Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'd like to think I fall into 'Geek'

This is cool, I'm pleased someone finally went to the effort of categorising it.

It's important.

and I'm sticking with the 'geek' claim.

From here, and Great White Shark via Matthew, here.

Doing it for the boys

An 'icon' is being shut down here in Dunedin. Big-Daddy-that-is-the-University has just bought a student pub that has been the watering hole of Castle street since...well, a long time (where is all the information on this bloody place?!)

One of the local news channels ran a piece which I caught the tail end of - and then looked up to watch online here.

Stroking the sign, friendly pats on the shoulder and manly-comfort hugs, "Its like the funeral of a best friend" -


A masterful performance. I was impressed. And I love how TV3 News has led with the title "Uni buys famed pub to close it down" - The University is almost chronically short on space, of course if a property comes up for sale so close to campus they will snap it up. If it deals to the retards smashing bottles on Castle Street, then good job - push the little bastards out of town. For over 1 mil though, here's hoping they build a nice, new, huge Drosophila facility :P

I almost have no words

For these.

How cool would it be to have the 'I-can-xray-myself-under-UV-light-super-power?!

From here by Richie, an artist in Canon City.

You can't say *no one* is doing any work

Yep, all busy in this office.

Steg has pumped out 4 papers.

This morning.

and Rex is just so frustrated with Macs (and being unable to reach the keyboard) he has been reduced to yelling at the roof.

The second coming...

Of Tech-Jebus.

My new computie arrived last night, at about 10 past 8 in the evening. During a dinner party, and you have *no idea* how hard it was to not go and shut myself in my room with him. I have named him Julian - of Famous Five... fame. He was always my favourite.

He's shiny and gorgeous and black -

-like my soul...
and my dead........ heart.
*with voice getting lower at end*

But beautiful! and fast and I have copied all my files over but cannot find my Calendar file, so all my life plans and appointments for the next 1.5 years are gone.

I feel some missed appointments coming up in my future.

And its running Windows 7, which so far has not crapped itself- so is straightaway better than Vista was.

Look at the prettiness! I just want to *touch* it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Photos that make me want to cry Part II




New heights of amazing. New heights of wondermentness.

Sleeping insects covered in dew drops.

How do I even pick a favourite?!

Maybe this one...

This dude(Miroslaw Swietek) gets up at 3am and goes into the forest to catch these beauties for fun.

Or this one

I want to *do* that!!!

But how are you *supposed* to attack a big bad hedgehog?!

An intruder came into the yard last night and threatened national security. The fuss from the dog was that great.

I assume it was his first encounter with such an alien, because after the first go at biting it he just didn't know what to do. The scary beast was walking slowly (tauntingly) down the side of the garden shed, so the puppy decided he could scare it into running or doing something by whacking his paw on the shed, and making a horrid clanging noise.


and over.

A good strategy though, you can't say he's not smart.

The hedgehog was just smarter. And ambled slowly off on its merry way. To deliver washing no doubt.

I am Mega Shark!

I pretty much fainted right there. You know the movie, now-

Check this shit out.

Be the shark! Be the shark!

"Shark crushed man" Oh *yeah* he did!

Urban Awesome

So Detroit are talking about/planning on converting the big wasteland spaces in their city into 'Urban Farms'. How cool is that? More green, more work, more food, healthier, better, nicer -

more awesome.

Makes you wonder though - all that crap that needs to be shifted out, and I assume new healthy dirt shifted in, is the problem just being moved around?

And I love that we have gotten to the point where after growing and building and spreading and *growing*, everyone now needs to deal with the issues of all the crap left behind after shrinkage. Wall-E anyone?! Just think of the new innovations and challenges and possibilities...

I like the thought of wee urban farms in the midst of the dirty big cities, the ones I have seen at least - Sydney, Paris and London and a very few others, simply for the aesthetics. The advantages are just more goodness piled on top.

And if they are capable of feeding the population within - and not only feeding greens, but supplying with biofuel and protein sources (raccoons?!) how much will the country benefit from lessened pressure in that direction - not having to truck food and supplies all over the show, even 2012 disaster coping strategy. The coolest Civil Defense Be-prepared Kit - food in potentially unlimited supply, right in your back yard. Fuck the aliens, we're good right here.

NewGeography has the big article here.

Photo by Letitia L. Star from here.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I like it.

So when I travel, I like to know what I will be doing, where I will be, when and how I will get there.

I also like to plan more things than can possibly happen. I attempted to make a small list of the things I would like to do whilst in Washington DC next fortnight in the very limited free time that I do have - it's 2 pages long with very small writing. How to cut it down?!

Tried money, but the list is mostly free stuff anyway. Priority? But I don't know which are best!

Oh the dilemma!

Lilly's having babies

Or just grew an ovary...

meh -> to-ma-to/to-mah-to

First one though. Who knew anything green could survive to be pretty in our stinky office?! I'm pretty sure every last molecule of oxygen is sucked up by all the greedy brilliant minds and used to make stunning MSc and PhD theses work, genius discoveries and revolutionary breakthroughs.

Yep. Plenty of CO2 available for that plant.

(how is it even alive?!)

Continual wondermentness

The frogs are growing at an alarming rate.

Actually, two of them are; two remain small and the final two have vanished. I suspect into the fatties bellies.

But just look at them!

Genome Evolution

Like all good things, the human genome is evolving in the Undergrad teaching lab.

and then:

explains allot, that does.

And she is. (Special)

Damn straight.

And finally:

And with the most recent evolutionary event, this last region. And it's true. I mapped that shit.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Yew Esss of Aye

I leave next Sunday for Washington DC for the big Drosophila conference - I am getting very excited about the conference itself, but not so much about the trip.


Money, of course. I am still a poor student (Oh waaaaaaaa! and lets forget the lovely things I have that are the reason behind the lack of free flowing cash for just a moment...) and the prospect of travel on a limited (lets be honest - non-existent) budget is just plain depressing.

However, the most important part of the trip is the conference itself, and seeing as I am the original conference junkie/groupie from way back, I have no problem with seeing nothing of the country itself or taking extra time for travel or recreation etc etc. There's plenty of time for that crap later and at the mo - I am all about the Drosophila.

The question you should ask is; is this due to an actual love of the work I do and my PhD/Science studies in general, or have I been forced into this state of being by having no money and being a PhD student who cannot claim much more to life than the lab? I struggle with the concept. Do I love it or have I come to love it?!

Its like the relationship that has lasted so long you can't break up because who else will ever know you so well?!

Not that *I* would actually know, but see the parallels people! The parallels!!

But conference - meeting the people, hearing all the talks and the passion and all the students; I talked about this before - but pretty much pre-hand-picked friend pool, the science, the community, the brilliance, the getting out of the country for a little bit...

Oh I cannot wait.

And despite not caring fully about the country and the touring aspect, what I do faint for is history and museums and galleries and can I just say -


(image from here.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not nearly as awesome as I was expecting

This is one of my favourite TWWS' (time-wasting web sites) - Beautiful, beautiful disasters.

On Sundays however, there is a Sunday Sweet post of *good* cakes from amazing bakers.

Plus, of course, my cookie-making inspiration here, and I envisage amazing, beautiful cakes in my head - which could never, ever, ever be lived up to by my hand alone.

This wee fellow is a rotifer,

Photo courtesy of these amazing people

and this wee fellow is a rotifer cake.

Scientifically accurate right? (but really, with a whole block of chocolate in the batter and another whole block of chocolate in the icing, one doesn't really need scientific accuracy)

Does anyone write about Ada on Ada Lovelace day?!

Oh yes, it's here. The day we have all been anticipating and eagerly awaiting.

Ada Lovelace Day. Who was she anyway?

Actually, to be honest its just a wee note on my calendar to write about a particular topic. (and the thrill of seeing a little dot way down in New Zealand on the map - before Australia even!)

and Ada? her info is here, but basically she wrote the first computer program for the 'Analytical Engine' - pretty much an early computer. She also theorised about computers themselves a bit, but died at the un-ripe un-old age of 36, in 1852 and never got to see anything come of it.


But for today, boys and girls, my science hero will beeeeeeeee....




Professor Dame Linda Partridge, of University College London and of Fruit fly nutrition and ageing research fame.

Anyone see why I might like her?! (yeah, its all in the titles)

and she had a portrait done. That's the height of awesome, right there.

Image: Professor Partridge in front of her portrait taken by photographer Robert Taylor, from here.

Aside from the above really important stuff, she is Director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing, holds the Weldon Professor of Biometry Chair, and was the Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute of the Biology of Ageing. She was a 2009 UKRC Women of Outstanding Achievement and was also made Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2009, awarded for services to science.

All of that tells you the quality and shear amount of the research right?

I particularly like this quote, which also fits in with today's theme very nicely;

"I am delighted to be chosen as one of the UKRC’s Women of Outstanding Achievement 2009. Young female scientists and engineers need senior females to relate to, especially at the difficult beginning of their research careers. What I try to do is show that you can be a successful scientist and have a rounded life."

Yep, I want that too.

And did I mention that I have met her?! I was in the UK on conference in September last year and took a side trip to London - was so overwhelmed and nervous I probably either made a non- or very bad- impression. And she was still lovely. Very, very busy,- but lovely.

Such is life.

(and secretly - can I have a job?! in a year or so...)

Monday, March 22, 2010

I always do as I'm told

I signed up for the Ada Lovelace Day...thing, because I thought it was a cool idea, and I totally plan to write about a female science hero on Wednesday, because both science and women are awesome. But I received an email today from the organisers asking me to "persuade one or two friends to join in".

I especially liked the suggestions on how to go about this. God knows I would forget to breath if someone didn't email me every two seconds with new instructions.

Whoops, that reads like bitter.

So, doing as I'm told, my options include sending a 'tweet', and I would love to claim age-status and pretend to know not what that means, but alas, I know - and am ashamed of it. So bird calling is out.

I could email my friends! Oh, but that assumes I have any... *lonely tear*

I could update my status on facebook! (again with the friend-issue) But I despise facebook almost as much as bird-calling, and believe it to be useful only in stalking...


... worried?


Ooo this one! Write a Blog Post!


Lets call it Therapy

I couldn't help myself. I was in the (beautiful) shop, casually, innocently walking around and I heard a voice. (different from the usual voices in my head, fear not.)

"Saaaaarah..." it said.

"Saaaaarah, buuuuuy us" it continued. At this point I could have managed to drag myself away, but then:

"Saaaaaarah, saaaaaaaaave us". Oh shit.

How can you not rescue something from a place it just doesn't want to be, when it asks so nicely?!

So I did. (save them that is) And what once saved, must be used.


Demon Easter Babies!

There's chickens

and ducklings

and lambs

and rabid pink bunnies (I would be that angry too, if I was such a sickly shade of pink)

and the boring egg, which barely merits acknowledgement really.

Smaller cookies means the icing goes...less as far (ummm, yeah) so my colour options were sadly restricted. And I didn't think my flatmates would appreciate me cranking up the kenwood to whip up another batch of egg whites at 11 pm. Flatmates just don't understand *art* these days!


After months of waiting for and changing of appointments, trouble-child finally got groomed.

And *halved* in size.


and after!

Cute fluffy ears and tail, only problem being he now *looks* like a bloody poodle. And I once again chickened out from asking the groomer to give the little punk a Mohawk. *sigh*

Maybe next time.

(all the *best* people had a Mohawk at *some* point in their lives)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Paddies Day baking

Beautiful, beautiful toxic-vomit-green cookie dough!





Whiteboard - the *true* artists canvas.

Yeah, you know who that is.

Too cute for words, just cute enough for wordless gushing

The oldest child has taken to climbing up the back of the couch and waving a paw at the youngest, trouble child, - who then attempts to pounce on said paw before it's snatched back.

This was a good 20 minutes entertainment for me. Who needs Shorters?!

Why working in labs is fun Part 2

His name is Jack and he is a sad, lonely, scary-man.

So the next week I made him a Jill!

In a wedding dress!

(I think the posing of everything in front of my text's is a nice, scholarly touch. I will use it often)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photos that make me want to cry

Every now and again I see something that is just so beautiful I don't know what to do...

So I think about crying.

I love that Completely Overwhelmed Feeling.

When something is so amazing, or remarkable, or special, or unique or etcetcetcblahblahblah that you are just shocked that it can be real, or that you have never seen it before, or never seen it quite like that.

I get it with the strangest things - sunsets (ok, so not so strange), very (very, very, very, very) occasionally with random people and very slightly more often with friends, sometimes when I look at my babies (would be more understandable if they were *actually* babies, and not a cat & dog...), artwork, some architecture and buildings, beautiful films, gorgeous books or stories or a piece of writing, and this, from here.

It's just a fly.

But what a fly!

(I want to be able to do that!)

Conference jealousy

I have a friend whom attended the Global Atheists Convention over the weekend. I am still green with it. The people she met! The talks she heard! The posey photo opportunities she took advantage of!

Just imagine, a large group of like-minded people able to talk freely, and take the piss out of the stupid brain-dead religious types who refuse to listen to the answers replied to their questions. Being in a majority - lovely. That is definitely some of the source of the enjoyment from being at any conference - pretty much a hand-picked friend-pool right there. (almost makes me want to get in on the whole ComicCon bollocks)

And hearing people speak, in person, whom you hear so much from and about but never hope to hear from directly with being so far down the bottom (top?) of the earth. (Its the 'ol "primers take soooo long to arrive here!" thread).

One of the best parts about the GAC, from the point of view of someone unable to have gone, is the coverage of it - both in newspapers and in beautiful beautiful blogs. The factual reporting of an event vs. the blatantly biased articles written as 'blog' in newsprint. Mostly just an outlet for people to write comments brilliant enough to make you want to either laugh or destroy your own soul.

If you have one.

Ooooo snap.

But seriously peeps, come to New Zealand! We are all awesome here!


Is it recess yet?

How come after lectures are part of the foggy distant past, but you have yet to emerge from the foggy-tertiary-education-cloud, uni ceases to be uni and reverts to being called 'school'?

Now there is 'school work' and 'I didn't want to come into school today' and 'do I really have to go to school tomorrow?', 'all the new school kids are blocking the corridors', 'you're at school to learn, and make my fly food - not to drink all night and come into school hungover!'. 'Did you finish all your school work last night?'

'Everyone was mean to me at school today'.

'I got into another fight with someone at school today'

'Why am I still at school and not in a real job?'

I love it. It means we look forward to 'break' more keenly - both daily coffees' and short gobble-at-your-desk lunches. The longer we stay, the more we regress - finding humour in the simplest places, getting annoyed at the simplest things ('who took my pen?! my ruler! my calculator! my protocol text! my social life?!'), complaining about the other 'kids' when you could just ignore it. Like an adult.

Wait, what?

You're not an adult till you graduate...

For the third time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I am a nana

I came home early and am sitting in my rocking chair with a bowl of cereal and my iPod, animals wreaking havoc at my feet.


Because life is just too hard. No own-computer, no software on loaner, no resources, no help, not enough time, and more commitments/obligations than I can shake a stick at. And I have tried, the stick-waving hasn't helped one jot.

Moral of the story? Beat a tactical retreat to the rocking chair & cereal, and pretend the world doesn't exist.


(on a small, small plus side, we now know I can update from the small, small screen of an iPod touch!)

Oh, and did I mention that I hate *everything*?!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It gets better!

Some people have too much time on their hands.

Others have just enough!

From here.

Oh. My. Freaking. God.

This is just insane. I can't even imagine how you would go about solving it if it was messed up. The mind boggles.

Its quite pretty though - in the end of the video...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The plunge

I'm about to take the plunge - copying my hard drive and then dumping my computer at the computer-shop to be at the mercy of the insurers.

Will I ever see it again?!


Will I freak out continuously while its gone without easy access to my files and Internet?

Most definitely.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The life of a (very new) PhD student

Collapsing on the floor for a nap in the office at only 11 in the morning.

Using TRex as a pillow.


Why working in labs can be fun

I love making things - whether it be baking or art or sculpture or just *mess*, I love to make.

So give me parafilm and a box of tips and I'll be happier than a pig in shit.

From the archives:
Honours is a stressful time. You start seeing strange things in normal places, and attributing abnormal characteristics to typical equipment. For example, the result of seeing elegance in a pair of blue tips -

Lab ballerina!

And you know the little sponge caps inside the aluminium tubes enzyme comes in?

Afro! Disco Stu, ready to rock the lab with his mean disco moves.

And then more recently (into my PhD years) the black foam insulating seal in large dry ice shipping boxes:

Unicorns and girls. In dresses. So maybe not in the lab or a science profession.