Saturday, June 30

things I miss about the ADKs

courtesy of David M of Saranac Lake


Friday, June 29

phone photos

So my new free phone which I got when I signed a year contract has a great lil camera on it & last weekend when we went out to the SA fancy dress party I took a few shots & Estee (one of my flatmates) took 2 photos of me thought I'd share them all with you. ALSO I took a photo of ALL of the snails that were outside earlier, as we all know by now I'm not keen on these lil suckers & they were EVERYWHERE today :( Lastly I'll post the photo of the inside of the Ethiopian restaurant that Dad & I eat in one of his last nights in London (well for this last trip that is) I'm off to bed now, hope you enjoy . . .

I count at least 11 in that one photo!!!!!!!!!!

interior of restaurant with yummy food

Zarina (Indian-English, born/raised in Germany) & Giulia (Italian)

Zarina, Stephen (Estee's cousin) and me

me laughing at Estee when I didn't realise she was snapping a photo of me


GB's Lab Outing

So today our lab had our first "lab outing" - sorta long story, but we've hit a few bumps along the research path which are rather frustrating & in some cases half of the lab has to change their whole entire project, which as you can imagine if you're trying to do a PhD project can be rather daunting. A few weeks back Karen (a post doc in the lab) and I decided we needed an outing with all the members of the lab to sorta bring some fun back into the lab, so today was that day. And did we ever have fun!! It rained VERY hard for about 15 minutes, but we were in the rain forest enclosure & were able to stay dry! We had such a good time, to prove it I even have a few photos for you, just click here. Okay I'm off to Tescos for a bit of food shopping.

Have a good weekend, oh and yes, I am safe, so no need to worry about what seems to be making headlines news around the world - I guess in a way it's just part of every day life - it could happen any place in the world and you just have to try to live your life as normally as possible.

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Thursday, June 28

beauty is in the eye of the beholder

How lovely is that? I mean even if you don't know what it's showing, it has pretty colours, right?


Kool Kontest

I know I know both spelled with a "c" but I'm bored at work so I needed a little pizazz in my day, sad I know that's the best I could come up with, BUT in other exciting things going on, I found the "kool kontest" at This Eclectic Life's blog,
Click on the image link to check it out & enter if you have time and aren't afraid of a little challenge . . .

As some of you know I have a bit of a crazy flatmate. She's already an American size 2, which is a UK size 4/6 but she thinks she's fat, in particular she feels she has a big arse, so yesterday I went running with said flatmate, as part of her new "how to loose weight" program, which of course entails her (not me) not eating anything that could possibly make you gain weight - so she's basically eating lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches and drinking lemon water. If she does eat meat she just chews it to "get the nutrients out" & then spits it back out so as "not to gain any weight from it" (those are direct quotes from her - don't get me started!)

Luckily for my sake (since I can't recall the last time I went running) since she doesn't eat much she has no stamina for running, but the down side to that was we ended up walking around "town" and got caught in a rain storm, which motivated me to run home (alone) - too bad I forgot she had the keys in her pocket, so I had to wait in the pouring rain for her to slowly walk back home! Gawd forbid another flatmate hear the doorbell & answer it, come to find out they were all home. It wasn't so bad, just next time I'm holding on to the keys for sure :)

Have I told you what's happening 1 month from today? I'm going to be "home" in New York with Jim, yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm getting really excited about it (if you couldn't tell from all those explanation marks. But before I head to the states, a week from tomorrow my dear friend Betty's brother arrives in London for a few days & we're going to see Spamalot that night and on Tuesday we're going to see Mamma Mia.

Okay I'm outta news for the day as my boss & all my co-workers are at a meeting in Porton Down at the DSTL and the only reason I'm in the office is to help out the MSc summer student who is 90% capable on his own, but better safe than sorry. So far I've just reassured him (and another student) that they're on the right track - at least I feel semi-needed (lol).


Wednesday, June 27

sounds like a bad excuse

Paris Hilton, "The 26-year-old, sentenced to 45 days on 3 June, was released early due to crowded jail conditions and time off for good behaviour." WTF is up with that? How many other people do you know who are able to get out on that excuse?!?!?!?!

AND what is up with, "She is scheduled to appear on Larry King's CNN talk show on Wednesday. The network has said she will not be paid for her appearance, which has replaced a planned interview with filmmaker Michael Moore." Of course she should NOT be paid, she's got enough money to burn, but in my mind, more to the point, who would you rather see be interviewed Michael Moore or Paris Hilton????

In other news, the smoking ban is coming into effect starting on Sunday - YEAH!!! This is one of a few things that I definitely miss about New York, since it's been smoke free for a few years now. Moving to London was a bit of a shock to my system since I'd gotten so use to not being asked, "smoking or non?" or even worse is not being asked because you can smoke anywhere you want in the restaurant/pub. I found this comment rather amusing, "Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, will say the ban is a sign of "our small-minded times".
"These new modern puritans demonise our behaviour and preach illiberalism
." as an argument against the smoking ban.

On the other hand this article brought up one valid point as far as shisha ("the Arabic water-pipe in which fruit-scented tobacco is burnt using coal, passed through an ornate water vessel and inhaled through a hose") is concerned which is, ""For myself, I know I'll lose a place that I can go out with my Asian friends who I can't go out to the pub with," Kate said of the impending ban." Since it's like like cigarette smokers meet up at the pub to smoke, but I don't reckon that is enough of a reason to allow shisha to be an exception to the smoking ban.

I guess I'm just looking forward to a smoke free environment, but fear the other smells that could arise from a smoke free pub, if you get my drift.


Post 711 gets to be a Meme :)

Susiej who was tagged by Mountain Mama, tagged me for a new meme.
One word for each item, so here's my go at it . . .

1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Relationship? fun

3. Your hair? shorter

4. Work? newish

5. Your sister? BESTEST

6. Your favorite thing? friends

7. Your dream last night? scary!

8. Your favorite drink? ice tea

9. Your dream car? expensive

10. The room you’re in? open-plan office

11. Your shoes? Pumas

12. Your fears? loneliness

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? happy

14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? flatmates.

15. What are you not good at? decorating

16. Muffin? blueberry-corn

17. One of your wish list items? house

18. Where you grew up? Ardsley

19. Last thing you did? walked

20. What are you wearing? clothes.

21. What aren’t you wearing? makeup

22. Your pet? none

23. Your computer? Dell

24. Your life? hectic

25. Your mood? calm

26. Missing? USA

27. What are you thinking about right now? co-workers (where the heck are they all?)

28. Your car? imaginary

29. Your kitchen? clean

30. Your summer? cool

31. Your favorite color? purple

32. Last time you laughed? earlier

33. Last time you cried? unsure

34. School? learning

35. Love? life

Now I've run out of people who I haven't yet tagged, so if you have not already got this meme, feel free to do it, if not, no worries, have a nice day!!


Monday, June 25

3rd times a charm right?

So apparently I need more to do during my day since this is my THIRD post today, but before I forget I need to wish my sis' boyfriend, Matt S from TN a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

I promise this will be the last post today, but I had to share these two things with you which were sent to me by a brilliant lady (aka me mum)

I've been tagged

I was just tagged by H from that's what she said

1) Post the rules, then list 8 things about yourself.
2) At the end of the post, tag and link to 8 other people
3) Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they've been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do

Let's see 8 things all about me . . .

1. I am really loving living in London, England, and could not do it without my "family" over here, Jim & Rob. !

2. That being said I really miss my friends & family in the states - it's weird not being around for birthdays & actual birth days (Sylwia's due any day now! I was there days after Owen & Maya were both born, so this will be a bit strange)

3. I spent 4 summers working at a Boy Scout camp - some of my best memories growing up came from the friends I met there - most of us are still in touch on a pretty regular basis - this camp gave me my older brothers I always wanted.

4. In January 2002 I torn my knee up skiing with friends from summer camp and they had to take part of my hamstring to make me a new ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), touch wood I've had no major problems with it, but the recovery time was long & rather grueling - I wouldn't wish it on an enemy!

5. Every time I see Dead Man Walking I cry - you'd think my now I'd be prepared for the ending, but it just gets me every time.

6. On Saturday night I had the best Kosher hamburgers in the world with Persian rice - my flatmate & I made it all and it was divine.

7. I'm a bit frustrated at work these days because different rooms are being totally re-done so we have limited hours of use and have to share space (between 2 labs we're allowed a maximum of 12 units - those of you who know what I'm talking about imagine that!! There are 3 post-docs, 1 new PhD, 2 PhD student, 3 MSc students and me all sharing just 12 units)

8. Today we got to take a visiting PhD student out to lunch at our local fav Thai place just down the road for some "free" food :) and on Friday we're going to the London Zoo for our GB Lab Outing - that makes up for the above frustrations with my job!!

Let me see I have to tag people, but considering most people I know have been tagged with this I'm just going to offer this up to the general public, feel free to answer it in the comments section or leave a comment with the link to your blog . . . enjoy!


Sad day for Gunners

Arsenals' striker, Thierry Henry (#14), has chosen to move to a new team, Barcelona. Here are some nice photos of his time with Arsenal since he joined the team in 1999. It is a sad day for the Gunners, but I think it will also give some of the other strikers (van Persie, Bendtner, Adebayor) a chance to really shine, of course maybe I'm a bit bias as I think that Robin van Persie is super cute :)

Aside from that news I don't have much else to report, weekend was rathre uneventful. Friday night relaxed at home. Saturday Estee & I went walking in Highgate Woods and arrived home just in time before the sky opened with thunder, lightening & heavy rain. We made a nice dinner with things we had in the house cause we couldn't be arsed to go out shopping! We had Kosher hamburgers with onions & spices along with aubergines and Persian rice (which is fried potatoes at the bottom & then rice on top). That night Estee, Zarina, Giulia and I all went out to a pub in New Southgate to meet up with E's cousin Stephen since one of Stephen's flatmates was having a bit of a get together with his friends for his birthday. Estee had told us it was a fancy dress party (costume dress up for Americans) but we just went in our normal clothes. What we did not realise is that all the South Africans who were there were really into the fancy dress & so we stuck out like sore thumbs. It was fun, but around midnight we decided to head home to have tea & biscuits at our place :) Sunday Estee & I went to TKMax (like TJMax in the states) and then to Yasir Halim's in Palmers Green to get some fresh fruit & veg at good prices. After we got home we did our rota cleaning & then I buggered off to Jim & Rob's for Sunday roast dinner.

And now I'm back at work today . . . fun fun fun. I took a few photos on Saturday night of my flatmates with my camera phone & hope to figure out out to get them onto my computer to share with all of you at a later date.

In other news, my blog has been rated G for everyone - yeah!! Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words: piss (1x) If you fancy knowing your rating click here


Friday, June 22

would you believe it?

That question is more for all of the teachers whose class I was a member of while growing up. I reckon that 80-90% of the teachers I had while growing up would be bowled over if they saw me now. No, not from my looks or personality, but to hear what I've done academically. I'm willing to bet most didn't think I'd do that much with my career. I'm not saying that to be mean to any of them, it's more just a realisation I've come to when looking back at my younger school days. I wasn't a bad student, I did my homework, I came to class, I never misbehaved, BUT I also never went out of my way to study or ask questions. Probably because of that I never was in any "accelerated" math or science classes. To be honest, I think the first required book I actually ever read cover to cover was Catcher in the Rye and continuing on this honesty kick, it might have been the last one I read cover to cover until I got to my MSc course last year (when I read cover to cover Immunobiology along with Cellular and Molecular Immunology).

Reading and maths (N.B. the shortened word for "mathematics" in the UK is maths) were never fun for me. I don't have a recorded learning disability, but I know that I have learning "issues" as I like to call them. I'm not saying this for sympathy & I'm not trying to blame anyone for it, as I'm sure there are too many people to list if I were to start accusing people for my "issues", it's just a fact of life that I've learned to live with.

Doing math in my head use to be one of the hardest things for me to do - I HATED with a passion those days growing up when we'd have "maths speed drills" and you'd have see how many addition (or subtraction, division, multiplication) questions you could answer in X amount of time. Still to this day I cannot do division in my head - I have to have paper/pen and a calculator. I know my 2x, 5x, 9x, and 10x tables, but aside from that if I want 4x7 I start out with 4x5=20 and then I had 4 twice on my fingers to get 28, even "easier" ones like 8x3, I know 8x2=16, plus 8 (on my fingers) equals 24. The 9x table is easy b/c I can do that with my finger trick :) Now just imagine how slow & painful watching me take a "maths speed drill" would be - trust me it's torture for all those involved!

With reading my biggest problem comes in sounding words out - I'm not sure if I was never taught it or if I was out sick that day or if I just decided not to pay attention in class that day (all of which are very possible), but words that I don't use on a regular basis (and even at times ones that I do which are hyphenated or out of context in my mind) are hard for me to read. For example, earlier today I was reading My Detachment, by Tracy Kidder and at the end of the line the start of the word was "amorphous social re-" and on the next line it said, "gion", but when I read it in my head I read, "amorphous social regain" I can't think of a bigger word which has tripped me up recently, but I know that pronouncing words I don't know, especially names of foreign towns I get nervous about saying the word out loud since I reckon I've just made up a new name for it in my head. I do this a lot with characters names when I don't know what they really should be I just rename them in my head - throws me off when others speak about the book I've just read and they're talking about the character, ie in London, by Edward Rutherfurd, one of the characters was named, Cartimandua, who I called Car, along with Segovax, whom I renamed Sax. My plan when seeing a word I don't know is to just replace it with a word I think should go there - it works most of the time (sorta figure out what it should mean from context clues) but with names of places & people this doesn't work & not always for other situations. Like in science when I'm not really sure what they're talking about & I just make up what I think should be there - I can be completely wrong at times which really screws up my understanding of a certain paper! I also think this links in with my lack of a good spelling ability - trust me if not for spell check on this blog you would roaring with laughter over the way I spell things - just ask my mum, she could tell you stories that would make you wet yourself for sure!

Well the reason for this post was more for me to show off to all those who thought I'd never make it this far & let them know that the following books have been read over the past 3.5 months ALL FOR FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the Garden Trilogy By Nora Roberts, consisting of Blue Dahlia, Black Rose, and Red Lily.
Northern Lights - N. Roberts
A Long Way Gone, memoirs of a boy soldier - Ishmael Beah
Digging to America - Ann Tyler
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
My Detachment - Tracy Kidder
London - Edward Rutherfurd (not finished yet)

How do you like them apples?? (name that movie)

As I posted earlier I'm doing a virtual book club thanks to Jen and if any of you fancy joinging, it would be great - I've never been a part of any sort of book club, so I'm uber excited about this one!!

Well I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend . . . not sure what I'm going to be doing, I've got a few potential plans & the only thing I know I will do is have dinner with the boys on Sunday night - it's somewhat becoming a tradition, it's my family time as I like to call it, DON'T tell them I said that!! BTW, Jim is so excited to come to NY (as am I but now that he & Pete have been emailing I think he's really getting excited about it).


Join Us

Here is the link to the virtual book club my mom & I are going to participate in, THANKS JEN for doing this!! Anyone out there fancy joining - the more the merrier!


Thursday, June 21

I found the ADKs in London!!

For those of you who know Gareth (guy on my MSc course last year, who didn't pass the final exam & had to re-sit it this year), well in speaking with him earlier I found out his pen ran out during the second exam day - how typical is that?!?!?! He says he wrote a lot, but he's not sure how he did . . . but I'm not sure you ever really know how you did, until those oh so lovely grades come out! I hope he did okay, but I'm not sure how much revising he did over this past year - I mean (and this is purely my opinion!) he said he did a lot, but he said that last year as well & he's still pulling the "my sister died during the first term" card for sympathy & he's had a whole freakin year to deal with that & study!!!

On a happier less soap-boxy note, Estee & I went for an awesome 1.5 hour walk yesterday - we walked up to Muswell Hill Broadway & then over to Highgate Woods & wondered around in there - it was awesome!! There are tons of dirt paths, nice & cool thanks to all the trees & occasional benches to sit on - just lovely!! It reminded me of being in dad's back yard, well minus the benches, and actually with all the paths it was more like being at camp off season where there are lots of paths but no tents or kids running around like crazy, just all the trees and dirt.

So the other exciting news my supplies finally arrived yesterday afternoon so tomorrow I've got a BIG day, well not really, but my first lab day in 2 weeks so it's big news for me! AND yesterday when I went to the lunch time seminar Alero (my summer project advisor) was there & she's bought a place in Highgate, so now we're neighbours. Not that I'll ever really see her since I reckon she's out & about during the day being that she's retired and all now.

Well that's all my news from the UK for Thursday. If you're bored and would like another "interesting" story from Liverpool, click here. My real concern is this part of the article, "She pulled off his left testicle and tried to swallow it, before spitting it out. A friend handed it back to Mr Jones saying: "That's yours."" Now that will make you think twice before having a long term "open relationship" with her!!

Thursday Thirteen #10

Thirteen thing I want to do while in the states this August

1. Meet up with Kristen, PJ, and Corinne in Westchester - maybe for a sushi dinner or something fun like that?

2. Visit Kevin, Sylwia, Owen (5), Maya (3) and not yet born/unnamed baby girl in Connecticut

3. Enjoy the lakes, ie go out on Auntie Ann's pontoon boat and laze around on Schroon Lake; go out on Dan's boat for a bit of water skiing on Saranac Lake; maybe if we're lucky a trip out on Champlain (hint hint)

4. Have breakfast at the General Store in Adirondack, NY - I bet Jim will get the Lumberjack meal, while I'll probably just get french toast with REAL maple syrup!!

5. Get to hang out with my friends from Saranac Lake - K&RS, K&LF, M&BW, S&BM/M&CN, P,K&WL, DB&KD, BH and EE (hopefully the last 2 will be there by then!)

6. Visit some of the sights & sounds of Manhattan as Jim has never been there.

7. Hopefully a drive through VT, but again Jim is making the itinerary so you have take it up with him.

8. BBQ dinner on the deck with Anne and John at "my house" looking out over the lake!!

9. Breakfast at my favourite place in Wallingford, Jeanne's with Matt - I'll be having blueberry pancakes there!!!

10. Hike in the Adirondacks - not necessarily a high peak as I'm not sure Jim would be keen on that, but Phoebe's Knob (in dad's backyard) would be fun.

11. Visit with Auntie Ann and Dad

12. possibly lunch with Bob & Jane at Miriam's in Schroon Lake village

13. and I would be remiss in not mentioning a visit with Pete so that he & Jim can "talk shop" face to face.


Wednesday, June 20

69 today

Since it's my Dad's birthday today and I'm not there to sing to

him in person here is a youtube video.

Just for the record I was the FIRST person to call &

wish him a happy birthday.

I called before I left for work making it around 02.50 his time!!!

update as of 13.22: Happy Birthday to Jen as well

Tuesday, June 19

post #702

first off can you believe I've made 702 posts?!?!?! I sure as heck can't!!

Thanks to my mum & her mate Catherine out in Portland, OR I received this awesome video today which I thought would be nice to share with all of you - the music is nice & relaxing as well.

NOTE: I left at 16.30 today, not as early as yesterday but I was reading a paper & trying to positive about work, even though the supplies still hadn't arrived!

still waiting

So in attempts to keep myself busy whilst STILL waiting for reagents to arrive, I did leave early yesterday just around 14.00, after of course having a leisurely lunch with MissyLou, Jeremy, and ML's lil brother Neal who were on their way to Aberdeen (Scotland) for Neal's college graduation ceremony which is today.

I got home around 15.45 since I stopped to do a bit of food shopping at Tescos. When Estee got home we decided to go for a walk around the neighbourhood & check out the library, since the weather looked like it might not piss down on us (first time all day that it looked semi clear sky). We walked up to the high street, around a block, popped into the library where we got membership forms, then headed back home. We sat out on the swinging benches in our garden chatting for a bit & then made some dinner, before she headed off to meditation class at the rabbi's house and I went to read in my room & try to figure out why my phone was not working (still haven't figured that one out yet!!)

Today I've been to lab meeting & been reading an interesting paper, here's what I've learned thus far:
  • Antigen (Ag) pulsed dendritic cells (DC) induced proliferation of naive spleen cells (ex-vivo)
  • Ag pulsed DCs with CpG induced significant proliferation, with the CpG either as an adjuvant during injection or conditioning agent in culture), proving extraction of common epitopes from different strains
  • Immunisation with DCs matured with CpG caused spleen cells to produce significantly more interferon gamma (IFNg) positive cells than those matured with antigen alone
  • Serum titers were also higher
  • immunisation with DCs matured with CpG = highest level of protection against challenge (80% with any of the 4 strains of bacteria) and immunisation with DCs and CpG adjuvant = high protection (60%) where as immunisation with DCs only gave 10% protection and naives had no protection
  • post challenge survivors. showed no bacterial growth in blood or splenocytes - YEAH!!!

All of that proving that a vaccine that could stimulate DCs in situ to cause protective immune responses would be helpful against Burkholderia psuedomallei, since we all know that you can't just bung a bunch of cultured DCs into a humans arm because each individual would require a "personalised" vaccine . . . so we need to find a way to activate DCs, perhaps by binding recombinant B. psuedomallei antigens and toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands.

OKAY no more science talk . . . got nothing else to tell ya today, so I'll just let you go with a wish for a Happy Tuesday!!


Monday, June 18

expensive cities around the world

According to this article in the BBC, I'm not living in a cheap city, but should be happy I'm not living in the most expensive one either (Moscow)

Still waiting on reagents & other fun stuff like irradiated bugs, so yet again another week of just reading . . . I might actually leave early today, shhhhh!!!

Sunday, June 17

Owen & Kylie

to Owen who turns 5 today


Kylie too!!!

Daddio & all other father's out there

Friday, June 15

Disney's Desperate Housewives

not to change topics but . . .

I saw this audio slide show and thought you might enjoy it, course it's not as exciting as posts on Nascar, debates on gun laws, new cars, sports creams that can kill, or making 140 afghans, but I still think the video of photos are interesting for a Friday afternoon.

In other really news, this is the email that came out a few minutes ago to everyone in my lab:

So Sara and I were scheming the other day about a GB Lab Day Out, and we figure heck let's just do it. I've taken a poll of the ladies, and all of us are free on Friday 29th June, after Jon's Journal Club.
So far the ideas are: potluck picnic, followed by (disco) bowling. If it's a nice day, I thought we could play badminton or croquet or some other dumb outdoor "sport." And Tash just piped up with a Killer: the London Zoo. They got gorillas! Jon! Gorillas!
Let me know your ideas and whether you'd like to join, and I'll look into group tickets and dream up things to bring for the picnic.

Followed by GB (my boss) sticking his head out of his office saying, "I vote for gorillas" so I guess it's a go - YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a few stats

Am a bit busier today than I'd thought I would be, but I did find a few stats to put up . . .
1999 - 2004, United States Firearm Deaths and Rates per 100,000 - All races, sexes, and ages
Number of Deaths = 177,057 with Population of 1,718,061,656

The UK's mid-2005 population 60,209,500 with the following number of deaths from firearms injury - United Kingdom, 1994 to 2003

Year - Number
1994 - 341
1995 - 358
1996 - 254
1997 - 201
1998 - 203
1999 - 210
2000 - 204
2001 - 167
2002 - 169
2003 - 163
Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E922, E955.0-E955.4, E965.0-E965.4, E985.0-E985.4 and E970 from 1994 to 2000 and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes W32-W34, X72-X74, X93-X95, Y22-Y24 and Y35.0 from 2001 onwards.Data for England and Wales are for deaths occurring in the calendar year (which were registered before the release of the routine annual publication). Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland are for deaths registered in the calendar year.

and last but not least (before I get back to my REAL work . . .
Gun deaths per 100,000 population (for the year indicated):
Homicide Suicide Unintentional
USA 4.08 (1999) 6.08 (1999) 0.42 (1999)
Canada 0.54 (1999) 2.65 (1997) 0.15 (1997)
Switzerland 0.50 (1999) 5.78 (1998) -
Scotland 0.12 (1999) 0.27 (1999) -
England/Wales 0.12 (1999/00) 0.22 (1999) 0.01 (1999)
Japan 0.04* (1998) 0.04 (1995)
* Homicide & attempted homicide by handgun
Data collected by Philip Alpers, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and HELP Network Additional data can be found in Table A.10 of the World Report on Violence and Health, published by the World Health Organization on 3 October 2002.


Thursday, June 14

finally a gun bill? part deux

In response to my "it's better than nothing" comment, Jen replied with:

but i don't think it is better than nothing. i think we need to be wary about asking the government to restrict our freedoms and discriminate against people who seek mental health treatment. we need to balance the cost with the potential benefits and i don't think the potential benefit warrants the cost if we are talking about a law lumping, for instance, all mentally ill people in the same affected group. i suppose i'd have to know the exact language of the law to say for sure whether i'd support it or not, but based on what i know i'm not inclined to support it. in general, i have no interest in gun control. i'm not at all sure that the constitution doesn't protect individuals' right to "bear arms," and i don't think the issue is worth the resources to fight it out, considering all of the other problems we have in theUS. also, only because you are a scientist, i will say that i think it is intellectually dishonest to list out school massacres as support for gun control. it's inflammatory rhetoric, appealing to emotion rather than reason. it plays on the dubious (in my view) cultural meme that children's lives are of the paramount importance in our society. is it really relevant how many school shootings there have been if overall in the US we had a very low rate of gun-related crimes? the truth is, the facts are on your side -- from what i understand, the US has a very high rate of gun-related crime in proportion to its population compared to other 1st world countries. those statistics (and i'm sure there are others) are actually relevant to supporting your point. yeah, i have a lot of opinions! obnoxious american!

To which I replied with:
my reason for putting up the school shootings is b/c that's what brought this gun bill to the floor of the house & senate in the first place (or according to the article I was reading). I will try to look into stats about gun related violence in 1st world countries, but I think it might be hard to compare stats for example b/w the US and UK since guns are illegal in the UK (not even our beat cops have them), but I will try to find some stats!

Anyone else want to chime in on this topic?!?!?!

Labels: ,

finally a gun bill?

Before I get started on today's topic of gun control, I wanted to put this link from Life is RANTastic up since it relates to my post from yesterday about Paris Hilton and is just so funny I think everyone should read it!

So back to today's point . . . in reading the BBC news this morning since I'm still waiting on the freakin reagents to arrive! I read how the US House has passed a gun control bill and now it's up to the senate to make it happen so to speak. This new bill would require states to have automatic reporting of mental health/criminal records into some sort of database which in turn would be double checked against potential gun buyers. That sounds like a good idea, right? I think another big plus for this bill is that it's being backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and we all know how powerful they are! I guess the only draw back to this bill is that all those who have guns now are exempt from this bill and I'm sure there are people out there who fall under this category who shouldn't have guns but already do. BUT then again, trying to track everyone down would be such a palaver!! Interestingly there has not been any gun control legislation passed in over 13 years and back then it was to ban some assault weapons. I'm 90% sure that it shouldn't have taken 13 years and so many deaths to get something like this passed, don't you agree? Let's think about all the school shootings in the US since 1994:

  • Richland High School shooting - Lynnville, Tennessee, November 15, 1995

  • Frontier Junior High shooting - Moses Lake, Washington, February 2. 1996

  • Pearl High School shooting, Pearl, Mississippi, October 1, 1997

  • Heath High School shooting, West Paducah, Kentucky, December 1, 1997

  • Jonesboro massacre - Jonesboro, Arkansas, March 24, 1998

  • Thurston High School shooting - Springfield, Oregon, May 21, 1998

  • Columbine High School massacre - Littleton, Colorado, April 20, 1999

  • Heritage High School shooting - Conyers, Georgia, May 20, 1999

  • Santana High School - Santee, California, March 5, 2001

  • Appalachian School of Law shooting - Grundy, Virginia, January 16, 2002

  • Rocori High School shootings - Cold Spring, Minnesota, September 24, 2003

  • Southwood Middle School tragedy, Miami, Florida; February 3, 2004

  • Red Lake High School massacre - Red Lake, Minnesota, March 21, 2005

  • Campbell County High School - Jacksboro, Tennessee: November 8, 200

  • Platte Canyon High School shooting - Bailey, Colorado, September 27, 2006

  • Amish school shooting - Nickel Mines, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, October 2, 2006

  • Weston High School shooting, Cazenovia, Wisconsin September 29, 2006

  • Springfield Township High School Shooting-Springfield, Pennsylvania, Dec. 12, 2006

  • Henry Foss High School - Tacoma, Washington, January 3, 2007

  • Virginia Tech massacre - Blacksburg, Virginia, April 16, 2007

In my mind it's taken a bit too long for such legislation to be enacted, but who the hell am I? Most in DC would probably just call me an ex-pat & write my opinions off.

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Wednesday, June 13

Miss PH

So I'm happy to see Paris Hilton is going back to jail - I know that sounds harsh, but can you imagine if I'd driven drunk, gotten caught by police & then just been slapped on the back of the hand for punishment? NO WAY, I would have had to do jail time or pay some outrageous fine or something. But b/c she's a celebrity heiress and suffering an unspecified medical condition she's allowed to serve her time under house arrest - WTF?!?!?! I mean after the DWI she was told not to drive & then drove & got caught so who's to say she's going to stay at home when told if she can't even not drive for a few months - I mean HELLO she's rich enough to have a driver take her places, so why did she drive in the first place? Because she feels she's above the law . . . because she has been able to buy her way out of everything her whole life . . . because she's never had to be held accountable for anything she's ever done . . . because she's a Hilton . . . . because she's a celebrity . . . because she's just too stupid to follow simple directions . . . or just plain old all of the above.

Alrighty, no more ranting about stupid people, cause we all know the rant could go on for a long time if we start listing all of em out there!

So my work week this week really sucks - don't worry I still love my job. The problem being I'm waiting for supplies to arrive AND with one of our labs being rebuilt I'll have to trek all over London if/when it arrives, which okay I'm over that problem, until I discover that the frozen stocks of irradiated bacteria I need were all used up on Monday morning by a post doc in the lab who apparently thought her test of a protocol was so important she could use up the last 15 vials for a practice run - what's that about?!?!? So this means I cannot do anything until next Thursday (as in a week from tomorrow) at 11.00 when the next batch will be ready . . . UGH I dislike science at times! I don't mind a day or two of down time, but 1.5 weeks is a bit much if you ask me! Sorry I'm ranting again . . . okay I better go & read yet another paper.


Who said this???

"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all of my energies to develop myself. To expand my heart out to others: to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.I am going to have only kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."


Tuesday, June 12

good lil quote

Thanks to BrainCheese - I found this cool bumper sticker & thought I'd share it with you as I've got bugger all to do at work today & basically am just waiting for 17.00 to roll around so I can leave, yeah only 2 hours left!!
Oh yeah & if you happen to have any spare change in your pocket would you please donate here - the money raised is for Multiple Sclerosis - I'm not just posting this randomly, I donated in honour of my friends who live with this horrible disease on a daily basis, Zee, BrainCheese, and a few others who wish to remain nameless)


where to begin

So it's been awhile since I last wrote, not sure what all I've been doing that made me forget to post anything, let's see . . .

Thursday night - dad & I tried an Ethiopian restaurant in Tufnell Park on Fortess Road called Lalibela and had our dessert of strawberry shortcake (made with shortbread) in Muswell Hill - yummers!

Friday - rather long busy day at work (till 18.45) and then got a take away curry to eat at home while watching a movie

Saturday - slept in, did a load of laundry, texted the gimpster (as I'm now calling Rob) to see if he needed anything from Tescos - got a rather large txt reply back with his grocery list (red Thai chilies, onions, loo roll, kitchen roll, milk (semi-skim), white bread, fresh prawns, chicken breasts, basmati rice, fairy liquid, coconut milk, spring onions, red peppers, pudding (aka dessert), Irish medium cheese, 2 tins of beans, tomato ketchup), had my lunch while finished watching the movie I'd fallen asleep watching the night before - went to Tescos to pick up everything which the Gimpster wanted & delivered it to the flat only to find him & Jim sprawled out on their respective couches in only their underwear (albeit the weather was rather warm) watching a movie - I dropped the carrier bags full of food & refused to put anything away since Jim obviously could have done this shopping for them! The Gimpster made us a great dinner (all from scratch) of Thai hot & sweet soup with prawns for a starter, chicken curry for our main, and tirimisu for dessert (that was pre-made & ruddy good I might add) I did all the washing up, finished watching the movie & headed home. On the way to the bus stop I realised it was such a nice night I might as well walk home & stop at Tescos on the way so I could pick up my groceries, so I did.

Sunday - met up with MissyLou & Jeremy at 10.30 for coffee, then met up with dad's mate Jerry for lunch. After that we walked through Kensington Gardens (past the Orangery and the Albert Memorial) and all the way up to Hyde Park Corner. From there we got a #9 bus to the Strand & walked over to the Thames to get a drink on the Queen Mary so we could enjoy the sun some more. We proceeded to The Maple Leaf for some fish & chips before going our separate ways - I was ruddy knackered & my feet hurt (I'd worn my flip flops forgetting I might be touring Jerry around London)

Monday - busy morning on FlowJo to analyse my flow cytometry experiment from Friday, lunch outside in the sun, read Shabaana's IL-23/17 paper in Nature Immunology for journal club on Friday, chatted with my co-worker Anna since we were bored, window shopping on Oxford Street gone wrong when I purchased a pair of shoes! Met up with John, Adilson, and Dad for a really LATE dinner - I didn't get home till 01.00, which didn't make me happy considering I knew I had to get up at 06.17 today :(

So far today . . . rode on bus, signed up for a slot in the afternoon run of the autoclave, checked my emails, ya know really important & fun stuff (ha ha ha) oh yeah and waiting for my "new" collagenase to arrive for batch testing . . . see the fun never ends here in L'town.

Thursday, June 7

Thursday Thirteen #9

Thirteen important people in my daily life

Before I start this, do not be offended if you do not make the list - there are many important people in my life, but this post is limited to mentioning only 13. Also I am not listing them in any order, just as they pop into my head!

1. My lil sis, Patty - list is too long for an explanation, but I reckon you know why!

2. My mom - see above reason

3. My dad - see above reason

4. Jim (from London) - for being a fantastic, supportive, loving friend & writing a reference for me to stay in London

5. Rob (from London) - just for being your goofy self

6. Kristen & PJ (from NY) - for always being there for me & being my oldest best friend

7. My boss, Greg - for being so positive & supportive & offering me this awesome job

8. My co-workers, Anna, Tasha, and Karen - for being so easy to talk to & fun to work with

9. Sylwia (from CT - you might think of her as Kevin's wife) - for emailing often with updates on the kids & other chit-chat

10. My flatmates, Zarina, Estee, Antonio, and Giulia - for making our home fun to be in

11. Paula (in NY) for teaching me all the technical skills I have now!

12. Public transport drivers for getting me to & from work safely & on time (almost) each day - not an easy task in this city

13. All you bloggers out there who make me laugh, cry, and think when reading your daily posts.


a wee lie in & Miss VB

As I think I told you yesterday - Rob had his foot broken at work the 2 days ago, so he's off work for the next 4-6 weeks. Dad & I were suppose to meet up with the boys at some point but seeing as Rob is now a cripple, we decided bringing dinner into him would be our best bet. So last night after work I went to Marks & Spencer got 2 pizzas to pop into the oven, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, salad dressing, fruit salad, and chocolate mousse thing-a-ma-jigs for puddings. Rob got to regale Dad about his holidays to Vietnam & Thailand along with showing off the guide book to his next trip this coming December to Peru & Ecuador. Dad was a good listener, since I'd already heard the stories at least 3x, so I just hid myself in the kitchen. Jim was on earlies, but as per usual working late, so he missed the main meal, but was just in time for pudding.

Dad & I took the bus home from J&R's last night. I got off at my stop and dad stayed on for another few stops to get to his hotel. When I got in the house was really quiet & only Antonio's car was outside, so I double locked the door, checked my email, set my alarm clock & went to bed. I woke up this morning at 07.53, which is NOT the time my alarm was set for (06.17), but after setting it I forgot to turn it on! So I jumped outta bed grabbed a quick shower & headed into work, I was only 35 minutes late (since I'm normally here 30-40 minutes early - I do that b/c you never know with public transport & I would hate to be late to a meeting!) So I got a wee lie in this morning, which was totally unexpected, but rather nice :)

Dad brought a document which I have to sign & have notarised, course in this country it's not as easy as the states, since: A Notary is a qualified lawyer – a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom. He is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties. I will now have to book an appt with a notary, luckily it shouldn't cost anything, but they did say you might have to pay a minimal solicitor's (lawyer) fee :(
Does anyone see anything wrong about Victoria Beckham's outfit????
That's been the excitement on my end of the pond :)

Wednesday, June 6

quick one

So dad & I had dinner at my place last night - he got to meet Zarina & Antonio. After dinner, he checked his email & Antonio dropped him back at his hotel (after we stopped to top up his SIM card so he could have use of my old mobile today).

When I got home Jim called to say hi & see if we could get together, but looks like his schedule (yet again) sucks. He also mentioned that Rob was in hospital & might have broken his foot. We got off the phone so I could go to sleep & about an hour later Rob called . . . he indeed did break his foot. He had climbed up over a wall to catch a person who was running away & when he finally landed on the person, there was a bit of a struggle & Rob's foot got broken & the person's arm got broken. Luckily it's not a big break - just a fractured metatarsal, so he's not in a cast, just on crutches & off work for 6 weeks.

Dad & I were going to have dinner in the city tonight but since Rob's injured I thought it might be nice to bring dinner up to theirs instead, so that's the plan. Dad is out at the London Bridge & Tower London today and will be meeting me here at LSHTM around 17.15.

That's all folks ;)

Tuesday, June 5

2012 logo

What do you think of it?!?!?!?!?!
Duct Tape is the only solution to stopping his stupidity!!!

Bob, Patrick, dinner, Equus, and bed

That was my night last night. I left work around 16.20 to walk down to the Strand Palace Hotel where dad was booked in for the night. I met him in the Mask Bar which is hidden in the rear of the hotel. With him was Bob from NY & Patrick from London. We had a quick drink, before heading to the hotel restaurant for dinner - we had the carvery - yummers :)

After dinner Patrick, Dad & I hopped on a bus to Picadilly Circus where dad & I went to the theartre & Patrick continued on to Oxford St for some shopping. We saw the play, Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe who is the stars as Harry in the Harry Potter movies. I had no clue what it was about, which I think might have been a good thing or I reckon I might not have necessarily wanted to see it. It was really great, but it's very emotionally draining - I think.

After the play was done, Dad & I walked to Leicester Square got him an oyster card & then I pointed him in the right direction to talk home & I jumped on the northern line up to Archway before getting the bus home.

A bit knackered today since I was up rather late & of course when I got home I checked my email since my computer was on & got chatting with a friend - Bad Ra!!!!!

In other exciting news, Paris Hilton is finally in jail. I really love this part, "Meanwhile the waxwork museum Madame Tussaud's in London has taken the opportunity to mock the celebrity socialite. The wax mannequin of the star has been temporarily dressed in a black and white striped prison suit." How fantastic is that?!?!?!


Monday, June 4


I just got a phone call at my desk - I think it's maybe the first one I've ever gotten aside from that time I called it to test it out. Guess who it was . . . my dad . . . he's safely arrived in London - he's visiting for the week :) I'm going to meet him at his hotel at 5pm, so now I'm just trying to pass the next 15 minutes before I can start to head out. I was suppose to have a meeting with my boss but he's still in another meeting about the 3rd edition of his textbook with John Playfair, so I reckon I'll be meeting with him tomorrow. In the mean time I'm a bit bored - did lots of experiments last week & have analysed them all to the best of my ability, but there are a few places I could go from here so I want to double check with him before I go off & order £400 of reagents & then find out he wants me to do something different.

Well I'm off to the toilet & then gonna walk to the lab & back just to look like I've done something productive today, aside from sending personal emails & playing on facebook - managed to get my co-worker hooked on it but that was a disaster, she found her 1st ever boyfriend (from when she was 13) and found out he's married with kids & so now she feels old & unaccomplished - not really sure how having a PhD makes you unaccomplished but whatever!! I did spend all morning from 8:30-13:30 on FlowJo analysis, the day was not a total waste.

Things that make you really think

After spending most of my Saturday doing bugger all* I received an email from someone state side which had some not so good news. In order to protect the people involved, all you really need to know is that someone is in ICU after an accident & I think will be okay at the end of it, but I don't know any more details.

The part that makes me really think is how life can be so short. One of the persons related to the accident victim & I sort of lost touch around the time that I moved back to London in March. It's a long story, of which I'm not even really sure of the reasons, but now I some what feel guilty. What ever we went through & sort of "ended" our friendship, doesn't mean that I don't care for that person or their family. But at the same time I don't want to send a card & have them think I'm taking the piss, seeing as we haven't spoken since I moved here. I think this person would feel the same way, but then again based on what ended the friendship, I'm not really sure if they would send a card to me (well to be honest they wouldn't b/c they don't have my address). I sent an email the second I found out & hope they don't think that I'm crossing the line - if you know what I mean.

My debate, do I send a snail mail card or not?!?!?!?

Incidents like this just make me think a lot. This accident could have happened to someone in my family & what would I do then. I'm over 3,000 miles away & it would take me over a day to get there & once there I wouldn't be able to do much at all aside from sit beside them. Don't get me wrong if for example, my sis were in ICU, I would do everything in my power to get home asap & I would sit there & do whatever I could to help her - I did when she broke her thumb & James called to tell us she was having surgery.

* bugger all Saturday = waking up at 8 but not getting out of bed till half 9 - going down stairs to get some tea & finding Estee & Zarina sitting out having tea in the garden, so I joined them - we were there until about 4pm - taking a nap from 5-6 (in my bed) - chatting online with friends from 7-10pm - watching a movie before falling asleep.

N.B. Sunday was much more action packed ;) - showering, going to a market in Palmers Green, sitting in the garden while eating watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, with fresh toasted semolina bread, going to hear Estee's cousin's gig in Hornsey, buying meat at a kosher deli in Golders Green, having dinner, watching a movie, going to bed semi early b/c of work today.


Saturday, June 2

Just for a giggle

Just went running with Estee, part of her new "how to loose weight" program, which of course entails not eating anything that could possibly make you gain weight - so she's basically eating lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches and drinking lemon water. Luckily for my sake (since I can't recall the last time I went running) since she doesn't eat much she has no stamina for running, but the down side to that was we ended up walking around Muswell Hill and got caught in a huge rain storm, which motivated me to run home (alone) - too bad she had the keys in her pocket! Off to get some dinner now

link love

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

Holly’s Corner
An Island Life
Whee! All The Way Home
The Middling Monettes
Garnet's Adventures

Next select five people to tag . . . Feel free to participate if you want to.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Well I was 19 and had just finished a year at Hofstra University. I was getting ready to work at summer camp, but in the mean time I was just relaxing at my parents house, catching up with friends who I hadn't seen while I was on the island.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

I was in London, taking Immunology of Parasites, but only had a few days left, so I was more focused on final exams which were only a few days away!!

Five Snacks You Enjoy

1. Snack-a-Jacks (salt & vinegar flavoured)

2. grapes

3. Chocolate truffles.

4. Tostitos chips

5. Cheese & onion crisps (chips)

Five Songs That You Know All The Lyrics To

1. Nightswimming - REM
2. Just wanted to see you - Lucinda Williams
3. This is My Song - Carbon Leaf
4. Silent Sea - KT Tunstall
5. Dear Mr President - Pink

Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire

1. by lots of plane tickets so my mates in the US could come to the UK.
2. buy a house in London
3. donate my salary to charity (I couldn't stop working)
4. get a PhD - cause I'd be able to pay the outrageous int'l student fees in this country
5. travel to tropical destinations.

Five Bad Habits

1. procrastination.
2. worrying too much.
3. over booking myself.
4. not eating for hours at a time and then binging on junk.
5. cracking my knuckles.

Five Things You Like To Do

1. blog.
2. meet up with friends for picnics
3. go to the beach.
4. reading.
5. traveling.

Five Things You Would Never Wear Again

1. wool sweaters.
2. peg-legged pants
3. t-shirt clips.
4. hypercolour shirts.
5. Z cavaricci pants I wore in HS.

Five Favorite Toys

1. laptop computer.
2. iPod.
3. digital camera.
4. phone.
5. spider solitaire.

Now it’s your turn. When and if you do it, leave me a comment so I can go and check it out.


Friday, June 1

A few things

I bet you never knew and probably don't give a care about either, but hey it's Friday & I don't have much else to report aside from the fact that I've got to help write up an IL-10 Bps paper with Anna - fun fun fun :)

So back to my original point . . . how many of you know all the boroughs in London? There are 32 plus the city center. Interesting facts, each borough has a police force with a few stations in them. When you see a PC (police constable) you can tell where s/he is from & what his/her rank is by the letters and numbers on his/her shoulder. The first letter is rather hard to figure out on your own since it was put into the system a long time ago & does not really correlate with the names of areas now, but you just learn that N for Islington, S for Barnet, E for Camden, and Y is for Haringey, etc the second letter has to do with which station you work out of, so EK would be for Camden's Kentish Town station, YM would be for Haringey's Muswell Hill station, EH is Camden's Hampstead station. Then there is the issue of the number which follows these letters, so a one or two digit number denotes a sergeant, a three digit number denotes a constable, and a four digit number beginning with 7 denotes a PCSO - apparently I would want to be a PCSO since we all know I'm a bit obsessed with the number 7 ;) So for example (NI = Islington), Jim is NI-532 and Rob is NI-221 while their skipper (Sergent) is NI-19. I don't know any PCSOs to give you an example - will have to try to expand my police friend network.
So that is my Friday morning interesting fact for all of you who were bored enough to read it all. I'm off to play with FlowJo to learn if my cells did produce any IFNgamma or not (fingers crossed they do), then to help Anna with the manuscript, and finally to meet with my boss to talk about all these fun things :)
TGIF . . .