Friday, February 27, 2009

More Metallica cover song awesomeness

Apocalyptica have been around for awhile and they just keep getting better. I can't embed this video either, but again, follow the link and you won't be disappointed:

Like so many scandinavian men, the guys in Apocalyptica are also pretty easy on the eyes, especially the blonde god on the left in the pic below (his name is Eicca Toppinen):

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My snus is here!

Wow, the Swedish postal system rocks! I placed my order at on Sunday and it arrived today.

So, that means it's time to wean myself off of the cigarettes. I think this is going to be remarkably easy, given my initial experience with Snus. I'm doing one of the General Portions right now and it is amazing how fast the nicotine hits the bloodstream after you put the little packet in your lip. I was craving a cigarette and within 10 seconds, wham, nic fix achieved.

This stuff tastes pretty good, too. Kind of toasty and savory. Awesome!

Pure, undistilled awesomeness

That is how I would describe this a capella cover of the Metallica song "Battery" by Van Canto.

Embedding is disabled so you'll just have to follow the link, and I encourage you to do so because this video will blow you away. I promise.

I found this video and all kinds of other cool stuff in a thread on the Something Awful forums. The topic of the thread is "Define Metal," so everyone is posting the most awesomely metal videos and pics that they can find (both seriously and tongue in cheek).

The best thing about being an old metalhead like myself is that you realize how ridiculous the imagery is, and revel in it. As a result, an Immortal video set to the Benny Hill theme music is about the most hilarious thing ever.

OK, enough goofing off. Back to work...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Research styles and strengths

This post over at Quantum Pontiff attempts to break down some of the different approaches that scientists bring to the table in their research. We can't all be super genius polymaths, after all.

Looking over the descriptions of research styles, I definitely fit into the category of "The Connector (aka the Encyclopedia Connectica)." Here is the definition:
"These are the renaissance scientists who have a vast encyclopedic knowledge of who did what when and, even better, when you talk to them about your problem can (a) understand your problem and (b) point you to the person or research that might best help you solve your problem."

I've been an obsessive reader all my life, and I have a very good memory for what I have read. This has helped me a lot in my comparative studies of the insect brain; I can read a million papers and look at a million slides of sectioned brains, and somehow manage to pull some general principles about brain organization and evolution out of that. And I can draw some parallels to vertebrate brains while I'm at it, because I read all of that stuff too.

I think the entire process is a blast. Remember how in "The A-Team," just when everyone started kicking ass, Hannibal would say "I love it when a plan comes together!"? That's how I feel when all of the little threads of information fall into place. It's what makes this job worthwhile.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Also the primary ideology that fuels my career

I'm kidding, OK? Grading is making me loopy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dream, dream, dream

I'm broke, but that doesn't stop me from wanting a Cadillac CTS.


Ever have one of those days when some BS comes up that you have to deal with, and you scramble all over trying to get it taken care of, and then realize that while you were running around like a chicken with your head cut off you totally forgot about another obligation that you were supposed to deal with, and so now tomorrow you have TWO crazy BS things to iron out (because you still didn't manage to get the first BS thing sorted out), on top of your regular day-to-day work schedule?

Usually I'm pretty good at just knuckling down and getting through this stuff, but man, it's been hard lately.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking, doesn't it? Well, maybe so, but I am sort of cheating by switching to snus. I'll still be getting my nicotine fix, but without the coughing and lung cookies I've been enjoying lately. Baby steps, baby steps...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Industrial strength eye candy

I found this video on the Coilhouse blog, which regularly serves up interesting subcultural tidbits.

I am fascinated/obsessed with the supernaturally beautiful man in this video. He is Blixa Bargeld, founder of the industrial band Einst├╝rzende Neubauten and also of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I'm not a big fan of the music of these two groups, personally, but the above video that he did with Gudrun Gut is pretty catchy as well as being beautiful.

Overall, a nice find for a week in which I'm otherwise crushed with work obligations...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More nuggets of wisdom

OK, the last post was kind of whiny, I admit. I swear, this gloomy, wet weather just turns me into a cranky goth girl writing bad poetry on the back of her Trapper Keeper.

So today I was thinking of other strongly-held beliefs of my youth, that I have since become wise enough to reject (or at least temper a little bit).

1. Umbrellas are for pussies.

I used to go boldly forth into all manner of rain storm, stomping through the puddles in my leather jacket and cheap combat boots purchased at the military surplus store. I guess I thought it was pretty metal to burst into my undergrad classes with a headful of wet hair. Now, I use the damned umbrella, because wet clothes are cold clothes, and that is definitely not metal.

2. Keyboards do not belong in metal bands.

OK, Type O Negative disabused me of this notion in a big way. Because as anyone who knows me understands, Type O Negative is the Greatest. Band. Ever.

3. Light cigarettes: also for pussies.

I used to smoke a pack or more of Camel Filters a day. Now, I enjoy receiving my nicotine fix without having to fight off bronchitis every three months.

4. Cars with less than a V8 engine, say it with me :"FOR PUSSIES"

OK, I still like big American cars (Cadillacs come to mind), and also believe that the two best cars I've owned were Caprice Classics. But I've since had a couple of smaller cars and they're not that bad, really. They might not be as fun for doing donuts in a wet parking lot, but they're a hell of a lot cheaper to gas up.

5. Pussies: for pussies.

I used to be an unrepentant dog person. I had many a run-in with cranky stray cats as a kid, and didn't much appreciate their attitudes. But then a family of cats showed up at my parents', and I decided to adopt one of the kittens. This was Jasper, and she (and later Jade) have shown me the error of my ways. I still like dogs, but in my mind these days, cats rule.

Older and wiser, that's me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hold on to this memory as tight as you can

That's the title of a vignette I wrote in my little black book this morning, while I was being held hostage by my infusion of rheumatiz drugs. I'm not going to post anymore of what I wrote, as it's a little too raw to expose to open air right now. Instead, here are some more general ramblings...

I spent years of my early adult life feeling deeply alienated. I didn't relate to other peoples' needs, desires, or values, and I viewed the world with bitterness and anger. I reveled in setting myself apart from the people and things that I hated so much, but at the same time was violently devoted to what I did care about. I was young, and there was no middle ground in my world.

Eventually though, I broke through and began to grow beyond the petty passions and grudges that had seemed so important before. There were still highs and lows of course, and some of them were pretty earth-shattering, but I began to shed the alienation. I'm still shaking off the last remnants of that old skin and finding that underneath it all there's actually something resembling a good and full life.

With every episode of my life opened and closed, every goal achieved and new goal set, I 'm left with another lesson well-learned. There will still be tears and those days when I have to curl up and sob and let a loss wash over me. But eventually I'll be back with myself and the life I've built, and realizing that I'm OK with that.

"Friends, they come and they go," or so says that Shooter Jennings song. I used to think that I could be happy if I never spoke to another human being again, but I've come to realize that there will always be a handful of people with whom I want to share part of my life. But people have a way of fading in and out, sometimes reappearing, sometimes drifting away forever. That doesn't mean that I treasure the time that I do have with them any less.

So I collect memories now. And if it's something that I really want to hold onto, I might even write it down in my little black book or here on my blog. Then as the sun goes down and the insects skitter under the leaves and the blooms burst and fade and fall as they inevitably do, I can lay back and reminisce. The next morning when I open my eyes again, I'll be ready for the next adventure.