Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I finally fixed up the photo gallery. Now it doesn't have the missing inline placeholders, and some captions to give an idea of what was going on.

I started reading "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut the other day. I liked "Slaughterhouse 5," so I thought I'd read this one. Dave (youngest North) commented to me one time that he really liked it. I must say, I'm only 2 chapters into it and I've found it very humorous, just as Dave suggested I might.

I was writing Ellie an email, and I thought I should throw it up here. It was kind of a flow-of-conciousness thing, but I think a lot of it may hold true.

"I'm just thinking about you and how I love you. I know you stress about money. I wish you didn't. Think about all the wonderful things we have for ourselves, like Tivos, computers, treadmills. Now think about a good job. Supportive parents. Love for each other. Time on the weekends to spend together. Bright futures.

So what if there is $200 or $20,000 in a checking account. That is something so small, and we have so much good. Try to keep things in perspective. It is so Western to dwell on what we want next and money, so on. It's time we look at what we have and appreciate it, rather than always pine over what to get next. Houses, cars, computers, lunches... all these things come and go. We've got a loving relationship. Those are much more fragile and should be appreciated and nutured, not allowing all those outside societal desires to outdo the Joneses to pervert them."

Sunday, September 28, 2003

So I checked my email this morning. 25 spam mails, and 1 automated job search update (I just haven't turned that one off yet). That is really pathetic. I never really understood the big problem of that spam was. I understood theoretically that it used a ton of bandwidth and is costly for ISPs, but it didn’t hit home for me until it took 2 minutes to download nothing but spam. I’ve had my MSU email account since 1998.

It’s not nearly as bad as my Hotmail account (had that one since 1996). I think the ratio of actual email to spam there is ~1:500. I wonder what is going to happen. Spam is just predicted to go higher and higher. I use a filtering system, and it works great right now. I just wish I didn’t have to waste time downloading the stupid things.

Friday, September 26, 2003

So I just finished reading Slaughterhouse 5 today. Why didn't my high school teachers have me read that rather than Turn of the Screw? That book (Turn of the Screw) was to convoluted for a high school kid to understand. Slaughterhouse 5 though, now that I liked. I guess I can't really say for sure I would have liked it back then, but I did today. So it goes. :-)

I'm writing this before my Pharmacology class on the Handspring that Ellie got in college. It is so slow to write on this! Oh well. It's one way to pass the time. I hope these user inputs to PDAs get better with time. I bet Apple computer would dream up a nifty one (I'm crossing my fingers).

Thursday, September 25, 2003

My left ear is still not working right...

So we went to go see the Red Hot Chili Peppers! Good show. They've been in the business a long time and know how to entertain. The opening bands were ok. I liked Queens of the Stone Age, but not enough to go buy an album of theirs. The RHCP didn't play many of their old songs, mostly stuck to stuff from the late 90's to the present. Oh well.

The night was not without some drama. There were some jerks seated behind us that wanted to pick up our seats and toss them around, which was specifically verboten by the Breslin Center. Ellie being the person she is turned around when she heard them planning this and said something to the effect of "I'm really anal about rules, and if you do that I'll tell and have you kicked out." The morons behind us didn't take to kindly to that, and used some colorful language to tell Ellie to get whatever was stuck in her rectum out and to f*** off. I wasn't suprised by their reaction to Ellie's attitude... I told her later "You reap what you sow," so when you are nasty to people they treat you in kind.

Well the concert went on and the guy behind us keep pushing the our seats into our legs for a while, and eventually quit it when we ignored him. Moron. Right at the end of the show he's shaking the seat, and Ellie decides to plop down in it to spite him. Well, a minute or two later he kicks her in the back! So Ellie goes over to the security to have the guy removed, but he happens to have about 7-8 people sitting around us that are friends of his, so they start getting mouthy and threatening when we try to go back to our seats. We decided to leave at that point rather than escalate the situation further. Too bad we're not all a little better equipped to deal with conflict, but how long is human history and how many times have people been violent. It sucks.

Other than that things were good. I start at my new lab on Friday. There is a lab meeting, so I'll go to that to start getting an idea of what is going on. That's about it at this point. We plan on going down to Hillsdale this weekend to watch Rob play. He's leading Division 2 in tackles at this point in the year, so I'm proud of him. I hope he keeps it up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Things are chugging along. I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and get things done before the deadlines arrive. Case in point is my application to the Pharmacology/Toxicology program. I could wait and wait (deadline is not until April), but I want to get it done so I am more likely to be accepted.

Still don't have the scores back from the latest Pharmacology exam. Maybe we'll get them on Wednesday. I did get my homework back from my Biochemistry class, and I was disappointed. I got an 80%, and did quite well on all the questions except one. It was about Radioimmunoassay methodology (a research tool that isn't really used all that much any more since we now have colored reagents so one doesn't have to work with radioisotopes anymore). I interpreted the question in the reverse of what was true, so I got it totally wrong- result was no credit on that one... ouch! I'll just have to prepare better for the exam and look over the methods better.

Speaking of Biochemistry, the current teacher is not doing a very good job. Maybe I don't have as much background as some of the other students (since they are mostly Biochem graduate students and I'm a Human Nutrition student), but his expectation on our understanding of amino acid properties and the chemistry that they go through is a bit high. He doesn't explain the why or how any steps work, just things like "Add 6 molar urea to the solution, then hydrolyze the product postcolumn, which you can see from looking at this peak on the plot is a serine residue." HUH?

On a different note, it looks like Ellie and I will be going to go see the Red Hot Chili Peppers play! They are coming here to little ol' East Lansing to play to the college kids at the Breslin Center (our basketball arena). The folks at Ellie's hotel had some extra tickets, so they offered them to us! I thought that was pretty cool. I wanted to go, but not bad enough to drop the money for the cost of tickets. Now it looks like we get to see them for free. Ellie saw Flea walking around and didn't recognize him as a rock star (but man, I bet the stuff would hit the fan if Dave Matthews strolled through for her). I'd be happy to shake one of their hand (the Chili Peppers that is) and thank them for the contribution they've made to music and art as a whole, but not act like a star-struck boob. At least I can hope I would be so non-chalant :-)

Friday, September 19, 2003

AGGGHHHHH! Lost a whole blog post because the stupid dial-up modem drops it's connection during the posting! I am getting to HATE dial-up. The slowness wouldn't be so bad... it's the constant connection drops! I can never stay connected for more than a 1/2 hour, and often it's less than 10 minutes! So irritating!

So I wrote previously about this crazy past week, where I had a 3 hour exam in Pharmacology on Monday night and a presentation in front of the Food Science & Human Nutrition department. Most everyone said I did a great presentation, so I was proud of that (though I think I would have been even better had I started a week earlier, but isn't that always the case). I don't know about the Pharm exam... we'll find out about the score in the coming week.

So lately Ellie has been on my case to find some part-time work, and I've been looking for a research postition. One of the professors in Pharmacology replied to me, and have showed interest in hiring me through December part-time, then possibly
full-time after that if things work out well. That's great news! Additionally, they do interesting research into the mechanism
of idiosyncratic drug response (that is, when a subject responds in a very unusual, unpredictable way to a drug). It would be
a great place for me to be if I'm interested in going into the Pharm industry, which I am. Sounds good, ya!

That's all for now. As always, more to come in the future.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Been more than a week since I posted anything, so it's really time I put a new post up. Hmmm.... lots of things have happened since the last time I posted. Ellie got a position with Marriott as an event planner. I think the exact title is "Banquet Manager," but she'll be doing weddings and meetings and banquets (of course)! She's pretty excited. I think it'll be a lot better for her than SOS was.

Interesting thing happened today. I haven't patched my computer in quite some time, so I know it's got some vulnerabilities. I'm a little more savvy than your average Outlook user (I don't open attachments that say "I love you.exe"). Anyway, I took down my firewall for 10 minutes while I was playing around.... and I got infected with the Blaster virus! Over dial-up no less! Arrgghhh! I knew it right away too when the RPC warning came up and said the computer had to emergency shutdown. So lesson learned: Don't take down the firewall, even on dial-up!

Speaking of dial-up, the unthinkable happened. Due to budget cuts, our cable service got downsized. No more high-speed internet or expanded basic cable. Saves us something like $65 a month! Man that stuff is expensive. Dial-up sucks though.... I forgot how bad. Takes a minute to get connected anytime I want to do anything online, so I check my email maybe once a day now. I can barely download anything from my MSU FTP space (working on a presentation, I like to keep it there for data redundancy). Downloading my email takes several minutes (on account of all the spam... I didn't realize how annoying spam could really be until now)!

Got a call from Pfizer regarding a "Territory Manager" position that I applied for. It's sales of course. I really don't think I applied to that job. I have never seen myself as a salesperson, always more of a researcher. Oi! It was rather funny when the recruiter asked me on the phone "So, what attracts you to sales?" Nothing. I'm not the money-worshipping fool that many (not all) of those salespeople are.

Presentation work continues. I also have a Pharmacology exam the eve before the presentation. Ouch. I tried to plan it so that wouldn't happen, but no such luck. Guess I'll need to have it all done this weekend. No late night work on it. I need practice time on it too, as it is in front of the Food Science & Human Nutrition department. I think that's enough typing for now. I really need to keep up with this blog, otherwise there is simply too much to write about when it's done once a week!

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Google Toolbar Installed
If you are still using Internet Explorer for your browsing needs, may I recommand the new Google Toolbar? It's got a pop-up blocker installed (which is one reason why I switched to Phoenix), as well as some cool other features. I give it the thumbs up, and who knows... maybe I'll got back to using IE (nah... tabbed browsing is too good to leave behind)!

Monday, September 01, 2003

Breaking Scandal: UrineGate
Time for everyone to be brought up to speed on the scandal that is going on in the lives of Ellie and I. It all started about a month ago when Midas (our orange/white male tabby) urinated in the car on the way to Chuck & Chris' lake house. We thought no big deal, the cat just had an accident. We got back and have started to notice one of the cats (the perpetrator is unknown, but we have two good suspects) was urinating on the carpet in the apartment. This makes for a very unpleasant odor during the month of August!

So the carpets got peed on something like 5 times over the course of the last month, and Midas the cat has been to the vet twice (once to the emergency room and once for an office visit), and we still haven't nailed down the problem. We don't even know it is Midas for sure, it could be Marley (black/white female tabby). Whatever the case is, we've probably spent $60 on carpet cleaning supplies over this time period. Then to top it all off, Marley has an accident on the car ride home from the lake house late last night! Arrgghhh!

After we ruled out urinary tract blockages & infections, the best theories are currently:
-A former resident of our unit had a cat and now one of our cats is try to put their scent over the original.
-There is a wandering cat in our apartment complex that comes up to our windows and hisses at our cats (which can only quiver with impotent rage). This makes our cats want to mark our aparment as their territory.

I've decided this apartment is my territory, and the only solution is for me to urinate in every corner. Just kidding... that's likely to get me put on some kind of medication ;-) .

Additionally, Midas the cat has picked up the habit of waking people up by crying loudly at 4-5AM up at the lake house. I don't know about this, other than to say I think the solution is to lock them in the garage at night (Ellie thinks that's cruel). I think it's cruel to wake someone up at 4-5AM. I guess it's a draw then.

The latest weekend at the lake was great. I went out golfing with Chuck and Jarod (Downing, one of Ellie's friends from the Kraft intern days). I'm no good at golf, but I enjoy it and think with time and patientence I could get to a level where I can really enjoy playing. Saturday was partly cloudy, 74 degrees, and a slight breeze. I couldn't have asked for a more pleasant day to be out golfing. Hopefully I can get my Dad to take me out and give me some instruction. It'd be nice to spend some time like that with him.