Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pedometer woes

I've been using the pedometer I bought for about a week. It is definitely making me more conscientious about going to the gym or walking more, but I don't think the step count is very accurate. I was just reading a report in a consumer mag. that said a lot of pedometers are not very accurate when you are walking slow (2.5 mph), but the accuracy increases when you walk 3.5 mph or faster. If you haven't bought your pedometer yet, the article recommended the Omron $35, FreeStyle $20, and LifeWise $20. These cost more than the one I bought, but I think they count calories, too. The other problem I'm having is that I keep bumping the reset button on mine when I'm sitting at my desk. So, I lose track of my steps. I'm having trouble coming up with a goal because I don't really know how many steps I walk in a regular day. Any suggestions? Maybe I should start running everywhere so my steps get counted right...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hello from Tucson

Hi all,

The thing is defended and approved and submitted (don't know yet whether the formatting will be accepted). I just returned to Tucson from my 20th high school reunion up in Washington State. Man, western Washington is paradise in August! Here's a pic of me playing with seaweed off my favorite beach in the world (Clayton Beach, near Bellingham, Washington).

Dumb Science Joke

As heard at the Science Meet and Greet at William Jewell College

What do you get when you cross a mountain climber with a mosquito? (scroll down for the answer)

Nothing - you can't cross a scalar with a vector

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fitness Challenge in your in-box

The GBK Fitness 2007 sign-up sheet and record sheet were just e-mailed to you (e-mail me if you didn't receive them and want them).

On the sign-up sheet, "overall goal" is for your greater goal outside the GBK FC. You are likely doing this for some reason besides to take more steps. You can be as grand and general as "lead a healthy life" or as specific as "lower blood cholesterol level by 20 points" or "be in shape to run a 10k in December". It's just there to remind you that you aren't doing this just for the sake of doing it (although if you are that's fine too).
Make your goals tough but achievable. You'll probably want your daily goal to be less than your weekly goal divided by 7. Make yourself do something every day, but don't miss your goals because some days are less than others. Combined fitness goals are certainly allowed (I'm going for 77,000 steps/week or 70,000 steps plus lifting or swimming twice). You don't need to share your goals (but you can if it will help). You just need to report if you made them or not.

The "before status" is for anything that you want to track. Your current work-out routine, mile time, weight, blood pressure, whatever.

We officially start Labor Day, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise this week.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another reason to get a pedometer

According to this article in the New York Times, exercise makes you smarter. It apparently does this by increasing neurogenesis.

But then, chocolate, alcohol (in moderate amounts) and marijuana also have positive effects on neurogenesis.

Draw your own conclusions, I guess!

Here's a picture of one of the roadsides in Turkey. There were many different kinds of poppies in bloom to be found there, but the most common was a shrubby one with bright red flowers. I'll upload more pictures soon.
I have been thinking about Irene lots lately, because they stock her purple gloves here at the molecular lab. I must say, they are really very nice. In the past two weeks I've learned how to extract, amplify, purify, and submit DNA for sequencing. I like how there are set tasks to do, and when they're done, they're done. With morphology, there's always this nagging doubt: "maybe if I just stare at the specimens for another day, I'll have this amazing insight into how they are related to each other". (This has happened just enough to keep me going for days on end without much to show for it-- well, maybe not amazing insight, but at least something I hadn't noticed before). I can also tell, though, that once the novelty of the new protocols wears off I'll be pretty bored with pipetting and calculating molarity.
I'm saving the best news for last: this weekend I went ahead and adopted Lucy-- the Jack Russell Terrier we were fostering for the past several months-- the one who loves, loves, loves people and wags her tail so much that she sometimes has trouble walking. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

For Sparkling Squirrel


Friday, August 17, 2007

Bummy week

Hi - I see lots has been posted since I last saw the blog, and bummy stuff has been going on here. My boss had a mini-stroke (blocked for short time, no apparent damage) 2 Fridays ago, then last Wed. my best friend calls to say she's driving back to PA, her brother has been in intensive care for 1.5 weeks and is going downhill. He died Sat., the funeral was Wed., and I felt guilty for not going back to PA. He had pneumonia (legionairres, the dr. had sent him home saying it was the flu, then he ends up in ER and never comes home). But I'll go see her when she's settled back in St. Louis. And now my boss is acting squirrely and his girlfriend just called asking me to drive him home b/c he called her all squirredly, and he was driving away when I went outside and insists he's ok. And a proposal is due Tues. that he hasn't looked at yet, so I might mutiny on Monday and send it as is.

Other than that, I'm going to see the Simpson's tonight, and Harry Potter tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's the little things

The copier machine in our department has a hole-punch feature. I love it. Sometimes it is the little things that make me happy. Actually, it is most often the little things.

What little thing has made you happy lately?
Hope everyone is doing well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Entomology Help!

So, some faculty member we know of was already teaching an overload (14 hours- Bio 101, Ecology with lab, Plant Anatomy and Morphology with lab, and Techniques of Science) when something possessed her to agree to teach the Entomology Class and lab rather than cancel it.

As the professor in question is a plant ecologist, this is somewhat of a stretch (not to mention a crazy crazy schedule-- and they took out the line in the faculty handbook that said one could hold fewer than 10 hours of office hours if one is teaching an overload). So I need help.

Irene-- want to give a guest lecture when you come?
Molly-- want to come and give a guest lecture? Would it be worth doing a field trip there?
Jenny-- visits planned?

This class is supposed to be partially web-based (to accomodate the schedule of the guy who's not teaching it-- 4 hours Monday night [1 lecture and 3 lab, with the rest made up by electronically delivered content] Night insect lab!?!). Anyone know any great web resources?

Suggestions of fun activities? Ideas?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Irene has her pedometer

Irene has her pedometer and is stepping lots. Are the other fitness challengers equiped?

There is still plenty of time to join Irene, Jenny, Jennifer, Beth, Molly and myself if the GBDK Fitness Challenge. TT, Abby, Sally's S, are you in? It doesn't have to be a step program (although I think the pedometers are great for lots of reasons, the biggest of which is that it makes exercise an everyday activity, not a went to the gym or not thing). The only requirement is that you set a goal (number of steps, number of times you swim or do yoga, whatever) and keep track of of it.

Here are some places selling pedometers: Bodytronics, PedometersUSA where we can supposedly buy them for less than $1 (if we buy what, 10,000?), Amazon (I have the accusplit eagle 120xl and like it), Rite Aid has them as a free rebate gift this month, REI has them, I bet Target, Wallmart, etc. have them. If you need me to buy one for you, (indebtedness can be a surprisingly effective motivator), let me know soon. (In the state employee program, they gave them to us, but we had to return them if we didn't turn in our final results paperwork, it really made me pay closer attention.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Butternut Blonde is a Cow Breed

As I was looking for some images of butternut blondes to accompany the post below, I learned that BB is an unusual Canadian cow breed, or at least the name of the farm where they raise blondes.

Confessions of a Shopping-Happy Butternut Blonde

Okay, I have two confessions to make.
1) There are times I really like to shop. One day last went to the hardware store, dollar store, drug store and natural food store and bought things like deck cleaner, stain, dish soap, shampoo, (and make-up! I so love buying make-up) and quinoa and absolutely loved it. I just really like standing there trying to figure out of the more expensive waterproofing is really worth it. I dislike clothes shopping most of the time, but had another great day this week driving into Charleston, dropping off the recycling, hitting 7 vegetable vendors at the Farmer's Market and pricing fans and back-to-school items at Target. I had to take myself away from the "storage solution" section.
2) I care about my hair color label. My hair continues to darken as I age. This is normal for blondes except white-blonde tow-heads. Sometime in my twenties, I remember reading an essay about blondes in their thirties and how they are all fake and meet with both scorn and envy from people like the author who was a blonde in her twenties but no more. I thought at the time "that won't happen to me", but then, I was a natural blonde in her twenties.
Anyway, I like the color of my hair. I've always liked the color of my hair, including the times when it was a sun-bleached light blonde and the times, like most of high school, when I thought that I could only fairly refer to it as "blondish". I like the color of Jennifer's hair, which is just a touch darker than mine, and I will be proud to have that color next. I am not about dye my hair. But I want to be considered blonde. The actual word is most of the hang-up.

This is weird to me because usually I am a realist. I will buy a piece of clothing that fits well even if it is the larger size, and I've certainly never purchased anything because of vanity sizing. Sizes are just numbers, as are most labels. But I really want to cling to "blonde". Maybe it's because I don't fit in with a four hair color universe (while definitely not black or red, my hair is really not brown or even light brown.) So for now I am calling myself "butternut blonde". I have no idea what butternut blonde is, but they make a shampoo for it so there must be lots of us.

Sorry if I've disappointed you, Sally's Sister.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Electric Boogie

Usually I don't think very much about cars. As long as I have one that gets me from here to there, I'm content.

Until now.

I've fallen in lust... too bad 'he' is way out of my league.

Some say it's mystic
It's electric
(Boogie woogie, woogie)
You can't resist it
It's electric
(Boogie woogie, woogie)
You can't do without it
It's electric
(Boogie woogie, woogie)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Speaking of books

Since we're talking books (and because I'm so frusturated with my paper right now I don't think I'm going to get much more done today...) I had a question for those in the group that read Inkheart (Jennifer recommended during knitting so I know at least one other person in the group has read it). Did anyone read the second book of the series, Inkspell? Did you like it? Although I enjoyed Inkheart quite a bit, I did not like Inkspell very much and I was wondering if anyone else felt this way or if I was in the minority. I will still read the final book whenever it comes out to see how she ties things up, but I'm not exactly looking forward to it, if you know what I mean.

Also, I find that I really enjoy young adult/teen/children's literature for relaxing reading. Does anyone have anything good to recommend?

Harry Potter Discussion

Harry Potter fans, it is time to "geek out" and discuss the book.

In order not to be a spoiler, the discussion should take place in the comments. If you have not read the book, read the comments at your own risk.

So - What did you think? Where you happy with the ending? Did the book leave you wanting more Harry Potter? What was the most surprising part of the story for you?

More megafauna

I am back from New Mexico and have moved to Independence. We are slowly getting things unpacked and organized.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the vertebrate megafauna (or evidence of) I saw in New Mexico.

Hungry Lizard

Rattlesnake - I put my backpack fairly close to this guy, but he did not rattle. Luckily I saw him and was able (with the help of a long stick) to retrieve my bag.

Hummingbirds - I stayed at the Licthy Center (which is run by the Nature Conservancy) and there were about a dozen hummingbirds that visited the feeder. They provided early morning entertainment.

We were doing our work along the Gila River in SW New Mexico. At one of the campgrounds in the Gila National Forest was closed because some guy was bit in the butt by a bear while he was sleeping in his tent. Several miles away, we saw evidence of bears at one of our sampling sites.

A family of turkeys.

Racoon Tracks in the mud
And my favorite - the Gila Monster