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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It is almost here! International Academic Writing Month! Originally (aka- yesterday) I put up 4 projects to complete. 1 grant proposal and 3 manuscripts. In the interest of being realistic and also, not killing myself, I have scaled it back a bit. The goal is now 1 grant proposal and 2 manuscripts. Both of these side project-based papers should be on the shorter end of things so 3500 words each is my best estimate.When looking at word counts from papers I have published or submitted there is a range from 2500 to 5000. Despite their short lengths, I am still a bit concerned about my ambition given my lecture and grading schedule. Eh, we'll see! Hopefully the writing will get done in a more timely fashion than my setting goals and putting up word meters...

Tomorrow is major lab invited speaker day and I am looking forward to talking with this awesome scientist. Folks keep telling me to bring up postdocs and open that door, but I am really not sure what I would do if I worked with this guy (you know, because if I ask about it he will just automatically want me in his lab. riiiiiiight.). There is potential to do very similar things to what I have done and do now in a very different study system, I'm just not sure I would learn enough new skillz. Yo.

I am a little loopy tonight. This afternoon, we submitted our paper to a big journal (hint- it rhymes with Schmience). Check back in 48 hours for news of the devastating rejection! Not really (well, really about the probability of rejection- but not really about that news being devastating), it is really cool to think that anything I've worked on could even, ever, possibly go there. Thanks to co-author Sneks, I didn't even wait around for a month to hit "Submit!" It was very surreal and we totally have pictures of ourselves with the 'Thank You' screen!!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm so wild

As seen all over the place. Love the fact that it is a ho-fro-elly-butterfly!
ETA: Thanks for the correction on the link!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

RBOB: Random Bullets of BUSY

  • I gave my second exam yesterday. It didn't go as well as the first and was too long. I hate making questions worth a ton of points but oh well. I need them to finish the darn thing.
  • Now, I am stuck grading that test that was too long. It sucks. My students aren't so great at identifying the question and giving the information needed to answer it. Half of them see a topic and write as much as they can about that. Relevant to the question or not.
  • I am stressed about a big grant due in 3 weeks. It needs more work but currently I am in the stage of wondering why I am even bothering, as I have no shot in hell.
  • Speaking of hell do you think the phase 'when hell freezes over' will have more impact in our globally warming world?
  • Speaking of crazy weather, the roof doesn't leak! Super awesome husband is the best!
  • We are trying to get a paper out the door. I am dragging my feet with the final edits because I am busy with other things but it is getting to be that scary I-don't-wanna-send-it-out time. Can't give in to the fear, people! Doing the edits- tonight.
  • 2 friends with babies in 1 week! How exciting!
  • Looking forward to November writing month. As progress gets made on finishing up this paper and getting my ass in gear on that grant, I can think about the next writing projects. Currently choosing from 1) Awesome diss related data 2) Ancient but interesting data that was rejected and needs to be rewritten and resubmitted anywhere that will take it 3) Old not-so-solid data that was never written up and is also headed to a small journal 4) Cool side project that is slowly getting its last bits of data collected still 5) Other data that I know I am not going to choose because it needs too much analysis still. Oh, the suspense of what to choose!
  • My birthday is on Saturday. There will be a party (woo hoo!). Anybody want to guess how old I am (not fair if you know me though- I'm looking at you, Mom) ?


Monday, October 22, 2007

The Pharyngula Mutating Genre Meme

I was tagged by Monkeygirl for a meme. It was started by PZ Myers at Pharyngula as a means of demonstrating evolution in cyberspace.

First, the rules:
There are a set of questions below that are all of the form, "The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is...".
Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:
* You can leave them exactly as is.
* You can delete any one question.
* You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question.
For instance, you could change "The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is..." to "The best time travel novel in Westerns is...", or "The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is...", or "The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is...".
* You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form "The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is...".
* You must have at least one question in your set, or you've gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you're not viable.

Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions. Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.
So, without further ado:
My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.
My great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.
My great-great-great-great-grandparent is Flying Trilobite.
My great-great-great-grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.
My great-great-grandparent is Primate Diaries.
My great-grandparent is Thus Spake Zuska.
My grandparent is a k8, a cat, a mission.
My parent is Monkeygirl.

The best young adult novel in SF/Fantasy is: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The best teenage movie in comedy is: Clueless
The best uplifting song in country music is: We'll Meet Again by Johnny Cash
The best cult novel in contemporary fiction is: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
The best high-carb food in Mexican cooking is: Flour tortillas
The best dissertation-related words I ever received from a scholar are: Do the project that you will be most passionate about.

I am propagating this meme on to:
Dr. Brazen Hussy
Anyone else who wants to participate!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Holy WOW!

We had a very busy weekend working on our house. I scraped posts yesterday, primed ad painted them today. V ran around getting supplies to replace part of one of them. That project will be some other day though.
V spent most of the day on the roof doing MAJOR roof things. He is handy and I am lucky. I was up there with him as well till I chickened out and had to come down because it was dark. Ladders and darkness just don't seem like they should mix.

Of course, we were pained to NOT EVEN WATCH the Bears-Eagles game. It was even on tv here! The roof is far more important though. We came in the house to find our team 4 points behind with 4 minutes left. And they didn't have the ball. With 97 yards to go and 90 seconds....they freaking did it! TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN, BEARS!
Ahhhhhhh, we got to see the best part of the game and V is in a little bit better mood to head back up on the roof....

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Almost my turn!

When will my Ravelry invite come?

Found you!
You signed up on September 4, 2007
You are #30942 on the list.
669 people are ahead of you in line.
14156 people are behind you in line.
56% of the list has been invited so far

I was really late to this Ravelry party. I knew it was out there and checked it out way back in the summer even but decided I didn't really NEED to join. In actuality, I do and it seems like it is going to be amazing!
Can't wait!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Grant dreams

Yesterday was the deadline for a small grant and I whipped up a proposal for it just in time. I freaked out about 30 minutes before my own deadline (they never specified 5pm or midnight so I went with 5) because I was so excited about my new, cool angle on one of my experiments that I forgot to write a title. And the new angle makes it pretty difficult to explain without sounding like it is BS or that I am making up new terms. Crap! I ran down to V's office to bounce possible title off him, (as I was in serious anxiety mode) and everything he suggested actually was helpful? NO, everything he suggested had the word 'Dude' in it. Thanks, honey*!

Finally, something came to me and it will be alright. Not the best title I've ever used but also not the worst. What was the worst was that I woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream that I spelled (spelt? I suck words) the species name wrong in the title. I had to check it firstthinginthemorning and, luckily, it is correct.

Now, I hope grants and papers all stay out of my dreams for a while...

*Ok, he did make me laugh but that didn't last long when I realized that now I had spent 5 minutes laughing at him and still had no title.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

The Blog Action Day website has a bunch of suggestions of small changes you can make to help the ol' environmental cause.
There are a lot of good ones that V and I try to instill in our lives like carpooling when schedules allow, unplugging appliances, and making sure we always have our non-disposable coffee cups. Others (recycling, washing clothes in cold water, lowering the thermostat) are just things we do without thinking about it.
#6 on this list is 'Turn off the lights'. At home, we are pretty good about this (although some of our aquarium lights do stay on all day). Most of our lights are the energy saver ones too. What I wanted to draw attention to is the lights in public places that unnecessarily stay on all the time. Must empty classrooms have the lights on from 7am till who knows when in the evening every day? Hallways often don't have accessible light switches in the first place and could be a safety concern. But the bathrooms? It might be inconvenient or strange at first to have to switch the lights on in the bathrooms but we are all used to doing it at home. A number of colleagues even leave office lights a-blazing when they leave for 5 minute walks down the hall to hours away in their labs!
I am going to try to make sure that my classroom and office lights are off when they are not being used and I urge others to do the same, if you don't already. Environmental responsibility may start with these small steps, but the small steps can be taken in all aspects of our lives.



First and foremost- thank you to my mom and friend S who visited us last week! It was great to see them and also to get our wedding shower gifts which have been sitting in my moms house since March. Plus they went to do some field collecting with me so it was a good work week as well!
My mom is also super crafty. She is even going to be opening her own Etsy store soon! Well, she is my saving grace during this 'year of the sweater'. I haven't started one yet but here is her progress.... It has major potential to be cute despite the awesome 80s picture from the pattern book. I have been making progress on the silk armwarmer as well (at least until I slammed my finger in a window). During her visit, she also helped me make a new skirt. I had a very simple a-line from the Gap that I love and so we used it to make a pattern. A lot of explanation and a few hours later gave us this: We tried a heather grey, wool version as well but something went awry so it travelled home with my mom to be fixed. I am going to try one on my own this weekend. The material is in the washer and my mom is on speed dial so I am ready!
Our Weekend of Making Stuff was not limited to the craft realm. We finally figured out where to get non-thin crust pizza. Make it yourself! We are Chicago-style pizza people and while it isn't deep dish, but better than anything order-able around here. Yum!
Now it is back to the Midwest for our visitors and back to work for us. But work will be just that much better with cute skirts and pizza on the menu at home!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Great lecture week!

My super fun filled picture post is waiting till Blogger lets me upload pictures! Boo!

In other news, tomorrow is Blog Action Day. Everybody blog about the environment!

Work has been plugging along. This week I get to lecture about the topic most closely related to my own research and am thrilled. It will prove to be challenging because there are only 2 days devoted to the topic and I must pick out what to cover and not go into too much detail. The book we are using leaves much to be desired so this might be a prime time to highlight original research. A lot of my students do research in our department and have responded well to talking about data in class. They have issues with the bigger picture research questions though. Existing areas of research, conflicting data, or unresolved research problems just throw them for a loop. They want answers, not unresolved questions I guess.
I hope everyone is enjoying fall now that it finally has arrived!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More to come!

Knitting, sewing, baking/cooking, research and fun family visits all in one weekend!

Super fun pics to come!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I don't understand my advisor

A labmate and I went to the field last year and found very few research organisms. We came up with a little project based on a crazy observation we made and also on what kind of data we could take that could be treated independently enough to do good statistics on and still maybe get a publication out of the trip.
Turns out, that data is really cool. And important. And it could be big. BIG. Or it might go somewhere smaller but I have no doubt it will go somewhere and that is great news for a field based, non-dissertation project.
Well, we are putting the finishing touches on the manuscript before it goes out for friendly review and had a meeting today to discuss the final figures, who to send it to, etc. My advisor comes out of nowhere telling us that he doesn't want to be on the paper.
I don't get it. It is his established system and field site, his partial financing of the trip, his time in the field and his input as we were re-grouping to come up with this project in the first place. He usually is not on publication from students' dissertation work but this isn't! As far as the work is concerned, he is very pleased and was the one to suggest sending it to an higher impact journal in the first place so it doesn't seem that he is distancing himself from it because it is of poor quality. Perhaps he is just crazy. Anyone have any better ideas or interpretations?

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Delurk Day!

Anyone out there?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Success and failures of the past week

Successes in the past week:
  • Getting through a lecture series about stuff-I-don't-know-too-much-about. Probably my least favorite 3 lectures of the semester. They were difficult because other resources (books, old lectures) don't even cover the topics. Add in a book that is hard to follow and makes mistakes in deriving equations and I am screwed. Today we cut our losses, moved on and a student already told me they really enjoyed today's lecture. Hopefully I am on a winning streak!
  • Getting the last experiment of a project started. We want to submit by the end of the year. Data must be generated!
  • Getting a manuscript in order. We want to submit by the end of the month. Revisions must be made!
  • Pesto Bread
  • Parmesan Peppercorn bread
  • Small successes they may be, but getting things organized around the house. We created a new office space for me and made room for some new furniture in our cute little breakfast nook! My mom is coming this weekend and bringing lots of wedding gifts. We need to make space and also you know, not look like complete slobs.
  • Taking a night off. We went out to local-heritage-fest on Friday night. We indulged in just enough drinking to be super fun with very little hangover and too much funnel cake. It was great fun though!


  • Catching up on Ugly Betty. People are engaged that I didn't know about, things are happening and I am just trying to put it all together and watch last seasons' finale as soon as possible. The new season premiere was last Thursday and I am amazed I have avoided any spoilers!
  • Saving money. Between lunches, take out for dinner and local-heritage-fests' overpriced booze I am flat broke. And still need to hire some house painters.
  • Finding new phones and new phone plans. It is just too depressing to deal with.
  • Pumpkin bread. It turned out like a brick. A tasty brick, but the dense texture was really disappointing.
  • Posting pics of knitting. Boo. Bad knit blogger.

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