Monday, August 14, 2006

Mondays and Mutagenesis

Have you ever noticed that the more you have to do, the less inclined you feel towards doing it? While, in theory, I should be busily tinkering with experiments and writing in my lab notebooks (because, you know, I want to graduate soon), I have spent a huge portion of the day checking my email (despite the fact that I haven't had any new messages in the last couple of hours) and reading blogs. And then, when I ran out of blogs to read, I looked for more. Then, I went to get some tea from my new favorite beverage kiosk, Argo, in the Center for Advanced Medicine which is down the street. This despite the fact that I have a perfectly good cup of licorice mint tea on my desk already. And I bought a whoopie pie (frosting sandwiched between chocolate cakey cookies covered in chocolate) despite the fact that I had just eaten lunch and was not at all hungry.

This is the usual Monday routine. Absolutely nothing of importance gets done. Well, I did schedule a medical appointment.* But that's it. I feel (and I think I'm not alone on this) that Mondays really serve as a buffer between the weekend and the rest of the week. It's a day to ease back into the idea of working. Nothing too important should be done because it's bound to be screwed up in such a way that will take you the rest of the week to resolve.

In knitting news, I have done one pattern repeat on the DNA scarf. Which means I have enough to show you a picture in the near future. I have a small concern, however. The bottom seed stitch border does not lay flat. It bulges in the areas that have the beginnings of the helix cables. This is something that I dearly hope will come out in blocking. One approach to this little glitch would be to continue to pray it will come out right, knit the rest of the scarf, say a rosary, and block the hell out of it (in order to get the hell out of it, perhaps I should also wash it in holy water, too?). Another approach (and one that is slightly more sane, I think), is to block what I have and see if, indeed, the problem can be resolved by blocking because, while I have already spent some significant time on it, I have not yet devoted months of my life to it. Since, I am working hard on avoiding unnecessary denial, I think I will choose the latter option. I will try to remember to post before and after pictures for you guys.

Otherwise, I'm quite pleased how the scarf is coming out. The fabric has a nice drape (although that may be why I'm getting the irregularity at the bottom edge--perhaps the pattern needs a stiffer yarn), feels soft, and the cable is coming out well. However, I do make a lousy polymerase. I can't tell you how many times I had to rip out a couple of rows and reknit them. Even so, there is still a slight mutation at the very beginning. This does not bother me in the slightest, I am calling it allelic variation. (Sorry guys, the biologist in me can't resist). I do think one of the reasons I'm able to catch the mistakes relatively quickly is because I know what DNA should look like and if it doesn't look like that, I've done something wrong somewhere.

Today's biology lesson was provided by Elisabeth, a graduate student who is more interested in education than research, and Wikipedia.

*The appointment was about a "female issue," so I called student health and asked to have an appointment with my favorite nurse practitioner. "She's gone until Sept. 6," they say. I try to make an appointment with my second favorite nurse practitioner, "She's gone until Aug. 31," they say. At this point, I say (and I'm using my actual quote here), "Well, hell, just give me whoever's available that's a woman." The appointment specialist found this hysterical and kept giggling through the rest of the phone call. I'm glad I could brighten someone's day, even if it was at the expense of my own discomfort.


  1. Life imitates nature. I'm glad you're advancing science by modeling mutations in your knitting.

    Meanwhile, I also find that I need food therapy in the form of pastries on Mondays.

  2. Good luck, your life seems interesting!

    Peace and Love!

    Dominic Ebacher

    P.S. Why do so many people post pictures of cats as their blog pictures?