November 30, 2002

I'm sitting in the lab, waiting for a gel to destain and procrastinating working on a paper. Boo for papers, by the way. I absolutely detest sitting in front of a computer with a blank Word document open. In fact, I think I hate it more than sitting in front of a blank piece of actual paper. But at least with a word processor I can take out my frustration by filling the page with juvenile swear words, then erase it all and no one's the wiser.

Posted on 05:45 PM
November 27, 2002
Sir Rockaby

I like to listen to loud music. Not necessarily, "loud music," like heavy metal. I mean that whatever I'm listening to, I want it loud. I like songs to fill my head so that they're the only thing I can concentrate on. And if I find my mind accidentally wandering, I'll hit that good old rewind button.

I like to listen to certain songs on repeat for half an hour. I like to listen to parts of songs on repeat for half an hour. I like to savor individual notes, relishing them both isolated from and in the context of the rest of the song.

My relationship with music is religious.

Black Francis

Posted on 03:26 PM
November 22, 2002
Double strand break

My current rotation lab is the best of all possible labs. I feel like I'm turning into B. Carlson, what with my long hours spent in the lab. But I'm spending them here because I really have a lot of fun with what I'm doing. Both at Gladstone and in the Welch lab, I was looking at the clock, waiting for the day to end. Now I feel a little cheated when I have to go home. It's not that the procedures that I'm doing are any more exciting; I'm just doing various FPLC runs and concentrating proteins. But the goals I'm working towards are a LOT cooler. If these projects work out, I'll have solved two structures (both of a molecule Lisa must know a bit about: Topoisomerase II). First is the ATPase domain of yeast Topo II (this would be the first eukaryotic TopoII ATPase domain structure), and the second is the entire TopoII from the Chlorella virus PBCV-1. That would be the first whole-enzyme structure solved by ANYONE.

I know I'm sounding pretty goddamn geekily sappy here, but this damn lab has made me excited about science again. Remember how down-in-the-dumps I was a month or so ago? My current happiness is the inverse of that.

I just hope I can get into the lab for my thesis project.

(Side note to Doug/Lisa: James Keck, the previous UPS student that visited Wayne and gave a talk in Genetics was a post-doc in this lab.)

Posted on 06:43 PM
November 18, 2002

Purchases this weekend:


Posted on 03:34 PM
November 13, 2002

It's time for another verse in the epic Ballad of Carlson.

Brian treats our apartment like a hotel. I know this sounds like an awfully motherly thing to be saying, but I've never seen someone live like this. For example, when you walk into the bathroom you'll see several towels on the rack, my RoboToothBrush on the sink, some of assorted toiletries in the cabinet, and soap/shampoo in the shower. Brian owns none of these things except a few towels. The rest is all mine. When I first moved in, the bathroom was completely empty; except for tumbleweeds drifting past and crickets chirping, it was totally sterile. So how does Brian keep himself clean? All of his toiletries are in a little basket that he stores in his room. Everything else is set up similarly. The kitchen is absolutely immaculate (he's complained to me before about not wiping up toast crumbs immediately after ingesting said breakfast delicacy) and shows no sign of ever having been used.

Sometimes I think that if I were to move out, no one would ever notice that someone was living in the apartment unless they opened the door to Brian's bedroom.

Posted on 11:55 AM
November 11, 2002
Dr. Watson

I added search functionality. Feel free to play with it. MT 2.5 rocks a soxxor or two.

In other news, San Diego was fun, but the drive down was incredibly stressful. The person Dianna and I were getting a ride from neglected to tell us that her windshield wipers only work intermittently. So I ended up pulling to the side of the freeway more than 10 times in the pouring rain (after it had gotten dark, mind you), and manually wrenching on the wipers to get them going again. The real stress came when this girl got antsy and demanded that she drive the last 100 miles. She approached 90 mph several times, in the pouring rain, while swerving in and out of traffic, with wipers that could have failed at any moment. I can't even describe how scary that was.

But other than that, it was great!


Posted on 10:26 PM
November 08, 2002
Trying to remind her

I've recently become hooked on The Strokes (and yes, I'm a little behind the times on this one). Several of their songs remind me of The Velvet Underground (especially "New York City Cops" and "Bareley Legal"), sans Nico thankfully. I've read several reviews criticizing them for just this reason, calling them unoriginal and generally adopting an attitude of "The Stooges did it first, so you can't do it anymore." Personally, I don't give a shit. I really like that style, and they do it incredibly well. I'd rather hear a fantastic, but derivative song (like "Someday") than a shitty but original song. Mr. Shamai, I recommend you give The Strokes a listen.

Posted on 12:49 PM

Fellowships can take a hike. I absolutely detest writing meaningless answers to meaningless questions such as, "Describe experiences integrating research and education, advancing diversity in science, ehancing scientific and technical understanding, and benefiting society."

There's no better way to make a someone feel rotten than by asking them, "Have you made the world a better place, yet?" in the course of a fellowship application. I ended up muttering something about wanting to teach and maybe not slapping infants before I plunged into the depths of sarcasm and abruptly ended the essay.

But at least it's over. And at least it's raining. I hadn't realized just how homesick California weather was making me until it started raining. I hear it's supposed to be an El nino year. Here's hoping.

By the way, this entry was composed with w.bloggar, a nifty little standalone blog tool that just released a Movable Type-competent release a few days ago. It's the bees knees.


Posted on 08:23 AM
November 04, 2002

"Martial arts star Takeshi Kitano drop-kicks his way through this violent tale about the Japanese Yakuza doing business (and doing eachother in!) on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Kitano also wrote and dreiceted this cautionary tale -- his first movie outside Japan -- warning viewers that violence begets more violence. Oh brother ... indeed!"

I'm going to kill whoever writes the sleeve descriptions for NetFlix. I've never read such an inaccurate description in my life. And I'm damn glad that it was inaccurate. I love Kitano movies, and if he had actually made the film described above I think my heart would have broken.

As a side note, Brother also stars Susumu Terajima, who was in Hana-bi ("Fireworks") and Afterlife, both fantastic movies.

Posted on 10:36 PM
November 03, 2002

A few days ago a post-doc that I'm working with asked me why I got my conches pierced. That's when I realized that I didn't have a nicely packaged false answer to give people that don't really care why I got pierced in one of the most painful places one can be pierced. I mumbled something about liking the way it looks (which is true), and he went away happy. But the experience also made me realize that most of you guys probably don't know why I did it. And seeing as how I do care whether or not my friends know my real reasons, I thought that AC might be a decent place to explain myself.

Pain evolved as a deterrent for unhealthy behaviors. If ancient man smashed his hand with a rock, nerves fired to let him know that he had just caused damage to his own body, and that he'd better not to do that any more. But pain was for the most part unavoidable. For hundreds of thousands of years, the life of any given person was filled with physical pain and hardship. But within the last hundred years we're suddenly been given the option to avoid, dull, or even totally abolish, pain. In a modern first-world country, an average person can go most of their entire life without experiencing something that was absolutely central to hundreds and thousands of years of human history.

At this point I'd like to point out that I'm not implying that I'd like to seek out every ailment that modern medicine has cured. Purposefully giving onesself tuberculosis wouldn't really be a good idea. But we've reached a point in our history where we can completely obey the "don't do that again" messages our own body sends us. In fact, most people choose to completely avoid the messages in the first place.

So why did I decide to make a beeline straight for those messages? Partly it's my love of irony (purposefully doing something that my body sends me messages not to do). Wrapped up in that is proof of will (verifying I can intellectually go through with something that all my instincts tell me not to do). I also want to remind myself to not stray too far from something that's so fundamental to the existence of so many creatures except relatively wealthy modern humans. And finally, I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that I really like the aesthetics of a piercing.


Posted on 10:55 PM
November 02, 2002
Full of Zan

Doug suggested that I start using AC to keep track of the weird goings-on with Brian, my apartmentmate, and I can never refuse Doug. This feature will be intermittent, since I can't guarantee wackiness every day. But whenever something out of the ordinary happens, it will be recorded here. Now, on to the "fun."

There's been some weirdness with kitchen space and M. Carlson. When I got here, he had already been resident for a year, and thus his stuff was exactly where he wanted it. So I kind of ended up with his trailings to store my kitchen amenities in. About a week ago, though, I consolidated the hot pads and towels into the same drawer, then put my silverware where the hot pads used to be. But for the last three days I've found a lone hotpad shoved in on top of my silverware. I'm not sure if he's trying to hint to me that he wants that drawer back for the hotpads, or if he's just such a creature of habit that his body automatically replaces hotpads in the Hotpads Drawer, even though it's now the Silverware Drawer.

Hey, I only promised that these would be stories, not that they would be funny stories.

Posted on 12:09 PM