Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to Erin and Tucson Trekker!

Within the next week, Erin and T.T. will each celebrate an annual milestone. Happy Birthday to you both! May you take the time to enjoy the moment and start another year in joyous style.

Those of us not in warm locations (Sal Sis is in Haiti and Jenny soon to be in New Zealand, but as far as I know, the rest of us in places where icy winds still blast through in February) are anxious to learn of your "subtropical" adventures.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inkdeath or Inkheart Movie

Admittedly, I live outside of lots of pop culture, so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that Inkheart the movie opened yesterday without me having heard anything about it, and then I found out that the third book of the trilogy, Inkdeath, was released in October.

I know that several of us loved Inkheart and several of us were sorely disappointed in Inkspell, so I was just wondering if anybody has thoughts on the movie or the third book.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Thoughts

Like many people, for the first time I feel caught up in the inauguration, or at least wanting to be. I tried to watch at home but the feed on the computer was too spotty (we have no television reception) so I came to watch it on campus. My worst fear was not confirmed-- that there would be nobody there, but it was a bit depressing that after the swearing in, for which everyone was quiet, the chatter came back full force during the speech and it was hard to hear.
None the less I was glad to be there, somehow being a participant in the moment.
I'm embarassed by my thoughts coming away from it 1) I did not cry in front of students, which I was very fearful of doing and 2) sulfur yellow or light chartruese? either way, very bold Michelle.

Friday, January 16, 2009

160 b.p.m. and 4 limbs

Which is good, although I think that a prehensile tail would be a nice addition for Mervivan. I am much relieved.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Who is on your list? and how can they not know what I know?

So, two years ago I started by botany class by having the students name the their list of great biologists (and then I tried to explain how all of them related to botany-- the point being that botany is "regular biology", just with a plant context). It was fun because the previous day the then other prof. (a fish geneticist and reproductive physiologist) and I had discussed our lists (of fewer than six: I don't want to use a particular number in this post because I don't want students to end up here if I assign this) at with a little argument, they were nearly identical. Darwin and Wallace; Watson, Crick and Franklin; Linnaeus; and Mendel made both of our lists. Then we discussed if the last place should go to evolutionary synthesis (Hardy and Weinberg or Fisher and Wright), someone with diseases (Pasteur, Koch, Alexander Fleming or one of the microscope dudes), someone biochemical (Calvin or Krebs or someone else she knew) or someone that we just thought was cool (Barbara McClintock).

This year, I bring up with the subject with my colleagues and they keep listing all of these people I have never heard of (Vetner, Goldman-Huxley-Katz, Southerland, Baltimore, Alvarez, Speeman, Krogh, human genome, GFP people . . .) and they have never heard of Ronald Fisher or Sewall Wright. One (who, to his credit, may not have known I was going for a fewer than six list) just keeps spewing out names in immunology and biochem and I want to shout, "You'd kick off Mendel for someone recent in immunology? I don't care if we're in different fields. I didn't put up any ecologists or real botanists."

Somehow this is upsetting. Probably because it was so reassuring when we did it two years ago, which made me feel that we were really covering essential biology and now I'm really wondering if we have anything approaching consensus about what essential biology is.

So, who's on your list?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slightly Scared

So I'm a little fearful at the moment and not getting anything done. E. Mervivian is due in August and I'm "10 weeks" along. I went to the doctor today for what amounted to a completely useless visit. The ultrasound machine is down so the midwife used a little doppler thing, which works effectively at hearing heartbeats after 13 weeks or so. It very rarely works at 10 weeks unless it is directly over the baby, and, obviously, did not today. While the very nice midwife explained that everything is fine and if I haven't had any bleeding or problems the baby is surely fine and I did not yell at her "I had no problems, no bleeding, no nothing last year at 10 weeks and my little fetus was dead" I'm still all worried.
And I do not want to write my syllabi or walk home in the slush falling from the sky.
(The Mister and I are thrilled about Ewaldina Mervivan Phogg, by the way. The paranoid nature of post should not be taken that I am anything other than delighted to announce his/her future presence to you.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It seems easier to keep resolutions when we share them with others. I kept to last year's resolution of not stockpiling tea! I'll only buy it when I'm out, or if jasmine or earl gray is on sale. This year my resolution is to not buy too much food. Buying in bulk backfires for those of us who live alone and don't like to cook. I'm learning to buy in smaller quantities and allow the good stuff to run out so I'm forced to finish up the stuff I have stockpiled. How privileged we are when our problem is having too much food to eat and not wanting it.

What are your resolutions?