Sunday, October 30, 2005

To a life well-lived, Rosa Parks

From the back of the bus, to the Capitol rotunda.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005


I was having my daily chat with my supervisor yesterday and my mind was busy multitasking as usual. We were talking science, and the talked drifted to the business part of science. As we talked some business matters, I started thinking about how much I've learned from my supervisor, who is really more of a mentor. Coming from academia, I knew nothing about science business or intellectual property. Over the last few years, my way of thinking has morphed into considering the business and intellectual property issues of science as much as the scientific merit of the work. I would have never imagined that would happen.

In the larger context, I was thinking about mentors and how important they are in helping one be successful. The important life lesson is the importance of surrounding yourself with good people. I've been quite lucky to be able to do this most of my life. I suppose your immediate family unit is where it all starts. Since we don't really get to pick our parents, this one falls mostly to luck. I was fortunate to have parents and grandparents who instilled a sound moral foundation within our family. Skipping ahead to graduate school, I made a rather poor choice for a mentor. By the time I realized this, it was too late to change it. But, I managed to seek out the counsel of another faculty member who was invaluable in making up for my original choice. This professor steered me to my first postdoctoral advisor who happens to be one of the tops in our field. Being in his lab with the high quality folks with which he surrounds himself was yet another step in making up for my poor grad school choice. My first position at my current company was another matter of not being surrounded by a quality leader. I managed to figure that out relatively quickly and moved to my current position.

In reflecting on all this, I realize that the times in my life whenever I made significant leaps in my growth all had one thing in common - a strong mentor. As a parent, I think the most important thing that I can teach my children is for them to always surround themselves with the best and the brightest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

what kind of thinker are you?


You are a Logical-Mathematical Thinker

Logical-Mathematical thinkers:
  • Like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions
  • Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects
  • Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively

Other Logical-Mathematical Thinkers include
Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Albert Einstein

Careers which suit Logical-Mathematical thinkers include

Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer programmer, Engineer, Inventor

You are a Naturalist Thinker

Naturalist Thinkers:
  • Like to understand the natural world, and the living beings that inhabit it
  • have an aptitude for communicating with animals
  • You try to understand patterns of life and natural forces
Other Naturalist thinkers include
Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Johnny Morris, David Attenborough

Careers which suit Naturalist thinkers include
Biologist, Meteorologist, Forester, Farmer, Astronomer, Alternative therapist

Well, the real question is, am I a biophysicist because the way I think, or do I think that way because I am a biophysicist? Hmmm

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks

The world is a poorer place tonight without Rosa Parks in it.
May your courageous soul find eternal rest.

a blaze of glory

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas

The first real cold blast came through over the weekend. There is now the distinct chill of frost in the air in the early morning. The brisk north wind signals the coming of the end of my favorite time of year. The cold fingers of that first frost cover the woods down by the stream signalling to the trees that the end is near for another season. It is time to rest, time to go gently into that good night of winter. But the trees refuse to listen to the howling from the north. Over a matter of days, the green and yellow rages orange bright and red deep in a final act of defiance against the coming long dark winter. And we stand back and bask its glory.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Game day

It's a crisp autumn morning. Today on a field one-thousand miles away the unbeaten Texas Tech Red Raiders will battle the undefeated and much despised University of Texas Longhorns. The last time this game had such implications, I was but a young boy. My grandparents used to live a few blocks from Jones Stadium, home of the Red Raiders. As a child, I remember the Saturdays we would visit while there was a game taking place. From my PaPa's front porch, you could see the upper corner of the stands filled with fans in their red and black. You could hear the roar of the crowd, the sounds of the Going Band from Raiderland, and the announcer yelling, "touchdown Red Raiders!"

As I got older, my dad would take me to the football games. He would make cotton candy to sell in the concession stands. I would get to see much of the game, soak in the sights, the sounds, the smells of an autumn day on the gridiron. I even ventured to try to sell cotton candy in the stands just so I could go with him and see the games. I wasn't very good at it and my career didn't last a season. But, I still got to go. As I got older, the cotton candy stand was traded in for the souvenir stand. I watched my own table, sold pennants and rubber footballs emblazoned with the Double T, and made some money. Sometimes, my cousin and I would go down to the lockerroom to get autographs from players.

After enrolling for the fall of 1984, I became a student season ticket holder. Every game, win or lose spent yelling for the Red Raiders. Those were some great Saturday afternoons spent with my cousin G. and some of our friends.

I haven't been back to campus for a football game since November 1998 when I went back to see my Red Raiders beat those hated Longhorns 42-35 in the final minutes. Again, I went with G. The game was won in the final minutes. It was just like always. The sound of March Grandiose from the Going Band as they marched through campus. The "Go! Fight! Win!" before the fight song. The Masked Rider circling the stadium after another Red Raider touchdown. And after a sweet victory, The Matador Song.

And so, every Saturday, I fly the Red & Black flag at my house and think about the days of Red Raider football with my PaPa, my dad, and my cousin G.

Beat the hell outta Texas!!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

old friends

When I was in college, my small group of friends used to hang out in the donut shop parking lot until 2 a.m. We'd often argue deep philosophical issues to no resolution - stuff like why there are stars, and is there such a thing as time. I recently found something that I had written about that group of friends in the not-too-distant past:

The memories of that time have indeed lost some of their edge. I no longer think of what began, what ended, and what might have been. That time has become something more. I think of the way we were, the age of innocence for all of us. Those were the times when we sat and contemplated the meaning of time - when it seemed like we had
forever. It now all seems like so long ago. And now, we realize how short the time is as the seasons come and go in what seems to be weeks or days instead of months. And we see the time pass in the faces of those close to us and we see that time stop in those that have gone on, either in our lives or on to the journey beyond this life - each suspended as when we last saw them.

here's to old friends...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Some new links

If you scroll down the sidebar on the left a bit, below the Favorite Dandelions (website links) you'll find links to some of the blogs we read here in the meadow.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What are you good at?

From Rabbi Gellman's Newsweek column this week.

That knowledge of what God made us good at is precisely what drains out of us as we supposedly grow up. It's not that every adult has forgotten it, just most of us. It's easy to spot the ones who have not forgotten what God made them good at. They are the happy ones. They are the ones who have smile wrinkles, not frown wrinkles. One guy who did not forget said to me, "God made me good at chemistry and at hunting down sick genes." That man is Dr. James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA. One man 100 years ago this month said, "I was made good at tracing the lines that flow from God." That man was Albert Einstein. One grown-up woman who recently died said, "God made me good at doing little things with great love." That woman was Mother Teresa. Some extraordinary adults remember what all ordinary children know: the key to life is to love what God made you good at and to do what you love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm watching you

you see that little counter waaaaay down there at the bottom? Not only can it count, it knows who you are. Since you people weren't commenting, I figured no one was reading. Not any more. I can find out when you visited and how long you stayed. Oh, there are some of you that don't map too well (AOL users) and there's a mystery guest from the UK. But at least I know I'm not just writing this for my own health :o)

I was supposed to go to Iowa and visit my buddy with cancer tomorrow. I have a stack of letters from his former colleagues, a few cards, and a couple of books. I got a call from his wife this afternoon telling us not to come. It seems some jackass took their sick kid to the same daycare where his kid goes. His kid caught a cold/the flu from the sick kid, and now P. has come down with it. Under these conditions, it could turn out to be a matter of serious consequence. I'll never understand why people who are sick won't stay the hell home and leave us healthy ones alone. I don't want your freakin' germs. I don't want my kids catching your freakin' germs. STAY HOME!!!
We'll figure out another time to visit. I did talk with him on the phone this evening. He sounded pretty sick. He is greatly looking forward to our visit though. I can't wait to go either. I guess it's a good thing I chickened out and didn't shave my head yet. My other buddy and I were talking about going bald before we visited since P. has lost most of his hair from the chemo. I may still chicken out...

I realize I write a lot of stuff here that isn't all that entertaining, much of it on a serious note. However, you should read Mrs. Bloom for humor. She's the yin to my yang. Her stuff is funny (well, except for that heavy thing she wrote today...). If you dig around there, you might find that I also write somewhere else with a little more levity than here. But, the other place isn't high on my priority. I much perfer this meadow.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Maine foliage update

what we're currently missing (click photo for larger, clear image)

Keep track here.

Hello, October

I'm baaaaaack. Did you miss me?

It's definitely autumn here now. One day this week, the red plum tree in the front yard suddenly dropped one-third of its leaves one night just before it got really cool. I guess we're not the only ones that need winter blankets. My early morning walks start out in the dark now. We live in the Meramec River valley and I get to see the sun break over the bluffs down by the creek that is covered with fog. The other morning, I had a quarter moon light my stroll. Very refreshing.

I got a "promotion" at work week before last. Well, it isn't really much of a change in what I do, and I get no more pay for doing it. My neck is just stretched out a little further to make it easier to chop off when things don't work right. Now instead of trying to do all the things I'm supposed to do, I have to make sure 4 or 5 other people get their crap done, too. Oh, and I get to go spend a few days in Boston, so at least there's that.

Lastly, I had my first visit to the doctor in almost 9 years today. Damn, I'm getting old. I had to lay there and get my chest wired up so she could make sure I hadn't inherited heart disease from my parents - I haven't yet :o) When I left, I had a bag of pill samples - you know - the little purple ones that make your heartburn go away. I have no idea what those 4 vials of blood are going to tell them. Hopefully, it's all good.

The Sox were swept by those idiots from Chicago tonight. I hate that town.