Saturday, May 26, 2007

But thanks for the free food

Fuck ‘em. I don’t need ‘em.

That was the last research fellows’ association function I’m going to. Total waste of time (except for the free food). If everyone is just going to segregate themselves into ethnic cliques (blacks, Chinese, Indian, European, etc.) it kind of sucks all the fun out of it – especially when The Dentist & I walk in without a pre-arranged, designated clique. It was supposed to be a joint function with the medical fellows – guess how many of them showed up? Not many, and those that did, stayed amongst themselves.

Oh, and the MD., Ph.D that’s recently joined my lab? Yeah, totally blew us off. She seems pissed and we have no idea why. Probably never will know – seems to be her MO.

So disappointing.

I hope your Friday night was much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I'm just giddy

Partially it’s because I’ve had a cup of coffee and, not being much of a caffeine drinker, I’m rather sensitive to it - unlike you grizzled folks who can down an entire pot and promptly fall asleep.

But mostly I’m excited for two reasons:

1. I was actually the source of someone else’s blog fodder. I’m proud to say that I “inspired” the latest post from The Scripturient who’s link you can find off to the right there. Because I’m relatively computer illiterate, or possibly because I am using a Mac, I don’t know how to do the fancy embedding of the link directly into my post. You people are lucky that I can occasionally figure out how to post pictures. I’m sure that Scripturient would have posted about “Heroes” anyway, much like his previous posts about other geeky/comic book-related TV shows. I just got a jump on him as he is my newest victim – receiving question-laden emails about such shows (e.g. Battlestar Galactica) from me usually along the lines of “What the hell?” “What were they thinking with this plot twist?” or the ever popular “Now I’m really confused…” Look at me go. I really feel like I’m part of a blogging community now.

2. I got an email from a real live celebrity. This will be my second in my whole life. The first was from Cash Peters, and I blogged about that already. This one was from David Hewlett – from my other guilty pleasure show “Stargate Atlantis” (shut up, I’m allowed). Turns out Mr. Hewlett has a MySpace page promoting his movie “A Dog’s Breakfast” ( The trailers had me laughing out loud, possibly because I’m already biased into liking him, but I’d like to think I could look past that. He also writes a blog that I find equally entertaining. I suggest you peruse it for yourself.

I just don’t know how I’m going to fall asleep tonight.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

So, um, yeah. How have you been?

I know, I’ve been bad about posting. But I have to admit that there honestly hasn’t been anything too exciting happening with me. Actually, all of the exciting stuff has been happening to other people.

On the Friend & Family front:
The parents, in several miraculous strokes of good luck, have sold the house in the hometown, moved Up North (in WI), and will be closing on a new house there early next month. My mom is retired, and my stepdad is semi-retired (working about 3 days a week). He got a Harley, and they’ll be getting a new puppy in a few weeks. It’ll be the same breed as the blind one they have now, but they’re thinking of trying a male and calling him Tucker (Props to Dressage Mom).

I took the Dentist to WI with me for Mother’s Day weekend and we had a good time. It now takes about 4.5 hours to see the parents, but they don’t seem to see that as a problem. Considering gas prices, I’m afraid it’s going to be. I’ve also found that bringing another person along takes a lot of the focus off of me, making tolerating the parents tons better. We stopped in the hometown to see Stepmom and gave the Dentist a tour of the Farm. Lots of the horses are pregnant and beautiful and docile as ever. We got a lot of great pictures.

Various friends are having their fair share of drama in their lives and I’m glad to provide a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a sounding board for ideas. I wish them nothing but the best in resolving all of their issues and truly wish I could be more helpful. At the same time – I am grateful for the comparative lack of drama in my own life.

On the work front:
I’m slowly becoming more independent in my own project and that’s kinda cool. I need to get some more data asap, though. I have to present at “joint” lab meeting next week and I’m not really looking forward to it. There is a possibility that it will be cancelled at the last minute, and that’s what I’m really hoping for. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

I have also inherited a “manuscript” from a former grad student who graduated over a year ago. Seems that my boss is so hands off that the previous grad students were able to really take advantage of him. I rearranged her “manuscript” from a thesis chapter into an actual article format, did some revising, and tracked down all of her files where her figures came from. We wrote up a list of all of the figures and how many replicates there actually were. After sitting down with the boss the workload was (thankfully) greatly reduced – he can get very creative with the cutting and “let’s just say this is ‘representative’ of the trend.” Makes me a little nervous, but I’m going to chalk it up as he just really wants to get this out the door as soon as possible. Rest assured, anything published with me as first author will have at least 3 replicates and error bars to make you proud.

On the social front:
The cute guy at the “gym” I don’t see too much of anymore now that the weather is nice. The Dentist and I go for power walks in the evenings out on a multipurpose trail near her house. Sometimes we run into him jogging. The other day he waved to me as he was driving in and I was driving out. Somehow, I have a nagging feeling that he thought I was someone else… Oh well, I’ll take what I can get.

I went to a little dental shindig with the Dentist and met a man who actually scares me. I believe (from what he told me – I’m not making this up) that he’s going to be starting up his own chapter of Idaho Militia, complete with underground bunker, shooting range (also subterranean) and large cache of weapons and ammo. He’s got one friend out there “into guns” and another friend “into explosives” and claims that all of these plans are for when things get “overcrowded” and one needs to protect oneself from a distance. Freakin’ conservative nutjob. After some consultation with a friend who went to school out West, the area where this nutjob has his parcels of land is, and I quote “a hotbed of white supremacists – real skinhead central.” Sounds lovely. I don’t think I’ll be attending any more dental shindigs.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yeah.... not so smart

Disclaimer: This post is written for that portion of my readership with a scientific background.

I wish I could have done today over. Actually, just one stupid decision I wish I could do over. Then the experiment that I started *last week* wouldn’t have gone down the crapper today.

Things I learned from my bonehead mistake today:

1) 1 N HCl is, in fact, NOT the same as concentrated HCl. Concentrated HCl turns out to be 11.6 N. Somehow I had it in my head that they were the same. That was a very wrong assumption. 1 N HCl = 1 M HCl, though. That’s good to know. I’ll try to remember something useful like that from now on.

2) Scintillation fluid, when mixed with a highly acidic sample, will turn from what looks like canola oil into a milky white goo. Not. Good. This is when I knew that my experiment had shit the bed and a week’s worth of work was shot.

Now I know that I will make many more mistakes – I have a track record, this is normal. But this was my first big one, and it’s just such a pisser to lose one’s experiment at the very end. Today was data collection day! Analysis day! Make a spreadsheet and accessorize it with a bar graph day! The day when your boss walks in and you’re on the computer crunching numbers instead of checking your email and you can say “Look! I’ve been productive and I have proof!”



I did plate another experiment, so, we’ll see how this week goes. And now we have 1.113 L of 1 N HCl. You always have to look for that silver lining.