I sat stunned watching the election last night with Twig and close friends. It was devastating to see how many folks signed on to Trump's view of America. An America that doesn't value me, my family, or my work.
I sat stunned watching the election last night with Twig and close friends. It was devastating to see how many folks signed on to Trump's view of America. An America that doesn't value me, my family, or my work.
Ugh. Again yesterday some yahoo wrote an article about "How to approach women wearing headphones". I'm not gonna link to it because...well, because you just SHOULDN'T interrupt a woman (or anyone) wearing headphones. Other times not to approach a woman (a non-exhaustive list): she is reading a book, she is working on a laptop, she is on the phone, etc. It is rude to interrupt. That includes waving your hand in front of her face (WTF), or passing her a note. Just keep walking.
The simple fact is that you are not entitled to her attention. Think - why is your desire to talk to her more important than her desire to be left alone? SPOILER: it's not. Just keep walking. "BUT!" You may be saying (because someone is always saying - I have seriously had this conversation more than once on twitter). "I just want to say something nice!" or "How are you supposed to meet anyone" or "But she is cute!". I don't care. Leave her alone. Seriously, just keep walking.
I like to work in coffee shops and sometimes bars. That does not mean that I want to talk to random people. I have a pretty decent RBF, and I use a lot of common behaviors to keep folks from talking to me: headphones, laptop, avoiding eye contact, ignoring folks that approach anyway, etc. All women do this. In part because we all know that it is often safer to avoid interacting with someone (especially a guy) than to have to "reject" him in some way that could escalate. Yes, all women. So PLEASE, just keep walking.
When I am open to talking to folks, you can tell. I won't be staring at a screen, avoiding breaking focus even if you sit right next to me. You'll see that I make eye contact with my fellow humans. I may even say "hi" as you sit down or walk by. These are common social cues that let you know it is OK to approach a stranger. If you just MUST talk to someone, I recommend that you take Captain Awkward's advice and greet a nearby dude instead. Or, you know, just keep walking.
Hello again. I've missed you guys. But, there are things* happening in Real Life that have stopped me from spouting off here. And yet, I can't stop myself from commenting on events of the past week or two that, for me, demand comment. These events all share an "outing" quality that I think needs to be highlighted. I will not comment on any of the things that have happened specifically, but I want to talk about how hurtful "outing" is.
Outing someone is bullying. It is spiteful, hateful, and hurtful. It has consequences for the person that is outed - being outed can fuck with your career, your personal life, and your safety. There are reasons that folks are not out. There are good reasons to blog with a pseudonym. This is a topic that comes up over and over. I could spend the rest of the day finding the links for the many people who have written about this in the past. But you can google that shit yourself. There are good reasons to not be "out" about your gender identity, orientation, and about a million other things.
Outing someone doesn't just fuck with the person that is outed. It is a violation of an entire community. When a bully outs someone, it is a display of (real or perceived) control and power. It is a warning to everyone else that they, too, might be outed. It is an affront to a sense of safety in that community. It quiets those of us that may have very good reasons not to be out.
People should be able to define themselves. Full stop. The fact that someone is not out is not their problem. The biases and judgement and power structure of society makes it unsafe to be out. If everyone could trust that they were safe and accepted for who they are, then getting outed wouldn't be an issue. We aren't anywhere close to this. If someone doesn't feel comfortable being out then that is their decision. And I think it is up to all the rest of us - those of us that want the society to be better - to totally support them in this. We have to step up, because they can't. If you talk to someone and you learn they are female, then fucking believe them. Use fucking female pronouns. If someone wants to interact with the community psuedanonymously, then respect that. It's really not hard, I promise.
When someone threatens to out a member of our community, we need to stand up and make it clear that is wrong and it won't be tolerated. There need to be consequences. It needs to be clear that it is wrong and hateful when journalists out a trans* person for fun. Nature needs to hear that when their editors decide to maliciously out someone that they betray the trust of all of us. Everyone has to decide for themselves how they can respond. Maybe you can go on twitter and forcefully push back against the bully. Maybe you cut ties with the bullies, or boycott Nature. Do what you can, how you can. But don't sit by and pretend that nothing is going on.
Outing someone is stealing control over someone else's life. Stealing their ability to be safe and happy. Telling a story that isn't yours to share. It is the cowardly act of a bully. I know what it is like to be outed. I am, right now, IRL, dealing with threats of being outed, and even having people that I love be outed in some weird fucked up collateral damage scheme. It sucks. It hurts. It's scary. And its fucking wrong.
Hello again! I hope that everyone out there is having a super holiday, no matter what (if anything) you are celebrating!! I have been a little absent recently...I have had some IRL issues that have been taking up all my energy. Seriously. This is one of those unbloggable things (for now) that have certainly tipped my work/life schedule almost fully into LIFE mode. Things are kinda rough for me right now, but I know that it is all for the best. I have been trying to focus on keeping sane and working through things as best I can*. I'm looking forward to 2013, which I hope will bring new beginnings, professional advancement, and a little peace. Of course, being in my third year of the tenure-track doesn't bode well. But really, things in lab are going pretty well. The folks in my lab are kicking ass, and I'm cautiously optimistic *knocks on wood*.
I recently attended the annual meeting for the American Society for Cell Biology. This is a meeting I go to pretty regularly, even though I don't know that I actually classify myself as a cell biologist. Nevertheless, it was a really good meeting. I always enjoy the diversity of research I can learn about at this meeting. It is big, but not TOO big. I even got to give a talk this time! I also took one or two shopping breaks, which was great to outfit my new place and start to catch up on my Xmas shopping. WIN!
But I really want to tell you about my trip home from the ASCB conference. I stayed a little after the meeting, so I was flying home the Friday before Christmas. I was standing in a ridiculously-long and slow-moving line at the airport with a good friend (who can reveal hirself in the comments if ze so desires). Turns out, the woman behind us was one of those crazy cell-phone-shouters. Yay! And she called everyone in her phone book. Because apparently her one-legged cat, Shadow, had recently died.
Shadow had a rough life (we heard about it MORE THAN ONCE). First off, Shadow had only one leg - how did s/he walk around?? I have no idea. Not only that, but it turns out Shadow also didn't get along with the other kitteh that was brought into the house to be hir companion. 🙁 And recently loud-talker (LT) went home, and found the remaining leg was all swollen! Shadow had an bad tumor, so LT had to euthanize the poor critter. The kicker was that LT couldn't bury Shadow in her yard because of her neighbor, Crazy Charlie (srsly, you can't make this shit up). I have no idea why Crazy Charlie would want to mess with Shadow, but this was a major concern for LT. Though she said it so matter-of-fact "of course, I couldn't bury the cat in my yard because of Crazy Charlie". There's a sentence that is a little scary to hear! I was basically laughing so hard it is pretty incredible I didn't pee. It was either that or strangle the old woman, which I did consider.
I'm not exaggerating that we heard this story at at least three (hundred? it seemed like it!) times. And just when it seemed like it couldn't get worse (after 90 min or so)...well, a person with a ukelele showed up to serenade us. In a Santa hat. While we were trapped in line. I was convinced we had hit rock bottom. BUT NO. Instead...wait for it...a dude showed up with an accordian. I am not shitting you. And then the accordian and ukelele played a duet of "On the Road Again". WHILE WE WERE STUCK IN AN UNMOVING LINE. What. In. The. Fuck. On the bright side, after I got through security it didn't seem so horrible when my flight was delayed.
I hope that you all have safe and sane travels this holiday season! See you (more regularly, I hope!) in 2013!
*better living through chemistry FTW!
Well, I survived the craziness that is SfN. It was my first time at that meeting, which is GIANT, because my work is only tangentially related to neuroscience (broadly speaking). It was a good meeting, even for how large it was. I had the chance to meet folks that work in my general field but that I don't run into at my normal meetings. And it was great to hear a new perspective on topics that I think about. And, of course, Dr. Becca and Neuropolarbear threw a Great Party (TM). And I got to pick the name of the person that won the Lexus*! In sum: great science and great friends. Yay!
I went to SfN directly from another conference, which was also extremely awesome. And really intense. I'm a little wrecked from the whole thing...I don't know if I will ever piggy-back meetings like that again. And now I'm back at home with a deadline for my next grant LOOMING (say it in a scary tone, cause that is how it is).
ANYWHO. While I was gone there was some important goings on. I'm really excited about these, even if I was only able to watch and not DO so much during the crazy time.
FIRST: Have I told you guys about #AlliesFTW? (spoiler-I totally have) This is a bloggy Q&A that Joe and I are hosting in an effort to figure out some things that we can do to be great allies for queer folk in academia. Leave a question or comment - in a few days we are going to gather everything up and see what is resonating. You can also leave questions or comments on twitter with the #AlliesFTW tag.
SECOND: You guys. It is Donor's Choose time again! I love love love Donor's Choose. This is our chance to come together and help out some kids so that they have a chance to see how awesome science can be! I've picked out some projects that I think are especially good, you can find them on my Giving Page**. I know we are getting a late start, but I think we can TOTALLY beat out our record from last year ($480). Let's DO THIS. For SCIENCE and KIDS!!
A big shout-out to Janet Stemwedel who ALREADY gave money for the kids! Because she is a fucking rock star!
*may have actually been a Nexus. Still, someone won it 🙂
** when I figure out how, I'll add the updater to the sidebar, I promise!
UPDATE: LOOK I DID THE WIDGET!!! --->
There have been a lot of things bouncing around in my head that I have thought "I should write a post about that"! But I'm also in the middle of writing a grant so I've been a little, well, preoccupied/sleep deprived/distracted from blogging. Such is life. Anywho...look at these things that caught my attention when I was too fried to write on my grant anymore tonight:
Have I missed anything important?
Yesterday, a lot of people apparently went to stand in a long line to buy a fast-food chicken sandwich. Some of these people claim to be supporting "The First Amendment" against "Intolerant Liberal Thought Police". Or something. But really, they just wanted to make a point that they hate The Gays.
First, let's clear somethings up:
1. This has nothing to do with free speech. Dan Cathy can say whatever he wants, and he (and THE COMPANY) can give their money to whomever they please. And anyone can go to Chick-Fil-A anytime they want (except Sunday), though that is probably not the healthiest choice. No one is suggesting that either of these activities should be made illegal.
2. Boycotts are widely used as a mechanism for consumers to demonstrate that they disagree with a stand that a company takes. Some "christians" have urged a boycott of Starbucks after they publicly supported marriage equality. This is their right, just as it is my right to advocate a boycott of CFA because they fund hate groups.
3. Intolerant. I'm not sure that folks understand what that means. If someone gives money to a group that works to limit my rights (and the validity of my family), I may express outrage. I am not the intolerant one in this scenario. There is a great post on the Owldolatrous Productions that one of my Actual Friends* posted on FB.
Asking for “mutual tolerance” on this like running up to a bully beating a kid to death on the playground and scolding them both for not getting along. I’m not trying to dissolve Mr. Cathy’s marriage or make his sex illegal. I’m not trying to make him a second-class citizen, or get him killed. He’s doing that to me, folks; I’m just fighting back.
If you went to Chick-Fil-A yesterday to "show support", think about what you actually did. You gave money to a company that will turn around and give some of their profits (your money) to groups that work to make it illegal to be homosexual. Not just to oppose marriage equality. The hate rhetoric that regularly flows from these organizations goes way beyond just opposing marriage equality. And if you go on twitter or FB to gloat about what you did, you have just told your gay "friends" that you went out of your way to stand in a long line for a shitty chicken sandwich as a demonstration of how much you despise them. And trust me, you have gay friends. They may not tell you (can you blame them?), but you most certainly do.
Think about this next time you want a chicken sandwich, or waffle fries or whatever. In effect, YOU are giving money to these groups. Groups that make it fucking hard for ACTUAL PEOPLE, including me and my family. Groups that work to ensure a culture and policies that contribute to high suicide rate in GLBT kids that have to grow up in this environment. I haven't eaten at CFA in many, many years. But I can't imagine any chicken sandwich being so good that it is worth this. There is no piece of food so awesome that it could ever convince me to give money to the KKK or any other hate group.
For me, it's personal. The boycott of CFA isn't about the first amendment. It isn't about religion, or however you define "traditional" or "biblical" marriage. It's about my family. I hope they fucking go out of business. I hope society stands up and says "this is not OK". I hope that people who care so much about the bible pay more attention to the "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" part. I'm not optimistic that will happen.
Here are some other perspectives, from someone else that got upset with their FB feed yesterday, and from a CFA employee. I wish that everyone that worked at CFA and felt this way would quit, even though I understand that this might not seem like a viable option.
*I grew up in a big red state. I have quite a few posts on my FB timeline gloating about going to CFA. These people obviously don't value my friendship.
UPDATE: When I wrote this, I was pissed off at how idiotic everything seemed. About the meanness. This morning I woke up to news of the Aurora theater shooting. Now I'm just sad, and kind of at a loss. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic event.
I don't know what the hell is going on, but it seems that the heat is starting to get to people. Or maybe it is just getting to me. In any event, there was a lot of crazy stupid shit in the news this week. So today I'm gonna do a modified Fuck You Friday* to make you all share the pain.**
CRAZY SHIT FROM THIS WEEK:
The first openly-gay engineer at the University of Kansas doesn't get tenure, and is left to wonder whether it is because the Dean is a stupid-ass homophobe.
The Lt. Gov. of Florida is accused by a former-staffer of being caught in a "compromising" position with a female colleague, but claims that this is impossible because she doesn't even look like a lesbian. What in the name of all fuck?! From Jezebel:
Get out your Awful Things To Say Bingo Cards and go right ahead and put a chip on the "Single bitch is just jealous of my awesome husband and life," "Lesbians all look the same," and "Marriage proves that I am moral and just" icons. Also, put a chip on the "Accuse someone of being a lesbian like it's an insult" card, because the crap is flying from both sides, folks.
For the record, Lt. Gov. doesn't actually deny the alleged lesbian encounter. Saying that "generally" women than look like her don't have relationships like that is both stupid and vague. I mean, generally, folks that look like her aren't Republican, but what-the-fuck-ever. Perhaps she is retroactively straight?
Dear Prudie decides that a PhD doesn't earn you the title of "Doctor".
It is not bragging to use Dr. if you are an physician, ... I have more of a problem with people with Ph.D.s using the Dr. title, which I think is better reserved for those with medical degrees.
Dear Prudie: STFU
Clorox's multi-cultural team comes up with bleach designed especially for Latinos. Because white folks like Lemon scented bleach, but the Latinos really dig the "Fresh Squeezed Lemon". Sigh. The new line is named Fraganzia, making everyone wonder what the "crack team" was smoking when they came up with this marketing strategy.
AND DON'T FORGET THE VILE-CRAZY-FUCKED-UP-SHIT
Some dude in Idaho used Craiglist to try get his wife raped.
Two GROWN MEN brutally beat the shit out of a TEENAGE GIRL while yelling anti-gay slurs in front of a church in Kentucky. Real fucking brave, assholes.
Zimmerman claims it is "God's plan" that he killed Trayvon Martin.
Fuck all this shit. What is fucking wrong with people? And how am I supposed to finish this manuscript if I can't stop swearing??
Pretty much the only redeeming thing about this week is that Sarah Silverman offered to scissor Sheldon Adelson in a bikini bottom (to fruition) if he would give his cash to Obama instead of Romney. If you haven't watched the video yet, DO IT NOW.
So there you go. Consider this a kind of open thread where you can bitch about the crazy in your world. Or share examples that might help restore my faith in humanity.
h/t to @drrubidium and an anonymous friend (that bought a pitcher of beer) for their help with this post.
*don't you miss Hermitage?
**Sweet baby jeebus, it is only Thursday and I can't take it anymore. I'm posting early, in the hopes that closing this post will make the crazy stop.
I sit in my office, alternatively staring at my computer screen, drinking coffee, and typing in bursts. I'm a little sleepy and highly caffeinated. My office is attached to my lab, and the door is open. Because I am an accessible fucking PI. There is a little knock on the door...but it is not anyone from my lab. It is a postdoc from another lab. Here is the exchange (not verbatim):
Me: What's up?
pd: Soooo...I am trying to do an experiment that is tangentially related to things that people in your lab do. With a reagent that you have used.
Me: OK. I used the reagent basically the same way that was published by Other Lab.
pd: I used it in a totally different way, and I'm confused about why it didn't work.
Me: But...that reagent won't even work for the experiment you want to do. That reagent detects process A, but you are trying to look at process B.
pd: Huh. what reagent should i use?
Me: I don't know. I have never tried to study process B. Maybe you should ask the other people in your own lab that study B.
Please explain to me the following: Why? What have I done wrong? Am I too nice? Is that why it should be my job to help postdocs from other fucking labs? AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH.
Please, students and postdocs of the world. Try to think about what you are saying when you interact with faculty members, especially those that are not actually your mentor. I actually like chatting about your project. But throw me a bone here. It is not my job to do your work for you. I know that perhaps most folks don't know that the next NIH deadline is June 5. That will not stop me from being even more cranky about this interaction because I'm in the midst of grant writing.
Get off my lawn.
that is all
Well, I'm back from another super-awesome conference. This was not my normal crowd, so I made a lot of fantastic new contacts and got some ideas that could start up new research directions for my lab. And there was even some skiing!!! Not that much internet access, though.
Which leads to the downside... I had to do so much work while I was gone! This was the first meeting that I actually had to skip a session to work. Sure, there have been meetings where I needed to get some writing done or read something. But damn! This was crazy. EVERYONE knew that I was going to be gone--and would not have reliable access to email. However, this did not in any way reduce the number of emails I got that required--REQUIRED--my attention within the hour. Like when I got an email asking for something that apparently needed to be done by Friday. I had been working with the administrator on this for weeks--but for some reason s/he had not felt the need to tell me about this deadline. Most of the "emergencies" are concerning our current graduate student recruitment. Somehow (dammit!) I am "in charge" of putting together our recruitment weekend this year. This basically means that I have to get the faculty in my department to sit down and talk to prospective students. Imagine scheduling your dissertation exam...times 20.
sigh. I just got back into town after being gone a week. Right now, hanging out with my wife and Mini-G are top priority. This morning we had crepes and then the first ever sleep-over commenced. We have had so much fun! We went to the playground, made dinner, and watched a movie. There are two girls in Mini-G's bedroom desperately trying to be quiet right now (not very well).
I doubt that anyone at MRU is actually desperately waiting a response over the weekend, but if they are...well, I guess I don't care. This shit will still be happening next week.