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March 2015

Day 326– February 27, 2015

About a month ago, at home in a drunken stupor, I imagined, “I should paint the kitchen wall aqua.” Once thought, it must be done. This apartment is my first living quarters for which I have painted the walls. Previously, I assumed painting was too hard and I would not …

Day 325– February 26, 2015

Wednesday morning, I drive to my former employer. I need no maps as I remember the on-ramps, merges, and highway exits from six years of commuting. In an hour at the office, I say hello to my former work colleagues. Although some have moved on like I did, the remaining …

Day 324– February 25, 2015

I’m not the only one dropping work for a while. Many of my stuck science colleagues seek a mid-career change. Friend Alex has worked ten years for the same large science company. Even though the company’s conservatism, chicanery, and abysmal corporate culture exasperate him, Alex has a wife, kid, and …

Day 323– February 24, 2015

I want to end my year away with one last big international trip. If I return to an office that allots precisely three weeks of annual vacation, I want before the counting begins to savor unfettered travel. Where to go? Europe lies so far east from California across both the …

Day 322– February 23, 2015

I butt my head against the take-home bioinformatics problem set. I spend two days learning how to install software packages. Hitting conceptual blocks, I take breaks to return with new ideas and possible solutions. My poor 2008 computer fills with new programs. Genetic data is so large – 8GB – …

Day 321– February 22, 2015

At my fancy Boston preparatory (high) school, I was quite conscious of brands: brands of clothing, school supplies, food, even cars. My clueless parents picked brands for us and stuck loyally to them. We brushed with Aim toothpaste, wore Levi’s pants, and drove Ford cars. Although I knew other products …

Day 320– February 21, 2015

Coach Kyle drags the buoy barrier from horizontal to vertical along the length of the pool. “We’re doing something different today:” he announces, “laps.” When I began the swim class in October, I did not know how to breathe while swimming and could get across the narrow width. This pool …

Death Valley

Death Valley Photographs

Just after signing a job offer to start work in April, I jumped in my car and drove south to Death Valley National Park. I camped alone for three nights in the Stovepipe Wells area. The first full day was cloudy and windy, the next turned typically sunny and scorching. …

Day 319– February 20, 2015

I stay home to program, or rather learn how to program. My prospective company sent me a two-part problem set with a difficult bioinformatics exercise and an easier python exercise. Since the bioinformatics portion shall take me longer to conquer, I tackle first the python task so I can turn …

Day 318– February 19, 2015

I hop on my bike and cruise south down the Valencia Street corridor. I turn left at Caesar Chavez by Greg’s apartment and head east under the highway into industrial San Francisco. I turn right on to rutted Toland Street past trucks and building supply stores. I tour Scrap for …