I'm alive! (Summer update)

-> Finals and the spring semester have finally come to a close and somehow I’ve survived with pretty decent grades in all my classes.

Immunology: A
Genetics: B-
Ecology: A
Greek History: B+
Japanese Literature: A+

-> I recently started my research work in the biology department and I’m pretty excited about it. The bulk of my time will be spent doing research on the drosophila fly determining what causes different patterns of gene expression in the optic lobe of the brain among similar species of the fly. For those familiar with science babble, this involves creation of RNA probes, in situ hybridization, PCR, and Southern blotting. The other part of my research experience comes from working in a lab maintenence role for a lab which researches vascular development in zebrafish. In this lab, I assist a graduate student in preparing solutions, cleaning equipment, calibrations, etc. as well as sometimes going down to the basement to feed the fish housed in a few hundred mini-tanks, check their water temperature and chemistry, and make sure all the pump equipment is working. Basically, this complete package is exactly what I wanted to help get me into a research mindset moving toward graduate school.

-> Two weekends ago, my housemates and I received a citation for noise ordinance violation from the city police. Their visit almost certainly was the result of our rather grouchy neighbor. She is what we in the college world call a “real person” i.e. she isn’t a student and she’s not under 30. We do truly understand that college kids can be annoying and loud sometimes, so we’ve tried from the beginning to be courteous and reasonable with her about our noise levels, which can be difficult to manage because since we live in the city, her house is 3 feet away from ours. She has all of our cell phone numbers, and not only do we encourage her to text or call if the music gets too loud but we often invite her over to hangout events we have since most of the people in my house and our friends know her. Friday night, one of my housemates was cleaning our basement and he likes to listen to music through the stereo while he does so. I guess it was too loud for her (even though we couldn’t hear it from our own backyard) and she called 911 and a city cop showed up. Because it was just one guy playing music and not a party, he just told him to turn it down and left.

The next night, Saturday, we had a gathering of about 20 people in our house to celebrate the end of finals and grill some burgers and dogs to get in the spirit of summer. In my opinion, it wasn’t that rowdy, we did have music on and there was beer involved so maybe it did get a little loud. She called 911 again and the same city cop from the night before showed up. He wasn’t as friendly as the previous night, and after carding everyone in the house to make sure everyone was 21+, he took all 6 residents of the house’s information for a citation. We were all pretty upset about this because we’re all poor ramen-slurping college kids who can’t afford the fine on one of those, and we had gone to great lengths to appease this neighbor devil.

On Sunday we were sitting on the porch enjoying the nice weather and she came over from her house. She asked if the police had come to talk to us about the noise and we told her that they had both nights, and we got a citation the second night. She seemed shocked by this, which was funny because I don’t know what she thought they were going to do about it if a warning didn’t work. Then, to our great surprise, our neighbor burst into incessant apologizing about the whole matter. After I picked my jaw up off the ground, she said that we could go ahead and contest the citation and that she wouldn’t show up to court so it would be thrown out on the condition that we pick up our phones immediately in the future when she calls about the music. Not wanting to pay the fine and in disbelief of the situation, all of us went immediately into “please ma’am may we have another” mode.

-> Speaking of 911, I had to call it for the first time in my life that same weekend because one of my housemates suffered a seizure. He had never had a seizure prior to that and it happened in an instant while we were playing Xbox so it was a little nervewracking. The 911 operator asked me probably 4 times if he had a history of diabetes, and I wanted to be like “I’m not a doctor, but I’m 95% sure that I’d know if there was another diabetic in this house.” The EMTs came and took him up to the hospital for the usual litany of tests that first-time seizures get, and everything came back normal so they attributed it to a lowered seizure threshold side effect of a medication he was on that was triggered by the normally harmless Xbox. They backed off his dose of that medication, gave him a sticker for surviving the needles (he had an anxiety attack), and sent him home with a neurologist follow-up. Seizures are scary.

-> What? You want to hear something diabetes related? Okay, well about 2 weeks ago my Medtronic Revel pump arrived in the mail, but thusfar it has just been sitting in my room. The medtronic rep that I spoke to on the phone said she’d put me in touch with a pump trainer in my area but so far that has not happened. If they haven’t contacted me in the next week or so, I’ll probably call them. I really want to get started on this pump so that when spontaneous meals come up I don’t have to feel awkward about running to the bathroom to take my shot.

-> This coming week I’m going to Florida to visit my grandma with my family. She lives in a really nice retirement village down there with like 5 pools, a golf course, and a constant party. I had my reservations about first going down that old retirees would be lame, but they party harder in that village than some of my college friends (my grandmother made me a margarita with breakfast EVERYDAY that I was down there) so I’m pretty excited to enjoy some nice weather and relax.

Congrats on your fabulous marks! well done!!! You should be very proud of yourself for being so diligent with your school work!!!