03 March 2009


I'm terrible at updating this. I'm not nearly as terrible at using Twitter. You can follow me here.

15 January 2009


I'm two days into my new semester and it's already 1000x better than the last. My one required class is Systems Neuroscience, which is actually better than I anticipated, and the other is fMRI Data Analysis *swoon*. I had to submit a paper today about my rotation from last semester. This would have been easy except for the fact that I couldn't talk about anything I had done on my rotation. It was more like a review paper of the field, I guess, and the pertinent questions that I worked on during the last semester. I had a difficult time starting it, actually getting words on the page. Unfortunately, the perfectionist in me comes out when I try to write papers and I have an exceedingly difficult time moving onto the next sentence until I've perfectly crafted the one before. This is a terrible way to write. I tried my best to sequester these feelings and just write ad nauseam, but I still had issues. I ended up giving up last night, about halfway done, and came back to it this morning. Once I finally got all my words out, it was a breeze rearranging and finely tuning what I had written. I am a much better revisionist than I am a creationist (ha!).

Today I made a Rachael Ray recipe. Let me be the first to say that I find her to be possibly one of the most irritating chef personalities on TV. Paula Dean is a close second, mostly because I can't handle that much Southern twang or calories. Anyway, I love to watch the Food Network and she happened to be doing a rare vegetarian episode, so I suffered through. Tonight, I recreated her pesto pasta dish with asparagus and haricot verts. It was YUMMO. Just kidding. It was actually really good. I did make some changes out of laziness/necessity (didn't feel like buying a bushel of tarragon and parsley, the zucchini at Wegmans were surprisingly disappointing), but it was still great. Home made pesto is awesome. It has reignited my desire to create my own copycat version of the pesto spread from the Creeese Cafe that they put on Rittenhouse Sandwiches . Unfortunately, Brian came home and announced that I am not allowed to make it again because "the house smells like salad." Womp womp.

10 January 2009

80 at heart

I think I might have turned 81 rather than 21 at my last birthday. I get grumpy when my upstairs neighbors have parties every night. Most of my hobbies are indistinguishable from that of an octogenarian: bowling, sewing, knitting. I just recently taught myself how to crochet, so add that to the list. Am I missing anything? Birdwatching, perhaps? I'll leave that to my cats for now. (Oh crap, add "cat lady" to the mix.)

My winter break is coming to an end. Three weeks is a really long time (especially when the most I ever got from Drexel was 2), but I haven't really done much. I've just been relaxing, which is a nice change of pace, but honestly gets boring after a while. Not so bored that I've started my paper that's due in a few days though... Oh well, some things never change.

I've been doing the Wii Fit everyday and enjoying the heck out of it. It can be super corny sometimes, but having the video game trainer talking to you actually does help. I've unlocked all the strength exercises and balance games, but still have a bunch of yoga poses yet to go. Those are the ones I was most looking forward to, but I guess the different categories don't unlock at an equal pace. 

Finally, in bizarre TV-shows-I-love news, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter (who play brother and sister on Dexter) just got married.

06 January 2009

Video games and other such life events

Right before Christmas, some idiot scumbag decided to break into my car hoping to find a GPS system. Instead, he took the stand for it, shredded the wires for my satellite radio, made off with my cassette adapter (which oddly enough was goddamn hard to find because apparently VW Jettas have their tape decks backwards or something), a $10 Philly parking card, and my registration/insurance cards. THANKS. Oh and then it rained afterwards so now my car smells of the many phyla of mold that have surely taken root. I lived at 33rd & Spring Garden for 3 years with the exact same stuff in my car and never had a peep (other than some jerk who destroyed my grill). I move to a nicer (so I thought) area and this happens. Oh, and then a couple days later there was a home invasion with bonus sexual assault a couple blocks away. Bah humbug. Now my car is fixed, I keep my glovebox locked, and we got the ADT system that was already at our apartment activated. So hopefully all will be well in the future and I'll stop having nightmares about being shot.

In questionably happier news, I have become somewhat addicted to the PS3 game Fallout 3. It's choose-your-adventure style where your dialogue/behavioral choices range from good to snarky to downright mean. I mostly just wander around doing odd jobs for people (e.g. recovering a radio tower, disarming an atomic bomb, etc.). However, I do not enjoy encountering super mutants, bloat flies, or feral ghouls, as they inevitably want to eat me and I have to shoot them and unfortunately I am not particularly good at that. 

Today is also day 1 of the South Beach/Wii Fit diet. This is my 3rd go around for SBD; I always lose weight, but inevitably do something stupid like start grad school and stop working out and put the weight back on. The Wii Fit is pretty damn fun. I was able to do a tree pose in yoga for the first time in my life today, so that's exciting. I also currently enjoy hula hooping and strength exercises that do not require the use of my arms (alas, I am weak). 

Next week, I start my lab rotation in the Epstein lab, which I am super stoked for. I am sad to be leaving the Chattlab though. Who knows? Maybe I'll be back.

12 December 2008

My virus is apparently superior to my immune system

I am now on Day 8 of this neverending cold/flu. I have transitioned (for better or worse) from my-head-is-exploding to I-can't-stop-coughing. And I'm tired all the time. If I can make it through my Cell final on Monday and bang out my take-home final for Core II (aka electrophysiology aka kill myself), everything will be okay. 

The lab has been exciting lately. The causality study I'm working on got the green light to go from behavioral testing to the scanner (yay!). Subjects will have the unenviable task of watching my exhilarating stimuli for 20 minutes while being bombarded with loud noises. Sorry. We did some preliminary analyses for the other study on motion processing and got brain activation. Yay! Lit up brains are probably the coolest thing in the world. Diffusion tensor imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation are also very cool -- variations on a theme, somewhat. Anyway, this all makes me sad that I am leaving the lab at this high point in awesomeness. Hopefully, my next rotation will be even better.

Finally, I think I have decided to teach myself Matlab. It seems inevitable and it is something that will likely make this whole getting-a-PhD much easier. I now regret selling the Matlab book I bought for O'Connor's class and never opened...

06 December 2008


I've been sleeping most of the last two days, since I seem to have fallen prey either to a bad cold or the flu. As an unfortunate result, I'm going to be missing Kate and Laura's holiday party tonight. And I was looking forward to putting on a dress... :(

However, I am very happy that for the first time since Brian and I moved into our apartment, our upstairs neighbors did not have a party on Friday night. Yay for some semblance of peace and quiet.

Next week, I have 8.5 hours of faculty talks to listen to. I've already decided who I'm going to do my next rotation with, so this should be sufficiently mind-numbing. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised.

One last thing: RIP H.M. Cognitive neuroscience and psychology will forever be indebted to you.

30 November 2008

Namby pamby

Brian and I went down to Atlantic City on Saturday night to gamble and watch the finalists from Last Comic Standing. As per usual, I lost money ($150) whereas Brian made money ($250). Perhaps he should be my designated gambler. We were a little late to the show and missed the first comedian, Louis Ramey, which makes me sad because he's one (if not) the best from the show. Jeff Dye showed his inexperience during his performance, which was at times painful. Marcus didn't do enough impersonations, but he was my favorite by far. He picked out a guy named Randy from the audience who apparently had a pedophile 'stache and kept referring to him throughout the night -- and then teabagged him with the microphone. Sooo basically that was the best part. Eliza went on later, but largely recited jokes from the show. Womp womp.

Today, Audrey had her regional championships for Irish dance. It is waaaay more stressful to be watching than it is to be dancing. I never got so emotional when I was the one on stage. Unfortunately, she didn't make it to the final round, which is complete bullshit. She's a total trooper though and didn't let it get to her. I can't express how proud I am of her. I know she'll make it to world's one day.

Anyway, tomorrow is my journal club presentation. This pretty much all hinges on whether or not Jon Raper decides my paper is crap. Let's hope he's cool with it and doesn't inquisitively berate me as he is apt to doing...