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 I have finally got to the surgery part of my experiment! Which means I spent about half an hour covering fruit fly eyes with metallic Sharpie this afternoon. It has gotten mostly easier than it was earlier, but not too much. I envy my friends working with plants and bacteria for not needing to learn microdissection. It's a giant pain, especially when your fine-motor control isn't great to begin with. 

On Tuesday I finally get to set up my crosses, at least for this first population. I'm still fretting about eventually  getting my stocks set up for my next two populations--I've got 360 crosses for this population alone to set up, I don't need the other ones any time soon, but it would be nice to get them going so I don't have to wait on them later--but aside from that things are progressing quite nicely. 

Also, I just discovered that with my thesis pending I don't have to do the extra three-hour lab for my Genetics degree. Which just made my senior year schedule a LOT less of a pain to set up, and incidentally means I can take a whole six hours less of class. (I haven't made up my mind whether I want to take Animal Behavior and possibly its lab just for funsies or not.) Which itself means I can treat myself nicely for once in the upcoming semesters and not engage in acts of self-sabotage like the one I'm doing now. If I can make it through seventeen hours of course credit again without collapsing in an anxiety-ridden overstressed depressed heap, I will damn well deserve a year of thirteen-hour course loads. 
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Ahahahahahaha, my sister is coming! I'll be moved and have done with! THERE IS NO MORE WAITING!

I'm so excited.
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Because of a parental screw-up, my plans for Spring Break to go down to Florida with some friends and hang out on the beach got disrupted early this year. And I did a lot of bitter angsting about that, because my other option was to go home and stare at the four walls of my parents' home while my siblings went to school and my parents went to work, because my collegiate break doesn't coincide with the K12 one. So I sucked it up and decided to make the best of it, and I was planning to spend most of my break making myself get out of the house and go to Atlanta's museums, because I am a dork that way and at least that would prevent me from brooding and being bitter and resentful towards my parents. That would suck and only result in unpleasant fighting for everyone.

So I related these plans to my mother, who is normally pretty awesome, and she goes "well, if you're interested in museums, why don't you go visit your grandmother in DC for the week? I know she'd love to see you again." And I thought, "why did I not think of this?" because my grandmother is generally really cool and interesting and also she worked in the Pentagon for ages, so she has some excellent stories to tell. So my mother called my grandmother to ask if anything was going on and whether she'd be in the country that week, and as it happens she is and would love to have me!

SO I AM GOING TO WASHINGTON DC FOR BREAK. Eeeeeeeee! I'll get to see my extended family and potter around the Museum of Natural Science and the other cool museums in the Capitol, because for nerdy museum pottering there is no city like DC in the world, and generally hang out in the area I grew up in and lived in until I was eleven. And I just had my sucky angsty spring break plans transmuted into something I'm genuinely excited about and which I think is really awesome, and there is no better feeling than that!

Today has also been an awesome day in that I signed my apartment lease with A, so I am guaranteed Olivery goodness (and possibly a training project next year), and also I have Thin Mint cookies, and also I got an email back from Dr. D, whose lab I would like very much to work in, and whom I have an appointment to meet with on Tuesday. Oh my god, today has contained SO MUCH JOY. And pad thai, which makes it all EVEN BETTER. HOMG HOMG HOMG JOY EXPLOSION.
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Oh my god, snowpocalypse. Well, for Georgia anyway, which in reality means we have something like one to three inches of snow coming. The entire university has already closed down, and I'm just glad I don't need to join the traditional Run On Grocery Stores For Milk and Eggs, since the dining halls are still sort of open. I do hope they have paper cups again, though. As for me, I'm hiding inside like the inner Grinch I am, plus avoiding my Physics homework. And the massive hardcore studying for Biochemistry I need to do. Oh, and the paper for Poli Sci due Monday. Oh, weekend. Such joy you promise. 

In other news, Dr. Physics actually managed to be mildly entertaining by attempting to tell us something about force-fields while telling us about the Enterprise being attacked by Klingons. He also managed to not notice the group of guys directly in front of me flinging paper airplanes around. Like children. I wonder why I go to that class, sometimes.

Recently overheard in my dorm, devoid of other context: "So he's like a redneck in space, then?" God, I love this hall. I'm going to miss the random weird-ass conversations my dormmates have when I move out.

Now, to tackle Physics. And then, Hot Fuzz! Peggtastic goodness, here I come!
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So today I got my entire political science class to sing the theme song of Captain Planet to Dr. M. And it was glorious.

Specifically, Dr. M was asking us to give a good opposite political position from environmentalism. After all, it's not like anyone actually goes about the place polluting for the lovely feeling that chucking pollutant byproducts into the ground gives you, right?

So my wise-ass response went "...Captain Planet villain?" And then Dr. M revealed that he had no idea what Captain Planet was, and then of course my entire class saw fit to rectify this upsetting state of events by shouting for a bit and then singing the theme song at him. So much joy. And then after class he stopped me and asked whether it was actually any good (my memories suggest that it is beautifully cheesy), then promised to actually check it out. I rather doubt that's going to happen, but if it actually does I am agog to hear the results. Maybe I'll even wear my Roman Captain Planet knockoff T-shirt on Wednesday.

In other news, am watching the Big Bang Theory again. I must say, watching Sheldon and Leonard play demented ball-pit Whack-a-Mole is kind of making my night, despite the crampy pain and the headache which have been plaguing me all day. 
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See, I love Christmas. Yes, even though I am an atheistic curmudgeon who will go on about Saturnalia and Sol Invictus if given half a chance. This would be because I love getting things for people, and I love singing all the carols (especially the traditional ones) because they are beautiful on their own merits, and I love the decorations. I love the secularization of the whole thing. I love the general "it's cold and miserable outside, so we are damn well going to have fun" aspect of the winter holidays, too. I love my mother, who will do things like make Christmas latkes. I love the Christmas Eve shrimp, even if it is an acquired taste, and I love the family gatherings.

But most of all, I like getting things. Especially awesome things. And especially if my gifters let me pick out my own gifts, or give me money to purchase things I would like for myself. (In my family, we have given up the old "you must guess what I really want to PROVE YOUR LOVE" shit and ask eachother to write up lists of stuff we would actually like, with the result that Christmas has very few of those weird "oh, you shouldn't have... you REALLY shouldn't have..." moments. I think this is an excellent custom, and one which should be more widespread in the general culture as eliminating a lot of anxiety about the whole process.) 

This year, my mother bought me the best outfit EVER. And you know, it's pretty femme compared to what I'm used to. (Soft tangerine nice sweater, long brown skirt with the best soft suede-like texture ever, and a pair of awesome boots, below. Also a nice black wool peacoat, which I am hoping will function adequately at keeping me warm.) 



They are more high-heeled than anything I've ever worn by choice, and yet they look so fantastic that I am trying to calculate how much foot pain I am willing to put up with in order to wear them more often. Wonder how much of that will last beyond the OMG SHINY stage, but it's worth thinking about. I have been this excited about a pair of shoes exactly once in my life before, and those are my beloved twenty-year-old steel-toe hiking boots that I gradually stole from my mother. Not exactly chic, here.

The funny thing is, this is one of the most clothes-heavy Christmases I've ever had. I got all that, plus a shirt that I really am ("ehhh" about), a fantastically soft blue fuzzy pullover that looks to be one of my new favorites, and a promised hand-knitted scarf from J. On previous years, this would have been a sign of disaster--I have always prized getting books and music above clothes. And yet this year I got no books at all, though I did get an iTunes gift card. (That's partially because the abovementioned clothing items are expensive, and also because my parents are cutting back as my little sister K gets ready to go to college.) The gift card was from K, and was also a big hit, but I didn't squee over it nearly as hard as I did some of the clothing items. I think I'm finally feeling ready to experiment with the aesthetics of my dress, and this lot is one of my attempts at dipping my little toesies in the big waters of Looking Nice. Which is fine--I am sufficiently picky and trust my taste enough to be sure that I'll be keeping this lot for years and years to come.

Other fantastic gifts included the aforementioned iTunes gift card, which heralded my first big experiment with iTunes. Yes, yes, I am behind the times, but I generally prefer to buy hard-copy CDs. (Mostly, to be frank, because I fear my computer crashing and all my music going with it, and because I dislike DRM. I never pirate music, dammit, I should be able to keep the music I paid for as long as I like.) I went on a gleeful spending spree with that one, and even put in an extra $7 or so so I could purchase the whole of that Flogging Molly album I wanted. And also I did get books after all--I forgot about my friend L, who gave me a novel whose title I can't recall at the moment (okay, but probably won't reread all that often) and Stiff (which I have secretly yearned after to have my own copy of for YEARS, and which is definitely a recurring favorite). There was also the tea set with two Christmas mugs (excellent, I always have a need for new mugs so I don't have to do washing as often) from my paternal grandmother, and more bafflingly the necklace it came with featuring a small silver snail on a large crystal mushroom. After some bemusement, I have decided that it is lovely and shiny, and shall therefore be worn with some regularity.

And then there's what I bought for myself. Figuring it was the holidays and there were SALES and I could afford to splurge, I got some nice awesome gifts for myself. First I got my own copy of Season One of The Big Bang Theory, so now I have decent-quality copies of it to watch when I feel like distracting myself. Then I realized that OMG Ursula Vernon's teas might possibly be discontinued, so I bought up Predatory Peppermint and Shoggoth Jasmine so that I could own those tins as well. (I actually have some peppermint tea already and I'm still not sure whether I like jasmine, but the tins were so wonderful I had to have them. I mean, Shoggoth Jasmine! If they turn out to be really horrible, I can always give the tea itself away and reuse the tins.) 

All this was followed by the all-time topper: A few nights before New Year's Eve, I was talking to J online about a new online store she'd found--English Tea Store. And I was all "oh, eh, I'd like to buy some PG Tips black tea for special occasions, but I am purchased out." And then I glanced idly over at the teapots, as I am wont to do. For years on years I have wanted a teapot suitable for two mugs of tea at a time and with its own strainer, so that I don't have to use the blasted fiddly little tea balls all the time. Alas, I had dismissed the idea as being too expensive for now--my general purchase limit is $30 at once, because I have limited funds which must last as long as possible--so I had only planned to glance at the teapots and writhe in sadness that I could not afford one with its own strainer, and my own personal teapot had been a gift and was too weirdly shaped to accommodate anything but a tea ball.

And then I found this section labelled "Cheap Infuser Teapots" and was confronted with an array of aesthetically pleasing teapots matching my exact specifications--AND in a bunch of pleasing colors. I waffled to J for a while about how I was not sure which color I would hypothetically buy if I chose to purchase one of them, but I think we both knew I was coming home with a teapot.

The one I eventually chose:

Look at its shiny yellow goodness!
Just look at its pleasingly cheery yellow goodness.

I think it's been unequivocally an excellent holiday season. The only way it would have been better would have been if I'd been able to actually get together in a big crowd and sing some of those carols, and I'm sure I can convince someone--maybe I--to sing them with me even if I can't actually sing. Or possibly I'll do what I do the rest of the time and march down the street belting out "We Three Kings" in all its bizarre glory.

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