Monday, February 25, 2008

Blog Business

1) If you want comments e-mailed to you, we can now enter up to 10 addresses to receive them (and I don't need to be one of them as I check the blog much more often than I check that e-mail account).

2) I just enacted word verification for comments (three spam comments in a week is just too many). Allegedly it won't change commenting for authors, but let me know (or change it back) if it becomes too cumbersome.

3) I'm assuming that blog members not writing recently haven't done so because they are busy with other pursuits (jobs, giant papers and lives all being fairly important), but please let us know if you haven't written because of something else, so we can at least send virtual hugs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Meth: Friend or Foe?

If you are in need of a chuckle, you must check out the science fair projects at photo basement.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Much ado about Hector and Frances

As we start planning for our upcoming move, many details need attention. One major issue is what to do with our cats. Initially, I assumed that we would shell out the $1,000 to move them with us. It would be expensive, but they're my babies! But in thinking it over, I think the move could be very stressful for them. Hector in particular. He takes several weeks to recover from a trip to the vet. So, I am dealing with the prospect of leaving them with someone else. Sniff!

It really breaks my heart to even think about it, and I will only be able to do it if I can find them a good home. I know that many of you are cat fanciers, and thought that you might know someone who would provide a good home for them (even if somewhere other than Lawrence). It could be a temporary thing (i.e., until I finish my postdoc and move back) or permanent (with visitation rights!) if their new caretakers preferred that. They are both about 9 years old and right now are indoor/outdoor cats, but could be indoor only if necessary. Any leads are appreciated. Any emotional support will also help.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Trip to Lawrence

I have a date set to defend my thesis on Monday, March 3rd. I'm coming into Lawrence on Sunday evening, and I will leave on Tuesday morning (yeah, short trip, I know). I hope to see those of you who are in Lawrence or nearby - a celebration dinner is likely to happen at Pachamama's on Monday evening.

Tomorrow's the last day for me to work on the thesis before I send it to my committee. Is it done and polished? Hah. Mostly done, not entirely polished. I just finished formatting it to meet the requirements, but it still needs some content in certain spots. Like, a "conclusions" section, which is currently nothing more than some scribbled notes on scrap paper.

My biggest fear at this point is actually not related to the thesis itself, but that the baby might decide to come early while I'm traveling. She's been awfully squirmy and active lately, and although I can rationally acknowledge that that doesn't mean anything other than (probably) she's healthy, it sure feels like she's trying to figure out how to break free of her prison.

I recently switched my prenatal care and plans for delivery from a hospital to a birth center, and on my blog I go into a fair amount of detail about why. It's a long post!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Aloha friends

Well, I have some news. We just got back from Hawaii yesterday. That is news in itself! We had a great time. The weather was warm and mostly sunny, and the sights were beautiful! But the real news is that I accepted a postdoc in Hilo. I am so excited about the job and living in such a great place.

I will be working on a dry forest restoration project. The goals are to reduce invasive grass cover (which will reduce the potential for forest fires) by increasing native species establishment in the understory. The project has the standard factorial field experiments and a big remote sensing component. Very little is known about native dry forest communities in Hawaii, so there should be a lot of neat questions to explore within the project!

The town of Hilo is really interesting because it is not touristy at all. It has a great farmer's market, with all kinds of things I've never heard of before along with papayas, lychee, and the rest. The population is mostly Asian and native Hawaiian, and there are lots of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino restaurants. SS, you can't go too far without bumping into another bubble tea place!

I am going to keep advertising the wonders of the Big Island with the hope that you all will come visit us there. Starting with waterfalls in town:

Beautiful Waipio Valley:

And lots of lava and huge craters:

Start saving your frequent flier miles!

GBK meetings in Kansas and North Carolina

Three great opportunities to meet up with other GBKs (or at least me) are forthcoming:

  1. I was recently elected to the Board of Governors for the Society of Self Fellows (I actually shamelessly campaigned in the first contested election for the board). That means I will be returning to Lawrence for at least a few days every year for the next four years, starting with March 29-April 1 this year. Possible GBK social on Saturday?
  2. Jennifer and I are going to the Society for Economic Botany meetings in Durham during the first week of June (and thus, sadly, not SCB). We're excited about seeing each other and talking about plants and would be even more excited if more of us were there.
  3. Of course, the Mister and I welcome visitors to rural West Virginia most any time. Our guest bedroom is really quite comfortable.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Year of the Rat

Thanks to Gmail's RSS feed - I found this link.

I knew the SS would be interested and thought everyone else might enjoy it too.

Best thing since sliced bread!

Okay, maybe that's exaggerating. But I am really excited about this website I found. It's a recipe website, but different than all the other ones I've seen.

You enter an ingredient, or more than one, and it suggests recipes that can be made with those ingredients. First I tried "nutella" and it came up with at least a dozen recipes, including nutella hot chocolate, nutella fondue, several kinds of cookies, and so forth. Then I wanted to try something a bit oddball, something that I'd have a hard time thinking of how to use, so I put in "rutabaga" expecting two or three recipes, and it came back with dozens upon dozens.

I figure this is a great tool for deciding what to do with random farmer's market finds (quick, gimme ten recipes for rhubarb!) or that can of pineapple slices that's sitting in the cabinet.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Update from Liberty Mo

Hello my friends.
I realize it has been quite a long time since I have posted to our blog (thanks again SS for such a wonderful idea), though I have been sneaking in to read it.

I had a realization the other day - our cell phones are defunct and have not been replaced. So if you have tried calling on my cell phone and I have not responded, I am sorry.

So what is new here. I am still enjoying my job, though I have been much busier this semester, teaching Plant Biology, Biological Diversity and Design (awful name, we know), and the Ecology of Food (a non-majors course). All are new preps for me. My biggest issue currently is that I never feel fully prepared for any of the classes. Luckily I am team teaching two of the classes to different degrees, and after today I am "off" for two of the classes for about a week.

Last Tuesday was an exciting, though stressful day. We had Chris Mooney (author of Storm World and The Republican War on Science) visit our campus yesterday. He was the speaker for a lecture series they hold each year called the COPE lecture on Science, Technology, and the Human Experience. Chris is not a scientist, but journalist and free-lance writer who writes about the intersection between science and politics. From speaking with him, and what I have read of his work, I highly recommend it. He also has a blog called The Intersection, and is part of an intiative ScienceDebate2008. They are trying to organize a presidential debate on science policy, which they have scheduled for April 18th. Hopefully the candidates will come. Chris was with us all day - he attended a class at 9 am, he spoke on Up-To-Date on KCUR, he had lunch with students, he was part of a panel discussion on science, we had a special dinner in which he said a few words, and then he gave his lecture on Storm world.

My role in is visit was actually pretty substantial - I was to take him from the college (pick up at 10:10) to KCUR (show started at 11:00). Then bring him back from the show and join him and the students for lunch. I also introduced him both a dinner and for the COPE lecture.

And I messed it up.

We got lost on the way to the radio station. I had directions, but I had never driven the route from WJ to KUCR. The road signs downtown got confusing, which was not helped by the pouring rain and very low visibility. We had to backtrack a bit, and over compensated (I should have listened to myself and stopped at the first gas station to ask for directions, but I did not). We were about 7 minutes late. Not really a big deal, but stressful and not really the way to make a good impression. The show did go well though.

Then after I introduced him at the COPE lecture, I picked up his notes with mine. Not a big deal, but he had to ask me for them and on top of the fiasco in the morning, it was embarrassing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Beach towelesque Baby Blanket

I finished the way too long cotton baby blanket.

More pictures, along with my thoughts on this year's lucky resolution over on sparkling squirrel.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Stitches and sledding

I got my first stitches yesterday! Four in the left knee, after wiping out in the parking lot. I'm ok, just can't bend my knee and have occassional twangs of pain. The day before KU was closed so I went sledding with Tall Flambouyance.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Searching for a Good Biologist

My small college is looking for an animal biologist and a cellular biologist (or possibly some amazing combination). I'm the chair of the search committee (not a position I relish).
If you know of anyone who really wants to teach, let me know. The teaching load can be crazy, but overall its a really good place to work, and we have our own sequencer and pcr machine, new labs and lots of fun equipment. Plus the lucky new biologists would work with me. Official Posting Here.

I'm desperate to get the word out about this, so if you have any suggestions of individuals or any ties to organizations, listserves, etc. or other suggestions for how I could publicize the position, please please let me know.

We will seriously consider ABDs.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Happy Birthday TT and E!

All the best to two fabulous friends. Here's wishing you a laughter and learning filled trip around the sun and many more to come. Take some time to celebrate!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

dog, cat, bird, fish, hottub sitting

Plus they have a computer! So I thought I could relaxingly post a blog while I sip my morning coffee with a parrot on my shoulder, like those yuppies out there (minus the bird), rather than sneaking it in at work, I mean my lunch break. I broke through to the technological side and got a ... drum roll... cell phone! But I'm doing the pay $15 every 3 months plan, which equals just enough minutes for when I'm out and about and trying to meet up with someone, or if my car goes into the ditch. Does the phone have to be ON for them to track it? So if I'm ever trying to catch up with any of you in a busy airport in Australia, I'll make sure you have my number. PS - the Kenya trip was cancelled - the violence keeps escalating.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Groundhog Eve!