Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Year, New-ish Resolutions, a Microbial Animation, and Bioluminescent "Selfies."

My family and I have just returned from a short visit to my ailing father in Southern California, and a lengthy visit to my wife's family in Knoxville, Tennessee.  It was sad to see my very strong and macho father deal with his growing infirmities, but it was important to savor good memories and the time we have with him.  This is true for all of us, of course; it sometimes takes crises to remind us of what we too often take for granted (so please call your loved ones and tell them how you feel today, okay?).  My sons enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with cousins in Tennessee, and my wife to spend quality time with her father and mother.  

So now I am back, and already behind schedule.  I don't know if it is original with me, but for many years, I have said "Time doesn't fly; it flees."  I have never found a source for it, so perhaps I can claim the quotation? 

I reference the quotation above because time does indeed flee, and seemingly ever faster.  When I was a boy, summer vacation (or Christmas Break) was like a broad new continent before me, ripe for lengthy exploration and howling adventures, to borrow from Mark Twain.  As I grew older, time became more...compressed.  Weekends became a mere blink, winter holidays over very quickly, and the summer more a chance to catch my breath instead of a vacation.  I suspect that is part of growing up, because as a father I get to watch how these things are perceived by my two sons.

Thus it has been for the past year:  a veritable headlong rush through the days and weeks and months.  And here we are at 2014.

Because of all the ups and downs of the past few years, I do have an interesting resolution that I hope to share with my family.  Each of us will have a bottle (which my lovely and brilliant wife will no doubt decorate impressively).  Once a week, we will each take a piece of paper, and write down one thing that has happened that makes us happy or proud, and one thing we wish we had done better or differently.  The piece of paper goes into the bottle, once a week.  At the end of 2014, each of us will review the year.

So I guess that means that my own "New Year's Resolution" is to have better perspective about life!  This is not a bad thing, I think.

Something that I feel I need to do is blog more often.  There is always a lot going on, and I find the writing therapeutic.  

I will write more about last semester's microbiology class (I have several topics from that course that may interest readers, including my students' wonderful "creative projects").  In the coming semester, I will be wrangling 48 freshman in our "Unity of Life" course (introductory cell and molecular biology).  For our institution, it is a large class, and I hope to do what I can to make it interesting and relevant; I hope that this blog may help in some way.  I should probably write more about the kinds of undergraduate-driven research I do with my students in my little laboratory.  So:  a lot to do.

Since I love me some microbiology, here is some Outstanding Microbial Goodness (OMG™) to share.

First, as a Christmas present, my ten year old son Zachary made me a stop motion video.  It was inspired by the mysterious Twitter poster who calls her or himself "MicroHulk" (@Micro_Hulk).  My Microbiology students last semester suspected the poster was yours truly but it is not, and I honestly do not know who it is!

Anyway, here is Zach's video, complete with bonus GiantMicrobe characters:

 In addition, one of my Microbiology students last semester became pretty skilled at the photography of bacterial bioluminescence.  You will see some of his work in an upcoming post on this blog.  He took some photographs of me, illuminated by plate and flask cultures of Photobacterium leignothi, seen below.  I admit that bioluminescence lends itself better to Hallowe'en (and I have definitely used it that way, as seen here and here), but I see nothing wrong with "Luxmas™"!

 The term "selfie" is now unfortunately accepted as part of our common language, even if I find it, um, a bit inelegant.  But calling these photographs "bioluminescent selfies" does improve the gravity of the terminology!

Thanks for reading my blog, commenting from time to time, and I hope to have much more of interest to share in the coming days and time flees headlong into the future.

Happy New Year to all!



No comments:

Post a Comment

I am happy to hear your comments and suggestions. I hope to avoid spammage. We shall see how that works out!