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.