Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pass Out the Cigars, and More Than You Maybe Wanted To Know About Snails.

I've been really, really busy the past few weeks, what with those danged offspring of mine requiring attention and those danged summer students requiring supervision, all that science to do, and the plotting workshop I took online...but I have to take  a breath here to show you some baby pictures. 
Yes, I am the proud foster mom of a herd of baby snails!  Umm...you see that semi-clean spot there that has a little black dot about 2/3 of the way down?  then look up to the right, there are more of those little black spots.  Those are baby snails.  I think.  The little black spots have moved since I took the picture, and I don't think they are floating frog poop. 

I got some new snails for Esther's new tank, and I brought them to work from home in her old tank. 

Esther's there, sitting on the rocks by the trunk of her bamboo tree.
Normally, we spend our day in the lab trying to get nerves to grow in dishes, but we took a break the other day to find out about snail sex--hey, it's Biology, it counts!  Here is what we learned:  Snails are hermaphroditic, which means they have both boy parts and girl parts.  But they can't get themselves pregnant.  They have to crash into another snail in order to get lucky, and snails move really slowly--as slow as snails--so the chances of meeting up with another snail are slim.  They have both kinds of parts because if they only had boy parts or girl parts, and the only snail they managed to hook up with was the same sex, there wouldn't be baby snails.  So they have both parts.  Convenient! 

Here is a link to stuff about snail sex.  I would say it is NSFW, but I think that only counts if you are a snail.  Here is some science geek trivia:  the "rock hard rod" of the animal kingdom is collectively referred to as an "intromittent organ", because they aren't all penises.  If it's the thing that puts sex cells into another animal, it's called an "intromittent organ".  Not all species have them.  Some, like most birds, just bump cloacas (the cloaca is the opening where pee and poop and eggs and sperm come out...the butt, without separate openings to the outside world). 

Anyway, the snail has a "love dart".  Seriously. Try that euphemism next time you are writing a love scene. Go to that snail sex website I linked to.  There are pictures.  Just be careful who is looking over your shoulder.  I don't want you to get in trouble for downloading porn at work. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Football Season: When Hope Springs Eternal, or, I'm a Bengals Fan

Cue music:  Welcome to the Jungle, by Guns N' Roses.
Granted, our "jungle" is more like a weedy playground right now.  The Bengals have a long history of stealing defeat from the jaws of victory, but we love to hate them anyway. 

Every year, The Big Guy says he's not even going to bother watching.  And yet, every Sunday, we find ourselves at home, eating pretzels and watching our Bungles, praying for the impossible.  Last year was supposed to be a great year, but it was not.  This year is supposed to suck, so maybe there is some hope! 

We've lost a couple of key players: 
Carson Palmer
Chad Ochocinco

I think I might miss the Chad.  He came to Cincinnati as Chad Johnson, on a team full of other Johnsons (and I mean guys with the last name "Johnson", not guy with "johnsons", although that metaphor might be pretty applicable, too.  Anyway.  Number 85 changed his name legally to Ochocinco.  We all rolled our eyes, but went out and bought  new  85 jerseys.  Chad also tweets alot.  We rolled our eyes and got a twitter account so we could follow him.  Then there was the reality show.  We rolled our eyes and set our DVRs.  But now Chad has left us for New England.  We rolled our eyes and said, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!"  Actually, I do wish him well.  Who will we roll our eyes at now? 

Part of being a Bengals fan is being optimistic, in an ironic, bitter sort of a way.  It's like being Eeyore, you know? My cup is not half full, but it's not half empty, either.  My cup has room for more.  And this year, I am setting my sights on this guy: 

His name is Andy Dalton, and he's like, fifteen years old.  Okay, not really, but he IS young enough to be my son, so I'm not going to be all creepy stalker-ish over him, but my goodness...what a cutie! His hair matches the stripes.  And his name is Andy...isn't that name just...sincere?   I have high hopes that Andy will do well.  And look...he wears his watch with his uniform!  He'll be on time for every game. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life Blurbs

I've just been to 8th grade orientation at my daughter's school, and I am completely exhausted.  They do this mini-schedule thing where you go from class to class and sit for five minutes in each room, hearing a little overview about the upcoming year, before running to the complete other end of the hall to hear about the next class, fighting a stream of parents doing the same thing in the opposite direction.

Not one teacher got her whole spiel out in the allotted five minutes.  I think they all need to go to novel writing school. 

I've been thinking about summaries and synopses lately, since I'm taking this great plotting workshop from Suzanne Johnson over at Savvy Authors.  Our first assignment was to write a one-sentence overview of our story, and then we had to write the blurb for the back cover of the book (Hey!  I thought my publicist would do that for me, you know, after I get the $500,000,000 contract). 

This was a great exercise.  I really had to think about what my book is about, besides just, "There's this really hot, but troubled guy, and this really nice girl with some issues, and they meet and solve each other's problems and live happily ever after."  And I had to do it in a fairly concise manner.  Not my strong point, but useful, and very applicable to middle school teachers, too:

Take, for example, History, where they'll be studying the Civil War (and beyond) this year.  Let's rename it something more appealing, shall we?  Let's call it:  Love's Rebel Flame. 

The one-sentence pitch?  "When a Northern State tries to fight the evils of slavery,a Southern State must learn to surrender its old way of life in order to gain true freedom and reunite with the states that make its country complete."

And then for the cover, they need to get Abe Lincoln to put on a kilt (and nothing else, except maybe that sexy hat) and pose on a hillside overlooking the White House. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cant... Find...Khakis

Oh, for Heaven's Sake.  Really?  How hard can it be to find a couple of pair of khaki pants, you ask? 

Well.  If you have to ask, then you clearly don't have a 13-year old daughter going to Catholic school with a khaki pant dress code. 

"Mom, don't forget I need at least three new pairs of pants, last year's don't fit me AT ALL."

"Okay, honey.  Do you want to go to Target?"


*go to Target, fight over buying new binders when there are perfectly good binders taking up space in the computer room.  Fight more over buying new spiral ring notebooks.  Etc.*

"Okay, if last year's don't fit, then you need a bigger size."

"No, Mom, I wear a nine."

*looks at shorts that are crawling up the size "nine" butt.*

"Darn, sweetie, they are out of nines."

"Here's one."

*Sigh.  Eye roll (by both parties).  DQ goes into dressing room, comes out with nines on, barely buttoned.*

"Honey, you need the elevens."

"But Mom, these fit perfectly."

*Mom eyes the outline of the pockets, visible because pants are so tight, and pantie lines*

"Honey, you have Camel Toe."

*Sigh.  Eye roll.  Goes back in and puts on elevens, which Mom thinks fit fine*

"Mom, these are HUGE!  Besides, they arent' the right shade.  I want the darker ones. Can't we go to Old Navy?"

*Pull up in front of Old Navy.  Get into staring match with little old lady over parking space.  Lose, because she's driving a Lincoln Continental and I'm driving a Honda. Find spot five miles away, trudge through 99 degree heat to blessed coolness of Old Navy.*

"I don't know, Mom.  Last year we bought pants at Old Navy and I outgrew them in like, two weeks."

"Honey, I'm pretty sure it's not the pants' fault that you outgrew them."

"Can't we just go to Aeropostale?"

And so on.  Thankyou, God, for JC Penney.   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Must. Find. Ibuprofen.

My 71 year-old mother has decided to run for city council in my hometown.  I'm not going to campaign for her here, she REALLY doesn't need my help.  I'm proud of her, she's always been interested and involved in politics (whatever, insert eye-roll here), and she's got the courage to stand up and say what she believes in.

But really...City Council?  NOW?  This year has been a disaster for my parents; my dad has been in the hospital about a million times this year (and considering there have only been about 200 days so far this year, that's a lot).  He's doing better now, but this is probably going to send him into a permanent coma (maybe that's part of her plan...hmmmmm).  Anyway, maybe this is her way of doing something for herself, a chance to claw her way back into living life instead of keeping a vigil for it. 

Before we could have her declared Totally Nuts for running for office, she decided to take me, The Bearded Wonder, DQ, and The Sam Stanley Experience on a  zipline Adventure yesterday (this was an alternative to skydiving.  Do you see where I am going with this?). 

this is not me.
I think this is all part of her evil plot, not to kill my dad (especially since he didn't go, thank God), but to distract us from her plan to take over the world.  See, if she tells everyone that she went ziplining, noone will think its weird that she's running for public office, because really:  old ladies on a zipline?  How much weirder can you get?  THEN, as she works her way up to state representative and then the US House of Representatives, she can unseat John Boehner (she's from his district). 

I just hope I don't have to wear high heels to the inauguration thingy when she's president.  I look ridiculous trying to walk in those things. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Studmuffins and Aliens

Happy Monday! 

I'm going to be quite busy this month, I've signed up for Suzanne Johnson's Savvy Authors Workshop Quilting 101: Patchworking the Perfect Plot, and I plan to take my WIP by the ears and give it a face slam on the desk until it submits to my will.  Or something. 

The Big Guy and I went to see Cowboys and Aliens yesterday, all by ourselves!  DQ didn't want to go, The Sam Stanley Experience had to work and The Bearded Wonder saw it on Friday. I know it's gotten some mixed reviews, but let me just say:  LOVED. IT. 
Cowboys & Aliens Set Visit Report

Not the greatest movie evah, but it was a total Western.  With a capital "W".  And Daniel Craig, duh. 

Harrison Ford was great as the horrible, evil, mean-ass cattle baron with baggage (spoiler alert:  he turns out to be not so bad).  And did I mention that Daniel Craig is in this movie? 

In case you didn't hear me, I'll repeat that.  DANIEL CRAIG IS IN THIS MOVIE. 

That is all.