"I Live to think for myself. I refuse to be a mindless sheep following the crowd into cookie-cutter oblivion. Otherwise I'd just be a zombie with no heart or passion in life" - Hervey Taylor IV

I am not a Wallace

Thursday, October 27, 2011

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University of Wisconsin (dircollege.com)... not NMSU. Our lecture halls don't look this fancy :(
I know there isn't assigned seating in college but there is the unspoken rule of calling seats. It is a natural thing that just kind of happens. After about the first week or two of classes, people sit in the same seat pretty much the rest of the semester. You just walk into the classroom and gravitate to that one seat. You sit next to the same people and the teachers get used to seeing you there. It just happens.

Though a good trick if you miss a lot of class is to never sit in the same seat twice and always move around the room because the teacher is less likely to notice when you aren't there... or so I've heard. Because I certainly have never tried this! I don't condone this type of behavior.

Anyway, so about a couple weeks into school you have your "seat." And you start to feel really good about this seat. It's a known fact that people don't sit in your seat and you do not sit in theirs. I'm pretty sure this is considered the 5th law of physics... it just happens. And sometimes there are those stragglers who only show up on test days and sit in your seat because how in the world are they supposed to know that it is your seat? It's not like they ever actually come to class. So you forgive those few instances.

In evolution, I have the perfect seat! It's on the edge of class, an isle seat, and faces perfectly to the screen so I can see the board and isn't far enough back that I have to put my glasses on.

There is this kid that sits two rows directly in back of me every day. I don't know his name but we do the polite nod to each other anytime we come in to class and sometimes I see him around campus. And I know that the isle seat 6 rows up from the front of the classroom is his. I would never try to sit in his seat.

So I ask you... after 2 months of school and over half of the semester... why is this kid sitting in MY seat!? It started happening about 3 weeks ago. I usually get to class about 5 minutes before it actually starts but one day I got caught up in lab work and got there right as the class was starting and he was in my seat. For a second I wasn't quite sure what to do. The class is pretty full and I didn't know where I should sit. I was completely taken aback. So begrudgingly I sat in his seat 2 rows behind my seat. This breached the barrier that I can see without my glasses so the board became an incomprehensible fuzzy blob. And I, of course, happened to forget my glasses at home that day so I had no idea what the hell was going on.

Who is this kid!? You can't just break the unspoken rule of the seating chart that was put into place the first week of school. You just can't. But I let it go because, sure, it was just once... right?

The next day of class I got there and sat in my seat and all was right with the world. But, I started staying closer to time at work and getting to class just before lecture started and EVERY single time this kid is sitting in my seat.

Oh and I know what you're thinking. This poor boy is trying to learn evolution just like the rest of us and probably has no idea that he is taking my seat. That's what I thought too. Give the poor kid the benefit of the doubt. But then one day I gave him "the look." You know - the look that says "Hey, I'm kind of pissed you keep taking my seat and I'd really appreciate it if you would move because... it is my seat." And you'll never guess what he did. Go on... guess!

No idea? I'll tell you: He smirked... and then laughed. He laughed at me! He totally knows what he is doing and what is worse is he is doing it on purpose. Is there no common decency left in the human race!? I think not.

So now I am in an ongoing battle to save my seat. I check my clock every 2 minutes at work to make sure that I leave on time to get there before he does so I can have the seat that I rightfully earned that first week of school!

And I made sure he knows that it is indeed on. Because last class I got there first and smirked at him... mature I know! We, apparently, are two very passive aggressive people. Needless to say he scowled at me. I have a feeling he is going to be getting to class earlier tomorrow.

As Darwin once said, it is indeed the survival of the fittest and you bet your ass I am going to win.

Darwin didn't actually say the part about betting, and ass and winning. I added that for effect but I am sure he thought about it when Wallace came up with his idea on evolution and was about to publish before Darwin himself did. But look, over 100 years later who do we see as the father of evolution? I'll give you a hint: It sure isn't Wallace. Because Darwin didn't let Wallace take his seat in history and I don't intend to be a Wallace.

I Love Airplanes...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

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... I really do. I enjoy flying and looking at the world. I love airports. I like seeing how they are all different and what happens in each one and how big they are. So naturally I really enjoy days when I am travelling. As long as...

I am not stuck in a layover for 6 hours. Miss a connection. Almost get hit by a tornado... twice. Have to fly around in circles in the air for 3 extra hours because there is a storm below us and we can't land. Storms causing me to be stuck in a city for 2 extra days with no extra clothes. Flights getting delayed until 1 in the morning. My suitcases being lost.

As long as all of those things don't happen (which they all have for me at some point in time), I LOVE traveling. It is a time where I don't have to think about school, work or responsibilities or life. I get to sit and listen to music, read my kindle, and sleep. It really is quite amazing. I cherish these "quiet" times in airports and on planes.

Then something horrible happens. People.

People have this amazing ability to ruin my life. It happens way too often for comfort.

Holliday Junction = Party Function

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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I know you pretty well. So I know that what you have been really wondering is why a Holliday Junction is in fact called a Holliday junction. I'm sure you've probably lost sleep over it. It is a pretty intense philosophical question. Why is anything called anything? Why is blue blue and why is the sky the sky? Think about it.

Unlike you,  I wasn't mystified by this nomenclature. I knew why it was called that. I thought to myself "Isn't it pretty obvious?" So I have been sitting here in my smug little ways as people try to understand Holliday Junctions.

For those of you who don't know what a Holliday Junction is it is basically a type of crossing over/recombination/exchange of genetic information. During the process, there is a time when all 4 strands of DNA are connected - this is the Holliday Junction (Science!!).

So for some time we have been talking about these things in class because some transposons use this mechanism during their exchange of DNA from one strand to another.

Anyway, just looking at the pic, you can tell why it is called a Holliday Junction right? All four strands of DNA are connected and having a party at a junction... which is kind of like a function!? So naturally party functions = Holliday Junctions. Right?

NO. Not right. Holliday Junctions are called Holliday because of Robin Holliday who discovered it.

Honestly, who would have thought that? Not me! So here I have been for who knows how long thinking that Holliday Junctions were a party exchange situation.

Another thing I can add to my long list of common sense things I was unaware of. Like how est. after a year of a company means established and not estimated (My mom had a real kick about that one). Or how pickles are actually cucumbers... MIND BLOWN!

Apparently I missed out on common sense day growing up. Which is how I have come to be known as the dumbest smart person a lot of people know.

Just because I am Happy

Friday, October 14, 2011

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I am in a suprisingly splendid mood today. Maybe its the fact that I have an excellent cup of dark roasted coffee sitting next to me. Or maybe its because I just finished a Zoology practical. Or maybe it is because it is a beautiful Friday afternoon. I'm thinking it is largely influenced by my upcoming trip next weekend to Boston, which is my favorite city in the States. Regardless, I think it is a beautiful day out and I am happy to be a part of it.

Things I plan to do today:
  • Go to communications! I even find myself content with going to this ridiculous class.
  • Do some surgeries! Well, I won't actually be doing surgeries but I will be helping. We are putting cannulas in some sheepies today/tomorrow so that should be stimulating.
  • Going to Evolution - which is usually the second largest downfall of my day but we are past evolution on a large scale and have emerged into molecular evolution. I LOVE molecular evolution.
  • Go home, crack open my micro genetics book and start studying for my upcoming test!
  • Uncork an excellent bottle of wine. Maybe some Girls-are-meaner ;) also known as Gewurztraminer... say it outloud. It really does sound like that. Or some Hatch Green Chili wine. Which combines two of my favorite things: alcohol and green chili! Both excellent. Both from St. Clair's Winery here in NM.
  • Then I think I will make some dinner and watch a movie!
Very casual night of studying and finally taking a breather. I am so excited for this! Then it is up at 7 am for more surgeries. Oh what a fun life I lead. Legit blog coming soon :)

Lost in Communication

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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I love Happy Bunny :)

Sometimes it astounds me the classes that are offered on a university campus. It starts to annoy me when I am required to PAY to take these dumb classes in order to get my degree. A prime class that falls into the category of pointlessness is communications.

Now, don't get me wrong. Being able to communicate is essential in anything you do in your life. And you would be wise to learn that now and just get used to it. I'm not even saying that I am the best communicator. I get nervous when I have to go give a speech but you suck it up and you just do it. And my mother is quick to point out that I write how I talk... my solution to that is editors, hello!

I understand there are people that literally have fear pulsing through their veins when they get in front of a group of people. To these people I say breathe and practice but I am sorry you will not gain anything from communications class.

Maybe this strong dislike stems from the fact that I put this class off until I was a senior in college when I should have taken it as a freshman. So maybe I have just had 4 more years of maturing over the youngins that dominate the class. I really don't know. But what I do know is that I am not 8 years old. I also know that NONE of my fellow classmates are 8 years old. So why do my teachers feel the need to treat us like we are?

Seriously the other day in class I had to repeat the instructions for the paper we are writing. Literally. After the teacher said we had to write it in 12pt Times New Roman font we had to say "12pt Times New Roman font" back to her. When we didn't do this the first time because we were too busy looking at her like she was a complete idiot, she stood there and then got very upset with us and wouldn't move on until we answered. Really... I feel like this is completely uncalled for. I think she saw that we obviously thought she wasn't the brightest light in the chandelier because she said her reasoning was that we didn't all follow the instructions last time.

This is not a valid excuse for acting like we are in second grade. No. For those people that can't understand instructions they should 1) Ask and if they still don't get it 2) Probably reconsider the whole college thing. So yes, I don't appreciate feeling like I am a complete idiot every time I step inside that class room. I also don't appreciate slide show presentations that have loud noises and things flying in from every direction. I think you learn not to do that in PowerPoint 101.

All I am saying is that if you can't communicate efficiently and accurately and are blissfully unaware of your audience... please, for the love of my painfully annoyed head and wasted time, do not get a communications degree and do not go into this field. There are thousands of other occupations you can go in to. Communication is not one of them.

Fine Print: This rant may be due to my overstressed life and the cold I am currently nursing. Also the fact that when I get exhausted I get "sassy" (or so I have been told from more than 10 people). This brings me to one of my favorite quotes from my mother who as her second favorite child I am often the object of her "witty" moments.

"I have been told I get sassy when I get tired." - Me
"Then you must have been exhausted your whole life." - Mom

Don't worry Mom, your favorite child  (aka Trish) will be home before you know it. Until then, you're stuck with sassy which by the way means - Lively, bold, and full of spirit. I'm thinking that sounds pretty alright. Even happy bunny agrees! You can't argue with happy bunny.


Ciao Bella!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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Right now I am in the process of applying for fellowships and 10... yes TEN graduate programs. I am applying to so many because honestly, I don't know what the future holds for me. I am hoping with everything that is me that I will get into one. That's all I am hoping for... just one.

BUT don't you worry! I have a backup plan. If for some reason I end up failing epically at life and don't get in anywhere, I am moving to Italy! Now now I know what you are thinking: She's crazy! Is she really just going to pack up everything and move to Italy!?

Of course not. That's idiotic. I am going to pack up 1 suitcase and sell everything else and then move to Italy. Duh.

I'm not planning on making my little skip across the pond to Italy permanent. I plan on seeing the rest of Europe as well! I will work my way through the country side at organic farms. Yep, you heard me right organic farming is the new wave of my future.


Yeah I know, sometimes organic farmers can be a little nutty and I have been taught in an industrialized farming way so this could be a little strange. But I think there is something beautiful about traveling through the countryside helping family owned farming companies achieve their sustainable life goals. And hey if it gets me free food and lodging I am totally down.

Families all across Europe offer food and accommodation in exchange for working around their farms. Some are vineyards, some are vegetable farms, some have cows and some have sheeps. I feel like this is right up my alley!

So the plan is to scrap my junk of a ghetto car for as much money as possible. Empty my bank accounts. Learn how to ride a bike (I think this is number 1 on the list of most important things to do before I leave), hop a flight to Italy with 1 suitcase in hand and take it all from there. With a program called WWOOF, you can help out at different farms and if there are openings you can stay at one for several months and then move to another. You usually get 2-3 days off a week and are free to sit in an orchard and read a book, watch the sunrise over the Italian Lakes, or take a walk through the country side.


Lake Maggiore

I know this may start sounding a little bit like Eat, Pray Love/Under the Tuscan Sun but trust me it's not. For one, I am not looking to "find" myself. Two, I do not have the funds to purchase a villa on a whim. So this is simply a girl having a well thought out and not at all crazy back-up plan.

So on the chance I don't make it into grad school I guess it's Italy bound for me. 

The Magical Powers of 10

Sunday, October 2, 2011

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My name is Kaitlyn Norman and I am a caffeine addict. It's actually gotten pretty bad in the past couple of years. I have a coffee or a diet coke every single day and most days I have both. My first recollection of drinking a diet coke was in middle school. I may have even started as early as elementary school but the addiction didn't reach full blown proportions until high school. It was all down hill from there. I have become powerless to the pulls of caffeine. I don't function properly without it and I even dream about it.

The soda industries just make it so hard. The cold silvery cans dripping with condensation just look so mouth watering! And now they even come in a variety of delicious flavors:
The tantalizingly sour diet coke with lemon... sadly discontinued in the USA in 2005

The very fruity diet cherry coke

If you're cool enough to live in Belgium, France, Luxembourg,  Bosnia or Herzegovina you can party it up with Coca Cola Light Sango

The pretty much exactly the same as lemon diet coke with a touch of lime added to it and only found in Bosnia, Herzegovina and the UK
The short lived diet raspberry coke (2005-2006) 

The refreshing diet coke with lime

The classic diet vanilla coke (discontinued 2005)

Bringing back that classic vanilla taste with a kick of black cherry!

With all of these amazing flavors and options. Do you really not want to be an addict? Because right now that isn't even an option for me. Not drinking diet coke sounds like the worst decision ever and complete blasphemy. No thank you. I am very comfortable in my addiction and will not be joining a 12 step program anytime soon.

If diet coke isn't your can of soda, you can always get your caffeine fix somewhere else. Which is where I actually wanted to start with this blog. Then I got completely sidetracked in visions of shiny cans filled with delicious aspartame! As a matter of fact I just got one from the fridge and almost had a melt down because there are only two left. That's only going to get me through about 5 more hours.

Once again, back to where this blog was supposed to fall: Dr. Pepper. I feel like Dr. Pepper is 23 mixed up flavors attempting to reach the high level of tasty splendedness of Diet Coke. Though, in it's own right is is definitely unique. I don't do a lot of Dr. Pepper drinking but I enjoy it in the rare occasions when I have them. I, of course, only drink Diet Dr. Pepper which is in fact a watered down slightly less tasty version of the real thing. They haven't gotten the diet part down right quite yet.

But now, low and behold, Dr. Pepper claims to have fixed their long time diet problem! They have launched a new Dr. Pepper line... not completely diet but 10 small tiny tasty calories. Really Dr. P? You couldn't go that extra little step and just knock out the last 10 remaining calories. Apparently these 10 calories hold the entire 23 flavors of Dr. Pepper. They are that magical. They are so mythically powerful that only men can drink them. No... I'm not kidding. Their entire campaign is targeted to the testosterone filled species of men. Maybe men have the mysterious ability to convert those 10 calories to the 23 flavors. The ability that us women are just not complex enough to have evolved yet.

In that case Dr. Pepper 10, you can keep your ten calories. I'll stick with my 0 calories while I hone in on my ability to blog, do homework, watch football, listen to music and drink my diet coke. Maybe you can add the oh so coveted multi-tasking potion to your next batch of manly brew.
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