19. October 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Rant · Tags: ,

One of my dear friends from North Dakota recently took it upon herself to move out to Maryland. The back-story that leads up to this is that her and a man from that area had been talking for quite a while online and were building up a significant relationship. They made a mutual decision to take the relationship to the next stage, which involved them moving in together (or at least closer to each other). The respective job hunts led to her finding a position in the area, so the plan was to move her out to Maryland and find a place there so he would not have to give up his job.

Flash-forward a couple months; things went a little haywire for the man, so between all the stress and everything suggests to maybe not literally move in together right away. She finds herself a domicile she can rent on a month to month lease, and they decide she’ll just move in with him once they’re ready, since he’s taking the apartment that they were originally going to rent together.

Flash-forward to Friday. I drive down to Pittsburgh to meet her since she’s taking an overnight stop there. Unfortunately she took a wrong turn in Ohio, so she got in rather late (like 11 instead of 7). We were going to catch up, grab a meal, maybe see part of the city, but unfortunately she’s far too tired for any of that and needs to recover to finish the last stretch of the drive Saturday morning. We grab a quick dinner at Denny’s, head back over to her hotel and just crash for the night (I sure as hell wasn’t going to drive back at that hour of the night, although I wish I had considering how uncomfortable the two queens were).

We grab some breakfast at Panera and set off our separate ways. Later I get a very distressed phone call from her Saturday evening. She has been completely unable to reach the man she was moving to Maryland to be with, to the point that her phone calls get responded with a programmed message regarding something about a restricted call. She asks me to try and call him as she’s obviously distressed and concerned, but I get nothing more than an unanswered ringer and voicemail. However, this is far more than she received. Something smells fishy…blocked phone number1? But why the hell would he do that? He was just talking to her on Friday!

Later, she makes it back to her apartment after we’ve assessed she’s okay, and to get what she needs to be on her own until her moving crew shows up Friday. She hops onto some unsecured WiFi access and finds that she’s been removed from his MySpace and Facebook friends lists? This is just all kinds of fucked up now. Obviously, it would appear she’s being ditched. Hands down. This is like the worst thing one could do to her now that she has moved out there. She has no family out there. No friends out there. In fact, I’m the closest one at present! Seriously, who the fuck does something like this?!?

She sent him an email or two demanding an answer. She deserves one. I have to agree. This seems completely unwarranted.

She actually receives one today. I may not be a forensic profiler, but I do an awful lot examining situations, people, speech patterns and what makes up a psych profile to some extent2. He firstly only addressed half of the immediately visible issues (as she clearly identified…he explained why he could not be reached, but nothing about this MySpace/Facebook abrupt termination), so that leaves something to be desired. Secondly, the wording was just off. It’s like he was trying to let her be pissed and shut him out. Rationalized with her on any feelings of hatred or disappointment or distrust towards him, and completely agreed she may not ever wish to talk to him again. But then he doesn’t even try to win her back over in the following material. Seriously??? You encouraged her to move out, even to help pay for most (if not all) of the moving costs, talk to her throughout the move, and then this shit?!?

Something is blatantly missing here. He’s pushing her away. He’s chickened out over something, and neither of us have any clue why. I had an inkling something like this was afoot when she told me they reneged on their original plan to live together3. I really did not want to believe this inkling, based on another friend who just left an abusive relationship4 just to see something similar happen. But it did.

So. How far does this rank up on the cowardice’o’meter?

1Personally, I have no experience with blocked numbers. I just know I had to get around being screened with my first ex-girlfriend. I honestly don’t know what kind of a message one receives when their phone number has been blocked by the receiving party.
2I have this intense fascination with understanding how people tick. I very often strive to try to understand where someone is coming from in any postural stance on a situation in order to better understand them/people-as-a-whole.
3She told me this was a joint decision, but I kept pressing to find out who proposed the idea. Apparently he did. Call me horrible at trusting people, but I always dig for a reason.
4I kept telling this friend that the relationship should not have gone on how it did for various reasons. Ultimately I knew she would come around, but I still hate that moment when it does. I called her, we talked, and she just kept saying “you were right.” I didn’t want to hear that. It hurts to hear that, because ultimately I didn’t want to be right. Not in a situation like hers.
15. October 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Personal · Tags:

I lost my shit tonight.

The day was okay. The evening was frustrating, angering and depressing, but nothing outside of what I deal with frequently throughout any given month. I even had time to cooldown and destress while reading Dean Koontz and doing laundry.

I put on my iPod and started doing the dishes about 30-40 minutes ago. And I just lost my shit. I have no freaking idea why. Just couldn’t stop sobbing. The helplessness in those moments is excruciating.

I’m confused as to whether I should really try to figure out what it was all about or not. So I’m letting it fly for now, and hope it’s just a randomly isolated incident.

Time to finish cleaning/eating so I can drive my ass out to Pittsburgh after leaving work early tomorrow.

It’s always awkward having the, “yeah, we’re separated/divorced” discussion with people. Especially when you dodge around some “do they/don’t they” know statements, trying to evaluate if they got the memo or not. Tonight, I had to have that conversation with someone. For three hours.

It’s already demoralizing to have to let people know (so I’m extra grateful when people are reactively supportive before being despondent) for multiple issues. It’s even more so when you get to discussing it with said person and they’re initial reaction was “you didn’t try hard enough.” Granted, we both came to the table with preconceptions of what marriage should be by our own standards. However, it’s still a disheartening discussion to have to explain why we chose the route we did, only to be criticized that we needed more time or to try harder.

It’s exhausting. =\

To the raven-haired1 cashier at the Amherst St. Wegmans:

Thanks for explaining briefly how the Shopper’s Club items show up on the register screen. I think that’s the first time anyone has cared to explain how any of that worked for the sake of saving me the question. That was actually pretty beneficial to learn!

To the (what appeared to be) cute girl with the emo/indie-framed glasses in the vehicle ahead of me at the McDonald’s on Elmwood near Hertel:

I was willing to overlook your beaten-up, rusty looking pickup as an initial unwarranted stereotyping. You waited so patiently for the remainder of your food to show up. Once you received your additional three large fries from the window, I noticed your left hand wasn’t decorated with any rings of significance. Interestingly, you went straight to munching on the fries and proceeded to throwing the other half of the handful you bit into onto the ground right at the window.

That caught me off guard, until you proceeded to honk your (an oh so horribly dying) horn and bitch to the poor fellow who gave you the fries about how nasty they were, and that you demanded fresh ones. When he shut the window on you, that’s when you really lost it. You proceeded to talk to the next person at the window, demand the name of the fellow who just abandoned you mid-sentence, and still wanted your “fresh fries.” You never did get them, and proceeded to angrily drive off with your fries still in tow.

I got my order as soon as I got to the window. My hot’n’spicy McChicken and small fries were ready to go, and *gasp!* my fries were fresh! Almost burned my mouth fresh (I’m sure they would have, had I not waited four or five minutes to resolve your gripe session)! Not sure who you were texting/calling/bitching to as you waited to turn onto Elmwood, but from your rocking vehicle as you shifted, your pretentious ass might want to invest in an automatic transmission whenever you buy a new car. Assuming you can.

It’s the pretentious, I’m-so-entitled types that make me scared to ever hit the dating scene again (at least here in Buffalo). Mayhap, I moved into the wrong part of town and that’s why I see so many around here. Or maybe it’s some of the crowd that Kuni’s draws.

Regardless, talking with a dear friend of mine over the weekend, it has come to our attention that the “good folk” we’d like to expand our social networks with appear to be less common. This scares me more as my support network within an hour or two of me is scant, if that. One is a fellow that will likely be in Vermont by the beginning of next year. The other is my ex, for as long as that can/will last. Just need to relax and breath, and not stress myself into any debilitating episodes.

It’s been a rough change, but I’m doing well so far. As long as I stick to staying positive enough, hopefully that network will slowly grow again. I just linger over the thought that it never grew when I moved to Buffalo. I have not really stopped to examine (in any great detail) why that is, but I think I’m better off not wondering (for now). For now, I’m better off engorging myself on blueberry yogurt and lazy mornings of sunshine2.

1Black hair drives me nuts, so I had to mention.
2I love basking/napping in the sun, but it escapes the reach of my bed by about 11am, and I have no westerly-facing windows I can snooze in front of.
08. October 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Techie, Uncategorized · Tags:

My archives page should be working properly. At least it did so far.

Additionally, visitors should be able to login with OpenID instead of registering for an account should they wish to post un-moderated comments. I think I have that working properly. I’ll know once some people try it. It’s at least delegating my own OpenID properly (or the logins are recognizing the old PHP code I put in for it). I figured it’s about time to catch up with some of the tech out there, huh?

08. October 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I’m seriously at a loss of what to think about this. My mind just keeps trying to envision exactly what is implied, while it is thinking WTF?!?

To whoever invented the sports bra – that’s great and all. But if you could come up with a similar contraption for my rear-end, running could be a lot more enjoyable.

Supplementary data: she does not have an abnormally large rear. Hence the mind-boggling.

Labwork has been frustrating lately. My favorite protein (MFP) has been less than cooperative over the years. First, it was a royal pain in the butt to purify to any reasonable degree. At best, I had to settle for a co-purified complex that was for the most part functional, but later to be demonstrated invalid. Last winter just after my last committee meeting, the original lab working on MFP published data stating that they have been working with a protein with an incorrect translation start site. In more lamen’s laymen’s terms, it meant the protein I had originally purified was wrong; the protein was about 15 amino acids too long. So since then, I’ve been trying to get this protein re-established and purified using their new protocol so I can redo all my old biochemistry, and finally move forward with the new biochemistry I had proposed to do. Well, it’s been nearly a year, and now I think I finally have some hope of purifying it.

    Issues that I’ve had to address include:

  • Poor expression (to the point I can barely see my protein above background cellular proteins)
  • Inability of affinity tag to stick to affinity resin (or any resin for that matter, ion exchange included)
  • Poor plasmid maintenance after an overnight culture (and have nothing left to grow the next day)

Since then, I’ve recently introduced a new selection marker that’s far less likely to be ignored that now seems to be giving me appreciable yields of expression in a rich, defined media (instead of our typical undefined media). So right now, I’m ready to crack open all my cells and see just how soluble my protein is. If it’s well-behaved in solution, then it’s on to the FPLC and see what I can get this sucker to stick to!

I also need to submit my construct for DNA sequencing; I really want to make sure that MFP’s coding sequence is pristine. No gaffes this time! I have to sequence a bunch of my selected mutants that have passed muster so far. Up to nearly twenty candidates and I need to get some sequence back to see what kind of mutations (if any) I am getting in MFP.

Additionally, since the “correct” translational start site is supposedly published now (nearly a decade since the lab originally identified the protein in the organismal genome), we’re not entirely convinced ourselves to run headlong into this and just trust it. I did get kind of screwed by trusting the original research in the first place, no? So, I had vocalized my concerns with this being an accurate piece of data, being as how they minimal upstream sequence to incorporate any endogenous promoter sequence. Well, that came back to bite me in the rear today; my advisor would like me to affinity tag my protein with an endogenous promoter sequence and get this guy purified and sequenced by Edman degradation to verify the start site. I don’t mind cloning, but I do sort of loathe designing primers for PCR. So that’s my new side-project to verify everything is kosher, so to speak.

The genetic selection library is coming along nicely, but the undergraduate who is working on the screening is a different story. I’ll save that for another night, so I don’t unnecessarily rip on her. She does a good job, don’t get me wrong! She just tends to miss some crucial steps on the way…or a lot…yeeeeeeeah.

Firstly, errrr, ummm, wow, my “Archives” link to the right is horribly broken. I need to do something about that. But anyhoo…

This past week has been a more interesting one for a variety of reasons. Last Saturday’s opening concert of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra was fantastic. The pieces weren’t quite as aurally powerful as last year’s opening pieces, but what they lacked in symphonic power they made up with in fantasy! Gil Shaham put on an amazing performance with Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, opus 25. It was such a beautiful and lively piece, and watching Shaham literally playing with his solo on the violin was just mind-blowing. I completely forgot how fun it is to watch these superb musicians have fun with their music. He looked like a little kid as he was playing: the excitement in his face, his bodily motions and just the way the music came out. Simply superb!

Sitting in row L was a perfect view of the stage, and I kid you not it feels like the perfect seat. I look straight ahead at the conductor’s podium, about as close to dead center as I can be. Thankfully, this is the seat I have for the other nine concerts in the season. As a perk for opening night, I was sitting next to a spouse to one of the second violinists. She’s originally from Idaho, so we shared a little reminiscence of the Midwest and talked about how life has been in Buffalo since we both came here. Her husband has played with the BPO for the past 30 or so years, so as she stated she’s been “spoiled” by attending nearly every concert for free. Can you see how green my face is right now??

I finally went down to the Elmwood Farmer’s Market last Saturday as well. I was pleasantly pleased with the selection of items down there, albeit I was disappointed to not see Niagara Landing (at least I don’t recall seeing them) in order to acquire some of their blueberry wine that I got to try at the Taste of Buffalo over the summer. I did get to pick up some leeks, homemade pasta, fresh apples and a loaf of Polish placek. I know I’ve had the placek somewhere before, but I really couldn’t remember where.

All in all, Saturday was a wonderful day!

Since then, I’ve been trying to hurriedly keep making dinners each night from scratch. I sort of gave up on that tonight from the stress load. The rest of the nights it turned out well, however. Spaghetti with chicken meatballs turned out better than I thought it would (for completely lacking bread crumbs, I had to sub crushed crackers instead). I’m getting much better at making veggie fried rice. Expeller-pressed peanut oil seems to make a world of difference (plus I love the smell), cutting my onions much coarser adds a world more flavor, and the bags of mixed frozen vegetables is an easy fix to getting that “mixed veggie” style to the fried rice without cutting up a bunch of random vegetables. I’ve even got hulled sesame seeds in bulk to sprinkle in, on, or over when I’m done! Tonight was supposed to be turkey and leeks in cream sauce, but that will just have to wait for Friday night now, as I do not think I’ll have the time for that tomorrow evening before the Ben Folds with the BPO concert.