Dear TAs who keep emailing us because your labs/discussions have been cancelled and who therefore are getting snowed in by emails from your students asking what they’re supposed to do…

Well. It’s never a dull day in the arctic.

As you’ve no doubt heard, classes are cancelled tomorrow morning. We thought about defying the institution and attempting to lure students into class anyway by throwing a luau in Lab 223 complete with hula dancing (it’s like you’re dancing the double helix!), tropical beverages (made with 100% distilled water!), and a roast pig (can you say Bunsen burners?)… but then we succumb to exhaustion and cynicism and settled on a worksheet instead. Frigid Tundra: 1, Coordinators: 0. Maybe next round.

PS – YouTube is *shockingly* bereft of in-lab hula dancing videos, but I did find this gem on the science of hula dancing:


Accidental Satan Soup

I think I maybe added too much salt and pepper to my soup tonight in an effort to make it taste better. I say this because my mouth currently feels like the innermost circle of hell.

To be fair, my interior monologue upon taking it out of the fridge went something like this:

Inner Me With No Filter: Oh! We’re having the vomit soup for dinner!
Me-Voice Me: Julie! You MADE this soup, and you like it, it will be fine.
IMWNF: Yeah, I liked it the FIRST time we made it. You know, that time we made it well. That time we made it… edible?
MVM: You’ll eat it. And you’ll like it.
IMWNF: Incorrect. YOU will eat. I will hate it.
MVM: Fine. I’ll add salt and pepper. Now it will be delicious!
IMWNF: …maybe you better put in a little more.

And so I did. Seriously, I need to stop listening to that voice. The soup tastes FINE underneath the searing pain of salty dehydration and pepper-flames…


The Meta Journals, Late November

Like any respectable (read: obsessed) cat owner, I make frequent notes on my cat Meta’s behavior and its implications for life on earth. Here are several collected from the past few days.

Nov 23, 1:46 PM, A Series of Evidence-Based Hypotheses 

When I hold up a toy, my cat runs away in anticipation of my throwing it. Then when I actually throw it, he merely watches it fall. He may be a Time Lord. Or a Buddhist Monk. I suspect his chances of making it into major league baseball are slimmer than previously understood.

Nov 23, 11:45 PM, General Observation

Cats are cray-cray. And I’ve just been informed that cray-cray is dead. I am several years late to this party. The metaphorical champagne is flat.

Nov 24, 3:57 PM, Delusions of Grandeur

My cat’s contribution to my thesis: “74444444444444444444444444”. Surely this has some sort of epic, 42-esque significance to him and provides a cryptic answer to one of life’s unanswered questions. Or, possibly, one of my research questions. Surely. I had better leave it in.

Nov 25, 2:01 AM, An Open Letter Not Initially About My Cat. But then, all open letters are about my cat.

Dear Abyss,

Your lessons are not comforting.

Still, I’m still grateful you are there for me to stare at and occasionally talk to.

In this way, you are much like my cat.


Nov 25, 2:28 AM, Paranoia Sets In, A Solution In the Form of SCIENCE Presents Itself

My cat may be digging a hole through the floor beneath my bed. I can hear determined scratching and he does not respond to my calls. Clearly, he is too far gone in his task to be roused from the flow state now. If I’m dead tomorrow, it will be because the bed and I both fell through this feline-engineered orifice, right into my rather strange neighbor’s room below. If the fall doesn’t kill me, I suspect one of her curiously jagged “decorations” will.

I’m betting Meta survives, but I doubt he’ll tell the world my story. I’m not sure how he manages to be both useless and lovable at the same time, but I should make an empirical study of it. What an impeccable combination of qualities.

More observations if I survive the night.