Monday, November 17, 2014

Good Quote

"My hero is always me in ten years.  That's who I chase every day."
 -- Matthew McConaughey

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Willpower

I have to write only a brief post today because I meant to get up earlier so I can get some things done before work, but I didn't.  I just could not get myself to get out of bed.  I read a while back that researchers now believe that willpower is a finite resource, so that if you have to use a lot of willpower to accomplish one thing, you'll have much less for other things you need willpower to do.  I see so many examples of this in my life that I have no doubt it's true.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wheezing

So, after describing my symptoms to my doctor, I have been diagnosed with exercise-induced bronchiospasms, which I just experienced (albeit mildly) for the third time this morning.  The other two times were much more intense and came on at the end of a race.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this is somehow related to my acid reflux, which has also intensified as of late.  Either way, it's a bummer, but I'm hoping I don't have to resort to using an inhaler, which is what the doctor insisted on.  I wonder if there is such thing as a natural inhaler?  Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Finally...

I went running this morning.  It was only one mile, but my goal was just to do something.  My last logged run was on October 16th, so it had been almost a month.  And, as I said before, I'm signed up to run a 10K on Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I will be able to get back with the program in time.  One day at a time...

In the short term, I have also signed up to take my first biology exam on Saturday.  I figured I might as well sign up as soon as possible since I already read and studied the material months ago, I just never took the exam because you have to find a testing center and a proctor and I couldn't figure out how to make it work with my schedule.  But, I found a person who can proctor on Saturday, which is perfect.  Now, if only I can get my brain working again.  I think the running should help!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What does R stand for?

I have come across this bit of text that makes me feel like a big dummy. This is from the cell structure and function chapter of my biology textbook. Does R stand for Ribosome?

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Construction

Why do people in this town think it's acceptable to do construction (or loud landscaping) on a Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. in a residential neighborhood?  Shouldn't there be laws about this sort of thing?  Or, at least better etiquette?  I have to get up and sing at church on Sunday morning, but for most people this is one of the few days of the week that they get to sleep in.  It's rude!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Biology

I signed up for an online general biology course last January that I got distracted from and haven't finished.  I decided today to pay a small fee for an extension so that I now have until March 2015 to finish it.  This is the hardest course I have taken in a while and I still don't have a clue how I'm going to get through it.  But, I have a little extra time to devote to it as of very recently, so hopefully that will be enough to make it happen.  Studying starts now...

Time Stamps

Hmm... I have a sneaking suspicion that my Blogger settings locate me in California since it's 2:33 a.m. and my last post is stamped at 11:32 p.m.  This is the sort of thing that reminds me I actually lived in California for a while.  The same is true of my Pandora radio account, which still plays ads from the Bay area.  I will have to figure out how to change that.  I guess...

And, I just fixed it.  Woo hoo. :)

Cambridge

I have to admit that I like living in Cambridge.  I have lived in almost every other major nook of the metro Boston area and I think this is my favorite part.  That said, I'm working now on trying to live in every major nook of Cambridge and I'm hoping to keep it that way especially so I can keep voting as a resident of Cambridge.  This is the sort of random thing I would post at 2:32 a.m. ...

Friday, November 07, 2014

Consciousness

On Wednesday evening between work and choir practice I decided to stop at the Boston Public Library, a place I haven't visited in ages.  They are currently renovating, but luckily I immediately strolled right into the stacks of non-fiction, which is where I longed to be.  Not surprisingly, I was like a kid in a candy store and after well over an hour left with six books after putting back another ten.  My favorite selection is a book called *A Universe of Consciousness* (Edelman/Tononi).  Though it was published in 2000, my knowledge of current research is nil, so the questions seem quite relevant and fascinating.  I'll leave you with a quote from the beginning of the book which illustrates how the current controversial questions differ from the questions scientists and philosophers had before we had such an intricate knowledge of the brain.  What fascinates me most and was provoked by the partial reading of Tufts Professor Daniel Dennett's book *Consciousness Explained* (1992) is the idea that we really have no scientific way as of yet to explain conscious experience, that it is the result of the whole brain functioning and not a specific function of one part.

"Does the primary visual cortex contribute to conscious experience or not? Are areas of the brain that project directly to the prefrontal cortex more relevant than those that do not? Does only a particular subset of cortical neurons play a role? If so, are these neurons characterized by a special property or location? Do cortical neurons need to oscillate at 40 Hz or fire in bursts to contribute to conscious experience? Do different areas of the brain or groups of neurons generate different conscious fragments - a kind of microconsciousness? ... By what mysterious transformation would the firing of neurons located in a particular place in the brain or endowed with a particular biochemical property become subjective experience, while the firing of other neurons would not?"

Such wonderful mysteries to behold!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Running 10 kilometers

This morning it dawns on me that the 10K race I am signed up for is three weeks from today and the last time I went running was three weeks ago.  Clearly I need to start running again today.  It's tricky because now it's dark both before work and after.  But, I can't use that as an excuse if I expect to make any progress.  I'll need either to run after work in the dark today or in the gym in order to make this happen, since it's already too late this morning.  I had been following a program designed by Hal Higdon for eight weeks when I got a cold and lost my momentum.  It would be hard to pick up exactly where I left off, but I think I could adjust the schedule for the next three weeks to gradually build up to where I was.  At this point I don't know that I'll make any progress in terms of speed, but since I've never raced this distance before and I know the exhilaration of being in a race tends to make me run faster than I do on my own, I think I will just aim to get through it without walking.  10 kilometers is about 6.2 miles, which is a distance I have jogged casually on many occasions.  But, it's been three weeks since I've done it.  I know in the grand scheme of things that's not very long ago, but right now it feels like a very large hurdle.  I'm just hoping I can get there without too much pain!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Election Results

Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy?  It's a movie that takes place one-hundred years (or so) in the future with the premise that all of the most intelligent people have decided not to have children and only the dumbest people have reproduced.  And, people are sitting on piles and piles of trash, because they don't know what to do with it, since so much has accumulated.  Ok, there's more to it than that, but that's the part that is going to sooner than later become a reality, especially if people continue to not give a sh*t about recycling.  In yesterday's election, the people of Massachusetts decided clearly that they would rather sit on their own trash than make sure it gets recycled (by rejecting the Bottle Bill).  I'm not surprised honestly.  After spending several years in California with very progressive people, coming back to a state that I thought was liberal has been pretty disappointing in terms of environmental awareness.  People in my office use plastic utensils and cups and throw them away on a daily basis because they can't be bothered to wash their f**king dishes.  Stores everywhere offer disposable plastic bags because people can't handle carrying multiple items in their hands (or keeping a reusable bag handy).  It's maddening!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Food For Thought

Don’t lie about yourself. And never lie to yourself. Find the thing in you that is different, that’s as sharp as a diamond and jagged as a razor. Hone that, because that’s the thing with which you’ll cut the world. If you try to stay a safe and soft and average, then you’re going to get lost in the sea of all those other things that look just like you. Find the things about yourself that are weird and cultivate them because, eventually, those are the things the world is going to want to reward you for and that will bring you the most happiness. When you’re young, those are the things that cause you so much pain, but it’s that pain that makes you unique. Own your scars.” - Clayton Cubitt

Without baseball...

Every year for the last ten or so between the end of baseball season in October and the start of the season in April I try to get interested in other sports.  Something about watching sports calms me down for some strange reason.  I can't quite explain it, except maybe that my grandfather liked to watch baseball games (the Cubs) when I was a little girl, and I loved my grandpa and always enjoyed that.  Although I know more about football now than I ever did before, it doesn't interest me all that much.  I get hockey and basketball and I used to play soccer and love that, but watching those sports doesn't hold my interest all that much.  I'm not sure what it is, but baseball is just a unique experience for me.  I can sit through 15 innings if I need to with a consistent enthusiastic interest.  Now that the season is over, I need something else to do.  Most of my friends and family regularly watch some TV show or other.  I do enjoy some television, but haven't found anything recently that has me over the moon.  I suppose maybe it doesn't have to be one thing.  Maybe I could dedicate each of the interim months to one activity or project.  Maybe December will be my month to learn to juggle and January will be all about chess.  February could be the month in which I start rock climbing.  March might be the best time to start salsa dancing lessons.  We'll see...

Monday, November 03, 2014

Afternoon of Darkness

It was dark when I left work today.  Sunset here on the edge of the east coast happens around 4:30 p.m. this time of year after the daylight savings time shift. This is the farthest east in any time zone I've ever lived and thus the only place where the sun has set before 5:00 p.m.  I'll never get used to it.  Pretty soon it will be dark before work and after.  I suppose that's one of the major negative consequences of working a 9-5 job.  I don't have a ton more to say today.  I have a headache and I want to take a nap.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Writing to Lose

Hello there!  I know I've said it before, but this time I am really going to try to blog every day here at least for the next 8 weeks.  I can't promise it will be super interesting, but I've decided to enter a silly weight loss contest for the next 8 weeks with the top prize being a nice chunk of cash, so I'm thinking anything I can do to make the process easier will be helpful.  Tomorrow is the first weigh in and I've just had a large cup of hot chocolate and a big chunk of pumpkin cake and I feel sick to my stomach!  Seems like a good way to start a diet.

Another reason I want to start blogging again is because of a change in my personal life that I don't want to go into details about, but I'd like to make some changes in the ways I communicate.  So, I'm thinking that means less Facebook, less G-chat, and more blogging and more face-to-face personal interaction with just a few friends, (instead of a little bit of time with lots of different people).

I also am going to try to be better about following other people's blogs, especially Susan, who I miss and haven't been following for far too long.

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It occurs to me to add that for the past 10 weeks I've been training for a 10k and I need to take a break.  It's been exhilarating running 15-25 miles a week and working on speed, but I'm achey and I want to take a bit of a break from running, but will probably get going again in a week or so, since the race is on Thanksgiving.