Happy National Remember to Register to Vote Week!

28 Sep

I have a confession to make, and it’s kind of embarrassing, so I hope you won’t judge me too harshly.  Alright, here goes…

I’m not registered to vote.

I have in fact voted in 3 presidential elections, each time by absentee ballot, and each time having to re-register in my home state of New York due to my still student status up until 2 years ago (something always went awry in between presidential elections that made me lose my voter status, hence the re-registering).

Now I live in the capital of Maryland just a short commute from Washington D.C. where the major politics happens, and I’m still not registered to vote.  For a while, I even ran with the speech writer for Governor O’Malley who was up for re-election last year, but was left saying, “Hey buddy, I hope he wins so you can keep your job, but I can’t vote for him.”  So yeah, I’m embarrassed, and I really should be.  I’m a young, educated, American citizen of legal voting age with strong opinions about important issues, so what right do I have to complain about government policy that I disagree with if I didn’t go out and vote on said issue in the first place?  America is in a bad place right now*, and if voters like you and me don’t go out and vote, that’s probably not going to change anytime soon.  From small town elections to presidential, they are all important because small change leads to big change, and change is what we need right now.

So I’m happy to report that this week, September 27th to October 3rd is National Remember to Register to Vote Week!  October 3rd is the last day you can register to vote in order to be eligible for the elections in November.  It’s so easy to register to vote that there is really no excuse not to.  You can either go to your state’s Board of Elections website and download a form or do it in person at a number of locations including the town hall, the DMV, the Board of Elections, or local universities and colleges (I would call ahead just to check because this may vary from state to state)  OR you can do what I did: go to RocktheVote.org and click “Register to Vote“.  It will take you through a few pages of questions, and then print out your state’s voter registration form for you to mail in (the form needs an original signature, so unfortunately the process can’t be entirely online and the form can’t be faxed).  I plan on dropping mine in the mailbox on my way to work this morning, so I’m on my way to being part of the American voice!  You should be too!

Happy voting!

*Before you go all anti-American on me, let me just say, I freaking LOVE America!  I don’t dream of living anywhere else. I own cowboy boots, watch baseball, and love apple pie. But listen, we’re in a bad recession, unemployment is rampant, we’re fighting two wars in the middle east, terrorists are apparently lurking around every corner, kids are being bullied to death, and bigotry seems to have lost its stigma.  So I’m just saying, I think we can do better.


Happy Free Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Day!

27 Sep

You know me, I love freebies!  Today, from 5-8pm you can get a free “Sprinkled with Wishes™ Creation™”- Sweet Cream Ice Cream, Brownie, Rainbow Sprinkles and Fudge ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.   Now, there’s a reason for the free ice cream.   You can also donate $1 for a Make-a-Wish Star with your name on it.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation has been around since 1980 and has granted over 200,000 wishes.  C’mon you like kids, right?  How about sick kids?  Fun fact:  the average wish only costs about $7,000.  That’s VERY reasonable, and I bet from today’s donations alone many wishes can be paid for.

My favorite granted wish went to Erik Martin, who wanted to be a super hero for a day.  It was so freakin cute, and the guys from Deadliest Catch even played bad guys.

Meet Electron Boy!

So, do a good deed today and donate a dollar, (or more!) to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and get some yummy ice cream as a bonus.  I’ve gone before, and while the line seemed daunting at first, it moved pretty quickly, so don’t be discouraged!

Celebrate Free Ice Cream Day and donate to the Make-a-Wish Foundation early and often!

Happy National Postdoc Appreciation Week

24 Sep

Even though today is the last day of Postdoc Appreciate Week, it’s not too late to appreciate a Post Doc, especially runswithatoms and me!  I have heard horror stories about mistreated, underpaid, and overworked Post Docs.  You see, we Post Docs are in academic limbo.  We’re not students, we’re not faculty, we’re just there.  Oh, we’re doctors all right, but we’re not quite “practicing” on our own, yet.  It’s like residency for medical students, but with rats instead of sick people.

Not me, but the message remains. source: ThinkGeek

I have to say that I’ve been pretty lucky as a Post Doc, so far.  I have a great adviser (he pointed out during a seminar that an author’s name was Ariola), our lab is well-funded, and I like my labmates.  We actually hang out and it’s FUN not forced like in some labs.  Of course, some of my friends have not been as lucky with experiences that include sexual harassment, no funds, and slave-driver advisers.

Maybe you take the Post Docs in your lab for granted, but just know that we work hard just like everybody else, and dammit, we earned being called Doctor (c’mon just call me Dr. Ragan once?).  Yeah yeah I know, no Post Doc makes you call them doctor, and really if they do, they’re jerkwads.  Also remember that we don’t make that much money, but it’s a heckuvalot more than what grad students get haha.

So since runswithatoms and I are Post Docs, I strongly encourage that you celebrate Post Doc Appreciation Week every week!

Happy Checkers and Dogs in Politics Day!

23 Sep

Yes, you heard me right, today is both Checkers Day and Dogs in Politics Day, and you may be surprised to learn, the two days are one in the same!  Today’s origin dates back to 1952 when then-vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon gave a speech addressing accusations that campaign contributors were buying political influence by keeping a secret fund for Nixon for personal expenses.  Nixon used the new media of television to defend himself to the American people claiming the funds were used only towards political expenses and did not gain favor for contributors also noting his family’s modest lifestyle and his wife’s “Republican cloth coat”.  Nixon did admit to keeping one campaign gift for himself and his family regardless of any issues this may create with the American public: his black and white cocker spaniel named Checkers.

Intently plotting her next move

So to celebrate Checkers Day (named after a dog and thus also called Dogs in Politics Day), Tootsie and I decided to play checkers, chinese checkers to be specific, in order to honor one of the former presidents many accomplishments.  I know, I know, when most people hear the name Nixon, they think Tricky Dick, not reformer of American politics, but even the Checkers Speech, as it was later dubbed, changed the way American politicians communicated with voters.  It was the first time a politician chose to speak directly to the American public, in their own living rooms no less, changing the political climate to be as much about candidate personality as his politics.  And the one thing I learned in high school social studies was that “Nixon opened the doors to China” (actually I learned this from my mom, but it totally got me brownie points in class), hence the reason for playing chinese checkers.

Happy Checkers Day!  Go play some checkers or love your dog!  Or both!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

19 Sep

Ahoy! You’ve probably heard by now that it’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day!  That right, today be th’ day t’ find your inner pillager.  Talk Like a Pirate Day be conceived in 1995 by John Baur an’ Mark Summers while they were play’n racquetball in Albany, N.Y. (where I grew up!) an’ in th’ mist o’ their encouragement/trash talk they drifted into pirate slang.  Arr, Baur an’ Summers were none t’ lustily good at racquetball an’ talk’n like a pirate made their game more enjoyable.

A popular shirt in downtown Annapolis (I own it)

Be’n “Get My Cat O’ Nine Tails!” a pirate isn’t unseaworthily easy work ye know.  Pirates have a blastedly hard time find’n fresh squeezed orange juice which lead t’ a deficiency in vitamin C.   No vitamin C causes diseases like scurvy which causes malaise an’ lethargy or crickets which causes blindness (that’s why ye always see pirates wear’n eye patches).  Peg legs be also associated wi’ pirates which be probably cause one o’ th’ most famous pirates, Blackbeard, had a peg leg.  Blackbeard lost his leg t’ diabetes.  Too foul he didn’t have orange juice ’round t’ keep his blood sugar aloft.

On “Gar, Where can I find a bottle o’rum?” ‘nother note, th’ phrase “shi’er me timbers” really means “shave me back”, so yeah, mull that o’er.

Today’s lesson is: talk like a pirate, but don’t drink like one, an’ shave your own back!

Happy Cheeseburger Day!

18 Sep

A burger ain’t a burger without ooey gooey melted cheese on it!  Today, in a way to celebrate the ending of summer, I had leftover turkey cheeseburger made on the Foreman grill and they were dee-lish.  I added some leftover spicy feta dip from the Mediterranean Plate I ordered from Beggar’s Banquet right into the turkey meat to give it an extra kick.  Pretty dang good.  If you ever DO go to Beggar’s Banquet, don’t try to play shuffleboard there.  The table and shuffleboard disks are pretty terrible.  DO get the Mediterranean Plate, especially if you’re going to share it with others.

This is all wrong. 8-6 the onion, and safely secure the tomato away from the dangers of sogging up a bun, and then we'll talk.

Muuuuch better. Little diced onions are tolerable and there isn't a mound of tasteless iceberg lettuce. Seeds look too perfect though.


















Feast your eyes on the world’s largest cheeseburger.  Made in Thailand, surprisingly.  It came to almost 80 lbs. Gross!

They looks like they just ate an 80 lb. cheeseburger

If you use heart-friendly ingredients like black beans or turkey with low-fat cheese, I’d say go ahead and celebrate Cheeseburger Day early and often!  Especially, if you are tailgating!

Happy Guacamole Day!

16 Sep

mmm mmm boy do I love me some guacamole!  I never had it until right before grad school went I went on a trip to Yosemite with my BFF Lisa.  Man, that was a fun trip, eh Lisa?

Bellies probably full of guac

Anywho, after that I used to make it with my roommate all dee time and I looove it.  The only tricky part is figuring out if the avocado is ripe enough.  Go here to learn about the forehead-cheek-nose test.

I am also proud to say that my bf didn’t really eat guacamole before he met me, and he only really likes “my guacamole” (no that’s not innuend0, I just make a good guac).

Here’s how I make guac:

2 avacados pitted and smashed

2 roma tomatoes chopped

a bunch of dashes of Old Bay or Chili Powder

1 garlic clove

a healthy sprinkling of taco shredded cheese

several squirts of lime juice

Combine and enjoy.  Sorry I don’t have accurate measures, but that’s how I roll.  I’m not baking here, people.

Lucky for us, we can celebrate Guacamole Day with some coupons!  Wholly Guacamole, which makes really good pre-made guac, has 3 coupons for us, but act fast!  Go their Facebook page for a $2 coup (go to the left and look for the coupons link; or you can go here for a $1.50 coup;  and finally, if you are new to register, you can get a $1.50 coup here.

Whether you make it from scratch or pick up some Wholly Guacamole, get those “good fats” by celebrating Guacamole Day early and often!