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(78) days of summer

Welcome back, everyone!

This is my first blog post for the new school year, so I just want to tell you a little bit about my summer. As the title of this post suggests, I spent 78 days here at USC through a generous grant from the Rose Hills Foundation, continuing the research that I had started in Dr. Peter Z. Qin’s laboratory. At the beginning of August, I presented my project, “Kinetics of the DNA Spin-Labeling Reaction,” at a poster session for undergraduates in USC’s own Seeley G. Mudd Hall …

… What’s that? You say that doesn’t sound like summer to you? You say I’m just a nerdy chem major with no life?

My friend, let me try to convince you otherwise. Here are some quick hits of what I did in my 78 days:

I hiked up to the back of the Hollywood sign. It’s much more impressive from the front.

I ate at Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market.

I went camping in Joshua Tree National Park and climbed giant piles of boulders. (“In the middle of summer?!” you ask, incredulous. “Wasn’t it hot?!” Well yes… you’d be right.)

I went to the American Apparel factory flea market. If it looks like their ads are shot inside a warehouse, it’s because they really are.

I almost walked into a possum. He was… playing possum.

I played cello in the studio orchestra and recorded for composer George Shaw’s latest album. (Maybe you’ve seen this Youtube movie. He composed all the music. Is that a cello I hear? Hmm…)

I watched Madagascar 3 weeks before it came out in theatres. It was actually quite good!

I made inappropriately named but delicious brownies. No explanation necessary.

I went to the beach. Multiple times. It’s SoCal, remember?

I was pursued around campus by a German Shepherd on the Fourth of July. She proceeded to follow me for days. We eventually returned her to her owner.

I then watched fireworks in Exposition Park, across the street from campus. I remember nothing from the finale other than long minutes of whiteness and explosions.

I took three trains – including the new Expo Line – to Arcadia and proceeded to leap into a waterfall.

I frolicked at that other school across town. Don’t worry, I remembered to wear cardinal and gold. I mounted their coveted bear statue. It was fun! (“Don’t you know that here red means ‘attack’?! “)

My summer was busy, certainly, and research took up a lot of time, but that’s not to say I didn’t have fun. There’s just so much to do around here, anything that strikes your fancy, that it’s hard to be bored.

And so, doubtful reader, have you changed your mind?

Until next time,

~Kenneth!

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