Fourth of July Photo Contest Winners

Hey all! It’s been a long time since I posted again and I apologize about that. I know I sound like a broken record here but seriously, this trying to graduate thing is ridiculous! -_-

Anyway, let’s talk about America! Today’s post comes from the 4th of July when Cobalt and I asked our friends to text us a picture of something “American.” We got a lot of fun pictures – so many in fact that we are only posting the winners this year. Thank you so much for sending us pictures everyone! Also, if you didn’t send us a picture/didn’t win – don’t worry – there’s always next year! :)

Let’s get started:

Grand Prize

Cobalt and I really liked the composition of this pic. Artfully done. :)

Second Place

We loved this picture – so cute and also awesome! :D

Third Place

This is a pic of a bunch of Americans celebrating the 4th of July in South Korea where they are teaching English!

Yay! Congratulations to our winners!

What are you guys up to? Did you do anything sweet for the 4th of July? Cobalt and I ate a lot… Now that July is also half over, how has your July been? Anyone going on awesome vacations? I’ve been working and trying not to kill the microscope out of rage (it keeps breaking!)…

I wanna talk about race

Time to get up close and personal with Potassium!

Last night after the weekly meeting with my summer students, a few of the graduate mentors and I stayed late and had a very open and honest conversation about what it’s like growing up disadvantaged in the US. Every one of us grew up disadvantaged somehow (whether it was monetarily, socially, racially or some combination of those) so it was interesting to hear so many different stories that I could still completely associate with.
That being said, the conversation was kind of hard for me because I have gotten pretty good at actively avoiding talking about the fact that I am half black and half white. I think it has to do with the fact that this difference is constantly exposed to everyone and is a topic of discussion pretty much every day of my life, whether I want it to or not. I mostly just go along with jokes and field other comments related to my race as appropriately as I see fit.
Anyway, back to last night: to be completely honest, I was terrified of the conversation, even though I was in a completely safe environment and everyone was interested in hearing about my story. As I opened up and shared/answered questions, I began to find a sense of empowerment about myself. I saw my life before me and how almost every major decision I made in my life was influenced by the fact that I was ashamed of being “two halves” instead of “one whole.” I spent years striving so hard to “fit in” by ignoring the black half of me and being angry at anyone who tried to remind me about it (made very easy because of my skin color). And now I am finally beginning to realize that it doesn’t matter – that I don’t have to choose one over the other – I can just be me, Potassium, who happens to have both African American and Caucasian heritage. Now I can finally stop running away from who I’m not and instead focus on who I am. Welcome home, me.

Bat Potassium

Anyone else want to share a story?

Let’s talk about America!

This would have been my entry to our photo contest. America: the great melting pot (mmmm fish and chips and Mexican sodas…)!

Today’s post is dedicated to the photo contest Cobalt and I hosted on the Fourth of July. Basically, we were inspired by a similar photo contest that we held a few years ago so we sent out texts to ~20 or so of our friends asking them to text us a picture of something they thought best represented America. As usual, we enjoyed getting responses and I think it helped make our Fourth of July even more fun! Sooooooooooo without further ado let’s announce the winners!

Grand Prize

Cobalt and I were both mesmerized by this one. So pretty…

Second Place

This one came with a caption: “light shining on the bridge of opportunity.” Also points to whoever can guess where this bridge is! I’ll give you a hint: America :D

Third Place

Yummmmm! Here’s a secret about me and Cobalt – we love our barbecue so much that we will grill food year round! We cooked steaks in the snow earlier this year…

All of the other pictures were fun too so I thought I would post them all below. There was a large selection of photos that fell under the food and drink category (we all know we looooove eating here in America!) so it gets its own subheading.

The food and drink category

This pic and the next one are titled “boys with food.”

The last (but certainly not least) photos

This one came with a caption too: “America is education and freedom enough to talk smack with this hippocampal neuron!” (that’s an electrode in the top left corner)

This one is kind of creepy and also one of my personal favorites.

Well, what do you think? Which one is your favorite? What do you think best represents America? And most of all, how was your Fourth of July? Awesome I hope. Cobalt and I went to the beach in California. The weather was perfect (this does not often happen at the beach in Northern CA, despite all you might think you know about California beaches) and we went running around in the waves. :)

Fireworks from the sky!!!

I took this picture during a storm a few years ago in Boulder…

Hey everyone, sorry about the crazy post schedule this week. Anyway, today I wanted to talk about lightning because last weekend, Cobalt and I were driving home from a movie (Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing) and a vicious storm was moving into town. There was lightning everywhere! It was pretty cool actually – it was like nature’s fireworks show just in time for the 4th of July! The storm turned out to be pretty epic too. As soon as Cobalt and I got in the house, it started pouring and then hailing with this HUGE marble-sized hail. We had to run back outside and rescue our little plants from death hail!

Plants hanging out in the kitchen during the crazy storm…

Does anyone have any fun plans for the 4th of July? We have a 3rd of July fireworks celebration here in California that we will be attending tonight. Exciting!

Reflections on a busy week

WOW! It’s been a while since I wrote. Thanks grad school for making my life insane for a bit there. It’s funny. I am done with all my qualifying exams and my classes so all I have left to graduate is “just” research. That’s right. Do enough research to be able to publish two scientific papers on new findings and then I can graduate! If only it were that easy… Sometimes the “just research” part of grad school is awesome. You go in, get your work done, you go home, no sweat. Life is great. Sometimes the “just research” part is insane… so insane it makes you wish you still had classes left because at least classes have a finite length and obvious expectations (write this paper? DONE. Study for and take this test? DONE… vs… I looked at bacteria under a microscope for HOURS and I took HUNDREDS OF PICTURES and I still have NO idea what anything means… Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?). Anyway, you get it. Plus we packed up our whole lab and moved it a mile away into a new building. There was some moving drama in there last week too.

ANYWAY – I have been really sad that I haven’t been able to write recently. So much stuff has been going on AND I got tagged by Karyl to write a post on marriage and I am worried that she thinks I forgot about it. Don’t worry Karyl, I’ve been thinking about it all week and I hopefully will be able to finally publish my thoughts tomorrow or Thursday this week! Yay! So, I talked about grad school being dumb and moving being time consuming… What have else I been up to, you ask?

Well, besides apparently freaking out small children at church on Sunday, here are a few things I did since the last time I wrote.

1) Had really good barbecue in Longmont, CO. Seriously. Amazing. Best BBQ I’ve had so far in the state. Go check them out. Obviously skip this recommendation if you are a vegetarian.

2) Moved the lab – already talked about this but here are some pictures:

Old Lab – see that big thing of pink bubble wrap? It was probably 3 times as big when we got it and then we used it and another whole roll up moving all our fragile stuff… intense… There is nothing worse than trying to get lab tape off of bubble wrap for your information…

New Lab – my new bench bubble wrap free! In other new lab news, I learned today that it is about a 2 mile bike ride to the new building and it is almost alllll downhill on the way there. Fun times coming home this summer… :-/

3) Saw President Obama speak at my school. Regardless of your politics, how cool is it to get to see a president speak in person? Obama pictures in a minute. I just want to emphasize on here that part of the awesomeness of all of this was actually all the waiting in line to get into the events center.

We had to wait for the bus…

In the line, we had a race across a random patch of grass/compared our weird feet/did other silly things. If you look closely in the top left hand corner, you can see the line behind us…

We were all distracted by this helicopter that we thought Obama was in but then he drove right past us…

Obama on the jumbo screen of the events center. I’d say that’s a typical Obama face…

Live Obama and jumbo screen Obama in the same shot! Because our lab move day was the same day as Obama’s speech and because that was the same day my boss decided to tell me how much data analysis she needed me to do in the next few days, we didn’t get to get in line until later in the afternoon so we didn’t get the most amazing of seats. But you can still see Obama!

4) Took a road trip with Cobalt to see his family

On the road again… Cobalt and I enjoyed rocking out to crazy mashups (courtesy of Milkman) as we drove along…

Anything exciting going on in your lives? Do you obsessively photograph everything like I do? Discuss!

On the docket for tomorrow (hopefully… or Thursday… sorrrrrrrry) – What do I look forward to in my marriage? Stay tuned. It should be exciting… I have been thinking about what to say for a week now…

A Presidents’ Day Urban Legend!

Hello! In honor of Presidents’ Day, I thought I would share a President Urban Legend with you… see what you think…
George Washington was really a vampire. Look at this picture! See how he holds his mouth… Some say that his mouth was uncomfortable because he had wooden teeth but that’s actually not true! Actually, he is attempting to hide his fangs from view. But if you look carefully, you can see his left fang peeking out from under his lip in this picture… No it was not photoshopped. Check your dollar bills, people!
Anyway, it makes sense, right? Think about it some more… The picture of him standing so stoically on that icy crossing of the Delaware river… What mere human could withstand the cold like that?! Clearly he was a vampire…

Fun, yeah?

Okay now it’s your turn. What crazy urban legends do you know* about our presidents?

*In case you were unaware, I totally made that one about George Washington up so you can do the same with your urban legends. Let’s celebrate our presidents by coming up with silly stories about them! :)

Cell Phone Picture: Something American CONTEST RESULTS!

Hey everyone! It’s that time! Time to find out who won Cobalt’s and my little cell phone contest from the 4th of July.
Here’s how it worked. On the Fourth of July, we texted a bunch of our friends this message:
Challenge! In honor of merica’s birfday, take a cell phone pic of what you think best embodies America. Text it to me by midnight tonight. The winners will be posted on Potassium’s blog this Friday
and then we got a BUNCH of awesome pictures. It was SOOOOO fun! You guys are amazing! I’m thinkin’ we’re going to have to do another contest soon. So don’t be sad if you didn’t get to participate this time.
Anyway, let’s get onto the results of the contest already!

First things first:
Grand Prize

Her shirt says “Yo soy legal” in case you can’t read it. Awesomeness. We loved it. :)

First Runner Up

Going classy with some American history there. We history lovers certainly appreciated it. I also love the addition of the flower.

There was a TIE for Second Runner Up

We just really loved the photograph here. It is just a really great picture and well composed (plus it has our nation’s capitol building in the background… That’s pretty patriotic if you ask me…)

This one is just pure hilarity…

Third Runner Up

This picture was really creative and fun. Great Work! :D

The rest of the pictures… so awesome…and in no apparent order

The caption: “America in Speedo Form!” Disturbing yes, but hilarious? Also yes. :)

Gotta love Independence Day…

Ahhhh the wide open spaces of America…. We got a few of these entries actually. Very nice, very nice. :)

Ohhhhh we Americans sure do love to eat. The caption here: “Look at the food. And the prices. ‘Merica…”

Caption: “Big blue sky, big city, and vast interstate. AMERICA.” :)

Sad… isn’t it funny that most “American” things aren’t even made in the US? How does that work?!

Mmmmmm Fourth of July food! This is actually similar to the picture that Cobalt would have entered had we not been judging the contest…

A different take on Fourth of July food! You want Chinese food instead? You got it! Gotta love ‘Merica and our options for food!