Dog Days of Summer

Ice cream at Tulmeadow Farms in West Simsbury, CT

It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over. I no longer debate whether the house stays cooler with the windows open or closed. There is almost a chill in the air when I wake up in the morning. Yes, at the height of the day the sun still shines warm and bright but there’s no mistaking it setting earlier in the evening. Hear that, tomatoes and melons? Your days are numbered! Get ripening!

The garden got a late start this year (June) so we only started harvesting a few weeks ago, mostly cucumbers and squash. Some of our tomatoes are starting to set but the big ones not so much. Corn, too. A few rattlesnake beans from the two vines that made it (still holding out hope for the one yard long bean vine that’s flowering now). The everlasting chard from last summer is still going strong, but more as chicken food as I pinch off leaves every few days stricken by leafminers. The one crop that exceeded expectations was the one we didn’t have to do anything for — nectarines, lots of delicious, bright red nectarines. I think I ate at least two a day for two weeks straight.

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Tycho: The First Eight Weeks

Photo by Jonathan Lambert

Well, we finally did it. We got a dog!! (Ok, we got engaged and married, too, but back to the exciting stuff…)

I’ve been pining for a dog for at least a couple years now, with a precipitous moment last summer when I chanced upon an adoption fair in a downtown street market coming out of the optometrist’s. His name was Monty (short for Monterey), and he was perfect: a black Lab mixed with enough other things to give him the tuxedo chest, the barest of white points, and that je ne sais quois. It helped that despite being 14 weeks old he was friendly without being excitable — a good personality for a dog.

We didn’t adopt Monty because the circumstances weren’t right, but it got the gears turning with fresh vigor. For the next few weeks I stalked the rescue organization’s website for dog listings and tried to coerce my dog-loving co-workers to adopt Monty in my stead (so I could visit him, or maybe steal him from them later).

Then nearly a year later we had another chance dog meeting. Read more of this post

A quintessential California weekend

After some weeks of cooler weather and intermittent rain, Chris and I wholeheartedly embraced a weekend of warm sunshine to spend outdoors with friends. Ben and Lisa had flown down from Seattle for Heather and Vinny’s wedding and we hosted a barbecue at our house Friday evening so they could see folks. The portable fire pit came in handy as the temperature dropped and we roasted marshmallows well into the night.
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Three months later

I haven’t been very active in my usual online spheres lately. No blog posts in three months, only the occasional jaunt into FriendFeed, and random peeks at the ever-growing Twitter stream.  Here are some random bits of what I’ve been up to.
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The big hairy ambitious haircut – finally!

It seems like ages ago that I was fretting over what big hair ambitious haircut to get… because it was, well, ages ago. But I finally went out and got it after determining that you could see my split ends from Google Earth and that brushing my hair required more shoulder flexibility than I possess.

After some back and forth with the stylist over whether I could have my short hair cake and not have to blow dry it too, I ended up with this:

Photo 5 Photo 3

While I think I might have to compromise and use some kind of “product”, it might just work. Well, except for the bits across my face, which are already starting to annoy me. Still, it’s leagues better than the $4 mullet cut I got in college, which was the only other short style I’ve had since I was a toddler.

The jury is still out on whether I can actually play sports and see at the same time.

In memoriam: Warren DeLano



PyMOL has starred in many journal covers

On Tuesday, November 3rd, the scientific community suffered a great loss with the passing of Warren DeLano. Most people know him as the creator of PyMOL, a popular and extremely powerful molecular visualization tool, but most – including myself, until recently – may not know all of the other unique qualities that made Warren a mentor, collaborator, inspiration and friend to many. And by making PyMOL open source, Warren demonstrated his generosity and ensured that his work would continue to help future generations of scientists.
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Posts in the pipeline, and in the meantime

October’s been a busy month and so I haven’t had much time to post. But busy means interesting, and so I have lots of things to write about, it just doesn’t really get done. Some of the posts I have in the pipeline — mostly just as titles with scarce notes to remind myself what they mean:

The commenting conundrum: about where and why scientists do or don’t comment on scientific articles.

Responding to “them”: about the whos, whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows of criticism and responding (or not) to it; mostly on the web but also off.

A detailed look into PLoS’s article-level metrics data: it’s open, so why not? And the results might just surprise you.

Thoughts from Science Commons Salon: with the amount of brainpower in that room, I’m surprised it didn’t explode. In fact, I’m surprised the whole town of Mountain View hasn’t exploded from sheer intellect yet.

So yeah, plenty to write about, sometime. I saw Pete Binfield of PLoS at the SC Salon and he joked that I was falling behind, reposting things that he’d posted a whole four days ago. Makes me want to start the Slow Blog movement…

Those posts will probably keep simmering for a little while. In the meantime, I haven’t been completely idle – in the last three weeks, I’ve written three blog posts for 23andMe‘s Spittoon on genetic association studies on glaucoma, bone mineral density, and blood-related traits. Another one is set to come out early next week. So if you haven’t been tuning in regularly to the Spittoon, now you know where else to find me!