Showing posts from October, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

Today's Halloween, or as some say, Samhain, and believe me, that second one is pronounced weird. But what do you expect from a bunch of witches?

Holy crap. I shouldn't have said that. I might get turned into a newt! (a newt, you say?)

Kim decided to visit for the weekend but it was a last minute decision. Since she thought she'd be at her house, Kim bought a bunch of candy---and of course I bought a bunch too. Together we have 16 pounds of candy!l All in nice little pieces. (see picture for details)

Now we just have to decide if we should turn the outside lights on tonight and share this bounty with little ghouls and goblins or just have a sordid candy fueled frenzy of sugar consumption. *burp* Tough choice, huh?

UPDATE: Only had 14 kids come by. Even giving out a handful of candy to each one we didn't finish off even the first bag. Lots and lots of candy left over. And while Kim and I were sitting out on the porch reading, waiting for kids to come by, we were swarmed…

North Carolina stands alone

Maybe I should say that North Carolina sinks alone. You see, according to a report published in the current issue of Geology, the ocean is rising in North Carolina. Here's a quote from the PR folk at University of Pennsylvania:
An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that sea-level rise, at least in North Carolina, is accelerating.
Now sure, some of you are going to quibble, why would the ocean only rise in North Carolina? Well, I don't have a good answer to that. Maybe, and I'm just suggesting this, but maybe the PR person who wrote the press release graduated from a liberal arts program. LOL Not that I'm saying that there's not value in learning a little bit about everything and not much about any one subject area... but... wait, maybe I am.

Anyway, if you look at the actual article ("Timing and magnitude of recent accelerated sea-level rise") by Andrew Kemp, out of Andrew C. Parnell's lab, yo…


Holy mama. I'm going to burst. I made enough pasta and sauce tonight to hold me for three dinners. Unfortunately, while it did take me almost an hour, I ate two thirds of it while watching old episodes of Eastwick this evening. I was so stuffed that my belly was tight as a drum. Even more unfortunately, I ate the last third while watching tonight's episode of Top Chef around an hour ago. I might have gained 2 pounds tonight. *whew* I hope I don't barf in my sleep---I am seriously stuffed to the gilly parts. I put a lot of cumin in the sauce and I'm starting to think that I have a cumin addiction. I wonder if there's a 12-step program for that?

Free Lunch!

There was a vendor show in the lobby of my building today.

They had doughnuts this morning but I was too busy to leave the lab and go down to the lobby. It was a very sad time. :-(

But by lunch time I had some scheduling flexibility and I scooted out and picked me up a make-your-own sandwich. This is what I ended up with. I don't know if it looks good to you but it sure tasted great to me!

It was worth talking to sales folk to get my mouth around that slightly spicy beef, black beans, salsa, rice and cheese sandwich. Yum-yum.

Sunday hike at Sarah Duke

Here's 5 pictures that I took at Sarah Duke Garden on Sunday. I took over 170 pictures there that day and well over half of them are very good. The light was really good that day. Hard to believe people were complaining at the start because of the gray overcast skies.

A pretty yellow flower. If you like that sorta thing...

This guy looked way too serious. Get a load of that incredible camera setup---and all just to get some pictures of ducks. And if you look carefully, you can see he's got his dog hitched to his back end.

The bridge in the Asian section of the Garden. Nice reflections on the water.

And this was a rather nice tree in the parking lot. Only 165 pictures left to go...

White Collar

The new series White Collar debuted on USA Network last night. I didn't think it looked very good from the commercials I'd seen for it but nevertheless I wanted to give it a try.

I'm very glad I did. I liked the show from the first minute all the way to the end. The lead actor, a boy toy type that'll bring in the female demographic, is Matt Bomer, 32, plays Bryce Larkin on Chuck (NBC), which is supposed to be starting its 3rd season in a few months.

Even though Bomer is very good in his role as a art thief and counterfeiter who's now on the side of "the law", the two people I like most in the show are the FBI agent (Tim DeKay) and his wife (Tiffani Thiessen). Delay in the FBI agent role is there to be the foil to Bomer's bad boy but he brings a lot more to his part than just that. It's fun to watch him express his emotions on his face, not a word being spoken. The thing I noticed most about Delay though was his age. When he first appeared on the scr…

Growing Cells in Paper

There's an interesting article in the October 22, 2009 issue of PNAS about using paper as a support matrix for growing cells.

The paper is written by Ratmir Derda, a researcher in George Whitesides' lab at Harvard. The title, Paper-supported 3D cell culture for tissue-based bioassays, sums up the topic pretty well but only hints at the significance of this area of research.

For most of my life basic cancer research has been done the same way. You grow some cancer cells on a plastic surface, usually a flask or petri dish, then test those cells in a variety of ways. The problem is that real cancer cells grow in tumors which are three dimensional and a lot more complicated than some cells growing on a flat surface.

Recently there's been a lot of progress at developing matrix systems for growing cells in more natural but still controlled settings. This paper details one such system and what I like about this method is that it uses pieces of paper in a stack, with cells injected i…

Bad Food Experience

I made breakfast for dinner tonight. Twice. And made it seem like a near attempt at suicide both times.

Sure, we all have off days in the kitchen but to screw up badly twice in one evening? Sad. The first meal was an just-home-from-work quickie dinner using some hashbrowns as the base. At least that was what I was aiming at. I didn't have any russets on hand so I used red potatoes. I also decided to try out a grating grid I'd not used before. The grind was too fine and that combined with the starch content of the reds made for a truly dismal batch of hashbrowns. The worst ones I've ever made. Bleah!

A few hours later I made an batch of scrambled eggs with onions and bell peppers. Didn't saute the veggies long enough so they were "crunchy" and the eggs weren't seasoned well enough. Jeeze. There's some days you really should just stay out of the bloody kitchen. :-(

A Much Needed Walk

I got home from visiting with my parents and Kim in the wee hours of the morning. Since it was a week ago that I left, back when it was still warm, my windows had been left open and the HVAC system was turned off.

It was around 35f when I pulled in to my driveway and inside my house it was a bit below 50f. Brrr! I'll tell you, that heating system was turned on pretty quick.

After sorting through the mail and unpacking a weeks worth of dirty laundry I watched a few shows---the ones that weren't preempted by sports programming (The Amazing Race, House, 60 Minutes, Lie to Me, etc), at least. I was watching the Buffalo/NY Jets game on CBS at Kim's sister's house in Wilmington so I knew my recordings were going to be all screwed up on Sunday but the screwed up recording of House was unexpected.

In any case, to combat weight gain from visiting people that feed me unconditionally, I went hiking this evening with a group of people. That's a picture of us going up a hill. Hi…

Being Mean to Dogs

Sometimes you really have to wonder why dogs put up with us. I mean, is a warm place to sleep and free food worth this kind of assault on ones dignity?

Oh well, Halloween is fast approaching and I guess you have to get ready ahead of time... but doesn't it seem like he's saying: Why are you doing this to me???

Lotta Bad Weather

This storm system is certainly covering a lot of the Eastern part of the country.

It's certainly not making kayaking any fun. But at least there's still some pretty things to look at despite the gloomy gray skies. And rain. :-(

A Day for the Dogs

The weather is rainy and cold. Not the best time to be on the lake in a kayak.

But not everyone was bothered by the weather...

A new Friend

I saw this fellow at Umstead Park today. He wasn't in the mood for socializing and I didn't feel like pressing the issue.


All summer long the area I live in has been in a bad drought. Not the greater RTP area, though they are a little short of usual, but just an area maybe 5 or 6 miles on each side. I only mowed my yard something like 4 times during June, July, August and early September.

Now that the weather is cooling and rain isn't as crucial it's raining every third day. WTF? I mowed last Saturday and already it needs it again. I spent 90 minutes out there mowing after work tonight and there's still an hours worth left to do. Since it's supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon I doubt I'll be able to do it. I can't mow very early in the morning due to the dew. So the first thing I'll be doing is to scoot into Chapel Hill between 8 and 9am to dose my mice, then wander over to Umstead Park to do the Company Mill trail (5.5 miles) then drop off some stuff at Julie's house that she forgot here (a task I've managed to procrastinate on for 2 months now). Then it's back t…


I know it's gimmicky but I think the little fish swimming over there on the right are so cute. If you click on the "pool" that they're in, food gets deposited and the fish go after it. Cool, huh?

Snow Redefined

As you might have noticed from the media and advertising blitz the past few weeks, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is being released tomorrow in a new cleaned up and high definition format.

Several retailers, starting with Toys R Us and moving to Wal-mart, have engaged in heavy discounting and rebate programs bringing the actual price of this movie package down from the $40 retail to a final price of $10. And that's for a package with both conventional DVD and Blu-ray discs. Well, today Amazon jumped on board with an auto-rebate so you don't have to mail anything in. I couldn't resist that additional incentive so I scooted over to Amazon and ordered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. For $10, what the hell.

I love Amazon. I recently received a book which had been discounted down around 40% when I pre-ordered it a month ago. Their price had dropped in the meantime and they cut the price on my invoice by almost $2 for a discount of 46%. Gotta love that. I pre-ordered another boo…

Silent Sunday


Sick Sleep

I've been sick the past few days. Might be that swine flu thing but more likely just a cold. Damn thing is lingering though and due to the H1N1 scare, I can't go into work during normal hours. But I've still got to treat the mice I'm working on so I go in for a couple of hours after 6pm.

All in all it's great for me. I can do as much in 2 hours after 6pm as in 5 hours during the regular day. Why, you ask? Because nobody talks to me! Half the damn workday is wasted with gabby co-workers. Damn annoying if you ask me. It's almost worth having this cold just to get away from all that idle chit-chat. And, NO, that's not my GD cold talking either! LOL

A side effect of this schedule is that I'm getting a lot more sleep than usual. I figure the past two days I've averaged 10 hours of sleep a day versus my typical 4. This is wonderful. I normally can't sleep this much even using sleeping meds. I just can't sleep well at night but it's easy peasy…