First Books

Baaa! Baaa!

(I’m writing about the first books I thought of upon reading each prompt. My memory is pathetic, so I’m hesitant to cop to any of these being actual firsts.)

First Book I Loved
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
I am certain there were many books before this one that I loved, but this is the first one I was obsessed with. My brother made fun of me, growing up, because of the rate at which I consumed books (at least several per week), but very few of them really stick out. I loved to read, but I didn’t attach. Well I read this at the beginning of tenth grade, and was immediately convinced I knew everything (oh, how original, Susie). I suppose that is typically sixteen, and it is typically 20-30 something to look back with disdain. Regardless, I wrote many papers on Ayn Rand, and I still respect her skill for propaganda, but otherwise think she’s a douche, and that is where I will hush.

First Book I Hated
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
Ok, I can say this because I majored in science instead of literature (it was seriously a toss up): shut up, William Faulkner. Learn how to punctuate. Yeah yeah, whatever, stream of consciousness. Oreos are good, too, but not if you eat the entire fucking package.

First Series I Read
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I loved these, so so much. I still watch the show more often than I’d like to admit. Half pint! Almanzo! Nellie Olson! Sigh.

First Fantasy/Sci-Fi Book I Read
The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkein
We listened to these on tape for each of our [frequent] family road trips. I don’t know if I’ve ever read the actual books, but I think the words are lodged indelibly in my brain even now. After LotR, I have a deep and abiding fondness for everything ever written by Kurt Vonnegut.

First Book That Made Me Cry From Laughing
How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
I read this in the early weeks after having Eliza, in the middle of the night, chained to the breast pump, and just: yes. YES. It was so, so funny. And I was so, so delirious.

First YA Book I Read and Loved
Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
My god, I love them. I wish I could read them again, for the first time. I will settle for re-reading and listening to them over and over again, ad infinitum.

First Horror Book I Read
I don’t know – I read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koonzt back in the day, but I don’t remember anything in particular. Slash anything at all. Was I even paying attention?

First Book I Was Completely Obsessed With
Hmm, well in the interest of not recycling answers, let’s go with… East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. Which is, instead, the book I have been obsessed with for the longest. I first read it when I was 20. It was one of the books we took with us on our three month long climbing trip, when I lived in a truck with my friend Meredith. We dedicated perhaps 20% of our very limited storage space to a Rubbermaid bin filled with actual, no shit books. Which is hilarious now, with kindles and all. Regardless, I spent a lot of time reading aloud that summer, that was our evening activity. This was the first book I read aloud, and I started in the middle, once Kate is running the brothel. I knew immediately I’d read the whole thing, obviously, and I re-read it every few years. I also own three copies, so I can loan it out frequently. You should read it!

Your turn!

Posted in retrospect | 6 Comments

The last of HepB, I swear.

Ok, I’m almost done with HepB, I swear. Just a couple of things that have been bouncing around since I posted the first bit, but haven’t had a chance to cover.

When you google for info on the HepB vaccine, or any vaccine, and include any vaguely negative modifiers (e.g., negative effects, risks, delay, and any disorders under the sun), you end up with gads of hits like mercola.com, or nvic.com, that have a lot of articles that are kind of terrifying. Mercola is outrageously sensational, to the point of being ridiculous, to me at least. NVIC concerns me more, because it has a more even tone – so the misinformation is even more insidious. A couple of the ideas these websites purport in relationship to the HepB vaccine are that it is linked to autism, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and autoimmune disorders.

Autism: the headlines read “Hepatitis B Vaccine triples the risk of autism to infant boys,” in no uncertain terms, and the articles have no discussion of the limitations of the study it’s based on. I read the study, because I’m charitable like that, and here is some additional information. First off, the major findings of the study: the rate of autism in a group of boys who received the HepB vaccine win the first month of life was three times higher than the rate of autism in a group of boys who did not receive the vaccine in the first month of life. Sounds scary, right? Well what isn’t made clear is that the sample sizes are small. The total number of autistic boys considered for that claim was 30. That’s … not very many. The study was a case-control study, which is a particular kind of epidemiological study ideal for identifying associations between disease and exposure; they cannot identifying causality. Additionally, they are ideal for diseases that are very rare. Autism is not particularly rare, at this point, and 30 boys is rather a paltry sample size for such sweeping statements of risk. Additionally, while working on this study, the authors noted that HepB vaccination seemed to exert a protective effective on infant girls, but the sample size is small, so… *shrug*. I draw attention to that only to underscore the absurdity of their headline grabbing claims.

SIDS – I actually can’t find any scientific studies claiming a link between HepB vaccines and SIDS. On mercola.com, this is chalked up to under reporting, and government conspiracy. I can’t argue with crazy, so … I’m sorry if you think there is a government conspiracy. *Head pat* here are some publications talking about how there is no association.

Autoimmune disorders – such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, etc. Now this is actually interesting. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system freaks out and starts attacking the body it’s supposed to be defending, in various ways. Scientists don’t fully understand how the immune system ends up getting confused, but there are a couple of popular theories. One theory is based on the fact that some autoimmune disorders are strongly correlated with exposure to a particular antigen, such as with Guillan-Barré and Campylobacter jejuni. This mechanism makes sense – dysfunction of the immune system in autoimmunity is basically an exaggerated, inappropriate response to an antigen, or misdirected response at some autoantigen (some normal part of the body, like peripheral neurons). Molecular mimicry can be the issue here – the autoantigen looks like an actual antigen, and the immune system gets hoodwinked, and over reacts like a crazed toddler. Another theory holds that some host tissue insult causes the body’s immune cells to incorrectly imprint on autoantigens released due to an injury.

So, it kind of makes sense that you could see an increase in autoimmune issues after vaccination – vaccines can cause inflammation, they are designed to elicit an immune response. In some small segment of the population, that response could be overblown or misdirected. Ok so is this correlation actually happening? Well, no, it does not seem to be. There have been some reports of relapse and aggravation in adults subsequent to HepB vaccines, but controlled epidemiological studies have not been able to establish any formal associations (reviewed in Millet et al., 2009).

In summation: HepB vaccines for everyone! Down with hepatitis!

Posted in Grumpy Toxicologist, Science!, The Hill | Tagged | 8 Comments

The Hill, Part 2: HepB

For ages I’ve wanted to write a post about science and epidemiology of vaccines, the illnesses they prevent, and the adverse reactions that can occur because of them. I am gathering information to finally do this, but it is going to take a lot of time. I’ve spent several hours yesterday and today wading through literature just on one vaccine – Hep B. I think I’m going to do this piecemeal, and then hopefully do a wrap up when it’s all said and done; otherwise, between my actual paying job and my family, it’s never going to happen. I could write books on each of them – people have written books.

My goal here is to try to put the risks of vaccination into perspective with the risks of choosing not to vaccinate. My general disclaimer stands – while I am a scientist, I am not a medical doctor. I am also not an epidemiologist, or a public health professional, or a statistician. I do my best to provide source material for the numbers I give and the statements I make, and if you want me to explain something more, just ask. I am focusing my discussion primarily on incidence data from the U.S.; this is partially because it’s easier for me, and partially because it’s more relevant to the rampant fear of vaccines in this country. My personal stance on vaccines is not the point of this, but you can read more about that here, if you want.

HepB – The Hepatitis B Vaccine

HepB is a three dose series, given at birth, 1-2 months, and 6-18 months (source: CDC vaccine schedule). It reduces the transmission of hepatitis B, a virus transmitted primarily by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids.

In my personal discussions with pregnant moms, I heard a lot of skepticism as to why HepB is routinely administered to all infants, when hepatitis B infection occurs primarily in certain high risk segments of the population – people who have unprotected sex, IV drug users, etc. A lot of people said, well, that’s not me and it’s unlikely to be my child, so why should I put my newborn at risk of an adverse reaction to the vaccine?

Ok, so that’s the rub: the HepB vaccine is incredibly safe. The primary adverse reaction is anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction to the vaccine), which occurs in an estimated 1 in 1.1 million doses. Anaphylaxis is serious, but treatable – and because the vaccine is administered in a medical setting, the risks are even lower. No deaths have occurred because of the HepB vaccine, in the U.S. or elsewhere. HepB is part of a routine schedule of vaccinations in 179 countries – a LOT of people have been vaccinated (source)!

So what about deaths and adverse outcomes from hepatitis B? Yeah – a LOT. Before the vaccine was introduced in the mid 1980s, annual new hepatitis B infections were increasing rapidly, peaking at 26,654 new cases in 1986 (source). It is estimated that 700,000 – 1,400,000 people are currently infected with the hepatitis B virus, most of whom do not know they are infected (source). Now that HepB vaccine is administered to most newborns and young children, the rate of new infections has dropped dramatically, to 3350 cases in 2010 (source). The number of people in the U.S. who die each year because of hepatitis B infection (as in, the official cause of death) is hovering around 1700 for the last few years (source).

Most of the deaths from hepatitis B are in older people – that is, not infants dying of acute infections. Hepatitis B can cause a serious acute infection, or a chronic illness. The chronic infection and resulting liver inflammation can lead to cirrhosis and cancer – hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of primary liver cancer. So, when an infant is vaccinated, it reduces the transmission from mother to infant, as well as reducing the rates of subsequent infection later in the child’s life. As more generations of infants and children are vaccinated with HepB, the rates of hepatitis B incidence and related deaths will continue to drop.

To sum up, hepatitis B kills thousands of people every year, while the vaccine kills ZERO. Hmm.

Posted in Grumpy Toxicologist, Science!, The Hill | 9 Comments

The Hill

When I was in graduate school, I spent a semester as a teaching assistant in an introductory public health course. My duties consisted primarily of proctoring exams and leading discussion groups, but I also attended the class, mostly sitting in the back and working on my dissertation during lectures. One day, I heard the instructor, who was then heavily pregnant with her first child, begin her lecture by asking for a show of hands – who here was planning on vaccinating their children? My ears perked up immediately, as this has always been a pet subject of mine. She went on to say that she wasn’t sure, herself; shed been hearing a lot about their link to autism. Then, hand to god, she showed a YouTube video of Andrew Wakefield, proselytizing about the dangers of vaccinations. To a public health class of college freshman.

* * *

Vaccinations are the hill that I will die on, the line in the concrete, the one thing I refuse to even debate. The subject my familiars know not to bring up, not least because there is a sign that says as much in my kitchen. The thing I cannot listen to differing opinions about, because I don’t think it’s in the realm of opinion. I think it is black and white, right and wrong.

I probably shouldn’t write a word about it, but it’s a central tenant of my existence. There is a very VERY limited set of scenarios in which it is acceptable not to vaccinate. It includes people who have had serious reactions to specific vaccinations, and people who are immunodeficient in specific ways.

The efficacy of vaccinations is based on the principle of herd immunity – that, if a certain proportion of the population is immune to a communicable disease, the remainder of that population is extended some measure of immunity simply because the pathogen cannot find enough vulnerable bodies to infect.

So when someone chooses not to vaccinate their child for personal reasons, that choice can affect entire communities and populations. Herd immunity is compromised. The most vulnerable people – infants and children too young to be vaccinated, or those who are medically unable – suffer the greatest consequences, as these (preventable!) illnesses are much more serious, even deadly, for them. So – when someone chooses not to vaccinate, not only are they relying on herd immunity to cover their child’s ass, they are endangering everyone else’s kids too.

I cannot believe that this is still a topic of discussion. The autism bullshit has been so thoroughly debunked, even the media slowly (so goddamn slowly) seems to have cottoned on. And yet, there is a pertussis EPIDEMIC in my state. People (BABIES) have died. Totally preventable. Makes me sick.

And one of reasons it makes me so viscerally upset is that I know that, at least to some degree, the blame lies with the scientific community. Not just the quacks (Wakefield et al.), but the rest of us too. For failing to communicate effectively, failing to make bold statements. Scientists hate to make definitive statements – it’s not scientifically accurate to claim something is wholly true or false. Rather, we say that “evidence suggests” or “no significant elevation was observed” or something that sounds similarly evasive or inconclusive to the layman’s ear.

That basic misunderstanding between scientists and laypeople, mixed with a sensationalist media and a litigious society is a recipe for disaster. Or a pertussis epidemic, I guess.

Here are some infographics that help communicate some of the issues surrounding vaccinations:

http://thumbpress.com/the-immunization-debate-infographic/

http://www.good.is/post/infographic-vaccination-nation/

http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/ivac/resources/vaccine-cost-effectiveness.html

http://www.behance.net/leon_farrant/frame/2878481

And here is a fantastic book recommendation:
Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, by Paul Offit (amazon).
Offit has another book out that I’m psyched to read, but I gotta finish Broken Harbour first. You know how it is.

Posted in Grumpy Toxicologist, Science!, soapbox, The Hill | 9 Comments

Where do you come from?

Earlier today, Hillary posted a quiz on twitter about privilege and living in bubbles (I scored a 33), and it sparked a lot of interesting discussion about personal backgrounds.  I had what was, in my opinion, a privileged (and incredibly boring) up bringing, and I am always fascinated to hear about folks who had childhoods and family histories different from mine.  So, even though I think it was boring, I’m writing about my childhood in the hopes that other people might do it too.

I grew up in suburban Atlanta, in a solidly upper middle class area. My dad worked as a physicist in industry (optical fiber and the internet and other physicsy things), and my mom stayed home with me and my brother.  We went to public school, and though Georgia isn’t exactly an educational mecca, the school district we were in was one of the best public school districts in the country.  There was very little racial diversity – when I attended, my high school was something like 96% white, 3% asian, 1% everyone else.  We had what I consider to be a white picket fences sort of upbringing – mom at home, dad at work, we went to school and participated in various extracurriculars (sports, clubs, etc.).  I briefly played soccer and tennis, did swim team every summer, and ran cross country in high school. My brother did all the same sports, but for longer and at a higher level (I… preferred books).  I was never aware of money being an issue – if Johnny or I wanted to try some activity or pursuit, we could; if we wanted something (clothes, electronics) and could make a reasonable case for it, we’d usually get it for Christmas.  We were NOT allowed to quit our pursuits mid-season, which was different from a lot of our friends.  We took family vacations every year – sometimes to visit relatives, and starting when I was 10 or so, we’d go skiing every year.  Sometimes we got to take friends with us (because my brother and I would fight with each other, so I think it was more pleasant for my parents if we brought friends).
While I don’t think my parents ever allowed us to feel any economic hardships, they did work hard to instill us with good money management skills and work ethics.  My brother and I both had jobs in high school – I worked at an animal hospital, and my brother worked at Target.  In neither case did my parents tell us we had to work, but they encouraged us to do so as a means of making personal spending money, as well as to begin gaining work experience.  We both got allowances growing up (I think $10/week in high school?), but we weren’t spoiled as compared to our peers. Which means: our parents bought each of us cars, but they were older/used, and we had to pay for our own gas.  We had to do chores around the house, but I am pretty sure I was a total asshole about it.  My parents put a lot of effort towards us developing good financial habits – we had credit cards and savings accounts in our early teens, and started doing our own taxes as soon as we had jobs, even though we were both still dependents.  Which, now that I think about it, means our parents stopped claiming us as such (and thus didn’t get the tax credits), for that learning experience.
My family has always put a pretty high premium on education, and I think it was taken for granted that my brother and I would go to college.  Both of us went to an in-state school, which was pretty affordable (particularly with Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, which paid for tuition in full), and our parents paid for our room and board while we were at school.  They wouldn’t have been able to if we had chosen out of state schools, I think, but I’m not totally sure.  They also bribed us to be high achievers, by giving us any money we earned towards our tuition in scholarships (besides the HOPE one).  I worked all through college, while my brother didn’t – I worked at a climbing wall and in the gym, as well as in various teaching and research assistantships.  All the jobs were for spending money, though I ended up putting most of it into savings as well.
Writing all of that out, the thing that really jumps out at me most is that, while we both had to work hard and take personal responsibility for our choices, we had choices.  A LOT of choices.  And, probably more importantly, a very solid safety net.
My parents met while working at a summer camp in New England, and are both from New Jersey.  My mom worked for AT&T Bell Labs while my dad went to graduate school, and she got a degree in Occupational Psychology while she was working ( I think there was a free tuition situation through her job?).  My father got a job in Atlanta after he finished school in NJ, and they headed down here. My mom worked until she had my brother, and decided at the end of her six week maternity leave that she couldn’t send him to day care.  Once my brother and I were in school, she did a lot of volunteer work with our schools and sports teams, etc., and worked part time jobs on and off.
My maternal grandfather owned his own business (real estate maybe?), and my maternal grandmother stayed home with the kids.  They were solidly middle class, maybe upper middle.  I have no idea what my paternal grandparents did, but I think I remember my dad telling me they were middle class as well, albeit perhaps not the upper end.  My dad and one of his sisters are both physicists (my aunt works at NASA and is cool as hell), and his other sister is an estates lawyer (I think) in Manhattan, which as far as I know means she is really good at her job.  That whole branch of the family (including me and most of my cousins) is pretty graduate/professional school happy.
I am kind of excited to talk to my mom and fill in family details I have forgotten.  I’m having one of those moments of clarity where I realize how little I know about my parents as individuals, as opposed to just my parents.
I’m also feeling all hyperaware of privilege and I think I’m going to go quietly freak out about how to raise my kid to not be an entitled snobby pants.  Ack.  I know when I got to college, I was a total jackass and thought I knew everything and that I was smarter than everyone. I remember saying OUT LOUD that I thought people with southern accents were dumb.  Yeah, that was special.  Then I spent my undergraduate years in the Poultry Science department and that knocked a lot of the stupid right out of me.  THANK GOODNESS.
OK – now I feel boring and also kind of like an asshole.  Tell me about you!  You are more interesting than me!  Also, maybe my mom will turn up and set the record straight if I botched anything.  Hi, mom!
Posted in retrospect | 12 Comments

9 months old

This bear is acting awfully kid-like lately. Standing, cruising (still clumsy, thank god), going up the stairs. Two more teeth. Using WORDS. Fine, just ‘uh oh’ but STILL. Who said she could learn to talk?

I feel like I can very easily picture the kid she is going to turn into. And even though I know she is still a baby, she seems so so much older than my concept of one.

She’s so much FUN, though. She crawls all over us, squealing and giggling and making weird little Eliza noises. I love it when she climbs over us, or anything big, and gets sort of beached on top. She kicks her chubby little legs until she gets the momentum to make it over, and then face plants happily on the other side. She’s getting more coordinated all the time, so I know she won’t have to do that for much longer… which makes me sad. I remember before Eliza was born, basically up until the day she arrived, I would say OUT LOUD how silly it was when people exclaimed over how fast it all goes, how I would NEVER say such trite things – life is so long! It can’t go that fast!

IT DOES, my god. I’ve been hyper aware since moment one, of all the firsts and the potential lasts. The last time she slept snuggled up on my chest in a little newborn ball. The last time she slept swaddled, and the way she wriggled in the morning when we unwrapped her. The way she bounces up and down into crawling when she’s excited, and how when she’s REALLY excited, she gets going too fast and face plants. How she buries her face in her favorite toys (broccoli, ostrich) when she’s playing, and in her blanket when she’s tired.

Anyway, sappy memories aside, this month has been great. Started with a visit from Grandma Sherry, included a frisbee tournament in Seattle and a visit from college friends. In between the minor adventures, a lot of rolling around on the floor, and giggling.

20120716-091447.jpg

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Science Friday: Aspartame

This is the next installment of Snoozical Rambles about Toxicology, which may or may not becomes a weekly theme.  If you are new here, you should go read my disclaimer.  

Today, I’m all jazzed about artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart, which is to say: don’t fuck with my diet coke, man.  More often than not, when people find out I’m a toxicologist, they give me the side eye and ask me why I’m drinking that diet soda because don’t I know that aspartame will make holes in my brain or give me cancer etc.??

Nope!  No it won’t!  Aspartame is so, so, SO non-toxic.  “But wait! Susie, you said before that the dose makes the poison! And I’ve seen you down a two liter in one evening!”  Yes, you are correct – the dose DOES make the poison – and aspartame doesn’t become a poison unless you are drinking ridiculous volumes.  Here are some numbers: the FDA acceptable daily intake (ADI) for aspartame is 50 mg per kg of body weight.  That equates to over 3 grams of pure aspartame per day for a 135 pound human, on up to 4.5 g for a 200 lb person.  There are about 125 mg of aspartame in a 12 oz can of diet coke, my drink of choice – so that’s about 10.4 mg per ounce.  In order to reach my daily limit of aspartame, I’d need to drink nearly 300 ounces of diet coke.  In a day. I’ve tried, I’ve done some serious focused work, and the most I’ve ever had in a day is two 2 liters.  That’s ~135 ounces. I had to use a bendy straw, and I had several people cheering me on.

Ok, so maybe you’re thinking, wait, that’s not that far from the limit! 135/300, that’s almost halfway there! Right, so that 300? That is equivalent to the 50 mg/kg/day FDA ADI.  That number is health protective, i.e., well below an exposure that could be expected to cause any toxicity in humans – you could ingest that much, every day, for your whole life and experience no health effects.

The ADI is based on a LOT of science: a host of epidemiological studies of humans, as well as long term exposure studies in animal models.  Taking the animal studies first: the National Toxicology Program, an actual reputable research organization, conducted life time exposure studies in rodents  with daily intakes spanning

In acute studies in rodents, no effects were observed at doses exceeding 10,000 mg/kg.  That’s the equivalent of a rat pounding 20 cans (240 oz) of diet coke at once.  Or a human drinking 5600 cans of diet coke. THAT IS A LOT OF DIET COKE, even for me. In chronic, lifetime cancer bioassays in rodents, they fed doses up to 12,000 mg/kg/day for periods up to two years (the lifetime of most rodents), and were unable to detect effects.  NO EFFECTS.  You have to believe me when I say that this INSANE – laboratory rodents LOVE getting tumors, and they just WOULDN’T DO IT.

Epidemiological studies in humans have been similarly boring – no effects, no significance, nothing, nothing.  There was one by Olney et al. (1996) that tried to correlate aspartame with brain tumors, but that study has been roundly dismissed due to wonderful, ethical things like fudging and misrepresenting data. Every other study, and there have been MANY, has found no effects. NO EFFECTS.

Aspartame: the least toxic substance ever, except maybe water.

All the cold hard facts (numbers) in here came from the 2007 Safety Evaluation by B.A. Magnuson et al.  Here is the evaluation summary, and here is the evaluation itself (though you’d have to pay or have journal access to read it).

Posted in Grumpy Toxicologist, soapbox | Tagged | 12 Comments

Oh hey, I’m blind.

So, do you read xkcd? You should, if you don’t. It’s a delightfully nerdy webcomic.  Today’s comic was this infographic about the visual field:

Fascinating, no?  Well, it got me thinking about my visual field.  My eyes are really shitty – they went south around third grade, and haven’t really stopped getting worse since then. So, a 20 year slow deterioration.  No big deal, but they really decided to go for the gold beyond that. I’ve always had deposits of random crap on my optic nerves, which in my case affect my peripheral vision (thus, very clumsy).  So, no peripheral vision – no big deal. BUT THEN, like four years ago, I got optic neuritis.  My optic nerve in my right eye (previously my good eye) got all pissed off for reasons unknown, and parts of it never recovered – the resulting ischemia (lack of circulation) caused parts of the nerve to die, so now it’s like a TV screen with messed up pixels.  This is what my central vision looks like in both eyes:

So, no peripheral in either eye, and yeah my right eye is basically effed.  When this first happened, it was very confusing – I just CAN’T see a lot of what is right in front of my face. It was scary and weird. Now, my brain has largely compensated – it fills in the blanks pretty well most of the time to where I only notice it occasionally.  I can still drive and play sports reasonably well, but I awkwardly miss high fives all the time, and I’m REALLY easy to sneak up on.  Medically, it’s sort of fascinating because idiopathic optic neuritis is a HUGE risk factor for MS – something like 50% of folks who get it end up with MS eventually.  That freaked me out for a long time, but at this point I have no other risk factors and there is nothing I can do about it regardless, so whatever. I haven’t actually thought about that part much in years.

So, that’s today’s interesting factoid.

Posted in ephemera, medical anomaly | Leave a comment

Dinosaurs I have known.

I have a bit of a dinosaur obsession. Seriously, people send me pictures of dinosaurs all the time, dinosaur figurines are all over my house. Dinosaur clothes, dinosaur costumes. My kid is constantly subjected to dinosaur themed outfits and toys. So, here is a survey of my obsession.

It all began in 2007. Seems like it’s always been that way, but no: on the way to a frisbee tournament in grad school, I purchase some dinosaur figurines, because why not? Well, turns out there is a very natural configuration of t-rex and triceratops:

Boring car ride to Florida? Make friends with a plant eater.

Well, it was love at first sight. Those figurines inspired a jersey for the first co-ed frisbee team I put together:

Everyone's favorite jersey ever.

Which is possibly the thing I am most proud of creating, in my whole life. Including my kid. No, that’s a lie. Or is it? I mean, it’s a heady thing to realize, as you are creating something, that this is it: the peak of your creativity.

The naughty dinosaurs were so emblematic of Kevin and me, that they showed up on his grooms cake (albeit, not in their usual positions) and drawn on the window of our matrimonial carriage. To which my mother referred, “Look! Someone drew the butt-$%#^ing dinosaurs on the car! Hah!” and then I died.

Groom's cake = frisbees made of funfetti cake, obviously.

Since then, the jersey also begat an excellent pair of halloween costumes. We were playing on a food themed frisbee team for a halloween tournament, and all I could think of was dinosaurs. So we went as dinosaur fruit snacks.

Then we decided to have a kid. More opportunities for dinosaurs! First there was a dino-themed baby shower, the highlight of which were the inflatable dinosaurs. (There were also two dino themed cakes, and various stuffed dino presents and dino clothes.)

Needed a quick nap, and they pounced.

And, of course, myriad opportunities to clothe our kid in dino clothes, and also take pictures with awkward dinosaurs in the background.

My mother-in-law snapped this for us.

I figure we have another six to twelve months before she starts picking out her own clothes. She will inevitably hate dinosaurs, so we will force her to love them until our opinions no longer matter. Sucker!

There a lot more dinosaur things in my life, but those are the highlights.

Posted in ephemera | 3 Comments