Pizza for Dinner
Friday, May 28, 2004
platinum angel
Fuck you blogger, fuck you right in the ass. I had a whole post written. I hit publish. Did you publish? No, you brought me back to the sign in page you douche.

I will have to try again to recapture the magic.

I have a new addiction. I'm surprised my geek friends haven't gotten me hooked earlier. However, after a lot of coercion from Matt and a little from Dave I purchased Magic cards last weekend. I love the game, it's great. Except it took me several days to figure out what half the cards were actually saying. Now that I can do that most times, I'm working on remembering all the rules for attacking, casting spells, and causing damage. I have the HUGEST mental block on the attack/defend concept. I understand it when it's explained to me. Don't try to clarify it now, I know what you'll say. But somehow, when I play, I forget that even if I have more blocking power if you have more strength I'll die. Or something. It's just not intuitive to me. Such is how I think. I can understand normal human logic but it's not always how I think.

Anyway, I need to get good at this so we can start playing for the ante card. I don't want to lose my almost guaranteed win card, but using it to wipe the floor with others would be awesome.

The only bad thing about magic is that we've been playing far into the night and I haven't been able to get a lot of sleep since I still need to work 9-??. I'm back into a schedule that deprives me of enough sleep for red wine to knock me out for hours. It's really sad. It's not a tolerance thing so much as a red wine with yummy pasta thing. Anyway, back to the work that keeps me so busy.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
worst blogger ever
I've been ignoring my online activities lately. Well, I've been reading blogs and comics but I haven't posted anything or gone to my online communities in a while. I've been really busy in the lab and when I get out I usually hang out with friends, which is in no way bad, but it doesn't leave me time to sit and blog. I've also had a lot of chores and errands to take care of which seem to suck up more time than they should.

Anyway, this isn't a real entry. I have to get back to work. Soon to come will be:
1. Corn gone wrong! (A photo link)
2. No skip CDs
3. More links!
4. Circle of addictions
5. Other crap I'm too lazy to think of. Possibly a rant on how people are craptacular drivers.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
maybe awesom-o could back it up for you
So, my advisor was pretty awesome today. I harassed him and got an hour to meet and talk about some things. He's going to make more of an effort to have a meeting with me once a week when he's in town which I think will be great. It'll keep me on task while still letting me work autonomously. We found out today that I need to redo some western blots so that the samples are grouped so that the entire dose curve is on one gel instead of having them grouped by triplicate of each dose. It's going to take more time but the great thing is that he said my westerns themselves look perfect and that alone can take months to get right. So, in addition to my weekly progress reports that we all have to submit I'm going to write detailed explanations of how I'm setting up my experiments so he can comment on the design. I think that'll be fantastic. He was also surprised to learn that I'm giving a seminar next week, which is odd since I was told he signed me up for this last year, but whatever. I'll rock it.

So, the awesome part. We were talking about computers for a few minutes because my laptop has a worm on it and is taking all afternoon to clean up properly (which is why they shut down my ethernet port yesterday, although I had to call to find out that the computer had a virus. Actually it had 31 infected files.) and he spent 4 hours on the phone last night/this morning with Dell about a computer he has a home to get help from them. His complaints were that 1) Dell tech support SUCKS BEYOND BELIEF and that 2) it took them 4 hours to help him, when he knows computers well, and he couldn't imagine how long computer illiterates needed to get help. I explained my horrible experience last fall with them and my inability to lodge a complaint with Dell, which goes back to #1.

In the course of our talk he found that there were a few files he should give me, so he put them on a portable USB drive and downloaded them to my laptop. I had mentioned how cool the portable USB drives were and how jealous I was of one of my AI friends when he came back from his office last spring with a free one. He said, free? they're expensive. Then went to his office and came back with one for me. He was sorry it wasn't the largest size available, but it's still a 64MB drive. With changeable colors depending on my mood. Awesome!

Sometimes I love having a geeky advisor with lots of money. I feel we would have been friends if he were younger. And not my advisor. Mostly not my advisor, I think he's like 45.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
How I spent my day
1. This morning I realized I had done two experiments treating cells with IL-6 measuring by ng/ml and not just ng as I was supposed to.

2. For some reason I lost internet at my desk today. It usually comes back within a few minutes but it did not. Perhaps they turned off my connection as punishment for blogging and passive-aggressively decided to let me guess at the problem.

3. Nearly snapped at Satan when her reaction went an HOUR longer than it was supposed to. I mean, I signed up for the machine at that time on Sunday and she only had 4.5 hours previous to that to use the machine. And it's the same 2 hour reaction she's been doing all along so it's not like she'd know it would run over by an hour. I should be more understanding and not be concerned with the fact that my reaction sat in the fridge for an hour and didn't work. I mean, she did act surprised and tell me it should be finished within half an hour. That counts for something.

4. Somehow broke my super great main computer awesome surge protector around the time I plugged in my laptop.

The bright side: At least I haven't done more experiments, and these results could be interesting too. We'll see how the rest of the repetitions go.

It'll probably be back tomorrow morning. If not I can call the tech people, after uninstalling AIM (quick buddy no longer works, another thing I found out today). The hospital tech guy thinks people will give out their AIM passwords and let hackers into the hospital system if we install it. Because his ex wife did that. They're awesome.

I've nearly optimized the new RT-PCR kit and am returning to the old one for now while they sort out the bargain they'll give us to go with this new kit. I want it because it's faster, so I guess my work the past week will pay off in the future. Although it's way more expensive, so we'll see. Plus, the really bright side here is that Satan is leaving in a month. Although she's milking her last few weeks.

I'll buy a new one soon, it's just a pain. At least my desktop isn't in use for now and won't need to be plugged in.
an open letter
To the Sorkin-esque writers of The West Wing. I know you like to put the main characters in peril now and again and that, if a television drama can be art, then artistically speaking killing a major character on the season finale could be great (for ratings as well). But YOU MAY NOT KILL DONNA. Not tonight, not in next season's opener. I'm sorry, but you may not. If you look at your contracts you will plainly see that these decisions have been left up to me from the beginning. Donna and Josh will get together in the final season in a somewhat predictable but not sappy fashion so that 8 years (by that point) of sexual tension can be relieved. Like Ross and Rachel, but without the career and apartment sacrifices (for no good reason). And while your at it show Tobey's kids now and again. What is it with NBC and invisible babies?

You may continue.

P.S.: LOVE the show.
an open letter
To the Sorkin-esque writers of The West Wing. I know you like to put the main characters in peril now and again and that, if a television drama can be art, then artistically speaking killing a major character on the season finale could be great (for ratings as well). But YOU MAY NOT KILL DONNA. Not tonight, not in next season's opener. I'm sorry, but you may not. If you look at your contracts you will plainly see that these decisions have been left up to me from the beginning. Donna and Josh will get together in the final season in a somewhat predictable but not sappy fashion so that 8 years (by that point) of sexual tension can be relieved. Like Ross and Rachel, but without the career and apartment sacrifices (for no good reason). And while your at it show Tobey's kids now and again. What is it with NBC and invisible babies?

You may continue.

P.S.: LOVE the show.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
New Games!
"Neither A nor B can be regarded as uniquely wild type, since they represent alternative activities rather than loss or gain of function." Benjamin Lewin Genes IV

1. grab the nearest book
2. open the book to page 23
3. find the fifth sentence
4. post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions

Courtesy of Matt.

I've also seen this in blog form, ie, go to post #25 (or some other number), find the fifth sentence, post with instructions. Here's that:

"How about you raise them properly from birth so they won't be a deliquent or dress like a micro-ho."

Monday, May 17, 2004
I had some great indian food yesterday that, despite the best efforts of the accompanying rice, left my mouth on FIRE. And since I had things cooled down by the time our waiter made his 20min return trip I had to make due without some bread. I thought when I ordered the food that he had heard "medium" where I had said "mild" but after tasting my food Matt determined it was not as hot as his medium. His food seemed less hot than mine though, so perhaps I had gotten the one onion without spice.

At any rate, I know I am unfortunately a spice wimp. It's not that I don't like the food it's just that my irish and polish ancestors ate naught buy boiled meat and bread with, perhaps, cheese and potatoes. I've just not been raised on spicy food. So, to counteract the spiciness of the food today for my lunch I decided that my vanilla yogurt was the best suited for the job of the food in my fridge. I must say, it went very well with the meal and cooled my mouth nicely. From the menu it seemed that yogurt was in a lot of the dishes anyway. So, keep that in mind if you're ever over your head in spiciness.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
mall hangover
I went shopping with Nessa this afternoon at Twelve Oaks. I got a few things that I needed although (somewhat fortunately) not a few things that I wanted. I was really feeling punchy by the end of the trip though. Partly due to dehydration and partly due to the abundance of perfumes in the air. Also, apparently, we're likely shoplifters. Because two people with J.Crew and Victoria's Secret bags who are looking for a simple, quality purse that doesn't cost a ridiculous amount are skeevy. Anyway, I had to take a two-hour nap to recover, although that could have been partly due to getting just not enough sleep the past few nights.
Friday, May 14, 2004
I have a secret. I've kept it well, so don't be too shocked. Sit down. Grab a glass of water. Here goes: I'm actually a nice person. I know, I know, I bitch about Satan and random jerks who try to hit me with their cars or take the elevator down one floor when I'm just trying to go home (finally). I know I'm sarcastic, mock my friends and have a streak of evil. But that's how we communicate. I'd never really do anything bad to anyone. And yes, I'm very confident about myself, especially when it comes to my work or body. I am good at what I do, I'm not going to rub that salt into your wound but I'm not going to be ashamed either. And if you're going to stare at my rack like it's a damn swinging watch or give me the once over as you walk by, I'm going to assume I'm hot.

But, you see, some of this is a defense mechanism. I have always been sarcastic. Truly, my first sentence must have been dripping in sass, but some of the other stuff is because certain people have broken my trust. I just don't trip over myself to be nice to someone until I know them better, is all. I'm learning from the past without being limited by it. But I think I am nice to my friends. In college one of those damn chain e-mails that circulated around had me listed as most reliable friend for everyone that participated that I knew. I think I made the best friend slot a number of times as well. I think that still holds true. I'd like it to anyway.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
I am perfect
Or, at least, my mRNA samples are. I just had an ego boosting day with tech support from Roche. June, the awesome lab tech, called them in because Satan was having some difficulties with the lightcycler for RT-PCR (takes mRNA and through magic measures the expression of a particular gene). I had not been having problems with it but because I am the lab expert (apparently, even though Satan was supposed to teach me how to use this machine ages ago we all know that didn't happen. actually she now comes to me for help. or hijacks my programs and pretends she did all the troubleshooting herself and is hella savvy.) but I wanted to talk to them for two reasons, to confirm I was doing things completely correctly and to learn any short cuts or ways to identify current or impending problems. June actually hasn't used the machine so she wanted to learn how to from the people who know the machine best. Here's a breakdown of the last few hours:

Roche guys: They're basically trying to get us to use their kit again. Which is fine since they took care of the major troubleshooting and will price it equivalently to the other brand I'm currently using. Since they designed the lightcycler they feel their kit is best suited for that platform rather than other kits that have to make it compatible with many platforms. I was fine with the other kit but changing shouldn't be hard and they seem to be giving us whatever we want (cool new toys coming, free!) to get us to switch back. We might even talk the mentor into getting a second lightcycler or the new software/computer with new software. The current computer is taped together. I'm just saying.

June: She's taking lots of notes and asking questions so as to understand how everything works. They're explaining things well and covering all the important stuff and I'm able to ask questions and fill in blanks as someone who's used it before and has some understanding of what's important for our needs. She's also bargaining to get us some things free and working out how we're going to get this machine calibrated so it's back to peak performance.

Satan: She's apparently doing other experiments today so she jumps in and out of the lesson. Jumping in actually entails jumping into the group and immediately interrupting with questions and trying to prove them wrong and defend the other kit we use. Like she has stock in the company or something. I'm just saying, she needed my experiment file once to double check my results since I had so much trouble what with the lack of her help and lies and such and has since passed it off as the fruits of her labor. She even uses my primers. She won't even order her own using the sequences I developed and optimized, she has to take mine. From my freezer box. Along with, I suspect, my reagents for the reaction. Anyway, she's herself and spends the whole time saying "Oooh, yeah, you're right, that's right, ok, (runs to desk to look at the printout of the program we use) yeah, it's .1 (after I already said that)" and otherwise being condescending to the people that are trying to help (and sell stuff to) us. She would actually ask a question (honestly, some of this she should have known before using the machine) and then say "Oh, ok, you're right." As though she knew all along. If you want to visit the lab to watch her in action let me know. Or perhaps some live webcam can be rigged.

Me: Asking questions and stuff. I knew most of what was going on but it was cool to learn a few new things and have them tell me I'm doing it right. Also, we did a practice reaction using my mRNA and Satan's. It was awesome because mine was perfect and hers was not even close. I'm just saying that I rock and she's some kind of a leaching idiot. With jealous, maniacal tendencies. Or maybe it's human tendencies.

/ego indulgence complete
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
I can be very clumsy in word and deed. My friend Ashley and I have had conversations about how we manage to hurt ourselves in some previously thought to be impossible manner and about how when trying to explain something we're often the only other person in the room who knows what the other is saying. It's like how Nessa and I can share our brains, but more after the fact. See what I mean. See, Nessa and I think things at the same time whereas with Ashley it's more of a understanding what the other has said intuitively rather than predicting it. Anyway, short story long I managed to cut two fingers yesterday within 10 minutes, one by getting a paper cut under my finger nail. For I am the awesome. I am extremely coordinated and talented at certain things (ex, baking, getting decent at guitar) but profoundly dumb for a smart person at times (I cannot drink water and walk at the same time, impossible; made up my own knot for tying shoes which no one noticed for 15 years). I think it stems from the fact that I don't pay attention to things all the time and I have a lot of multitasking of thoughts and actions. My brother Andy and I both suspect that we have some sort of learning disorder, possibly ADD and dyslexia. He definitely had signs of dyslexia when learning to write and read, but I can't remember if I did or not since I think I knew the alphabet and how to read a few words by age 3 which is about my earliest memory. Although I think I could have picked that up in college. At any rate, it's not intentional when I'm klutzy or say something dumb, I'll just have to try to pay attention more.
Monday, May 10, 2004
ghirardelli dinner
We sent my mom a basket of Ghirardelli chocolates for Mother's Day, it arrived today (FedEx doesn't deliver on the weekend). Her quote: "I was going to go to the store to buy something for dinner, but. ...) This from the woman whom we had to ask for a cookie as children.
Sunday, May 09, 2004
blue throat
My apartment is currently cleaned. My clothes are clean. I have food. I have finished most of my chores/errands and initiated the remaining (waiting on others before I can do more). I like the feeling I get when everything's clean and the fridge has food. Besides the fact that I don't like a messy house. I guess I really am a homemaker type. Except awesome in the ways the typical housewife is not.

Also blogger has updated and changed the site, it's a little distracting. I'll have to see if there are new features.
Friday, May 07, 2004
Kneel before your goddess
A labmate decided that I am the Western Goddess today. This is because I've done approximately 15 western blots this week. Or this week and last week. I can't keep track. I've done a lot of western blots. And cell culture to get western blots. And mRNA, but I can't do RT-PCR just yet. Anyway, I like this title because I like pretending to be a goddess or princess or czarina and because it doesn't specify that I am the western blot goddess. So I could be the goddess of the western hemisphere for all you know.

Anyway, so I've been putting in "grad student hours" lately. It's fine. Although I think I'll get out of the lab at 5 today because I decided to not stay until 7 to do something I can do tomorrow when I'll be here for 2-3 hours anyway. At least I'm getting data. And I think some of it is useful and won't need to be repeated. Yay!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004
lab gnome
Here's a list of the equipment that is impaired or nonfunctional this week:
Lightcycler: It was working when I used it, it worked for satan and some other lab person, then it wasn't working for satan. Now it is but she had to create a new program by reentering the old one. By which I mean my program. Whatever, it'll be totally fixed next week so I might do a test run this week to see if I can use it for my RT-PCR but I'm not going to shove it into my schedule.

Shaker: The oscillating shaker is used to keep antibody solutions moving over membranes for western blots. That probably sounds like the Peanuts parents talking. The important thing is that it was working one minute and exactly 10 minutes later it had been nonfunctional for some time and may not be reparable. A piece of plastic snapped so it no longer oscillates.

Electrophoresis: This has many nonfunctional parts. The gels I bought should fit in the electrophoresis apparatus, as they are the same brand as the ones I used yesterday, just new. (FYI, the past two sets of gels have crumbled and didn't transfer, leaving two experiments useless. I'm betting the gels were old.) The bucket to hold said apparatus and buffer was leaking. And it was not electrophoresing. Possibly because I had to hold the gels together with a rubber band, although I don't really see how that would change the electrode connection. Alas, it was the only change. I'm now using the older apparatus that we only still have because it sucks. Either another lab keeps taking the good stuff or people hide it for their own use and then don't do westerns for years.

So, pretty much all of the many experiments I have to do are hitting snags that aren't related to me. Snags possibly related to me are the control antibody optimization for the western and the damn clumpy LNCaP cells. Science is hard enough with equipment that works. Everyone says the phase of the moon has something to do with your success in the lab that week and they're not entirely joking.

But, we had a lab party where I ate well so I'm ok now. It was just frustrating when I was trying to get stuff going and everything was breaking. Although, there was so much food that my donuts went untouched. Although I think all the other food was touched. I'm starting to take this personally. Whatever. I have donuts!
Monday, May 03, 2004
weekend update
So, the wedding of the year was on Saturday and I must say that the ceremony and reception went off beautifully. The catholic ceremony has made me consider finishing my formal catholic education and confirmation. And by finish I mean start, since I've only been baptized. I have no wedding plans of my own though so I have plenty of time to take care of that.

I also had a great time with Dave and Nessa's Traverse City friends. Usually when you have two groups of friends that are completely separate you wonder if they'd mesh well together but Nessa was totally right in predicting that we wouldn't even have an awkward lag at the start. We just jumped right into conversation like we'd known each other for years, it was great. And we came up with the concept of a karaoke wedding reception. Instead of just dancing there's also karaoke. Given my family and the amount of alcohol needed for most people to really do this, this isn't really an option for my wedding but if anyone has one I'd love to crash it.

The only bad parts of the day were the weather after the ceremony (chilly and rainy) and the crazy Ann Arbor traffic. In case you live in Ann Arbor, I would highly recommend not marrying on graduation day. Hotels and reception venues are out of the question. Plus, the normal stupid drivers are exaggerated 10 fold and make you seriously wonder if blind toddlers are piloting 85% of the vehicles. Traffic jams, construction zones with no construction, stopping at green lights and turning from the wrong lane were way more common than should be expected in a civilized society. I'd expect traffic to be bad on a day when thousands are graduating but this was just absurd.

On the bright side, since I was the prewedding chauffer (chauffeuse?) and had to deal with a crazy bride in my car (in all fairness it was completely understandable given the above mentioned traffic problems that were making us late) it totally bumps Nessa up to matron of honor consideration for my wedding. I'm just saying I need to return the favor.

And Sunday was a day of rest. Totally. I slept half the day, it felt SO good.

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