Sunday, March 30, 2008

A mildly broken promise

Although I promised a hilarious account of Mexican cuisine in Scotland, I feel that that post shall have to wait a bit.

A guy I graduated high school with back, way back in the day when I was young, died. He was hit by an RV, for the non Americans that's an absurdly large vehicle termed "Recreational Vehicle."

Not to go too far into my belief that licenses should be more strictly distributed, as in, if you are to drive a vehicle as large as a commercial bus, then you should have to pass the same tests as they to qualify for that license. So, yeah not to get into that...

I'm 29 now, and there are too many that have died from my class.

The first was 18, only a few months after we graduated, in a car wreck. We shared a locker in the sixth grade.

Then, the next, a 19 year old from an explosion. It's not clear what happened, he was in the air force, serving in Texas, I believe. I remember flicking his large ears in social studies because, well he had large ears and he was friends with a guy I thought was cute. And well, we were only 12.

Then at 25 my first boyfriend, the guy I mentioned earlier, (we dated for uhhh three days??? seeing as we were 12 at the time,) died in a car crash on the way back home from Great Falls.

Oh and there's the two who died from cancer before either of them turned 25.

I went to a talk the other day. After learning of the most recent loss. And it was weird because, well this part wasn't weird, I got to the talk late. I'm a scientist, we are always late.

But I made my way to a seat and I was in the back, and there were six empty seats.

I looked at them and couldn't help but think of those kids, those people that I had known, however briefly, and think, that I should pay more attention to the talk. I need to live more, at least six times as much.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A few thoughts on the week

The first week of training to run a marathon hurts the knees.

The older generation should refrain from livin it "Bond style."

Every pence counts at the end of the month.

Coffee with a friend will brighten every afternoon.

People only work late when they don't have a girlfriend/boyfriend.

Assuming the above is true, there are quite a few lonely scientists.

Going out to a Mexican restaurant in Scotland is a brave, brave move...I will report on that event later.

Now I must run, an experiment is calling me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hiding the 'very important' pain

I spent the weekend as a 'very important scientist' attending 'very important talks' and joining in on the 'very important scientist dinner & Ceilidh.'

As these were 'very important' events I, of course, threw myself fully into the game.

The first day was the longest by far. I had to come into lab at 5am on Friday to take care of my 'important' cells before leaving for the conference. Talks ensued all day, which were very interesting made even more so by the promise of free booze to any student with the courage to ask questions and sit in the front.

Naturally I placed myself in the front row and asked a question.

Yes, just one, I had a couple other good ones, but then it would just seem I was asking for the free booze, which I would never do, no, never.

I was late to the dinner that night seeing as I was itching for a run. So I headed out past the golf course and towards the hills only to turn back a mere two miles in, as it got dark and I was afraid of the wild haggis.

Since I was late to the formal dinner I ended up at a table sitting with people I'd never met. This turned out to be the best of choices. The conversation was interesting and the people were very nice. We even managed some 'very important' science talk somewhere between the three bottles of wine.

Then it was off to the Ceilidh. A friend of mine and I joined partners with two of the men I'd sat with and had a blast dancing. We were both laughing so hard our jaws hurt. Some more wine later; we danced the one called "Strip the willow" where you end up dancing all down the line with everyone.

It was a grand 'important' evening. The next day, I had bruises on my arms from being flung around the room and a splitting headache from the 'very important science (wine) talk.'

But I worked through the pain to attend a poster session and some more 'very important' talks as well as a disco. I expected bell-bottoms and giant gold medallions. Alas here in the UK, they call any dance a disco, aside from the bruising Ceilidh of course.

So it is that I'm here in lab later than I’d like to be here at night after three days of talks, lab, dancing and disco, but it will be well worth the pain if this experiment works out.

As to large social events with many important scientists, I think I've got a good six months to save up my energy for all the 'very important things scientists do when released from the lab.'

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bright Eyes

The rain held off for barely a mile then began a steady, yet light, persistent drizzle upon the road. I hardly noticed the cars streaming past, lights bright in my eyes, barreling down the wrong side of the road. No, no I was lost inside the glory that is my nano, purple nano that is. "Every now and then I get a little bit lonely.." My feet pick up, "Turn around" the background guy chants, "Turn around bright eyes,"

There really is nothing like jamming to mullet rock in the middle of the rain, while running off that extra nibblet from lunch.

Although I'm sure the local peeps thought it a bit odd to swoosh by a drenched girl way too into her running, head banging and all.

I made good time though, and am thinking about entering the Berlin marathon. At this rate, that total eclipse of my heart will easily carry bright eyes through the finish line.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

My friend tried to kill me!

Last weekend we ventured over and up in the western highlands of Scotland for a weekend of hiking and a science fair. Being from the Rocky mountains, I know what a mountain looks like. I know that they should be rocky and full of snow throughout most of the year, and have dangerous creatures wandering around ready to drag you into a cave and chomp on your head.

I know that storms can whoosh up out of no-where and lightning can strike at you just as easily as a rattler.

I know all of these dangers, and so gazing upon a wet, sloping mountain that doesn't even reach the height at which I grew up, I felt no qualms. There was no fear. I could easily hike up and back.

But I was wrong.

Two hours into the hike, I began to realize this sloping giant sloped a lot more than it appeared to. I found that half the damn thing was hidden by fog and the third hour mostly involved finding footing among snow laden rocks that were not at all secure in the hillside.

I found, upon reaching the top, that down was a lot harder than up. This being mostly due to the complete saturation of the ground, once we'd cleared the snowpack. I couldn't count the times I lost my footing.

And, in the scheme of things, it wasn't all that bad owing to no voracious hungry carnivores or the desperate need to run from an avalanche. However, I was still sore for three days and am now altogether sure I will not take any Scottish mountain for granted again!