Showing posts from June, 2016

Like a dragon

My first year in Coos Bay, my neighbor, L, taught a yoga class at one of the local gyms. Everyone in our friend group would attend, even the guys. We'd go to L's class, then grab fish tacos at a restaurant downtown. It was our Thursday night ritual. There's a concept in yoga called ujjayi breathing, which is performed with a slight constriction at the back of the throat. L always made sure we practiced it. We would be on all fours in cow pose, chest lifted, gazing upward, and she'd tell us to exhale as loudly as we dared. "Stick your tongue out!" she'd tell us. "Open your throat! Make noise!" I always felt like a dragon. I've used exhaling fire as a metaphor for making valuable scientific contributions previously on this blog . I told you while writing my thesis introduction that my inner fire would soon be unleashed in breathable form. Well, friends, today I felt like a dragon. At 2:32 pm, I finished the first complete draft of my dis

Just say yes

When I returned to Oregon from Norway in 2015, I made myself a promise . I decided I was going to do Oregon a bit differently my second time around, that I was going to make it as much like Norway as possible. I had some specific goals in mind, but I also intended to give myself a general attitude adjustment. I decided to treat Oregon like a foreign country. You see, when I travel, I have a set of personal codes I abide by. I try to be open-minded, to listen to those around me, to absorb their culture rather than imposing my own. And most importantly, I say "yes" to everything. Jazz concert in a lighthouse ? Yes.  Weekend trip to a neighboring country ? Yes. Trying new foods? Yes. ( I will eat literally anything , as long as I know what it is before I put it in my mouth.) So when I returned to Oregon, I decided to be equally open. I decided to say "yes" to everything and experience my own country as if I were a foreigner in it. The strategy has worked out

The worst.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." - Winston Churchill As you may already know, I'm currently in a writing phase. I've spent the past few weeks putting together my dissertation, making sure everything is revised and formatted and ready to go.  It worked out pretty conveniently that the journal I submitted one of my chapters to got back to me with comments from reviewers last week. Their timing was perfect, because now I can incorporate the reviewers' comments into my manuscript along with all the revisions I've already received from co-authors and committee members. It'll be one giant revision sweep.  The peer review process is something I've always struggled with. Prior to publication, every scientific paper has to be reviewed and critiqued by other impartial scientists, people who know the subject matter well but have no professional or personal connections to the authors. Based on comments from the r

Keeping the Sabbath

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God...For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day." - Exodus 20:8-11 Sunset over the Pacific, 19 June 2016 I swung my backpack over my shoulder and started power-walking down Boat Basin Road. Keychains clacked against my water bottle. Ahead of me, the clouds glowed pink, reflecting the hues of the sunset taking place just below them. For the first time since Norway, I had a very distinct sense that I was under a ceiling, bounded in by a beautiful roof, and I smiled to myself at the memory of the Norwegian sky. I knew the best view of the sunset was going to be from the jetty behind OIMB's Boathouse Auditorium, so I rushed forward, chasing the pink clouds, camera in hand. Sunset over the Pacific, 19 June 2016 It was actually a bit serend

To write

"Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more." - Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz Aw, writing. The worst part of the scientific process, but also the most neces

Blessed are the curious

"Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures." - Lovelle Drachman It's Friday at 5, and the laboratory is quiet. I'm alone in my building, and the only sounds I hear are the ticking clock and the clack of my own typing fingers. I take a deep breath, hold it in for a second, let it out. It's been a long week. A sampling of the organisms I took to preschool It started with my committee meeting on Monday , when my supervisors decided I could defend my thesis. Monday was a banner day, but since then, I've barely had a chance to sit down. I got some important paperwork filed with the University for my upcoming thesis defense. I received manuscript drafts with comments back from several co-authors, so I can begin revising each chapter and compiling my dissertation. I took some invertebrates into a preschool class for an outreach event, and I lead a boat trip for a community education course visiting OIMB. There's been a major event each day

Yellow Light

"Somewhere deep in the dark A howling beast hears us talk I dare you to close your eyes And see all the colors in disguise Running into the night The earth is shaking and I see a light" - "Yellow Light" by Of Monsters and Men If you live on the Oregon coast long enough, you'll learn to predict the weather inland from the weather on the coast. When the coast is drowning in winter rains, the mountains are getting snow and the valleys are getting slush. When the coast is socked in with summer fog, the inland cities are dry and hot. As I drove to the lab this morning, I could tell the valleys must be miserably hot. The drive to lab was like a ride in a bowl of soup. Stepping out of my car, I could feel the fog on my skin. It was close, clingy, and cold. The fog wasn't an entirely unwelcome guest in my morning. After all, it fit my mood. I had an important meeting with my committee, and I'll readily admit, I was nervous as could be. I did my bes