Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SLU Park

The South Lake Union Neighborhood is going to be a really nice place to work and live one of these days. Between the streetcar to connect us to downtown, and all of the (expensive) little cafes that are popping up for lunch, it might soon feel less like an industrial area and more like a multi-use neighborhood. Also in the works is a nice park at the southern tip of Lake Union. We can see them putting in the seawall now. It is nice to go over there for lunch even before the facelift - this should be a hoot once it's finished. Someone else will have to let me know about it. Hopefully, I will be long gone from the lab by the time this is done!

Here's the grand plan:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Alaskan Way Viadebacle

My friend Jonathan just posted a comment on the alternative newspaper The Stranger's blog (called Slog) about the transportation debacle in Seattle involving the Alaskan Way Viaduct. It's worth a few minutes to check out.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Birthday!

With a smirk, our building's deliveryman yesterday morning gave me a 3 foot long shipping box adorned with Hawaiian floral print. Until it was time to go home, I stored it in the same fridge where we keep such goodies as bacterial plates and cell culture media. I appreciated that the package came from a nursery with the address "Mile Marker 9." My mom and dad picked them out during thier recent vacation to Kauai.

Inside were the most beautiful orchids, anthurium, and ti leaves. A ginger and bird-of-paradice topped it all off!! Arranging them was a lot easier after Suzy suggested using green foam! We hope these last for a while.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love Birds

Today was a good one for birding on the way to the bus stop. Leaving my house I saw a ~2 year old eagle flapping southbound. It had a clear white triangular patch, but no bald head or tail yet. I think its beak was malformed, which might be caused by an Aspergillosis infection.

Then as I turned onto the Burke-Gilman Trail, I noticed first the meooow of a towhee, and then a strangely quiet Stellar's jay investigating the poor towhee's nest. I tried to scare the nest-robber, but was unsuccessful. Then, up on the ridge, I noticed a flicker performing its duties as morning alarm clock. It was rat-a-tatting on the steel cover of someone's chimney. I can't blame it for finding a perfect drum! Then strolling past some plum trees, I was shadowed by a flock of bushtits.

And to think that I complain about the long 74 bus ride. If I didn't take that bus, I would miss out on some of nature's drama!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

iPod? No Thanks, I'm Trying to Quit

got headphones?

After my previous post, I donned my recording studio styled headphones to crank through some rock assisted image analysis. I paused to consider the role of earphones in scientific labs. I wear earphones in the lab on three occasions: (1) image analysis, (2) to listen to the Pitt Panthers or (3) to signal to other people that I am not to be bothered. I plug in to my desktop compy, though. I haven't quite mastered the MP3/podcast thing yet. (Maybe I don't want to???)

My lab is an iPod lab. All of my grad student colleagues have one, and many listen while they work. I wonder if they have sinister motives (see #3 above). My deal is that if I am doing anything that involves words or numbers, I cannot listen to music. Senor brain just doesn't work that way. So that rules out tunes while I follow protocols, have conversations or write. It's inappropriate to transfer my own learning style on others, but I can't help but recall the good points about lab culture from a critique of lab life in the iPod era.

It's kind of funny that I am writing this, since my grad student pals will probably read it at some time... I just wonder if my tendency to work ideas over in conversation with someone else might benefit from a culture less connected to media and more connected to other people.


UPDATE: A fellow blogger made a nearly simultaneous entry on the effect ipods in society, but in a different context. Go figure that some state legislator wants to limit use of iPods by pedestrians in New York City.

morning reflections

This morning I came into work really early. It is nice to sit in the lab, read a journal article, feed the cells and hammer out a plan for the day before anyone else shows up. Watching the low level wisps of grey get pushed aside by western periwinkle over Lake Union is an added bonus.

The serenity of the lab in the morning is really nice, so I got to wondering about why I cannot be this productive the rest of the day. Maybe it's that no one is around to come ask a question (or for me to ask a question of); perhaps it's that I really am a morning person. I bet it has something to do with the fact that I do not receive emails in the AM. It's not like our lab ever gets particularly loud or busy.


Saturday, February 3, 2007

Treatise on Dairy

For those Cheeseheads among my humble readership, I would like to divert your attention for a minute or so to my sister's HILARIOUS entry regarding the (in)fidelity of refrigerator stores.

Please refer to the January 31 entry on LidUponMyHead.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

SEIU Picketing

Today from noon to 7PM, a group of Service Employees International Union members protested outside of our UW Medicine building. Previously, they have left fliers on car windows informing us of the lack of health care for the janitorial staff that works here. Today was a full fledged protest though.

Their set-up included two tents, a griddle for cooking, several bullhorns, a giant puppet and some chants and marches. There were plenty of signs, too. Overall, this was a very dedicated bunch. I thought they were going to camp out overnight, but they packed up just after rush hour.

The story is that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's company, Vulcan owns our building. They hire a company called Cascadian to provide janitorial service. Cascadian does not provide health benefits to its service staff. The rest of UW is a union shop, so the SEIU comes down to protest periodically.

Some of you may know of my position against the graduate student union at the UW. I would have to lean PRO-union on this issue, however. What do others think about this situation? Is anything else juicy known about it? That meat looks pretty juicy.

Thanks for MBN for the excellent photojournalism!