Friday, August 24, 2007

When geeks go out


No, I *still* don't have my grade yet. Put me out of misery, already, dude! Aargh!! I know it's either a B or an A; and yes, I will certainly be posting what it is when I know, in addition to calling my family and all sorts of other scandalous behavior. The trouble is that the scores will be plotted and then curved, such that about half the class gets a B, a fourth gets an A, and a fourth gets a C. Typically, this puts the cutoff...oh, god, nobody cares about this; enough already.

Thanks for the GRE result congrats, you guys - yuh, I'm a smahty-pants - large grin. Most of you are, too - yes, you, Mel, and you, too, Jena and Ruth and Tattoo Queen and Nicole and Rosana and on and on - I mean, really, this is not a coincidence.

The kiddos and I went into Harvard Square yesterday and the parking gods smiled upon us: on-street parking spot right near Church Street. Awesome! Grumpy teenager, eager middle child, and youngest and I headed into Black Ink, which is...just way fun. Something for everyone, provided the "everyone" involved is fairly geeky and as charmed as I am by such things as wrapping paper with 19th century human anatomy engravings printed on it. There was a birthday shopping to do. Also I haven't been in there in a while. Everyone found something fabulous, of course, no small thing considering how different we are: Japanese notepaper with little cartoon tofu cubes, an iron filing & magnet thing (where you put iron filings onto a face and make hairy eyebrows and stuff), oo it was terrific. I made a quick stop in the Coop to get my biology textbook, because it's just impossible to find the correct bundle of crap I need with it at a reasonable price online. New edition (2005) of 7+ pound book, student guide, CD with more stuff, online access codes, yadda yadda - feh. It does help with upper arm toning and strengthening.

We also went to the Mendon Drive-in. Youngest has been wanting to go for weeks. He'd been thinking, oo Underdog for the third time! (um, Underdog is okay, but once is definitely enough) but we managed to get consensus on Hairspray. Which was great! Whee! More car dancing! Highly recommended, and not just for Travolta in drag.

Now, there should be an olfactory system discussion here. It's a cool system, not least because it's poorly understood--the direct pathway straight into the brain is pretty interesting. I have some affection for it because olfactory bulbs are among the few gross anatomical features of the brain that I can reliably identify. According to my textbook, it's not certain (that I can tell) what the composition of the cytosol is for those receptor cells--"there must be a high concentration of Cl- ions because chloride depolarizes them" - not something anyone's gotten around to checking? well, geez, okay. So...hm... if there's already a lot of internal chloride, then I wonder what the effect of GABA is on the system? if those neurons are even GABAergic? 'cause the type A receptor protein is a direct chloride channel...hm...if valium acts to increase chloride influx does it do anything odd to your sense of smell, either making it more or less acute? brain now freezes as I contemplate what an inhibitory neurotransmitter does in a rapidly habituating system... but that's not one of the ones that gets released diffusely, I don't think, so maybe it doesn't do ANYTHING...erk. Ack. Gahhhh.

I miss my course. Sniff. (No pun intended. Really.)

I hate not knowing everything.

3 Comments:

Blogger Lucia said...

Damn, don't you think you know almost enough?

Well... probably not. I know the feeling.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I love Black Ink! David & I stumbled across it our last trip into Cambridge, and I stocked up on all kinds of cards and postcards. Fun, fun, fun.

I've never noticed that Versed (never had Valium) had any effect on my sense of smell, but then a) I have a relatively poor sense of smell (which has its advantages in, ahem, certain circumstances), and b) there's that whole amnestic thing with Versed, so I don't know if I'd remember any alteration if it occurred.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

A few things:

1) 800 plus 710? Sounds about right. You could probably bump the math up 40 or so, but it really shouldn't be necessary.

2) Did I tell you about my candidacy exam years ago? The deal is that the candidacy exam is the tool that grad schools use to bounce you if they think you don't have enough chops. I took the thing in May, along with another dozen graduate students. It took *four months* to find out if we were to continue in the PhD program.

3) If you knew everything, you might not have so much to look forward to. By the time you defend, you will be able to create the illusion of knowing everything or at least how to design the definitive experiment to find it out.

4) I have an excellent sense of smell and have always wanted to try Valium. So ring me up when you are looking for research subjects.

5) Black Ink is a hoot!

10:18 PM  

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