Thursday, June 28, 2007

Define herd immunity....

Can you? I was helping out with a class this last semester and we had this question on the last exam - most people had the right answer, but I completely LOVED these attempts!

"Immunization of large farm animals susceptible to viral infection by a developed vaccine proved to be effective against the virus."

"After initial exposure to an antigen, a subsequent infection with cause memory B & T cells to undergo clonal expansion. A herd of lymphocytes."

"Herd of lymphocytes - large amounts of lymphocytes that provide immunity. Attack antigen."

A correct answer would have to include something about h0w vaccination of the majority of the population provides protection to those that remain unvaccinated - simply because there are less people that can get sick and propagate the disease. Therefore, the "herd" is generally immune. I could get into the many many reasons to get your kids vaccinated, but I figure the majority of the people that read this already know them!

Also, as I was googling "herd" for pictures, I came across this lovely animation that gives a good description of herd immunity - check it out!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Veggie garden, the hallway, and our new mailbox

I have been wanting to put in a vegetable garden for the past couple of years now, but I had finally decided that THIS year was going to be the year. Unfortunately, I was gone in Toronto and then back home for my little brother's graduation during the peak planting times. By the time I finally got back up and adjusted to being home again, it was EXTREMELY HOT for the entire week - therefore, I chose to stay inside in my air conditioning! But...I still really wanted to try to dig up a veggie plot to test things out - sun and conditions, whether or not Jonas would leave the plants alone, etc. So I spent a couple of hours in the heat and humidity on Sunday digging out an entire garden plot and then planting the 6 tomato and 3 jalapeƱo plants that David had graciously picked up for me. I used bamboo skewers to stake up the tomato plants temporarily and then put a low fence around the garden to attempt to deter Jonas from exploring. As of today we've only lost one tomato plant to Jonas - he thought the bamboo skewer looked interesting and went after that; the plant was just a side casualty. I've since reinforced the fence and he seems to be leaving things alone.

On another note, we are finally getting around to redoing our hallway - for those of you that have been to our house in the past two years, you've probably seen it in various states of wallpaper removal. We borrowed a steamer from David's aunt and uncle last year and steamed off all but one wall, vowing to remove the rest the following day. It's now an entire year later, we've had to return the steamer and borrow a different one from my folks, but the damn wallpaper is gone! Last night I patched up the holes in the walls, taped off the doorways, and laid down garbage bags to cover the floor. Tonight I have high hopes that we will actually get it primed! We're using the Tiki party as our deadline for having it entirely done - only 1 1/2 weeks to go!

Speaking of the Tiki party, people always seem to have a hard time finding our house - we give them what we think is good landmarks, however, everyone seems to drive by it and then have to turn around and come back to pull into our driveway. A few months ago we were driving through town and I saw a bright yellow mailbox with bright red numbers on it (Iowa St colors, perhaps?). I started thinking and decided that what we needed was a bright GOLD mailbox, as in Gophers Maroon and Gold! So...the next time you're driving to our house, just look for the obnoxiously bright yellow mailbox with maroon numbers! ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fat Tire in the Cities!

Yeah! We just bought our first case of Fat Tire beer in Minneapolis! It's officially selling in select liquor stores in the twin cities (we just got it at Surdyk's). I happened to tour the New Belgium brewery when my family was out in Fort Collins, CO last summer and I LOVE THEIR BEER! So....if you happen to see Fat Tire on the shelves near you - pick one up and give it a try!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mandy Moore as a Role Model for Young Hollywood

Just saw this article on The more movies I see Mandy Moore in, the more I like her style! I think this article does a pretty good job of summing up how she, unlike all of her young, female peers in Hollywood, has made a real success out of her transition from young pop singer to adult lead actress/singer-songwriter! My husband has even started to refer to her as the new Julia Roberts of Hollywood - but maybe he's just partial since we share the same first name!

But more seriously, if you want to watch a funny, entertaining movie, check out "American Dreamz" - a total spoof of American Idol, also starring Hugh Grant! She was also fabulous in "Because I Said So," starring opposite of Diane Keaton. Can't wait to see how her new movie, "License to Wed" fair this July!


We FINALLY did it! We organized and carried
out the inaugural Rice St Pub Crawl last weekend! Ever since we moved into our house 2 years ago, we've talked about doing a bar crawl up Rice St ending at our house for a BBQ and possibly more drinking. The thing is, there are some pretty interesting bars along Rice St (most of which we had never been in), however, in order to hit enough bars to make it a true "crawl" we had to take a bus approx. 3 miles down the road and then proceeded to walk all 3 miles back up - hitting the bars that were sprinkled along the way. We had about 20 people - the majority of which were in matching red t-shirts. We figured we'd lose at least 2 people considering the size of the group, but everyone managed to stick with the group and ended up back at our place at the end of the night. Now, we had a set of pre-determined rules for the pub crawl - things such as time to be spent at each bar and the drink minimum for each. Most everyone managed to follow the drink rules, but our official time keeper, my hubby, basically threw the time limits out the window! He figured since we were having such a great time at each of the bars, we simply had to stay longer! This became problematic when the pub crawl that was supposed to last approx. 5 hours ended up lasting closer to 7! Since we started at 3:00 in the afternoon we didn't make it back to BBQ until 10pm! Some people even had to run to the liquor store from the last bar in order to purchase beer before closing time. This did result in one particular person subsequently dropping an entire case of Busch Light in the middle of the street...serves him right for buying such a crappy beer! ;) All in all, the pub crawl was a success and I'm sure we'll have to make up new shirts and revised rules for the second annual next June. Maybe we'll even have to find a large alarm clock for my hubby to carry around so we stay on a time schedule (He did say he wanted one to hang around his neck like Flava-Flav)!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A recap of my Toronto travels...

Yes! I DID get my passport in time to go to Toronto! My hubby, of course, thinks it's all because of him simply because he happened to check the passport website Wednesday night before I left only to find that they had FINALLY updated my status to processed and being mailed. Fortunately they FedExed it overnight and we ran to the FedEx warehouse to pick it up Thursday night. So...I flew out Monday morning with 2 other ladies from my lab and 2 ladies from another lab in our dept. We spent the next five days (Mon-Fri) attending the HUGE, overwhelming conference, visiting not one, but TWO local microbreweries, and eating and drinking lots of yummy stuff! Toronto was great - I would completely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun weekend get-away!

Their Chinatown is supposed to be one of the best, and although we only made it there one night, we found a FABULOUS Vietnamese restaurant our first night in town. The first brewery we toured (Steam Whistle) was actually across the street from the convention center (where our conference was being held). The brewery had tours all day starting at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5:00pm! Conveniently enough for us, we were able to have lunch then head over to the 1:00 tour with just enough time left to get back to the afternoon session of the conference. This brewery gave a GREAT tour and we got to drink multiple glasses of their Steamwhistle Pilsner (they only make one beer, but they do it well!). Uncle KT even managed to convince an older woman to share her pretzel with her over beers! :)

The second brewery we hit was Amsterdam Brewing Company - a slightly long walk from the convention center, and seemingly located in the middle of NOWHERE, but completely worth it! We were 20 minutes early for the 5:00pm tour, so our tour guide, Adam-the-laid-back-beer-guy, gave us a stack of small plastic cups and told us to help ourselves to any and all of the 8 different kinds of beer on tap! YUM!
Adam-the-laid-back-beer-guy wasn't super informative, but he did let us four girls continue to drink for 3.5 hours! It wasn't until Katie went to the bathroom only to come back with a bloody hand that we decided it was probably time to head home! But...we stocked up on beer and piled into a cab to get back to the hotel. There we finished out the evening eating lots of pizza and watching the season finale of LOST (which I still probably need to rewatch since I'm pretty sure I wasn't paying much attention!) :)

All in all, it was a good trip! The conference, although sometimes long and definitely overwhelming, was fun - I sat in on talks about food safety, bioterrorism, and emergency preparedness, to name just a few. The poster session was an hour and a half of straight talking - every time I finished explaining my poster to someone/s there was already someone else that wanted to hear about my work. This resulted in me almost losing my voice, however, it was a good sign that my research is heading in an interesting direction. Now I can start getting excited for next year's ASM general meeting - in BOSTON!!