Sunday, August 19, 2007

Name change

I've decided to get back to blogging more but as I mentioned in a previous post, since I've finished my PhD I've been at a bit of a loss as to what to blog about. Since my blog won't solely revolve around science I've decided to change the name of my blog to the URL name. That was initially what I was going to call it way back when I started blogging (actually it might have been called that for a brief period) but I decided to go with more of a science theme. Now it appears I've come full circle. Don't worry I'm still a science geek and for the most part my posts will be science related but I figured it was time for a change.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What I don't miss about grad school

Long time no blog. I noticed that I never posted what I don't miss about grad school. Can't have everyone thinking grad school was all sugar and spice and everything nice.

1) The money, or lack of. I must say it's nice to actually be making a salary with benefits and all.

2) Being treated like a child. Sure grad students are still students but we are also adults. There were so many profs in my department that didn't seem to realize this. I mean, taking attendance at seminars to make sure all the grad students attend. Puhleese!!! I'm old enough that whether you take attendance or not is not going to make me attend the seminar if I have something more important. Yes, I can make decisions for myself.

3) Not being respected. Now this may have more to do with my supervisor's personality than grad school in general but just because I'm your student doesn't mean I don't deserve respect. I made it clear that I wasn't putting up with being treated as somehow lesser. I must say it was nice having my committee treat me as an equal at my thesis defense.

4) Not getting emails from my supervisor at odd hours or on long weekends. I do enjoy leaving my work at work and not having papers around the house or having to answer emails to my supervisor late at night or on a long weekend. It's nice to not have my life revolve around grad school.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sometimes life is just not fair

An online friend of mine was diagnosed with malignant melanoma a few years ago. Unfortunately it seems like her battle is coming to an end. She is a funny, optimistic, wonderful woman and her blog attests to her strength throughout her journey with cancer.

Please take the time to read it. It really puts things into perspective about how precious life really is. And please, wear sunscreen and be alert to the signs of melanoma. No one should have to experience the pain Sarah has been put through.

My heart just breaks for Sarah, Derek and their families.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What I miss about grad school

Don't get me wrong, I am overjoyed to be done school and have a real job but there are those few things that I miss.

1) The conference in Florida. Every year at this time I would go to this conference in Florida. Beach, sun, tasty margaritas, seafood, and Mexican food better than any you can get here! Oh and the conference wasn't too bad either. I'm especially feeling sad about this since my former supervisor and lab mates left yesterday for the conference. Although there is talk at work of going to a conference in California. I'm not sure the Mexican food will be as good though.

2) The hours. My job has flex time, which means I don't need to be in at a certain time (within reason though). With grad studies, there was no within reason. My supervisor really didn't care what hours we worked, which was the downfall of some. This was great at Christmas when I would go shopping on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

3) The people. I love the people I work with now but lets face it, grad school is more laid back. We would joke around, play practical jokes on one another, etc. I guess we all have to grow up some day :)

Hmm... that's all I can think of for now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What is wrong with people these days?

Don't worry I'll get back to posting about science related things but I'm procrastinating from finishing the last few revisions on a paper so blogging about science would be a bad use of my procrastination time.

Today on my way to work the bus was packed, as it usually is. I ended up having to stand. A few stops down the road this elderly lady gets on. She must have been at least 70, if not older. Does anyone get their ass off their seat for her? Oh no. As I'm standing there dumbfounded at the inconsiderate people on my bus I realize the elderly woman has a cane. A CANE!!! And still no one will give up their seat! At one point, she is standing right in front of this girl and her cane is pretty much resting against this girl's leg and still the girl doesn't move! Whatever happened to respect your elders? That's how I was raised. There are even signs on the bus where these people were sitting indicating that the seating is for those with reduced mobility. So for the whole 20 minute bus ride this elderly lady stood. She got off at the same stop as me and yes, she clearly needed a cane to walk. If I were that woman someone on the bus would have surely got "accidentally" hit with my cane. Show some respect people!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

You have got to be kidding me!

The other day I was watching TV and an ad came on for an electric bicycle. That's right, a pedal bike that is also electric. You can either pedal it old school style, use power assist so you don't have to pedal so hard or use if full power so you don't have to do anything. Come on, are people really that lazy? What happened to the days of riding a bike being exercise. You know, global warming or war isn't going to end our species. No, the last few people on earth will die because the power goes out and they can't charge their electric bicycle and being so overweight and lacking muscle mass they won't be able to pedal their bike to whatever fast food restaurant to get some deep fried food and they will die of starvation. Seriously, no wonder more and more of the population is becoming progressively more overweight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Funniest line I've heard in a long time

I was watching Scrubs the other day and this made me laugh out loud...

Elliot: Uh, what's up your caboodle?
Carla: Caboodle?
Elliot: Oh, it's a new word I'm trying out to replace "ass". I have loose morals and I'm living in sin so...still hoping that not being a potty mouth will get me into heaven.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Look out Grissom!

A news crew came by work the other day to do a story about some stuff we do in the lab. Of course they wanted the "working" shots. Working shots for a news story do not involve actual work. I call it Hollywood science. There were many, "Ok, can you do that again? I want to get a wide angle shot". Then there was the pointing at meaningless data on the computer and acting like it was oh so interesting. I had to hold back the laughter. Lucky me, that's the shot that they put in the story. The husband watches it and says, "Trying not to laugh, hey?". Apparently it's more noticeable than I thought. At least they cut out the shot of me looking inquisitively at some solution in a tube like it meant something. I thought for sure that would make it in because the camera guy was taking many various angles of that shot. Honestly, who looks at a solution in a tube that intently? It's not like we have x-ray vision and can see actual mutations in the DNA. Although I suppose on CSI they can. They can also get a centrifuge to analyze their results. That's my favorite - put it in the centrifuge and oh look, a pretty print out with graphs and tables that tells them who the killer is. If only science was that easy. I would like to propose a TV show to the networks that's like 24 but it's forensics in real-time. It would take a whole season just to identify the killer. Then when there are repeats there can be a blurb at the beginning stating the experiment didn't work so episodes 7-9 will be repeated to repeat the experiment in real time. Oddly only my fellow science geek friends find the humor in this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A PhD outside academia

You've probably noticed I haven't Blogged much lately. That's partly due to my over analyzing what I should blog about and partly due to just being busy/lazy. I've decided I'm just going to blog about whatever strikes my fancy, be it science or not. One idea I've had, though, is to discuss my reasons for getting a PhD but not going into academia. The reasons are varied and long and lengthy, which will probably require a number of blog posts but a recent post on ScienceWoman's blog brought up some issues relevant to why I'm a PhD outside academia.

For one, I never really had a desire to be an academic. Writing grants and doing paperwork all day is not my idea of fun. So why did I do a PhD then? Well, one was pressure from my supervisor and another was solely selfishness. I wanted more from my research project I was working on than simply what I would have achieved with a Master's degree. In the end I was pleased with what I achieved and don't regret doing a PhD.

Secondly, was the desire to balance family and career. I know it's doable in academia but honestly, I want to enjoy my life and not be consumed by my work. I can be a workaholic if left to my own devices and I didn't want that kind of life and end up missing important moments with any future children I'll have.

Another reason I didn't go into academia was due to lack of mentorship/advising. Past posts point out my problems with my supervisor and being that we weren't even at the same university at the end of my degree made it difficult to get any sort of advice or mentoring from him with respect to post-docs and academic positions. Plus, although my experiences with academia were probably not the norm, it did give me a bad taste of that career option.

Lastly was location. My spouse has a job he likes and that he has been at for a while now. To ask him to move so I could do a two year or so post-doc and then move again for a job or possibly another post-doc just didn't make logical sense since I wasn't keen on being an academic anyways.

In the end we ended up staying in the same city and I now have a job I love, free time in the evenings and weekends, and a much happier life with less stress. There is, however, the internal struggle of having a PhD but not being an academic. This is mostly due to the expectation that a PhD will follow that well laid out route of PhD, post-doc, academic faculty and that anything less is consider somewhat of a failure. This is a post for another day though.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's so pretty!

I picked up my bound copies of my thesis the other day and I must say I'm pretty damn proud to see it all nicely bound in hardcover. I feel it needs a shelf all it's own for display :) Right now my copy is unceremoniously sitting on top of the box that it came in. That is no way to treat years of hard work, stressful nights/days/weekends/months, and a much blood, sweat and tears.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What to blog about?

My blog originally started so I could blow off some steam about grad studies and also to write about the many things that my mind drums up. However, now that I'm officially done grad school I'm not sure what to blog about. This would explain my sporadic posting lately. I don't really want to post much about my job because it requires quite a bit of confidentiality and so blogging about it is not such a good idea. Any thoughts on what my blog should morph into? I'd like it to have some focus.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Done and done

I finally submitted my thesis! Yay! Carrying a box of six copies of my thesis across campus was quite the workout but it's finally done and I'm finally done. I can't wait to see the fancy bound version of my thesis.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How long does it take to print a thesis?

Most would probably say a day, perhaps two. In my case it appears as though I am not that lucky. So far it has been two and a half weeks. That's right, I took my thesis in for printing Dec. 15 thinking that it would be printed plenty of time before Christmas so I could organize it all and submit it to the Faculty of Grad Studies and finally be done. Oh no, apparently I chose the most incompetent place to print my thesis. Ironically they are the place the university gets all their printing done at and they are recommended by the Faculty of Grad Studies. The other ironic thing is their motto is "A tradition of excellence". Ya, not so much.

The thesis printing saga began Dec. 15. I happily took my thesis in to be printed and was told it would take a week due to my colour images. Ideally I would have liked it that day but this printing place is supposed to be very good so I figure what the hey, I'll still get it before Christmas. A week later I'm all excited to pick up the final version of my printed thesis. So I head over to the printing place...

Me: "Hi, I'm here to get my thesis"

Printing dude: "Oh right, I was just going to send that to print"

Me: [confused and somewhat annoyed] "What?"

Printing dude: "Oh don't worry, it will only take 10 minutes"

Me: So if I come back in 10 minutes it will be done?

Printing dude: Yep

So off I go to waste some time. Meanwhile I'm supposed to be at work but I ducked out to get my thesis thinking it wouldn't take too long. I wait 15 minutes for good measure before going back.

Me: Hi again

Printing dude: Hey. Umm... you wanted colour images too, right?

Me: Yes

Printing dude: Umm, ya, I forgot to order those. Are they really important?

Me: [thinking - Damn right they are important. No I just asked for colour prints because I'm crazy like that] Umm, ya they are important.

Printing dude: Oh, ok. What were the page numbers of the colour pages?

Me: There are over 30 colour pages, I don't have all the page numbers memorized. I can email the page numbers to you.

Printing dude: Ya do that. If you send them to me today I can get it printed by Jan. 2. We are closed during Christmas and all so that's the earliest you can get them.

Me: So they will be ready Jan. 2 for sure?

Printing dude: Yep. Hey, I wrote down you wanted 5 and 1 but I couldn't remember if you wanted 5 copies on thesis quality paper and one on regular paper or the other way around.

Me: I wanted five on thesis paper and one on regular paper.

Printing dude: Ya I didn't remember so I did 5 copies on each so now you have 10 copies of your thesis. I'll only charge you for 5 though.

Me: [thinking - damn right you will]

Me: Alright, so I'll email those page numbers to you and I'll pick up the colour copies Jan 2.

Printing dude: Sounds good.

Meanwhile I'm pissed off beyond belief that I waited a week for nothing and now I have to go back in a few weeks to get the colour copies. I lug the 10 copies of my thesis back to work and my arms almost die due to the weight of the box. As I'm looking through my thesis I notice that all my images on the thesis quality paper have this gray box around the images. This doesn't appear on the regular paper copies. When I email the guy the colour page numbers I mention this gray box thing. He emails me back and says it's because he was in a hurry when he printed my thesis so he sent it to some printer that printed gray boxes around my images. Ya no kidding you were in a hurry. You forgot about printing my thesis until I showed up. He said he would re-print the thesis quality paper ones on a different printer and that those would be ready Jan. 2. I email him back and say, "Ok. If for some reason you don't get everything printed by Jan. 2 please call me".

Today I wait until late afternoon to give the guy plenty of time to get everything printed. I head over to the print place yet again to pick up my thesis.

Me: Hi

Printing dude: Hey, you're here to get your colour prints?

Me: Yes [a bit confused as to why he never mentioned the thesis re-printing as well]

Printing dude: Ok, here are the colour prints

Me: And the re-printing on the thesis quality paper?

Printing dude: Oh right, ya I haven't done that yet.

Me: [big sigh] Ok. I need to have my thesis submitted this week so I need those copies.

Printing dude: Oh no problem. I'll print them later today and you can pick them up tomorrow.

Me: Tomorrow for sure?

Printing dude: Yep, first thing tomorrow.

Me: [pissed off beyond belief that I have to come back yet again] So there are 6 copies of the colour prints?

Printing dude: Umm... I think so. I haven't had a chance to check.

Me: [thinking - this is your freaking job!]

Printing dude: First day back after Christmas is alway busy.

Me: [thinking - yet whenever I walk in here you are always on the computer so how busy can you be?]

Printing dude: This has been quite the ordeal hey?

Me: Yes [thinking - ya because you are an idiot]

Printing dude: Well here are your colour prints anyways. I didn't get a price for them yet but I can figure that out and let you know tomorrow. Did you want to take them now or get them tomorrow.

Me: I'll take them now [thinking - because if I don't you'll probably lose them or give them to someone else]

Printing dude: Ya you probably want to sort them into your thesis

Me: Umm... right. [ya into my imaginary copies of my thesis since you neglected, yet again, to print everything]

So now I get to make yet another trip to the printing place to pick up my thesis printing. Or so he tells me. I've learned to not expect my printing to be done when I'm told so I'll be surprised if it's done tomorrow and it's done right. And I thought the thesis defense would be the hardest part. That was a breeze compared to dealing with the incompetence of the printing place. I think their "tradition of excellence" ended when they hired this dude.