Not entirely sure what to do.

•September 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This falls under the whole “I have things to do, but nothing pressing” topic.  I have a couple different things I could do right now.  I could 1.) hang out around the house and read blogs 2.) go to work and try to finish off this week’s data collection or 3.) write a proposal.

1.) Downside:  I have read all my blogs, and there really isn’t anything good to do on the internet anymore.  Upside:  I get to keep drinking coffee.

2.) Downside:  I have a lull in my day from 3 to 6 where I can’t do anything important, so I was going to do that then.  Upside:  I could go home from 3 to 6, maybe there will be something more interesting to do here then?

3.) Downside:  I am really not sure what I would write.  Upside, I get to keep drinking coffee, and I feel productive.

I think I will take option 2.) I like the upside the best, and the downside isn’t that big of a deal.  Besides I should have more data to analyze by this afternoon as well.

*I intend to apply for a lot of funding this year, however, nothing even opens until October.  I wrote a letter for a fellowship the other day and sent it off, but I really don’t expect to hear from them.  I guess having a generic proposal wouldn’t be bad.



•August 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Pam and I have resolved the issues circulating.  Domestic tranquility is restored.  I think from here on out I will use the letter approach, as it does allow me to voice my concerns to her, and it allows her the space to process them.  Sometimes I think she just needs space, but we also need to resolve our conflicts.

With domestic peace restored, I turn my focus to matters more related to daily life, namely, teaching.  I am teaching a different class this Fall, it is a class that is more suited to me in some ways, and is easier to teach, so I am very glad I landed the spot.  Additionally, unless something unforeseen occurs, I will likely teach this course until I graduate.  I’ve always enjoyed teaching, I find it…rewarding I suppose?  To be honest I am not sure why I enjoy teaching, perhaps it is because I am a social creature, and it allows me to interact with others?  Perhaps it makes me feel smart, but to be honest I’ve never really pondered why I enjoy teaching.  Regardless, if you were to draw a line in the sand, and put the scientists who teach in our department on one side, and the pure scientists on the other, I’d be on the teachers side.

I’ve always been annoyed at the stereotype of the scientist who can’t explain what he is doing to the lay person.  For starters, I think, for the most part that stereotype is false, most researchers who work at a university are required to teach, and have to have at least some ability to communicate with lay persons.  Additionally, there is a quote in Cat’s Cradle “any scientist who can’t explain to an eight-year old what he is doing is a charlatan.”  While, I don’t think it is gospel, I do feel there is a nugget of truth to it.  We should be able to explain what we are doing to the general public, and I would hope most scientists are, and do try to interact with the general public in some manner.


•August 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

About 5 this morning, a fight started.  How does a fight start at 5 in the morning one asks?  Well, I will tell you how a fight starts.  Shithead decided he wanted to go to the other side of the bedroom this morning.  He was feeling especially spry, and decided rather than walk around the bed, like a civilized kitty would do, he would jump on the bed and go over, bounding over both Pam and I.  Pam, being sort of asleep, felt the cat’s feet hit her throat and grabbed him and threw him.  Not extremely hard, but with enough force that he hit the wall.  I am absolutely positive that she didn’t mean for him to hit the wall, but it scared the shit out of Shithead.  I went and checked on him, and was rather peeved Pam would do that, even unintentionally.  Later, I called her out on it.  She was upset and hasn’t talked to me since*.  Now there are two different issues in place here which I will address separately.

The first is how she treated the cat.  The cat did something stupid, he should have not been a dick and stepped on her throat, but that doesn’t make what Pam did right either.  Cats will be dicks, it happens, she needs to control her anger, and how she lets it out.  What if that would have been our child who jumped her on her in the middle of the night?  Why should I think she would handle that situation any better than she did with the cat?  The fact that she didn’t mean to doesn’t make it ok either, she could have severely injured the cat.  In general she needs to establish an outlet for her anger, she has trouble misplacing it.  She isn’t violent, but when she has a bad day at work, she comes home in a bad mood and takes it out on me, which is unacceptable.  I am not entirely sure how well this conversation will blow over when she gets home but it needs to be said.


The second issue is how she handled me calling her out on it.  She gets mad at me for calling her out, which isn’t fair.  She messed up, I called her out, I expect her to do the same to me.  I realize she felt bad about Shithead already, but I need to impress upon her exactly how severe this is, and we need to talk about.  Whenever I confront her, or call her out, she gets really upset and won’t talk to me, she makes me feel like it was my fault, like I did something wrong.  So then whatever issue started the conflict just gets forgotten and washed under the rug.  We will never survive as a couple without appropriate conflict resolution.

Now for a resolution, how do we address these issues without her shutting down.  I need to communicate with her how I feel, why I am upset, and why this is important to me, and she never lets me do that.  Perhaps I will write her a letter, and leave it in the car for her at work.  That way I can clearly articulate my thoughts, and she can get them all, and then when she is ready we can talk.

*Approximately 3 hours.


•August 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Today I insured my new laptop.  Turns out you can get it specifically insured, from anything for about 3 or 4 dollars a month.  Additionally, you can get all the data you want backed up for another 3-4 dollars a month.  So basically, if I were to lose my laptop, everything on it would be restored to me within a couple of weeks.  I love it.  Now that I am all secured, I can continue to beat up my laptop like I always do.

I was cruising through some data today, looking for evidence that my treatment is working.  So first I went in to the literature and found some expected growth rates for my study organism, then I got the actual growth rates for my organism and compared them.  There is a nice stepwise connection, with my most extreme treatment showing the least growth, and my softest treatment showing closest expected.  It is good to know, after all the troubles we had this Summer, that our treatment is about where it needs to be.

Life is good!

Round 2

•August 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The second year of my graduate career begins very soon.  I feel, nothing really.  I mean, I’ve had first days of school so many times now, that it is just another day, albeit slightly more interesting.  I’ve been in graduate school for a year, now, so that isn’t new, everything is just kind of mundane and uninteresting.  The biggest changes will be the new graduate students, who I am excited to meet.  There is a new student in our lab, who I still haven’t meet. My adviser isn’t exactly the type of person who forces people to meet each other, so eventually I will run in to her, but my adviser isn’t going to have a social so we can all meet.

I did meet two other grad students however.  Frank and I were at a happy hour, and there were two really confused looking people staring at our group.  We felt bad so decided to introduce ourselves.  Turns out they are very interesting people, in a lab related to my own.  One is from the region of the country I am from, and we share many sports teams in common, which will be fun I am sure.  I am likely to throw a Packer party for the home opener so I will be sure to invite her.

I did get my laptop in the mail, it is purty!  It is much smaller than my older laptop, but has many of the same features and perks.  Thus far I am very impressed with it, however, the one downside is the track pad.  It isn’t as good as my old one, however this model of laptop has two methods of cursor movement built in to it, and I have a portable mouse, so I have been working on finding a configuration that works best for me.  We will see how that goes in the coming weeks.

Shiny happy new toy and news

•August 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Tomorrow I am supposed to get a shiny new toy in the mail!  It is my new laptop!  Currently, UPS says it is in Kentucky,which blows my mind.  The thing made it fro Shanghai to Kentucky in two days, but hasn’t left Kentucky yet.  Hopefully it is on time, Friday, I have a meeting, and my semester pretty much starts then so I’d like to play with it for a day and get it all set up to my preferences.

In other news Pam went to another doctor to assess some lingering issues.  The doctor has a hypothesis that we are testing out.  Should it be proven correct Pam’s medical problems may be explained, and then can be treated, however, it could have serious implications for the rest of our lives.  Should it not work, we are not further than we were before…I’m not sure which i prefer…I guess it is something to pray about.

The Fedex guy who delivers to our apartment is a moron.  He leaves these tags, saying he was here, but he doesn’t say who the package is for, and when he will be back.  3/4 of the people in this apartment can’t remember what apartment is theirs, and put the wrong number on.  So today, I have to sit at my apartment the whole fucking day waiting for a package that isn’t mine.  He will most likely get a lecture from me, as I am not in the best of moods.

Time to pull back the cobwebs…

•August 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t written on here is so long, I had to look at my last post to see what I was even talking about.  I really have no excuse, as my Summer hasn’t been all that busy really and internet access hasn’t been a problem.  I think losing my laptop really did throw me in a funk though, just caused me to lose my daily routine, alter how I did things. Regardless here I am, and this post will basically be a quick run down of the Summer.

Computer:  Fried my laptop, turns out wine and electronics do not mix.  New laptop has been purchased and is currently in the mail from Shanghai*, should arrive the day before I will really start to need it.  Hooray for timing!

Pam:  Has recovered from her surgery quite well, and has been working like a demon to get caught back up financially.  She should be back to even by the end of August, until then, money is tight for both of us, but we are squeaking by in high style like we do.  I think she is doing quite well.

Pets:  Despite both of them almost dieing this morning**, both are getting along really well.  Littleshit is starting to grow up, and isn’t nearly as cute as he was.  We are beginning to train both of them.  I am wondering if getting a second cat was a good idea, but I think it will work out just fine.

Research:  Has been a clusterfuck.  Something about me and research, I should not be a biologist, as whatever my study subject is, dies.  It is like I am death.  My treatments were to strong, and they were confounding each other, we’ve lost close to 30 animals.  It appears that they will be just fine now though, as we have adjusted the experiment and animals are starting to survive.  I think it is going to work out, however, I may have to do some more data collection next Summer, which sucks, but it shouldn’t delay my graduation.

Teaching:  I had a great group of kids, it was really cool to see them progress through the Summer.  They really picked things up fast and were quite astute.  I am going to try to get my nose in again, hopefully I can teach that Summer course again, it was a great experience.

It has been a good Summer, but I am ready for fall to start.  The start of my second year, I am excited for it to start.  I now know what to expect, and what to do, I should have a good year.  I am also really looking forward to meeting the new students.

*Love that Shanghai is a real place, it sounds so made up.

**Little fuckers had to play in the bedroom while I was trying to sleep.