It turns out that there is a fabulous series of reasons I’ve been offline for ages. The most immediate of these is that I’m co-authoring a paper! On malaria! Awwwww yisssss!

MK (a.k.a. Princess), our PI, and I are hoping to get it off our desks next week. We’re already hard in on the experiments we anticipate our reviewers requesting, so life is crazy. Crazy awesome, I should say.

As usual, most of my life happens in the lab, but mariachi has been heating up lately. To be precise, we’ve been heating things up. That’s right, we did Valentine’s Day serenades. For the paltry sum of $10, one could contract a full mariachi band to show up and woo one’s sweetheart with Un Motivo and a chocolate rose. It was pretty sweet. Nothing says romance like sappy Spanish yearning, and nothing says cojones like wearing a moño in public.

Speaking of valentines, here’s a sampling of the inkwork I used for my labmates’ valentines this year. My reasoning was that it was late at night, and (apart from mariachi) nothing says “happy-platonic-valentine’s-day” like a gecko. Monsters are a fairly safe bet, as well, for friends with kids or easily amused fiancées

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One of my other friends and I keep in touch by letter, so I sent this valentine to her and her cat, Cleo.

2012 valentine for Cleo

I’ve also been up to some interviewing, writing, painting, and orchid-tending on top of teaching and cheffing, so look for some pictorial updates over the next month or so. There will likely also be recipes as we discover how, exactly, to make a balanced meal when someone hands you 10 whole chicken carcasses, several pounds of asparagus, and 15 packs of last-day blueberries.


As those of you who have to put up with me regularly already know (as for those of you who don’t, cherish your bliss), I am in the midst of maaaaaaany projects. A sampling, if you will:

  • full-time job as a medical researcher
  • 4-year part-time contract as a medical ESL teacher
  • volunteer chef for several local homeless shelters
  • volunteer maintenance/remodeling for a battered women’s sanctuary
  • applying to MD/PhD programs on the side
  • failing to have any further social life

It keeps one on one’s toes. Then my labmate waltzes in last week to say: “Hey, so mariachi band practice at 8. We need violin. Be there.” And I couldn’t very well refuse, now, could I? After all, the first scientific principle arose from the music of pipes.

The long and the short of it is that in the space of 3 days, I’ve found myself in performance and the proud wearer of a quite stylish red sash, with the more dubious prospects of moño, sombrero, and full charro looming. Still, what’s a party if you don’t dress for it, eh?

In the midst of applications, there is always time for my friend Mroo’s fabulous flourless chocolate cake. There is also always time for singing, even when the neighbors would really prefer that we didn’t. Inevitably, cake and singing led to songs about cake, and I wrote this one to the melody of the infamously bawdy Moose Song. Feel free to sing this next time you’re baking; I know I will!


When I was a young lad, I used to like tarts.
I’d munch all the crunchies and pick them apart,
but the sugar, it burned til my glaze went opaque.
You’d never taste failure like that with a cake.

Cake, cake, I likes a cake
I’ve never had anything tasted so great.
I’ve had lots of sugar in all that I make
but I’ve never had anything quite like a cake.

I tried many recipes, baked every bun
with cinnamon, filbert, or coconut rum,
but nothing I buy and nothing I make
compares to a flour-less chocolate cake!


Meringues are a treat for a Saturday night,
and even cannoli or mousse is alright,
but cake is so simple, delicious and moist
It’s something on me that you won’t have to foist.


There’s artery clogging sweet treats on each shelf
in my pantry I just say, “to heck with good health!”
I cook so gourmet that my oven might break,
but I’ve never baked anything quite like a cake.


So in my old age I am quite satisfied,
though my waistline now measures a hundred feet wide.
I’ve never once tasted a sugar that’s fake.
Die before diet! Let’s have some more cake!