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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great night planned

We've been drinking spirits lately. After this years month full of Pumpkin Ale(s), it is no-beer land in our house.
Specifically, this drink has been my favorite. Even in a fish glass!
Pomegranate Martini (ok, not a real martini but pomegranate flavored vodka cocktail is a little wordy)
Equal parts vodka and pomegranate liqueur. Splash of orange liqueur.
One of these and Project Runway tonight. Ah, end of semester, how I love you.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

At their mercy

I really hope my students aren't too upset about that 'no curve' thing. Tomorrow I have to administer my student evaluations. My feeling from conversations with others and, of course, the internets is that these are very important to department heads and administration for tenure decisions, but how important are they now? They don't mean anything in terms of TA assignments or funding in my department so I didn't bother much with my bad reviews last year (I agreed that I didn't seem 'knowledgeable about the subject'- the prof I was assisting routinely gave the TAs homework keys with wrong answers. There was no way ANYONE could have properly explained them!). But this year is different. I know that just having taught my own lecture course is supposed to look super fantastic on my CV but what if the ol' students skewer me on evaluations? Will they ever be asked about? Will it seem weird if reference letter writers don't reference my evaluations? Can you tell I watched too many Sex and the City reruns over the weekend by my string of questions? (For the record it was only like, 4 reruns) As far as I remember, I haven't seen evaluation statistics on any CVs of candidates or faculty members. Anybody else?

Note: Every word meter I use crashes. Bah! I am up to 1305 words on ZF Manuscript. 37% baby!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Bullet style!

  • My students got their 3rd exam back today. They had looks of panic in their eyes when asked if I was going to be curving the course I replied a simple "No." I really see no reason to. My exam averages have been between 78 and 89. There are anywhere from 4-9 As on each exam and less than a handful of Ds and Fs. They still have the final to pull those Bs up to med-school-approved As anyway!
  • V and I are running a 5k on Saturday. Today I did 3.25 miles on the treadmill in about 29 minutes. The cold should slow me down quite a bit but I think I will be able to finish with little trouble.
  • Lookey! 21% completed on my second InaDWriMo project. After the Big Deal paper (which I haven't gone back to) and the Big Grant, this interesting little paper is a piece of cake to write. No word limits! No page limits! Methods! Results! There will be some tricky theoretical stuff to write in the intro but it is stuff I get excited about so even that should!?
  • As of today, I am back in the lab! Between teaching and needing a specific set-up that was being used by a more senior student, I have been doing next to nothing in the lab. Experiments will be run on Wednesday! Data will be collected! This is very good as it is going to be added to that ZF Manuscript that is currently being written....
  • We have been married for 6 months as of today! Pizza to celebrate!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Despite being very far from our families, we spent the day celebrating with the little family we have built for ourselves. Of course, this included fulfilling a long standing dream (re-inspired by Crazy Aunt Purl's recent contest) of knitting a sweater for the cats. The little one just tries to get out of it and our eldest seems to have lost all all control of his back half when it is on. He rolls around and army crawls instead of walking. Hi-larious!
I hope you all had a great holiday!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Are you serious?

I love the undergrads here. They wear the stupidest things.
Seen today during my exam on a female student...

Absolutely hideous and rather unnecessary.

5 better ways to spend that $130:

1) Dinner for 2 somewhere swanky

2) Booze

3) Merrells (if you are buying boots, buy BOOTS)

4) 2 pairs of jeans to wear instead of those leggings you've got on

5) Donate it to an animal charity to make up for the fur trimmed coat you've got on


One project complete

My Big Grant was submitted on Friday (My Nov 15th date was an optimistic- done early- deadline. Ha!). After much stress, strife and problems with it (no, I never saw the "font advisory." thank you submission lady for emailing it to me with 4 hours till the deadline). I am not pleased. It sort if sucks. Not that I can really judge, but it was too rushed at the end to ever really feel good about it. It is unlikely that it would be in 4% that gets funded even if I did feel good about it though, right?

But, since I am a good, serious, adult-like person, I am trying to focus on what I've learned from the experience. This was difficult for me to write and there were major setbacks in my ability to communicate the broad theoretical framework of this research. I was paralyzed by the Bigness of the grant, the Bigness of the organization and Bigness of my own ideas. This took time to work though and resolve, which ended up leaving me with very little time for outside reviewers to give me comments. They did as much as they could and I appreciate all of them for looking it over. Associated with the time crunch is teaching. Whole days that were meant to be spent writing were spent with students prepping for their exam (a whole different story of course). In the end, I will know next time to plan a bit better, say no to other commitments, put limits on student meetings and double the time I think it will take to write it.
The second biggest setback I felt was the lack of guidance. It seems to be that no other students in my department have applied for this before. Like, ever. This left me with very few resources to rely on so it was like reinventing the wheel. My advisor (who I tried to bother as little as possible due to my being one of 4 students all doing Very Important Things right now) really had no advice for me. At all. He wouldn't even format his CV properly. Well, la-te-da. I mean, the granting agency specifically asked for certain information but thanks for lessening my chances because you don't feel it is important. Arrggggghhhh! We have a professional skills class here that all students are required to take. In that class, I learned none of the skills needed in order to write this grant. That would have been helpful. Again, I appreciate those folks who did try to help me out but next time, I don't know. I made it clear to my advisor that I felt like I needed more help and got none. Perhaps looking for more outside help would be better.

Overall, I learned a lot about what is really involved in major grant writing and think I will feel more comfortable with it next time. Until then, though, I've got assignments and exams to grade, and 7,000 more words to write for InaDWriMo!! Woo!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Postdoc Lyrics

Please, Please click here or the original post here if you need a laugh. I may have to break out the guitar tonight and sing this little postdoc song!



Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quick update

  • It is 11 pm, I have 15 assignments to grade. A lecture to finish and class in 9 hours.
  • All I want to do is sleep. (A quick blog entry is my way of getting my mind working again after reading 10 paper summaries and almost falling asleep)
  • Miss kitty-pants is keeping me company. She enjoys grading because she likes chewing on pens.
  • My grant is still going slowly. I made a graph today. And a budget. It will be my only focus all weekend.
  • Oh, wait- I have to present a poster on Saturday at Grad Open House. At least that is only 3 hours.
  • Oh, wait- we have a prospective coming to visit so I also have to do beer/dinner at least 1, if not 2 nights this weekend.
  • I am so screwed.
  • *sigh*
  • Is it wrong to drink coffee at 11pm?

UPDATE: I didn't finish grading and the lecture was fine. Somehow, coffee was also avoided.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Congrats to V

Today, V submitted a major proposal! It is his first as a grad student and certainly not his last. Although I might be biased, it was really good. Really, really good. No matter what happens with it, I am so proud of him!


Not famous

Well, we heard back and were rejected for our big paper. Our next attempt has 3 times the word limit of this version so I might have to add it to my InaDWriMo project list! The experience has taught me a lot about writing. I try to craft nice paragraphs when I write (ummmm, just not here? Sorry Blogworld...) but it is easier with unlimited space. The combined objectives of saving space, making strong statements and keeping the flow of writing was challenging. Making every word count is something important to abstracts and some grant proposals I've written, but usually there are time constraints involved and it has perhaps, maybe, once happened that the focus was less on making every word count and more on just getting the general point across while remaining under the word limit. Thinking about making each sentence better and each word is optimized will obviously be a great help in trying to make those paragraphs. It has already been useful in my current project (which is better but still causing serious stress) and will continue to be as we revise this paper.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Everybody in Fur.

InaDWriMo: I am down to 9 pages instead of 13! And 1-2 of those might even be acceptable.

Tonight I got my first email from someone wanting to drop my class. This kid really shouldn't be doing this poorly. They could still salvage the grade if they put a lot of effort into it but are citing a heavy class load and I assume, want an A/B instead of a B/C or worse. It is a shame, they ask decent questions in class.
Anyway, pet pics! It seems all our pets either look crazy or like they should be in a Gap ad...
Crazy: Not that we encourage it! I was bundled up just because our house is freezing and V is head to toe in Bears gear dispite the fact that they were not actually playing this week.

Gap Ad:Crazy: This is the greatest freakin picture!Gap Ad(s): Even V got in on the fun!She is like Kate Moss Kitty. With a pen problem instead of a drug problem.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Help me scrape the mucus off my brain

I have been plugging along at the grant proposal as best as possible. It is not going well. Currently, I'm in the "Is it even really worth it, because I will not get funded anyways so why bother" stage. Talk about a foul mood.
Officially, I have 13 pages written. There is an 8 page limit though so the page revisions will continue and as I finish sections they will go in the InaDWriMo page count. It goes to my advisor tomorrow as my progress on it has come to a standstill.
I'm just really freaked out by the fact that it is supposed to go somewhere important. It is keeping me from focusing on my project while I try to write something I think they might want. Crapshoot really. Boo. Hiss. Whining. Done.

In other news....there is no other news. We haven't heard back about the big paper yet.

Back to work. Or sleep. I'll be back after an attitude adjustment...or when I finally upload a bunch of pet pictures...

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