Friday, June 29, 2007

it takes a village:

A very good friend from my high school days (who is also back in college and set to graduate relatively soon) gave me a wonderful gift yesterday: a big scientific, graphing calculator! I'm borrowing it for my Algebra class (set to start in less than a week). He saved me some $$$ on that one and I am grateful.

The calculator made me think about the bookbag I've been carrying around all month (and the pens and notebook I've been using). My co-workers are responsible for those! They gave me the bag (filled with supplies) in May. How awesome is that? Much love to them as well!

So I guess that saying (and speech and book) is correct, apparently it takes a village to raise a child Janet.


It was announced today--the University of Memphis is increasing tuition...again. Now I attended YEARS ago and I'm pretty sure I remember the cost of tuition and even I (the failed Math student) can tell you it has increased more than 100% in a 10-year period. WOW! I just read tuition has gone up EVERY year for the past 20 years.

So where has the BILLIONS of dollars the state of Tennessee raised for education gone?

By the way, unless I start spontaneously losing points, it appears that my first Biology grade will be an A *fierce round of applause*! I'm still waiting to see it in print though!

One class down and 54151513 to go!


Sunday, June 24, 2007


So this weekend has been very relaxing...HOT, but relaxing. I've barely done anything resembling homework....although I have started working on a pedigree chart for a recessive trait that both me, my sister and our mother possess, we'll see how that turns out especially since half of my relatives live in another country.

I finished reading PIECE OF WORK early Saturday morning (think 3am--which means I am rather boring if READING is what I do now at 3am on a Saturday morning). It was a wonderful albeit quick read. Since I've read all Laura Zigman's other novels already, I am sad. I have to wait patiently for some more of her work to become available (which I know she is working on).

This evening I made a lovely pineapple salsa to go alongside our freshly grilled chicken and pork. It was quite amazing (and we have leftovers!!!) The recipe is featured in the May 2007 issue of Cooking Light. You can find virtually all their recipes on the site, so look for it if you have some pineapple, a lime and some cilantro laying around. DELICIOUS!

Are you a Pop Culture Junkie? Did you happen to catch the World Series of Pop Culture on VH1 last summer? Well I did. And in just a few weeks the 2007 edition will begin airing. Are you excited? Can I stop with the questions already? THEY have a site online where you can PLAY pop culture GAMES! In less than 24 hours I have become the #50 ranked player (out of over 400 registered players)! JOIN ME! ~~J

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Life on Film:

With inspiration from The Bloodshot Eye and the simple fact that I am on a "Biology Break" after taking the "hard" exam today (but not really, because I've already completed some extra credit for the new chapter) I decided to come up with a top movie list of my own.

I am a self-proclaimed movie fanatic. I even have a really geeky big list of all the films I have seen from start to finish and could carry on a decent conversation about (at least 800 strong and counting). If my math is correct (which is not always feasible) I guess spending at least two complete months (NOT including any time to sleep or such) comes in at about 5% of my life watching movies isn't too bad or is it? I tried to calculate my time asleep for comparison but my brain started to complain.

I quickly went through my Netflix list of "ratings" and looked at all the films I have given 5 stars to (the top rating). Then I decided to narrow it down to my favorites released since the year 2000 (minus the animated ones) I came up with the 25 listed (alphabetically) below:

Amelie (2001)
Before Sunset (2004)
Chocolat (2000)
Closer (2004)
Conversations with Other Women (2006)
Crash (2005)
Le Divorce (2003)
Garden State (2004)
The Good Girl (2002)
High Fidelity (2000)
The Hours (2002)
In America (2002)
The Last Kiss (2006)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Love Actually (2003)
A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)
Match Point (2005)
Nine Lives (2005)
The Notebook (2004)
Prime (2005)
Shopgirl (2005)
Sideways (2004)
Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Swimming Pool (2003)
White Oleander (2002)

I have to point out that I will be taking a film class during the Fall semester and I am really, really, really looking forward to it.

Discuss amongst yourselves and GET BACK TO ME! (Because if I think about it anymore I am going to start adding and subtracting from this list)


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

a meager 12%:

Is there a certain sound your brain makes when you're getting a "new wrinkle"...or using more of it than usual? Does anybody know? Is there an answer? I think the saying goes "we only use about 10% of our brain's potential." Although that myth has been debated and reworked and such, lets just say that if it is true, then I would like to say I've used at least an extra 2% this month alone! I have a newly formed "Biology is kinda cool" wrinkle.


Who knew how much fun it is watching yeast do its thang!

Yesterday in Lab we filled four test tubes with different sugar solutions along with YEAST and removed oxygen. After an incubation period of 1 hour at 37°C (that's nearly 99°F). We were actually simulating glycolysis and essentially "making" alcohol (ethanol as shown) alongside carbon dioxide (CO2), fun times!

Did I mention the heavy smell of bread in the air afterward? Did I mention that each group member got their own test tube and chugged it when we were done? Just Kidding. I wanted to see if you were paying attention.


I can't believe the halfway point of the "semester" has come and gone. I have at least three more exams to study for and not a lot of time to do it in (that's why I am blogging instead of studying at this VERY minute).

I am on the verge of pulling my hair out or staying UP all night and I don't think bald would suit me very well...the former it is!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Night #3

Oh my!

So my professor mentioned on Friday (as we finished another chapter) that this is THE section. THE section of three chapters that she had to put closer to the end of the "semester" because when it was near the beginning she would lose a lot of students after this exam. No kidding! This stuff is absolutely mind-blowing...we did NOT go through all these chemical reactions and steps in high school!

Even though this is just a Biology class for NON-SCIENCE majors, I am a bit worried right now! English/literature is my professed forte, not this stuff (although it's pretty darn interesting). Thank goodness I did well on my first two exams because that could save me now. *whew*

6 CO2+ 12 H2O+ photons → C6 H12 O6+ 6 O2+ 6 H2O
carbon dioxide + water + light energy → glucose + oxygen + water

What? (Photosynthesis)

Also on Friday we took our Lab mid-term. It actually took longer for me than one of the "regular" lecture exams. I even felt my brain quiver as I labeled seemingly about 457 parts of a single cell (didn't know there was that many, didja?)...I did relatively well, even though I missed a simple subtraction question right after getting every single nana/micro/mili/centi conversion problem correct. ACK!

With all the cellular talk this month, I have found myself lying awake at night imaging all these processes occurring...when you THINK you can feel your liver cells moving about, it's probably time to STOP thinking!

I've found some time to start reading the latest from one of my favorite authors, Laura Zigman. Piece of Work was released near the end of last year, but I did not actually SEE it anywhere until my stop at Davis-Kidd earlier in the week. Laura and I have actually become virtual "new friends" (seriously, HER WORDS, go check her "brant" asap!) PLUS she has been a great boost to my whole "going back to school to pursue the degree I've always wanted" thing. I am liking the book and just like anything else by her, I totally recommend it!


Friday, June 15, 2007

the hodge podge of it:

So another lecture exam came and went this week and there is another one (lab midterm) to prepare for today. So are the joys of a five week class! Thankfully I pretty much matched my score(s) on the first two exams.

Not to get TOO ahead of myself, but the possibility of an A for the course seems very possible.

Of course, now we are starting Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration...and the lovely Krebs Cycle (go here to make your brain really hurt) Seriously? See? We aren't going to get THAT detailed, but still...ACK! So I have to keep telling myself that we get to drop our lowest exam grade...repeat repeat repeat.

I took a mini-break today and watched a few hours of the Food Network: Ina and Paula and Giada, OH MY! These three ladies completely rock my wanna-be chef world! I even managed to squeeze in another "chick flick" with Music and Lyrics (oh Hugh, as much as I love you..WHY? This was not my favorite movie you've done, but I did enjoy the dancing...)

Side note: I am sadden by the news of our beloved Ya Ya's miscarriage. One of my dear friends is a China Keeper at the zoo and I know she has been working closely with our Pandas. Of course I know this is a common occurrence and there is always next year, but still.


p.s. Many Happy Wedding Wishes to Dina and Hunter this weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ding Ding Ding, Jackpot!

So yesterday after our lab the professor handed out our first exam. As they say in Tunica: Ding Ding Ding, Jackpot! Turns out I did as well as I thought/hoped/prayed I would do. (If you know that one hit wonder by Nena in the 80s, you know my score)

*insert big sigh of relief here*

I can't really celebrate too long, being this is a summer course and after all, tomorrow is another day (er, Exam--I couldn't resist myself Scarlett, please forgive me).

I was up into the wee hours of the morning (thanks to some cinnamon hazelnut coffee I decided to brew at 11pm) studying (making notecards) and going over online practice tests. I was somewhat worried about the material this time around, but I have achieved a "respect" for it and so maybe we will have a decent enough relationship I can pass the next exam with flying colors too?!?

I didn't start studying until late last night because I spent most of the evening making dinner (new recipe from Cooking Light) and participating in great conversation(s) with one of my best friends. I finally played (and lost) my first game of Parcheesi too. Woo!

Now THIS evening (after class and a mini-study session) I found myself at Davis-Kidd to see and listen to our very own homegrown (did I just make her sound like a tomato?) published author--Johanna Edwards. She has a new book out, which she signed (and I got one of her earlier books signed as well). It was a good break to take because I was reminded of WHAT I really want to do: WRITE. (and be published)

I'll have to settle with the steps of meiosis and part of a scientific paper for now...


Monday, June 11, 2007

Can I get a Grade?!?

So I didn't "blog" about anything over the weekend because I've been busy waiting impatiently for my first lecture exam score to be posted.

*watches tumbleweed blow by*

Still no grade!? Seriously!?

I wanted to go into Lecture Exam 2 (in two days) feeling a little bit more comfortable about my "studying" style. I guess I'll have to find out my score today in Lab (please, no more sheep blood).

What else did I do this weekend?

I watched the French Open Men's Tennis Final live from Paris. It featured the Pirate (Nadal) vs. Mr. Good Hair (Federer). The Pirate won...again. (And we all know that Pirates can be extremely sexy--Johnny Depp--so calling Rafa a pirate really is a compliment. I would even say so to his face. I mean, he wears capris and has the hair and stubble!) Roger Federer (LOVE his hair) didn't even stick around to talk to the press after the loss. I felt really, really sorry for him. The French Open title will always be the feather missing from his least until maybe next year? (especially if the Pirate gets called away on a long sea mission)

I allowed myself ONE CHAPTER of a book not pertaining to Biology. Maneater by Gigi Levangie Grazer is very much a story about a spoiled socialite (ah! so it's pretty relevant with current events) who lies about her age and can pick through men like it's nobody's business. So far, so good--but like I said, I only read the first chapter.

I watched a "new" movie via Netflix. Catch and Release with Jennifer Garner that I saw the trailer for all over the place but did it even make it into theaters? I never saw it listed...although I've become such a Netflix Addict, I really don't pay attention to current movies anymore. Anyway, I really liked the film...but I normally adore anything with Jennifer Garner in it, so I might be a bit biased.

And maybe I'll get to ramble about class again soon.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Other Side:

Raise your hand if you knew "CROSSING OVER" was more than just a television show starring John Edward? (the physic medium, not the man vying for the Democratic Presidential nomination--that's Senator John Edwards of North Carolina)

But seriously, we started a whole new chapter today AFTER our first lecture exam (score yet to be announced--but I have a really good feeling about it). Subject? Meiosis and Mitosis. When our professor briefly went over the seemingly 223521 phases, she mentioned the term "crossing-over" and all I could do was giggle.

Picture it: a room full of hopeful people all staring at him, John Edward. His signature fitted t-shirt tucked in and brown eyes gleaming as he receives clues and images from "the other side." At least that's what I saw in my mind's eye, hence the giggle.

Although for biological purposes--during Meiosis (which I will know sideways in merely a couple days), specifically during Prophase I there is a process in which there is a physical exchange of equal pieces of adjacent non-sister chromatids. What? It's CROSSING-OVER. Fun, right?

I have yet to begin my notecards but I will shortly, don't worry.

Do you have guess as to how many I made total for the first three chapters? About 100. Really. That is a complete record for me. Who knew it would become an obsession? I believe our next lecture exam (over two chapters this time) will be in less than 5 days...

*refrains from falling flat on the floor*


p.s. I decided to save you from details of my lab yesterday, but it did involve sheep blood. That won't become the next big selling "scent" anytime soon, I can tell you that much!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Amino Me This:

It's only the beginning of Week Two of 'Biology I' and I feel as if I've been run over by a big truck. The material is relatively manageable (and actually interesting) I am just trying to adjust to running around so much. Sleep, Class, Eat, Work, Study* Repeat! It's been a while since I've tried to cram so much into my brain PLUS I'm soooo old! Okay, maybe not. By next month I'll be able to add another class to the mix (that's the plan).

Warning: GEEK OUT ahead!

So back to the interesting stuff, Amino Acids have my complete attention...the different structures and the way they bond to one another (peptide bond) is just really fascinating. Steroids? FUN! (structrually) And please don't even get me started on DNA! I never ever thought I'd be drawing structures and thinking "Wow! HOW COOL!"

(see the NH2 part is the Amine Group and the CO2H is the Carboxyl Group and that R hanging off the middle Carbon representing the R group which is specific to each Amino Acid)

Okay, back from the GEEK OUT: this week holds the first Lecture Exam (we have five total) and I am pretty comfortable with the material (we have one lecture and one lab remaining before said Exam) thus far. I've been making notecards and going over sections daily (along with those LONG extra credit multiple choice quizzes).

I have to say this, Notecards/Flashcards=Love!

I purchased 1000 lined 3x5 cards this weekend. There is just something about reading material, rereading it, writing it down, and rereading it that makes me feel productive. I know it incorporates all of the learning styles--but it just could be all the purple ink I get to splatter all over the place!

But to make a long story short, I should get back to it!


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Saturday #1

So today I finally passed the extra credit, extra long multiple choice quiz for Chapter 2. *insert theme from Rocky here* I whooped and hollered...wait for it...wait for it: then I promptly realized there are TWO MORE chapters to this first Exam (date: Thursday). OH SUDOKU!

Mitochondria? Endoplasmic Reticulum? Parts of a cell, anyone? I remember drawing and labeling a "cell" back in high school, but I think it was just a wee bit less complicated. Growl.

Perfect Distractions:

1) I watched the Neely's on Paula's Party (Food Network) last night and was completely enamored with them. AND they are from Memphis (as you know)! I was so proud and excited! I'm pretty sure I dreamt about BBQ Spaghetti.

2) Cranbeary is out and about again! Yay! Thank goodness she has healed and the Memphis Zoo even had a Polar Bear cam now where you can check out all the action.

3) Going shopping with Mom and running into an old friend (the one who has been on my case about going back to college ever since I can remember--I'd like my coffee now).

4) Anything in a Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream container...SINFUL! Have you tried the new Cinnamon Buns? I really recommend you do, the sooner the better.

5) Mary Mallon aka Typhoid Mary. Do to the whole international scandal of the "TB GUY" and a spirited conversation at work, I had to rush home to find out everything I possibily could on this fascinating person. Crazy!

I guess I should get back to labeling the parts of a cell now. Oh Joy, Oh Rapture!



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