Wednesday, May 31, 2006

You can look okay in ski boots

ah yes, the season is well over, but here's a nice shot of me doing my best to look all bad and stuff, while probably pretty drunk off one of those moreliquorthancoffee drinks.

for those following my story, the cholesterol is a little high... dagnammit. Genetics+Grad School. But just to be clear about those ads on TV, they might want to look at a family tree sometime about their laws of inheritance.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Academic vanity

Feeling vaguely useless as I stick around for another year of this unglorious life, despite having written a dissertation - yes, I am smugly holding onto fellowship funding until the next thing wanders my way - I decided to see if I could download my citations into Endnote, because I am intolerably bad at entering references properly.

We all know about these academic women, who, upon finding a tolerable man, are whisked off to wed, but don't change their name anywhere noticeable. This is not a refusal of a new name, a sharp feminist rebuke to the man who dared ask, simply that you must keep publishing under the same name, or your dear followers get confused.
But oh, as I discovered, you can get in trouble with initials too. I happily assumed that the ISI Web of Science gods had deemed my early record beneath their contempt and thus Ryan, SJ is wowing the world with an astounding three co-authored pubs. But then I realised that something didn't add up. So I went back into WoS, snorkeling around, armed with some keywords (there are a lot of my doppel gang working in the strange world of clinical statistical papers with a high spewjargon factor) - didn't I work on Gorillas? Wasn't that Oecologia paper likely to show up somewhere like this? I may be buried in co-author lists, but I did my part. Who is this Ryan, S and who does she work for?

So call it vanity, call it my unpreparedness, but I now appear to have two academic names already. Shame.

Ah, yes, the CHE has a nice one about my nemesis, the impact factor:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It always takes forever

Yesterday, I finally decided to do something about turning 30 soon. I went to the doctor for a checkup. All went well, but it turns out you can't just show up to get cholesterol tests, you have to fast for 12 hours beforehand.
So today is the blessed day. I dilligently stopped consuming anything but water from 8pm onwards last night. I forewent (nice verb, eh?) my morning coffee. The agony. The horror. But all was well, I decided to drive over to Berkeley and make a nice trip of it, stopping in some shops.
But I can't get the car out of the garage. Some casual has parked his truck, windows rolled down for all the world to enjoy, right between the two garages. Now, you might think that this is a bit silly - if you're going to park all over the sidewalk in an illegal and inconvenient way, at least try to only get in trouble with one garaged car owner. But no, right in the middle.
So I look at the truck a bit, go to the liquor store next door and ask if it belongs to anyone (in English), walk up the block and ask the various drunks and strange crazies if they know who it belongs to (in English and Spanish). Then I stand by the truck and practice my French a bit. I notice that there is already a note on the steering wheel saying "Next time I will tow you". Yea! Power to the little old lady with the disabled sticker on her car that was clearly procured by one of her numerous offspring and not remotely necessary.
However, I still need to get my car out. Now I'm getting hungry. I'm fasting - we're on around 14 hours now. No coffee. The last thing I need is to be trapped in the house where food is. So I think, okay, time to call the tow people.
The lovely parking enforcement lady shows up in her mandatory bike helmet in the golf cart and proceeds to use as many of the codes as possible. We've got a ten-niner-forty-two at nine fifteen cross twenty one, charlie mary charlie niner twelve, maroon (ah, she's talking about the truck color), dirty parker seven four. Turns out one of these is her nickname and one of them is the nickname for "call the tow truck". So I'm excited, there's action, but not too much. Half hour will see me out and on the road. I can do a bit of busy work. There's a shapefile or two that needs editing for confusion.
"come back, niner charlie mary charlie nine three nine?"
What's happening... or do I have to say seven niner? Two four-four? (there's a wonderful word used in Tsonga - it sounds like Sharp and you say sharp or sharp-sharp and it means yes yes, great sure, absolutely, yes I did - and many other positive affirmatives, I think that ## fits into the parking lady's lingo well).
"oh, they got some outstanding parking tickets or something" - goody, I think, the tow truck will come sooner, the people will be less likely to come here in the future, they'll learn their lesson.

some time goes by. Everyone in the street carefully parks their huge trucks on the sidewalks - it's street cleaning time. I'm hungry.

The truck is stolen. This is no longer the purview of traffic and parking, now it's The Police's job. Apparently, this truck is from Berkeley. It ran out of gas. Great place to abandon a stolen car. Really great.

One cop car with one cop shows up. He gets out the big cop flashlight and shines it onto the windshield (in full sunlight) to read the VIN. "Yep, this is stolen".

Another half hour passes. I'm starving. I start explaining my story to him. He smiles. He doesn't care much. I'm so hungry. Not that I can't wait this long without eating usually, but this is enforced. Oh the indignity.

Finally the tow truck comes.... ah, and I'm off to get needles stuck in my arms.