the veiled sibyl

I have heard and said more inanities, since you took me in tow, than in all the rest of my life.

My Photo

like a dripping faucet

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

You asked

Oh shit, y'all - it's not even noon yet. . .

JoeToe just walked into DxB's lab and said, "I've got a presentation in like, 10 minutes, and I'm going to be showing the mass spec data that you did. I need you to tell me what to say about it - like, what is it and everything." Several fissures formed on DxB's face, then he handed JoeToe a 500-page mass spec book and said, "Read this." Priceless.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

bzzz bzzz bzzz bzzz bzzz

Okay. My cell phone has been jacked by some shitface who keeps calling night and day. (Well, mostly night.) If I answer, they don't say anything, and if I don't answer, they stay on the voicemail saying nothing until it it cuts them off. I've been getting anywhere from six to eighteen (!) calls a day for the past week or so. And it's not just one number, but FIVE different ones. I thought maybe my phone was messed up, but it's not. I called Sprint, and they were oh-so-helpful, telling me that there wasn't much I could do unless I wanted to change my number. (It's probably Sprint crank-calling me to run up my minutes, those bastards!!) I reverse looked up the numbers, and they're all cell numbers out of Austin. I don't know what the hell is going on. I can't wait until November when this damn plan ends and I can ditch Sprint forever. This is the FOURTH time we've had this problem with our numbers. ARRGH!


Monday, March 28, 2005

"don't fuckiing trip out on this shit too much"

the great white whale : Ahab as RT-PCR : Sheila

I'm going to go nuts.

1. Did the experiment.
2. Got great results.
3. Did not believe results.
4. Wanted to "check" the software results.
5. Hand-calculated results
6. Got different numbers.
7. Sought guidance.
8. Got frustrated.
9. Went home.
10. Got guidance.
11. Believed software results.
12. Did not believe software results.
13. Changed data reduction method entirely, hand-calculated results.
14. Changed data reduction method entirely, again.
15. Returned to software results.
16. Changed data reduction slightly, still using software.
17. Believed the software results.
18. Questioned software results.
19. Printed software results.
20. RW found printout.
21. RW loved software results.
23. RW came up with all kinds of new ideas.
24. Believed software results.
25. Banned myself from Excel.

(See what I meant about Beckett?)


P.S. iing?

leaving my boots

I could not get to sleep last night. I had that strange sensation in which one is conscious of one's own heartbeat. Not palpitations - that word conjures up the idea of a fluttering or rapid heart. This was simply the awareness of the beating. There seems like there should be some perfectly lovely French word to describe this, but of course, I wouldn't know it even if it existed.

The weekend was characteristically uneventful. I read voraciously - odd since I have really not read anything of late. My requirements for reading have become a little perverse in that I can't take a "normal" read any longer. I crave the confusing, the difficult and the out-of-sync to the extent that I dismiss anything that is clear-cut as unworthy of my time. (Still not up for a go at Finnegan though - I've not gone completely off my nut!)

I wonder what accounts for one's "taste" in literature? In the matter of "liking" or "favoring" a work, an author, a genre, what is it that accounts for the liking or the favoring? I used to think that what I admired was a paucity of words - prose reduced to the bare minimum necessary to convey the point (think The Sun Also Rises vs. anything by Dickens). But then I count Faulkner as my "favorite" author. Is it then subject matter? Or perhaps the treatment of the subject matter? I don't know enough about literature to answer those questions, which is fine because none of it matters anyway. And what about those many things I have greatly disliked in the reading, but when done had an immediate and immeasurable fondness for? (Absalom! Absalom! for instance.) What if I had put down the book two sentences into it as I desired instead of carrying it out to the finish? Would anything change? Doubtless it would not. So why think of it? These are the questions that I pondered last night as I listened to my heart beating. (A wiser person would have turned on the light and read something, but then there would be the choosing of what to read. . .)

Through all the muddied haze of pseudo-literary and quasi-intellectual thought, I realized why I have such an appreciation of Beckett. The reason is quite simple. I am a living personification of a Beckett character. Thoroughly and completely. Simply examine the drivel I just wrote if you have any question of the accuracy of my statement.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Wo ist die Kirche?

Goddamn, is it Friday already? My original plan of updating this thing daily isn't quite working out.

I dreamt this morning that I was walking down I35 toward school carrying a coat, an MBRG shirt and my 10-billion pound laptop. I was getting tired and said "Fuck it" so I dropped everything on the side of the road, crossed the street to the Outlet mall and went into the Gap. (The Gap? the fuck?) Yeah, that was the entire dream. You think that means I should abandon my illustrious science career to sell cheaply made clothes to teenagers?? I think it sounds like a damn fine plan!

Actually, my illustrious science career is going really good right now. That's why I can never update this bitch - I'm always busy, plus the science-shit prevents me from having any time to be "creative". (Okay, let's all have a damn good laugh at the idea of me being creative.) So as long as I can keep from murdering JoeToe and stuffing his oversized corpse into one of the minus 80's, everything will be hunky-dory!

Since I've obviously got nothing to write about, we'll just move ahead to the links - you know you want 'em!

There seems to be some kind of theme to this week's Friday Link-Fest, but I don't really want to think about it. . .

Who hasn't said "Man, what I really need now is a German"? I mean, I must say that five, six times a week! But now our prayers have been answered: Rent a German

I wonder if you can also rent This German? Come on, you know you want to!

And Herr Ulrich Haarbürste (whom I assume is also German) would like you to read some fascinating stories he's written about the legendary Roy Orbison.

Das ist alles heute.
Habst du eine wunderbar Wochenende!

Friday, March 18, 2005


(*Edited 3/18/05 6:59 pm - something bizarre happened to the formatting.)

JT (my undergraduate helper monkey ape) is always trying to impress me with his "extensive vocabulary". Trouble is, his vocabulary is about as extensive as Violet's. As you can imagine, this can be quite amusing.

On his first day, he saw the Jack Trophy with the little flags that say, "Fortuitousness", "Perspicacity" and "Sagacity". He kept asking me what the words meant and I explained them, but it was obvious that he was terribly perplexed. He went to NRA and asked her to define them, which she did, but it was to no avail - JT just could not put it together. I eventually read the definitions from Merriam Webster to him. Still there was no enlightenment. About three hours later, he pops out with, "What kind of person uses words like those?" I said "An intelligent one?" He replied, "But, they don't even mean anything." (Umm, o-kay.) Little did I realize what the future held, because I guess that got his wordsmith juices flowing. Now he's always coming up to me and saying stuff like, I bet you don't know what "x" means. He hasn't stumped me yet, and I can tell that it bothers him. (Seriously dude - look at who I live with and who I email all the time. Do you really think you can compete with the Grand Vocab Triumverate of DxB, Okashii, and LEP?)

What makes it a source of constant hilarity is his complete and utter ignorance of the pronunciation, not to mention the definition of words. It's like listening to Mike Tyson. Some examples from conversations this week:

"It's amazing how our knowledge of science has invaginated our lives."
(Invaginated? As you can probably imagine, that was a conversation stopper.)

JT: Acolyte? Wait. I know what that means. It's someone with wisdom, right? A wise person.
S: Uh, no. An acolyte is an assistant or follower. An assistant to a clergyman.
JT: Well, that would be a wise person.
S: How do you figure?
JT: Well, a clergyman wouldn't have someone stupid as an assistant.
S: How do you know?
JT: (loudly) HA HA HA! Why would anybody have someone stupid helping them?
S: (rolls eyes at the irony of the last statement)
JT: So see, it means wise.
(Ya just can't argue with that logic!)

"There's such an obstrusiveness of that protein that's making it impossible to figure out."
(I don't have a fucking clue. . .)

S: I always gave succinct answers. . .
JT: Suh. . . You mean SUCK-si-nicked.
S: No. I mean sek-sinct
JT: You're not saying that right.
S: Yes I am.
JT: What does that mean?
S: Concise, precise.
JT: Are you sure? How do you spell it?
S: S-U-C-C-I-N-C-T
JT: (writes word) SUCK-si-nicked. I know what that means. It means "timely".
S: Mmm, no.
JT: Hm. I'll have to look that up.
S: You do that.
(I have a lot of patience.)

His writing is not much better. Here's some examples that illustrate his fondness for ten-dollar words:

"Modern technological advances have certainly ameliorated research, but finding a vertebrate that will undergo spontaneous and induced tumorigenesis is of interest to many scientists."

"Xiphophorus hybrids have also been implemented in studies where a variety of inflictions have been verified."

RW's going to have a field day with this one.


You've probably seen this before, but it's pretty cool:

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.


Keeping with the "words' theme, here's a fun little CGI script that converts English text to a variety of silly dialects:

Here's a sample of TVS dialectized to Redneck:

So how does yo' like th' noo design? Purdy freakin' GREEN, ain't it? Yeah, ah thunk I'd sprooce thin's up a bit fo' sprin'time. Th' black was gittin' a li'l oppressive. Th' weather's finally cleared up hyar, an' ah have an impressive list of shit ah hope t'git done aroun' th' house this hyar weekend, cuss it all t' tarnation. Ah's a-gonna try an' install some po'ch railin's t'keep mah flower-smashin' houn'dogs fum gittin' in th' flower beds. Then ah have t'git a pile of dirt an' fill in all th' Cookie an' Henriettabelle-shaped pits, an' replant th' stuff they destroyed, cuss it all t' tarnation. An exercise in futility, yo' say? Pshaw! Fry mah hide! ah reckon ah's a-gonna try an' pressure warsh th' lan'scape stones as fine. They're supposed t'be white but they're so't of - black. Shet mah mouth! An' fuzzy. Of course thar's th' requisite mowin' an' fire ant annihilashun thet will be a feature of ev'ry Sunday fum hyar on until November. . . Thar's also a jungle on th' side of mah house thet th' previous owny called "lan'scapin'". ah have t'cut all thet shit back an' away fum th' house. (Who plants shrubs thet grow t'15 feet UNDERNEATH THE EAVES OF THE HOUSE???) Th' co'ner beds in th' backyard need t'be finished - thass a projeck fum hell - one of mah famous, "Ooh, won't it look purdy eff'n I. . ." Check back Monday t'see how much ah git done.

(Personal fave? "Bath and Body Works" becomes "Bath an' Hide Wawks"!)


And in closing, I leave you with this: Semenyms


Yours in perpetuum and without equivocation,

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Promote genetic diversity

Brief rants.

NO ONE needs to do 60 mph in a residential neighborhood, no matter what kind of car you drive.

I don't care how many children you have, I don't care how old they are, I don't care what sex they are, I don't care who takes care of them while you are at the grocery store, I don't care if they hate hearing their middle names, I don't care if they charm their Daddy but Mom doesn't fall for it, I don't care what kind of cereal they love, I don't care how much milk they drink. Understand? (Oh yeah, the cashier doesn't care either.)

You walked in to Bath and Body Works and exclaimed in a voice so loud it startled me and several other customers, "Oh, it smells GOOD in here." NO. SHIT. It's Bath and Body Works, dumbass.

Then you used the same voice to tell the saleslady that your 11-year old daughter "Sweats like a pig, so she needs something to help with the odor." Um, have you tried deodorant? (Thank God you didn't bring your daughter with you - can you say psychological torment?)

When I bring a 6" test-recipe cheesecake in to the office for taste-testing, do NOT take a QUARTER of it as your serving. I know it's good, but let everyone else have a bite, motherfucker.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

goddamnwhite partwontcome outfrigga frakinson ofa

Dear Epoxy Tube,



Friday, March 11, 2005

Deus Meus! Securis in capite meo est.

So how do you like the new design? Pretty freakin' GREEN, isn't it? Yeah, I thought I'd spruce things up a bit for springtime. The black was getting a little oppressive.

The weather's finally cleared up here, and I have an impressive list of shit I hope to get done around the house this weekend. I'm going to try and install some porch railings to keep my flower-smashing dogs from getting in the flower beds. Then I have to get a pile of dirt and fill in all the Cookie and Annabelle-shaped pits, and replant the stuff they destroyed. An exercise in futility, you say? Pshaw! I think I'm going to try and pressure wash the landscape stones as well. They're supposed to be white but they're sort of - black. And fuzzy. Of course there's the requisite mowing and fire ant annihilation that will be a feature of every Sunday from here on until November. . . There's also a jungle on the side of my house that the previous owner called "landscaping". I have to cut all that shit back and away from the house. (Who plants shrubs that grow to 15 feet UNDERNEATH THE EAVES OF THE HOUSE???) The corner beds in the backyard need to be finished - that's a project from hell - one of my famous, "Ooh, won't it look pretty if I. . ." Check back Monday to see how much I get done.

I've got some fairly kickass links for you this week, so without further ado:


Okay, I snagged this entire thing from fleshbot, but it was sooo perfect that I couldn't resist! "Surely we’re not the only ones who’ve struggled over the intricacies of the Photoshop rubber stamp tool for hours to create realistic-looking fake nudes of our friends and loved ones, right? (If we are, don’t make us feel more perverted than we already do by reminding us of the fact.) Fortunately, we can now save ourselves hours of frustration and botched skin tones by taking advantage of this helpful service, which promises to create “photorealistic and believable” nude pictures for your personal enjoyment out of the fully clothed ones you send in."

Here's some generally freaky-assed shit:

Freaky Taxidermy
I want the Hello Kitty one
Is this me, or what?

And finally, I am completely and utterly addicted to this:
Quote most often uttered: "How did it KNOW that????" I love, love, love this site!!


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

And so it was in the land of Saint Mark

1.1 And so it came to pass that a darkness came upon the acolyte Sheila who abideth in the land of Saint Mark.

1.2 For the acolyte Sheila did alloweth her faith to dwindle, whereupon she was overtaken by Satan, who did covereth her with the vile curse of bad punctuation.

1.3 A starry email which madeth no sense foretold Laura the Apostle of the plight of the acolyte Sheila, and she set forth to the land of Saint Mark.

1.4 And when did arriveth, she saw there was great consternation and much gnashing of teeth, for the acolyte Sheila was strongly afflicted with the curse.

1.5 And the Apostle Laura did guide Sheila from the land of darkness to the Word, and to the Light that is holiness, the INTERNET.

1.6 And there did the acolyte Sheila summon the holiest of holy search engines, the mighty Google. And she did summon the power of the Google which did searcheth the ends of the earth for "english grammar".

1.7 And lo, the heavens gave way and the mighty INTERNET heard the call of the acolyte Sheila, and did provide her with a holy link which she did clicketh.

1.8 And at once, the acolyte Sheila did find the gospel of The American Heritage Book of English Usage, and she did taketh from her purse the holy Mastercard, which she did use to purchaseth the Gospel from

1.9 And at once did the Apostle Laura knoweth that the curse would be lifted away on high from the acolyte Sheila.

1.10 And yea, there was much rejoicing throughout the land. No longer would the Prophet Douglas of Nashville and the Prophet Peter of Los Angeles suffereth the pains of the unhallowed dash and ellipsis.

1.11 So sayeth the Apostle Laura.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Green Day?

My parent's house was classic 1975, from the avocado appliances to the knotty pine paneling (note the velvet painting above me.) And everything inside it was green - all shades of green. Avocado, forest, kelly, baby shit, even green plaid - you name it, we had your green. But it didn't stop at the inside - the outside was green as well. We had a vast expanse of bright green St. Augustine as a lawn, and no flowers were allowed, only green shrubbery (yeah, my dad was kind of a crackpot.) We even had a goddamned green car. The house itself was of course green - it started as this kind of army color, then my Dad went temporarily(ha!) insane and painted it a color that we came to call "Goddamn Green!", exclamation point always included.

The pinnacle of green-anity came when I came home from high school one day to find that the new roof the 'rents just had installed was... you guessed it! GREEN! Being sixteen and quite full of parental loathing, I informed them that they had embarrased me so badly that there was no hope of recovering our relationship. I wouldn't even let my friends come over during the daytime for fear that they'd see the horror my parents had inflicted on me.

So uh, guess what color the roof of my current house is? Yeah, Karma's a bitch.


Monday, March 07, 2005

This is the home of the VELVET FEVER goddamn it!

Thank god it's Monday. I hate weekends. (How fucked up is that??)

Maybe if the weather would clear up it would be a little better. At least that way I'd be able to go outside drive somewhere without fear of being washed away. I tried to go shopping on Satuday, but right as I got to the Forum, it started DUMPING rain. It was amazing. The parking lot was flooding quickly, and the water was up to the bottom of my door in no time flat. (I know that's not very high at all, but whatever. . .) I parked on a high spot and just waited, hoping it would stop. It didn't. I ended up going back home. Never even stepped foot out of the car - oh well.

Yesterday while I was at the office, I was snooping around and I found two very-well worn "novels" at Soduc's desk. From the back cover of one:

"He's been burned by one too many gold-digging women. She'd seen the world, but had never once been branded by any man. Their attraction was instant...and intense. But could their five-alarm affair turn into lasting love?"

"Keegan Tabor had walked the fine line between love and hate, leaving Eleanor Whitman despising him for his long-ago betrayal. Now another man sought to claim Eleanor's heart, but Keegan wouldn't rest till this sweet lady was his once again...."

"Kathy Maxwell knew the legend of the dreamcatcher. But never in her wildest imaginings could she have foreseen that the lover from her dreams would appear in her a flesh-and-blood man!"

I should have just put the book down and gently backed away, but of course. . .

"This is part of it," Rye said, watching Lisa's eyes as his palm rubbed against her.
"It?" she said breathlessly.
And her thoughts shattered into a thousand brilliant shards of pleasure with each motion of his hand. She moved helplessly against his palm, sending a cascade of shining hair sliding over him. He shivered at its whispering caress.
"This is the home of the velvet fever," he whispered against her lips. "Can you feel it, honey? Hot and sweet, hungry and beautiful."

I placed the book back on the desk, walked to the sink, and washed my hands with the hottest water I could get out of the tap. 'Nuff said.

I never understood the whole "romance-novel-as-soft-porn" thing. The premise is always the same: the stubbornly independent (yet beautiful) woman encounters the burly Fabiolo in a cowboy hat and ripped jeans. He sweeps her off her comfort-casual shoe clad feet with his gentle words and she submissively acquiesces to him (i.e. "she gives in to her deepest desires".) Not my cuppa tea. Besides, the mellifluous writing would always send me screaming from the room before I got to "the good part". And the good part? Always a let down, man. (This is how you write a "good part".)

When I lived in Houston, we'd sit in the balcony of the Shepard Bookstop and try to guess what section people would go to. It was always easy to guess the romance novelistas - stodgy frumpets in floral prints with bad hairstyles and the aura of elementary school teacher about them. A stereotype yes, but isn't there some truth in stereotypes? After all, a stereotype has to originate somewhere, doesn't it?


Sunday, March 06, 2005

For your benefit

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ma and Pa

A short quiz:


This man is:

A. From West Virginia
B. Sheila's Dad
C. Completely out of his mind
D. All of the above

(See why I didn't bring people over to the house much?)

More pics of Russ, Betty and Y.H.A.

dadbw click to enlarge
My parent's first house.

This is my favorite pic of my mom.

skinnydad click to enlarge
Skinny dad. Note beer can on hood.

memom click to enlarge

bigface click to enlarge
Eek! I thought I got braces to fix those teeth! And has anyone ever noticed how ginormous my mouth is?

I don't look much like either of my parents, do I?

Friday links are on sabbatical, but will return next week.
Speaking of West Virginia. . . Teacher Accused of Sex Abuse
Priceless FARK reactions here. (thx jeff k.)


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

They're coming to LIFE!!!

Cakes was telling me that her ManFriend went down to Galveston and was complaining that there were no seagulls. (I don't know why you'd complain about that - irritiating buggers, they are.) He told her that they'd flown south for winter(?), but it was okay because the city (he guessed) had erected kinetic statues of seagulls along the seawall. He said he could see them from his hotel window, and they looked just like real birds, except that they were walking along the wall instead of flying 'round. She asked him if he was sure those were statues and not real birds, and his condescending reply was, "Of course they're statues. Why would seagulls walk when they can fly?" (That reminds me of the time Sean, age 6, was giving his dog a milk bone and said, "Why would anybody want a bone when they could have candy??") Anyway, do I even need to tell you what happened when one of the "statues" flew off the seawall?

And do note that this is the same guy who was "really ready" for his (community college) genetics test, and who had "figured out all the genetics stuff" but was "still not sure what the difference between a prokaryote and a eukaryote was."


DxB killed his hard drive Saturday night. Well, he didn't kill it - I think it killed itself. He lost everything. All his data, papers, presentations - everything. He was lucky that RW had a copy of his presentation for today's progress report meeting with our major funding institution. I can't believe he never made a backup file of anything. . . Oh well, at least he realizes that birds can and occasionally do walk.

That is not to say that I never do anything stupid (shut up, all of you.)