This week has been an interesting experiment with the micro minutes posts. I don’t really like it. I think I’ll go back to 1-2 posts per week near the weekend. Why? I’ll write shorter per day for one.
But really, I think it’ll let me ruminate on things I post longer before I post them and help me understand what the weekly theme is better. I can easily go between “oh I’m dying today and my life is miserable” to “this is the best day I’ve had in three months!” in the space of three days. It’s quite bizarre, really.
In either case, I really do feel as if I’m dying or I’m on cloud 9 – and for that reason, think the perspective that distance provides is beneficial – see what the Lord is up to and teaching me – all that. Not that I may not post other things, like pictures or notes more frequently. [Though obviously, who wants to read my notes? Those are mostly for me - this website is, after all, my informational hub that I use as my personal database of sorts.]
Friday, an unusually good day
Well, saying today was a good day would be a serious understatement! [gigantically large amount of exclamation points go here off into what seems infinity]
Why do I say this? For the following reasons:
1. Belt arrival: Before I left for Emory, I discovered a package on my desk … THE JEDI BELT I ORDERED!!! I opened it at once. See here for more pictures. If you want to see the other amazing work that Tom of Civilized Galactic Gear does, see this link!!
2. Belt exceeded my expectations: The Jedi belt was *completely* amazing and so much more awesome than I’d even hoped – very sturdy, exactly what I was looking for, functional, monogramed and styled … *heavenly awe sounds*. Again, see pictures here.
3. Pouch exceeded my expectations: Not only was the belt cool but the POUCH was super cool!!! It smells great too – love the smell of leather + adhesives, for some reason. The magnetic clip on the front and back and the fact it could be actually used made me REALLY happy. I left for Emory in a very thrilled mood. (The manufacturer Tom recommends using it for extra lightsaber batters - an *excellent* idea!)
4. Brought my lightsaber to Emory: I showed my lightsaber to all kinds of people – the security guard guy at the Peavine parking deck, Steve Krebs the stockroom guy (I told him about it and he was shocked I had a costume and talked to me for a while about it, though I didn’t have it with me at the time); I showed Khalid, then Kevin, then the whole incoming class during my presentation, then Kornelia and by proxy everyone else – and everyone liked it and had fun. When a lightsaber enters a room, fun happens. It’s an equation like E = mc2.
5. Got to show off my lightsaber and my tribble during my presentation: People seemed amused by my costume hobby – I was *very* happy that Dr. Weinert was there as I discovered she was a Star Wars fan earlier. She had an R2D2 beep alarm on her computer for something and I commented on it and she said something like, “Oh yeah, a little Star Wars fandom there,” or something – I felt like saying – you have no idea who you are talking to! Dr. Weinert was practically beaming/giggling at this whole thing definitely in approval – I couldn’t tell what Dr. Scarborough thought. He was laughing too, but it could easily have been a “oh MY goodness, I can’t believe this crazy person” kind of laugh. I took out my lightsaber and everyone yelled, “OOOOOO!” When I turned it on, the roof was raised – admittedly, I loved that. I love my lightsaber. >.>
I asked if anyone had seen Star Trek – only TWO people! Not many of us Trek fans out there it seems. That’s ok – Star Wars is technically way better anyway. I hate “the prime directive.” Anyway – Greg was the only one who knew what a tribble was and I explained it for everyone else and exhibited its noises. Very, very fun times.
To see a copy of my presentation click this link - I've downloaded it to MediaFire for sharing. You can download it here, if that's easier. I don't know what works best. It could have been a lot better, keep in mind. And I didn't do a good job explaining my science, which was frustrating.
6. Got to talk to Khalid: I got to show Khalid my lightsaber! That was so fun and he definitely liked it. It was super way awesome to get to talk with him about some of my favorite non-science things. He’s even been to Dragon*Con! How about that! I was quite impressed – not that I’d think any less of him if he hadn’t, but the fact that he had surprised me, and raised his coolness points at least by a factor of 100 in my eyes. I hope he saw the whole schedule of events online whenever he went because there is SOOO much you can do there, you can’t even attend it all if you wanted to.
And he said he'd thought about having the lab have a float in the parade at Dragon*Con! O.O Whoa! I don't know if he's being serious about that - that's mind boggling - I'm not even sure what that would look like! But it would be absolutely hilarious is what. And, he implied that his youtube video title was a partial pun on the Force - which puns are *obviously* one of the first things that came to mind when *I* watched it. I'm pleased and surprised he'd already thought of this! If that's really true that he did it on purpose, I'm super impressed. *more coolness points climbing* These things SHOULD be thought of. It's too funny! How can it be missed!
AND, I got to show him James’s hilarious presents! James got me these two mystery gifts from China for two dollars each on Amazon for the novelty and amusement. I’ll make a separate post about them later. Dr. Salaita eventually figured out what they were – I thought – relatively quickly – especially compared to me which didn’t figure it out – dad beat me to it. When he said it, then I was like, oh that’s got to be it! I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say anything else. It was fun to surprise Khalid with silly items – he makes the funniest surprised faces – and I agree – I really don’t know how those things James got me work precisely, as simple as they are. Lastly, I got to clear up a few questions/thoughts about the NSF stuff with him, which made me feel better, so all in all, I felt great after that.
7. Heard Dr. Salaita’s presentation: Dr. Salaita was giving his group talk today to the new students. I texted the lab that yes, he had been right about them being at 4 p.m. (I thought it was 5 – I was *swearing* to everyone that it could not be at 4 p.m.). And almost everyone in the lab came to listen! – Kevin, Kornelia, Yvonne, Yang, Zheng and Weiwei – which was totally awesome, hilarious and cute. I loved it. I felt like an accomplice, which was also fun.
And, I hadn’t really heard an overview of everything – I’d talked to everyone, been to lab meetings, read some, heard a lot – and I felt like this talk helped fill in a lot of the overarching details that I’d been missing previously. Also, the extra knowledge I had going in probably also helped it all make more sense as well.
Dr. Salaita put together a list of possible rotation projects related to each different area of the lab – they were all quite interesting questions. I’m still curious about this optogenetics idea he’s thinking about – I really don’t understand it that well yet – I have to think more about it. The nanoparticle protein interface projects though are BY FAR the most fascinating to me.
Eventually, perhaps I’ll have several rotating projects (maybe 3?) – Dr. Hill said his students tended to have 2-3 projects – but that will take a few years. Additionally, Dr. Hill’s students often have to wait for things to crystallize during which time they can do other things, which is never really true for my work, making having THREE more difficult. Two is more realistic, I think.
The next question is how closely related these projects would be. It’d be easier to have three projects on closely related questions – honestly there are just so MANY to ask even about a very narrow area like “nanoparticles.” Maybe, I’d have two on the same area and one on a completely different area – something else the lab was doing. If I had to pick a completely different area within the lab my favorites would probably be … Daniel’s project (maybe), Zheng’s nanorod research or perhaps something with Notch. Of course it could be something else entirely (but slightly related, like Cas9). We'll see.
8. Got to attend the lab social: Oh my goodness, I had such a good time at this event – it was incredibly wonderfully relaxing fun and just what I needed – or more truly, such an event was one of the things highest on my wish list.
9. Got to talk and/or listen to Khalid for a long time! I once wrote up here that I would really like to impossibly talk to Dr. Salaita for 2-3 hours – well, that wish never really went away – just submerged, because now, I’ve entered serious mode and I’m so focused on tasks at hand. And here, unexpectedly – I got a chance to do the impossible – talk and listen intensely to interesting conversations with Khalid for ~ 2 hours 22 minutes, give or take five. […] Happiness can’t really put into words the incredible enjoyment and contentment I had of the whole thing. Seriously. It made my month and the rest of the hectic insanity and intense stress I had earlier in the week completely irrelevant, in the wake of so much better awesome! Yeah, that sentence made not much sense, but you get the idea.
Dr. Salaita invited all the new students to come with the lab to Slice and Pint, this pizza restaurant. There was already a nice large table for us all. Kornelia told me where to sit – happened to be next to Weiwei on the end, which I was happy about, because I like Weiwei. I was hoping to get to sit somewhere kind of near Dr. Salaita so I could listen to him and it turned out really fortuitously, because he sat across from me. Thus, I could unabashedly and uninterruptedly listen to everything he said. I got to ask some science questions I was wondering [I have a lot more] and talk about non-science things too. How great!
It turns out it’s much easier to talk in a large group of people, because you don’t have to be the only one talking the whole time. AND, it's much more interesting, because other people come up with the most interesting topics of conversation that would never even occur to me.
Dr. Salaita had said he liked to make his own yogurt, so I asked about this and got to learn a lot of fascinating things about yogurt making I never knew. I’d enumerate them, but this post would get stupid long if I did so and I’d never go to bed. [Unfortunately, having written this post, it looks like that's still happening.]
I told everyone I was so SHOCKED that almost no one had watched Star Wars before among the incoming class! He said he didn’t see Star Wars either until he came to the U.S. I guess it is more of an American thing after all – but I thought it was seen internationally – I guess it’s really not as famous in other countries as I thought. I even know some of my U.S. friends who haven’t watched the movies – and that’s just … ugh, so terrible!!
Dr. Salaita said he ate all the tomatoes I gave him before leaving the office practically - I actually observed this one time - and that they were better than farmers market ones! This is news - I'm so glad! I wouldn't know - I tried a tomato once but it was disgusting to me I'm embarrassed to say. I feel as if I ought to like them, since so many people do. Hearing how much he enjoyed them made me so, so very happy! I'll be sure to tell mom when she's awake tomorrow - I forgot.
Dr. Salaita is a fan of Dune? I had no idea that he would read books like Dune (more coolness points). It was unbelievably well-written and the only book I’ve read in true omniscient viewpoint (was really cool to see done so well), but I still don’t count it as a favorite – it was good, well done, good literature, plot, superb world building – just not my favorite. I could go into that, but for now I won’t. Dr. Salaita appears to be very well-read. I need to read more. I always despair these days at how little I am reading – it makes me sad. I need to fix this somehow.
I also really enjoyed watching everyone else talk and being around everybody – Kornelia is so sweet – and Kevin, Weiwei, Zheng and Yang. I loved it that WALLACE came!! I wished Haitou could have come. It almost felt like being with family to me. All the new students were interesting and nice. I was hoping I wasn’t hogging Dr. Salaita, but I was watching all the new students and they were talking avidly with Yoshie, Yvonne and Kornelia, so I think things were good.
11. I tried on my costume with my new accessories and it was amazing.
12. James showed me some REALLY funny, short videos of a German guy making fun of American idioms.
So that is why today was such a wonderful day. <3
A few other finally comments…
Kornelia loved my lightsaber. She went into the bathroom with it to scare Yvonne. Yvonne said she was crazy. Kornelia said I should whack the crap out of people with it who misbehaved. I said I didn’t know about that and she said well, give it to her and SHE would take care of it.
I put on my costume today when I got home and tried on my belt. Dad took pictures of me. It looks splendidly AMAZING!! Yes. See here for pictures and more explanations.
John is up at Bryan’s house doing his RP session – he went there after work. He’s still not back yet, so it must be a good session (as of 12:27 a.m.). They are nearing the end of their campaign.
James had to leave shortly after I arrived, but I got to talk to him for a bit. He was sad I hadn’t brought his gifts home – he’s still not seen them in person himself yet. I told him how Dr. Salaita had discovered an additional use for his “egg,” and he asked me some questions on this point to clarify that this was true – he was as surprised as I had been about that being possible.
He showed me how his stylus worked on his small ipad and could interchange between handwriting and text – pretty awesome.
He also showed me some hilarious YouTube videos. Please watch them. You won’t be sorry. They are DANG funny! And not that long either. Here they are below.
Everyone needs a laugh now and then and these are good for one!
My two favorites first!
P.S. from Saturday: John watched this and declared it bizarre.
In spite of the language, I couldn't help but laugh.
It turns out he has LOTS of these - here's two more:
Another not quite as hilarious as the first two...
Someone interviewed him, resulting in some EXCELLENT one-liners. James said he watched the raw footage and very little was cut.