Thursday, February 26, 2009

Give it up!

Ah, Lent.

It is upon us!

While I have many issues with religion (which I won't share, because no one really cares), the idea of Lent is OK. Sacrificing for 40 days is probably something everyone could benefit from. I think the "no meat on Fridays" thing is stupid, but, overall, I think everyone should give this Lent a try!

So, you may wonder, what am I giving up for Lent?

I reflected on it all day yesterday (as it was Ash Wednesday).

Here's what I came up with:

1) BEER. While I enjoy it, I know I should not drink it so often or so much! Giving it up will save me money and calories, so all-in-all, it seems a very beneficial sacrifice (But why is St. Patty's Day always during Lent? Sigh.)

2) SLEEPING IN. As a 4th-year non-teaching grad student, my schedule is pretty flexible. As in, I have a lot of work and I usually have to work everyday, but I never have to be anywhere at any certain time. I used to be at my desk by 7am during my first two years here. Last year I started to slip towards 8 or 8:30. This year, I have even come in to work as late as 11am!! Crazy! (Not that I slept till 11am, but I did sleep till 9am, then did computer stuff for a while at home) So, I am getting back on schedule. Gym at 7:00, work by 9:00. No more sleeping in till 10am on weekend either (Sorry RY!!)!

3) LAB STRESS. I am not going to be angered or annoyed by anything at work.***

I think giving up these 3 things will make me a healthier, happier person. Decrease calories, decrease laziness, decrease stress and anger. All sound like good things to me!

*** Edited to protect my life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Like another life ...

Today, while I was supposed to be actually writing, I was looking up papers and such. And I came across a paper written by someone who used to teach where I got my Masters degree and is now at a close-by University. The title had caught my eye (as the guy works on a "weird" animal) and I thought "I wonder if that guy is the author of that paper" and he was.

Then I wondered "If I ever saw him again (at a conference or some other science thing), would he even know me?"

I mean, the guy was actually on my Thesis committee. And I took a seminar that he taught. And we had actual conversations.

But I haven't spoken to/emailed/thought about him since the day I graduated. And, he likely has not thought about me much either, as he left that university when I did and our research interests don't overlap much, so he probably doesn't wonder how my new work is going.

So ... I am guessing he probably wouldn't remember me. Or he would remember me, but in that way that I now remember students whom I taught 4 years ago. Like ... I know I taught them, but I don't actually know their names anymore ... or when exactly I taught them ... or what class they were in ... or if I really had them as a student or if they just look really familiar because they dated someone that maybe worked for Ry's lab. Or something.

Isn't that weird? Like my life is really just a whole bunch of disconnected lives that all just happen to be mine.

I know ... too deep. Maybe I need a diet coke?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good at something?

Today, regardless of whatever crap goes on at work and after work (at a STUPID forced-social event), I will have a good day!

Because today I received new photos of my awesome Nephew! And he sent me a letter too! It is written all in green marker (my favorite), with lots of green fish (all facing the same way ... they are schooling), and the following:

Dear Aunt [Sneks]
You are a very good Aunt [Sneks].
I love you.

So, even if I suck at being a grad student and a forced-social coordinator, I feel confident that I am a good Aunt [Sneks].

Which reminds me ... I need to send Nephew the perfect book I found for him ... Scuba Bunnies!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This weekend I ...

  • finished editting a paper
  • took data
  • picked up a dozen free helium balloons
  • threw a baby shower
  • watched a rented movie on the couch with Ry
  • spent some time in the lab
  • figured out Ry's crazy taxes (thank you TurboTax!)
  • made Ry's favorite dinner
  • updated our wedding website
  • submitted a paper (from data I collected 4 years ago)

Of course, the list of things I did NOT do is much, much longer!

But I am going to bed anyway! I hope you go to bed soon too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Showers & Floods!

I just HAD to blog about Joe flooding our lab today. Because he didn't want me to tell the world that he let a tank overflow. All over the lab. Into the hallway.

As for showers, we have another one this weekend! Matty (whom I started grad school with) and his wife Em are having a baby girl in a few months! And we're excited to celebrate!

This is the first "couples" shower I've ever been in charge of! I am thinking the typical baby shower games might not be appropriate! Maybe just some baby trivia? And lots of champagne punch??

I hope Matty & Em have a good time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

some thoughts on work and friends ...

I am killing a bit of time before my research talk this afternoon and thought I would blog a bit! My "hostess" (and former labmate) is off teaching some boring class, so I am hanging out in her office with wireless internet and some diet coke. I should go over my talk (since I haven't actually practiced it), but instead I read some blogs, looked at wedding stuff and went over some proofs for a paper (which in, of course, I did the figures wrong. Again.).

I was very grateful for the stop at Panera this morning and diet coke, because my hostess and I stayed up way too late (1am!!) having beers and chatting about life and academia. It was nice to catch up with her (she has gotten married and started this new job since I last saw her) and also to talk like real grown-up scientists! She's in a very good place in her life right now (which wasn't always true) and so it was really enjoyable to spend the night gabbing away! Maybe we annoyed her husband a bit (but luckily he had videogames to distract him from us!) because we had so much fun!

I guess I am amazed by all of this because we were never best of friends when we worked together. We occassionally hung out, but mostly I just stayed out of her way and tried to have my own life and my own research. And occassionally I was overly annoyed with her because some things she did (or did not do) at work affected my work life (which really pisses me off). But now that we don't actually work together, there's really nothing to be upset about! So, I am happy I agreed to come out and do this talk! And I think she and I will continue to be colleagues for many years! Overall, I am pretty pleased with it all!

Well, I should go practice now. More thoughts on work-related friendships later!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Off to talk!

I am heading to visit an old labmate who is now teaching at a college in Altoona, PA. She invited me to give a research talk about one of the papers we recently published. My first invited research lecture! YAY!

I am not at all worried about the talk. But I have no idea what to wear. Too cold for skirts (and I would have to shave). And I don't want to wear a heavy sweater (increases chance of sweat and flushed face). Oh, and I don't wear button down shirts (the main uniform of people in my field) because of my small chest and large hips and ass. Hmmm ... maybe a $5 Old Navy shirt and some black pants? Flats or heals? Oh the decisions of a scientist!

Off to pack for my 24 hour visit! Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday Darwin!

A friend sent a "Darwin Birthday Letter" this morning and urged us all to celebrate life today, in honor of Charles Darwin, THE evolutionary biologist!
A bit silly, but I urge you to do the same!
Celebrate Life!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Edits from Advisor???

My advisor is a kind, generous, anxious, socially inept, brilliant, clueless, thoughtful, thoughtless, driven, delegating, drama-loving, scientist (There are many other words to describe him, but I will stop with that, because I would say all of those things to his face) . And someone I truly respect.

But his help with writing manuscripts can often be ... less than pleasant (see here for example). And not just for me, but for pretty much all of the grad students (at least the recent ones).

So, imagine my surprise when I get back my most recent manuscript draft from him and it has 3 helpful comments in it. And that's all. One was a change in the title (much better now). The second was a sentence in my predictions (I added a second sentence to clarify it = much better now). And the third was a suggestion on adding a topic to the discussion that will broaden it and make it more interesting (= more likely to get accepted for publication = much better). Totally crazy!

Now, do I take this good review as a sign that my scientific writing is getting better and this paper isn't as crappy as I thought it was?
Or was the good review because my advisor (thinks he) is really, really busy and has other issues and grad students that distract him from really reading what I wrote?

It's probably the second conclusion, but I'll pretend it's the first! :)

28 has hit me hard!

Last week I turned 28! (And my mom called me to remind me that I was old now!)

The weekend before my birthday, Mom, lil' bro and Kel came in to celebrate (Kel's B-day was the week before) and Ry came in too and we drove to AC and gambled away a super fun day! I actually came home with more money than I brought (a first for me!)!

I share my actual birthday with labmate Joe, so, to celebrate, we had a little poker tournament and drank Jamaican Rum. I also got lots of wonderful presents in the mail (Thanks everyone!!!) Good times!

I then headed to NJ to spend the weekend with my RyGuy! He made me dinner and gave me great presents (including post-it notes with our picture on it! so cool!) and we watched some Harry Potter on BluRay. All awesome!

Of course, because everything was so wonderful, I got sick. Another sinus-type infection with fever and total body aches and sleepless nights and loss of appetite and horrible headache. And now some weird blind spot thing that is apparently an ocular migraine (good times)!

Oh well ... at least my 28th Birthday celebration started out well!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hate email

I got "hate" email about a recent paper that I published on my research.

I am so excited!

I know it sounds silly to be excited about mail from someone that disagrees with your work, but, in this case, it is a good thing! The paper we wrote goes against a popular hypothesis. So, I kind of wanted it to upset some people!

So "European Grad Student who works on Popular Hypothesis" decided to write me (his "colleague") to ask some questions. Unfortunately, he didn't actually have any questions. It's more like he wrote statements with question marks at the end and then answered the "questions" himself.

My reply:

Mr. "European Grad Student who works on Popular Hypothesis",
Thank you for the interest in our paper! Best of luck with your work on Popular Hypothesis!

Too nice?

Take that, Microsoft Office 2007!

Yes, it is true. Now that it is 2009, I have decided to update my life and move from Office 2003 to Office 2007.

I was hesitant to make the move for 2 reasons:

  1. "I am proficient in all Office 2003 programs". For real. It took me years, but I could pretty much make Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other programs do anything I needed!
  2. I am a "PowerPoint maven". Why would I switch to the new, weird PowerPoint when I had Old-PowerPoint skills?

But .. everyone else has made the switch, so I did too. Everyone kept sending me new documents that were not compatible with my old programs. :(

So, I have spent the last few weeks trying to regain my Office confidence.

Today was my first very serious attempt at Excel. I need to re-make some graphs that are for a (very) old manuscript that I am still trying to get published. This version of the manuscript is way better than older versions, but needed new fancy graphs.

It took me twice as long as normal to organize the data the correct way and get the graphs pretty much how I wanted them. Then I struggled for a little while to add a single, black straight line down the middle (Who know a LINE was actually a SHAPE?). Then, for my final act of madness, I wanted to add a pattern to 4 of the 12 bars. You know, like some diagonal stripes and some dots. So you can tell the difference between what the bars represent. After searching and asking and finally "googling", I discover Office 2007 does not have patterns for graphs!!

What? No graph patterns???

That is just plain old CRAZY! Crazy I tell you!!!!!!!

Thankfully, some brilliant person already figured this out and averted the problem! If you are searching on how to "make patterns on graphs in Excel 2007", just click here for the add-on! (Thank you Andy Pope, whoever you are!)

Can you believe those people at Microsoft? No patterns .... crazy....

Officially official!

Lil' Bro & Kel are engaged! YAY!


Can't wait for the 2011 wedding!