Saturday, August 30, 2008

Insert clever title

Trying something new, here. One of the items pictured is foul beyond description. It is something like beery citrus-flavored AlkaSeltzer. Three guesses which one.

And O! Irony! As I was trying to upload this next picture, the damn thing crashed again. Behold, my spunky little laptop behaving itself for the moment:

I have not mentioned it, but I LOVED watching the US men's basketball team win their Olympic gold medal. It was a close, good game. Yes, of course I watched it live, start time 2:30 am wee hours of Sunday - I dozed off for a bit but was wide awake for most of the second half and the medal ceremony. Wicked pissah, seriously.

Must have
these. In the green and orange.
Oh, and
these. In red.
Um, and
these, too.

Um, and I ordered this to wear to my sort-of stepsister's wedding in a couple of weeks.

It is odd that I have such a thing as a sort-of stepsister. She is the daughter of the woman my dad is married to - we met a couple months before the wedding, which was, hm... 11 years ago or so, now. I see her now and then. I find it really odd to have someone who could be called any kind of sister whose last name I'm not all that sure of, and with whom I have almost zero personal history.

The Obama speech party was fun! Kind of nerdy, but also nice to see a good turnout and who-all was showing up and representing in public. Awesome speech, of course. The house will have a nice big sign soon enough - which may sound pointless, but hey, my house is on a main drag that commuters from New Hampshire use to cut over to 495, so not an utter waste. Plus it'll annoy the crap out of my hardcore Republican neighbor.

M sent this - what the first thought was on hearing McBushcain's running mate pick:

You rock, M, did I mention? Well, you do.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Grades! And taking care of things!

The refrigerator chose to stop making things cold. This is really not acceptable behavior in a refrigerator. So Monday I made a bunch of phone calls! Which I hate! I hate making phone calls! This is why I almost never call people; in case you were wondering, it's not because I don't like you or don't like talking to you, it's because I really, really hate making phone calls. I have to get into a whole steeling-myself headspace to do it.

I called the tree cutting down people, the dentist, the fridge repairman, and several different versions of whoever I'm supposed to call about health insurance. Go, me.

I now have a fridge that makes things different from room temperature.

For the first time, the school department asked for my homeschooling stuff. I sent it yesterday. It feels a little weird, but good.

Our health insurance will be via one of the options available under the Commonwealth's "you have plenty of money just buy the damn insurance" plan, and I've opted out of the COBRA coverage from dh's company - it went up to over $1,400 and I found a direct pay plan that does everything for a little over $800, so that was kind of a no-brainer.

My grades were posted this weekend, and as I figured, I got an A in the brain class and a B in biochem - woot! yay! Getting that degree done, bit by bit - it's so nice to be so far along, and a little weird to be in spitting distance of the end. Sort of scary, in fact. I mean, if I petition for a course overload I could be completely done in time for graduation in May of '09 - but Yikes! no! not ready yet! eek! A ncie option, though.

I finally have almost no lurking stuff hanging over my head that I need to deal with but haven't. Um, actually there are a couple of things. But fewer!

I'm bustling about and happy and going to an Obama speech-watching party tonight. Have a good day, all!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Strength & Honor

That's what oldest child and I have been saying to each other as we grind away with studying. It's meant as an echo of the Roman legions' exhortations going into battle, as seen in Gladiator.

Biochemistry. Oof.

I worked
hard. (Yes, that's where I've been, I did not fall off the edge of the earth.) So now I know the citric acid cycle pretty darn well, and am pretty good with glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, but sheesh, pyramidine and purine biosynthetic pathways? Not so much. Thank goodness the final was at least half citric acid cycle stuff. Astonishing to me that I was more or less capable of answering almost everything on the test.

Most fun biochemistry final exam question (hm... that looks odd, even to me): something about data collected on the lipid composition in the cells in the legs on Santa's reindeer. Well, I thought it was funny. Also I could answer it; apparently a few of my classmates were really thrown. A bunch of us went out after the exam and celebrated--yay! That was fun. Beer in pitchers at John Harvard's = good. (still getting used to the reality that a couple of beers is all I can handle)

Oldest is taking her final, final exam for Japanese as I write this. She had to give a presentation in Japanese as a spoken final on Wednesday, got the day off yesterday. Apparently she's the only non-asian left in the class--the others all dropped it, one by one. It's really difficult. She's also one of the youngest in the class. But she's been doing very well with it, and I'm very VERY proud of her.

So, whoo hoo! and stuff!

Demetri Martin, in his stand-up routine: "Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies."

Hellos to you all - Mel, your course sounds great! have fun!

Onward. Yes, I remember how to do that. Yes.


Sunday, August 10, 2008


Yes, I'm studying. In between watching the Olympics' various things: opening ceremonies! whoa! and Phelps! whoa! Also women's sabre, where the US swept, including a bronze medal won by a young woman who's a gifted homeschooler, whose mom posts on one of the lists I'm on - yay, Becca!

The bestest fun so far for this (closet) (sort of) basketball fan was US men against China this morning. 101-70. It wasn't a total whupping from the get-go, Yao played well, and actually the whole Chinese team had periods of really good play, but the US team were stronger, faster, were working together beautifully, and I think it helped that the game started with the US behind for a while - it seemed to kick the players into "killer" mode.

It looked like street ball. China had amazing accuracy from the 3-point line, whereas the US was something like 2 for 15, but the real story there was that the Chinese were forced to take those outside shots because the US defense overwhelmed them. They couldn't get inside to score for practically the whole game. By half-time, the Chinese players weren't getting back for defense at all, and the US guys were hanging on the hoop over, and over, and over again. The Chinese just looked exhausted; the US players looked like they could have gone on all night. They were having *fun*. What a pleasure to watch. It sort of looked like China trained to play 48 minutes, and the Americans trained to play 176. The US guys were just in *such* amazing shape, so, so strong physically - they had the stamina to keep running flat out like it was nothing.

It was nice to see Kobe Bryant playing so well, too - the Celtics kicked his ass, there; it was probably good for him to get in a winning groove again.

In school-ish news, I had my last lectures this week; finals on Tuesday and Thursday, plus one last problem set due for biochem. It took me friggin' forever to finish the second lab problem set - I was fine with analyzing the gel results, I can tell you all kinds of things about what LELY mutations in spectrin produce, but god's teeth, I could not wrap my head around the damn molar concentration calculations that were the easy part. Hours, it took me, to figure out ax = by, where a, x, and b are known. Sheesh. I'm trying to get over the sensation I keep having that when I feel really solidly in command of the material, I must be misunderstanding it in some fundamental way. I really do get this stuff. Honest.

Physically, I'm feeling pretty good - I've taken off 10 of the 15 pounds I managed to gain (while middle child was in her "baking a batch of brownies every other day" phase), and I'm getting reasonably good exercise, so the reduced stress on my knees + maintaining muscle tone means my knees are working really, really well without pain. Yay! Absence of pain = good.

The guitar-as-procrastination technique continues: I printed off some tabulature for Metallica and keep plonking away at it, most notably while also watching Olympic fun. The fun, the fun - it just goes on.

Speaking of which, better get back to studying - have a lovely day, all!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Extreme measures of another kind

This from a policy alert email from the American Assn for the Advancement of Science:

Animal Rights Extremists Firebomb California Researchers’ Homes. In what University of California at Santa Cruz officials called "criminal acts of anti-science violence," the homes of two UCSC researchers were damaged by intentionally-set fires early Saturday morning. A flier, threatening violence against 13 university employees who work with animals (including fruit flies) and listing their home addresses, was found in a local coffee shop last week. Local police and federal authorities are investigating. Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, called the attacks a "necessary" act.

"Necessary," huh? Stupid fuckwads. I do not give a crap if people are offended by research using animals, generally; the arguments range from misinformed to proto-Nazi ("we should do the experiments on prisoners instead!" oh, what a great idea, let's emulate Megele's experiments at Auschwitz, shall we?). As long as they stay out of my face, fine. Fire bombing is not fine, dickheads. Human rights trump animal rights.

Back to analyzing my lab results. Which were done using animal-derived antibodies to decipher the structure of a gene.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Extreme measures

The semester ends WICKED SOON. And I have a final project that I'm diligently procrastinating, a couple of lab reports to do, some problem sets, yadda yadda - clearly I needed to take things to a whole new level.

Behold, a wee little baby electric guitar and amp.

Yes, there *was* a sale at Guitar Center this weekend. No, I still suck. Yes, I have at least learned to play "Wild Thing." Yes, that's a cat, averting her eyes. She's discreet that way.


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