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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Part of my reasoning for being pretty quiet lately has to do with my own transition. I am going to move the ol' blog. Not really a move but a new blog. More on this when it happens....soon.
But first- Blogger or Wordpress? Thoughts advice? I already know Blogger but can be easily swayed. Anybody used both? Really love or hate one or the other? Please let me know in the comments!!

Thank you!!


Sunday, July 27, 2008


I let our dog out in the backyard this evening and went about my kitchen business. Dog started barking, as he does when he sees a bike/wants to come in/randomly. Sometimes, I just let him bark it up* to advertise our mean**, giant dog.
Tonight, he barked and as I walked to let him in, I heard someone walking by say to the 90 ls German Shepard "Who do you think you're barkin' at?" And it wasn't in a nice awwww-cute-barking-doggie-way either. It was in an oh-yeah? you-want-to-fight? you-dog-you? sort of way.

You know, because it makes perfect sense to talk trash to a fenced in dog that is 2 yards away. Was he going to threaten to kick his ass next? Seriously.

* but never early/late/more than 5 minutes.
** not really, but I like that people might think that he's mean when protecting all of our really expensive grad student belongings...


Friday, July 25, 2008

Lazy blogger post

Holy Catfish! I just got slapped with a wet salmon - really - I have not updated this since you last visited... You would not believe how heavy that rock really is.
Stupid Global Warming!
I am absorbed with learning to play lawn bowls**, waiting for the onshore winds, just generally being the life of the party to anyone unfortunate to cross my path. My day drifts aimlessly from the first cockadoodledoo from the rooster till I run out of alcohol. I am looking at rectifying this but this damned rock is heavy. I totally promise that when the weather turns bad, I will blog more often. Well, I'll try. Unless, of course, the pool with the cocktail bar is heated!

Courtesy of the Lazy Bloggers Post Generator, as seen at MonkeyGirl.

**But to tell the truth, I have played a lot of Bocce Ball lately and I think it is like lawn bowls.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things I've done this month that are stupid

  • Tried to take a 90 pound dog to the fireworks. He did ok with the fireworks themselves but the crowds had him trying to jump over a 3 ft high concrete wall.

  • Fell off my bike....but really, I didn't fall OFF of it so much. My new clipless pedals kept me securely attached to the bike as I rolled to a stop and promptly fell over. The bike landing on me was worse than me hitting the ground. Luckily, I was stopped. Had this happened when I was going downhill (at a reckless speed, according to V), I would be in bad shape.

  • Baked cupcakes when our kitchen was 97 degrees.

  • Tried to make chocolate milk with only cocoa powder and milk. I swear I saw Alton Brown do it once, but there must've been more steps involved. I keep reading that milk/chocolate milk is the best post-workout recovery drink. Must buy some chocolate sauce though...

Hmmmm, I wonder what I am forgetting. It seemed like there were a lot more of these...


Friday, July 18, 2008

On rejections

Sure enough, just days after I publicly declared the Summer of Submission, I got my first rejection of the summer as well. ScienceGirl had asked how I dealt with rejections in the comments and I wonder how this post would be different if I were still 'awaiting final decision'...

Anyway, this first rejection is a reject with an invitation to resubmit. So it could be worse. My advisor and others faculty are really excited about this response. They are treating it more like a provisional acceptance, despite the fact that the editor specifically wrote 'this is not a provisional acceptance.' I don't have much experience with publishing and the finer nuances and implications of 'reject and resubmit' vs 'revise and resubmit' are lost on me. Basically, we will be re-reviewed after resubmission whereas a 'revise and resubmit' would just be looked over by the editor and not the reviewers. Please feel free to clarify or elaborate in the comments!

My handling of the paper at this stage all depends on the reviews themselves. In this case, they are helpful, positive and easily addressed. The most difficult aspect will be responding to all within the word limit of the paper. With reviews like these, I am eager to fix the paper and get it back out asap. With bad reviews- those that are nonconstructive and, unfortunately, mean- I have a tendency to sit on them and put off dealing with them as long as possible. My worst review was capped with 'the authors should think deeply about what they might be able to salvage from this work.' That one hurt. It took me a year to return to the paper, but eventually I did and it is in review at a different journal right now.

My rosy outlook on reviews stems from learning more about the process and others' experiences. First, I have now been a reviewer myself. From the other side of the review, you can appreciate the time and effort that (hopefully) goes into the reviews and respect that effort more in your revisions. Second, as it turns out- (almost) everyone gets rejected! My advisor gets rejected. The famous scientist that I idolize and get nervous just thinking about talking to? Yeah- gets rejected! The amazing writer who my lab relies on for a lot of editing? Gets rejected! Knowing this makes it much easier to avoid falling into the anxiety ridden hole where poor reviews are judgements of your ability as a scientist or worth as a person. Finally, I am slowly learning that reviews really do make a paper better and that if you stick to it, you will improve the paper and it will get published. It might have taken 18 months to resubmit that paper after the horrible review but the important part is that it got done. If it gets rejected again, well, I will resubmit again. I recently congratulated a fantastic, well respected young faculty member on her most recent paper. It was an interesting, well written and novel piece of science. She told me she had submitted it 5 times before it got accepted. Persistence will pay off eventually.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I planned to post something interesting about rejections at the request of commenters and since I got one on Monday morning (boo).

Then V wanted margaritas and you know, I just hate to see limes go to waste! So instead, here are some more field work related critter pictures. As is often the case, rejections will be dealt with tomorrow...

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The falls

In finishing V's recent field work, we got to explore some amazing natural areas in and around parks in the area. Every summer since I moved here has been spent in the field for extended periods of time (if not the whole time). V has helped me in the field multiple times so it is nice to finally be able to give him a hand. Plus, getting to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and still sleep in my own bed is seriously the best!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer of Submission

This summer is all about publications. I have a backlog of data that is collected but not published. My advisor has lectured me about it so now is the time to get rid of it. Need to clear the desk and my mind before I power away on dissertation data and papers that are actually about what I really, really do.
Sneks and I collaborate on many of these smaller projects and she also has a bunch of preliminary data and other projects to get out as well, thus we have dubbed this the Summer of Submission. Things got rolling for me at the end of April with the first paper. It was rejected but will be resubmitted elsewhere by Tuesday (just got the last authors comments on the revision today).
Paper #2 is a long overdue thing from my time at my MS institution. It had also been rejected over a year ago but was resubmitted in June. My coauthor has been a source of frustration with this paper. They are doing fieldwork so drop out of touch for a month at a time with no notice. This data is 5 years old and really, it is just time to be able to move on with our lives.
Paper #3 is the one we sent to Schmiance and now sent to somewhere more appropriate*. We should hear very soon. According to the official website we are "Awaiting final decision." This paper is really neat. It is simple but novel. The most exciting thing about it is that we have figures that we submitted for the cover of the journal. If we got the cover, I might faint. That would be the coolest.....
With these 3 out in submission-land, I am starting work on the second round.
Paper #4 is very, very, very small due to horrible field conditions that season that resulted in a super small sample size. It has been a struggle for me to write so my advisor agreed to take it over. For some reason, every time I go to send it on though, I just write more of it. I swear I am sending it today....after I finish the results and make all the graphs.
Paper #5 is a many author, multi-year study. We interpreted the data this week and agreed upon a small journal. It should be fun to write as it relates to my dissertation research.
Paper #6 is a big chapter of dissertation fieldwork and will be what I present at the Big International Conference in August. It will be submitted soon after that talk to include any good feedback I get from it. Once it is out, there is the bonus that a chapter of the diss is also done!

For now, we are waiting and are really hoping to be enjoying an Autumn of Acceptance**.

*If you are noticing a trend that everything I submit is rejected, you are right. All but 1 paper I've ever worked on has been rejected first before being accepted. It has happened enough that I am actually ok with this (not that I have a choice)...
**Thankfully there are two words for this season because the Fall of Failure doesn't sound so good.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Resolution of the postdoc application

Well, I heard back from Postdoc Guy. He said all my stuff looks good but the timing as he is hiring immediately. He also told me that the position may open again next year since it is rushed this year and to get back in touch when I am defending.

Stuff looked good! He was interested! Yay*!

I knew it was a long shot but sounds good to have gotten my name out there (at least to one person). Who knows, maybe it will still work out later on. I'm not really bummed because I want to finish the school year here at my university and it is quite a motivating experience. Nothing like thinking about a next step to get your butt in gear to finish what you are currently doing!

*Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay!


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More on my postdoc application

The application I sent for the postdoc was pretty informal- a CV, cover letter and reprints. It was sort of fun to write the cover letter. I am in the thick of wrapping up data collection, analysis and writing up projects so bringing the focus back to the big picture was refreshing. It was the first time I have been able to come up with that 3 sentence sound bite of my work. I'll take that as a good sign that everything is coming together! Writing the description of myself was enlightening as well. Like many others, I am not good at 'selling myself' but it will be a key skill in this postdoc hunt, and someday- job search. The declaration of "I am a something something-ologist interested in big idea one and big idea two" and sending it to someone else is pretty powerful. It is like I really am that description for the first time. I always thought of it as what I do, not what I AM. That was the only common advice from everyone I asked as well. Over and over, I heard "Give yourself a label." My involvement in job searches in my department supports this as well. We always talk about candidates as 'that tiger lady' or 'the caddis fly guy**'. Now I have one too!

Of course, there was major anxiety in sending the whole thing- just like submitting a paper. I heard back by the time I got home from dinner and will hear if I'm a finalist in a few weeks. That terminology makes it much more competitive than I had thought of.* Or like a raffle. You've been selected as a finalist!

It was pretty anticlimactic, really. We'll see how it goes and what I hear back. That will be the exciting stuff.

*combined with watching Olympic trials last weekend
**To explain the randomness of this label, I asked V to name an animal for this example. This was his response.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I just sent a postdoc application.

Going for beer.

more later....