Connect with me
Navigation
Buy my stories
  • Spar
    Spar
    by Nikko Lee

    A closeted black belt comes to terms with his bisexuality when he takes an openly gay student as his new sparring partner.

  • Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    by Nikko Lee, Digital Fiction

    Life as a gay omega werewolf is no fairytale.

  • Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
    Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
    by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, Rev. Thomas Thorn, Nikko Lee, Dax Bordas, Sebastian Bendix, Rick Powell, Misty Tyers, J. N. Cameron
    Contains Bouillon de Bebe 
  • NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    by Gary Budgen, Julian Darius, Richard Greico Jr, Nikko Lee, K. A. Opperman, Alice Renard, Rose Banks, Paul St. John Mackintosh, Michael Seese

    Contains Instabiable by Nikko Lee

  • Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    by Carol Hightshoe, Cynthia Ward, Terry M. West, Christie Meierz, Dana Bell, Mary E. Lowd, Patrick J. Hurley, Francis W. Alexander, Liam Hogan

    Brainatarian by Nikko Lee

  • Coming Back
    Coming Back
    by James Arthur Anderson, Brian Barnett, Dave Fragments, Shawna Galvin, Vince Darcangelo, Ken Goldman, Michael Lindquist

    Contains A Mother Knows by Nikko Lee (paperback available at Lulu.com)

  • Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    by Jonathan W. Thurston

    Contains Great Mother Wolf by Michelle Knowlton

  • People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    by Frank Larnerd, Tony Peak, Geoff Gander, Shenoa Caroll-Bradd, Robert Hart, Nikko Lee, Kyle Yadlosky, Edward Martin III

    Contains Bouillon de Bebe by Nikko Lee

  • Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    by Nicole Gestalt, Crysta Coburn, J.T Seate, Nikko Lee, V.C., Zak Jane Keir, Blair, Regina Kammer, Jim Lee

    Contains Boson's Mate by Nikko Lee

  • The Big Book of Bizarro
    The Big Book of Bizarro
    by Rich Bottles Jr.

    Contains Honey-Do by Nikko Lee

  • Between Love and Lust
    Between Love and Lust
    by Nikko Lee

    E-book

    Print-on-demand paperback

  • Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    by J. Troy Seate, Patricia McCarthy, Nikke Lee, Andrea Saavedra, James Hartley, Edward McKeown, Mike Graves, J.E. Gurley, Zakk Erikson, David Bernstein C.C. Blake

    Contains Pure Delight by Nikko Lee

Saturday
Jul092011

Acadia and St. Sauveur Mountain Trails

On Wednesday, the hiking group paid a visit to one of the better known hikes on the island. The Acadia mountain parking lot was packed with cars that even bordered the road on either side. This week has really felt like summer not just because of the hot and sunny weather but the scores of people who come to MDI to get away. Living in a vacation spot means putting up with the tourists for the few weeks they inundate the area. Before long they will be gone and the quiet will return.

Leaving the crowded parking lot behind, we headed towards Acadia mountain. There is a little jog before reaching the first rock scramble. It's an indication of what is to come. Although Acadia is only 681 feet in elevation, the trail rises quickly to the summit to a spectacular view of Somes Sound out towards Cranberry island. After the adventurous climb, the way down is less daunting although it still does hold some interesting rock scrambles. Once at the bottom the easy way to return to the parking lot is along the fire road. That round trip is about 2 miles. However, we planned to tackle the neighboring mountain, St. Sauveur.

Admittedly, after a long day of work energy is hard to come by and the heat was making it doubly difficult. However, there was little time to dwell on sweating backs and tired legs as the climb up St. Sauveur began. A mere 3 feet shorter than Acadia at 679 feet, the trail up St. Sauveur offered some steep rocky trails with minimal rock scrambles. My biggest concern was missing the cut-off to head back towards the Acadia parking lot. The last time I had hiked St. Sauveur with my dog we had gotten so turned around that I ended up in Southwest Harbor with a 3 mile walk back along the road. Fortunately, the trail junction was well marked. Just shy of the summit buried within the trees, we enjoyed our cookies before claiming the peak and heading back down to the cars.

The hike took nearly 3 hours and covered about 4 miles (not counting the elevation changes). It left me tired and invigorated at the same time.

Monday
Jun272011

Gorham Mountain Trail

View from Gorham MountainOn Wednesday of last week, the hiking club set its sights on the Gorham Mountain trail. It's not a particularly challenging trail with only a few rocky spots, but it does offer a unique few of the south eastern corner of MDI. We started at the Sand Beach parking lot to add some mileage and traveled along the Ocean path, passed Thunder Hole and Monument Cove, to reach the trail. In all it was just over 2 miles (525 ft max elevation) and took about 2 hours to complete at a fairly leisurely pace.

View of Beehive from the Bowl TrailThe thing that struck me about hiking that particular day was that you could see where you'd been, where you were going, distant islands, and even a spectacular view of the Beehive trail. The only thing you couldn't really appreciate was where you were. But that's the way it is with hiking. The view of Beehive really gave me a better appreciation for that trail. I've been up it 3 times (always taken the back end trails down). While on it all I can think about is the breathtaking views and even more breathtaking drops. I've enjoyed this trail for its challenge, but taking the outsider's view gave me a new appreciation for it.

 

Sunday
Jun262011

Genetic influence on sexual preference behaviors in mice

One of the coolest parts of my job is that I get to read about scientific research in all areas of mouse genetics from development to behavior. While mice and men behave very differently, behavioral research in mice can point towards genes that may influence human behaviors.

This week I curated a recent Nature article that demonstrated the requirement of genes involved in the serotonin pathway for male sexual preference for female mice.

In "Molecular regulation of sexual preference revealed by genetic studies of 5-HT in the brains of male mice." (Nature 2011 Apr 7;472(7341):95-9), Lui et al. examined the sexual preference behaviors of mice lacking tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2tm1Zfc) or lacking LIM homeobox transcription factor 1 beta in the nervous system (Lmx1btm1Zfc Tg(Fev-cre)1Esd). In both models, male mice failed to exhibit a preference for mounting female mice. They also failed to exhibit a preference for female genital odor despite having normal odorant behavior towards other smells. 

Mouse studies like this one highlight the influence genes can have on behavior.

Monday
Jun202011

Schoodic Point (ANP)

It turned out to be a busy weekend for hiking. Sunday the lab's hiking group tackled Schoodic Point. It's about 45 minutes from MDI on one of the many peninsula that stick out into Frenchman's Bay. What Schoodic Point lacks in trails, it makes up for in spectacular views.

Our first hike started at the Blueberry Hill parking lot at the far end of the one-way park road. We hiked to the top of Schoodic Head and back down via the Anvil. Back at Blueberry hill, we had lunch by the waterside until the incoming tide reminded us there was more hiking to be done. The afternoon hike started at the bottom of the road that leads to the top of Schoodic Head. At the top for the second time that day, we headed down the East trail and back again over the top for the third time before walking back down the road to the cars.

Although most of the trail consists of easy walking and moderate inclines, a few rocky ledges add some challenge. The East side trail is by far the steepest but consequently the shortest. Wild-life spottings included two porcupines out for a midday stroll. The first escaped my camera, but I managed a slightly blurry photo of the second.

In all, we spent nearly a full day exploring Schoodic points from the top of Schoodic Head to the wonderfully rocky shores.

Saturday
Jun182011

Jordan Cliffs Trail (ANP)

It has been far too long since my last entry. No new science talks to report on. No word yet on the two submissions I have in to publishers or editors. No brilliant insights into the world of writing and publishing. I've been keeping up with my favorite writing/publishing podcasts (Writing Excuses, AISFP, I Should Be Writing, and Get Published) and added a few more to the cue (Flagship and The Appendix).

On the writing front, I'm nearing the last chapter of my M/M romantic erotica novella. It's the first story that I've written in a long while that has not a single paranormal element in it. Without the world coming to the end or some evil villain to vanquish, my characters have had to focus on their inner turmoil and the conflict between their feelings for each other and how being an out couple would affect their lives.

It is taking me forever to finish reading Jasper Kent's Twleve. This is probably a symptom of my normally desk-bound body wanting to be outside during this brief period between mud season and winter.

That update aside, I thought I'd share my morning hike with whomever might glance at this entry. Every weekend I try to pick a different trail in Acadia National Park (ANP) to hike. My goal is to get in good enough shape this summer to hike Katahdin in Baxter State park. Growing up on a farm in rural Quebec, I was spoiled with hundreds of acres to explore that stretched from lakeside to mountain side, from rolling fields to mixed wood forests. Now I have ANP as my playground.

Last year, I declined to go on a search because I was unsure about my hiking abilities. I was told the trail would be equivalent to the Jordan Cliffs Trail, which I hadn't hiked at the time. In search and rescue (SAR), it's important to know your limits and I wasn't sure I could be of use after a day on such terrain.

Flash forward to this week. It rained for most of the week. When the sun finally broke through the clouds on Thursday, I was itching to get outside. By Friday, I was having a hard time sitting down at my desk to concentrate on work. I decided I needed a challenge. I remembered the missed opportunity last year and decided it was time to tackle the Jordan Cliffs trail.

By nature, I am a cautious hiker. I've done the Beehive and Precipice, but I am always a little tentative when it comes to difficult trails that I haven't explored before. I knew this was going to be a challenge and I knew the misty morning would produce some slippery conditions. But after a week indoors at a desk, I was looking forward to getting out.

My starting point was the Bubble Rock parking lot. Like I said earlier, I'm working my way up to Katahdin so I added some mileage by parking pretty far from the trail head. My planned route was along the east side of Jordan pond, up the Spring trail to the Jordan Cliffs, back along the west side of Jordan pond, and finally up the east side of Jordan pond back to the car. Total mileage was 7.1 miles with a 920 feet elevation gain accomplished in 3.5 hours.

Maybe it was a good thing the fog stayed thick throughout my hike. The warning signs at either end of the Jordan Cliffs Trail are well warranted. There was plenty of exposed rock ledges, cliff scrambles, and iron rungs to scale. I have no idea how far down the drop was, but the tops of the trees were lost in the fog.

I made my way along the trail taking my time and being careful of my footing. There were a few spots that were pretty dicey. About half way through the trail, there is a log bridge far above the ground that I wouldn't have wanted to fall from. There were many times I was either on hands and knees or scooting down rock faces on my butt. One part gave me enough trouble that I had to stop and figure out how to proceed. Just before the highest point of the trail there is a rocky crevasse to scale. The drop below extended into the fog. I don't even want to guess at the distance. With short legs, large steps are harder to navigate. And this was no place I cared to make a mistake. After three aborted attempts and finding a loose rock that wouldn't support my weight, I finally found a way to clamber over the rocks and up to the rung ladders.

My favorite part of hiking/climbing is also the scariest for me. I love the tactile feel of having to use my entire body to push/pull/clamber/spring/jump/scale. It's the narrow margin for errors that kicks in my anxiety. One misstep or bad judgement or bad luck could easily land anyone in need of SAR assistance.

It turned out to be a great hike. Only about an hour of it was really strenuous. The rest of the hike was rather leisurely. This is one of those trails you want to do the right way (start at the south end). I'm glad to have met my self-imposed challenge. Unfortunately, I did not get to see the spectacular views I know where buried beneath the fog. Now I can lounge around my place, do my chores, and get some writing done... and baking something sweet.