Tag Archives: creative

File Under: Things I Must Try

21 May

 I think my head just exploded from the sheer adorableness.
The owl and the blue bunny are my favorites, though I’ve always had a weakness for foxes and plaid.
Oh Internet, why must you show me so many cute things? These are made by Etsy artist Sleepy King, who has even more adorable plushies at his store.
I have to try making these.
I mean, they look simple enough.
How hard can it be?
(Famous last words)

Lego Stephen Hawking

20 May

I want to build a lego Stephen Hawking.
He will ride on my shoulder and lovingly whisper the secrets of the universe.
And it will be wonderful.

Colorful Lab Cookies

17 May

Colorful lab cookies, for the scientist who needs a little sweetness in their life ūüėÄ

Paper Airplanes

25 Apr

I’m not incredibly girly or fashion-conscious, nor have I ever been a big fan of nails. Sure, I paint them once and a while, but I’ve never had a manicure or false nails (and with my upcoming microbiology job, I will not be able to have fake nails, as they can harbor the deadly bacteria that I am working with on a daily basis, even with hand washing).

But I couldn’t resist sharing this.

There is something about paper airplanes that is just delightfully nostalgic.

Light Up Your Wardrobe

10 Apr

I’m bringing up Becky Stern once again, because I believe she is an adorable crafting angel sent from another dimension to bring science and happiness to the world.

Today’s topic: Light-up shoes

The video gives great instruction, and here is a step-by-step overview (so you aren’t constantly juggling shoes and fabric and needles and fire while trying to watch the video).


Needless to say, the end result is super cute, and makes me want to make a pair so I can pretend my feet are fireflies.

Boob Quickies

6 Apr

This post was originally about boobs.
And then somehow it grew into some sort of verbose blog monster.

I had set out to write about how my breasts have¬†impacted¬†my life, but that post will have to wait for another day. There has been a lot of controversy in our culture lately regarding women. The concept of being a woman in our culture has been the center of a nasty political war, to the point that even a simple blog post about how awesome boobs are turns into a statement of what it means to be a woman. Honestly, it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. And as a result, I’ve noticed a surge of woman-related content on my usual Internet browsing sites.
This isn’t going to be the deep and¬†reflective¬†post I intended to write. Mostly, it’s because of the research. There is just so much information out there, so many opinion articles, that I really can’t say what hasn’t already been said before. The primary purpose of this blog is to store and share articles that interest me, since I know I will eventually want to refer back to them. So this post is going to be quickie-style.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of boobs.

(Without boobs, where would be store our kittens?)

First off, the cost of being owning a vagina. Jezebel threw together this nice little article outlining the basic cost of owning a vagina, based on the staffer’s personal experience and drug-store prices. Not incredibly scientific, but enough to give you a ball-park estimate and an average idea of all the items needed for proper¬†maintenance. The list doesn’t include pregnancy costs (though it does include pregnancy test, for those trying and those who have the occasional scare). I suppose it makes sense, if the list is the basics. It inspires me to go through my finances and calculate what its costs for me to maintain my own fabulous lady parts. I already know that bras, at about $75 a piece (+/- $10), typically run me $150 to $225 a year. And eventually I’ll have to start getting¬†breast exams, which are another hefty¬†expense.

SMBC, which always makes me giggle, recently released this delightful gem.

Back to the boobs!
The over-diagnosis of breast cancer is one of those things that a lot of women and feminists are still quiet about, because 1) many of them have had a sister/mother/friend/relative whose life was saved by early detection, and they don’t want to admit that such a case may have been due to over-diagnosis and 2) the medical, social, and political implications are too horrifying to think about.



The road of breast cancer is a very difficult one to endure. Chemo saves many lives, but also takes an¬†incredible¬†physical and emotional toll. Chemo is not “just another drug” that can be handed out like aspirin. Its a detrimental drug which should only be given because the other alternative is death. Additionally,¬†mastectomies¬†are essentially an amputation, and emotionally¬†devastating¬†because of how much importance our culture places on breasts. According to social standards, a huge portion of what it means to be a woman is wrapped up in our breasts, and when one is raised in such an environment, losing a breast can result in a huge psychological toll. Many are still in denial, or trying to come to terms with the concept of breast cancer over-diagnosis. But the reports are still out there, and for the sake of our health and our boobs (which are pretty super awesome), this issue deserves to be ¬†investigated further. Diagnostic techniques are improving, and detecting breast cancer with a single drop of blood may soon be possible. However, on a brighter note, a recent discovery gives us hope in detecting the infamous “triple negative” breast cancer, which is considered the deadliest form of breast cancer.


A few more quickies on breast cancer: The first large-scale U.S.-based study to evaluate the link between an injectable form of progestin-only birth control and breast cancer risk in young women. Stick to the pill, ladies.  There is also a link between long-term estrogen hormone use and breast cancer, and a new breast cancer susceptibility gene, named XRCC2, has been discovered.


I few weeks ago I shared the idea that we should all knit out congressmen a vagina, so they will stay out of ours. The idea was conceived by The¬†Snatchel¬†Project. The Internet loved it! I started seeing crochet and knitted¬†uteruses, vulvas, and cervixes everywhere (Even a uterus lamp). But it’s not the first time woman have used yarn to emulate female anatomy. Knitted tits have been used to raise awareness about breast cancer¬†for years. You can even buy knitted bikini tops.

Today Cracked released a delightful article written by Luke McKinney, “The 7 Most Sexist Things Ever Invented For Boobs.” It’s both horrific and hilarious. I would love to see prototypes of some of these inventions, just so I can giggle in horror.

Political slut quickies: John Stewart explains why the¬†transvaginal ultrasound bill of Virginia¬†has enraged women across the country.¬†Ever since Rush called Sandra Fluke a slut on air, woman have rushing to¬†re-appropriate¬†the word slut. Why? Probably because shame has long been used as a powerful tool to¬†silence¬†women. And there was this¬†controversial¬†Doonesbury comic, which was pulled from several newspapers. (Because it’s okay to call a woman a slut and introduce bills infringing on her rights, but not okay to satirically bring attention to it.)


Also, Elizabeth Banks threatens to bleed all over furniture if women are denied access to the pill, and Rick Perry’s facebook page is now¬†buried with woman asking him about menstruation, and updating him of their flow status.

Lego Jewelry

2 Apr

These adorable little lego delights are the brainchild of¬†Jacqueline Sanchez, as part of her charmingly named “Forever Young” collection.
A classy gift this is sure to appease your significant other’s inner child.
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Knitted Gnome Sodomy

1 Apr

This past week has been my birthday week, and full of awesome shenanigans as well as continuing packing and preparing for the move. My apartment is full of boxes, my tummy is full of microbrew and strawberry-rhubarb pie, and my brain is exploding with happiness.
But before I curl up in bed, I can’t resist sharing the wonderful presents I received tonight from my dear friend Margherita, who is a yarn genius and a¬†connoisseur¬†of cute.

Knowing that I am absolutely in love with blood, particularly red blood cells, she knit me a tiny RBC:

 I shall call him Eric the Erythrocyte!

She also made me 10 gnome minions!

I absolutely love gnomes!
They have beards, which I’ve always had a weakness for, and are kind of creepy, but in an cute way.
(Like me!)
When I was a teenager, while all the other girls dreamed of marriage and children, I dreamed of being a part of the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. (aka the Front pour la Libération des Nains de Jardin. The French are weird in an oddly lovable way, and fifteen-year-old me believed that stolen gnomes were essentially catnip for French people).

If you look closely, you’ll see that one of the gnomes (lower left) has a red beard.
Ginger gnome!
And another (lower right) is missing his shirt.
And one of the gnomes (on the very top) is completely nude.

Newton, The Nudist Gnome!
I plan to let him go skinny dipping in my sink.
Fortunately, his beard is long enough to allow for some modesty, though Margherita admitted that she was tempted to make him anatomically correct.

And two gnomes are engaging in what has to be the most adorable depiction of sodomy I’ve ever seen.
Gnome sex has never been so cute.
Which is really saying something, as tiny gnome sex is already pretty damn adorable.

Also, to top things off, she made me an itty bitty narwhal named Natalie:

*squeeee!*

The Brilliant Landlord

30 Mar

Whew, these past few days have been busy. Between celebrating my birthday with friends and family, prepping for the move, and the usual shenanigans with my bestie, I haven’t had much time for sharing interesting articles. My poor browser window is drowning in tabs from science websites.
I currently live down the street from a Planned Parenthood clinic, which I used to volunteer for often in college. I admire their dedication to public health and reproductive education, which are two of my biggest passions. And of course, it’s spring time, which means all the nasty protesters have come out to play. I used to pass by them often while walking to class. While I respect their right to protest, they do tend to put me in a less-than-cheery mood.
Here is an amazing story to lift your day. A man, whose family has owned land leased to a reproductive clinic for generations. He’s had to deal with protesters for literally his entire life, and as a result has developed an admirable amount of patience and restraint. However, when they took things too far by harassing his little girl at school and calling his home at all hours, he took action in a very creative way, and started a movement.

Payback Is a Bitch for Abortion Clinic Protestors, Thanks to a Brilliant Landlord

by Cassie Murdock of Jezebel

Todd Stave has the unenviable position of being the landlord of a building in Germantown, Maryland, which he leases to an abortion provider called Reproductive Health Services Clinic. So he knows a little something about dealing patiently with anti-abortion protesters. But when they started calling him at home at all hours and harassing his family, he got fed up and came up with a very clever solution: Do unto others as they have been doing unto you.

Problems really began for Stave at the end of 2010, when he leased his building to LeRoy Carhart, one of the only doctors in the U.S. who openly acknowledges that he performs late-term abortions. As you can imagine, he’s a controversial man, and protesters come from far and wide. There is a constant group of them parked outside, praying and holding up signs, many of which have pictures of mangled fetuses. That’s pretty much a landlord’s nightmare, and yet Stave has a very calm attitude about it. He told Petula Dvorak of the¬†Washington Post¬†this week,

It’s their right. They are protected by the First Amendment. And outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place for them to express their views.

If you’re wondering how Stave can remain so relaxed about the situation, he explains, “I’ve been a member of this fight since Roe v. Wade. Since I was 5 years old.” You see, the clinic used to belong to his father, and then his sister ran it. When he was younger, the office was firebombed, and protesters were often gathered outside his dad’s house. So he’s used to a certain level of harassment and he’ll tolerate it ‚ÄĒ but only up to a point. And recently, the usually calm, cool, and collected Stave was pushed to his limit.

It’s common practice for anti-abortion protesters to disseminate doctors’ personal information and urge people to harass them‚ÄĒand it can clearly go far beyond that, as with the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas. LeRoy Carhart, who’s now in Stave’s clinic, had his Nebraska farm burned to the ground back in 1991. But protesters in Maryland figured out they could start targeting Stave for owning the clinic’s property. He was largely unfazed by this campaign, until last fall when they took it too far. On his daughter’s first day in middle school, a large group of people protested¬†outside her school, and then they showed up again for back-to-school night. They were naturally carrying signs with his name and contact info and those nasty pictures of fetuses.

Stave was furious, and then it got even worse. Dozens of the protestors began calling him at home, around the clock. His friends wanted to help him fight back; that’s when Stave had the brilliant idea of turning the tables on his tormentors. He began recording the names and numbers of the assholes who called, and then he gave the list of info to his friends and asked them to call these people back on his behalf. Shazam! And the really smart part was that when someone from Team Stave called, they always took the high road. He explains,

In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers. They cannot terminate the lease, and they do not want to. They support women’s rights.

Genius. While it was initially only a few friends doing the calling, the group quickly expanded. Soon, he was up to having 1,000 callers at his disposal. And they got crafty too. They’d look up information on the people who’d placed unwanted calls to Stave, and then when they called, they’d drop the names of the person’s children or their school into the conversation. They’d also, said Stave, “tell them that we bless their home on such and such street,” and then name their address. Are you getting shivers up you’re spine yet? Stave’s calling force became so powerful that sometimes he was able to hammer an unwanted caller with up to 5,000 calls in return. Looks like two can play at this game, stalkers.

Stave’s approach was so appealing that he was flooded with people from all over wanting to help. So he organized¬†Voice of Choice, which now has about 3,000 volunteers. They don’t just fight back for Stave anymore. They’ll make calls on behalf of whoever is being bullied by anti-abortion protesters, whether it’s a doctor or a landlord or their family.

When asked if he thought this method of payback was harsh, Stave said no: “We gave them back what they gave us.” Actually, not even. You gave back a mild, family-friendly version of what they gave to you. You proved to them that you know where they live and who their children are, but you didn’t show up at their homes and schools and threaten them. You didn’t come onto their lawn with posters detailing terrible imaginary things that they’ve done. You’re serving up Revenge Lite‚ĄĘ: Tastes great, less killing.

What’s more, Stave is strict about who Voice of Choice will make calls for. If it’s just run-of-the-mill protests outside clinics, he won’t help them because he believes in people’s First Amendment right to be out there saying what’s on their mind. Protestors must be personally harassing doctors or landlords in order for Stave to step in. If only abortion opponents had the same respect for people doing¬†what they were allowed by law to do. Ahem.

So this is the part where the evil bullies who’ve plagued him (and others) at all hours of the day or night learn their lesson after having a taste of their own medicine, right? Yep, yep. They all realized they were being horrible, and now every anti-abortion protester is treating their pro-choice opponents with the utmost respect. HA. No. Actually this is the part in the story where it gets much worse. Ready?

Since Voice of Choice has been such a success, Stave was honored by NARAL in California last week. Knowing that he was going to be out of town receiving the award, his personal band of haters chose that moment to canvass his neighborhood with fliers that had a photo of Stave in a Nazi uniform, photos of Holocaust victims, and bloody fetuses. [Pause for a brief rage-stroke intermission.] Of course, the fliers had Stave’s contact information‚ÄĒand all of the phone numbers and addresses for other members of his family.

This goes without saying but, nevertheless: This is so incredibly fucked up. First of all, the guy owns¬†a building, not a concentration camp. Second of all, what kind of person picks up a flier like that and thinks, “I need to get in touch with this Nazi!” God help us all.

Obviously Stave’s daughter and all of his neighbors saw the fliers, but the contact information for Stave’s family members must have been spread around. Because on Monday an abortion protestor showed up at the dental office owned by Stave’s brother-in-law and began doing his abortion-protestor routine outside. That’s such a great idea ‚ÄĒ I’m sure the random patient walking in for a cleaning is totally going to make the connection that the dentist’s brother-in-law owns a building where there’s an abortion clinic, and therefore abortion is wrong. At this point, Stave was back in town, so he went over to confront the protestor. And when he got there, the creep said, “How was your trip to San Francisco?” Deep inhale, slow exhale.

It is amazing that people like Stave have fortitude to stand up to psychos like this coming at them from every direction, but thank heavens they do, because, honestly, the thought that these protesters get away with so much is sickening. It’s hard to know where these nutcases will end when it comes to making Stave’s life a living hell‚ÄĒbut it’s probably not going to get any better now that he’s getting more and more national media attention.

At least we know he’s got plenty of backup from Voice of Choice. The worse these people get, the longer VoC can keep them on the phone, telling them all about the many “blessings and prayers” they’re sending to their home addresses and to the locations of their children’s daycare centers. Then everyone will be so busy making and receiving calls that they’ll have less time to spend protesting outside clinics. And maybe in the future, we’ll get to a magical place where both sides are talking to each other 100 percent of the time, and a woman will be able to walk right up to the front door of an abortion clinic without being harassed‚ÄĒbecause everyone will be so busy talking on the phone to their enemies to notice or care what she’s choosing to do with her body.

A clinic’s landlord turns the tables on anti-abortion protesters¬†[Washington Post]

Star Trek Amigurumi

30 Mar

*Sigh*
One day my crochet and knitting skills will be good enough to do uber nerdy awesome stuff like this.
But for now I’ll stick to crocheting scarves and jellyfish.
(via Jana Ford Knits)

Emission Scarves

21 Mar

I’m bring the wonderfully adorable Becky Stern back into the spotlight. Her amazing science inspired art never fails to amaze me! Today it is emission scarves. She is currently selling her silicon emission scarf at her esty shop.


 Here is the scientist/artist herself, wearing a beautiful Molybdenum emission scarf. She is a very beautiful and creative lady.

To see more of her work, visit her website, which is full of entertainment for scientists and artists alike ‚̧

Electrophoresis Love

18 Mar


Electrophoresis is beautiful!
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Designing Disorder

12 Mar

Talented designer Graphic Patrick, whose work and inspiration can also be found here, decided to challenge himself by designing posters of mental disorders. He took serious mental conditions, which are hard enough to fully describe in words, and with creative use of simple color, shapes, and space, successfully created series of graphic representations.

I absolutely love them. The depression one is quite powerful, and the narcolepsy one always makes me giggle (A close family member has it, and I will admit, it’s a pretty hilarious disorder. Except when they fall asleep while driving.)
I would love to see him tackle ADD/ADHD

Best. Chapstick. Ever.

9 Mar

  Yes.
So much yes.
Oh, Lady Amanda Nolan of Etsy, words cannot describe how much I love you right now.

Taking a Break

8 Mar

Unemployment is stressful, especially when you have a cloud of student debt hanging over your head. And especially when you love your field. I haven’t played with blood cells and bacteria in months, and I truly miss it. Every job application I fill out¬†simultaneously fills me with more hope and stress, and it gets pretty exhausting after a while.

I decided to take a break. Not just a break from job searching, but a break from anxiety. I was fed up with the constant worry and doubt, and just needed a break, if only for a day. One day of not worrying about finances and job applications and future job interviews and cleaning the apartment and relationships and to-do lists and any other thing that could cause me stress.  So I settled in to my favorite coffee shop, surrounded with newspaper, coffee, chocolate croissants, yarn, a book, and a computer full of music.


My book of choice was a borrowed copy of “Headless Males Make Great Lovers,” by Marty Crump. It’s an charming book full describing peculiar animal mating rituals and habits, cleverly written and filled with the kind of enthusiasm I usually reserve for ¬† blood antibody systems. So while attempting to crochet what will one day hopefully resemble a scarf, I took breaks to read about elephant seal harems and headless praying mantis sex. I haven’t gotten very far, but I absolutely love it. My attempt at a scarf is less entertaining, and looks like the work of a demented, drunken octopus. Mostly because I just let my mind wander and forget to count the stitches.


I suppose I’m taking the honey badger approach, where I just don’t care about the damn number of stitches. It’s just a silly scarf. The whole point of a scarf is to keep your neck and face warm, so who cares about the number of stitches or if the edges are straight? Today is my break from reality, so here I sit, contently crocheting away while humming The Cigarette Duet, which has been stuck in my head for days.

I certainly feel better, calmer, and ready to take on the world again, armed with biology books and happiness ^_^

Electron Microscopy and Crochet Profanity

6 Mar

I got excited this morning when I saw this article on Science Daily, talking about a new advancement in electron microscopy which could produce the highest resolution images ever. I’m not as familiar with electron microscopy as I am with bright field and fluorescent, which are far more common in medical labs. But I do love microscopic images and art, and the concept of higher resolution images excited me.


Tom quickly killed my excitement.
“They didn’t discover a new method. They just rediscovered electron holography.”
“What? Three years and¬†¬£4.3 million just to rediscover something that’s already been discovered?”
“That’s how science goes sometimes. They are the first to use the CCD in that way though. Dennis Gabor predicted this in the 1940’s, but the adequate technology didn’t exist at the time. It’s not as big of a break through as the headline would lead you to believe. Now let me teach you how to crochet.”

I recently decided I was going to learn how to crochet after Margherita made me the completely awesome Sir Jellyjoy. I have long admired her talent for making adorable amigurumi, and it inspired me to learn how to crochet so that I, too, can fill the world with cuteness. 10 minutes later and I am sitting in the middle of a coffee shop with a comically over-sized crochet needle, shouting colorful profanities at an evil bundle of orange yarn.

The demon yarn, laughing at my failure.

Tom: “You curse like a sailor. Actually, you curse like a scientist.”
Me: “Of course I swear like a scientist. Profanity is the reason why we don’t let little kids into science labs.”
Tom: “Right. It’s totally not because of all the hazardous chemicals and materials. Or the delicate¬†experiments. Or all the fragile glassware.”
Me: “This isn’t working.¬†The yarn is broken. How the hell do little old ladies do this?”
Tom: “The yarn isn’t broken.”
Me: “Of course it is. Look at this! How the hell did this kink happen?!”
Tom: “The yarn loop has different orientations.”
Me: “Like the different orientations of a molecule?”
Tom: “Chirality. Exactly.”
Me: “Oh. That makes more sense. Is there always this much profanity with crocheting?”
Tom: “Usually.”