Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I can't wait to post about this on Facebook

It’s a sad state of affairs when my first reaction to a situation is “I can’t wait to post about this on Facebook”. Sad, but true.

Like everyone else, I’ve been joking about TSA and gropings at the airport; I’ve even dreamed about it. But in my dream, I had to take an SAT-style test to get through security. Sadly, I can’t even get felt up in my dreams. This test was hard as hell and I kept yelling belligerently at security, “I’m smarter than most people, how are people supposed to get through security??!!”. This just got me taken to my own room to be dealt with later. So it should have come as no surprise when I failed the screening test at the airport. I rarely set off metal detectors – more often than anything I get selected for random screenings. Because I’m an average looking, well educated, white girl who’s always polite to TSA, and that just screams “SKETCHY!”. Or perhaps I have that desperate look of someone who needs to be frisked. Sadly, the latter seems more likely.

My local airport has changed to the full-body X-ray. I don’t have a problem with this. I’m all for airport security and really just feel sorry for the people who have to look at those images. But I’m used to walking through with my ID and boarding pass in my back pocket. Apparently this ain’t cool no more (double negative aside). Fail #1. This transgression got me my first pat down. The TSA woman seemed disgruntled, but was completely professional and made sure I knew exactly what was coming and where (yeah yeah, bad choice of words. Get over it.). But because I was pulled to the side for additional screening, I had to have my hands schwabbed and run through the chemical analysis machine. I failed this test, too. And this is not the test you want to fail.

Failing this test gets you a one-way ticket to a private room where return-trip tickets are only issued upon re-test. Even when you know you’re completely innocent “Explosives positive” is NOT something you want to see associated with your name at the airport. A very official-looking female TSA employee came to escort me and my baggage (which I was not allowed to touch) to a private screening room. This was a first for me, and despite the questions in the back of my mind of what would happen if I failed additional tests, the excitement of the new experience brought about the initial thoughts of future Facebook posts. I do love the challenge of coming up with good, amusing Facebook updates.

I’m not gonna lie, when I first walked into the room I expected to see a chair with stirrups. But, alas, it was just a normal chair and the table didn’t have the delightful layer of paper covering it. The women who escorted me into the room – particularly the main pat down woman – were very jovial, polite, and professional. I honestly have no complaints about my experience behind the closed door. I was told in full detail where I was going to be touched, how, and when (which I think we can all agree on, is not always the case when behind closed doors). And, like I said, they were in quite good spirits. I was most uncomfortable about the fact that I didn’t get around to washing my jeans after 4 hours of dancing at the cowboy bar earlier in the week – I was hoping main pat down woman was mouth-breathing. But perhaps this is why I got shot down when I offered to take off my sweater if it made the process easier. Alas.

Everyone and everything got schwabbed again, and apparently this time I passed the test! I always did rely on the curve on chemistry tests. I was told I could collect my belongings and was wished a safe and good flight. I felt that we parted as friends with none of the typical post-frisking awkwardness.

Additionally, I felt that main pat down woman and I really hit it off. I had The A-Team movie in my bag, and she saw it when she was wiping down for chemicals. She hadn’t seen the movie yet and asked how it was. I just can’t say enough good things about any movie that involves Bradley Cooper without his shirt on. Throw in Liam Neeson, and I’m a happy happy girl. She more than agreed with me on both accounts and I’m pretty sure she’ll be renting it tonight. In return, she recommended Unstoppable. I had to refrain from claiming Chris Pine as the future father of my Space Babies. I had already gushed over several actors and didn’t want to come off as too Hollywood stalkerish. I mean, who does? She also countered my Bradley Cooper shirtless love with a Marc Whalberg shirtless love and recommended The Fighter. I had hesitations about this one because I can’t stand Christian Bale. American Psycho ruined him for me, and he’s done nothing to redeem his creepiness since then. Despite her Marky Mark adoration (at which point I should mention that we both enjoyed Date Night), main pat down woman confessed that she couldn’t stand Christian Bale either and was very surprised she liked the movie. We found yet another thing in common in our dislike of Bale. By now back up TSA woman had come back in with the chemical test good news, and we filled her in on the conversation. She didn’t understand our mutual dislike of Christian Bail, so I had to explain that he has freaky sharp vampire teeth. And American Psycho. Main pat down woman and I bonded again, as she wholeheartedly seconded my analysis. At this point, I felt that main pat down woman and I could have been really good friends and I was sad to see our relationship end as I would have loved to hang out with her and maybe watch a movie. I wanted to ask if we could stay in touch, but I didn’t want to sound too clingy.

Upon leaving, I felt like I had lost a friend, but at least I had a Facebook status update, which is what’s really important. Luckily my airport has free WiFi, so I could update Facebook as soon as I got to my gate. Followed immediately by Twitter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If in doubt, season the shit out of it

Last night my culinary standards sank below the standards of drunk frat boys. A proud moment in my grad student career.

Upon getting home last night I realized I had nothing to make for dinner. I have no excuse for this other than pure laziness, seeing that it's the beginning of the month so I recently got paid. I clearly can't blame this on End-Of-The-Month syndrome where I'm down to pennies in my bank account and I'm saving the last few dollars available on my credit card for something important. Like beer. But then I've never claimed to not be the laziest person I know. By the time I got home I had already had to fight the urge to slaughter a pedestrian and eat him, so I was ready to get dinner started. I commenced rummaging through my fridge and pantry. Here's what I found:

- Frozen ground turkey
- Carrots
- Pearl onions
- Garlic
- A can a of peas
- Baby spinach
- Tomato sauce
- Leftover "Garden Vegetable" pasta sauce
- Penne pasta

It seemed like I could make something out of that. I was really hoping I still had a can of cream of mushroom soup (in my head this would have TOTALLY saved the day - cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup makes any dish magical), but, alas, I only found Bean with Bacon soup, and that didn't sound like it would work out very well (which seems ironic now that I could have just had soup and forgone this exercise in creating vomitous masses). So I went with what I had and started getting creative.

Let me first of all say that I consider myself a pretty good cook, but there's a reason I've never gotten into creative writing or pretty much any form of art. Arm-waving? Sure I can handle that sort of invention, but creating something out of nothing isn't really my thing. But I was hungry, so I gave it a shot.

Firstly, I have no clue where the turkey came from. It apparently isn't my roommate's and I've never bought ground turkey in my life. It had a May expiration date (it was frozen, it keeps, right?), so I guess it couldn't have been her's since she moved in in September. Come to think of it, I never checked the May of which year it expired... Regardless, if it was left in the freezer, it's fair game. So the turkey was thawed and then browned in a pan. I wanted to soften the carrots, so I put them in the pan early with with turkey. It was only then that I realized the carrots needed to be high-graded seeing as some of the specimens were a color that could no longer be described as orange. So I took the carrots that still looked edible on the outside and stood behind my theory that "It'll cook out" and threw them into the pan. [Note: I deliberately use the word "theory" as I feel like I've tested this hypothesis enough times without suffering death that it now moves on to theory.] Don't worry, the rest of the carrots got tossed out, as well as the oozing tomatoes I found in the produce drawer of my fridge.

I'm proud to say that the onions and garlic were in no way questionable. Not a single sprout. So those got chopped up and thrown in the pan.

While rummaging around looking for the can of Cream of Mushroom soup I was convinced I had beneath my 8 bags of powdered sugar, rice (yet another possible, if boring, option I could have gone with after all), and coconut, I had found a can of peas. The first thing I noticed about these peas were that they were in an Albertsons can. That's all well and good, except for the fact that I haven't seen an Albertsons since I moved from Montana. 4.5 years ago. So I can only guess how old the peas are... Well, despite the dubious age of the peas (see a theme here?), they smelled fine. They're in a can after all! So I added some to the pan once again figuring anything bad will just cook out. Of course it wasn't until later that I realized I had a >4.5 year old can of peas because I really just don't like peas. Alas, if only that were the greatest of my problems...

What should have come next was the question: What was I actually making? Ok, maybe it should have come first. But it DEFINITELY should have come before I committed to a liquid substance. In retrospect, I should have gone with a stir-fry theme. In fact, while writing this, it sounds like I'm making a stir-fry. But no, I had to be all rash and shit and open the can of tomato sauce rather than just pouring in some soy sauce. Damnit. So tomato sauce goes in. Unfortunately I don't feel like this adds enough liquidy substance to the pan, so I add what was in the bottom of the pasta sauce jar. And have no fear, I did check for fuzz in the jar before adding it. And the chucks were supposed to be there. C'mon, do I seem that stupid? Actually, don't answer that.

Lastly I added some salt, pepper, rosemary, and savory. Because if in doubt, season the shit out of it.

I then put it over some pasta and attempted to consume it. Yes, it looks pretty identical to dog vomit (see picture), but it did taste better than I imagine dog vomit tasting like. Actually it didn't taste half bad (my roommate was bold enough to try it and confirms my assessment), but just looking at it turned my stomach. I guess the important thing is that I'm still alive. And I brought leftovers for lunch!

Perhaps this should be my new diet scheme, because just thinking about having to eat it makes me lose my apatite. And I also have a new understanding why undergrads always seem to keep Ramen in their cupboards...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slytherin' through the zombie apocalypse

I have noticed that the amount of time I'm in grad school correlates with certain trends in the results of social media quizzes, like those found on Facebook. The most notable trends include: the longer I am a grad student, (1) the greater the chance to be sorted into Slytherin House, and (2) the longer I will survive in a zombie apocalypse. I guess grad school is paying off after all!

As I approach the 7.5 years of grad school mark, I can now pride myself on having apparently learned the skills needed for post-apocalyptic domination - whether it be apocalypse via zombies, noseless wizards, all-seeing eyes on a pedestal next to a mountain of doom, or communists. (Yes, I can now confidently say I would weather a "Red Dawn" situation well.) There are many factors that push you over the line between For the Greater Good and burning a personal beeper into a minion's flesh, between being braincandy and the ultimate deliverer of zombie asskickery, and I think the most significant is your use of 5 year olds. Are you willing to use a 5 year old as a weapon? And when does using a 5 year old as a weapon become a first choice versus a last case scenario? For many these are tough questions, but the zombie apocalypse takes natural selection to a new level - and many would argue rightfully so - making them important questions that need to be considered. The souless venture of grad school prepares you to make these important decisions; decisions that could possible alter the fate of the human race. A decision that now seems simple: "Bring on the 5 year olds, I don't want to waste ammo."

How about you? Would you have your brain sucked from above your yellow and black scarf-wrapped neck, or be a master of 5 year old-wielding badassness? Maybe you should go to grad school to figure it out.

As for me, I might have to reconsider my bitterness towards my poor life decisions. Perhaps grad school really is about finding yourself. Or at least what you would do if you found yourself surrounded by zombies with nothing but an ice axe.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The one shamrock to rule them all

When I passed my comprehensive exams in 2009, my advisor gave me a purple shamrock. It wasn't that it was a luck thing, it was mostly that it was probably the closest plant she could find to hot pink. For the most part, she supports my decision to be out of the closet about my love of hot pink (though she doesn't necessarily support me when I argue for hot pink archival storage mediums, but otherwise, she indulges me). But in addition to it's near-pink awesomeness, I have discovered that this plant has magical powers of prediction.

Up until this point in my life, I have failed to keep any plant alive for a sustained amount of time. I generally kill mint within a week or two, and I have been told that mint is like a weed and generally very hard to kill. I'm simply a horticultural failure. (It goes without saying that I'm also a failure at fish since they seem to prefer suicide over living with me.) So when my advisor told me that shamrocks can be high-maintenance (as in I have to water it and keep it's temperature moderated - things I don't even do well for myself), I figured this wasn't going to bode well for my innocent little purplish Shammy the Shamrock.

But surprisingly, for months and months - over a year, in fact - my shamrock thrived. We had some unfortunate experiments with trying to have Shammy live outside and lessons in "What happens when I don't water you", but he's always bounced back. And eventually I started taking better care of him.

Then something sad happened at the end of the spring: Shammy started to die. His little shamrocky shamrock things pulled out of the soil and no new ones popped up. One new shamrocky thing did sprout at one point, but didn't last for long. I was heart broken; Shammy seemed dead. And, rather suspiciously, so did my dissertation. As soon as Shammy's shamrocky fronds respirated their last breath of carbon dioxide, all progress on my dissertation halted. I didn't recognize this correlation at first, it wasn't until the fall that I saw the direct connection between Shammy's health and the health of my dissertation. Meanwhile, I fell into my smut, crotch rocket, and 4x4 ridden mid-dissertation crisis. See ya, dissertation!

But as is the academic cycle, conference season rolled around and I was mercilessly forced to say an emotional (and temporary...I hope) goodbye to my beloved smut and figure out how to do science again. As I got my act together and started to read articles, put together presentations, remember how to count, and learn how to pronounce big words again, Shammy started blooming. One morning I woke up and Shammy was popping up little shamrocky frondy things! And now that conference season is over, and I can focus on my dissertation again, a new frondy thing has sprouted. I have hope of actually graduating one day again.

Empirical evidence obviously indicates that Shammy really is the Paul the Octopus of my dissertation.

And now I live every day in fear he's going to die.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Assless Chaps. Just Sayin'...

With as many romance novels there are about cowboys, and as swoontastic as covers can get, you'd think there'd be more assless chaps in smut.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Mid-Dissertation Crisis

I gotta admit, I didn't see this one coming. In April I was psyched for this summer - I had had a productive winter and spring and I was going to get SO much done by the time September rolled around. It was my first summer in 9 years without doing fieldwork - which killed a bit of my soul - but I was going to be uber productive in the lab to make up for not getting to play in the dirt and have an excuse for not showering regularly. Come September 1, I have nothing to show for myself except a few hundred more dollars in debt and the unsurity of when I had last showered. How does that even happen when I've cut back on my drinking? At least I think I have...

As August wrapped up with the realization I hadn't worked on my dissertation since May, I sounded my barbaric "WTF" over the rooftops of the world. How have I done the bare minimum of work - 20 hours a week - to get paid and done nothing on my dissertation or several other projects in the other 20 hour MINIMUM I should be allowing for research? This is a new low in which I don't think even I can find pride. I've hit bouts of burnout before, I've spent far too much time reading romance novels during the summer, but something felt different about this. After designing three cars online (a Silverado, Xterra, and Wrangler), contemplating a tattoo, and comparative shopping for a motorcycle I realized I've reached my mid-dissertation crisis. I've also decided I'm getting a hesperornithiform tattoo when I defend, and a dark gray Siverado crew cab pick-up and a Kawasaki Ninja when I graduate.

And might I just add: NOT cool, Library, for this free borrowing of books nonsense. You're enabling my smut habit.

Now I also have to admit that I don't know what to do about this crisis. But if I want to be able to afford my new pick-up and bike, I sure as hell have to get my butt in gear so I can graduate, get a job, and move into a higher tax bracket. Or actually get out and interact with humans so I can meet a sugar daddy...

Friday, July 16, 2010

One week without

I would argue that most professional graduate students out there, especially by the time they hit year 3 or 4 of graduate work, would agree that prolonged ventures in grad school kill a bit of your soul. That’s why I call all of my projects my little horcruxes. Like any graduate student out there that has been in grad school so long they have indeed relinquished part of their soul, alcohol is a good friend. I’m in no way saying that we’re all hard-core alcoholics; I’m not even saying that I am; but we all get by with a little help from our friends. And sometimes our friends are wrapped in Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, PBR, or <$10 bottle of wine labels. Lately, my preferences have moved to Balvenie, Oban, McCallums, and Hendricks labels, but habits I can’t monetarily support is the subject of a separate post.

Recently, I took a group of teenagers camping and rafting. Understandably so, it was an alcohol-free trip. I was pretty confident in my ability to handle myself without a drink for a week, though I had never done it while also being around 11 teenagers. As another precaution to ensure appropriateness around kids, I also refrained from taking any smut along. Now, I’ve been out of the closest for a while now about my love for romance novels, especially during the summer. I don’t even get embarrassed when I have a guy ringing up my smut-tastic purchase at the bookstore or feel like I need to slip in a Churchill biography or collection of scientific essays to distract them (though self-checkout at the library is an amazing thing for those shy of their smut habit). However, I just didn’t feel that it would be an appropriate topic for conversation if a kid saw what I was reading. Consequently, I took book that had graced the best sellers list for a while this year…and I’m still not really sure what it’s about.

The last days of any period of self-denial are the toughest. It’s why when I was doing fieldwork in the Arctic a few years back and we were living on dehydrated food (plus something that could only be termed as “meat stick” along with crappy Kraft cheese by the kilo, which hardly qualify as food), we weren’t allowed to talk about real food until at least 2/3 of the way through the trip. The second to last night on this last trip was trying on the Beer-O-Meter; after all, I hadn’t been on a river without beer since high school. But the last night is what took me by surprise. I missed smut. Horribly. And this is saying a lot since I have notoriously horrible taste in romance novels. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything on the order of Smut > Alcohol, but…a girl’s gotta get her fix.

And just for the record, I did buy beer before I bought smut upon my return.

Lastly, here’s a project I deeply lament not being a part of: "Smart Bitches Trashy Books". After all, a good beach read is nothing to be ashamed of - even in higher education. It's why the tower is off-white and not pure white.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Science is delicious

I think it's an important aspect of those doing research in the biological sciences to eat their study group. Take the inspired, wholly accurate Onion article for example: New, Delicious Species Discovered. Granted, this is easier and and more palatable for some scientists than others. And to the others, I say: suck it up, princesses. Organismal biologists have it pretty easy - every study has it's causalities than would likely be delicious on the grill, sauteed, or with a white wine sauce. For those studying viruses, would they not work harder to find cures and treatments if they were to ingest the samples in their petri dishes? And do those studying human anatomy and physiology really not get curious? I mean, I'm not going to rush off to join the Korowai tribe or hope for a plane crash in the Andes, but I'm honest enough to admit that I'm curious.

Now, many would say I have it easy since I study birds, but it's not a smooth sailing as one would think. Yeah, duck and geese are easy to get and are best served with a cranberry or orange sauce and paired with a mellow red wine. I prefer a pino noir or chianti. However, my other study groups are not so easy to get my hands on - penguins and auks. Unfortunately, all the specimens I have in my possession arrived fleshless. Well, not that unfortunate since I don't really do flesh - thank goodness for dermestid beetles. And due to the Antarctic Treaty and Antarctic Conservation Act, there's no chance of penguins showing up in markets and restaurants in the U.S. anytime soon. Bastards. There are re
ports of penguin-eating before they became contraband. One source describes penguin meat as "If it's possible to imagine a piece of beef, odiferous cod fish and a canvas-backed duck roasted together in a pot, with blood and cod-liver oil for sauce, the illustration would be complete". Nothing a little BBQ sauce wouldn't take care of. I've also read that penguin tastes rather like seal. I've had seal, which makes me think that perhaps I shouldn't be so eager to taste penguin after all. But I wonder if their eggs taste fishy, too....

I don't know if there's any legislature against eating auks (puffins, murres/guillemots, auklets, ect.), but I'm guessing not based on the results from googling "eating puffins" and "what do puffins taste like". When I was in the Arctic in 2007, there weren't any in the area to sample, or buy off the Inuits, and I've never been to other places within their habitat. I wonder if they ship them from Maine like lobsters... I wonder if this could be a business opportunity for me... But, to help appease my curiosity until fleshy specimens become available, I can rely on a delight I discovered (or possibly re-discovered) on a camping trip last week: Puffins cereal. And let me just say, peanut butter flavored Puffins...omg, I'm addicted. I was not above shamelessly high-grading the food from the 7th graders we were leading on the trip in the name of making sure I got the Puffins. They are one of my study animals after all.

And my final study group are fossil birds. These are a lot harder to find a suitable way to consume. After spending years cleaning off microvertebrate fossils in the field by putting them in my mouth to remove the dirt, I find that I'm not too interested in eating fossils in the traditional manner. There are always rumors of explorers, scientists, and commoners eating frozen mammoths, leading to various gastrointestinal catastrophes, but the truth behind these wives' tails are unsubstantiated. However, I spend a remarkable amount of time thinking about all the studies on delicious and exotic animals out there, as well as considering what my fossil birds tasted like. In fact, I have a conference talk already prepared discussing which wines to pair with my fossil birds. I've provided a little teaser. The reports of soft tissue being found in fossils gives me hope, though. Perhaps if I boil them long enough...

But in reality, this is pretty much just a long ad for Puffins cereal. The cereal of ornithologists.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Avain leprosy: The next pandemic

I recently came into the possession of 40 freshly plucked Branta canadensis and Anas platyrhynchos legs. To the layperson, those are Canada geese and mallards, respectively, but I like using the scientific names because I think it makes me sound like a real scientist...until my office mate points out that I pronounced the name wrong, and I just help confirm his low opinion of the intellect of Southerners. At least in writing, I'm safe (as long as I cut and paste from a reliable source so the names are spelled correctly). I say "freshly plucked" since the legs were FedExed to me from my mom's friend's husband just after shooting them on a hunting trip the weekend before. Who knew you can just FedEx freshly shot body parts? It seems like someone should be checking into this kind of thing, or at least including it in an episode of CSI. But after being FedExed cross country in ziploc bags in a Tupperware cake carrier without ice, lets just say that "fresh" was no longer an accurate adjective. And after leaving them in my office overnight, which has a tendency to get warm, to baste in their own bloody juices, let's just say that "fresh" was even more of a stretch... and it's good thing my office has a window that opens.

For some inconceivable reason, my advisor and the collections manager forbade me to open the bags and play with the legs in the paleo labs. Instead, I unleashed my odoriferous wrath on the zoology department, who are apparently used to rotting flesh. After gearing up in gloves, mask, and lab coat in case there was a Shamu-type splash zone (yeah, I don't do flesh), I braved the bags juicy juicy bird legs. I should perhaps have mentioned before now that my research involves comparing the internal structure of fossil and modern bird leg bones - I don't just randomly have married men send me dead bird parts. (Though would it really be infidelity if they did?) Upon opening these bags of festering juiciness, I discover that I was just sent the feet - tarsometatarsi down. My research focuses on the femora and tibiotarsi - the upper and lower leg bones. Essentially, I was sent nothing I could use for my dissertation.

So the next natural question was what to do with 40 rotting bird legs. Well, you see, my office has a balcony outside the windows that you can get to through the kitchen next door. Typically this balcony is just used by me for reading or lunching when I feel a case of Rickets coming on, but, could conceivably be used for things like shooting champagne corks at undergrads. Not that I'd ever do anything like that. And while thinking about things that I would never do on the balcony that would also imply that I drink champagne in my office, I spawned a wonderful solution for anyone with extra rotting bird legs in their office. Avian leprosy. You hear about avian flu, swine flu, hoof-in-mouth, but nothing about avian leprosy - just Google "avian leprosy" or "bird leprosy", and all you get are hits from blogspot, livejournal, etc. (not that those aren't respectable scientific and journalism outlets....I mean, just look at my blog). My idea is a fabulous social experiment by testing the mindset "ignorance is bliss". Because they've never heard of it, no one fears avian leprosy. We'll see about that. Using the tactical position of the balcony, I would lob rotten bird legs at passersby. This would be followed up with a public posting on the threat of avian leprosy (I could use this blog, but I wouldn't want to overwhelm the world, knowing what a mass media outlet this is), perhaps even a scientific report showing photos of up to 40 disarticulated bird legs . Then I would just sit back and sip champagne on the balcony watching the panic spread. Honestly, I think it'd do a lot to get people's minds off the economy. So it'd really be a benefit to society.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sexual Selection of Cankles

Quite unexpectedly, I have found myself a fancier of flightless birds. Perhaps this comes from doing my dissertation on flightless birds. Perhaps I have always had a fetish for feathery cloacas incapable of flight that has only recently been embraced. Perhaps they're the same thing. But as a flightless avian cloaca lover, I read a lot about birds. I have recently come across the word "caruncle". It seems unlikely that I haven't run across this piece of anatomical awesomeness before, but then I'm blonde and sometimes it take a few times for something to stick. In general, a caruncle is a fleshy outgrowth; in birds, the caruncle is the wattle - the fleshy outgrowth on the neck, throat, or below the eye. Though, upon discovering this word "caruncle", I now refuse to use the inferior term "wattle". Turkeys, chickens, and cassowaries are choice examples of birds with caruncles. while nothing will ever surpass my love of the word "cloaca" (and who doesn't love a universal hole?), "caruncle" now comes in a close second.

Not only are fleshy protuberances awesome, but "caruncle" reminds me of the word "cankle", another favorite. And it's rather fitting - are cankles really anything more than fleshy outgrowths? Mine aren't. That being said, it's upsetting that cankles have come to have such derogatory connotations. For example:
And I think it benefits society to note that while googling for links, I came across this little gem: Gold's Gym has launched a "Say No To Cankles" campaign and even a Cankles Awareness Month. http://saynotocankles.com/. Thank you, Internet. And thank you, Gold's Gym for doing your part for raising cankle awareness. That's just one step closer to social acceptance.

Because caruncles and cankles are both fleshy growths and have so many letters in common, there's no denying that they could have much more in common. In fact, I propose that cankles are a human analog for the avian caruncle. Parsimony and actual logic be damned! Consequently, it's important to point out that the caruncle is used for sexual selection in many birds (though I'm not yet suggesting that cankles have erectile tissue like many avian caruncles do). In birds, the larger the caruncle, the more dominant the male. So, the next obvious step is that humans need to stop the mocking of cankles and start considering them when selecting mates. Gold's Gym even acknowledges that there are hereditary reasons (i.e., genetic controls) for cankles, implying that cankles are susceptible to natural and sexual selection. No, that's not just the steroids talking. Cankles are inadvertently selected in drunken hookups (as referenced in the energy drink video above) that result in pregnancy. It's time for cankles to step out of the drunken haze of bad decisions and take the sober limelight. In fact, it's past time sexual selection takes the forefront in human evolution. With advances in modern medicine saving people from their own stupidity, it may be all we have left.