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Monday, July 30, 2007

Good news!

Woo freakin' Hoo!
*happy dance*
Those two sort-of-maybe talks I thought I sort-of-maybe would get to do as a result of conference beer time (should that be official? CBT?) are now both at the 'Let's check the schedule and see who's around when' stage! I was very nervous just emailing these two folks earlier today but am so pleased that it turned out well (and that they both remembered extending invitations to me!)! Yay! The last thing I really need is to add some more high stress plans to my life, but you gotta take what you can get while you are on that side of the country! Plus, I am sure I am going to get great, helpful feedback from these two research groups!

Back to the lab for me!

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Sunday, July 29, 2007


As I start the last 10 days of one experiment, I am thinking of not bothering with the other. I know I have to continue it next summer and part of me just wants to really focus on the one I might be able to finish NOW rather than mess with the one that I know will be continued next year.
A different part of me just has startitis on things that I thought about at the conference! I want to just jump in to get these new ideas off the ground but should probably wait and make sure I know what I am doing first. Or actually finish the 4 other projects I am currently involved in at some level. heh.

I really need to sit down and prioritize what HAS to be done, what I would like to do and what I should just shelve for the time being. I go back and forth so much, I just need to make decisions, a schedule and not deviate from it. Even my date to leave here is still up in the air because I am torn between what I could possibly get done if I stay as long as possible and when I should realistically just stop, clean up and go home.

Luckily, the beginning of the end of research has got me wrapping up all sorts of non-work things. I will finish the baby blanket today (pics tomorrow!), finish writing wedding thank yous (oh so late!), and am close to the end of my latest book as well.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Out of gas

I am back home for another 20 hours. Here are some more travel bullets...

  • The conference was good. Tons of great work presented and lots of ideas to ponder! There were lots of white background ppts. I like the growing populatity of the black background. Also, typos piss me off.
  • I got to meet my old advisor's baby for the first time. She is so ridiculously cute it is just, well, ridiculous.
  • I put in my requisite time drinking/networking-- even closing down the hotel bar not once, but twice!
  • There are really good contacts and possibly two invited talks on my drive back to PA from those (and other) nights at the bar.
  • I was only really unfortunately socially awkward once- to a very good friend/colleague to my lab. It was right before I had to go talk to MAJOR people and my nerves got the best of me. Sometimes I just shouldn't talk.
  • Apparently, it is about time I started looking for a postdoc. Crap. More on this soon.
  • V came to do some collecting the first few days of our trip. Yay for spending time in the same state as your spouse!
  • Although I am here for 20 hours, I am going into school tomorrow before my flights and long drive back to DO.
  • We are in the home stretch of this research position. In about a month I will start teaching again. This fall I have been given the opportunity to have my own class. I get to write the syllabus, lectures, tests- everything! AND it is an upper level course. It is going to be a lot of work and I might be crazy for trying to pull it off but I think I can do a really good job. That was my big announcement.
  • Here is a kitty that tried to run away when we were gone. She came back the next morning.
  • I am exhausted.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

On the road again....

Eh, all I can manage is......bullets.....
  • I am 15 rows from finishing the pinwheel baby blanket.
  • I've been withholding information from the ol' blog here. I was going to write a big post and am amazed I made it this far without asking for good vibes to make it happen without actually telling you what it is. I am still not going to tell you for lack of time but I promise big, good news with kitty pictures in my next post! (No, not having a baby or quitting my PhD).
  • There are lab personnel problems. They end up with my having to do a shitload more work before I can leave today because the postdoc with the lower priority project (and NO deadline) went ahead and used all the supplies. She was told to wait till the new shipment came in and totally ignored that. I know that they are senior to me and we all want to get our work done but don't be like that. And then blatantly lie about it. Not cool. I thought undergrads were bad with the entitlement issues. Apparently, it occurs in people with PhDs too- mostly because of that PhD.
  • Yesterday, for the first time in 5 years of working with fish, I dropped some (non-waterproof) equipment in a fishtank. It is sort of amazing that it is the first time but that made for a pretty bad day....
  • I am so excited to go to a conference and home (even for only 18 hours) and YAY!!!!!!! I have work, a looong drive, 2 flights with a looong layover in Washington, DC but still....YAY!!!!!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Steps into miles

Ya either love or hate those lolcats huh?!? Personally, I think they are cute pictures....but I don't really like their tone. I like the 'tocks filled talk over at CuteOverload much better. Does a week go by when I don't mention them?

I am back at DO for 3 short days. Look over at those side bars! Two things completed! I finished all the work for Chapter 2!! I analyzed enough data from Chapter 1 research to get a not-totally-crappy presentation for this conference. I wish I were presenting Chapter 2- it is much cleaner but I am just so pleased I got anything from Chapter 1 so far. I analyzed the hell out of that data!
Then I went hiking! New Guy grad student/field assistant was feeling up to the challenge and braved hiking with me. In the desert. Up a mountain. For 14.5 miles. It was worth every step....

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So much for having Caturday off......

Here is V with our cat....
Which lolcat am I?

Your Score: Longcat

65 % Affection, 49 % Excitability , 21 % Hunger

Protector of truth.

Slayer of darkness.
Longcat may seem like just a regular lengthy cat, but he is, in fact, looong. For proof, observe the longpic.
It is prophesized that Longcat and his archnemesis Tacgnol will battle for supremacy on Caturday. The outcome will change the face of the world, and indeed the very fabric of lolcatdom, forever.

Be grateful that the test has chosen you, and only you, to have this title.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

As seen at Geekas'...

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Monday, July 09, 2007


Fellow scientists, need a good laugh?

Read this. It has been out for a little over a week but I am just out of the loop here at DO. Dawkins' critique is scathing and hilarious. The second page goes into the 'mathematical impossibility of dogs.'

It. Is. Awesome.

Yay for evolution!

Subterranean Homesick Alien

Things have calmed down a bitaround the labs and I am making progress on all those bars over there. Even if I am not- I go in the field tomorrow!! I will see my advisor for the first time since March! I will hopefully complete the work for one chapter of my diss! I will eat good Mexican food! Plus, I might just look for snakes (who knew snakes were cool? Not me, I thought they were scary- now for some reason, sort of cool).

My Saturday evening off was great. We hit up a UFO parade and made sure the aliens didn't steal out thoughts.
While I just needed ANY type of night off, a girls night was certainly in order. Pizza, 3 different types of Ben & Jerrys' and mango martinis (yum!) made the evening great. The dressing up in public in tin foil didn't hurt either (althought it was quite warm).

I still have a ton of things to do to prep for my trip but I hope everyone has a great week!

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Saturday, July 07, 2007


I am a bit overcommited to my in-progress experiments right now and it is starting to affect the rest of my work. I had a feel-good article about my research due that didn't get the attention it needed (luckily the co-author is a GENIUS and it still turned out really, really well). I am worried that my conference presentation will suffer and am torn between running experiments or stopping and taking full days off of lab work to focus on my conference stuff.
It is hard to decide what to do because it would just be really, really, really great to finish my experiments during my time here this summer. I know I can come back next summer and work more but that shorter time frame introduces other variables and it just isn't ideal. I will happily come back to DO to do more experiments that are necessary to clarify the results I've already got but I don't want to continue the same experiments a year apart. Essentially, I am trying to do all the experiments (not including data collection and analysis) for my dissertation in 8 months (this is the length of time of my RA and time at DO).
I know, I know....

Have you stopped laughing yet?

It isn't THAT funny....
Ok, so when I told Advisor and V that I might not actually finish as planned because I added an extra treatment, they both laughed at me, having assumed I was never really serious about it in the first place. Of course, this makes me want to get it all done even more. Which might actually happen, with the help of some lab assistants. I am cashing in all my house/pet sitting favors and having people experiment-sit in return. Ha!
Anyways, it has got me thinking a lot about what types of expectations are placed upon us and by whom. Is it good or bad to have had these really high expectations of myself in the first place? My advisor isn't really clear on where he stands. He doesn't want me to be too hard on myself but also tells us all that to be competitive and get jobs, we should have 10 publications from our time in his lab. Sounds crazy, I know- but then 2 students actually got those 10 papers and Advisor had to adjust his ridiculous, unreachable goal to 10 pubs not including your dissertation research. Someone in the future will reach that one too I bet (not me though). I think he tries to use that as a tool so that we are always trying to achieve more in our research, get more out of our projects and stay focused on the endpoint of publications. But why is that tool useful for pubs but laughable when I use the same lofty, idealistic goal setting tool for my research? You just can't win. You need to motivate yourself to get your work done but not too much!
It always cracks me up to hear professors go on about their expectations for students. How their students should work 28 hour days because when THEY were a grad student, that is what THEY did. Unfortunately, these expectations are touted over beers at happy hour and never actually talked about, implemented or even made clear come Monday morning. I think as a professor I will have documents that clearly state my expectations of students including hours, research progress and timelines for graduating. With the nature of research you can't have hard and fast rules but some gentle guidelines for what I want out of my lab will be clearly put out there. My MS advisor did this and it was very informative. Especially in the early stages of figuring out what being a grad student is all about (free food and CuteOverload).

In the meantime, I will keep plugging away at my experiments and pick a color scheme for the conference thing already. I'd love some feedback on this topic- who sets more ambitious goals for your work- you or your advisor/lab/program? When you set your own goals or deadlines, how reachable are they really?

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Who could win a rabbit?

The 4th of July brought a nice cook out, lots of fireworks and regular old work too. Plus.....BUNNIES!
This place was lacking a bit on the cute.

I am trying to fight off the shakes so I can do some pipetting today. How about some bullets
  • My trailer is leaking again. It drips right onto my head while I sleep. I don't fit in the bed to begin with so when I have to scrunch down to avoid getting wet, I don't really sleep at all. This is why I 'm all shakey.
  • I had two mini-candy bars for breakfast with my coffee. It is one of those days.
  • I am still knitting on the baby blanket. I meant to take pictures of it but got distracted by this.....
  • You will notice on the side bar that I finally put up progress bars for my work. It was time. More on this later if I get things running in the lab.
  • I just got SO excited. Under 'Sweaters' at Anthropologie there was a tab for 'Patterns'. I thought they were selling sweater patterns. Turns out there are selling sweaters with patterns on them. Given my first reaction, there is hope for me as a knitter yet!
  • V is sick. Really sick. It sucks being away because there is absolutely nothing I can do.
  • I lied last week when I said I was going to take the whole day off on Saturday. I will take most of the afternoon off but the whole day is just out of the question.
  • They just put up the schedule for the conference I am going to. Some awesome folks I haven't ever met before will be there plus some awesome folks I have. Also, shit. I am sooooooooooooooooo not ready.

I'm off to the lab. Nothing like a little fear as a motivator!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

First and next knits

Lotus Knits is having a contest. Show off your first and next up knits!
My first finished project was the first thing I ever even tried to knit. I finished it out of spite and horror. It is a stockinette stitch scarf. In Red Heart acrylic. It remains hanging in my closet- in all its roll-y glory to this day.
Up Next for my casting-on pleasure: A scarf in a feather and fan stitch pattern . Made with this colorway in Seduction. I am completely in love with it. I actually have knit things other than scarves but didn't really get to wear any scarves this year due to the whole being-in-the-desert thing. I feel I might go a bit overboard for the coming winter. I want to do DNA scarves for V and I as well. I just haven't found the right yarn yet.....

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

New links

I updated the blog roll. It is not complete but I wanted to add some of the folks who have been commenting lately (thanks! by the way!)
The parade yesterday was super fun. I wish my car were sparkly like this one. Ooooooo, sparkly....

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