Talk to Me!

I’ve added a new page to the Biodork blog called “Talk to Me!” It will be a permanent link available in the right sidebar under “Pages”.  On this page I list my contact info and reasons why I think you should Talk to Me! such as to:

  • Tell me about a COOL STORY or LINK.
  • Inquire about being a GUEST BLOGGER.
  • Invite ME to be a GUEST BLOGGER on your site.
  • Inquire about being a Biodork ARTIST
  • DONATE a Prize or SPONSOR a Contest.

To learn more about my ideas for any of the above, I invite you to visit my Talk to Me! page.

Talk to Me!

CUP #9 Winner

We have a new first-time winner for CUP #9!

The original photo was this:

Congratulations to MICHELLE for her guess “the bottom of a water bottle”.  Michelle is awarded 100 internet points.

I actually had a lot of fun setting this photo up.  The bottle is sitting on a manila envelope and I’m working with overhead fluorescent lighting (blech).  I had to place the lens of the camera directly over the bottle’s opening; I’m peering down the inside of the  bottle from the neck.  I found that I had to fill the bottle *all the way to the top* with water because

  1. The empty bottle showed droplets of water on the plastic’s surface, immediately (IMHO) giving it away.  A filled bottle showed a smooth surface.
  2. If I didn’t fill the bottle to the top, small vibrations through the floor or desk from me moving, or from trying to set the camera above the bottle would ripple across the wider diameter of the middle of the bottle, making a shot impossible.  Ripples were much smaller in the relatively smaller neck of the bottle.

Okay, okay – what we really care about is points, so let’s get to it!

As a Welcome Back and Happy New Year, I award ALL PLAYERS 25 points for participating in the first CUP Contest of 2011!

Carly wins the Almost An Answer prize this week with her comment “I was going to say a really funky glass pendant/piece of jewelry, but Michelle’s answer makes so much more sense!” I’m guessing Carly meant that she was siding with Michelle’s answer, but if it *had* been jewelry, she would have also been right, so for not fully committing to the correct answer I give Carly 20 points rather than a full 25 (total 45 points).

Jana’s long and winding route to her guess – while ultimately amusing as hell – ended up being fairly noncommittal. Her final answer “bottom of some vessel” is technically correct, but – as she pointed out – quite vague. I award her 10 points (total 35 points).

Leogirl1975 and Erin B. are in the same realm of almost-rightness – it is the bottom of a container, but not the types they stated, so 10 points each.  Leogirl1975, I award you an extra +5 points for being a new player.  Welcome to the CUP Contest! (Totals: Leogirl1975 – 40 points, Erin B. – 35 points)

Noelle receives 25 points for the correct answer, and no deductions for incorrectly guessing that the bottle was pressed against someone’s hand (total 50 points).

I LOVED Vicki’s thinking (an ice cast of the bottom of a bottle) , but her guess was ultimately incorrect, so I grant her 10 points for playing, plus +5 points for creativity (total 40 points).

Jeremy receives 25 points for the correct answer +5 points for silliness.  Ninja star – indeed, sir! (total 55 points)

Dan Milian receives 25 points for the correct answer +5 points for his creative definition of “glass flower” (total 55 points).

Thanks for playing, everyone!  Stop by the CUP Winners page for the current rankings, as well as past contests, winners and a description of the lame prize that I have chosen for the first player to reach 1000 points!

CUP #9 Winner

CUP Contest #9

Oh-ho!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

But I haven’t forgotten that we’re right in the middle of a Close Up Photo contest here at Biodork!

I present to you – the 9th CUP!  Tell me what we’re looking at here!

All guesses submitted via the comments or by Facebook will be accepted.  The first person to guess correctly wins 100 internet points.  I will award or deduct points for additional guesses based on a completely arbitrary and whimsical set of rules known only to myself.

The first person to win 1000 points will be the grand winner of the CUP Contest, and the recipient of Uber-CUP Winner bragging rights and a pretty lame-o prize.  The list of past winners and current rankings can be found on the CUP Winners page.  As a reminder, here’s where we currently stand:

It’s never too late to get in the game – a few correct answers could serve to catapult a new player right to the top of the list!

Happy guessing, and thanks for playing.

CUP Contest #9

My Response to an Anti-Choice Note

Someone wrote me this note in response to my “Defend Reproductive Freedom” and “Keep Abortion Legal” bumper stickers.  I decided to answer his or her questions to the best of my ability.

Original Note:

Sorry to Meddle, But isn’t it hyprocritical to be for abortion when you yourself are alive? What if u were the one that was aborted. What about adoption. America want to save the whales, but abort the babies. Very sad. [sic]

My Response:

Hello unknown person who left the honest note on my car,

I do not think you are meddling – I welcome your hard questions and will do my best to answer them.

It is not hypocritical to support a person or family’s right to have an abortion when I myself am alive. This is because people do not have abortions to prevent life, but in order to prevent unwanted, unplanned or unsafe pregnancies, which if carried to term would result in a lesser quality of life for either the parent(s) or the unborn child.

To your second point – if I were aborted, we would not be having this conversation. That’s pretty much all I can say about that.

Lastly, you ask about adoption. I think that adoption is a choice, and if that choice is not acceptable for a woman or family, I would not pressure them to choose it over another form of reproductive control. Just as I would never presume to tell another woman or man how to raise their own child, I would never be so bold as to dictate to a woman or man how to have – or not have – a child in the first place.

Being pro-choice does not mean being “for abortion”; abortion is scary and a choice of last resort for most women and families. Nobody wants to have an abortion, but sometimes that’s the best – or only – option available. In these cases I want women and families to have safe and legal access to excellent physical and mental health care, and to not have to carry personal or social shame around in their hearts and minds afterwards.

PS – I think that whales and unborn children should be saved when at all possible. I am very pro-living.

Thanks for thought-provoking note, and for not just vandalizing my car instead.

I just folded up a printed copy of the letter below and placed it under the windshield wiper where I found the original note this morning.  I wanted to also post it here because I worked hard on the damn thing and know that it probably won’t be received by the author of the original note, so at least it will be seen by someone.  Thanks for reading it.

My Response to an Anti-Choice Note

My Very Own Mail!

I’ve seen some bloggers use the blog title “I get mail” when they receive particularly noteworthy mail – usually when the message is on the snarky, aggressive or incredibly inane side of things.

Biodork has relatively tiny readership, I address a wide range of topics, and when I do write about a controversial issue, I try to avoid name-calling or other fallacious arguments, so I think I rate relatively low on the dickhead scale. Thus, I haven’t incited much mail from commenters who want to save my soul or chew me out for my garden variety hippie liberal left-wing leanings.

But I received something this morning, which I might be so bold as to call “better” than an e-rant: A handwritten note underneath my windshield wipers in response to my “Defend Reproductive Freedom” and “Keep Abortion Legal” bumper stickers!

Sorry to Meddle, But isn’t it hyprocritical to be for abortion when you yourself are alive? What if u were the one that was aborted. What about adoption. America want to save the whales, but abort the babies. Very sad. [sic]

I’m oddly touched by this note. I mean, it’s hand-written and it’s local – maybe from one of my neighbors who I see in my apartment complex or around town. It’s not an auto-generated response from some group halfway across the country that found me via a bot which was attracted to a blog post tag. I like to think that the person who left this note was walking home from somewhere, and that upon seeing my bumper sticker was so moved that they dug out some scratch paper and penned this letter on the spot so that they might inquire further about my personal beliefs on abortion, thus opening dialogue and prompting thought-provoking debate on the issue.

Okay, I’m getting flippant. But there is something human and non-rabid about this note that appeals to me, so tonight I’m going to leave a hand-written response under my windshield wipers. And who knows, maybe they’ll find it. At the very least it should garner some sympathy (or laughs) because it’ll look like I got a parking violation ticket.

My Very Own Mail!

Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival 2011

Late Report!  This was actually two Saturdays ago, on January 8th, but there’s been so much cool stuff going on…okay, I was just lazy.  Oh, naughty Zeus!


Recently the Hubby and I went to the 2011 Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival.  I learned about the event over at 22 Words and at the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation website.

Previously on the blog I’m complained expounded on my general disdain for winter activities because…umm… you have to frickin’ freeze to enjoy them.  BUT I am pleased to announce that I had a really great time.  There were no clouds in the sky, the sun was shining and we bundled up to stay warm.  I bundled up a LOT.  I had on gym leggings, jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a coat, hats, gloves and my warmest boots.

We arrived at the festival around noon just as things were starting up.  There were already a few people on the ice and maybe 4-5 kites were up.  It was a pretty nice set-up.  There were several tents and stands and the organizers had arranged a free marshmallow roast, free hot chocolate and cider, they were giving away little plastic kites to kids and they were well-staffed with volunteers.  Pssst: Click on any photo to make it crazy big.


The wind wasn’t being all that cooperative, but we managed to get our little kite up for a few minutes.

Okay, I may have been optimistic when I said we got the kite “up” for “a few minutes”.

After the kite flying we headed over to the Minnesota DNR tent where they were holding ice fishing demos.

It was kind of funny to watch; there was a lot of activity inside the tent, probably because it was heated.  There was one guy who looked SUPER into the whole ice fishing deal; he would glare at the hole in the ice and look up in frustration every time a kid would squeal or somebody would brush by him.  Also, we witnessed the amazing flash transformation of super-excited kids into super-bored kids.  They were practically jumping with excitement as they were handed the short ice fishing poles and the line dropped into the water, and after about 30 seconds of not catching anything they’d start to get fidgety, and then the complaining started.  I couldn’t blame them – that’s pretty much how I feel about ice fishing.

Ice fishing holes!  The first picture is of a hole that was drilled outside of the main tent.  The second picture is of an ice fishing hole that was drilled inside a small black tent.  It turned out to be accidentally cool and Tron-esque because of how the low light in the tent, the bright sun shining in from the open tent bottom and my confused camera worked together.

The other thing happening at the DNR tent was snowshoeing!  The tour guide helped the Hubby and I and another couple with two small boys get our feet into the snowshoes, which was not as easy as it might sound.  But eventually, we did it.


And then we were off.  We walked across the ice to a bird sanctuary located on the north end of Lake Harriet.  The guide lead us off trail so that we could experience snowshoeing through fresh snow.  It was a neat feeling; I sunk down further in the snow than I thought I would, but the broad, flat shoe distributed my weight so that I didn’t sink down to my knees as I would have in regular boots.  And, I only fell once.  Ta-da!

The snowshoeing tour was about 30 minutes long.  After we got back to the DNR tent we walked around and did a little kite and people watching.

And to end the day we roasted a few marshmallows:

There were a ton of people with some very pretty cameras on the ice that day – gigantic lenses and camera bags galore!  These websites have some fancy pictures that I suspect were taken with SLR cameras that had…like…zoom…and adjustable apertures…and stuff.

Star Tribune

CityPages Blog

This Flickr Stream

An awesome video that was filmed with an old-timey effect.

Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival 2011

Get Chiro or DIE!

I was wandering around the Eden Prairie Mall (Eden Prairie, MN) yesterday and was floored to see this advertisement for chiropractic at one of the mall kiosks. 

Subtle message, eh?  If you don’t get chiropractic, you  could die!  Who cares that you can’t afford it, that you don’t believe believe in chiro, and (I love this one) that you don’t have any pain or symptoms!  Are you going risk making a widow  or widower of your spouse and orphans of your children, just to save a little money or to feel self-righteous because you scoff at chiro?  You greedy, self-centered bastard.

Let me say this… 

I have benefited from chiropractic.  Several years ago I bent at the waist to pick something up from the ground.  As I straightened up I felt a “pop” and acute pain in my lower back.  The urgent care doc told me to alternate ice and warmth on the area and to take it easy.  Two more days of discomfort landed me in a chiropractor’s office on a friend’s advice.  After taking a patient history and performing a full body examination (which cost me $250), the chiropractor straddled one of my thighs and applied a quick twist to my pelvic/lower back region (pardon the vagueness – it’s been over five years since the experience), and I had IMMEDIATE  relief from the pain and increased flexibility.  I jaunted out of the office, a total convert to chiropractic treatment.

I set three “follow-up” appointments with the chiro doc, and thus started my deconversion therapy.  Or perhaps my disillusionment therapy.  The first appointment was what I expected – the doc asked me how my lower back was feeling, and did a few quick cracks to that area.  While I was there she also recommended doing some adjustments on my right wrist, right shoulder and my thoracic vertebrae, as my job required a fair amount of repetitive arm and hand motions.  To this day I don’t know if she felt something wonky with those areas (I hadn’t been experiencing any pain, tightness, etc.) or if she was attempting to do preventative care. 

During the second visit she wanted to take a “bioelectrical measurement”.  It was a free assessment, so I let her tape a bunch of electrodes to seemingly random places all over my body.  I asked about the positioning of the electrodes and she said they were spaced at regular intervals so that she could get a reading on my entire body.  Umm… ‘k.  The results were wishy-washy – I needed more iron in my diet, I needed to lose weight.  I asked what the system was measuring and how it could tell that I needed to lose weight and get more iron in my diet, and she said something about electrical current and my body’s ability to impede … I didn’t understand what she was telling me, but I remember that it sounded like *cough* bullshit! *cough*.  It made me uneasy.   

But this was before I had done my research on chiro, before I had started skeptically examining alternative medicine practices.  So I shrugged off my unease and went back.

Visit numero three:  After performing an adjustment on my lower back, she introduced the idea of applied kinesiology, which I thought sounded fascinating!   I held up one of my arms and she placed a series of bottles on my chest.  As she switched out the bottles she pressed against my arm.  On several bottles she couldn’t move my arm, and on others she barely touched me and my arm pushed down to the table.  She then repeated the study on my right leg.  Based on her findings, my “extremely weak muscle reactions” indicated that I needed to take a combination of vitamins, which her office sold for the low, low price of $60/month.  This FINALLY trigged the warning bells in my head.  *facepalm*  Not because I understood how the AK scam/delusion worked, but because I was pretty sure she needed my $60/month more than I needed her silly vitamins.

I declined the vitamins and didn’t make any more appointments before leaving the office.  But I didn’t complain to any board or committee about what I felt were iffy practices; I told myself that it wasn’t for me, but maybe it helped other people feel better.  After all, she was a trained doctor, and that had to count for something, right?  Right? 

Since then I’ve learned a bit about the placebo and ideomotor effects, as well as the claims surrounding bioelectrical impedance analysis, applied kinesiology, the ability of chiro to cure or lessen the effects of allergies, pediatric chiropractic and the effect of subluxations on metabolism, behavior disorders, “toxins” in the body – all of which this woman’s practice addressed when I was a patient. 

Thus my BS meter is calibrated a little high when it comes to chiropractic care, so seeing this “Chiro or Die!” poster in the mall annoyed me.  Joint manipulation may be appropriate in some cases, but if I should ever consider seeking chiro in the future, I’ll be avoiding this place.

Get Chiro or DIE!

Winner of the FWP Contest Announced

Congratulations to MADELINE for gathering the most votes for her Butt-Sushi Dilemma in the First World Problems Contest against four other very humorous stories!

Madeline is the winner of a shiny new $25 gift certificate!

Thanks to everyone who contributed a FWP and to everyone who stopped by to vote.  You guys are awesome – it rawked my world to see all the activity here at Biodork over the past week.

Winner of the FWP Contest Announced

Today My Lab is Busy

To be fair, in my line of work most of these are valid reasons to be bumped from an instrument.  It just means that I have a lot of “hurry up and wait” “”free”” time.  In which I have chosen to doodle.

Double quotations means that if I were speaking I would have given this word even GREATER emphasis than the phrase in single quotations.

Today My Lab is Busy