Thursday, May 18, 2006

Travelling Hippies

Oh how I love the Hippies!

Well, two specific hippies: the two shaggy bearded contestants who won The Amazing Race last night. They had me cracking up the entire season, their enthusiasm for travel was really inspiring as they were just soaking up every minute of the race.

When I travel I generally try to be similar: open-eyed and gleeful, trying to take everything in and let it transform me. To people who don't share it, the appeal of travelling is pretty difficult to describe - and I just can't for the life of understand why someone wouldn't share it! It's totally beyond my powers of comprehension. Travelling is something so unique and fascinating to me that I'm not able to understand how everyone doesn't feel the same way.

Some of the best quotes from last night's show are as follows:

"If there's any country besides North America I understand more, it's Japan." -- Tyler, whose knowledge of Japanese beats his knowledge of countries versus continents.

"We can't understand what anybody's sayin'." -- Ray is stunned to learn that Japanese is spoken in Japan.

"How did those chicks know who Hachiko was?" -- Eric fails to grasp that Hachiko is the statue of the dog near the guy holding the clue, not the guy himself.

"Touch it." -- Tyler invites giggling Japanese girls to stroke his beard. They happily oblige.

"I'll tell Michael you said hey." -- Yolanda to a group of Japanese businessmen who said she looks like Janet Jackson.

"I hope I don't wake up and it's 1972 or something." -- Jeremy decides a capsule hotel must contain time capsules.

"Those hippies and their damn language-knowing." -- Eric has a Homer Simpson-esque attack of jealousy over Tyler's knowledge of Japanese.

Even though I didn't like the frat boys, they were frequently amusing!

Speaking of travelling, my brother is flying in from Calgary tomorrow night for a surprise visit. We're going to ambush surprise my mom at breakfast on Saturday, I've just called and set it up to make sure she's available. I love freaking my mom out, it should be good times!

Ahhhh.... FREAK OUT!

Friday, May 12, 2006

NeuroGangsta's Paradise

Grad students don't get summers off. It's unfortunate and all kinds of sucky, but it's the bleak reality of graduate school life.

I'm done classes for the year, but I'm still doing research in the lab. It honestly hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. This is mainly due to the fact that I don't feel much stress anymore, and I realized I really have learnt a great deal of biochemistry this past year. I can essentially do a full Western Blot with my eyes closed. I'm impressed with myself, and that's all that really counts.

Good Things

I've just submitted my abstract to the Society for Neuroscience conference in Atlanta Georgia in October. It's a pretty big deal - one of the biggest deals in Neuroscience. Anyone who is anyone in my field is going to be there, so I'll have great opportunities to attend talks and get a feel of what people are researching. Plus it's an all expense paid weekend without my supervisor being there - heh, watch out Atlanta, you're about to be bombarded with over 30,000 neuroscientists looking to get geeked up and schmammer faced!

I'm getting trained on the confocal microscope next week to start some new more interesting experiments. I'm going to be dissecting out single synapses and looking at them live under the microscope. I'll be treating them with some drugs and some proteins to see what happens (essentially, I'm sparing y'all the techy details). This is much more exciting to me as a psychologist - instead of pure biochem this is live in your face what's-going-on stuff. I understand it and relate to it much more than abstract pieces of membranes that I blot with some antibodies.

I'm participating in a study next week - it's a conditional learning study where I have to do some associative working memory tasks while in a functional MRI scanner. I've read and discussed so many fMRI studies so I'm really looking forward to actually getting to do one myself. Plus I get paid and I get to see a pretty picture of my fantabulous brain! I had a training session today to learn the task, and I impressed the experimenter. I got perfect on my second trial with the hardest task and she said "wow, excellent". I am such a sucker for intellectual praise, heh.

Almost everything is all booked for my trip. I've got my flights settled, and in London I'm staying in a dorm of the University of Westminster. I'm so poor right now, but incredibly excited. It's so great to have something like this to look forward to, it's a large part of the appeal of travel.

Overall, it's nice to have things to be excited about. It makes everything else easier to deal with.

By the way, love out to wikipedia - what would I do without it?!

Listening to
Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio
teehee, don't ask!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Two Classy Broads

I have two fairly impressive and pretty painful bruises on both of my knees.

How, you ask? Before your minds set up camp in the gutter, let me just say that I am about to share a personally shameful event. Brace yourselves.

So the Habs (the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, for those non-Canadian readers out there) played Game 6 on Tuesday night. My best friend came over to watch, and we were both getting excited as the game was a lot closer than we had anticipated - a loss would mean the Habs are out of the playoffs.

It comes down to over-time. I, mistakenly, say to my friend "I really hope they don't score in the first two minutes of over-time again, that sucked". All you Habs fans can now blame me for the result. It's exactly what happened - the opposing team scored the series ender 2 minutes into the over-time.

We were devastated, way too much energy had been put into this game. So what do we decide to do? Well, drink of course!

Big EPIC apocalyptic mistake.

Not only do we drink, but we drink about a litre of straight vodka shots. It was so unintentional - we didn't mean to get drunk, and definitely not that drunk.

All this vodka resulted in:
Big girly emotional exchanges
Lying on the floor of my kitchen
Exclamations of love - "You know you're my hetero lifemate and I love you, right?" "I LOVE YOU TOO!!!"
Drunken phone calls to my boyfriend
More drunken phone calls to my boyfriend
More vomiting
Even more vomiting - toilet, sink, bathtub
Crying drunken phone calls to my boyfriend who can hear my best friend vomiting in the background
Drunken phone calls to best friend's parents

Best friend dropping my phone IN THE TOILET
More vomiting
Sleeping on the bathroom floor
Bucket puking

The consequences of this purely classy incident are everlasting shame, bruised knees, and a killer hangover.

Good times.