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I have been a little distracted lately. I didn’t get that illustrious fellowship I applied for a while ago…so, it’s on to plan b–flood the x-ray community with cover letters and vitae. Jerry was waxing about how wonderful it is to have “a lever” at this point in your career, where you can choose what you want to do and where to go…I honestly just want a regular old job that’s not in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve begun to second-guess what I always thought a job should entail. One of my old U of M buddies once described his work after chemical engineering as means for providing for his hobbies. At the time, I internally scoffed at such a dreary-sounding future, but it sort of makes sense sometimes. “Real” physicists have a reputation for living in their labs, and while I respect that image, I just feel it’s not me. Although I often feel like I should if I want to be “successful.”

Speaking of worrying, Lester’s got it bad lately. After a bit of research, his symptoms fit perfectly with feline psyogenic alopecia. This was exacerbated by the fleas earlier, but he’s on advantage now and I haven’t seen or felt fleas in weeks. If it is what I think it is, the root cause is, regrettably, Echo. Or maybe it’s just ptsd from Smudge terrorizing him earlier. In any case, he’s been looking pretty threadbare ever since the other cat’s been around. Hopefully it will go away when Kate returns from Shung-hai. (that’s how she pronounces it at least)


(I guess this is a review or recap of some sort) Went to Tutta Bella and Chapel last night–both were long overdue. Tutta Bella is sort of in the vein of Buca di Beppo, except the food’s good. The pizza was nicely smoky with the right ratio of toppings to crust. The sauce was chunky and not candy-sweet like most chains (especially this one). I had one with prosciutto that had some fresh arugula thrown on top. It was good, but not as good as Andrea’s custom anchovy pie. Chapel is one of those froofy hipster bars endemic to Seattle, but once I got over my fear of froofy hipsters, I kind of dug its over-the-top atmosphere and ridiculously long drink list. Andrea got a rosemary/olive/lemon ‘left bank’ martini, while I opted for the more friendly-sounding (and tasting) cantaloupe-infused vodka martini. Well, the cats are making me sleepy so that’s all I have to say. Oh yeah, and here’s a video of some pool tricks with an annoying soundtrack. (Adam should like that)


flea.JPGSo, I have fleas in my apartment. I don’t know how they got there, but it’s been a real pain to get rid of them. Knowing they’re around makes my skin crawl, so I’ve been trying quite hard to deal with them. Right now I am stuck in the basement/laundry room in our apartment complex, chilling with the bears for four hours until that toxic fog settles down. I’ve washed everything in the house, and now I have to wash everything in the kitchen to be safe. Yeesh. Anyways, props to the exterminators for not giving me any guff when I called up and asked for some additional work. They were here within three hours and did it for free. Kind of wish I had planned ahead and brought some dvd’s and a sixer down here though. (just kidding…mostly)


Thanks to all my buddies who’ve had ferocious colds recently, I’ve finally broken down and gotten one for myself. Such fun! Fortunately, I have trained the cats to prepare tea and hot water bottles when necessary. Not the monkey servants I’ve always dreamt about, but they’ll do.

Let’s see what else…oh it’s very nice and fall-like in Seattle, if you couldn’t piece it together from the photo of an ivy-infested aparatment down the street. It usally gets soggy before the weather gets truly crispy so I’m trying to enjoy it. This usually consists of longingly watching the red square webcam from either one of my windowless offices in the physics building. Occasionally I wander up to the 5th floor walkway (no more access to the roof) where there’s a nice view.


On the other side you can see Mt. Ranier, which never ceases to amaze even when it’s framed by buildings and such.

(for those of you who are thinking, ‘big deal, I see that shit everyday,’ I like to give a little Seattle flavor to my mom who I know reads this site…hell, she has an RSS feed for cryin’.)

pancakes.JPG Oh yeah and I have been cooking some–made some beef stew (ok c’etait boeuf bourgionne), some ricotta meatballs, and some buckwheat pancakes (that’s some more of that ridiculously creamy ricotta on top) in the last few days…which probably confirms how much of a loser I can be when I have time on my hands..Anyways, I hope this weather keeps up. I hope you all had a nice halloween, and special thanks to Susan for loaning me her Angelina Jolie mask. (why am I getting all confessional sounding? I hope this isn’t a trend towards a more emo-tim…)

Well, I do have a tiny home…um, so as I mentioned earlier, I got this little faux surround sound speaker system from this small company in Massachusettes. It’s pretty cute and a pretty good fit for me (cheap and lacking space). So far, not bad: the surroundiness can be a little breathtaking, but can be taken a little too far.  Let’s review the test of the mini ZVOX, gentle readers:zvox.JPG

  • My Thang (James Brown) : With the phase cue knob cranked all the way, that opening gong really shimmers from one side of the room to the other.  Bass is really rich…tweeters do sound like they’re coming from my sides.  Pretty good so far…let’s check that middle range..
  • Neighborhood #3 (Arcade Fire) : Bass is a little heavier here than I like, but it does sound a lot more ‘live’…It appears I’m going to be a lot more sensitive to levels now than before.
  • Desert Search for Techno Allah (Mr. Bungle) : verrrry nice.  Basically testing every possible type of music with this one song.  Much better than with my giant blue+gray aiwa, with a nice restrained echo.
  • Only Shallow (My Bloody Valentine) : mostly ok.  Haven’t heard any static here, but the surroundiness of the overdubbed guitars is making me a little seasick (maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be?)
  • Star Witness (Neko Case) : This is where the zvox shines.  Neko sounds rich and shimmery.  I suspect that this system will work better for acoustic stuff than ‘wall of sound’ type productions.
  • The Wire, season III : …and whatdyaknow–it dramatically improves the sound and feel of dvd’s (well, it was the mono output from my tv previously).  If you have not seen this show yet, give it a shot–but start from the beginning.  It’s a ridiculously complex show with a million characters, each of which is more well-rounded than 99% of what you’ve seen so far.

Ok, you’ve made it this far: here’s a special-extra-bonus picture of a present Echo left me this morning.  She really, really hates toilet paper.



Andrea’s allergic to cats so I’ve been using this throw on my bed to keep them away. (especially the fuzzy echo) Apparently it’s not working. Bonus points: Lester really wanted in on the picture and he barely got into the frame while I was shooting at 1 second exposure. (yeah, it’s a bit blurry)

(huh, that could be the title for pretty much any of my posts)


Snapped that picture before leaving Argonne. Julie has a couple gadgets for making fancy coffee, frothy milk, espresso.. there’s a suggested donation of 50 cents, but (much like the shop’s coffee supply) I tend to just stick a twenty in the cup every now and then. Looks like I was due…

I got beat twice at putting up my first post on Metafilter, but I’ll just give you the gist here:

NY Times article on some maverick new reasons for why people are fat (microbes?!)

another article on Grisha, a topologist who pioneered the solution to one of math’s greatest problems and then disappeared into the woods. Oh yeah, and he’s probably going to win the Fields prize next week.

On a personal note–I got to try this guy‘s recipe for a Thai influenced pork and watermelon salad (that uses the rind!) someday. Feel free to disagree, but I think the flavors could be really good on that one.

Kate emailed and she misses her bear, so I’ve put a picture I snapped while we watching a documentary about Elvis. (waitaminute, Kate also mentioned that the Chinese government doesn’t allow wordpress sites..oh well, I’ll put it up anyways)