RBO Giving up.

    I apologize in advance for the infrequent, short posts and poorly written blurbs that will occur between now and November 11. That's the day I am set to hand the diss to the Dean and my committee. Today, we have bullets....
  • I actually started this bullet posting 3 days ago. Hardly, time for bullets even.... 
  • Nothing in life would be as satisfying as smashing office neighbors' speaker phone. I know more about his grant money, family vacation plans and general business than necessary. 
  • While my advisor writes random comments sometimes, he is awesome. So far, through 2  chapters, he has had a 24 hour turnaround for me. Awe-some!
  • Also awesome? The Grackle, who treated me to ice cream, pie, beer, pizza, and cookies all weekend. 
  • Luckily, I'm back into the gym using the treadmills to make up for all those treats! I run faster when I'm stressed out.
  • Also totally awesome? My Halloween costume. After much angst about sending Chapter 2 to my advisor last night, I worked on my costume. Finished it this morning and can't wait to wear it tonight! I'll post it here for a brief period of time.  
  • I applied for my degree today. I thought I might feel something about that but don't really. It's just paperwork.
Well, it is about time to turn Grackle into ZOMBIE Grackle for the evening. I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween! Are you (were you) dressed up as?


Still time for a meme...

ScienceGirl tagged me for a meme so here goes.....

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry has posted.

1. As a kid, I disliked pumpkin pie. Sometime during my MS, I suddenly loved pumpkin pie and that love has grown to all things pumpkin. Pumpkin rolls, muffins, bread, pumpkin scented candles, I'll take it all. My absolute favorite is pumpkin ale. I've tried at least 15 different brands and this is my favorite, but there is a close second...

2. The Grackle and I just booked tickets for our first non-work, non-family visiting vacation. We are going to Puerto Rico in January!!!

3. In the month between turning in my dissertation and going on vacation, I plan to spend about half my time getting the papers out and the other half being domestic. I'm going to finish knitting about 3 projects, sew a bunch of dresses for our trip and bake cupcakes like it is my freakin job.

4. We have two cats, who are both named after literary characters. They could not be more opposite. One is male, mean (to anyone other than me), and rather lanky. The other is female, loves every human, dog, cat, and bunny she's ever met and was stunted in her growth so has tiny legs and weighs only 6 lbs.

5. Our home used to be handicap accessible so there are no doors on the second floor. There are only curtains, even on the bathroom. 

6. I think I just heard a gunshot outside. 

I'm so behind on my bloglines, I have no idea who has or has not done this one. If you haven't, consider yourself tagged!


Comments on Chapter 1

I sent my advisor a draft of Chapter 1 yesterday. It was still missing most of a discussion but he was willing to read it anyway.  Most of his comments are in the intro.   Here are a couple of real gems....
"C’mon, give a guy a break.  This is too long to remember!"
After the first paragraph....
"the sentences are written fine but the paragraph is essentially a list that doesn’t have a clear direction"
But then after the first sentence of the second paragraph...
"huh?, I need some foreplay on this…maybe telling me about all the (specific things) first…which probably would be a good Introduction paragraph"

Gee, like the 'list' that you told me was directionless?

And the best.....
"I don’t understand what is the point of the previous paragraph.  I don’t think you are going to test this with your experiments"

I'm very glad we are on the same page as to what the point of my experiment was.....the next few weeks are going to painful......


Wet hair

I don't know why, but it seems like I shouldn't go to work with wet hair anymore. I doubt anyone ever notices and if they do, I doubt they care....but this morning I was overcome by the idea that I might look like a total slacker* by continuing this trend. It isn't like every year I go through this when it gets cold, it hasn't ever bothered me before. All of a sudden, it just seems like there is no way I should graduate if I can't even manage to take 5 minutes to dry my hair. 

*and also like a wet poodle/drowned rat.


Writing and running

Posting has been light but I have good reason----check out the sidebar! In addition to starting a blogroll (it isn't complete, if you'd like to be added please let me know in the comments), I have updated my writing progress. Progress bars won't work this time because I have no goals....just have to keep writing till it seems complete!

Life hasn't been all work and no play though. A few weeks ago, my officemate/friend/running buddy, Flamingo, encouraged me to sign up for a race for women's cancers. It is a good cause and the grad team would pay half the entrance fee so I signed right up. Of course at the time, we were running regularly so she convinced me* that we could totally do the 5 MILE race instead of the 5k. The messiness of dealing with all my data crap kept me from running for a few weeks earlier this month, although I had a few decent runs at RTL. After returning, Flamingo and I had a couple more runs but any real semblance of training was shot by that point. 
The race was yesterday and we both went into it just hoping to run the whole thing, and finish closer to our 'easy' pace**. Of course, it was also not just 5 miles- we found out on Friday that it was actually 5.3 miles. Plus, all of a sudden it was cold! 
The race itself was fun- I'm glad I did the longer one, as it was not crowded while the 5k had almost 6,000 people. Flamingo and I finished within a minute of each other and ended up running close to our fastest training pace***. 

It would be really nice to continue running while I continue writing and finish. Running always helps me de-stress and I usually either work out some problematic thinking during the run or manage to completely shut work out of my brain altogether. It is one of the few things I have tried to make a priority but bad weather, shorter days and deadlines may be too difficult to keep it up. 

*She is currently under the idea that the 5 mile was my idea. It wasn't, I promise.
**We are pretty comfortable and chatty at 10:00 min/miles.
***I managed 9:16 min/mile.


I guess I'm still a little mad....

Dear Tech at RTL, 

You have serious control issues. It always bugged me that you referred to my samples as your own and spoke as if you ran my project. In actuality, you have no idea the objectives of the study, the hypotheses tested, what the experiments were, what the analysis is or why the conclusions are important. That means it is NOT YOUR PROJECT.

You told me, and the PI of your lab, that it was impossible for me to go there and figure out your bench work. Fuck you. Despite your amazing organization (which completely rocks- someday I hope to use the mad skillz I learned from you in my own lab), you did not give me enough credit to understand the samples you ran or think critically about the problems, let alone fix them. Who the hell do you think you are? Is your bench work magic bench work that is run by elves and rainbows instead of reagents and machines? Instead, you told me that it would be better if I waited till you could return to the project (in January) and fix the errors since I wouldn't be able to do it. Seriously, what kind of person builds up a situation so that not only my data depends on you, but now also my graduation and paycheck come next semester? 

I am soooo sick of playing nice with you in fear of my data being held hostage or messed up on purpose. Turns out- you messed it up anyway! Luckily, I have my data now, I got it myself and I don't need you or your petty little games anymore. 

Flowers and sausages,

p.s. Your PI and I agreed over a year ago that your name isn't on any of these papers!


Optimistic and going home

I'm out in Remote Technical Lab (RTL) and have been working away. Things are going well and I am optimistic* about my ability to fix the data, finish things here and get home. I am wrapping things up today and heading home tomorrow, actually.

For anyone who didn't come over from the other blog, my history with RTL is a long, complicated one. It is located near a field site and I visited in 2006 to make possible connections. That worked well so my advisor and I wrote a grant, got funding and I moved to RTL in January 2007. Here I lived for 8 months during which time I completed the project we were funded for while running all the experiments for my dissertation in my spare time. I was miserable most of the time, had very few-outside-of-work friends and was living in an ex-FEMA trailer that pretty much had no kitchen or bathroom**. When I left, there were still samples to be analyzed and leaving them was a difficult decision. It isn't ideal to rely upon others for your work-but sometimes you have to. The lab had an out of sight, out of mind attitude towards me and my work so I waited over a year to get the results. That brings us to the samples being messed up and my coming back here to try to figure it all out.

I spent this week pouring over the tech's lab notebook and the analyses looking for patterns. After finding them, it turns out there was a technical error that accounted for most of the errors and I was able to reanalyze those samples. The fact that it all worked is amazing- I usually have really bad luck at the bench after a period away. It has been a year since I did bench work and this week resulted in the prettiest data I have ever produced. Fixing the errors did change the downstream analyses of the data so in addition to feeling confident about the changes in the data I made, the resulting conclusions will be more interesting. 

I'll be on another 7:30am flight tomorrow.

*I'm also mad as hell but that will be my next post.
**I had to shower in a different trailer and seriously, the toilet didn't work.


Review of the worst. week. ever.

This was my week......
Monday: Find out my data might be seriously messed up. Begin questioning all future plans such as graduation and postdoc. Cry a lot.

Tuesday: Decide that a trip to remote technical lab is required. I did work in this lab for 8 months and they ran these samples for me after I left. Curse relaying on anyone else for data.

Wednesday-Friday: Learn all I can about the problems and how to fix them. Curse having a major part of my project be something that no one at my university has expertise with. 

Friday night: Finally stop worrying for 4 hours and go out on a date with the Grackle. See an amazing concert that makes everything right in the world. I've wanted to see this guy for years and it was worth the wait!

Saturday: Back to reality, preparations for leaving, and watching the last ditch effort by the Cubs* tonight.
Sunday: 6 am flight to remote lab.

The status of internet at the remote lab is questionable so I might not be able to post till I get back. Even more fun, I don't even know when I will be back! 
Hopefully, the remote nature of the place will allow me to resume being productive on writing the dissertation. All writing has pretty much stopped as I deal with data issues. 

This was really a rock-bottom week for me and I spent a lot time just trying to hold it together. It was often a fight to stay proactive in the situation instead of just reacting to it. Hopefully, there will be more entries on the situation but for now, I have to get back to packing not only all my clothes but also my office into a single suitcase. 

*The last two games have been painful. What happened Lou????