Friday, February 27, 2009

A beautiful figure just for me...

I finally got my figure (and a phone call) yesterday. An hour-and-a-half later, I got the corrections. All five of them.

There is some more blog-fodder from our conversation (and some "disturbing" things/attitudes that may cause me to become more ruthless)-but I will chalk most of it up to both of us having put to end what was a very long week in our respective labs.

The conversation is still hanging around in my brain, a distinct tickle in the back of my mind- sorry for the cryptic-ness- I still need to figure this out in my head first and then find out if what was said is really how things are going to be. If that is the case, I am going to have to strap-it on and become ruthless.

back to corrections....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And...still waiting.

FFS-I am still waiting. And, to "prove a point" I have decided not to email him- which is rather silly since I am the one who will suffer, not him.

Seriously, though....suggestions for any snarky email messages are appreciated...

Since the PI is going to be out of town Friday-Sunday, there is no way I can send things off to land-far-away before Monday (Big boss man wants to see it one more time with all the corrections). Shit shit shit shit. Every time I open my email, I get pissed.......

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Still waiting....

Still waiting. For one figure. And, of course the tome of corrections the second author has decided to make, which may or may not be added to the manuscript. Here is the question to the great wide void- do I have to make these corrections? Most of the previous ones that I have seen were more stylistic than anything, and honestly my PI (who is the corresponding author) like the paper/style/tone before I showed it to the second author. Am I responsible/forced to alter my style of writing to make the second author happy? I will honestly look at the corrections, and if something sounds better his way, fine, I will change it, but do I have to make all of his suggested changes?

The corrections are (ready for this one) coming in the mail since he wrote them on a copy of the manuscript and figured he would drop them in an actual envelope and put them in the mail-so we are looking at three days once he puts them in the box). Seriously?

I am stewing a bit right now. Just a bit. I know he is busy, I know he has a lot going on, but creepers so do I. It would have been nice to have this paper submitted and maybe (fingers crossed) accepted before my fellowship app is due, but now, there is no way in hell.

Grrr....what do I do?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


First round of corrections (of which there were surpisingly few from my boss and a large chunk from my coauthor)...done.

Second round coming soon. Now if I can just get the one figure from my coauthor, I can send this off to land far-away for their input.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rock your heart out...

I heart Hinder...
I heart Theory of a Deadman...
And, I even heart Motley Crue...

Mr DrZeek and I went to the see the mentioned bands on the Saints of Los Angeles tour. (OK, starting to loose a little anonymity here, but whatever). Anyways, bands were awesome, although Vince Neil was grating my on my eardrums a tad. They must have to do some serious editing to get him to sound alright on the albums, because live he misses words and is way to nasally (whiny-I don't know, couldn't understand him on a lot of songs)....But the band...oh, the band sounded amazing.

And, a side note, I loved Hinder before, but had never seen the chance to see them live. Be still my heart, they are amazing, they rock hard, and sound like they do on the albums (not like a lot of bands who can't play for shit live). All-in-all, an amazing show.

We left during the encore of "Home sweet home". Walking out of the venue, you could still here the bass. It was so loud that it was making the roof of the venue rattle. Coolest. Thing. Ever. (Besides hot science that is). I must go home now, my voice is shot, my ears are still ringing, and maybe if I can go take a nap I can have some hot dreams about the lead singer from Theroy..ermm, I mean of Mr. DrZeek.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cloud nine...

Just a quickie. (I love quickies)

I am on cloud 9 (and 10 and even 11). Big boss man looked at the paper last night and I was expecting to get roasted this morning.

My old advisor had drilled it into my head that I had no idea how to write a decent sentence, let alone a manuscript (which is funny since he was a non-native English speaker and I used to correct his grammar, etc. and even more funny that I am blogging now- but I notice that I write the way I think- way confused and all over the board sometimes... Any way, I digress....)

Needless to say I was slightly concerned when I handed off the manuscript. I thought this is it, he is going to realize that I have no clue and wonder how many days there are left on my contract so he can get rid of me (can we say impostor syndrome anyone?)

So, I walked into the lab library (and for some reason the Darth Vader music was playing in my head) with my coffee and settled down with big boss man this morning, figuring this was it.

Turns out he thought the paper was extremely well-written. In looking at the comments, there are a few sentences that need to be completely rewritten and one figure to "fix", but other than that he was extremely excited and I think somewhat impressed. And I feel a little bit better, until I give him the next manuscript for editing....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Authorship woes...

I have thrown down some seriously hot science today, and one of my undergrad minions freaked out about my tattoos and how I don't seem like a nerd since I have several large tatts, a nose ring and listen to social distortion, theory of a deadman, guns and roses and all that other rock stuff-- talk about your atypical science nerd... The pneumonia is gone and I have gone-balls-to-the-wall on writing these manuscripts (two or three-haven't decided yet). Finished as it is in my PI's hands.

Which brings me to my current rant. Authorship woes. I previously (in grad reasearch lab)have gone through the frustration of doing all the research, writing the manuscript, making the figures yadda-yadda-yadda only to be put as second author on the paper. Wha-what? You might say? Well my graduate advisor was under the impression that his name should be first author, followed by mine. Not only was it a point of contention with me, but I also got nailed to the wall a bit in a recent fellowship proposal for not having any first author papers.

So, arriving in new post-doc lab I learned that my new, highly established highly respective PI actually allows his lowly minions to *gasp* be first authors! I was thrilled. Beyond thrilled. Ecstatic!

Until I realized the little game of "politics" between us and the "collaborators" in the land far away. Let's give a little background, shall we? Coming into new post-doc lab, I was put on a project that no one in our lab was working on. Its mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Let's just say that the project is determining how apples grow (for the sake of anonymity). We (the PI and I, so really I) were working with another post-doc in another lab (in our department) who would take pictures of the apples. I would be responsible for figuring out how the apples grew, what affected the growth, and so on. The post-doc trained me in apple-growing techniques (since when I started in the new lab I didn't know my apples from a hole-in-the-wall) and gently prodded me in gaining a "voice" in the lab.

I am sorely indebted to said post-doc, who ironically accepted a faculty position at the university I did my graduate work at (isn't it ironic- dontcha think?). He took the apple picture project with him (since we needed someone who could take apple pictures) and he and I have been working closely on discussion and data-interpretation.

So, post-doc turned faculty member is awesome. Freakin awesome. But there is another darker side to the story. When I came into the lab, the apple project was funded by my PI's large NIH grant which needed to be written for renewal. This grant also names two other co-PI's (both in land far away). One is a friend, one is a former post-doc.

They have done much work on the other parts of teh apple project, but the post-doc/faculty member's ground-breaking apple pictures (which was published last summer in a one-word journal) have and will really drive the project forward for this next grant period. From these apple pictures, my part of the project really took off/will take off/is taking off.

Last summer, collaborator's from land-far away came to visit myself, my PI, and post-doc/faculty member to discuss the plans for the next grant period, who will do what, and essentially outline the next grant proposal (again, my PI is the "named" PI, the others-including new faculty member former post-doc were named as a co PI). I get to do everything that I wanted to do in the next grant period and even was able to proposed a new way to look at apples, something my PI has never done before.

I am not going to lie, the new faculty member and I wrote/rewrote the grant, formatted the "outlines" from everyone else, put things together...OK, so we did everything for this grant (and I AM NOT complaining- it was a great experience, it was funded, and I am now guaranteed a job for a little bit).

So, let's fast forward a bit. It was agreed upon that I would be responsible for looking at different colored apples and figure out how they grew. The collaborators in land far way would look at how the leaves grew on the apple trees (something related, but not overlapping). I have been working on it non-stop and have enough data for two or three papers. I have spent hours growing and harvesting the apples, purifying them, figuring out the crazy intricacies, coming up with new experiments, etc. My PI is happy, the new faculty member is happy, I am thrilled. The data looks awesome and the story is HOT!

Now, here comes the problem. Our "collaborator's" sent us an apple seed a long time ago. Put it in an envelope, stamped it, and sent it over seas (and in all honesty, this is exactly what they did). we have been propagating that seed, changing it, growing more seeds, etc. The original seed has long been trashed. The new data that I have generated has been sent to them, not for approval but to say "Hey, this is cool- since we are all working on different parts of the same project- take a look." Collaborator's from the land far-away generally look at the data, make a few comments, and then remind me that I should be referencing papers A, B, and C (funny, they are authors on papers A, B, and C) . Generally they don't contribute much to the conversation.

So, here is the kicker. A month ago, PI asked me who I wanted on the paper. We both agreed at the time that collaborator's from overseas could be left off the paper and put in the acknowledgements. I decided (my manuscript, my decision, right??hahaha) that I was first author, the post-doc new faculty member would be second (two fold- he trained me, helped me grow the apples and really has been a fantastic source for my first few years- a gift, maybe? but on this first paper I don't mind) and my PI last.

Well, PI looked at the first page today and said "At some point we need to decide authorship" and politically we may have to put collaborator's from land far away and his post-doc (who is not even there anymore) that first harvested the apple seed on there (so- # of authors goes from 3 to 7--no, i shit you not. 3 to 7...). Essentially, we left the conversation with me biting my tongue (literally it still hurts) when he says yup, because of the politics they all need to be on there. ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?????

I called new faculty member who flipped. Couldn't believe it, had something along the same thing happen when writing the paper for the one-name journal, ad in general wants to know when this craziness will stop. He is refusing to put far-away collaborator's on his upcoming papers and thinks putting them on because of politics is absolutely ridiculous.

So here it is. I am pissed. My boss is the big huge name on the grant. The others are co-PIs. There is no way in hell that my name will ever be on their papers. (my PI's, maybe, but not mine). These other guys, with the exception of new faculty member, are established (and have even kicked around the idea about retiring in the next few years), so why in the FUCK do I need to put them on my paper. They have not contributed anything (except for making me feel like a "print/copy girl" or coffee girl when hey were here on their last trip) to this manuscript. I AM LIVID. Politics? Bullshit....seriously, bullshit.

EDIT: I need to check into the policies for the journal to see what type of "author contribution" letter/paragraph I can write. It is not commonly done (as in I have never ever seen it in an article in this journal before) but maybe that will be a way around all the bullshit....

Friday, February 6, 2009

People are nuts....

Mr DrZeek and I have been tormented for the past three years by commercials for a fast-food chain that looked and sounded better than anything else, but the nearest one was over two hours away. Not worth it. (And OK, I get it that fast-food is bad and unhealthy and just not good for you- but it is a nice "treat" for us occasionally-burgers and fries...mmmm....)

Every time the commercials came on, we cursed the TV until, that is, we found out that they were opening a restaurant in post-doc city about 5 minutes from our house. Since Mr DrZeek took off today, we hopped in the car and drove over there. After 20 min, yes I said 20 min in the drive thru- we got up in line and ordered. Thinking that the huge amount of people was due to the "Grand Opening" the hubby commented on how it was a beautiful day to finally open. The kid just laughed and said, "no, the Grand Opening was Monday. There was a three-hour wait..."

Are you freakin' kidding me? Three hours for a burger and fries? I was getting annoyed after 10 min. Three hours?

OK, so the burger and fries were awesome, I admit. But three freakin' hours? Uh-hu, no way. People are insane...

Warm Fuzzies...

After a three day hiatus from the lab (in which I was laying on the couch, praying for the antibiotics to kick in, sleeping on and off all day and, when not asleep- watching junk daytime TV), I decided to come in today. I am still not feeling great, in fact all I want to do right now is crawl into bed with a cup of tea and not move for several hours, but I figured that three days was enough time to get over pneumonia, to quit being a baby, suck it up and go into work. Besides, I hadn't told my PI I would be gone/was gone so I figured he'd be a little "upset."

Anyways, popped into PI's office, he looked surprised to see me. And made the comment of all comments that is going to leave me riding high for the next few weeks- "here I thought you were going to be flat on your back for the next few weeks. I don't know what we would have done without you-you are indispensable..." No, really, I was not in a drug-induced haze, he really said I was indispensable, he was glad to see me up and around, and that I need to take care of myself and get better. So basically, what the hell are you doing in lab. Go home. See you Monday.

So, I am going to head out of lab soon. Take home a bunch of papers to finish my manuscript (which I promised big boss man on Monday) and work from there. But indispensable--I still have the warm fuzzies from that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You have got to be kidding me PART III....

An update. After sleeping about two hours on Sunday night (its hard to sleep when you are constantly hacking up a lung), drinking almost a whole bottle of NyQuil (OK I exaggerate a tad) and sucking on the silly inhaler that did absolutely no good, I drag (literally) my ass into work. At this point, I m so tired that the words on my computer screen are fuzzy, and I find myself forgetting to do simple things (like putting the coffee in the filter before closing the lid and turning it on).

Anyways, about 2:00 in the afternoon, right before my minions come in, the nurse from the clinic calls me. It seems that the radiologist saw something the Dr didn't on my chest X-ray, my bronchitis isn't bronchitis. I have pneumonia in my upper lobe of the left lung. Freakin fantastic! The nurse proceeded to tell me that I could possibly be contagious until 24 hrs after my first does of antibiotics. *sigh* great.

Seriously though, one dose of antibiotics and super-awesome cough medicine later- I could sleep. Granted, I was exhausted from coughing and not sleeping since Thursday, but holy shit- if they just would have given me this shit a day earlier... anyways, I slept for something like 12 hrs after getting home yesterday and took today off from the lab. Maybe I can kick this shit in the next day or so and be up and running by the end of this week...thank god for modern medicine.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

You have got to be kidding me PART II......

OK, so the crinkly-crackly (yes, those are scientific words) feeling in my chest, lack of sleep, and overall feeling of breathlessness was too much to take, so I headed to the nearby doctor this afternoon (well before the Superbowl). After walking around for an hour with a stupid blue mask on my face, and several chest X-rays later- I find I have nothing more than viral bronchitis- so they sent me home with an inhaler and told me that cough medicine does no good--so suck it up.

So now what. Its 20 to 6, the Superbowl is on, and right now my eyes feel like they are encased in plaster. So here is the question, do I try to work, or do I give into the sleep that I have been sorely lacking the past few days..

Never mind, the couch looks too comfortable. Maybe I will split the difference- take a two hour nap and work late tonight.....