Weekend Report

On Friday I was catching up on paperwork and audit responses until 5:30pm (ah, the glorious life of an industry scientist. We so rarely get to blow shit up. I shoulda been a Mythbuster), but afterwards the Hubby and I were able to join some friends at Ichiban in downtown Minneapolis for dinner. You know hibachi teppanyaki, right? (Thanks for the correction, lordshipmayhem. Apparently, I didn’t know hibachi!) You all sit around the grill with an overly-charismatic hibachi teppanyaki chef while he sets stuff on fire and throws around knives, bowls and all manners of food? It was a blast, and I don’t think our combination potty-mouthed, science-nerdy, slightly intoxicated enthusiasm and humor traumatized the chef too much.

The next day I went down to the clinic for another round of Saturday morning clinic escorting. It was super quiet. One of the ladies brought a graphic sign of a pig fetus or something that I’m sure she was trying to pass off as an aborted innocent human angel of god, but otherwise the protesters seemed kind of under the weather. They didn’t chase the patients at all and just kind of muttered under their breath “You don’t have to do this” and “There are options” when our clients walked by.  I guess some days you stand on morals, and some days you’re just there to earn a paycheck.

Later I blogged a bit, played around online, whooped some butt in Mario Kart’s WFC mode, and then we packed up the (real) car and headed to Duluth/Superior to hang out with some friends. Mini road-trip – woot! A little liquor, a few laughs and a quiet night in a clean hotel room. That’s a decent Saturday night in my book.

Ice houses in Superior, Wisconsin. Or Duluth, Minnesota. One of the two.

On Sunday we had breakfast in a greasy spoon on the Wisconsin side of the border. I scraped off probably half a bag of melted cheddar cheese from my omelet. I could almost feel my arteries spasm as I took in the sight of the carrot-colored glob settling and slowly spreading across my plate. All together the glob ended up being about 1cm high and 10 cm in diameter. You gotta love our Midwestern diets.

We drove back to the cities and got home in time for me to high-tail it over to the Roseville public library for a fascinating talk by Greg Laden. It was a wild ride; Greg flew through his presentation, sometimes skipping slides in the interest of time. It was obvious that he could talk for hours and hours on the topic he was presenting, which started with Darwin and the racism that was present at that period of time in Darwin’s social sphere. It transitioned into a talk of modern day racism and sexism, with references to plenty of publications concerned with this topic.

I learned a lot, and not all of it was happy-making. I was bummed to learn about an active field of science that allows for systemized discrimination (psychometrics). I learned that some proponents of social Darwinism (which Greg argued is a biological impossibility) believe and work to prove via scientific methodology that Africans, Caucasians and Asians are irreconcilably different behaviorally, intellectually, and physically, that we have different aptitudes because we’re genetically hardwired to be this way, implying that no amount of training, education, experience or passion can set us apart and help us thrive if we don’t have the right genetics. *shudder* coughcough…GATTACA? Don’t get me wrong, I know that bigots exist, and I’m aware that there are elected officials who have proposed racist legislation, but I didn’t know that there are academics who are still publishing books and articles trying to prove these ideas. I am aware that scientists fail science all the time, but sometimes the degree of fail knocks me flat on my butt.

Anyway, Greg’s presentation provided plenty of food for thought, and afterwards a bunch of people who had caught the lecture shared dinner and conversation. I ended the evening curled up in my giant bean bag with the cat on my lap, reading Red Neck Blue Collar Atheist by Hank Fox. I’m enjoying the conversational style of the book. Each chapter is a different story and a different lesson that Mr. Fox has picked up over his 20-year journey to being an out, unapologetic atheist. I’m having a hard time putting it down.

And suddenly, it’s Monday again.

Weekend Report