29 September 2005

Chinese Hamster Ovaries

"Commonly, hamsters are thought of as cute, furry, and disposable pets, but the small, rat-like, Chinese hamster serves a totally different function. These rodents are fairly uncommon as pets because they can be difficult to breed. Ironically, the cells of their reproductive organs are what make them so useful to scientists. The Chinese hamster ovary (often abbreviated CHO) tissue is commonly cultured as individual cells in a monolayer and studied worldwide."

"The majority of animal cells exhibit a finite lifetime when isolated and grown in a tissue culture medium that supplies necessary nutrients, salts, and vitamins. Typical vertebrate cells divide between 50 and 100 times before they can no longer carry on cell division and eventually die. Many theories suggest that this limited lifespan is related to the corresponding life cycle of the parent organism from which the cultured cells were derived."

"Occasional changes in the genetic makeup of cultured cells allow them to proliferate indefinitely, making them effectively immortal. Such lines are said to be transformed, and are often used in research as a standardized cell line. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were introduced in the early 1960s as a viable epithelial cell line containing twin female X chromosomes. The most common type of CHO cells has a nutritional requirement for the amino acid proline, which makes this cell line an ideal candidate for genetic studies."

(Source for above can be found here.)

Why am I interested in Chinese Hamster ovaries? See below:

In case you are having trouble reading the small print, here it is:

Pulmozyme® (dornase alfa) Inhalation Solution is a sterile, clear, colourless, highly purified solution of recombinant human deoxyribonuclease I (rhDNase), an enzyme which selectively cleaves DNA. The protein is produced by genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells containing DNA encoding for the native human protein, deoxyribonuclease I (DNase).


Purulent pulmonary secretions contain very high concentrations of extracellular DNA released by degenerating leukocytes that accumulate in response to infection. In vitro, Pulmozyme hydrolyzes the DNA in sputum of CF patients and reduces sputum viscoelasticity.

So, that's about the summation of my day yesterday in Calgary at the doctor. Genetically engineered and/or modified chinese hamster ovary cells being inhaled into my lungs. At least there are no preservatives added!

Somehow, I wonder if I would have preferred a prescription for medicinal marijuana.

The other working title I was considering for this post was:

Lung Spores: Episode V - Mortality Strikes Back

My final question: How much is this prescription? Can I get it filled at Safeway on the first Tuesday of the month for 10x the AirMiles?

27 September 2005

killer cold

I have got this killer cold and have had it for a week now. I can't imagine what I did to get it... 4 flights, 6 airport visits, 4 days, 5 hours of sleep per night/early morning... Maybe that's what did it, because the *cold* started to be felt the second night I was back home.

Now, I'm not a whiner at all, and I'm not one to let something so miniscule get me down, phsychologically or physiologically. But this one just won't get worse or better!

I didn't even take a full day off work last week, because I didn't feel as though I needed to. However, I did stay home yesterday and just what work was necessary from home. (And then added VNC to a couple of computers I had forgotten I needed access to when I'm not there. Oh thank you to whoever discovered VPN access!)

Tomorrow is my doctor appointment. Hope nothing too weird comes from that.

Ever heard of CBC? Yeah, it's that thing that used to be good. Anyway, there's a documentary show called Out Front that airs on Radio One just before lunch (just after lunch in Newfoundland and Labrador). It's all documentaries which are done by average people who want to tell a story. And yes, I'm an average person with a story to tell!

I was going to put a link in here, but because of the lockout, yes, the lockout, labour disruptions are what management calls a lockout when it's their fault. The people want to work! And they do! Just check out CBCunplugged.com. It's all those damn capitalists out there who don't realise that Canada does not need nor want some stereotyped generic mindnumbing conformity in the media. The only way to have a free and independent voice in media is to have a public broadcaster who is fully supported by the government. If not, you just get some corporate drivel which is driven solely by what won't offend the advertisers. Ever thought of ad free media? OMF! What concept!

Anyway, enough of that. Obviously, because of the lockout, I was not able to pitch my documentary idea to the Out Front staff, so I have decided to just go ahead and make my documentary, and then see if they will buy it later. (Fingers crossed!) Perhaps someone somewhere will buy it. Who knows?

Well, I'm not going to give my idea away because then it might be borrowed by someone else.

And my final question of yesterday is this: I can link to an image somewhere else, and have it displayed in this page (or any page, really), I can also manipulate how that image is displayed in this page. Suppose I wanted to retrieve the text from a file somewhere else? Why can I not do this? I mean, some simple piece of html code to go get some small bit of text and then apply this page's css to that text?

If anyone at all cares, you will aid me in my quest.

Thank you.

24 September 2005

what's wrong with this picture?

# 1

It's Friday night. The guys are hanging out. Pizza is ordered. We're kicking back and relaxing. Drinking some lite cranberry juice. And watching dvd's.



Sarah McLachlan.

Yes, we watched just about the entire dvd of Sarah McLachlan, Afterglow Live. (It's actually quite good.) Geez. What am I? A 40 year old housewife? Shit.

But no, we put on another dvd just before Blackbird (I was not impressed).

The second dvd was quite a bit more....um...manly..

Cirque du Soleil, Alegria.

But you've got to see the contortionist. That stuff is just unreal. I was in pain watching that woman. I mean, she doesn't need a boyfriend or a girlfriend! She could likely impregnate herself.

# 2

A great place to find a mate would be a pregnancy crisis home or centre. Think about it! There are no men in their lives...now. I could be the one!

21 September 2005

the probability of squash

Wednesday night has become squash night. Yes! I finally have a squash night! I have arrived.

I enjoy playing squash; if you've never tried it, you ought to, it's quite good competitive fun. And you will sweat lots too.

I have been playing squash for about 5 years now, and only in the past month have I witnessed some amazing feats of probability.

For instance, while playing with Jeremy, I have twice been hit in the back of the head by the ball on Jeremy's return. And it's totaly fluke really; it's not as though one is trying to smoke another on the back of the head with a squash ball. They can hurt.

But even better than that...as though this were something to brag about...while playing with Travis last week, I return the ball straight into Travis' left eye! He was wearing protective eyewear, so that was good, but the ball still hit with enough force to make quite a sound and make a red spot around his eye where the goggle was pressed onto his face. What are the chances? Really now, as I've mentioned, I've been playing for five years and this was the first time that I have ever witnessed someone being hit directly in the eye by the ball. Crazy.

And to add to the improbability, this evening, again playing a match with Travis, I return the ball, and though it did not quite go towards to the wall, as I had obviously intended, it did manage to sack Travis in the junk and send him to the floor. I think. I mean, I was laughing too hard to notice his pain. I was actually on the floor too...because I was laughing so hard.

Note: Junk: 3. the lump of oily fibrous tissue in a sperm whale's head, containing spermaceti.

20 September 2005

never drink cream that expired today when you've been gone for four days

Having been away, then returning home, being so tired that I simply showered and then collapsed into bed to pass out, then getting up this morning for work and making the usual coffee after adding cream that expires today and watching the cream globs float to the top, I reach for a spoon to fish them out and dump them down the sink, finishing with the coffee being dumped down my throat and finding myself several hours later with a funny feeling in my stomach akin to pain causes me to pause and ponder: should I have drank that coffee with that slightly bad cream or should I have dumped it out and gone to Tim's?

19 September 2005

am I awake or only dreaming?

There is something fabulously surreal about getting on a plane and flying somewhere else. A vast distance can be traveled in a comparatively short amount of time, against the other modes of transport.

Crazily enough, I planned what became essentially a three day trip to southern Ontario. I left home at 3:30 pm on Thursday. Caught a flight at 4 to Calgary, then a flight to Toronto at 6, to arrive at midnight. Picked up a rental car (2005 Ford Mustang GT) and drove to Kitchener. Stayed up until sometime after 5 am. Got up at 11 am, then hung out all day with various friends until nearly 2 am Saturday morning. I got up around 7 am to drive down the 401 to Woodstock to get breakfast with my sister. By 1 pm I was on my way again to Burlington for a 3 pm wedding. 4:30 pm dinner. 8 pm after dinner party. 11 pm leave that to drive to Kingston. Arrive around 2:30 am Sunday morning. The sun was shining in the windoe of the bedroom so brightly that I was quite awake by 8:30 am. Hung out in Kingston for the day. Stayed up until after midnight. Got up again at 6 am to leave for 7 am to drive the 401 again, to get to YYZ for my flight home. For which I am waiting in terminal 1 while sipping the usual sleeved triple grandé caramel machiatto thumbing on the BlackBerry because for some reason I cannot locate a hotspot by which to connect to the internet.

Now, I am slightly too exhausted to figure out how much I did not sleep. So could someone please figure it out for me and let me know.

About that Mustang. There is something awesome involved with renting a fast car and then driving it fast. Yeah, sure, I just spent about $110 in gas, on top of the $300 rental, but it was totally worth it. And that Mustang from the same company the has cursed us all with the Pinto, the Zephyr, the Escort, the Taurus, and evently the Focus. Come to think of it, I'm not much of a fan of Ford at all. But damn! I'm converted after that Mustang. 0 to 160 with little effort. Leather seats. A kicking sound system. And 8 rambunctious cylinders under that long hood. Not to mention all the compliments I got for my hot [rental] car. This morning driving from Kingston to Toronto, just past Napanee I got in a pack of three or four cars, and we cruised along at an average velocity of 150 km/h until about Whitby. After that, 120 felt like crawling. Best yet, the rental company sells a tank of fuel on prepayment for $0.92 / litre. The average prices I saw were $1.04 (and up). I figured out how much fuel I would need to get here, and I was successful at returning the car with just under an eighth of a tank. The needle on the fuel gauge was a needle width away from empty! Obviously, the ideal would have been the fuel low alarm blinking and beeping just as I go to park the car, but I didn't want to push my fortune that far. I likely didn't set any records, but my time on the 401 from Kingston's Gardiner Road exit to the express lanes in Scarborough was 1 hour 40 minutes, including a stop for fuel in Napanee.

Not having had breakfast or Tim's, I thought I would buy something to eat waiting here in the terminal for my flight. A small sandwhich (small being a word that is a bit top large for that sandwhich) and a 700 ml water was going to cost $11.81.


I thought the attendant was adding up something wrong, or that I misunderstood her accent.



I would rather be slightly hungry.

I bought a chocolate bar at another store instead.

These were just facts and figures of my trip. I will definitely be posting more about the personal details later...when I'm not so tired...and my thumb callouses have cooled off.

And my flight is beginning to board.

15 September 2005

flying high as a kite by then

I ilke to travel.

I enjoy flying.

Those two combine for superb synergy. (What is that anyway?)

Airports are fun. It's the best place for people watching. I mean, you do it, because everyone else is doing it, and you can get away with it because everyone else is getting away with it. It's a mutual thing.

But in addition to people watching is also mobile dropping. So many people are one their mobiles chatting away about absolutely nothing interesting to anyone but themselves. It's great. I might get the insider scoop on the next google, or X-gate. (Because every political scandal ends with gate; it's got to be a recognised suffix by now.) The last time I flew back from Vancouver, Stockwell Day was on the same plane as me!

Why is it that I only have to take a dump when the boarding begins?

Toronto, here I come!

(After the dump, of course.)

12 September 2005

the book

I come home for lunch, and on my way into the building, stop to check the post.

Junk mail. And a flyer. A flyer from a local independent bookstore.

The interesting thing about this independent local bookstore is that: A: it looks like chapters inside, even has its own coffee bar; and B: it rarely has anything in stock that is advertised. In fact, you will likely find more empty spots on their "bestseller" wall, than you will find books. But nonetheless, it's an independent book store and that gives it more than chapters from the onset.

In today's world of advertising and instant gratification, I've almost come to believe that a retail store will advertise a "sale" when the sale is current. This book store has me on a mailing list, so the flyer is sent to my address; not just bulk post. I figure that if they've sent the flyer out, the sale is on.

There were a few titles that caught my eye, if only for reading a portion in the store, for free, and then leaving it on the shelf because it's not as good as the flyer led me to hope and believe.

But do not forget that this store is notorious for not having stock. Of the five or six books I saw in the flyer that would warrant a brief reading, only two were actually found in the store. One of the two was good enough to purchase.

I proceed to the counter to purchase the book. Wondering why the sale price was not applied to the sticker, I inquire: "Why is the sale price not listed on the price sticker?"

"The sale doesn't start until Thursday."

"But I got the flyer in the mail today. I figured that the sale would have started if I've already got the direct mailing flyer addressed to me."

"I'm sorry."

"So, you can't sell it to me at the sale price?"


"Can I buy it now, and then return it on Thursday, and then buy it again at the sale price?"


"Ok...But you will hold the book for me until Thursday, for free, and then I can buy it on Thursday at the sale price?"


"Well, that doesn't make any sense at all. I want to read it today. Isn't there anything you can do?"

"No, I don't make 'the rules', and I cannot change them."

Now, if I had not been with someone else, who was waiting over at the coffee bar for an attendant to come and start making our orders, I would have just said: "Ok then, I will just continue to read the book in the store today, for free, and finish it before leaving, therefore removing my desire and need to purchase the book. Then, because you couldn't see any way for me to purchase the book legitimately today at Thursday's sale price, you would forfeit the entire transaction and lose my business entirely. Not only would you be losing my business, but you would also allow me to read an entire book in the store without buying anything! Does that situation make sense to you?"

But I didn't say any of that. I just had the book placed on hold. I will buy it on Thursday at lunch, before my flight leaves.

11 September 2005

rain rain go away

I live in a city that is in a geographic region categorised as "semi-arid". As far as I understand, that means one level above desert. Two years ago, it was hot and sunny all summer. It was awesome! This summer has been slightly cool and very wet.

So wet in fact, that my place of work was required to replace its roof this summer because it leaked so badly. Five contractors, four months, and two rain delays later, and the roof is finally replaced. Until this morning...

I got phoned early yesterday morning, 10 am, with someone from work telling me that there's a bit of a leak. I arrive to find that to be a complete understatement.

Through my powers of deduction, I reduce the symptoms to the following theory: at one point in the distant history of the building, there was once a roof drain (as is common for flat roof buildings). Some time after that, another one came along and decided that it wouldn't be a drain anymore. Instead of doing a proper job: removing the roof jack and pipe, the pipe was smashed off with a hammer inside the building, just above the ceiling, and the roof jack was filled with tar and gravel.

Decades later, many moons, many seasons, and building renovations as well, a new roofer comes along two weeks ago to replace the roof. The foreman sees what he believes is a drain that has been plugged by duff and debris, ogres out the drain, and installs a retro fitted roof jack.

Then the deluge returns for anothing soaking of this fine city, and the once stopped roof drain again begins its duty: draining roof water into the building.

I call a plumber, because it's water leaking from a pipe. He was unable to locate the required part on a Saturday. I call the roofer. Three different mobile numbers, and voicemail on all three. Even the mobile that the office auto attendant claims to be the 24/7 emergency contact. I was not impressed.

I was reduced to purchasing a tarp and a 132 litre garbage receptacle with wheels. I hung the tarp on the wall to prevent further water damage to the drywall, and placed the receptacle under the leak to retain the water for proper disposal.

Several hours later, the owner of the roofing company phones me to tell me that the foreman will be here this morning.

Here I am, early in the morning again (10 am), to have the roofer confirm my theory.

He stops up the leak, and will return when it's dry to fix the problem: a pipe that goes nowhere.

It's Sunday morning, it's still raining, has been raining since Friday night, and I just want the rain to go away.

08 September 2005

who called?

Who called?

It's not a question.

It's a service.


Who Called?

You see, I hate voicemail. And I also hate call waiting. But I need to know who is calling me when I'm on the phone. I don't have voicemail, because I would be obligated to check messages and likely phone people back. What an annoyance. I never leave voicemails for people I know, because then when they don't call back (which is usually the case), I don't feel rejected.

However, because at times there is a work emergency or something going on, I have to leave call waiting enabled on my mobile, even though I never answer it. Because at least then I have a record of the person who tried to phone me. But if I hit the "ignore" feature, the caller gets a fast busy tone and usually calls back...numerous times. So I just have to put up with that damn call waiting beep chirping in my ear for what amounts to about 15 rings for the call waiter.

But now...NEVER AGAIN!!!

I just tested it myself. Called my mobile on one line at work, put that call on hold, then called on a second line. I got the busy tone, but I also got a text almost immediately detailing the caller ID which attempted to call, and the number of times called.

Where was this service for the past 5 years?

Thank you! Rogers Wireless is the best.

06 September 2005


Now, normally, I wouldn't get all too excited about someone trying to chat with me. I do have my .mac iChat name listed on a couple of "finder" sites. However, I rarely get anyone trying to chat with me, and when I do, it usually develops into a virtual friendship. Well, honestly, I've only ever talked with two people more than once. One lives in Japan and we chat regularly, and the other lives two blocks from me, and we've since become friends who meet up for coffee about once a week and I provide solace away from his career.

But tonight, tonight was totally different.

kkoenig{at}mac.com initiated a chat with me.

kkoenig: hey
me: hello
me: who's this?
kkoenig: drew
kkoenig: saw you on chatfinder
me: cool.
me: no one from there has contacted me in a while.
kkoenig: kickin back jackin here, you?

Now, at this point, I don't clue in, and I begin to tell him about my life and such. (I'm a naive moron.)

Finally, after he's likely bored of my prattling...

kkoenig: was hoping you had a cam
me: my iSight case is empty, which means it's somewhere else...
kkoenig: hm, too bad, 8.5x7" hard here
me: hmm... and why would I want to be into that?
kkoenig: just thought you might like to jack off, sorry bro
me: hey no problem.
me: not in the mood. already did twice earlier today.
kkoenig: ah, no problem

How about that? To be honest, I believe that's the first time anyone, ever (aside from pedophiles) has made a "pass" at me. Actually, I think he made two passes before I realised the first was a pass at all (and only when I scrolled up in the window to find out what he said earlier that should have clued me in). The 31 year old virgin has a chance to get it on, so to speak, with some guy and an iSight. Oh Joy! No, I think I will wait just a bit longer.

Well, normally, I wouldn't blog about this, however, if you google this Mr. kkoenig{at}mac.com, you get 1 hit. The one hit wonder! I feel kind of special. Being cyber-hit on by some person who is only found on google once. Wow! (He wasn't even listed on the chat finding web site he claimed he found me on.)


This one hit is another blog, with an entry from a couple years ago, where Mr. kkoenig offers this other guy pretty much the same thing.

One thing though, kkoenig was quite polite about it all. That's not nearly as puzzling as the 8.5x7". What is that? Length and width? Length and girth? Someone, please fill me in. (And not like that. I mean, tell me what he was talking about.)

Moxie's update...

Service was slow.

Portions were incredibly small.

A friend ordered a soup & sandwich. The "bowl" of soup had enough for 3 spoons of soup. He asked for more soup to go with his half sandwich, and they charged him another $4.00!!!

Another person in our party ordered mushroom caps and prawns. He got 4 caps and 3 prawns! Hardly worth the money they charged him.

One girl ordered ice tea; took 5 sips and the glass was empty! There was so much ice in the cup! Good thing they had free refills.

And, not to be outdone by Boston Pizza, it took Moxie's about 40 minutes to get our food.

(By the way, my poutine was sub par and too salty.)

Why do I complain as I do about going out? Because, these restaurants have forgotten that I am the customer. I will not go hungry if I do not go out to eat. But somehow, they think I will and therefore treat me as such.

I do have a choice and I will be exercising it in the future.

04 September 2005

Respect the permanently banned list

Just this evening, a few of us went to the local Boston Pizza to be told that we would have to at least ab hour to get any food order.

This is not the first time that I've received shoddy service from that BP. In fact, they made the permanently banned list for a rather unsightly ordeal involving my dissatisfaction with an excuse of a pathetic brownie sundae. The server was an jerk when I returned the brownie because it wa so small. I mean, if they were charging $0.99 for that tiny square, that would have been acceptable. But it was more like $5.99 for that minuscule portion.

And now I'm sitting in Moxie's waiting for a table. And the sad thing is that this excuse for a fine dining establishment is also on the permanently banned list for 7 infractions at 7 different locations in several cities spanning 2 provinces.

But for the grace of God go I.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield (1939 - 1999).

Aside from "The Look of Love" on Bacharach's score to Casino Royale, I had not heard of Dusty Springfield, nor knew anything about her.

Then last weekend, I noticed an HMV special on Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (only $9.99 for the "collector's edition"!!), for which I immediately left work and went to the mall to purchase.

The scene in which Vincent goes to the Wallace Estate to pick up Mia for their "date", there is an enchanting version of "Son of a Preacher Man" playing in the background (or foreground; it was kind of loud). Digging into the "collector's edition" extras, I discovered that this version of Preacher Man was sung by Dusty Springfield.

Having that haunting melody in my mind all week, I finally went onto iTunes Music Store to find what I could (although an amazing revolution of technology, iTMS does lack on many fronts). I discovered this:

And I cannot get enough of it!! (The play count on Son of a Preacher Man is already into the 30's, and I've not even had it for 48 hours yet!)

This 'best of' collection covers all of Dusty's major singles from the 60's. I could go on, but the iTMS bio on Dusty Springfield is worth reading, and there isn't anything I could write that hasn't already been written somewhere else.

I highly recommend this album for anyone looking for some really good R&B by a really good, and often forgotten, diva:

Dusty Springfield.

03 September 2005

Grizzly Creek

So tired.

Anthony and I went to the Grizzly Creek Trail west and south of Beaver Mines today. The trail was highly rated by Doug Eastcott in his Backcountry Biking in the Canadian Rockies (an awesome book!!).

This trail was rated as: physical = difficult / technical = intermediate.

"From a major ford of the South Castle River to one of the finest single track rides anywhere, this trip delivers adventure." Oh so true.

We didn't make it to Grizzly Lake, as we had a late start on our trip. However, we figured that we did get about 10 km in. The ride in was mostly uphill and mostly walked and pushed instead of pedalled. Just as was described, the physical was difficult. But as always, when a hill goes up, it also goes down. The ride back was fast and awesome.

The single track was quite overgrown in many parts, and both of us got a few scrapes. I don't even remember feeling that scrape on my leg, it was just there when I looked down. But that one on my arm: I remember well. I ran off the trail and into a tree and scraped up on those thorn like dead branches poking out all over. It could have been worse than it was.

No hemorrhaging. No flats. No sun burns. Truly, it was a great ride for a long weekend.

02 September 2005

Don't think twice

don't think twice, it's alright.

Bob Dylan sang that.

And I like it.

I also like the functionality afforded to my blogging by this new service. My old blog will stay online, but I won't be updating it anymore. Hope this isn't an inconvenience for anyone.