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Monday, June 27, 2005

"Its like trying to make an ice sculpture out of water" : Recap of SBN

So I safely returned from Texas and days just jam-packed with discussion of the rat love. And the lizard, fish, naked mole rat, bird, and hamster love. One hell of a society, SBN. Anyway, it is really small - there are only a few hundred members - but they're a pretty diverse group of people. Lots of science was discussed and presented in poster form and I don't feel like getting into that. My poster did indeed get finished and actually didn't look nearly as craptacular as I was anticipating. Most people went right by but the people that stopped to talk about it were super-interested, which is good. I guess even at SBN hardcore anatomy is a niche market.

Austin is way way way too hot but the beer is damn cheap. Ummm...I met for lunch with Laura, which shows the benefits of being part of the international craft mafia: you'll know people everywhere. And I got very very drunk with some postdocs and met a whole lot of Canadians. Except some of them are really Americans in Canada and others are Canadians in America, you can only tell by making them say "sorry" a few times. So, the first night I went out with postdocs and the second out for dinner with the advisor, who left the meeting early and didn't really hang out at all. Seriously, people kept asking me where she was and why she hadn't alked to them. Since I, as her grad student, can totally know where she is, what she is up to, and her motivations for whatever the first two are at all times. I really wish she was more social since networking is so important in this field and it would be a big help to my future if she'd actually, you know, introduce me to people. So for all practical purposes I was the only person from Penn there and totally didn't know anybody. Yes, I met people and that was great but I could've used the leg up at the beginning, you know?

Right, the fun parts. So Friday night there was a meeting about political-ish stuff but it was more public policy and education and what/how we as a society should address things. And how to get people to know we exist. This was where I met all the Lehigh people, since they had beer and invited me to drink it with them. One good thing about Texas: you can buy all sorts of booze, not just beer, at CVS. Fun fun fun, though a bit obsessed with ass/poop jokes. I've found many scientists to be obsessed with juvenalia (myself included), probably because we spend so much time doing advanced logic-y thinking we need a break. Ha ha, I said poop. Saturday night was the banquet, open bar for two hours, cash after that. But...there was also a cash bar at the poster sessions and I was totally painfully obsessed with the one bartender. I honestly have never come across someone so man-pretty in my life. Then he was bartending at the banquet, so not only did I get to talk with him, I got free drinks even after I wasn't supposed to. And we were supposed to go out, but didn't since he didn't get to call until after two am at which point I'd already come back from the bars and was just staying up until the cab came to take me and the Lehigh people to our abscenely early (6 am!) flights. But I'm getting ahead of myself. So, dreamy bartender and more mayhem with Lehigh people, plus a Canadian transplanted to Georgia, all drinking and a little dancing and general embarassment. But everyone, even the grownup important sciencey people were drunkety so really it was okay. Dreamy bartender was a philosophy major and is applying to law school in the hopes of doing immigration law and is very nice but I'm sure I'll never see him again. Sigh. Aren't there any immigration law programs in the Northeast?

So I went to the bars post-banquet - like 1 am - with Jeannie from Lehigh and Aras from Georgia state (who is actually a professor and former Canadian) to some dive, the Jeannie and I stayed up and found all the other Lehigh people and cabbed it to the airport before 4am. Because nothing says "fun" like flying drunk, then hungover. No! Sleep! 'Til Cleveland! (btw, no direct flights between Philly and Austin...grrr.) Upon my return, I discovered that my car has one tire that is totally flat but as I've never changed one before it is still sitting there, sad and deflated outside my apartment. While I wasn't hung over anymore, I did feel like shit and totally haven't unpacked yet. Sleep is for the weak! As is unpacking!

Yes. In conclusion, the meeting didn't suck nearly as much as I feared. Now we'll see if we can get our big R01 out by Friday, without which we won't be funded to do things like go to fun meetings. Or any of that "science" stuff we're supposed to be doing.

Monday, June 20, 2005

More Timwatch and Badness

Tim yesterday was all John McCain. Is it just me, or does he seem kind of down? Like he's been so relentlessly trampled by the dogmatic hardcore Republicans that he just really, really needs a nap? Also, did he get a too-short haircut or has his jaw always looked that weirdly swollen? Seriously, my face looked like that after I got all of my (impacted) wisdom teeth out. Except with sexy greenish-yellow bruises along the jawline. I think Tim is widening, too. Can you get beef on weck in DC?

Still not done putting together my poster for the SBN meeting. It doesn't help that a bunch of stuff I really need is on my dead, sad, blown-up computer and NO I don't back it up regularly (as in, since November) and YES I really should do that but for fuck's sake regret really isn't moving this poster forward so shut up! More NIH Image analysis, yet no more data. But I did go to Indian buffet with the ex last night after I got out of lab at 8:30. He really is a great guy, we should have broken up eons before we actually did since I do enjoy hanging out with him, just not in the relationship way. Plus, the boy is an Indian buffet machine and it is really entertaining to watch.

I bought this thing with which to hack at the massive mutant weeds in my yard and pots and dirt and seeds in the hopes of breaking my streak of killing every plant that has the misfortune of being in my care. Of course, the landlord still hasn't taken the old broken fridge out of the yard. Maybe I'll plant things in it or something. I still need a table, and something flat to put the table on. I really really want to have a party for Canada Day/my belated birthday/apartment warming but with this stupid meeting I have to go to I'm not sure I'll be able to pull it together in time. Really, I just want an excuse to drink lots of Molson and have more cute maple leaf bottle caps to make magnets out of.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Fork-in-the-Eye Bad

I spent 11 and a half hours in the lab yesterday and today doesn't look like it is going to be any better. First the electron microscope wasn't cooperating and by the time it was working again my day had officially been delayed by about three hours. Then there wasn't anything good on my grids anyway. My rats refused to go to sleep and I'm not one for doing perfusions with rats that are even the tiniest bit awake, so...more lost time. And then to crown my day, hours and hours of image analysis with NIH Image just to realize that I still have no data. I hate NIH Image, it doesn't even work on PCs so I have to use one of the lab macs and I really hate them, they crash all the damn time.

Of course, my computer won't turn on so it isn't like I could use it anyway. Fun fact: my abstract for the SBN meeting (which is in six days) is on that computer and apparently noplace else. This meeting hasn't published an abstract guide so I have no idea what it even said and I have no way to find out. Sort of makes putting together the poster tricky. Of course, as I have no data to put in the poster...you see where I'm going with this. I'm supposed to present at lab meeting in 40 minutes. I have nothing to say and am considering just breaking down in tears. I actually considered shoving those plastic forks from ABP into my eyes yesterday in the midst of the image analysis hell, but I realized that they probably weren't sterile and my advisor would come up with some way for me to do imaging with forks in my eyes anyway. Just adjust the microscope so the forks don't get in the way!

This will be the worst summer ever: the meeting next week, my advisor's RO1 deadline July 1, my advisor's NSF deadline July 10, my NRSA resubmission deadline August 5 and sometime in there I have to have a thesis committee meeting, except it is impossible to get all of us in the same room at the same time. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to do actual science with all the writing and editing I'm going to have to do for all of those grants, but of course my actual science is needed to give us a shot at actually being funded. Whoring yourself out for federal dollars is really a pain in the ass.

I should've gone to law school.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Return of Timwatch

So I bought an antenna for my TV and I now get nine whole channels! Including NBC, so I can get my Tim fix. Awwwww yeaahhh. Except it was really boring yesterday...things in Iraq suck, basically. Though Joe Biden was on and I like him, at least most of the time.

My laptop is dead. Very very dead, won't even turn on dead and I spent an hour on the phone with various asshats from Sony this morning trying to convince them that yes, I did have the extended warranty so pleeease fix it for me. Except I have to send it off to CA to get fixed, and find proof of the warranty. Since I'm guessing it is either the internal power source or the motherboard, and those are Very Expensive To Fix and as my car already has a hood that won't shut, no rear suspension, and dead AC and I have to pay for all that furniture I was forced to buy...yeah it better be covered. This broke thing is really no fun.

In good news...Sloan was awesome on Saturday. The opening band was okay, their best feature was that the lead singer was wonderfully man-pretty. Conor Oberst-type pretty, only he had some lame preppie blonde girl dragging him around after their set. But I talked to two Sloan people this time, as always impressing the Canadians with my knowledge of the NDP. Oh, and snagged a set list (take that, Certain Filmmaking Ex!). Anderson was impressed not only by my enthusiasm (I'm not sure he's seen me be that exuberant, at least not while sober) but with my ability to get to talk to the band. Really, I'm a cute girl with a unique tattoo, it isn't rocket science. However, I did not accomplish my goal of marrying a Canadian and moving up North and getting myself some of that tasty socialized medicine. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I Hate Global Warming

Ninety degrees in early June is not okay. It is eyeliner-meltingly hot and I prefer my eyeliner to be on my eyes, not running down my cheeks. So I'm cranky and really missing Buffalo. Say what you want about the massive piles of snow we have at least six months of the year, the summers are very lovely.

I'm melting and my AC keeps blowing the fuse in the bedroom. Stupid old rowhouse wiring. I've been biking since I'll be just as sweaty if I walk and I can't bear to be moving outdoors very long anyway. Nothing says "ready for lab" like coming in dripping with sweat and bike chain grease.

Brilliant thunderstorm last night, though. It was fun to watch from the 14th floor of BRB (where the post-lame SIB retreat dinner was), at least until the rain started coming in the roof. Good thing my lab is here in this impenetrable Cold War-era fortress. I may not have windows but I don't get rained on either. Especially fun was the four glasses of wine, free! And then the quizzo and $6 pitchers. Because neuroscientists aren't afraid to get trashed on a Monday and then do rat brain surgery the next day. Shaky hangover hands just increase the degree of difficulty.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Full Disclosure

Some things I think should be disclosed pre-nudity:
-That you have a girlfriend
-That you're a Republican
-That not only did you vote for Bush (twice!) you also voted for Perot
-That you've been to jail...for tagging
-That you have, in fact, smoked crack

Something I never, ever want to hear in bed:
"I'm really really into anal"
"Giving or receiving?"
"Receiving?! I'm not gay!"

I've taken to screening my calls. Obviously.