Friday, September 7, 2012

Diving into the primary literature and more How I Met Your Mother

Week one has come and gone with very little to report. The last few weeks have been slowly building pace, but I expect the build up to last a few more weeks before things gain full semester momentum.

O hai McGee's!
Last week my girlfriend and I met up with our friends for a second round of trivia, this time for How I Met Your Mother which I mentioned in my previous post. This trivia was held at McGee's Pub in Hell's Kitchen, which is the fictional bar MacClaren's is based off of in HIMYM. McGee's looks nothing like MacClaren's, but it definitely had the feel of it. It was really neat seeing a fair amount of HIMYM memorabilia on the walls of the bar, making the experience all that much cooler. We had a great time and came in second place! I'm pretty sure we could have easily taken first, but sometimes the answers get lost in the loudness of the bar. We still won a $50 gift certificate for the bar, which we'll use on a return trip to the bar in the near future.

Oh, and my HIMYM experience continued the following week (this week), but that's not until a little later in the post.

The stairwells within the Graduate Center are
a little frightening. They're easily the most
cavernous stairwells I've seen.
I've been a little discouraged at how slowly my science experience has been progressing at CUNY, but really, I always have high expectations. While I'm glad I got to relax this summer and play a bunch of video games, part of me was hoping I'd get a head start on some primary literature reading. However, with my adviser Dr. Gruber gallivanting across the oceans doing awesome science, I couldn't get much guidance over the summer. Again, I have very high expectations of getting stuff done, so I'm not really that upset. Besides, the work I have been doing this semester is work I wouldn't have really thought of doing without Dr. Gruber's help.

Over the past few weeks I've been diving into the primary literature with the goal of pinpointing some small areas of science to pursue for my Ph.D. project. I know from working on my Master's project there is always more science to be done, but I get to do that more science with my Ph.D. project, which I find really exciting. Not to be too bold, but I hope to do some really cool stuff with my Ph.D. because I should have the resources, opportunities, and awesome guidance from multiple professors at CUNY.

Over the past few weeks, I've been reading up on calcification, fluorescent proteins, and more recently, coral reef conservation and environmental factors causing the coral reef decline over the past few decades (including both biotic and abiotic factors). This is some really interesting stuff, and in my opinion, really important stuff. For instance, having a healthy coral reef can be absolutely instrumental in supporting a healthy fish stock (i.e. for commercial fishing). I'll get into the specific science I've been reading in a later post.

Planning out some science!
Dr. Gruber easily has the neatest handwriting I've ever seen.
I've been using the reading and ideas I already want to pursue to help focus my literature review. Last week I met with Dr. Gruber and we spent an hour and a half on the white board drawing up ideas and talking coral reef ecology. It was really cool, and also really encouraging as Dr. Gruber dove right into our meeting to discuss ideas. While I could have been reading all summer, I'm pretty sure I would have been only reading a wide selection of papers that would have not been focused enough to help me with my future project. Granted reading ecology/methods papers roughly about the topic I'd be studying wouldn't hurt, but I won't let that get me bogged down anyway. I'm sure I'll be reading a lot more of the literature over the next few weeks with the goal of writing a grant proposal by the end of October.

Me and Macy. Macy broke her foot by kicking
a rock while rapid rafting. NYC isn't fun on crutches.
The highlight of my week was spending Wednesday morning (before my afternoon full of class) with my friend Macy, who I haven't seen in over two years! In fact, this was the first time I've seen her on US soil. Macy, who is from Texas, did the same study abroad program I did in Perth. In fact, we were in a small special program for environmental science students. That's the whole environmental crew below, just the four of us. I think that's the day Macy swam out to some boats a couple hundred yards off shore just because she's just that awesome.

Macy was in town after finishing up a year with Green Corps, an environmental group that runs campaigns all across the country. She's been all over the states in the past twelve months saving the planet. Unfortunately I couldn't show her around the city (because I obviously know the city like the back of my hand already) due to her broken foot. This just means she'll have to visit again, right? This also reminds me: DYLAN DON'T BREAK YOUR FOOT or hobbling around the city will get really old.
Me and Macy at South Beach in Perth, Australia more than
two and a half years ago. L to R: Me (with long hair),
Justin (from Clark), Macy!, and Brendan (also from Clark).

Such a small crowd! He was
totally like, right there!
This week I had the pleasure of seeing Josh Radnor, the actor who portrays Ted Mosby on HIMYM, promote his new film Liberal Arts at the Apple Store in SoHo. Apparently this Apple Store hosts these little events all the time, so I'll have to keep on top of them. It was a small, intimate crowd. Josh talked about his new film and all that jazz. I left feeling pretty impressed with the way he presented himself and explained the film. Definitely made me like him more! Because of the way he sometimes portrays Ted Mosby, I figured he might be a bigger jerk in real life (not that this event was and real indication). However, he greeted each question really nicely (saying hello in return to the question asker in the audience) and treated his fans like normal people (he even said, "[Yes of course I said hello] We're both human beings" in response to saying hello to a young woman asking a question.

I got really close to Josh...
but that's about it.
Unfortunately, because he kept taking questions and giving very long, thought out answers, I didn't get to have my picture taken with him! This was a huge bummer as I wanted to get a picture with him really badly. I know I sound like a teenager, but I had a really long day and wasn't feeling good. I mean, I wasn't even going to go after my long afternoon of classes, but ended up going anyway. Oh well. I'm sure I'll stalk him down at some point and get a rad picture. Yup.

All in all it's been a good few weeks. Fall is right around the corner and I couldn't be happier about the prospect of cooler weather and beautiful foliage!

No comments:

Post a Comment