The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5 Embarrassing Movies I Loved When They First Came Out

.....and saw not just once.

The advent of Tron2 has pulled me down memory lane to other movies I loved as a (not-so) small child. Though Tron really isn't that embarrassing to love, I am putting it first since it spurred the emergence of these other movies I didn't necessarily want to admit I love(d). And, of course, I am now putting this all on the Internet which just goes to show you, I don't know how to stop.

1. Tron
2. Krull
3. Ruthless People
4. Short Circuit
5. The Last Unicorn

I encourage you to do two things: 1) look up some of these on youtube and watch actual clips. They are like train wrecks in a blizzard sliding perilously towards a children's hospital. 2) Add your five embarrassing favorites. They can't be things like Dark Crystal or Labyrinth or Innerspace (okay so maybe that one) because those types of movies we all loved without shame. They have to be legit embarrassments.

[Incidentally, I find it telling that Jeff Bridges is in more than one of these films . . .]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010


Hanging out with a baby is a lot like watching an infomercial: you start out convinced this thing is not for you, but you keep on watching. You don’t need that, you think. Hell, you already can do all the things it does. Then something happens. Somewhere, somehow, the pitch hooks into you. Suddenly you’re thinking, how have I lived my life without that? The next thing you know you’re in a Snuggie cleaning off a counter with your ShamWow and wondering how much a Chinese baby would run you.

So here's a picture my son drew yesterday for me. Oddly enough, he's taking to signing his name as "Laim" as in lame. Perhaps this will be his artistic persona.
Now I am way not into showing people stuff my kid does because, frankly, it just isn't that interesting. Who wants to see a bunch of scribbles poorly executed on scrap paper? Unless it's my kid's scribbles, I sure don't (so if you ever show me something your kid has done, know that while I'm nodding politely and feigning interest, I am really thinking about the awesome stuff MY kid does--that or wine).
But when it's your kid, there's something magical about watching his step-by-step transformation from a shapeless lump of boringness to an actual person who spells love phonetically and represents me (consistently in all his pictures, mind you) as a squat, thick girl with crazy hair and a high hairline.
Watching your child grow really is as if a miracle happens every day. Like when my son told his first joke. I don't remember the actual joke, but I do remember thinking 1) wow this is the stupidest joke ever and 2) holy crap, my kid has a sense of humor!
So, yes, I hung my son's picture up in my lab for all the world to admire. Because right now, I need reminders that miracles are happening on a daily basis. And that somewhere in San Diego, there is a gorgeous boy who luvs me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Typical Moment at Work

B: Hey, I'm having trouble with this GFP assay.

S: What's the problem?

B: Well, I fused a protease cleavage site into the small loop of GFP but now I don't get any expression even in the absence of protease.

S: Are you sure the fusion is correct.

B: Yeah, it sequenced fine.

S: Could the cleavage site be disrupting GFP from folding?

B: I checked the literature. They usually insert it into the larger loop but this was an easier ligation.

[J walks in with lunch . . . ]

S: What is that?

J: Ribs.

S: I thought is was calimari.

J: No. I don't like that. Smells too fishy.

S: Funny, that's what P said about your mom last night.

P [looking up from where he was quietly working]: What did I say?

J: That my mom smelled like fried calimari.

P: She smelled like fried food?

B: No, if that were the case, she'd be crunchy. [Turning back to S]. There really isn't any reason for GFP to not express with this site in there.

S: Well, how long is the site? Maybe that is the problem. Let's check the amino acid sequence.

[and cut]

Yes, I work with lots of boys.

And yes, I actually made this way more PG.