Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do you listen to pop music because you're sad, or are you sad because you listen to pop music?

Oh, gentle readers. It's a typical Wednesday morning at 3AM. Where are I? At lab doing some biochemistry and listening to Kylie Minogue.

In 2002, her Fever album had just come out and I was taking Munich by storm with Alan. Memories of dancing in kunstpark ost to silly pop music. When will I see you again, sweet Munich?

I have always felt a strong affinity for southern Germany. The art, the music, the landscape, the history, the people. Is it the weltschmerz?

Today I got to have lunch with Susan Lindquist, MIT prof and the former director of the Whitehead institute. As we say "BFD": big fucking deal. Nothing codifies and distills my purpose like meeting a luminary. Arguably one of the most successful scientists I've met (and at Stanford I've met many successful scientists), Lindquist's candor and approachability was surprising.

One of the topics we discussed at length was the state of scientific education in America. Why do half of all American's not believe in evolution? A lion's share of the blame can be placed on the ivory tower and its inability or unwillingness to communicate with the general public. The rest of the blame can be placed on class room teachers who read from textbooks. There are few if any experimentalists who teach; most instructors regurgitate minutia into the gaping mouths of the baby bird student/automatons. No wonder why our country thinks science is inaccessible and boring.

But why didn't I learn about evolution until I was a junior in college? "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." This is disturbingly true. I've always thought that biology answers the what, where, and when, and how, but evolution answers the why. And that's usually more interesting.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For he is like a refiner's fire

I've been going through a baroque phase lately and it's totally distressing me.

My favorite as of late is Vivica Genaux, this tomboyish Alaskan mezzo. She seems to have moved away from her short hair and pants role in the last few years, but boy, can she nail the fioratura. Not only can she sing a legato, her range is incredible. Not in the link I posted, but in another version of
Qual guerriero in campo armato on youtube she sings from G3-C6. Seriously, people.

She does this wierd jaw-moving thing when articulating doesn't seem to be in rhythm, so I don't know what to make of it. She's fierce nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Went to Nebraska for the annual pheasant hunting/Thanksgiving activities. It was beyond wonderful to see my family, most of whom I haven't seen since last Christmas (!). My little sisters are growing up to be such interesting, talented, and kind young women. My brother and I are fighting over if we can get them to come to NYC or SF for college, that would pretty much make my life.

The highlight of the trip was hanging out with Alan and his posse in Lincoln. His friend Jake lives in some hippy commune by the dumping ground for the Lincoln municipal parks, so we climbed around on dismantled playground equipment at dusk. Reclaimed by weeds, these cast-offs of childhoods forgotten were reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are mixed with post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Bricktop was a bittersweet reminder of the Shatterdays of CoMO, but fun nonetheless. Someone who shall remain nameless may have lost a bet about Eddie Murphy and was forced to ballwalk to the bathroom.

I'm seriously considering becoming the master of my own destiny and moving to the city--at least for a trial period. Although still partial to Inner Sunset, I'm currently in love with the Duboce Triangle. It's true, victorian arctitecture, bay windows, hardwood floors, and vaulted cielings make me salivate. The only way I know to decide if I'm unnessesarily romanticizing SF is to take the plunge. Ballwalking, indeed.