn't notice the black Focus yawning and driving too slow. I dropped Mom and Dad off and drove back to my wife while they awaited the Amtrak to whisk them off to their next adventure while J and I plunge back into our daily routines. I don't have to teach lab anymore! Hooray! Let's see if I can continue that this Fall.

Okay, back to work!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Happy Earth Day!

It's Earth Day! Which I think means it's okay to be an eco-Nazi for the day, so point in horror at that Hummer driver, picket your local oil refinery, or just take public transportation.

I attempted to take the CATbus to school today, but missed it, so I walked to school today. I've never understood these "days". Shouldn't Earth Day be everyday? Shouldn't black history month be all the time and not just February? Does that mean all the other 11 months are anti-black history months? I certainly hope not.

I saw some people setting up the Earth Day exposition. They invite local nurseries and eco-companies to come and hand out info and sell plants. Currently my favorite plant is the grass I bought at the Earth Day fair 3 years ago and it's still going strong. It's a grass native to SC, so that might be a good reason why it's doing so well.

So if you don't normally consider how your actions affect others and the planet, test it out today. Recycle that paper instead of throwing it away. Use your own coffee mug to get coffee instead of using a styrofoam cup. Turn off the lights and use candles for an hour tonight and read a book or play cards with your family.

Notice how I haven't said "buy" anything. You don't have to go buy organic produce or a wind turbine or solar panels to be eco-friendly. Most of the times it's free and relatively easy. So go ahead and help out Earth and Mother Nature; they'll really appreciate it. Oooh! Or pick up a piece of litter! That one is free and easy with opportunities everywhere! Hmmm, that's a good idea. Maybe today is a good day to do our neighborhood trash pick-up.

Also, happy belated 4/20 everyone!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008


There are consequences to my actions?

J and I have very similar political views. I like to think I made her a little more liberal and she made me a little more conservative, however we both have very liberal social positions. Basically we're libertarians and really believe in the freedom of the individual to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

She is particularly pro-choice. In fact, if you don't have a uterus, you shouldn't even have a vote in the anti/pro choice debate in J's book, which makes sense. The guy ultimately has a 3-6 second job in a 9 month process, okay, I'll bump it up to 15 minutes just to make it a bit more even, so a little math and that works out to: 15 minutes out of 388,800 minutes it takes your lady to actually grow that kid, which is a paltry 0.00385%. Yikes. Maybe that's why she feels guys shouldn't have very little, if any, say in the matter.

We both also believe that if you are pro-life then you should adopt some of these unwanted pregnancy babies yourself. Or at least adopt it until the mother can graduate high school so she can at least finish a basic part of her education before becoming a mother.

I think Obama had it right when he said he didn't want one of his daughter's punished because they were stupid enough to get pregnant. After all, who is the poorest demographic in our great nation? That's right, single mothers!

I've said this before, but abstinence only education is worthless. It's sticking your head in the sand and hoping for the best. With our nation having the highest teen pregnancy rates in the entire developed world, I think that's proof enough that abstinence only education doesn't work. I'm not saying get rid of it. It's a cold hard fact that the only way to guarantee not getting pregnant or STDs is to not have sex. Period. But we know that the majority of Americans choose to throw caution to the wind and have sex outside of marriage or a deeply committed relationship. And how is more education about a subject a bad thing? Dammit, I say give these kids too much info. Waaaay too much. The Miracle of Life will convince a few kids to wrap it up tight. A few graphic pics of the later stages of STDs (whoa, I will not be linking those pics, but search for syphilis in google images and be sure to have a trash can nearby) will convince a few more. So there's a few kids who will be much more hesitant to have sex because THEY KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES IN ALL THE GORY DETAILS!

Why is that wrong? Sex is gorgeous and a gift but it's also gross, disgusting, dangerous and possibly fatal. It's a huge leap in responsibility and has life altering consequences. We can't just gloss over that by proclaiming "Don't do it."

I hope you enjoyed my Thursday afternoon Soapbox. And remember, pro-choice people hate abortion too. We have so much technology to prevent pregnancies that ending the pregnancy is really a last ditch effort.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I don't know; what's with your face?

Someone just asked me, yet again, why I have decided to grow a mustache. My standard answer, "because I'd never done it before", seems to suit most people, but why are they asking me? Do they care? Are they intrigued? Are they disgusted? Or is it just simple confusion.

I haven't taken a pic of it recently but let me tell you, it's really coming into it's own. Maybe I'll get a pic before the car show this weekend, but there will definitely be pics early next week.

The pharmacy/convenience store formerly known as Eckerd's did not have mustache wax. I'll probably give CVS a shot tonight but I will probably end up consulting the internet for my wax needs.

So far I'm enjoying it. Yes it gets wet when I drink water and messy foods (think sloppy joes and hot dogs) are exponentially messier with the minefield of hair guarding the entry to my piehole. But if you plan ahead (an extra napkin or two) and are aware of the challenges (chicken wings are much messier so an offer of one or two wings from a friend with too many just isn't worth the trouble) and take a slightly upward trajectory to get the food in your mouth, you barely know it's there. So far it has actually covered up 2 zits, so that's an added bonus.

One definite thing I had to get used to is that I'm very noticeable. I might have mentioned before that sometimes I feel invisible and just blend in with the crowd. That is not possible when you're sporting a full fledged untrimmed "nose neighbor" (thank you Ned Flanders). I stick out everywhere I go. Before J and I were just another white/oriental interracial couple but now we're an interracial couple with a guy with a crazy ass mustache.

I have also started to wonder when it's going to end. I haven't shaved above my lip since Thanksgiving of 2007, which was Nov. 22 so April 22nd will be 5 months. The hair in the middle is almost all the way to the edge of my mouth which means the hair on the edge sticks out pretty far and is fairly out of control.

I think I'm about ready to join the Handlebar Club.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


And I thought it was real like pro wrestling, but it's fixed like boxing.

-Fry expressing his disappointment that ultimate robot fighting was rigged, from the "Raging Bender" episode from Futurama's 2nd season.

I'm actually going into Arrested Development withdrawal. I heard someone quote the show and had no idea who said it or what show it was from. Yes it's possible that they misquoted, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

So Dr. Acura and Dr. Protege are both officially PhD holders. They're flying off to Houston to look at houses and Dr. Acura has an interview with one of her bosses.

J had a serious Office Space moment yesterday. She had trouble with one of her tests and 3 or 4 bosses came to her to talk about it. Yes, she received the memo and understands the policy and just forgot this one time to put a cover sheet on her TPS report.

Writing is coming along. I need to up my writing time on the weekends and once I'm done teaching lab (next week is the last day), I hope to up my writing time on the weekdays too.

Cleaning the apartment will happen this weekend. My folks are coming into the country and then into town next Thursday and they'll be here through the weekend. They'll hop the train to the 'Ham early Sun. morning. I think the train leaves here around 6 or 6:30 am.

If anyone is going to be in the area this Saturday, the Clemson Sports Car Club is having a car show on Saturday. It should be fun but obviously we would much rather have an autocross but the head parking Nazi took care of that plan. I'll get pics on Saturday and hopefully show you why we can't autocross in that lot anymore, or at least not a fun course.

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Friday, April 11, 2008


Pure freakin' genius

Jerome Chang and Chris Chen have seriously outdone themselves. Ed Levine reviews their Dessert Truck, which is exactly what it sounds like. A truck that serves dessert. They start at 6 pm and sell until they feel like going home. Pure genius. I think those are work hours even J could get behind.(she likes to sleep. Alot.)

If you're ever in NYC and have a hankerin' for some delicious on the go sweets and don't like menus that take 20 minutes to read through (they have 6 desserts, hot chocolate and chocolate bark), then you might have found urban nirvana, the real kind not that questionable store.

8th Street and University Place, Manhattan, Dessert Truck. GO!

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Where did this come from?

The only other time I shopped at Aldi was my summer in Germany, Mainz to be specific. They had very low prices, a decent selection and you had to deposit one deutsch mark(no longer German's currency thanks to the Euro) to use a shopping cart which you got back assuming you returned your shopping cart.

I finally got the chance to shop at Aldi again on Wednesday. There is one in Anderson, SC, just a 15 minute drive away. Let me tell you, this is no ordinary grocery store. For starters, you have to deposit a quarter to get a cart. The carts are all chained together and the quarter releases the chain on your cart and then you're free to use it. Once you're done loading your groceries into your car, you have to decide if it's worth $0.25 to return the cart and get your quarter back, or let someone else do it and make earn your money. I wanted my quarter back, after all, isn't that why you shop at Aldi in the first place, to save money?

So there are no stray carts in the parking lot and no teenagers shagging carts all over the place. I'm amazed that hasn't caught on at other grocery stores. Then you enter the store and there aren't traditional shelves. It's more like Sam's or Costco where the products are kept stacked in their boxes to reduce the time workers spend stocking shelves. Second you notice that you've never heard of these brands before. Fit 'n' Active? Appleton? Happy Farms? WTF mate? And if you are trying to figure out where this stuff came from, good luck, all the box says is that it's distributed by Aldi in Batavia, IL. But it's hard to argue with the prices. 16 oz. of cashews for $4, wheat crackers for $1.79, 3 lbs. of apples for $2.49. The lunch meat had way too many scary words like pressed, chopped, cooked on it, so I stayed away from the super processed lunch meat, but got some of their cheese to try. Not too much fresh produce. Costa Rican bananas at $0.44/lb., NY apples, at least 5 different types of apples, 1 type of pears, those and the bread were the only "fresh" produce in the store. Everything else is in a box or bag. Even the fruit was in bags. I wanted to ask where all this food came from but I figure I'll wait until my next trip to see if any of their products are local or if every single item in the store is trucked in from Batavia, IL, and before that who knows?

They did have some cool German products from the brand "Duetsche Kuche" which means German kitchen. I haven't tried the Bavarian sweet mustard but the pumpernickel with whole rye kernels is the most serious bread I've ever eaten in my entire life. No wonder there are only 6 wide slices in a package. I'm sure that's more than enough whole grains to give your colon a good cleansing.

I only saw 3 employees in the store. It isn't a big store but I think that's all they need. The check out lady (my receipt said her name was Rachel) was a blur. She pulled a cart around to the end of the aisle and flew through my groceries. Out came the debit card and $53 later I was on my way. Luckily I had a debit card because the lady behind me was trying to write a check(I'm still amazed people try to pay with checks, it's the 21st century!) and was informed that they only take cash, debit cards and food stamps. Damn, dodged a bullet there, I only had maybe 2 dollars on me and as I am poor, not poor enough for food stamps. But as I'm checking out I saw that they sell grocery bags. 5 cents for a super duty paper bag, 10 cents for a super duty plastic bag and 99 cents for a frozen items bag. Fortunately I'm trying to save the planet 1 grocery bag at a time, so I had our 3 reuseable grocery bags and put all my groceries in that, returned the cart and walked back to my car flipping that shiny quarter on my thumb, saving it for another day.

I just checked Aldi's website and I didn't even see an email address so it looks like I'll have to actually write a letter to get answers to my questions. Can the manager of the local store sell local food or is that against company policy?

On the same topic of local food, we've been enjoying Happy Cow Creamery milk for a few months now. J won't drink regular store bought milk but because this milk is chemical free and super fresh and local, she can't drink enough. They say even lactose intolerant people can drink this milk because it still has the good enzymes that milk is supposed to have. We also just picked up some of their butter (sold in a 2 lb. slab) and it is by far the best butter to ever grace our vegetables and frying pans. J told me that they also sell sour cream, cream cheese and cottage cheese at their store. Whoa, I'm sold. It's supposed to be nasty and rainy on Sat. morning so maybe that will scare some people away and the store won't be as jam packed as it is usually supposed to be on Saturdays.

Now it's your turn! Take some initiative, found out if there is a farm near your house or a farmer's market and go check it out! I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised and better yet, you'll be keeping your money in the community instead of sending it to, say, Batavia, IL or China!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008



A coworker and I were out at the research park this morning using the electron microscopes. They're really cool but I'm not sure I could use them everyday. If I could still make my own samples in lab and then analyze them, that would be cool.

I'm still here. Still in school. Still trying to get out. Still forcing myself to write. Still hoping everything will work out in the end.

Acura successfully defended yesterday. Protege defends next Monday. So Dr. Acura and soon to be Dr. Protege will move to Houston to start their post grad lives, while J and I are still stuck here and it's pretty much 100% my fault. I'm trying not to dwell on that fact too much and just focus on doing quality research and quality writing, but it's tough.

We're planning a trip to Orlando sometime this summer and with gas the way it is, it's almost cheaper for us to fly and that isn't taking into account the 8-10 hour drive we save ourselves and the car. Flying it is. We just need to book the tickets.

Sorry I haven't been very educational or insightful recently. Basically all my mind goo is going towards my work and writing, so there isn't much left for my blog.


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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I find the most erotic part of a woman are the boobies.

- Zap Brannigan, douche space captain from Futurama, he's always pursuing Leela but is a douche and never gets her...again ;)

I got to shame an elderly gentleman this morning. There is a short two way road coming onto campus that the police close to outgoing traffic from 8 until 4:30-5ish. I myself have driven around this gate because you do have to drive the long way around to get off campus, but when I did it, the outgoing lane was clear of traffic. This particular morning the Blood Drive RV and 3 facilities trucks were all parked in the outgoing lane, which I think is why they close it. Mr. Lexus decides that driving around is too far and shoots into the incoming traffic lane, aimed directly at a Ford Focus driven by yours truly. As he gets close, I don't move over an inch, there's enough room, so I stare at him and shake my head. He appears to get offended, but knows he's in the wrong. Ah, that makes up for when I rolled the that stop sign and got a fist shake from an elderly gentleman mowing his lawn.

Congrats to the University of Kansas Jayhawks on winning the NCAA college basketball championship. It was a great game and once again we learn that hitting all your free throws (especially ones towards the end of the game) is a fundamental of the game and a key to winning. If Memphis would've hit more than 1 out of 5 in the closing minutes of the game, they would be champs instead of 2nd place. So to all you young basketball hopefuls, practice dribbling, shooting, passing and FREE THROWS!

On a personal note, the Clemson Tigers also made it to the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round to Villanova, and let's check the stats. The final score was 75 to 69. We shot 14 of 23 from the free throw line and 9 of 33 from the 3 point line. Don't be surprised. We struggled with free throws all year. That's actually a good percentage for us. Hopefully Coach Purnell will have some free throw drills in the off-season.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, April 03, 2008



Writing is such a struggle. It's a minute by minute struggle. I can't wait until it's over.

I'll finish my review of the rest of the film festival tomorrow, hopefully.

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