Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A bit better

I am indeed feeling just a bit better today.  I managed to get a bit of lab work done, although everything I touched turned into disaster.  Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze a bit of data out of it anyway.  

Speaking of data, a paper I'm an internal author on was just accepted.  This is especially exciting for me because I wrote the rebuttal letter, so I'm quite proud that I managed to not piss off the reviewers.  Particularly, reviewer 1, who was a real idiot.  Not just didn't get the paper...doesn't get biology idiot.  Postulated ridiculous explanations of things, that made absolutely NO sense given that we approached the question from two completely different systems just to avoid/address those issues.  But whatever.  I'm not bitter.  Moron.  

PSA to reviewers:  It is not helpful to have an entire review that consists entirely of "well it could be this or this or this or this", all of which are completely unaddressable and highly unlikely if not physically impossible.  Particularly when the exact same results were obtained in a second system in which there is a separate, non-overlapping set of "well it could be this or this or this or this".  We prefer that you use actual science as a basis of your review, rather than b.s. you came up with because you don't like our model (or us or whatever).  

Wow, that was cathartic!  :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Down day

I don’t know if I can do this today.  I said yesterday that I was feeling a little down.  Well, that’s gotten significantly worse today.  I feel awful.  I’m sure it’s almost entirely hormonal, but I really can’t seem to convince myself to perk up today.  Usually, I can come up with something to get myself going, and once I do get going, whatever little momentum I build up will usually at least carry me through the day.

But today I just feel paralyzed.  I can’t get myself out of my chair.  I really just want to go home and curl up.  But I’m here.  Sitting at my desk.  And I can’t get out of my chair.  This isn’t my normal I’m lazy and don’t feel like doing anything stuck in my chair.  No, this is different, and I don’t like it.

I did manage to get up and make some calming tea.  I think that has helped a little.  I’m trying to do little things.  I ordered some supplies.  I’m trying to convince myself to take some stuff down to the autoclave, but I haven’t managed to commit myself to that yet.  I haven’t even managed to move stuff around on my desk so that I could make a list on my notepad. 

It’s a down day, and I can’t seem to shake it.  It’s supposed to storm this afternoon.  I wish it would start now.  It just feels like a day that needs rain. 

Okay, I finished my tea and I’m going to get up, wash out my mug, and pop stuff into the autoclave.  Then I’m going to plan my experiments for the afternoon.  Then I’m going to eat lunch.  Then I’m going to do said experiments, like it or not.  I will not get stuck here.  I will not.

New Howard Hughes Investigators

I was reading this article, and the following quote made me feel a little sick:
The 42 men and 14 women named Hughes investigators today
Obviously, there's lots of things that could explain those numbers, but GEEZ!  If that's not indicative of a problem somewhere along the line, then I don't know what is.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I can't decide...

...if I should be peeved or thankful.  My sister just called to tell me that one of my great uncles on my father's side passed away last night.  He had been sick for a while, so it came as no surprise.  However, what I can't decide if I should be peeved or thankful about is the fact that my father didn't call me to tell me.  He called my sister.  He didn't tell her to be sure to tell me...the first thing she asked when she called was whether or not he had called.  I don't want to go to the funeral, but I live close enough that I could have.  I wasn't especially close to my uncle and his family, but they are family, and ones I've seen in recent memory and actually like.  

I mean, I am glad that I didn't have to talk to my father.  He made us make a personal appearance some years ago just to tell us that our grandfather was in prison for shooting wife number 4 or 5.  But he can't even call me to tell me somebody on that side of the family that I actually liked had died?  That's the peeved part. 

I guess I'm just confused.  And I was already feeling a little depressed.  So now I feel a little extra crappy.  Hmph!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The importance of clarity in writing

This is from an AP story I first saw on the abc news website:
Common Virus Blamed for 5 Infant Deaths, CDC Says

Better laboratory tests reveal a common illness can be deadly to newborns

Really?  This is the first time an infection has ever been fatal???  Erm, Mike, you, my friend, need an editor, proofreader, friend, something!  The name of the virus finally shows up at the end of the last sentence in the first full paragraph.  What's up with that?  Why couldn't we have done something like "This marks the first time Coxsackievirus B1 has been found to be fatal."???  Maybe I'm just irritated because the primary piece of information I wanted from the story was what the virus was.  Somehow I don't feel like I'm alone on that though.  Hmph.  

And now back to the lab work previously in progress.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A little whining, a little updating

My arm is officially not going to rot off.  Apparently I have developed a nice little DTH response to that lovely bit of fauna known as poison ivy.  And thanks to a little steroid cream, we're looking better already.  Yea!

For some reason, something possessed me today to genotype a whole horde of mice.  I rant out of tubes at 63.  Who bleeds that many mice at once?  Although, somehow, without even trying, I can still bleed upwards of 40 mice per hour, so that's something to be proud of, I suppose.  (Feel free to imagine me rolling my eyes here!)

Of course, now I'm flowing all those evil samples and teh intertubes are about done entertaining me.  Oh wait, that's my last sample running now.  Yea yea yea!!!

I'm hungry.  I have no good snacks.  That makes me sad.

My sister told my mom the other day that she wants to get her belly button pierced.  (Insert another eyeroll here.)  My sister is no wafer-thin little thing, and I don't think anyone outside of immediate family has so much as seen her belly button since she was a toddler.  But whatever.  I told my mom that she should tell her that when she gets a job and can pay for it herself she can get it.  I'm not going to hold my breath on the job or the piercing.

I was looking at cute little doggies this afternoon!  I want a doggie!  We tried to adopt a dog about a year and a half ago, but that turned into a major disaster.  That's another story for another time, but suffice it to say that the foster mom was just kidding when they told us that she was crate trained and house broken, and didn't bother to mention the SEVERE separation anxiety.  But anyway, when we were at the beach last weekend there were soooo many cute dogs and I want one.  When I get tired of trying to convince myself that I don't want a baby right now, I think about dogs. it bad that I'm just sitting here watching the cytometer clean instead of going back to lab and trying to look busy?  I'm tired of this week.  Oh least now that all my mice are screened I can setup some new stuff.  New stuff that might even work!  (Trying ever so hard to be optimistic...)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thoughts on education (that deteriorate into a rant)

I’ve been reading and thinking about education a bit today.  My sister (my little baby sister sniffle) is graduating from high school this month!  She goes to a public high school in rural Georgia, which is the same school system I was in from first grade on. 

For those of you that aren’t aware, public education in Georgia is, well, a disaster.  It was okay when I was in school, and obviously varied greatly by school system.  However, things have gone downhill superfast.  Scary super fast. 

A number of issues have plagued public education in Georgia:

  • That whole evolution thing (for my most recent amusement, see here)
  • Curriculum issues—implementation of a new math system that seems to be dicey at best, instituting new standards at the middle school level before the elementary level, etc.  My favorite, however, is requiring four years of high school science for all students.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for awesome science education.  However, it appears that no one took into consideration the number of new teachers this would require or where the money for those new hires is coming from.  It’s going to be very, very, very ugly in a few years. 
  • Leadership issues—in particular, the Clayton County school system is going to lose their accreditation in the fall.  (Check out articles here and here for more information.)  The decision hasn’t been finalized, but I don’t see it turning out any other way.  (The really sad part is, this is an entirely administrative and non-academic issue.  Morons!!!)  This whole thing really makes me sick.

All of this just makes me very sad.  Younger BIL will graduate next year, and we will be out of the Georgia public school system for good, other than my MIL, who teaches 5th grade.  I really wish there was something I could do to at least help a little, but I’m all out of ideas. 

The other thing I was thinking about today was this article from The Juggle on WSJ.  The question it posed was “College: Time to Accept it’s Not for Everyone?”  I can’t even express how much I agree with that.  Some students are not good at academics.  Period.  Which makes me extra angry that Georgia now only offers a high school college preparatory track.  Some people are not good at “book learnin”.  GET OVER IT!!!  The thing is, those people are typically good at something, sometimes really, really good at something non-academic. 

Why do we punish those students???

Why should we discourage some students from becoming skilled laborers?  Why do we deny them the opportunity to learn a trade in high school?  Why do we expect all students to excel at academics? 

I can think of kids I went to high school with that were damn good mechanics, electricians, etc.  Those people didn’t need to take four years of science.  They don’t need to take Math 4, whatever that entails.  I don’t care if my mechanic knows trig, heck, algebra.  I want him/her to FIX MY CAR!!! 

I believe education is important, and the everyone should have the opportunity to follow whatever path it is that they choose.  I just don’t have a problem with a kid working really hard at learning to be an electrician rather than studying chemistry. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Book Meme!

As seen at dirt and rocks--a book meme!

The top 100 or so books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold the books you have read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment


One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion

Life of Pi: a novel

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick


Madame Bovary

The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

The Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel

War and Peace

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Iliad


The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations

American Gods

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Atlas Shrugged

Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books

Memoirs of a Geisha



Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales

The Historian: a novel
(in progress)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Love in the Time of Cholera

Brave New World

The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum



The Count of Monte Cristo


A Clockwork Orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible


Angels & Demons


The Satanic Verses

Sense and Sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

To the Lighthouse

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Oliver Twist

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


The Prince

The Sound and the Fury

Angela’s Ashes: a memoir

The God of Small Things

A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present



A Confederacy of Dunces

A Short History of Nearly Everything


The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The Mists of Avalon

Oryx and Crake

Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed

Cloud Atlas

The Confusion



Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye

On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values

The Aeneid

Watership Down

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Hobbit

In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences

White Teeth

Treasure Island

David Copperfield

Ugh! And critters!

I think my arm is rotting off.  Periodically throughout my life, my skin decides it hates me.  Sometimes it starts with a bug bite.  This time it was two little scrapes courtesy of the jungle that is my back yard.  Tiny.  One of them originally looked like a needle stick (I think it was a rose thorn).  And then I scratch.  Not thinking about it, obviously.  Sometimes even in my sleep.  And things explode.  I get serious inflammation that turns into big nasty half dollar sized welts.  It's ugly.  And then it itches.  Bad.  And I try soooo hard not to scratch.  Eventually these evil little critters heal, but it's a long, slow, miserable, itchy process, with a whole lot of my trying to convince myself that my arm couldn't possibly itch because I don't even have an arm.

Anyway, I have two of these that have been looking pretty ugly, but I've been being good and not scratching.  They have started to heal.  However, four new bumps subsequently popped up on my lower arm.  Which I studiously ignored, but one of them in particular is growing.  Groan!!!  Then yesterday I noticed a bunch of little bumps on my upper arm.  Maybe 7 of them.  I'm ignoring them too, and so far, they aren't turning into the growths.  Then this morning my other hand itched.  So i rubbed my hand over it and discovered a whole new herd of little tiny bumps, which I now have on both hands.  I think it may be time to take this one to the doctor.

Furthermore, there is a flea in my chair that has jumped on me like three times.  (And no, none of the creature bumps are flea bites...oh were it that simple!)  Go harass the kitty for crying out loud!!!!  Me and Mr. Lou...we're about to go flea murdering again.  Just when I thought they were all gone...  Poor kitty may be getting another bath, bless his furry little heart.  Funny part is, I think he kind of likes baths...  Silly kitty!

And also to keep things interesting, I have the tiniest bit of sunburn on my chest.  And it itches.  I think I'm in itchy hell.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This amuses me (and makes me a little sad)

So I've been arguing with this person on a message board all day about whether or not intelligent design should be part of K-12 science curriculum.  My first request of references supporting ID, he told me I should watch Expelled.  Eyeroll!  Request for references number 10 or 12, I got directed to the Discovery Institute website.  Bigger eyeroll!  But it was made all better when I found a reference on the DI website to a paper in, get this, the Journal of Fuzzy Systems.  I almost hope (for their sake) that a hacker was responsible for that.  Somehow I doubt that's the case though.  And what do you know...still no legit references to be found.  I must be in a good mood today, because this isn't ticking me off like it usually does.

However, what does really tick me off is that I bought some pita chips made by Snyder's of Hanover (whose pretzels I loooooove) and they are TERRIBLE!!!  Seriously gross.  They melt down into some sort of wet sawdust kind of consistency and it's just bad.  So bad I actually emailed them, which is very unlike me.  So just say no to Snyder's new multigrain pita chips!!!

Gag me with a spoon!

David Kirby has been up to his usual stellar (eyeroll) reporting over at his blog on Huffington Post.  The part that is really disgusting to me is the comments.  It's like some of these people worship this guy because he doesn't have the testicular fortitude to actually think for himself and critically evaluate, well, anything as far as I can tell.  Some of the comments are just praising his fabulous journalism and blah blah blah.  Except that in this post, all he does is quote from an interview somebody else did.  Should I be impressed by that?  Because, well, I'm like, NOT.  

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yea housework!

I've been rocking out some laundry and organizing and whatnot while TM has been working his landscaping magic.  Today is one of those days I enjoy housework.  I know, weird, huh?  I think it's genetic.  My sis and I both cope with stressful times by kicking it into Martha Stewart overdrive.  We both turn into crazy, manic cleaning machines.  It's actually pretty impressive, now that I think about it.

Anyway, one thing I do NOT enjoy doing is vacuuming.  We have the most horrendous piece of crap Kenmore vacuum.  It is nearly impossible for me to maneuver.  We have one room with carpet, a small den.  TM called halfway through this endeavor.  He wanted to know why I was out of breath.  The vacuum sucks that bad!  I swear it may have square wheels or something. 

 Meanwhile, the furry feline has his face stuck in an air conditioner vent.  Spoiled rotten.  

And now back to the laundry already in progress.  Maybe I'll get out my little hand-held super vacuum and get the mounds of cat hair off the furniture.  That one I can handle.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Grr!!! Stupid people annoy me!

Who argues that you can't prove a negative, and the proceeds to try and convince you that any rational person would agree that correlation equals causation?!?!  Please forgive my stunned silence, Mr. Stupid Person.

To be filed under incredibly annoying:
The rotating dude and I were the only ones in the lab last night.  Crazy man came in and started chatting with rotating dude.  That's all fine and dandy.  Where does rotating dude decide to perch himself for this conversation?  That's right, folks, MY CHAIR!!!!  It's not like there are 4 other chairs within 2 steps of my desk.  Why?  Are people really that oblivious and rude???  Don't know why I'm being cranky.  Hmph.

And something weird is going on with my laptop battery, but I haven't figured out exactly what yet.  Hmph.  HMPH!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May Scientiae is up!

The May Scientiae is up over at Flicka Mawa's A Cat Nap.  It's a fantastic carnival full of interesting insights about our career paths, goals, and how nothing ever goes according to THE PLAN.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A blogalicious brain vomit!

One of my high school English teachers made us do this exercise he called a brain vomit.  The premise was that you just got all your thoughts out.  You were supposed to just keep writing for whatever set period of time.  There seem to be lots of things just running wild in my poor little brain, so I think it’s time to set them free on the blogosphere!

  1. I have babies on the brain!!!  While we were visiting my mom this past weekend, we kept my cousin's two little boys who are 2 months and almost 2 years old.  Needless to say it was quite an adventure.  Despite not getting any sleep, I want so very badly to kidnap them!  Or have one of my own.  And that seems to be all I can think about today.  Fortunately, it’s a happy afterglow kind of thinking about it, not the painful, frustrated, longing kind of thinking about it.  I’m sure that will return shortly.
  2. My father got married again this weekend, bringing his total number of marriages to three.  It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever suffered through.  I am the black sheep on this side of the family because I have very little to do with my father (and because I’m getting a PhD and haven’t popped out any babies yet).  The reason I have very little to do with him is because he was verbally and physically abusive to my mom when I was a child.  He’s mellowed a lot with age, and I appreciate that, but I still have no use for him. 

Back to the wedding, it was a super duper hardcore religious Southern Baptist young earth kind of ceremony.  Which is bad enough.  But this is his third marriage, and I don’t know how many times his lovely bride has been married, but she has two children that I would guess have two different fathers.  And he has at least one bastard child that was conceived while he was married.  So it was kind of disgusting to sit through all the be faithful forever, I’ll love you until I die crap. 

Everything was super tacky too.  It was an early afternoon wedding.  The bride wore a dress with a cathedral length train.  A dress that was “hemmed” in the front with duct tape.  I can’t make this up.  The groom’s cake was on a table covered with camo and the cake had a deer head on it.  I guess it’s better than a red velvet armadillo.  The reception consisted of punch, peanuts, dinner mints and the cake.  I didn’t expect a full meal, but some pretzels would have been nice.  Maybe some cheese and crackers? 

Okay, tacky wedding rant complete (and with no mention of the cankles or their arm/wrist equivalent.  Ew.)

  1. Crazy Man ticked me off again last week.  We had joint lab meeting with our collaborators across town.  These are always painful occasions because our collaborator (Jabba the Hut) is outrageously obnoxious, but we’ll save that for another day.  Crazy Man had ordered pizza for us, and he was running late, so he called to tell us to sign for it and take it down to the conference room.  I answered the phone when he called, and he said, “Could one of you girls sign for the pizza and take it down to the room?”  I was seriously speechless.  And what do you know, us two girls were doing experiments while the boys were sitting at their computers.  Grrrrr!!!

I think that’s it for now.  I’m taking off a little early again today.  TM demands groceries so that he can concoct me some gourmet meals.  Who am I to stand between TM and groceries???  J  Crazy Man will probably be ticked at me by the end of the week, but whatever.  I got a lot of work done today, and by the end of the week I should actually (hopefully) have some data to show for it.  That should appease him.  I hope.