Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bruises a-go-go

So Monday was my last pole dancing class. It was 6 weeks of hilarious fun and lots of bruises. I ended up with, what one housemate desribed as, legs that looked like someone had attacked them with their thumbs. I have bruises on the tops of my feet and also on both inner thighs/knees and a fabulous one on my left thigh (outer). But, the best bit is, they don't actually hurt. Well, not much anyway. But they look really impressive. They're varying shades of purple and orangey-red and green. I'm quite proud of them, I have to say.

I got to practice going upside-down on the pole on Monday. I did pretty well. I didn't smash my head into the ground and was able to get onto the floor in a pretty elegant way. I think that upside-down is going to be one of my favourite kinda of things. It requires strength and a little bravery, and it looks very cool.

I recently read an article on about pole dancing. It was an opinion piece about how women doing pole dancing were fools. I was quite taken aback. The article, summarised by me, went along the lines that women saying they were 'reclaiming their femininity' or were making a feminist statement by doing pole dancing, didn't know what they were on about. Thing is, I don't think anyone in my class would claim they were doing pole dancing to be more feminine, or to make a feminist statement. I think they'd say they were there to have fun, get some upper body strength and laugh like idiots. I know that's why I'm there. I love that I'm getting stronger arms and abs, I love dancing around like a fool to crappy music and I love the gymnastic ability required for the class. I'd say it'd be much like doing an acrobatic/circus class, something a little different, that requires somewhat acrobatic skills. Much fun as going to the gym is (and I really enjoy it), my pole dancing class is so much fun. I'm not doing it to impress a man, I'm not doing it to land a man (already got one), I'm doing it because it makes me happy. Buh, anyway, enough justifying my new habit, I love it and that's the most important thing.

What else is news I hear you ask? JJF and BT moved into their new place yesterday, along with Bailey the black Labrador. They are now literally stumbling distance from my house. And with their surround sound and yo-yo tricks galore, I don't know how often I'll be at home. I'm still quite giggly about the whole thing. I got to ride JJF's scooter from his old place in Torrens, up to the new place. It was quite scary, scarier than I'd imagined. I think it was because it was so windy last night. I nearly got blown off on Adelaide Avenue. But I made it safely, and realised that I quite like my own scooter, even if it does have a smaller engine.

Last night was also our Xmas at my house. LJS had her parents around. I had the boys over and SKW had J and N with her. We all ate dinner separately, but dessert was a shared affair. SKW had made sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and we ate that, along with icecream. It was heavenly. LJS had also bought a chocky cake, so we were well fed. It was a lovely evening, Bailey was there too and all three dogs played with each other. Bailey and Tikka had a small fight, and it looks as though Bailey is top dog among those three. It'll be interesting to see them play more over the next while, as I'm sure Bailey will be at our house quite a bit.

I totally scored in the present stakes. LJS got me a lovely Vespa diary thing and a swivel chair for me to use for sewing. SKW got me Degrassi High season 1 on DVD. I spent this morning watching a little bit of it as I sewed, sitting on the new chair. It's still as classy as ever, which means, not at all. But it does deal with a lot of 'issues' that faced teenagers in the late 80s/early 90s. The fashion is pretty astounding, go the mullet! BT and his lovely g/f GT also got me something, yay! It was totally unexpected, but totally useful. I got a new wallet. My old wallet from RU, while lovely, has not had a functional zip for quite some time. It was time to retire it, but I was just waiting for the sales. No need anymore though! The new wallet is red and snazzy.

That's all that's news from my world. Except maybe the dizzy spells of the last few days. But it sounds like a lot of people have been getting them, so maybe it's something to do with the weather. I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow to get it checked out. Probably just a minor ear infection or something. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Riding my scoot- lots of fun

So, I went for my first 'ride' on Sunday. I have pretty much only had my scooter as a means of getting around. A cheaper option than a car. But I have some swing dancing friends who have motorbikes as a fun way of getting around. They also have cars! So, it was decided that we should all go for a 'ride' together, somewhere out of Canberra a little way.

We decided on Tidbinbilla (I hope I've spelled that correctly) and rode out there. It was quite hilly and we were travelling for the most part at about 80-85km/h. That way my scooter could keep up with the other bikes, I've worked out my absolute top speed is 90km/h and that's downhill. It was probably around the halfway mark that I noticed that my petrol reserves were a little low, or rather, a lot low. We made it to the big dishes, but there was no way I was making it back to Canberra, or even to Tharwa, another 20kms away to get petrol.

I'm now forever indebted to my friend Stephen. He found some hose from the security guys and syphoned out petrol for me. First, from his own 1300cc bike into my scooter, and later, because it was too hard to get the petrol flowing, from Kristina's 500cc bike into a coke bottle. He filled the 600ml bottle three times and all of a sudden I had a lot of petrol in the tank. We made it safely back to Canberra and I hit 90km/h on the way back into town, on a hill, probably with a tail wind.

It was so much fun, riding with other riders, nice and safe in the middle of the pack of 5. The weather was perfect for riding, blue skies, a few clouds and a lovely 27 degrees, lovely. The riding did, however, make me want to get a bigger bike. Say a 250cc scooter, something that can do 100km/h no worries. But the sensible side of me knows that is silly. I'm only in Canberra for another 6-7 months and once I'm back in Melbourne, I don't know that I'll need that much power. The little 100cc should do the job admirably. So, I just have to cope, knowing that my riding could be a lot more fun, out on the open road, if I had a bigger bike. I promise Mum that I won't use my insurance money to buy a new scoot, I promise!

The riding part of the day ended at Gus' Cafe in the city. I nearly lost my mouthfull of food at one stage though. Stephen told us about how he'd once headbutted a duck. The duck had been flying up in front of his bike, and hadn't made it high enough. It smacked into his helmet, but continued up and I'm pretty sure survived. Funny, funny stuff. I've been hit with bugs before while riding. I've even had a bee in my helmet. But I've never headbutted a bird before. Nor do I think I'm likely to. I'm sure there's time enough for that in the coming years of riding.

Sunday was a lovely day out with the gang of swinging riders. 2 scooters, myself and JJF, 3 bikes, Stephen, Marianne and Kristina. Perfect weather and great friends who looked after me and made sure I could make it back home. I think next time I might ask Stephen if I can ride pillion on his bike. That thing is enormous. It's like sitting on an armchair. Totally cool and really noisy.

Another note about the scoot, riding and the like. I passed my Ps test a few weeks ago, but only managed to get myself to the motor registry yesterday. So I am now officially a P plate scooter rider. I just have to attach the P plate to the back of the scooter and I'm ready to roll. It took some 25 mins to see someone though. Luckily, I'd brought some sewing with me. I'm in the process of repairing a dress I made VE for her birthday last year, the lining had come a little loose and one of the straps was also starting to come away from the dress. In that 25 mins, I not only fixed those problems, but I also read about 1/3 of a paper. It turned out to be a rather successful wait. I'm now waiting on my housemate to turn up with some cable ties from the mouse house. I'm going to use them to attach the P plate.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Hooray, and champers all round! I got two clones that are the right thing. All that is left is to send DNA to Adelaide for injection into flies, sequence said DNA and run around the lab screaming "WHOOP!" at the top of my lungs. No more cloning for me (it would seem) and lots of fly work and other things. I love molecular biology today. And in accordance with a request by VA (supplier of awesome chemically competent cells) I now renounce my love affair with electro competent cells and wholy embrace chemically competent cells as the way of the future. I shall use them forever more for my cloning endeavours and agree that they are much better and more efficient than their electro siblings.

speedy mc-speedster

Yesterday was an excellent day, for the most part. I had a meeting with my solicitor, about my personal injury claim. Looks like I only have two things left to do before we can settle. I have to visit an 'independant medical expert' and have my shoulder assessed. I also have to get some kind of documentary evidence that my thesis was put back by about 2 months due to the accident. I think my supervisor might be able to help me out there. Must remember to ask, and ask nicely. Once this is done, NRMA will make me an offer, I'll pay the solicitors for their work and whatever is left over is mine. Huzzah! Fingers crossed it'll only take another couple of months or so.

I had colonies on my ligation plate yesterday morning and am in the process of confirming whether they are the right thing or not. I've grown up 12 of them and am digesting the DNA now. Give me an hour or so and I'll know whether I've finished cloning for my PhD or not (assuming the sequencing goes well). This is a bit of a milestone for me, as I may have mentioned previously, so that's cool too.

We had a farewell lunch for Nelida yesterday. She's a lovely Chilean woman in her 70s, who has been working at RSBS for 30 years. She is a phenomenal support, both scientifically and emotionally. I'm going to miss her hugs and advice. But, I figure she's probably allowed to go and do something other than work in our lab. The lunch was in the botanical gardens and we were visited by many water dragons. I'll post pictures once I'm organised.

So those were the good things about yesterday. Now for the amusing and not so great bits. My scooter decided that everywhere I went yesterday, I was travelling no distance and at 0km/h. I hoofed it down to the scooter repairer and it was a simple job to fix. The speedo cable had fallen out of it's place and wasn't connected properly. I got it all fixed up and I now know how fast I'm travelling. Which is useful. The other shitty thing yesterday was the evil headache that came upon me at about 4pm. I think it was my usual PMS headache, turning up a few days late to confuse and irritate me. It didn't go away, even with drugs. But, sleep killed it pretty well.

So yeah, yesterday was mostly good, but also a little shit. I'm hoping today will give me DNA to sequence and good flies to work with. Fingers crossed it'll also bring me chocolate, finished Xmas present shopping and a lovely early night. Man, I'm such a nanna!

Monday, December 11, 2006


I am now a P plate scooter rider. Woo! Be very scared Canberra. I'm not sure why, as nothing has really changed, but it sounds scary. It was ridiculously hot over the weekend here in the 'berra, and continues so today. It's also really smoky. I think that's because of the fires in Victoria. Which means that smoke has travelled at least 300kms, if not more to be here, obliterating our view of the sky. It's supposed to rain today (50% chance according to, I'm hoping that will bring the temperature down and get that smoke out of the sky. But Canberra, being Canberra, it won't rain and I'll have to suffer through another pole dancing class in the ridiculous heat. I mean, how am I supposed to grip the pole properly when I'm so sweaty I slip right off? My new short shorts are going great guns though, sufficiently short for class. I still won't wear them in public though, they are only on display at home and inside the pole room. On the street, they are covered by my Draggin' cargo pants. I don't really think that the world at large is ready to see the pasty pale whiteness that are my thighs.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Goodbye cloning? Hello flies?

I may be finished with my cloning. For those non-molecular biology types, that is cutting up and sticking pieces of DNA back together. I just have to make sure that I have what I want (which I should know by Monday or so) and it's no more silly ligations that don't work for me. No more competent cells, that are more incompetent than anything else. It'll be just a lot of genetics, fly crosses, virgins and lay plates. Lots more work in the fly room and on microscopes. It also is a significant point that I can mark off in my diary, on my way to the completion of an awesome thesis.
Mind you, with all this cloning nonsense I've been getting up to of late, my Xmas shopping is somewhat non-existent. I have the sum total of .5 of a present. I have no idea what to get some people, and not much of a desire to go shopping. Oh well, no doubt they'll all end up with something in the end. I may even get my housemate's xmas bag from last year finished before this year's celebrations. Fingers crossed! It's cut out and just needs to be sewn together and a lining found. Maybe I will get some of that done over the weekend.
The good news of today is: a dear friend of mine (mother of the quilt boy) is pregnant with her second child. Due sometime in (guessing here) late June/early July. I'm so incredibly happy for her and her family. She's an excellent mum and a great friend, even though we hardly see one another.