visiting the homebase

Might I take a moment and tell you just how much I enjoy going back to the place where I grew up? Thanks.

Seeing family is the best, hands down. Then there's the dry heat and the cool nights which are wonderful. The grass that's barefeet worthy, the beautiful mountain view, and the highway traffic that moves fast are definite pluses. I took my dad's truck to run an errand the other day. Both windows were down, my hair was blowing everywhere, ahhhh. Then we went down to visit Jess' family's place. There I sat in a lawn chair and watched as Oliver played in a kiddie pool, Jess got in too, and then his brother turned on the hose and sprayed cold water on him. Good times.

So much good times, not much time to get to the blog. That's probably a good thing. For all of you out there that are saddened that bp's science was missed this week and may be missed again (I'm guessing that's about 2, maybe 2.4, of you), it will be here when I return from my visit.

And apologies for the lack of photos, said computer is broken and we've yet to get a new one.


bp's science: how do painkillers work? (v.1)

I was talking with my sister the other day and we were discussing headaches. Nauseating headaches. We both get them. And frequently. We're trying to figure out why we get them and how we can prevent them. I'm always coming up with theories about my headaches. As for treatment: I drink water, try to sleep consistently, attempt to be knot-free; but when that's not working I do something that seems to work and that I'm comfortable with. I take one (1) ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) within the first 1/2 hour of feeling the headache and I am usually in the clear. Sometimes the pain is not fully alleviated from this treatment but the edge is taken off. Good enough for someone who is not a big fan of taking painkiller.

The question is, how do painkillers work? There are several out there, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin and they all work using a similar mechanism. When you experience pain (say a headache), a protein in your body makes chemicals that tell your nerves to send a signal of pain. What a painkiller does is bind onto the protein which stops it from making chemicals that would send a pain message.

Think of it this way: say you're at a party and you don't want to talk to your ex-boyfriend (bear with me here). You represent your head, your ex-boyfriend represents the protein, his voice the pain chemical. If your ex-boyfriend sees you at the party and starts talking with you, you will hear his voice and thus experience pain. But, your good friend (who represents the painkiller) intercepts your ex-boyfriend before he can get to you, and ties him up with conversation where he can't get a word in edgewise. Thus you never hear his voice and you won't experience pain.

Quick review:
head = you
pain chemical-producing protein = ex-boyfriend
pain chemical = ex-boyfriend's voice
painkiller = good friend

See, it's always nice to have a good friend around.


Good old swiss army

My dad always carries lose change, his keys, chapstick, and a swiss army knife in his pocket. When I was younger, this pocket knife came in handy more often then you'd suppose. We'd use the scissors, knife, twissors, and file to open, cut, and pull the usual suspects (a bag of salami, a thread on your pants, a sliver, an apple).

In church the other day, an older man offered Oliver an apple because he was eyeing it and looked pretty hungry. As I took the apple the man also offered me his pocket knife. It was warm and reminded me of my dad's pocket knife. I used it to peel the apple and give Oliver a bite. I was taken aback to all of the summer picnics with family up in the canyon on a Sunday afternoon. Ahhhh.


bp's science: cool bio facts (v.1)

The body has 206 bones. Babies are born with 270 bones. Almost half of your bones are in your hands and feet.

Your face has 80 muscles in it. 17 are used when you smile. 43 are used when you frown.

Take a cross section of straight hair, it's round. Wavey hair is oval. Curly or frizzy hair is kidney-shaped.


on both sides

Did you know that peanut butter and jam sandwiches are so much better when the peanut butter is spread on both sides of the bread? It's true. It makes the classic lunch fare that much better.