Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Defeat Your Own Clone and Other Tips For Surviving the Biotech Revolution

In full disclosure, I should probably tell you that I probably wouldn't have even considered reading this book if I hadn't already known the author from college, because science is just not my thing. And Kyle is not just brilliant, he's hilarious. I remember bonding with him freshman year over our love for The State and how we couldn't believe that it wasn't yet on VHS. (Yes, VHS. I'm old.) So I knew that it couldn't be too painful - you know, for science. Ick.

It's only fitting that he wrote a book. And it's a pretty great book. When the first page of the prologue had me laughing, I knew that I was in for a treat.

Terrifyingly informative and absolutely hilarious, How to Defeat Your Own Clone is a preparative guide for the future. The main point is not that cloning and biological advances could happen, it's that they will happen.

Ahem. They already are.

As an aside (and if asides bother you, don't read this book. There are many asides), I was not a fan of science. Were you like me, doodling in your notebook during chemistry, never really understanding those things called "moles," and hoping to God that the next lab assignment wouldn't have you reaching for a fire extinguisher? Well, that was definitely me, so the premise of this book was a bit off-putting. I thought, "Do I have the brains for this book?"

Answer: ten year-olds have the brains for this book. Well, brainy ten year-old brains. It is so well-articulated that the layperson should have no trouble with the scientific prose. It is written in such an intelligent way that the non-intelligent will feel brilliant!

Kurpinski and his co-author, Terry Johnson, have written an informative, interesting, entertaining book. They stick to the facts, but offer real-world examples to help the lay person understand all those science-y type words. For example, in the first chapter entitled, "Cloning and You," the reader learns about viruses:
"A virus is a lot like an unwanted house guest. Some don't seem so bad at first, like the guy who crashes for the weekend on your pull-out sofa bed. The first night he's passed out and appears relatively harmless. But two days later he's still hanging around, and the next thing you know he's overloaded your washing machine and flooded the basement. In the virus world, these seemingly unassuming little visitors incorporate their genetic material into a host genome and may lay dormant for years before causing any noticeable problems such as AIDS. Other viruses are more like the ultimate party crasher who barges in uninvited, messes with all your stuff, and moves on when the booze dries up - except that the virus makes thousands of copies of itself and they all set fire to your house on the way out."
One of my favorite chapters is "Common Misconceptions About Cloning and Biotechnology [Popular Culture is a Poor Teacher]" which explores and debunks the myths about cloning and the like that we gleaned from science fiction movies and books. Would your clone have a soul? Would it be able to harvest your thoughts and memories? And most importantly, would your clone be... evil? All of these questions are answered!

You will also learn what is needed to clone yourself (or what someone else needs to clone you). Be warned: they don't need much. Because "...complex organisms don't exist as a single cell, but they start as one..." that is all that is needed to start building your clone.

Something important to keep in mind is that because clones will most likely have to be built from scratch and inserted into someone's uterus (for the time being, of course), the clone will always be younger than you. But in case science discovers a way to create your clone just as you exist today, remember that the whole nature vs. nurture thing will eventually be your clone's undoing.

I'll leave you with the authors' careful words of warning:
"In the end, your genome can be copied, but the precise series of cellular events that built you cannot, and that just might be enough to spot a rogue clone."
At 180 pages, How to Defeat Your Own Clone is a quick, fun read. Now I'm off to put my retinal scan on file so that my clone won't beat me to it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peep Mobile!

Laurel sent me the most amazing pictures when she was in DC's Chinatown. I give you... the PEEP MOBILE:

You see, I think that it is funny because it is a take on the Popemobile. PEEP MOBILE!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Hope Santa Has a Backup

It was all downhill from there for poor, poor Rudolph.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are You Like Me?

Are you like me? Do you imagine tiny moments your life as if you were visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future?

I fell asleep last night without brushing my teeth. I knew that I should get up and brush them, but I was in the middle of a game on my phone great book. Later, I thought about it again, but I was so warm and comfy in the covers. Then I got thirsty and sat up enough to drink water, and again thought that I should probably get up and brush my teeth, but then I thought, "Meh, fuck it," and promptly fell asleep.

The next morning, I brushed my teeth EXTRA well. But my mind started wandering. "I really should have gotten my lazy ass out of bed and brushed my teeth last night. What if last night was the catalyst for gingivitis? Or another cavity? Or what if it was the kickoff toward a root canal?? OMG!"

Was last night the moment? The moment when that tiny molecule from the ill-advised can of Coke entered my bicuspid (that's a tooth, right?)?"

Ghost Goofy wants you to brush your teeth EVERY NIGHT.
(One of the best Christmas Carol versions, btw.)

And then the ghost of Christmas whatever teaches me a valuable lesson about oral hygiene. I don't know.

You think that I can't get crazier than this? Well, I didn't wash my face, either. Ta ha!

So, are you like me? Or are you a normal person?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Donut Sundae? Are You Serious?

No, not the name of my band (which would be borrowing heavily from the best band of the nineties, Hot Sundae), but an incredibly ridiculous dessert.

A dessert that was FORCED upon me at Zingerman's Roadhouse.

That is a donut. With gelato. Whipped cream. Caramel sauce.
Peanuts. Cherry on top.

It was delicious.

Also, the nineties were weird. Why is Jessie wearing a belt?

Monday, December 19, 2011

For Sale: One Kick-Ass Magic Couch

It is with deep regret that I must say goodbye to one of the best couches ever created:

Color: Blue...ish, lightly faded
Measurements: Who cares? It can go anywhere! It's practically an accessory!
Manufacturer: The great Ikea (Ektorp series)

For just a small dip into your wallet, you can own a third-hand couch! And it is a GLORIOUS couch. Let me tell you more:

-I bought it used from a super sweet gay couple in Thomas Circle in the summer of 2003. They were "completely redecorating" and were not planning on "blue."

-During the relocation (in Dealey's Montero) from Thomas Circle to Arlington, we forgot the feet. So it sits quite low to the ground directly on the frame. But this is okay! It is not at all a problem! Falling into the couch is romantical.

-It is slip-covered, and therefore washable. I mean, I assume that it's washable.

-It has lived many places, including its current home in a storage unit. It has never known cold, and that is why I need to find a new home for it. Before it gets really cold.

-I have only heard rumors about hook-ups on the couch. As I did not witness these supposed events, I choose to believe that the rumors are false. No sex on this couch! I have spoken!

-I am almost positive that no one has vomited on, near, or around the couch.

-There have been children on this couch, but they are adorable children. Here's one now:

"I love Aunt Heather's couch!"

-Is comfortable to EVERYONE. When six-foot tall K-10 would visit, she preferred to sleep on the MAGIC COUCH rather than a bed. Did the MAGIC COUCH alter its length to accommodate her? IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE. Also, falling asleep on the couch is like a pastime. Here is Merrick, asleep only 3.7 seconds after sitting on the couch:

Granted, we'd had a long day, but still.

Remember earlier, when I mentioned a "small dip into your wallet?" Yeah, you can just have it for a song. Or some ice cream. Whichever makes you most comfortable. Magic couch just needs a good home!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Make Baking Tolerable

I am not a baker. I mean, baking is fine and all, but I am a much better cook than baker. And yes, those are different things.

A cook can add or omit ingredients, can make substitutions, and can cook something to her desired consistency, temperature, or doneness. I think that it is fun to cook.

Baking, now? Everything has to be perfect. The butter has to be room temperature, but cannot be softened in the microwave because it will change the consistency of the dough. Do you not have cream of tartar? Might as well kill yourself, because those fucking sugar cookies are not going to happen.


But still, I decided that baking cookies would make for a fun afternoon while Mike and Larry played drunken Twisted Metal. Drunkenly. And this is how I coped:

Lemon drop shots with a Woodchuck chaser. Some of the sugar cookies are too crisp, but at least I don't give a fuck. Just like the honey badger.

Is it wrong that I want the coveted Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for the one time all year that I make a concerted effort to bake?

If it's wrong, I DO NOT WANT TO BE RIGHT.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

This is the Most Glorious Thing That You Will See Today... Or ANY Day

Remember Surf Style?

This van looks just like those 1990s jackets (which you can find on etsy, omg).

You wish you lived near me so that you could see this bitchin' van every day. WITH MATCHING RIMS. You do.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I = Lazy

This is our Christmas tree:

This is our tree next to a poinsettia:

It's a tiny tree, you guys.

I have a six-foot tree that I've decorated for years now, but my extreme laziness, coupled with Kohl's insane deals, led to the purchase of this four-foot pre-lit tree.

(I mean, it's on sale for like, $13 or something, and then you get a discount, plus another discount, and then a scratch-off discount at the register. Question: How does Kohl's stay in business, anyway?)

Right, so pre-lit trees, in my opinion, are the FUTURE OF TREES.

It took 32 seconds to set up, followed by three minutes of ornament-hanging. Mike still hates it, but hates it on a much smaller scale. Plus, all of the ornaments are birds, dinosaurs, a Detroit Pistons bobblehead of some player I've never heard of, and a 5-hour energy bottle with a string around it.

(Which ornaments were Mike's contribution?)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Who Drew This? Your Three Year-Old? GOD.

Stop it, Target:

"DINO Dinosaurs ruled the Earth Jurassic Period"

So, who made this? Non-English speakers? That's my guess.

Because FIRST OF ALL, you guys, dinosaurs lived in several different periods. The Tyrannosaurus Rex pictured here so anatomically correctly lived during the Cretaceous Period, GOD.

Second of all, run-on sentence much?

THIRD OF ALL, Target needs to stop selling things from China.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nope! I Don't Understand.

Do you have $42 to spend on nail polish? Neither do I. Neither does anyone in her RIGHT MIND.

Most intelligent purchase EVER.

I suppose that it's considered a deal as one bottle of polish goes for $18. Savings!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Arguments for and Against Personalized License Plates

Yes, the Michigan Secretary of State thought that this license plate was just a-okay. This one, though? Is brilliant:

I have much respect for the owner of this car. Much respect.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Leader Emerges

It's been established that Mike and I are... special. We have stuffed animals. And we are weird. So it comes as no surprise to me that as we amassed more and more creatures, alliances were forged, friendships made and broken, and there was even an attempted murder (I am told that it was a ploy to get my attention, but it doesn't excuse Mr. Happy Dinosaur and Sammy the Sauropod from putting Babbity Rabbity on a dinner plate).

Apparently, Teddy has declared himself the leader of all animals. Perched atop Ms. Pillow (oh, have I not explained Ms. Pillow? It's a good story), he seems to have demanded an audience with all animals in the kingdom.

To be completely honest, I don't know why there has yet to be an uprising.

Sunday, December 04, 2011



I don't know that there is a single inanimate object cuter than a onesie. I mean, LOOK:

Look at the dinosaurs' smiles. Incredible! I purchased two of these ADORABLE onesies for Mike's nephews, but they will never wear them because I am an idiot.


You might be wondering, "But Heather, what happened? That is the cutest dinosaur onesie ever! Children should wear those always! If they made that onesie in adult sizes, I'd be wearing one right now instead of this Snuggie!"

"I mean, wouldn't you be?"

HERE IS WHERE OUR STORY BEGINS. I have two nieces. Mike has three nephews. You would think that I would have figured things out by now, but ALAS I HAVE NOT.

This Christmas, I was (happily) tasked with purchasing the most adorable, comfy, dinosaur-y outfits imaginable for Mike's nephews, age: almost 2. I would have sent Mike to get them himself, but I have a feeling that it would not have ended well, I would have ended up at Target and/or Kohl's myself anyway, and time would have been wasted, the end.

And so, with explicit instructions to buy 12-month clothing, I went shopping.

"Hey! Idiots! The twins are like, 20 months old."

I found the CUTEST things: matching outfits (they are twins, after all), pajamas, shirts and pants... I saved an assload at Kohl's with their scratch-off coupon at the register and headed to Target to spend more!

"This isn't going to end well."

The next day, I shipped everything to Seattle and felt mighty proud of myself. Until Mike called on his lunch break:

"What size clothes did I tell you to get for the twins?"

Heather, confidently, "Twelve months."

Long pause.

Mike, dejectedly, "Yeah. They're almost two."

Heather and Mike, simultaneously, "Fuck."

And then I got to go shopping again! I figured that it would be easier, but let me tell you, IT WAS NOT. Shopping for infants is easy. Colors are important, but not tantamount. Onesies are not only acceptable, they're pretty much mandatory.

It gets so much more complicated when they get older. There are many levels of complication:

First off, there are about eleventy billion more options of clothing for little girls. Like, 90% of the children's clothing is for girls. I mean, obviously that's great when you have girls to buy for, but I did not. And it was frustrating.

Secondly, two year-olds don't really wear onesies that much, right? I wish they would. Onesies, as mentioned earlier, are the best and the cutest. Why can't they just be babies forever??!?

Third, girls can wear whatever they want. If they like outfits with dinosaurs or trucks or football, they are totally welcome to wear them, and hopefully are encouraged to wear them if that is what they like. So not only can they already wear 90% of the toddler clothing, they have access to the remaining 10%. Boys aren't so much um... able to wear pink princess shirts without inviting unwanted commentary and parental criticism.

Not that I would buy pink clothes for Mike's nephews, even if I wanted to, but you know what I mean.

"I would totally wear Disney princess pajamas,
but that's because I am a pterodactyl."

ANYWAY. I found new clothes. They were purchased and mailed to Seattle. The 12-month clothing was donated. All is well. I remain - and Mike remains - stupid for not remembering how damn old the twins were as of December 2011.


MINI RANT: Is 24-month clothing the same as 2T? If so, WHY HAVE THEM BOTH? Why do you buy months-sizing for a while, and then switch to "T" sizes? Are those ages? I DON'T KNOW. Conspiracy.

Oh, and not only is Mike's sister preggers with another boy (Four boys! Kill me!), my lovely sister-in-law, Kari, is pregnant as well (sex of child TBD in March)! So I'm thinking that I should probably figure this out, and figure it out soon.

Or at least keep a better calendar.