Valentine’s Day at the Library

Hey great, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Was I out celebrating love in the company of a young vixen? Damn it, no. I woke up early, found nothing in the refrigerator, and ate two slices of pizza that had been sitting out for (I think) two days. Hey, I nuked it in the microwave, and I’m still alive. Then I took a shower and went in to work. My head was rumbling with a dull headache, either I was coming down with something or I had a mild hangover from Friday night. Probably the latter.

After work, I tried to go into Sawasdee, my favorite restaurant in the vicinity of my home. Unfortunately for me, they wouldn’t be opening for another hour. I told the owner I’d be back later. To kill the time, I decided to take my short stack of proteomics books back to the IUPUI library…they were about due anyway. To be honest, there were more students in the library than I thought there would be on a Saturday. Everytime I visit the library I see scores of unused iMacs and I berate myself for not sitting down and figuring out how to use one.

Anyway, I took another look at the stacks. I love wandering around in unfamiliar academic libraries. The fourth floor at the IUPUI library has all the science books and journals, similar to my college days back at NIU. But the quantities of books in all subjects are drastically different. Very poor in the kingdoms of life…with the exception of the plant kingdom. Lots of plant stuff in this library. Almost nothing at all on fish. Little on ecology in general, honestly. But NIU was lacking in books about bioinformatics, about genomics, about proteomics…and in this field IUPUI was loaded. These are the tradeoffs. I wanted to know what else was on the floor…geology, engineering, management, hordes of chemistry journals. In one corner I found books about fashion and clothing and weaving. I picked up a copy of an unauthorized biography of Ralph Lauren. This one I’m reading right now; I’ll probably put up a post about it later. Let’s see, what else did I check out for my bout of “pleasure reading”…a book called “Myxomycetes, a handbook of slime molds” and one called “From the forest to the sea, the ecology of wood in streams, rivers, estuaries, and oceans.” I’ve been dying to brush up on my slime molds. I guess I’ve been aware of their existence ever since Mr. Winn made us memorize their phylum in high school biology…but I’ve never had a real chance to study them. Garry mentioned them back at Friday Harbor Labs…but only in passing, saying that anyone who studied them would be funded for life. From what I remember, it’s difficult to classify them, since they share characteristics of both fungi and animals. I’ve been trying to persuade my good old buddy DePauw that we should make a trip the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and try to make an expedition out of finding these slime molds. I think we’ll make it.