December 31, 2009

end of year

Oh my goodness. The year is almost over. In 20 minutes.

November 13, 2009

what I do for fun now

It's Friday night what
better time to track down some
obscure articles

Internet searching for turtle vocalization sound files led me to a claim that a certain species vocalized. (But why would I trust an wetlands ecologist on that one?) Anyway, I found a journal article backing it up.
I really need to get out more.

November 5, 2009


lab reports to grade
hopefully with graphs this time
really, data please

November 4, 2009


finally finished
fellowship application
feel much better now

October 29, 2009


Today I spent two
hours adjusting pH
dissolve all ready

pH=2 syllables because that's how it would sound out loud. True story. 2 hours-ish. 1.75 would have messed up my syllable count. EDTA won't dissolve until the solution hits about pH=8. I did not know that when I dumped in 180 grams of the stuff. After letting it stir for a few hours, I looked it up. Let that be a lesson to you. But I won.
And clearly I can't sleep and am all ready betrayed by the time stamp on this post.

October 21, 2009


It seems that of late
Entertainment and pleasure
Have been inverted

I read Eat, Pray, Love a while ago. It's pretty good. Not great, but enjoyable and Ms Gilbert makes some good points. While visiting Italy, she observes that many people have replace pleasure with entertainment. Instead of enjoyment, we simply fill the time with whatever is easiest and disengage.
That is all.

October 20, 2009


Smoke detector's loud
Rather uncomfortable
Way to meet neighbors

October 19, 2009


Finally sunny now
Lab is rather empty too
Meetings are lovely

October 17, 2009

wet dog

Still rainy, wet dog
scratches to come inside but
knows Texas still sucks

Seriously, wet dogs smell really terrible. And she seems to enjoy that. Next week is going to be nice and quiet. Exam is finished. And everyone is in Chicago for the SfN meeting.

October 16, 2009

October 15, 2009

new project

I'm going to try writing one haiku per day.

Dark, cold, and rainy
neuroanatomy test
Need more coffee now

September 3, 2009

Things I spend too much time thinking about

I am overly fascinated by how websites come up with recommendations/suggestions. Today, as I do many days, I was looking at my Amazon recommendations. I've added 2 books that I heard about on The Daily Show. 2. I figured out that Amazon keeps recommending books that have authors interviewed by Jon Stewart. It's like my 6 degrees of separation. I take the title and "recommended because you. . . " and try to figure out how the algorithm connected the 2. Clearly, I have too much time on my hands, post-surgery. This is most fun with movies. Oh, these have the same director or one actor. Most fascinating is people who like this also like this. It's disturbingly accurate. Possibly magic. When facebook does this, it moves to creepy. Mostly because I really do know those people or at least know who they are.


August 23, 2009

I am a terible blogger

So, a month plus after my return, I am finally going to share lovely photos from Woods Hole and Boston.
In Boston I got to see Becky! And we wandered about Boston and Cambridge. It was a nice long wander with lovely conversation. Below is one of the public gardens in Boston. Apparently you can rent a plot for a few dollars a year.

Now on to the science! There were 5 of us in one (rather small) lab. Which wasn't terrible, there were only scheduling issues. But the people we shared the lab with were great. And they were awfully informative about a lot. They've been in science, collectively, at least 100 years. So, yes, education was forwarded. And the large square gray building is where the lab was.

And now the best part: This is (approximately) the view from our lab window. How jealous are you now?

Here's the small beach across the street from the lab. There's a really nice dock that I read on too.


June 30, 2009

At Woods Hole MBL. Pictures to follow soon, as will tales of Boston adventure.


June 11, 2009

Thursday in the laboratory

My shiny new drill came! That's a good day right there. I've also discovered just how useful DigiMorph is. I'd heard about it but never used it until today. Also, reading circulation diagrams is harder than I expected.


June 1, 2009

weekend in the district

Oh xkcd, I do love you. And I miss Square One.
One of my favorite relatives came through DC this weekend. Good times had by all. Except for when the motorized pump on the air mattress didn't work. We went to the American History museum. I hadn't been since I've moved here (always distracted by Art, Natural History, and Air and Space). It was pretty interesting. They remodeled recently, so it looked really nice. It wasn't too crowded, except for the huuuuge line outside the First Ladies dresses exhibit.
Anyway, I had to abandon said relative to go to the lab. On my way to meet relative and other relative for dinner, I went to the National Portrait Gallery. I got to the restaurant about30 minutes early, so I walked the 2 blocks to the Portrait Gallery. For just about 20 minutes. And it was awesome. And free. There was a folk art exhibit where I spent most of my time. I think I can get used to going to the Smithsonian in between appointments.

May 21, 2009


Yours truly has finished PhD year 1. I've been compulsively checking my grades since I found out this morning that 2 of my 3 classes are up. One more. And it's really annoying, in spite of not being worried about the grade.
Finally ran an experiment. After doing about 8 months of preparation, there were still unforeseen "complications." I'm going to call it a wet run. Better luck next time, now that everything's in place. I still may have gotten some usable or semi-usable results. I'll know some time next week
And I get to learn to use the shiny confocal microscope.


May 2, 2009

Research Thwarted

It's spring, clearly. And as it is spring, it's warm enough to turn on the building's air conditioning. I've also finally gotten my tissue sections to be clean and pretty (aka: usable). So I'm all set to start doing reconstructions. Too bad there's an unbalanced fan on the roof that is shaking the building at an unperceivable level and shaking the microscope such that I can't do the reconstruction.
Back to reading articles until we get the fan fixed or a fancy vibration-isolation table.

April 30, 2009


It appears that lot of ideas/ideals/values that I hold come into conflict more often than I wish they would. Example: I both value free speech and abhor exploitation of people. So when it comes to, say, pornography, what do I do? Less seriously: I believe that there is great value in a broad base of education, possibly to the point of the classical liberal arts education. But when I had to take those classes, it was rather annoying. Important, but annoying.
Gosh, it's hard for those of us who aren't ideologues.


April 27, 2009


I am continually astounded by just how tasteless certain subsets of the population are. And yet, somehow, not surprised.

April 10, 2009


A few thoughts as the weekend (Holy Weekend) begins:
1) Grad Pub is kind of silly. Sitting outside with friends is lovely. Especially when you end up sitting on the curb with cheap beer and free tortilla-wrapped food-things.
2) I am making some kind of dessert thing for Easter with Roommate's family. As of now I'm not quite sure what exactly it will be. Suggestions welcome
3) Sara Watkins = Spectacular
4) I would like my thunderstorm now. I've been watching forecasts on AccuWeather and NOAA all day and the radar too. It'll probably be just rain though. . . like it's been all spring.
5) We got an air filter to take care of the downstairs neighbor's smoke that sometimes infiltrates our apartment. I might love that air filter more than is reasonable.
6) Holy Week services are always really lovely.

March 26, 2009

Papers, Paperwork, Passport

So I have to get a passport. Having only been to Canada when there was no need for a passport, I have to apply for one. This means special photos and Dad mailing my birth certificate (Dear USPS, don't fail me now).
Apparently, I read a lot more papers than most of my colleagues. Not all, but most. Example: today I did a brief literature search. It took me about 10, maybe 15 minutes. There is now a new 2-3 inch stack of articles on my desk. In addition to all the journal articles, I've read all of the relevant parts of The Reptile Ear, which has these fantastic anatomical drawings form the '50s and '60s. They are really quite beautiful. Also, I'm working through herpetology, evolution, and neuroanatomy textbooks. And then there's reading for class and not-class.
Now I know why I took a speed reading seminar.
In case you didn't know, I really hate paperwork. REALLY hate it. There's a fair bit of it to apply to this course in Denmark. Sheesh.
But all is well, because I just watched THE OFFICE.


March 24, 2009

Post-Spring Break Awesomeness

I've gotten pretty darn good at whatever syndicated crossword the UMD paper publishes. Aren't you proud? Now, I know exactly what/when I'm doing this summer. Hooray. Cape Cod in late June/early July and Denmark in August, here the rest of the time. Research stuff is going well. I'm reading about 100-150 papers/week between class and research. Tomorrow I have to give a brief (8 minute) presentation, so I am clearly avoiding putting finishing touches on the power point. The yoga class I'm taing started tonight. That was fun. It's the kind that you do in a hot room, so that's new.
That's about all I've got.


February 23, 2009

Books I've Read Lately

I've found that I really like narrow histories. This for example:Yep, it really is about salt. It's quite interesting. Kurlansky places salt into the foreground of history. Very foreground if possible. I've read other books like this before, and I have trouble believing that the subject is as integral as the author claims. Still, engrossing. Also, there are recipes. For ancient methods of salting fish. Neat

I read this for class (research ethics):
The idea is a nice one: dramatize research and difficult ethical questions. The execution sucks. The writing is just painful. I've heard that Djerassi's plays are pretty good. It seems like this would be a better play. But still, pretty awful. The ethical issues aren't really that well developed. And Djerassi gives some silly, random shout-outs to The Pill (which he developed). The characters are pretty pitiful as well. Stick to the science, sir.

I should be reading journal articles, not writing this. But, alas, a certain university's online library access is unneccesarily complex. Can't get to half the articles I need. Most of them are in fairly high-impact journals too. Oh well


February 8, 2009

Dear NPR

Dear NPR,
I thought you were the love of my life (no offense to everyone who thinks they may be the love of my life). I thought that I was cool. I thought you were cool. Like the good white chick that I am, I have a radio crush on someone named Ira (Flatow, not Glass) who works for NPR. I listen to Morning Edition or All Things considered during my commute. I know the local station schedule all too well.
But today, NPR, you failed me. These years that I have relied on you for sweet concert streams and quality music reviews, and now THIS!?
I just wasted 3 minutes of my life listening to the sound of a radiator slowed down. All because I trusted you to provide me with the right combination of quality and obscurity to find the perfect music.
This, though, is just trash. Hipster trash. I like my irony as much as the next person. But I prefer it without the suck.
Let's try harder next time. And don't let the intern do a 45-minute segment.

Sorry to publicly humiliate you like this,


February 1, 2009

thoughts, random

It is really terrifying going to the grocery store on super bowl Sunday. Especially when you realize, only once you get in the store, that it's super bowl Sunday. Even though you were going to get food for a super bowl party. 25 minutes in line, mostly because people do not understand that self-checkout is only a good idea if you have (a) few items and (b) the ability to use the kiosk. You should file this away.
I have been given a task. It is to find the most ridiculous Obama paraphernalia in the District and photograph it. So here is the long-awaited ITEM 1:
Yeah. Awesome. I came so close to buying them, but they did not look very tasty. Actually, they looked rather gross.
1st week of class was good. Due to snow/ice, I missed my Tuesday afternoon class and the Wednesday meeting of my MW class. Class updated coming after they have all been attended.
Also, it is really irritating that I can't see more than my homepage on the facebook. How will I know anything about my friends' lives now?


January 25, 2009


Classes start tomorrow. Thank goodness. I'm getting a bit bored. Research will commence soon enough but things need to be ordered. 
In case you're curious, I'm taking cognitive neuroscience, research ethics, and cellular mechanisms of cortical plasticity. 


January 23, 2009

What I did today

For those of you who care: I changed the battery in my car. 
Why you should be impressed: Car was parallel parked along my DC street. 

January 5, 2009

ooo. . . 1st 2009 post

Hey! New year! Neat! Too bad I'm possibly the most not-fun-on-New-Year's-Eve-person ever. Not that it bothers me.
I really should blog more.
I'm in OK until the 22nd. (hint) Glad too be here. It's pleasant. I'll be glad to get back to lab and work and class, though. Until then, I'm pretty content to read and knit and talk to the dog and ride the horse and see the people that I've missed so much.
I've been thinking about this:
(Awesomeness courtesy of Indexed)