Tuesday, December 20, 2005
must... work... despite... holidays
Spent a good five minutes this morning debating whether to come in today or not. I wasn't going to do any more lab stuff until my new primers arrived, so all I had left was read read read until my eyes fall out and roll onto the floor. However, all of the things I need to read are on my desk, so off to the lab I went. Today I studied up on chloroplast genomes and primers. I think I learned more today than I have in the past couple of weeks. I still can't get over the detail and complexity of the genome. Some pieces read clockwise, others read counterclockwise. One big piece is in the genome twice in opposte directions for no apparent reason. Big chunks of the genome don't do anything at all, and some noncoding (and coding!) chunks are right smack in the middle of useful genes. Whoever designed the chloroplast genome wasn't very intelligent, or at least wasn't very organized.
There is a flock of robins overwintering on campus. I usually see them in late afternoon in the junipers outside lecture center B and in the nearby trees. Last week they were roosting in the leafless trees and I estimated about 30 of them. Yesterday, several were lined up on the south wall of LC B with their feathers puffed out, absorbing what they could of the late afternoon sun. I don't know where the birds spend most of their day, and I don't know what they're eating. I want to bring them some food if I can figure out what they will eat in the winter. I have great affection for these hardy little birds because I feel like I'm the only one who notices they're here. I wonder if they're regretting their decision to stay? It's been *cold* here!
Monday, December 19, 2005
A lame excuse for an entry
|Your Elf Name Is...|
Thursday, December 15, 2005
An entire day of wandering exhaustedly through Skokie and Niles, attempting to fill the random wishlists of unimaginative relatives. By about 2:00, I was low on blood sugar and losing interest in the entire holiday season, so I parked at the food court and ate Arby's. This gave me plenty of time to observe the Cajun Grill, manned by several Chinese employees, next door to some Chinese fast food place, also manned by Chinese employees. The Cajun Grill was advertising their typically Cajun special: Bourbon Chicken. The Chinese place also had a special: Bour Bon Chicken. I find it remarkable that a Chinese dish has almost exactly the same name as a Cajun dish, and they were both on special in the same food court on the same day. What are the odds?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Yesterday I was walking past Block 37 and they were in the process of cutting down the trees and shrubs in the little landscaped islands along State Street. It's always sad to see perfectly healthy trees being cut down, but it's worse when you see sparrows hopping around on the fallen trees, looking frantic. At least it's not nesting season, but I'm sure those evergreens were nice warm places to spend the winter. Maybe the sparrows can relocate to the Christmas tree on Daley Plaza?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
My good deed for the day
I ran errands this morning before heading to the lab. Christmas cards at Border's, money at bank, holiday stamps at post office - lots of brisk walking in bitter cold weather. As I walked from the post office to the Starbucks on Adams, I encountered an older woman, nicely dressed, crying. "Can you help me?" she asked. Sure, I said, and suddenly found myself the recipient of more gratitude and prayers, yes, literally *prayers*, than I've ever had in my life. Her story, and I did believe her (some people invent elaborate stories instead of just saying "Please give me money"), was that she came to town to do volunteer work for a veterans' organization, but apparently it had moved, and when she parked her car to go walk around and look for it, her car got towed. She was clutching a map with notes written in pen on Lake Michigan - where the auto pound is, how much to free her car ($150, cash only), where the Greyhound station is, and how much to get back to Rockford. The poor woman was so distraught, didn't have enough cash to bail out her car, and just wanted to go home, but didn't have enough for the bus ticket. The fact that I not only would talk to her and offer help and kind words, but was also a fellow Rockfordian, seemed to convince her that God was smiling on her for a change. I gave her some money to get home, and refused her offer to repay it. I felt so bad for her, being lost and confused with no one to turn to, and hopefully she got home okay. I hope when I run into trouble, someone will do the same for me. Karma, just like Earl says.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
If I were a Sim...
Total: 31 (shouldn't this be out of 25, though? What do they think I am, a Legacy heir?)
I've been sick this week. It kind of sucks, esp. when the sinus headache morphed into a migraine but I still had to go to class and be conscious and helpful. Review session is tomorrow, and then I'm done done done for the semester!!!! Also, the stork is bringing me my new laptop tomorrow. Ahead is a fun weekend of exploring its capabilities, watching DVDs just because I can, and deleting all of the preinstalled craplets. The laptop is arriving from Shanghai via Anchorage, which I find exceedingly charming. My computer is better-traveled than I am!