You might have guessed from the title of my post that I don’t have very good news. I told you last time how I’ve picked 3000 colonies. After the colonies got a chance to grow in media, the released enzymes in the supernatant were suspended in solution with our substrate. You might remember (or even if you don’t, I’ll recap) that when I was looking for the best mutation rate, I had 400 mutants, 100 each representing a different mutant. I had done a sugar assay to determine which mutation rate that I wanted. I kind of skimmed over that process, but I’ll go into more detail now.
The main problem with having to car in CA, especially the LA area, is that it is really hard to get anywhere. You can’t really go to Hollywood and you can’t answer the questions your friends from high school ask about “living in LA”. I’ve given a few things for you to do while you are in Pasadena and I hope that you will check some of them out in your four years here. The last two main places I would like to talk about in this blog are the Gamble House and the Norton Simon Museum, two places you can check out easily on the ARTS bus or a long walk. Both are beyond Old Pas, but if you take the bus all the way to the end of Old Town, the walk is really short.
The Gamble HouseYou may be thinking, what do I care about some random person’s house. That is what I thought my sophomore year when my friends asked me if I wanted to go visit it with them. Most people may know it more as Doc’s House from the film* Back to The Future*. Yup! There are a bunch of houses that were designed in by the Greenes in Pasadena, and this is the most famous. If you are interested in architecture, it is a good place to go. When I visited, we mostly just walked around the outside and browsed the wayyy to expensive gift shop without buying anything. They do tours, but it is only Thurs. through Sun. I can’t remember if we missed the tour, or were just unwilling to pay. Honestly, for us it was just the novelty of seeing “Doc’s House” and for the amount they were charging, you could probably get into a pretty decent museum for a day. For us, it was enough to just wander around the outside of the house. It was a nice day and we just sat around the house and wandered the backyard. Here are some pictures.
Hey guys! I know it’s been a while (almost a week!) since I put something up and that’s just because I’ve been UBER BUSY @[email protected] :D
So let me begin with a quick little tidbit about our lab BBQ; this happens once every year for the CMAP lab (CMAP stands for (in French) the Center for Applied Math). This BBQ was next to the lake that is on the Ecole Polytechnique campus and had so much food I had no idea where to start. People were encouraged to bring something to share (and I really wanted to help out) but there is no supermarket on campus at Ecole Polytechnique; not even a little convenience store! And it’s not like one can just go to a grocer next door. Nope. To get groceries you have to first walk to the edge of campus, then walk down about 300 steps and the go a distance to find a market in Palaiseau (which is the town Ecole Polytechnique is in) and then you have to march up those 300 stairs again… Obviously I was not going to have time or energy to do so! (BTW what is it with me and gawd-awful inclines? Last year in Hong Kong I lived at the bottom of one of the most tortuous hills you could ever imagine… And I ran in a nature preserve that was like a collection of the meanest mountains you’d ever run on!)
So, before I get too far, I should probably backtrack a bit and get you guys up to speed. I’ve already talked about how we decided which mutant library to use; we used the one that had a slightly higher mutation rate than the average, but one that wasn’t so high that we killed off a bunch of enzymes. However, you’ll probably remember that we only had modeled each library with 100 mutants each. In order to really get a better enzyme though, it was important to represent the library with more mutants.
I’m back in Houston after spending a fun and relaxing week in Maryland and Virginia Beach. :)
On my first day there, I celebrated my cousin’s graduation at this huge party with relatives and friends. The night was filled with dining, dancing and catching up with family.
Including myself, there are also two other Techers that are interning here in Houston with Schlumberger. Here I am pictured with Stassy and Joules, outside of the intern orientation and training days we completed this week. All 3 of us are rising seniors at Caltech majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Joules works in a different Schlumberger center across town, and stays in a different housing location. Stassy and I both work in SRC, and live two doors away from one another.
I found an ice bucket on a nearby bench. I asked the owner of the bench if it would be okay for me to use it. Getting the okay, I began to pick up the ice bucket. At first glance, it seemed like it was empty. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that it had some melting ice. Right then, my clumsiness decided to kick in, and the bucket slipped out of my hands. The papers and equipment on that bench got drenched, and I made a huge mess. On top of everything, I almost ruined someone’s computer.
The design of the office I work in is so different from any other office I have seen…it’s so hip, trendy and modern! The interior decorating is almost straight out of an IKEA catalog; there are colorful couches, walls, carpets and artwork throughout the building. In addition to the office being space efficient and pristine-looking, there is a sophisticated “loft look” to it with red brick walls and industrial ceiling. There is so much natural light throughout the office since we have many huge windows that overlook either the pond or the endless rice fields outside. The facilities within the building I work in also includes numerous kitchens, lounges conference rooms, a fully equipped gym (which I will definitely be using) and a relaxation room (a private room where you can take a nap!). I still can’t get over how beautiful and state of the art everything is—it truly makes the office an enjoyable environment to work in, and the amenities makes me feel slightly pampered and spoiled.
WELL GEEZ Have I had a crazy week! I believe last time I chatted with you kids it was around when I got my haircut last Saturday. Well I promised I would tell you all about the music festival, so here we go!
A good thing about being a senior graduating is that all of your family and friends think it’s a huge deal. I suppose it is…but it’s nice to have other people get excited on your behalf. My friend Sam from Westpoint Military Academy flew out here and we went to Disneyland with my parents, sister, Lea (another Caltech grad) and aunt, which was a lot of fun! Obviously only one of us has Disney spirit…
That was at the senior banquet the night before graduation. Then came the big morning! Steven Chu’s speech was great, he made it really funny while still talking about some agricultural and scientific approaches to renewable energy. He said the word “nerd” a lot, but it was funny. I got to sit between two of my very good friends, purely by chance, because we sat alphabetically and their last names are Kunesh and Kramer. So it was really fun! And the weather was great, it sprinkled a little bit but it was cloudy and cool. I was SO scared it would be hot, like it has been the last few years, but it was perfect.
Bonjour. Je m’appelle Antoine et–
WELCOMEWelcome to my “As it’s a happening one” blog. I’m going to give you guys a little preview into the world of Caltech intellectual offerings and opportunities, specifically some insight concerning my current summer research experience in France at École Polytechnique.
I’m done with all my work!!!
Well, I do have some grading to do for Ge1. That’s only going to take a couple of hours though…and I don’t have ANY OTHER WORK to rush home to do. I guess no excuses to leave the grading room anymore…darn?
Friday was so great. I turned in my thesis to my advisor Professor Cindy Weinstein at 2:55pm, then went to a Blogger bakery session which was really delicious! Chocolate cake and cookies, for blogger appreciation :) I hope you all liked us, it was the first time we all got together at Admissions, and we talked about the program - definitely let us know if you all have any suggestions! Then I went to my house (Page) at 5pm for a class picture and Sparkling Apple Cider celebration for the end of term, yay! Tom Mannion’s dinner was at 6:30 and boy were we hungry…that menu I posted proved to be just as delicious as I thought it would be. Pictures of the food are below, look at that extremely classy (and totally edible, even the ink!!) dessert!
One of the cool things about Caltech is our waited dinners. For breakfast and lunch you go to a station and order what you want they make it for you and you sit in the dinning hall with whoever happens to be eating at that moment. For dinner though everyone in the house eats at the same time and gets served by student waiters. The food quality is not as good as lunch (where we eat with the professors!) but the dinner traditions make up for it. You’ll have to wait until you get here to learn most of them, but one that most of the houses have is called floating. Floating is the punishment for breaking rule during dinner (such as hitting a waiter with cheesecake) and entails getting a pitcher of water dumped over your head. Here’s a picture of floating from our alumni reunion.
One of the fun things you can do in Pasadena, if you can drag yourself out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning, is head down to the archery range. The Pasadena Roving Archers is a club in Pasadena that has an outdoor range and on Saturdays they have beginner classes. The nice thing is that if it is your first time, then the lesson is free. It is $5 after that, but free if you are a club member, and as a college student it is only $15, well worth the investment. I’ve had difficulty dragging people down to the range with me to have some fun because most people are unwilling to get up that early in the morning. It is a really fun thing to do on a Saturday morning, but some advice if you decide to go. The equipment that they lend out for beginners in the Saturday class runs out pretty quickly and it is first come first serve, so you should get there at 8.20am or so to make sure you get into the class. For Thanksgiving, there is also a turkey shoot, where first place takes home a turkey, second a chicken and third bacon. I took my stack there for my Robin Hood Ditch Day stack and got them a small private lesson with one of my coaches. Be sure to check it out!
The funny thing about my senior year is that I actually wake up earlier on the weekends than on the weekdays for classes. Since I picked up archery, I’ve had to wake up at 8am to go to the archery range on Saturday mornings for coaching and on Sunday mornings for general shoots. Yes, I wake up that early, even when I have been partying at until 2am in the morning. The prime example of this is this past weekend. A group of students managed to organize a party this past Saturday where we had DJ Earworm come down from San Francisco to DJ a party. You may recognize him from his mashup, the United State of Pop.
Anyway, to get back on topic, after the massively awesome party, I had to crawl out of bed at 8am to go down to the range. It was a special day because there was a 2D animal round, where I was shooting picture of animals. Somehow this is supposed to simulate hunting. It was a pretty fun experience, since most of the shooting I have experience with is at target faces. I was shooting a bit blind because I just got new arrows this week and did not have sight markings for them. As a result, I was happy to hit the bonus spot in the “kill” zone of this deer. I think this was the from around 47 yards or so.
One of the nicest places in Pasadena you can visit is The Huntington, a nearby library, art gallery, and botanical gardens. Most people I know have only been to the gardens, which are absolutely beautiful. They have all different types, from desert plant life to a Japanese garden complete with huge koi. I thought the fish on campus were big, but they don’t compare to these guys.
A few weeks ago I was at the Huntington for an English class, British Romantic Literature, with Professor Kevin Gilmartin. He got us into the library to see some very old books from the period we were studying. We were able to see original William Blake watercolor prints and first edition Jane Austen novels. There was also an introduction on the method scholars believe Blake used to make his engravings. It was amazing to be able to see the original works in person. The amount of detail in the engraving and the colors blew me away. There are few classes that go on trips like this. The last one I went on was with my Irish Literature class two years ago, also with Gilmartin. There are some art history classes that go on trips to the art galleries and other English classes that may get you into seeing old books, but I haven’t taken any others. When you get here and it is time to fill those upper division humanities requirements, I highly recommending asking upperclassmen what classes go on trips to the Huntington. Not only do you get to see things that normal visitors don’t get to see, but you also get a free pass into the gardens for the rest of the day.
There is a free student day every month, but you have to register at least a month in advance, so it isn’t a last minute decision you can make without spending money. I’d say it is a very nice place to take a girl on a date winkwink
Ditch Day was great!…for the underclassmen! My first look into Ditch Day as a senior was…hectic. But a TON of fun to plan. There were three stacks in Page House - Mario, Zelda, and Training Day, and they all had really awesome activities planned. I worked on Training Day with six of my friends, and we had a lot of fun things for our group to do. There were two teams - Denzel Washington (dirty cops) and Ethan Hawke (clean cops), and after we fed them breakfast they headed over to the North Fields for some exercise-ball activity. There was a ring and four giant bouncy exercise balls, and the idea was to bump each other out of the ring.
As far as I know, there was no injury incurred during this process - success! Then we bought four water balloon launchers and filled up 700 water balloons (which took FOREVER, my fingers are still sore from tying those little guys), and had them shoot water balloons long range at each other. That was great, and I have freshmen, sophomores and juniors proudly displaying their epic bruises from that one. They all went to the pool after this, where we had scattered 500 playpen plastic colorful balls, and they had to collect all of this “money” and find the ones with letters written on them, then solve an anagram which spelled out “Chicken Fight then Mannions,” after which they all ate lunch at Tom Mannion’s house.
Last Friday, all the seniors across campus ran around the alleys of the Houses banging pots and pans yelling “WAKE UP! IT’S DITCH DAY!”
Ok. Usually, we wake up 10 minutes before class, so for freshmen like us, it’s around 9:50 and then we rush off to class. What time did the seniors wake us up Friday? 7:30. In the morning.
But being freshmen and hearing all the great things about Ditch Day (if you don’t know what it is, it’s one of the best days of the year at Tech), we all wake up excitedly, rush off to the lounges and search for stacks to sign up for.
Ever been to Hawaii?
Ever wanted to?
Well, apparently Caltech decided we needed a nice relaxing atmosphere after our midterms, and decided to hold a Luau dinner for us. Since I’m not Hawaiian, I don’t know what true Hawaiian food is, but Caltech Dining Services gave it a pretty good shot (I think, although if you want to ask a real Hawaiian, find David. He might even show you a couple steps of the Hula).
So what did we have?
For an appetizer, we had
Tossed Green Salad with Cherry TomatoesAssorted Fresh Fruit Spears and Whole Fruit
For Entrees (here’s where it gets good)
Kalua PorkShrimp SkewersHuli Huli chickenKorean BBQ Ribs (…I have no idea why this is Hawaiian, but it was good, so I’m not complaining)Steamed Rick (It says Rick on the menu..but i’m pretty sure they meant Rice)Hawaiian Poi (I don’t remember eating this. I think it was the sauce for the Kalua Pork)
And last but not least: Spam Sushi. Apparently spam was the main source of red meat for Hawaii for quite awhile. Spam Sushi sounds really weird, but give it a try. It might surprise you.
Pineapple Upside Down CakeFruit SorbetsFrozen Chocolate BananasAssorted Dessert Bars (Lemon Bars, Chocolate bars, etc.)
Then we had some nice Kern’s juices, sodas and water for drinks.
As a freshman, sophomore, and junior major in Geobiology, I had to take several classes which required field trips. As a result of my being in the department, I have been able to travel (free of charge!) to Croatia, Venice, Australia, Hawaii, Baja Mexico, the Ridge Basin, and just recently the Grand Canyon. The difference was, for this last weekend, I was a TA, because I’m TA’ing an “Introduction to Geology” course called Ge1. Their field trip is to the Grand Canyon, and the TAs got to go along to help maintain order among the frosh (mostly, we carried the gear from place to place…but it wasn’t too much, only some posterboards and a cooler!!).
Friday is a good day. We have a saying at Caltech that the weekend starts when you turn in your last problem set. So since I have no sets due Friday every weekend is a three day weekend. And what better way is there to spend your afternoon than playing some Friday Football!
This past weekend, Ruddock decided to host a frosh party. Now, even though it’s exclusively for “frosh,” a ton of upperclassmen hang out with us as well. All of us really like to have some gambling every now and then (not with real money of course), so Ruddock let’s us hone our skills by pitting us against each other in poker, craps, roulette, the whole works. They lined up stacks of chips for us, and we can take as many as we want.
(Ok, for those people who really like gambling…this may have been a little fake, but hey, it’s still pretty intense!)
Plus, we got a dance floor set up outside with the Ruddock DJs and a couple of..hammers…
Blacker Interhouse was amazing - they built a huge ship that had gigantic oars, two stories of dance floors, and the whole courtyard was filled with water. As soon as I get picture uploaded, I’ll try to post one - there were a lot of people dressed up as gods.
Ever try any Korean bulgogi? What about squid balls? Or some Chinese Shao Mai (steamed dumpling variations)?
Then International Day would definitely be fun for you. It’s hosted by all the ethnic clubs of Caltech and boasts food from Korea, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Romania, Thailand, and Turkey.
Plus, we got to see a ton of great performances, ranging from drum cadences, Chinese pop songs, and even a mixture of the east and west with some beatboxing with Korean traditional instruments.
Let’s take a quick look:
I forgot the name of this dish…>_<* but so light and fluffy though. Definitely worth a try if you get the chance.
There are many different feelings about politics. Some hate
it, some flourish int it. To some it is just annoying. I enjoy it. It’s really
interesting. I’m taking Introduction to Political Science this term and it’s
great having it play out right outside my room. It’s election season at Caltech
and every position in the Houses and ASCIT (our student government) is up for
When I give tours I spend a lot of time talking about the
labs, classes, and pranks, but rarely do I mention student government so here’s
Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café.
Although there are a lot of smaller things, such as midterm smoothies and milkshakes (Blacker does something similar to this) and some larger things like Faculty Dessert Night, the soc team usually agrees that beach trip is the most work.