Tuesday, October 28, 2008

no future for you

Just got my hands on Buffy Season 8, volume 2. I haven't kept up with the comic, but I bought the first paperback volume in December and loved it. Needless to say, I'm excited to read this one. Must resist temptation to read it all tonight.

In the same box (thank you Amazon Free Shipping, for always making me get two instead of just one), I got a new Ghost in the Shell manga (at least I think it's new). "Human-Error Processing." Supposedly takes place in the America of the dystopia that any GITS fan is familiar with; some new characters and some old, as far as I can tell, and undoubtedly plenty of explosions, cybercrime and hot chicks in skinsuits. Because you can always count on those things from Masamune.

A little junk food for the brain can't hurt; it's not like I haven't been working hard lately. Trying to commit as seriously as I am able to cycling and training this winter; next spring will be my first season ever competing as an intercollegiate athlete (from a Division I school; not, however, NCAA) and so I want to do my best - which means a training schedule. And on top of that, there is the more-than-full-time job of being a grad student: impromptu office hours with a student today led to a light bulb moment (which always feels great to any teacher, I'm sure); a lesson in fly genetics taught me to distinguish a really tricky phenotypic marker. It has to do with counting the hairs (yes, I am serious) on the shoulder of an adult fly. I have to hand it to my post-doc/mentor: after 5:00, I hadn't eaten since lunch, and the difference in phenotype is subtle... combine low blood sugar with frustration at finding differences between flies: not at my best to be sure. Anyway, I think I got it; progress is on the march. Hooray for science!

Now, to bed, and to find out what the hell Faith has been up to since they blew up Sunnydale.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

flying by

It's already the end of October, and the election is just over a week away... where has the time gone?

It must be passing so quickly because I'm so damn busy. I love being busy, though - it keeps me productive and sane. When I'm not busy, I tend to get lazy - it's kind of an all-or-nothing approach, I guess.

Anyway, school is going well so far. My rotation work has me working pretty hard, but I am really enjoying the work, and learning a lot. Flies are very different from fish - the turnover of generations is so much faster, you have to really maintain your stocks in an active way. I'm having trouble getting into the rhythms of fly pushing, but I think it'll come eventually. I've got a pretty large data set so far on behavioral analysis, and have acquired but not processed confocal images of the expression of various driver lines I'm using. The idea is to then cross these driver lines to a line carrying a latent tetanus toxin gene, creating expression of the toxin in a subset of neurons, effectively silencing them. The ultimate goal is to understand the genetic control of neuronal circuit formation during development. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Anyway, that's my research summary for now.

Then there's the other half (ok, much less than half in terms of hours spent) of my life these days: the bicycle. I went for my first ride with the whole UO team yesterday, and had fun. We put on about 35 miles as a group, pushing my daily total (including commute) to a little over 40 miles. I think that's the biggest day I've had since moving here. Got to see a few more of the roads around the area, and got some ideas for changing up my routine solo ride. (The scenery is beautiful on the route I usually take, but something tells me it'll be nice to vary the ride up a bit come November, December, January, February...) Here's the ride we did yesterday.

Today turned into an off-day, due to a missed connection for an afternoon ride. Probably good to take a day off, though, since my plan is to start upping my training for the next few weeks in order to do better at the next 'cross series races in late November. (22nd and 30th; see flier here; come race or just yell and ring a cowbell if you're in the area!) My goal is 3rd in the series, since 1st and 2nd have pretty much been decided unless the promoters enforce a category change for these two women; they're both sandbaggers, as far as I can tell.

Also considering doing the LiveSTRONG Challenge in Seattle next June. Say what you will about Lance and believe what you want about his past; it's inarguable that the LAF does a lot of good in the fight against cancer. And let's face it, cancer sucks. Expect more about that in the future - I'll have to raise some funds to be able to participate, so I'll be begging for money out here in blogging-land as well as IRL.

Anyway, that's the sum of it for right now. Bicycles and science, onward ho!

Monday, October 20, 2008

one more thing

I just wanted to send some love Elden's way: if any of you ever read Fat Cyclist you may know that his wife, Susan, is struggling with metastatic cancer, and things have taken a turn for the worse lately.

As I saw on a T-shirt a few months ago: Cancer sucks. Our thoughts are with your family in these trying times.

rainy monday; not so bad though

First, a few shameless plugs: If you don't already, you can follow my twitter and my Google Reader shared items page. I tend to update both of these more often than I blog, so if you need minute-to-minute updates, there you go. Also, you can admire my racing results here. Because I'm awesome.

Anyway, today was fairly good for a rainy Monday; the crappy weather kept me inside during the day in order to get some science (and grading... uuugh) done. Primary antibodies are incubating overnight; secondaries go on tomorrow, then I'm signed up on the confocal for Friday PM. Guessing I'll probably end up spending some time on there on Saturday and/or Sunday as well... confocaling is awesome, and I'll get a bunch of pretty pictures for my rotation talk. I also need to start remembering to bring my hard drive home at night (and install Office on this machine) so I can process movie files at home. I come home for dinner most nights, and don't generally feel like going back into work once I'm home, but I tend to end up sitting at my computer most of the night anyway, so I might as well be doing something productive. Since a lot of what I'm doing with Excel is what I like to call "data munching" - that's different from crunching, mind you - it'd be nice to have the better processor and bigger screen real estate than my little lappy.

Another reason today was better than an average rainy Monday: I met up with several of the UO cycling women this evening with the intent of going for a ride, but as soon as we started riding it started raining, so we headed to Maire's house for coffee and talked about bikes, riding, racing, training, and everything in between. It was fun to get to chat and get to know people, and it was really nice to have Lisa there, to impart all her wisdom and glory to the new generation. Lisa Turnbull is currently finishing her dissertation in the biology department, and then, rumor has it, is going to start riding pro. She's an amazingly strong rider, and also a really nice person. She won't be doing the collegiate circuit races this year, so it's up to the rest of us to step up and win some races for the Ducks this year. Wouldn't we look awesome in these jerseys?

Almost done grading papers - less than 10 lab reports left. Not horrible grades on the whole, but I'm being pretty lenient - it's obvious that lots of people didn't understand the directions or missed something in the lab protocol.

Bleh. Anyway, time to cycle laundry and take a shower. If I get up early enough tomorrow, I can go ride some really fun hills...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

please hold...

new keyboard is on order.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

quick one

since my space bar is not improving, i need a new keyboard like STAT, a quick link sesh:

must read: make-believe maverick
highlight: "According to witnesses, McCain grew enraged, raising his hand as if to strike her before pushing her wheelchair away."

unrelated: today's ride. think i'll be doing the loraine-bailey hill-18th loop regularly - it's quite nice.