Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010

I have such mixed feelings about this New Year. There are some things that I'm really looking forward to (grad school hopefully) and some things that I'm dreading (John dying). It's a little weird to know that someone I love is going to die this year. I don't think I've ever been in this position before, and it makes the whole concept of the new year and starting fresh a bit sour, really. But I'm trying to remain positive and focus on the good things, and start fresh as much as I can. I joined Weight Watchers online today, to help me readjust my eating habits and take off this last 30 pounds or so that I gained in college. I also went out today and bought a bunch of stuff for beading. I like making jewelry but I never seem to have the time, so I'm going to specifically determine a day of the week that I can do it, so that I'm at least doing it once a week. I really have to organize my life like that or I never get anything done.
I am looking forward to the lab move. That's supposed to happen on the 10th of January. It will be nice to finally get out of Steve's hair and move somewhere that isn't in the way, especially since he has some new hires coming in. I will miss the lab though, even the people that annoy me a bit. The way everything played out kind of sucks.
Anyway, here's hoping that 2011 doesn't suck as much as I'm afraid it will.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Earlier this afternoon my family went to visit John at the hospital. Even though I work in a hospital, I've actually only visited someone in the hospital once before. I had forgotten how utterly dismal it is, no matter how much the designers try to make it look bright and happy. People die there and it seeps into the walls, so that it's always gloomy and grim.
John was asleep most of the time we were there. He has pneumonia on top of the heart trouble and the lung cancer, so he had been given some steroids and antibiotics to clear the infection, and they made him pretty loopy. He's stable, but I've never seen him look so sick. Granny was trying to stay calm, but we all know that the prognosis is really bad. They may not even be able to do a biopsy to stage the cancer because of the possibility of him bleeding to death while they do it, so they may just offer palliative radiation treatment to try and shrink the damn thing. No matter what, it all ends with him dying. No matter what, this is his endgame. We just don't know how long it will take to play out.
We left and I'm glad that I'm on vacation this week, because it seems impossible that the world can just keep going on like nothing has happened. It shouldn't keep going on; someone I love is dying. But it does. Trying to keep up with the rest of your life when it feels like everything should grind to a halt is hard. At least we all get a little bit of time to get used to it.


Right, so now I'm going to write a post about the stuff I got for Christmas to take my mind off of all the familial health-related issues at the moment. So.
My granny gave me a ring that she has had for years. It is sterling silver, with turquoise and another kind of stone that I'm not sure what it is. It was made by a Native American friend of hers, which is awesome because I like having the legit stuff that's been kept in the family.
My grandma and grandpa got me a lot of stuff, which I'm not sure they're supposed to do anymore but they do anyway and I'm not complaining. My grandma is the master at finding little local shops to buy things in. This year she found a tea shop in downtown Plymouth of all places and got me some of their tea. It smells amazing! She also got lots of little candies from local artisans-chocolate covered pretzels and stuff like that. And true to form, she got me a Wii game-Kirby's Epic Yarn.
My immediate family still does normal Christmas. I got about a thousand DVDs-seasons 6-10 of Stargate SG-1, the first season of Battlestar Galactica, the 10th Dr. Who specials, and the best of Beakman's World! And then I got games-Rune Factory Frontier, Guitar Hero, and Chrystal Chronicles for the Wii, and The 4 Heroes of Light for the DS. And then I got my favorite instant coffee ever-Fireside Coffee. It's also from a local company in Swartz Creek, and it is delicious. It comes in all kinds of flavours. Grandma got me some last year and I loved it so much that I asked for more this year. Oh, and I got two more giant microbes for my collection-Anthrax and TB.
For my family, I got my Dad his 2011 Dilbert page-a-day calendar. My Mum wanted these microfiber cloths from Levenger that have impressionist paintings on them, so I got her those. I think they're for cleaning her thousands of pairs of reading glasses. I got my brother some matcha powder and a whisk, since he's been wanting to try matcha tea for a while now.
It was a good Christmas, although it got really weird because of the family health issues. Today hasn't been much better on that front. My grandfather John is having a biopsy to confirm that he does have lung cancer, but we all know that it is. The mass is wrapped around his vena cava so there is no way it can be operated on, and palliative care is about all that can be done. Maybe they'll try some radiation once they know what stage the cancer is, but we're looking at probably less than a year left before he dies. And then my great-aunt Frieda is in surgery today to get a colostomy because her intestines are perforated. That's a long obnoxious complicated story that I don't want to repeat, but I will say that her health is so poor due to diabetes that it's entirely possible that she will die on the table. So it's a stressful time for the family. I'm glad we were able to have a decent Christmas anyway, but I know this is really hard on everyone.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Right, so this was going to be about my Christmas, but it's not. Instead it's going to be about how my grandfather is probably dying.
John is my grandfather (okay, technically my step-grandfather, but he's been more of a grandfather than my real one) and he was admitted to the ER this morning with extremely low blood pressure. The doctors did a million tests and found out he has an atrial fibrillation, which is normal speak means that his heart isn't pumping regularly. The reason for that is a mass in his lung that is pressing on his heart. It's probably lung cancer; he's been a smoker for 40 years. And then this evening he had a small stroke. I guess they caught it in time to prevent any major damage, but who knows if that was it or if he'll have more. On Monday they're going to try and biopsy the mass in the lung, but it's cancer, we all pretty much know it. So I don't know if it will be next week or next month, or even six months or a year from now, but I'll be going to his funeral pretty soon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas and other stuff

Last weekend we chopped down a Christmas tree and put it in our house. We do this every year because fake trees are sad. I especially enjoy it because when I move back out, I'll probably be moving into an apartment that only allows sad fake trees. So I relish having a real, pine-tree smelling white spruce in the living room. Now that we finally decorated, it feels a little more Christmassy around here, which makes me less grumpy about it getting dark at 5pm.
What still makes me grumpy is that my science is not behaving. I've been trying to do this GLUT4 blot for two months now, and Aliccia and I cannot get the cells to respond to insulin. We're trying one more time this week, and I really hope it works, because if it doesn't I'm pretty sure we've got serious problems. I hate working ten to twelve hour days when I have a two hour round trip commute so I'm tired and grumpy. So I really hope this works so I can stop working long Thursdays and Fridays.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I am pretty bad at winter. It gets dark way too early and it's too cold and then when it snows, driving is terrible. I really should be used to winter because I grew up in Michigan and went to college in Iowa, and now I live in Michigan again. But I'm still bad at it. I'm sure I could get diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder if I wanted to be, especially since I've struggled with clinical depression in the past, but it just seems like such a silly disorder to have that I'd rather not. Unless, of course, I can get a pass to hibernate until March. Then we'll talk.
Anyway, I'm bad at winter. But I'm not horrible at December, because people put up Christmas lights and that makes it a little easier to deal with sunset at 4:30 in the afternoon. But I'm still looking forward to Daylight Savings Time again. I like it better that way.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 Completion

Today, I wrote more than seven thousand words.
I finished my story.
I validated my word count.
And today I won NaNoWriMo for the second time!

50K in 25 days!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaNo and Work

I passed the halfway point on The Last Days of the Unreal City earlier this week, and it felt like a huge accomplishment. Once the word counter went over 25,000, I felt yes, I can do this. Then I kept writing and now I feel like it's a nearly insurmountable task again. I'm sure I'll feel better once I hit 40K.
In contrast to most of October, I've been quite busy at work this month. The paper we are trying to submit came back with requests for major revisions (experiments, basically). So I've been trying to run a GLUT4 blot for almost a month now. After troubleshooting the heck out of my non-polymerizing stacking gel (bad APS, needed de-gassing) and a bureaucratic snafu regarding the membrane protein extraction kit we needed, it's still not done. Here's hoping that next week will put the lid on this experiment and the paper can go back out. I've learned a lot about the paper submission process even though I'm not doing the actual writing or submitting, and I can conclude that it is a total pain. I'm not particularly looking forward to that part of getting my PhD now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 Week Two

NaNoWriMo is very hard for me this year. I'm still keeping up with word count, but this is so difficult. Last year, it was easier. It was more fun all the time. I think I only had a couple of days where I had to force myself just to make word count. This time it's almost every day that I struggle for the magic 1667 words.
Now last year I had a much more developed plot going into November, and I had an easier sort of plot as well. This year I went in with less plot developed, and this plot is much bigger and more difficult. This year my plot involves an entire planet, a society of my own making, genetic engineering, and a lot of computer hacking (which I'm all making up because I know absolutely nothing about hacking). Last year my plot centred on a family. I guess the bigness of the world I'm working with is overwhelming.
I have come up with some good ideas, enough to drive my plot to the 50,000 word finish, but it's making it a coherent story that is so hard. I'm struggling to write awkward scenes that string these cool scenes together. Maybe it will get easier once I get a little farther in, but this is not easy right now. But I still love doing it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

National Novel Writing Month has officially started. I have 2425 words as of tonight. My goal is 50,000 words by November 30th. I expect not to blog for most of the month. Yay November!

Monday, October 25, 2010

X-Men post :)

I like the X-Men. Specifically I'm most fond of the 1980s Chris Claremont era X-Men, but I don't particularly hate anything that's been written. Yay X-Men. My favorite character is Magneto, because I have this thing for tragic anti-hero types. He's one of those characters that makes you question the morality of certain actions. Sometimes he seems crazy, and sometimes you sit there thinking that he's damn right.
So speaking of Magneto, this excellent little five-book series called Magneto:Testament came out a couple years ago. I finally got the last two issues that I was missing (missing due to an ex with no Christmas gift planning capabilities, but whatever). Anyway, it is awesome. Go read this series. Get it. It's fantastic. The art is lovely-haunting, really. The writers did a good job with historical accuracy too-it's obvious they were trying to approach Magneto's youth in the Holocaust without sacrificing the reality of what happened. If you know anything about the X-Men, you know Magneto loses his family in the Holocaust; it's no surprise when that happens in Testament, but damn the writers still made it hurt. It's fabulous.
Besides Testament, I'm plowing through House of M at the moment. More Magneto ftw.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Last week I drove to Iowa with my family. We went to Ames for my great-aunt's memorial thing. It was a thing because there was no service and wine and cheese were served. Anyway, it was cool to be back in Ames, even if it was only for six hours. I got Hickory Park for dinner, so that's a win no matter what.
Anyhow, when we got to the thing (my great-aunt is Barbara Forker, by the way. The thing was held in the building with her name on it.) there are several people who apparently know who I am and apparently know that I'm coming back to school next fall. This is a big surprise to me, because even though I'd like to go back to ISU, I haven't even started my application yet. But they were all nice and maybe that bodes well for my chances of getting back in.
So a bunch of people spoke, including me, which everyone said I did well even though I made it all up on the spot. My dad went last, and told the entire assembly of mostly old people that my great-aunt was totally badass (it's true!). Afterwards we went to the cemetery for badass people from Iowa State to make sure that the marker was the right colour. My grandma had been obsessing about that.
So that's the story of my really fast trip to Ames and my badass great-aunt's memorial. Short and sweet. And apparently I need to get going on my grad school application, since everyone expects me to be back next August.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

It's October, which means I'm seriously thinking about my upcoming plunge into insanity, also known as National Novel Writing Month. That would be in November. This year will be my third year participating. Last year I "won" for the first time by writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. I actually have a proof copy sitting on my bookshelf, in case I ever decide to self-publish it. I probably won't, but having it in physical form is beyond cool.
I like to write. I have since I was very young. I vaguely recall writing some kind of story in first grade that involved my two best friends and a horse. I only remember the horse because I recall drawing a horse a lot. In middle school and high school, I struggled with prose and wrote poetry. I'm pretty sure that's because I can only write poetry while severely depressed, which is the state I spent middle and most of high school in. Now, I can barely write a poem, but I've got one story at 23,000 words and one complete novel, and hopefully this November I will add a second novel to that tally. (For the record, these are completely original works and not fanfiction. I can only write vignette-length fanfiction. It's weird, I know.)
Anyway, that's how I'm planning to spend my November. It will be fueled by a lot of caffeine, probably some unhealthy snacking, and the obnoxious feeling in the back of my head that there's a story that has to come out. It's crazy, it's hard (especially with a real job and grad school apps), and it's totally awesome.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Night Blooming Cereus

I meant to post this ages ago, but it's a bloom from a plant my grandmother has. She says it's a night-blooming Cereus. Anyway, I guess it only blooms once a year, in the evening, and the bloom dies after that. So she brought one over to show us.

More work drama

As far as I know, for now my job is safe. My supervisor had a chat with the deputy director, who sounded enthusiastic regarding our research and the shRNA core. At the moment, we appear to be safe, although there's still the question of whether we're going to stay in my previous boss' lab space forever. Of course, if the CEO has some weird vendetta against everyone, he could fire us all, but that sounds less likely at the moment. Unfortunately, we haven't had any meetings to discuss future research yet, so my job is pretty boring, but at least I still have one and don't have to navigate Michigan's ridiculous unemployment website yet.
But, my ex-boss appears to be cooking up some potential drama. Hopefully my supervisor and I can stay out of it and just be amused from the sidelines without getting dragged into anything weird. It's a bit tiring to have to continually deal with all of this, and it isn't helped by the fact that I'm sure this kind of crap goes on everywhere. At least I'm preparing to go back to school and don't need to stay at this job forever.
Other than the drama, I have just a couple of array experiments to finish, and one knockdown+chemical treatment experiment, and that's about it. So I haven't got a whole lot to do at the moment. I am going to Iowa next weekend for my great-aunt's memorial, after taking the biology GRE, so I'm taking a couple of days off work.

Monday, September 20, 2010


So, as I alluded to in my last post, things have gotten very complicated regarding my work situation. I feel like it is now safe and appropriate for me to go into more detail. Basically, two Fridays ago my boss was fired from one of his positions. He had a dual appointment at the cancer center and the university, and the job he lost was the one at the cancer center. Because of that, he no longer has control of the grant that I am paid off of. So now I have no boss, and nothing to do at my job, and no idea if I will even keep my position. My supervisor (postdoc) and another tech are in the same boat as I am. We haven't received any communication from the Powers That Be, and my ex-boss doesn't have any information yet either. So it's possible that I will lose my job. My ex-boss mentioned to me that he may move to another university and would like to take me with him. That would be cool, but I don't know how long it will take to transfer and if it will even happen at all. So everything is up in the air at the moment.
The good news is that I do have an emergency fund that I can pay expenses off of if I get laid off, and I should qualify for unemployment benefits. In addition, I do have an inheritance coming from my great-aunt's estate, so I could completely pay off my student loans from that. Lastly, I am applying to graduate school next month, so it's possible that I may only be jobless for seven or eight months or so. My health insurance also won't be an issue-one of the good things from the health care bill is that I could go back on my father's insurance in January, so I would only have to pay out the ass for COBRA for a few months.
The worst part of this all is the uncertainty. I just wish that someone would tell me one way or the other if I have a job. That's the most annoying part.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Things have gotten a little weird at work. I can't really talk about it right now, but it's entirely possible my job could be moving from Karmanos to University of Michigan. I don't know much else at the moment.
In other news, I took the GRE today and got a really good score. The subject test is next month. Hopefully it will also go well.
I finished Tales of Symphonia over the weekend. As I expected it was really good, and to no one's surprise I cried at the end. Why is it my favorite character is always the one who leaves/has sad endings? I guess I just like antiheroes. So now I'm playing Animal Parade again, as well as Sunshine Islands on my DS. I'm waiting for Grand Bazaar, the next Professor Layton game, and a PS2 game called Shadow of Destiny. That will probably be my gaming docket until Christmas.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Various Life Things

A lot of stuff has happened since I last updated.
First we had an issue at church, and that compounded with my mounting feelings of not belonging, I decided to stop going for at least a month. I have a lot of complex feelings about the whole thing. The essence of my issues is that I have no problems with God, but I have a lot of problems with a lot of his supposed followers, and I'm not sure where that leaves me. I may consider going to a Unitarian Universalist church, just because they don't hate anyone. I'm not sure.
Second one of our neighbors died. He committed suicide and set his house on fire. He was an old guy who lived alone and has no nearby family, and I feel bad. I wish that I had reached out to him; I don't know if it would have made a difference, but I hate to think that he died thinking nobody cared about him. That is also weighing very heavily on me.
Third, I started tracking my weight and food intake again. I've reached the point where the weight that was easy to lose is gone, and now I have to really push to get down to my goal weight. This could be difficult.
Fourth, work is going well. I have two major experiments that I'm preparing for right now. Both should be started at the end of September. I'm looking forward to getting the results and I'm glad that I'm not bored.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Trip on a Sailboat

Last Friday my boss decided that we all needed to go have a picnic at the marina where he keeps his sailboat. Steve loves his boat, and we hear about it all the time. Needless to say, some of the older lab members were bemoaning the boat and hinting that Steve would want to spend all evening there. So I was worried, because I like spending my Friday nights not with my coworkers. I like them all, but I see them all week, you know.
Anyway, it was actually pretty fun. I got there and had a couple of beers (Leinenkugel Oktoberfest) and Steve grilled hamburgers. Then it was time for the boat. Thankfully, there were too many people there for everyone to go on the boat at once, so we split into groups and each boat ride was only 1.5 hours. I'd never been on a sailboat before, only canoes and motorboats, so it was neat to see how a sailboat worked. We went out a couple of miles into Lake St. Clair, and it was cool when the motor was killed and we were going only on the sails. It was neat, and it was nice to be out on a lake since it's been a while.
So overall, it was enjoyable. I had fun, and I didn't have to stay all night, and now I can say I've been on a sailboat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Other Stuff

So besides seeing plays, I mostly ate a lot of food, drank a lot of drinks, and went shopping. I was only there for three days, it's not like I had loads of time to muck about. Anyway, I stayed at Bentley's. It's both a pub and inn. The rooms there are extremely nice. So are the drinks. I had a martini called "Taming of the Shrew." It involved raspberry, melon, and vanilla liquor, and it was delicious.
That's the front. Apologies for the lamppost in the way. The other best food place is the Boar's Head pub.
They serve wild boar pub burgers there. They are really good. It's a denser sort of meat, kind of like buffalo, and it tastes pork-ish. Anyway, they're good and I recommend them to all omnivores. I just had Guinness to drink there since it was pub food. They also have sticky toffee pudding, which is heavenly. That's a sort of bread pudding, not American jello type pudding. It's delicious, and I'm sad that I can only get it in Stratford.
So, that was Stratford. I always wish I could stay longer, because it's nice and Canadian and different.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stratford Shakespeare Festival: The Plays

While at Stratford this year, I saw two plays: The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Tempest. Two Gents was the first of the two; it was a matinee show at the Studio Theatre. The Studio is a small theatre, and even at the last row I could clearly see all the actors. I've not read Two Gents, so seeing the play was my first experience with it. The play itself is supposed to be one of Shakespeare's earlier plays, which is obvious due to a plot hole one could drive a semi-truck through. But it was acted very well. All of the actors did a great job, especially those playing Launce and Speed. I really liked the setting as well; it was set in a 1920s vaudeville period, which worked perfectly with the play. It was certainly very enjoyable.
In the evening I saw The Tempest. I knew it would be amazing because Christopher Plummer was playing Prospero, but wow. It was an experience. Everyone was fantastic. Christopher Plummer made me cry with his final monologue. His rapport with Ariel was fabulous. Even more minor characters like Trinculo were hilarious. The actor playing Caliban also did a great job. What made it even better was that I was in the very front row of the Festival Theatre, so I could see all of the subtleties that one would miss further back. It was definitely the best performance of The Tempest I've ever seen. Again, the costuming was beautiful, and the staging fantastic. The complexities of the stage movements were really cool. I'm so thrilled I was able to be so close, especially to see someone as truly talented as Christopher Plummer.
Overall, it was fantastic to see both plays. I wish I could have seen A Winter's Tale and As You Like It, but couldn't afford it. I heard that Twelfth Night will be playing next year; hopefully I will make it back to see it. And hopefully I'll be in the front row again!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My super cool birthday cake!

My birthday cake! Yes, I turned 23 and had a dinosaur birthday cake.

23rd Birthday

Thursday was my 23rd birthday. I took the day off of work, since I didn't really have much to do anyway. Instead I went to lunch with my best friend Jasmine and her daughter Vivi. We went to a new restaurant in Southfield called Taste of Ethiopia. We had their lunch buffet and it was delicious! It was also very affordable. They had a lot of options, mild and spicy. After that, we went to Just Baked in Twelve Oaks mall and had cupcakes! I had the Rocky Road flavour and the Blueberry Cobbler. They're delicious and I especially liked them because they didn't have frosting on them. I don't like most frosting. Then I went out in the evening with my parents to Olive Garden, and we had ice cream cake. My cake had dinosaurs on it and a volcano. It was pretty cool. Anyway, it was a good day and I enjoyed having the day off.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lady's Purse

This is a weird flower at the Phipps Conservatory. It's called a lady's purse.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


There's a butterfly room in the Phipps Conservatory, and in this case they had silkworms. I'd never seen real silkworms before, and they're pretty cool!

Friday, July 30, 2010

More video games, job thoughts

I finished the main storyline in Star Ocean 3. All in all, it was a fun game. It had a decent story, although a bit hackneyed, and it was entertaining. The voice acting made me cringe though-I'm glad I decided to turn it off for all the parts that I could. I did a couple of the optional dungeons but decided I had enough and turned to another game I never finished.
So this week I started for the second time Tales of Symphonia. It's another huge long epic RPG involving saving the world and all that jazz. Lloyd and Colette are just as irritating as Fayt and Sophia, but Kratos makes up for it in spades. I'm trying to get used to the battle system because I have less maneuverability than I did in Star Ocean on the battlefield, and not having a map to complete is oddly weirding me out. But otherwise, so far so good. I did crack and order a strategy guide for this one though, because I know it's a huge game and I'll miss a million things on my own.

Other than that, my life has been fairly dull. Work has been very slow, since people are going on vacation often and we're in between experiments. I have been studying for the GRE, which I'm taking in September. I also decided to apply for the PhD in Microbiology, not the MS. Working in a lab for almost a year has helped me realize that I do want to do research, and that I'm good at it, so I'd rather just go for the PhD at Iowa State. I'm pretty sure I'll get in, but I'm still nervous as hell about it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Monongahela Incline

This is the Monongahela Incline in Pittsburgh. It was built 130 years ago and was used as a transit mode for people who worked in the steel mills. They would take the incline from their homes at the top of Mount Washington to their jobs at the mills on the river. It's one of two inclines still in working condition and people still use it now as a transit mode.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Agave americana


I went to Pittsburgh last week with the family to see my brother. It was pretty chill and nice to not be at work. My brother is not so good at doing tourist-y things so we didn't do as much as I wanted. We did go to the Phipps Conservatory, which is really cool. Their Agave americana is blooming right now. It actually grows about a foot a day and is growing through the roof of the glass house. We also went on the Monongahela incline, which is one of two surviving inclines. It's a neat mode of transit that was built to transport workers who lived on top of Mount Washington to their jobs at the steel mills at the river. Super cool. I'll post pictures later.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Star Ocean

I was in a weird mood this past week in that I wanted to play a super long epic RPG game, so I started over my Star Ocean: Til The End of Time game. I had gotten to almost the end of the first disc a couple of years ago, found myself way under-leveled, got bored, and stop playing. I started over because I couldn't remember exactly what I was doing. Anyway, I'm rapidly approaching the place where I left off last time, and I think I'm in a slightly better position now. At least enemies that I remember having lots of trouble with aren't an issue, and I still have a lot of extra places to complete before having to go back to the Urssa Lava caves where I was stuck last time.
Anyway, it's a good game. I enjoy it. I play with the voice acting off, though. VA annoys me in general. Some of the cut scenes are unbearably long too. I know they were trying for a big sweeping story, but when I need to eat dinner/go somewhere/etc, the last thing I want is a 15 minute cut scene. But whatever, I can live with it.
I'm really going to try and finish the game this time. Then I might check out the other installments in the Star Ocean universe, if I can get my hands on them and if I have the system to play them on.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Body Type and Why Shopping is Annoying

I went to JC Penney today in hopes of getting some shirts, because I feel like I've been wearing the same 5 shirts to work.
What a pain in the ass. Why are all the summer tops made for women that have no breasts? I saw lots of shirts in cute styles, but they were all sheer and required a camisole underneath. That's great, except for the fact that DD-breasted women can't wear just a camisole to support their breasts. I can't, anyway. I need something that I can wear an actual bra under without showing it to the world, and apparently no one makes much of that.
What was frustrating and disheartening about this was that I know it's not something I can easily fix. It's easier to look at clothes and think, "I'll be able to wear that when I hit my weight loss goal." But when I look at clothes and think, "I might be able to wear that after a $7000 breast reduction, and even that it might look damn silly," it just pisses me off. My body type means I'll always have sizable breasts, even with a reduction, so to some extent I'm stuck. Which is annoying, because some of these clothes are cute!
tl;dr Hey clothes companies: most women aren't prepubescent! Make clothes that fit people with boobs too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup

This year is the first year I've actually paid attention to the World Cup. It's not for lack of interest; I played soccer for seven years and enjoy the sport, and I did watch the totally awesome 1999 women's World Cup, but for some reason I've never paid attention to the men. But this year I am, because for no other reason than I'm bored at work sometimes. And I've got to say that so far it's been entertaining. The US-Algeria game today was some excellent soccer to watch, and everyone in the lab started cheering when the US made that last-minute goal. I'm thrilled to pieces that France went home, since they shouldn't have even been there in the first place; and somewhat distraught that South Africa didn't make it out of their group, although they really played their best and should be proud.
I wish soccer had more of a following in the US. It seems like every kid plays soccer, but that doesn't translate to anyone watching it or following teams. There is a pro soccer league, but it's probably rather small. I know Detroit had a team for a while, but they moved because there wasn't enough support(hell, we can't even keep a WNBA team here. I think soccer's much more interesting than American football, whose mystique I still fail to comprehend. I just don't get it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What the heck do I do at my job anyway?

I've worked at Karmanos Cancer Institute for almost nine months now as a research assistant in one of the breast cancer research labs. I got the job in a roundabout way that involved my step-aunt's best friend, the CFO of Karmanos, passing my resume to my now-boss who called me because I was apparently well-qualified. The upshot being that I work as a research assistant now, which means I do most of the work without getting much of the glory. Oh well. It's not forever.
At the moment, I am in the midst of a rather large experiment involving a panel of genes that are candidates as either oncogenes or genes that are regulated by an oncogene. What I do with these candidate genes is make an shRNA against each one and infect my target cells with said shRNA to knock down the gene's expression. Then I wait and measure growth and viability with a luciferase assay to determine the effect of knocking down the gene. In this experiment I have 20 genes and 148 shRNA constructs. That means I spent all of last week making 148 viruses to infect my target cells with. It was unpleasant. This week I get to infect my target cells, which are MCF10A and SUM225 lines. I do the infection in triplicate, which worked out to 444 wells, or four and a half 96-well plates. It's also unpleasant, mostly because I have to add the virus one at a time and can't use a multichannel pipettor. After that, I wait and see what happens. Our constructs have a GFP tag in them so after 24-48 hours I should be able to see some of my infected cells glowing green, and that's how I know that the infection worked.
Anyway, that's what I'm doing at the moment. Previously I did some work on PHGDH knockdown and insulin independence, which was mostly growth assays, Western Blots, and qPCR. I'm not fond of Western Blots. I'll complain about them another time. I've actually learned a lot in the nine months I've been working, and I feel a lot more confident that I can do science and could have a career as a research somewhere. Although I feel my leanings are toward some part of microbiology, the time I've served in cancer research will definitely benefit me.

Change in Blog

So I decided to make this my sole blog and do both photo posts and 'normal' posts for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don't take enough photos to really fulfill the original purpose of this blog, which was to post loads of photographs. Secondly, I'd like a space on the internet to discuss topics that aren't necessarily of importance to any of my friends, and this avoids me spamming people on facebook or other sites.
Mostly I'll talk about my job, my research, my writing, and random things like video games or books. I'll still post pictures too, when I have some to upload. I'm hoping to avoid this becoming an angry ranty blog about everything stupid in my life or anything too adult content(although I've got a bit of a mouth and the occasional *swear* might slip out). Anyway, that's the plan. We'll see how it goes.


These are some red lilies that my grandmother gave me years ago. We ended up dividing them and put some of them on one side of the house and some on the other.
These yellow lilies are the more wild variety that spread out everywhere. My ex-boyfriend gave me the plant; at least he had taste at some point. Anyway, I like the wild-looking ones and apparently they spread out everywhere if you let them.


This is a bush we have in our backyard. For some reason I've spent my entire life calling it a hummingbird bush, but it's called something else that I can't remember instead. My mum bought it at Eastern Market years ago. It does actually attract hummingbirds, but it's not a hummingbird bush.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


This big fat bunny lives in our yard. I think it's the mom because there's at least one little tiny baby bunny hopping around too. Memo tries to talk to the bunnies, but they never talk back. I think he's confused by them.

Relay for Life

I did Relay for Life last month with my church team. I chopped my hair off and donated it to Locks of Love.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Foodchain Friends!

They're friends. They eat each other. It's a complicated relationship. I bought them from ThinkGeek.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memo's Birthday Present

I got Memo a window perch for his third birthday. He loves looking out the window but the sill is too small for him to fit on when they're closed. He loves the perch and hasn't done anything except sit on it since I gave it to him.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cherry Tree

Here's a zoom in on the cherry tree. It's just starting to bloom.

Tulips and Cherry Tree

The tulips were just finishing up and the cherry tree is just starting to bloom!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Proof that I really do have a job

My name is on the sign outside the lab door!

Maple tree

The maple tree finally got some leaves on it!


The first tulips bloomed!


So back on the tenth my Mum and I went to a powwow in Saline, MI. It's pronounced like Celine Dion, not like saline solution. Anyway, one of the things about powwows is that you have to be very careful who you take pictures of, because it's incredibly disrespectful to just take photos of the dancers in their regalia without permission. And I feel weird as a Native American asking to take a picture with a dancer like they're a tourist attraction, so I took no pictures of the dancing. I did buy this sweet hair tie thing though, so you get a picture of it instead.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh Plushy

Uh...I clearly didn't take this picture, but I like Evgeni Plushenko and feel the need to say so.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Just me on Easter after church.

Oops, March

That's Memo, the blob in the blanket. He really has a thing about polar fleece blankets.

I'm not sure what he was doing standing on my pillow, but it was funny.
Eventually he laid down on it and looked extra silly.
He was sleeping and looked extra cute with his paw hanging down.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Room Arrangment

So way back in August I posted pictures of my room and then said I needed to take new ones because I had re-arranged it and then never did. Well, I finally did. The one above is my dresser with my plants on it.
I'm sitting at my desk, that's a bookcase, the top of the desk, and one wall.
My other bookcases, the television, my calendar and bed.
The last bookcase and the small one that contains games and DVDs. That's pretty much it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kitty Bed

I got Memo a kitty bed for Christmas. He likes to sit in it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The moon was huge this one evening. It was only 6PM when I took the photo.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


For some reason Memo thought that my collapsible file thing was good to sit in. He loves it. I don't know why.
Wisp was all wedged in between my pillows and looked ultra-sleepy and cute, so I took her picture before she woke up and got all grumpy.

Christmas Cookies

So I'm way behind, because of Christmas, and then working, and then just being lazy, so I have to finish out my 2009 pictures. So I'll make a bunch of posts in a row here to get them all done.
Clearly these are Christmas cookies that we made. Yes, there are dinosaurs in there. Christmas dinosaurs.