Sunday, September 30, 2007


I've been watching The War on PBS, Ken Burns' latest long-ass documentary. Tonight's episode, which aired at 8pm, is called FUBAR.

And to explain what FUBAR and SNAFU mean, the narrator actually said, "FUCKED."

Public television is awesome.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Semester of Spanish

Click. Watch. Laugh.

Am I bossy?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hot pink

I have the urge to color a chunk of my hair hot pink.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's a beautiful day in DC

Today I met up with Danyel at the National Mall. It was a GORGEOUS day. Nary a cloud in sight and actually a little cool. We have plans to go to Hawaii in about a year and look fabulous, so it will do us some good to do some walking.

Turns out it only takes me 45 mins to get to the Smithsonian stop from my house on a Sunday. It took a considerable while longer for Danyel to get there from Shady Grove, so I started walking. I walked toward the Capitol and through the Hirshorn Sculpture Garden. As I got near the Capitol I heard a fife and drum corps. There was some sort of presentation on the Bill of Rights. I kept walking. I passed three games of adult kickball. Why is it when you precede a word with "adult" it makes it sound dirty? Don't worry, in this case, everyone was appropriately dressed in their team t-shirts. By the time I started walking back toward the Washington Monument Danyel arrived. Hooray! she took the Metro all by herself for the first time and didn't get lost or die!

We continued on toward the Washington Monument and walked by a Jazz Festival. We climbed up the stairs into the Lincoln Memorial, sat on the ledge beside the stairs and remembered the last time we visited these monuments. It's been a long while for both of us.

Then we went on to visit the Korean Veterans War Memorial, which IMHO, is kinda spooky. The statues of the soldiers are life sized so you feel as though you are walking with them. And there is a wall made of the same black shiny stone used at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial but instead of names etched into the surface, there are faces. When it rains, etchings disappear, and reappear when it dries. I can just imagine that being a little spooky. We also visited the Wall and paid respects to a friend of Danyel's dad. As we walked along the wall, even though there were plenty of people around, it was almost eerily quiet. The reverence of the place is not just palpable, but I don't know...thick. We also visited the memorial to the women of the Vietnam war that is near the Wall. The number of people there was, of course, less than at the Wall, but when we arrived I noticed we were joining other young women. It was just a coincidence, but I found it particularly moving.

After all the walking it was time for dinner. We ended up going to Les Halles, which I think is becoming my favorite place to go when I visit the Mall. Since the weather was so nice we ate outside. Well, at least until dessert because the sun was fading and we were getting cold. I had a mouthwatering medium rare hanger steak with shallot sauce and french fries. Danyel had the French dip and fries. She was taken aback when she was given a choice on how she wanted her steak done. Usually don't get that choice when it's a roast beef, but in this case it was steak. The food was goood. I was verrrry happy. Only to get even happier when I decided to have my very first chocolate souffle and a lil' glass of dessert port wine. The combo was so good and I had that great moment of enlightenment when food and wine pairs well together and you're like, "ohh, I get it!" Danyel had her very first creme brulee and enjoyed that very much, as well. A perfect ending to a perfect day...even if the meal negates the Calories I was trying to burn off in the first place!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Freezer People

The freezer at work needs to be defrosted but we don't have a backup in this room. So I wished real hard and the freezer people appeared. It seems that they are made of the ice that coated the top shelf, 2mL microfuge tube screw caps, thumbtacks, 0.7mL microfuge tubes, a red cap for a glass test tube, and a small purple nitrile glove. Somehow they settled themselves in the tops of some plastic storage boxes. But all reality, they are made of magic. I mean, how else would they have appeared? It's not like I waste time making snowmen to hide in the freezer for co-workers to find the next day.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Crazy Sexy Cancer

I want to recommend a documentary I saw last week but unfortunately it's not scheduled to air again unless people email and pester TLC/Discovery.

Either way, it's called Crazy Sexy Cancer and it's about Kris Carr, a 31 y/o woman who was diagnosed with 24 inoperable tumors in her liver. You can learn more about her here and she even has a book if you don't get to see the documentary. (I seem to like recommending things focusing on women who are yoginis.)

In her documentary she highlights other young women with cancer. One of them, Erin Zammett Ruddy, a Glamour magazine editor, really stuck out for me. She has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and takes Gleevec. Let me tell you a little story about CML. Warning: this may only be really cool to nerds.

Back in 1960, a translocation between chromosome 9 and 22 was discovered and named the Philadelphia chromosome (so named for it's city of discovery). It was the first chromosomal abnormality found to be linked to cancer. I first learned about it in the really great cytogenetics (chromosome biology) course I took at W&M and of course, I learned about it in numerous courses at UT-Houston HSC MDACC (even the abbreviated version is too long!).

A translocation is where pieces of two chromosome swap places. In this case a gene on 22, called ABL (pronounced "able" and named after a guy named Ableson) gets shoved in next to a gene called BCR (just pronounced bee see arr and stands for breakpoint cluster region) on chromosome 9 resulting in BCR-ABL. This encodes an protein that keeps the switch "ON" for making lots of messed up white blood cells. And all cancer is, really, is uncontrolled cell growth. Only people with the Philadelphia chromosome have this weird BCR-ABL fusion protein and presence of this translocation can give you a diagnosis of CML. It's one of the molecular tests that I do at work! Neat.

Everyone knows that the crappy thing about chemotherapy is that not only does it kill cancer cells, it also kills normal cells, like hair cells. But in the 90's along came Gleevec. Gleevec is a drug, the first of its kind, to specifically target the BCR-ABL protein (It also works on other cancers that have the same sort of ON/OFF switch).

So back to Erin - In the documentary she talks about the extremely sensitive test that determines her diagnosis and about how she takes Gleevec. She has never missed a day of work because of her cancer. THAT IS SO AMAZING. And she even has a new baby!

While I may not be up to finding the cure, when I see stuff like that I'm happy to have a job that is still part of it all.