yesterday i had a nice time with EmM at the microbiology dinner.
we were invited by my people, the clinical lab scientists, to a talk about malaria.  however, in light of recent events that talk was changed into a epidemiology look at ebola!  it was presented by dr. james griffiths and quite eye opening.  i have a pretty good handle on ebola but did not know about the epi part.  we went over the origin (geographical) of the virus and the rate of spread.  his calculations really put into perspective the spread of the disease and projected numbers for 2015.
it makes me :'(
it seems we had an idea that something was not right even way back in epi week 40 of 2013.  and there were multiple chances to squash this virus but we didn't. now it's starting to get out of control.  estimates are showing the number of cases doubling every 15-20 days (source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6303a1.htm?s_cid=su6303a1_w ) .
the good news is all hope is not lost and the general public should be aware but NOT PANIC.  senegal was able to seal its borders and they have things under control.  we have medicin sans frontiere deployed in liberia and maybe if we listen to their needs we can start doing some good.  it's going to cost some money but doesn't everything cost money these days?
ok, what's going on with the laboratories.  dr. griffiths talked about standard [universal] precautions. and correct use of PPE.  risk assesments.  things all the clinicians have heard over and over about everything- not just about ebola.  hepatitis and tuberculosis and dengue are just as applicable.  this is good to hear.  the standards are still the standard practice.  and we should not get complacent.  he also mentioned something that i never considered before- reverting to manual methods to avoid contamination.  OMG.  this is so right.  how are you going to sterilize a 500000$ coulter??  but if you have a hemacytometer, that can be easily be sterilized after use. can't beat the old school methods even after all these years.

for dinner we had a speaker on MALDI-TOF MS.  i was really excited for this, maldi is definitely the future of rapid microbial analysis in clinical labs but i don't know how it works exactly... but dr karen frank laid it all out!  it uses a laser to perform a mass spec of the bacteria based on time of flight of protein.  this creates a signature of peaks- not unlike a chemistry spectra- that is unique to each bacteria.  so genius.  maldi is in the stages of being validated for clinical use (as opposed to just research use) and being certified by various agencies like FDA and CAP.  and as long as you keep updating databases, i can see this being useful for years to come.  it has shown to be useful for strain tracking, detection of antibody resistant plasmids, and fungus (so not just bacteria!).  it is also showing promising results for direct analysis from blood cultures.  that's right, ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to wait for your cultures to grow out anymore!  if you blood culture turns positive in the bottles you can sample directly!  (well, there are some extraction steps but still, you don't have to wait for it to grow out) problems are: mis-id if there are multiple organisms growing, no id if numbers are too low (less than 10^5 CFU), cannot do sensitivity like a vitek.  can't wait until the technology is perfected to ID directly from urine or CSF!  will save a lot of time and money compared to other methods like 16s or immunoflourescence on mycobacteria and save a lot of errors from just eyeballing fungus (great study of mis-id of A. niger with unusual molds.  interesting to see if we will discover they are actually contaminants or they are actually NEW pathogens).

of course the best part is hanging out with my lab homies outside the lab!  saw a bunch of DOH/SLD people i haven't seen in years (omg kris!!!  miss that dude!) and old friends that work in competitor labs around the island that i haven't seen since 2010.  as usual, the UH microbiology club was there, the grad students whom we all admire and love, and our all knowing professors.  i would like to point out that we gave a nod to the recently passed Dr. Berger and Dr. Alam was saying last year at this time we saw the passing of Dr. Low.  his colleage suggested "maybe we should make this a tradition...?"  and Alam was like "oh my god, which one of us is going to die next year! :O "  haha.  i liked the academic atmosphere mixed with more relaxed colleagues.  great minds and ideas abound!  food was average but the company was nice.  it's a shame i wont be able to make it to the symposia in the next two days (i was sort of interested in Dr. Chan's talk on using flow cytometry for IDing blood cancers but maybe another time...)

also, i got ebola:

yes, an anatomically correct ebola! thanks to dr. griffiths

and my date for the night:

sorry for the technical and boring post (it was interesting to me!), here is some tigers jaw for you:

and a good acoustic version as well:


i promise, i'm finally, almost done playing only la dispute for these past few weeks (my last.fm stats are insane)!

i was listening to their split with Touché Amoré (yes, i was screaming like a school girl when this ep came out it's like two super heroes decided to do a team up and kicked asssss!) and the lyrics to this song is kind of where i am right now

I say a drink might help me sleep, I say
I don’t sleep much at all these days, I say it’s cold, 
Besides, I’m broken.
Hard as earth the love of the past,
The worth of the world has frozen
Like the sheet of ice collecting on the windshield of my car.
Where I caught my reflection frozen in the glass,
A perfect broken image of the future I’d envisioned in the past-
Corrupted by fate now, fractured, and fading away.
Replace all I felt promised to me.
To be the one who figured it out,
Who knew what to do,
Who knew how to feel and
Felt that
Love of the past,
The worth of the world,
Just set it ablaze and
Thaw me out.
Dim lit in a room dark red, where I said,
“Can’t seem to break off from the way I felt, but
I guess you understand, man. We had no chance.
I’m tired of fighting with the hand I’ve been dealt.
So, I take the cards they give me
And keep my protest on the inside of my mouth.
If the best I can do ain’t gonna stop what’s coming,
What’s the point in trying to change how the hand plays out?
Don’t we all just die?
When you looked at the light
Did it hurt your eyes?
When you looked at the light
Did it hurt you
Like it hurt me?

appropriately, the song is called HOW I FEEL.

when i think about it too hard, it kind of bums me out. :|
to be honest, the last week has been kind of a misery.
and tomorrow i have to go out in public in nice clothes and be nice to people and talk about research and science and generally act like a normal person.  so, in an attempt to be in better spirits, i'm going to shelve the depressing music (until after our microbe party).  ;)

not sure how much of an improvement this is but i finally got around to listening to The Things We Think We're Missing by Balance and Composure.  I really liked Separation when it came out- i was super into thursday and thrice and rise against when i was in high school and this album reminded me of that.  TTWTWM fell off my radar and i only got around to listening to it now.  and it's great!  i really like Parachutes, Lost your Name, Notice me... almost every song is 5 stars for me.  here's the official music video for Reflection:

and here's some of my own balance and composure:

playing in the rain

3 - 4 TIME

last night i was the only person on the bus at 8pm and it was cool from the air conditioning and the rain drops on the window made the street lights look like fire works.  i just came from a five hour campylobacter session and before that i was at UH for three hours and before that i was at work for eight hours.  it felt like i was surrounded by chatter everywhere, all day, but on the bus no body talked to me, it was perfectly calm and quiet for the whole hour and that is the most relaxed i have been in a really, really long time.  : )

more relaxing:

(i guess i still didn't get all the La Dispute out of my system yet.  this song is like a little waltz. the bass is perfect. the guitar is perfect. the percussion is perfect.  the flow is perfect. i would buy this EP just for this one song.)


just finished this really great book!

Smoke gets in your eyes

it's a non-fiction about the death industry and new thoughts about what to do with our deceased.

yes, i am a morbid person.

this is well written with a bit of humor and a lot of truth.  also the author is from oahu so there are many references to which i can relate (what coincidence!  i swear this book was written just for me...) maybe you recognize the author from Ask a Mortician or Order of the good death?

i once envisioned a career for myself as an enbalmer because i believed- as ms. doughty puts it so eloquently in her book- they are "experts in both sanitation and the arts".  kind of the intersection of my interests!  also, i have seen several enbalmed corpses in my life and was a bit disappointed- i felt like i could do a nicer job (they gave my grandma a tan and put on this ridiculous red lipstick and nail polish u___u ).  but in fact... to what end do we embalm the departed?  there is no need for extended preservation (unless maybe you are having multiple funerals over a few weeks).  this book makes me rethink the options available to the recently departed and how our culture handles the idea of mortality (we don't).  
i still think of embalming as an art form but now i can't see it being an important part of the funeral ritual.  also, it is hella expensive.  as for myself, i wouldn't mind being mulch for a tree, but i'm not sure of what's legally allowed in this state.  i suppose surgery practice for new doctors is an equally noble end- i hope they get a kick out of my science tattoos. :)
anyway, read this book!  it's entertaining at the very least, even if it doesn't change your own idea of handling death.  if you believe you need all your body parts intact for the rapture, or maybe aren't up to the challenge of bathing your own deceased relatives, who am i to deny you of a lovely coffin and service?  i mean, if i had a plot at the serene mililani memorial park already paid for, it's a lovely place as any to spend eternity.

i read this on my ipod via ibooks but i also saw the paper version at barnes and noble yesterday.  here is the hawaii state public library listing for it: http://waa.ai/4Kqh there are 4 copies in circulation.

in other news,
yesterday at yoga i was able to do koundinyasana for the first time! hooray!
here is a nice photo walk through of this posture if you want to try it yourself: http://yogagypsy.blogspot.com/2014/02/yoga-tip-tuesdays-sage-balance-ii-eka.html
i'll try to get @wild_twinkies to take a picture of me later...

fun dancey music i heard on the radio yesterday:

pop music is not a crime!  it has the beat of MY SHARONA!
i think this will replace Hello as my pre-virology-exam hype song
(or maybe my avoid-studying-by-neurotically-cleaning-my-house-at-3am song).


i previously mentioned i found some damage on my bike frame.
it doesn't look like a critical area so i thought i'd try to fix it myself.

here's the drive side:


and the other side:


i bought this plastic metal stuff from the automotive dept at walmart, at the suggestion of my friend dan:

basically, i just smeared it on with my finger until the entire area was covered:



prior to applying it to the bike, dan asked why i bought gray color.
it didn't dawn on me they make other colors??? i mean, when you buy glue you don't really get the same color as the paper?  by that logic, i was also expecting it to be clear.  so i was a little puzzled by it's appearance.  i suppose it does look like a [fake] plastic metal...

while i waited for it to dry...
here's what my cockpit looks like. u___u do i win the ugly bike contest now?


i need to learn how to put on new bar tape.
here is where the handlebars hit the asphalt:


asphalt won.
the rest of the bike is in surprisingly good shape i think my body cushioned most of the bike
when i got home: http://waa.ai/4UgA

after 2 days:

after 1 week: https://twitter.com/synonyme/status/497532400637706240

after 2 months:
all better!  just a tiny bruise and some scar tissue.

anyway, back to the bike repair.
i bought this reflective red-color tape from walmart about a month ago


not a perfect match but nicer than plastic metal, anyway.


covered up the whole area.  in the sun, not so bad!


in the shade, it's more obvious.


that's all for now.  i hope it holds up!

amazing dan buck at 1:59

slipshift (the sexier clipshift?)

CIRCULUS!!! finally getting some air time!  i love these guys!




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