Priorities

March 25, 2009 at 5:15 pm (i'm too old to be a fangirl but..., insomnia, just pure awesome, life in general, teach this!)

Things I should be doing:
1. Preparing for my teaching test (bleh)
2. Cleaning (bleeeeh)
3. Planning experiments (meh)
4. Writing protocols for my eventual departure from the lab (BLEEEH)

What I am actually doing:
1). Reading Lucy Knisley’s comics. I followed a link about her on BoingBoing because she has the same last name as my best friend from middle school (Hello, Annick? Hello?) but now I am hooked, she is crazy amazing. And her assessment of the Twilight “books” are spot on.
2). Watching Spaced. Best. Show. Ever.
3). Thinking about how to design my wedding dress. But wait! It’s going to be a long She-ra dress with a rip away skirt so that I am left with a mini skirt bottom in case monsters attack or I need to dance! It’s going to be kickass.
4). Assessing the pros and cons of taking a nap so late in the day.

Gah! Must study!!

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and now for something completely different

March 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm (animal behavior, art?, austin awesome, just pure awesome, life in general, weirdness abounds)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce… Turtle Opera.

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No, I have no idea what he/she* is doing, but my guess is opera because it isn’t turtle mating season yet. You can tell some of the turtles on campus want to be ninja turtles when they grow up, though:
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He/she’s totally working his/her biceps.

And I stick by my theory that too much of anything gets a little creepy, aka swarms are gross and too many turtles start to look disturbingly like bugs:

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which is probably why this guy/gal decided to make a break for it:
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This is how I imagine these turtles are interacting:

Big turtle: Noooo! Take me with you!
Little turtle: Screw you, I need to be free! Also you don’t share your algae/fish/french fries/whatever turtles eat with me! Goodbye forever! Or at least until I chicken out and jump back into the water!

The best thing about red-eared slider turtles? This:
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Turtle smile!

*short of cutting it open, I have no idea how to sex a turtle unless I am watching them mate**.

**I probably need to clarify that I mean watching it mate with another turtle. You crazy readers…***

***I should probably further clarify that I am not some crazy who goes around watching turtles mate on purpose, I just see it at zoos or on TV or in the above turtle population sometimes and if you have never seen a turtle couple getting it on, you should google it because that shit is HILARIOUS. ****

****”that shit is hilarious” is totally a scientific phrase. Also, there’s this:
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Interesting street art is almost as cool as crazy opera turtles in my book.

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Only 2 and a half more months until I am DONE WITH RAT VAGINAS FOREVER!!!

March 16, 2009 at 9:46 am (jinxing myself, just pure awesome)

Holy crap, people, I got into my fancy-shmancy teaching certification program!! Out of over 1100 applicants, only 150 are chosen and I am one of those nerds!! I’m so freakin’ happy, you have no idea. I’ve never gone into this before on this blog, because it’s sorta gross in the abstract and I’m scared of PETA, but I work with rat vaginas a lot.* Long story short, looking at the cells of the rat vagina tell us what reproductive cycle the rat is in- it’s not like we can ask the rats, “hey, are you crampy? Do you want some chocolate? Do you hate yourself?**” to find out if they are fertile or not. So, I have to examine rat vaginas. For a living. A lot. While my allergies try to kill me and my brain is screaming “GROSS. What is that?? GROOOOOOOOSS!”

But the silver lining is that unless I die of rat dander induced anaphylactic shock in the next two months, the end is in sight!! I’ll be leaving the lab FINALLY in June to go learn to be a teacher!  I’ll take surly high school kids over toxic rat vaginas*** and bastard grad students any day. Especially since it pays waaaaaaay more.

I have much more to blog about, including drunk squirrels, a burlesque show, Spamalot, etc, but it’ll have to wait, I have another 27 rat vaginas to assess…only 2 and a half more months, only 2 and a half more months…

*Just to clarify, they are still attached to intact, live rats at the time. It’s totally painless to the rats, and in fact after a few days they start to really enjoy it. Like I said, GROSS.

**I don’t know if this happens to anyone else but I totally have shit self esteem when I’m fertile, or just after. What’s up with that? Evolutionarily, that makes no sense what so ever.

***How awesome a band name is “Toxic Rat Vaginas”? Total lady punk, we-hate-dudes type music, I think. Not that I hate dudes, I’m rather fond of them, actually, so much so that I had an awkward dream about a hot professor. And by awkward I mean he walked around in a speedo a lot and I blushed and ran away. Which is actually what I would do in real life.  Because I’m awesome like that.

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(resigned sigh)

February 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm (art?, i promise i was not drunk when i wrote this, just pure awesome, life in general, reality is not for me, work shmork)

I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. If I had to pick any tree in the world to represent how I would personify work as a tree, it would be this tree I saw while hiking today:
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Scary jabberwocky tree!! What, you don’t see it? Well, good thing you have me here, looking out for you! Here is how to spot a scary ass jabberwocky tree:

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Do you see him now? Lewis Carroll’s jabberwocky ain’t got nothing on scary ass jabberwocky trees, indigenous to Austin with appetites for small dogs and blue cars. Or maybe the Jabberwocky of Alice got really tired and became a tree? Alas, the world may never know. But I still have to go to work tomorrow. Bah!

In other news here is a peacock!
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Holy crap! I didn’t notice until I started importing this picture for my blog but that bird is giving me the freaking stink eye! How rude! Maybe he could smell the jabberwocky tree on me, because maybe peacocks are the only line of defense between us and monster trees so this guy was getting all riled up with anger. Or maybe peacocks are just jerks. I means, look at this crazy girl:

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Sure, she’s pretty and obviously knows it, but what is going on here? I’ve been to this park and observed (read: chased around with a camera) the peafowl for many years, and I’ve never seen a female get all riled up and crazy like this. And what was here problem, you ask? A mighty terrifying sight:

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NO! It’s just a freakin’ dove! Crazy bird!

(Ok, so the biologist side of me is forcing me to point out that she was just making sure her chick got to eat before the dove stole the food that was put down, but in all fairness even the chick was bigger than both of my cats put together, so give the poor little dove a break, you jerk bird!)

And some how I am still reminded of work…

In other, other news, I found another fabulous blog to obsess over!!

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denial ain't just a river, it's my state of being

February 12, 2009 at 11:18 pm (cold, continuing depression, jinxing myself, just pure awesome, mom, the boy, weirdness abounds)

i don’t want to think about what today really is for me, so instead here is a picture i took of the hawk that likes to hang out in the trees above the creek outside my office/lab. also work is still abysmal, my boss and i were supposed to meet yesterday to talk about how i am terrified that the students are going to make me lose my job and how uncomfortable i am around them, but she never showed up for the meeting. when i asked her about it her reply was, “i can’t remember why we were meeting, so it must not have been important!”

seriously.

anyway, here’s the hawk. today i saw him swoop down and catch a frog, maybe. or it could’ve been a rat or  small dragon or a gnome, i didn’t get a good look at it.

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the intended meal, be it frog, rat or gnome or other, is under the claw you can’t see. the hawk wouldn’t start eating while i was watching it. i try not to think that whatever small animal was caught by this majestic bird was originally some poor lab animal that escaped, only to be devoured. not only is that a shitty fate (but such an apt metaphor for life!) but imagine how many weird chemicals would be coursing through the hawk’s veins if it were true.  just for the record, all my rats are accounted for! no estrogen and/or pcb filled hawk treats are on my conscience, thank you very much.

also, how freakin’ awesome is this picture?

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the correct answer is, of course, quite. quite awesome indeed. and that’s the original pic, no color adjustment or anything. if you’re not from austin, just know that this monstrous fork (it’s probably 2 stories high, maybe?) is a classic landmark for a sorta so-so restaurant (sorry, sad but true, even if the hot waiters do flirt with me), and the object at impaled on the fork changes sometimes. for a while it was a sad looking birthday cake, and before that i think it was fries, maybe… anyway, the point is i was walking by today and snapped a picture around sunset and it turned out FANTASTIC! i plan to use it in my valentine for the boy. we never do valentines stuff, so this’ll be a surprise.

lastly, because i love a good photo-rich blog post, the boy and i went to a local sculpture garden that we’d never been to before a while back for our anniversary. my favorite thing there was that there were a ton of guard lion statues! you know, the kind that are paired up so they flank the entrance to a house or library or court house. oh, just look at the picture:
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i tried to skew the perspective on purpose because i thought he deserved to look as regal and majestic as possible, but it might still be obvious that this guy’s only about a foot tall. anyway, he was my favorite of the three or four pairs of lions we saw.

also, this statue, the last in a series of season statues on display in the sculpture garden, reminds me of my mom for some reason:
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the chin, maybe? but no, my mom and i have the same crazy pointed irish chin, so i don’t know if that’s it. maybe the tilt of her head? in any case, how apt is it that she represents winter? i know i haven’t been truly warm on the inside for four years, to the day.

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my head is a-spinnin'

February 3, 2009 at 4:18 am (cats, cold, GIST, just pure awesome, lessons in troll avoidance, life in general, simply flabbergasted, so confused)

Oi. Someone I know who will henceforth forever be known as “AlphaTroll” is trying to make my life miserable. Of course, I don’t know why I’m surprised, she’s been doing it the entire two years I’ve worked with her. Rather than fixate on this and worry if someone will randomly take it so far out of context that my brain will explode trying to figure out where the hell they are coming from, I will instead be inspired by this site. My goal now is to write five things that inspire me or bring me happiness every time I feel like punching the AlphaTroll.

1) Cat paws. The harrier the better.
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2) Well weathered art.
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3). Frosty plants at the bus stop.
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4). Silly cat expressions
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5) My lanterns
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This is a very good exercise in peaceful thinking! I totally feel better now and highly recommend it.

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you win some, you lose some

January 31, 2009 at 6:34 pm (hero worship, i'm too old to be a fangirl but..., jinxing myself, just pure awesome, life in general, thoughts and musings)

Dear lab mate who is currently mad at me: I’ve called you, emailed you, and even went by your place, please get back to me. Obviously we both said things that pissed the other off, but in the end I think we are both actually arguing the same side of this argument. Let’s talk about it and move on.

In other news, I got my first troll!! To mark this momentous occasion I am awarding myself this badge from the Bloggess:

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Good times. I’m trying not to let it get to me. I also really like this one:card1

In other, completely different and completely AWESOME news, I met one of my scientific idols last night. I got to talk to him, shake his hand, tell him how much I admired his work and ask him if he was looking for grad students (to which he said- yes!). It was pretty freakin’ awesome. For a good part of the question/answer section, he was only a few feet from me!! Then I started thinking, this guy is such a good speaker, and so well known and respected, and gives talks all over the world…so he’s probably not actually in the lab very often any more. So first of all, he’s got to have a kick ass lab manager (it’s funny how I think about these things now…) and second, I don’t think I could work in a lab where the adviser was never around. Plus, why am I even thinking about going back to grad school anyway? That’s how good his talk was, people.

In further hero worship, I sent my old high school physics teacher an email last night, because after seeing super science guy talk, I realized I need to tell the other people that have touched my life in a positive way that they are awesome. So, he’s a prof in education now, but he sent me an email back with in hours of my emailing him! And was still as great as I remember. See, this guy was a really, really enthusiastic teacher, and actually made physics fun. I know that sounds all cliche, but seriously, I would think about his lectures when I was in college physics, which I despised. The thing is, this is the first time I’ve reached out to a hero and they’ve actually gotten back to me in a good way instead of a “um, whatever, weirdo” way. Opening yourself up to your heroes is not easy, so to have one actually communicate back and still be as awesome as you thought… I am speechless. Ok, maybe not, that never really happens. I am really moved, though.

And in more strange news, my old grad adviser, who I haven’t heard from in two years and who I was pretty sure hated me when I left his lab (and let’s not forget he once told me I would never get any where in science) has gotten back in touch with me. Part of me thinks “hey, this guy totally did me a disservice when I was his grad student, he can continue to suck it,” but another side of me really wants to go with the “hey, this guy was a great undergrad mentor and teacher and got me into endocrinology in the first place and…” thoughts. I am conflicted but I do hate grudges and enjoy taking the high road. Plus who else can I talk sharky hormone work with? Damn it…

I have a new hero, too- a girl who works in a lab upstairs from me is a super awesome lady and she’s going to teach me how to make cheese! My lactose-intolerance can totally suck it, I might never leave the kitchen again.

Ok, hero worship over. Time for crafting! I leave you with the following tenets that I enjoyed reading (written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and found on Boing Boing):

1 Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2 Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3 It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4 Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

5 Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

6 Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7 Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

8 Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.

9 Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10 Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

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dear who ever searched and found my blog with the phrase "my mom thinks a marine biologist is a stupid career"

January 30, 2009 at 9:52 am (just pure awesome, weirdness abounds)

I just want to say that marine biology is the shit. Of all the scientists I’ve known, they are the most laid back. Half your freakin’ career is spent doing what other people pay tons of money to do and only do a few times in their life (that is, taking cruises and living on the beach)!! So do it. There is a point where you have to do things for yourself and just roll your eyes at the nay sayers. Trust me on this.

Also, to the person who searched and found me with the terms “impromptu bookcase”: I’m sorry I was probably totally not what you were looking for, but wouldn’t “Impromptu Bookcases” be a kick ass band name??

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oh, those evil corporations know me so well…

January 18, 2009 at 11:42 am (i promise i was not drunk when i wrote this, just pure awesome, life in general)

I know it’s a total ploy to get me to buy stuff from them, but an email from a computer company I love included an add that makes me love them more, because it included this:

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Seriously. Little has made me happier recently. Hooray for everyone!

PS. My job is slowly killing me. Stupid rat dander is causing me to fill up slowly with snot, the inevitable conclusion being that I will probably drown in it. Yum.

PPS. Telling people that you are not crazy when you post comments on their blogs probably makes them think that you are, in fact, crazy. Not that people do that to me, but I do that to people all them time. Ah, well. It’s probably true.

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happy meg!

January 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm (blog-a-day!, history of meg, just pure awesome)

I got a negative scanner for myself as a sorry-your-hard-drive-crashed-here’s-something-to-take-your-mind-off-it present. It is freakin’ awesome.

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That’s me and my dad in 1982 at the San Antonio zoo, straight from the negative. AWESOME.

PS- today is my and the boy’s 10th anniversary. Happy us!

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