Showing posts from November, 2005

Breast Cancer Research

(I didn't edit this at all yet, so it's going to be a mite
hard to follow. I was tired when I wrote it)

Monday was a very long day at work. I didn't get home until after 11pm, largely due to a grant meeting that my boss wanted me to attend.

As it turned out, there was little reason for me to attend, and since it got out at 9:30pm, after most of the buses stopped running--I had a nice little hike in the rain.

Yet it wasn't all bad. The meeting itself had a lot of interesting moments. Since my work is very technical and detail oriented I rarely deal with the big picture of cancer--I just work on defining surface markers and measuring how different drugs change the morphology of cells and the genetic profile of the targeted normal and cancerous cells. It's my boss that worries about the big picture.

As a result, this meeting of the top 9 MDs and 2 PhDs in our breast cancer research program was very illuminating to me. That night I saw just how the work I was doing for my …

mona lisa of the NC piedmont

This picture was taken from a few inches in front of my girlfriend's face. She insisted I mention this because she didn't want anyone to think that her nose was really this big.

This picture wasn't sweetened or changed in any way from the original camera shot but as the comment above indicates, that doesn't mean it's an accurate depiction.

So much in a pictures depends on circumstances that the viewer might not know about. Like how close the lens was to my girlfriend's face when I took the shot. That short focal length of close features like her nose made them dramatically overemphasized compared to the relatively more distant eyes.

Another factor was the environment. As you can see to the left, we were outside on the porch when that close face shot was taken. This was on Thanksgiving day and Barney had made the atmosphere in the house temporarily uninhabitable so we braved the cold air--just above freezing--and high winds for 10 minutes or so. As a result her fa…


I spent Thanksgiving at my girlfriend's parents' house. It was just the four of us and her brother & sister-in-law. Oh, and Barney.

That's him over there on the left.

I took a few pictures of him but the best two are represented here. Which one do you like better? Ears up or down? LOL

Women can be really funny about how their hair looks but Barney seemed pretty willing to have his ears do anything they pleased. If only women were so compliant... I'd have some VERY interesting pictures since hair can be even funnier than ears.

If you're wondering why Barney looks so vigilent, it was partially due to the strong scent of turkey and pork in the air--and of course because he's a very friendly fellow and always willing to put on a show for a little attention. And man can that dog jump!

He looks a lot more serious with his ears down, doesn't he? And those serious soulful eyes!

my new tenant

Over to the right you'll notice a small ad for another blog. It's owned by Teri, AKA 3T, a woman living in Arizona who is the married mother of 3 and a youthful appearing 41. Go look at her blog page and picture and see what I mean.

If you go visit, please let her know you're visiting from my page please!

The main content of her blog, in her own words is: the musings of a retired bad-girl, who unwittingly stumbled in to life as I know it today. Since the material contains bad girl tales, daily life, psycho babble, venting, and some adult content you might not want small kids to visit!

In the past few weeks Teri's had a number of interesting posts. In this one, she posts about how well her husband has taken to her children from her previous marriage. An issue that concerns many people out there! As an attractive woman of middle years, there's always a certain concern with aging. Here's her boobie post illustrating how gravity can be defeated!

A post that started abo…


Happy Thanksgiving 2005

I do love a sale and at 27 cents a pound I just had to get an extra. Don't feel sorry for the extra bird--he'll only spend a few weeks in there alone. Just enough time for me to recover from that first feast.

My apologies to any vegetarians out there--seeing two dismembered birds might be disturbing. To the rest of us it just makes us hungry. Mmmmm.

This picture commemorates the end of a different bird.

Last weekend my girlfriend and I baked a 4 pound "roaster" chicken and had a candlelit dinner complete with a nice Reisling. My favorite vintage, slightly sweet and fruity but not too sweet. I did a post on this Reisling last month.

In two hours we'll be off wandering into the NC mountains in search of a welcoming hearth along with one of Renée's sons. I hope y'all have a safe haven in which to enjoy this holiday as well.

Don't forget that turkey has high levels of tryptophan. That amino acid can really make you sleepy so remember: do…

my tenant

Over to the right you'll notice a small ad for another blog. It's owned by Lonnie B Hodge who's a professor from America that's living in China. The main content is pictures and essays making observations on life in China.

Some posts are of human interest items like the bicycling barber of Beijing. Other posts are political or economic in nature. The variety of areas he's interested in are staggering.

He's posted on Breast Cancer a number of times which is of interest to me since I'm doing science research relating to breast cancer. Here's a profile of one woman who has breast cancer.

This recent post, Bloggers within borders: MY CHINA TOP TEN PICKS, was interesting. Dr. Hodge lists what he thinks are some of the best blogs to learn more about China as it really is, not just politically slanted diatribes.

He's also got a lot of wonderful pictures of various parts of China. Here's a post in which he has a number of pictures taken in Macau. The pictur…

my 200th post

Happy Thanksgiving

to one and to all
(even the the turkeys)


Today, on my drive home from work, I'll go past the 70,000 mile point in my truck. It's now 6 years, 6.5 months old. That's 206 miles per week or 10,705 miles per year....

It still runs quite well but I doubt I'll keep it much longer. Probably sometime in March I'll trade it in. I really want a Honda CR-V but I can't quite get myself to go past the $20k mark for a vehicle so I'll probably get something more modest.

The Hyundai Elantra sedan, around $14k, is nice albeit low powered; maybe I'll get one of those. Since I don't put many miles on my truck, the gas milage isn't a big factor for me regardless of gas prices.

My truck averages 27 mpg and anything above 25mpg is fine. The CR-Vs are around 30mpg and the Elantra gets about 28mpg.

UPDATE: It's 14 miles from work to home so I hit the 70k mark about a third of the way home. I remember it being a big thing with my brother and I when we were kids, watching those numbers slowly turn over. Usuall…

bedtime meme

Here's a meme I picked up from Michelle over at Lady Justitia. She got it from Green Eyed Lady.

How many pillows do you sleep with? there's generally 3 pillows

Do you sleep in the nude? always

Do you use a top sheet? always unless it's VERY hot

Do you fall asleep in front of the tv? occasionally, esp during baseball season

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? LOL not in a very long time!

Do you sleepwalk? last time was when I was 19, 25 years ago

Do you wear socks to bed? never

Can you see in the dark? not in total dark, silly--but i see better than most people due to eyes that are very light sensitive. great at night but lousy in daylight

Do you eat in bed? pretty much every day

Do you have nightmares? not that i remember

Do you dream? not that i remember

Are you a normal, light or heavy sleeper? usually very light

Do you fantasize in your sleep? like dreams--not that i remember
What size is your bed? queen size
Do you snore? i do when i'm unusually tired

Do you braid your hair before…

internet gambling

Last night's edition of 60 Minutes was quite interesting. The 3 segments were on Internet Gambling, the current situation in New Orleans, and the rock band U2.

While I was certainly aware of gambling on the Internet and knew that it and the porn industry were the two big money makers I've never actually been to a gambling site so this segment on 60 Minutes really opened my eyes.

According to Nigel Payne, who runs Sportingbet, one of the world’s biggest online gambling companies, over 12 million citizens of the USA indulge in this activity. They contribute approximately 80% of the revenue to International gambling sites which rake in 10 billion in profits last year. That's not sales, folks, that's profit!

This is an interesting topic since online gambling is illegal in the USA. Of course it's quite difficult to regulate the Internet which is why so many US citizens are able to play--and thus sending about 8 billion in profits overseas where it can't be regulated or…


My girlfriend passed a geek quiz on to me on Friday. It's a test of geekiness--duh!. She only scored 11% because despite being in computers she's not very geeky. I scored 33.136% which qualifies me for " +++ Total Geek" but there's still 5 levels above (below?) that.

Give it a try and see how you do. Discover the inner (or maybe outer) geek in you!

Here's the background and history of the geek test in case you're overwhelmed with curiousity. Here's an excerpt from that page:

It all started in September of 1999 when I was dating "GrapeApe."
My two geeky roommates at the time were also dating geeks;
we decided that men had to have a thin layer of geekiness to
be worth our time. The next weekend, GrapeApe and I were
enjoying caffeinated beverages at Maxwell's Coffee House
near the University of Toledo where, in his words, he was
"learning how to be an engri-neer". What a geek!

end of the week

It's an hour into Saturday. This was one long week. It seems that it felt that way to a lot of people I know. Just this afternoon around 4pm when I was meeting with my boss she was saying how much she was looking forward to some time off. She had surgery every day this week, even on her clinic days, whereas she normally operates just two days a week. She's not working next week at all--Thanksgiving-- though if anything interesting happens in the lab she wants me to Email her about it. While the lab work is just a sideline for her she's always very interested in what we're doing.

The fellow I work with has a new daughter, just 3 weeks old--and that means virtually no sleep. In addition one of the tumors we were working on just would not yield any quality RNA. The cells stained great, the lifts on the LCM worked fine--but even the first stage of the amplification sucked. Bummer. And on top of all that, his Mother-in-Law is visiting this week!

But the topper is my girlfrien…

to rent or not to rent

If you'll recall from yesterday, I was rejected in my initial attempt to rent space on another blog on Blog Explosion. So the obvious strategy is if you can't beat them, join them!

As you can see to the right, I'm attempting to rent out my blog. I am now a blog ho. I've not decided if I feel cheapened yet but Hell, I've always known I could be bought for the right price so mentally I should be able to adjust! LOL

Did anyone out there catch the recent episode of Lost? I thought it was pretty interesting--especially the comment that the people that were taken were the good ones. That both dovetails with some of the first season at the same time it contradicts it. No doubt the statement isn't backwards compatible with the first season since I suspect they'd not planned quite this far ahead.

Locke's belief that the Island is a transition area for working out the issues holding them back spiritually kinda works but the fact that almost nobody from their group h…

blog explosion

The past week and a half I've been playing over at Blog Explosion. It's a site, for any of you that haven't been there, that promotes visitors to your blog. It does this by a variety of means mostly of the donkey and carrot variety using the reward of points instead of the carrot.

I don't think Blog Explosion really adds much to real traffic. I suspect most of the people click in and then leave without reading any content. So there's little value in that--assuming I'm correct--unless you just want to pad your blog's stats for some reason. On the other hand, some of the ways to earn points there are fun, especially Battle of the Blogs. A blog game kind of like playing the card game War.

Another way to make points there is to rent out space on your blog. You might have seen this on various blogs around the Net. Today I tried to rent space on another blog for the first time. I was rejected! The notice I got from the administrators follows:

Your rent bid for Fig I…


As you might notice, I put one of those cute (annoying?) banners in the corner of my blog. It was a little plain over there so I figured what the Hell.

Right now I've just got a quickie GIF there with the name of my blog. I didn't use Photoshop to make it and you can see the sides are a little ragged. I'll do a better one--maybe by the time you see this post it'll already have been done.

Anyone wanting advertising on that banner feel free to contact me. I'll give you the space for a few kisses if you're cute. (don't let my girlfriend know!)

I think I'll make the banner some other color when I redo it. Right now it's white and while that shows up well, I'm mostly doing this for looks not advertising... any suggestions? I can change it pretty quick by just FTPing the new GIF.

intelligent design

Two of the guys in the lab that I work with joke around a lot. The other day, while pretending to do a muscle builder's flex, one of them said: This body is no accident! Whereupon the other fellow quipped: You mean you did THAT on purpose!???

That reminded me of the buttons that I've been seeing on some science oriented websites.

It's the same type of caustic humor and at least to me, kinda funny. I like that 'in your face' humor.

Of course the point they're trying to make, and not very subtly, is that the theory of Intelligent Design insinuates a perfect creation and such a thing doesn't explain mistakes very well. Mutations, speciation, oddly designed body parts, extinction--they all fit poorly with the ID approach.

So, just how amusing do you find your own design? Personally, my wry amusement is usually centered around my leg to arm ratio. All my life I've had heavily muscled legs and butt. My arms and chest would embarrass a sparrow. Bad design, I tell …

mist in the morning

This is the view from my parent's back yard down to the lake.

As you can tell from the mist, it was quite a cold morning. I like that type of day best since it allows for really nice pictures.

The hint of sun rising soon lights up the mist but leaves dark shadows on the shorelines. The overall effect can be breathtaking.

I just wish I had a better camera since not being able to control my f-stop directly really limited some of my photos.

The only downside to this is that you get very cold if you're on shore and it's even worse when you're out on the water either on a boat or in a kayak.

This picture was taken from in my kayak while the bow was bobbing just short of the shore.

I wanted to catch the mist leaving the mouth of an inlet where the water hadn't been warmed yet by the sun. The warmer water of the main lake was causing the air over it to rise thus pulling the misty air out of the inlets. Behind me, on the main lake, the air was perfectly clear.

pig pickin

It was a cold night in mid November when a group of friends and coworkers came together at the house of Angie & Mark to pay homage to the harvest festivals of old and gathered around the fire you see below.

===please click on the pictures below to see them in a larger size===

Often symbolic, on this night the fire invited huddling due to the chill in the air. Brrrrr!

We talked for a while, eating snacks rich in heritage--or at least ones that tasted good--and talked of cultural issues like how UNC totally *ucked up against Maryland that afternoon.

Then came time for the main meal and the pig made it's first--and last--appearance before us. A sacrifice for better harvest next year, perhaps, or maybe just so that UNC can win against Duke on the 19th.

Can you say "Babe"?

This is how a Carolina Pig Pickin' usually comes packaged. You get a pig, you cut it in half, then you slow cook it all day in a cylindrical container. Often just a cut up oil barrel is used but in this c…

on the road of life

I found this cute little gem over on Oreo's site. He's a pudgy but adorable cat that maintains the discipline in Heather's house over in Virginia. It's always good to have a cat taking care of things--even if he's a little stoned at the moment.

I think this might be a good parable for Christian values. Or if you're more philosophically inclined, a good representation of Kant's catagorical imperative.

Personally I root more for dogs than cats (sorry Oreo) but in this case I guess things turn out the way they should. Reminds me a lot of those Road Runner cartoons from the Bugs Bunny show.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to design one of those nifty little banners that cover a corner of the blog. I've made the GIF but haven't written the javascript to put it in the right place. Wish me luck!

amazing race

This season is season 8 for this venerable reality TV show. I saw the first season, missed the next few and then started watching it again with season 4. It's the only reality TV show that I watch.

The locations are often amazing--as the name implies--and the teamwork and sometimes lack thereof adds to the drama and sometimes pathos. Perhaps the biggest draw is the challenges that pop up in the race since they're often either something you'd love to do--or something that you'd NEVER want to do.

My two favorite teams have been the mother-daughter team, Nancy & Emily, from the first season and Colin & Christie from the 5th season. Colin was one of the most disliked participants in the series but I thought the way he tackled almost every obstacle with aplomb was impressive.

This season my early favorites were the Linz's (brothers and sister) but after a couple of legs the Gaghan family (mom, dad and two small kids) replaced them. Unfortunately the Gagham's di…


The following is the Nielsen numbers for the first week of November

Top broadcast shows (Rank/Season avg/Show title/Network/Viewers in millions)
1. 1 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS 28.7
2. 2 Desperate Housewives ABC 23.9
3. 3 Without a Trace CBS 20.4
4. 8 Survivor: Guatemala CBS 18.3
5. 4 Grey's Anatomy ABC 18.1
5. 9 NCIS CBS 18.1
7. 16 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 17.7
8. 12 Cold Case CBS 16.6
9. 10 NFL Monday Night Football ABC 16.5
10. 19 Criminal Minds CBS 16.2
11. 12 CSI: New York CBS 15.7
12. 15 60 Minutes CBS 15.6
13. 11 Law & Order: SVU NBC 15.2
14. 17 NFL National Post Game CBS 15.1
15. 8 Commander in Chief ABC 14.6
16. 40 CBS Sunday: Category 7 - Part I CBS 14.3
16. 17 ER NBC 14.3
16. 26 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC 14.3
19. 24 House Fox 13.4
20. 5 CSI: Miami CBS 13.3

Do you watch any of the shows? I watched th…

holiday pics

Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner--at least here in the US--it's time to think about shopping for presents and here's a few pictures to put you in the mood. For shopping, that is.

Any cynical folk out there might be thinking that I'm posting this in an attempt to put off writing my novel on NaNoWriMo--and you're probably correct.

It's just too many words for one month! Dammit.

So anyway, here you have a cute dog in the midst of scraps of wrapping paper. Awwww!

His name is Tibbet which represents his breed, Tibetan Terrier. He looks very energetic in the picture. Looks are very deceiving here! His only energy is displayed when either food is at hand, or squirrels are in the yard.

Here's a lovely Winter scene on cotton. I took the picture using ambient light so that the flash wouldn't drown out the effect of the lights under the cotton.

Please forgive the lack of clothing on a few of the subjects. They know not what they do!

Here we have a rogue's …


This is probably going to seem like a lame-ass post to most women and some men but here goes...

I've never made a whole turkey. The picture to the left is one I bought last year on sale and it's been sitting in my freezer for a long, long, long time. Since Thanksgiving is coming up here in the States and the consequent sales on Turkey, I decided it was time to roast the one from last year.

Since I've never done this before I've been consulting web sites as well as cookbooks so I don't screw it up.

Now I'm not going to do anything fancy--no marinade, not even basting for me.

And the roasting thing seems pretty damn simple. Just turn the oven on to 325f and leave it in there for 3.5 hours.

So I took the turkey (13.85 pounds, by the way) out of the freezer after work yesterday and it's been thawing ever since.

Tomorrow I'll put it in this roasting pan and hope for the best. Even though it seems simple, the idea of nearly 14 pounds of meat being cooked at once bo…

halloween comic

This is today's strip of PreTeena a comic written and inked by Allison Barrows. It's been around since 2001 though I just started reading it early this year.

This is the younger of the two daughters that the strip centers on. I like her attitude towards candy. I never outgrew my love of sugar and I view the day after Halloween as one of the big holidays of the year. I rarely buy less than 20 pounds of candy (on clearance) and this year was no exception! The only bad thing was that none of the stores I went to had any Smarties left. I really like Smarties. *sigh* But at least I got a lot of chocolate to help drown my sorrows. :-)


Now while the image of a greasy shirt, black fingernails, and a cough inspired by decades of car exhaust might be coming to mind, my title refers to the mechanics of writing not those of car repair.

I guess if you never think about it, writing a novel might seem as simple as starting at the beginning, describing the action that ensues, and then stopping when all has been said and done. There are novels like that, some quite good, but that approach is risky and takes a lot of talent. Writing mechanics can take some of that risk away.

The reason this is topical for me is that it's November and while that means Thanksgiving here in the US along with turkey and cranberry sauce, for a certain segment of the population it also means NaNoWriMo.

What's that you say? Well, NaNoWriMo is National November Writing Month. It's a very informal contest that requires a person to write 50,000 words--not really long enough to be a novel but don't get technical--within the month of November…

winter pics

Here's a few pictures of cold winter things from around here. These aren't from this year. Here in Eastern NC we don't get much snow. A few days a year, rarely an accumulation over a couple of inches--and that's the way I like it.

These pictures are from an ice storm 3 years ago--and I hope we don't get one this year!

This scene is just outside of where I work. At the time I was working with a cell line I couldn't replace so I had to walk into work since I couldn't drive. At the time I lived just a few miles away. Now I live 14 miles away and would just let those poor cells go to heaven. :-)

This picture is taken next to the Bell Tower, a landmark on the UNC campus. I liked the way the red berries looked encased in the ice. Purty!

This is another landmark on the UNC campus. The Old Well. Now it's just a drinking fountain and a place for the kids to take each other's pictures.

I really don't like snow--but it is pretty.