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For the past few years, I would normally run three times a week. However since May, my right foot has decided it wanted to be a little turd and screw everything up. Each time it gets better something else happens to it, and quite frankly it almost amuses me to see how else it can cause trouble. I mean like most people it gets stubbed, frostbitten, stepped on by horses occasionally and I’ve broken a toe (that sounds about average, right?). Now I’m starting to wonder if just chopping the darn thing off would be less painful.

I was so excited to have this Derby party. After growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, I was eager to show my college friends how awesome the Derby was since they didn’t seem to understand. On the way back from the store with boyfriend, I managed to so gracefully trip and fall over a curb. Long story short, I just caught Animal Kingdom crossing the finish line while being wheeled by the nurse’s station in the ER on my way to the X-ray machine. My right foot was broken.

It's all your fault!

A couple months, crutches, and a pretty sexy plastic boot later, I was back on my feet and starting to jog again! Yay! All seemed well in the world until I decided to make a pasta dish and managed to spill the boiling hot water. Right on that unlucky foot.

About a week later the burn had finally healed and I was back up and running. I was so happy! Totally forgetting about the small universal rule that bad things come in trees threes.

Meet the honey locust tree.

Oh what a pretty tree.

What the picture fails to show is this tree’s extreme paranoia. To explain this let’s go back to the days when the mighty Megatherum (giant sloth) roamed North America. Apparently these sloths had a taste for these trees’ leaves, legumes (which can be cultivated into beer?), and bark. At some point one tree must have decided enough was enough, and started designing defense mechanisms. (Seriously, how do things like this get started anyway?)

Right. Forget all those hundreds of millions of years of evolving into an efficient tree. Taking ~10 million years of time and energy to create a defense to ONE SPECIES makes perfect sense, while all the other sane trees simply increased how many seeds they put out allowing them to overcome MULTIPLE issues like drought, disease and predators at the same time. Then, using up energy to keep/intensify these defenses approx 10,000 years after giant sloths died off also is a great idea. Who knows, maybe they’ll come back?


So we’re stuck with these ghastly things:

That ruler reads six inches if you can't see it.

Just don’t run into its equally paranoid brother the black locust tree. Not only does it have these ridiculous thorns, it’s also poisonous.

Pay attention to me with my poison!

I make poison so I can feel important!

Anyway moving on with the story…

I was over at boyfriend’s house one day when we decided to take his lab/husky puppy for a walk. Well, more like a run/jog/walk. You see, lab/husky puppy is pretty much a clone of special dog, who if you haven’t met you can head over here and read about. If you’re not convinced there could be a special dog clone, here she is chewing on her back foot.

Om nom nom nom foot

Tastes like chicken.

Since simply going around the neighborhood proved to do nothing to lab/husky puppy’s energy level, we decided to wander down to the lake with (unknown to me) those wonderful paranoid trees waiting around it.

Off we went through the grass and took our run/stroll around the lake. It was really fun, and at one point while we were chatting I guess I shifted my weight and stepped to the side. Upon doing this subconscious action I immediately felt a surge of pain from my heel (which is amazing since I have decreased feeling in my feet from being frostbitten, but more about that some other time). Since normal people don’t walk looking down all the time, and I was unaware of the sloth-fearing trees around me (they were probably snickering) my first thought was I had been bitten by a snake.

I looked down to see about 5 inches of oh-my-god sticking out of my foot.

Merely touching the thing hurt like, well, you know. Eventually boyfriend valliantly pulled the darn thing out of my foot and I limped back to his house. The next few days were full of a swollen heel, and the happy realization it could have been worse.

The Honey Locust's evil brother the Black Locust.

Next time....

One final note: what’s the obsession with naming obviously not sweet things “honey”? You’ve met the honeylocust, now treat yourself to the honeybadger.


So you don’t know this yet, but I work in a lab.  A little white room in the basement of a building where I sit and work by myself all day. It has no windows, but there’s a keypad to get in so I feel important. As much as I like the lab and have started naming the robots, I hope I eventually get to work in a room with windows. For my own sanity.

Anyway, every week another student comes down to visit my little cave, and helps me with debugging and we bounce ideas off of each other. This week I was doing mainly research, which meant there was little programming to be done and in turn we ended up on some random tangent, which is what we normally do after debugging anyway. Yesterday’s tangent was Steam (, and he convinced me to try it.

So here I am, a person whose parents wouldn’t let have video games in the house (yep, I left my GameBoy in the car) being thrust headfirst into this wonderful world of oh-my-god-there-are-so-many-games. If I wasn’t so poor, I’d have bought some and would be playing instead of blogging. Lucky you!

Being a nerd who doesn’t like war games (oh unless I’m flying something. And the aerospace engineer peeks out….) and loves graphics I went right to simulations. As the page was loading I was unsure of what to expect! I imagined flight simulators, racing simulators, more versions of sim city or even something like the tycoons (you know, rollercoaster, zoo, etc). The page loaded and to my surprise, the ridiculous number of train simulators were only being beat out by expansion packs for this:

What? A farming simulator? Even if you watch the trailer for the game (yes they did) for $29.99 you are confined to driving large machinery over a tiny square. Or dumping grain into a bin. Or driving said bin down a road at roughly 1 km/hr by means of pulling it with a tractor. Or milking cows. For only $9.95 more you can have better grain for said cows and more tractors, and for $11.95 more you get even more equipment and can even “use renewable energy”, which really means stick a wind turbine on your land and watch it spin!

 …. seriously, people?

Who would even be interested in this type of game? And why would you pay that much for it? If you like farming that much I’m assuming it’s your job. Which probably means you’d like to spend your free time doing something else, since you just did those things ALL DAY. Which brings us back to the question of how on Earth this is sucessful.

I feel like it was a joke between the people at Microsoft. It’s not like plants even grow quickly. I really hope you can speed up time, or you might as well go outside and plant an ear of corn. It’s cheaper.

Of course its contender was being advertised at the bottom of the page:

Do they not know it takes four hours in a submarine to get to the bottom of that point in the Atlantic? I used to love the Titanic. Even with my horrible memory I knew everything about the ship, the crash, and what exactly happened. After clicking on the link, I was thoroughly disappointed. According to the game description you could only go through a few select parts of the ship, and even though there is control of a robotic arm, you can’t use it to pick things up. Or poke things. You just float there and look at it. Talk about exciting game play. I really wish you can at least take pieces of the ship, move benches, steal gold coins, something…

I don’t mean to be rude or anything, I’m just really curious. WHO IS PLAYING THESE GAMES AND WHY?? If you do, please, please respond.

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