Sunday, November 30, 2008

Microblogologist in the World of Weasels

A few months ago I came across a hilarious blog. Little did I know that not only would this blog entertain me and give me a fun source of blog fodder (the Flat WeaselMomma series), but it would lead to my becoming friends with the real WeaselMomma. And so being that she lives not too far from my parents' place and I was pretty sure she wasn't a serial killer* I suggested we have a playdate "for the kids". She must have decided I wasn't a serial killer* as well and her daughter Monkey Weasel decided it would be fun to have us crash her birthday dinner so Niecey and I jumped in the trusty oldsmobile and off we went.

A great time was had by all and the real WeaselMomma is an even better cook than the Flat one! Her family has the same tradition as mine and the birthday person gets to pick the meal so we had fried chicken, broccoli and noodles so ironically both forms of WeaselMomma made me chicken.

Her entire family was delightful and Niecey and I felt at home right away. I am so happy we were able to have our get together, we'll definitely have to do it again! Niecey wanted to write WeaselMomma a letter when we got home, she wrote the first part and then I took over:

Dear WeaselMomma,

i am niecey i am 5. I have a bear named big bear, he is my favorite bear. He loves me and I love him too and I have a monkey comforter and I like it, it is my favorite and I love it. And I have my own bed I like my own bed. I sleep downstairs and I go to kindergarten at school and I have friends that I like they are nice to me.


I thought she wanted to write a thank you note but apparently not, lol. Guess I'll have to thank them myself. Thank you Weasels for being great hosts and making us feel like part of the family! And for all you jealous people who read WeaselMomma's blog and have never met her, she is even funnier in person and hanging out with her was like a living a great blog post. Her husband is hilarious as well and the two of them together...

I can't wait to see the pictures her hubby took, I didn't take many myself so have to wait to see if they turned out. I'm also looking forward to reading her post about our meeting. Oh and there will be a few more FWM posts, I have plans and pics for them but have not gotten around to writing them all up, they will have to wait until I get home.

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*Unless we are both serial killers with very involved cover stories to try and lure our unsuspecting victims and our meeting was part of an evil serial killer alliance to make our stories even more believable.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cooking With Flat WeaselMomma

As any of you who have read my blog in the past few weeks knows I have been sick, still am. During this time I have not had much appetite (normal for me) and most foods do not appeal with me so I have been living on Grape-nuts, ensure, and chicken noodle soup. Much of my time with the plague has been spent with Flat WeaselMomma who has been helping nurse me back to health. We have decided to share her recipe for chicken noodle soup, enjoy!

Step 1: Buy only the finest ingredients.

Step 2: Get bowl.

Step 3: Open can.

Step 4: Put soup in bowl.

Step 5: Heat soup in microwave.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy!
Note: I prefer the soup at full strength.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Niecey is helping me write this post while we are in Michigan with our family. Here is what she is thankful for not necessarily in order.

1. Turkey
2. Auntie Cheryl
3. Auntie Kee
4. Pa
5. Her family
6. Momma
7. Graw
8. Big Bear
9. Big Bear's old ribbon
10. Her monkey
11. Bed
12. House
13. Monkey comforter
14. Auntie Marilyn
15. The kitchen
16. Her cousins
17. Auntie Carol
18. Zippy*
19. Bananas
20. TV
21. Lily
22. William
23. Freddy
24. Telephone
25. Months of the year
26. Herself
27. Her pig shirt
28. Plants
29. Flat WeaselMomma

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope you all have plenty to be grateful for =).

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*Zippy is Auntie Marilyn's dog (Auntie Kee and Zippy are not friends).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Adventures of Flat WeaselMomma: Visiting Doc

Tuesday I went to see my doctor since after more than three weeks I am still sickly. I had sent him a whiny e-mail asking if I could wiggle my way into his "scheduled" athletic walk-ins on Monday, he sent me back to come in Tuesday at 8am and he would make an appointment for me. Resigned to the fact that I wouldn't be able to go to Chicago/Michigan anyway I went to see if maybe he could give me something to help my symptoms while I wallowed in my apartment. Of course Flat WeaselMomma came with me, which amused Doc, good thing for him Non-Flat WeaselMomma didn't come, she is quite possibly more ornery than I am! I had warned him about her to prevent the possible scenario of my not being able to talk and explain why I was carrying around a laminated picture of a friend in an adequate way as to avoid a psych referral/trip to the mental ward. He thinks my psych visit/ward jokes are unfounded since he has never threatened me with that, though he did suggest I spend some time with the stress management/student counseling people which totally counts as sending me to a shrink in my opinion (I am a pain in the butt).

Anyway I arrived at the clinic and asked for a face mask to help prevent my coughing on everyone (ok fine, I got it more for the hilarious picture it would make for the blog than for trying to not spread the plague since I have proven I can prevent spreading it without the mask). I got to spend some time with my amazing nurse, chit chatting while taking vitals and not having to worry about being misinterpreted, priceless. I have had subs a few times, no one comes close to her in awesomeness and I now often will ask if she is working while making appointments to avoid not having her if humanly possible. Nothing against the others, though a couple of them did not mesh with me too well and one scared the crap out of me*, a doc visit is missing something without her as she is a very important part of Team Karen.

Then I got to see my doc, who looked into every hole in my head and informed me I was going on an antibiotic. Thus the negotiations began. I have stong opinions on antibiotic use, they are misused way too much and it is causing resistant strains to evolve rapidly, there are infections that were killers in the past, became treatable with antibiotics but now are becoming highly resistant to the ones we have and going back to being untreatable and deadly (MRSA is one example, also tuberculosis is a big player). Patients demanding antibiotics when they have viral infections and doctors caving and giving them over instead of telling them they are idiots and antibiotics do NOT work against viruses is a huge problem. Another somewhat neglected issue beyond the resistance issue is that humans live in symbiosis with many kinds of beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms and there is a balance between them, killing off portions of them with antibiotics can mess a person up, while uncommon this can actually cause death (usually in really sickly patients but not always). That said I am not against the use of antibiotics and will go on them if I have a bacterial infection, I prefer that there is proof of said infection though. Unfortunately there isn't a quick and easy test he can have done that will definitely say I had a bacterial infection. Discovering bacteria in mucus does not prove it since bacteria are always there. Having GI issues I am even more leary of going on antibiotics.

He laid his case out quite well and after going back and forth about it we agreed on my taking one course of one antibiotic. This is one of the reasons I adore my doctor, I seriously doubt many would allow me to have so much input. Of course in the end he is the doctor and he will not let me talk him out of a treatment he feels that I need and if he puts his foot down I follow his directions. He is the one who went to med school after all, though he totally admitted he only went so that he could put me on medications that would force me to eat more, just as I had suspected all along! He then told me to go to Michigan, which I protested since I am still sick and my grandma is 98.5 and if this bug knocked me around so much I would hate to find out what it would do to her. Based on my syptoms and the timing he is convinced that I no longer have the virus and that my sickliness is due to an overgrowth of bacteria in my sinuses, which are normally there and do not cause problems but under the circumstances have become one. I am on day two of the antibiotics and seem to be doing better, hopefully this course will knock them out and I will be better by next week so I can get going on my research!

Now I know some of you may not be entirely impressed that he lets me argue with him without getting pissy, I personally am since my doctors in the past have not been so secure in their doctorhood. I also appreciate the fact that he takes the time to answer my questions, both real and fake**. If all that is not enough to prove he is awesome then this is, after spending quite awhile hanging out with me asking me about different aspects of my health and life (proving that he cares about me and not just my illness) he correctly interpreted some of my snarky comments/comebacks as insecurity (mind reader!) . I am pretty sure he had not intended to let me know this but to prove to me that I am in his opinion worth his time he showed me his appointment schedule for the day, I was the only one there. That dear readers is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me and I simply do not have the words to express how much it meant to me. And so to prove I am a compliant patient I am getting ready to follow my doctor's orders and will soon be leaving for Chicago and tomorrow will be in Michigan with my family, several members of which have threated to "fatten me up" so this could get interesting.

In other news: Happy Birthday Baby Sibling!!!!! Baby Sib turns 23 today, if anyone wants to wish her a happy birthday you can visit her blog, perhaps a ton of comments will help motivate her to stop neglecting it!

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*Doc was injecting my tendon and asked for a bandaid and sub nurse was too busy galking at my having a needle completely inserted into my wrist to hear the request, which had to be repeted several times. He practically had to yell at her to snap her out of it and told her he needed the bandaid NOW because the needle was sitting really close to an artery. It was bad enough hearing that but even worse was hearing worry/slight panic in my doctor's voice, he is not one to freak out over minor issues. If I need another injection there is no way I'm getting it with anyone but my nurse assisting. Ironic thing, she and I have the same messed up tendon and she was getting hers looked at and possibly injected while I was getting mine injected.

**I usually go in with some off the wall treatment option or diagnosis of what I have that is totally made up and ridiculous, keeps him on his toes ;).

How to Survive the Coming Ice Age

While some of you might believe in global warming there are those of us who know that in reality there is an ice age coming instead, for some of us it has already arrived (current temperature here Actual: 24°F Feels Like*: 18°F.) While there are some people who are excited about the coming death to us all the rest of us are doing all we can to survive until maybe someday Al Gore's predictions of a future utopia will come true and running our oldsmobiles when we can to try and do our part to bring this dream to life.

It has recently come to my attention that one of my favorite Floridian's will be traveling north from her tropical paradise into the land of ice and snow and needs the help of someone who has managed to survive 25 consecutive winters. With the help of Flat WeaselMomma we are answering this plea for help, not only for the obviously humanitarian reasons but also because McMommy's blog rocks and should she perish in the wasteland that is the North from October to April we would lose one of the greatest bloggers on the blogosphere. And so here is the official Microblogologist's Guide to Surviving a Northern Winter:

Step 1: Long underwear, I personally prefer the newer kinds that are more like leggings and do not have that old school square weave, they can be purchased at walmart for about $7. Unfortunately for me this year they seem to have decided medium is the new small and so my new ones are baggy.Step 2: Optional extra pair of long underwear, if it is really cold or your pants are not made of thick material a second pair of long underwear can save you from freezing to death.Step 3: Clothes.Step 4: The hoodie, this is a very versitle layer, it can work in chilly weather by itself, it can be worn indoors either zipped or unzipped based on the coldness of the establishment, and in this context it is a layer that doubles as a head cover since it seems that winter coats these days do not come with hoods without that tacky fake fur (no offense if you like that kind of thing). I make use of my hoodies pretty much year round since air conditioning is often cranked lower than my comfort zone (~70-85°F).Step 5: The ear/forhead band and boots. My beloved Aunt bought me a headband last winter, I used to scoff at them but now am 100% in love with them, they really help keep the ears warm but also for those of us who have ditched the bangs look it also helps keep the forhead comfy. Boots are somewhat optional if you are not going to come into contact with snow and there are a variety of different styles, I personally went for a cheap and simple black boots that match my coat and do not see the point of spending a lot of money on name brands that you can buy walmart version for a tenth the price. If either not wearing boots or it is very cold wearing two pairs of socks or getting special thick socks will help keep the toes from freezing off.Step 6: The winter coat. The key here is that you want a lot of insulation, make sure it has a decent amount of stuffing in all areas. Step 7: Scarves and hats. Scarves are often used as fashion accessories but more importantly they keep the face and neck warm as they were originally made to do. Hats of course help keep the head warm, a lot of body heat is lost through the head (at least that is what adults told me growing up). Step 8: Gloves/mittens. I never wear gloves, my hands are almost always cold due to a condition I have called Raynaud's Phenomenon**, all year round (it is a huge reason for my cold intolerance). Gloves seperate the fingers and actually cause them to get colder than they would be without the gloves, mittens are better for me but they are very clumsy, I usually ball my hands and keep them in my coat pockets. In normal individuals gloves or mittens can be highly beneficial.And there you have it, all you need to survive the winter and coming ice age. Keep warm!

~~~~~Copy Literal Dan Section~~~~~
*Here in the frozen tundra there is this phenomenon called "wind chill", this causes the perceived temperature to be lower than the actual temperature.
**Raynaud's causes the blood vessels to constrict, I have a pretty mild form but it is definitely not pleasant.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Adventures of Flat WeaselMomma: Water Aerobics

When I first joined my boss's lab she had another grad student, she was finishing up her master's degree and we became friends (I miss her terribly since she graduated and moved away, college sucks). E is a bit of a fitness nut, she believes that exercise is something that should be incorporated into a person's lifestyle, I was more of a, "can't we just go get ice cream instead?" when the subject came up. Then one day I was loitering in our office distracting her from her thesis writing (sometimes I distracted her too much but there were times she needed it, I tried very hard to balance it), she was a bit stressed as is normal for someone going through the torture that is writing a thesis and preparing to graduate and during her Karen break she mentioned how she wanted to try water aerobics but she wanted someone to go with her. After much discussion I conceded and agreed to go with her, grudgingly.

So we went and she didn't really like it, she was into a ton of cross training stuff and in shape so to her it wasn't the level of intensity she wanted it to be. And then there was me, Miss Whine Why-Do-I-Have-To-Go, and it kicked my butt and I LOVED it! I have a knee with tendinitis and probably arthritis and quickly noticed that it worked the muscles that need to be worked to possibly get the knee back into alignment, I suck at doing the at home exercises, combination of laziness, forgetfulness, and lack of motivation. Water aerobics to me is fun, working out with others around helps to entertain and motivate me, and it makes me feel good, I had gotten somewhat badly out of shape. I am totally committed to it and try to go all four days a week it is offered, I schedule my experiments in such a way that I can do both whenever possible. And so Flat WeaselMomma's visit to my world would not have been complete without her attending a water aerobics class.

I almost dropped my camera in the pool while taking video of parts of the class. The weird fuzzy stuff at the bottom of one part is a towel. And my somewhat randomly cracking up during it is in response to the others making fun of me. I had some footage that was hilarious but unfortunately one of the ladies kept getting into the shot and I don't think she wanted to, since I was in the pool I could not check the view screen to make sure, plus we move around a lot, I didn't know until later. Since I am fairly certain she did not want to be recorded (she moved away from her regular spot when I got the camera set up) and even if she doesn't care I will not post parts with her in it without her knowledge and consent. If people are interested in those parts I am willing to ask her next time I see her if she minds being in the background of a few clips and if she is fine with it then I can make either a "bloopers" vid or edit this one to include that footage. But for now I think this is kinda funny and you get the idea:

In case it is hard to understand what I was saying between the noise and my voice not being 100% back I basically said that I do this 4 days a week and thanked you for reading my blog and watching the video =). Oh and I also reinformed my bratty little sister that it is water aerobics not water dancing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cough Syrup Bender

For two weeks I have been symptomatic with a respiratory virus, as I have previously complained about. I saw a doctor, not MY doctor since it was a last minute squeeze me in on a Saturday appointment, to get a strep test. I was pretty sure it was viral but I wanted to make sure. I was right, both the rapid strep test and the culture based strep test came back negative. This was good in that I do not like being on antibiotics, I will go on them if I need them but it has to be for a very good reason. The bad part is that if it were bacterial I could have gone on an antibiotic and been better long before now.

After seeing not my doctor (and not my nurse), I went over to the pharmacy to discuss treatment options. I am on meds to help me digest my food safely, the main one does not play well with others and basically rules out my taking most over-the-counter meds. He told me I could ingest halls cough drops and recommended gargling salt water and/or spraying it up my nose. So I tried the cough drops, my normal at home treatment of sore throats and coughing, and for awhile they helped but after a few days I started feeling sick when I took them. Then I started to get better and the beginning of this week I told my boss I would very likely be going in and seeing her to discuss the experiment I finished and to plan the next round of it (I am going to repeat the experiment three times, this ensures that the data I collect are* good). Of course telling my boss I was on the mend caused a total relapse and I have been feeling worse lately than when I first came down with this plague.

Since the cough drops were not helping I decided to try the salt water gargle treatment, holy crap I am never ever doing that again! At first I wondered if I put too much salt in (I probably did), so I tried plain water and the result was the same, I am unable to gargle without choking/gagging. After staying up coughing two nights in a row I got desperate and sent my doctor a whiny e-mail asking him if there were any meds I could take. He e-mailed me back, normally he doesn't since he does not want to violate the stupid privacy rules but I begged him to since I knew I would not get the call from him or my nurse, I was so excited! He instructed me to go to the pharmacy and ask for the special cough syrup that contains codeine. Being the most compliant patient in the world I did.

My pharmacists predict that while on this stuff I will be rather knocked out. It was suggested that I likely should not drive by the student pharmacist they suckered into doing my drug counseling (I asked him what he did to piss them off), the pharmacist who tends to find me hilarious added that walking might not be a good idea either. They laughed when I brought up the fact that I have my doc's e-mail address AND a blog, both of which Doc knew when he told me to go on this stuff... This of course proves that my doc is the best doc ever, he is willing to risk my stoned e-mailing him to help me survive this plague! Unless of course he is working on rounding out his psych referral... I wonder how surprised he'll be that I actually picked the stuff up, I am not really into the idea of taking narcotics after watching my middle sister and a dear friend get addicted to them. Oh well, I will only be on it for a short time, if it does not help then Doc wants to see my sorry sickly self.

And so dear readers Flat WeaselMomma and I are going on a cough syrup bender** this weekend and hopefully I will be ready to join the real world soon!

Picture Disclaimer: These pictures are totally staged, though most likely it will look like this but with me in bed not in the living room. And no Fizz I will not be making a video of me "high" on the cough syrup, it would be the boringest video ever given than my voice is shot and I will just cough and go to sleep.

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*I used are instead of is because the word "data" is plural.
**I have been on narcotics before when I had my appendix out, they put me to sleep and make me stare at walls and nothing more. I am a very boring druggie, I was also a very boring drunk the one time I let myself get drunk (I was 23 and my mother is STILL scandalized by it and I wasn't even that drunk!). I am kinda proud of the fact that I am at my most amusing when I am stone cold sober =).

Friday FAIL

As I have whined about for about two weeks now I am still sickly, sadly this is totally cramping Flat WeaselMomma's and my style. Thankfully she is a very sweet guest and has been helping to nurse me back to health, thanks FWM, your home made walmart brand condensed chicken noodle soup rocks!

Since my last Microbiology FAIL post was such a hit and I found this picture I had taken a few weeks ago up in the pathogens lab I have decided to post it as another nerdy imitation FAIL blog post (seriously check out the original, they are hilarious):

The purse is owned by a woman who hypothetically should know better than to have a purse, with candy in it, in the path lab, not only sitting right next to where the biohazardous trash is kept before making its pilgrimage to be sterilized but going in the purse to get candy to eat while in the pathogen lab! My lab bench is right by this spot and I was leaving my bench to go get something across the lab and happened to catch her in the act and tell her one should not eat in the path lab... She gave me a look that said, "Huh, when was this a rule?" and mumbled something incoherant, I mentioned it to the prof in case she gets sick so he has a heads up and can defend himself if need be. Seriously the only food that is supposed to enter the lab is for testing and once it enters it is no longer considered safe for human consumption. Oh and I totally did not see her wash her hands before trying for the snack... I was horrified by the entire thing to say the least and declare it an Epic FAIL!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Adventures of Flat WeaselMomma

In my previous post I introduced you to my guest Flat WeaselMomma (FWM) from World of Weasels, she came in the other day. I nearly had a heart attack when I found her smooshed into my little mailbox, I was expecting the mail carrier to prop her in my door like she has done with that size envelope in the past, perhaps I had a newbie or something...

After making sure she was OK I took her to dinner at the Pita Pit, my newest eatery here in town, I go there maybe once a week more or less, it depends on my mood, time and if I am hungry when I am on that side of town. I wish they had smaller pitas, we had trouble finishing the whole thing, they are so big!

Then we headed into the lab. I am still sickly but was starting to feel better and wanted to get some prep work done so I could start working on my next rep as soon as I knock this virus out of my system once and for all (unfortunately it is rallying, sigh). We made the broth for my next rep, broth keeps for quite awhile so I knew if I took a turn for the worse it would be fine.

Then we went to the super walmart, I let FWM hang out with her own kind a bit, see it may look like she is waving but in reality that is the Flat Pride sign.

So all in all a good and relatively productive day, hopefully I will soon get over this virus and perhaps we can go on some more adventures soon! Oh and rumor has it I don't share with FWM and I will admit that it definitely appears that I am a selfish donut hog in the video in my last post but let me assure you that I do in fact share with my beloved guest. This was the scene before I made that video, you can clearly see that FWM had ODed on the chocolate, the thought of taking a bite of the donut made her feel sick.

Doc Disclaimer: Those wrappers were from the past couple days, I am totally not living on chocolate. Oh and if they call you tell the psych ward people they can let me go, or at least give me internet access so I won't go into blog withdrawls, it will so not be pretty otherwise...

Tasty Tuesday Two: Taste the Rainbow

OK so I procrastinated and it is not technically Tuesday anymore but I am going to pretend it is and it is my blog so I can, hehe. It has come to my attention that at least one of my readers struggles to eat veggies and so this post is dedicated to Nonna, hopefully it will help her get her 5 a day of fruits and veggies as is recommended. The little icon on my raisins (above) says that one should eat all kinds of different colors and so I went through my apartment and found examples of fruits and veggies for each color of the rainbow, and here they are:






Carrots (accidentally frozen)


Yukon Gold Potatoes

(Bananas not pictured since I peel and freeze them and they look weird that way)







and bonus:

Chocolate (it comes from a bean, beans are vegetables)

I hope that was informative and shows just how easy it can be to get your 5 a day!

And here is a spotlight on nutrition vid and the introduction of a very special guest who is hanging out with me for awhile:

Special thanks to my BFF Pasha who told me about Windows Movie Maker, the end got messed up and his recommendation saved the vid!

Doc Disclaimer: In case you read this I am not living on donuts and sadly both times I have eaten them recently they have made me sick, you should refer me to Dr. Kevorkian since I am not sure if life is worth living without donuts (kidding, don't refer me, cursor away from the psych referral button!). Oh and I am so not kidding about chocolate, it is a vegetable! And it is milk chocolate so counts as dairy too, see I totally do NOT need to see the dietitian. Am I your best patient or what!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Microbiology FAIL

So I have recently discovered the hilariousness that is FAIL Blog, they have some seriously funny stuff if you need a laugh go check them out. Not all of their pictures are 100% kid friendly but they were cool enough to put a link to their tamer ones that are possibly OK for the kiddies (I did not actually look so won't endorse that one). Sibling and I spent much time laughing our butts off and linking the fails that we found extremely hilarious to our friends, one of them laughed so hard he woke his roommates and we had to stop before he got thrown out the window or something!

So now that we are obsessed with this site and the concept behind it we keep looking for FAILs and I actually found one, though not sure if it is FAIL Blog worthy given the high degree of nerdiness it has ;). I wanted to know if brita water filters would take care of the calcium in my water, I have very hard water (thankfully it tastes good) and really want and need to run my humidifiers but they get caked up really fast with the calcium. I'd rather not buy 5000 gallons of distilled water and swiping it from work seems a bit shady so I am looking for a cheap and easy alternative. My friends have been going on about their brita pitchers so I decided to google them and see if they would work for my application, I landed on Amazon and was reading their review with contained this little tidbit:
Brita filters eradicate up to 98 percent of the lead found in tap water while significantly reducing other impurities and dangerous bacteria including cryptosporidium, giardia, and benzene.
You all can probably guess that I am going to talk about the alleged dangerous "bacteria" mentioned in this lovely review, you know me oh so well! Let us go through them shall we?

: Is a protozoan that can infect humans, is often transmitted through contaminated water and causes diarrhea, protozoans are not bacteria: FAIL

Giardia: Is also a protozoan that can infect humans and give them diarrhea and is also transmitted through contaminated water, again protozoans are not bacteria: FAIL

Benzene: Is a 6 carbon compound that forms a ring with three double bonds, it is a chemical and of the three is the least "related" to bacteria: Mega FAIL!

Sadly there is no mention of calcium in the review so I am not sure if it would be of any use to me or not. Not sure that I want to invest in it without knowing, though I have test stips for my fish and so testing the water before and after would tell me if it were taking out the calcium, if it doesn't I would have no use for it given that I like my tap water. Perhaps I should go visit the hardware store and see if they have a cheap and easy system that would work for me and the potential limitations I have for puting in such a system in my apartment. Either way that review cracked me up, while I do not expect normal people to know what any of those are a quick google search very quickly shows they are not bacteria, hehe. I know I google it when I come across something that I am not sure what is...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Decision 2008

The polls are closed, the Weasels were the clear winners of the contamination fairy drawing contest by a landslide and they have decided on their prize, and the winner is:
Ebola! Ebola is a very nasty virus that has a very high mortality rate, think ~90% of people who contract this virus do not make it, I heard it described as a virus that essentially liquefies a person's innards. Last I heard they have not discovered the environmental reservoir for it, as in the animal host it hangs out in when it is not decimating villages in Africa. During or after every outbreak the scientists try and track down the original case and then try and retrace their movements in hopes of figuring out how they got the virus. If the source is found then perhaps future outbreaks can be avoided, until then I salute the crazy bastards who willingly fly into these outbreaks and do the best they can to help the people who are effected by them, sick and uninfected/survivors. As much as I admire these people you will NOT be catching me joining them, biosafety level 2 is as high as I am willing to go!

Congrats and thank you Weasels, enjoy your GIANTmicrobe!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween

Yes this is two days late, I was going to post this on Halloween but the virus that had started kicking my butt in the morning really started winning by about 9pm and I was in bed by 11pm (as opposed to 3am being early for me...). I was actually not sure if my sore throat was from a medicine I'm on and dryness of the air (in the past just the dryness would do me in) or if I had caught the bug one of my committee members* brought up to the lab** (not sure how many others, if any, got the plague, hopefully none!). I was careful not to breath on anyone, including the kids that came here, and did the whole hand washing and spraying myself with alcohol thing like a germaphobe touring the CDC. Thankfully I finished up my first rep*** before I got incapacitated and I am starting to feel better so I can begin getting the next rep preped and started soon.

I decorated a bit:

And I made a video, unfortunately it was not apparent on the little LCD screen that the lighting sucked and kinda ruined the video, though it does highlight certain aspects of my physique that are really not as impressive in real life ;). I already did like 5 takes of it to get one halfway decent, every time I started a group of kids would come or I would mess up or the stupid wings of my costume would catch on something (seriously I almost took myself out with one of the lamps, they hooked on EVERYTHING) so here is the best I could do:

Thank you so much for entering my contest Weasels, you did a great job! Here are the pictures from the Weasels, since you can't see them in the video and they are totally worth looking at (click to enlarge if you so desire):
Middle Weasel (11):

Monkey Weasel (8):

Smallest Weasel (4):

And here is testimate to how awesome the Weasels are. Being the oldest of three kids I am very much aware of how siblings can fight over ANYTHING, and so I offered to buy them a "Petri dish" version of one of the microbes, which is a few dollars more than a regular plush but contains three minitures. I figured this would be ideal so they could all win something and save Weaselmomma the headache... This is what she wrote me back:
The kids really had fun making all kinds of renditions(as you can tell). They found it as funny as I did. Don't bother with the petri dish. I am certain they they will have more fun tossing the big one around or cuddling a germ when they are sick. Plus it will make a better showpiece for them, kind of like a trophy to gross people out with. They are like that. Any gross thing will do with the exception of any STD's or head lice(they creep me out).
Seriously are you having an "awww" moment, I know I am. My mom bought just about everything in threes, often either color coded or initialed them (I had a lot of yellow toys) and we still drove her crazy fighting over stuff. As I recall head lice was one of the ones of my collection that Niecey declared creepy as well, and I totally get that she doesn't want me to give her kids syphilis nor gonorrhea, and it sounds so wrong talking about "giving" children such things, hehehe! I do plan to get Middle Sister herpes for Christmas though, love it!

~~~~~Photo Captions~~~~~
Picture 1: The test tubes I inoculated for V on halloween.
Pictures 2 and 3: My front door, I named the skeleton Ian after my scrawny guy friend who thinks he is fat, I swear he sounds like a teen girl with an eating disorder sometimes...
Picture 4: Oldsie decided to join the fun, though the next morning when I had my impromptu doc visit to prove if the plague I contracted is bacterial or viral it was a bit annoying having to clean it off while running late...
Video Disclaimer: I actually did not eat that much candy in one sitting, they were old wrappers from before, I just thought it would be hilarious to have that in the vid. So if you actually read this Doc I am so eating mostly healthy, except now that I am sickly not so much, but halls cough drops are 15 cal/drop and I have taken a ton of them since the pharmacist said it was ok and being green and "spearmint" they should count as healthy. Vegetables are green, and mint is a leaf and leaves are salad... Oh and tell your sub that I don't have mono, I might have miscommunicated and implied you diagnosed me with mono and was an antibiotic seeker (which is way worse than a drug seeker in my opinion). And just a warning, I am likely to harass you for not working that Saturday when I was dying of the plague...

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*I have a group of 5 professors that I selected and they form what is called my program of study committee. They approved my program of study, which are the courses I needed to take to get my degree (finished taking them, yeah!), they will determine what I need to do and if I pass my prelims (scary written and oral exam to prove I learned my stuff), and in the end they will decide if I have earned my degree based on my written dissertation and my oral defense of it. They are there to both guide and judge me.
**Brought up to the lab as in he was sick, most of the bugs he brings to our lab are in environmental samples to be tested and do not get anyone sick, I like those ones a LOT better!
***Rep = Replication, it is best to run an experiment several times to make sure that the results are "the same" each time and your conclusions based on the data are valid. We intend to run three reps, which is a pretty standard number and I have no idea why it was chosen, some big wig scientist way back when probably liked it.