October 31, 2002
Rapier Wit

One of the people in my lab just made a zinger of a pun. In fact, it's such a zinger, that I almost couldn't believe I wasn't an unwitting pawn in an elaborately contrived set up for a joke. But it's a biology joke, so I'm willing to bet that only Doug and Lisa will get it....

A guy in the lab has been making these HUGE phylogeny trees in an attempt to find some kinesin within another organism. He's been at this for a few months, poring over sequence after sequence after sequence after sequence. I chatted with him about it today, and after hearing about the massive amount of data analysis, I snidely remarked, "Sounds like lots of fun."

"Yeah, it's a blast," he replied, with a twinkle in his eye.

I would have given him a standing ovation if I didn't have to go start a PCR....

Posted on October 31, 2002 11:54 AM

HAHA. That is indeed quite a pun. Had I been there, I don't know how I would have reacted. I may have laughed and congratulated him, or I may have become horribly angry and smacked him like an upset Frenchman due to my dislike of puns.
Speaking of biology, does Berkeley give you beer every other day? Every time we have a speaker at U of O, there is a reception afterwards with free beer. There is also free beer at every other biology department function in existence. Today we had a halloween party with a keg of IPA. One PI showed up stoned and wearing a pumpkin on his head. I left right when he was banging his head against the wall trying to smash the pumpkin. I think that he started throwing pieces of it afterwards. It was pretty funny stuff. There were also plenty of wacky biology costumes. Two guys were dressed as pipettemen, my PI was a fly mutation (he had shoes on the sides of his head-like the mutation that makes legs grow in place of antennae), and in another lab everyone dressed up as a gram-negative flourescent bacteria (wearing red clothes and carrying glow-sticks). So I guess it was quite a geeky party, but I enjoyed it. I can almost feel myself getting geekier every day. I think that sooner or later, I will become indistinguishable from Prof. Frink from "The Simpsons".

Posted by: Doug on October 31, 2002 07:19 PM

They USED to give us beer every other night. We have these things called FERPs, where the faculty give presentations on their work. Last year and for a while this year the beer, it overflowed. But that led to some pretty wacky questions being asked and people generallly not paying all that much attention to the speakers. So now, there is no longer beer.

Every Friday there's the BXXR hour, but I still haven't gone to that yet.

And if you want geeky, we've got MCB Follies. It's like Foolish Pleasures at UPS, but with MCB grad students, high production values, and incredible geekiness. A past one called "Overhead" was a 15-minute long caper film about some radioactive sample (labeled with 32-P or some such) that was hidden in an overhead projector, and the projector kept getting passed from person to person and the govt. was chasing it because they thought that since it had radioactivity in it, it must be a bomb. Other Follies have been on the other end of the spectrum, and were instead live skits where students openly made fun of specific professors (one guy walked around on his knees and did a pretty damn good impression of Randy Schekman, the yeast god, who is about knee-high to a grasshopper).

As for becoming Prof. Frink, all it takes is one hour of Phys. Biochem and I'm "Glaivin!"-ing all over the place. Now that we've switched to NMR and structure prediction, I love that class so much it should be a sin. It's too bad Monday's exam will be 65% death-math.

Posted by: Jacob on November 1, 2002 01:04 PM

dood. I just met Gene Myers. Thought you might like to know.

I don't think he liked my stunned reaction when I found out who he was. I was just blabbering away.

Posted by: brian on November 6, 2002 01:11 PM

i wish i was knowledgable like a bowl and knew who gene myers was. sigh. or cared. dna sequencing saps my soul.

knowledge bowl!

hee hee i rhymed...

Posted by: michele on November 6, 2002 01:18 PM

*THE* Gene Myers? That's kind of an odd coincidence, considering this joke.

When I first met Adam Arkin I was a little star-struck, too. At first I was a little amused by his complete lack of social skills, since he fits the stereotype of computer scientist AND chemist perfectly. But then he just started to get on my nerves....

Posted by: Jacob on November 6, 2002 01:40 PM

gere (that's right - first name basis) was really courteous, and his gloating was quite toned down for a CS guy. I was impressed.

Posted by: brian on November 6, 2002 02:02 PM