Kind of an Awesome Lunch

I haven't food-blogged in a while. Hokay, here's what I'm having for lunch this week:

Start with this recipe. Completely disregard all quantities called for and just use whatever seems right. I didn't even look at the quantities. Replace the canned tomatoes with fresh. Add mushrooms (cut chunky), zucchini, chickpeas, and dandelion greens. Use rotini for the pasta because the spiralliness is excellent.

Right now this sauce is still mostly sauerkraut (which is awesome, but I hear a meal of mostly salt is bad for me), but I bet I could rearrange things so it was just an ingredient and not the main point. Maybe more bitter greens.

The fruitflies from the spider lady's lab are attacking!

I have a friend staying with me this week. Yesterday we had lunch completely independently of each other, miles apart and without communicating. She had falafel and chocolate milk. I had falafel and chocolate soy milk. I think we may be soulmates.


Via @wilw

Via Wil Wheaton's twitter feed, a cool new website that raises awareness about epilepsy: Talk About It.

What He Said

Jesse at Pandagon does a very good job explaining why I don't think civilians should be allowed to carry guns.


Week 9 in Review

Computer Science
- Assignment on files and dictionaries. First assignment where I've actually had some problems getting it right and needed to do a line-by-line debugging in several places.
- SQL requests in Python packages. Still working out the syntax.

Animal Behaviour
- Parental care and evolution of cooperative behaviour.
- Assignment posted: vague instructions, excessive freedom in topic. I am overwhelmed by choice and lack of a place to start. Damn.

- motility: mechanical and biochemical mechanisms, chemotaxis, run/rotate combinations leading to biased random walk
- quorum sensing: bacteria can only perform certain actions (e.g. bioluminscence) if there are a lot of them around. They tell when they've reached critical mass by all secreting a certain molecule. When they sense the concentration of that molecule reaches a threshold level, start action. Physiological mechanisms.

- Since dropping organic chemistry, I've taken on a bit of responsibility in the lab: I'm trying to keep a half-starved electric eel from dying, and also from killing me. It's fun. This electric eel doesn't like to eat minnows, but will happily eat earthworms. Also, it produces an enormous amount of nitrogenous waste. Tank smells like the tropical forest exhibit at the science centre.
- One of the other undergrads in the lab hit me in the face with her belt buckle. Have an invisible but fairly painful bruise on the side of my nose. She swears it was an accident.


Weeks 6 - 8 in brief Review

So I've missed a few weeks here. Week 6 was right before reading week, and when it ended I was so excited about it being reading week that I forgot to do a review. Then there was reading week, which I spent catching up on Microbiology and Organic Chemistry. Week 7 was a whirlwind of exams and lab prep that ended, Sunday afternoon, with me deciding that, since I'm leaning more and more towards going to graduate school rather than medical school anyway, and since it wasn't required for me to graduate, and since it was just making me completely miserable and taking time away from courses I was actually interested in, that my attitude towards Organic Chemistry was Fuck That Noise. Dropped it. Whew. It wasn't until after I did that that I realized how precariously close I was (and am) to burning out. I spent all of reading week either studying or feeling guilty about not studying and therefore didn't get any real kind of break, and I've been in classes now for 18 months straight because I didn't take last summer off and I'm tired. I think even without org it will be all I can do to keep myself hanging on until the end of the semester. Fortunately I'm not taking any courses next summer, so I can probably get away with having my evenings and weekends largely to myself. *glee*.

Now, however, I have kind of an opposite problem, which is that only taking three courses leaves me with an enormous amount of unstructured time. I was spectacularly unproductive this week. I need to find some way to force some structure on that time. I'm thinking of forcing a four-day week on myself. I know this sounds incredibly spoiled, but it's a real problem. If I tell myself that I'm not allowed to go to campus or do any schoolwork on Tuesdays (when I no longer have class), then I'll have to make myself work the rest of the weekdays in order to get it all done. Which will mean I'll actually do it. Or that's the theory, anyway. Plus, it will give me an extra day off each week, which will help to ward off the burnout. I just need to give myself some structured recreation for Tuesdays, preferably physical activity, so I don't spend the whole day in bed or on the couch. Maybe I'll just spend the entire day at the gym, and when the weather gets warmer start biking around the city. Anyway, I'm open to suggestions for how I can structure my Tuesdays. Maybe I can do some baking.

So finally, this afternoon, the last two months of 5 - 6 hour nights caught up with me. I reached that point where I was so tired I wasn't really in control of my behaviour, and realized this when a friend had to pull me away before I started yelling at a bunch of idiot environmentalist hippies on campus who were making an arts and crafts project out of used coffee cups (because it's less wasteful if you glue your garbage together before throwing it away!). So I got home this evening, had a quick dinner, and went to bed around 7 pm. Which means that now it's 11:30 pm, and even though I'm still tired I can't get back to sleep. Hence, blogging. So now I give you Weeks 7 & 8 in Review:

Computer Science
- while loops
- dictionaries
- building dictionaries from files
- in
- nose

- gram positive vs. gram negative
- gram negative secretion systems: Sec, Tat, Secretion systems I through V. III is a needle that injects stuff into host cells. IV is used for conjugation and is aka "sex pilus".
- gram negative cell wall and outer membrane structure
- gram negative import systems; porins and transporters
- protection systems: capsules, slime, biofilms

Animal Behaviour
- Polygyny. Asked the prof why several systems where both males and females have multiple mates are nonetheless known as polygyny. She said she'd get back to me.
- Parental care. Cost (future reproductive potential) vs. benefit (current reproductive success). Optimize sum of the two curves. Benefit of different amounts of care to different offspring based on their sex: Better to care for the limiting sex (generally female) if you/your offspring are of lower quality. Better to gamble on the non-limiting sex (usually male) if you/your offspring are of higher quality.
- Inclusive fitness, parent-offspring conflict over amount of care, r * b > c
- Tragedy of the commons. Occurs when benefit of an individual using a resource goes entirely to that individual, but cost is distributed among all individuals using that resource. Short-term gain is therefore maximized by selfish behaviour, even at the long-term expense of the resource. One way species can evolve themselves into extinction.

And that's that. Any suggestions for Tuesdays?