New Years

The last day of the year. I suppose it would be cliché of my to list new years resolutions here because who really cares about the promises I will most likely break within the first two weeks. Instead, I’m going to list the promises I made last year and let you know how I did.

1.       Read more

I guess I did this one…though not in the way I had hoped. I had imagined that I would be able to read a lot more about all the subjects I’m interested in. Instead, I read a lot more for work. Still good, its already given me a leg up in a few areas but I do wish I had taken more time to read myself.

2.       Say YES

This is more in the realm of that new Jim  Carey movie. I wanted to loosen up a bit and take things less seriously than I was prone to before. I’m not sure of my progress in this department but I think I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with where I am in life and looking forward to the future more than I have in quite a while. I’m also feeling quite a bit more liberated than I have in a while and free to pursue this particular goal well into 2009. I suppose the bitterness that followed the events of the fall are starting to slowly fade into optimism and excitement into seeing whats next both in relationships and of course in my career. For the first time in years, it seems that options abound and that my path is in no way laid out and contrary to my typical modus operandi…it feels good to have it that way.

3.       Work Out

This has been really just about as successful as I get. I’m going to pat myself on the back here and say…I’ve been pretty good about this. I’ve been getting consistently stronger, building a body closer to what I’ve wanted for some time and feeling ever so pleased with how its all worked out. In general, I think that I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I’ve managed to eat well all year and maintained a constant weight while dropping body fat in the process. Less beer, less desserts and more activity have made me feel better than ever. I even ran a 5k for the first time and didn’t die (really my only hope…aside from beating my younger sister). Still some work to do in this department but given the limited efforts I’ve put into it my returns have been great.

4.       Be more patient

Ok…this one didn’t work out so well. My students can definitely vouch for this here. I’m still a bit to driven for everyones tastes and I have trouble turning it down even when appropriate. I want to push them hard and make them keep up. I suppose, I justify it to myself in that I’m helping them but in reality…I’m just judgemental and disappointed a lot of the time. I take it all a little personally sometimes and it really doesn’t work out. Maybe 2009 will be more relaxed but I’m pretty sure it will be the opposite. Hopefully, a few hardnosed students will follow that can take the bullshit that I throw out.

5.       Take more time to volunteer

I pretty much didn’t do this. I feel bad about it. It was my only resolution that didn’t focus on me and it was the one where I really didn’t accomplish it. I was hoping to add in some habitat for humanity work days and maybe something else to boot. I have my regular commitments that I kept up with fairly well but, I didn’t add anything for the year. I guess, I can renew this one and try and do it again.  


Cheers! Patrick OUT!!!

Watch yourself


Scientists Warn Christmas lights harm the planet


In light of my recent posts on the placing of Christmas lights, I would just like to say that not all scientists are TOTAL IDIOTS. There is something to be said for tempering one’s views for purely rhetorical purpose. As science struggles with the modern ethics of humanity, (i.e. stem cells, animal testing, cloning etc), we get these idiots who decide that now is the time to make an essentially political statement that is just unnecessary. I am all for preserving the environment and all, I think it’s a nice idea and something that people should take seriously. However, I also believe that PEOPLE and their HAPPINESS are far more important. If having Christmas lights out for a month a year makes people happy then they should do it. If they feel bad about the energy they are using (note: this is not wasting energy because this does serve a valid purpose…it makes me feel good) then they should unplug a couple of lights for the rest of the year or go camping for a week in the summer and live in the woods without any power at all, whatever makes them happy. But to threaten Christmas light users with the dire predictions of global warming is irresponsible science of the highest caliber. It is the fundamental flaw of science and academics in that we forget that with all the grand ideals of advancing society on an intellectual level, that society is just a collection of individuals who desire not much more than to be happy and that even in a twisted far off way, the goal of science and the intellectual advancement is really the satisfaction and preservation of humanity. Ideas and intelligence garnered through rational inquiry are a gift to society for the purpose of universal fulfillment. These people should remember that science does not exist in a vacuum. Merry Christmas. Patrick OUT!!!

Sometimes I wonder


So I get into the lab this morning and my advisor (boss) comes in a bit after me all in a huff. An experimental bioreactor (fermentor) has not been functioning properly and she is going crazy. I ask what went wrong, assuming it was a leak of some sort or an equipment malfunction…she wispers, “I’m not sure but I think its sabotage.” To which I reply, “Are you friggin nuts…that is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard.” Ok, so I didn’t say that but I was thinking it. I chose to be more tactful and reply, “Oh bother…thats bloody awful (in my best English accent).” Ok, so I didn’t really say that, or anything for that matter, in favor of looking at her in stunned silence trying to hide my aching disbelief. I’m not sure at what point in a scientists career they choose to disregard logic but apparently she has reached it. Furthermore, she said this has happened before…RIIIGGGHHTTT. My goodness, I hope I never reach that point. I mean seriously, we work in a fairly secure building (card access all around), who is going to come into a random lab and a random room and mess with a particular knob MULTIPLE TIMES? The answer…no one. Because no one cares about this bioreactor nor should they. The only lesson I learn from this is that when my experiments don’t work now, instead of blaming myself for lack of ingenuity or insight…its going to be sabotage by malicious lab gnomes. Little gremlins hiding my Pasteur pipets and spitting in all my beakers after I wash them. Perhaps santa’s elves are secretly coming in and switching my regular sodium acetate with folger’s potassium acetate chrystals to see if I notice.   I bet that’s it…I could have been in the running for a nobel prize right now if it weren’t for those little imps screwing things up all the time. Remember, “Its not paranoia if they really are out to get you.” Patrick OUT!!!

The Spirit of Christmas

So I was cleaning out my bedroom the other day and of course I found all the things I didn’t know were missing until I started to clean up. Most notable was about $50 in already rolled change from who knows when (which of course will stay in that state unused for some time) and a pile of gift certificates and gift cards from birthdays and Christmases past. I wonder if I have already reached the stage of life where I don’t really have wants. I can remember being a kid and having wants for things…wants that were so strong they certainly felt like needs. Those things gradually became less and less and as I could begin to afford my own “wants” I  didn’t want anywhere near as much. Now, I accumulate acquisitive power in the form of gift cards that I don’t use because I can never decide what I might want or need. Sure, I buy books every so often and read them once or twice. I buy clothes too…but pretty much only when they have moved from being a want to being a need in the most literal sense. The internet has essentially negated my need for both music and movies. I don’t really play games anywhere near as much as I used to and I have only limited hobbies. I do like camping but I’ve reached a point there where unless I decide I’m going to summit everest or thru-hike the AT…I don’t need anything further unless something happens to break. I guess that means I’m the kind of person who that whole “ a donation has been made in your name to [insert name of favorite charity here]” kind of a gift is really pretty good. I think a small part of it is that I’m pretty particular about the things I spend money on. I buy very little for myself without research of some sort or another though I really don’t like shopping and I hate the feeling of buyer’s remorse. This means that I don’t buy things at all frivously and so a gift often feels foreign because its someone elses interpretation of what I might want but the silly thing is that I want so very little that most gifts would never match up. That makes receiving gifts always a bit unsatisfying and I worry that even the donation gift could leave me feeling the same way. Person A says “I didn’t know what to give you so we made a donation to the ASPCA.” I say “Oh that’s great…they do good work.” In my head I think, “Wow, helping animals is nice but we have people that need help too…a donation to Catholic charities would have been better because they have lower overhead and do a good job of helping people.” I suppose its all in the spirit of giving and I shouldn’t be so particular and I don’t want to totally withdraw from Christmas gift giving (though that would honestly suit me just fine). I do enjoy giving gifts when I have the means to but I run into the same problems…I insist on placing the same restrictive rules onto gifts given as I would place on items purchased for myself or items received as a gift. Carefully thought out to provide maximum benefit…trivial presents always seem worse to me than none at all. I know some of you are saying, “it’s the thought that counts.” I totally get that mentality…I just can’t do it. In my twisted Christmas world, I need it to work out both ways. I need the gift to match the thought…something that sends a message. Because even gift giving isn’t altruistic in its entirety…we as people do derive some joy out of making others happy and a crappy gift doesn’t allow me to reap that particular reward. I don’t wanted feigned happiness…I want the real thing and that’s tough to do. So with that said…my Christmas list is pretty empty this year. In case you are really desperate to get me something, I’m a big fan of the following charities and non-profits, a gift to them will make them happy, me happy, and you happy


Habitat for Humanity

Boston Foundation

Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust


Doctors Without Borders

Catholic Charties USA


Happy chrismahanukwanzaa! Patrick OUT!!!


Love Gone Bad

Love Gone Bad


So you need to read the story above for this to make any sense…and look at the pictures. When I first read the story, I thought the world had turned upside down. 35 year old man, refuses sex with 19 year old girlfriend who responds by stabbing him in the face. What??? Then I saw the pictures and I understood entirely. If that woman came to me looking for some action, I might just pull a Lorena Bobbitt on myself. Furthermore, what that woman could possibly see in that guy…I will never know? I don’t think this is a calista flockhart- Harrison ford kind of thing going on here. It did raise a question though, is it hard to clean blood out of the carpet in a double-wide. Patrick OUT!!!


Behind my Back

So it came to my attention recently in conversations with my advisor (read: boss) at work that her and other faculty friends of her’s (other people on my committee) talk about my personal life behind my back. Perhaps I’m over reacting a bit but I don’t think that’s really appropriate. Sure its probably my fault for divulging information to one of them but even so, isn’t it an unspoken rule that such conversations remain to some degree privelaged. The incident in question was in regards to the dissolution of the relationship between myself and a long-time girlfriend. One faculty member who was passingly familiar with my relationship status asked how things were going. Not wanting to be rude I gave her the unfortunate breakdown and she has now told another faculty member possibly more than that. Don’t these people have hobbies they could be attending to…better science to be coming up with. No, instead they concern themselves with my personal life and see it fit to bring up sore subjects at work. I have friends for a reason and I have a boss for a reason…they really don’t need to be the same person. If they were to be the same person…that’s really my choice. Also, if you’re going to talk behind my back don’t say things to me that make it totally clear that you have done so. Gossip all you like but keep it out of my earshot. Done. Patrick OUT!!!


So this is a delayed post because I’ve been really busy lately. Thanksgiving has passed…my favorite holiday of them all. I ended up spending it in Maryland with my family and my brother-in-law’s family. It was good to see my sister again (it had been quite a while) and to spend time with the two families together. I longed a little for my own families version of thanksgiving…though this was pretty similar…I guess most peoples would be pretty similar but I am such a creature of habit that even small perturbations can screw with my head a little. On thanksgiving morning, I ran a 5k for the first time…actually I had run that distance twice before the actual day but it was the first time competitively. I was a tad bit slower than I had hoped but I’m going to chalk that up to morning tiredness and cold air to start. I must admit though that I felt pretty good afterwards…I’m not sure if it was the endorphins released by the running or the cold cheap beer that found its way in to my hands within about 10 minutes of finishing…could have also been the second (or third or fourth) beer that did it. Either way, thanksgiving started out great. All in all, the rest of the day was pretty low key…just as I would like it. I did have to bite my tongue and sit on my hands a bit as dinner was being made. I can be a bit of a “back seat” chef at times and I was doing my best to not be critical of anything. On Friday we all went and saw the new James Bond movie (which I had already seen but was actually better the second time). Pretty enjoyable all in all…we then came home and ate some more and then a bit more. We had turkey croquettes made from the previous days leftovers which were really quite phenomenal and have inspired me to someday but a deep fryer if for no other purpose than making turkey croquettes and possibly deep fried oreos (which are truly about as delicious as they sound gross). After all the eating was finished I was pleased to also see that I had not gained more than a pound. I’m not sure where those calories went but I am glad they didn’t find their way someplace unpleasant. Bring on Christmas…and lights. Patrick OUT!!!