Archive for ‘I’m All A-Twitterpated’

July 4, 2016

Change of Address

by Janie Jones

Well, blogosphere. Here it is.

As my loyal blog friends know, the free blog site hosted by WordPress.com has just changed too much.  And, as I’ve been threatening to do, I moved.

*Queue melodramatic soundtrack*

It has been a time of great trial and tribulation.  First I sought a different free blog site provider.  And I absolutely love using blog.com, when it works. I especially love the look I can get with the customization tools. Unfortunately, I just have too many problems with my visitors not being able to access this site.

So, I have made the difficult decision to move, again. If you have been trying to follow me at my blog.com site or hoping I’d re-appear here, please look for me at my new blog home. Just think of it as Janie 3.0.

http://janiejonesgreatwhitenorth.net/

I will continue to monitor this site for a little while in case visitors have trouble accessing me at my new digs.  Please let me know if you can’t find me, either by commenting here or by email at janiejones.greatwhitenorth@gmail.com.

Thanks for all the years of support and friendship!

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November 1, 2015

I freakin’ killed it!

by Janie Jones

I’ve been feeling pretty shredded lately.  The whole school thing, as you all are aware, is really wearing on me.  Thursday though, was the designated day to take the graduate school entrance exam, the GRE.

I have not really been dreading the exam, but I have been so beaten down from the rigors of studying that I had started to contemplate if I was really cut out for graduate school, or if I should just declare myself unfit and give up.  It has been so overwhelming that, though I don’t doubt I’m smart enough, I doubt whether or not I have the physical ability to perform under these stressful conditions.

I paid a not inconsiderable amount of money to take this exam, and I had no time or energy to prepare.  I went in Thursday morning mostly worried I was wasting money I didn’t have because I’d be so strung out I’d bomb the test.  When I wasn’t worried about failing and wasting money, I was mostly numb and moving like I was some automaton.

Apparently cheating on these exams is a huge problem.  So security getting in to sit the exam was tighter than that for getting on an airplane or entering a government building.  You had to hand write an affidavit swearing you would follow a bunch of rules, you had to lock all your possessions in a locker the test facility provided.  You could not bring anything in except your clothes, which had to have all the pockets turned out, sleeves and pant legs were inspected and no watch or any other type of electronic device was permitted.  Then you were scanned with a metal detector and photographed.  Once you were “cleared” you could not leave the building without forfeiting your exam.  If you had to use the toilet, you had to go through the whole process again.

But, despite the drama of checking in, the first bits of the test, writing analysis and verbal reasoning, were almost fun.  It was like a logic puzzle, which I like.  The maths were hard, which scared me, and honestly I had to just guess on a whole lot of the questions.  And, near the end of the test (3 hours) I began to get tired and that began to erode my enjoyment and confidence in the process.

When the test was over I got a preliminary score on the verbal reasoning and math sections.  But there was no explanation of what the numbers meant, so I walked off feeling unsure and worried.  In about two weeks I should have the grade back from my writing analysis so I hoped that when they would forward my score for that there would be some formal announcement of my final score and what it means.

Of course couldn’t stop thinking about it.  And, while I sat here eating my breakfast and contemplating the mountain of homework before me, I thought perhaps I might dig about a bit on the ol’ web and see if there’s some explanation somewhere on the GRE website about how the tests are scored to give me some insight on my preliminary results.

So, if memory serves, I got a 167 on the verbal reasoning and a 142 on the math portion.  According to the GRE websites these numbers are based on a maximum possible value of 170 points.

Which means I scored a 98% on the verbal skills and 83% on the math!!!

Apparently when the final report is sent to me I will be ranked with the mass of other people taking the exam over the last couple years and told what percentile I fall into.  So, I still don’t entirely know how smart, or dumb, I might be in comparison with the rest of the graduate school bound masses, but I will be doing a happy dance just to know that despite all the self-doubt and worry I have at least answered 98% of the verbal reasoning questions correctly.  And, considering my math disabilities, 83% on that portion makes me very happy too.

I just might feel like I can finish this semester on a high note.

September 19, 2015

Love is in the water

by Janie Jones

It occurred to me that I forgot to share a very important update in the wake of Constitution Day.

I’m sorry if you’ve all been on tenterhooks with anticipation to know the outcome of my fish experiment.

So last week Thursday I got to genetics lab and found that Verda and Rudy didn’t spawn.

*sad face*

But apparently odds for a single couple spawning aren’t that stellar.  Out of all the different classes doing this project there were 60 something “fish couples” and only 12 produced baby fish.

I ended up having a pretty cool Genetics lab anyway.  We got to look at the baby fish (called larva, apparently) under these special microscopes.  You can see fish larva with the naked eye, but they are super tiny, think smaller than the size of an eyelash.  Mostly they are clear, but you can see some of their skeletal and muscular system which give that appearance of a very fine, small, black eyelash.  However, under the microscope you can see all the details.  You could see their eyes and fins move and you could see their gills flap.  If you were looking at a fish that had inherited the fluorescent genes, you could put on a special light and see the colors glow.  It was cool.

As my couple didn’t couple, I had to pick from some fish belonging to other students.  So I picked a purple to wild type cross to look at under the scope.  I reasoned that, because it is thought that the purple fish are actually that color because they get a red transgene and a blue transgene that sort of combine to form an intermediate color (thinking back to your color wheel from your art class days, red+blue=purple, right?),  if you cross a purple fish with a natural wild type fish, in theory, you shouldn’t get any purple fish because, due to the nature of genetic inheritance, your purple parent fish can only pass on one blue gene or one red gene per offspring.  For the same reason you won’t expect any wild type fish, because the transgene is believed to be dominant over the wild type, or normal color, gene.  So every egg gets one one wild type gene from the wild type parent and one color transgene from the purple parent, either red or blue, that will mask or dominate over the wild type gene.

This couple only produced three babies.  But seeing as we were looking at tiny larva, they all looked the same at first.  While it is not impossible to end up with three that all look the same, I couldn’t see any real color at all.  I was hoping to find a nice combination of red and blue fish.

And, guess what?  There was one red, one blue and one wild type.

An exciting curiosity.  While I got both colors, I also got an unexpected wild type.

It seems as though we have to write a little research paper about our fish experiment.  Because this couple only had three babies, it’s not really enough to judge accurately what inheritance patterns are present.  And, there is that errant wild type larva.  It turns out that the professor had two tanks of other purple to wild type crosses she spawned the night before, she’s putting them aside for me and I can use those progeny, too, which will hopefully give me a larger pool of progeny to base a paper on.

Biology is so cool.  This is why I put up with all the school crap.

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August 30, 2015

The Beginning of the End

by Janie Jones

Many of you have been patiently reading all my whiny posts about school for a while now.  However, here’s the last pre-fall semester update you will have to endure!

Huzzah!!

The Stickittoyou U academic calendar tells me I have just 70 instructional days in this, my last, fall semester.

After this fall then, naturally will follow my last spring semester, which apparently is 72 instructional days long.  Why the difference you might reasonably ask?  Don’t.  It isn’t reasonable or logical.  But the long and the short of it is that I am just 142 days of class away from completing my Bachelors of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology and my Bachelors of Arts in Biochemistry and being a bona fide college graduate.  By May 6th, or possibly sooner, I will be done with college.

Unless of course I do get into the Integrated Biosciences Cell, Molecular and Physiological Graduate Studies Program I’m applying for, but in that instance I will also be getting paid so I have high hopes I will feel a little more like a real person and less like a whiny college student.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself so I actually can pretend to be excited about more college education.

Anyway, I digress.  This is about my last fall semester as an undergraduate student which begins tomorrow, Monday, August 31st.  My personal D-Day of education.  A day that will live in infamy.  Or soon be forgotten in a mushroom cloud of homework.  I am both petrified and excited about tomorrow.

It seems like the entire university has picked up on my eagerness to be done.  Normally, fall semester doesn’t begin until after the Labor Day holiday, which, my dear overseas friends, is the first Monday in September.  Stickittoyou U has decided, in their infinite wisdom, that the semester will start before Labor Day this year.  Who knows why.  But the calendar does allow for a four day weekend in October labeled so euphemistically as Fall Break and a four day weekend for Thanksgiving a month later.  I think I will need both those long weekends.  This is my course roster:

Biochemistry

Biochemistry Lab

Genetics

Genetics Lab

Virology

Virology Lab

Note, there is no physics or math courses included in this semester’s schedule.  I am officially done with *all* my math and physics requirements.  I am so very, very happy.  Can you see this big stupid grin on my face?  Can you see the happy dance I’m doing?  No doubt there will be some sneaky biochem and genetics math creeping in now and then, but did I mention I am officially finished with my math and physics requirements?  From here through next spring I will only be taking biology and biochem courses.  I fully expect to be completely and utterly overwhelmed by 10am tomorrow, but it will be in the thick of the stuff I have been wanting to study since I first decided to take this plunge into the realm of real science.

So, I fully expect there to be a bit of ongoing whining, but hopefully it will be the kind that stems from having not enough time to read that extra chapter or do one more homework because it’s just so damned interesting and down right fun.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Oh, and fair warning, most posts will probably include a count down of those 142 instructional days.  It’s a BIG FREAKIN DEAL after all.

Well, happy Sunday to you all.  I am going to go celebrate my impending first day of class by- can you guess?- doing some of the homework assignments that have already been assigned.

No joking around.

 

July 17, 2015

Vacation Photos!

by Janie Jones

My vacation was lovely, but not nearly long enough.  Hence the eternal question:  How is it that 10 days of school and work feel like an eternity but 10 days of vacation goes by in the blink of an eye?

I spent some of those 10 days shopping, some sleeping, some flea marketing, one celebrating Christmas in July, and a few touristing.

My favorite day was the day Leif took me up the shore.  We had absolutely perfect weather for a rambling drive along the coast/shore, some excellent dining and a little cliff climbing and beach combing.

North shore vacation 2015 008

Wild flowers growing out of the cliff rock

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Janie the Mermaid

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Black sand beach, rocky islands off shore

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Vera on the beach

North shore vacation 2015 027

Vera and Rupert play water fetch with some random kids and black labs

Best day I’ve had in months.  Maybe years.  I absolutely love beach combing on the big lake.

You know, one of the great things about living in Big City now is that the big lake is practically in my back yard.  The bummer is school and work keep me so busy I almost never get to enjoy it.

I need to start taking more vacations.

 

April 20, 2015

This and that

by Janie Jones

Good Monday Morning.

It’s Indian Winter here in the Great White North.  Sorry if that’s not PC.  Just when I was a kid there used to be a thing called Indian Summer every fall when we’d supposedly have a week or so of wonderful summer weather just before winter set in.  The Great White North, I’m realizing, has a similar phenomenon in the spring where we get a spate of lovely summer-esque weather then a huge snow storm dumps some wet gloppy snow right before true summer rolls in.

summer-wardrobe-500x428

Yeah, who does these cartoons, I’m finding this style all over Google, but where did they come from? It reminds me of The Oatmeal. They are fun-nee! Oh, and just pretend it says April, not June….

Last week it was in the sixties and sunny almost all week, Friday it even got up to seventy, down right hot if you’re a snow bunny like me.  Shorts made an appearance everywhere.  I even got out my own short pants and summer slip-on shoes.  Today and tomorrow though we could get up to two inches of snow.

But, I am looking forward to going to class today if for one reason only:  I can use my new car door remote!  Yup I’m still jazzed about that.  Yes, yes. Still a dork.

Oh, and I’m also jazzed because I’m down to just one more physics lab, and only three more weeks of my other classes before finals begin.  The end is so close!

school is almost over

April 19, 2015

Sometimes its the little things that get you

by Janie Jones

Little things irritate the piss out of me sometimes.

However, little things can thrill me too.

For the last year and a half or so, since the Jeep died, I’ve been driving a 4 door Buick Century.  It’s a 1999 and a hand-me-down vehicle.  But I have it on good authority that the previous owners took good care of it, and for a 16 year old car, it’s not in such bad shape, just things wear out on a 16 year old vehicle.

When Leif-Mom first gave it to Leif/me, it came with two vehicle remotes.  One sorta worked, sometimes, so we thought it needed a new battery.  A new battery was bought to no effect.  The second one never worked.  We checked into getting new ones at a the local Buick dealership and they wanted an obscene amount of money for a new remote, in excess of $200.  At the time I was still primarily driving the Jeep and generally the Buick was the “back-up” vehicle, so we didn’t see the need to worry about a new door remote.

Fast forward, Jeep dying, Leif getting a new truck and the Buick becoming my primary vehicle.  The key on the driver’s side door sometimes doesn’t work and the back seat doors don’t have locks.  The trunk doesn’t have a release button inside car, so you have to have the key to get in the trunk.  If you have the car running, you have to have the trunk key on a separate ring, or you have to turn off the car to get in the trunk.  Pain in the ass if you’re picking someone up in the winter who has bags.  It’s also a pain in the ass if you want to get in the back seat of the locked car.  You have to unlock the front, then use the unlock release button to open the back, then either leave the front door open or reopen it to re-lock the back seat doors.  As the key/lock is old and cranky, sometimes the driver’s side lock doesn’t want to unlock with the key, so you have to go around to the passenger-side front door, unlock it, then because the passenger side doesn’t unlock all the doors, you have to climb over the seat to unlock the driver’s-side.

Was that irritating to read?  I applaud you if you got through it all.  But if it was even mildly annoying to read, try dealing with this in the freezing cold, laden with book bags, and purse, and computer and lunch box, and big mittens, or sometimes shopping bags filled with groceries.

So somewhere along the way someone told me there’s a locksmith in Big City that fixes/sells/reprograms remotes.  I knew of the place and it’s not far from where I’m living.  About a week ago I was driving by and saw their sign saying “We program car-door remotes!”  So I pulled over and went in.  As it turns out they were able to tell me that my circuit board must be bad, and they didn’t have the proper replacement parts.  The guys were nice and suggested I try looking online because sometimes you could find a complete, brand new remote for around $25 bucks.  If I was able to get the one I needed they said I could bring it back and they’d program it for me for $40.

It was still rather a lot of money all told, but I was getting really fed up with the scenarios above.  So I did a little surfing, and as I have an Amazon Prime membership, I was able to find some remotes pretty cheap.  But when I went to find one for the car I have, I discovered that what was coming up didn’t match the model number of the remote I had.  The model remote I had wasn’t even for a Buick Century!  It was for a Chevy Tahoe.  Somewhere in all the chaos of moving the other remote got lost, but apparently I ended up with the remote that never worked, and now I know why.  Wrong car.

So, I followed online instructions to find out which remote model I needed for a 1999 Buick Century, and found one for $15, and I got free shipping.  It also said that the remote would come with directions for programming the new remote myself.  Well, thought I, these instructions probably won’t work with my car, but I can always go back to to the locksmith.

The new remote arrived on Friday.  I was on my way out to the farm, so it sat in the car all day yesterday.  This morning, back in town I saw the package and decided to give it a whirl.  The directions to program the remote directed me to go online to the company website and enter my car info.  Expecting a hassle that would end in frustration and a trip to the locksmith next week, I gave it a try anyway.  The result was a series of steps requiring me to put the car key in, take the car key out, put the car key in, and hold the button down (think the tune of the hokey pokey).  Then listen for three chimes and do it all again, and that’s how you set the remote!

Well, stars and stripes!  The remote hokey pokey actually worked.  Exactly as it said it would.  The first time.

I now have a functioning car door remote.

I did a little happy dance.  Oh yes.  I really did.

Amazing how exciting something so little can be.

Now I want to just walk back and forth to my car, locking and unlocking it remotely.  I need to go to someplace and buy a bunch of stuff to put in the trunk so I can open it with the new remote.

Yes.  I know.  I’m a dork.

But it worked.  And it only cost me $15.  Not $200.  Not even $40 to have the locksmith program it.  Cheap and effective.  How often does that happen!

If only you could see the dorky grin on my face right now.