Thursday, 29 July 2010

Many plants were harmed in the making of this post

I've tried to expand my sowing/growing repertoire this year. To supplement our random assortment of green, non-flowering plants, we brought back some chili seeds (habanero and something called ping - which I think should be referred to as ping! - a la stereolab) from australia.

It all started off very well. Seeds were germinated. Sprouts were transplanted into small pots. Then bigger pots. 10 ml plastic pipettes were appropriated from lab to stake up the rapidly growing stalks. Even Kate, who normally has zero interest in house plants, began to talk about harvesting home-grown chilis. The only hurdle was that no matter how big the plants became, there were no flowers. Thus, no chilis. Internet research revealed that something called "fertilizer" might induce this much-anticipated transition. As such, a large bottle of mysterious green liquid was obtained from the local garden shop.

At this point everything came crashing down. Rather than carefully reading the instructions (which smart people would normally do) I haphazardly mixed a big dollop of the green stuff with some water and started dousing the plants. With the following results:

The plant on the left avoided the first pass of the fertilizer=death express, and represents one of the few surviving chili plants we have left. The heap of rotting vegetable matter on the right now serves only as a cautionary tale against over-fertilization. Here's another view, which more accurately captures the swath of destruction brought about by my idiocy.


Next post: Tomatoes in peril!

Monday, 26 July 2010


I've obviously fallen off that "posting after every Indians wagon." Good timing too, since they just won 7 of their last 10 games.

Not much really to report. The Berlin Heat Wave of 2010 broke last week. Which was nice since it meant we could stop using our bathtub as soaking pool. And I could return to sleeping in the bedroom instead of on the spare mattress in the (much cooler) back room.
The flora in the apartment has started doing funny things. If I get around to it I'll snap some pictures tomorrowish.

The only thing that I really want to mention is that today is my little brother's birthday. Here's a relatively silly photo of him at the recent wedding. I think he's celebrating having ditched the newborn twins at home with Abu.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

In which i talk about computer crap...

I'm afraid to mention that with their win last night, the Cleveland Indians are a scant 2 points above .400. Terrifying. Curious to see if this trend continues after losing yet another starter to injury. choo down!

I got an ace new computer a few weeks ago (thanks mom and dad!), a nice little macbook pro, which is wicked cute and runs just as fast as the top-of-the-line desktop PC I bought a few years back. Crazy stuff this technology.

At any rate, I've been spending a bunch of time getting this little dood up and running, and decided to splurge on some cool new software i came across. One of the best parts about using macs is that people are writing really fun programs that are incredibly useful and don't cost that much money. First off, there's the folks at mekentosj, who are pretty focused on tools for researchers. Won't bore you guys with that - but trust me, they're pretty rad.

What I'm more fascinated with at the moment are the folks at Flying Meat, who have a nice little bundle containing two pieces of software - Voodoo Pad and FlySketch. Voodoo Pad lets you construct mini-wikis on your computer - you write out your plans/thoughts/whatever in one document, then link to other files on your computer that you can pull up pretty much instantaneously. Sounds complicated. but it's not. and very cool. The other one is FlySketch, which makes grabbing and modifying images from anywhere a total snap. Case in point:

While this is very lame, it took me about 15 seconds to do. I won't bore you poor blog readers with any further details, but trust me, it's the coolest thing since they started selling bacon packets with 15% more bacon.

I think it would be hilarious if the Dutch squad took to the pitch tonight wearing wooden shoes.

Monday, 5 July 2010


hi hi hi. So the Indians won on Saturday, but since yesterday was a Sunday (not to mention 4th of July, blah blah) I declared it to be a day of blog rest. Good thing too, because it remains stinky hot in Berlin, even with our new fan (I'm thinking of calling him Vince the Ventilator) installed. So stinky hot in fact, that for the first time in my life, I woke up this morning to find my sheets wet with sweat. Ick.

And yes, I'm aware that having spent quite a bit of time in Australia, the low 30's that we've been experiencing here (about 90 for you Fahrenheit folks) pales in comparison to the 40+ that we had over Christmas. There are, however, two important concepts to consider. First, air conditioning. Two, humidity. Nuff said.

Here's a picture. Graffiti is omnipresent here in Berlin. After a while, one ceases to even notice it. There are exceptions though. For example, here's a real cool snake cut-out that someone pasted next to our front door. Sssssssss...

Friday, 2 July 2010

And here we go again...

If you guys get sick of these now daily updates, just let me know.

I went out to the MDC (the institute where I used to work and where Kate currently works) today for a seminar. The seminar was cool, mechanotransduction in worms - yay, but I was particularly looking forward to the chance to do my old bike commute back into town. 50 min. on average, through cornfields, large plots of city gardens, and finally into downtown. A really nice ride. Maybe I'll take photos someday.

So now I'm back home, hot and sweaty, and about to hop into the shower before the Holland-Brazil match.

Here's a photo of my mom when we went for a bike-ride during her last trip to Berlin:

This was the now-legendary mum-mom trip, where we had two maternal units visiting us at the same time! As part of the holiday we went up to Stralsund on the Baltic Sea, where we found this little gem.

Resulting in these satisfied looks:

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Bloody hell

I knew this was going to happen. If the Indians go on the longest win streak in MLB history (as if), then this blog is going to get boring really quickly.

Kate is arriving back from London today, and I have a bunch of errands to run before she gets in (item #1 - buy a fan). I don't have the time to search through pictures and compose witty, albeit grammatically incorrect, text. So here's a comic that made us both laugh.