Monday, October 31, 2005


Belated news: Cubs sign Rusch

From now on, I think I am going to be doing most all of my baseball writing over at Goatriders of the Apocalypse from now on and leave this site for the usual stupid stuff that, for whatever reason, I like to write about. I'm guessing this will change come openning day, but for now I'm leaving the Cubs to GROTA.

So, anyway, click on the link. Go read what I wrote. Shower me with praise. Worship me.

You know, the usual.


Look! Links!

Become a Republican

(thanks to Joe. Careful, there's sound.)

Weirdest Story of the Day

(from Dan)

(no sound for that one)

(it's just kind of gross)

(but safe for work)

Oh, and the final link: Marathon Running

Sunday, October 30, 2005



Okay, sure, I know the 80's are supposedly back. I mean, VH1 certainly thinks so as they are shoving Teddy Ruxpin and the Rubix cube down our throats on a daily basis. But I didn't realize that they were going to come screaming back to the Corner of Grace and Wayne with such a vengence.

The setup: The Wife wants to celerate Holloween.


The real setup: The Wife is nearly unwilling to celebrate Halloween except that she can't settle on a costume. This indecision is causing a dislike of the holiday to begin to fester deep in her heart. And I want to celebrate Holloween, so I want her to want to celebrate Holloween, and so I want her to have a rockin' costume.

Got all that?

So we head to the thrift store on Belmont and Clark, Ragstock, and try to figure out a costume. The idea we headed there with was 80's girl. She has wanted to bring back the side ponytail for years and Halloween seemed the best time to do this as the mockery would be kept to a minimum. What did we find? Only the best 80's clothes! What do you get when you combine a neon orange mesh tube top, stone washed jeans with black lace patches, a flash dance sweat shirt, and neon green leg warmers? You get one rockin' 80's chick (and a hot one, at that).

That's okay, though, right? I mean, it's Halloween. Everyone dresses in a curious manner at the end of October. But what happens when it goes too far? What happens when it goes to a bad place?

What am I talking about?

She won't take the leg warmers off!

Supposedly, they keep her legs warm, which I can understand. After all, they're leg warmers. It's right there in the title! But really, it might be better to simply employ a nice blanket, or afgan, or slaughtered furry animal to warm your legs. I mean, it is far more socially acceptable to coat your legs with the corpse of a snuggwy bunny than neon green, um, anything.

And yet it's really quite cute. I can see why it caught on. So, if you're wondering where the 80's went, they're alive and well in the north of Chicago and I am putting a vote for the re-instatement of leg warmers. They're practical. Very practical. Yes, the word I'm looking for is practical.

Go 80's!

And hurray for warm legs!

And if you want to see the 80's girl and the author in costume head on over to :

Marathon Running.

Friday, October 28, 2005


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Halloween! Wee!

What makes Halloween so great? The answer, of course, is candy. Candy candy candy candy. The Wife and I are fairly obsessed with candy and Halloween is a holiday build around sugary goodness. During some of our cross country trips (which are always preceded by a trip to Mr. Bulky), we have had long discussions regarding the various pros/cons of our favorite candys. We even considered starting a candy debate seriously. It's sad. We are sad, sad people.

But anyway, back to the candy. The best candy always falls under the genre of gummy/sour (the exception being Lemonheads). You've got your Sour Patch Kids, Lifesaver Sour Gummies, and Jolly Rancher Screaming Sours (although you've got to be very careful with the Jolly Rancher selection as they can be crap). Halloween represents a departure from the usual gummy fare but that is easily made up for by the inclusion of candy corn (history of candy corn), assorted mellows, and miniaturized candy bars.

Halloween was always great when we lived in Bloomington amongst the students because there were almost no kids. Kids are really annoying because we buy all this candy and then they try and take it from us (!). It's really irritating to have to turn off all your lights and hide so that you can eat your candy in peace.

Do I have a point with all this? No, not really. I just had Halloween on my mind as the big lab party is tonight and so I started writing about it. Upon reflection, I probably shouldn't have rambled on this long about candy. I mean, really, it's not fair that you had to read this. Odds are good you probably thought I was going to have a point and then now you get to the end and there's no payoff.

Okay here, let me throw you a bone since you made it all the way through this stupid candy entry. Here's a link to an awesome site discussing the evil of Halloween and, if you scroll down, you will find a couple e-mails discussing how to witness on this most evil of all holidays. And, of course, ranting against Halloween wouldn't be complete without a visit to our favorite evangelist site, Remember kids: dress like a witch, burn in hell!

Marathon Running: The Original Marathoner (my costume is described here)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Famous Jasons

I was trying to think of a famous "Jason" and the best one I could think of ended in "and the Argonauts."

What the hell is wrong with my name? We've got a famous fictional serial killer and a guy who tried to steal some golden wool or something. And that was, like, a billion years ago.

I'm a little worried that I'm going to have to carry the whole "Jason" tribe with my burgeoning blogging fame, which may be the saddest thing I've ever written.

You know what I should do...

I should win me one of those Nobel Prize things.

Either Peace or Physics, I can't decide.

Can you win the Nobel Peace prize in blogging? What did the Dalai Lama win it for, again?


Running Blog

I've mentioned it before, but it bears mentioning again. The Wife and I have a running blog up where we track the progress of our running. Initially it was simply a digital training log, but it has expanded since we stopped training for the marathon and had lots of free time on our hands (I use "our" liberally. She has been behind most all of the site improvements).

Much of the same writing you get here can be found over at that site, except that it will be applied to discussions on running. And toenails, specifically the removal of. Plus there are lots and lots of colorful plots with charts and graphs and, well, it is all very exciting. Weee!!

You may have noticed that I have finally linked our running blog in my sidebar. Click on over and check it out.


Something "Fishy" is going on

Fermilab, the center of scientific advancement (as far as I'm concerned), is located off of I-88 in beautiful Batavia, IL. It is also, apparently, the center of some sort of double-secret military experiment, the implementation of which will sure hold grave global consequences.

Actually, that's not true. Batavia is a total wasteland.

But anyway, back to the bizarre experiments being conducted right in your backyard (assuming, that is, that your backyard is in Fermilab. I guess that's a big nevermind). The Wife and I were driving up 88 on our way to work yesterday when we noticed a truck with the words "Dolphin Cartage" printed on the back of the trailer. This struck me as odd, as I couldn't imagine why they would be carting around dolphins this far from the ocean. I forgot about it until today, when I saw the same truck.

This can't be a coincidence. For some reason dolphins are being carted into Batavia, a suburb with zero aquariums and zero large bodies of salt water. My nose smells something "fishy" going on.

I turned this over in my mind trying to make the connection. Eventually, it occurred to me that dolphins are surprisingly smart for an animal with no opposable thumbs. And then I remembered a post over at that creeped me out a bit (I recommend reading that real quick and then coming'll never be able to look at dolphins the same way again. And by "same way," I mean with that lustful look you always have that totally weirds me out. I will never, ever understand your dolphin fetish you sick, sick bastard). Alright, now that you have read that and returned, you should realize that dolphins are way smarter than you are (if you didn't make that connection, well, I bet a dolphin would have). Now, their ability to manage garbage is reason enough to fear them, no doubt. But just imagine if these little flippered menaces were subjected to The Power of the Proton.


Sounds pretty scary, doesn't it. The proton, a key ingredient in most any household cleaner, can do some pretty crazy things when accelerated to almost the speed of light (which, as everyone knows, is really, really fast). Bring a dolphin into contact with such a proton beam and god only knows what might happen. We've all seen Ghostbusters, right? Remember what happened when they crossed the streams? Well, the streams they were crossing came from Proton Packs. Just like the ones at Fermi! And dolphins are mostly made of protons! This is a recipe for disaster!!

Okay, so you may scoff at the idea. You may say: "Hey, Ghostbusters was just a movie, and dolphins are just fish." You'd be wrong, but you still might say that. After all, let's face it, you're no dolphin. I just don't envy the unprepared when a legion of super smart, proton-crossed dolphins are unleashed onto the world.

You think the military will be able to control them? Really? We're talking dolphins here! Have you seen the tricks they can do?!? They're wily, wily scamps...and that's pre-proton enhancement! I'm just saying, mankind is pretty much doomed.

I bet my army of the undead doesn't sound so silly now. While you all are being slapped silly by their rubbery flippers, I'll be sitting back and watching as they shuffle forth and feast on super-intelligent mammal brain.

Yep, "always be prepared", that's my motto. That and "always keep a zombie army handy."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Science Fairs are dumb

Did I ever mention that I once got second place in the Science Fair?

Second place...sounds pretty good. After a long history of painful failure in any event that features tri-paneled foam core board, plastic letters, and some sort of preparation and follow through, 2nd place should be a revelation. Oh, if you only knew the truth.

To understand where I come from, some history might be helpful.

Let's look back, shall we?

3rd Grade Invention Contest:

We are supposed to come up with an idea for an invention and build it. Now that sounds like great fun! I get to built an invention from scratch, tell a story about why it would be useful, and then it would get displayed in the hallway and people would vote on who's invention is the best. This is better than a field trip!

The first part of the project was the building. This was to take place at home and then be brought in the next day. No problem, I'm the kid that loves to tinker (tinker means "break things," right?)! I was totally in my element. Totally. Totally, totally, totally.


unfortunately, life is rarely that simple. You see, I'm also the kid that likes to procrastinate. This trait, it seems, tends to dominate most any situation in my life. In my defense, it's not like I didn't *do* the project. Quite the opposite. I did the hell out of the project once I remembered it was due the next day...right before my bedtime. You'd be surprised how many kick-ass inventions are whipped out in 10 minutes.

The end result? "The Automatic Punching Machine," fashioned out of a Budweiser Box (my parents must have been bursting with pride), a barbell, and a boxing glove. The bar sticks through the box, the glove goes on one end, and you can push on the other end! Viola, you are punching! That, my friends, is an engineering marvel.

Sadly, the world wasn't ready for my invention and I lost the competition. Apparently, I was a victim of my own genius, much like Di Vinci before me, except that I don't share a name with a Ninja Turtle (and I'm not sure if he was exactly a victim, per se).

This was just the first case of me bringing shame down upon my family.

Fast forward to 4th grade...

Science Fair #1:

I had one of the all time classic experiments. You've got your sugar, you've got your salt, and you've probably got some other crap (what can I say, it's been awhile). Which one conducts electricity the best? Weee!

I've got to say, my Dad was right on with this one. He took me to Radio Shack, helped me build this whole circuit thing with a battery pack and wires on a board with a lightbulb, but he also let me do the work so I wouldn't be one of those kids. It was great and I was quite proud of the whole thing.

Then it was the special day. I packed up the foam core and the apparatus and headed off to school. The project was set up down in the Old Gym (it's official name. And yes, there was a New Gym) and when it was time to head down to be judged, I puffed up my chested and got ready to win a ribbon. Except I was missing one thing. Actually, I was missing several things, all related. It seems I had forgotten the distilled water, salt, sugar...anything that I had actually used in this grand experiment. I ran to the teacher; surely she could help! But alas, all she could suggest was that maybe there was something in the teachers lounge.

No! The teacher's lounge was barren and I had nothing to show the judge.

So when the judges came by, they just had to take my word for it that it was truly a magnificent experiment.

And then they purple ribboned me. The ribbon read "participation," but all I could see was "welcome to the ranks of the unwashed masses."

The family shame was building, but it would truly peak 3 years later...

Science Fair #2

It was 7th grade, or as I like to call it, the nadir of my existence. I'm reasonable certain that not one thing went well that year and the Science Fair was no exception.

I couldn't decide what sort of experiment would be the best to half-ass, so the teacher helped me out. She suggested I experiment with Paramecium, those little squiggly things that you have to look at through a microscope. Sounds easy, sign me up!

I don't remember much regarding the experiment itself. You see, I've blocked most of the 12th year of my life from my memory as is typical of survivors of traumatic experiences. The less I remember of my little mulletty haircut and too-short pants the better. But we aren't here to discuss the many ways I visually assaulted the community of Fort Wayne as a child, but rather to discuss my scientific shortcomings. The facts as I remember them:

I remember using those little glass slides, a microscope, and squirting some Paramecium water with a squirter thing. If I recall correctly, I was trying to gauge how the little squiggly things reacted to different environmental stimuli. Also, I remember that Vaseline either was one of those environmental stimuli, or I just used that to keep the Paramecium confined to their various environments. All I know is somehow I used Vaseline and Paramecium in the experiment (insert lubricant/paramecium joke here).

So anyway, back to environmental stimulation. I sat down the little Paramecium under the microscope, peeled back their little Paramecium eyes, and forced them to watch endless reruns of Full House all the while blaring the 1812 Overture over the loud-speakers.

...suffice to say, they all exploded (or "lysed", as it is knowing in the cellular world).

Okay, that didn't really happen, but I'm 90% sure I would have gotten first place if I had the wherewithal to try that out. Instead, I think I used some stupid chemicals and checked to see if they moved around in response. Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure it was lame.

And so the big day came and I made the big three-paneled board and waited to be judged. Somehow I was place in the "psychology" category. My results were presented and there were many nods and what-have-you, and then it was over. The end result? 2nd place.

I should be happy with that, right? I mean, only the total nerd-boys get first and so I was able to succeed while still remaining "cool."


(Sorry, I can't say that with a straight face. No amount of science fair could bring me within shouting distance of cool).

Sure, 2nd is generally good, but the problem with this is that I was the only person in my category. In essence, I lost to the absence of me. The contest was actually degradation by my presence. I was the original Billy Madison.

Now, that's tough to live down. Most people would be crushed by that sort of scientific failure, but not this kid. No, I took the high road and vowed revenge against scientific community (okay, so maybe "high road" is a stretch). I would prove my worth. I threw myself into the sciences, mastering the nuances of the physical world, earning my degree, and surpassing those who deemed me "unfit to do science."

After securing my degree, I began my work in High Energy Physics, the branch of physics that delves deeply into the fundamental forces of nature. I dug deeper and deeper into this world, and unlocked the secrets of life (you know, pretty much anyway). With this knowledge securely in hand, I have finally begun to implement my plan.

They think they're better than me? They think I'm a second rate scientist?

We'll see who's second rate once my army is complete.

Ever encounter a swarm of Flesh-Eating Paramecium?

It ain't pretty.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Rooting for the Sox?

Not for me. And lots of people don't understand. They figure that the Sox are in Chicago and so I should root for the good ol' Chicago team. Whatever.

Mike H. had a good explaination for why this doesn't make sense. If the Cubs move to Peoria, I'm not going to suddenly start rooting for the Sox just because they are in Chicago. I'm not a Chicago sports fan, I'm a Cubs fan. I root for laundry.

Anyway, as I watch the Star Spangled Banner at "the other" ballpark, it makes me sad. It makes me sad that the Cubs couldn't get there first. It makes me sad that I still have to wait for success.

All in all, there is a lot of bitterness over here at the Corner of Grace and Wayne (if you think I'm bitter, The Wife just called her dad to say "Yeah, I'm just watching the stupid Sox at stupid whatever stupid field. Stupid stupid stupid. Whatever, it's so stupid.")

Lots of bitterness. I need an Oldstyle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Finally, the Race Report

Sorry this is so late. The race was such a big deal that I wanted to write a really nifty race report that was carefully crafted and well thought out. While those are lovely intentions, it really just ended up being something that is likely to never get finished. This is also posted over at my training blog, Marathon Running.

With that...

The Race Report

Phase 1: Jason Feels good

I was a little surprised at the start of this race. When Leah and I ran the Indianapolis Half Marathon, I can remember standing in my start corral doubting my readiness. I believe my actual thoughts as they fired the start gun in Indy were: "Wait, we can't start yet, what if I'm not ready?!?" It wasn't just that I was worried about my running shape, but I was worried that maybe I did something wrong and didn't tie my shoes tight enough or would have to pee. In Chicago, I didn't have any of those fears (although, as it turns out, I should have). I felt mostly ready to start and wasn't especially concerned about how far we had to go before we crossed the finish line. This lack of fear and nervousness is really suprising given what I know of myself.

The first mile went amazingly fast. It seemed like we went down a little hill, under a bridge, and then *boom*, the first mile marker. That was a great feeling and made me feel like this marathon thing would be a breeze (note to self: respect the distance, dammit!!) . We saw our intrepid crew of spectators for the first time shortly after and that was all a blur. I saw Scott and Sue at the front and then the only other person I saw was Leah's Aunt Donna as I hurled my long sleeve t-shirt at her face (sorry about that). We just passed them so quickly I couldn't take everyone in. I made a mental note to make sure I made contact with my niece the next time we saw her so that she wouldn't be disappointed.

After the first, the miles really just melted away for awhile. As we passed through downtown and headed north, I was really pleased to find that my legs felt pretty decent and I didn't have to work out too many kinks. I was just completely absorbed in the enormity of the event and the shear volume of people watching me run. Honestly, it was a little surreal. Before I knew it, I was approaching our neighborhood. One of my favorite memories from the race was running up Sheridan and running directly alongside the running path where we did all of our training. I felt like I should cross the road and hopped on the path (I didn't, though).

Around mile 6 or 7 I became very aware of the fact that Leah and I hadn't been talking much during this run. She had mentioned some knee stiffness but hadn't said much beyond that and so I was hoping that she was doing alright. Conversation wasn't really an option, however, as I was just too overwhelmed to have any intelligent thoughts or the ability to form words.

The next encounter with our spectator team was at mile 8-ish. They positioned themselves on the wall at the corner of Addison and Broadway and this time we spotted them in time for me to see everyone. We both waved like maniacs and I shouted my niece's name as she was perched on my Dad's shoulders. And then they were gone and we were running up Broadway, a street we'd been down hundreds of times before.

There were an unbelievable number of spectators lining the streets of the North side including dancing drag queens and men dressed as cheerleaders. It was an amazing amount of fun. The crowd carried us for awhile but around mile 11 or 12 Leah started to get a little down as she mentioned in her report below. I wanted to try and help since I was feeling good, but I still had the little problem of being unable to form sentenced. The best advice I could give was to note that if we kept going, the miles would just go away. Apparently, it worked, so that makes me happy. Sometime between mile 11 and 16 it got quiet and I got a little desperate for some conversation, so I shared the only thought I had been having for the past 3 miles or so. My "conversation starter": "Hey, you know what I've been thinking about for the last half hour? Bob Loblaw." If that makes no sense, say it out loud (if it still doesn't make sense, say it faster). Don't blame me, it's from a TV show.

Anyway, mile 16 was long but that was really the only tough mile before mile 20. I started to drag a bit at mile 20 but I knew that in the 21-22 mile range we would have more spectators. And sure enough, first we saw our good friend Corey and her little baby at 21 and then at mile 22 we saw our road crew again. What you can't tell from reading these race reports is how absolutely amazing the road crew was. They were the best part of the race (except maybe the finishing part). But then we passed them, and the only thing between us and the end was lots of pavement.

At some point, I can't pinpoint exactly when, my quad started to go bad. I actually think it was at mile 18, but I'm not sure. Anyway, one spot on my quad tightened up badly and I could feel it with every stride. It sort of felt like it was going to burst out of my leg at some point and I was a little concerned, although I knew Leah had gone through the same thing in training and had survived. If she ran 6 weeks with this problem, then I could run 6 miles.

Phase 2: Jason goes Bye-Bye

Remember that "respect the distance" thing I mentioned earlier? Well, I respect it fully now, because it is a long, long way to go and I felt it all at the end. I'm not sure what changed, but my breathing started to get a bit ragged around mile 22 or so. Leah claims she never heard me breathing, but it was loud and clear in my head. Except the clear part, that's not true. It was loud and wheezy in my head. I was a little worried. Never in any of my long training runs did I run out of breath. The problems always involved leg, back, or shoulder aches and pains, but never breathing. I think it may have been caused by the quad thing as those nagging pains can be very distracting and make the running seem harder than it actually is. Regardless of the cause, I was worried. For the first time, I started to be very concerned that I wouldn't be finishing the race without walking a significant portion of it (which I very much didn't want to do). This, however, was also the point where Leah started to feel much better and kept on running like a pro. My only goal in this race was to finish with Leah, and so I was going to have to keep running as well. Oh God.

Phase 3: Thank God Leah kept running, because I died somewhere back there

Mile 23: Man, only 3 miles to go, this is the distance that I always say is easy if you can get there because then one mile later there are only 2 miles to go and anyone can run 2 miles. As it turns out, this is complete and total bullshit. The only actual thought going through my head at mile 23 was how I would never make it and that the thought of running 2 more miles once I got to the next mile marker...well, that's just stupid. There was absolutely no way that I could run 3 more miles, but Leah just kept on running, and so I did too.

That's the nice thing about running: it's easy. You just put one foot in front of the other.

Mile 24: I want to walk. We very briefly pause to walk at an aid station, but it is not as long as I was planning. However, Leah is saying that we are almost done and wants to press on, and so do I. I really don't want to let on to how badly I'm doing. I never, ever like to be the one to slow us down. The spectators mock me with cries of "You're almost there, you can do it." Actually, no, I'm not almost done and I can't make it; clearly you are mistaken. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but it just seems so far and I am basically dead. Right now I owe everything to Leah. She is the only reason I'm still running.

Mile 25: We cross the 25 mile marker and I know that I should feel relief. After all, there are only 1.2 miles to go and so we are practically done. However, I don't feel that way. Part of the problem is that we are still in the numbered street and I know we have to get to Roosevelt, but in my head the numbered streets have to go all the way to zero before I get to Roosevelt. This is not actually the case, and of course it doesn't matter because a mile is a mile, but right now logic is not my friend. Logic is for people who can breath.

Mile 25.2: The "One Mile Left" marker!!!!! Only 2 minutes have passed between the 25 and 25.2 mile marker, but it seems so different. I know I can run a mile because it becomes a half mile so quickly and then a quarter mile, and then done. We are cruising now and passing all the people who went out too fast and are now walking. The crowd is screaming all around us and we are going to make it! In a couple more minutes we will be marathoners! We start to approach Roosevelt and I can see the runners starting to make the turn and head up the hill. I know at the top of the hill is the 26 mile marker and then, of course, the finish line. We make the turn and hey! This hill's not that bad. We surge past dozens of walkers and make it halfway up the hill when we spot our road crew again! Hey, they made it! A little extra surge and we reach the 26 mile marker. The finish line is in sight. All I can think is "Come on finish, please hurry" and "you're almost there, don't stop now."

Mile 26.2: We made it. Alright then, I'm ready to sit down.

And a half hour later I finally do get to sit down.

This was probably the most amazing thing I have ever down. I know it was the hardest. But we both made it and crossed the finish line together. Leah and I made a great team as I felt good for the first 20 miles, and she felt good for the last 6.2. Running partners don't come much better.

The winners!


Why CNN rules

Where do more Americans turn to than any other network for anti-Canadian fervor?

Alright, anti-Canadian may be a bit extreme, but this was a rather hilarious bit of reporting on the part of CNN.

Note: I apparently have been assimilated into the blogging community. Below you will find me criticizing the media for bad reporting while doing no actual research or reporting of my own. This is a classic blogging technique and I'm thrilled to finally sink to this level.
First off, the headline:

Canada 'among worst polluters'

Yeah, Canada totally sucks. I mean, they are 28 out of 30 ranked countries when it comes to emissions, water consumption, and some other nasty stuff.

God, what is Canada's problem? 28 out of 30? That's just pathetic.

But just out of curiosity, which coutry is 30 out of 30? Oh, right, the US.

I love that an American news organization goes with the headline "Canada amoung worst polluters" rather than "United States worst polluter." It is just this sort of unjustified jab at Canada that helps keep those moose-lovers in their place.

But wait, I've got more!

NFL earns lowest grade, WNBA receives highest in study

What is the study? It is a study on opportunities for women and minorities in sports.


This, clearly, is an important study into the culture of sports. I mean, I'll never understand why the NFL isn't as open to employing women as the Women's National Basketball League. If the WNBA is willing to open their doors to women, maybe it is time for the NFL to follow suit.

This, of course, is the best ratings the WNBA has earning in its long, proud history.

Note: When I started this post, I really thought I would be able to do more more with these stories. I think I just followed to second rule of blogging: saying "this is really funny" is just as good as actually being funny and with half the work!


How do you exorcize a ghost from your bedroom?

In a follow up to yesterday's post regarding the ghost, I think we managed to drive it out of our bedroom. And how, you may ask, does one drive out such a thing?

Robot Vacuum Cleaner.

No really, it works. And I'm pretty sure the Bible will back me up on this. Check out Corinthians.

or maybe Leviticus.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Terror at 40 feet

It was scary time at the Stately Wayne Manor last night and fear was in the house.

The Wife and I were laying in bed going through the very Brady ritual of reading our respective books by our respective bedside lights and everything seemed nice and normal. At some point I went and grabbed the cat and brought her into the mix where she lay on The Wife, submitting herself to various pettings and stratchings. Nothing strange there, it was just another normal night...or was it?

(it wasn't)

For, you see, our cat, Dagny, is usually overly affectionate. There is often much nuzzling and head-butting (very similar in this respect to the WWF) and she won't stay still, often to the point of wanting to throw her against the wall (but that would be wrong). Normally, normally this is what she would do...but this was no normal night!

(see, told you)

Dagny lay there like a good kitty but she was clearly somewhat distressed. Her ears were back and she looked none too happy. This was not the little ball of freakishly excessive energy we were used to but, you know, cats are dumb. I didn't make much of it. And then it happened.

(pause to build tension...)


Getting up for a pre-sleep pit stop, The Wife tried to pass the cat over to me. But she wouldn't go. She starts growling and hissing and so we pull her back. No more growling. Move her back towards me and she is all stiff legged and angry and then when she is forced onto my chest (just to see what happens) she jumps straight up, claws out, and bolts.

Hmmmm...not the sort of behavior we've come to expect from the cat. Naturally our first thought is that some sort of animal has infiltrated the bedrooms (this, btw, is not a good thought to have at bedtime). So we start peeling the covers back bit by bit and it takes all my self control not to do the little mincing "oh god there's a rodent in our bedroom" dance and put on a nonchalant face. It's pretty hard to recover from a mince, so it has to be avoided at all costs.

All the covers are off and so far no animals. We check under the bed, under the mattress, around the bed and nothing. We put the covers and sheets by the cat to determine if they were bothering her. Nothing. I go lay on the couch to see if she will come to me away from the bed. No problem, she's fine with Couch Jason.

And so, naturally, we're confused. Who wouldn't be? So far we've eliminated large animals and intruders and have determined that the calls were not, in fact, coming from inside the house. What was left? Hell if I know. All I knew for sure was that I didn't want to wake up in a tub full of ice with my kidney removed.

In the end, we are both scientists, so we decided to do some further experimentation. We re-assembled the bed covers in an attempt to recreate the situation. Then, I lay on my side of the bed and we tried to put the cat on my chest again. Same response (claws and generally hissiness). The Wife on my side of the bed? Sure, the cat has no problem with that. Me on her side of the bed? That's okay too. So apparently the problem is with me being on my side of the bed.

The answer was pretty obvious at this point. Clearly we had some sort of ghost and that ghost had positioned itself right by my usual sleeping place. I wasn't too thrilled about this, but it was getting late and so I figured I was just going to have to live with it. After much debate about the relative merits of sleeping with a ghost versus sleeping in the living room, I decided it would be best to go with the Scooby Doo ending.

Me: Let's see who this ghost really is!

Pulls off scary ghost mask

The Wife and I in unison: Mr. McGreevey, the landlord!

Me: But why would he do it?

The Wife: Mr. McGreevey wanted to try and scare us away so he could raise the rent on the next tenant. He thought that if we thought the apartment was haunted, we'd try to break the lease. But he couldn't fool Dagny, right girl?

Dagny: *meow*

Wife and I in unison: Right!

Mr. McGreevey: And it would have work, too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

Me: Another mystery solved! Whadya say you and I head down to the local diner and share a malt.

Wife: Fuckin' A!

Monday, October 17, 2005


Sox Nation?

I don't think so.

If you listen to the radio around Chicago, you would think that this is a Sox town. Every station is proclaiming the greatness that is the White Sox. One morning radio duo even referred to the celebrating fans as "White Sox Nation."

Oh, come on.

You don't get to be a "Nation" when you have 14,000 empty seats in September. If your fans can't be bothered to come to the park until there is a chance for a World Series, then you don't deserve the label "White Sox Nation."

Let me just say that I envy the Cub fans that don't have to live in Chicago and see the words "White Sox" on every overpass and every building south of downtown. Where were these signs during the season, when the Sox were the best team in baseball?

Yes, the White Sox are a good team. However, there is no reason to pretend that Chicago loves the Sox.

We don't.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


A Tale of Two Teams

So there's two teams playing in Chicago right now:

Good Bears and Evil Bears.

(White Sox? Blackhawks? I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about)

The Good Bears played today and destroyed the Vikings 28-3. This is the same Bears team that dominated the Lions in week two. Unfortunately, more times than not the Evil Bears take the field. And the Evil Bears suck. They suck real bad.

That is the extent of the analysis offered on this site when it comes to football.

Good Bears==Good.

Evil Bears==Bad.

I hope that is clear. Go Good Bears!

Friday, October 14, 2005


Toes of Lavender

The next existential comedy from David O'Russell?

I wish.

That would be much funnier than anything you will find here. Nope, all I've got here is reality, my friends. Cold, stark reality and some moderately gross details. However, if you're really lucky, maybe I'll throw in a joke or limerick or something (but I wouldn't count on it).

Okay, here we go...

The marathon was angry that day, that much I know. The streets were pounding upwards against the bottoms of my feet as I glided gently above. I don't know why the path decided to take its asphalty rage out on my feet, but I do know the result. Two toe nails that belong in a Crayola box, not at the end of my piggies.

The smaller one I am ignoring. On my left foot the adolescent older brother of the cute little pinky toe is damaged beyond repair, but nobody pays any attention to the middle child. That nail will just have to fall off on its own. No, that toe is not the one that has filled my heart with sorrow; it is the demise of Generalissimo Big Toe, the captain of my right foot.

I removed my shoes and socks after the 26.2 miles of pounding to find that either my toe had been holding its breath the whole run (which I find unlikely for obvious reasons (there's no way my toe could hold its breath for four hours)) or I had a blood blister under the nail.

It ended up being the blood blister thing.

The pain didn't seem too bad at first, but that was just because everything south of the border was inflamed. It wasn't until the pain receded from the rest of my lower extremities that I noticed my big toe was still throbbing. Shoes were not an option...I am the last guy left wearing sandals in October.

I managed to ignore it for 2 days but the possibility of not being able to run for weeks because of a toe was beginning to creep into my mind. I decided that it was either the nail or me, and when faced with this decision I always go with "nail." And so the nail has been impaled.

How, you ask?

The Wife took up a straightened paper clip and held it to a flame. Once the paper clip began to glow she thrust it into the offending nail like a hot knife into butter (or, alternately, like a hot paper clip into nail. Turns out they both melt pretty easily).

Note: I am leaving out the part where she had to try five times to get the hole deep enough and that when she did I yelped like a little girl. I don't think that's relevant to the story. Anyway, here comes the part where stuff oozes.
Once the nail was lanced blood and goo spurted like a geyser, coating the walls (I exaggerate...but there was blood and goo!).

Plunging my foot into water, the toe was drained by squeezing out little fountains of red. This continued until the color of my right big toes matched my left. Victory! The blood blister had been vanquished and the pressure relieved. I was once again lord of my foot and wielded absolute power over my toes.

So allow me to put forth a warning to all future blood blisters:

Should you attempt to infiltrate any part of my general toe region at any point in the future, you will be impaled a deadly combination of hot paper clip and extreme prejudice.


Monday, October 10, 2005



I meant to mention that the Wife has written up a race report over at our blog. I think it captures the in-race thoughts very well.

Jason and Leah Run


The aftermath

This is not the race report. I do have plans to work up a full race report in the next week, but I want to wait until I have a few pictures to throw in there and I plan to write it up right. After all, it took me 10 months of training to run this thing, so I think I can take a few days to sum it up.

First off, the number:


Not too bad. Just under 10 minute miles which is exactly what we trained for. The most important number, of course, is 26.2. 26.2 miles is long no matter how fast you run it.

My next goal is a sub-4 marathon and the long term goal is to qualify for Boston.

Did I like it? Let's just say this: The day after running 26.2 miles the Wife and I hobbled down to the local Borders and bought a new book, Advanced Marathoning.

Saturday, October 08, 2005




Wednesday, October 05, 2005


The Nobel Prize in Physics

...not just for huge geeks anymore!

Actually, that's not true. It's still reserved for big science-y nerd types. Otherwise they would probably call it the Nobel Prize in Beer Bonging.

So, anyway, a couple of Americans and a German shared the prize this year, winning for the use of "lasers" in optics. These "lasers" were utilized in the development of, among other things, the optical frequency comb. This quickly became the second most important comb in the physics community, second only to the moustache comb.

*ba dum bum*

(Because, you see, physicists have a reputation for liking the facial hair)

(It's funny...really.)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Plans to take over the world still in effect

I just wanted to clear a few things up, just in case it wasn't clear that I am still fully in control.

You see, yes, it is true that I recently lost an "election" because I got fewer "votes" than "everyone," but it is not true that I'm a loser. I may have lost, but I'm not a loser. Not the same thing.

You see, this is all part of my rather clever plan to infiltrate the Graduate Student political arena from the outside. Sure, the Wife will attend their quaint little "meetings," but the ideas she advances will not be her own. Unbeknownst to her (and she doesn't know about this, so shhhhhh) the ideas she thinks are hers will actually be mine, having been placed in her head in a most subtle manner. Carefully crafted will be my plan and none will be the wiser.

And then I will unleash my army of the undead.

...they thought they could play me for the fool. Let's see how they like it when the dead rise from the grave to feast on the brains of the insolent. Not so funny now, is it?



But I'm getting off the subject. The point is, I have amassed a Zombie army, they will eat brains, and this day will be rued.

(for those of you who may have noticed that this conflicts a bit with my previous post: I considered comporting myself with a quiet dignity and grace, but in the end I decided to go with the Zombie army. Takes a little more effort, but I'll save a fortune in hats)

Monday, October 03, 2005


Political Career off to a Rocky Start

The local Graduate Student organization election has come and gone and it wasn't good for Jason.

The Wife and I both decided to run for the GSA, the graduate student counsel here at Fermilab. We both figured it would be a fun thing to do. Mostly it is an exercise in planning parties and finding ways to get free food into the hands of grad students (who, it so happens, live off free food), but more than that it is a springboard into the political arena.

For this writer, however, the political path has become clouded. I blame a flawed system. A system where all that matters is who got the most votes, not who is the best looking. What sort of election process is based on substance and not aesthetics?

Absurd, I tell you.

Just absurd.

All was not lost, though. The Wife pulled out a glorious victory and snatched up one of the five elected positions. She will carry forth the Grace and Wayne name into the seedy political underbelly of Fermi. Our agenda will be advanced.

Oh yes, it will.

*looks upwards thoughtfully*

But with the wife being elected and the husband (that's me) being left on the sidelines, I am put in an unusual position. I am now the Eleanor to her Franklin, the Martha to her George. And so I must carry myself with dignity that my situation demands. I see myself as the Jackie O type. I will exhibit a quiet grace and a style that demands the attention of the American public.

Grace? Yes, grace. Bill, are you listening? You might want to keep an eye on how I handle this, as you are going to be in the same situation in '08.

Grace...that's the key. That and a snappy hat.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


A Plea

I need help.

So, as I understand it, the Yankees have now clinched the AL East (dammit dammit dammit) and Boston has clinched the Wild Card. However, the Yankees and Red Sox have the same record. I'm really confused as to why these two teams with identical records are not getting ready for a one game playoff. All I can guess is that this is being decided by the head to head record between these two teams, but I don't recall that happening ever before.

I've tried to find the answer myself, not wanting to depend on the kindness of strangers, but thus far to no avail. As far as I can tell, nobody else feels that anything unusual is going on.

So, if you know anything, drop an explaination in the comments box.

Help me out.

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