Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bruised knees and impending madness

My quest to be more outdoorsy continues. At the expense of my knees, which now resemble nothing so much as plums.

Fruit digression: Like the ones I bought at the Sunday veggie market. Apparently my vegetable impulse buying continues as well. Last week's random purchase: kiwifruit. (One has to be very careful to call the fruit "kiwifruit" not a "kiwi." "Kiwis" are people or birds but never fuzzy green things.)

Back to the outdoors: I've started rock climbing! Actually, I guess, started climbing again is more like it. I have always liked climbing (especially the whole being roped in so you can't fall thing) but haven't done it in years. The tramping club took a bunch of us out to Baring Head, a rock formation at a beach about 40 minutes from Wellington. It was a lot of fun but I was really rusty. (And climbing in sneakers, which my friend who's much more knowledgeable about these things informs me is enough to make it pretty hard to climb. Yes, it was all the shoes and not my total lack of balance or upper body strength. -- And yes, I know I'm supposed to use my legs. See my comment about lack of balance.) Long story short, I banged my knees a lot as I fell off the rock (multiple times). One time I was climbing quite far to the side of where I was roped in and managed a George of the Jungle-esque swing around the side of the rockface over the head of the (kind of cute in an "Am I still allowed to find undergrads cute?") climbing officer of the tramping club's head. I think my subconscious thinks it's my job to keep belayers (the people keeping me from cracking my skull open) on their toes. All in all a fun day though.

And just to be extra sporty I went climbing with Julie at a rock gym in Wellington last night. I also managed some spectacular falls there but this time completely avoided hitting the heads of anyone, cute or not, and actually managed to get to the top of some of the climbs. Alas, I managed to hit my knee again, so now it looks like a plum with a bruise. (I probably shouldn't have worn shorts today but the laundry situation is dire. I guess some things don't change.)

Saturday night was very interesting. I had the closest I'll probably ever come to a blind date/ the beginning of every Dateline story about children abducted by people they met on the internet. I went out to dinner and a play with a guy I'd never met and had only briefly emailed with. Long story short: I had emailed a guy upon first arriving about seeing his flat. His flatmate ended up showing me the place and I took a different flat so I never met the guy I was emailing with, an American who'd been in Wellington for a few years. He told me about an arts festival going on and invited me to a show. A few weeks later, after a couple emails about the dearth of Mexican food in Wellington, (Sidenote: it's bad. Do not take Felipe's, midnight taco trucks, Chipotle or even Taco Bell for granted.) we met. Suprisingly (it is me we're talking about) it wasn't particularly awkward and I gained a lot of good information. I have now been to the one decent Latin American (I say that because my dish had elements of food from all over Central and South America) restaurant in Wellington. Also the show we went to was FANTASTIC (especially for those of us who can still sing every lyric to every top 40 song of the 90s). It was a one man show about a boy band -- this guy managed to play an entire boy band and its manager by himself. It was incredibly impressive.

Research is going pretty well. I have hit a stumbling block, however. (Yay science!) I am looking for 5 different cell types in the blood, in smears from 1988 and 2008. I had taken tons of really beautiful pictures of tons of cells on the $80,000(!) microscope they let me play with. I thought I could consistently identify all 5 different cell types and was good to start my project. Then I realized that every eosinophil (don't worry about the name -- just a white blood cell type) I had found came from a 2008 sample and every heterophil from a 1988. Basically, I had identified everything wrong and needed to start again. The general consensus from everyone I've showed seems to be that they're cool looking, very different from mammals and incredibly confusing. My adviser told me yesterday that she thinks I'm going to go crazy. Little does she know I'm already a bit nuts. Should be interesting.

- Hannah : mountain goat :: anole on teflon : anole not on teflon. (Teflon is one of the few surfaces an anole can't stick on. Yeah, I know it's a lame analogy -- I've been staring at blood cells all day.)
- Hannah's knees : plums :: tuatara: lizard (I'm going to stop trying. I knew there was a reason the verbal section was my worst score on the GRE...)
- Say "no" to cannibalism. Eat kiwifruit, not kiwis.
- New Zealand has erased my paranoia about people I met on the internet but has not instilled in me a desire to do laundry.
- I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Taco Bell.
- There's a strong chance I'm going to go insane in the near future, or so say my advisers.

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