Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tired of pipetting?

For my fellow science geeks, watch this video. It is hilarious!

More to come about my trip to Bermuda...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where did June go?

I have had a crazy June. Between attending two major conferences in Boston, having one of my best buds plus husband visit, and going to Bermuda at the end of this month, I feel like I just haven't had time to breath! Despite the craziness, it has been a great month so far. I got to hang out with a lot of old friends and colleagues, and it made me realize how lucky I am to know and be part of such a great group. It was great!

By the way, I did say Bermuda. The husband and I will be traveling there next week so he can participate in a sailing race. I'm the lucky duck since I only have to lay on the beach, drink cocktails, and generally relax. He actually has to sail the boat back to Boston.

Back to Blogging!

I have had a major relapse in my blogging. Blogging is kind of like a rollercoaster of productivity for me. Sometimes I have lots to blog about and other times I just don't have time/inclination to blog. Plus, if I haven't blogged for a while, I find it hard to get back on the horse since I feel like I need to comeback with an awesome, funny, and witty post about my life. Unfortunately, I don't think I have ever had a post like that, so this is me getting back on the horse. Please excuse the lack of witticism and humor, but I am back to blogging!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hamish, the sexy beast

After Manchester, the fam and I took the train to Edinburgh, Scotland. If you are ever traveling in England, I would definitely recommend taking a train. We saw beautiful stretches of English countryside. The rolling hills were just promising to become the verdant summer pasture, and sheep dotted the hillside like popcorn balls. It was a very peaceful picture, and some of the sheep even had little lambs tripping beside them, which was awfully cute.

Edinburgh is a great city. It is broken up into 'Old Town', which includes Edinburgh castle and the Royal Mile, and 'New Town', which as the name implies, is the newer part of town. We mostly stayed in Old Town because most of the tourist attractions are there. The Royal Mile is a road that runs through Old Town and has lots of pubs and shops to peruse. It is called the Royal Mile because it has Edinburgh castle at one end and the Scottish parliament building and Holyrood house, which is where the Queen stays when she is in town, at the other. There are also tons of alleyways, or 'closes' along the royal mile, which are really fun to explore. Some of them have even been sites of massacres, and one of the things most tourists do is go on a ghost tour of these closes. Unfortunately, we did not have time to go on a ghost tour, but I would definitely do it if I ever go back.

We did get to explore Edinburgh Castle (see the first picture), which is a must see if you are in the city. Not only does it have tons of history, it also houses the crown jewels of Scotland and has some of the most amazing views of the city itself.

After spending a day exploring Edinburgh, we took a bus tour of the Scottish highlands and Loch Ness. It was wonderful!!!! The Scottish highlands are a gorgeous backdrop that really belies its turbulent past. You are surrounded by giant hills with deep valleys and mirror-like lakes (known as lochs--make sure you practically spit on a person when you say it!). It is so beautiful, it is hard to imagine the bloody clan fights that took place there. I cannot say enough about it, but I know I can never do it justice in words alone. You just have to see it!

On our way to Loch Ness, we stopped to meet Hamish, who is a very studly Scot. He is a highland cow (see him in all his glory above), and I only mention him because he is cute and because I think he pulls of bangs better than I do. If you don't know what I am talking about, refer to my "Big Bangs" post. Amazingly, he can still see treats from miles away despite his crazy 'do.

The main stop on our tour was Loch Ness where we took a boat tour around the lake. There is a marine biologist on the boat that tries to convince you with sonar data and pictures that Nessie lives, but I'm not sure I was convinced. However, Loch Ness is a really interesting place in its own right. It has tons of weird fish, such as the cannibalistic trout known as a ferox and giant eels that bury themselves deep into the mud of the lake's bottom. It also has beautiful scenery in case you didn't get enough of it on the way to the loch. It was really fascinating.

Once we got back to Edinburgh, we went out for dinner in Grassmarket, an area that has some of the oldest pubs in Edinburgh (I think the oldest has been around since the late 1600's, but don't quote me on that number!). We ended up going to a pub called Maggie Dickson's, which owes its name to a very lucky woman. The short story is that Maggie Dickson was accused of murder and hung for her crimes. As her coffin was being pulled to the graveyard, the rough ride delivered by the cobbled streets of Edinburgh was enough to jump-start her heart. Imagine the surprise she caused when she started banging on the lid of her coffin to be let out. Luckily for Maggie Dickson, Scottish authorities figured she had already died once for her crimes and didn't need to die again. She was was granted pardon and went on to run an ale house and have lots of kids. You can read the full story here.

All in all Scotland was awesome. The people are so friendly and helpful. It really is a magical place.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My trip across the pond

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since February!! I am absolutely horrified! What a slacker I have been! The two people out there that regularly read my blog can flog me later. If it is any consolation, I have plenty to blog about right now. My husband and I recently went on a trip to the United Kingdom with his family, and it was absolutely fantastic. We were only there for ten days, but we hit just about everything. Here are some highlights, and I promise to post some pics as soon as I can tear the camera away from my husband (it is new, bright, and shiny, which are all things he is fascinated by). I may have to do multiple posts to make sure I cover everything, so bear with me.


My husband and I flew into Manchester where my brother-in-law is studying at the university this semester, and that is where our adventure began. Manchester is a nice city with a really young demographic. There isn't much for sight seeing (although they do have some free art and science museums), but it definitely has a fine selection of clubs and pubs. We definitely had our fill of beer and pub food, including fish 'n chips and mushy peas, while we were there.

In Manchester, I had my first experience staying at a hostel. It really was not too bad since the one we stayed at was clean and the people were friendly, but it definitely had its downsides. For instance, I never had a hot shower the entire time I was there. The best I could do was lukewarm. Also, I was the only girl in a room with four sets of bunk beds all occupied by men. I made my husband sleep on the bottom bunk so he could guard my honor as needed. Other than that it was not bad, and one of our roommates was a very nice Norwegian guy who hung out with us while we were in Manchester.

The weather was almost always cloudy and chilly while we were there. I had planned for this and I made sure I was nicely bundled up in jacket, hood, and gloves. Congratulating myself on being so well prepared, I stepped out was amazed at what the native Manchesterites wore, in particular the young women like myself. Most of these women were wearing club clothing, which hardly covers anything, and none of them had jackets. Imagine wearing tube top, miniskirt, and heels while it is 40 degrees F and raining. I thought they were crazy!

Football (soccer to us yanks) is huge over in the UK. Manchester has a very well known football team called Manchester United, and as you can imagine, the city loves its football. We got a chance to see the Manchester City team, which I think is a step below Manchester United, play while we were there. I have never seen anything like it! The opposing team's fans had their own specific section, and this section was completely surrounded by a ring of security guards to keep Man City fans out and keep the visiting team's fans in. The crowd was constantly singing fight songs, but the only one I could understand was "Come on City! Come on City!" Instead of shouting obscenities when the ref made a bad call, which is standard protocol for any Red Sox's game, the fans yelled out, "Rubbish! You're rubbish!" For some reason, I found this hilarious, and I couldn't help but get caught up by all the energy and foreign accents surrounding me. It was a lot of fun.

Put on your kilts and break out the whiskey because my next post will be about Scotland...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Valentine Surprise!

My husband is the sweetest man ever! He is twice the romantic I am, which is not hard since I think it is romantic when he washes dishes and cleans the house before I get home. Case in point, he made me melt (along with the various people who heard this story) on Valentine's Day. As part of my daily commute, I have to walk home from the bus stop, which is about two blocks away. My husband knows the route I take home, and he tied flowers and little notes addressed to "(insert my initials here)" to sign posts along the way so I would find them. How sweet is that!?!?!

Apparently, I wasn't the only person to notice my husband's PDA. The next day a couple of people went onto craigslist.com (a forum for selling/buying/trading/job hunting/people hunting/etc.) and wished "(insert my initials here)" a happy Valentine's day, and a couple of other (insert my initials here) were wondering if it was for them! Isn't it amazing how romantic gestures can inspire people and capture their attention? My husband was absolutely thrilled that other people saw it. I'm just thrilled that it was for me. I would feel terrible if I took another (insert my initials here)'s flowers!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nano Technology

May my shuffle rest in peace! After a couple of years of not shuffling or only shuffling between four songs, my shuffle (can it rightly be called that if it can't shuffle?) finally died. I was planning on replacing it with one of the new and very cute shuffles that Apple has recently come out with, but my husband talked me out of it. Instead, I splurged and bought the new iPod Nano, and naturally, I bought it in black. Much to the relief of my husband, I did not buy pink or red, so now he can borrow it without feeling like less of a man. He also talked me into getting the 8GB version versus the 4GB version. Unfortunately, this vast expanse of space led me to many impulse song purchases on iTunes the first couple of days, but I think I am becoming wiser and hopefully more discerning now.

So what do I think of the Nano? Well, so far, I'm a little underwhelmed. Maybe as a stalwart PC user I am just not compatible with an Apple interface. Already I have been having some issues. When I first tried turning on my new Nano, my finger slipped on the sensitive keypad and somehow everything switched to Japanese. I had to go back to the Apple store and tell a salesman that I couldn't understand what my Nano said. He gave me a funny look, but immediately went into business mode and used a display Nano to translate which menu item would let me switch over to English. I think I may also be having issues with my battery. The Nano is supposed to run for 24 hours when fully charged, and mine lasted about 6 hours when it was almost fully charged. Luckily, I got the two year warranty. Since I tend to freak out the electronic equipment around me, I figured it was a good investment.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Wii injury

Have you tried playing a Nintendo Wii? If not, do so immediately! Even if you do not enjoy playing video games, I am positive you will enjoy the Wii. Unlike other video games, you do not press only two buttons on an itty bitty controller. Instead you actually make the movement you want your player to do in the game. For instance, if you are playing tennis, you swing your arm to make your player swing their arm. Your timing and the angle at which you swing the control also has to be right for your player to hit the ball. How cool is that! You even get to make a Mii-- a player that looks like you! One word of precaution, however. Beware Wii injuries! I was playing boxing (again, you actually have to box with the controllers in your hands), and I am pretty sure I pulled some major muscles in my arms. I cannot even lift them over my head. Ouch!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Where did all the Sabra go?

It is a tragedy! It is a catastrophe! It is a gastronomical nightmare! My grocery store no longer sells the best hummus I have ever tasted. It is called Sabra, and if you ever find some, buy it and send it to me. The pine nut or spicy pepper flavors are the best. I've never tried the greek olive shown in the picture, but I'm sure it is awesome. Oh woe is me!!!

A deprived childhood?

A coworker of mine recently came up to me full of excitement and holding a doll. Okay, to be fair, he would call it an action figure. He proudly showed it to me and said, "Look what I got!" I was puzzled. He was holding a doll/action figure that was vaguely familiar, but I really had no idea who it was. I said, "What is it?" My coworker was incredulous! "You don't know who this is??? It's Beaker from the Muppets!" What's worse is that almost all of my coworkers knew who Beaker was and couldn't believe I didn't know. Did I have a deprived childhood?

In my defense, I grew up without watching a lot of television (which is totally different now, but that is neither here nor there). As most of you know, I grew up in a somewhat isolated area, and I played outside a lot. The only television show I remember watching was Sesame Street and some Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but I don't even remember those shows very well. In fact, there is a whole slew of things like music, television, politics, etc. that happened during my childhood that I had no idea was happening at the time. What irks me even more is that most people my age know a lot of this stuff and think of it as common knowledge. Then I think back on my childhood and remember all the great times I had outdoors playing with my friends, fishing, skiing, etc., and I have to say that I had a really great childhood. Okay, so maybe I really suck at 80's trivia, but I like to think I was pretty lucky. Just don't ask me questions about He-man or She-Ra. I probably won't be able to answer them.

P.S.- Based on this image, I'm not sure if having a doll/action figure of Beaker will bring you good luck in the lab.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Placid Christmas

I am finally back! I had a great holiday, and I thought I would share my holiday adventures over the next couple of posts. It was so nice to have a break that now it is hard to get out of bed in the morning. Back to the grind...

Over Christmas, my family and I decided to go skiing in Lake Placid. I come from a family that has done mostly cross-country skiing, but my husband really wanted to go downhill skiing. In an effort to keep up with my adrenaline junkie of a husband, I decide to go downhill skiing while my parents and sisters went cross-country skiing. Some of you may know from my previous posts that I have tried snowboarding. I have only been snowboarding 3 times, and basically all I can handle is slowly coasting downhill. Now, I have been downhill skiing a couple of times, and I travel at a much faster speed and feel a little more confident of my abilities in that area. Since I wanted my husband to have as much fun as possible, I decide to ski so he wouldn't have to stick to the bunny hill. Unfortunately, I think I gave off more confidence that I really warranted, and my husband took me straight up to the blue and black trails. As our lift went higher and higher up the mountain, my dread escalated. Sure enough, I fell almost continually down the mountain. Luckily I was wearing a helmet. In one memorable fall, I was rolling down the mountain with one ski still intact, but I was continuing to roll much longer than I had before (by this point I was a falling expert). I was literally thinking, "Gee...I just keep rolling. Where am I going?" When I finally stopped, I looked up and realized that I had just rolled down a steep drop from one trail down to another. My errant ski was lodged into the side of the ledge, and my husband was standing at the top of ledge wondering where I went. Poor guy! I like to think I probably looked like the guy in this picture but with a little more flailing involved. After that, I practically walked down the rest of the way. If my dignity would have allowed it, I probably would have crawled down the steepest hills. My dear, sweet husband stayed with me the entire way. Needless to say, I stayed on the green trails after that and did much better.

Lake Placid was beautiful, and I had a great time with my family. It was a very relaxing Christmas, despite the bruising from skiing, which was exactly what I needed.