One down, nine to go…

Semesters, that is…average… My last exam was today…finally…and I think it went generally alright. That last section hurt quite a bit and dropped me down from #3 to the middle of the class (of 9 people) again, but that’s cool…I’m doing alright overall, and I think I have “A’s” in my other 3 “classes” (only one of which is a real class…). Either way, glad that it’s finally over and now I get a break…until January 4th… Stoopid grad skool…

Anyway, we’re going to Hannibal tomorrow night until Christmas morning, then heading to Columbia for a few days. If you’re in the area, give the cell a buzz or something… We’re going to be here in St. Louis for New Year’s Eve, so lemme know if you’ll be in town for that, too. Otherwise, have a merry Christmas and travel safely…

Reading Rainbow

How many people didn’t watch “Reading Rainbow” back in elementary school? Well, apparently, the show is still on…but maybe not for much longer. It’s been on for 24 years with LeVar Burton hosting and producing and has won 24 Emmys, as well as a Peabody award (among others). Apparently, they’re running low on funds to make new episodes because sponsors aren’t convinced that the viewership exists.

So, as a result, some good folks have started an online petition called SaveReadingRainbow.org to try and save the show. If you have some fond memories of that show and want it to be around for your kids to watch someday, I’d recommend you check it out and sign up.

For the record…

So, I’m going to mention this now, well in advance. This year, 2006, I’m going to root for the Cardinals. Crazy, I know…but I don’t make this decision lightly… While I’ve always been a KC Royals fan (…if you even count me as a “baseball fan” in the first place…), they haven’t had a winning season in what seems like 20 years…that, and I’m living in St. Louis now, so I should root, root, root for the home team. Finally, I’ve kinda rooted against them in the past two playoff bouts (since Truman is 80% St. Louis kids, so I have to go against the grain…), but I kinda felt bad last time since the Cards weren’t really playing at their best and, practically, gave up the playoffs this year.

I mention this now because I generally hate it when people are “fairweather fans.” For example, there were lots of Bulls fans 10 years ago…are there any anymore? Nope. I saw a lot of Rams fans running around a few years back…but now that they aren’t doing so well, I don’t see as many jackets as I used to. Granted, some people have “always been a Cardinals fan,” but not that many people… I figure that now that they’ve lost two playoff bids and many of their key players have been traded, etc., I can safely begin to support them without becoming a “fairweather fan”…perhaps…

Therefore, I hereby make it public knowledge that I will support the St. Louis Cardinals in their next season, be it successful or not. If I’m going to live here for 5 years, I guess I’d better get used to having a hometown team.

P.S. Busch Stadium was only 40 years old. I don’t understand the hoopla behind selling bits of it off to fans… If you know nothing about this, they’ve torn down the old stadium to make room for the new one…but they sold off things like seats, dirt and urinals from the old stadium for hundreds of $$$ to idiots. I don’t understand this need to retain memories of a 40-year-old stadium. I mean, if it were Wrigley Field or something, I’d understand…but…this isn’t Wrigley Field…

So, I miss Kirksville…

I miss the people I met over the years
I miss getting up 5 min before class and still making it on time
I miss the lack of traffic
I miss a good Super Wal-Mart
I miss being able to care very little about classes
I miss the Dukum and everything about it

…but…

I don’t miss the fact that it was 10 F when I woke up today in St. Louis…but it was -14 F in Kirksville…

Friends in Kirksville? You kids have a nice day 🙂

Craziness…

So yeah, do you remember hearing about crazy fools fighting at Wal-Marts at 5:00 am on Nov. 26th? Well, Brooke and I joined in the fun… We saw that Wal-Mart had a cheap-o laptop for sale at just under $500 in the ad on Thanksgiving day…didn’t think much of it… Well, then I went by Slickdeals.net and saw that the deal was actually $378…which is insane for a laptop that has a decent AMD processor in it, a burner and wireless networking… Brooke is getting to the point where she needs a different computer (since her HP is 5 years old and a 1 GHz desktop will only do so much with WinXP installed…), so we decided to make the attempt…

Well, we got there at 4:50 am…and the parking lot was pretty full. We walked inside and everyone was back at the electronics department in a line…like…40-50 people in each of two lines. One line was for the laptop…the other was for a $50 GameBoy Advance… We come to find out that they only had 18 of the laptops. We didn’t get one. We were back in bed and sleeping by 5:30… 😛

Anyway, the weekend overall was pretty good. Got to visit with both sides of the family and got to see friends in Columbia, so that was really good…hadn’t seen Jeff or Jason in about a year (not my fault… :-P), so good times were had.

Now, I just have to get back in the “finish this semester before your head explodes” mentality…

…what a weekend…

So, yeah…we were both pretty busy this weekend…again… This time, I played poker on Friday night at Jeremy’s, which was cool, as usual… Then Saturday, Stu and Joel came to St. Louis for some frolf action…there are pictures posted, but I’m sure most of you don’t care…but you should, ’cause frisbee golf rocks tremendously. We played at Watson Trails Park and Jefferson Barracks, neither of which I’d ever played at. Later that night, Stu and I went to a concert at Pop’s featuring Strapping Young Lad and Fear Factory. Who are these bands? They’re death metal bands. Yes, I went to my first death metal concert. In East St. Louis. Next door to the Penthouse club. Needless to say, it was an interesting night…

Arguably the most pertinent part of the weekend, however, came on Sunday… Brooke and I were wanting to get a pet, so we finally did. While I wanted to get a dog, it wasn’t really feasible for our current situation (i.e. I don’t have time to take one out for walks, teach it not to do its thing on my computers, etc…), so we got a cat. We went to the Humane Society on Sunday afternoon and picked out this little fella:

Sam the Cat

He’s 6 mo old and was a stray before being picked up and taken to the Humane Society. He was very well-tempered at the shelter and seems to be pretty friendly, thus far. They named him “Constantine,” but we decided that a 3 syllable name is a bit long for a cat, so we decided to call him “Sam”…seems like a name befitting a kitty cat… There are a few more pictures of him up in the Photos section now, too…

Now, time to get back to reading for this week… I don’t have to start my next rotation until November 14th, so I’ve still got afternoons off for the next 2 weeks…w00t!

A few changes…

Nothing truly important…as usual… First of all, I switched web servers… I was using my old 1.0 GHz Athlon box for my server and my Athlon XP 1900+ for my primary computer…but since getting my laptop, I’ve been using it primarily and my faster box hasn’t really been used…therefore…I switched from the 1.0 GHz Athlon to the faster Athlon XP 1900+ computer…still running Linux, of course… 😛 This may speed things up a little bit, but probably nothing noticeable…

Slightly more obvious a change is the address of this website. http://andyl.homelinux.net/ is (mostly) no more! It’ll still work for awhile…until I decide not to renew it… Regardless, the new address is http://linsenbardt.net/. Yahoo! Domains was running a nifty deal on domain names…so I get it for $2/year…and I paid $10 and now have that address for 5 years…

Anyway, adjust your bookmarks or links from your blogs…http://linsenbardt.net/ is my new address…

Back to studying, I guess…

…so it begins…

“Why do we need explosive detection methods? Terrorists. Because they all want to increase your entropy?”
– Joel Brockmeyer

So classes have officially started. All I had today was BBS 501: the “BBS” stands for “Basic Biomedical Sciences” and, essentially, this class is Graduate School Biochemistry (officially titled “Beginning Basic Biomedical Sciences I”, I think). Today we began a few lectures on thermodynamics, hence the aforementioned quote regarding entropy…spoken by Joel during my Junior Chemistry Seminar class Junior year at Truman…

If today’s class is any indication of the future, then it shouldn’t be too terribly hard for the first few weeks. We had a review on thermodynamics, and by “review,” I mean back to Freshman year of college. I’m sure it’ll get more difficult, but flipping through the first few weeks of the syllabus, all I can see is stuff I’ve, at the very least, heard of if not studied on multiple occasions in various classes throughout undergrad. I think the primary difficulty will be in the sheer amount of material, however. As in, I’ve got this class weekday mornings at 9:00 am…so when I have my first test in just over 2 weeks, I’ll have had about 11 lectures…which is the equivalent of almost a month of lectures (MWF) at Truman. So yeah, I dunno…it could be easy…could get a lot harder really quickly…

The exams will be completely in essay form and we are assured 3 hours to take the exam and each lecture will be covered by only one question on the test…therefore, we are relatively aware of what’s going to be on the test already…that, and we are being told to a). get the previous tests from upperclassmen and b). that the questions are very similar from year to year.

Graduate school?! So far, it sounds a lot easier than I would have thought in many of my undergrad classes…on the other hand, I’ve only had one day to deal with…but, then again, I only have two real classes to worry about: this one and a class twice a week that deals with reading “classic” papers (i.e. the original Watson and Crick DNA structure paper, etc.).

Only time will tell, I guess…

This is it…

Yeah, very shortly, I will be attending classes at Saint Louis University, “officially” making me feel like a graduate student (the summer thus far hasn’t been much besides a “job,” of sorts…now I actually have to study and such…). This is both exciting and rather scary, the former due to the fact that I get to finally delve in to my chosen profession…the latter because…well…it’s graduate school… Likely this will be my largest challenge to date. The really odd parts follow:

    — I am going to school at a new place with new people and new professors.
    — I am at the bottom of the food chain again, much like I was five years ago at Truman.
    — I don’t have as many friends/bar buddies in this town, so I won’t be as socially active as in recent years.
    — Along with that, I’m married now, so my roommate won’t be able to help me in my classes as in recent years…on the other hand, it’s easier now that I don’t have to make time to go to my girlfriend’s place to hang out with her once and awhile…she’s conveniently at my place all the time now… 😛
    — I no longer have “responsibilities,” such as attending AXE meetings, Wesley House functions, or working for ITS. It’s school and home. That’s it.
    — I have to drive to class every morning. Snow or not. And fight for parking.

So yeah, completely new shenanigans to deal with. Really, I’m the same old person in a completely new environment…making me wonder how I’ll deal with the situation. Will I study as much as I should? Will I make it to class on time? Or at all? Will I be able to manage money better now that I’m married and on my own? Will my personality remain the same, or should I expect another paradigm shift as what occurred in college? …or will I wake up tomorrow and still be in my bed at the old apartment in Kirksville?

…as Spock once said: “Life…is not a dream.” And as he also said, in a different movie, I “will perform as according to one’s gifts.” Hopefully I’m as prepared as I can be for the flames I am to be thrust in to….’cause it’s going to be close to five years that I’m roasting in them…

“Sounds like fun.” (…that was Kirk, this time…)

I'm poor now…

…or something like it… As some have heard, Brooke and I got a car…a 2003 Hyundai Elantra GT…had 30,000 mi on it, so it’s somewhat used (more of a “program car,” technically), but in great condition and we got an incredible deal on it, so it was hard to pass it up. But yeah, we’re hoping this car will last us a good 5 years until I’m in the workforce (…assuming that ever happens…).

Otherwise, 3 weeks are done in my first of four lab rotations…things are going quite well, actually… As of last Thursday, we finally got the camera system to work properly such that it can record a signal sent on axons in the turtle cerebellum…which rocks tremendously, considering that I’ve spent 3 weeks on it… 😛 Anyway, I think this grad school thing will work out alright as long as I stick with it…I guess that means I’ll have to study, too…grrrrr…