Friday, August 27, 2010


I had a mini-meltdown this week.  Not a full-blown panic attack, but definitely a meltdown where I nearly curled up in the fetal position in the corner of the lab, wishing I could be swallowed up by the few cracks in the floor.  It was a shit week with shit results and shitty people draining all my emotional energy. 

I was/am toast at this point.  It was one of those weeks where, excited to be back in the lab after my week long vacation, I started some new cool experiments, did some housekeeping on other experiments (i.e. made new cells for a protein prep for next week) and all in all tried to get back on track. 

Well, peeps, it is Friday and it seemed that everything I touched this week either blew-up (not literally, of course) in my face, showed the exact opposite trends from previous experiments, didn't dissolve, didn't behave, didn't survive, didn't like the conditions I was running, didn't keep the pH (goddamn phosphate buffer) and all in all conspired to send me to the brink of despair.

I know.  I know.  It was only a week- but shit, a year from now I will be applying for TT-positions.  1 year.  That's 12 months. 365 days.  8760 hrs. 525,600 minutes....  In fact, I lost about ten of those minutes just sitting here writing this post. 

Things need to start working again.  Or at least work as well as they did two months ago.  My to do list is way way way to fucking long for routine things like this not to work.  I cannot afford this right now.  Maybe I shouldn't have taken vacation.  The biochemistry gods are looking down in disapproval, and hence have sent their evil minions to come and terrorize my experiments this week.  That must be it. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010


So, today marks the end of a week long "staycation" (which, in my humble opinion is the stupidest sounding thing in the world-but eh...).  Mr. Dr. Zeek and I did a whole lot of nothing this past week (major exceptions being cleaning out the closets and heading to hometown city for a day-more on that in a minute)- and the van is still in the shop.  The dealer forgot to inform us that they are closed both Saturday and Sunday- so no picking up the van till tomorrow.  Which means leaving work in the middle of the afternoon to pick up the van...

The trip to hometown city (which normally isn't blog worthy since we usually head down once every few months-- it is less that a two-hour drive away from post-doc city) was great.  Little sister is starting college in a week (yes, we are a "blended" family and yes-dong the math there is 12 years between the two of us).  The fact that she is going to go where I went for undergrad (a very small liberal arts college in hometown city) makes me doubly excited.  Of course she is freaking out, so big sister to the rescue, I decided to take her around campus for a bit, introduce her to some of the professors, show her where classes are, just all around try to make her feel more at ease.

Now, mind you, I graduated in almost 10 years ago (oh mylanta I feel old) so imagine my surprise, when walking around, that the professors and such remembered me without me having to explain what classes they had me for, etc.  It made me feel good and set little sister at ease a bit more-knowing that these people actually care enough to remember people, to know things, etc.  The worst part for her, though, will be the killer general chemistry class (which kicked my ass when I was there) considering she had never had chemistry in her life (no shit!  I know!).  She was assured by one of my favorite professors (now dean of arts and sciences) that he will do everything in his power to help her past and to find the people she needs to know to help her get through the class.  All in all, I think she feels a bit better about the whole thing.  And it put a smile on my face.

We went to a church festival that night.  I miss church festivals.  There are no church festivals out here in post-doc cities.  Where else can you drink cheap beer, listen to awesome cover bands and all around have a great time on a Friday night?

Oh yeah.  One other minor thing.  Today is my birthday.  No big plans.  No big anything really.  Honestly, Mr. Dr. Zeek is leaving everything up to me (i.e. do you want to go to dinner? do you want to go do something?).  Now, after 5 years of being married and 7 years of being together, I would think that he would know what I like to do and would just plan something.  Would just say get ready honey  and get in the car.  It is weird saying OK I want to go here and here and here and here.  Mr Dr. Zeek is a huge "homebody" too, so he isn't thrilled on going out a lot, so yeah....I have a feeling this is going to totally just be another day.  On a related note, I have had 15 "happy birthdays" on Facebook already (yes, I have a Facebook account.  Facebook is the devil.).  Weird, because in all sincerity I think Facebook has made us even lazier than email has.  No more stamps, no more pondering over a card, and even no more thinking/trying to come up with a little sweet message to send via email.  Nope. Facebook even reminds you of upcoming birthdays, click on the link and there you go-- deposit birthday greetings at will.  Now honestly, I enjoy the sentiment and everything- but really, it loses some of the charm, some of the sincerity, knowing that someone had put in the effort to send their birthday greetings. 

So, yeah.  Tomorrow back to work.  Cannot wait to get back to the lab.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Joy of...

owning a POS van.

Estimated cost of break job- $1100 (that would be for a full break job including the replacement of a master cylinder that was replaced only TWO YEARS AGO!)

Shit. Shit. Shit.

What wonderful news to hear on vacation.  Thankfully, though, we are on vacation so not having a car for a few days is no big thing...Is it too early to crack a beer? I am on vacation after all.  Did I mention I was on vacation?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Dear Frantic Collaborator-

The experiment design and idea was mine.  While I do admit it is extremely cool and applicable to the other systems you are studying, this is mine.  Just because we collaborate on one project does not mean you can use my work/labor/everything else for the other things you look at.  I wouldn't have even thought I would have to explain this to you.  I do not work for you, and such, the things I do/ideas I come up with are not fair game for your other projects-especially when you have no intention on putting me on those papers with the other system.  You barely know what the acronym of the technique stands for, let alone how to do the fucking experiments.  This is mine.  Mine. Mine. Mine.  Mine.  Hands off.  This is twice now where you have suggested and commented about putting things in your grant/papers based on my stuff that HASN'T BEEN PUBLISHED YET!  You can reference the papers once they are out just like everyone else.

I understand that when you took the job at semi-cool university that you blabbed about how "we" (I) was going to do this and everyone there got all excited about things and wanted to help-- but this WAS NOT your project to take.  I understand you needed some sort of validation/common-ground/ass-kissing way to get in good with the people down there (who, by the way fucktard-were my committee members when I was in grad school in case you forgot docuhebag- and with whom I have a good relationship with)--but to try to screw your collaborators because you are realizing how cool this thing *may* be (who knows, it may not even work--it is a total hero(1) experiment) and how you now want in on it makes you an asshat.  You didn't realize how cool it was until you started running your mouth about my shit to everyone else...

Remember.  I. Do. Not. Work. For. You.  And using my friendship with your post-doc is a shitty, shady-cowardly backhanded way to try to get what you want.  Neither of us are stupid, which you would realize if you got your head out of your ass- and know when someone is trying to play us.

So. Mine. Mine. Mine.  At least grow some balls and talk to me again (for the third time) about this.  Oh wait, you must realize you don't have a fucking leg to stand on....

Fuck you very much.
No love

Dear Post-doc friend--
We are and will always be more than OK.  No worries. Ever. I don't mean to be pissed and I hope that you realize that I do not define you and other shit by your boss--who is an assmonkey.  Thank you for telling me things, thank you for being there, but most of all--thank you for looking out for me and my ass down there and being the best friend I have ever had.  I am sorry you are in such a shitty situation and I am even more pissed that your boss has decided to "use" our friendship.  I will do everything I can to help you in the next few months, but Fuck him.  Come work for me when I get my TT-job.  Either that or we can run to an island with our respective significant others and open up a bar.  I'm flexible like that.

Thank you again--
Forever in your debt
Dr. Zeek....

(1) Hero experiments: Experiments that, if they work, make you a hero and that, if fail miserably, you never tell anyone you ran.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pet peeves (or things that have royally pissed me off today)....

  1. If you e-mail me with a question about MFP and what MFP I have in stock that you may "desperately need" please have the courtesy to answer/respond to my e-mail-- even if it is just a "Thanks.  I'll let you know."  Really, is it that hard to hit "reply"?
  2. On a similar note- if you mark something urgent, I treat it as urgent, drop everything and get back to you as soon as possible.  This is your stuff, your inquiries, your bullshit.  If I can take the five minutes out of my busy day to figure something out for you and give you several options as to how to proceed, waiting >36 hrs to get back to me on how you want things done does not seem all that urgent to me. 
  3. Paper-grubbing- watching me set-up an experiment for all of five minutes (because you are "training" me) does not mean you get your name on my fucking paper.  
  4. Nor do I need your help designing or interpretating data from said experiment.  If I need the help, I'll ask someone besides you.
  5.  I do not care that your reaction didn't work.  I do not care about the nitty-gritty details of what you are doing, mostly because when the question is reciprocated you cut me off with some ADD tangent. 
  6. Please do not assume that I am a complete idiot. A minor idiot, OK, but treating me as a complete and in how do you get dressed in the morning idiot...I can do without. And, by the way, just because I have a uterus does not mean that "it's my time of the month" because I got pissy with you for being a complete and total jackass.  
  7. Just because I have a uterus does not mean that I care that your kids went to the dentist and have no cavities.  That does not make you a good mother.  Watching your kids run up and down the hallways of the lab screaming like the devil's spawn that they are does not make you a good mother.  bringing them to the lab does not make you a good mother.  Making them sit in front of a computer and play games while you "work" or leaving them at home would maybe, possibly make you a better mother.
  8. Experiments do not always work--they don't.  It happens.  I do not need your help troubleshooting the experiment.  In fact, I really don't even want to talk about it.  I have several ideas as to how to fix things.  I do not need your help, especially since you ahve never, ever done these things before.  Please, also see #6.  
  9. If I am talking on my cell phone it is either (a) really important or (b) Mr. Dr. Zeek trying to figure out what time I am coming home so we can have dinner together.  You do not need to sit in my lab, listen to my conversation and then comment on it after I hang up.  Especially if you have come into my lab to tell me about #5 or #6. 
  10. Please, for the love of God and all things holy, do not tell me that smoking is bad for me.  No shit? Really?  Please get off of your sanctimonious high-horse and stop telling me that everything I am doing is unhealthy, yadda-yadda while you munch on your BigMac, super-sized fries and slurp down your Coke.  I would have to have lived under a rock not to know that smoking is a horrible, awful habit that is not only destroying my health but makes me "unattractive" (yes, that is what was said)  Do I smoke near you?  Around you? No.  You have to smell it on me when you come in my lab?  Then please, don't come in.
  11. Talking to someone while they are pipetting multiple things into a reaction cocktail mix is just cruel.  Continuing to talk after the cry of "Ah, Fuck. I already added that" is just plain mean.  
  12. When I say "I don't care" I really do mean "I don't care".  You will not be able to convince me otherwise.
Today sucked.  Sucked my soul dry.   Tomorrow I just want to shut my door and run some experiments.  It can't be worse than today, right?  I am just so frustrated.  It is bad enough that my enzyme is not behaving, but throw people into it and now things went from bad to unbearable.  It took all my willpower not to go screaming down the hall I don't care! I don't care.  No really. I don't.

I have not had enough "down-time," away from people, conversations, etc.  As much of an extrovert I can be (or at least come off as--those silly tests always told me I was an introvert), most of the time it is forced extrovertisim.  I need time away from people to recharge-otherwise I get like this-where everything and anything pisses me off.....  This weekend Mr. Dr. Zeek and I have no plans, no work, no anything.  We are locking the doors, taking the phone off the hook and not talking to anyone but each other.

EDIT: I just downloaded some Buckcherry, 90's alternative and all around lab rocking music for tomorrow.  It seemed to help a bit.....