Friday, September 26, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Too tired to rant
but not too tired to blog. I have a list of pet peeves about six miles long, although when I need to give someone an example, I can never come up with one. Well here is one of the peeviest, for the record: osmosis is for WATER, not for knowledge, baby food, or any other membrance-crossing substance. Sleeping on your textbook: not osmosis. Grr.
The Leona's near our house has taken to putting pithy sayings on its sign like a country church. However, church signs are usually clever while Leona's sayings fall flat. To wit: "Five out of four people have trouble with fractions." It would be funny if 5/4 were not a fraction, but it is, which tells us something about the sign writer at the restaurant. Leona's: Good food, bad math.
I have a cold and feel very tired and sinus-headachy. Recently met someone who does not take medicine for anything, ever, not even painkillers. It's an interesting choice, one I don't think I would be willing to do given my headache frequency and allergies.
Friday, September 19, 2008
It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Starting Monday I will be assisted in the lab by a very nice undergraduate student. I've been kidding about "My Undergrad," "My Peon," etc. but in fact I am thrilled she's here and I hope she enjoys the experience and learns lots. I talked to her for a while yesterday and found her to be interested and perceptive. I on the other hand was totally nervous and could not stop babbling. I hope I didn't frighten her off! I think on Monday I'll take her on a five-minute field trip to visit my trees before we delve into lab work.
This week, I took our cookie jar full of used batteries in for recycling, and also got rid of 4 old cell phones. I feel virtuous and also a little lighter now that all those things are out of the house. Now if only I could take a flamethrower to our basement, I'd feel as free as a barn swallow.
Yesterday I went to a workshop and reception for university fellows and discovered that they expect each of us to choose a faculty mentor, someone outside of our department. The nervous first-year students were nodding sagely but I was offended by the concept of Forced Mentoring. I'm in my fifth year and I am over 35 and I have a great relationship with my advisor and committee. I do not need any more school or life advice, thanks very much. I'll be a good sport about attending other fellowship events but I think this form is going to, oops, fall into the recycling bin.
Cubs magic number is TWO. The sad thing is that if the Cubs lose the next two games and the Brewers also lose their next two games, the Cubs clinch. What a pathetic anticlimax that would be. In fact, it's so pathetic I almost hope it happens.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
UIC and Acconci
I've been documenting the disaster that is the much-touted Acconci Studios installation outside University Hall here at UIC for a couple of years. I contacted the university's public affairs office directly in hopes of finding out what was going on but after "forgetting" about my question for a while, they said sorry, we can't tell you. The photos are on Flickr and I'm just linking them here so the googlebots can find them. If anyone knows why the project fell apart, I'd love to hear the story.
Acconci and UIC
Two quotations that I have been known to proclaim when lab work is going well:
"I am like God and God like me. I am as large as God. He is as small as I. He cannot above me nor I beneath him be." -Silesius (as interpreted by Robert De Niro, here at 2:33)
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings/Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!" -Shelley
They're just slightly more literary ways of saying "BOO yah!!"
I heart science
Saw a man this morning with four dozen Krispy Kremes. He was in line at Dunkin Donuts.
Cubs magic number is FOUR. FOUR!!! Too distracted to work now.
I've done over 60 extractions already this week, thanks to the snazzy new tissue homogenizer. I may never have to wash mortars and pestles again, a fact that gives me great joy. My total number of basswood samples is approaching 600 as I finish documenting everything I have collected. The goal is to get them all extracted by the end of the month so I can mobilize the sequencing juggernaut.
I had a tiny science-thrill the other day. I was testing some new chloroplast markers on a few samples to see if I could find additional variation. As I opened the sequence files in the editing software and the chromatograms popped up looking all gorgeous and perfect, I realized: no entity in the history of time has ever seen this before. My trees are crammed full of genetic secrets and now I alone know some of them. It's a minor thing--the vast majority of the world really doesn't care--but I experienced a brief moment of profound empirical awe.
"I invite the media to grow a pair. And if you can’t, I will lend you mine." --Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. Hell yeah.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Happy birthday indeed
My favorite pitcher threw me a no-hitter on my birthday. :)
Unfortunately, I missed the whole thing and didn't know about it until today because I was with the family doing family things. Argh!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Foley is really coming out of her shell lately. She runs, plays, barks, chases toys, and cuddles, almost like a real live dog. Still we are unable to leave her alone ever, but I hold out hope that as she accepts that we do in fact always come back again, she'll become more reasonable and we'll no longer be under house arrest.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
1) Re-bumping the list of September songs that I've been compiling since 2005:
Songs about September
Possibly the most complete list of such songs on the Internet. Hey, I have to be known for something.
2) Spent Labor Day watching an all-day Star Trek marathon. Best Labor Day Ever. Also: steak. Yum!
3) New year, new red hair. It startles me every time I look in the mirror.
4) Confirmed that the second chloroplast marker is in fact falling into haplotypes that make sense, AND forming new haplotypes I wasn't getting with the first marker. Weeks of effort not in fact down the drain. Hooray!
5) Thrilled that John McCain named a woman to be his VP. Too bad Sarah Palin is diametrically opposed to everything I stand for, point-for-point. I actually would not mind McCain being president but I do not like her being next in line. Is it too soon to start a "Keep McCain Alive" fundraising drive in case the Republicans win?