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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Timwatch 2/27

Tim this morning featured one of my favorite and one of my least favorite senators. The good: Joe Biden is super-cool. And he is from the lovely neighboring tax-free paradise that is Delaware. Oh, if only life were totally different and he were Secretary of State rather than Little Miss Look at My Fuck-Me Boots, Don't They Make You Scared? The badness is, of course, Rick Santorum. If you're not politically-minded, you may have hear of "Santorum" from Savage Love. If not, well, http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/ The weird thing was, Santorum was being really open and honest about the fact that the whole Social Security privatization thing is totally not economically feasible. And that he supports raising the retirement age. A lot. Um, Rick? Aren't you running for reelection to the Senate from the state of Pennsylvania, second only to Florida in the sheer frightening percentage of old people? Dude, they are so going to hear about that. Most of my generation is still in a hungover (or possible still-drunken) stupor when Meet the Press is on, Rick. It is totally the oldies who watch that shit, and unlike me they're not watching just because the think Tim rules.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I Miss My Sock Pattern

I'm almost done with the hat for my fellow grad student, the one who knocked up his girlfriend. Which is good, since the shower is tomorrow and all. I hate babies and I totally disapprove of this whole thing, but whatever. I'm not the one who has to push a child out of my vagina or not sleep for a year, so I'll use it as an excuse to knit things in silly pastels that only work for bridesmaids and babies.

Sadly, I have lost my sock pattern and simply cannot find it. Of course, I'd lose it in the middle of a sock. And no, I can't just frog it, since I'd already finished the first damn sock so it would be mateless forever. And there is just no way I'm sitting there trying to reconstruct exactly how the heel worked, since I don't do one of those gusset heels where you then pick up all along the flap, I do it totally from short rows and only pick up one at a time. Ugh.

So here are pictures of a completed pair and the pair that will always be sad. I still have my needles in the sock-in-progress in the dim hopes that maybe, just maybe, I'll stumble across the pattern.

Sad, isn't it?

Belated Timwatch for 2/20

A certain ridiculous live-in BF of mine keeps fucking up the internet and stupid "lab" and "teaching" have sucked all of my time, so a short and belated Timwatch from my sad, windowless office:

All during the Hillary/McCain segment, I was totally hoping they'd just start making out. And not just because they were basically saying the same things and having a little political love-fest ("well, of course I'd never actually vote for him/her because I'm a Democrat/Republican, but I totally think him/her would make an excellent President" smoochie smoochie) but just because Tim has been so lame lately. How many damn journalistic roundtables on Iraq do I have to sit through? Isn't there anything else to talk about yet?

So yeah, on the Meet the Press in my head, they were totally making out.

Friday, February 18, 2005


One of the joys of living in the Northeast (or the Midwest, I suppose) is that there is a clear and distinct winter season. None of that "it just rains a lot more" you see in the Northwest. And I know, as a native of the lovely and brutal Buffalo region, that Philadelphia winters are really not that bad.

However, it is a mile and a half walk to lab, much of which involves walking over the rather treacherous South Street Bridge across the Schuykill. With no buildings or anything to protect you from the hellacious wind gusts. This brings me to a rather gross phenomenon that I'm rather new to: the booger-sicle.

Now, having been quite the skier as a teen, I am well aware of the fact that being out in the cold, especially when doing physical activity, causes one's nose to run. And that it will melt upon coming indoors. Ew. However, I hadn't experienced this:
When I was trekking in to lab this morning in the cold and windy nastiness, my nose, as it is wont to do, started running. Whatever, I'm used to that. The really bad part happened when the wind started blowing my snot all over the place, in long clear viscous strings. It is not sexy.

But it gets better.

I should point out that there was no precipitation of any kind this morning. Yet when I happened to glance down at the front of my jacket, there were all these little ice crystals.

You know where this is headed, right? Yes, indeed, boogers had dripped down onto the front of my coat and promptly frozen onto the little wool fibers. They formed pretty little globby conglomerates of crystals, sort of in the pattern that happens with frost on windows. Ewewew.

I totally have to get this coat cleaned, though I think I'll be waiting until actual spring. In case there is a repeat of booger-sicle conditions.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

So Tell Me What I Want, Anyhow

Round two of the yearly recruiting to the neuroscience grad program starts tomorrow. I hate recruiting, yet I still wind up doing it. I just don't think I'm a very good spokesperson for the program. I mean, I'm still oscillating on whether I even want to be here, let alone do the whole career in academic science thing that they're pushing us towards, despite the utterly bleak prospects for actual academic science careers. I know, grad school is a privilege. Especially in the biomedical sciences, since I actually get my tuition and health insurance covered, plus a stipend (thanks, NIH!). And I am extremely lucky to get into this prestigious Ivy League Graduate Program. And to be paid to study rat love, basically. But still...maybe it is the sour taste in my mouth from the whole TA thing, maybe it is that the lab's finances aren't looking good, maybe it is the feeling that no matter how much I actually do - surgery, staining, sectioning, microscopy, etc etc - I still don't have any good data and you need LOTS of good data to actually write a damn thesis. I just feel so stuck.

There are, however, still a few shining moments that leave me with the thought that maybe I can do this - not just finish the degree, but postdoc and be all Important Science Person. While I complain (a lot) about being stuck socially with all scientists, there really are some cool people in neuroscience. For example, last month Michael Meaney was visiting, and I was his host. First, he's Canadian - he is at McGill - so I got to wow him with my disturbing knowledge of Canadiana and discuss such things as the prospects of the NDP that my fellow Americans just don't know. He even offered me a postdoc in his lab when I finish my degree (in, um, three years). Then at dinner, everyone got a bit drunk, including my advisor. And we all just talked about such neat stuff, from hockey to our individual theories on the neurobiology of mental illness, and it was just awesome. Will I miss out on that if I don't go in to academic science? I mean, that level of camaraderie and conversation? Yet, hose moments are just so few and far between right now I'm not sure it is worth it. Is one good evening really worth all this day-to-day crap?

Speaking of day-to-day crap, the thermostat in the microscope room has been broken for a few weeks. It is 58 degrees in there. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to do microscopy while wearing mittens? I've just been letting all my slides pile up, hoping that I'll come in one morning and the room will be all toasty. I think I'm just going to have to suck it up, since I do actually have to analyze my tracer distribution in the PAG if I'm to have any hope of getting in an abstract for the SBN meeting by March 1. Yikes!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Return of Timwatch

While I loved John Kerry's tie-shirt combo last week, I haven't found much of interest to say about the whole Meet the Press thing lately.

Until today, when I found myself agreeing with...Pat Buchanan. About how we (ie, the U.S.) can't just go around forcing people to suddenly, magically, turn into happy little democratic nations.

I feel so dirty.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Mean Things I've Been Thinking About Teaching

My students had their first exam yesterday. I have no idea how they did. They almost killed me in the process. Seriously, do they think I like having to spend three hours answering questions in one email the night before the exam? That they can just show up at my office and expect me to, like, talk to them about capacitors? Hey, kids: they're not fucking paying me to do this and you're taking time away from my thesis. You know, that thing that takes years of research to get? You're totally adding years to graduate school here. And I will remember that forever and when you're in med school and haven't slept in days and are totally miserable, I will show up and say, "HA!"

And there was the barfing. The barfing and the nosebleeds and I was so busy trying not to barf in front of my students that I totally lied about cDNA libraries. Yes, I am sorry. I know lying to students is wrong. In fairness, I didn't know at the time that I was lying, I was just so busy focusing on not letting them see the oatmeal I'd had for breakfast that I couldn't think of the right answer. It wasn't on the exam, anyway.

And, to the girl who came into my office to argue about half a point on one homework: you're wrong, dumbass. I don't give points for wrong answers and you better fucking believe I'm going to remember how petty you are. I'm glad you have half an hour to waste arguing about 1/1300th of your final grade, but I'd like to finish this degree before I'm thirty.