29 March 2006

Eagle Haiku

Quiet, calm, at rest
Energetic eagle lands.
We now sing "yahoo"

23 March 2006

Beta Version: The Coffee Ring effect

In addition to laser-zapping the knees of unfortunate sacrifices to the great Research Hydra, I'm looking for ways to quickly find signs of tissue damage in your biofluids. I'm working on a journal article for this part of my research and here's the beta.
Bottoms up! :) LJS

The “coffee ring” effect. You all have seen it. It’s 3 am and you are at Denny’s (or the Fleetwood or Waffle House); drunk, jones-ing for rye toast and trying to sober up with some sludge otherwise known as coffee, when all of a sudden you knock over a bit of coffee onto the table. A few blissful minutes of blackout later, and...voila! There’s a ring of dried coffee on the table. What is really cool is how the coffee always seems to dry in concentric rings instead of making a uniform dried-out blob. No, it’s not because the cup is there. To us nerds in the Doctor Pirates realm, something as simple as spilling a drop of liquid and watching it dry is really fun and exciting. Egad. Did I just say that? I seriously need to get out more if doing the equivalent of “watching paint dry” is the most exciting thing I’ve done this week.

Not to get all fangirl-y on y’all but this “coffee ring effect” is super fascinating to me, the literature on this subject is the coolest thing I’ve read about since hearing about cavitation forces produced by peacock mantis shrimp. Looks like I’m not the only one to really dig these droplets, I’ve seen more people write about the mechanism of liquids drying. These ring formations has received much attention in the literature, with implications in pharmaceutical crystal screening, proteomics, ligand-target interactions, and physical properties of macromolecules such as DNA or polysaccharides. We’re doing something really rock-n-roll with this concept too. I can’t tell you too much about it, even though we’ve spilled the beans to Uncle Sam already. In a *few* months, you’ll be able to read the patent online and marvel at our deft ability to not only detect ____ as a biomarker for ____ but also break all of the laws of thermodynamics simultaneously.

22 March 2006

Orchid Maniac

I've been unintentionally killing my orchids. The 'lady slippers' are doing OK, but my phals are dying quickly. In the past week, three phals have died. Their demise is sudden, unlike any other orchid problem I've ever seen. One day, the plant is fine with no signs of root or crown rot; viral or bacterial infections. The next, the leaves fall off from the base of the plant.
I'm very sad about this, because I've had these orchids for 3-5 years and I feel like a really bad orchid parent. In some respects, I hope now that I can better tend to the ones I still have left. I'll soon have to move my cattleyas and other sun-loving plants from the house to my home and I'm hoping that they'll like their new home as much as I do.
On a happier note, my monster aloe is blooming! Booya.

I'm putting up a photo of "Colleen's Freebird", a phal that my mom bought for my birthday that died this week.
Here's "Taipei Gold" that I had for many years and produced so many beautiful flowers. Sometimes I even had two flower spikes from this plant! Died this week also. :(

17 March 2006

Even a Yankee can like alt-country

Have y'all listened to Cold Roses from Ryan Adams yet? No!?! I've been listening to this album since it came out in May, and still haven't gotten sick of it. If you like the Dead, you'll like Cold Roses. Listen for free!
:) ljs

Low standards, high prices

The lovely state of Michigan has been bleeding manufacturing jobs since 2003, losing most of its college graduates to other states, and no Michigan city is highly ranked for workforce education levels. Just two years ago, Jennifer Granholm advocated creating more educated population as a way to attract businesses to the state. (Just an aside, I *heart* Jennifer. I wish she could run for prez, but she's Canadian by birth. Bummer, eh?)
So what do I hear this morning? The state senate is considering relaxing the math requirements for high school graduation! That is to say, they may not require students to take algebra II. Instead, "alternatives" may be substituted. I'm not sure if learning how to dole out flour in measuring cups during home ed is my idea of a suitable alternative to algebra, but apparently it is for our happy state. Granted, I hated algebra II (honors, natch) and I know many people out there did also. But, math skills are highly correlated as a general gauge of a population's education. Is relaxing high school standards the most logical way of creating an educated population? It is counterintuitive to me. Actually, it sounds pretty f&*king stupid. By placing these low standards on kids, they may be able to pass high school but how will they perform in the job market? How will they be able to get through college?
In my humble piratess opinion...by even considering to relax high school graduation requirements, the senate is demonstrating an alarmingly myopic vision for the state. For this reason, and many others, I fear that our state is spiraling into an economic abyss.

I used to really enjoy living in Michigan, I still love Ann Arbor and my friends who are here. Unfortunately I look forward to the day when I can kiss this state goodbye and move to a state that is a) aesthetically beautiful and b) can support a vibrant and healthy biotech job market. Work one day, conquer a *fourteener* the next. Sounds great huh?

I can foresee next year's headlines...
"In today's news, the state of Michigan has decided that the only requirement for students to graduate from high school is a pulse and heartbeat."

Walk the plank! LJS

15 March 2006

Four things

A. Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. Graduate Student Barbie
2. Slayer of poorly soluble compounds
3. Resident Assistant  
4. Master of SuperK deli counter
B. Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. The Shawshank Redemption 
2. The adventures of Milo and Otis 
3. Lilo and Stitch
4. Raising Arizona
C. Four places you have lived:
1. Ann Arbor, MI 
2. Wheeling, WV
3. Brunswick, OH
4. Brooklyn, OH
D. Four TV shows you love to watch: (such an ironic little
question for a TV-less piratess)
1. Scrubs
2. Pokemon
3. The Daily Show
4. Lost
E. Four places you have been on vacation
(there’s too many to count, these are the four most recent) 
1.  Mexico
2.  Oregon
3.  Alaska
4.  Barcelona
F. Four websites you visit daily: 
1. Monkey Barn 
2. Travelocity 
3. Stuff on My Cat 
4. Slate Mag 
G.  Four of your favorite foods:
1. My cooking
2. Pancakes 
3. Aut bar burritos
4. Potstickers
H. Four places you'd rather be right now:
1. Montreal
2. New Jersey
3. Atlanta
4. Kindergarten with my niece
I. Four of your favorite things to do (not in any particular order)
1.  Being active outside
2.  Enjoying tea at Crazy Wisdom
3.  Visiting Montreal
4.  Spend time with loved ones (y’all know who you are)
J. Four of your favorite drinks (alcoholic or non....ANYTHING)
1. Tea 
2. Water  
3. Coffee!  
4. Mexican hot chocolate

12 March 2006

Little surprises are the best

Sometimes, my mind is like a steel trap. I remember playing with kids in my neighborhood in Brooklyn when I was 2 and 3, eating Macaroni-n-cheese (Kraft Dinner to our Great White North blogees). And all sorts of useless tidbits, like the symbolism of equestrian statues and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, are happily diffusing through my grey matter.
But, I am sometimes reminded that I am blonde. And, then I get very plesantly surprised. Like today. I thought that I'd have to wait until Tuesday morning for my sunshine, but my blondness did the calculation wrong and it turns out that it's actually Monday AM. I'm quite happy because it means a phone call a day earlier than thought.
My niece turned 6 last week! I'm happy to see that while she is growing up to be a fine young lady, she is still a wonderful and vibrant and joyful kid. I wish that bath time could be as fun for adults as it is for kids.

Y'all like the new word? Blogee. One who reads a blog. I'll be contributing to the Monkey Barn, so check it out. This little piratess is tired and sure could use massages, sudoku puzzles and warm chocolate cake. Ahhh...the LJS Sunday Sweet tooth.

10 March 2006

Marathon Top Ten

I'm quite prolific today. Boredom does that. I was planning my training for the May 1/2 marathon and a) I am freaking out since there's only 12 weeks left to train and b) I ran across my motivating top 10 list. I'd like to run a marathon in the fall, and there's an ultra-marathon through Hell,Michigan in September. There's some running lingo but I hope you still enjoy. :) ljs

The top 10 reasons to run a marathon
10: Hitting “the Wall” can be just as fun for you as it was for Pink Floyd
9: Running 26.2 kilometers just doesn’t sound as cool
8: Epic struggles make for better memoirs
7: We have not yet busted ALL of the Ann Arbor flashers
6: Running through Hell will seem fun by comparison
5: Two words…Carbo Loading!! (mmm…beer)
4: What else are we going to do on Sunday mornings? Cook?
3: Negative splits aren’t as painful as they sound
2: The race is just a 10 K…with a 20 mile warm up
1: Having bragging rights forever is priceless

When the stars go blue

Instead of doing what I *should* be doing, writing Ber's referral letter, I'm blogging. Mainly because I've been thinking of lots of things. Moving, finishing school, motorized vehicles, headstands, paperwork, candidacy, tattoos and blogs. Not necessarily in that order. School work, or the lack thereof, is floating somewhere in my brain too...sincerely.
This afternoon I'm going to check out a nano-scale apparatus for measuring fluid viscosity which sounds really neat. And then off to a seminar and leaving my CV with M. Leclerc. Although he works in macromolecular chemistry and I have a less-than-zero chance of working in his lab, I think that it'd be very cool to get some polymer synthesis experience and some spectroscopic characterization of these polymers. They have a super-neato application in ultra-trace detection of proteins and DNA.
I had an appointment with legal services yesterday. No more generic plain oatmeal, Domie. Get ready for some parasailing! And, it is a nice feeling to be happy...because life is good.
I ran outside in the rain last night, my legs were happy to get a'moving and I ran for 3 miles straight. Of course I was soaked by the run's end, but I'm really motivated for the spring 1/2 marathons.

"I'm not all alone in the dark. I like the dark. I love the dark... But I hate nature! I HATE nature!" :) ljs

Life by Committee

Here's the image on my computer screen, it was taken at sunrise in Tulum, Mexico by a couple of sleepy pirates.
For some reason, I woke up today and remembered that I dreamt about my car. I have to return it in April (silly lease!) and so I'll be without motorized vehicle. And, in Michigan aka land of no public transportation...the prospect of being without vehicle is so not good. Although I'd like to fancy myself as a fit gal, I know that bicycling to/fro my parents' or other places I'd like to visit is rather unrealistic. I've been jones-ing for a motorcycle, but I won't be able to use it in the winter. So I'm debating between...
a) used car now, motorcycle next year
b) motorcycle now, used car in late fall

Your thoughts? Leave comments, top 10 lists, your favorite ice cream flavor etc...

Lainie, if you get your tongue pierced then there's no more excuses for not parasailing.

08 March 2006

Glass Gods

I saw an interesting article for some interesting glasses today, but I wonder how far they can be apart and still glow. Looks like I'll be perusing New Scientist to find out, and perhaps travelling to Montreal to check them out in person.
I'm submitting a manuscript today for peer-review. Keep your fingers crossed. If all goes well, it'll be two journal articles down...two more to go in order to graduate. I'm looking for jobs and passing out my CV because it's never too early to start getting one's name *out there* in the job market. And, it'll be a great chance to meet people who are doing very cool science.
If anyone is interested, you may want to "eye" my last article in the April issue of Applied Spectroscopy. The final manuscript is not as fun as a beta-version, but definitely fit for public viewing.
To paraphrase a whole bunch of folks: growing old is mandatory, maturity is optional.
:) ljs

07 March 2006

Cat Slobber

A big thanks to Ber for directing us to this really cool Google hack. Unfortunately, there's no way to include Canadian provinces and Mexican states so I can include British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and Yucatan. :D

As one can tell, I still have much travelling to do. I'd love to see the Badlands. Maybe once I get my *chopper* this summer, I can visit a few more. I tracked my travels on a world map too, and that was interesting. I'd like to see more of Europe for sure.

On another note, I didn't know that cats could slobber so much. I got attacked with affection by Howie Katt last night upon returning from a wonderful trip to Mexico. I was covered in Katt fur and Katt slobber. Oh the fun!

It's great to be back in Michigan at a time when seeing blue skies isn't cause for celebration. Welcome spring! I wish I had a motorcycle right now because it's perfect driving weather. No snow, slightly cold. Brilliant blue skies and plenty of sunshine. I'll be riding my bicycle instead, it'll be great to just ride outside!

I'm finding a good photo blog help/site so I can put up some pics from my trip to Mexico, and my orchids. I'll spare y'all the details of 350+ photos from Mexico and only put up some of the nicer ones.

Ahoy! :) ljs