Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fallen Princesses

Check this out. I really love this website somehow*. It's about the Disney princesses. The artist says:
"In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The '...happily ever after' is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues."

I'm not sure which one I like best. Maybe this one - just because she looks like I feel some days.

Plus, I like the bar. It seems like hard drinkin' kind of place.


* Jenny points out that both of us have started ending sentences with somehow. I think it comes from Charles. So I may start speaking like a non-native English speaker. It happens when you lead a glamorous life abroad.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I went to visit a friend in Göttingen this weekend. If there's a market for science tourism (and it's hard to imagine that their wouldn't be) Göttingen has it cornered.

See, perhaps the most exciting thing about Göttingen is that the motto (slogan, whatever), "Stadt die Wissen schafft" is German play on words and I almost understood it without looking it up. For those of you who don't speak the lovely language of Goethe, let me explain. See, literally it means (and this is my translation so if you're German and it's wrong please correct me) "The city that creates knowlege." However, since "Wissenschaft" means science, it's also the city of science. It makes me realize how many little jokes must be happening all the time that I don't understand.

Right, where was I? Okay, so Göttingen (according to the tourism website) been associated with 43 Nobel Prize winners (I think all in science). Eight of them are buried there, so I made a pilgramige to see the cemetery where all the famous dead guys are buried. Fascinating tidbit of information - Max Plank has his constant on his tombstone.

I also saw this statue (the Gänseliesel):

Apparently she's the most kissed girl in Germany (although really, how can a person possibly know that?) because after students at the university finish their Ph.D. they have to kiss her and give her some flowers. I think it's sort of sweet. I wanted to kiss her also, but I don't think I've met the requirements.

Anyway, Göttingen is a lovely city. It was sort of comparable to Jena in some ways: about the same size, big university, lot of science - but sort of more impressive. I'm sorry Jena. At least Goethe never lived there (at least, as far as I know).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Like Life

You know, the major thing I've learned from living in another country is that it's not glamorous. I think the word "abroad" has always sort of filled me with anticipation. "Abroad" causes my mind to fill up with vague images of cafes, cathedrals, elephants, pyramids, and crowded markets. Also, I think it conjures the smell of some slightly exotic spice - cardamom, maybe, which isn't available in the Covington grocery store.

I haven't posted anything in more than a week (I like to think that you noticed, loyal readers, but I can't be sure) because nothing is really happening. I gave a seminar in lab meeting yesterday. I'm watching the 7th season of the Gilmore Girls. A new bar opened up by my house. I'm going to learn about the genitive case in my German lesson this week. While walking to work last week a fly flew between my eye and my glasses and got stuck there for several seconds until I ripped off my glasses to release it.

But when I talk to people from home, it seems like so much is happening. Babies, jobs, weddings, etc. Big stuff. Dramatic, life changing events. I was considering leading this post with the fly story (because I was concerned at the time that it was a wasp - imagine the dramatic consequences there) instead of the "I'm getting married, having a baby, and buying a house" news that everyone else seems to have.

It's not that I'm jealous. The news is as often bad as it is good. It's just that I sometimes feel like I'm just waiting for stuff to happen. My days are mostly pleasant and uneventful. Jenny frequently jokes that everyone's life is better than hers. But I don't really think that - it's just that everyone's life seems more lifelike than mine

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chemikerball 2009

Chemikerball 2009 was a fancy affair. It's fun to see your colleagues all dressed up (note to the Germans - I did not claim you as friends).

Here's Alex doing her best to keep Martin in line. It's a tough job, but if anyone can do it, she can. Click on the picture and you'll get to see all of the other photos.

Also, I should point out that if you google "Chemikerball" you get my 2008 post. More text, fewer pictures. But most of my observations held true this year as well

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mysterious + hormonal = woman

I was going to post about the Chemikerball, but Jenny doesn't have her camera cord and I think the whole thing is pretty silly without pictures. So in the meantime, I thought I'd pass this article on to you.

In case you don't want to read it, it's written by a man who, as part of a treatment for prostate cancer, was taking a drug that suppressed testosterone production. Overall he found that it gave him hot flashes, he cried all the time, and he was unable to control his food cravings. Apparently he was much like his menopausal wife.

His conclusions from this time:

"Even though I only got to spend a brief time on the outer precincts of menopause, it did confirm my lifelong sense that the world of women is hormonal and mysterious, and that we men don’t have the semblance of a clue."

When I read the essay I felt conflicted - the same way I feel about talking about women's hormones or health issues in general. I'm sure this man means well, but he's furthering the stereotype that women are irrational creatures ruled by hormones rather than reason and self control.

On the other hand, men get passes for biology all the time. As in "Sure, he caught the house on fire/jumped off a cliff/had an affair. But what can you do? Boys will be boys." And, although I have not lived through menopause myself, I understand that hot flashes are intense and unpleasant and probably have been historically minimized because they happen to women. Probably that's generally true about most women's health issues. As in "stop being a crybaby and take it like a man."

I read the comments on the article and the general consensus was "finally, a man who understands." So maybe my concern about furthering gender stereotypes is unfounded. Or maybe it's just my time of the month.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I want this

Have you ever seen a more delicious looking picture? I'm coming home July 9. And I may eat nothing but tacos while I'm there.