Thursday, October 27, 2011

Awkward / Awesome Volume 21

Heyo! Thursday means time for the awkward and awesomes to come out of the woodwork...

Awesome: At the end of a talk on the interaction between alcohol consumption and circadian rhythms, someone noted that the speaker had toted all these negative effects of alcohol consumption and he wondered what the positive effects were.  In other words, what's the societal advantage of keeping liquor around?
I joked that alcohol consumption increased population size, therefore it was evolutionarily advantageous.
Awkward: Among many other distinguished faculty and such, my statistics teacher was there and heard me.
Awesome: In class this week, he decided we should do hypothesis testing on a real example, namely that alcohol increases fertility rates.  He calls it the 'Rachael conjecture.' 

Awesome: The idea of this soup..
Awkward: The taste of it (musty)

Awesome: Finding this partially inflated giant balloon and proceeding to play with it for ~45 minutes.
Awesome x 2: Everyone else wanted to play with it, too so I made new friends!
*Faces blocked for privacy. :)

Awesome: This bush/leaf super man!
Awkward: I've passed it just about every day I've been here and never noticed before last week...

Awesome: Getting to go to lunch with a visiting speaker (read: free lunch + interesting conversations)
Awkward: This particular speaker was someone with whom I had interviewed with at another school and who had accepted me to his lab (which obviously I didn't pick....)
Awesome: He's such a sweetheart, it wasn't really awkward at all!

Awkward: The noise I emitted when I was slammed in the leg by a soccer ball.
Awesome: The bruise it left...

Awesome: I feel like I'm heading to Hogwarts when I go to the gym at night...

Awkward: Finding this staring down on at me from the cupboard by my desk.
Awesome: These are the kind of jokes my lab mates play on each other daily...

Awkward: Forgetting last week to ask you guys to put your awkward/awesomes in the comments below and being sad that I didn't get to read any of YOUR funny/great moments.... So share 'em below!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brought to you by the letter S

Today consisted of..

Sleeping in
Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea drinking
Store trips
Somersault munching
Statistics Study Sessioning
Soccer playing
Salad eating

All in all, a Success (okay, I'll stop)
How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Awkward / Awesome Volume 20

Awkward: EVERYTHING about my presentation yesterday (in front of faculty, too.... not just peers!)
Awkward x 2: Slicing open my finger instead of my bagel while rushing to begin my presentation...
Awesome: Making modern art.
Awesome x 2: Garnering some pre-talk sympathy.
Awkward: Having to learn in stats about rejecting the null hypothesis (saying one sample probably is or isn't from a certain population given it's extreme difference from the mean value).
Awesome: Having this made clear using real examples.
Awesome x 2: BEING the example...
Stats teacher: "Given the standard American woman's height and Rachael's measured height, we would would reject the hypothesis that Rachael is an American woman"

Awesome: Having my prosem teacher use a picture of me in her powerpoint to demonstrate how a face can be broken down via fourier analysis into it's spectral components.
Awkward: She used this photo from when half my face was numb post-dentist trip...
Awkward: This text from an unknown number...

*number has been changed
Awkward: For some reason, until Wednesday, I was the only first year grad student without my picture on the board.
Awesome: I got to pick a new picture than the one they lost so I chose to represent Batman (love ya, Brutharrr)

Backstory: This slide was in my talk (to explain about how the authors of the paper I was presenting weren't transforming their linear data into log data before making inferences about interactions*)
*Don't worry I don't really get it either... hence the title of the slide being a question mark
Awesome: One of the older, distinguished faculty said, "Ahem... I assume you're referring to the 'natural log' here?"
HAHAHA!  Nerd jokes make my world go round...

Awkward: Being reprimanded after forgetting to move the chairs back in a room after using them.
Awesome: After an apology email, the administrator told me, "Well... no one ever moves chairs back so I guess this means you're a real grad student now.  Welcome to the department."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Drowning in pudding

Soooo... I've decided grad school = drowning in pudding.
I'm surrounded by absolutely awesome things such as interesting classes, fun assignments, new friends, adventures BUT (yup, big but) I'm still drowning

I had a breakdown last week.  Whilst catching up with the madre (which happens far too seldom), I learned that bigger little needs glasses!  Of course, mother dear asked if I could come home to help her pick out some snazzy frames (what else are big sisters for?). But I honestly didn't know how I could swing it.  With my overload of homework, study sessions, soccer games, photography gigs and other various commitments, I was struggling to figure out how I could spare the time to drive home.
Then it hit me... Isn't that one of the big reasons why I'm here, not doing grad school in upstate New York? So I could conceivably come home and be there for my family?  I knew it'd settle down soon, when I got used to things and gained time management skills but I was so tired that day... logic didn't make a dent on me.  As I was sitting in statistics a few hours later, I started to cry.

Welp, the next morning, after some sleep, I decided that despite the consequences, I would go home and be there for my sister.  My mom called a few minutes later to tell me THEY were coming to ME!

Seeing their two faces replenished my soul...

Good thing littlest little's birthday is coming up because I don't think I could go so long without a visit again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brain Droppings - vol 13

Hey hey!
It's (late) Tuesday so it's time to learn a little fact!

Mammals can 'taste' heat, like in spicy* food...
  ***(technically called piquancy while we're at it)

...birds can not.

So what? Well, if you have a problem with squirrels eating your bird food (don't we all?), supposedly just adding some spice (like chili powder) will solve your problem! Voila!

Have you tried this? Did it work?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Awkward / Awesome Volume 19

Hullo! I'm struggling to keep my eyes open to write this... We had a fire drill at 7am today.  Ugh!
But it's Thursday so it's time to squirm remembering my recent past...

Awkward: Choosing adjacent porta-potty stalls on the pumpkin patch date...
What was I thinking?!

Awkward: Finally confiding in a cohort about a big secret I've been keeping when she asked, 'What was THAT about?"
Awesome: She was asking about something else....

Awkward: Emailing my professor during the TA's lecture...
He has no way of know it was during the break... 

Awesome: A long-term family friend lives down here and we had talked about getting together when I finally moved to the area.
Awkward: I have yet to call....
Awkward x 2: I just ran into him.
Ooohhh.. hey! I WAS gonna call, I swear. 

Awesome: Finding a cool necklace...
Awkward: It was abandoned below a dumpster.
Awkward x 2: I took it.  In full view of my date.  Classy....

Awesome: Getting mail.
Awkward: If it's a package and it doesn't need to be signed for, it gets sent to the other side of campus where I have no reason to be and am never in that area when the building is open. GRRRR...

Let me know your awkward/awesomes in the comments!  Laughing will keep me awake....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Brain Droppings - vol 12

It's Tuesday! The day of brain droppings....
*I need to redo this picture... The brain is supposed to be hopping 
AWAY from the jar but we all read left to right so.....

Basic genetics 101:
Mammals have X and Y sex chromosomes... 
If you're a guy, you have X (from mom) and Y (from dad).
If you're a girl, you have X (from mom) and X (from dad).

Sex chromosomes have thousands of genes with much wider effects than just sex differences.  For example, the X chromosome determines coat color in kitties.

Normally, in the womb, the little developing female kitty decides which of the two Xs to keep (mom's or dads).... cuz you only need one... and it suppresses the other. Sometimes, this suppression fails and the genes from both Xs are expressed.

Enter calico cats!

Their coat is a physical representation of this effect (1/2 coat color from mom, 1/2 from dad).
Because this only occurs with two X chromosomes, calico cats are almost* always female!

Cool, huh?

*The exception is the rare XXY male.
Your turn! Got a cool fact to share with me? 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


A few orders of business..

1) Happy half birthday to me. 

2) I thought the ZOO was a great place to see adorable kids.  I stand corrected.  Pumpkin patches, people.  You bring out the hay bales and the corn mazes and just wait. Like flies to honey.

3) Anyways, yesterday I went on a double date (squeal!) to a pumpkin patch and had a big ol' coincidence.
But it requires a back story...
See this weird fluffy tumor? 

That's Miriah, my sloth puppet.

See that thing on my bed? 
Miriah also.  17 years later.  A bit nappy.

I got Miriah when I was 8 and that was that.  She went EVERYWHERE with me.  I even used to talk to the cashiers while checking out at the grocery store with her.  Creepy, right?  She's been with me through EVERYTHING.  Every move, every up, every down. I even brought her with me to grad school interview weekends. 
Yesterday, I finally met the woman who made her.  She had a booth at the pumpkin patch with an assortment of glossy, brand new Miriah siblings.  It was totally an indie movie moment though... I started to tell her about how much this sloth puppet has meant to me, but then my sentence got cut off, the moment passed and before I knew it I was walking away, glancing backwards.

I wanna hear about YOUR one special stuffed 
animal or security blanket. 
Do you still carry it around? 

Miriah in the wild...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Awkward / Awesome Volume 18 - I saw the signs....

Awesome: Doing the school photography for my sisters' school.
Awkward: Depositing 30 of the checks into the ATM before realizing I hadn't signed them.
Awesome: They went through.

Awesome: When I first started in my lab, this was waiting for me (it's 2 x 3 feet large!)
P.S. It's still up...
Awkward: This sign at the zoo...

Awkward AND Awesome: This emo phone sign

Awkward: Accidentally adopting some dude's underwear from the laundry room when I brought home my clean stuff.
Awesome: Fortunately the item in question was clean as well.
Awkward: I unintentionally kept it for 5 days....

Awesome: Being unafraid to ask a very basic question in my statistics study session.
(Cuz 'there's no such thing as a dumb question', right?).
Awkward: Being told it was a dumb question
(Apparently there is...)

Awkward: Before now, getting my hands on a scientific article I wanted was pretty hard.
Awesome: Now that I'm a big shot grad student, I get messages like this...

What about you guys? What's been awkward/awesome in YOUR week?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Panda butts and monkey muscles

Over the weekend, I went to the zoo and I saw...
A baby monkey sucking it's thumb...

Rolls of panda fat... stark contrast with a super ripped bonobo.

Colorful lizards...

A sleepy/normal koala...
More sleepy animals...

A super adorbs sloth...
A scary otter...

A gorgeous snake...

and some really pretty eyes...

What'd you guys do this weekend?

Brain Droppings - vol 11

I didn't have a fact for today then I realized that the sign I'd made for my friend's office door this morning was applicable....

I learned the word 'Butyraceous' from Psych (thanks Brutharrr!) and the bottom is a quote from our tour guide at the zoo this weekend.