Monday, July 25, 2011

dinner on a boat

This weekend was an interesting one. I attended a fund-raiser dinner for a local basketball team, the Polson Pirates. Since I don't know anyone here yet, I bought a single ticket and went alone. You know, it's kind of scary to put yourself in a situation where everyone knows everyone and you're the odd man (or woman) out. It's a small town so almost everyone there have known each other since birth.

I almost didn't get on the boat. But as I sat there watching the dock load up with chatty people, all as couples or groups, I swallowed that loneliness bubble in my throat and got on the damn boat. I found a table up top and, with a deep breath and smile, I introduced myself to a couple sitting at one of the tables and asked if it would be OK if I could share their table. They were cool. Another couple, much older, sat at our table too. Three of the four were teachers and the older gentleman was a coach. We all chatted, entered into the raffle, (we all won something, lucky table), and had a couple drinks and laughs together. Later, after dinner and the lake tour, we all assembled for more raffle stuff and karaoke. I stayed for awhile and met a good chunk of the town.

You know, I almost didn't get on that boat. I'm really glad I did.

Running 4.5 mi tonight, but have to wait for it to cool down a bit.....

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I finally got my golf clubs up here (thanks mom and dad) and for good reason. There's a golf course practically on campus. Well, it may even be on campus, I'm not sure if they consider themselves part of our college or not. Doesn't really matter though, does it? The point of the matter is that I can step out the door, pick up my clubs and walk over to the driving range. For $2 I get a small bucket of balls and consequently spend my lunch alternately frustrated and elated.

On a constantly frustrated note, I'm trying to find a place to rent. There are advertisements for places, but no-one answers their phones. Out of five companies only one answered today and gave me some vague directions to a house for rent so I could drive by and check it out. Needless to say I didn't get to golf today. Rather I spent my time driving in circles on the west lake shore. But I did meet some locals in a bar this past weekend and one girl had a place going up for rent soon. I guess that means I'll have to go back to the bar to pick up the information she was going to leave for me. Darn, a beer after work. Well, we all do what we have to do in dire situations.

Friday, July 15, 2011


So yesterday I ran twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. I mostly did this because I was trying to make up for my lack of runs earlier. Still, it felt pretty good. I only did about 2 in the morning and about 4 in the evening. Today I'm thinking one about 5 mile run in the evening. But it's hot today so I'll definitely have to wait till later.

Finally got itunes up and running, note to everyone, their system is linked to UPS to verify your address. UPS does EVERYTHING IN CAPS, which is stupid and annoying. Whoever wrote the itunes script made it case sensitive so you HAVE TO WRITE YOUR ADDRESS IN CAPS ALL THE TIME. Which of course means you're literally screaming your address to everyone. Either that or you're trying to text or e-mail and you're over the age of 50. OK, that was mean, not everyone over the age of 50 has yet to figure out how to type on a computer, but it's a fair generalization. I like reading the comment section on our local newspaper (online) and you can always tell the older folks by their constant use of capital letters. Maybe they just get the button stuck? On the other hand at least they're online. One has to applaud that.

Another fun fact for the day, if you happen to be running an agarose gel and your mA are off the scale but your volts are low, your student probably made the running buffer too concentrated.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

itunes is pissing me off

To run, I like great music.

It's a hell of a motivator to think you've got some tunes hot off the press to trot down the road to.
But itunes is being a bitch.

In my payment information, the system can't seem to come to grips with my address. It can't verify the address. I had this problem when setting it up for my Dad on his computer.

Apparently, the state of Montana may or may not actually be in the USA. There's a glitch that, after two weeks, they finally fixed. It's been a week for me and I'm starting to fume. This is stupid. I told them exactly what the problem is, but they can't seem to wrap their heads around it.

I'm going to keep sending e-mails until someone responds. At this point I've received only one e-mail back from them. It's now been two days. Their help center sucks. This is making me not want to run.

What a cruel, cruel virtual world it is.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do weekends count?

Only a few days into this exercise and already I've fallen off the wagon. Weekends are hard! My parents came up to visit and I just 'didn't get around' to running.

How utterly pathetic am I?

Well, I suppose I should have put in place some stricter rules. I am having knee trouble so I suppose it's OK to take weekends off as long as I run the other 5 days a week and don't count them in my 100 runs.

But I should sign up for some races ASAP. Those are always on the weekend and then I'll have to run. I have a feeling the weekend coming up will also be an issue. There's a parade and big powwow nearby that I really want to go to.

And good luck getting me up on a Sat. early enough to run before heading out to the fun!!!

Well, 4 miles tonight for sure. Just as soon as it cools down a little......

Saturday, July 09, 2011

97 to go

Joke's on me.

The winds picked up and they canceled the event last night. It's a big lake, so I understand why they don't want some giant waves to pick up their guests to join the Flathead lake monster in those green depths. They already have our money, though, so I guess they wouldn't have been too heart-broken.

Well, in any case, the event was rescheduled for another weekend. And anyway, I got to run in the nice cool of the evening, 4.6 miles. I worked late to make up for coming in late too, just in case you were wondering.

I was craving some green Thai curry last night. Something nice and spicy, but I worked too long and then ran too long and the place was closed by the time I got there, sigh. So I made my own version. Chicken, vegetables, lots of green curry paste, a little coconut milk and some vanilla yogurt to sweeten it up. All and all not bad. But I still had to cook for myself. Which is annoying.

I'm not sure how far I'll run tonight, my knee is giving me a little trouble, so I'm thinking just a couple miles, easy. Then maybe something more substantial tomorrow.

My parents are driving up tomorrow. I'm starting to reconsider my original idea that three hours drive away is the perfect distance from home. I'm still in Montana, and close enough to drive home for a weekend, but far enough away so that the family isn't always at the door. Of course where I've moved too is a vacation haven.

Beautiful and on the lake. So they're coming up to see the campus and to camp in the area. Of course I want to see them, but I'm starting to wonder if this is going to be a more consistent thing, in summers at least.

They are retired. Just wait until I find a house on the lake, I'm thinking summers may be pretty full of people coming up from Helena. Well, actually that may not be such a bad thing. A house full of family and friends is a good house to come home to. I could get a boat by next summer, start a gas-for-the-boat-fund so when people come up we're all pitching in a little.

And maybe they'll do the cooking..... hmmm this could work.

Friday, July 08, 2011

98 more to go?

It's Friday, which means I'm feeling even lazier than usual. I don't think that is abnormal, most people find the end of the week a bump in the road to the weekend.

Still, it's nice and cool out, I don't have stressful work to do (just read some papers and attend a pizza party seminar), so I should be rearing to go for my run after work.

I'm a little down, though.

Sleepy, and a little sad that I don't get to actually eat the pizza at lunch. I mean, if I'm going to go on a 100 day run, I might as well tackle my diet as well. So, it's low fat yogurt for me. Don't get me wrong, I actually like low fat yogurt it's just going to be a struggle watching everyone suck down the yummy grease. Well, if I think of it that way, maybe not so hard.

Anyway, here's the main problem: I bought a ticket yesterday to a fundraiser for a local basketball team. It includes a nice lake cruise and dinner (hopefully not pizza), and some (probably very bad) karaoke on the lawn afterwards. The whole thing starts at 6pm, and I don't usually leave work much before 8pm. Well, it's OK to leave work around 5pm on a Friday in the summer, surely.

Only that's not my problem.

The problem is there isn't enough time to run before the lake cruise. I don't want to miss it, I mean, I'm going alone so I'm kinda thinking it could be a bust since I won't know anyone. But people in Montana are really nice, especially from small towns, so I'm sure I'll find someone to talk to. And if not, I guess I'll skip the karaoke and be home by 9pm to run.

So there it is, my problem.

I have to run tonight no matter what I eat, drink, or how long I stay up.

Now, some of you might protest, why didn't you just run in the morning?

Because when I woke up at 7am (out of a really great dream by the way) and saw the sun streaming in, I moaned and put a pillow over my head for the next three hours.

Ah, so you over slept, you then chastise.

Yes, you sarcastic jerk, I overslept.

So, you got into work late and your leaving early? Your tongue clucks as you shake your head.
Well done, you've hit the nail on the head, and you're still a jerk. But in my defense, the college is closed on Fridays in the summer, so I'm really just here out of the goodness of my heart. And I really like my job. So there, my job is awesome, yours probably isn't as cool as mine, (I'm now childishly pointing out.)

You just shake your head at my behavior.

Yeah, yeah, well I've got my punishment lined up all right. A run tonight after all the fun.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Day 2: Run 2

Only did 3.5 mi yesterday. It's awfully hot and sticky here so I decided to wait until it cooled down to run. About 9pm I headed out. The bugs got the best of me and I turned around a little early. Although the air felt great, I was a little fed up with, well feeding on gnats.

I understand that in the whole circle of life thing, mosquito's and flies and gnats are food for birds, frogs, fish. And, for the most part, I like birds, frogs, and fish.


But frankly, those critters aren't doing their fair share of the circle bit as they are well outnumbered by little things that bite and clog up noses and fly straight into the back of the throat. Those buggers have got an uncanny ability to make a suicide run right into the uvula. Ick.

I'm not sure how far I'll run tonight. I think I'll try for 4 mi, but I didn't get much sleep last night so I'm pretty tired. Spent most of the night reading a book about Henrietta Lacks. She's the lady from whom the HeLa cell line came from. It's pretty wretched what happened to her family after her untimely death and the shock of finding out two decades later her cells had been taken and cultured for all kinds of experiments.

They weren't scientists. They didn't understand exactly what was happening, and it was pretty frightening for them. It makes me wonder how the lay-person sees the scientific community. I mean, I take it for granted and throw terms like 'clone' and 'DNA sequencing' all the time. But those terms could be pretty scary for someone who imagines a world where people are cloned for spare parts (The Island) or engineered to be the perfect person and not allowed to officially exist otherwise (Gattica).

I've seen the movies, I mean Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke are hot. The plots are pretty silly, but fun drama and action. I don't take them seriously. I know that we're not cloning people in the lab. I know that having an entire human genome sequenced is a far cry from understanding the entire code. I know that stem cells aren't going to grant immortality or the cure to every ailment, but they may just make a bladder or maybe one day a heart valve eliminating maybe just a little pressure on finding organ donors. I'm not afraid of the lab, I'm at home in the lab.

But those stories, those words, even the chemical smells I'm somewhat fond of could scare the living daylights out of someone utterly unfamiliar with the world I live in. Really, I never thought about it that way before. Sorry if I scared you guys, we're really not Frankensteins, you know. We're just doing a job that seems to find its way into the most terrifying of your imaginations.

Anyway, this was a great book, I recommend it. You can find information on the book and Henrietta Lacks at this site:

4 mi tonight and looking cloudy out...maybe a nice rain to chase away the bugs?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

100 days, 100 runs

I've just moved to Pablo, Montana, a little town just south of the southern-most tip of Flathead lake. It's a beautiful area to explore, but I just moved here and don't know where to go yet.

Worse, I can't seem to find any sort of running group around here.

I'd thought that coming back to the States from Scotland would be my ticket back into running.

It's not as though Scotland doesn't have running groups, in fact there was one just three miles (uphill mostly) from where I lived. But the problem arose that they met at 6pm twice a week and I was lucky to be able to get out of the lab by 8pm. I thought that maybe I could jog over there and then back, but that just added another hour to my workout, or so. And by the time I got up all those hills to do a run, I wasn't much in the mood for a hill-run.

You'd think I could've just hopped a bus, they have those in Scotland too. But the buses in Dundee run on a peculiarly designed schedule and one that most outsiders and even most locals haven't nailed down just yet. Anyway, at rush-hour, it'd be faster to run up those damn hills.

I also didn't have a car, left it in my parents garage in Montana. So, I did my best to train on my own and even ran the Edinburgh marathon last year. But, let's face it, it's hard to run 20 miles alone. It can be hard on some days to run 1 mile alone. Motivation is key, and at the moment severely lacking.

But I'm back in Montana, although the car didn't quite make it up here to Pablo, I have a replacement vehicle so I can drive anywhere to run. I could drive up into the mountains for a bear chase or curve halfway around the lake for a lake-view jog. So far I've barely managed to get out my front door and a mere 5 miles down a somewhat infrequently used road. It's a nice little run, but not enough motivation to keep me at it. But today is the day to turn it all around. I'm tired of my own excuses and have decided to use this somewhat cobwebbed blog to do it.

Day One....4.68 miles after work down that somewhat infrequently used road.

I'll let you know how it goes.