Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leonard Cohen is playing on my birthday in DC and I won't be there :( poo

mmmm, i love beards! this girl captured the feelings of girls with beard fetishes all over the world.

and--this is amazing! my brother had four letters to put together to make steve buschemi. i think he did an awesome job:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bus stop

What is it about me that invites creepy people to talk to me? I'm at the bus stop with my headphones in, spacing out, trying to avoid eye contact--and a guy just sits next to me and starts talking!! What am I supposed to do? I tried to ignore him, but he was kind of agressive and I had to respond. Oh well, my bus is finally here...


Yesterday we went back to Portlock (Chinawalls) for diving. We did a lot of navigation skills, at which I am happy to say I am improving. We set up weights along a map of our own design then switched maps with another group and searched for their weights. Along the way we saw a turtle, leaf scorpionfish, pipefish (a giant one), puffer fish, and many other exciting creatures. All in all it was a good day. Although, I have discovered that I cannot eat before diving. We always break for lunch each Saturday, and I usually feel gross on the second dive. Yesterday I thought I was going to throw up--and all I ate was PB and J, so I think I'll just wait until the day is over before I eat anything... Apparently they say you should just throw up in your regulator and all the fish come over right in front of your face, so that might be exciting. But I feel like vomiting on dry land is unpleasant enough, I'd hate to have to do it underwater.

I'm going to Miami in two weeks for the Bahamas trip! I can't believe it is coming up so soon. This month flew by. This semester is flying by. Hopefully I will get everything done that I need to...

Friday, February 20, 2009


I keep meaning to write about this dream I have been having, but I felt it needed visual aids, and I didn't have any at home. In my dream, I look at my hand, and sclerites begin to form around it. A polyp looks kind of like a fist, so I can see where it's coming from. But recently, I've been looking at my hand, and I can see sclerites forming when I'm not dreaming... I think I've been dissecting too many polyps. Here a picture I took on the light microscope of a polyp with sclerites as a reference:

Today I am in charge of my seminar and I'm worried... I chose two articles about invert sex, so I'm excited, but I hope everyone else is too. I'm not sure I can talk for an hour by myslef--actually, I probably could, but I don't know how much fun that would be for everyone.

I had a dive test last night--I think it went alright. It only took about 45 mins. It was so nice to get home before 7 on a Thursday. Usually I don't get home until 9 or 9:30. I felt kind of lost--all of the sudden I had two more hours in the day. I thought I would go to bed early, but it didn't happen. I think my body is incapable of falling asleep before 2, but then, it never wants to get up at 7:30. Somehow, I need to trick it...maybe sleeping pills.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm diving again tomorrow and I'll write about it when I can.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today we went diving at Waimanalo Bay. It went from a beautiful morning with choppy water to a rainy day with extremely unpleasant water. We started with navigation skills: go 25 meters one direction, turn 90 degrees, 25 meters, turn 90 degrees again, etc, until you make a square. I was really good at making the square, but going in a straight line one way and then turning around and going back to the spot you started at, I failed by 5 meters... But, some people did even worse than I did, so I'm not too worried.

After navigation skills, we did more rescue work. We worked on "extractions," which is a lovely way of saying carrying an unconscious (probably dead) diver out to the beach. First we practiced different ways of dragging them out on the beach--armpit drag, back-pack (that was my best one), fireman carry, and then there were many that involved at least one other person. The main lesson we learned today was: if you need to drag a body out of the water, it would be nice to have help...

Then we practiced rescuing our buddy from the sea bottom, taking them to the surface, swimming them to shore and extracting them--incorporating all the skills. It was exhausting, EXHAUSTING!! My buddy and I both told each other never to go unconscious while diving.

I swallowed so much sea water...it went up my nose, in my mouth--I was choking. It was tough. It made me think about this book I read as a kid, something about seven chinese brothers. One of them could hold the entire ocean in his mouth... Now that I think about it, it was kind of morbid. He held the ocean in his mouth because a boy wanted him to--the boy went to collect fish, and he went too far and the brother couldn't hold the ocean anymore...and the boy died. The emperor decided to put him to death, but each method he was going to use to kill him, one of the brothers is able to get around. One brother can't have his neck cut, one brother can't be burned, etc. Anyway, for some reason, I thought of this book--probably because I was oxygen deprived...

This is a fun video:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stairway to Heaven

Last night, my friend called and asked if I wanted to climb the "Stairway to Heaven." I had heard tell of this mountain--a series of stairs going up and up and up forever--and I knew I wanted to do it at some point while in Hawaii. There is a certain amount of bragging rights that go along with making it to the top. However, I hadn't thought that I would climb it in the dark.... But, I said sure, and didn't ask questions.

I soon found out that it was on the other side of the island and it would take at least three hours to climb up and back (it took 4). We got to the mountain at about 10pm, but it was a full moon so we didn't need flashlights. It was beautiful--the moon was so bright it was casting shadows. When we got to the start of the path, we had to climb over a sketchy fence because (I discovered shortly) the path is closed and it is illegal to climb it... whether this is due to the risk of climbing it or issues over property is unknown. Either way, I realized this was going to be a fun night. And, climbing the fence, I got my one injury of the evening--we hadn't even started climbing yet and I was bleeding down my leg...

The climb is 3992 stairs, some of which is completely vertical, on narrow stairs with a plummeting drop off on either side. Thankfully, I have no fear of heights. I just got to the head of the pack, and starting going--up, up, up. Channeling my inner mountain goat again. I've discovered that I have this strange quality of getting very calm and aware when I am doing dangerous things--sky diving, SCUBA diving, climbing shear cliffs. I breath slowly and just go. I get an extremely calm feeling--it's a wonderful feeling, which may be why I like doing these things so much.

It rained a little on the way up, making it a bit more slippery (which it was already), adding to the fun. The mountain smelled amazing, like mint and jasmine and it felt surreal to see shadows everywhere from the moon. I think climbing it at night is definitely the way to do it--the air was cool and you are less likely to be arrested. Also, when you can't really see where you're going, it's not as scary.

We made it to the top around midnight and drank some wine and celebrated out achievement. Getting down was much harder (maybe due to the wine), but we all managed safely. I finally got back around 3am, and woke up a few hours later to go to work on polyps.

Now, I need to go to sleep and catch up a little before tomorrow begins...

Here are some photos of our adventure :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

China Walls

Yesterday was our first real technical dive for my scientific diving course. On Thursday we had a dive too, but it was in the pool. We are in the rescue diving portion of the course. So we had CPR, first aid, AED training among other things. On Thursday, we practiced different techniques for rescuing a diver and we also did an exercise where one buddy was out of air and the other was sharing air. Then, to make it more complicated, the buddy without air took off their mask to simulate a situation where they got caught on something and lost their mask. So, I was swimming along, with my eyes closed, under about 15 feet of water, waiting for my next breath. In that situation, you just have to trust your buddy will give you the regulator. I actually really enjoyed it. You completely give up control--like in sky diving. You just have to trust that it's all going to be ok. You have to completely let go. It's liberating.

Anyway, yesterday, we went to China Walls or Portlock for our first technical open water dive. The first dive was miserable, because I was still under weighted and buoyancy is one of those things I used to be great at. So it was frustrating. I had to take off my BC and weight belt and as soon as I did, I started floating towards the surface--argh! Then we did navigation--and I totally screwed up! It was kind of hilarious in a way. I went 180 degrees in the exact wrong direction. Thankfully, my buddy was cool about it :) We saw a turtle on that first dive and puffer fish and wrasse and I could hear the whales singing. When we got to the surface, we saw the whales in the distance.

Then we did rescue swims--which was exhausting! Then we had lunch and got right back in the water. The second dive was much better. I finally had the proper amount of weight on, I navigated correctly, and the water was much clearer. However, the swell was pretty intense and it was knocking us all over the place. Getting out of the water was interesting too. We got right next to the rocks, waited for a big wave, then kicked up like seals onto the rocks. There were some people laughing at us. It was quite a spectacle.

It was an exhausting day that started at 7 and ended at 5 without any real sitting down in between. And then, when I got home, I realized I had lost my phone! Thankfully I had just left it in my friend's car, but it was a hassle to get it back.

Things in Waikiki are crazy right now because of the probowl happening.

Oh also! I'm going to go on a research cruise in March! My advisor said there was room and I could come and I'm only missing one dive for scientific diving! So it all worked out. I'm very excited. I've been having a lot of fun dissecting polyps for Les. And--they also have tentacles! So I don't feel too bad that I am cheating on my dear cephalopods with cnidarians.... Every time I look at one under the microscope, I know I am the first one who has ever seen this. These are species that Les collected that are unlike any others anyone has ever seen before. It's very exciting to be on the cutting edge of deep sea coral biology. I love science!! I love biology!! Now if I can just get going on my own research...

Well, off to do laundry on this beautiful, sunny Sunday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Sorry Mom, you read that right... Today I rode a motorcycle!!! It was so exhilarating. I loved it, and I'm going to get one.

This semester has so far been a semester of learning new skills--scientific diving, dissecting polyps, using an SEM, and riding a motorcycle. Academically, it's not so hot, but skills wise, very exciting. I'm kind of proud of myself. I decided I wanted to ride a motorcycle (to see if I wanted to buy one), so I went up to a guy in my class whom I know rides one, and asked for a lesson. Today was my first lesson. I can't wait for the next one. He was very good at explaining the mechanisms behind everything. He is also a scientist and likes to know how things work, so he explained every wire and chamber in an accessible way. Then, I got to drive it! I did pretty well...but, coming around a corner, I fell. But it was only a little fall, and now, I've gotten that over with. They say there are two kinds of people who ride motorcycles: those who have been in an accident, and those who are about to. So, I already had mine, and now I'm safe!

Here's a picture of the cut I got on my elbow--I'm very proud of it :P

At the end of the lesson, I rode on the back while he drove fast on the bike. I can't believe I have never been on the back of a motorcycle before. It was a perfect night for it. Hawaii is so beautiful from a motorcycle (not that it isn't otherwise...).

Then, at the end of the night, I went to wait for the bus. I waited for an hour. Which once again solidified my plan to buy a motorcycle!!

I also went to an aerobics class today that kicked my butt. A girl from my population biology class invited me and it was great! I go to the gym here, but it's not the same as a class. In a class you get pushed harder than you push yourself. Maybe I'll go again next week :) But not right before my motorcycle lesson...I was sweaty and gross when I got there today.

Tomorrow is more polyps and SEM and diving :) But I need to go to bed so I can wake up early without the help of coffee so I don't shake the spicules off the brush...