Round Peg in a Square Hole

A repository of reference material on a variety of subjects

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lab Supplies

Was just sent this site and REALLY want to qualify for the "inappropriate nocturnal use of lab equipment in the name of alternative science experimentation/communication" badge, so I'll tell you a little story about me and fleas........

The summer between my freshman and sophmore years in college, I worked at the NASA Ames Research Center, in a high vacuum lab, and shared a house with 4 other students and my then-boyfriend Biker Guy. The adventures involved in actually getting a place to live were many and varied, so, by the time we finally got the house that we stayed in for most of the summer, it could have been next door to the Manson Family and we would have taken it. As it was, it was a pretty nice house, for about two weeks. Then, the flea eggs that had evidently been in the carpet hatched and life became insane, for me, at least.

For some reason, some people are more susceptible to flea bites than others. My dad and I are on the "yummy" end of the flea's taste spectrum, while Biker Guy and most of the other tenants fell into their "won't bite on a bet" range. This meant that, while I was literaly covered in bites, they were not being bit. Being the only female in the house didn't add to my credibility; they just felt I was whining, even BG, who was not very sympathetic.

After a month or so of this, I was going a little nuts. Nothing kept the fleas off, nothing seemed to kill enough of them to make any difference. I was getting desperate. So, I hatched a plan with a friend. We smuggled a dewar of liquid nitrogen out of the lab and spent the evening pouring it over the carpets in my bedroom and the living room, trying to kill both fleas and eggs. Didn't work too well, but we did have fun freezing and shattering stuff. And my friend got the dewar back on lab the next day, with no one the wiser.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Adventures in Life--Living Out Loud

Recently got hooked on a knitblog called Crazy Aunt Purl. She's witty and funny and has chronicled the journey as she went through a divorce and a re-birth of her life, including her readers in her voyage of discovery to find herself. In doing so, she has helped others recognize and understand things in their lives, served as an example and a ground-breaker for those of us who are following her on this trek, and as an indicator of progress for those who trod this path before her. Sometimes she's spit-tea-on-your-monitor funny, sometimes sad, sometimes poigniant, often insightful, and she has cats and knits, too! What's not to love?

I've been very intrigued by her technique of "living out loud"--putting what's she's going through right out there in front of God and everybody, the good, the bad and the drunken. It's a brave way to be, and not one I've ever considered, but reading along with her adventures and ups and downs has given me new insights on myself. She is very asute and painfully honest, and I'm starting to think that this might be a better way to live.

As it turns out, CAP and I live very close to one another, but, rather than track her down and invite myself to her next party, I thought I would take the less-stalker-like approach and try meeting her at the West Hollywood Stitch and Bitch, which she attends on a frequent basis. Though I'm usually busy on Thursday nights, which is when they meet, my shrink was out of town last week, and that gave me the opportunity to finally meet Laurie and tell her how much I've enjoyed her blog.

An interesting thing happened, though: I got kind of shy, thinking about going to meet folks that I had read about on CAP and leary of meeting a whole group of new people. Since I regularly go to science fiction conventions where I know few, if any, folks, it kind of surprised me that I would feel this way. But, in trying to describe the difference to a friend, I said of SF cons, "Well, but they weren't really strangers; they were family I hadn't met yet."

So, I am left with two different revelations: SF fandom is my family, the one I've chosen, warts and all, for myself and for my future. And second, I can, and should, reach out to people, and to life, break out of the safe/known worlds and into uncertainty and possibility.