Saturday, July 24, 2010

No place like home...

I am home.  The conference was absolutely amazing!  Five days of intense science, schmoozing and incredible sessions really made me get excited about things again. (and completely and totally exhausted) I made some new friends, found some collaborators (although really, there are already 4 of them, do I really need more?), and all in all had a fantastic time.  It was a highly productive meeting.  My poster was well received and I had gotten a few suggestions for experiments which may help clarify things in the end.  I think my liver may be a bit unhappy with me right now, but a few dry days may help that out.

At one point, I was sitting at dinner with Big Boss Man and several of the pioneers in the field.  We were talking about kids and grad school and things like that.  I looked around the table and realized that these are all "normal" (I use the term loosely) people who have normal lives and are just a bit geekier/nerdier then the rest of the general population.  I think I will fit in just fine. 

I think the funniest part of the conference for me was having the image of people in my head completely shattered.  I do believe that there was not one person there that I had "pictured" correctly in my brain.  I am not one of those people who google-stalk someone, so when reading papers I do tend to formulate a picture in my brain of Dr. So-and-so and tend to see them bent over the bench with a gilson in hand.  Yup.  Not one of those images was right.

I have to admit, there were times where I almost had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  This conference to me was like a bunch of high school girls meeting Zak Effrom or something.  Sitting on the porch in a rocking chair with some of the big names in science, listening to their stories about being in Big Boss Man's lab 20-30 yrs ago was almost surreal.

I am just glad to be home.  Five days is a long time.  It also made me realize how much I need to up my game.  And soon.  Monday, in fact.  Operation take the field by storm is now in effect. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The poster is finally done and printed.  It doesn't look half-bad and really, using Illustrator wasn't as mind-numbingly awful bad as I thought it would be.  There were only a few times where I was ready to toss the laptop out the 3rd floor window a tad frustrated.  I just realized, though, that there is a lot of data on the poster.  But it is what it is and no way to change things now.

So, the poster is done, Big Boss Man's talk is finished (and saved on two different thumb drives and on the laptop-just in case) and the realization that we are leaving on Sunday is starting to sink in.  Even though I am only giving a poster, I am still as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  Could be because Big Boss Man has forewarned me that he will lob all questions from his talk to me .

There are a lot of big names in the field that are going to be there-people who are going to review my papers, and someday soon, my grants.  I have to admit that my boss is absolutely fantastic about "putting me out there" and I am looking at this conference as not only a way to see some really cool science, but to network the hell out of people.  They won't know what hit them. 

I am leaving Mr. Dr. Zeek at home for this one (the next conference in January he will be tagging along--more to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather than anything else) and he commented yesterday that this will be the longest that we have been apart since we moved in together almost 6 yrs ago.  Maybe that is adding to my nerves a bit.  That and I hate- no detest- flying.  Not so much the flying, but the taking off and landing is really a problem for me.