Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hyperbaric Chamber

Today, in my dive class, we took a field trip to the hyperbaric chamber so we could see where we would go if we got bent. I'm exhausted today...

My brother did this awesome project with phototshop using five different photos to make one piece! I am super impressed :)

My friend sent me this video of a wild turkey that terrorizes her mother's laundry in Georgia. Hilarious!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yesterday I started my RA work with Les. The morning began by dissecting a bamboo coral polyp and isolating sclerites. You have to separate the parts of the polyp and then put it in Clorox to dissolve the tissue away from the calcium carbonate. Then, with a paintbrush, with one single hair, you move the spicules from the dish to the mount for the SEM (scanning electron microscope). It's hard work. I think I have to stop drinking coffee so my hands don't shake... And if yesterday was any indication, I am going to be blind by next week. But, it's fascinating stuff :) It's pretty incredible the variability in sclerite structure, even within one genus. I'm looking forward to this work, especially because it actually has some scientific merit.

Also, I recently contacted someone on Coconut Island who may be able to help me get some octopi and give me some space to set up tanks. Yay!! Now I just need to call him back...

Now I am headed to a seminar entitled "Paradoxes of immortality: surprising roles for essential genes in regulating lifespan." I'm very excited. This guy sounds like he could be a good addition to our department. He is the next in our line of candidates for the developmental person. We'll see.

Next birthday--this is what I want. Remember this:

Also, this is an awesome video :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Vanessa mentioned the melting bunny in an earlier post and requested that it be placed here. Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I just got back from diving :) We went to Kaneohe Bay where there is this structure called "the sunken city." Apparently, they tried to build a floating city off of the harbor, but then a big storm came...and it's now underwater. The good news is that it has created a perfect substrate for coral to grow on. We saw some nice cup corals, wrasse, feather duster worms, and tunicates (among other things).

I just started my scientific diving class on Tuesday. It is three hours, two nights a week, and six hours every Saturday. Huge time commitment... But I'm excited. I think I will learn a lot. The biggest issue is the cost--everything is expensive! Not one piece of diving equipment is cheap....Once I buy all the gear, it won't be so bad, but until then...I'm poor forever.

Anyway, today's dive was to go over basic skills in open water. Once we've done that plus the pool skills from last semester, we are scientific diver's in training! So, that's me. I just passed this morning, and now I am a sci diver in training! It's wasn't easy though... in fact, it was a comedy of errors. I am so buoyant, the dive master had to give me some of his weights (on top of the 12 pounds I already had). I think the fat deposits in my butt act as a natural buoy, pulling me towards the surface.

Tonight we are doing CPR stuff, and bright and early on Saturday, more of the same.

It was so nice having a car today. My friend lent me her car to take to the other side of the island and a gave some people a ride. There is a moment on the Likelike highway where you come through the tunnel to the other side of the mountain and it is...majestic. A moment of awe. The beauty of this island is astounding...when you get a chance to look at it.

Here is a picture of me as spiderman in my wet suit--as per requests :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Inspiring. Yay Obama :) "Restore science to its rightful place!!" I think he's talking about funding cephalopod researchers...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wet Suit

I bought a wet suit yesterday! My friend and I drove around the island for about 5 hours. It was quite an ordeal. But I finally found one that fit. It's black and red--and I look like spider man in it :) Spider man!! Awesome.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This is my new favorite site...


I had a very strange dream... I was going to a friends birthday party, but before I could get there, two members of the foot clan from teenage mutant ninja turtles (the movie) picked me up and took me to the party. Apparently it was a teenage mutant ninja turtle themed party and we were forced to learn a dance and perform it... Weird. Then I was in a hotel looking for batteries because the power went out... and the rest of the dream wasn't too interesting.


Yesterday, I got an e-mail telling me that the campus would be closed today and all classes were canceled. Apparently there is a storm coming with 60 mph winds. Meanwhile, I woke up this morning and it was a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. It's now about 1pm and I'm starting to see a hint of a storm--oh wait, it just started raining--whoa it's coming fast. Weird.

I didn't have class yesterday, and now I have no class today either. Monday is a holiday, so I have almost a week off. It sounds like it would be a fun thing, but unfortunately, all I have been doing is relaxing...I need to get more productive. Today I am going to work on my proposal. I'm going out with friends tonight (if the gale force winds don't stop us) and I'll make sure I have something done before then.

This week, someone came in to discuss his research on craniofacial morphologies in cichlids. It was pretty fascinating. We are looking for a new developmental faculty member, so it was a sort of audition. I'm looking forward to the other candidate talks. I've gone back to a world of science-speak, and I love it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Paradise returned

(In homage to Milton). I am back in Hawaii. I got back on Sunday night and I go back and forth feeling like my vacation was a dream. It was a lovely vacation, lots of movie watching and puzzle making in my bath robe. I think the puzzle was my greatest accomplishment (although I did not do it alone).

I also worked a bit on figuring out what I am going to do for my dissertation. I figured out all three chapters and started my introduction. My goal is to finish by the end of this month, but we'll see how much I get done! I'm already feeling overwhelmed with work. But, I did get to the beach today... it is manna for my soul.

I'm taking a population biology course which involves a lot of math. I just finished five problems and it took me about an hour! It should have taken fifteen minutes...but it's been about four years since my last calculus class. But I am remembering how much I enjoyed math (when I understood it). There is a sense of accomplishment when you can put a box around your answer with confidence.

Yesterday I got reviews of my teaching from my students and they made me smile. Some of them said I was the best TA they had ever had! Many of them said I was "awesome" and "enthusiastic." :) It made me feel good. I feel like if nothing else, at least I accomplished something last semester. I helped some people enjoy science!