Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another day, another....

Ya, I'm a student, couldn't quite finish that with "another dollar" now could I? Or maybe it would be better as "Another day, Another dollar owed". Not as nice a ring, but I think it works.

Well, I don't really have a lot to say today, some big things going on though, but I can't really tell about them... You'll find out in my next post though. It'll be good fun when it happens though!!! And hopefully my story telling won't kill the moment.

I read that Andre Agassi is retiring from tennis after the US Open. A sad day for tennis if you ask me. He has been my favorite tennis player since I began watching, when he had hair, and was known for being a rebel. As a man, I think he's a champion as well though, as he has his own charity and consistently fronts up with an aura of humbleness and honour. He just seems to have a good way about him. So Andre (who is another regular reader of this blog, really. I have proof) I wish you good luck and look forward to watching the highlights of your awesome career. Tennis will not be the same without you. A'Dieu.

What else has happened... Ah yes, something Fireguy might appreciate. in Jan, I have a birthday. And on this birthday, I would like to get something that I have wanted for many, many years, but have yet purchased. And that is an electric guitar. For quite some time, I wanted a Les Paul (Gibson). I like the shape and feel of them. It is a beautiful piece of wood. But lately, my fancy has changed. I don't know why, maybe it's a strong sense of symmetry, or maybe I saw a music video and the guitarist looked cool, and I thought (sub-conciously) I want to be that guy.

But I am now smitten with Gibson SG.

Here's why:
It's beautiful, in looks, touch, and sound. So me and Bec went to a music store where they had heaps of Gibsons.... We looked at some, and my keen ability to pick the most bloody expensive object in a room without seeing a price tag, was again proven. They can be expensive guitars on their own right, but they range in price... So the first one I look at that I really like, has a tag of like $2999.00. Holy crap!!!! I love music and all things related, but how do you get $2999 as a reasonable price for a shapely piece of wood with a bit of electronics thrown in. I don't care if it's hand carved, which it wasn't. I would never consider paying that for a guitar!!!! Crazy I tell you, just crazy.

So, I looked around, found some much cheaper versions... Epiphone (which is a subsidiary of Gibson making a bit more budget friendly guitars) makes some that are under $1000, so we are much happier and the prospects of me actually getting one are looking brighter!!! Ya for me!! True to form though, I liked one that cost between 7-800, and I will probably end up with one that is around $400... I can live with that.

I'm not that good anyway though, but if I get one, I may need Fireguy's fire-fighting skills to put out the flames searing from my fingers as I rock my house down in late January!!!!!

Bye bye

PS: Andre Agassi is not affiliated with this website, nor has he ever seen it, or heard of it, and I openly lied to all of you in suggesting that he reads this site, and that I have proof. I don't have any proof. I never did, and I never planned on trying to find any. In fact, I just made it up there on the spot. He may read this, and is welcome to, but I don't think he does, although he should. Sorry about all the lying. I may try and stop in the near future, but not now though. I'm enjoying it too much. So, to my readers, I say a lame and insincere sorry. Again. But I'm sure you'll learn to live with yet another liar in the mist.
PPS: Talk to you later Andre...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Empty yet hopefull

Well, I just read that the solar system is a little emptier today. We only have 8 planets. Yup, Pluto is no longer a planet. Demonted in the prime of its life. It's kind of like Disney's Pluto, you don't really know what it is. Pluto (the ... ex-planet) has an orbit around the sun. An "eccentric" orbit, but an orbit. In my thouroughly shabby review of these reasons, it's too small. And maybe it is, but at what point is something too small to be a planet. As pointed out in the 2nd of 2 articles I read on this (the first being in my cell phone, nothing but high quality research here my friends, this one is here), that astronomers are having this debate. The most brilliant in the field, ones who come up with quantum theory etc, locate "planets?" by their wobble effect etc, and they don't know what a planet is!!! Cripes!!! It just goes to prove a point, the more educated we are, the less we actually "know". You ask a grad 7 kid what a planet is, and they'll probably tell you a good answer, something that revolves around the sun, more technically, a body which has a circular (or elliptical as the case may be) orbit around a star. Now you ask an astronomer what a planet is, you get years of debate and upheaval in the scientific community. Ya sure, there are likely many other details about the term "body" so let's make it, a celestial body whose orbit has at its centre a star, and has a mass permitting it's own gravitational field, and is not a comet.

There. I've done it!!! Pluto has it's own gravitational field, and it orbits the sun. So it's a planet. Why didn't they invite me to thier meeting in Prague? I would have come.

So to re-iterate the new definition of a planet, as decided by me, and to be adopted by all, is:

PLANET: any and all celestial bodies possessing their own gravitational field and whose orbit has at its centre a star, and is not a comet.

As an adjunct to this, it should be noted that should there be any confusion or discrepency, I should outright be asked to make the call.

Now for the "Hopefull" portion of todays blog title.

Today, Schapelle (previous post regarding my feelings on this issue is here: Another Wasted Effort: Indonesia... A little more...) gets to go to court for her final appeals process to be acquited of the offense (News article). If she is denied, her only recourse to result in a her being set free, is to ask the Indonesian President for clemency, but this carries the burdon that she has to say that she is guilty. A difficult thing to do, especially for someone who has gone this many years and has been so steadfastly insisting her innocence.

I would like to give Schapelle Corby my best wishes, and that I hope to have her back home in Australia before Christmas.

Good Luck today.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Red Bull you say?

Well, for a little while I thought that maybe this little can didn't exist in Canada!!! Thanks G for clearing this up though. So ya, it's an "energy" drink with, It think they call it "taurine" (thus the "Bull" part of the name, taurine -> taurus -> bull). It does what it's supposed to, I haven't experienced hot flashes or anything of that nature though. I think that the people that get hot flashes are just weak do to not aclimatizing their body to large doses of garbage. Me on the other hand, cannot say no to a coffee, or in fact, to several coffees... But I have found that a really good combination to keep you awake, should you ever need one, is to have a can of that "Dare Coffee Shot" followed by a can of "V" (it's a green can). I was curious, what can I say! I actually prefer the "V" drink as opposed to the Red Bull as it tastes better, and I fell more awake afterwards... But that's just me...

So what's been happening in the land of 'Oz? Not much really. I have been sitting at a computer for too long now, sent my supervisors drafts of 2 chapters last week which was a good effort considering I had to write one of them from scratch. It's very close to done though I feel. (The chapter from scratch that is). I still have 3 other chapters to go. One of them being a review of the literature which is about 2 thirds done, but a bloody hard one-third left. One chapter which is the last results chapter which I should be able to rip out in under a week, and then the final chapter, which again, I should be able to rip out in about a week. But it's the chapter where you sum up the whole thesis and put forth hypothesis etc, and discuss future work, and just try to conclude while leaving the poor reader thinking that you know what you are doing, and that you did it well, and that you are now ready to join the elite of the academics and be known as Dr.

Side note. Did you know that medical doctors are not called doctors in Germany... And that to be called a doctor, you have to hold a PhD? I think I like it there. The reason is is that a medical Dr has not been trained to further knowledge or think independantly like that. It's hard to become a medical doctor, don't get me wrong, but they basically just play the odds. Person A presents with symptoms x, y, and z. The most likely cause is the flu. So "A" has the flu, regardless of the numerous other conditions that exist for the flu. Watch "House" and see how much independant thought actually occurs. Everything they do has already been seen before, and they are guessing.. Treat them with this because they will be dead if you don't, and if it's wrong, then blah blah blah you get the idea. A PhD on the other hand, is required to show some form of independant thought, and to further the world's knowledge base. To form hypothesis' that may or may not be true, and require severe critical thought to analyze and prove (or disprove as the case may be).

Another way to look at it would be that medical doctors don't come up with treatments, they prescribe them. And they presecribe them based on the work of hard-core scientists (PhD's) who have rationally designed a drug to do a specific thing, tested it in test tubes, then rats, then primates, and finally extesively in human trials under very specific conditions to determine if what they are seeing is a placebo effect (which isn't really bad), it there are human toxicity issues, etc etc. So that the doctors prescribing your medication are doing so based on the work of many PhD doctors, and the literature that Dr. House is reading, comes from PhD doctors.

To defend doctors though, they have a bloody hard job too though. They are stuck playing the odds, because the odds are mostly in their favour. But they have the added stress of being wrong means someone may die, and a whole circle of other people are then affected. Huge stress!! If I screw up, a rat dies. How many rats have you TRIED to kill!!! You buy rat traps at the grocery store!! And medical doctors do need to retain alot of information about a braod variety of things if they are any good. But I guess my biggest endorsement for a medical doctor, is that I would take thier advise concerning the health of my 3 and a half year old son, for my wife, and the chikld that she is carrying. So don't take this as a slamming of the medical profession, as I do believe that they are professionals of the highest stature, I just wanted to give a short, not well thought out commentary on the term Dr.

I think there should be some different term to designate each of them (PhD vs MD), especially since I will be a Dr. in Medicine (my faculty) but in the research area. I will not be a Medical Dr (MD)... A bit confusing ya....

Anyway enough of that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Not happy Jan...

Because I'm mad at myself.

I wanted to go to bed a little after midnight...

one and a half hours later is not good.

Not good at all.

Tomorrow, I may aim for half a litre of coffee chased with a litre of Red Bull because hey,

It gives you wings....

Good night my friends of the Blog.

Good night dear.

Barenaked ....

Ya, I just wanted to get your attention... Just a short (2nd) post for today!! I know, I'm feeling... saucy today...

It's late again (11:30pm) and I'm continuing my love-hate affair with my laptop. I must admit, when others referred to PhD as standing for permanent head damage, I now see where they get that from. It's taking me slightly longer than I hoped to get this chapter done. It's ok though, I've got 2 other ones mostly done, (and published, or almost) so cool for me. But it's a bit hard to write a thesis chapter when you don't really have any solid results. So it's a method development chapter which honestly, will be my legacy to this department. Any biological science person could come in, and as long as they follow my instructions to the letter, they'll get results. I wanted to be the person to get these results, but I think that possibility is fading pretty fast.

On to why I am posting....

I have headphones on, listening to a cd that I have really fallen in love with again. You might be surprised by this, but it's the Barenaked Ladies, Gordon album. THe one with, Hello City (about Halifax NS!!), If I had A Million Dollars, and probably one of my favorite songs, What A Good Boy. Ya I know, but it's one of my favorite songs to play and sing. And then, years after I learned and played it heaps, it actually hit me what the words were about. Gender roles. It's a great song. I remember when Mom and Dad bought the Kenwood, before Nan and Pa moved in and it was set up in the den, I was studying for some exams, and just listening to that album. loved it then, love it now. A timeless piece of beauty. There are some silly songs on it, like "New Kid on the Block" about being a New Kid On The Block (the birth maybe of modern boy bands, at least for my generation).

Anyway, I just wanted to write something not science related (and I couldn't even do that as my second paragraph will attest, imagine poor Rebecca...)

Gotta run to to write, I have an early morning tomorrow. It's my one day in to work and I am expecting to get chastised by my supervisor because a lady in Melbourne hasnt' gotten back to me. The worst thing is, is that if she doesn't tell me what I want to here... I don't really know what to do!!! Cross that bridge later though.

One door at a time.

Gotta go, but if you're a long time reader never commenter, change your ways and let me know your out there!!!

Final thought, don't ask a question for which you cannot handle the worst possible answer. (as an opposing view, God never throes you more than you can handle).

Monday, August 14, 2006

No one hears you at 2:30 am...

It's funny, the more I am forced to sit at a computer, the less likely I am to Blog. It's an inverse relationship... Trust me I did the math.

I know that I have been "silent" for a little while, and that my last post was just put up to put something up... I am now in the final stretch of this dreaded beast known as a PhD thesis... I can almost see the faint glimmer of something that might be a finish line... I have started working (writing) from home and going in to work only one day a week. SO I am now spending WAYYY to many hours working in the computer room. Thus poor blogging!!! But I did spit out a good chunk of a chapter on the development of a microarray protocol to test the differential gene expression of immuno suppressant T cells vs untreated, activated T cells.... I know, the excitement is unbearable!! (I also know that alot of you may not know what I'm talking about... but I'm over it).

Another thing though, I have apparenlty been "tagged". To my surprise, this appears to be something like a FWD for blogs... And for those friends of mine who send me fwds regularly, like my dear, probably best friend I will ever have, Amanda T can attest, I don't (well VERY rarely) respond. She knows I get them, and she knows I read them, but I am thankful that she doesn't expect me to reply to them. In fact, the only reason that I'm even mentioning the fact that I got a blogged FWD (I think at least), is that it was from my own Mom!!! So, sorry Mom, if you want to know the answers to those questions, ask me in a private e-mail, or phone conversation. And if anyone else wants to know my answers, sit me down with a coffee and we'll chat (or e-mail me a private e-mail) and we'll have a genuine conversation. So Mom, I love you muchly, but I am a Black-Hole with anything that remotely resembles a fwd.

I should also mention, that it's 2:25am. Typing since 11 pm, after a break from 6pm to 11pm to be with my family. This is how much I love my adoring fans!!!

Guess what I did on the weekend though? I, well me, Bec, and Alex went down the coast to visit the in-laws. We went down on the Friday, came back up Sunday. It was a nice trip, short but nice. I honestly miss having them up here. It was nice to be able to go and visit them for a coffee without a 3 and a half hour drive each way... But it was a very eventful weekend... One thing I will write about now, the other in another entry, when I get a document scanned in (for effect of course!)

For my long time readers, you'll know I have issues with Indonesia (these issues are my own, and not representative of .... really anything worth anything). First there's the Schapelle Corby issue, then there's the Bali Bomber Mastermind (does he really have a mastermind though? seems he hasn't quite mastered the mind if he knowingly plotted to bomb a building and kill innocent people...) issue where he was released after 2 years... TWO YEARS!!! (Ya, I'm still realing from that), then the personal attack from Indonesia on me in the form of biological warfare agents in my Indonesian made tiles that got me sick... But when I was down the coast, I was attacked by Indonesia again. And I wouldn't have even recognized it as an attack from Indonesia if D (mother-in-law) hadn't said anything... I even took pictures to document my case, and if OJ's lawyer was still alive...

Anyway though, I had to help Ross (father-in-law) to move a shelf cabinet thing across a newly laid wood floor (ie no scratches or dents or anything like that yet). So they first emptied out all the books or pottery that was in it to make it easier to carry. Then I watched Ross lock the doors shut with a key. The cabinet itself is taller than me, and has two glass doors running the whole height of the unit. So we start to carry it. Dum da dee dum dummmm then low and behold I start to notice that the door is opening. Hmmm, not to good if your pinky finger is there, and you can't let go because you'll wreck the floor permanently by dropping the unit... And then the door opened pretty wide, bending my pinky finger back quite a ways. Honestly, I almost welled up it hurt so much. As soon as we put the shelf down. I was immediately relieved for 2 reasons: 1) I hadn't heard my finger snap, and 2) it wasn't bent in an ... unnatural way. But holy man it hurt.


Here is a picture of my Indonesian attacked finger… I know it was an attack because D said just after it happened that it was because the cabinet was made in Indonesia. They are some clever tacticians over there my friends… Some very clever tacticians who are will to risk the fingers of others (it could have been someone else who fell victim to this), but they got lucky, and it was me. I feel I’m fighting a losing battle!! Oh Johny Cochran where are you!!!!!

Finger is better now though. I can bend it again.

What else did we do… we went for a walk on the beach, and here’s a picture of Alex because I think if I post them, it keeps my readership up, and takes the pressure off of me to provide actual content to the (now weekly) bothersome rantings of an overtired student whose married with a mortgage a 3 year old and one on the way… Who also doesn’t have a job lined up yet… It’s coming though…. It’s coming…

And how he wanted to be carried when he got tired of walking... Comfy for me too though...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What's Mike Watching!!!

This is one guy that you don't want to mess with, Jack Bauer (of 24). He is the best terrorizer of terrorists that there could ever hope to be.. And Kiefer Sutherland is a champion at this role. And one of the best things about this series, is that it is not reality tv. Nope, it is a series with writers writing scripts, for actors who have never shot anyone before (in real life) and have never had to really deal with nerve gas, hostage takers, gas leaks and general terrorist activities.... But they pretend beautifully!!! Kiefer Sutherland is a champion at this role. The season ended here in blistering pace, as they showed 2 episodes a week, and 2 hour episodes at that... That's 4 hours a week!!! Sadly though, it ended, and I am still sad that after saving the US, de-throning the President, and making the world right again, he has been kidnapped and is in a container ship heading shows, no reality here, genuine script-writing using genuine actors whoWell, this is a man that you really don't want to mess with... My hero, Jack Bauer. Anti-terrorist terrorizer. I have to admit that this is probably one of my favorite to a Chinese prison for something he did in the previous series... Not happy about that.... But it's over now, and I'm left trying to fill a void.

So who do we have here? This is Yasmin, focal point of the "Yasmin's Getting Married" series on Channel 10. The premise: she's a single girl who by the end of the 9 week series will be getting married to one of the guys chosen by her family and viewers. This show, of which I watched the premiere, sadly admitted, was canceled within like 48 hours or something.

Simply put, nobody watched.

Would this hurt a girl's ego to know that a show centered around her trying to find love couldn't hold our interest for a full 30 to 60 minutes? And to such a degree that it was canned by the end of the week? Hopefully not. She's an attractive lady, and the show should have focused more on her as opposed to the "panel" of people who just critisized potential...suitors. Very little of the show actually dealt with her. And that is where I feel the show sucked.

Sorry Yasmin... (as a side note, the original title was "Rene's Getting Married" but she found love before the show aired so they needed someone else ... in pops Yasmin!)

But in its stead FUTURAMA!!!! YAY FOR ME!!! I have to admit that I like this show much more than I like the Simpsons (I know, blasphemy!!!) But man, it's funny as, I've blogged my love for this show before, and I am doing it again, because this is probably the only thing that Channel 10 does right. As opposed to the 1 and half hours of Simpson's episodes they seem to show on a nightly basis.... Anyway, I gotta go now....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Big Brother is OVER!!!! Yay!

I was reading Marsha's Blog and noticed that you only get BB for three nights a week!!! That's awesome!! We get it Monday through Friday, as the regular half hour episodes, then Friday night games from like 8:30pm to 10 or so, and then late night BB nightly from like midnight or something. Then the eviction show on Sunday night plus the eviction show on Monday (after the nightly half hour "what's been going on".


Unfortunatly, once you start watching it, you're addicted. I read an interesting news article today about it though, from a journalist who forced himself to watch it how it is supposed to be watched (continually so you become emotionally involved in the ... players I guess)

I didn't actually watch the final episode (not that addicted although I became a regular watcher... sorry Ross), but apparently, the winner (the guy pictured here) was in shock, and when asked what he was going to do with the cash, he said,

"Buy a solid gold house and a rocket car then I can go places really fast.

"I am an idiot. I have no idea."

I'm glad he won though. Jaime is a good guy.

Onto other news though..

Read this article, and keep it in the context of Alex will be starting school soon, and then think, hmmmm this must be why Mike wants to move (this is quite close to home, and is in our same city of Campbelltown). It's entitled: "Classes resume at "lockdown" school"....,21985,20004076-5005961,00.html Posted by Picasa

A Blisstery Winter's Day Indeed!

Winter in Australia. I know that my Canadian readers etc think that Australian winters are lame... No snow, no cold, surfing all the time etc.. Truth be known though, it gets bloody cold. Just ask Mom, Dad, Philip, or Jennah. When they came down a little while back, I told them to pack warm clothes because it's cold... Did they listen?


Mike's just being a wimp. Then they get here, and I am proven right.

Yet again.
(I know that this seems to be a running theme and all, I'm not egotistic, it just happens that I am right all the time. Alright, I was wrong once, I can't remember it, but I'm saying that because it might have happened sometime)

But the houses here have no insulation, no central heating. Their not built for anything below 10degrees C. So in the morning, when it might have only gotten to 5 degrees or so, your house is freezing!!

So what do you do during the day Mike? You sexy devil you......

Well, 2 weeks ago for example, it was a particularly harsh winter's day, it being July and all (middle of winter my friends, middle of winter, Gillian might appreciate this fact soon). But the sun was out.

So we went to the National Park and got a row-boat for a few hours. Bec's pregnant so we thought we wouldn't stress her out with excess canoeing and a row-boat sounded fun... I know what you're thinking, but it's the middle of winter, what about Alex!?! He's only 3 and a half, you must have bundled him up heaps!!! and ya, we did... Scoll down and you'll see him..

He's got his pants, a shirt (long sleeve no less) and a life jacket.

See, we do care.

But since it was the middle of winter, me and Bec did wear a long sleeve shirt. Wouldn't want to get frost-bite!!!

Alright I'll stop. The mornings ARE cold though, that I'm not fibbing about. But the days can be beautiful. The weather was perfect for boating as there was a little breeze which kept me cool, calm, and collected. And Alex loved it....

You'll notice there's an unflattering picture of me. (A rarity yes I agree) I thought that I would post this just to show that although it is not that representative of what I look like (I'm much better looking), I want to show that you don't have to hate me because I'm beautiful.

See, I can look only ruggedly handsome:

And below there are pictures of Bec and Alex too. No, I'm not standing up in the boat, I'm on land about to push them out to meet their doom in the water infested river of the the National Park.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Damn, I've been polarized....

Let's say that you have a neighbour. Then let's say that neighbour has dogs. Let's further say that that neighbour's dogs are aggressive, fed and trained by your other neighbours, and have repeatedly attacked your children resulting in bodily harm.

What would you do.

For me, the question would be "What wouldn't I do?" And if you have children, I suppose that's a popular response.

Now apply this logic globally.

Yes, this is another political post, short, sweet, concise, and to the point. Contrary to most of my political posts.

Now let's say you are a country, not hypothetically, let's say Israel. And now let's say your neighbour Lebanon has dogs named Hezbollah that have taken over part the country, and continually attacks and kills your people,

"Hezbollah, founded in 1982, is sponsored by Syria and Iran. It has been linked to scores of attacks on Israelis and Americans, including rocket attacks on Israeli towns, the 1983 bombing that killed 241 U.S. soldiers and 58 French soldiers in Beirut and the 1994 attack that killed 85 at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The U.S. and Israel classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization." from (

When do you say enough is enough?

I do not like the idea of a war, but I do not like the idea of an immediate cease-fire with nothing put in place to curb future attacks from these dogs (Hezbollah, not the Lebanese as all are innocent victims (some) being held hostage as shields by Hezbollah in many cases (not all sadly admitted).

I am distressed at the loss of civilian life, as each one who dies has their own respective circle of friends and family, but I don't view this war as having begun last month, rather when suicide attacks against Israel for being Israel began, in the case of Hezbollah, it began in 1982. Both sides have lost innocent life, and hopefully this will end sooner than later...

It is odd, I admit, that I am siding with the US in this respect. A ceasefire right now would save civilian life now and lower the cost of rebuilding Lebanon, but the overall cost would allow these dogs to regain their teeth and begin again. Nothing is solved.

The Baha'i World Centre is in Haifa, which as you all know, the city has been bombed several times. Honestly, I would gladly welcome my religious Centre's destruction if the end result was a lasting and enduring peace in the Middle East.

Any structure, in my opinion, is a valid sacrifice for the knowledge that you have a safe, secure, and peaceful environment to raise you children.