Monthly Archives: July 2009


I’m currently packing to move to my new place on Friday.  Packing fucking sucks.  It’s hot.  I’m sweaty.  I’m literally packing all my stuff while wearing 1. an old, nasty white t-shirt 2. boxer briefs 3. flip-flops.  Not sure why I’m wearing the flip-flops, but I am.

Oh, and I’m finishing off the beer in the fridge.  That might account for #3 of my wardrobe.


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Ultranerd post – feel free to skip

I fully endorse Bio-Rad’s CFX96 and accompanying iScript cDNA Synthesis Kit and SsoFast EvaGreen Supermix.  What literally took me three full days using Invitrogen’s kits took me FOUR HOURS using Bio-Rad’s equipment and reagents.  The PCR efficiencies are ~20% better than SYBR Green Supermixes, Ct values are lower when running a head-to-head comparison (even handicapping the Bio-Rad reagents), run times are less than 40 minutes, and the data is cleaner!  I started and completed a project in one afternoon.  Fucking incredible.

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Filed under animal research, grad school, life, Those Other Sciences

Packing has given me some time to think

These have been interesting times in my life.  It’s now been approximately a year since my wife and I have been separated emotionally and six months since we’ve split physically (well, not completely…).  It has been long enough to think through our feelings and attempt to figure out our future and yet we’re still just as confused as ever.  However, our relationship has blossomed since splitting in February and now I see her several times a week.  We walk and talk, eat and drink, and just generally carry on like we used to when we first fell for one another six summers ago.

As you can imagine this hasn’t been easy for either of us.  We’re made for one another, just not as husband and wife; at least, not yet.  Because of this we haven’t started dating other people yet and have actually talked about how we don’t really want to in the future.  We were half serious about the proposal due to numerous reasons; the most obvious being that it’s not easy finding someone you’re compatible with.  While we’re obviously not perfect for one another we do compliment the other quite nicely and we have the advantage of knowing one another for our entire adult lives.  It seems as though we’ve come to realize that our other options are much less attractive than just sticking with one another.  There are a lot of freaks out there and sometimes such people do a good job of hiding it just long enough to get you to drop your guard, and we just don’t want to have to deal with that kind of shit at this point in our lives.   However, we may have to, which makes our situation that much more confusing and difficult.

I still love her and, barring some ridiculously out of character actions, probably always will.  At the very least we will continue to be best friends and confidants, which we realize will make future relationships potentially difficult but by this point in life most people have some baggage that their significant other will just have to buck up and deal with.  This is our baggage, so fucking get over it because it could be much worse.  Of course, this all assumes we’ll be getting into new relationships and as of this moment I’m not exactly sure what sort of odds I’m willing to give such an outcome.

In all actuality I’m extremely confused by the situation and don’t really want to think about its future repercussions.  Maybe I’ll feel differently soon and maybe I won’t.  Either way I know it is going to be difficult and I am not looking forward to dealing with the emotions the future holds.

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Filed under crazy, life, marriage, sleep deprived, uncategorized

Temporary insanity

Alright, I’m going a little insane right now because so much is going on.  This is mostly due to moving and because of it I really haven’t had any time to write.
I’ll get back into the flow of things in early August after I move.

Even more fun will be my little experiment: going without cable or internet at my new apartment for as long as I can.  How long can/will I hold out???  Oh yeah, and fuck Comcast.

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So sad

I gave a quick presentation at my lab meeting this afternoon and felt sad when I realized that all the work I have done over the past month and a half could be reduced to four bar graphs on a single powerpoint slide.  It was the saddest presentation I have ever given or witnessed.  Here is one-fourth of that work.


It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had some cool pictures of neurons, but no such luck.

Oh, and today I found out that I make less as a grad student than I was on unemployment.  That’s a fun fact to learn.  Fuck.

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Filed under animal research, crazy, grad school, just sad, life, Those Other Sciences

And now for something completely different

I know I have been seriously neglecting this blog and I apologize, but since no one really reads it I don’t feel so bad.  I’ve just been getting ready to move (signing the lease, packing, painting, etc) and spending a ridiculous amount of time at work.

So, instead of some sort of thoughtful post I thought I’d post something about a longtime hobby of mine that has somewhat fallen by the wayside in the past two years.

I’ve always been a fan of music.  In some cases I have been known to get into “pretentious dick” territory, but only rarely and only under extreme circumstances.  Music is art and therefore mostly subjective (or purely, but I refuse to get into another art debate [from a family of artists]) so I tend to be somewhat opinionated.  Overall, I’m a rock kind of guy; I have Grunge flowing through my veins.  I swing from alt-country (pure or “true” country depending on who you talk to) to heavy metal and most in between.  In fact, the only genres I cannot stand are pop-country, gangsta rap, classical, and ska.  Oh god how I hate ska…

Even thought I’ve been a rock sort of guy the only thing that I never really got were bands fronted by women.  I don’t know why but they never really did it for me.  There are exceptions to the rule (Yeah Yeah Yeahs kick ass!  And Cat Power rocks as well) but they are just that, exceptions.  Does that make me a bad person?  Am I just missing some kick ass bands fronted by women?  You be the judge.

Anyway, in college I was picking up new bands left and right.  Now, not so much.  In order to remedy this situation I made a concerted effort last week to catch up on some of my lost time and also to listen to a bunch of music I’ve had for years but never really got around to listening to.  To commemorate this time I will now compose a very short list of some old and new music that I think pretty well defines my taste.  You have no idea how difficult it is for me to make such a short list, but I will try.

Jeff Buckley – All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun (live) (youtube)
Tool – Vicarious (youtube) (listen/download)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (youtube) (listen/download)
MGMT – Electric Feel (youtube) (listen/download) – awesome video
Kevin Drew – Backed Out On The Cocks (youtube) (listen/download)

That was way too hard, and if I look at the list any longer I’m just going to continue to change it over and over and never be fully satisfied so I’m going to post this and then forget about it.


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A post worth reading, I promise. You’ll learn a some important things.

In place of the post I was going to write about my fantastic weekend I decided to write one about (go figure) evolution, religion, and my mom.  The idea about this post came about through a conversation I had with my parents over dinner and the ride to the bus station.

A reoccurring theme in my time since college has been a low-intensity war between me and my mother over our disagreements in the science vs. religion wars.  This current episode was sparked by an article in my parent’s local newspaper by an old scientist with “fifty years experience” whatever the hell that means (couldn’t find it online, but I’ll add a link if I do in the future).  I read his opinion piece and much of it made perfect sense.  He correctly, if simply, described what science is and then went off the deep end.  Huge jumps of logic were made by describing biological features and then, with no explanation given, attributing those features to his idea of God (which happens to be the standard Christian one).  This gentleman then finishes his article by calling evolution an “invalid theory” and attributing everything to God.

I think my mother thought she had me cornered when she had me read this op-ed.  I mean, here is a guy who apparently has some credentials (but so do these people, and they’re all nutjobs) and is arguing against what she believes to be my position.  Largely, she was correct in that assumption, but when it comes to something as complex as science and religion the devil is in the details.  Through the conversation I had with my parents (though mostly my evangelical mother) I had to continually correct a number of false ideas about their understanding of science.  Namely, science never does, and never can, PROVE something.  This is a subtle, yet critical point about science that is often overlooked by those not intimately involved in the process.  Over and over I had to correct my mother when she said the word “prove” because science doesn’t “prove” anything (at least in the strict definition of the word).  The word “prove” can be, and often is, used colloquially within certain circles out of simplicity.  If I find, through rigorous scientific trials, that there is less of a certain protein in cell A I will often tell other scientists that I “proved” it because I know they understand what I mean.  However, outside of those circles syntax and semantics become increasingly important and slip-ups need to be corrected.

(I swear this rambling is going somewhere.  This is getting to the crux of my argument with my mother.)

While most people are taught about the scientific method at some point very few are taught about the basic premises of the philosophy of science.  One premise essentially states that natural processes have natural causes (go figure).  This is called methodological naturalism and is the basis of scientific thought.  My mother has a problem with this premise because it leaves no place for a god to exert it’s will upon the natural world.  Now, this is a very important distinction that I am going to explain.  Gods are, by definition, SUPERnatural (OUTSIDE/ABOVE nature) while methodological naturalism (science) is based only upon nature.  Therefore, if you add the premise of a SUPERnatural being in a scientific argument you invalidating it due to one of your premises being inherently flawed.  Science has no preconceived notion about the existence of a supernatural being (one may or may not exist), but it acts as through all natural processes have natural causes.

That was my mother’s main problem (though she had many others), but I was able to get through to her.  I made her honest as a Christian by admitting that her problems with science, and particularly evolution, were not scientifically based, but were instead based only on theology.  Science didn’t back her story up, so she decided to believe what she wanted to in order to continue believing in her idea of God.  I showed her what science has proven beyond a reasonable doubt (but not an unreasonable doubt) and she has decided to reject it based on her understanding of the Christian God.

It was a very difficult two hours explaining this to my parents, but in the end it was all worth it.  My mother is no longer delusional about science and I am happy with my efforts to defend what I have come to know and love, but I can’t help but feel a bit sad at my mother’s dismissal of the only way of truly knowing what goes on in this world around us.  It’s sad really, and I hope other Christians (and all other followers of religions) can one day be as truthful as my mother and admit that they don’t “believe” in evolution based solely on theological principles and stop hiding behind pseudoscience in order to sound more legitimate.


Filed under Biology and Evolution, christianity, crazy, home, religion, Those Other Sciences