Monday, January 30, 2006

Adventures in Lint Rolling

On a whim, I lint-rolled the dog this morning. I could probably lint-roll him for a month without making a dent in the amount of hair that comes off each time. More interesting, though, was the amount of static he's harboring. Note all the hair standing up away from the roller. Can I run my computer off him? Posted by Picasa

My next dog, Hellboy

I think it would be wonderful to have dogs named Bad Dog and Hellboy. And here is evidence that Mac/Bad Dog and Hellboy already have a history. Maybe my Hellboy should be some impossibly fluffy breed, a Lhasa Apso. No, a dachshund. Or a pug.

Today I was made aware of the book "Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog." I love the title. The book itself sounds a little too "Chicken Soup" for my tastes. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Transporter

I half-watched The Transporter on TV tonight. I saw it in the theater, and if I didn't apologize at the time to whoever I went with, I apologize now.

I love bad action movies. My tolerance for cheesiness is extremely high. However, what I really resent about this movie is the crappy fight scenes. There are a million reasons to hate it. For example, there's a vapid useless lead chick, but that didn't stop me from enjoying XXX. The male lead can't act well enough to even pass as himself, but that didn't stop me from enjoying The Rundown with Dwayne Douglas Johnson, aka The Rock.

Bottom line, it's hard to make an action movie that offends my sensibilities, but this movie has done it. And it was written by the guy who wrote The Professional and La Femme Nikita.

There are a couple of action conceits that I like in the movie. One is after oil has spilled in a warehouse in the middle of a fight scene. The protagonist breaks the pedals off a bicycle and uses them like cleats to keep traction. In another, he highjacks a truck and pushes the driver out. The door breaks off and the driver is on it like a sled. It rides on the road for a ways and then flies off the road like a luge.

Speaking of winter Olympics, that's something to be excited about.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A happy locker room moment

This morning I was listening to a woman in the locker room telling her friends about the AFC championship yesterday, even giving them the background on Bettis' fumble the week before. I love hearing women talking to other women about football.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

sorry broncos

i grew up in colorado during the elway era. consequently, i'm a sentimental broncos fan, not to be confused with a knowledgeable fan. as i write this, i'm watching the broncos play in another window on my computer. they're playing the pittsburgh steelers for the afc division championship. denver will lose. jake plummer, the denver quarterback, had a lot of errors but also some wonderfully athletic plays. now, at the very end of the game, they've put in their second string in.

i look forward to watching the steelers in the superbowl. they have the second youngest quarterback to every play in the superbowl, and a wonderfully springy defensive player named troy polamalu who is lots of fun to watch.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Mammoth weekend

Whoa, it was beautiful. Fantastic. The snow was so good. That's the best snow I've skied on in a long time. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cat TV

We were at the vet today. They have some cats up for adoption, and mac found them absolutely compelling. A disclaimer: the cat is not headless; the cat is eating from a food bowl in the corner of the cage. Posted by Picasa

Run the gel

Harriet asked her readers what their favorite words are. She also spread the news about "Delurking" week. I responded that my favorite word was "delurking." I love the Web 2.0 context, which evokes smiley, happy people using technology for creative, community-building type stuff, for a word that has military-sci fi connotations. For example, it reminds me of the word "decloaking," used in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I've been thinking lately about the language of biology. Not only is there a specialized vocabulary, as you would expect, but a specialized grammar. Today, for example, I'm going to:
prepare my samples, pour a gel, load the samples onto the gel and run it. Then I'll put part of the gel in transfer, then I'll block the membrane with a milk solution and incubate it in an antibody solution. I'll put the other part of the gel in something called Gel-Code Blue and then destain it.
It's the prepositions that strike me as weirdest. For example, why do you load samples onto a gel, instead of into it? The transfer to a membrane doesn't transfer the gel itself onto a membrane, but the proteins which have been spread out along the gel. I never refer to Gel-Code Blue by name, but rather by the older technology it emulates: Coomassie. Also, people often will say "I'm in primary," when their membrane is incubating in the primary antibody solution. As with many forms of speech, you omit lots of words that can be inferred by people who know the language.

Being able to glibly speak the dialect is a marker of experience and competence. I see progress in my speech, but I would rate myself as having a sub-PhD fluency, appropriately enough.

The dialect changes over time; an older professor might have a slightly different turn of phrase than a younger one. There are also variations by subfield.

OK, must run. Sorry about the clunky flow.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Old before my time

from Boingboing:
In a new study, a professor of geriatrics reports that nursing home residents would rather hang out with just a dog than a dog and other residents. The study, led by William A. Banks of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, included 37 residents who scored high on a loneliness scale and desired half-hour dog visits once a week. Half of the group spent the time alone with the dog. The others participated in group visits with one to three other residents and the pooch. Those who had the one-on-one time with the dog "experienced a much more significant decrease in loneliness after five to six weeks of visits." From a press release:
“It was a strange finding,” said Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis. “We had thought that the dog acts as a social lubricant and increases the interaction between the residents. We expected the group dog visits were going to work better, but they didn’t.

“The residents found a little quiet time with the pooch is a lot nicer than spending time with a dog and other people,” he said.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More from my palm obsession

We had a lot of rain and wind around here lately. I'm guessing this palm was damaged by the storm and felled by a person. Look how small the root ball is! In other palm news, the teeny weed-palm has been removed.

I often think about what I would do if my blog supported categories. Would I have a "Palm obsession" category? Posted by Picasa

I'm embarrassed for them

OK, so I'm easily embarrassed. Nevertheless, I think these folks are worth some of my embarrassment. Seeing them was my reward for picking my boss up at the airport (6:06pm) and waiting for her luggage and dog to be brought off the plane (~8pm). And there's not a lot of reward for that. (an aside: the boss says: United at LAX is completely messed up - avoid it if possible.)

It's not just because I lived in a ski area when I was a kid, and the hippies made fun of the tourists, right? These guys are inherently funny, right? Posted by Picasa