Saturday, February 09, 2008


I can't remember the last time I was this social in my life.

Oddly enough, I've managed to forge a new group of work-related friends who seem to be able to bring out the social party animal in me. Recently it's been party, after party, after ski outing, after love/sex week dirty trivia night. I'm now waking up hungover in the middle of the week, realizing I forgot to change the time on my alarm and thus have slept right through the weekly lab meeting. I'm really not complaining.

Things are going really well with my PhD research: the results are exploding right now, and are looking very promising for a quickly up-coming publication. I know what I'm doing, I like what I'm doing, and I know there's always more experiments to come. I like going to conferences and networking, and I'm even starting to enjoy presenting (OMG WTF?).

It wasn't too long ago where I was counting down the days to where I'd be finished with school and out into the real world. And while I'm still looking forward to actually making money, I've also found myself hoping these good times can keep on going. I like making my own schedule, I like that I'm productive and independent, and I like that I feel confident and comfortable. How things have changed.

Some things have changed in the not-so-good way, but those issues are being worked out. And you always learn something from negative situations, either about yourself or about other people. I've done both - and in the long run, I'm glad of it.

I have a lot of things to look forward to in the next wee while: club night tonight, ski trip soon, a friend from undergrad coming up from Waterloo to visit, a conference, a trip out to Calgary to see my brother and sister-in-law, and a trip somewhere this summer (either Peru/Chile or Scandinavia).

Besides the fact that I still feel way too old, life is pretty good right now. I hope things are going well for the rest of you :)



Sunday, December 02, 2007


Shock of all shocks: I'm aliiiiiive! Blogless, but alive.

The typical explanation: busy with school (I'm now officially a PhD student and recently went to San Diego for the annual Society for Neuroscience conference), busy with life, just busy busy busy. Except when I'm being lazy and sitting on my ass for an entire day (how I love Sundays).

Sad fact is I don't ever really think about posting anymore - and I sincerely doubt there's anyone who really cares. heh. (Except you, Andy!)

I will keep the blog up, maybe at some point I will feel the need to make more regular posts about something more interesting than my perpetual on-going quarter life crisis. But for now, I am saying hasta luego.

I hope you all are well!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Stop This Train

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun.

Once in awhile, when it's good

It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
Till you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Stop This Train - John Mayer, Continuum

Another year, another birthday past. I'm 24. I don't know how I got this old, but I know it scares me.

For every entry
that I accomplish on my my mentally constructed list of Things To Do Before I Die, at least 3 new entries are added. It just keeps growing and time keeps passing, and it leaves me dragging my fingernails through the dirt in a vain hope that I can slow it down and somehow stop time so I can relax and enjoy the moment.

I like my life right now, I like where I am, and this is exactly why the sheer light-speed at which time passes is really starting to worry me. I'm still young, but time is running out on being able to enjoy being young.

Summers off are already a thing of the past; the time for mini skirts and impromptu clubbing outings is rapidly passing by; the chances I will have to blow my savings and take time off for trips to Europe and South America and wherever else are running out. I'm too young to be old!

With another birthday and the transfer to my PhD, it seems like I'm in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. Thankfully it is Canada Day weekend, so I can go to a barbecue and totally shitfaced with other people in a complete socially acceptable way!


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ventura Highway

So with the novelty of facebook wearing off (after the utter weirdness of coming back into contact with people I haven't seen/heard from in 12+ years), summer is quickly approaching.

I'm also almost done with deadlines for this past scholastic year. Earlier this week I attended the Essence of Memory conference, partially organized by my supervisor. It brought together many important memory researchers from all over the world. I got the chance to present my research in a poster session, and met quite a few interesting people.

The man who co-discovered long-term potentiation (the presumed biological substrate for memory), Timothy Bliss, actually sat at our table during the banquet dinner. It was a pretty surreal experience - the nerdier Neuroscience equivalent of meeting John Lennon or James Dean.

Next week I'm off to Toronto for the Canadian Association for Neuroscience conference. I'll be there for a week, going to more talks and also presenting my research again. I'll be meeting up with some friends from my undergrad while I'm there, so at least I'll have a little fun!

I also just finished writing my research paper that will transfer me to my PhD - I just have to make corrections and finally hand it in. Then it'll be official.

Busy busy busy. Another year gone. Another year closer to death. heh. Morbid much? At least it's sunny and warm, so it's hard to be too maudlin these days.

And after the Toronto conference, I'm off to Cuba for a week - for beach, books, booze, and sleep. I can barely wait to get away! I hope all of you are doing well :)

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Friday, April 20, 2007

I Succumbed

So if y'all have been wondering where I've been and why I haven't posted in a month or so, there is a quite benign though slightly sad explanation (even though I highly doubt that anyone is sitting in a corner, crying and shivering, going through Jo-blog update withdrawal).

The explanation is this: I got sucked in to joining facebook.

That is all.

It is a monumentally effective time waster. If you haven't yet joined, be strong! Hold out if you actually have work that needs to get done!

With that said, I'm now off to enjoy this spectacularly gorgeous warm and sunny weather - finally! Have a good weekend everyone :)

I miss you! Help me...

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Thursday, March 29, 2007


So what is it that I do on a daily basis? Basically, this:


The above is an example of one of my cells. All three of them are the same cell - to make an extremely complicated cellular/molecular story simple, I inject the DNA of the protein I want to study right into the nucleus of these sensory neurons (the nucleus is essentially that empty black space in the middle that you can see in the green picture). The DNA then gets translated into my protein, and is expressed in the cell.

Then I can manipulate various things and look at the results.

The DNA has this tag on it that makes it fluoresce in red under the confocal microscope. The green is a similarly tagged antibody that I use to look at some functions of the protein under various conditions. The last picture is a merge of red and green filters.

This is a gorgeous example of the neurites (cell processes) that grew in culture from one particular experiment:


If you're bored already, I give you free and entirely understood permission to stop reading and/or let your eyes slowly glaze over as I so often do when my supervisor starts talking extensively over my head (which is a daily event).

The protein that I study is an atypical isoform of protein kinase C (PKC). This is a model which partially explains the role my protein may have in memory processes:


That little question mark in the motor neuron is thought to be the role of PKCs.

So yeah, fun stuff isn't it? (Hey, I heard that!)


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Alchemist

As my creme brulee sits under the boiler, caramelizing the topping of a wee sprinkle of brown sugar, I thought I would blog about the book I'm reading right now.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is actually more along the lines of a fairy tale: subtitled "A fable about following your dream". It's quite short, and yet it is very full of those life-lessons that normally take people their entire lives to realize - let alone put into action.

It can be interpreted very religiously, but that's not a necessary interpretation. I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit, it reminds you to do all of those things that you often take for granted on a daily basis. The catch is, the "daily basis" is actually your life. The entirety of your existence culminates from the "daily basis".

What's even more interesting about this book, is I bought the copy I'm reading in a second hand bookstore. The woman who read it before me (I can only assume it was a woman due to the fairly effeminate hand writing) made numerous very insightful comments in the margins. It's been really affective to have these notes to go along with the story - instantly having someones personal thoughts and reactions to the very thing that you just read.

My favourite of these comments to date is "It is always easier to go back to what is comfortable, because less space lies between what is comfortable and what is dreamed".

I am really glad I picked up this book from the second hand store, having had absolutely no idea what it was about. I most definitely recommend it to any of you!