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End of year post [Dec. 8th, 2009|01:09 pm]
[Current Music |E.S. Posthumus - Arise]

Hello LiveJournal. That place that isn't the clusterfuck of everyone talking all at once that is Facebook. (Hm. One of Firefox's spelling suggestions for "clusterfuck" is "knuckleduster.")

Do that many of you still read LJ? Sometimes this place is like that depressing mall with like a Mervyn's and Payless Shoe Source that always seems deserted. It's still better than MySpace, the internet ghetto, which to be fair has some of my favorite artists. At least a lot of the LJ Communities are always active.

It's been 6 months since my last proper update, so as to have a record, years from now (if LJ is still around) of what I was up to in late 2009:

I turned 40 on Devil's Night, but it's not like I won't be able to figure out that bit years from now.
Come NYE, I will have been to San Francisco 8 times in 2009. I'm thankful that as long as I keep Megan supplied with Soviet pins and buttons, she keeps me supplied with plane tickets.

Partial familial stuff (leaving lots out):

Last Friday was the 1 year anniversary of Erica's passing:

Occasionally, I will read old e-mails from her, knowing that if I hit Reply, they will go nowhere. This makes me sad.

Chunk had another baby:

This makes me happy. His name is Beck.

Maddie is now dating and going to proms:

This makes me feel uneasy and over-protective. She's really smart though, and I trust her not to bring home a douchebag or hipster or something. She's always sending me Facebook pokes that brighten my day.

Nick now lives in New Zealand is is punk rock.

This also makes me happy, but he gave up skateboarding, which makes me sad. Then again, he was sponsored for downhill skating, bombing hills at 50mph, so maybe it's for the best.

Some work pictures.

While going through one of the old HP-UX directories of the Electron Probe, I came across this image. I don't know what it is. It's several years old and may have been taken by my predecessor. It was a Targa format image too, which was really odd. In any case it looks like an inverted cross. \m/

This is a bone implant that looks like a simple cube, but its design is based on a 2nd iteration Menger Sponge, which is a fractal based on a Sierpinski Carpet, which is in turn based on Cantor Dust, named after a mathematician named Georg Cantor.

Cantor was so smart he went insane studying the nature of infinity. This was him as a child.

Personal Stuff.

OK, I am not the type of person to talk about extra personal stuff online. Things have changed a lot for me in the past couple of years though. I will defer to the wisdom of Mike Tyson to illustrate this.

Hair is still blue most of the time.

BTW, I should mention that I'm a competitive runner now. My finish was 4.6 miles in under 40 minutes, which is a pretty crappy time, but not bad considering that I have a mitral valve prolapse that would normally prevent me from doing cardio. Plus I've been running for only 6 months, after a 22 year hiatus. Corrie (implant gal from last entry)and I plan on flying to SF together to run the Bay to Breakers with my sister in May.

So, there are a lot of other things to talk about, but I just want to leave with some thoughts regarding happiness or lack thereof. Compare the stories behind the first 2 pictures in this article. Now, I know many of you are going through some hard times with your jobs, relationships, kids, businesses, health, finances, or what have you. While I may not discuss any of these things here but rather in person, try to keep things in perspective, OK?

For instance, did your day end like this?

No? OK then. Life is grand.

Thanks for reading, those of you still here.
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Quarterly LJ update picture post [May. 11th, 2009|01:19 pm]
[Current Music |Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Now]

So, for those of you who aren't on Facebook, let me just say, it takes little to no effort to project the appearance of being social or interested there. I do it all the time. So, back to LJ for a status update that is longer than a couple of sentences. So, as I mentioned to defenestr8r, time for an update. Something more than Facebook offers.

My apartment. For well over a year, I had no furniture because it really didn't bother me much the way things were. I just sat on the floor, all zen/living in squalor-like.
This is my old setup.

This, after around $3000, is my new one. Even the fucking desk lamp was $100.

Here are my new 24" iMac's Hard Drives. All 3TB's worth.

I was supposed to go on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera in June with the family. The cruise line canceled it, to be safe. I was really looking forward to it. There would have been like 15 of us, including Maddie, whom I adore.

Oh, and here's me sitting at my desk, grinning stupidly.

Maddie and I are both grateful our family is big on orthodonture.

Even though Mexico is a no-go (we may do Canada instead), I did go to Baltimore for V and N's wedding. (after a 10 hour drive with Dru and deviant_muse). myarsenalx and P were there too.
You can see a whole bunch of pictures at staysonpaper's journal. Her bra does not fit me, btw. A bunch of us found that out the other night. Damn.

Invisible microphone. Actually, I was coughing.

I guess I should mention that I will be in SF again from MAY 16-24. I will definitely be at the May 18th Death Guild, probably with Zanna in tow.

I also want to make it out to Seattle sometime to see carpe_jugulum, willowperson, maybe psymbiotic and various other Seattle and maybe Portland peoples? Maybe at the same time V and N go. I was thinking about Willow recently because she's into the H+ thing.

You see, I've been doing some stuff on implant design with the biomedical engineering department and this cool grad student named Danny. Much like people, these implants must have both internal and external qualities in order for them to be viable and functional. The outside must exhibit bioactivity, either my being composed of a material with calcium and phosphorus, or by having a surface nanostructure conducive to mineral epitaxy. The main qualification for the inner structure is tensile, shear and compression strength. One of the things being done is introducing carbon nanoparticles into the mineral/resin scaffold. Here is an EDS map of the distribution of these particles in a bone implant. The more evenly the carbon nanoparticles (blue) are distributed, the better the strength.

Also in implant anecdotes: Corrie, a nice grad student from Purdue got me into running because she's on Purdue's cross-country team. I miss running. My ex had bad knees and we could never run together. I used to run in college to keep in shape for skateboarding. Anyway, Corrie broke her collarbone a while ago and has a wicked looking metal bar implanted where her bone was broken.

One of the other things I enjoy doing at work is solving mysteries. I once had to identify something carved out of a person's lung. This was for a malpractice case. We extrapolated that during an emergency intubation procedure, they chipped the patient's molar and they inhaled it, but in the chaos of being in a life threatening emergency, no one noticed.

In another recent case, a pathologist in Australia contacted me because he wanted to know what the strange rock-like crystals his patient was spitting out were made of. The EDS and XRD results showed peaks for magnesium carbonate. Here's an X-Ray powder diffraction pattern, because it looks fancy.

Here is a box where I keep burned out filaments from the SEM.

The scribbling on the box. That's a lot of people I know.

Well, that's it.
Oh, one more.

OMG, sounds like a close call. I hope he's OK!

See you in another few months, LJ.
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10th Anniversary Tattoo [Feb. 12th, 2009|11:59 am]
[Current Location |Lab #1]
[Current Mood |creative]
[Current Music |Cardigans - My Favorite Game]

Some of you who know me more than casually might know that I nearly died of a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage in 1999, the result two ruptured cerebral aneurysms.

When I was in the emergency room, I was graded between a 4 and a 5 on the Hunt and Hess scale, giving me around a 15% chance of survival.

For whatever reason, I did not die, much to the delight of my family and friends and much to the chagrin of my foes.

Curiouser still, I suffered almost no lasting effects, which usually range from mild to severe brain damage and mild to severe paralysis, or combination of both depending on several factors.

As far as I can tell anyway, since I'm probably not the best judge of any before and after comparisons. I just know that I can still figure out how complicated stuff works, and I know that bacon is a flavorful treat in moderation. I cannot, however perform any of my old skateboard tricks, some of the harder moves I could barely do BEFORE my brain exploded. That, and I can dance as well as a fat middle-aged white guy.

Other than that, I'm as I was, only better on a lot of ways, because during the nearly 10 years of recovery from that ordeal, I learned and experienced a lot of things and took valuable lessons from them, some of which had nothing to do with the actual illness, but more to do with living a life that is occasionally turned upside-down for whatever reason.

So, anyway, there is this procedure that they do to treat aneurysms called clipping. Some of you have felt the hole that remains on the top right of my skull, where they drilled in to get at the problem and apply the clip(s). "The brain is gently retracted to locate the aneurysm."

Here is a company that makes these clips.

To commemorate the nearly 10 years it's been since this happened to me, I decided some time ago to get a tattoo.

Let me iterate that I do NOT know if this is the kind or brand of clip in my head. My medical records at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco have been archived somewhere for years and would take months to find. It doesn't matter. It's just symbolic, you know? Unless I find out later that I had an experimental model of clip that was shaped like a dragon with frikkin' laser cannons on its wing-tips, I think I really like the design I chose. Maybe I will have a cooler shaped model swapped out when they discover the one I have caused patients to become cynical, emotionally distant, and laugh at inappropriate situations.

Enough rambling, I'd like show you pictures.

To do this thing, I chose two girls from the LaBamba videos in my last entries, since I've seen their excellent work before and they are good friends: Rachael and Zanna, who were supposed to both work on it simultaneously. Unfortunately, we got the dates mixed up and the day Zanna's BFF Ashley and I drove down to the shop in Bloomington, Rachael was visiting her parents. Zanna it was, which was fine.

Incidentally, this is my favorite picture of Rachael. She will do my next one, promise.

So, we just jumped right into it.


Zanna getting ready.
Note that the poor quality of my Blackberry's CMOS image chip, coupled with slight movement on my part results in pointy ears:

Ow Ow Ow:

Tattooing is thirsty work:

Almost done:

Ta Daa!

Afterwards, she fixed up the one on my leg, as well as 3 of Ashley's.

The L's were apparently painful:

Red lettering was upgraded to Black on both arms.

I left out pictures of the ones Zanna upgraded on my leg and Ash's shoulder.

I bought Zanna a roast duck afterwards.
Odd choice for a gal with pet chickens, but whatever. Om nom nom:

I'm supposed to forward this entry to my friend Domini, who might want to include it in her upcoming book. I'm going to venture a guess that I am the only one in the world with this tattoo, because statistics dictate that 85% of the people who have gone through something like this are dead, and 75% of the remaining 15% are usually WAY too fucked up to care about getting inked.

One more thing. Even though this was done like 3 weeks, ago, I felt obligated to include an SEM micrograph. The oil diffusion pump on my scope was out of commission for a while and was just repaired. All of the oily rags from cleaning the new mechanism made my lab smell like french fries. Before I resume helping doctors and students unlock the mysteries of the microverse, I tested it on myself. Here is an animation of a series of micrographs of a scab that fell off my arm while the tattoo was healing.

Not many of you will ever see my skin up this close. At 20,000 X, the speck at the center measures ~1 micron. Smaller than a single red blood cell, so I'm not really sure what that thing is, even though it was once a part of me. An alien landscape that grew on my arm. That's really kind of creepy and gross if you think about it.

Also, I know a lot of you on my FL are going through some tough financial times. I sincerely hope things work out for you all. It's a horrible time for many people. Best of luck to everyone who needs it. You all should consider working for a University. Pay is not great, but the benefits are amazing, there's good job security unless you're a total moron, in which case, security is still pretty good.
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TLDNR? [Jan. 9th, 2009|12:19 pm]
[Current Music |Immortal - One By One]

There was a bit of hoopla lately about LiveJournal possibly going under, so I figured I should maybe update, though it would have been pretty poignant if the last entry were my last one here.

First of all, I still prefer LJ above My Facebook.

Oh, and MySpace. See, you can't really blog at FB, and MySpace, well, I have friends that are only there, and that's why I have an account, but let's just say I'd make this guy my top friend if only he were to accept my friend request.

So, sticking to my previous entry formula of family - friends - work, since that's basically how they rank in order of importance:

Of course Erica was on my mind, but I'm not going to talk about that much anymore. I flew to her funeral on the 9th of last month, then flew back to Indy for a couple of weeks, then back to SF for Christmas/New Years.
Here is a magazine article about her passing that tells it better than I ever could. I can only hope that some day I touch as many lives as she did during her short time on earth. I'm sure I won't.

I just want to add that people still leave comments on her Facebook, which I find pointless, but not unexpected. However people choose to cope, I guess.

I spent the Holidays in The City with the family, and it was the first time ALL of us had been together in 3 years, and it was the first Christmas with Baby Kell, who was of course, the center of attention.

Here he is with my sisters and a friend. My sisters are the non-blondes, and Kell is the small person.

A slight damper was that my niece Maddie was dumped by her (first) boyfriend ON Christmas over the phone. What a gutless little douchebag.

She's really popular, so I doubt she's all that broken up about it anymore. Even the best of us get dumped on occasion, right? Of course I know!

I got some cool stuff for Christmas. Speaking of cool free stuff... apparently my stepmother was visited the week before I arrived by 6 Supreme Court Justices of the People's Republic of China, who were there to consult with her on some legal business. I found some of the schwag that the City presented to them and swiped these for my office. Yes, that's a pencil shaped like a gavel. Cute.

My favorite X-mas gift was a plane ticket. I use those a lot.

So YES I had a great trip (my 7th to SF in one year and I think the best), the highlight of which was the New Year's Eve party at JWZ's, the lowlight of which was Eric and Rebecca being puked on. I mean, I'm assuming that was the lowlight. I was across the street at the Glas Kat when it happened.

I met a lot of new people this time around, one of whom wanted to see some SEM micrographs that I've taken, especially ones that appear to be macro-sized objects, so here are a few good examples.

On the left is snake skin. On the right is the surface of a human tooth magnified 1000 times.

On the left is grass. On the right are carbon nanotubes.

On the left is a red giant star. On the right is nucleated amorphous hydroxyapatite (yes, I colorized this one).

Finally, here is the cover of the statewide microscopy society newsletter. Yay me, I won $100 for that picture. And yes, holy shit, I think that IS Comic Sans. I do not publish the Newsletter.

They might look like volcanoes, but as the caption says, they are niobium oxide cone structures formed by anodization, and they are a couple of hundred microns in diameter.

Anodization is the process by which one can make black metal.

The trucks I used to ride when I was sponsored by Santa Cruz and Independent, and Converse for skateboarding were black anodized metal.
Here are some snippets of ancient footage of me practicing for a contest in (I think) 1990 in The Northbeach. The last trick in the clip, I had to try 3 times, was one of the hardest tricks for me, even though it looks simple. Like life, I guess.

Ignore the stupid commentary.

Since this entry is following the same format of an earlier one, remember the taco girls? (believe me, that's not meant to be a crude epithet, they really do love Mexican food). Here is another video of them eating tacos while TALKING about the last video.

Ugh. I've been working on this entry a long time.


Sorry for the long ramble. I just don't post that often, but I do love LJ. The communities are a treasure trove of funny and interesting stuff, especially from all the crazy Russians.

In closing, if this video is an accurate description of how you're living your life, it may be time for a change, regardless of the LULZ.
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(no subject) [Dec. 5th, 2008|12:02 pm]


June 4, 1979 - December 4, 2008

The blog hasn't been updated yet.

Erica passed away last night at 11:45 PM.

Thank you all for your concern and kind messages. Her immediate family (her mother Judy and sister Jaci) are the ones that will need support now.

(no subject) [Nov. 30th, 2008|05:48 pm]
My dad called me and told me that Erica is dying. It's just a matter of hours now. Maybe days.

I'm posting this from curtis_lemay's computer in Chicago.
I'm 2000 miles away from her and supposed to go to a concert tonight with a bunch of people, but I'm obviously not feeling it. Just sadness and helplessness.

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OH HELL YEAH. [Nov. 4th, 2008|11:10 pm]
[Current Mood |ecstaticecstatic]

Yes we did!

Stolen from well, everyone just now.
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Fuck. That's all I can say. [Oct. 13th, 2008|12:25 pm]
[Current Mood |crushedcrushed]

Erica relapsed this weekend and was re-admitted to the hospital.
I will not go into any details here about what happened or what the prognosis is now. None of you knows her anyway. I especially won't go into my anger towards people who are given the gift of health and whose lives are still inexplicably full of fail.

If you want to keep track of what's happening, you can read her blog:

or her Facebook:

meme [Sep. 18th, 2008|05:27 pm]
You know the rules.
And so do I.

Just in case you don't.

1. Take a picture of yourself right now.

2. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.

3. Post that picture with NO editing.

4. Post these instructions with your picture.

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There's no words there! Fucking thing SUCKS!! [Aug. 20th, 2008|12:35 pm]
[Current Mood |quixoticquixotic]
[Current Music |Everything Goes Cold - Fail]

Actually there are words here. Pictures and video too. Lots, because it's been like 4 months.

Family/Work/Friends. I've shrunken them all pretty small. I've tried to keep them falafel-sized, but some are larger, so forgive the lack of a cut.

I had fine time in SF last month. Considering my plane ticket was $80 r/t (thanks to Megan). I think I will be flying back in mid September to see Delerium


Let's begin with this:


I didn't get to visit her because she still had no immune system to fight off infections, and the last person she needed to see was someone who had been on a plane and in crowded nightclubs. Anyway, she made it through the first 90 days post bone marrow transplant and came out with no trace of cancer.
She is amazing.

I did get to see most of the rest of the family, including my new nephew Kell.
I pity the poor person whom Kell brings home some day many years from now because they will have to pass the judgment of all of these women, and they of course know Kung-Fu.


So, remember when Tila Tequila claimed responsibility for California's gay marriage ban being overturned?

This is my stepmother and her friend and colleague Joyce Kennard. They were/are the first 2 Asian woman Judges in the state of California. (My stepmother appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 1982 and Kennard appointed by Gov. Deukmejian in 1986). Anyway, Joyce Kennard is one of the CA Supreme Court Justices in the 4-3 majority who overturned the ban in May.

So it was Justices George, Werdegar, Moreno, and Kennard who were responsible, and Tila Tequila is a delusional skank.


When I was back in SF I hung out with my cousin Nick, seen here with my sister.

She may have just had a baby, but he just became a sponsored (downhill) skateboarder. This a feat I accomplished (freestyle) when I was his age too!

Here as a video clip of my opening move at the National Finals in Phoenix, AZ, 1989. This is pretty much the most pointlessly difficult way to get on your skateboard ever.

If you've never had to perform something that required lots of manual dexterity while in public and under pressure, you'll never understand how difficult and nerve-wracking it can be. Those Olympic gymnasts. They have my deepest respect. I wasn't very consistent. Sometimes I nailed my tricks, like when I skated in front of 50,000 people during half-time of a 49ers/Bears game in 1988, and sometime I kind of choked, like at this contest. I think I got 8th. In any case, Wikipedia had me in there until a recent edit war erupted over who belongs on the list. Currently it's no one. Not even the God of Freestyle, Rodney Mullen. Note that he does the same trick I did, but landing on the SIDE of his board!!

Also, my other cousin Alexandra won the NCAA D3 Nationals in freestyle swimming this year in Ohio.

A lot of the people in my family are pretty athletic and fit, and incidentally, none of us plays World of Warcraft ;P
I will probably be playing Diablo III when it comes out though, because I love clicking on things until they die.
I gained 17 pounds of muscle since I started working out back in Nov of last year. I'm assuming it's muscle, but it could also just be Dark Matter.

I can't think of a way to transition into work. Here are some work pictures.


First off, it's really weird being in charge. I had to fire a dentist last month. Not being one to hold grudges against people (anymore), I wrote him a letter of recommendation for a program he's applying to. I hate having to tell people who work for you and are your friends that they are screwing up, but that's part of the job.

Plasma cloud from argon sputtering of gold.

This looks like it could be one of those circular parking garages, but it's actually a tiny implant that goes into a rat's femur:

P and I found a dead bug in the hallway. He chopped its head off and I imaged it.

A mere 35X magnification:

and all the way in to 2000X:

It's not SEM, but here is a picture of Galvatron.

Goodbye, Alley. We miss you:

Lauren Rocket!
ROCK MORE, ROLL MORE, FUCK MORE. (I believe that's Cousin It on the right at 1:03)


We don't smile because Death Guild: IS SRS BSNS:


(first time watching 2girls1cup)

Normally, I really don't like posting pictures of myself, but I noticed that my hair is a different color in every one of these pictures. It's because I have to re-color it fairly often and I do half-assed job. Not many people have naturally blue hair. Except maybe defenestr8r. Or maybe willowperson. Perhaps staysonpaper.

One more video. Surrounded by girls eating tacos at 2AM. Two of them will be giving me tattoos probably on my birthday.

I have a shit ton more stuff trapped on a broken cell phone, but it doesn't matter. I don't have a Flickr, and I never post pics to MySpace or Facebook. I just dump media here every few months.

Thank you for your time, everyone.
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Current life in images. [Apr. 23rd, 2008|12:59 pm]
[Current Location |Lab #1]
[Current Mood |artistic]
[Current Music |Delerium - A Poem for Byzantium]

As I mentioned previously, my sister was pregnant for the first time at the ripe old age of 41. Well, as of Sunday, she's not anymore, so please join me in welcoming my new nephew Kell Austin Duhn-Chamberlain to the world.

This is all very interesting to me, as someone who will probably never have children of my own. I'm very glad I get to see a next generation of my family grow. Sometimes they grow too fast, as mentioned in this post by cyberdependent . Case in point, this adorable message from my niece Madison was left on my answering machine in 1992. (sorry it's kinda loud)

This is her now.

She's the one on the right, because no niece of mine would ever throw up stupid hand-gestures in photos.

Next, update on Erica.

She found a marrow donor and is undergoing the transplant on the 30th. The kick-assery of this news cannot be overstated, but she is far from out of the woods. She's currently undergoing radiation "therapy." When next I see her, she will have little to no immune system, so I'll most likely wave at her from the other side of a lot of glass and/or plastic.

In job/science news, my talk at IU Bloomington went very well. Even Preston showed up, which really meant a lot to me. The state-wide microscopy society, of which I am Treasurer, actually made money and the meeting was considered a success. I saw hot brainy girls too. I won first prize in the image contest with this picture.

The description of which is "Nucleation and growth of amorphous hydroxy-apatite by a self-assembled polycrystalline bioceramic."

Oh yeah, I put my iPod Shuffle in the Micro-CAT Scanner. (meow)

You can see the power and shuffle buttons at the top.

So things could be worse. On the down side, I seem to have lost my $500 tax-refund check. One of the benefits of living alone and being lazy is that you rarely take out the garbage, so I am hopeful, because I need to buy a plane ticket to SF.

There's also a lot of my friends who are going through some rough times right now, either financially, professionally, health-wise, or emotionally.

I wish them/you all the best. Call me anytime. Don't sweat the little things, and remember to have some LULZ.
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Good news, I guess [Mar. 27th, 2008|03:02 pm]
[Current Location |CT Reconstruction lab]
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[Current Music |Sleepthief - Eurydice]

Thanks go to Cory Doctorow for picking up Erica's story for Boing Boing.

Thanks for the heads up on this, cristobat!

Not many updates on me. After talking to Erica and Jaci, all of the minutiae of life seem pretty inconsequential and the things and people that annoy me and make me happy will obviously come and go.

Do any of you really care what I'm doing and whom I'm doing it with?

Well, maybe, but that's what phones, email, texting and drunken action at Mutiny are for. Thanks for last night people.

I love all of my friends.
OK, most.
Well, definitely some.

Here is a random one of me and alley_shiver. Photobooth is such stupid fun.

Going back to SF soon to see my sister pop out her baby and visit Erica. Will text all of the relevant people when I finalize plans.

BTW, Bloomington folks. My lecture/discussion group will be on Friday, April 18th in Simon Hall (room TBA) from 11:30 to 12:30. You can come and make fun of me, but the discussion will cover Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, and I can guarantee you'll find it boring.

I really can't get into writing this algorithm for mineral content of micro-CT scans.

Can you blame me?

I hope you're all doing well.
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FUCK NO. [Mar. 24th, 2008|11:48 am]
[Current Mood |cynicalcynical]
[Current Music |Sleepthief - Just Say It.]

I'm running a bit low on my faith in humanity. I had a long post all set up, but, well, now I don't.

Erica's donor backed out.

If you're me, you develop a seething hatred for the world, but if you are she, you and your sister sing a song about it.

I did what I could this weekend though. I went and watched my friend Liz, aka Jezebel Juggs, at a Burlesque fund raiser for breast cancer. I helped her with her costume by tying a tie around her neck that she wore for about 10 seconds before she stripped it off on stage.

Comments are disabled, because you know, I don't want anyone to be in a situation where they feel obligated to do anything, even if it's just leaving a comment in a stupid blog.

Because there is no end to the ways that people can find to disappoint.

FUCK YEAH. [Mar. 12th, 2008|01:23 pm]
[Current Location |MHT Lab]
[Current Mood |thankfulthankful]
[Current Music |Sleepthief - Send Me An Angel]

Lots of interesting and not so interesting things going on with me, but none more important than this, so I'll let her tell you herself.

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Life isn't fair [Feb. 22nd, 2008|01:08 pm]
[Current Location |MHT lab]
[Current Mood |sadsad]
[Current Music |Balligomingo - Lost]

My cousin Erica's cancer came back after two years of remission. It's no longer Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. It's Acute Myeloid Leukemia, the same kind that took my mother 14 years ago.

She is in desperate need of a bone marrow donor, as we have been unable to find a match for her. If any of you know of any healthy people of Eurasian descent over age 18, please contact me at cocoamix at mac dot com, and I can give you info as to how they can be tested with a simple cheek swab to see if they are a match for her.

I've already found a few people. divia, you and your sister are angels. quotamour, I was going to ask you because I know you have a kind heart, but given your medical conditions, you wouldn't be a viable candidate.

I see so many horrible people whose pointless lives go on seemingly forever, yet someone as intelligent, kind, and beautiful as Erica has something like this happen to her. Don't waste your lives, people. Dead end jobs, dead-end relationships, dead end places to live, dead end dreams. Epic Failures. Get your heads on straight and live.

Anyway,it would royally suck if cancer claimed another victory over my family.

Really makes some of the petty shit, such as drama with my Ex, seem quaint by comparison.
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Picture post [Jan. 17th, 2008|01:11 pm]
[Current Location |Lab]
[Current Mood |calmcalm]
[Current Music |Juno Reactor - Mona Lisa Overdrive v2]

These are from the past 2 months or so. Family and friends. I'm very close to my family, and I miss them all. My parents are currently at the bottom of the earth - Antarctica. I hope my Dad doesn't get lost in the ice and turn into a Popsicle. Ha! Get it?

Cousin, sis, niece.

The entire female side of my family.

A few of you wanted to see my hair. If that looks like the most goofy, forced, and unnatural smile, it is. I am full of anger, vindictiveness, and Cheerios. I'm trying to lower my cholesterol because I'm getting a full checkup around the same time I'm having surgery to remove my 10 year old "prosthetic" that some of you know about.

You'll also notice the lack of furniture around me. The fact is, I have none. The computer is on a small tipped over bookcase, and I sit cross legged on the floor. Some day, I will have someone over and I'll ask, "what do you think of my apartment's lack of furnishings?" and they'll angrily reply, "THIS...IS...SPARTAN!!!" Then they'll kick me in the chest, we'll laugh about it, and write about it in our journals.

This has unexpected benefits though. Often I think, "As long as I'm down here on the floor, I may as well do some pushups and stomach crunches," so I'm getting a lot more fit.

The view from my old bedroom in San Francisco. Oh how I miss waking up to that.

I was wearing a shower cap when I took this picture.

I was not wearing a shower cap when I took this one.

Oh, they made me the supervisor of my department at work. This means more money (don't really care) and more responsibility (do not want). I will have around 6 people under me. I told them I'd try it for a while, and if I don't like it, I can go back to hiding in my labs and not talking to anyone without fear of demotion or getting canned.

And that's it, except for this:
Link34 comments|Leave a comment

Let me give you a piece of my mind. [Dec. 12th, 2007|11:40 am]
[Current Location |SEM lab]
[Current Mood |working]
[Current Music |Wouldn't Change a Thing - Jennifer Rene & Jose Amnesia]

Let me know if any of you learn anything useful from this, other than the fact that I'm cynical and sarcastic. That's no secret.

As the person who runs the digital electron microscopy facility at the school here, one of the things I have to do is train faculty, grad students, and industry clients on how to use some of the equipment. Some of them catch on rather quickly. Some not so much. Here then is a primer on the process of Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, As seen and ridiculously over-simplified on CSI: Miami. This technology is used to see what something is made of.

I wrote this section of the Wikipedia entry on EDS, but this is something a bit less technical and more reflective of my personal experiences and outlooks.

Some background info first. Everything in the Universe is made of atoms. At the center is the nucleus, consisting of protons, and sometimes neutrons.

Orbiting the nucleus like ugly dudes around a hot chick on the dance floor are electrons in specific orbits (K, L, or M), as stated by quantum theory.

OK, so let’s say we want to find out what something is made of. You’d put the sample in a scanning electron microscope equipped with an EDS detector. The scope has a filament at the top, typically made of tungsten wire, which is heated to over 4000 degrees. This heated wire is the source of a cloud of electrons, which are pulled by an accelerating voltage anode like gamers towards Cheetos and Mountain Dew towards your sample. So your atom is sitting there all happy (“I has a electron!”) and along comes one of these interlopers like a fat guy in a mosh pit and knocks one of the electrons from its orbit ("Noooo, they be stealin’ mah electron!”). The atom now finds itself missing something it dearly needs.

So, much like someone on the rebound, it seeks out the nearest and easiest substitute it can find: one of the L or M electrons, a.k.a. ugly dudes in orbit, and hooks up with it. Note that if the electron comes from one shell over, analogous to a friend from your neighborhood, it is designated an Alpha line X-Ray. If it comes from 2 orbitals up, analogous to some schmuck you just met on MySpace, it is designated a Beta line X-Ray.

Anyway, according to quantum theory, something must be given up during this exchange. Instead of dignity, self-respect or sanity, what is given up this time is energy in the form of an X-Ray. The resulting X-Ray, eager to get away from this fucked-up love triangle, takes off at a certain angle from the sample. Some of these X-Rays make their way towards a detector ("I see wat u did there"). This detector absorbs the X-Ray (nom nom nom), which results in what’s called an electron hole-pair. Nature, acting sort of like “the shocker” fills these and through a complicated chain of events, eventually results in a reading in kilo-electron volts of the X-Ray’s energy, which lets you determine what kind of atom it came from. "Oh hai, I identified ur elementz!"

The detector can give results not just about WHAT elements are present, but in what proportions as well. This is called “standardless semi-quantification.” Of course it’s always nice to have standards, but sometimes you have to lower or completely ignore your standards in favor of quick results. I find myself doing this often in my lab, but rarely in real life.

Anyway, here are some typical results.
This is what you see:

carpe_jugulum, this is the same picture I showed you and freeze_etch on Sunday.

This is what you get:

These images were taken from one of my recent papers in the Journal of Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. E-mail me for an autographed copy.

I was thinking of submitting this entry to my work as an official SOP, but they already think I’m weird. The fact that in a couple of weeks I’m going to maxmin and divia’s place to have Nancy bleach and dye my hair blue probably won’t help matters much.

Let me know if you found this enlightening in any way. My self-esteem could use a boost. Or not. You can just ignore me like this ant I'm about to squish. On second thought, maybe I'll see what this little dude is made of.

PS: See some of you out tonight. I'm feeling full o' beans (not in a scary way). I'll call Mr. Cadaver and see if I can't convince him to join us.
Link50 comments|Leave a comment

Figures [Dec. 9th, 2007|12:12 pm]
It's only AFTER you've exchanged numbers with someone that they regale you with stories of pulling knives on people.

We R teh smart? [Dec. 3rd, 2007|12:47 pm]
Hey agntprovocateur and lollylo, our alma mater was just ranked #69 (hee) in the country and awarded a Gold medal by US News and World Reports.

Not that it means much. I still turned out kind of a mess. You both turned out great though. Right?
Margaret Cho was kicked out after one year, and look how she fared!
Link22 comments|Leave a comment

Trip home full of WIN [Nov. 27th, 2007|02:21 pm]
[Current Mood |bouncybouncy]
[Current Music |Let It Go - The Prids]

Wow, who knew life could be so good? Dials still set at 11.

Full update with comments allowed later.

Am I doing this right? [Nov. 20th, 2007|11:25 am]
[Current Location |MH testing lab]
[Current Mood |thankfulthankful]
[Current Music |A Strange Kind of Love - Peter Murphy]

Life, I mean. It's been full of so much change recently. After all of the anger and hurt of the last month, though, I'm feelin' good.

I'm hopping on a plane to San Francisco tomorrow. Thanksgiving Dinner will probably have about 20-25 people there. I hope leaving for the airport 4 hours early is enough time. I texted a bunch of my Bay Area friends last night, and have tentative plans for lots of meetings, since I haven't been home since March. Holidays are always a hard time to hang out with friends, since most of them will be doing the family thing. agntprovocateur and divia, we should go someplace besides a club if we find the time.

Speaking of family, since I didn't post a pic in my last entry, here's two more of random relatives of mine, both of whom I'll be seeing tomorrow.

My niece Madison, stolen from her Facebook:

My step-cousin Erica:

She's had a rough couple of years. She has acute lymphocytic leukemia, a friend of hers had suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurysm (the same thing that almost killed me in 1999), and someone close to her died last week. I'm actually attending the funeral with her and the family the day after Thanksgiving.

Anyway, on a lighter note, I went to staysonpaper and noahhs's place and did some movies and hair business. We bleached out a large streak of my hair, which was just cut very short, and once it was definitely light brown, we dyed it dark blue-ish-purple. We left it in all night (probably too long), but when I washed it out late that night, it stained the shower purple, and when I dried it, it looked jet black. No visible change at all. Epic fail! The water STILL runs purple, but nothing visible in the hair itself. I guess it's just as well, since I DO have a funeral to attend.

I hope to see some of you over the Holiday, and for those I don't see, have a great Thanksgiving. I don't know about all of you, but family are the only ones in the world I trust unconditionally anymore. I'm glad I get to see them again.
Link15 comments|Leave a comment

My penis. Let me show you it. [Nov. 15th, 2007|12:39 pm]
[Current Location |Trinidad]
[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]
[Current Music |Miranda Sex Garden - Cover My Face]

No, not right now, but seriously, for the Nth time in my adult life, someone called me "maam" or "miss." This time it was Lunch Lady Doris at the cafeteria today.
I don't even have long hair anymore.

Comments disabled because I don't want to punch anyone in the throat.
(Unless you know where I can get a Rasputin Beard©, in which case you should e-mail me.)

Episode 1: The Phantom Payment [Nov. 13th, 2007|12:47 pm]
[Current Location |Microhardness Testing Lab]
[Current Mood |confusedconfused]
[Current Music |The Sisters of Mercy - When You Don't See]

I know for the past 8 years I never paid much attention to money or finances because Maura took care of that for me. Now that I'm paying my own bills, I still get confused.

We had a huge balance on my CitiBank card because she transferred some of the other cards' balances to it a year ago. Like several thousand dollars. I told her I would handle all of it because she took care of my residual credit card debt when I first moved in with her 8 years ago and she basically got my credit rating out of the gutter, since I had over $60,000 on several cards a year earlier. That huge debt got taken care of in a way I'd rather not get into.

Anyway, I logged into my account today and there was a payment made for $475 that I can't trace.
I sure as hell didn't pay it, and Maura probably wouldn't do that. The only one I can think is is my Dad who is Montreal this week, so it probably wasn't him, but the have teh interweb in Canada, so maybe it was.

Fuck I hate dealing with money. As a 38 year old, you think I'd have gotten used to it. It's not like I'm a spendaholic. I hardly ever buy stuff for myself. I still wear the same ratty black scrubs to work that I've had for years. My computer is 4 years old. My iPod broke a year ago and I haven't replaced it. I only have 4 pairs of shoes. The last thing I bought (10 minutes ago was "Free Burma" shirt with Aung San Su Kyi on it (from a Burmese cow-orker).

I haven't flown to SF since March, though I'll be there for Thanksgiving.

Anyway, if I see you out, ask me to buy you something. I probably will because I don't yet know the value of money.

Here's today's picture:

The lyrics to the title track are about a drug dealer and includes the phrase "I make a couple of hundred in just one day."

I hate to break it to you Sascha, but if you're a drug dealer and you're only pulling down $200 bucks a day, your life is full of FAIL.
Link10 comments|Leave a comment

She and I are best friends... [Nov. 2nd, 2007|10:38 am]
[Current Location |Sputter Coating Lab]
[Current Mood |gratefulgrateful]
[Current Music |Cranes - Beautiful Friend]

and probably always will be. (note that I didn't write "BFF.")
Enough of that.

Happy Friday people. The Colts are playing today, I guess, and I care only because we get lots of free food at my work's pitch-in.

Speaking of work, I helped repair the scanning electron microscope and thus saved the school around $30,000. I get a nice pat on the back, but no second raise. Bah. BTW, one of the officers of the Microscopy Society I belong to has the last name "Cinders." What a neat name. Too bad she's not that hot looking, or it would be even more neat.

I LOVE MY NEW (to me) CAR! I got a '97 Toyota Corolla, MINT condition with only 66k miles on it for $4500. The closest I found online to that was an exact same model and year with 78k miles for $6000. Hey inlaterdays, I owe you a few shopping trips in it.


Every now and then, ytmnd has something that I just can't stop watching.

Like this one. I wish I knew what song that was. It's kinda catchy.

Oh, here's the obligatory picture. It's my cousin Nick offering Corn Nuts. He's such a great cousin. He called me on my birthday from his dorm at Williams College to wish me a good one.

Yes, he's 18 and I'm 38, but that's because my dad is 18 years older than my uncle.
Link13 comments|Leave a comment

"I mean you're not helping! Why is that, Leon? " [Oct. 25th, 2007|11:29 am]
[Current Location |secondary lab]
[Current Mood |determined]
[Current Music |Hate This (X-Fusion Mix) - Grendel]

Yay for lots of fantastic and above all LOYAL friends. You all know who you are.

Yay for big raises at work! Flat screen TV here I come.

Yay for having a fun job where the I have to make annotations like, "experiment was conducted in a different area to avoid crack."

In keeping with a picture in every post and to celebrate the impending release of Leopard, here's one of me and Steve Jobs.

He's not looking at the camera because some joker yelled his name right when Maura snapped the picture, which has incidentally been cropped to hide the fact that I was wearing a fucking fanny pack. Thanks to cyberdependent's boss for upgrading me to a shoulder bag.

WTF. I know we all do things that we regret and and are embarrassed about, but shit, that's hard to live down. Sometimes it seems like it must have been someone else.
Link25 comments|Leave a comment

Say UNCLE! [Oct. 15th, 2007|10:48 am]
[Current Location |SEM lab]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]
[Current Music |Juno Reactor - Hotaka]

My Sister in Marin County called me last night. She's pregnant. She's been wanting a kid for years and now she's going to have one. It's about time. She's 41. It's actually going to be my 7th nephew or niece, but the first from her. She and I are very close, so it was great news!

Following carpe_jugulum's advice to always include a picture in your posts, my older sister:

The soon-to-be husband is an Australian triathlete, so I'm guessing it will be a fine looking kid. You never know though. I think almost all babies are kinda ugly, and stuff comes out of them. Not for me, man, but I sure am happy for my sister.
Link10 comments|Leave a comment

I wrote something [Oct. 12th, 2007|10:37 am]
[Current Location |SEM lab]
[Current Mood |hopefulhopeful]
[Current Music |Nightwish - Bye Bye Beautiful]

I will be looking at a very cool apartment tonight where I'll probably be living. It sounds like a kick-ass place in a great neighborhood. Seems I lucked out, as this place only has 20 units and they rarely become available.
Now that I'm no longer with someone who never planned on moving to SF with me despite leading me to believe so, I can put the next year's efforts towards saving money and looking for a job at Berkeley with my whole ass, not just half.

Speaking of which, I love my current job. I never thought I'd say so, but the high degree of freedom I have here, coupled with getting to play with a million dollars worth of neato equipment, the raise I just got, and the ability to frequently waste time with cyberdependent on Digg makes this a pretty neat place. I also have 9 weeks of paid vacation the unused portion of which I will get paid for when I leave, whenever that is. I told two new friends here that are from the Bay Area that they can shoot me in the head if I'm still here by the time the male of the duo finishes Medical School in 2 years. I have the gun too. It's a Colt Python .357 Magnum. OK, I kid. The gun doesn't even work. The cylinder locking bolt snapped years ago.

I'm also looking at cars, which for a while was sketchy, since she who shall not be named handled all the finances and wasn't saving as much money as I thought. Oh well, I'm the first to admit that my family really comes through when it comes to interest free loans. Once when I was in a very bad place financially through no one's fault but my own, my sis in Texas loaned me 10 grand without hesitation. After I left SF my brother paid off $2500 of my parking tickets that I had accrued through that same "dark period." Those of you know know me really well will know about the chaotic, horrible period I'm talking about. Those who don't shouldn't care.

Makes me realize that even though I'm in my late 30s, I still have a lot to learn about responsibility and in many ways, I suck. At least compared to my family and a lot of my friends who seem to be some much more "on top of things" than I.

BTW, here's a photo of my stepmom with this years Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore:

She appears to be making googoo eyes at him.

I had a great time at the Assemblage 23 show with staysonpaper, noahhs, carpe_jugulum, and willowperson

Looking forward to V's party tonight.
Link13 comments|Leave a comment

1993-2007 [Sep. 18th, 2007|11:24 am]
[Current Mood |depresseddepressed]

Well, after 14 years of friendship and 8 years of living together, Maura and I are breaking up. She needs her space to do stuff, and I've become too dependent on her.

Time to take care of myself now.
Wish me luck!
Link44 comments|Leave a comment

Buy! Buy! Buy! [Jun. 7th, 2007|02:13 pm]
[Current Location |Micro-CT lab]
[Current Mood |nerdy]
[Current Music |Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up]

These are the things I bought online in during this past week, starting with the most important item:

A Micronauts Acroyear!
Pretty good condition for being 30 years old. I haven't received it yet, but I can still close my eyes and imagine exactly what it feels like, I having played with these things for so many hours as a kid. I know some of you remember these things.

More purchases under hereCollapse )
Link17 comments|Leave a comment

Photography [Mar. 30th, 2007|11:06 am]
[Current Mood |artistic]
[Current Music |Ladytron - Sugar]

Self Portrait (extreme closeup) behind the cut.Collapse )

Ceiling cat was watching me the whole time.
Link21 comments|Leave a comment

I'm such an idiot. [Mar. 5th, 2007|10:42 pm]
I was seeing so many people and going so many places, I didn't check my itinerary closely enough for my return. I got the date and time mixed up and missed my flight home.

By 7 hours.


It cost me $150 to fix.
Fuck it, I'm heading out to Death Guild tonight, which, if I had followed the flight plan, I wouldn't have been able to do.
So that's a plus.
Link2 comments|Leave a comment

Sherman, set wayback machine to the mid 90s. [Feb. 1st, 2007|10:07 am]
[Current Mood |nostalgicnostalgic]
[Current Music |Nightwish - Nemo]

I don't update my journal much.
A picture is worth 1000 words.
The NTSC standard is 29.97 FPS.

Here is 4 min 23 sec. of home video of Switchblade Symphony that I filmed a long time ago.

That's 7,882,110 words. Still shorter than "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust.

I don't remember who a lot of the people in the video are. Maybe some others might remember. "That looks like Ryan, but I don't recall him being so pixellated in 1995. I must have been too drunk to notice."

I don't appear in the video, but that's me at 3:44 saying "See I like this side better."
Almost 12 years ago, and I'm still alive.


PS: RIP Molly Ivins.
PPS: Congrats Al Gore.
Link5 comments|Leave a comment

Since I've been told I don't update very much. [Dec. 15th, 2006|09:52 am]
[Current Location |In my lab]
[Current Mood |nerdy]
[Current Music |The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland Remastered and Enhanced]

I bought Maura a new MacBook. 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM. When it first arrived, it had a dead pixel. I called Apple and requested a replacement. They normally don't accept returns for only one or two pixels, but it's amazing what being persistent can accomplish. The new replacement was here in a week. Best...customer care...evar.

I love the Macbook more than I should, since my computer isn't as nice.

Her old Mac has found purpose as a BitTorrent machine.
Why did I bother downloading the Miami Vice movie?

Old technology never goes to waste around here. Not even non-working technology.

I won't be back in SF for X-Mas, though it would be nice to see everyone again, like psymbiotic, and melting_girl, since our dinner plans were ruined by the flu, and divia whom I also I missed last time.

I'm still looking for a good job in SF so I can make the permanent move back, but I'm not trying very hard yet, even though an empty house is waiting for me there. Anyone looking for a good electron or scanning probe microscopist? I can make good coffee too.
Link14 comments|Leave a comment

<3 [Nov. 8th, 2006|05:16 am]

Weekend. [Oct. 16th, 2006|01:42 pm]
[Current Mood |coldcold]
[Current Music |Through the Fire and the Flames - Dragonforce]

Saturday night, Maura and I ate leftover salad while we watched the DVD of Poseidon from Netflix. I talked to my Dad last night and he said he spent Saturday night having dinner at Steve Westly's mansion.

It kind of made me feel like a loser.

That was partially because Poseidon SUCKED.

Sunday, I scanned my entire DVD collection into Delicious Library, using my iSight camera. I have 205 DVDs.
I have 14 GameCube games.

Soon, I'll start on our CDs (~600).
I probably won't do our books. (hundreds, scattered in every room in the house).

Great program for OCD/anal retentives.

I wonder how much media other people own.

2 weeks until Halloween/birthday. I'll probably get more media then.
Link20 comments|Leave a comment

. [Sep. 1st, 2006|10:16 am]
[Current Mood |indescribable]
[Current Music |Hocico - Tales From the Third World]

Happy Friday.

I took this picture of an exhibit at the Exploratorium a few years back. It's Vanna White.

I can sort of see Claudia Schiffer.

The whole thing is a load of crap though, made for people to feel better about their appearance. I mean, has anyone gotten Marty Feldman or Anne Ramsey as their celebrity doppelganger? I bet even THEY would get Matt Damon and Jannifer Aniston as matches. I guess the message is positive though. WE'RE ALL BEAUTIFUL CELEBRITIES.

Click the picture for a thread discussing this.

Anyway... Here's a clip of me picking up my cat. It loops back and forth so you can keep it playing all day long!
Link19 comments|Leave a comment

M. Night Shyamalan's big fucking turd in the water [Jul. 23rd, 2006|10:52 pm]
Save your money, and please remember to flush.
Link16 comments|Leave a comment

Bye Bye 2.0 [Mar. 3rd, 2006|09:11 am]

Eva the Cat joined her brother last night.

That's feline lymphoma for you. She weighed maybe 5 lbs at the end. She crawled down into a corner of the basement that morning (where she nomally never goes). They do that when they know they're going to die. It was so sad watching Maura trying to force feed her and give her medicine twice a day, knowing that there's no cure, but she had to try anyway.
We took her to Noah's Animal hospital to have her put to sleep, but they were ON FIRE.
Literally. smoke, fire trucks, etc. Odd.
We took her to The Paw Patch and had it done there.

The house is a bit quieter now. There's just Camille left.
Link31 comments|Leave a comment

Phonetic Closed Captions [Jan. 31st, 2006|03:11 pm]
Threatened by Nihilists!Collapse )

The DVD only had subtitle tracks in French and Spanish, but turning on closed captioning revealed this gem.
Link3 comments|Leave a comment

Force Push [Dec. 22nd, 2005|08:45 am]
Mykal didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned those "Obi-Wan Force Push" gifs that have been seen around.

I've collected some of the better ones and added one of my own.

I think only Star Wars geeks will find them amusing.

More pushing behind the cutCollapse )
Link17 comments|Leave a comment

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