Monthly Archives: March 2012

Packing and moving on

So I’ve been doing nothing for the past two days but pack and get ready to move tomorrow. It’s a new day. A new me, and I can’t wait.

Really not looking forward to moving all my shit tomorrow though. That aspect is going to suck ass.


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So I’ve kind of realized something in the past week: I haven’t been on a real date in about a decade.

A motherfuckin’ decade!

Now I’m really quite conscious of this and not quite sure what to do about it. Is the best course of action to just play it cool and say “whatever happens happens and I’m alright with that” or is that not the right attitude?
Just wondering for the next time I find myself out with a woman and unsure of how to handle myself.

In other news, I get my new apartment keys tomorrow, and move in next Sunday. Jesus, so many things I still need to buy. And then the wife and I need to sort out what stays and what goes. That’ll be a blast…

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Yay divorce!


I actually think I like this whole getting divorced thing. I’m going out more, seeing my friends much more frequently, getting more done in the lab, and just generally feel better. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and puppies, but it has been a lot easier than I expected it to be. I think getting back in the dating scene is going to be the most difficult part of this whole endeavor, but that’s bound to get easier with time. Hell, I’ve already had a drink with a really cool engineering grad student that I may be a tad interested in so I think I’m doing pretty damn well all things considered.

It may sound odd, but I feel bad about not feeling worse about my divorce. I know that was a jumble of a sentence, but I’m not sure how else to say it. Essentially, the split from my wife has been surprisingly mutual in just about every regard (almost Seinfeld-esque). Not saying it wasn’t brutal for three or four days, but I got over it quickly and both of us are well on our way to moving on with our lives.

This brings me to something a little odd that happened the other day. Another student in my program apparently split from his wife in November and just heard about my recent split. I’ve talked to this guy a few times, but not really all that much, and he’s a nice enough dude and all, but now he wants to grab a drink after work sometime this week. I’m really not sure what to make of that. I said I’d like to grab a drink with him, but I don’t really have anything to talk about since I’m quite happy with the way things have played out. I really hope his divorce was also a pleasant split and then we can have a laugh about how both of us probably thought the other was in dire need of consolation when that simply isn’t the case.

Oh well, only way to see this through is to just let it play out.

Fun times.

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Today was a good day

Outreach went well today. It was a tad bumpy early on and a few kinks needed to be worked out, but overall we got the kids engaged and (at least it seemed) excited about learning about their brain. This is very encouraging because to me that means that kids aren’t nearly as apathetic about learning as many people believe, but simply need to be engaged in a way that may require some teaching outside the normal curriculum.

Over the next four visits (spring break screws with our schedule) over the rest of the school year we have some really cool projects and experiments for them to do including the spikerbox which is an ingenious device that was the brainchild of two UofM graduate students who wanted to see if they could bring electrophysiology to the masses by producing a cheap (<$100) and simple to use device that kids and adults can use to explore neuron function with live tissue. It’s really something and these two guys really deserve all the praise the neuroscience community (in particular the YOUNG neuroscience community) has given them and more.

On a completely different topic, I did go on… something tonight. I don’t think it was a date, partially because it wasn’t intended to be, but also because it was just a drink at a nice bar. The whole “what is a date” thing weirds me out anyway. I went out with a cool woman tonight for a drink. It is what it is and that’s it. I hope it happens again.

I may like being single.

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A touch random

Some random thoughts/happenings:

1. I absolutely hate one of the techniques I must employ for my thesis project. It’s called stereotaxic intracranial injection, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. I hate doing it even though the animals don’t seem distressed and we give them excellent care before and after the surgery. I just hope I can get this working well so I don’t have to do it much longer…

2. Outreach has been big with the students of my program, but most of what we do doesn’t really teach kids that much, so a friend and I decided to do our own outreach. We got a small group of neuroscience students to just talk to kids about awesome science stuff in one of the more diverse middle schools in the city. This is exactly what we wanted to do, bring the excitement of science to more kids (especially women and minorities since they are remarkably underrepresented in the sciences).

We’re not doing this to turn these budding young minds into scientists, we just want to make them aware that science is not only fun and cool, but also useful to them in more ways than they can imagine.

I’m really looking forward to our second session tomorrow morning…

3. I’m having drinks with a pretty lady tomorrow after work. Really looking forward to it since she seems really cool. Getting back into the swing of things may be easier than I thought it was going to be. Only way to find out is to jump right in I guess.

Wish me luck.

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Filed under biology, divorce, grad school, life, marriage, neurobiology, parkinson's

Food, my other love

For years I have used cooking as a means of therapy. After a long day in the lab dealing with all sorts of science shit I would stop by the market on the way home and head straight to the kitchen to make whatever I felt like making. Results were often mixed, but I have figured out I’m actually a decent cook and should follow my instincts rather than the recipe more often than not.

This was exactly the case with the dish I made for my parents yesterday. It sounded simple and delicious, and that should have tipped me off to the inherent faults of the recipe but it did not. Overall, it was a tasty dish, but the only reason it was a success was due to the way my Midwestern parents were raised. This makes sense if you grew up in the Midwest in the last 60 years, but if you haven’t then you may not know: pork must be cooked somewhere between well-done and hockey puck. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with hockey pucks; played hockey my entire childhood and love the sport. I do not love my meat to have the same consistency.

There were two striking problems with the recipe: overcooked meat, and a thin, underseasoned sauce.

Simple remedies I will make next time will be to cook the pork chops no more than 8 min. total if brought to room temp before frying. Less depending on the thickness, but use your own judgement. The second problem is slightly more difficult since it means using a little more experience-based judgement, but it should still work fine. Eyeball the fat left in the pan from frying the pork, add an equivalent volume of flour to make a quick pan roux, cook until slightly brown, then add the apple cider/cream/thyme/salt/pepper, bring to the correct consistency and seasoning and then serve.

Cooking is identical to science in that recipes (protocols) are great as a means of general information flow, but it really comes down to experience and empirical evidence to mold the recipe to a useful series of steps.

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Feelin’ damn good

Dude, I really need to do this more often. All day I’ve just been chillin’ in Michigan as I catch up on news, check out the new neuroscience literature, look over old ideas and notes, make dinner for my parents, and end dinner with a decent discussion about healthcare and the philosophy of science.

Goddamn I love this type of freeform vacation. Now I’m taking it easy in a beautiful Herman Miller lounger, drinking a (albeit not great) domestic microbrew, in a spacious and beautifully designed house while I write this post.

Grad school may be a huge pain in the ass, but right now it seems a million miles away. Maybe I should do a little write-up about my newest proposal that will one day hopefully shed a little light on the etiology of Parkinson’s Disease and give science a new target in its prevention.

Interestingly enough, I’ve been told by a number of people, some of whom don’t know I’m getting divorced, that I sound happier now. I had no idea I seemed less than happy over the past few years, but it was apparently obvious to other people. Good to know. Now I just need to ride this upswing in my life and really take advantage of what it is offering.

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