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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fish pics

I finally figured out how to take some decent pictures of our African cichlids*.

This guy is my absolute favorite. Look at the blue on his face!

*Not all pictures are from AFTER I figured it out. My favorite male has since stopped breeding though.

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When the cat's away

The mice Right now would be the perfect time to goof off. My advisor is out of town and the semester is basically over! However, a lot of folks are out of town (or going out of town) and V is still studying for quals (next week!). So instead, I will just try to take advantage of the quiet and get some work done. Hopefully 2 more papers will get submitted in May! And that ticker will move it along!

The lower stress work-time will be nice. After I got word that I might not be able to finish one of my dissertation chapters, it was a mad whirlwind to figure out what to do. I threw together a replacement experiment and proposal. My first field experiment went so well that I am going to try to do another complementary field study. Field work is high risk but typically you always end up with something. I sent my proposal to my committee yesterday and none of them seem to really care. It is a good thing that they have faith in my abilities to do something else- I just hope they feel the same way after it is done!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A quick break

I'm off to IL for the weekend for my grandfathers' memorial service. V will be staying home to study for quals. It will be difficult without him but he is less than 2 weeks from the exams so he needs to be here. My bff and I are going to take advantage of the rare husbandlessness (her significant other is also busy) to enjoy a stop to my favorite little restaurant for steak and lobster. Really, all you can get is steak and lobster*. Comes with a giant potato and a pound of butter. And salad with amazing homemade dressings. And real old-school cocktails...yum!
Evan with the short work week, I managed to get a paper submitted today (woo!) and hopefully will get some other small tasks completed despite travelling. You know, tasks other than watching LOST and eating a ton.

I still have to pack but just got a wicked case of hiccups.
How do you get rid of hiccups?

*Just don't question the lobster in a land locked state...


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Music meme

I got tagged for this now! Thanks to ScienceGirl!

Seen so far at Luckybuzz and Addy N......
Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 25 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Strike through (or italicize) when someone gets them right
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is cheating.

I skipped songs without words or not in English and it turned out a pretty good mix of my music...
Good luck!

1. I don't wanna waste your time
2. I know a girl who thinks of ghosts -Flaming Lips
3. I'm in love with the world/ through the eyes of a girl /who's still around the morning after
4. This is a calling card
5. Ooohh baby, I'm not a mindreader
6. No matter how hard I try/ you kept pushing me aside - Orginially Cher, but my version is by Bedhead Loves Macha
7. There's a destination a little up the road
8. All the modern things like cars and such -Bjork
9. Someone elses' day someones elses' door
10. I want/to be a good woman
11. When I call you up, your line's engaged -The Beatles
12. Here I dreamt I was a soldier/ and I marched the streets of Birkenau
13. I could be sleeping I could be dreaming
14. Words and guitar/ I got em
15. I was born a unicorn
16. I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll this time
17. As I walked out on the streets of Laredo -Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson in my library
18. Traffic in my city turns my head around
19. Crab if you want her/ she won't be coming down - Weezer
20. He was just a working man
21. Evening star struck one
22. It's all a waste of time again
23. It's the perfect time of year/ somewhere far away from here - Barenaked Ladies
24. Left uninspired by the crust of railroad earth
25. Early one morning while making the rounds


writing in public

My labmate and I are at writing date. Working on our laptops. There are 2 other young women also working on laptops. There is also a group behind us ranting on and on and on about people using computers all the time. Forget computer viruses- "Computers ARE the virus."
Sometimes, working in public is not so good because you have to deal with the public and the public is pretty annoying as a whole.

In better news, I voted! Yay me!

Back to writing date....

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

German Shepard turned messenger pigeon

V is holed up in our office, surrounded by quals studying materials. I needed some files from his computer but was in no hurry to get them. Instead of waiting or just bringing them to me, he puts the animals to good use. It was risky, considering that the dog recently ate the tv remote, but V just put the flash drive around his neck* and told me to call him. It worked! The super amazing Data Transfer Dog!
*He is very used to collars and leashes of all sorts and has never tripped over them. Also, he only had to go about 20 ft., no stairs and was in sight of both of us the whole time. It was a low risk procedure.


Weekend To-Do

Oh, such a beautiful weekend! I've got lots of plans to:
Finish grading (I'm lazy. I know.)
Finish a skirt
Start a dress
Finish knitting some armwarmers
Go for a run lift some weights
Mop the floor
Clean up the yard (in hopes of BBQs before my friends scatter for the summer)
Do laundry dishes
Go to a knitting meet-up
Go to a party
Avoid cake at said party
Read articles for possible new experiment
Take some data
Do some writing

I bet a bunch of this will spill over into next week but I better get started on my non-lazy weekend!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Too many PhDs

I mentioned that there were 6+ dissertation defences this month in my department. Today it dawned on me that have so many PhDs in the world may not be the best thing. Why? The competitive job market? The excess of adjuncts? The funding crunch?
The cake. We freaking have cake twice a week. Today there was no defense and still, there were 3 brand new cakes to eat for something else! While V has given up sugar, I have no control over cake. Turning down cake just seems wrong. It would be nice to just avoid it but that is difficult when you have to congratulate the newly minted PhDs. Lately, I have been better about avoiding the sweets people bring in to share but oooooooooo the cake....

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Things were sailing a bit too smoothly there. I had 6 weeks of 1 experiment left to run and was going to be home for the majority of the summer (a first for me). Met and got the a-ok from most of my committee members (I only met with 4 of 5). That unfinished experiment already has some exciting data that is the first of its kind. And now, completely due to crap beyond my, or anyones', control- I might not be able to finish the experiment. There is a chance it could be completed, but it is going to be pushed back later in the summer and if it doesn't happen I am screwed. Now I have to come up with something else.
The loss of cool data sucks. The fact that I have to come up with a replacement chapter sucks even more. It isn't going to gel very well with the rest of what I have done and won't be nearly as cool. Uhhhh, yeah, then there is the whole issue of coming up with an idea, experimental design and getting it executed.
I had gotten to the point where I was done and convinced that I would not start anything else. Of course, I start talking about postdocs, started to answer the 'when will you finish' questions with a little bit of confidence.


Not a good day. At least Deadliest Catch is on...

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Parades Go By

April is a-flutter with dissertation defenses in my department. This is cool as it is a lot of data supporting the hypothesis that yes, people actually graduate. Despite any and all challenges, it happens. Tomorrow, one of my labmates will defend her dissertation. It will be the first defense from my lab that I will be in the state to see. For a while I was worried that the flight cancellations last week would keep me from getting back in time. Luckily, I'm home and now very excited for tomorrow! I hope it goes well and am looking forward to the celebration.

Of course, she is the last remaining student in the lab that is senior to me. Expect a rumination on the realities of Being Next later in the week....


Friday, April 11, 2008


I gave my special talk this morning. It went well. There were some technical difficulties but 3 computers and 2 Windows updates later, they were sorted out just in time to start the session. Mine was the second talk so I launched into it and was feeling good. It was early but early enough that people were still awake. I was finding friends in the audience of 200+ and my nerves quickly went away. My video was awesome. I turned back to the audience to describe my field site, which is big. I absentmindedly gestured to emphasize its size. My arm knocked over my water glass and it went FLYING. It seemed like it was in slow motion but it tumbled, water was everywhere and then the glass smashed all over the floor.
I didn't curse or laugh but then was all over the place with my methods. Forgot my stats details (but went back to them after graphs were up...ugh). Finished the talk in good time while somebody cleaned up the glass at my feet.

At least people remember me....even if it is for all the wrong reasons.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Busy enough for bullets

  • My trip went fantastic! My committee member was totally on board with my preliminary data and summer research plan. She even thinks that some chapters could be split into multiple papers.
  • The postdoc conversation was a difficult one to have and I waited as long as possible to have it. It also went well. She would 'love to have' me as a postdoc and would happily write something with me. In addition to possible funding from her next grant proposal. In addition to other possible funding for a year if first round of grants don't get funded. Plus, there is a lot of potential in her system and it could be really great research. Yay!
  • I made it through another committee member today. 3 out of 5 committee members agree that Dancingfish is A-ok.
  • Things have been busy. With V studying so much, I have tried to pick up household tasks despite the fact that I am not so good at housework. So far, laundry is going ok as long as I remember to get it out when the washer is done. Dishes must be motivated by a reward but I am getting good at all aspects of mammalian pet care. The pooch even gets brushed regularly!
  • Not too much else going on. Spending time with V means working or doing things around the house. Lots of projects but nothing completed.
  • Thursday brings another trip. I need one of these to be a vacation. With V. And no work involved.