Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Thrills and Spills of Rollercoasters

Sunday, after a very light breakfast, we made it to Six Flags about 11:30. We were warned of impending weather, and rushed head-first into the first rollercoaster line.
First was the Georgia Scorcher. This is a fairly basic coaster, except that you stand up on it, oh, and we were in the FRONT CAR!
Next, we went on the newest and biggest coaster, the Goliath! This is not a pic of us, just showing you that the only thing holding us in the seats is a lap thing! Right after leaving the station, our first experience was a nearly 100-foot drop! AAAHHHHH!!!

This is a pic looking towards the Goliath track (turquoise & orange), with part of the Georgia Scorcher in the foreground (purple & yellow)! I kept my hands up for nearly the whole ride, but R wouldn't even lift his from his lap harness!!
After a few mellow rides (Log Plume & Log Boat), we found this carnival-like ride, (I can't remember the name, so we called it the Spin Cycle). R doesn't do circular rides (they make him way sick), so J and I did it on our own. Oh, boy! I guess I'm getting too old for circular rides, too! Because this thing made me so sick!
Right across from the "Spin Cycle" was The Ninja. We thought this looked like another pretty decent coaster, so we hopped on. Were we ever wrong! It was so jerky and the headrest things were just not cool! I got off of this one feeling like I had whiplash and a disjointed brain! (Not Good!)
We walked around, went on a few other mellow rides, bought $8 drinks, and waited to regain our composure from the Ninja.
Eventually, we made it to the Superman ride. Take note of the twists and bends of the track! This was our longest (and hottest) wait, nearly an hour (all the previous had been less than 30 min, and in the shade), but well worth it!
This is the group before us getting in their seats for the Superman ride. Note the bulky harness and leg restraints.
Here is the same group in the ready-to-ride position! Yes, you're looking at that right: Passengers ride in the Superman "flying" position! Now, go back up two pics and take a closer look at the track! This was one where they took your pic after one of the drops, and you should've seen us! My arms were flopping around (I like to keep my arms up on the coasters), J looked like she was going to cry (I think it was mostly G effects on her face), and R looked like he was in serious pain! :) Too bad they're so expensive, because those faces were Great!
A short thunder delay later, we managaed to ride the Deja Vu coaster. Unfortunately, R didn't have the stomach for this one. J and I were in the very back row, and the first thing it did was crank us to the top of this tower and DROP US! The train rushed back through the loading area (it's a rush just standing thisclose to it) and goes into a bunch of twists, turns, and loops, gets cranked up another tower and rushes through the whole thing again, BACKWARDS!
Before the rain finally kicked in, we also rode another water ride (J and I ended up under the waterfall and SOAKED), and one final coaster, The Mindbender (I was able to convince R to join us on that one, but there's no pic).
Right after we got off that, the skies opened wide (It was 6pm)! The only rides we had missed out on were the wooden coasters, but honestly, I'm not a big fan of the jerky, wobbly, whiplash-inducing rides, so it was no great loss.
Six Flags was awesome, and if you're ever in town and looking for a fun way to spend the day, it's highly recommended in my book!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Experiencing Technical Problems

Okay, so I had the post on Six Flags saved as a draft, and there it sits just waiting to be posted. But alas, my laptop AC adaptor finally did it and gave up on life. After the interesting experience of seeing The Brick smoke and spark, I decided not to attempt to start my computer back up. So, I'm stuck with this dirty, ugly, noisy desktop at work. Which has decided not to let me publish my Six Flag post.
Also, my pictures...of our new addition (it's not a living thing, so don't get any ideas) are stuck on that computer, so you'll have to wait for the Big Reveal! You'll also have to wait for the pics from Ex-Best-Bud's bridal shower. That was last weekend, and an extremely nostalgic experience. Oh, just be patient, I'll tell you all about it soon enough.
I did buy a new AC adapter last night (Thanks EBay!), so hopefully I'll be up and running by the beginning of next week! *fingers crossed*

Friday, August 25, 2006

Let's All Cheer for the Blue Knight

First of all, Happy Birthday Little Sister, J!! That's right, yesterday was dad's birthday and today is J's birthday, she's no longer a teenager!
On to Atlanta stuff:
While in Atlanta, we did manage to make the 7:30 show at Medieval Times. And, OMG, it was AWESOME!! If you ever have the chance, and are so inclined to watch horses doing tricks and "knights" jousting and sword fighting, you MUST see this show!
First thing we got were crowns to match our seating area and the knight we would be cheering for. Yay Blue Knight!
Then, we entered the arena and sat in the coordnating section. We were right next to the yellow section, so it was extra competetive for us! :) Soup was served from a large bucket, and we had to slurp it straight from the bowl! The pewter bowl got really hot really fast, and burned my lips, but it was pretty good.
As the bread, Half of a Chicken, spare rib, and potato were served, we watched the "Master of Ceremonies" demonstrate horse tricks. Then, we were introduced to our Knights and the games began!
There was a whole story line, just like watching a medieval times movie, but in person.
Our beloved Blue Knight was the princess's significant other, but lost in his first battle and was taken off to the dungeon. The champion of the games was the Black & White Knight, but he was killed by the Governor (who obviously was secretly a Bad Guy). Then, our Blue Knight escaped the dungeon,fought and defeated the Governor (and his minions), was united with his True Love, and became the heir to the throne!
I wish I had more pics, but we took more video than anything. Oh, and the food was excellent (besides eating in the dark)! I'm kind of picky about my meat (don't like the gristle, cartilage, or other slimy/crunchy parts), and I just had to get over it and dig in! I mean that literally, as we dug in with both hands!
The whole thing can be summed up with one word: Wow! 2.5 hours of entertainment and a hoarse voice...what a way to spend an evening!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad!

Well, I was going to post stuff from Atlanta yesterday, but I just didn't have the time, and today is my dad's birthday...
So, here are some pics of the old man! Just kidding, dad is still as chipper as ever (as if chipper is a word anyone would ever use to describe dad)! :) Lucky for my little sisters, dad is much more mellow and laid back than he was when I was growing up! (Although they'd probably try to argue against that!) Pic 1: May 2006 at sister, J's graduation. Yes, dad is nearly a foot taller than me.

Ah, what a flashback. Pic 2: May 1999 at MY graduation! Aren't we a lovely family!? This was back when I was still the 2nd tallest in the family! :)
I didn't realize how few pics I have of dad! And, almost all of the ones I do have are of the whole family! Pic 3: Feb 2006 getting ready for grampa's funeral. Obviously, everyone got their "Tall Genes" from dad (luckies!). And, please, don't tell me how much I look like my mom!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sister, Sister

Here we are at the bowling alley in Diamondhead, MS. That's me, bestbud AJ, and sister J. Don't we look so cute? You know, it's not everyday we get to dress up, put on makeup, and stay out late! Oh, and disregard my super red face, we had spent the whole day at the waterpark!

This was "The Drill" thing they had on campus last week. I guess it was sort of like a pep rally for the beginning of school. There was a band playing classic rock music, and our marching band was there playing our fight songs. A few other people brought their cowbells, but as usual, I was the only girl with one! And, the freshmen kept looking at me funny--I guess because I was ringing my bell and singing along with our songs. (Uh, HELLO, it's called School Spirit!)

Okay, so this one is out of order, but you wouldn't have know that if I didn't tell you. This was J's first time trying sushi. It was at a Japanese restaurant in Alabama on our way home from Atlanta. I don't do fish, but the steak & chicken were AMAZING (they cooked everything right in front of us on the hibachi grill)!! Oh, and R is NOT picking his nose (he's not that rude)! :)

I just decided to stick this one in there, because this squirrel was so doggone cute! This was when we were leaving our 2nd hotel and heading home. R was so excited about this "tame" squirrel that would take the food out of his hands! Of course, it wouldn't let me anywhere near it!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

20 Years In The Making

Today was the First Day of my 20th (consecutive) year in school. And, it was also the First Day of my Last Semester at MSU. *tear* Wow, I hadn't even thought of it like that! In 115 days (that's including weekends, holidays, and days I don't have class), I will be FINISHED! I will be walking across the stage, and accepting my Master's Degree. I think this calls for a ticker. I just need to find one that is suited to the occassion!
This semester won't be my easiest--what with finishing this darned thesis, taking Molecular Biology at 8 AM, and Environmental Issues in Forest Products at LUNCH. But I also know it won't be my most difficult--only 2 classes and 1 lecture, classes only on Tues/Thurs, and no fear of failing (yes, I had several of those semesters) .
I'm already off to a good start, nevermind having to get up at the same time as R and fight over the bathroom and TV. I still seem to be one of the select few who knows about My Parking Lot, I made it to class early, the professor seems pretty cool, and I know about 90% of the people in the class. Oh, and I've heard that the Env't Issues class is really easy.
So, *cheers* to the New (and Last) School Year!

Little sis & I are having fun. It's interesting to sit around and point out hawt guys with her, and way more fun that I would've ever imagined. Tonight we're going to hang out on campus (some "start-the-school-year Pep Rally" sort of thing) and possibly drop by a "Block Party" party/concert (depending on how rowdy the crowd is). Tomorrow we're going to The Hunt Club, which is probably the coolest place to hang out around here. It's been about 2 years since I've been, but I'm sure we'll be able to amuse ourselves. Yes, it is a club, but they have TONS of pool tables, a decent menu, and ALL TYPES of jammin' music.
Plans are still on for Atlanta this weekend, and I'm still not sure about Saturday night. I'm kinda thinking we might do this thing. Apparently, I should mention some reference to "Cable Guy," although I don't really remember that part--something like: "Dust thou have a mug of ale for me and my mate? He has been pitched in battle for a fortnight. And has a kings thirst for the frosty brew thus thou have for thus." Oh, and: "There are no utensils in medieval times, thus, there are no utensils AT Medeival Times. Would you like a refill on that Pepsi?" (Quotes curtesy of this site.) Now I wonder if it would really be cool to watch horses prance around while eating a whole chicken with my fingers? Only for $50 each!
Of course, if R had his way, we would just go here and here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Week in Review

Okay, so let's see what has happened since last Wednesday... I did my crunches routine wed and Thurs nights. Friday afternoon little sis and I went to Gulfport. I managed to find a swimsuit (top only) that fit enough. We had dinner and hung out around the house (stayed with AJ), playing "Fact or Crap" and watching "Ocean's Twelve" (oh, I love me some Brad Pitt). Saturday we shopped a little and found a cute pair of shorts that would serve as my swimsuit bottoms for our afternoon at the waterpark. We enjoyed 3.5 hours in the hot, crowded waterpark, and (fortunately) managed to go on almost all the slides (3/4). After the waterpark, sis and I went to visit mil, sil, and nephew at their new house. Had some way yummy red beans & rice and petted a billy goat with the saggiest you-know-whats I've ever seen!
Met back up with AJ and a few other friends to have dinner. Decided that midnight bowling sounded like a great idea, and proceeded to a town 30 min away to play. I pretty much stunk, but had a great time hanging out with my friends! We didn't get back to the house until 2 am! Wow, I can't even remember the last time I was out that late! Sunday we treated mil to brunch, and drove sis down what used to be Scenic Hwy 90 (still so sad). We also dropped by old friend, TR's, new house and chatted with him & the wifey.
We made it back to Starkville around 7:30 and just kicked back the rest of the evening. Of course, I did absolutely NO excercise during the weekend. But, last night I got back on the horse and did my 200 crunches routine. And this morning I did 100 crunches and 1.5 laps around the block (couldn't finish the 2nd b/c the dog had to poo and I didn't want him to go in somebody else's yard).
Last night sis and I joined in the "Dawg Daze" festivities on campus. Let's just say that we waited in line for 30 min for a Free SnoCone. Was it worth it? Eh, maybe not. But, we had a little sister togetherness time to check out the "fresh meat." So here's a question for ya: At what age is it inappropriate to check out 18 y/o guys? At 25, am I still okay? Not that there were any major hotties to be seen. Oh, that is, until we drove by Fraternity Row... (Howdy Boys!) Tonight the options are "Campus Challenge" in the Sanderson Center (our campus gym, is way awesome) or go see "Pulse" curtesy of 99.9 The Fox (free movie night)... I wouldn't mind the campus activities, except that they're mainly geared towards building freshman kinship, and I'm not too keen on hanging out with a bunch of young'uns.
We're still going to Atlanta (Six Flags) this weekend (Sat-Mon), but I'm trying to decide what we can do Thurs & Fri nights? Would another night of bowling be totally lame? There are also bands playing at our local hot spots (aka clubs), but do I really feel comfortable hanging out with little sis At A Bar? (Okay, so she IS almost 20!) Oh, and what about Sat night in Atlanta: Are any of y'all familiar with Cool Things To Do around there?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Changing Names

At what point do y'all think it becomes absolutely necessary to change things over to your new last name? Yes, I've been married nearly 2 years. Yes, I accept his last name as mine. We have a joint bank account, and I sign checks with my "new" name. But, my debit card, credit cards, driver's license, and various other accounts are still in my maiden name.
Up to now it's just seemed like such an inconvenience to change everything. I mean, do you change the debit/credit cards first or driver's license? And, what's with the $$ for a new license?
It's not like I want to go down to the HP office and have their outdated camera shoved in my face and have my pic taken with my face THIS BIG. Besides, the darned thing expires next summer anyways. Can't I just wait til then? And, hopefully by then we'll be moving (or *fingers crossed* already moved) and maybe the place we move to will require that I have their state license?
As for the credit cards, I only use one of them, and it's almost always for online shopping, where identification/signature is not needed. And, who checks debit card signatures, either? When I do have to sign, I just use my married name anyways, and nobody ever notices that it doesn't match the name on the card. The same goes for checks, but then, I have never tried to cash a check that had my married name on it. Hmmm... maybe that would be a problem?
So, I ask YOU: How long did you/your wife wait before changing names on all accounts/cards/licenses? Do you/your wife have any funny or interesting stories about the transition?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Mothership has Landed

Our new bookstore opened last week, OMG, you wouldn't belive it! I just wish I had some pics of the old one, so that you could have a better reference for how awesome this place really is.
But anyways, here's one of the entrances, looking towards the football stadium and the Center of Campus. The new bookstore is actually ALSO a Barnes and Noble, which leads to many opportunities for free reading and general meandering (if we can just figure out how to keep those darned freshmen out)!
Did I mention that, as a Barnes and Noble, the new Cullis Wade Depot (you know these buildings have to be named after everyone and their brother) is also home to Starkville's newest Coffee Shop, Starbucks! Not that I'm the hugest fan, but this Mocha Frappuccino was pretty awesome. And, since my early class (the one at 9) is right across the field, I might be hitting up the coffee on those "rough mornings." (Please feel free to send Starbucks gift cards at your leisure.) ***OMG! I didn't even realize this, but according to this guy, it also contains our counties' FIRST escalator!!***
This has nothing to do with coffee, or books (unless you feel so inclined to send gifts in either form to me), but I thought I'd include it. How can I explain that: YES, my PERMANENT address is a P.O. Box. In the 7.5 years I've been at Mississippi State/in Starkville, I have (physically) lived in 8 places (dorms, apartments, temporary residence, houses), but my P.O. Box has remained the SAME! So, WHY is it so difficult for UPS to deliver to a P.O. Box? It is a PHYSICAL location where I KNOW I will be able to get my mail. Why do they insist on dropping $200 worth of computer equipment on my front porch, in the middle of the day, when I live in a TRAILER PARK!! And, WHY can't my drivers license have a P.O. Box? A "permanent address" (NOT a P.O. Box) is required for a driver's license. How does this help me on the rare occassion that I get a ticket, and a WARRANT is sent out for me, and I have NO idea (because it was sent to the apartment I lived in 4 FOUR years ago)!!
Somebody needs to do something about this situation!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bacteria Are Stinky

But, being back in the lab and getting my hands dirty feels good! I left my E. coli tubes in the incubator over the weekend (they only need 24 to grow), so by this morning they were really funky. The good thing is that by the end of the week I'll be done with cultures and back to the Molecular stuff.

Little Sister made it here safely, and I've learned more about her in the past 2 days than in the 2 weeks this summer and 1 week last summer that I spent with them in New Mexico! All I can say is "Whoa! These are going to be an interesting 2.5 weeks!"

I feel guilty that for the rest of this week she'll be spending a lot of time around the house, alone. I actually have work to do, R can't take off just for the fun of it, and there's really nothing for her to do in town. Hopefully she'll just enjoy the "downtime" and not get too bored. At home, she works part-time, goes to school, runs littlest sister around to her activities, helps out around the house, watches gramma's house, and still manages to hang out with her friends practically every night. So maybe 2 weeks of lounging on the couch, eating bon-bons, and staying in her pjs all day will be a Nice Break?!

This weekend we will be going to Gulfport, so I have to try to get as much STUFF done before Friday as I can, so I can go with a guilt-free conscience!

My workout schedule is going okay. Wed I got back up to my 100 crunches. Thurs I did 2 laps around the block with the dog. Friday, 100 crunches. Sat, thought about laps with the dog, but the weather got bad, so nothing. Sun, 200 crunches!
Oh, and when I say crunches, that means any variety of regular crunches (middle, left, right), side crunches (lay on side and do them), pushups (only 1/2 down), leg lifts, and a nice long stretch routine. These are geared mostly towards building muscle strength, toning, and just moving my body.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Name That Crop!

Today's episode is brought to you by $2.99 / gallon gasoline and a very expensive drive through the country. This week we have 4 crop varieties, some easy, some difficult, for you to try your hand at. If all the contestants are ready, we will begin.

We'll start with an easy one. Crop #1 is grown in many areas of the country, but with Mississippi's nearly-drought conditions, this year's crops don't seem to be doing very well. In this region, this crop is mainly grown as a feed for cattle, and I bet those cows are just praying for RAIN!

Crop #2 is also planted mainly as a feed for cattle and pigs. On average, 2 Million acres of this crop are planted in Mississippi each year. Hint: Mississippi State University is currently performing research on various varieties of this crop for use in biodiesel studies also being conducted on campus.

Crop #3 may be a little more difficult. This crop may not seem like a "crop," but it is grown, harvested, and used. Often used in landscaping and golf courses.

And finally, Crop #4 is the 3rd highest state commodity, and Mississippi ranks 2nd to 3rd each year in the production of this crop. Hint: In a few months, this field will look entirely different!

Do you have your answers ready? Don't peek until you've at least tried to guess all four! Ready? Okay, here are the answers:

ANSWERS: Crop #1 is Corn. Crop #2 is Soybean. Crop #3 is Sod. Crop #4 is Cotton.

How did you do? Did you cheat and look at the answers first? Did you enjoy the game? Maybe next week we can test ourselves to "Name That _____!" (What? You didn't think I'd tell you so you could practice, did you?!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Slacking Just a Little

Okay, so I haven't exactly been sticking to my workout plan. Yesterday I only did 50 crunches and I didn't do anything on Monday. But, I have to tell you, I'm still getting over whatever this "bug" is that has kept me up at night hacking up my lungs. Normally, I sleep ALL through the night (I don't even get up for the bathroom). But since I've been sick (almost 2 full weeks--the 1st week was sinus/congestion, now it's all down to coughing), I haven't gone a single night without getting up at least twice (sometimes as many as 5 times)! And, a Girl's gotta get her REST! Yesterday I finally ran out of cough syrup (which mostly works), so I was left chugging water and honey (that's right, sugar-coated teeth ALL NIGHT). Fortunately, during the day I don't cough nearly as much, but am instead left with a "lump in the throat" feeling. You know, like when you're really nervous about something. Sometimes it's so bad I feel like I can hardly breathe. You know, it actually feels like what I'd imagine asthma feels like. Can someone who has NEVER had asthma suddenly develop it as an adult? If this keeps up much longer, I might just have to face the "give-it-another-week" Doctor and DO SOMETHING about it! I can't go much longer with this highly interrupted "sleep."
Today is my "date" with the Statistician. Oh, boy. Of course I'm going in there with absolutely no clue as to what the heck I'm doing. Hopefully he's a nice guy and doesn't mind explaining complicated mathematics to me! *fingers crossed*
Tomorrow I will spend some time out "in the field" where my research samples are taken. I mention this only because I'm taking bets on what the temperature, humidity, and heat index are going to be while I'm OUT THERE. Oh, and my thesis is NOW up to 20 pages (don't laugh, that's progress for me)!
Friday I have the opportunity to attend 2 (yes TWO) Free Lunches! Sadly I can only attend one. I was excited about the first one, because it's in our new-ish Baseball "Whatever" Center. (REALLY, what is this place? Oh, wait I got it. It's an indoor--air conditioned/heated--practice field for BOTH baseball AND football. What a way to spend $3.8M.) And, well, I've never been in there. It's always fun to go in the new buildings on campus, so I have some idea of what they're for. The second lunch--the one I WILL attend--is an "end of summer thing" for our lab. That includes our 2 bosses, 3 grad students, and 4 student workers. Apparently we're going to this fancy-snazzy restaurant, The Abbey. They serve "international dishes" and I've been told that it's the only place in Starkville where you can get schnitzel (which I'll admit, I looked up). Although I sure hope they have a club sandwich, or some other seemingly edible option!
Finally, Saturday, I have to clean house. That's how I spend my Saturdays (without The Man around to get in my way). But this one will be EXTRA SPECIAL because I will be picking my little sister up from the airport (or is that: I will be picking UP my little sister from the airport?) at 1:30!
Okay, back to work for me! I'm trying real hard to finish this thesis so I can GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE in December!