Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dead Tired heh heh heh

The past week or so has been draining me but finally my Biochemistry 502 class is over. I feel like although at times it felt like crawling through a mile of shit, but coming out on the other side i managed to smell like roses.

Alright, that may be an overstatement but I got less than 5 hours of sleep every day for over a week, and had to make a lot of sacrifices and miss out on a lot of fun, but as a result I feel that completing the course changed me. As opposed to getting one course under my belt (biochem 501) and the satisfaction that came with it, I now also feel a more reinforced sense or foundation of science within me. I feel like I now have some kind of background within my field. In the class I learned a great deal of background on DNA and RNA and how they are made, regulated, and all the complexes, transcription factors and structures that go along with them. A bunch of this knowledge is just an expansion of whatever I learned at Gettysburg, but then there is so much more. Its being able to apply the knowledge and think about it in a much more analytical way and the experiment based approaches to learning about them.

Now if I can only get into a graduate school and really focus what I want to actually 'do' I will be feeling pretty good. Speaking of feeling pretty good, I am really enjoying the season and spending time with my family recently. Everyone seems to be getting along a lot more, and doing things together. Although I missed out on some plays we all were going to see this past week, I think that there is a much stronger togetherness with us and that is really good. My sister is also learning how to drive and is interacting a lot more with my parents and myself which is awesome.

Oh yeah and at work, we had a Secret Santa gift exchange and I got a French press and some hazelnut coffee. It is really freaking awesome, and even though i originally wanted to get the press for loose tea, I'm getting into drinking this coffee and I've used it twice this week since I've gotten it. The press itself also looks like its made of magic. The only way i can describe that is by saying do you remember the film Santa Clause, the one with Tim Allen who becomes Santa? Well the time where that elf kid serves him hot chocolate out of that crazy thing, well the magical aura of that is embodied in my french press, and its awesome.
I suppose i have a good amount of things to be thankful for right about now, the funks yo brotha, check it out now, the funks yo brotha...

Sorry, this post is a bit random, and I'm really tired. I also wanted to say that Zombie games are really cool and I want to get one. Maybe I will go and buy one for my computer or look into one for the old xbox I have. My dad recently showed me a Zombie simulator website. It sounds cooler than it actually was, but it was entertaining none the less. Essentially it was a google map of a town, full of moving circles and triangles designating people and zombies I believe. There was a death toll meter on the top as well as zombie count. I noticed that the zombie count was slowly rising but it also dropped at times, showing that people were at least taking a few out while their numbers dwindled. The biggest problems were that you couldn't zoom or control anything. Cool idea, but it could use some work.

Hey, what do you think about Zombies and sleep? Do you think that zombies can sleep or are their brains under a constant low level of stimulation allowing them to conduct their basic instincts and movements. Everything alive clearly sleeps in some form or another, even fruit flys are considered 'asleep' when their movement is minimal for greater than something like 30 minutes or something like that. Fun Fact: to measure sleep cycles of Fruit flies in a vial you attach a laser to record every time a fly crosses its path, and by setting this in the middle of a vial on its side, researchers determine sleep as flies that do not cross from one side of the vial to the other for greater than X minutes... like 30 or something. Sorry for the deviation, but what I was getting at is that flies have levels of lower activity where their neural clusters are in lower activity, probably similarly as when birds undergo rem patterns and shut off part of their brains even during flight.

Moving back to zombies, they are generally moving all the time right? but sometimes they might move slower or just vacantly stare into space. I wonder if the undead actually would have some kind of lower brain activity considered sleep where they recharge, or would they not need to considering they are reanimated tissue that seems to be self sustaining?

Alright well I guess that is it for now. I hope you all have a Happy Holiday and hopefully I will be able to see most of you at some point.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To regulate, or not to regulate. That Is the question.

Back before Andy left for Graduate School, we had an art night. These are some of the things we ended up doing. Some of it (mostly my own poems) do not make sense, but they are pretty ridiculous. I had found them laying around in my room a while ago and decided to share them with all of you.
These poems sort of remind me of a game that Liz Graham introduced to a couple of us called "Exquisite Corps" Our poems do not have the complexity or rules that the game had, but I suppose the colors and creativity is still there. Some of these don't really have any flow or logic to them, but we still called them all poems. I never understood how anything and everything can be called a poem but the flexibility of it seems kind of wild and compelling. By knocking down all rules, you potentially open up the ability to achieve anything. I guess that's some of the power that poetry has to offer. Once you start adding rules, things start to get forced into a mold which may not always maximize expression and emotion.
I wonder, how far can this idea can be applied? In art, it seems that many masterpieces are those which break the mold, twisting and modifying rules to what the painter sees fit. Would less rules and regulation offer people greater ability to accomplish what they attempt to do... at work... at school? How about in government? Does limiting structure in activities allow for not only greater creativity but also the potential for works of genius? Do you think that it is a good idea for things to be more regulated and restrictive, or is a more loose approach what the mind really craves?
Recently, there has been research published on childrens play being a key factor in the development of our ability to keep focused, prioritize, and be patient. They concluded that unstructured play in early years (kindergarden and preschool especially) are needed to develop these skills. The reasoning is that during play, there is often role playing, and children find that to keep the game interesting and fun, they must fight to maintain their imaginary role. If a child falls out of character the others respond negativley, reinforcing the need to maintain focus.

The bottom line is that some unstructured time, especially as children is needed to help our minds develop skills and ultimatley lead productive lives. Perhaps keeping a healthy dose of unstructured disorder in our lives is a necessity for the longterm as well. When should this unstructured time be? Maybe this is something we need to make time for on our own instead of suggesting that lives should be down regulated at work or other role specific areas of life. It would be interesting to see how the world would function however, if we did implement less rules on society as a whole. There is order to disorder afterall.

It is clear that to the extreme, less rules and regulations would open the risk of a lot of crap, corruption, and unfocused chaos. However, tweaking rules and restrictions rather than fully letting go of the reigns might allow for greater progress. What do you think?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where am I?

I feel like I don't know what I'm put on this earth for. What should I be doing with my life?

The answer to that most likely would be "to do whatever that makes me happy" right? The problem is I don't think I know what that is.

Things will entertain me for a period of time, but I feel like nothing really gives me a strong enough signal. When I think about things that I do enjoy, I feel like I am not good enough at them. Being skilled in whatever you do would seem logical right? Well I suppose one could argue that skill comes in time, especially if you like what you do. So, if that is true, my mind brings up the statement : am I doing what I like? If I was, I would be seeing a more significant improvement in my skill?

Id probably say that yes, I am improving but is this improvement significant? I would think that if I was truly interested in something I would be putting more effort. When I look around at my friends, all of them seem to be making something out of their lives; Going to Grad School, finding themselves, getting married, or simply making friends and establishing their careers. Whatever it is, it seems to me that they are working hard at it. I, on the other hand, feel like I am just doing... there is no "working hard". Ok, well I am staying late at lab and trying to accomplish whatever I can, but there is a difference between the attitude I have and the attitude I see within my friends. I don't even know what or who I am or if what I am doing is what I should do. I think I've been more and more withdrawn as time has been going by. What I need is to find something that excites me, something to fight for. Once I can have some kind of end goal or perspective, It will make things much clearer. I feel like I'm underwater and I need to surface. What do I need to find that will define me? What is it that will make my purpose clearer? Whatever it is, will have to be discovered another day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How NOT to write a personal statement, the readers digest version.

I have been trying to prepare my application for grad school over the past few days. The personal statment has been giving me trouble although I think Ive finally got it. Take a look:

“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, Lao-Tzo. "Thats one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" Neil Armstrong. "Keep on Truckin" Jerry Garcia. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", 18th century british playright. " These are quotes. Each step along the way matters, giving the journey depth and implication. For me, this journey towards a PhD in Biomedical sciences started with my freshman biology class at Montgomery High School. The path that unfolded from there is full of oddly shaped rocks, potholes, and a bit of shit on your right; Now it brought me to this essay you are reading today.

“Look! They are having an orgy!” My biology teacher, Mrs. Naryan exclaimed as she darted from one microscope to another. Excited, I rushed over to see what was going on. The slide in front of me was full of what seemed to be intertwined shapes. Almost impossible to distinguish where one entity stoped and another began, I began to wonder if it was safe to view this at school. I later found out that it was Algae which I saw in that microscope causing my own excitement to exponentially grow, like a baloon attached to an un attended hellium tank more than 3/4 of the way full. Neverless,as I delved into the depth of knowledge surrounding the various organisms and microorganisms that exist in our world that pond water put me in a state of awe because it was really like looking into an entire new world, and I wanted to learn more. Far from being quiescent, I learned early on about the enthusiasm and platonic passion my teacher possessed for science. I recall seeing the spark of excitement in her eye when she talked about cellular processes such as mitosis and the exuberance she had at every lab. Mrs. Naryan nurtured this excitement in me especially during quiet time, where we could occasionally play silent ball. I distinctly remember thinking to myself "this is what being a scientist is like, I can do this!". Unfortunately, I was thinking aloud and lost the game, but this is beside the point. I liked how the class challenged me to think while giving me a glimpse into how the world works. I believe that Mrs. Naryan’s enthusiasm helped me open the door to an exciting new world.

My interest in science continued to grow, like jacks bean stalk, throughout the rest of my High School career, ultimately pushing me up towards the clouds to the doorstep of "my major" at Gettysburg College. As I walked through the front doors, "my major" was still asleep within. However as I continued to walk inside, I knocked over some things on the ground which awoke "my major" from it's deep slumber on top of that oversized kitchen chair and proceeded to try and eat me. At college, I had two professors whose classes really charged my excitement and fascination to a whole new level. Not only did their classes intrigue me beyond others, but I also saw the love of science within them. I will clarify that this love was not between the two professors but their mutual love shared for a single thing, like how people are with kittens on the internet. I love kittens on the internet as well, you see, so just like that, a new fansite was born.

When looking at me as a candidate, I understand that you will look at my undergraduate grades. My GPA at Gettysburg College could have been higher and I want to address this. The biggest problem that I had during my college career was time management. I suffered a great deal from poor time management skills being that my cat fansite took a large portion of my time and this consequently caused my grades to be lower than what I know I am capable of. Since I know this weakness of mine, I have been working to improve my time management skills and placing greater emphasis on planning ahead.

If you choose to accept my application, I will assure you that I will not let you down. I am a hard working, persistent individual who wants to continue to grow in his love for science. My eager and curious nature will also drive me to learn new techniques and knowledge. I want to add that I realize that a Ph.D. is a serious commitment. When things need to get done, I will not hesitate to put in longer hours, sacrifice weekends and do whatever it takes, in a non sexual manner, to make sure what needs to be done, gets done. I also understand that I am not alone in this journey. Professors, fellow students, and friends will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable for their guidance, advice and other means of aid. Furthermore, I will continue to help others by sharing my own skills, advice, and knowledge. Thank you for your time in reading my personal statement, and your consideration.

Ok, so that wasn't exactly the best essay out there. Actually, I highly reccomend that you avoid using most of the elements present in it. If you follow that advice, you will probably be in pretty good shape.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chickin' n dumplings

I want to start off this post by directly saying to amy, when I opened up 'new post' and looked below where it says 'Labels for this post' the examples it posted were scooters, vacation, and fall. You and I both know why scooters came first...

For the rest of you, theres a game called Pancakes or Waffles. In this game the two players are in an imaginary world undergoing cataclysmic events. Every round you are given two items in the world and must choose one to keep, while the other will vanish from existence forever. Once one item vanishes, you must bring another item into question. It is truly a dangerous game... one minute you decide that there's no more waffles in the world and in the next we are all armless!
The only advice I can give you is to choose wisely; the world is in your hands.

With that I want to ask all of you, what do you find to be most important? From tangible effects to personal values... speaking in generalities or specifics. What would you highlight?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I fixed my old ipod with a buisness card the other day.

There is not much for me to talk about on here but I suppose I can just ramble.

I am still in the same job, working on the same project, experiencing the same frustrations and imaginary brick walls. Don't get me wrong, I have a good gig going, It just would be nice if I was able to feel more productive... know what I mean?

The second non-matriculated class I've taken is now in full tilt, with the exam pending October 16th. I feel like I'm a bit overwhelmed with it, but then I think, 'this is just one class, get over it'. Oh well

I am getting a little more domestic while living at home. Ive been doing a bit of cooking and making desserts. Its actually really easy to do, following directions and then maybe being creative on the side.

I am also growing some plants, or more like vines. This one time a few weeks ago I went to a Mexican grocery store and bought a green fregitable... maybe it was a fruit, maybe a vegetable... nobody knows. Its called a chayote and is some kind of squash like potato shaped zuccini like green thing. Anyway I bought the fruit in that store in Princeton and it started sprouting leaves, so It went in the ground instead of in my belly. The vine is like 3 feet long now and slowly taking over the random objects nearby in my room. The other plants are wisteria started from seeds this past spring. Now that its getting darker and colder I ended up buying a full spectrum light bulb which emits all the wavelengths that equates to natural sunlight. It looks really cool because the light looks 'normal' practically like outside.

Ok I'm done now. Until next time

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oh hello, i didn't see you over there, i was busy fixing my fence...

I am not in the mood to write in my blog right now. I was all geared up and ready to go earlier but now im not feeling it. oh wait FAKEOUT!

So what has happened as of late in my life? I suppose good things mostly. I've gotten to know some really great people in my lab and they really appreciate me and understand how awesome i am. I also seem to be academically challenged and furthering my abilities as a researcher and pathologist so i suppose thats all good news. I think the longer im in my job the more i realize how lucky i am and how great of a place it is. So i guess im basically just sitting in a bed of roses arent i? Well... i am keeping pretty busy. I suppose its a good thing to stay busy although the major drawback there is minimal energy available for reaching out to friends.
That always seems to be the case; improving one facet of life results in minimizing another. It is so difficult to juggle and lacking that skill has plagued me foooorrrreeeevvveeerrrr. However, with personal abilities aside, I truely believe that there simply just isnt enough time for people to keep all aspects of their life running full tilt at once, things need to suffer for improving other areas. I guess this isn't really a big problem, it's just one of those 'judgement call' things on which things are important in life. If i was a Sim, i guess im working towards getting work skill points while not really "brushing my teeth and heading right over" to a friends house.
Dont get me wrong, friendship is a VERY important part of life and my friends are very meaningful and cherished in my mind, but like not only do i need to juggle which friend is currently first in the proverbial line of whom to visit, but also i have family obligations and various self endeavors to focus on. For example, I have been helping open up the shore house with my parents doing lots of maintenance and chores... ive also signed up for the GRE again, and dont forget about work. I actually just put together an academic poster of my research for a graduation dinner, and also just gave a department talk to my entire floor on my research. Yes one of those bonnefied, working-world, power-pointed, ultra-hyphenated, presentations... lazer pointer, pizza lunch will be provided, and the whole 9 yards.
It went well by the way but the point im trying to make is that a lot is on my plate right now and im beginning to feel the crunch in being able to squeeze all my friends into the midsts of it.

I have to say, im so glad that things like Andrew and Nancy's wedding happen because it was a great opportunity to see some people i havent seen in way too long. I hope that theres an opportunity for another get together soon, maybe i can convince everyone to go to LBI asap. I do feel guilty though being that i havent been doing the driving to others places, as of late. Its not that i dont want to, its just that i dont have the combined time and vacation time with everything else going on... i hope everyone understands.

oh hey my sister is going to switzerland for 2 weeks starting this sunday. isnt that wild? Who wants swiss chocolate? i am thinking of making her a list of what i want...