Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I recently found out that my first-year college roommate (20 years ago -- gaak!) is something of a celebrity. She published this book a few years ago. I read a few pages and couldn't help welling up with pride. That's Liza alright. Her sense of ethics hasn't changed a bit. She's the sweetest, kindest, most brilliant socialist I've ever met.

That got me thinking about a childhood friend who was equally brilliant. I googled her and discovered that Katrina published this book of poetry.

My friends' words say so much about who they are and what they believe in.

And my words? Here's a footnote from a forthcoming research article on boys' exposure to gaming magazines and their drive for muscularity:

Because some of these (questionnaire) items are attitudinal and some are behavioral, an exploratory principal components factor analysis was performed on the Wave 2 drive for muscularity scale to determine whether the appearance of multiple factors would justify the division of the scale into subscales. Three factors with eigenvalues greater than 1.00 emerged in the unrotated factor solution, accounting for 31.61, 16.06, and 10.88 percent of variance respectively. According to McCroskey and Young (1979), the unrotated factor solution should be used to determine whether individual items load divergently enough onto different factors to justify splitting the scale into subscales. In our factor solution, all of the items loaded positively onto the first factor, with no loading lower than .45. Following Reinard’s (2006) “60/40” rule (any individual item truly belongs to only one factor if the absolute value of its loading on that factor is greater than .60 and its loading on the other factors is less than .40), it was clear that no single item loaded onto factors 2 or 3 without simultaneously loading, equally if not more strongly, onto factor 1. The same analysis was repeated with the drive for muscularity scale measured at Wave 1, with identical results. Thus, there appears to be no compelling reason to divide the drive for muscularity scale into subscales.

Moves ya, doesn't it?

Sigh. I suppose this is why I keep a blog. Not that what I write here moves ya ( Come on), but at least it's a forum for self-expression. Scientific research standards and practices are so oriented toward masking the researcher's presence (note the passive voice in my passage), that writing sometimes feels like an exercise in invisibility. I've got something to say but I'm not really saying it! It's just sort of vibrating out of thin air! Don't touch the curtain--there's no man behind that curtain!

It's good to have someplace to say I I I and Me Me Me and not be slammed for it by blind reviewers.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Am I the only one who routinely mistypes "blogger" when logging on to submit a new post?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Flea

Will you stay in our lovers' story?
If you stay, you won't be sorry
'Cause we believe in you
Soon you'll grow
So take a chance
With a couple of kooks
Hung up on romancing
We bought a lot of clothes to keep you warm and dry
And a funny old crib on which the paint won't dry
I bought you a pair of shoes
A trumpet you can blow
And a book of rules
Of what to say to people when they pick on you
'Cause if you stay with us you're gonna be pretty kooky too
Will you stay in our lovers' story?
If you stay, you won't be sorry
'Cause we believe in you
Soon you'll grow
So take a chance
With a couple of kooks
Hung up on romancing
And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up this old fool
Don't pick fights with the bullies or the cads
'Cause I'm not much cop at punching other people's dads
And if the homework brings you down
Then we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown
Will you stay in our lovers' story?
If you stay, you won't be sorry
'Cause we believe in you
Soon you'll grow
So take a chance
With a couple of kooks
Hung up on romancing

Kooks by David Bowie (Hunky Dory)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bi-curious George

Yesterday we hosted Fia's first birthday party. Her birthday isn't until the 21st, but Mimi and Grandpa Ray didn't want to miss it, so Saturday the 17th it was.

Naturally, since I am food obsessed, I will start with the cake. A heavy brown-sugar-oatmeal concoction with toasted coconut speckling the layers, it was made by a talented local baker who covered it in buttercream and white chocolate "mosaic tiles" and put candied violets here and there. The blossoms looked like they were growing out of the earth between paver stones. Fia liquidated her portion with the slow, methodical detachment of a high priest, so even though she never squealed or smiled or smeared cake on herself, I think she liked it.

The party theme was "best loved books," so we ended up with some treasures. Fi loves nothing more than a warm lap and a pile of books, so we were thrilled to add to her collection. One guest gave her a bunch of Curious George books and a stuffed George, which after being loved and cuddled by my daughter somehow ended up in a compromising position atop her stuffed baboon, Maurice. I blame one of the adult male guests.

Other than that, the event was G-rated and actually quite moving, not just because it was my daughter's first birthday (a significant event for her), but because it gave me a chance to look around at all the people who have helped G and me throughout a very challenging year. I am indeed blessed.

Ooh, ooh--speaking of blessed, I was playing with old perfume samples last week and rediscovered Norma Kamali's Beach. A lot of perfume descriptions boast of mimicking the scent of sunwarmed skin, but this one really delivers. I usually shun tropical scents and actively loathe the scent of coconut (unless I'm eating it--see above), but these notes are blended so expertly in Beach that it smells less like suntan lotion and more like a suntan than any other beach-themed scent I've tried. Like any true American, I bought twice as much as I needed for only slightly more than I could afford at

Friday, February 16, 2007

An Open Letter to the University of Illinois

Dear University of Illinois,

Welcome to the 21st century! It's wonderful to have you here!

Back when your talented faculty created HAL, the supercomputer who shot to fame in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, the world assumed your halls were populated by hyper-evolved eggheads.

Until, that is, the world caught one of your basketball games on TV and watched, gape-jawed, as you sent a (European American) student out dressed in Native American Indian spiritual regalia to dance around the basketball court while other (European American) students stood around in a circle, arms folded, faces stern and sober, like that crying-Indian guy on the anti-pollution public service announcement, yeah, that's the one.

You argued that Chief Illiniwek honored Native Americans. You were wrong. You announced today that you've decided to put that hurtful parody to rest.

Thanks for finally doing the right thing. And welcome to modernity! It's nice here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Small World

I've been in Chicago for the past three days for a grantwriting workshop. Each afternoon, when we adjourn, I'm so eager to escape the canned air and flourescent lights of Northwestern University's Chicago campus that it doesn't even matter that the outside air is cold enough to turn my nosehairs crispy on contact.

Yesterday I even took my post-workshop flight as far as Barney's. I was rewarded twice: first, I got the chance to test the forthcoming Serge Lutens fragrance, Rousse. Verdict: winner. Smells like a cinnamon-orange pomander. Perfect for late fall, which of course is why it's due to arrive in April, right? *eyeroll* The Serge Lutens SA at Barney's, Erica, is a sweetheart who reminds me of Zooey Deschanel. She got excited when I promised to bring her samples of my Serge Lutens exclusives (Bois et Fruits, Rose de Nuit, and Iris Silver Mist) when I come back up in a few weeks.

My second reward was a chance meeting with Ina from aromascope, over by the l'Artisan section. We've "known" each other for years through makeupalley, but had never met in person. We started chatting about our mutual obsession for scent, then eyed each other suspiciously: are you one of us? I had a glimpse of what it's like for gay strangers to connect (although I don't think perfume freaks get beaten up if the stranger they're chatting up turns out to be uninterested in scent). Finally I barked out: "ARE YOU INA??" It was a wonderful moment. We chatted about various lines, I bought a bottle of Drole de Rose (can't handle its brasher Frederic Malle analog, Lipstick Rose, these days), and we headed out to Trader Joes, where I allowed Ina, with her superior acculturation and taste, to point me in the direction of TJ's best delicacies: turnip chips, thick Greek yogurt with honey, and blue-cheese stuffed olives. I added chocolate-covered peanut-butter-stuffed pretzels to my basket, because, you know, they sounded healthy. It was one of the best hotel-room dinners I've ever had.

Today I'm back under the flourescent lights. He's talking about writing a budget justification, and I'm typing a blog entry. This is going to bite me in the ass when my proposal is rejected, but hey, I got to try Rousse and meet Ina. On balance, a wholly successful trip!