Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Miss You

I miss all of you.

I have not had a chance to stop by and visit you lately--I'm sorry. I tried to skim here and there over the past couple of days, just for a glance, a glimmer of what you are all going through right now. Some of you are going through a lot, and I am thinking of you. T, PK, and Sue--I hope you guys feel better. B*--I'm sending you all of the good ESP vibes I can muster (if you smell smoke, you may want to make sure your hair is not on fire). I choke up everytime I think about what you are going through. Shrinky*--because you post so frickin' much, I'm still not sure how court turned out (yeah, I'm that behind). I hope it went well. AAYOR--your site is so pretty and your belly so wonderful. Muse--I'm sorry that you're going through this all over again. And, the rest of you, I'm thinking good thoughts for all of you too. I'd like to keep going, but the beeper, it calls.

I have designated Thursday as my catch up reading and posting day as this is both my first and last day of rest for a while, the calm after the storm and before the storm one could say.

Miss you guys...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

You stink

So, yes...Conference = glorified science fair. I would like to point out that there were no potato clocks or baking-soda volcanoes. It's a shame what science has come to...

I sometimes wonder if our alien creators look down on us sometimes and think, "My gods, what on earth went wrong with this batch?" Especially when we get all excited about plants that smell like rotting death. I should sell tickets for viewings of my fridge.

We went to a murder mystery dinner last weekend--it was quite fun, actually. The acting was a bit over-the-top, but the food was good, and I laughed quite a bit, which is something that doesn't happen that often anymore. There were these clues that you could open up after each course of the meal. I realized after solving the first clue like a maniac on crack and then offering to sell the solution to the table of women next to me who were going on and on about how, "What could that 6-letter word be after "happy"?", that I have a serious disease of some sort. I wanted to scream "It's "happy couple" you morons!". I believe my graduate school experience has reduced me to a competitive, attention seeking loose cannon with the patience of a hummingbird.

Speaking of hummingbirds...we used to have a floral couch in our living room. We had to get rid of it because humming birds kept flying into the windows and dying while attempting to get to the couch's flowers. That should tell you how ugly that couch was.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. I have 2000 more brain slices to cut and mount. I should not be blogging.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Where have all the cowboys gone?

So, the conference went well. In the past, I've had a handful of faithful followers stop by my poster to ask questions and offer advice. This year, however, the stars must have aligned because I had a steady stream of visitors from the moment I put my poster up until well after I was supposed to take it down. This could be partly attributed to how visually captivating my poster was (lots of bright images and bold colors); it helps to have a husband with ties to the printing industry. It could also have resulted from the beautiful, bright-blue sweater I had on. It was that shade of blue that birds are attracted to--maybe humans have the same fetish. Maybe, just maybe, however, my increase in followers resulted from a growing interest in my area of specialization. Who knows...

Regardless, I passed out my business card to anyone who glanced my direction--very slick and out-of-character for a scientist like myself. I think I frightened a few shy researchers, but I always manage to overwhelm those types. Bad latte...bad, bad latte...

Mentor1 stopped by for 15 sec to tell me that he didn't like the arrows I used. He hadn't looked at the poster before I actually presented it, voiding the value of his opinion, but at least that was his only complaint. Mentor2 didn't come to my poster, but she did look at it after the meeting. She agreed that we should change the color of the neurons to something less red. Now don't go having a heart attack, people. I know, neurons = red, but it just looks so violent plastered all over a poster. Think outside of the box and maybe we can kill such dogmatic nonsense and start appreciating pink and purple neurons...

The meeting is a large one--well over 30,000 people. It left me exhausted and a bit disoriented. It also sparked an inner voice that keeps screaming, "Find a freakin' job, loser!"
I had several people approach me about post docs so it's not that I don't have any existing options. It's just that...sigh...I don't know.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I am responsible for your demise

You will need your volume turned on for this one (click on the blue, clay character on the left).

I really identified with this poor clayman.

I have a big post coming soon to fill you in on the last few days, but I thought maybe you'd like some hump-day entertainment first.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Get Out of My Head

Better hold off on making a tinfoil hat--they can hear you even better that way;)

Here's the link to the study.

Serenity Later

My elephant day turned into an elephant week. My elephant day involved a meeting with my outside thesis committee member during which I presented my timeline for finishing my thesis for the first time. He was on board! Yippee!!!!

My elephant week involves my 5-year anniversary, finishing my poster for the Neuroscience meeting, analyzing data that needs to get into the poster sometime before the end of today, and getting myself ready for the non-poster aspects of the meeting.

I promise I'll be back soon.....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Big Day for Elephants

Big day today...big, really elephant-like big.

No time to explain now, but will elaborate later--I promise.

Side Note:
My sister-in-law thought the solution to my power point perfectionism (moving things 1 pixel this way or that way, trying out every pantone color known to man before picking one, etc.) is due to the fact that I don't get to exercise my artistic brain enough. She thought that if I had more artistic outlets, I would gain some artistic freedom of the mind. Being that she is a tremendous artist and educator, I thought I would listen to her wisdom.

She sent me this site: Everyday Art

I'll try it out after my big day today.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Is that Dick Cheney Behind the Curtain?

I'm counting protein dots today...thousands of tiny dots from dozens of brains. After a few hundred, your mind starts playing tricks on you, creating pictures amongst the scattered spots resembling your mother that you have put off calling for weeks or your boss who you are hiding from today for fear you'll throw pens at him or your dog that has some sort of anxiety disorder causing him to lick his hind leg obsessively.

For some reason, this all made me want to share with you one of my favorite paintings by Botero. There is so much going on in this picture that I stared at it for hours the first time I saw it.

Enjoy!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005


This is the only word of the day that I liked. It moved me so much that I submitted a word to urban dictionary.com. I'll let you know what the word is if it gets accepted--it's sort of a social experiment that I'm trying out.

Regardless, here is the word that I liked:

From Merriam-Webster Online

catachresis • \kat-uh-KREE-sis\

1 : use of the wrong word for the context2 : use of a forced and especially paradoxical figure of speech

Example sentence:The paper printed a correction for the previous day's catachresis: dubbing a local artist-philanthropist a "socialist" when they meant "socialite."
Did you know?As you might have guessed, "catachresis" is a word favored by grammarians. It can be employed as a fancy label of disparagement for whatever uses the grammarian finds unacceptable. Thus could Henry Fowler, in the 1920s, call "mutual" in "our mutual friend" a catachresis. (Fowler preferred "common," but "mutual" does have an established sense which is correct in that context.) More often, "catachresis" is used for an unintentional misuse and is very close in meaning to "malapropism," which usually refers to an unintentionally humorous misuse of a word. "Catachresis" has been used to describe (or decry) misuses of words since at least 1550. The word comes to us by way of Latin from the Greek noun "katachrēsis," which means "misuse."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Map of My Day

1.) Hungry
2.) Inquisitive/Eager
3.) Bored
4.) Depressed/Tired

(see below for details)

1a.) Eating cabbage may help reduce your risk of breast cancer.

1b.) Don't torture your baby with boring food (my friend's 1-year old loves curry chicken). Maybe differences in disease rates and obsesity among countries have nothing to do with what you eat as an adult. Maybe we'd all be a little skinnier if we fed our babies more hummus. Mmmmm, hummus.

2.) Read some of the classic psychology literature. Already read them? Try your luck with these classic/historical neuroscience papers.

2/3a.) Have an Egyptian Adventure instead of meeting that deadline. While your at it, book a 3-day vacation to one of these cities and see the Tutankhamun tour. Don't have the time? Well, spend your day learning about the tour and King Tut instead of finishing your grading. Make them wait one more day;)

3b.) Have fun with your senses. Trick your friends, family, and co-workers with these body illusions.

3c./4.) Become a top-notch drug dealer.

4.) Study the morbid, suicide map of the Golden Gate bridge.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Avian Flu Poo

Every year, one of the doctors in my building gives me crap about not getting a flu vaccine. Every year, I explain to him why I do not get the vaccine. Every year, he gets ill multiple times throughout flu season while I do not. One would think that he would give up trying to give me unsolicited advice and worry about his own immune system.

This year, he countered my rationale with "Well, you know, we could have a pandemic on our hands with this whole avian flu thing".

I hope this man is not your doctor.

Get the facts.

From the World Health Organization Avian Flu Facts sheet:

What is the status of vaccine development and production?
Vaccines effective against a pandemic virus are not yet available. Vaccines are produced each year for seasonal influenza but will not protect against pandemic influenza. Although a vaccine against the H5N1 virus is under development in several countries, no vaccine is ready for commercial production and no vaccines are expected to be widely available until several months after the start of a pandemic. Some clinical trials are now under way to test whether experimental vaccines will be fully protective and to determine whether different formulations can economize on the amount of antigen required, thus boosting production capacity. Because the vaccine needs to closely match the pandemic virus, large-scale commercial production will not start until the new virus has emerged and a pandemic has been declared. Current global production capacity falls far short of the demand expected during a pandemic.

How We Are Hungry

Thank you Dave Eggers for "How We Are Hungry: Stories".

Some did not like you for this one, but I will forever be amazed by your craft. I often believe that you are following me, taking notes on the people in my life. I loved it.

American Idol for Mice

Remember the mice in the cartoon, "Cinderella", that ran around singing? Apparently, Walt was not licking toads the day he thought that one up.

Male mice sing songs of love...

It's all so romantic, fitting in quite well with dictionary.com's word for the day:
alpenglow \AL-puhn-gloh\, noun:
A reddish glow seen near sunset or sunrise on the summits of mountains.

It doesn't really fit in with Webster's word of the day:
golden handcuffs • \GOAL-dun-HAND-kuffs\, noun
special benefits offered to an employee as an inducement to continue service

Nor does it really fit in with NYtimes word of the day.
pariah , noun
: a person despised or rejected by society : OUTCAST

Oh, sorry, I guess I diverged...that's what happens when you are posting, thinking, and building your vocabulary all at the same time.