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Blog Archive: August 2003
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August 31, 2003 - To the Top of Half Dome and back; WE MADE IT!!!
-4:52 pm: YES!!!  in what was by far the biggest thrill of my life, I along with 17 other TBP officers made it to the top of Yosemite's famous Half Dome! Part of me still can't believe we actually made it (although my legs are telling that part to shut up... we did get up there). The hike was a very long 17 miles (19 if you include the part walking to and from the beginning of the trail to the parking lot) and included a vertical gain of 4800 ft (roughly the height of a 320 story building (... no, no such thing exists)). Needless to say it was a very strenous, tiring and painful experience. But the feeling once you get to the top is like no other. You look out to the surrounding mountains, domes, canyons and valleys and instantly you know the pain was all worth it. Without a doubt, i would like to do the hike again and hopefully i'll be in better shape. Details (for my memory):
-The successful Tau Bates: Brian Love, Peter Masatani, Amar Patel, Jen Hwang, Ryan Doan, Kathy Wong, Peter Chien, Nathan Cheng, Mike Schou, Robert Hennessy, Arthur Hebert, Eddie Wang, Andy Pascall, Shawn Cheng, Jeff Chung, Cindy Lee, John Meehan, Sunil Tellis
-Date, Time: August 30, 2003; began hike: 6:45 am; ended hike: 5:00 pm
-Water brought: 4 L; consumed: 4.5 L (had a refill on the way down)
-While the Half Dome hike was the definite highlight of the retreat, there was of course more to it than that. Didn't leave Berkeley until around 1:30 pm. Due to damn traffic and various stops, we didn't get to the lodge until 6 pm. At first was pretty boring, people were all watching damn police chase show. It got interesting after more people got there, everyone started talking and doing various things. Somehow we managed to fit 35 people into a suit designed for (and paid for) 14 ppl (21 sleeping bags--- WOW) We basically assigned rooms for sleeping based on who was actually going to do what: Half Dome or off-roading. 23 ppl were to do Half Dome. We got to bed around 11:30 in anticipation of having to get up at 5 am. I didn't sleep very much that night and i'm not sure why. Perhaps it was the random noises i kept hearing or perhaps fear/agony of what we were about to do the next day. Anyway in the morning we actually all got up at 5 am and were out of the place at 6 am as planned. We split up somehow in finding the trailhead, but eventually all found each other. We took the "before" picture. After that we headed out at 6:45 am. The 23 split into 18 and 5. I was obviously in the group of 18. The group of 5 was composed of old TBP officers we've somehow come to call "old foagies." They also managed to make it the whole trip, but took 4 hours longer than us (they had to hike the last hour in complete darkness). With our group of 18, we often split up on the way up, we had some fast ones, intermediate (me) and slow ones, but we took breaks often to let people catch up. The way up was the most tiring thing ever: i had to stop often to drink, eat or simply catch my breath. There were points where i thought i would fail... but somehow being amongst the others helped me to overcome thoughts of failure. I seriously think i would have not been able to do it without the others, and i'm sure some of them felt the same. I reached the top of half dome, after dealing with the terrifying cables and 45 degree incline around 12:15 ish. I think almost everyone else made it up by 12:45. We basked in the glory of having made it, took some interesting pictures, lied around, and did other stuff until 1:45.
-the downhill part was a lot more painful and seemed longer than the uphill part (although timewise it wasn't). The slopes and steps are very hard on the joints. The scariest part of the whole ordeal was going down the cables. YIKES... it's not very comforting knowing a mistep or loss of cable grip could very well lead to your death. As i said before, the hike ended where we began at 5:00 pm. We took the "after" picture, sore and tired as hell. Even the walk back to the cars was freakin hard and painful. When we mercifully got back to the Cedar Lodge, i went straight for the hot tub... OOH it felt so good after a day of pain hiking. Cleaned up and all i decided to help out in the little way that i could making dinner. I was assigned to making the guacamole.. which wasn't much more than mashing avocados and adding salt/pepper and lemon juice. I hope it turned out ok for everyone (it was fine for me at least). After we ate the taco/burrito dinner, we got down to business holding our first official meeting of the semester to bascially discuss the rest of the semester. After that, everyone began to screw around again. Some ethanol here and there (none by me of course :P), more hot tub, card games, Mafia etc etc. It was nice relaxing for the last official time before the semester really starts up. Today i was really sad to leave, full knowing that the fun had really ended, and that reality was back. Even though we have tomorrow off, i be spending it doing various homework and reading. YAY!!! I guess i get to spend Labor Day, laboring!
-In closing, i'd like to say to everyone to do the Half Dome hike. It is an amazing experience that is totally worth all the pain and fear. I have absolutely no regrets about doing the hike and i feel a special bond with all those people who did it with me.


August 28, 2003 - preparations for Yosemite
-4:28 pm: as much preparation as i'm going to get done before the attempted Half Dome hike on saturday is done. got all my stuff: 4L water, food (1500 calories worth), drugs (aspirin, antiemetic), disposable camera, pocket knife, binoculars, foot padding, extra socks, first aid kit, sunscreen and ummm physical fitness or lack thereof.. I guess i'm in moderate shape now, definitely better than the beginning of the summer. Hopefully i don't faint or something on the trail. Speaking of potential fainting, all this stuff makes for quite a heavy bag; i'm hoping it doesn't bog me down too much. The worst in terms of weight is definitely how much water i'm carrying.. freakin 4 L (4 kg ~ 9 lbs). But can't and won't be cheap on the water. Hmm.. i still haven't packed the non-hiking things (clothes, bathroom, towel, sleeping bag etc) for the trip, but i guess i'll just wait until after dinner. Hmm i just read through what i just wrote and i don't sound too enthusiastic... well I actually am and can't wait to GO!! I'm just lamenting the big weight i'll be carrying. But if we make it to the top, it will be all worth it. I'll keep that in mind as motivation and as block to the inevitable beating all my muscles and joints will be taking. I'd say my life wouldn't be complete without getting to the top... so i might as well accomplish it now, and it will be even better in the company of all my TBP buddies!
-of course there was school and lab today, but my mind is totally occupied on the Yosemite trip. School was a little boring and lab was only brief cell work. Tomorrow might not be more interesting, but who knows. I'm leaving for Yosemite (err technically El Portal) at 12:30 pm. I won't be back until sometime sunday, i'm not sure exactly when. The retreat last semester we came back early because of the Super Bowl; this time there is no major sporting event i know of. That said, i won't update blog until Sunday night probably with a report on whether we made it to the top or not... So until then, enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!


August 27, 2003 - flash freezing cells
-7:15 pm: standard school day... nothing interesting to report, so i won't bore you with details. I did new stuff in the lab, sort of on a whim. Basically started helping out another student who was making competent bacteria for transformation. The last step involved flash freezing the bacteria in liquid nitrogen! I never got to play with liquid nitrogen before! It was kinda scary though, knowing that the liquid had temperature of -196 degrees C (77 K) with great potential for cold burns. It was still pretty cool seeing the bacteria freezing almost instantly.
-have only been in school for three days, and i already can't wait to get away from it... Well the fact that i am leaving this weekend for Yosemite with TBP probably increases that eagerness. I'm sorta both excited and worried about going. Still up in the air is exactly what hike we'll do. Many people want to do Half Dome, but i'm thinking i won't even last past Nevada Falls. If we do decide to go though, i won't wuss out.. the other people will just have to carry me (assuming they don't collapse too!) I also need to find out what special gear, if any, is needed for any hiking we do.


August 26, 2003 - easy school day, return to lab, California Special Recall Election update
-7:16 pm: unlike yesterday, in which i was scared to death by CE130... today was a fairly easy day in school. The prof in ME104 took attendance for like an hour.. cuz people kept trailing in. And they trailed in like crazy, 70 people ended up in the classroom deigned for only 47. Material-wise, the stuff that was lectured on was pretty basic. As was the case with bioe118, i guess i really shouldn't expect to get anything overly difficult the first few days (the CE130 scariness comes from lack of knowledge of E36)
-made the official return to lab today. Learned all about what was done while i was away last week: how the cells mysteriously perished, how a western blot fried, and some other things. Got right to work with some cell culture (splitting, unfreezing). I also the pleasant fun of making more acrylamide solution... OOH the joy of playing with potent neurotoxins!! The "joy" came from having to wear that dang mask.
-After lab, went home briefly to drop something offf and pick something else up. Proceeded to 220 Bechtel for TBP's first officer meeting! basically intros and setting up rides for our trip to Yosemite this coming weekend. I stayed a bit longer after the meeting to hear about the other VP's cool trip to South Africa.
-now on to the joke that is the CA special recall election. I neglected to mention in my entry about washington state how the newscasts up there constantly made fun of California. They (anchors) used such words as "circus" and "fun" in describing the whole thing. If people in washington state are like that, i just can't imagine how the rest of the country is like. Anyway, there have been some recent interesting developments in the election. New polls seem to indicate a decline of support for the recall and also a significant lead for Cruz Bustamante over the Terminator. Prominent Republicans, Rudolf Giuliani and George Pataki, have recently stated support for Arnold. Most prominent democrats have stayed out of endorsin anyone, although it is rumored that Bill Clinton is going to do some Davis supporting. If the poll is accurate, then we have some good news. Bustamante will win and we won't get some out of step Republican in office. I don't oppose the recall itself anymore... it's going to happen anyway, and since we're already wasting $70 million on it, we might as well get rid of the unpopular Davis. I do still thnk it's all a joke, but we're spending money on it.


August 25, 2003 - The Beginning (of school)
-11:03 pm: the beginning of school and i'm already worried about how well i'll be doing in the classes. Truth be told, i'm pretty scared about CE130, haven't not taken the E36 prereq. The prof made it sound like it was pretty necessary. That being said, i spent a lot of my free time today studying statics. I guess it's just beginning of the semester nervousness, and i'll probably end up in my lazy ways anyway.
-public health 142a lived up to its reputation of being easy, at least for the first day. The most significant thing we learned today was what an average was. Yikes.
-didn't spend my whole free time on statics.. did go over to Yeh's place to watch/play some xbox stuff. Got really freaked out by Fatal Frame, a survival-horror game involving taking pictures with a mystical camera...
-i should make my return to lab tomorrow after bioe118 lecture.. seems like my presence was missed!


August 24, 2003 - The End (of summer)
-10:35 pm: the end of summer has arrived and the beginning of my 7th semester at Cal is in 9 hrs 25 mins. The summer has gone by a lot faster than any summer before it, and it was definitely because i worked the whole summer (well except for last week). Looking back on it, while i was working, the work was fun and it was definitely the most fun summer i've probably ever had.  It was probably all due to meeting my cool lab partners. They've definitely the reason my summer was as good as it was, and i can't thank them enough.  Thanks for the great summer.. i'll never forget it!
-the summer summary: research in cell biology and class in human anatomy. Cell bio research was very intellectually stimulating and provided new challenges for me. It helped to confirm that grad school is next proper step in my ongoing quest for intellectual growth. Human anatomy class on the other hand was simply a pain in the ass. I was looking for a class that wasn't too difficult and that i could put not so much time into, but the class ended up requiring a lot out of me. The amount of memorization made the class very unpleasant and overall decreased the value of learning the material. I would recommend to anyone who wants to take IB131 to stick with it in the fall rather than taking it in the summer... do yourself a big favor.
-(highlights of) things i learned this summer
-antibodies and just about anything else in lab is expensive
-milk is useful for blocking non-specific antibody binding
-nail polish is useful for sealing microscope coverslips
-isolating DNA from bacteria is stinky
-the difference between a chin-up and pull-up (muscle wise)
-10% of my dorm floor from freshmen year was/is gay (this was really surprising to me)
-various other things about dorm ppl 3 years after the fact
-i should talk about myself and problems more openly
-Sea-Tac Int'l is the worst airport ever
-ppl in Washington state are very friendly
-all those facts about Grand Coulee Dam
-So with this ends my summer, at least blog-wise. The blog is something else i should reflect on. I decided to keep one this summer just out of boredom during the dead week between the end of school and the beginning of research. It just kinda stuck, and i'm really glad it did. Now i have a record of this great summer which will help it greatly in it's status as the most memorable ever.


August 23, 2003 - Back from Washington state
-8:33 pm: back from a very interesting and fun trip to washington state. Overall the trip provided a very cool way to cap an already cool summer. Hmm... it feels very weird typing right now not having done so for a week... OK i'll summarize highlights of the past few days of the week as best my memory can...
Saturday, Aug 16: the airport was surprisingly crazy.... surprising in the sense that i wasn't expecting freakin the rest of the Bay Area to be leaving that weekend with me. Damn. So after BART/AirBART get to the airport, go through the long-ass security line and find out that my flight is leaving from the 2nd to last gate. -_-.... WHAT THE HELL (ok the walk isn't really that bad, but still...). The flight was ok, except for that baby sitting behind me that cried for like 30 mins. Got to see Mt. Shasta, Crater Lake and Mt. Rainier from the air, all of which are pretty impressive sites. Arrived at Seattle-Tacoma Int'l Airport, aka the MOST CONFUSING P.O.S. AIRPORT IN THE WORLD and got picked up by my eagerly awaiting family. First thing we do is go to WalMart of all places. My brother is moving into a new place after all, so he needed various stuff for the condo. The rest of the day was spent playing tennis and swimming, while my dad painted the condo.
Sunday, Aug 17: My mom forgot a few things.. so we went back to WalMart. Fun... also went to IKEA, aka crappy import furniture with weird names store, to buy a desk, drawers and a matress. While that all took a pretty good amount of time, i can't remember what else we did that day.
Monday, Aug 18: Dad finished up most of the painting. After searching around and buying a futon, went to Seattle's famous Pike Street Marketplace to eat some supposedly famous fish and chips for lunch... Hmmm they were only OK, nothing terribly special. The real highlight of going to Seattle was finding a bakery with bread on sale. Some of the best damn bread i've ever had for really cheap. I wish i had some of that right now! We left Seattle around 4ish and proceeded to Kirkland to go to Costco. Now for the observant, Kirkland Signature is the Costco brand of stuff, which made me wonder as we were going whether the Kirkland Costco was the original one or something. But alas nothing special inside to distinguish it from other Costco's.
Tuesday, Aug 19: probably the most boring and labor intensive day of all. Most of the day we spent waiting for stuff to be installed: cable and cable modem, carpet, water heater... After all that crap was finally, set up all the furniture. IKEA's famous build it yourself crap... Yay. For an engineer, i'm pretty bad at putting stuff together. But then again engineers only design the things right? I hope my brother's furniture doesn't fall apart in a few months. We didn't finish work on the condo until like 11:30 pm. Didn't get to eat dinner until like midnight.
Wednesday and Thursday: with my brother's condo mostly finished, we took a small trip to north central Washington to see the Grand Coulee Dam. DAMN that thing is HUGE. The dam is a concrete gravity dam, five hundred feet thick at the base, five hundred feet tall (~40 story building), and 1 mile long. It's supposed to have 3 times as much concrete as Hoover Dam, some 12 million cubic yards (which, according to the visitor center video, is enough concrete to build a 6-foot wide sidewalk around the equator). It is built on the Columbia River and creates Lake Roosevelt, a 150 mile long lake holding 9 million acre-feet of water. WOW..i was totally amazed by that dam. I've heard of it before, but i had no idea about the massive scale of the dam. According to that information video, the damn costed $300 million to make during the Depression-WWII era, which in terms of today's money is about $10 billion. The dam is the 3rd largest (soon to be 4th after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam in China) producer of hydroelectric power in the world. Wednesday night we watched a 35 minute laser light show projected onto the face of the dam which told the story of the Columbia River and the dam. The laser show was pretty cool, although contained a bit too much propaganda for me. Thursday we took a free tour of one of the hydroelectric plants in the dam.
-We left Grand Coulee around 12 ish and drove back to the Seattle area. Driving through central washington was pretty boring: lots of farms and small town America. I was actually asleep most of the trip, except for the last part through the Cascades. After we got back to Bellevue, bought some lamps at Lamps Plus for my bro's condo and had a nice seafood dinner.
Friday, Aug 22: Yesterday i got to see one of things i've always wanted to see. Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument! It was only spoiled by some clouds that covered up part of the mountain. The observatory across from the crater had a crazy video that recreated the blast from 1980. Pretty devasting blast that killed a lot of trees and 55 people. Some 23 years later, you can still see large groves of dead trees still standing. One part of me actually wanted to see the mountain blow up... even if it meant death hehe. Obviously it didn't.
-That brings us to today! today was nothing special.. just ending a trip and flying. Got to play a little WCIII Expansion! It was a little weird leaving that place, especially wondering if i'll ever be back.  IF i get into UW and IF i decide to go there, i meant end up living there next year..  Other than that, it was a little sad leaving washington... it had been my home if only for a week. Usually while on vacation we don't spend an entire week in any one place, but living in the same place for a week, you kinda get attached. OH well.. here's the end of the entry at last... will probably do a "summer summary" tomorrow right before school starts up on monday.


August 15, 2003 - Failed western blot; No further updates until Aug. 23
-9:03 pm: today was probably the most irritating day in lab ever... Went in at 8 am to probe a western blot... By the time we were done with it... not a damn thing showed up!!! Freakin waste of time! I'm genuinely upset by it, and the worst part is i'm not sure exactly where we went wrong. Such a negative note to leave on from lab...
-After lab was fun though, shot around a bit at the RSF for the first time in a week. This time the shooting wasn't as terrible, but still not as good as i would like it to be. Oh well.. can't have everything go your way... I'm currently waiting for the washing machine to finish it's cycle so i'll actually have something to pack for next week.  As i won't be bringing my laptop up to Seattle (it sucks so much, it's not worth it) there probably won't be any updates to this site until Saturday, Aug. 23 at earliest. I hope eveyone else has a great last week of summer vacation.... enjoy it before school starts up again.


August 14, 2003 - VOTE
-11:24 pm: well now that summer school is over, lab is relatively stress-free. Unfortunately such a stress free environment shall only be maintained for one more day. Lab work today went fairly smoothly and efficiently, except for a crumbling polyacrylamide gel... damnit that gel was pretty important too. Hopefully the Western blot is successful, otherwise... hmm don't know what happens otherwise... lab partners will probably have to do it over again while i'm in the Seattle area. It will be nice being in Seattle, surrounded by family and all and away from Berkeley for just a bit, although i will miss lab and my cool lab partners. I'll hopefully enjoy it as once next week is over, school starts up again.
-California Special Recall Election update: the Secretary of State's office confirmed the final number of candidates to be on the Oct. 7 ballot to be 135. SO many candidates, that ballot is going to be ridiculously long. Currently my feeling is that Davis will indeed be recalled and he will be replaced by the Terminator. Great.... currently i'm voting against the recall. I'm wondering if the election allows you to vote no on the recall and still vote for a replacement candidate. If that's so, i would vote for Cruz Bustamante, the current Lt. Governor. Of all the candidates, he is the most qualified experience wise. But in all likelihood, we'll get Terminator as our next governor... If you're as embarrassed or upset about this as me, and also a U.S. citizen living in California... do yourself a favor and register to vote. Even if you actually want Terminator to be governor... still vote. If only people in our age group would vote in greater numbers would we perhaps not have to suffer such things as increased college tuition. The nature of politicians is to not cut stuff they know would upset a major voting constituency. We're unfortunately not a major voting constituency and thus we get the shaft.... We don't have the right to complain about it... because we don't vote.


August 13, 2003 - summer school over!
-4:51 pm: YAY that damn IB131 class is finally over... I really couldn't wait for it to end. Once i was done with tha final today, it was such a big relief. My reward... having only 1 week before regular school year begins... Weeeeeee.
-Haven't written about anything since last saturday... since then a lot has happened. Had some pretty eye-opening conversations with various people and even said somethings about myself that i thought i never would. So i've learned quite a bit about life the past few days... some of it good and of course some of it bad... I'll stay out of talking about specific details... cuz that's just not my "style."
-Lab stuff this week has had disappointing results. Failed Westerns and unexpected results are not very pleasant. We're to finish a second Western by Friday before i leave for the Seattle area on saturday. So yeah i will be in the Seattle area all of next week from Aug16 to Aug 23. Sort of a family vacation/moving brother into college thingy. Should be fun and relaxing before school bogs me down. Updates to this blog while i'm in Seattle are highly unlikely... so don't expect any.


August 9, 2003 - life perspective
-11:13 pm: i had quite a good deal of thinking time today and as usual, it focused on how unfulfilling i think my life is.  I see the people around me living life to its fullest potential, while i'm stuck behind wishing i did.  I hardly ever do anything on my own for fun.. it's almost always taggin along with other people. It really doesn't help that i'm still pretty shy and timid.
-i really hate being shy and lacking "the balls" to take more initiative. Many people have told me that if only i were more aggressive, then i could go much farther in this world. Well it's not me.. i can't bring myself to be aggressive enough. I've been riding through college assuming i could rely on my GPA to carry me away to the next step. Well the past few times i've tried to get research positions showed me that my GPA is all but a worthless piece of crap. Sometimes i wonder why i even bother to keep it high... well even though i think it's worthless, it's about the only thing i have going for me right now.  But I think grad schools or companies would rather see several years of experience and an OK GPA rather than my pathetic 2 months of experience and good GPA. So i worry. I worry about what will happen after i graduate from Berkeley. I'm going to try to apply to grad schools, but i seriously doubt i'll get in anywhere. After that comes applying for a job... and we all know what absolute shit the job market is like right now.  UGH
-i trace the way i am today all the way back to elementary school, particularly second grade. I was always a loner back then. I would wander to playground during recess watching the rest of the kids play together and have fun. I'd be left out to contemplate stupid things like why the wind blows or why they had to cut treee branches off. So it always in the back of my mind.. the way things were in second grade when no one would talk to me. Nowadays, sometimes when people talk to me... i tend to wonder why. I guess it's my subconscious telling me: you didn't talk to me in 2nd grade... why are you talking to me now?  It's also the same reason why i don't talk to other people so well; i didn't talk to many people as a kid, thus I'm really bad at conversing with other people now, especially new people. I really need to get over this shyness/paranoia complex of mine. I find it to be a very inhibitory aspect of myself.
August 9, 2003 - 3 simultaneous experiments
-12:52 am: Past two days has been a lot of lab work, particularly today. Thursday, ran a gel of the DIG isolation samples and set up the Western blot.  We also finished doing the GAG assay on the Av-CD14 HeLa cells. Friday we IF'ed another cholesterol experiment with AtT20 and FV2 cells and finished the Western blot. All three experiments had good results, although two seemed to show that the cholesterol addition complex we made was cytotoxic to cells.
-after lab, met up with one of Amber's rooomates, Ruth, and her roommate's sister, Connie. We walked to Oxford where Leon joined us. We (me, Leon, Amber, Jonathan, Ruth, Connie) ate at Plearn on University, which had some pretty good Thai food. After dinner, we all headed to Leon and my apt. to play some videogames and card games. Tried to play the game of Mao, except people were getting too upset about the penalty cards!!!  Ergg, oh well.
-I haven't exercised for a week and now i feel like crap. I really have no excuse although we've been getting out of lab pretty late the whole week. I really want to go tomorrow, but i haven't had a decent night's sleep since 2 weekends ago. But in all reality, i probably shouldn't go and instead study for that damn IB131 final coming up on wednesday. This summer seems to have gone by extremely fast. It has definitely seemed faster than last summer or the summer before. This is most likely because i've really not had a significant break of doing nothing, like how my normal summers are. I look back to that first week after last semester ended and wonder why i hated being bored so much. Right now i would give anything to have just a single day of not doing anything. This is definitely the fastest pace my life has ever gone at. I'm really curious how i will handle the work load next semester. 15 technical units, TBP Co-VP and lab research.. sounds like i'm setting myself up to explode along the way. Right now i'm viewing it as a major challenge, and certainly won't back away from it. I'm just hoping i don't look back on this day and scream.
-Recent conversations have gotten me thinking about one aspect of life that pay very little attention to. To me, romantic relationships present yet more complications and problems to deal with. But i can't help but wonder what, if anything, i've been missing. From a nerdy, scientific viewpoint, it's definitely a necessary aspect of life to consider. If you don't consider it, you would be evolutionarily inept. OK enough of that.  So considering that i view them as a potential source of more problems, i've never had any such relationships and haven't been looking into them. And from what i observed from the people around me, they seem to create extreme swings of mood. One day, they may be estatic and cheerful, other days they feel like crying. I would assume these variations in sentiment to be undesirable and unpleasant.. but at the same time, the people experiencing them are probably more "alive" and living out life to its fullest. There are times when i wish i could experience the same thing, because inevitably i will some day go through that. Will inexperience be bad? Or perhaps it may work out like my parents did (they married after going out for only 2 years). This brings me to an altogether different yet related question.. just when will i start "looking"? Ideally i would start like after i'm totally done with school and have a good job. That seems to be like at least 5 years away... By then i'll be 26 yikes. I'll be so old when i start having kids, perhaps first one at 28? Freakin eh, i'll be 46 when the first starts college.  OK wow i'm gettin way ahead of myself.... First things first, finish undergraduate degree...


August 6, 2003 - 94 Eppendorf tubes, Pirates
-11:20 pm: Like yesterday, was pretty much working most of the time in lab except for a 1 hour lunch break. The cell work (splitting, coverslipping) right after IB131 took longer than expected. After that Jonathan and I did some online research on a DNA sequence, which is much more fun than it sounds. Amber came back from her discrete math class and  then it was lunch time. After lunch (Chinese), made a polyacrylamide gel (woooo haven't done that since the very beginning) to analyze the fraction samples we isolated yesterday. We didn't have the appropirate sample buffer to run the gels so in order to analyze them we also had to make the sample buffer. Jonathan and I made 40 mL of 4X ... and aliquoted it into 94 tubes (400 microliters each)... oi... that took long. Jonathan had to go to class so i pipetted 78 of them... Amber did the other 16. I was pretty much done after that (~5:45), but Amber had some cell work to do. I think we were done around 6:30 pm.
-to celebrate Amber's "half-birthday, Amber, Leon and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean. I must say the movie was much much better than I expected. I mean, how could a movie based on a Disneyland ride be any good? The movie was highly entertaining and i really don't regret the $9 i paid like i usually do. The movie really interrupted my lab work, as i wasn't quite done with all of my work. Had to do back to start up some more experiments (lovely experiment with 36 hr incubation time).
-I didn't write about anything interesting yesterday as i said i might have... Truth be told, i was just too lazy, however there wasn't anything really interesting on my mind anyway. Well today there is plenty on my mind. California continues to embarrass itself with this whole recall fiasco. Seems like everyone's running to be our next freakin governor. Just today Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy. Though i'm cynical by nature, i can't help but think that people around the country are thinking to themselves "Damn what the hell is wrong with California/Californians?.... How stupid Californians are... Golden State my ass."  How freakin embarrassing. I really have no idea how i will vote in the election this coming October. Depends on how the final field of candidates is like. I would vote for former LA mayor Richard Riordan... otherwise i'm inclined to *gasp* keep Davis. But no matter what happens, i think this state has what little respect it had. Now, if i get out of my ideal world in which everyone is civically responsible and voting... it's probably true that most people in the country have no idea what the hell is going in this freakin state, and probably don't care. OI....


August 5, 2003 - long day of lab
-9:14 pm: for some reason it seemed like lab today was especially long. It probably was because we started kinda early and that we were working constantly. Basically did two experiments at once: the GAG chain experiment and the fractionation experiment. It was a very long process and y'all probably wouldn't like the details. I don't particularly feel like writing them out either. In any case, we'll probably get the results from the GAG stuff tomorrow and the fractionation on thursday....we're also starting some more experiments with AtT20 cells tomorrow
-didn't do much outside of lab today, probably cuz we were all pretty burnt out. We did eat dinner out together, which is always fun. Oh well excuse this very boring entry.. maybe i'll add something a bit more interesting after i finish some lab data analysis.


4 de agosto de 2003 - examen de la anatomía, trabajo en el laboratorio
-a las once y diez y nueve por la noche: tuve un día productivo, especialmenta en el laboratorio. Pero, antes de ir al laboratorio, fui a la lectura aburrido de <<IB131.>> No pude prestar atención en esa clase; toda la duración de la lectura, me acordaba de <<anime>> (animación japonesa). Después de la lectura, la profesora nos dio las exámenes segundas a nosotros. No recibe una nota bien como la examen primera (84/100). Después, fui al laboratio. Trabajé con las células... OK tendo que hablar en inglés ahora porque no sé bastante palabras españolas para desribir el trabajo en el laboratio....
(English Translation)
August 4, 2003 - anatomy test, lab work
-11:19 pm: i had a productive day, epecially in lab. But before going to lab, i went to boring IB131 lecture. I couldn't pay attention in that class; the whole time i was thinking about anime. After the lecture the professor gave back the second midterms. I didn't get as good a grade (84/100) as i did on the first test. After that i went to lab. Worked with cells... OK i have to speak in english now because i don't know enough words in spanish to describe the work in lab. (End Translation). Basically we did differential centrifugation with a sucrose gradient in the hope of isolating a protein that the prof. suspects resides in something called a lipid raft. This is a relatively new concept in cell biology. The basics of the theory is that complex lipid complexes reside in the plasma membrane, and there are several proteins that call them home. A guestimate at their size is around 0.1 um. Among the most important potential residents of these rafts are various signaling molecules. The current theory about most receptors is that they are free moving in the fluid mosaic, and that the binding of their target ligand induces dimerization and thus interreceptor autophorylation, which allows the signal to be carried downstream. However, in one experiment involving the insulin receptor, depletion of cholesterol, a suspected component of the lipid rafts, from the membrane significantly reduces the insulin receptors' downstream signal. Our experiment today was an attempt to isolate a bunch of lipid rafts from some HeLa cells expressing the avidin-CD14 fusion protein. CD14 is also believe to reside in the rafts. We prepped the lysing solution and sucrose buffers (damn 85% sucrose is freakin hard to make). Currently our cell lysate is being centrifuged around 100,000 g (yes 100,000 times gravitational acceleration). Tomorrow we well see if we get any lipid rafts. Also tomorrow we are going to begin our work with radioactivity!
-After lab work was all done, went to Quizno's for dinner. Amber and Jonathan accompanied me home to play MarioKart64... instead of that, we played a whole bunch of other games. It was pretty fun.. although i really wanted to play MarioKart64!!!! Oh well perhaps tomorrow...


August 3, 2003 - beginning cholesterol experiments
-10:38 pm: Today i had to get up pretty early again to go into lab. We began the day by plating some of the HeLa AV-CD14 cells on a 24 well dish. They grew there for 12 hrs and just got back from lab from starting the cholesterol depletion treatment. Actually we pretty much watched the professor do most of the work. The treatment will be done at 10 am on tuesday.. hopefully the cells won't be contaminated.
-other than the lab work, today was very boring. Took a long nap after lab in the morning just to kill time. I almost feel like going to sleep now because i have class at 8am.. but that is pretty much impossible when everyone else is up making noise or simply having the lights on.
-wow summer is almost over, and like the two prior to it, it has been very memorable. I think i'm pretty lucky with the summers i've had: going to japan as an exchange student, hosting an exchange student from japan, and this summer meeting and working with cool new friends. You guys have made my summer much more enjoyable than i could've possibly imagined. Thanks guys!


August 2, 2003 - feeding cells, playing b-ball
-3:16 pm: woke up today at 8 am.. which would seem somewhat unpleasant for a weekend but it was necessary. Jonathan and I went into lab to routine maintanence on our precious cells. After we were done with that, we met up with our posse at the RSF to play b-ball. Also met up with some of Leon's new acquiantances. We played some 4 on 4 half court games that were ok... but then people started getting hurt (Jonathan sprained ankle, Leon bruised index finger). WEEEEEE then we were left playing 3on3 in which we were horribly mismatched. We switched to full 5 on 5 games with some other people who happened to be in the gym. First game we played better (at least i did), while the second game was pretty bad. Lost both games to people who didn't seem all that good, just kept getting pounded inside. After those pick-up games were over, watched Sam and Amber lift a few weights. I didn't want to lift any weights cuz that would be quite embarrassing.
-after that stuff we all split... Leon and I returned home for lunch. After lunch couldn't find anything better to watch, so watched the MLS All-Star game. Soccer can be pretty exciting, especially when your alternatives are even more boring sports. Oh well. I'm waiting for the 1st NFL pre-season game to be shown on ESPN... (but damn Yahoo! Sports for spoiling the score for me...) 1.5 hrs more....
August 2, 2003 - o-chem,  watching b-ball
-12:05 am:  lab yesterday reminded me a lot of o-chem lab, only cause we were doing some o-chem. Basically had to complex cholesterol to a carrier called cyclodextrin. The whole process involved  accurate weighing, volatile organic chemicals and a pretty long time. We had a big mystery about how much cholesterol the cycodextrin could actually hold... we ended up almost guessing at how much to add. I really hope the complex works. Right now our preparation is freeze drying in a lyophilizer in VLSB... get to see the results tomorrow morning, when i also get to feed the AtT20 cells.
-After lab, went home and found out that Amber's boyfriend, Sam, was coming to play b-ball at the RSF. Jonathan happened to be at the RSF, and they played in the same pick-up game. Neither Leon or I were in the mood to play pick-up, so we ended up watching the whole time (2 hrs). After we got kicked out, we all went back to the apartment and watched tv/talked about random stuff/general dicking around. Amber joined us eventually after her parents left. We all decided to play some more b-ball tomorrow morning after our cell work is finished.


August 1, 2003 - new month
-12:30 am: background change and archiving of blog.. only cuz i was bored. I'll put a real entry sometime after lab later. Enojy the views of Kinkaku-ji!


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