April 2010


It’s a good thing I love biochem so much, since I’m getting an overdose. Four and a half hours today went towards dissecting 6 mice, since our collaborator removed the anesthetic from the fridge in order to comply with new DCM barrier regulations, which meant that it had degraded. With impeccable dramatic timing, the stockroom closed this week for “billing.” We both left the lab feeling like sustained subvocal growls.

The major overdose right now is from my genomics lab; I pushed myself to get my annotation finished early so I could spend the week working on papers for my other classes. However, after turning in 17 pages of draft on Friday, then despairing over sequence availability for ClustalW analysis, those of us who finished were given the luxury of helping our classmates complete their projects. It is important for our research effort to get as much data annotated as possible; thus, I was at work for 12 hours straight today, followed by 4 more hours of homework, and I still haven’t started the biochem paper for Friday. Brilliant. It just bites a bit that my work ethic led to an increase in workload rather than facilitating deadline compliance or the everpresent need for sleep (which then gets fulfilled during lecture). It also bites that, at my professor’s behest, I just wrote 50% of someone else’s final paper for only a mention in the acknowledgments section.

What saved the day were two excellent incidents:

1. I rode a camel

2. I saw Superman crossing the street at the hospital

So I just stumbled back home from the last of the tionol weekend. Starting Thursday night there were some great concerts – Michael Cooney, John Skelton (Kentucky’s snarkiest Brit), Cathleen Conneely, Oisín MacDiarmada, and more – followed by a daylong jam down at McGurk’s. Having not played a regular session in about four years, I floated through the rooms for a while, just listening. Eventually I found the coward’s perfect session: large, simplistic, jovial, and in a tight enough circle that you could hide out at the back until you get your fingers used to everything again. Confidence enough to seek out a challenging group never comes until the session you’re in decides it likes you, of course, so I ended up there for the rest of the afternoon. It’s always a little embarrassing when someone in a nationalist* session asks you to just pick any tune and the first five that leap to mind are Quebecois, Welsh, Scots, Breton, and border, respectively. Luckily, this circle was pretty easygoing, and I made up for it by carrying a couple of tunes no one could remember how to start. All in all, it was a good time, and now I have people to play with on Wednesdays.

Also, I now have the beginnings of a dent again. Right on.

Anyway, since I failed all two of you who check this site for updates on Wednesday, here’s a bit of a late doodle. I sketched it out on my first problem set of the semester, and got it back with an edit. I think it was pretty appropriate.

Biochem Dudes

If I can bum my roommate’s scanner and get wireless up and running in the apartment, you may have a more recent sketch this coming Wednesday.

*let’s face it, a bunch of outbred Americans sitting around in an Irish session often drive a harder party line than a Catholic in Belfast. Same for the Scots. The less skilled the players, the stricter the rules of play.

Yipes. A day late (half day), a dollar short (many dollars*). However, you still get a sketch! This is an inking I did a few days ago, inspired by Alphonse Mucha’s portraits of his wife, Jaroslava. I actually wasn’t intending on posting her any time soon, since I’m playing around with coloring in PS Elements. However, I know jack all about CS4, much less Elements (why must it be incompatible with CS4 brush packs?), so the coloring might never actually happen. Hence Jaroslava’s dichromatic posting today.

Jaroslava inks crop

Jaroslava portrait inks

In my sketchbook she faces a page with pencils of Alphonse being sketchy, talking to what looks like a burly Czech hitman (not that Alphonse would ever have done so, but his hair is so fantastic and his eyes so sharp that I wanted to make him an archvillain/politician). That page is backed by another pencil, this time of one of my peripheral cranial characters waking up in a hospital ward, very displeased with how he got there. Apparently headaches are productive art time for me, and somehow I always wind up drawing this associated with the hospital. These guys might get inked and scanned in at some point, but that will depend on when I can hijack my roomie’s scanner again. Now that the shamelessly ineffectual baiting is done with, tune in next week for possible uploads!

In other news, I’m now in charge of x-rays for our lab and will apparently have to play senior tech this summer. To be honest, when I found out about each of those, my face couldn’t decide between mask of horror and raging laughter. We’re going from being one of the smallest hematology labs to one of the largest in the division in the space of a few months, and the newcomers will constitute the majority of our manpower. I suppose I can’t complain, as long as radiation safety comes back from vacation with my lead PPE before our next sample run. X-rays are cool, but insidious.

UPDATE: I just got funding for my research through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute!

Hisst! Here’s me totally failing at background layers in PSE:

Jaroslava background colors

*Thanks to medical insurance FAIL