Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hurricane Dean in Extreme 70mph Winds High Noon Rebirth

Louisa was really a cool person who was like me wandering in a storm trying to figure out what life has thrown at us and giving us a new birth almost like Mayan tradition. We talked a while and he was also at a cross roads in his life realizing there was something new on the horizon, which we only had to open up our eyes and see. We parted with a feeling like we helped each other and I wondered back towards the hotel, since I left a note that I would be back around 12:00pm the height of the hurricane. While I was returning the wind was a steady 70 mph and gusting up to at least 100mph, because I was to leaning and pumping my legs just to keep moving against it. When I turned the corner and went down wind I felt like I was flying like my astrological sign the eagle and chinese sign wood dragon. I was floating a few feet before I touched down, it was really a neat experience. I stopped and hid behind a headge at a historical site called "Notaria Publica #67 A Cargo Del Abogado Sergio I Priego Medina" and took a video of the howling wind. While taking the video the wind gusted up to at least 100 mph and a dark cloud of sand pelted me, see the photo of my legs. I was thinking of what an idiot I am being out in this with out jeans on and getting my legs sandblasted. For some reason, I had to listen to my instincts and I needed this clensing experience of my heart and soul to remove the heart ache and pain that I have recently experienced. Please see the video at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hurrican Dean Blowing in Extreme

The main part of the storm is only an hour away and I am drawn down the main street of Merida. I am following this solid line in the brick path and seem drawn towards something. The wind is really picking up and is howling about 60mph, pushing on me to keep moving. I get a brief respite for just a minute andI look up and see what I have been driven towards, Monumento a la Patria. What a powerful moment, the visual symbol of the force of power with the buffeting wind seem just right in viewing this monument from the ancient Mayan ancient past. I am standing on the meridian of a four-lane road looking at this powerful monument and all of a sudden a voice breaks the enthrallment and asks if I can take his picture. We trade places taking each other's picture in the middle of the roundabout and I ask him about the hieroglyphs. He starts telling me about the figures and he seems to know what his is talking about, so I ask him if I could video record his narration. The wind was really picking up and I knew from prior experience that the voice recording would be heavily distorted because of the wind, but if you don't try you will never accomplish anything.
His name was Louisa Rodriquez-Alexander, which is my grandmother's maiden name of Alexander. I had a feeling this was just getting interesting. He explained the Mayan hieroglyph of a head of a rabbit, body of a jaguar, and tail of a snake. If anyone knows what this is called and the signifcance please e-mail me the information. The Mayans believed to survive that had to be in a constant New World, so that is why they continuously rebuilt upon prior civilization and the flame represented this context of rebirth, like I was feeling what was happening to me. We walked to the other side of the momumento and another powerful relationship of dimensions was revealed of a small lake with a statue in the middle. It was a scene of a natural world with an eagle and a cactus on the back of the sculpture alludes to the founding of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City}. According to the migration legend, the patron god Huitzilopochtli told them to build a settlement in the place where they would see an eagle landing on a cactus growing on a lake. When the Mexica Aztecs saw the vision, they founded Tenochtitlan on Lake Tetzcoco, thus reminding me of the researchers I meet during the pre-sattilite conference from Mexico city. I am a little enveous that they have a rich culture that they can still practice and receive wisdom from. See the movie at youtube -

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hurrican Dean Arrival 2

While leaning into the wind and dodging debre, I looked up and saw a jeep full of military personnel and thought oh crap in trouble again Kelly, my advisor, sent out the troops after me. Instead they whistled and waved at me and kept going.

Hurrican Dean Arrival

The city streets were deserted and the wind was howling like a lost soul buffeting against any object left exposed. The atmosphere was invigerating, fresh, and clean as though something was being reborn. Debre was strewn every which way and flying through the air. Accelerating clouds of multiple types and sizes were carening by and increasing at a faster pace by the minute.

Fruit from the trees were strewn everywhere. I was dodging kumquats dropping from the trees onto the uneven brick sidewalk. I was not able to dodge all of them and I couldn't get it out of my curly hair. Thank god no one was on the street seeing me jumping around the kumquats and trying to keep them from hitting me. It was a site to see.

The only thing I saw running around was a black dog, who stopped and licked his lips and begged for food. I gave him some of my powerbar, just like I use to do with my dog Crusher.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hurricane Dean Approaching

Everyone else is asleep, since we had a long night waiting on the storm to arrive. Per the forcast it was to hit landfall as a catagory 5 hurricane around 2:00am, and get to us around 5:00am. Since it has so much land to cover before it reaches us, it will downgrade into a catagory 2 hurricane, which is nothing sneeze at. Here it is 10:00am and the storm is sliding below us about a 90 miles south west and we are getting around 40mph gusts. It should intensify to 65 mph in two hours. The hotel will probably try and keep us in the hotel, so I am going to get out now to get some cool pictures and enjoy the howling wind, maybe some debre. Attached, is a photo of a palm tree outside of our hotel room window, which is taped with packing tape. The duck tape was already sold out in the stores.

Hunkering Down waiting out Hurrican Dean

We were tired of packing and un packing this was the third hotel in 4 days, but we were happy to be out of the full strength of the storm. Even though we moved west and closer to the eye of the hurricane, it had a lot of land to cross and would change from a Catagory 5 to a 2.

The next day we went out an got more supplies and found some really cool fruit and vegetables. There was a fruit that is red and looks like a mini-pineapple. We are waiting for someone to try the first one, and it will probably be me.

Wal-mart was packed and the shelves were empty of duck tape and essential weather supplies. Batteries were no where to be found and alcohol was not being sold. The government deems it necessary to restrict the sale of alcohol and the residents need to go home and take care of their families. Even the resteraunts were not abel to sell alcohol. Well, we filled up the cart with the needed supplies - food and water for a few days. It was not to hard to get the supplies back to the room, since I took the shopping cart and wheeled it up to room. The storm has thank fully moved south and the rain bands are starting to drift in. The winds are picking up to 40 mph and people are going home early and getting off of the streets.
We will hunker down and wait out the storm at the hotel. To me this is the exciting part of seeing things flying through the air and all of the lightening and thunder, like Hurricane Andrew. I need to get some sleep before the main part of the storm gets here, because the wind is like a roaring train going by and thunder permeates everything. Back to the adventure of traveling to Mexico and wish me luck.

Merida Mexico

We arrived at finally arrived in Merida, after a six hour bus ride. The city was facinating and a real Mexican city, which is what I really wanted to see on this trip, not a tourist trap like Cancun. The hotel was beautiful and the staff was professional and really helped us out. Somehow a king size bed was waiting for us and the four of us were not that good of friends and wanted to sleep all together in one bed. Man what a tight fit that would have been, so they gave us a two double bed room.
We were able to get out a little in the evening and the architecture here is old and beautiful. The wraught iron fences were works of art and the colors exploded off of the buildings.

Even the building Santa Cecilia, next to the hotel had its own style and uniqueness. The roads were narrow and full of character, even small ferral dogs and cats. The fences were interesting, where they had broken glass cemented on top to keep people from climbing over them.

Trip from Cancun to Merida

The next day you could feel the excitement and intensity of the storm approaching. People were checking out of the hotels in droves and panic was written all over their faces. The airport was just a maze of hysteria and bedlam, thus we didn't even waste hours upon hours like yesterday trying to get a flight out. We got on the Presidente hotel private charter around 1:00pm Sunday Aug 19th. The roads were jammed and vehicals of all types and sizes were competing for limited space on the highways.

About half way to Merida, the air conditioning was starting to break down. It started getting hotter and hotter in the bus. Sweat was just poring off of us and finally the bus driver pulled over. The fan belt had become loose and they tried to get it fixed. Well, we didn't let it get us down and we were just happy we got out of dodge. After about 30 minutes, the winds started picking up and a rain band swung by us. It started lightening and thundering with large claps of energy and thunder. I didn't even mind the torrental down pour and stood out in the rain and let it wash away all of the sweat from my skin. It really was refreshing and you could smell the ozone being born in the atmosphere from all of the lightening strikes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Evacuation from Cancun

We moved to the Best Western Hotel across the street from the convention center for the main ISN-ASN conference, even though it had been cancelled because of hurricane Dean bearing down on us. It was a real solid concrete hotel that had ratings of up to Catagory 4 hurricane and I was willing to hunker down and wait out the storm.

My advisor, Kelly Drew, was staying at the Presidente and was told she needed to evacuate to a shelter or to Merida, Mx. The hotel would provide a bus to drive us from Cancun to Merida, a four hour bus ride. So, we started packing up our stuff and would leave the next day at 1:00pm. I went shopping for hurricane survival kit supplies, that I usually get for hurricanes while I lived in Florida. This was going to be a Catagory 5 and I had already been through a Catagory 3 for Andrew in Florida. I didn't have drinkable water or electricity for weeks last time and I was not taking any chances for a Catagory 5 hurricane, which at the time had maximum gusts up to 225 mph. The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale truely putts the amount of destructive energy this storm was bringing to Cancun

People were leaving in droves and per Mexian Immigration over 32,000 tourists left Cancun via flights out. We tried to change our flights and get out of the path of the hurricane, but everything was booked up. There were no buses out and the only way out was through the Presidente private bus to Merida.
The harbour was shut down and people were getting their boats out of dodge. The next morning the winds and thunderstorms started rolling in and you could smell and feel the panic building. The roads were full of cars and people were buying last minute supplies, which were severely limited. You could not find one roll of duck tape in the whole town. Red Green would have been lost with out a paddle and duck tape. Flashlights and batteries were being sold at rediculous prices.

Glutamate Receptor Conference Continued

The type of different cultures and how they affected the type of science being done was also intriguing. I had just a few stories and adventures in Alaska that I have been through and I got to hear about other different cultures that are sometimes quite similar. Arturo Orega, conference organizer, asked me about the Equinoxs and was testing me by stating "was there only one or two in a year", but I was ready since in Alaska the sun is quite important and proceeded to answer correctly that there is two and we celebrate them, even the summer solstice with the midnight sun run. Another fellow presenter, C. Aquirre, told me about the mayan ruins and equinox story. How during the spring equinox at the mayan ruins a snake shadow appears. It was truely interesting and intriguing, such that I had a street artist produce this picture of a mayan ruin with a large setting sun in the background. It just seemed the right thing to do at the time and I videoed the making of the picture, even with the flame he used to dry the photo. Which after the hurricane I will try and get to post on you tube. It was truely a revealing and interesting conference even with the hurricane breathing down our necks we became friends and learn alot of new information and cultures.

Glutamate Receptor Conference Making New Intriguing Friends

We had a nice small group of fellow researchers who entrusted interesting and stimulating information on glutamate receptors. The camaraderie was really intriguing and exciting. There was alot of new information that I had not known and disseminated about glutamate receptors, especially in astrocytes. My presentation on my Glutamatergic Synaptic Transmission was a big hit. I was pretty nervous since it was my first international conference talk. I got up there and just let it flow with the excitement I feel about my next research. Like my advisor Kelly Drew stated " I am the tour guide of Neuroscience" and it really fits what type of work I am doing with animation in neuroscience. I proceed to tell people about my continuing work with in the Imersa environment (holographic images) "Holodeck of Startrek Next Generation" and how my advisor is like John Luc Picard in keeping me on task and finishing my work. Everyone laughed at that one. The lunches and dinners were the best on learning about research being completed in different countries.

Cancun Pre-Satellite Meeting Glutamate Receptors

Cancun is a beautiful resort town. The flight was long and arduous over 21 hours, but I didn't care once I reached this gorgeous place. The hotel Gran Melia was a magnificent five star hotel sitting right on the beach. The surf was wonderful and I body surfed for two hours in the four foot waves. The color of of the Gulf of Mexico - Atlantic ocean - was a brilliant turquoise and the sand was warm and soft.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Perseid Meteor Shower Bon Fire

Perseid Meteor Shower Bon Fire in Alaska was not a complete bust because of the slight drizzel of rain. Alaskan ingenuity kicked in with a few minds around and we figured out a way to comply with mother nature. We took the tarp off of the wood pile and set up some poles with equal pressure from both sides. The rest of us were setting up the fire in the front of the house. Once the fire was going more people started arriving and it turned into another block get together on Sunday. There was a couple that was walking down the street and we invited them over. They just arrived in Alaska from Montana and came from a smaller town than Fairbanks, go figure. One is a chef and will be a great addition to our Sunday cook off. There is nothing like Alaskan hospitality and they really felt like they were at home. It seems we have added a few more people to our block get together. When I moved to Madcap Ln the neighbors were feuding with each other. Now we have Sunday bon fires and everyone brings a dish, with a tale or story.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dr Beverly Crusher Life Well Lived

How do you write about someone you loved? Per my ancestor let it flow. Words written during anguish and strife can not be rewritten but envisioned. Jefferson truely had a gift of writing with his soul. Whilst my true companion lies at my feet not moving, her spirit will live on through me and with me. Her love of adventure and having her head out the car window experiencing life, is what I need to do now. I have been at a cross roads and she has helped me bridge those roads. Life is but a fleeting glimpse of time and we need to live it fully. She has helped me truely enjoy life, like at our last outing together on Denali Mountain at the Great Gorge on Ruth Glacier. She loved the flight and running around on top of the world. Crusher helped me realize what life truly should be. It is not only a career, but also being able to share it someone and enjoying it with other people. Whom else is going share the experiences with you? If it is not a good life, when you are living in a vacuum. She was my traveling companion for 18 years and I will miss her dearly. Crusher gave a new meaning of the slogan "Life Live It". She was full of adventure, travel, and love. She was one "Cool Dog".

Friday, August 3, 2007

King Salmon Fishing Chitina Alaska

We went King and Red Salmon fishing in the Copper River near Chitina Alaska. The trip was really cool. I caught one of my smallest Kings at only a paltry 22 lbs, but it still was hard to pull into the boat. We used Captain Kim charters and when we got there three guys walked up and told us they were there to help us "Girls" fish. I told them "Kiss My Grits" and then proceeded to catch the only King on the trip. It took them 7 passes in our fishing spot, before they could out fish us "Girley Girls". They found out not to challenge Alaskan Women on fishing, if you can't back it up. My friends Veronica Toppin,
Joanne Cooper, and me then caught our limit of 102 Red Salmon in two hours. Now, that is what fishing is all about!