the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I <3 Books...

but apparently i have no time to actually READ them. i am busily importing the 5 discs of an audiobook into itunes (so i can listen to it on my ipod, get it?), and i have spent the last few minutes rearranging the bookshelves in my home office. i cleared a couple of shelves so that i could use them for the giant stack of books that i have either bought or received as gifts over the past year but haven't had the time to read as of yet. and they pretty much fill two shelves. 30 books. wow. i have a TON of books. i have read most of them... some of them several times. but somehow i still have 30 books on my shelves waiting for me to open them up and take them in. i think it's because i haven't done any HPLC in the last couple of weeks (i've been setting up that lab experiment, if you remember - a task at which i finally succeeded last weekend). on a typical HPLC day i spend a couple of hours getting everything set up, making standards and stuff, a couple of hours entering data, and a couple of hours reading in between injecting samples into the machine, which i have to do about every 20 minutes. so i get a fair amount of reading done when i do HPLC. i'll have to devote a large chunk of that time to reading a chapter or so per day in those text books i told you about (you know, the ones i have to study for comps).

it also doesn't help that i've spent the last few months re-reading a bunch of books because they precede others that i've bought, and i want to make sure i remember previous events before i launch into the newest book. for instance, i re-read all the harry potters before reading book 7. i also re-read eragon before reading the second book in the series, eldest. i plan to begin re-reading jonathan stroud's the amulet of samarkand and the golem's eye before i finally begin ptolemy's gate, the last book in the trilogy, which has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year (looks like i'm really in the mood for kid/YA fantasy, eh?). but first i need to finish the time traveler's wife, a book that kelly lent to me a couple of weeks ago. i'm about half way through this book, and so far it is wonderful. i just wish i had more time to devote to it. i've been reading about a chapter every night, and i would love to read more, but i'm just so damn tired at the end of the day....

so what prompted all this book talk? well, i recently started working in earnest on the delta project in dr. v.'s lab (my new source of funding since my fellowship is over), and it looks like i'll be spending a fair amount of time picking samples. that is, picking all the little critters (which are stained pink) out of samples taken from the delta. this is fairly tedious work, and katy has introduced me to a new method of passing the time more quickly when picking samples - listening to audiobooks. i still prefer to actually READ a book, rather than listening to someone read one to me, but she was right - it passes the time.

but, dudes - audiobooks are PRICEY. so i stopped at the library on the way home the other day and procured myself a shiny new library card (i can't believe i've lived in mobile for seven years, including when i lived in the dorms at USA, and haven't gotten a library card). now, i used to check books out from the library all the time... pretty much my whole life until college, when i started just buying any book i wanted. i order a lot of them from amazon, but i also get a lot of them from secondhand bookstores and thrift stores. so, as i mentioned, i have a ton of books. i like them. i like having them around. i like reading them. i like owning them. and now i think i'm going to start checking them out of the library again. see, i can check out a BUTT LOAD at once (up to 50!) and keep them for four weeks at a time, so i should be able to check out a few at a time and have time to read them before they're due back. in fact, yesterday i made a list of books i want to check out and list of audiobooks that they have at the branch closest to my house (the west mobile branch) that i'd like to listen to. not to mention the fact that i did some quick browsing on my first visit and checked out 5 audiobooks that day (candace bushnell's trading up, dean koontz's brother odd, meg cabot's queen of babble, sophie kinsella's can you keep a secret?, and agatha christie's the a.b.c. murders). i should have time to listen to those over the next couple of weeks.

but before i start checking out library books to read, i need to put a dent in the 'unread' shelves in my home office.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Life for the Last Couple of Weeks

so it's been a while since i last wrote anything on here, and i think it's about time i let everyone know what i've been up to. well, for the most part i've been trying my hardest to get my stupid lab experiments set up - unsuccessfully. see, all the seagrass that i have lovingly cultured over the last couple of months is indeed dying and, thus, unusable. so tomorrow i'm off to perdido key AGAIN to collect some fresh turtlegrass. that is, if the guys from buffalo rock have come in and moved their snack machine from in front of the breaker box that controls the lights in the room i'm setting my experiments up in. if i can't turn the power on in that room, i can't set the experiment up yet. which sucks. but i also still have to go back to perdido key either saturday or sunday to collect more amphipods (one of the grazers for my experiments). the damn things keep dying on me, and i'm not catching as many on each collection day as i should be. so the world seems to be working against me as far as getting my lab experiments behind me.

i've also been procuring the books i have to read to prepare for my comprehensive exams, which i plan to take in late september or early october. those are, like, TEXT books i'm talking about, and i'm supposed to familiarize myself with the entire contents of two of them for one of my committee members. see, during comps each of my five committee members gets to ask me a series of questions that are in some way related to my work or the general field of marine science - a pretty daunting event. there is a written portion and an oral component to these exams, and they basically scare the poo out of me. for the other members of my committee, i will (hopefully) have to review 10-15 papers covering topics relevant to my work to ensure that i am familiar with the foundations of what i'm working on.

today, i am reviewing a paper that dr. v. sent me last week. i know some people who find it annoying to review papers for scientific journals, but i kind of enjoy it. dr. v. (and sometimes ken) sends me papers he gets to review that are relevant to my work, so i get the first glimpse of new publications. plus, i get to put in my two cents and make suggestions to the authors. i also have to work on entering some data and doing some statistics. but what i might do in addition to this is hit the mall and start checking out maternity clothes (even though i don't really need them yet).

i had my last check-up last wednesday, and everything is good with thetinytina. i think i'm supposed to start gaining more weight now. so far, i've only gained three pounds, but i can definitely feel the waistbands on my jeans tightening, especially when i sit down. i might go ahead and get one of these. i hear these belly bands are pretty sweet, not to mention handy. it just looks like a tank top underneath your shirt, but it functions to hold up unbuttoned pants (handy for when your jeans are a smidge too snug). i think in the next week or so i might need that. when i talked to my doc last week, she said around week 16 is when most first-time moms-to-be move up a size or two in their clothes but don't really need maternity clothes. i am currently in week 15 (i'll be 15 weeks tomorrow). so i'm starting to notice the changes, but to the untrained observer, i don't look pregnant yet. give it another month.

oh! i also set up my appointment last week for the next ultrasound. it will be happening on august 29 (when i will be 18 weeks pregnant, or about 4 1/3 months), and we'll get to find out if thetinytina is a boy or a girl! i'm excited. then i can start going crazy buying baby stuff. well, not too crazy since i want to wait and see what all we get at the baby shower that nessa and deva are planning on throwing before figuring out what we'll have to buy ourselves. but i can at least go crazy registering for stuff. i think we're going to keep all the big stiff gender-neutral (so if it's a girl, i don't want to get a pink stroller and car seat or anything, just in case we decide to have another kid at some point in the not-at-all-near future who might not turn out to be of the same gender as the first). so neutral colors for the car seat, stroller, play yard, etc. but bedding, toys, clothes, nursery decorations, etc. will definitely be tailored to a boy or girl. i really WANT to buy about a million things, but i'm exercising some major self-control over here (those who have been shopping with me know how i like to go on a big spending spree every now and again). i actually haven't bought ANY baby stuff yet. see, i can't buy just one little baby item. when i finally buy something, i'm going to want to buy several somethings, and i would really like to know the baby's gender when that happens. i mean, i COULD go ahead and buy some really basic stuff like a pack of white long-sleeve onesies (the kid WILL be born in the winter, after all) that will come in handy for either gender, and part of me really wants to do that just to have some baby stuff, but another (larger) part of me wants to know the baby's sex first. so, come the end of this month, i'll be buying lots of baby stuff. but don't worry. you can't have too many baby clothes, so anyone else who wants to buy tons of those should feel free.

but it would be bad if everyone i know decided to buy a stroller or a bouncy seat or a swing or a play pen, all of which are things that i plan to register for. i say this because chad's mom has already bought a crib (without consulting us first), which i thought was jumping the gun a bit. i felt sort of bad, but i told her that i'm looking for specific things in a crib, and if she was buying one for us, she should have mentioned it to us first. then i found out that she bought it from someone she knows and only paid $20 for it, so i don't feel so bad anymore. but i can now see that she's going to go nuts and just start buying things willy nilly, whether it's what we want or not. i really wish she would at least wait until we register for stuff. or ask me to go baby shopping with her. then she gets to buy whatever she wants and i get to make sure that what we get has the features we need. sometimes i'm a little indecisive and unsure of what i want, but when it comes to my kid (even though it's my first) i really want chad and me to be able to do things our way. which is why i plan on making him go baby shopping with me as soon as we find out the sex. we might not buy much, but i really want us to look at these things together and figure out what we both want. i mean, i've been looking at this stuff for weeks, but i want chad to have some input, too. i mean, it is his kid too.