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Lauren Nagle

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I'm heading to the lower Rio Grande valley, right on the TX Mexico border on Tuesday. I'll be staying at a birding b&b in Mission, TX (could there be a more stereotypical border town name?), and I will be bringing the wonderful science of physics to the community at HESTEC (Hispanic Engineering Science and Technology Week) on the University of Texas-Pan American campus. I can't wait to get some choice birding in. On the list of hopefuls are the chachalaca, the green jay, and some roadrunners.

I am going to be there for 5 days, and even though I will have to do some school work when I am down there (writing code is fun, kids), I expect to have some pretty choice downtime. I have to get in 3 short runs and 1 long run while there also. Okay, so it will be a really busy week for me, but I expect to have a marvelous time. Sleep can come later, after my return. Another added benefit? I am expecting some pretty awesome food. Hopefully I don't end up eating like chicken lips tacos or something. Well, if it is delicious I won't mind.

This just in!!! I found out that Bill Nye the Science Guy is going to be at HESTEC! how awesome is that? I grew up with Mr. Wizard, but Bill Nye is pretty cool too. I hope that I can meet him- it would be even cooler than the fact that I am working with NASA all week. Mario Lopez is supposed to be there too, and this serves as a source of amusement for me because anytime I hear anything about him, I sing the 28 Day Slater theme song in my head (watch it now if you don't know what I am talking about:

Yargh to football season. At least I can have some time to myself now that all my guy friends are preoccupied. Productivity will be at an all time high. Until they realize that even though I don't follow football, I love to hang out and drink beers and yell at inanimate objects like the TV too. Then productivity will be at an all time low.

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I recently heard about the hilarity of the picture below, and it made me think. The ladies that lift weights in the gym are few and far between. Now, there are those girls that grapple a 2 or 5 pound jelly bell and prance around just so they can be seen by the guys that are lifting. I'm not talking about those girls.

I'm referring to how rare it is to actually see a woman working out hard with weights. At my gym it is somewhat understandable- the free weight room is so overladen with testosterone that there is almost a physical barrier you can feel when you enter the room. I don't think this should be a preventing factor, however. I think that what prevents women from working out with weights is that they think they are going to bulk out like the ladies on the left in the picture below.

A few months ago I was in a training class to become a fitness instructor, and during the free weights portion of the class we had to demonstrate an exercise that worked a specific muscle group. My group got triceps. I wanted to do a one-handed plank combined with a triceps kick-back, and everyone in the group agreed that it was the perfect exercise to demonstrate to the rest of the class. When it came time for me to show everyone, I picked up a 10 pound weight and started to walk up towards the front of the room. The other ladies in my group stopped me, worried because I had picked up a 10 pound weight. They thought I had made a mistake and was using a weight that was way to heavy. After assuring them I was fine, I went on to demonstrate to the class with no difficulty.

It got me thinking though. Weren't these the women that were supposed to encourage fitness for everyone? Weren't they supposed to be the ideal that those in a group fitness class look to for an example of what one should be doing? If any female was to be lifting weights seriously, shouldn't these be them? I realized then that the stigma of weight lifting for girls ran deep.

I do know that this is something that is hard for women to accept, but ladies, you have to take a leap of faith. You'll be fine. Lifting weights is a really healthy way to cross-train, and not only does it boost your metabolism, enabling you to burn more fat while not exercising, but it can only empower you to lift heavy things with ease when you need to, like that 35 pound box of cat litter a the store or the spare tire when you are changing a flat. I may be speaking from personal experience with these examples, but you get the point.

Case in point: ask any mom who is rocking "mom arm" from carrying around their child for years. They don't look like they've been undergoing steroid treatments.

(picture taken from here:
Photo just scrobbled some Operation Ivy songs off my iPhone that I apparently listened to in 2003...a full 4 years before the iPhone was invented and I joined the site. I have since upgraded to the 4, so I am not even sure how that would work. Along with those scrobbles, there was ~2800 other ones ranging up until yesterday.

I know my phone only scrobbles every ~10 times I hook it up, but still. 2800 plays seems like a lot to hold onto until this random day.

Has anyone else had problems with this?

Rumor has it that there is a new comic book shop in town. This is the 3rd one here, and what makes it different is that it is purported to be ran by two 18-year olds. I guess their dads helped them start the business. It could be a total shit show, but I don't think so.

My current LCS smells of cat pee. It smells like this because George the cat lives (and pees) there. I shop there because an old couple runs it, and they have for decades. Plus it is only a few blocks from my house.

The new place is on the way to my community garden, but not in walking distance. I think next trip out there I am going to stop by and see what the kids are up to. I mean besides living the dream. I wonder if a shop ran by comic book fans that are kids has something special to it.

I'm preparing for my departure to backpack in South Dakota's Badlands today. On the list of supplies to be obtained:

1- Comics: I normally read trades, but they are too heavy to carry so I'm going to pick up some of this past week's books.

2- S'more cookies: from Mary's Mountain Cookies, in case there is a fire restriction where we set up camp (no fire restriction = actual s'mores!).

3- Starbucks Via instant coffee: readily the best instant coffee in the morning while camping.

So here's the question. What food treat and/or reading would you bring on such a trip when weight is a huge consideration? If you've never been backpacking before, the average pack weighs like 30 pounds. This is just your water, tent, sleeping bag, and other necessities, without any extras, so anything you add on just makes it that much worse. Especially if you consider you will be walking up/down a mountain for at least 6-8 hours straight per day with it on.

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Blog update, featuring one lucky burbot!

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Given my recent propensity for grapefruit, and a friend's inability to have it due to medications, I decided to look up some factoids on the fruit. Here's the breakdown:

Until the 19th century it was called a shattuck.

Basically, the grapefruit can increase the effectivity of some drugs, leading to an overdose if it is eaten while on these certain medications. It does this by inhibiting enzymes that are necessary for the breakdown and clearance of some drugs.

Grapefruit is so bitter because it contains Naringin, which looks like this (taken from wiki):

A tablespoon of sugar has like 45 calories, so skip it when eating grapefruit and just imagine those tasty chair conformations on your tongue instead, their hydroxyl groups high-fiving each other.

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Look, blog updates with moose and sea urchins!

Having a garage sale this weekend. I hope there are some yahoos out there who want to buy my stuff. If not, it is going straight to the donation bin. In an effort to be even more minimalist, I've also decided to get rid of 90% of my books. It is going to be tough deciding what to keep. I may link to some items that I post on craigslist, but I am sure none of you want to buy my junk, so we'll see.
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