Monday, August 29, 2005

Sound of Music!

Even the title looks out of place on my site! For a Tamil Brahmin it is very odd (and quite unacceptable) that I can't sing, dance or play a musical instrument!

I left India when I was 5/6 and so I didn't think it odd that I couldn't sing - until maamis started pointing it out to me. However, I am no longer finding questions like "Nee paaaduviyoo?" (Do you sing?) or "Dance kathinduirukiya?" (Have you learnt to dance?) neither odd nor rude.

I did learn Carnatic music for a few months - I got upto "Vara Veena" then stopped cuz the people I used to go with left the country (If they hadn't I may have become a second Sudha Ragunathan:P). TO be honest, I don't exactly have a great voice and I sing very badly - I guess its actually a good thing that I dont sing! I am also too uncoordinated to dance so its just at well that I didn't learn that either. :P

Despite all that, I do enjoy carnatic music. Especially in the last couple of years because I find myself going to recitals by various musicians. When I go to a kacheri, I love watching the crowds as much as listening to the music! It also makes me realise just how big music is for the Brahmin community because 99% of the audience are Brahmins and the other 1% are Sydney Uni Arts students...

I am helping organise a music festival for next weekend. Its for little kids and some of you might remember that I did the same last year. I guess all the discussion about the music festival that I had today got me thinking about how "unmusical" I am and has evolved into this rather pointless post!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Getting Healthy...

I work with some extremely health conscious people. By extremely, I mean people who ride their bikes to work and those that go for power walks during the lunch break. Most of them also play sport, go bushwalking and do cross-country skiing! In comparison, I am pretty much a bludger - but you all knew that allready :P.

I have never played much sport outside of school and while I used to go for walks, I did very little other exercise.

Today, one of the girls I work with decided to go bike riding instead of power walking. I just causally mentioned the fact that I cant ride a bike and of course now I have everyone in the lab volunteering to teach me! When am I going to learn??

So next week, I am going to learn how to ride a bike! I don't know why that is going to help me though - its not like I own a bike! :P

What was the point of the above?? Well, I guess that even if I don't learn anything or discover anything scientific over the next few years, I will at least have a healthier lifestyle!

PS: I can push almost 90% of my body weight on the Leg-press at the gym!!! Very proud of myself :D

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Incompetant Scientist?

I gave my presentation today and I cant say that it went too badly. I was second up (I was supposed to be third, but the girl who was supposed to go second didn't turn up) and so everyone was still awake.

I had all the big-guns from the uni present at my talk.When I say "big-guns" I mean REALLY BIG!!! All the heads of the Department were there and the mode of titles was "Professor". Apparently my talk was VERY clear, and so I got asked HEAPS of questions! Most of the questions were "Why" questions! I despise "Why" questions! That's because my answer is usually "Cuz that's what my supervisor thinks I should do!".

I dont think I handled them too badly though. However, I was listening to other talks and I must say, I was starting to feel really bad. I think I am quite competitive by nature and I don't know if it shows but I was feeling very stupid by the end of the day!

I know I will get over it soon enough. Perhaps I am not being serious enough about my work...

Time for me to change my atitude perhaps?? I shall ponder my handling of this whole PhD thing late into the night...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

One crash or two?

On my way home from the hospital I stopped over at a florist. After buying a bunch of flowers, I got back in my car and was about to drive off. It was around sunset and as a result it was very hard to see because of the reflection. I checked and rechecked and when I was ABSOLUTELY sure there were no cars, I swerved to the right to take a 3 point turn.

Anyways, this grey Commodore comes from out of nowhere and I hit it! I moved back to where I was parked, put on my yellow sneakers (note to self: dont wear yellow sneakers with lime green socks!), and walked over to the P-plater and apologized. I asked him to make sure his car was ok. He said it was fine and that I shouldn't worry about it. I yelled "SORRRYY" from across the road and he drove away.

Then! This old man came upto me...

Old Man: That wasn't your fault was it?
Me: Yes it was...
OM: I think you hit the car in front though...

There happened to be a dent in the car that was parked in front of me. It was a Nissan Skyline and a pretty old car... (Khush - I hope it wasn't your car!). I didn't think that I hit that car. I told the guy that I had hit the Commodore, but if he thought that I had also hit the car in front then I was happy to leave my number - in case it was my fault!

I was looking for a pen and not finding one, I decided to go back to the florist and ask for a pen. In the mean time, the old man was explaining what had happened to the florist. The florist then asked me what happened. I told him how I had hit the Commodore and perhaps it was my fault that the Nissan had also been injured...

By this time I was starting to feel really guilty!

He came out...looked at the damage and said, "Nah! It couldn't have been your car. Your car is too low. Its not your fault. Dont bother leaving your number!"

I asked him if it was his car. He said, "No. But I don't want you to pay for something you didn't do."

I didn't know what to do. The florist then said,"Just keep the pen..."

I thought he was giving me a subtle hint to have his pen back and so I said, "I am SORRYY!!! Please take your pen back..."

He goes to me, "Nah! Keep it! You might need it - just dont use it to write your details. That old man is a big mouth - don't worry about him."

I thanked him and apologized (I don't know why!) and drove off!

How wierd and confusing is that???

Did I do the right thing???

After possibly hitting TWO cars...I got a pen to keep!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

*No Appropriate Title*

Before I say anything else, I would like you all to know that nothing even remotely exciting happened today! (Incase you were waiting for some nail-biting or heart racing goss:P)

I did however give a practice talk today. I have to present at the student conferance next week and thought I should practice in front of my supervisor - it seemed like a great idea at the time! My supervisor is sooo lovely! He has been all booked out for most of the week, and still he made time for us - despite having a really bad cold!

I thought my pictures were fantastic - I then did this silly thing of showing it to a post-doc who works in a different lab to me. He looked at my pictures and said, "Hmm... you seem to be getting some unspecific staining!". I said, "Ummm... I am?". Oh well - hopefully the pretty colours and funky powerpoint tricks will keep everyone distracted from the actual content of the slides!

I am noticing all these little things I say and do now that I never used to do before. Its just little things like the way I narrate things or the way I say little words like "maaaayybee" in a different way to how I would normally say it. Its a sure sign that I have been spending a lot of time talking to the people I work with and so I have picked up little things they do and it seems to have found its way into my own manner of speech and actions!

I am upto Page 130 with War and Peace! Its the furthest I have ever read and I do like it! Its just that I read it before going to sleep so I am often reading it lying down. The book is quite heavy and as a result, my arms and wrists start aching! Maybe I should invent something that will hold the book in place as I read it lying down...*brain thinking up several theoretically possible but practically impossible, simply stupid or majorly flawed ideas!* (Sounds rather like my experiments actually!)

PS: URL to Ridhish's blog for those of you who have not yet discovered it :

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Early signs of Alzhiemers....

Let me now narrate a few incidents that have occurred to me in the last two days...

1) I completely FORGOT that I had taken my car to work and at the end of the day started walking towards the station to catch the train back home! (I realised after I was about half way to the station...)

2) I FORGOT completely to add a control tube containing my "vector only" for my ligations!

3) I FORGOT to put on my glasses in the morning!

4) I FORGOT that it was Jeans for Genes day! (Quite ashamed of that actually...)

5) I walked all the way to the station this morning, because I didn't want to wake my brother, then I had to ring him, wake him up and ask him to bring me my wallet because I FORGOT to take it with me before I left home!

Ok - is it crazy for me to worry about myself after all that??? That is seriously not normal - even for me!!! It has me quite paranoid actually and I was convinced this morning that maybe I am going slightly cuckoo!

Anyways, with that aside, I met my first ever Rett child today. We had some funding people come and they came for a tour of our lab. The girl was only 9 and she had a very mild mutation and so had a fairly mild phenotype. I wouldn't have been able to pick her out had it not been for her mum telling us...

Its amazing how distanced the lab environment is from the clinical setting - so much so that I sometimes FORGET (:P) that what I am doing is ultimately going to significantly change someone else's life. I guess I can only hope that this change will be for the better!

A few little things today helped put life in perspective for me - even if it was only for a short while!

PS: Rett Syndrome is the disease I work on for those who were wondering what I meant by "Rett child"...