I’m Halfway Through the Program and I Need Your Help! Also, “Science Humor.”

It is hard to believe that my time here is half over. Perhaps this is because I still have not really explored much of Sweden? Maybe because there are so many things I want to do but have not? I want to see The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, visit Gottland, take a ferry to Helsinki, visit a wildlife rehabilitation center, go trout or pike fishing, visit about half a dozen museums in Stockholm, and see a live show at a local industrial or punk music venue. I have been to Stockholm many times but have not done much more than a little shopping and a lot of walking around. Every time I tell myself I should make concrete plans to do one of these things, an important class deadline comes up, or I end up preoccupied with something like grad school applications and searching for programs. Sometimes I just want to spend a couple hours sitting on my butt relaxing. What is a guy to do?

So… maybe my readers can do something. Motivate me! Encourage me to get off my duff and get out! Inspire me to take a day off! Remind me that this opportunity may never again present itself, because I am tending to not listen to myself. 😊

In the meantime, here are some random photos.

Several students in my Biogeo class had a picnic in 0°C weather (next 3 photos). They were nice enough to invite me, so I made some berry tarts (center right, second photo) for everyone.

I decided to tour Stockholm at night one Saturday (next 6 photos). It was a nice evening but everything, except bars and nightclubs, closes at 18:00. It was, to be honest, a bit boring. Scenic but boring.

I discovered this café (below) quite a way from my home, but directly on the bus route. It is inside a ski lodge. There is no one here on account that we have not had any snow this year. At least, not enough for skiing and nothing that stuck around for more than a day. It is an old building that is heated by the fireplace in the back-left corner. It smelled wonderfully of coffee, baked pastries, and campfire.

This next photo was taken at a biogeo monitoring station far from any town. Out in the woods were dozens of boxes placed over strategic points which analyze the gas fluxes in soil emissions. It was a couple hours north of Uppsala but, again, no snow. As cold as Dante’s 9th circle of hell, but no snow.

Lastly, some of the invertebrate specimens from a soil fauna lab. Most of you may not find this amusing or interesting but I could have looked at these samples for hours. Lots of mites, some weevils, a few spiders, wood lice, several odd midge larvae, and springtails. The dark mites in the center of the photo are no larger than a period on newsprint.

I still have not heard back about grad school but, to be honest, it is not looking too good for reasons I do not feel like getting into right now. ☹

At least my sense of humor has not suffered.

[In our lecture about mycelial networks (“fungi roots”)]

Professor: “When the mycelia from two different individuals of the same species meet, they often simultaneously fight [for resources] and mate.”

Me: “Like marriage!”

[One of my contributions to the class dictionary regarding a macromolecular soil model known as the “Snow-Flake Model.”]

Snow-Flake Model: Someone with an unrealistic and over-inflated sense of self-importance who posts provocative photos of them self on Instagram, usually in yoga pants. They become emotionally devastated when you provide constructive, reasonable arguments that challenge their social assertions.

[Going over instructions for our DNA extraction lab]

Professor: “We pulverize the cell membranes to extract the DNA within.”

*slide shows photo of strawberries being crushed in a lab*

Professor: “We add ethanol as a buffer, followed by a salt to begin the binding process. It reacts on ice for several minutes before-“

Me: “We’re making margaritas!?”

At least my internship in Lyon, France, was accepted (again) for this summer. I was accepted into it last summer but I had to turn it down to prepare for moving to Sweden. Honestly, there is a small chance I will have to withdraw again this summer. It depends on how several other items fall into place. Nearing the end of my undergrad means there are all kinds of balls in the air regarding my remaining classes, grad school applications, scholarships, etc. I am poised to run through a huge logic model of “if this, then” processes in my mind depending on what happens.

That is all I have for now, everyone. Best wishes to you all. Feel free to write. No, really. I mean that. Does not matter who you are or how much you have been reading. 😊