Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More Comics = Lack of Creativity

The "post doc" series over at PHD Comics has probably wrapped up. I find them incredibly amusing because of their accuracy. Below are the next three strips in this series followed by confirmation of the facts contained within the panels from a highly reputable source.

"Post docs - (My current rank) Should be the most productive members of the group. They have already received their PhD, but are, generally, shortly out of school and still accustomed to the graduate student life - i.e. they are grad students that don't have classes, but are expected to work long hours. Post docs are paid in a similar manner to graduate students with one exception - grad students receive a stipend and their tuition is paid to the school by the boss, while post docs, basically, have the same base salary, but the tuition money is paid to them. Realistically, the boss is receiving a highly trained graduate student, without having to pay any more out of pocket than having a first year graduate student. Generally, post docs are considered to be extremely underpaid and are, more or less, in a state of indentured servitude, paying their dues until they get a real job. Generally, post docs stay for 1-3 years then move on to another post doc, or begin an actual career as a boss in another institution if they have a good enough publication record."

- A very reliable, trustworthy, highly worthy source for factual material... me! Bwahahaha! (see post Vacation?)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

KC Sports Update

I am ready to declare the 2008 Chiefs' season officially over today. Carl Peterson and the rest of the management should all be run out of the business for having written off the entire season four months before it will even begin. The one bright spot from last season's dismal performance was the effectiveness of defensive end Jared Allen. Today, the Chiefs have traded their star to Minnesota for three draft picks. I realize that, potentially, those draft picks could be long term gems. However, with the draft decisions the Chiefs have made in the last several seasons... what's the point? None of them will pan out because they never do. Peterson has lost touch with reality. The one thing this city had going for it (athletically) was the Kansas City Chiefs. Now the city is watching as they revert to a laughing stock they were in the 1980s. Enough is enough.

All of the optimism for the Kansas City Royals that I had developed... is now gone. They still can't hit and now their pitching has failed (they've been outscored 46-12 in their last trip through their pitching rotation). It may be a little bit premature (not the case with the Chiefs - that decision isn't remotely premature), but the 2008 Royals season is likely over. It's the Royals' way... bring back hope, just to crush it. Here we go again.

Thankful For Being A Cyclone

Wow... I've never been so nervous in my life. I moved across the state line six months ago, but I've been reluctant to change over my car registration and drivers license. This isn't because I have some great tie to the state of Kansas (because I do not), but for a few stupid reasons including that I had renewed my car tags one month before I officially moved, the Missouri required vehicle inspection, the thought of spending a day at the DMV and my dislike for paying for any of the ridiculousness associated with the process.

About a month ago, I found out that my brake lights were no longer functioning. Being a somewhat dangerous problem, I decided to take care of this and start the whole process - get the car fixed, inspected, registered, retitled, blah blah blah. I get the inspection - it needs new front brakes, but the brake lights require the ordering of a part from out of state. The mechanic agreed that it would be acceptable to just take care of everything at one time, so when the part arrives - I'll bring the car back. They tell me the part would take about a week to get, then everything would be fixed the following day. Three weeks later - the part has yet to arrive. I call this week and finally, the part has arrived and the car can be taken in on Wednesday morning and repaired the same day.

And now the reason for my extreme nervousness. It's Tuesday night and the car is going in the next morning. I'm returning from Megan's around midnight after consuming a few beverages (I was not inebriated, but had a few drinks) ... driving through one of the not-so-glamorous sections of town between our two residences, when a large vehicle runs up behind me. Since I have no brake lights, I try my best to keep distance between the drivers behind me because I don't trust people's reaction time without the warning lights - so I speed up a little ( it is a two lane road - one each direction). When the road widens to four lanes, I slow down and change lanes, the vehicle follows. I turn where I normally turn to continue my route home - the vehicle follows. I am not terribly happy, knowing what neighborhood I am in and (according to the local news) the types of events that can occur there.

And then... the lights come on. It was a police van. And here I am, speeding (according to him), driving a car with no brake lights, an out of date (in terms of address) driver's license and registration, an address on my insurance card that doesn't match any of the other addresses and myself possibly smelling of alcohol and nervous as hell because I thought I was being followed by some "hooligan" through a bad neighborhood. Now he's asking me a bunch of questions and I'm bumbling through them because of my nervousness. As he takes my license back to his van, another police car approaches stops to chat with my officer and I'm getting even more nervous. What the hell is going to happen? Are they going to fucking destroy me? Write me a half dozen tickets? Arrest me?

He approaches my window again, pauses to look at the back of my car, then completes his approach and hands me back my license. Here is the final dialog:

Officer: "Is this your vehicle?"
Me: "Yeah." (said in an extremely slow, why would I be driving this car if it weren't mine attitude)
Officer: "Where did you purchase the car?"
Me: "Ames." (same slow - where the fuck is this going? - thought process)
Officer: "Did you go to Iowa State?"
Me: "Yes."
Officer: "Today's your lucky day. So did I. Get on the highway, drive the speed limit and go home."
Me: "Yes, sir. Thank you."

Jesus Christ. Needless to say, I drove the speed limit and went home. Then I got out some ice cream and sat down and watched some TV and tried to relax. So much for trying to keep my blood pressure down. I think I'll wait about a week before checking that again. Damn. I don't think he let me off because I went to ISU, but at that moment, I was very thankful for being a Cyclone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tag This

Well, I've been tagged by my sister (in-law), Kim, (whom everyone knows from over at ilaxstudio) to fill out the "Fluff Five Meme". Without ado, here are my answers.

5 Things You Found In Your Bag

  1. Laptop - can't live without it: home, work - it's nearly always with me
  2. External hard drive - with copies of hundreds of random tv shows and thousands of mp3s
  3. My horribly incomplete lab notebook
  4. Stamps
  5. mp3 player

5 Favorite Things In Your Room

  1. Big screen TV
  2. Xbox360
  3. Coffee table
  4. Soul-devouring couch
  5. Recliner

5 Things You Are Currently Into

  1. Megan
  2. 2008 baseball season
  3. Becoming more healthy
  4. Video games - mainly MLB 2K8 for the time being
  5. Blogging

5 Things You Have Always Wanted To Do

  1. Have a "real" job
  2. Travel outside the U.S.
  3. Visit all of the major league baseball parks and Cooperstown
  4. Rock star, baby... be a rock star - I don't like my chances
  5. Become physically involved in politics - a more likely possibility

5 People You Want To Tag

  1. Megan
  2. Jim
  3. Lori
  4. Steven - yes, he's been previously tagged by Kim, but he should be tagged often
  5. Mike Wehrman - why aren't you writing a blog?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Post Doc Summation In Four Panels

PHD Comics totally nails the concept of the post doc position - more money, less paperwork, very little respect.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More 2008 Presidential Election Nonsense

After watching the Democratic debate last night with the lovely, brilliant Ms. Florance, I decided to revisit the post I had written a couple months ago.

After checking back with the CNN money tracking feature (here), the total taxpayer money raised during the run-up to the 2008 Presidential Election has now reached $777 million. That means $209 million has been collected in the last six weeks (see 2008 Presidential Campaign to Waste American Money). If anyone is interested, that more than 4 million dollars that gets tossed into the garbage can every single day. And for what? McCain is just sitting back (collecting money he doesn't have to spend until it could make a difference) and watching the Democrats collect and spend copious amounts of money to destroy each other. Because McCain is able to do this, his image is improving - he doesn't need to say anything negative so he will be viewed as likable and friendly, as Hillary and Obama will be viewed as wolves.

There is no solution for the Democratic Party until the DNC has been completed. Both candidates have remaining funds in the campaigns. Hillary should not bow out because she still is not mathematically eliminated. Obama can't stop because he's ahead in the electoral vote count. If the party steps in and makes a decision, then it's against the concept of democratically choosing candidates. This is just another example of the Democratic Party finding a way to shoot itself in its collective foot. This election should be gift wrapped for the Democrats, as was the case in 2004, but I see little to no chance of wrestling away the executive branch from the Republicans.

Until this all plays out, the American people have to watch the drivel that was the Democratic debate this week. The first two-thirds of the debate was simply expanding on and attempting to correct statements that had been made the campaign trail. Aren't the important issues in any election focused around policy? Maybe that's too much to ask from the media. Luckily for me, I was only half paying attention the debate. I have some difficulty focusing on television in the presence of a very attractive woman.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why I Can't Be A Professor

I have wanted to post about the PHD (piled higher and deeper) Comics site for quite some time, but haven't gotten around to it. The writer/artist Jorge Cham has completely nailed the intricacies of being a graduate student in this era. Anyone that wants the gist of pursuing an advanced degree without actually doing so should take a look. Anyone that has been in grad school should take a look. Anyone that has no interest in knowing what being a grad student is like (but enjoys humor) should take a look. It is worth the visit. PHD Comics recently crossed the 1000 comic strip milestone, so there is plenty of reading to do in the archives for anyone interested.

For those grad students or former grad students, I'm sure that all of you can identify with one of the characters and can probably identify someone from your own department that corresponds to each of the characters from the strip. The graduate school experience is apparently universal no matter what University you attended.

The strip that appears below is the exact reason that I would rather not take the academic route for my choice of career path. While I find this strip hilarious (because it is so freaking accurate), I don't think I could pull off the demeanor of the "boss" in seriousness. Anyway... enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Royals Stuff

The Royals are continuing their winning ways after starting their homestand 2-0 against the Yankees. Greinke tossed an outstanding game in crappy weather conditions. Through seven games of this season, AccuScore.com has now more than quadrupled the odds of a KC playoff appearance (see article here) from their prediction before the season started. Do I think KC will make the playoffs? Not likely, but it's fun to dream.

Here are a few comparisons of this season to last...

This season they have improved to 6-2 while scoring 32 runs and allowing 18.
Through 8 games last season the Kansas City Royals were 3-5 and they had scored 26 runs and allowed 34.

Out of the first three series', the Royals have already won two.
Last season it took the Royals six series to win their first and fourteen to win their second.

The Royals have gotten to where they are right now on the backs of their number two and three starters. Here is the combined line for Bannister's and Greinke's statistics on the season so far:

4 starts, 4 wins, 27 innings pitched, 19 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 8 walks, 15 strikeouts, 1.00 ERA

With numbers like those, Kansas City can afford to have Meche throw a bad game or two (ERA of 6.94 through 2 starts), or handle Guillen getting off to an extremely slow start (batting average of .153 through 8 games). Those are the two highest paid Royals ($91 million worth of contract) that are off to a poor start on a team that is sitting atop the AL Central. Maybe this Royals team is actually a team and won't rely on any one player to bear the load, as was the philosophy of the previous GM.

Here are some team stats to back this up (through 8 games):

1 error committed (first in MLB) - innings are shorter, fewer chances to give opponents more baserunners and runs.
12 double plays turned (third in MLB) - it's easier to get out of innings when you erase baserunners and get two outs with a single pitch.

21 walks allowed (second in MLB) - if they don't out free passes, they're going to give up fewer runs... simple as that.
2.25 team ERA (first in MLB) - granted, they won't keep up this pace, but two seasons ago, their team ERA was 5.67 (last in MLB). Give that pitching coach a raise!

10 stolen bases (third in MLB) - move the runner from first to second and there will be fewer double plays, right?
1 double play (first in MLB) - yep, see previous item.

Offensively, the team is still on the low side of runs scored compared to the league and they have very little power, but Guillen and Pena Jr., are effectively non-existent so far, and that's over 20% of the lineup. If Guillen heats up (0 HR on the season) and Pena Jr., can figure out how to make contact (0 hits in last 20 at bats), maybe this team could be a contender. They've been in (even had the lead) every game this season. In their six victories, they have only allowed a total of 8 runs (that includes shutouts of Tigers and Yankees). In their two losses, the gave up 10 runs but scored seven. I guess their mentality is: mediocre offense is all you need when you have stellar pitching. Whatever works, just keep winning, the city of KC will be ecstatic!

NOTE: As I mentioned before - Megan and I are headed out to the K for Saturday's game. Gameday forecast - high of 43, low of 31, chance of snow. What the hell, it's April. Oh, and does the sun ever shine here? I have officially forgotten.

NOTE #2: After writing the comment in NOTE #1, the sun did shine... for about one hour, then it hailed. I should have kept my mouth shut.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Movie Quote List #2

I put one of these together a few weeks ago and thought it was fun... so why not do it again? I enjoy the reader participation and couldn't resist. Here are 15 more movie quotes. Feel free to tell/guess the movie from which each quote originated. I will post the correct answers as they appear in the comment section. Good luck to everyone and I hope this one is more challenging than the last. Enjoy!

I know we need the money, but...
Listen! We're not just doing this for money... We're doing it for a SHITLOAD of money!
Oh, you're right. And when you're right, you're right. And you - you're always right.
-- Spaceballs - Jim/Nick

Did you ever hear the philosophy that once a man admits that he's wrong that he is immediately forgiven for all wrongdoings? Have you ever heard that?
Get the fuck out my face with that shit! The motherfucker that said that shit never had to pick up itty-bitty pieces of skull on account of your dumb ass.
-- Pulp Fiction - Megan/Nick/Jim

Oh, just some terrorists decided to send a little care package. Box of goodies. Which had to be neutralized before blowing up the office... So I took the rest of the day off. Glass of wine, little guitar... Just relax.
I mean it, honey, the world is being Fed-exed to hell in a hand cart. I really believe anyone thinking even thinking of bringing a child into the world is coldly considering an act of cruelty. I know, I'm rambling, I'm complaining, I'm sorry. What's your news, baby?
I'm pregnant. You didn't mean what you just said, did you?
Just right now, when you were talking about bringing a child into the world, and having it be an act of cruelty.
I meant it at the time.
Stanley, "at the time"? You said it seven and a half seconds ago!
Well... gosh, kind of a lot's happened since then.
-- The Rock - Jim/Nick

Jimi Hendrix deceased, drugs. Janis Joplin deceased, alcohol. Mama Cass deceased, ham sandwich.
-- Austin Powers - Megan/Jim/Jodi/Nick

Bastard Son of Barney! Die! Die, stuffed ball of fluff! Illegitimate Teletubbie! Die, you Muppet from hell! Die, you foam motherfucker!
-- Death to Smoochy - Megan/Jim/Nick

Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things: Jack and shit... and Jack just left town.
-- Army of Darkness - Megan

Oh, shit! Ah, that hurt like shit!
I know. That's why I distracted you first. Same principle as deflowering virgins.
Huh? What? Virgin - ? What?
Read it in this Harold Robbins book. Guy bites her on the ear. Distracts from the pain. Ever try that?
No, no, I sock 'em in the jaw and yell, "Pop goes the weasel."
-- The Long Kiss Goodnight - Megan

Heywood leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When this guy sneezes, he looks like a party favor.
-- Major League - Nick

They all have husbands and wives and children and houses and dogs, and, you know, they've all made themselves a part of something and they can talk about what they do. What am I gonna say? "I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How've you been?"
-- Grosse Pointe Blank - Jodi

Sir, can I trouble you for a warm glass of milk? It helps me go to sleep.
You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up. Now, you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep. Check out the name tag. You're in my world now, grandma.
-- Happy Gilmore - Megan/Nick

I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.
-- Zoolander - Nick

You've ruined that piano!
What is the price of one piano compared to the terrible crime that's been committed here?
But that's a priceless Steinway!
Not anymore!
-- The Pink Panther Strikes Again - No one, HAHAHA! I finally stumped you people. Everyone should see this movie - the scene that contains this quote is possibly the funniest sequence ever recorded on film. Peter Sellers was a comedy genius.

Listen. Since I've met you I've nearly been incinerated, drowned, shot at, and chopped into fish bait. We're caught in the middle of something sinister here, my guess is dad found out more than he was looking for and until I'm sure, I'm going to continue to do things the way I think they should be done.
-- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Megan/Nick/Jim

Yeah, I remember the first time I got shot out of a cannon.
-- True Lies - Megan

Well, you know I... I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn't. That's what I wish for. Chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases - stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That's my wish, Ray Kinsella. That's my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?
-- Field of Dreams - Nick/Jim/Jodi/Kim


Monday, April 7, 2008

Now That Was A National Championship Game

I've complained here before about how disappointing championship games tend to be (2008 Super Bowl, 2007 World Series). Well, the NCAA Basketball Championship Game last night between Kansas and Memphis could not be called disappointing in any way. Wow, what a game! Kansas is down by nine points with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. When Chalmers hit the three pointer to tie the game with just over 2 seconds left to tie it up, I actually jumped up and yelled, "Yes!" Having watched the game alone at my apartment, and my typical reserved personality, the reaction was what could only be referred to as, an outburst.

Being a product of Iowa State, a Big 12 Conference rival school to KU, I can't, by any means, be called a KU fan. Unlike with pro sports, however, once my team is no longer contending, I do tend to back the other schools from the conference (with pro sports, I tend to despise the other teams from the division - baseball; Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Indians and football; Raiders, Broncos, Chargers can all burn in hell before I align myself any of them). Now, I'm not going to rush out and purchase any KU gear after watching this game, but I am happy to see the National Championship residing within the Big 12 Conference.

What made this game qualify as a worthy championship game was the fact that it was competitive throughout. Each team looked dominant at times, but control oscillated. Both teams played at a fast pace and had swarming defenses. KU had difficulty hitting three-pointers and Memphis made free throws until the end of regulation. Unless those factors changed in the closing minutes, the game would have had a completely different (and uninteresting) ending. Anyway, congratulations to KU and their fans. Finally, a game worth watching!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Schrute-ism #3

I keep various weaponries strategically placed around the office. I saved Jim's life with a can of pepper spray I had Velcroed under my desk. People say, "oh, it's dangerous to keep weapons in the home or the workplace." Well, I say, "it's better to be hurt by someone you know accidentally, then by a stranger, on purpose."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

3-0: Holy *Expletive* *Bleep*!!!!!!!

I am having difficulty containing my amazement at the start that the Kansas City Royals are off to in the young 2008 season. At 3-0, they are alone atop the AL Central. Three games in, this is the deepest into the season they have had the outright division since 2003. Wow, that's a pretty sad statement, isn't it? What is there to be happy about in KC in terms of sports? The Chiefs blew last year (4-12, seriously?), the Royals are a perennial nightmare and even the Arena League Football team, the Brigade, is off to an 0-4 start (Does KC still have that MLS team, the Wizards? Oh yeah, that's right, soccer isn't popular in the US). The Royals win three games and the city is buzzing. Finally something to look forward to around here.

Here are a few stats from the first series:

Total errors committed by KC - 0
Total hits/game by KC - 9.67
Total runs/game by KC offense - 4.33
Team ERA by KC - 1.55

If they can perform at anything close to this level for the season, they will be competitive. I know that they can't keep their pace and finish with a 162-0 record for the season. I can assume that a .500 season is a definite possibility - if they perform close to what they look like now. No KC fan can rule out a collapse because we've seen it so many times in the last 20 years.

Trey Hillman has impressed me with his managerial decisions as well. He outmanaged a long time veteran in Jim Leyland in the opener. Leyland was left with only one additional reliever when the game headed into the 10th inning and had already used his closer. Hillman kept his bullpen fresh, opting to let Tomko (the #5 starter that won't appear for another week because of the off day) and Nunez throw two innings each and kept his closer (Soria) available to pitch after KC took the lead in the top of the 11th. In game 2, Bannister pitched seven shutout innings, and Hillman opted to use Nunez and Soria again. The rest of the league doesn't get to see anything more than they already have of the KC bullpen and he keeps the rest of the bullpen fresh and ready to go. In game three, Greinke goes seven and only gives up on run... the first run allowed by KC in the last 19 innings before turning it over to the bullpen. They go two more scoreless innings and KC is sitting at 3-0. What a start!

I thought that with the way the schedule was set (having to play at Detroit, at Minnesota then the home opener against the Yankees) that if the Royals started the season 3-6, they would be off to a reasonable start. Now they just have to avoid dropping the next six games and I will be overjoyed. I have been looking forward to the start of the season for months... now I'm looking forward to the rest of the season!

Coming up - Minnesota @ KC next Saturday (4/12) - I've got two tickets and Megan and I will be (hopefully) picking up the stadium promotion of the new powder blue Royals jerseys. Yeah, that's right, they're giving away JERSEYS! Hell yeah! Photos will be posted the following week. Free freakin' jersey!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Barack Obama

Four years ago, I watched Barack Obama's rise into the national political scene as he ran uncontested in the Illinois Senate race. It was impressive watching such a dynamic speaker in action. His elevation to a presidential campaign seemed inevitable, even at that time. I'm not exactly sure what has changed, but as the 2008 presidential campaign continues, I am finding him to be more and more repulsive.

Here are my reasons for disliking this candidate:

1) While he can be a gripping, charismatic speaker behind the podium, once he deviates from a pre-written speech, he stammers and stumbles to the point that he sounds similar to George W. Bush. This tells me that he is more like an actor than a leader. He is good at reading pre-written material and having the correct facial expressions. Is he capable of complex thought, or is that simply assumed through the script that he is reading? There is no real gauge of this... unless he takes the presidency and we have years of information to study, or a somewhat safer solution would be for him to remain in the Senate until he has proven himself. On the other hand, as long as he surrounds himself with intelligent people, his advisers will keep him from making decisions that cannot stand up to public scrutiny. This entire point (#1) could be moot - if, and only if, he is capable of identifying and selecting a competent staff.

2) The now famous speech on racism was not a speech that transcended race, but rather focused on differences between races - in effect propagating racism rather than extinguishing it. The news stations and the general American public are not aware enough to make that connection. Until everyone sees themselves as a person (human being) first, then racism will still be a problem and that goes for whomever is making the determination. Last week, there was a Spring Training baseball game on called "The Civil Rights Game" and the exact same incorrect interpretation of the very point was exploited. Baseball was instrumental in the civil rights movement because the institution was one of the first to become fully integrated. The concept was not universally liked, but baseball rose above prejudice to accept anyone that was skilled enough to take the field. That is the concept that should have been acknowledged. Instead, the moron announcer, Joe Morgan, used the opportunity to single out and praise individual players for their achievements. Those players should be respected for what they had done and what they went through. However, the very heart of the argument is that baseball did the right thing. Baseball transcended race. Barack Obama did not transcend race, he singled out and focused on race, which in itself propagates racism. Until this country identifies each citizen as being human first, then whatever else next, prejudice will forever be a problem.

3) Obama claims to be a common man with common upbringings, but the man bowled a 37? The image of him at an alley, wearing a suit (sans jacket) with the sleeves rolled up, rolling balls in the gutter sickened me. Common people bowl. A 37 though? Maybe he wasn't wearing the proper attire? The last time I bowled, I was wearing a dress shirt and I threw a 200 game. Granted, I have had a lot more experience bowling in my lifetime, but any self respecting man should be able to crack the 100 pin mark with little effort. Even if you've never bowled before, you should be able to catch on, learn from mistakes, adapt and then improve. This doesn't just apply to bowling, it applies to life. His performance shows that there is little hope for learning from mistakes and adapting. Bowling is not that difficult... how will he handle real-world scenarios? Further more, the bowling episode should force common people to see him in the same light as another former presidential candidate. John Kerry claimed to be a common man and the only photos of him doing anything athletic were of him skiing, or wind surfing. I now see Obama as a cross between Bush Jr. and Kerry, and I see that individually and in combination to be a terrible leader.

Realistically, Obama would be a better candidate after another term in the Senate. He would be able to claim a more experienced political background - possibly even some experience with foreign policy. This campaign could kill his political future depending on how everything plays out and I do find that possibility disappointing. I have nothing against Obama personally, but this is not the right time for the Democratic Party to take a chance on a candidate. This country needs strong leadership in a challenging time. Either of the remaining candidates would be better choices to sit in the Oval Office. I hope the American people see this as well.

NOTE: I cannot explain how annoyed I am with this story about Obama bowling. I am willing to make this challenge. Megan has claimed to have never bowled in her life. I believe, with at least 95% confidence, that I can get her to finish a game with a score higher than 37. Motivation should be on her side as she dislikes Obama with a furious passion. I can't think of a better way for her to show her displeasure... other than through written media, i.e. her blog, where she has voiced her opinion on Obama at will.

Sick Day

Yesterday, I took the first sick day of my post doctoral career. I left work early Monday with a sore throat and the feeling of being hit by a car - and not because I had been hit by a car. Tuesday morning, I felt improvement, but decided to take the day to recuperate. Hey, I'd been here for almost 14 months and not taken a single sick day. Realistically, that was because I actually haven't been sick, not because I tend to continue to work through whatever ailment afflicting me (which I typically do).

The timing of getting the cold doesn't seem fair. I hadn't been sick in over a year and I had dropped almost thirty pounds since I started working here. Two weeks ago, I decided to make a "lifestyle change," due to rediscovering that my high blood pressure had returned. In the month leading up to this rediscovery, I had been extremely inactive, eating poorly, not drinking enough water, not sleeping properly and stressing myself out over various issues. I hadn't been to a doctor in over six years so I went in for a physical. There, I find out that I should probably be on medication. I managed to get approval from the doctor to take a trial (three month) period to try to get my blood pressure under the guideline maximum. So, I've been trying to force myself to get more than three hours of sleep a night I had been getting. I've been eating much healthier (and off of soda entirely for nearly 2 weeks now - a personal record), drinking excessive amounts of water, getting cardio workouts in about twice a week, and trying to force my stress level down by just stepping back and trying to not worry so much. Everything seemed to be on the right track and improving and, miraculously (not really), I feel better. So I do all of these good things, and I'm rewarded by catching a cold. There is no justice.

But I'm back at work now and hoping the recovery period will be short so I can stay on track with my recent health push. I am trying to lose another 2o pounds slowly over the next several months and we'll see if I have any success in dropping the old blood pressure before I keel over. Wish me luck!

On a different topic: Welcome home Megan, it's nice to have you back!