I'm a monster by towelrack_icons

Kobe Bryant Assaulted Me! Arrest Him Before Game 5!

I figure if I have to have two black eyes, I'd better get something out of them, so if I can make false accusations removing the MVP (*sigh*) from tonight's Jazz playoff game, that will be sufficient justice, I think.

Actually, I guess I don't technically have two black eyes--just two swollen ones that should be black eyes, but the skin hasn't really changed color. One "black" eye was expected, since it was just below the surgery site, but spreading over to the other eye is causing some hilarity. It's also causing me to delay the overall surgical report--freezing tissue is cool!--because I kind of can't see straight to type for very long (arrest Kobe!), but overall things went well and the hilarious doctor is well-pleased. Accusing me of overdoing it post-surgery (how much can you overdo it if your surgery was performed in the doctor's office with some lidocaine? Now if you'll excuse me, I need a nap), he has demanded that I repeat the following mantra: "I'm sick. No, really, I'm sick. I should go lie down for a little while." He's obviously very into holistic healing.

While I'd planned to post pics of the exciting surgical interventions, I think you'll thank me for not doing so. Let's just say I could plug the Matrix in through my forehead right now. But my first stitches are pretty damn impressive, so I've been lumbering around saying, "Fire BAAAAAD" for my own amusement. I'll be glad when they come out, since they freak me out with their bristly-ness every time I touch them.

Anyway--if Kobe plays tonight, you'll know I've failed. Or that my eyes swelled shut enough that I couldn't see the police lineup and fake identify him.
Dick score by teh_indy

Every Cloud Has a Silver Tumor

Had been getting a wee bit nervous about the excision of the cancer, largely because it's the unknown (what if Godzilla attacks in the middle of things and all of the medical professionals run, abandoning me half-scooped? What do I do then? It could happen.) Have had a realization, however, that makes if all fluffy and warm.

Our spinning instructor has been making noises all week about how we're having not one but two Race Days next week. This sounded foreboding, a suspicion born out when someone finally explained that this means going at 85-92% of maximum heart rate for the entire ride. Oof. So I'd started stewing about being the only person to slide off my bike on Race Day, or being the person who gets dropped off the back of the pack first.

And then it came to me (in the shower, no less)--according to the little pamphlet on the scooping, there's no way I'm going to be allowed to "race" less than 24 hours after the scooping for fear that blood will shoot across the room from the new Matrix plug-in in my head. Say it with me--"I'm so sorry, I can't do Race Day--I have the cancer."

geek warning by iconic_notions

Do Not Sell Books to This Woman

In less rage-related matters...

The lovely ciachick711 passed on this interesting list of LibraryThing's 106 books most often marked unread by users. I am a little mortified to compare the list to my own reading history (perhaps spending too much time under the covers with a book and a flashlight could explain the need for extreme spinning now? Or perhaps spending more time under the covers with a book and a flashlight could have prevented sun exposure and, therefore, the cancer?). In my defense, I do have an English degree, which explains several of these. Books I haven't read in bold; completed books in plain text.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (I adore this book)
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (I make my class read this. Does this mean they'll look well-educated on LibraryThing?)
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
Emma (shut up, Gwyneth)
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales (heck, we had to recite a bunch of those)
The Historian: A Novel (sucks, no vampire pun intended)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead (guess who isn't interested in Rand?)
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys (why so little love for Gaiman?)
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons (which may pay off if Ewan McGregor is in the film)
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park (why so little love for Austen???)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections (bleargh)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (if you haven't already, drop everything and run go read it now, now, now)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things (lots of depressing books about child sexual abuse in the Eastern Hemisphere on this list)
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Neverwhere (seriously, where is the love for Neil Gaiman???)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Slaughterhouse-five (woo! We're on a non-reading roll!)
The Scarlet Letter (best example ever of a book I hated in high school and "got" in college)
Eats, Shoots & Leaves (she owes me money--I make my students buy this. Don't think it helps.)
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake (not my favorite Atwood)
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey (all right, that tears it--what is the gender breakdown of LibraryThing's users?)
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything (don't write this off! Super-fun reading experience!)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity's Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

But...I clearly need more books, right? Enable me--enaaaaaaable meeeeeeee
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angry with rage by pouringicons

Well, Now I'm Just Bitter

ShanaP made the brilliant decision to have a mole removed as a non-food reward for meeting fitness goals (go, ShanaP!). When her dermatologist noted she'd have to wear a bandage, the conversation went like this:

ShanaP: Eh, no worries. I'm going to a wedding soon with a friend; we'll have matching bandages. She had this pimple-like thing on her forehead that didn't go away, and they told her it was psoriasis...
Dermatologist: Oh, no way that's psoriasis.

He managed to correctly diagnose me from 2500 miles away and with no visual evidence. No, I'm not bitter at all, why do you ask? The moral of the story, folks, is either to get second opinions or never go to doctors in the first place. I'm leaning toward the latter.
I'm a monster by towelrack_icons

Cue Schwarzenegger Voice

Almost halfway in between diagnosis and in-office "surgery," I've come to a strange conclusion about the cancer, and that is that calling it cancer doesn't bother me. I know people who have struggled or are struggling with real cancer, and calling this non-threatening annoyance that is basal-cell carcinoma cancer seems embarrassing by contrast. So the idea that there is cancer on my head is surprisingly non-upsetting. Cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer on the head. See? It just doesn't bother me.

The recollection of the dermatologist talking about a tumor, however, gives me the wiggins. Oh, what I would have given, when the doctor said, "Um, no, that's a tumor," to have had the presence of mind to go all Schwarzenegger and reply, "It's not a tooomah!" But the idea of a tumor on my head--regardless of whether it had been really benign or essentially non-threatening as this one is--is just gross. Non-threatening cancer? Fine. A tumor? Grotesque. The damn thing looks no different than it did the day before I knew it was a tumor, but now it seems...oogy.

So I decided last night that it was stupid to wait for the doctor and that I may as well just cut it out myself.

(You should probably stop me when I start talking like this.)

The difficult question, however, was what instrument would work best. Although pinking shears seemed like a nice option because there would be no need for stitching up the edges when I was done, their relative thickness was offputting. Alton Brown recently did an episode of Good Eats that taught me the best way to hold a paring knife, which might work; I also considered a pizza cutter. No unitaskers in this kitchen! Really, it seems like there is probably a best tool for the job, if I could just figure it out.

It's an interesting dilemma, though (the issue with the nomenclature, not the excision tool, the latter of which didn't seem like quite as good an idea in the light of day)--why the issue with "tumor"? Doesn't a rose by any other name get lopped off just as easily?
local man by pavel_lishin

There's A Hole in Your Bucket, Dear Liza

Knew it would be a hard day spinning (and oh, was it ever--"let's go at 92%!") when I found myself with hand on doorknob at 5:20am and realized I wasn't wearing my sweatpants. Granted, I was wearing my fetching bike pants, but I figure no one needs to see that at 5:20 in the morning. This was followed up by realizing, whilst retying my shoelaces, that I had dazedly managed to put on said sweatpants, but only after removing the bike pants for no reason whatsoever. I had to dress myself three times.

It was during all this that I discovered a newly formed hole in the seat of said sweatpants. Let's be clear here--the spinning causes so much ass abuse that it wore a hole in the seat of the sweatpants. That has to be good for you.
Word up professor style by foulbeggar

We All Scream

One of the questions I ask on pretty much every final I give is why correlation is not the same thing as causation. Way back at the beginning of class, one of the examples we used in discussing this is the trend that as ice cream consumption goes up, so does crime (with the obvious real relationship being between increased temperatures and both increased desire for cold treats and increased opportunity for crime, with doors and windows left open, etc.). I was interested to discover in the exam I just graded, however, the following argument:

"Just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't have an ice cream."

Not really what I was looking for, but here's the problem: That is a true statement. And one of the organizing principles of my life. So how can I take off points for it?
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Mister Sunbeam by pouringicons

And This Is The Thanks I Get

(Let's note for the record right here that this is NOT A BIG DEAL. Really, it's fine.)

So I feed my body nice things like salmon and lots of fresh veggies. I take it spinning. I get my 10,000 daily steps and deny it dessert. And how does it repay me? By giving me the (skin) cancer. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

There is no reason to panic--it's the "good" kind (basal-cell carcinoma), or, as my kind of hilarious new dermatologist puts it, "It's the kind that eats your face, not the kind that kills you." I find this strangely comforting. So they just cut it out and I'll move on with my life, albeit covered up like Nicole Kidman every time I leave the house.

The part that's really chapping my (cancerous) hide is that there would have been less to cut out before I move on with my life if it hadn't been misdiagnosed by a medical professional ten years ago. (Of course, when I say that, I'm just misdirecting my rage at myself for not getting a second opinion at any time during that decade. Working backwards, I can see how the logic happened, but still: rage). They're clearly very concerned about my imminent demise, as they scheduled the surgery for next month since the doctor is going out of town. This is one of the ways you know it's not a big deal; additional ways include the fact that the surgery is done in the dermatologist's office and that they tell you to suck it up and take Tylenol afterward. Still, I am declaring a fatwa on the sun and wondering why I shouldn't just rub a cupcake on the cancer.

I do, however, plan to milk it for all it's worth: no, I'm sorry, I couldn't possibly serve on that committee--I have the cancer. No, I really can't teach a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule--I have the cancer. I'm sorry, but I really don't think I should have to stand in line here--I have the cancer. In those situations, no one really needs to know that I think this barely even qualifies as cancer.

The topper--as the doctor was taking the biopsy and chattering away merrily, I felt something drip on my collarbone. Thinking it was probably blood, and wanting to save my blouse, I threw my hand up (as one does)...only to catch a little pink rubbery thing. Doctor: "Oh! Oh! Sorry! Oh, Mike, can you get that from her and clean her up? Sorry, sorry--I just dropped your tumor on you." It's gonna be like that the whole way, isn't it?
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Symposia by pouringicons

And Then Other Days It's Good

I've been trying to ramp up the content of my courses to make them true senior capstone experiences, which to my mind means requiring the students to use all the tools they've gotten in the major to execute a real research project: to propose an hypothesis, to use the literature to back up their claims, and then to analyze real data to test that hypothesis. By and large, they are not prepared to execute the final step (we've made some changes to the major as a whole this year to try to address that). I've forced them to do it anyway, allowing them to do it in groups to cut down on the number of times I'm down in the lab telling them, "No, click there. No, there. THERE." It's been a very long month trying to pull them through the slog of data.

But it might--just might--be working. One group started out the process in tears, unable to even figure out how to get the data open. By the end of the process, they were able to go from start (adding another variable to the original data set) to finish (running regression analyses) in 20 minutes. And the woman who did most of the analysis was a little teary-eyed again when they were announced as the third place winners in an undergraduate research competition last week. Seeing five different people go from not even considering graduate school to realizing they can do what graduate students do has been, well, a little bit amazing.

And to top it off, a student who took the class last semester just called from the conference where she's presenting the paper she started in that class, aglow with being on her first trip "on her own". This reminds me of my first trip to a conference, realizing that this work could do things like take me to New York City. Hence the icon--I really do love symposia. Boston this year--whee! Today I can fool myself into thinking we could get all of our students to conferences--that this stuff actually works.

Lest I get too high, I can always remind myself that I dumped a piece of chicken into my bra at lunch. Unintentionally.
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based on science by pouringicons


In the Quest for Healthy Living--which, if the three viruses in six weeks are any indication, is doing no good whatsoever--I've been playing with the new menu planner at MyPyramidTracker.gov (which, it should be noted, will be happy to call you fat before letting you plan a menu). It's kind of fun--you plug in what you ate/are planning to eat, and it counts up not only calories but "additive" type calories and oil and even the servings from each food group. This last part is the best--the servings fall from the sky to stack up to your RDA. It's like playing Tetris with your food!

It's also pretty eye-opening. In patching together lovely healthy meals with lots of veggies and fish, I hadn't even realized bread had essentially disappeared from my life. Food Tetris sternly informs me I'm woefully short on grains. Part of this is likely due to the slight shift in labeling--there are things I'm eating and thinking of as starches or carbs that get counted elsewhere under the USDA system (you're counting that sweet potato as a vegetable? Really? I'm not accustomed to that). But part of it might be that, well, bread has unintentionally disappeared from my life. Perhaps this lack of complex carbohydrates explains why I'm not getting the huge energy boost that supposedly comes with good food and vigorous exercise (it would also explain the zombiriffic title).

So I'm looking for suggestions--how are you sneaking whole grains into your life?