“I have the stripes, but where is the zebra?”

piglickerHi Everyone.  Sorry I haven’t posted anything in the long time.  My apology is a post that even longer and more meandering than usual.

I’m at Indiana University for the Biocomplexity X workshop on Quantitative Tissue Biology and Virtual Tissues.  It’s been great — perhaps because there are many physicists converted to biology.  There have been several talks that touched on non-linear elasticity, though most people’s background is in foams and not granular matter.   Rene Doursat gave an especially good talk today on agent-based models of morphogenesis in which he mentioned another alleged quotation, attributed to Alan Turing, who made either the titular comment or said “The stripes are easy, it’s the horse part that troubles me!” in reference to the ability of certain systems of equations to create seemingly biologically-relevant patterns without necessarily providing biological insight.  Brad has always done a good job of drawing the distinction between analog systems and applied systems (in his case, the B-Z reaction and cardiac electrophysiology) and though his work is getting close to being one and the same as the biology, either version of Turing’s comment seems useful.

I have been traveling since last Thursday, when Ann accompanied me up to Michigan for the Gargoyle’s 100th anniversary and her first (of hopefully many) Michigan football game.  The reunion was great but the weather and the beat-down by Penn State were less than ideal, though still fun.  We did have fourth row seats around the 13-yard-line so we were really in the game.  Ann handled the weather like a champ and now has much better standing to complain about future weather.

Michigan’s loss came despite Duke winning it’s second ACC game in a row for the first time since 1994 (over oh-so-lowly Maryland, how sweet, and did I mention Maryland was lowly?) and Georgia Tech beating Virginia to improve to 7-1.  However — even though it did not occur this weekend, this is finally the season!  Since I enrolled at Duke in 2001 there had never been a weekend where Duke, Michigan, and Georgia Tech all won.

On September 12, 2009 the trifecta was nearly achieved!  Georgia Tech beat Clemson (sorry Brian) in a Thursday night game, and then Duke beat Army (sorry armed forces), and Michigan beat some school from Indiana.  Indiana State maybe?  I think it was the one with the fat guy and leprechauns.    So, after eight long years of at least one of the three teams finding a way to lose I wasn’t going to be picky.  One win on a Thursday and two on a Saturday was enough for me.

But, believe it or not, after eight pathetic seasons of anti-synchronized misery, the trifecta was achieved in full on September 26.  Mostly this is due to Duke improving (and NC Central sucking) but I am thrilled.  It was beginning to seem unreal.

Which brings me to pig lickers.  Though sadly Brian-less and Dawesless, Ann and I met up at the State Fair with a sun-kissed Mary just back from Hawaii and Jonathan, who checked into the fair early to minimize the Village of Yesteryear time for the rest of us.  This year’s atrocity was not deep-fried, but made up for a lack of batter with sheer audacity.  Fried bacon, threaded with a stick, and dipped into dark chocolate similar to what you might find at a banana stand.  It was not bad.  The bacon tasted fine.  The chocolate was good.  But there was no synergy.  No third heat.  Still, I kept it, and a country ham biscuit, and most of a chicken on a stick, and some kettle corn, and some hushpuppies, and some fried pickles, down.

Well, that’s it for me now.  I hope the rest of you are doing relatively well.


4 Responses to “I have the stripes, but where is the zebra?”

  1. mfkidd says:

    When you put all the food in a list like that, it sounds much scarier!

    You didn’t mention my personal favorite quote from you that evening regarding the pig lickers: “this tastes like the world ending.”

  2. bpt2 says:

    Adding to your football theme, Virginia now has losses to Duke and William & Mary in the same season; Peter King even noted this in MMQB like it was some sort of bad thing. Here’s hoping Al Groh keeps his job so it can happen every year…

  3. adawes says:

    We thought of all of you during the fair season. We hit up the district fair in Redding CA and had some corn dogs… But it just wasn’t the same as dining in the epicenter of fried-food innovation.

    If you need an excuse to travel west, let us know and we’ll come up with something. Speaking of which, anyone headed to the March meeting this year has an open invitation to visit us out in The Grove.

  4. jwambaugh says:

    Hey Andy! We’ve really been missing you guys.

    I just got back from Florida — we were down there with Ann’s parents and grandfathers to watch the Atlantis launch. (pictures to follow) It was awesome.

    I hope you and Leslie and Carter are doing well!

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