Monday, April 30, 2012

one point twenty one gigawatts!!!

This weekend was so much fun!
It was super crowded (they were at capacity both days) but we got to wander and see lots of great actors and get cool art and collectibles and be a goof for a few days. Tasty food in the evenings, dressing up all crazy, saw some favourite actors (the entire cast of STTNG were there)...AND I GOT TO SIT IN THE DELORIAN. There were a LOT of cool costumes. It was my friend's birthday too and I met up with other friends...and...and...Oh yes. :)
This morning I slept in a bit to relax and today it's back in to everything. I have a busy day ahead. I totally forgot that today is the last day to do you taxes...he heh. So that's tonight I guess, plus I have to rack my mead and add the clarifier. Jeez...busy night ahead. Thankfully our taxes aren't that big of a deal to do...just takes an hour or two I'd rather spend on something else. Usually J and I do them together but he has to work late tonight so it'll likely just be me and the numbers and the mead...I doubt I'll get any thesis in tonight!
Must dash...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Full frontal nerdery

Comicon this weekend!
Just one more night of damn thesis work before I can let my geek flag fly.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Absolutely no cold fusion after hours

I'm starting the writing up a lot of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for our new labs. It's rather slow going, particularly with me spending all evening alone writing on my thesis, but very necessary. To keep my brain alert, I've added things to amuse myself as space fillers in a few SOPs which may or may not be removed when they are posted (to see if people actually read them!)

An excerpt from my yet to be completed working alone policy:

"... tasks that should never be done alone or after hours in the laboratory include:
-The dispensing or handling of dangerous chemicals (unless previously authorized)
-Any activity involving heavy lifting or the use of ladders
-Ninja training *
-Cold fusion *"


up and down

I feel so bad for my sister in law. Yesterday was her 30th birthday. Yesterday she also lost her baby, which was about 3 months along. It's never easy to go through something like that (I've never had kids so I can only speak from talking with friends and family who've dealt with miscarriages)...but to wake up to that on your birthday? To spend all day in the hospital and then have to try and explain it to your 3 year old daughter? To have to tell everyone you just told about being pregnant that you aren't? Well, that just...yeah.

It makes me grateful for what I have. Makes me feel guilty for complaining about a thesis.
Last night I got very angry with my thesis. See, I have about 20 pages of discussion, but I am finding it hard to put into an order that flows. I have 3 main hypotheses that overlap. It's hard to logically talk about them, because of the overlap...some of them are needed to explain others. It's so incredibly frustrating to try and put down logically. I think I've finally hammered out an order to start trying to plunk things into, but I feel like I wasted an evening. Like I can't finish.
I'm just beyond annoyed with all of this writing business. I feel like there isn't much point in complaining, because I already have said everything. I just want to be done.
I will work hard the next 3 days...and then go away and relax for a while...we'll see if that helps.

Monday, April 23, 2012


My neighbor seems to feel that shoving an entire desk into his yard waste bin like this is just A-OK.
Seriously - what goes through people's heads?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

power of ideas

This morning I was woken up by ideas instead of cats. I've heard of others saying ideas just came to them about what to talk about, and it hasn't happened to me yet until now.
My brain is a bit overworked (ok rather fried) with all I'm asking it do lately, so I was a bit surprised to wake up from a dream with a whole bunch of great thesis discussion points. Before they floated away again I grabbed a notebook and wrote them down. Then I realised since I was awake I should go type them up. So now I have 3 solid pages of discussion points for my thesis - this calms me greatly.
There is something daunting about not just presenting what I did but discussing it critically and comparing it to what is currently out there. My project is on a new area of a test that isn't optimized yet and it's damn tricky talking and comparing things because there isn't a lot of things out there to compare it too. Thankfully in the last week I've found a few good scientific papers on different aspects of my project I can compare and contrast to and discuss. I am pushing down the "I just want to be done" voices and really trying to make this a quality thing. It's hard, because honestly there are days where I sit down and stare and end up wasting time looking up mead recipes and facebook things, but in the end, slowly but surely I am whittling down my data and project. As much as I would like to be able to definitively prove things, all I can do is talk about what I did and hope it is enough. There is SO MUCH more that needs to be done in this area - my work is just the tip of the iceberg and that is part of my discussion in my thesis. Future directions are key. And since this impacts people's lives and diagnoses I can't f*ck about. I'm not saying that the world will change because of what I've done, but there certainly will be changes. I get to be a part of them.
I have a real respect for researchers. I could seriously pour my life into this if I let myself...but I feel guilty that I do not want to. That I am willing to write up what i have and hand it off to someone else to work on isn't laziness, but honestly, I struggle with that. With great knowledge and power come responsibility. It is my duty to clearly delineate what I've learned so other people can apply it.
I got to thinking last night, that if an apocalypse came and the world ended we would pare down our priorities and really look at what was important. Cancer diagnosis is so tricky. We need to diagnose...but to do so we need better tests? But what to test for? What is clinically relevant? And where does all the $$ come from to develop these tests? People whine about the big pharma companies working for profit, but seriously - with the Harper government cutting research funding, health care is rather fubared in a lot of ways. You cannot develop new tech in a hospital-who has the $$ and time? It takes grad studies and people like me to do this stuff...and in the end $$ to fund it. I mean I essentially worked for free on this - someone just had to cover the cost of the actual testing...and still getting $$ to do that was a struggle. You can no longer learn for learning's sake. There has to be a defined end goal or a rich philanthropist in you pocket or you won't go anywhere on your own. It's too expensive and precise.

The bureaucrats in charge of the money are easily swayed by buzzwords and ideas and have no real knowledge of what needs to be done. Scientific panels and experts are ignored when profit and business are hindered...and in the end the the general public suffer. Case in point: Even here locally there is an awesome new research facility due to open this fall (which I work in SQUEEEEE!) and our provincial government just reneged on the operating funding they said they would give the university to run it. Yes we have the people and the places...just need money for little trifles like water and electricity. Never mind bringing in good researchers and grant funding. I could go on for hours.
Where am I going with this? I dunno...research excites and infuriates me at the same time. I am glad my future job will allow me to assist and train researchers here for the future. I will still get to carry my thesis work forward and be involved with it.
I just have to finish off this damn thesis first. I'm gonna go make some breakfast and get back to that then...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rain please kthxby

Finally bought myself my first ever really nice raincoat today. I have a white agent 99 white one with big lapels hich is cool, but has no hood and isn't really practical or really waterproof and another cheap one that isn't actually rain proof either (grrr for cheap coats)...not to mention an old army surplus huge raincoat that is like wearing a big green garbage bag...using an umbrella here in the windy city is usually 50% possible...the rest of the time I just get rather wet. Which I have lived with...grudgingly.

I hemmed between two, one of which was super cooler styled and had stretchier slightly more breatherable fabric (I really loved it), but it was thinner and didn't cover as much. I'm a whiner, so the one choose is a bit longer and has a nice hood and it's still quite nice (and it's yellow!). So finally it can rain on me all it want and I will just grin and not be wet. Hooray. We figured with a 5 day hike coming up in a few weeks where it could possibly rain the whole time, having a good raincoat I can wear all the time is a wise idea. It may not breath as well for hiking, but will rock for me for every day. I have to dust off the hikers and wear them around a bit so I don't get unusual blisters this next while...thankfully living in a lab I can do that. :)

Not much going on other than thesis. Raincoats are very thrilling these days...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Geeks a poppin

One week until I can get away for the weekend to comicon and be a big nerd.
Only 20 pages of thesis to write before I go.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Yes. Quite.

In the final stretch. Revising my revision (sigh) of my data to include new data. Hard to clearly state it all and revise what was a nicely flowing few pages to include the new

My mind is starting to wander, but am forcing myself back on track repeatedly...nothing to be done but just write the damn thing. So bloody close I can almost taste it.
But not yet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brief Distraction

Working hard on the thesis figures. Trying not to go's sort of working.
As a breather I did a meme...a bit of alphabet soup of things I am currently into, annoyed with or that my life is full of whether I want to or not J

A: Apples. Love them. I really do have one every day.

B: Bodyrock TV. Great online workout site with quick intense workouts I’ve been using a lot lately. I can see a difference in my fitness levels already after doing them a few times a week.

C: Coffee. Black nectar of the gods. A little cream and I am so very happy

D. Diet Coke. Yes I know it’s bad for me. No I don’t care.

E: Edemame. One of those great veggies I just never had up until a while ago.

F: friends. I don’t get out much at all with being so busy with school…I cherish the time I get to spend with my friends a great deal. They keep me from going nutso…

G. Game of Thrones – I love the Song of Ice and Fire series so far (although really books 4 and 5 could have been cut down and combined into 1 book…) The TV adaptation on HBO has been great.

H. Hamburgers…making homemade burgers is the finest easy meal. Taco burgers and curried pork burgers have topped the list lately.

I. Immunohistochemistry – my thesis topic…

J. my J. Luv him dearly.

K. Kraken Rum. It is the finest golden goodness. When the thesis becomes insurmountable, the Kraken comes to call…

L: Lemon Jelly. When the numbers get to be insurmountable, I put on their happy music and soon I am mellow and back at the thesis again

M: my mead. It’s clearing up nice and golden. Can’t wait to try it J

N: Naming things. Lately all my well used tools or items of clothing have developed names. This has expanded to include oddly shaped fruits and vegetables and chocolate Easter bunnies.

O: Ott. I have really enjoyed his new album and listen to it a lot.

P: Pineapple. Lately cottage cheese with pineapple in it is the breakfast of champions.

Q: Quirks and Quarks science podcast on CBC. I’ve been listening to it since high school

R: Rice cakes. Seriously. I LOVE them. I know it’s weird, but they are one of my favourite snacks. Crunchy and salty. Mmm…

S: Sleep. Precious sleep…

T: Tacos. Greek tacos. Regular tacos. Lately, I love me some tacos…

U is for my glowy Blade Runner umbrella J got me for my birthday. I love it.

V. the Vinyl Café podcast from CBC. It makes me smile and giggle about the little things

W: Wine. Need I say more? My dad has his winemaking up and running again. I'm hoping to make some more in the fall...currentl fave is Prickly Pear Gewurztraminer

X. Xercise (yes I cheated). Getting the endorphins pumping has kept me sane and gives me energy to start the day. I really don’t know how I used to get by without it…

Y. Yams. I am hooked on baked yam wedges with a bit of cinnamon, cumin and cayenne. MMM…

Z is for ZWOW. Zuzanna’s workout of the week. I usually do one Fridays. They rock!

Friday, April 06, 2012

short attention span

After sleeping in and a nice family dinner I am having trouble concentrating on thesis work. Think it's time for a nap...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Lessons in not killing others...

I have the worst luck.

Last night I called my supervisor in TO to ask a question about properly comparing my data. She's had my summary for 4 months now...and only yesterday said "Oh, you know you have it set up wrong for presentation. You need to redo it all". Yeah. She told me a better way to rework it all and present it, but really? REALLY?
I believe the term for what happened after the call is losing your shit.
Four months of NOTHING and suddenly when I've booked off time to finish up my thesis and discuss the data which I just worked for two weeks to summarize...NOW I find I must redo it.

I'd be more livid, but there honestly isn't time. I have work to do...I must have a draft of it ALL done before mid May and have it finalized by Mid June, so that I can defend in early august. My next section review is due on Apr 17 and the full draft May 8 for final comments and revision. It's doable...but it will be tight. June is for final edits and sending out to the committee.
I am prepared to work my ass of to do this (for a change...*sigh*), but if my supervisor pulls anymore of this crap I won't finish on time. She's done this before...and it makes me want to scream. My other supervisor has offered to tear a strip off of her but I am waiting to see if she redeems herself. If not, I'm happy to set him loose on her...he could wither stainless steel. It really is to my benefit that she is far away or I likely would have said things that I really regretted yesterday. As it stands...I just have a whole lot of work to do.


All aboard the last train to crazy town!

Cunning Plans

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