Friday, July 25, 2008


You really should go read this. I am a strong Obama supporter, but if you have a sense of humor, I'm pretty sure you'll think this is delightful.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


For everyone who is reading the developments of today's shooting attack outside the US Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, know that although I am in the same country, I am safe and fine. And so is everyone I am with. No need to worry, except about the injured who are in critical condition, and the loved ones of those who were killed.

Edit (July 11): I also do not have Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, which has had recent instances in Bursa.

Science, Pans, and Grammar

We interrupt this bulletin to bring you a special announcement.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SOPHIA! WE (me, myself, and I, among others) LOVE YOU! Even though you look like an assassin in your swanky green sunglasses. What a wonderful friend you are--I'm glad you're in my life, and thank you for everything. Happy Birthday, not-a-wife, and hang on.

Whitby habits die hard. This makes me very, very sad, as you can see from the note. Someone messed up my Teflon pan. With only two weeks to go, I don't really want to buy another one. The roommate is, as usual, very cavalier about it not mattering and being convinced that I'm way too paranoid about cancer, but that's, well, usual.

I tried to make it in simple and obvious enough English and implication that our Turkish roommate will get the gist of it, since it could easily have been her who ruined it.
The science we're doing is pretty darn cool. Bees and fake flowers and why do they choose flowers the way they do, and how do they allot resources to foraging for maximum efficiency?

Today has been a bad day for data, though. We lost one trial to bad luck, and another trial to a couple of us not communicating well with one another and the Beekiller (our PI, Dr. Wells). So, for a three-run morning (which is slower than our best, but faster than our most recent few mornings), we got one run of data. Depressing. This is what the bees look like during trials:

That is all, for now. More context to follow. For now, disillusionment and general frustration. That pan is why you never share.

As for roommate doesn't have any. She ain't got none. Where's it at? Obsessed about. Had went to the store and should of got less apples. I feel bad for saying this, but two weeks and one day until the USA... not because I want to be back in America as much as I want to be back where I have people to talk with about things that matter in ways that don't make me feel like I am babysitting or make me want to cringe...

Me out.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We'll all go together

I realize this will come with absolutely no context, and I promise I'll provide some in the next entry (which will be soon).

Today was a lovely day off (the second of two!), although we started early with research, we worked for only a couple of hours before coming back, getting townclothed, and finally departing. Townclothing means various degrees of updressing among the 8 of us. Dr. Wells wore the same clothes; Daliris went all-out with makeup, nice sandals, and straightened hair. I wore a clean t-shirt, a red bandana, jeans, and tevas. That's your fashion update.

We all hopped on the minibus to Küçük Sanayi, and from there got on the subway train going to the bazaar stop, which I can't spell or pronounce, but starts with an "S". (This is a self portrait on the subway.)

We walked up past the Mosque and the Koza Han (Silk Bazaar) to the busy street and caught a couple taxis, which took us up, up, up:

At the Teleferik, we paid 6 YTL apiece, and got into gondolas for a two-leg journey up the side of the Uludag mountain range.

This is a vertical map of the first half of the gondola ride.

Every time we went past a pylon (is that the word?), the car would sag a little bit, and 29 people (not me) would all say "Oh!" in a half-amazed, half-frightened way. Especially the parents of small children.

At the top, I first had a nap on some tall, round granite chunks:

Then I went on a walk and found a beautiful rock face:

at the foot of which was growing wild thyme (thus the title of the post). It was really delightful to be off by myself; the last month has had virtually no alone-time, and my batteries dearly needed recharging.

I climbed the face, and ate lunch on the top of it, looking at the cloud shadows run up the valley towards the big mountain. And after lunch, I had another nap (well, it is a day off), and fell asleep anchored to the rock face by the friction coefficient of the seat of my jeans (I tied my backpack off to a tree, just in case it wanted to roll down without me).

As I was in that delicious place between sleeping and wakefulness, I heard the drifting call of the muezzin from the small mosque near the gondola station. It edged the experience into the sublime.

After my nap, I went exploring. I can't record the smell of the pine forest or the feel of loam under my bare feet (it's not really socially acceptable here to be barefoot, so it's been over a month since my soles have felt anything other than tile and carpet)...but I found many plants that made it to California and are now common as weeds (literal, and both parsings of that sentence).

I found a rock, split, near the remains of an old camp fire. The rock was yellowed and old on the outside (granite) but the crack was nearly pure white in comparison. Using spit, then water, and the powdered charred wood, I made the outside of the rock black, to contrast more with the inside.

It's not an Andy Goldsworthy. But it was fun, and I haven't played outside in a really long time. Unfortunately, I did wear a really painful hole in my finger, and didn't notice until I washed off my hand:

But it was worth it. On the way back, we took a group picture:

And pictures of the mountain on the way back down. Back to the dorm, I stopped in the bazaar to buy gifts, but of course I can't tell you on here what they are. All I'll say is that Chaponica, Quill, Kaleen, Dan, Dad, and Sophia lucked out. The rest of you either have gifts already bought, or have rolled a loss on the gift toss. Sorry about that.