Monday, 30 December 2013

29. Week 2 of the Christmas holidays.

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and are looking forward to seeing 2013 out! As I promised in a previous post, I will do a weekly update during the Christmas hols and use it as a bit of a revision break. Hope you're all well. Truth be told, I've been revising everyday this week except Christmas so haven't had any fun days out with my friends like last week. I did however watch the Toy Story trilogy for the first time this week as it was on BBC One for Christmas. I must be the last child born in the 1990s to have watched them. They were fantastic and I can honestly empathise with Andy because I still have the vast majority of my childhood toys and I swear they are real. Especially as I am an only child, I have had so many fun times with them over the years. You don't know how deep and meaningful some of the conversations I've had with Peggy and Jenny over the years have been. 

This week  I managed to revise 12 virology lectures, 4 animal physiology lectures, 4 genetics lectures AND a partridge in a pear tree (haha, couldn't resist sorry). I haven't talked much about my degree on here so thought I'd tell you all a little about what it's like to revise when you're a biologist. In my virology course there seems to be a lot of content on HIV and as there are two types of HIV, we looked at how they differ in terms areas of evolution and geographical incidence which was quite interesting because it appears that HIV-1 is responsible for the HIV-1 global pandemic and is most likely to have entered the human population from the common chimpanzee or gorillas whereas HIV-2 is restricted to West Africa and is likely to have entered the human population from Sooty Mangabeys which happen to reside in West Africa. Revising virology also made me appreciate the diverse range of vaccines there is and how polio vaccines became contaminated by SIV (a virus similar to HIV found in non human primates) in the USA and meant millions of people were infected with SIV because the vaccines were developed using a cell culture from monkey kidney cells. We also looked at antiviral drugs and how difficult they are to develop due to viruses being so different to each other in terms of their genome and how they replicate. The only antiviral I have ever used is acyclovir (Zovirax) for cold sores which are caused by the alpha herpes virus. Did you know that once you are infected by the alpha herpes virus it will stay within your body forever? My lecturer calls it a friend for life. I'm not gonna lie everyone, I'm quite impressed by how much stuff I'm remembering from revision. 

Genetics is my least favourite module this semester and the lectures I revised this week were on procedures routinely performed on model organisms such as Drosophila (fruitflies) in the lab to determine gene function so I'm not going to make you all suffer. 

Animal physiology is great and makes me feel like Sir David Attenborough <3 This week I looked at reproduction. Interestingly, some fish can change sex and one such species is the clownfish (yay Nemo!). Clownfish are protandrous which means they are born as males but eventually become females when the highest female in the hierarchy of their group dies. You do known what this means don't you? Finding Nemo was all a lie! When Coral died, Marlin would have become Nemo's Mum!

The only day I took "off" this week was of course, Christmas Day. I made Christmas dinner all by myself for the third year running, woo, domestic goddess or what? Whilst preparing the vegetables, I discovered that carrots are more difficult to peel than parsnips but are easier to cut. Has anybody else also found this issue? So most of the morning was spent making the Christmas dinner which consisted of sprouts, carrots, parnsips, potatoes, gravy and chicken. We didn't bother with a dessert just because of all the chocolate boxes. I loved all the presents my friends got me as usual. I particularly liked how there were a few themes running among them. One example was my friend bought me a really cute teapot with cosy and my other friend bought me a magnificent box of teas from Whittards of Chelsea. My other friend bought me a really cute ceramic owl and photo frame with a photo of us in it which was great as I've been looking for some nice bits and pieces to decorate my room with since I had it done in summer. The owl, which I've named Andy, doubles up as a money box. He lives with my flock who have been very welcoming. Christmas telly was a bit of a let down this year in my opinion. The films on BBC One (blimey, how many times have I mentioned BBC One in this post?!) on Christmas Eve were all good. On Christmas Day, I thoroughly enjoyed the Doctor Who Christmas special and it was the first one I had watched with Matt Smith in it because prior to this year, I'd stopped watching after David Tennant had left. After Wednesday's special, I was  gutted that I hadn't watched more of Matt's episodes because his performance was just superb and I was in tears during his monologues and that moment Clara had with her gran- oh my word. I was crying into my hot chocolate when Handle died too- not a pretty sight. Clara and Matt had such a brilliant on screen partnership and I'm not sure how well that will work with Peter but we will just have to wait and see until autumn as I've promised to give him a chance after the regret I felt with missing out on watching Matt's reign.

Anyway, that's all for this week folks. I will be posting a fashion related post in the next couple of days so watch out for that. All the best for 2014!


Mancunian Sheep x