A Christmas memorial for Shadow

Dec 25 2012 Published by under exhaustion, This week in crazy

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.

I was SHOCKED at how many pictures there are of 1-legged cats!

I was SHOCKED at how many pictures there are of 1-legged cats!

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!

6 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

Just an example of why I

Aug 02 2012 Published by under hilarity, queer

Yesterday, Dr. Isis (@drisis if you are on twitter and don't follow, then WTF?)  took to the twitter and demonstrated why I <3 her so, so much. She started fighting back against the idiots and bigots that were bragging about their day of eating greasy chicken sandwiches w/ a side of hate. She even got blocked by Scott Baio!

Other awesome tweeps joined in (YAY to you all!), and of course Drug Monkey (@drugmonkeyblog) kept the #FWDAOTI going. I didn't get to play much, because my mom is in town and I was busy catching up with her. But every time I checked in, it was full of win.

I made a little storify that has a sampling of the awesome. It doesn't have everything, and it's not in the right order, probably. In my defense, it was the first time I storified anything. But you can get the gist. I can't figure out how to make it show up here, but you can see it here. And if you don't want to click through, here is a sample from Dr. Isis's timeline last night. Fucking. Genius.


7 responses so far

time flies on by

Jul 26 2012 Published by under mentoring, queer, Uncategorized

This week has been a little ... crazy.

First there is only what can be considered a mentoring FAIL. I am writing a review article with a grad student, and I think it is fair to say that I royally botched it. It became clear (a little late in the process) that I had not given my very new graduate student enough guidance. This is not hir fault. My expectations were totally out of whack. So now I have spent the last week spastically writing the thing over, and will have to work to make sure that ze does not feel like a failure because so little of hir sentences show up in the final version.

But then things looked up! My wife sent me a picture of a super-cute fuzzy little puppy. And he gets to come and live with us! YAY for PUPPIES!

zOMG! It's a super-cute puppy!

And finally, today is my anniversary.* Nine years ago, my wife and I stood with a small group of friends by a nice stream, said some nice things, and then had a super dinner. It was awesome. We told Mini-G about the anniversary this morning and her immediate response was "so what are we doing?". It was super cute.


*A question that I always get when people hear it is my anniversary is: "Really? I didn't think that gay marriage was legal". Please don't be that person. My relationship is not recognized by the government, but that does not change the fact that today is my anniversary. FFS.



36 responses so far


Feb 07 2012 Published by under awesomeness, queer

GUYS!!! I totally made it through grant-writing hell, and finally got the damn thing submitted. Notwithstanding some hazing from the Administrators in my grants office. Now on to the next thing. 🙂

I'm working on another post that started as a Twitter conversation about pilot grants/seed $. But in the mean time there is more awesomeness that needs to be cheered:


Yep, a US appeals court has ruled the ban against gay marriage in California unconstitutional. Congrats to all the couples who are in CA that (again) have their families recognized, and good luck to all the other couples that might decide to go down that path. I hope that the rest of the legal crap clears up soon and marriage equality can become the norm. Not just in CA, but everywhere else, too.

Happy day!! 😀

14 responses so far

The appropriate use of your time

Jan 06 2012 Published by under exhaustion, tenure-track OTJT, venting

Today Dr. O used her space on the Guest Blogge to make a record of how she spends her day. A commenter, Moss, was quick to point out how inefficient she was at using her time. I couldn't agree more.* Since I know that Dr. O is going to be starting her tenure-track position soon I thought I would show her the right way to use her time by sharing how I spend my day**:

4:30 am: Jump out of bed without an alarm because I'm just so damn excited to start working!
4:35 am: shower while listening to news on NPR [pro-tip: if you are only doing one thing at a time it is a total waste].
4:45 am: call labbies to make sure that they are on their way to lab while making coffee [now that I'm a PI it is my job to make sure the folks in lab are Doing Science].
4:50 am: drink coffee, scan through new papers on Pubmed or in TOC.
6:00 am: go for a run
7:00 am: get Mini-G ready for school
7:30 am: catch bus to take Mini-G to school, drink more coffee
8:00 am: get to lab. Check in on labbies, making sure to point out new papers they should have read as I saw them over 3 hours ago.
8:15 am: write grant
12:00: eat lunch at faculty seminar
1:30: back in lab. help rotation student set up experiments, make sure grad students have read the papers I mentioned before.
2:00: work on grant
5:00: work on grant some more
7:00: walk to bus stop. Miss bus. Get a sandwich and beer while waiting for next bus. Read ms sent to me for review.
8:00: get home, a little too late for bed time.
8:10: work on grant
11:00: grant not making sense. Start reading grad student applications.
1:00: go to bed.

Now clearly I'm still a n00b here. I'm sure that there are folks out there that can help me be even MOAR efficient. The most important thing to realize is that as scientists we have a very important job. There is simply NO EXCUSE for wasting your time with stupid things that are not Doing Science. I would ask how you all manage to be so efficient and such, but I'm sure that no one is wasting their time reading this blog.



*I also appreciate that s/he made a point about the waste of time that blogging is by...commenting on a blog. Just fantastic!

**I sure hope that Moss can help me find unimportant things to cut out of my day so I can be a better scientist, too!

edited to fix links (I hope)

28 responses so far

long weekend

Jul 28 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

That's right, I'm gonna take one. Me and the family are going to head out into the wilderness for a long weekend of camping awesomeness! See you all in August 🙂

2 responses so far

I <3 converences! (archived from LabSpaces)

Dec 05 2010 Published by under academia, tenure-track OTJT

originally posted 4 Oct 2010

I really do! I have so much fun hearing and talking about new* research, and catching up with old friends. But, I haven't been around much this last week. I was not even able to pick my NFL games! Frown At least my Broncos pulled off a win.

In any event, here are some random comments about what I have been up to:

-My brain is a little mushy right now. There were over 80 talks, each 10 minutes long, over the course of 3 days! I used to hate these talks because you can't ever actually hear a whole story. But now I realize that these are just little advertisements, so you know who to track down in the bar that evening. Still, it was intense.

-After I gave my talk, I was hunted down at the bar by a lot of folks. Hooray! Everyone was pretty excited. I even spoke to some grad students trying to find out if I have postdoc positions (YES!). Money mouth

-My liver is a little mushy right now. I was at a small conference, at a location where there was NOTHING to do except the meeting. It was fantastic. Everyone ate all the meals together, there was only ever 1 talk at a time. And there were cocktails in the bar every evening. Many cocktails. The bar is the best part of these meetings. You can walk up to anyone, even the most "famous" scientist in the room and just start talking and next thing you know you have friends in common and probably they will remember your name next time you see them! Also, some of the funniest and most entertaining folks I know were at this meeting. So fun!

-I had a random conversation that actually fits in with a comment storm that I missed out on over at Biochem Belle's place. I was having drinks with one of the Big Names in the field (I told you the bar is the best part), and Dr. BN was giving me, the n00b PI advice. I was basically told to not try to worry about knowing how to actually do the experiments that go on in the lab. As it was said to me, I never learned how to run those big, tedious sequencing gels. And it doesn't matter because no one even uses that technology anymore! Did I meet CPP Surprised?

-I have been going to a LOT of conferences for the last year or so. This was important as I was ramping up my job search. And as much as I really do enjoy conferences, when I am gone it is hard on Mini-G. We had some good quality time this afternoon after I got back, but I still feel a little bad that I left her for almost a week.

-I have so much crap to catch up on. This is going to be a crazy week! But I am really excited about the work right now Laughing



*OK, new-ish at least

I realize I went a little crazy with the happy faces. I don't even know what this one is: Money mouth But it was so easy!

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