Tiedättekös muuten…

että Koulunäkki voilla päällystettynä maistuu suorastaan syntisen hyvältä?
Seittemän solua kahdessa päivässä. Niitä helpompia. Tarttis saada niitä pienempiä ja vaikeampiakin mitattua… oh well. Viikonloppuna sitten.

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Kuvablogaus

Eijjaksa on päivän, viikon, kuukauden sana. Paljon olis blogattavaa, viikonlopusta erityisesti, mutta laitetaan nyt kuvia kertomaan tuhansin sanoin.
pro1.jpg Keikka oli ISO.

prolava.jpg Ja äänekäs. Kenelläkään muulla kuin meillä ei ollut korvatulppia. Hulluja ovat. Vai oonko mä vaan hyperherkkä korvistani? Vaaleatukkainen prodigyjätkä pureskeli japsityttöjen sormia, vaan ei mun. Nyyh.

DVC00076.jpg Hotelli keikkapaikan vieressä majoitti 29. kerrokseen; ikkunoista oli näkymä Fujivuorelle ja Tokionlahdelle. Lahden rannassa oli ykköshyvä biitsi, käytännössä täysin kehittämätön, täynnä simpukankuoria. Pari lasta keräili niitä, ja jostain syystä mäkin ajauduin keräilyvimmaan – niin kauniita ja isoja ja ihan erilaisia kuin Suomessa! Hetken kuluttua kuitenkin aivo sai mut kiinni ja kysyi “mitä ihmettä sä muka noilla teet?” … näkinkengät jäivät taakse.
Suurimpana eventtinä on kuitenkin mainittava tuttavapiirien Japaniin siirtymisen seuraava askel. kun Krabak ja Joy rantautuivat Tokioon. Hienoa, loistavaa, vaikka asuvatkin hiukkasen toisaalla (tai, rehellisesti sanottuna, tämä Wako-shi on jonkhassa kaikkialta muualta katsottuna).
Ketkä seuraavaksi? (RIKEN BSIn Summer Program voi ehkä jotakuta kiinnostaa…)
Maksoin lentoliput Suomeen, kotimaassa siis 22.12. – 4.1. On jo aikakin päästä sinne Suomeen lämmittelemään – +8 astetta aamuisin ei todellakaan ole herkkua, kun ei ole kunnon lämmityslaitteistoa…

The joy of physical exhaustion

First time since I don’t know when, the training session was physically demanding. The temperature inside the dojo follows quite nicely what we are having outside – which, by 9PM, is not very many degrees over 0 celcius – and thus one needs to keep moving to stay warm. Found out that my otherwise vague sense of directionality and motor skills deteriorates even more if I need to perform a kick in the middle of the series. Even though the kick we did was the most basic one (shoku yaku geri I think it was called during introductory course to bujinkan), I lose all ability to move smoothly or adjust any distances that are required.
So, I spent the evening fretting this very, very basic series of movements with a visiting Aussie girl; neither of us seemed to get anything and very many painful moments were spent with the sensei trying to teach us and the rest of the class just standing and watching. “When [the aussie] does it like *this*, and Yoe does it like *this*” (shown with greatly exaggerated movements) “… no wonder nothing works out!” (Who said that the japanese teachers do not teach?)
Sounds depressing? Actually not. I guess my worst side is that I concentrate too much on the difficult parts of the technique (like catching the incoming kick with the hand armed with shuriken) that all my movements become rigid, robot-like. “Just relax, and smile ” – this is the other thing, it seems that budoka-women all around the world have the bad habit of pulling on a dreadful face when training fighting when a relaxed face and smile would be much more useful.
And, whatever my mood, all I need is a “Yoe-chan, genki?” and there I am, ready to endure more pain and humiliation just to be able to learn.
This morning I heroically endured some more pain, namely, the pain of waking up several hours earlier than wished to, and took my time at the gym. Some physical work done and felt in the muscles, and the week seems to have consisted of more accomplishments than it otherwise would.
BTW, fixed the problem with Prodigy. I decided that no, I am not young, wild and never-tiring student-budgetted person anymore, and don’t like to stay out for entire night, especially not freezing outside a train station waiting for the first train to move.
Instead, I am a working and tired person who is entitled to good sleep and breakfast.
=> I reserved a hotelroom just next to the Prodigy concert site.
Bourgeois-Yoe. Should I be ashamed?

unta ja lunta

Jostain piti kirjoittaa. Niinkuin esimerkiksi siitä, että lukuisat ihmiset ovat kertoneet ja kertomuksiaan valokuva-aineistolla aidoiksi todistelleet – nimittäin että, Suomessa olisi lunta. Eikä ihan vähän vain vaan riesaksi asti, ainakin jos on erehtynyt hankkimaan auton.
Niin ja täällähän on edelleen päivisin se +15 ja kirkas aurinko paistaa. Ajatus lumesta tuntuu absurdilta, täysin scifiltä, vähän samaan tyyliin kuin ehkä marraskuun keleissä Merihaassa tarpova helsinkiläinen saattaisi pitää turkoosinsinistä merta ja vitivalkeaa hiekkarantaa. Siis kyllähän niitä on, noissa matkatoimiston mainoksissa – mutta täälläkin kovasti mainostavat että voisi ostaa matkan jonnekin missä olisi lunta (ja mieluusti myös revontulia).
Havaitsen myös jonkinlaisia merkkejä syysväsymyksestä, osoittaen vääräksi sen että se johtuisi mulla jotenkin pimeästä vuodenajasta – ja sanon vaan, että olkaatten siellä Suomen kaamoksessa tyytyväisiä, kun on hyvä ja virallinen syy olla väsynyt ja masentunut ja haluta vain viettää aikaa sohvalla vilttiin kääriytyneenä ja kuuma glögilasi käpälässä. Mun keho sanoo että nyt olis aika olla talviunilla vaan ei auta, aurinko paistaa kirkkaan siniseltä taivaalta aamuisin ja linnut pitää ääntä. Viileä ilma aamuisin ja pudonneiden, kuivuneiden kirsikkapuun lehtien tuoksu jaloissa tuo mieleen vain alkusyksyn aamut ja sen ajan vuodesta kun oli vielä kiva mennä kouluun kesäloman jäljiltä.
Vaan ei jaksa saada aikaiseksi mitään. Erityisesti en saanut aikaan maanantaina sitä että olisin soittanut matkatoimiston agentilleni ja sanonut että ei tästä suomeen matkaamisesta nyt tule mitään, jään tänne mielummin – elikkä, nyt sit on kai jaksettava jonain aamuna herätä ajoissa ja raahautua Narita Kuukoo daibiru kakkoseen jotta sinivalkoiset siivet kantais mut hankkimaan hands-on-experienceä siitä miten kivaa se lumi on ja miten mukava sitä on lapioida auton päältä. Ettei vain unohtaisi miten hiton hieno paikka asua tämä on.
Ihmiset kuin suomalaisia – sulkeutuneita – paitsi paljon kohteliaampia, kaunis luonto eikä loskaa paitsi jos siitä haluaa erikseen maksaa.
Tervetuloa vaan, Joy & Krabak 🙂
(Aikaansaamisesta vielä: perjantaina olisi Prodigyn keikka. Liputkin on hankittu (eikä yllättäen ollu ihan halvat) mutta mua ahdistaa jo valmiiksi ajatus siitä että kun perjantai-ilta vihdoin koittaa, en voikaan lojahtaa sohvalle ja sijoittaa aivoni labran inkubaattoriin vaan pitäisi jaksaa bilettää… saas nähdä….)

Strange days

First free day since something like 4 weeks. Strange day. I woke up after an uneasy night with the thought of going to the gym (the inevitable wardrobe malfunction on December 6th (the party at the Embassy) is looming ahead) but after seeing how absolutely beautiful weather it is today – I DO NOT WANT TO GO OUT. The sun is shining through partly colored leaves and leaving pretty shadows on the tatami carpet, sky is bright blue and birds are being loud about their business, it would just be great to put on the nice coat and silky-soft kashmere scarf and mittens and walk to the gym, not too cold (+15) and not windy… great day for going somewhere, doing something nice — but I just want to draw the curtains back on the window.
Completly new to me. Uncomprehensible.

You reap as you sow

Anticonvulsant effects of carbenoxolone in genetically epilepsy prone rats (GEPRs) • ARTICLE
Neuropharmacology, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 2 November 2004
Electrical coupling underlies theta oscillations recorded in hippocampal formation slices • SHORT COMMUNICATION
Brain Research, Volume 1019, Issues 1-2, 3 September 2004, Pages 270-274
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors: aromatic and heterocyclic sulfonamides incorporating adamantyl moieties with strong anticonvulsant activity • ARTICLE
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 12, Issue 10, 15 May 2004, Pages 2717-2726
GABAB receptor activation and limbic network ictogenesis • ARTICLE
Neuropharmacology, Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 43-51
… in addition to these 4 references via Elsevier Science Citation alert, the new Google Scholar found 5 more. Go Google! So, 9 citations alltogether for my 2002 article on GABAlepsy, I guess I should be honored. Or proud, or something. In a sense I miss the GABA/hippocampus/epilepsy project, and to my horror realised I had to think for a while before remembering what muscimol is used for – now I am so absorbed with the new project that I don’t have the time to read the new articles published on the subject, not even those citing me. Oh well.
Another front that requires reaping – my bloated mouse plantation. I think I hate it even more than having to use animals for work that is not producing any data: breeding new lines requires many, many matings out of which in a good case I expect 25% of desired genotype (sometimes the expectation is as low as 4%…) and often I need several generations before I have the needed breeding pairs. Then again, statistics do not guarantee me success; out of one of the last matings where I indeed expected 25% to be of the genotype I need, 3 males and no females were born.
I just counted my cages and found that I have over 100 mice, and more are to be born soon. But, after the lines have been established, I’ll need only something like 25 animals for keeping the lines alive and producing the animals I need for experiments… I hate it, as I believe not only should one minimize the pain and suffering of animals in experiments, even letting them to be born needlessly is unethical…
I even am squeamish enough to let The One Truth hold the scythe instead of me.

Should I stay or should I go

astraspi.jpg I would not have believed how much I am able to generate stress and worrying about a simple question of going to Finland for christmas. Every second day I decide against going – even though I have the flights reserved and cancelling them would cost me 3 man yen, over 200 euros, the stress, worry, hurry etc of leaving for two weeks seems unbearable. I even would have one precious litter of mice that, given that I would leave, would be born in vain as I would not be able to use them for experiments. On the other hand, it seems that my putative schedule for Helsinki visit is already filling up, making it rather unlikely that I would actually get to rest at all – and resting indeed was one of the main reasons for the trip.
On the other – third? – hand: my family and, Astra the dog, who apparently lately has adopted a style of sleeping under my old blanket – I can’t stand the thought of her being alone for new year’s fireworks. But spending 800 euros for the benefit for a dog, and additional social and shopping-related opportunities (well yes I do need some shoes and trousers that would fit me and it seems that the Orient is unable to provide me with such luxury)? And, fourth hand, I am actually very curious on what would christmas, and especially new year, be like here…
So, in the end, it might come to some mice against a dog.
No, actually, I feel a desperate need to rationalize my decisions, I can’t decide on emotional grounds only or the fact that I’d happen to want anything. As if this was a decision requiring such attention. But I guess it is something very typical of me: utterly panicking in front of a decision. Especially when neither of the options is actually bad.
I’m afraid I’d be actually happier in some kind of totalitarian society or a nunnery where the range of available choices would be limited to trivial ones. In the recent dilemma of whether or not to publicly condemn one person’s actions feel I lost the support of an entire group of people and already feel bad about the decision. Had I chosen otherwise, though, I don’t think I’d feel any better.

First days, color blindness and new toys

There is no more frustrating period of time in the flow of experiments than the first day after a long break. Except such when during the long break the instrumentation has been changed. Or, when in addition, the experiment requires new, untried methods.
In such cases, the first day usually becomes something closer to the first week or so. Like now, when I’ve had 2.5 month break, during which time my Axon Axopatch amplifier has been upgraded to the very fancy and cool Multiclamp 700, and the mice have aquired a second fluorescent label. Or should have, many of them seem to have just exchanged the green for yellow which means I can’t distinguish between the cell types I need. Fortunately the computer holding the rear end of my mighty confocal laser apparatus had lost control over it’s SCSI devices so even if the colors would have been OK, I could not have done much since the old epifluorescence equipment can’t sufficiently precicely differentiate between yellow and green and just tells me ‘yeah, there’s some color’.
The MultiClamp is in a sense very much different from Axopatch – it has no front panel at all, just an interface for plugging in all the cables, and a GUI in the software that is pretending to be the panel with all the LEDs, meters, knobs and switches. It should operate mostly like what I’ve used to, but I’m surprised how much I have relied on the physical features of the old amplifier. While looking at the oscilloscope trace, I automatically reach out for a particular switch or knob and adjust whatever I need to – instead, point-clicking on screen to achieve the same result just does not feel the same. It seems that I’m not the only one, since they provided a dummy panel with switches and knobs that can be programmed however one wishes – but I think it just adds one unnecessary layer of potentially problem-prone functions, and keep on trying to get used to the fact that I have now the amplifier control panel covering half of my screen and have to move it around to be able to see my data.
Naturally, the new amplifier has so many new features that I had to reprogram most of my experimental protocols to be able to use them. Anyhow, after 3 days, I managed to record one cell – and I must say, development develops: the signals were so stable and noiseless I nearly discarded that one cell since I thought something MUST be wrong with my electrodes. I’m accustomed to shifting base levels, loss or sudden increases of command signals – which usually make the neuron go ‘BANG’ and switches that sometimes have to be flipped back and forth many times for the oxidised contacts to work…
Well, next week I have another litter. I feel really sorry for those who have to take part in my startup-days as unfortunate subjects, but without those difficult days the good days would never come.
And, if it would be easy, straightforward and problem-free work that follows previous protocols – would that be science?

Menkää kaikki pois ja jättäkää mut rauhaan ;)

Mä en ymmärrä mikä siinä on, että vaikka mä kuinka uskon olevani sellainen kylmä ja etäinen ihminen joka ei tykkää et muut ihmiset häirii mun mielettömän siistiä ja tyylikästä elämääni (ref. entry kiinasta) niin sit en osaa olla sekaantumatta muiden asioihin. Nytkin on useampi asia maailmassa johon mun ois viisasta olla sekaantumatta vaan en vaan voi katsoa sivusta kun tapahtuu Vääryyksiä.
Ei pelkästään se että jotkut tekee asioita joita ei vaan sais tehdä, vaan vielä kuvittelevat pääsevänsä bluffaamalla, valkoisilla valheilla ja vastapuolen mustamaalaamisella kuin koirat veräjistä – ja vieressä muut kyllä tykkää pahaa mutta lähinnä katsovat poispäin, kun eihän asialle kukaan mitään voi tehdä kun ei pahantekijä kumminkaan muuta tapojaan. Ja oma nahkakin saattaa siinä kärsiä jos menee setvimään asioita. Parempi vain huolehtia omista asioistaan ja korkeintaan jättää lain kirjainta vastaan olevat asiat viranomaisille. Tai jotain.
Menettäisi vähemmän yöunia.
Hitto.
Ja sitten vielä Irak, Falluja. Edellinen taitaa päteä siihenkin… mun on pakko kuitenkin yrittää uskoa että on jotain mitä pienet ihmiset voi tehdä, edes sen vuoksi että tietäisi parhaansa tehneensä. Monissa maissa on luvallista ajatella itse ja puhua ajatuksia ääneen, eikä ikäviä ja suttuisia asioita ole ihan pakko unohtaa viikon päästä tapahtumista.
Ajatelkaa, puhukaa, muistakaa – ehkä me ihmiset opimme joskus.

Back where the sun shines (or at least rises)

Arriving at Narita Airport I was truck by the feeling of familiarity and … homeness. After all the weird, unnatural, exciting and exotic things filling my senses in China, Japan feels good. Proper. Japanese language pleasant to ears and the custom officer’s smile – when I answered in Japanese to his question about my trip, upon which he immediately returned my passport, bowed a little and let me go without further digging – genuinely passionless.
I guess I am just a cold person, who feels better in an environment where people keep to themselves and do not bother strangers with persistent ‘hello lady lolex diiviidii?’s. I guess that had I the chance to choose between China and Japan, I’d choose the latter – and I’m telling you, it’s not that the Japan is clean (no one spits on restaurant floor!), modern, rich and full of opportunities of spending a fortune (without being harassed by the salesmen). I find the japanese way of writing prettier than the chinese (in addition to being completly unable to read them or even pronounce even if I had the romanized version in front of me), I like japanese samurai soap opera more than chinese ming-dynasty (whatever) soap opera – and I prefer being treated as a foreigner, in a distant, reserved, but polite way to the overly warm, open, and to my feeling intruding way.
Not to mention that for personal reasons, I don’t have much of sympathy for totaliraritan and/or communist governments.
Nevertheless, at less a few things appealed me more in China than in Japan. First, the already-mentioned fact that adult women are able to behave in an adult way as a default; also, the fashion is much more ‘western’ than in Tokyo. This is not so much to say that the fashion on the streets of East Capital would be in any way ‘oriental’, it’s just plain weird mess (pink running shoes with a smart black (short!) dress, combined with transparent silk scarf with fur and feathers lining it up and a baseball hat that says ‘Glitter’ on top of it…) to western eyes, I guess. The western fashion in Shanghai most likely is partly due to the funny fact that a big deal of what dictates the common street fashion in Europe – think of ONLY, Jack&Jones, Vero Moda, Miss Sixty, U.C. of Benetton – is actually manufactured in China. And, I’d say that the largest floor areas in Department stores are filled with exactly them. Felt weird.
Anyhow, one area where the Chinese clearly rock – music. Bought randomly four CDs, and all of them are genuinely good. No happyhappy-joyjoy-C-pop but intelligent and strong music. Of course, they have ten times more people to sample for musicians…
Ah, yes. Went to listen to Gjallarhorn yesterday at Aoyama round theatre. Full audience, mostly japanese with a few westerners scattered amongst them – and the usually very reserved japanese were really digging into the music. Good. A pity that they did not sing anything in Finnish, but even the finlandssvenska sounded homely to my ears. But then, so does Japanese…