In which funktionslust has a different flavor than you’d think

Haven’t been updating in a while, but that’s because life’s been too exciting. This summer is finally shaping up, or maybe I’m finally growing into something. Have a quiet sense of confidence now, boistered by the host of things that I have planned, the things that I’ve catalyzed, brought into motion. Business cards and emails are powerful tools, and so is a smile, and the willingness to approach anyone.

Let’s do a little recap: Since the end of last week, I’ve worked at the lab Saturday and Sunday,
Sunday night i went to Stanford to answer a grad students’ offer to eat dinner and discuss art. Met a cute girl at pinkberry with her mom, or maybe that’s an excuse. That’s the problem, right, the perception shift of everything to to be an opportunity to game.

Met Dan Maas, wizard of CG graphics. Funny how these connections work, how I mention I’m working at NASA and he tells me he animated the Rover mission. Everyone is in one small world, and we are connected so closely. Dinner with Yanshuo and Kunyang and Yutian and Wenying, a tasty Chinese dinner and some discussions on art. How I missed symposiums.

Stayed too late at Stanford, sleep on Eli and Julius’ floor, wake up early in the morning and get back to Ames, in preparation of last minute things for sending iGEM HQ our outreach email. At work, get in touch with Adam from Microsoft, get an email from Alicia of her past project in transformation of S. pasteurii, offer of launch stickers from Jen.Toastmasters meeting at lunch, apply for membership.

Experiments of drying S. past on nitrocellulose paper and reviving them on plates work. Kan resistance kills B. subtilis. It’s just one thing after another, domino blocks, can’t stop.


An overview of what happens this next week:

Tues: Running in the morning. Drupal tutorial with Adrienne. Lunch with Pasha? Maybe. Work work, dinner with Esther (leftover shui zhu yu from Trend), salsa dancing

Wed:Some meetup.

Thurs: Startup Grind Meetup.

Friday:Lunch with Derek? Maybe.

Weekend: Berkeley, Linkedin hackathon


What is funktionlust? The feeling of pleasure, in which one does what one does best. I sit down tonight and I realize with surprise that that’s what I’ve been feeling these past few days. And its not the same pleasure as you would get from filling a hedonistic need, be it food or sex, but something more. Instead of a burst of euphoria that quickly fades to indifference (or maybe even a shadow of fear- of boredom), funktionlust is a quiet sense of things working right, the feeling of well-oiled gears. Of precision, imagine steepled fingertips. But still, its a still a funktion, as its name belies. Its a function of everything in your life working out right. It’s being able, now, of juggling multiple things.

The most brilliant thing I’ve discovered, though, is probably meetup. I think my sense of well being is supported largely by all of the new people I meet, every time I go out to do something. Strange, reading social group theory, and being told that the norm in human society is form cliques. I guess I must be wired differently, because I’d rather hop in and out of cliques than be stuck in one. There is just so much to do, I dont have the time to sit around and be bored. I refuse.




In which there are more things than hours in the day, and I find answers to my questions

Attended Biocurious’ meetup today, hosted at the headquarters of CommonRed, startup by one Derek Andersen.

The topic of the day was Opensource biology, and we listened to Tito, Eric, Cory, Srihari and Eri give talks about their involvement.
Funny enough, I think I’ve figured out what I want to do- opensource biology seems to be the great merging of community and people with science. I’ve always thought that there was this unbridgeable gulf between doing science and connecting with people, but maybe with Opensource you can combine the two.

Srihari, giving a talk on how to use social media, and blogging in particular, said something very interesting and memorable though. He said,
when it comes down to it, “social networking is all about ego.” It isn’t very social at all, but rather its about maximizing your own publicity. And that rang true for me, that seems to be the real hard-boiled case 95% of the time that we go look on facebook.

There are, though, those people in the world who have taken it upon themselves to accept a life mission of giving back. Katrina, from BICF, Lindsey Haskell, at Smith, Jen Kao currently on a missions trip. And I wonder what they would have to say about social media.

Question: why do you want to generate as much traffic as possible through your blog? Because it reflects that you are important, that there is social feedback of your importance. But what does it mean when you start calibrating your posts to generate the maximum number of hits? There’s a little hook in there that makes me slightly uncomfortable, and forces me to reflect on the nature of using the web to share things with others in the first place. Why do we do it, who we think is going to read it.

Exhausted, honestly. Video chat about a paper tomorrow, lunch with Jack, conversation with Ken…mom was right, I do have a tendency to overload myself. But then tired and busy as I am, I think I do enjoy to some degree, or why else would I fill up the hours of a day to tightly?

What is the best way to leverage yourself? What is the most important skills to learn? Computer science? Business? Biology?

I enjoy challenges, and figuring things out. I enjoy people- talk to, meeting, connecting with. What’s meaningful to do, that is worthy of sacrificing all else?

More questions..


7/16-18 In which a trip to Berkely takes longer than expected, and I’ve got a lightening bolt gently seared into the back of my head

Friday + Weekend (7-16-18)

Weekend was not super exciting for once, mostly sat at home learning slowly how to use the Bash terminal of Linux. Made my first

number guessing game! Terribly excited. Last Friday was quite an expedition, as I traveled on two trains and a bus (unidirectional) to Berkeley,

to meet with other iGEM teams. Unfortunately, the trip was more extensive than originally planned, and the teams had disappeared back into the hills when I arrived.

To distract myself of these woes, I met with Patrick Huck of the LBL lab for dinner, and we had a great discussion about the importance of attitudes and outlooks, even in science. Also got my haircut by a friendly barber, and some lines streaked in.

Made the leap, purchased an Android with Alan’s guidance. Unlimited Data plan of 25$ a month; now I have wireless in NEL! Sweeet.Probably what facilitated the sitting-in-room schedule.





In which we are reminded of our mortality, and learn how to speak

Cut my finger today cooking, and bled like a stuck pig. Discovered Toastmasters yesterday, and it was great environment. Many guests, and a very structured meeting. Although it was only an hour, so much happened, and there was a time keeper especially designed for making sure people kept within their time.


Of particular interest was a speech was given by a Korean engineer, who talked about the Miracle of Chopsticks. Although he had an accent, and didn’t speak perfect English [grammatically], nevertheless he was very comfortable with himself, even jumping on the table to demonstrate how they sit at dinner in Korea, and how learning to use his left hand allowed him greater areas of freedom. Also how a larger chopstick aperture allowed you to get more food from the communal food dish.


I listened to his speech, and though he was not fluent, I didn’t find find any room in his person to put my uncomfortableness in, and so I was not cringing for him because he was not cringing for himself. It was a very interesting discovery, that you don’t have to give a perfect speech but if you are comfortable with yourself, so will everyone else be.


Life lesson #267: be comfortable when you are speaking, and even if you are not perfect, your listeners will be too.



7-8 In which we take a turn of pace and move on to another vein of content

There is an art to crafting a public persona, it requires a certain mindset of what you are trying to accomplish, a purpose to the daily posts. In posting to the internet, you are essentially sharing. And first of all you have to know what you are trying to share, and why you are trying to share it.For example, this site. 

Aside from being a good way to keep track of my records, initially of the pictures of labwork, it also filled the need of making a website, to direct people to. What is the inspiration for us putting our records and thoughts online? Is it for ourselves, or for other people. Who reads this site anyways? I doubt many, the cool thing about posterous is the ability to easily post pictures and videos 

And then, how to best manage it all? I have two wordpress accounts, and this. Its the easiest thing to make an account, but to fill it with content is a whole other story.