Code of the Moai

Welcome! This is the blog of Jason Wathey, a resident of the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. The main purpose of this blog is to give me yet another project that I will not be able to get to, while detailing random thoughts about the neighborhood, Tiki, Tiki drinks and mixology, life, the universe, and everything. Politics, my progress through HCC's nursing program, and my wife's progress on getting to medical school will probably come up a lot as well.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Remodeling the porch

Hello Everyone!
I have not posted anything in a while, so I just wanted to put something up. This is the latest project I have been working on with our house...redoing the wood flooring on the front porch.

Basically just a remodel involving the removal of all the old tile and cement board, and then all the semi-original wood, and replacing it all with new tongue and groove hardwood. I say semi-original because I am almost positive that the porch area had to be rebuilt at some point due to termite/water damage.

On a totally different topic, I got accepted into the Nursing program at HCC and will be starting this August!

Oh, and on another totally diffent topic, this is my new nephew:

Anyway, here are some progress shots:

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Random thoughts for today

So this is finals week for Nereia and I, and it could not come soon enough. The classes we had this semester just seemed to drag on forever, and I just wasn't "feeling it". Nereia is quitting next week in preparation for USF this spring, so that is a new and exciting change. Hopefully the class load does not overwhelm her med school dreams. My next semester is just standard stuff at HCC to complete my AA. I have to hand in my Nursing School application before January 15th to get in August 2006.

Front 242 was in town last Friday night, and they put on a good show for PR Jason and I. PR said they looked like they were going snowboarding, and I just said the are Belgian...
As usual the Masquerade cranked the volume too damn high, so it was hard to really discern details and vocals. I don't know why they do that, especially with electronic music where there are nuances and such that need to be heard to appreciate the music. They did the same thing with KMFDM the last time I saw them, which is probably one reason I have not seen a show there for a couple of years. After the show, reeking of cigarette smoke, Jason and I decided to hit up the Castle for Coffin Classics Friday. This is definitely a fun night if you enjoy Industrial/Goth music from the mid 90's (or DNA era if you are from Tampa).

Finally, it looks like they have started construction on the Seminole Heights Starbucks!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My next camera...and Price's Writing

So I recently sold my Nikon D70 DSLR in order to pay for bartending classes, so I can make more money. Of course, I knew I would have to get another DSLR at some point, because I just pick apart the photos that come from regular digital cameras, even my Fuji S7000.

Well, I think Nikon is just about to release my next camera, the Nikon D200. This D200 has all the features I really wanted in the D70, like low ISO (100), usable high ISO without excessive noise (for night and astrophotography), mirror lock-up for night landscapes and astrophotography, a fully functional add-on hand grip, larger viewfinder for manual focus, a magnesium body, and resistance to rain through rubber seam seals. The camera is relatively expensive at $1700 MSRP, but is a bargain when compared to the Canon EOS 5D ($3299) and Nikon's top of the line D2X ($4999). The major difference between the Canon 5D and the Nikon D200 is that the 5D has a full frame image sensor, where the D200 has a DX sensor (a 1.5x field crop). Even compared with the D2X, the D200 is not lacking in many areas; the D2X has a slighty faster Continous Shooting mode (5.3 fps vs. 5), but the D200 can shoot more images in succession (37/22 vs. 22/17). The D2X does have an 8fps Continuous Crop (2.0x) mode which the D200 lacks altogether, but the D200 has a wider high ISO ranger without boosting (1600 vs. 800). Plus, in my mind, as an amatuer photographer that wants clear, sharp images without spending a fortune, the DX format sensor makes more sense, because the camera body itself is less expensive and you can use DX lenses.
However, since Nereia is expecting me to produce National Geographic-like images when we go to Peru, I will most likely have to get the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8...the atypical photojournalist lens, even wide-open at 2.8 the thing is tack-sharp. For the price, it better be the shit. I will definitely be needing to make some cash flow in bartending, with some websites on the side too.

Speaking of which, check out Chandra Price's new business site, Price's Writing. She has started her own professionial writing business focusing on Business Communications such as Annual Reports, Copywriting, and Press Releases; Paralegal Services such as Case Research and Summaries, Motions, and Presentations; and Professional Writing/Editing such as Speeches, Copyediting, and Proofreading. I will be handling her web services as she expands into writing and editing for business websites. Good luck Chandra, and keep sending them my way!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Japanese unwitting unleash King Ghidora

In a move destined to go down as one of the biggest mistakes ever, the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) is preparing to land a probe on asteroid Itokawa to conduct "research".

Now, any one that has followed Japanese history knows that they have a huge monster problem, and that the moster problem sometimes stems from these little "research" projects going wrong in some form or another. In the 40's, we know that Godzilla was awakened by American naval bombardment of Lagos island. Godzilla was subsequently seriously injured by American troops but was later mutated and made stronger by American atomic tests in the Pacific...our bad on this one!

However, most monsters have been introduced through Japanese experimentation throughout the years. I think the time has come to tell Japan, enough is enough, we are sick of having monsters stomping all over cities and causes general chaos!

Hayabusa Probe Update

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Natural Born Killer ...cells...

Ok, so here is a quick question for you folks out there: Did you know there are cells in your body right now that are able to target and kill some types of cancer cells?

No? Well, I did not know this either until a couple of weeks ago in my Anatomy & Physiology II class on the lymphatic system and immunological surveillance. The human body actually has a pretty sophisticated method for finding abnormal cells in the body; which includes bacterial cells, normal cells infected viruses, and abnormal growth cells (cancer).

Natural Killer cells are produced in the bone marrow by cells called hemocytoblasts (from which all blood cells originate), and then divide into lymphoid stem cells. At this point the stem cell, responding to various hormones, divides further into these NK cells. The NK cells' role is basically to seek and destroy. Interesting so far eh? The best part is coming...
NK cells are roaming throughout he body, and one comes upon an abnormal cell peppered with unusual surface is time for action! The NK cell attaches to the abnormal cell and prepares for biological warfare by aiming it's golgi apparatus at the abnormal cell (think of a tank rotating it's turrent and fixing on a target). "Firing" commenses as the golgi apparatus releases hundreds of secretory vesicles filled with a protein called perforin, which as the name suggests perforate the target cell. As the target cells is inundated with perforins, small pores open up which disrupt the cellular activity within the abnormal cell by allowing the free passage of ions, proteins, and other intracellular materials into the cell. Obviously, at this point the cell can no longer maintain homostasis and ruptures! Three cheers for natural killer cells!

On a side note, scientists around the world are looking to unlock the secrets of natural killer cells as a possible cure for cancer. By reprogramming NK cells to recognize all cancer types...well, you know what that means... Check out the American Cancer Society to see how you can help.

There is also an excellent little animation here showing an NK cell attacking a cancer cell.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yan Can Launch!

Today marks China'a second manned space mission with the launch of 2 astronauts on a 5 day orbital mission. China also announced plans to build factory on the moon, in the next 5 years, that will manufacture useless plastic doodads for American children...

Seriously though, you have to admire the Chinese people and the government for getting things accomplished. China's future goals include having a space station within 5 years, and to eventually put someone on the moon. I think they are set to be the world leaders in space exploration and technology very shortly for a number of reasons. The first is that they have a government that does not rely on popular approval to get things done, like the former Soviet Union. Secondly, the budget for the space program is $2.3 billion, compared to the United States' $16.9 billion. Obviously, with spending much less per project, more projects are bound to be completed in the same amount of time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Stem Cell Mining

Scientists at the Roslin Institute (cloned Dolly the sheep) in Scotland report that they have been able to create parthenotes (embryos developed from a female egg, without the use of a male sperm; parthenogenesis from the Greek "virgin birth"), which have divided to about 50 cells. At his time however, embryonic stem cells have not been harvested because they do not occur until the cell division gets to about 100 cells.

Obviously, if you are in favor of stem cell research, then this is exciting news because it means that instead of dealing with fertilized embryos (and dealing with pro-life whackos) you can harvest stem cells from eggs that have been electrically induced to divide. These eggs can be donated by women, or gathered from women who have elected to be sterilized. I think this is a great step since it should alleviate many of the concerns about whether of not babies are being killed in the name of scientific experimentation. Also, I would imagine that this method would make it easier to harvest a greater number of stem cells as the scientists would not have to deal with human cloning and test tube fetus issues.
I am hopeful that this research will be allowed to proceed and provide new avenues for stem cell research, and that the naysayers will get off their high horse and recognize that the results scientists are looking for are not human clones. Instead, I hope the research goes into the realm of developing Natural Killer leukocytes that are able to recognize all forms of cancer, and therefore destroy them. With this method, chemo and radiation therapy would be eliminated and the death rate from these diseases would plummet. I would like to imagine that this research would allow the development of other cell mediated defenses against viruses and antibiotic resistent bacteria.

Institute of Stem Cell Research
BBC News: 'Virgin conception' first for UK

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tom Delay in deeper, and Bush goes all out

Two new felony charges were brought up against Tom Delay yesterday, including one for money laundering. What I find interesting is that his lawyers are seeking to get last week's charges thrown out on a legal technicality. So are they then admitting that the charges are true? I guess we will find out once the judge comes back from vacation. Another thing I find funny is that Delay keeps referring to the charges as politically motivated. Of course they are politically motivated!!! Everything is politically motivated, especially when Delay's two buddies have already been indicted on similar charges and are currently awaiting trial. Even if Delay had nothing to do with the alleged conspiracy and money laundering, he is an idiot for placing himself with people already facing charges for things that are always hot issues for Washington policians.

In other news, President Bush has nominated his very close advisor Harriet Miers for the next open Supreme Court position. This time Bush has managed to confuse both the Republicans and the Democrats in the Senate. The Republicans are not sure about her because she may not be conservative enough, and some Democrats look like they might support her. I am totally confused as to why the Republicans would think she may not be conservative enough. She is the personal advisor to President Bush. The President who has sunk us into massive debt, squandered huge surpluses, given tax breaks to large corporations and to the wealthy, preaches small government while making the government larger than ever, opposes gay marriage, favors overturning women's choice, and has started wars in two countries. Oh yes, I think she is completely wrong for the the Republicans will most likely back her wholeheartedly.
Some key points here: White House counselor Dan Bartlett said on the Today show, that Bush had not Miers about her views on gay rights or abortion; Kyleen Wright, president of an anti-abortion group former known as Texans United for Life, stated that Miers donated $150.00 to the organization; Senator Brownback has stated "It has been my expectation that President Bush would nominate someone in the mould of Justices Scalia and Thomas", both Scalia and Thomas have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Tom Delay, Bill Frist, and John Roberts

Boy oh boy, I hope I am not the only one drooling about the recent inquiries into the supposedly dubious actions on the parts of Bill Frist and Tom Delay.

Now, the story is that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., republican from Tennesse, recently sold all of his stock in a company called HCA Inc., which was a hospital operating company stated by his family. The dubious action is that just a few days after his sell off the company announced it earnings report which was not as good as expected, leading to a decline in the overall stock price. Hmm...this story sounds damn familiar doesn't it???
Of course he denies any wrong doing, but come on...your family's business, millions in shares, the earnings are bad, and you just happen to sell everything right before the report goes out!!!

Next we have House Majority Leader Tom Delay, republican from Texas, indicted by a grand jury on conspiracy charges related to campaign financing. Here is the story on MSN.

Unfortunately, with the good inevitably comes the bad. John Roberts has been confirmed as the next chief Supreme Court Justice. I am not saying I an expert on politics or anything, but when someone is making decisions that are going to affect the lives of every person in the United States for the next several decades, you might actually want to know what they think. I just don't think he was questioned enough, or gave enough in the way of answers. With endorsements such as "Christian Leaders See Potential for Roberts to Be One of ‘The Great Chief Justices in Our History’" coming from the Christian Post, I just do not feel comfortable.