Archive for the 'venting' category

Just keep walking

Aug 30 2016 Published by under exhaustion, venting

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.

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Of course there is bias in peer review, jackass!

Jun 08 2014 Published by under grants, venting

So the NIH has decided they want to try to minimize the effect of bias in peer review. That doesn't sound like a shitty idea, right? No. But apparently a lot of jag-offs couldn't stop themselves from starting in on the comments section. Many were "insulted" that anyone would accuse them of bias. Or wanted to make sure everyone knew that the only real bias was the kind that ended up tanking their proposals. Sigh. I don't even know how this could be a thing. Peer review is done by humans. Human are biased because of their previous experiences and their interactions with the culture and society in which they live. You don't have to be a fucking psychologist/sociologist to know this. You just have to have a few working neurons that can fire coherently and generate thoughts. Seriously, if this is hard for you then you DEFINITELY need to head over to DrugMonkey's blog to read the guest post by MyTChondria (who has a shit-ton of very active and coherent neurons, ftr).

I just have a couple things to add to some of the commenters over at Rock Talk. Beyond the obvious "pull your heads our of your assess, people!", of course that is addressed so well by MyTChondria.
1. If reviewers are repeatedly making "factual errors" when they review your grant, you might want to reconsider how you are writing your grant. Sure, reviewers will make mistakes (they are human, remember?). But it is a hell of a lot easier for a reviewer to be confused if you writing is jumbled, rambly, or incoherent.
2. There are not enough people with more than 3 R01 that limiting the number of awards would make a big difference. And if someone is smart enough and has enough ideas and resources to manage more than 3 grants, then why would we discourage them? There are a lot of places where it takes 2 R01 equivalents to run a minimal lab (soft money positions in particular). I know DrugMonkey has gotten into this before (for example, here).
3. Full-time reviewers. Seriously?!?!??! Who would take this job? No doubt they would never make mistakes. I assume that no one will be complaining about these "professional reviewers", same as everyone loves the non-academic journal editors. Can't have it both way, folks.

I just can't even understand how so many "scientists" can get their collective undergarments so twisted up over this topic. Come on folks. We're better than this.

12 responses so far

Actual emails in my inbox

May 13 2014 Published by under venting

This, folks, is what makes me want to delete my entire inbox.

subject: Dr. Z(urgent)-regard to peptide synthesis

Dear Dr. Z,

    Greetings from Wuzheng, Wish you have a nice day.
I have sent several emails to you before, I think you might be busy, so do not reply me.

    Please excuse me to take the liberty of writing to you again that we pay much attention to cooperate with you, If you need peptides in your research, you could try to compare(price, quality,service and delivery time) us with your supplier,

---
there may have been more. I had to quit reading  because it was making me want to lash out at other humans without any sort of specificity. 2 min of my life I can never get  back.

5 responses so far

On bullying and being outed

Jan 20 2014 Published by under exhaustion, venting

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. 

 

*unbloggable

22 responses so far

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

Mar 13 2013 Published by under queer, venting

OMG you guys. O M F G. I thought that I couldn't be surprised by stupid, homophobic things said out loud anymore. BUT...BUT...THIS IS JUST SO FUCKED UP THAT IT IS BLOWING MY MIND.

You may remember that in Minnesota there is an on-going debate about marriage equality. The voters actually became the first to reject a constitutional amendment against marriage equality (YAY, MN!). And now the Minnesota State Legislatures have even advanced a bill legalizing marriage equality! Holy progress, Batman!

And that is where shit gets fucked up. In a public hearing on the marriage equality bill, a "concerned father" decided to "enlighten" the lawmakers on what actually happens when TEH GEYS get married. And guys...I hope you are sitting down. Because, well...THIS dude is out of his fucking mind. Seriously. See for yourself, if you are drunk brave enough to watch.

I...just...but...OH FOR FUCK SAKE. You can read a transcript of this dude's fucked-up-beyond-belief testimony here.

There is too much stupid here to unpack it all. But holy fuck. The dude seems to think it is a big shock to the legislatures that gays have sex. FOR REAL. And he is really freaked out about this idea of "ejaculation inside the colon". Not to mention the fact that he clearly doesn't have the faintest idea of what an enzymes are, not to mention how they are different from viruses (like HIV, which causes AIDS) and bacteria (which you treat with antibiotics). Way to take stupidity + homophobia to a whole 'nother level, dude.

24 responses so far

My own path...was not straightforward

Jan 24 2013 Published by under queer, Uncategorized, venting

My IRL life has been pretty...unsettled recently. I hope to blog about this a little more in the future. But one thing that has fallen out is that I've been thinking more about the immediate reaction to Jodie Foster's Golden Globes "coming out" speech. As I process these IRL events, I can't avoid thinking more about my own coming out process. And there is a lot of stuff that keeps running around in my head...so I'm gonna try to get them out on by writing them here. BE WARNED: this is going to be a little personal and navel-gazing. If that sort of things bothers you, now is the time to click away. But, if you would like to see what else I have to say about being queer as a tt-asst. prof, look here.

IME, when you are openly queer, someone will inevitably ask "when you knew". I've struggled with this question. On some level I always knew...but at the same time I really didn't know. It took me a Really Long time to admit to myself that I was gay. Being lesbian wan't an option that I was aware of growing up. Maybe because I grew up in a big-red-flyover environment. Not to mention that I didn't even know any queer folks (that I was aware of). Whatever the reason, the whole idea was off my radar. I felt a lot of pressure to act straight - to BE straight. And honestly,  I BELIEVED I was straight. But...then folks I knew started having sex , and I didn't know how to react. I felt weird and isolated. Like I was failing somehow. So I tried to be straight the only way I knew how. I slept with guys - as many as I could. Not because I really wanted to, but because I felt like it was expected of me. That if I did that, then I would be "normal" and everyone would accept me. I went off to college and kept up with the whole dating (and sleeping with) dudes thing. I wanted to fit in. But still, something wasn't right. I didn't feel good about myself. At some point, I started to meet real, live queers - classmates, teammates, co-workers.  They were my friends. They were great people, and I loved them. I asked a bunch of questions that are, honestly, embarrassing when I think back on them*. "How did you know...?", "But...how does it work?" etc. My friends were awesome: patient, kind, and so open.

I wasn't ready to answer those questions for myself. It was too hard. It was half-way through grad school that I was able to admit that I was queer. To realize that sleeping with guys to "pass" made me feel cheap and fake. That it was self-destructive. When I finally admitted to myself that I was gay it felt like a huge burden lifted. I felt...more comfortable with myself. It wasn't "easy" - I could have kept on pretending to fit in. That would have been easier on many levels. Hell, I was terrified coming out to my family and friends. Every time I had the "coming out" conversation I had to prepare myself for the possibility that the person I was talking to might decide to cut all ties with me. It was (is) always possible. And that is really fucking terrifying. It still is.

Sometimes, I look back and wish that I had done things differently. That I had been strong enough to stand up for myself earlier. I think that us LGBTQ* folks are good at telling our coming out stories. These are awesome, empowering stories. And I love to hear them. But it is harder (at least for me) to talk about how destructive it was for me during that period when I tried so hard to fit in. When I actively denied my own truth. I am still working to understand the effects of that period of my life. I wish I could be as patient and understanding with my younger self as my fantastic queer friends were with me. I'm working on it, because this is my history. It's what makes me who I am today. I would never judge anyone else for behaving the same way in the same situation. I would cheer that they survived. I would give them a hug and tell them that IT GETS BETTER. It totally sucks that I have internalized so many negative judgements about what I did when I was younger. I know that I did the best I could back then. And the younger me deserves a lot of love and respect for making it through really hard circumstances.

Sure, I was goofy and somewhat misdirected as a youngster. THAT'S WHAT YOUNG FOLKS DO. And honestly, my life is pretty fucking amazing right now. I have a fantastic daughter. Being a mom is teaching me so much about patience and acceptance - and the process of growing up. I have a job that I love, where I don't have to hide who I am. I don't let anyone assume that I have a husband, or that Mini-G has a "Daddy".

And that is why I make an effort every day to be as out as I can.  I want anyone else that may be going through their own struggle to know that they are not alone. To see that others have made it through. That it can be fantastic, even. And that is why I encourage anyone that CAN come out does, following the Rachel Maddow model and the slightly more..colorful.. version by Dan Savage. Being visible in the community not only helps younger folks that may be struggling, but can help gain support of straight allies. But no one can tell another person when they are ready to come out, or how they should do it. I don't care if you are Anderson Cooper, Jodie Foster, or a stick figure on the interweb. Everyone has their own journey to get to the place they feel safe and comfortable enough to make their statement. The journey is important, too.  And every single person that does come out is fucking courageous as hell.

 

*I'm embarrassed now, but at the time these questions were very important to me. And really, they are not embarrassing questions. I would (and do) answer these kinds of questions pretty regularly.

33 responses so far

Grant writing RBOC

Sep 20 2012 Published by under academia, exhaustion, venting

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:

  • Did you all see how our good friend Abel Pharmboy had to deal with this person who was very, very upset that the NC museum of Natural Sciences did not outright ban scientists from companies that sell GMO (go here and here).
  • Chick-Fil-A said that they would stop giving money to hatey orgs!! Yay! Except...it was not true. Equality Fail.
  • OMG the students are back. For REAL. I have given lectures to the new grad students, and we'll see how they make the transition. There are also undergrads around, but I'm ignoring that because it just reminds me I have to start teaching the Big Class soon.
  • DADT died a YEAR AGO! My favorite thing that I have seen about this so far is when Barney Frank was on Maddow tonight. When asked what he would say to those *cough* McCain *cough* that predicted doom and gloom when this happened he replied "nyanya". I love that dude.
  • I have finally had to start sitting through MY OWN STUDENTS taking their qualifying exams. This is both awesome and extremely stressful. FTR, my grad students kick ass. Like, a lot.
  • The fucking NHL is in a lock-out. gah.
  • I don't know what my h-index is, and I will not be taking the time to figure it out. It is stupid enough that this is used by some places as a metric for evaluation. But using an "algorithm" to predict the future is just stupid.
  • Who is in charge of the timing to make sure that the reviews for papers that you submit come back right when you are working on a grant deadline? Because that sucks.

Have I missed anything important?

4 responses so far

More than a sandwich

Aug 02 2012 Published by under exhaustion, queer, Uncategorized, venting

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.

7 responses so far

This week in crazy

Jul 19 2012 Published by under exhaustion, This week in crazy, venting

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.

17 responses so far

Yeah. So, this happened. FML

May 18 2012 Published by under exhaustion, venting

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: Hi.

pd: Hi.

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: [blink]

pd: [stares]

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.

scene

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

18 responses so far

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