Monday, November 30, 2009

What do you want?

"I want great conversations, great sex, great friendship, great intimacy, great wine, whiskey and food."

Yes, that about sums it up!

How about the rest of y'all? What do you want?

EndNote about to expire

Romanée-Conti, DRC 1990 6 magnums at Zachy's New York in 2002 for $69,600, or $5,800 per regular bottle.

Crap. My trial version of EndNote will expire in 4 days. This does not jibe with my needs at all.

I DON’T WANT TO BUY ENDNOTE!!!! And I don’t have the time to hit someone up for a version on the sly......hummm

And this software really pisses me off. (My fault. Word to the wise, don’t wait till you are writing your manuscripts to figure this shit out! Big mistake). I'm trying to change the freakin output style in a iWork Pages document (not Word), and the manuals ect. keep giving me the run around!


EndNote Citation Search for EndNote references to select and insert as citations in your Pages ‘09 document. See page 366 for more information. EndNote Bibliography Insert and format a bibliography based on your citations. Pages will initially use the output style currently selected in EndNote.
The Edit>EndNote Citations submenu:
␣ Bibliography Format Choose a different bibliographic style to format the citations and bibliography. The style list shows those styles marked as “favorites” in EndNote. See page 336 for information about how to add styles to the list. ␣ Manage Citations Edit or delete existing citations. See “Editing Citations” on page 368 for more information.

Fuck off..........every one of those further pages were completely unhelpful!!!! Such a stupid thing to spend so much time on...CFS, just stop and go home. It's 5 in the morning for Christs sake.

Chateau Margaux 1787 insured for $225,000.

This column in Forbes Kills me!
Wine & Food Feature
World's Most Expensive Wines
Nick Passmore

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For fuck's sake, engage!

I hate being naive and idealistic. I care enough about the people around me, their productivity, and a harmonious workplace to have difficult conversations!

I agree that we all should think before speaking about uncomfortable subjects, even carry a mental conversation before actually engaging others in real conversations. This can be key especially when a thorough mental work-up can defuse anger over the issue.

For fuck's sake!

I also don’t mean that we should always seek out and confront. Just be willing to say something!!! When a lab is at a point when no one has anything to say to one another, is a lab with a serious problem.

In my situation, I appreciate a destructive relationship between my PI and I may make some feel uncomfortable. However, since I am the type of individual who goes out of her way to not involve others, this should be a indicator that I’m mature enough to have a conversation about someone’s hobbies with out breaking down into tears or defaulting to a bitch session about how much I hate my PI.

Although, to at least acknowledging there even exists a problem but all agree to stay uninvolved could at least protect from alienation.

Wine of the day:

This is a Spanish red I recently enjoyed. I found it complex, with firm underlying tannins. And I found the the integrated flavors of mineral and lilac DELIGHTFUL...just how I like my conversations!

Bodegas Pinord Priorat, 2006
Subtle but solid, this red shows cassis, kirsch and vanilla flavors that are fresh and balanced, with well-integrated tannins and a floral finish. Drink now through 2016. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 4,000 cases made. —Thomas Matthews

Monday, November 23, 2009

n=1, but I’m starting to believe there’s a correlation.

Very interesting, lets do an experiment. I just entered the graduate student library in my building. Its a lovely environment located on the 5th floor in a modified conference room.

Our place for short retreats from the lab, PI’s and undergrads (no offense to those of you undergrads actually reading this, for if your on these blogs you likely not the kind of undergrads we need a break from!).

So the experiment is how long will the sniveling Ms. Brown N. stay now that I came in? Since I left the lab, she historically would go to great lengths to avoid me. Now I have only “gut” feelings, so lets collect some data.

11:30 am I enter grad long till Ms. Brown N. leaves? tic tock, tic tock

11:34 am she starts playing with her she’s expecting a call, or has an appt.

11:41 she has stopped work all together and is staring at her computer or out the window.

11:57 I now have the library all to myself! The awesome power of CFS!

While this is a n=1, I’m very confident there is a trend. Further studies in progress!

From the deepest part in my soul, I am so happy she goes to great lengths to leave me alone. What a gift. If she could only have done this 3 years ago, life would have been SO much better. Furthermore, I’ve had to exude absolutely no energy in this avoidance process. Ok, likely not true since from the moment I walked in I’m sure I had this amused smirk on my face. Ha....but there is so much less energy in a pleasurable smirk than there is in pent up hostility....I’m sure there is data to support this idea too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Inspired by a a great line used on me today; “I need a sarcasm detector app for my iPhone...”

Based on my blog following, by now everyone is familiar with Dr. Ass Hole. Even if you are not familiar with my PI, you certainly will know Dr. Ass Hole after I provide an example. So it’s time for another segment of “e-mail absurdity!”.

This gem was exchanged last July (There’s so many....lots of great material in my Dr. Ass Hole e-mail bag).

CFS to Dr. Ass Hole

I was hoping we could meet next week? I need to take tomorrow off and with the meeting lasting 2 hours today, I could use this time in the afternoon to maintain progress.

Dr. Ass Hole response:
Ok. Not meeting is not to your advantage in trying to get done soon, but its your call.

Ouch......CFS (I ask myself), did that hurt?
CFS’s sarcastic comeback: No worries, life is pain!!

Wine of the day: Something complex and spicy
Domaine Pegau Chateauneuf Du Pape Rouge, 2006

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A good value day

Wine of the day:
Little Boomey Shiraz, 2006
Episode #762 - What wine pairs with Chicken nuggets

COLOR-dark; NOSE-a little nice blackberry; tight; some black cherry as well; PALATE-good intense fruit on the attack; a little pepper on the back-end; some graininess; meaty as well; not as thin and fake as I would have expected for a mass produced shiraz; not bad at all; nice strawberry flavor; very bright and a good value; GV-87.

While not the most productive day I did have a ‘....nice,....good value’ kind a day.


Totally broke till Friday. But upon rummaging the freezer this afternoon I found a Amy’s Cheese favorite! And for dinner, way in the back was a package of steaks that I bought sometime ago when they were on crazy sale. Awesome! So I didn’t have to spend a dime and had a good delicious tasting day.

The day had it’s dark moments too. I have been working in total isolation and am at a point where I really need someone to read my paper. So far I’ve not had one person read it. Same thing happened when I was writing my proposal for the NIH. I ended up submitting without one bit of feedback from anyone in my lab/department. Without my husband, I’m not sure how I’d do it, or continue to do it! Thankfully my husband is completely gifted when it comes to sexing up a story. He’s brilliant!

So, here I am again. I really NEED (want?) someone to read it from my field! I crave engagement!!!!

A recent post from Professor in Training (The importance of peers in grad school) is yet another example from which I can model, but what I wouldn’t do to experience it for myself. Just a reminder of the spiciness of my situation.

Desperate, I broke down and asked Wonderboy to read my draft yesterday. While his response contained ‘some graininess....and was a bit meaty...’ it wasn’t ‘thin and fake as I...expected...’.

As a finish, I had a GOOD friend day! Thank you for making me giggle!

Not bad at all....

Can’t decide if today was a 2002 Chateau Coutet or a 2000 Legras St Vincent kind of day

I love drinking, making, drinking, talking about, drinking and learning about wine! So a new segment to the CFS blog will be “what kind of wine day did I have?”

Chateau Coutet 2002: Pale yellow. Aromas of mirabelle, licorice, menthol and flowers. Brisk, juicy and penetrating, if a bit youthfully unforthcoming in the middle. Reasonably firm acids give this fresh wine a solid backbone and good finishing grip..

Kind of like the cool brisk morning, with the unforthcoming middle and a reasonably firm finish to the day....I got a good grip on my draft!

Legras St Vincent 2000: "Incredibly youthful and vibrant, with excellent freshness and verve. The crispness brings on notes of lemons, limes, orange zest, apple, pear and subtle toasty notes keep it all in check. Drink this now for it's liveliness or let it age to become more round, rich and robust.", yea I'm totally youthful and vibrant, with excellent freshness and verve. oh, then I deal with lemons and limes of my lab, and REALITY CHECK!

Now, remember I'm a grad student. Its not like I can actually afford to drink these wines, I live out my wine tasting fantasy's at:

For the wine lovers out there, my source for these amazing wines and tasting notes can be found at:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why am I writing this paper?

I'm feeling triggered today and thought I would share my story....maybe it will help get me out of the funk. I’ve been through a very bad time in my lab, including total isolation and open hostilities. When it started, 3 years ago now, I attempted to change the direction of the “perceptions”, by working even harder. I worked at any and all hours, earned awards at the College level and applied and was the recipient of a NIH fellowship. While applying for the fellowship, my PI insisted that I wasn’t competitive enough, thus shouldn’t use lab time towards the application. Furthermore, his letter of support was for a “travel” grant and not a national award for 3-years of full funding....Yet, I got the damn thing.
Even with all my efforts, the behavior continued. In fact I was perceived as arrogant. For over a year, I chose not to engage. I knew there was no winning this. Unfortunately, this was seen as my admission of guilt.
When I did attempt to resolve what ever the issues were, I was told by my PI, who also later informed the lab, that I have a behavior problem and am a difficult person in general. He also added that while there was some truth to my situation in the lab, the majority was just paranoia.
This dysfunctional relationship between my PI and I only began about 5 mo. after joining the lab. Even though we had our rough spots, primarily our working relationship was very respectful. Even when a new “Wonderboy” grad. student joined the lab. He was aware of the tense situation between me and our PI, but he never attempted to use it to his advantage. We all collaborated well on a paper we were contributing to equally. However, the situation took a sudden and wicked turn when a third grad student joined the lab. I need not go into detail...the kindling was there before she joined, she was the person who chose to light the match!
What as initially a occasional conflict between only my PI and I was now a long and painful era of emotional abuse towards me by the lab as a whole. I was excluded from discussions (and humiliated when they were happening just in the room next to me....the looks I had to endure when I had to go in that room to run experiments were insufferable!). I was refused training even though I had the funding and invitation to visit a lab in Italy to learn the assay’s and techniques I needed. My PI, other grad students and eventually many in my department would overtly disregard my questions and would undermine my comments. I was issued ridiculous amounts of tedious work with nearly daily deadlines (these daily meetings were hoped to help my “learning”...yet I was the only student required to have them). During our joint lab meetings and journal clubs I was constantly publicly targeted by my PI and the female grad student, I was often dealing with attacks to my competence which would lead to some kind of public punishment. These tantrums by my PI often had no merit and were based on nothing remotely relevant to my work, presentation or behavior!
This has been going on for more than two years now. And even though the original grad student never openly participated, his withdrawal has only heightened others in the department to become emboldened. I was (and still believe I potentially could be again) a women who put myself though school, sought out the hardest courses, raised a child, went through a divorce, worked 3 or more jobs, finally reaching a point where I became more and more admired by members in my department, excelled intellectually and was awarded numerous academic awards....but now, I’m here in this place trying to finish my PH.D. and living with a situation where many in my department have unquestioningly labeled me as unpleasant and inept.
The situation has worsened. Half of my research centered has ben a collaborative project between me and the “wonderboy” student, but over time my ability to participate in my own project became less and less. In fact what should have been my experiments were now being given to the third grad student (now all of a sudden on the project with out any previous communication with me). I went from being co-first author to being replaced by the female grad student who now shares that honor with “wonderboy”, I’m second. My other projects are independent of the other graduate students in the lab, but I’ve been unable to speak of them to anyone for strange reasons. When I do, I’m given absurd unhelpful comments and suggestions. My PI has made me remake the strains and test them again and again.......Which I’ve now done at least 5 times and each time I get the same result! So this suggests to me that the results are real!
And finally, I’ve even been dealing with the recent reality of my earlier work being used and repeated by the horrible grad student in my lab and taking all credit as her own by means of discrediting my work and insinuating false and unsubstantiated acts of anger I supposedly made towards her to our PI. She is preparing to publish and guess what, I’m not on the paper!!!!!
While I do not know what fueled this persecution, it was most certainly endorsed by my PI and others in the department mostly because our academic climate offers no resources and even puts at risk those who would be willing to help because they too could become a target. I came to a point where I would no longer quietly endure the abuse. Using the support that I had been slowing enlisting with one of my committee members and dept. head, I made a stand and said ENOUGH! Luckily they agreed. I am now working out of another lab and trying to finish my dissertation.
Also, and this is the real cool part....the grad student who has made my life hell, left her e-mail open on our “public” lab computer! It was seen by others in the lab including our tech. who was shocked. The emails were about me and my PI. The two of them were describing details/stories about me that should not EVER involve my advisor and another grad student. Furthermore, this student was engaged in chat room conversations with other students regarding me where she informed them that I was “crazy” and “troubled”. She would tell them about how our PI wanted to throw me off the publications completely. She witness and elaborated how our PI ripped my poster off the wall in the hall and laughed about it. When I later inquired about the poster they both lied about it and said they thought it was in the lab....sorry, they had no idea.

While I feel validated having this information because it is cold hard data that I was NOT paranoid and I was/am not the one causing problems....still, what to do with this information and now what? I am still a couple of months from finishing and I’m getting more and more pressure from my department to finish. I’m on it, yet to what end. Most students get to apply for post doc’s while finishing. I have not. I have no letter of rec from my PI. So I’m asking you your experience, what are my chances? Will I move on and be ok, or am I out?

Finally, I do not want to go legal. Really there is no point. I have looked into it. But I have no money to do it. And really, I’m not going to be better off. I just want out and I want to move on. I could use your help knowing how to do that. What things have you seen that worked? What “lines” have you heard that you especially thought were right on target and perhaps could be useful for me. I don’t know what I really want, just sitting here. Supposed to be writing a paper that I bet will never see the light of day. I doubt my PI will publish it. More likely he will re-part it out and others will repeat and they will publish it as their own. I need some kind of motivation I guess. Why the fuck am I writing a paper/dissertation that has no hope of ever helping the field, or me for that matter?

(on a lesser confident day)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Now I'm gonna have to hit him in the head

now he's clicking his pen! Maddening!!!!!!

more from the strange one

OK, now he is banging his fist on the chair...........


I’m here in the grad room (we call it the library) trying to write my paper. But I can’t focus. How can I when another student is here, with his iPod on so loud that I can actually hear it. And he is an angry disturbed kinda fella, who likes every one to know how hard he is working and how hard his life is by constantly seeking attention through the antics like obnoxiously taking in a deep breath and sighing out loud.....every minute (I’ve been timing him), or every time he looks at a new data point, or just before the mumbles to himself “this is bull-shit”. He’s freaking me out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No way

No freakin way....I just got an e-mail from my department saying that they just now noticed that I didn't take "the" ethics course. They informed me that they enrolled me and I was required to take it in the spring. ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS???????????? I'm in the middle of writing my dissertation. I'm hardly in the lab any more.

Ok, I transferred to this dept. from another here in the same university. During my first semester in that program I had a very crappy ethics over view, but I had it. Furthermore, I brought this up at my FIRST committee meeting here in my new department, from which they agreed that I had met and completed my ethics obligation. SO FUCK OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't work with human subjects, and I'm not the person who stole someone else's work only to claim as there own....that honor goes to Ms. Brown N. Make her take the freakin ethics course.

Life filters

As a naturally social person, its been very hard enduring the abandonment and ostracism of the last two years. I’ve gone from a very confident social individual to the women in lab meetings so scared to say anything that I would pinch my lips together holding back.

Now, after working with my Dept. head to carefully get myself finished up and out of the current lab with out risk to my project, publication and NIH fellowship (essentially I fired my PI and am finishing my work in another lab and writing my paper and dissertation), I feel that I’m starting to come back.

I remember why friends are so important....they are critical distractors to the daily bullshit. Real friends can and will be brutally honest with you and more importantly, they help us find a way to laugh and stop taking it out on my poor husband. Friends are our filters of life. Without them, life becomes very contaminated and stinky (yes, I'm a dork!).

Let’s be real. How many of the people who really care about me gives a fuck that I was cheated out of proper authorship? How many people will ever read my paper? Well, professionally that matters and hopefully when I search my name in PubMed I will see lots of other papers cite mine....but that will never replace the need to be apart of something. To share how excited I am that an experiment WORKED after 3 months of trouble shooting. If alone, who do I tell about Ms. Brown N’s latest antics? Or about Dr. Ass Hole’s insistence that I don’t understand how restrictions enzymes work because I proposed doing a digest, DNA hybridization technique to look for genomic alterations....only to read about it done by another lab later....asshole....

Ha, in the grad scheme of things, I think I’m pretty good at what I do and what I can do. I have ideas and read about similar approaches and results later. This has only helped me build my mental confidence.

If I could only act this way in person, at the right moment, at the time its happening......

I’m working on it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can we use any of these to stop the passive aggressive suck up's?

I found this list of "snappy comebacks" (site below), and wondered if I could apply any of them to my situation.

Let's try:

1. Dr. Ass Hole, Does your stream of consciousness have any fish in it?
2. When Dr. Ass Hole leaves notes on my bench, that everyone see's and senses is trouble, informing me that we need to talk..."Ah! I see the memo fairy has visited us again".
3. This is towards one of the grad students in lab. Lets call her Ms. Brown N. Hey Brown, I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
4. Dr. Ass Hole to me. CFS, you actually want me to read your e-mails and listen to the words you, how about never? Is never good for you?
5. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public. - Don't have to, Dr. Ass Hole does it for me on a regular basis.
6. This is exactly how Ms. Brown N. behaves! I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
7. So the following is my behavior to Ms. Brown's #6....I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
8. oh, and this is the other grad student, let's call him Don, short for (I DON't give a fuck), I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message student.
9. Our lab tech. - I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
10. The look on Dr. Ass Hole's face when I speak....It sounds like English, but I can't understand a word you're saying.
11. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.
12. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
13. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
14. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't give a damn. - Clearly the choice that Dr. Ass Hole is going with.
15. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth (actually, this is how I've been treated for last two more!).
16. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
17. (an oldie but goodie) Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
18. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist (Actually, I think this will be the topic of my next post.....stay tuned).
19. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental, given #'s 1, 2...14, 11...oh all of them!
20. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!? - Actually, I've wondered this for years.
21. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant. - My NEW insight into the world of research!
22. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
23. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
24. No, my powers can never be used for good.
25. You sound reasonable. Time to up the medication.
26. Who me? I just wander from room to room
27. And Ms. Brown...your crybaby, whiney-butt opinion would be?
28. Do I look like a people person?
29. This isn't a lab. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
30. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left. - Actually the name of my bar after turning in my publication and dissertation is the "Wasted Ph.D". Any investors out there? I will also have a room (like a speak easy) named the "lounge of negative results".
31. You! Off my planet! - My personal favorite.
32. Does your train of thought have a caboose?
33. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
34. I am a PBS mind in an MTV world.
35. Allow me to introduce my selves. - Its true, I'm a Gemini.
36. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
37. Well, your day is a total waste of makeup.
38. Not all managers are annoying. Some are dead.
39. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
40. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
41. Stress is when you wake up screaming, and you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.
42. Can I trade this job for what's behind door Number 1?
43. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
44. Nice cologne. Must you marinate in it?
45. Chaos, panic and disorder. My work here is done
46. How do I set a laser printer on "stun"?
47. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted the paychecks.
48. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
49. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer. - Although, if I could find and characterize this Sarcasm gene (Sar1) I see Nobel Prize in the future......

At least THIS is funny

Right...found a great example of what I have to endure with my PI......and our "ability to communicate".

Knights of Ni: Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!
Arthur: Who are you?
Knight of Ni: We are the Knights who say "Ni"!
Arthur: No! Not the Knights who say "Ni"!
Knight of Ni: The same.
Other Knight of Ni: Who are we?
Knight of Ni: We are the keepers of the sacred words: Ni, Ping, and Nee-womm!
Other Knight of Ni: Nee-womm!
Arthur: (to Bedevere) Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale!
Knight of Ni: The knights who say "Ni" demand a sacrifice!
Arthur: Knights of Ni, we are but simple travelers who seek the enchanter who lives beyond these woods.
Knights of Ni: Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!
Bedevere: No! Noooo! Aaaugh! No!
Knight of Ni: We shall say "Ni" to you... if you do not appease us.
Arthur: Well what is it you want?
Knight of Ni: We want A SHRUBBERY!
Arthur: A WHAT?
Knights of Ni: Ni! Ni!! Ni! Ni!
Arthur; No! No! Please, please, no more! We will find you a shrubbery.
Knight of Ni: You must return here with a shrubbery or else you will never pass through this wood alive.
Arthur: O Knights of Ni, you are just and fair, and we will return with a shrubbery.
Knight of Ni: One that looks nice.
Arthur: Of course!
Knight of Ni: And not too expensive.
Arthur: Yes!
Knight of Ni: Now.... GO!

New e-mail absurdity

To me from my PI:

Dear CFS,

As you know, there is some confusion on the double deletion strains (OMG...yes....Dr. Ass Hole started the e-mail with “as you know...” I fucking hate that!).

1. Please tell us ASAP what data you have on which strain.
2. Did you use that "good" strain for testing complementation?

My initial thoughts - ASSSSSSS HOLLLLLEEEE.....I’ve been working on this project for 3 years Dr. Ass Hole has seen this data, has been sent this data, and has read this data a million fucking times!!!

My actual response - I have used 3 different isolate strains; 380, 288 and 289. All of my complementation strains were in 288 or in 380, and yes these strains are “good”.

I did test 381 in March 09. I was doing a head to head with 380, 381, 288, 289. All strains behaved similarly, except for 381 in which I noted that the 381 strain was growing on selection plates that it shouldn’t, given its supposed genotype. I also indicated that we had doubt in this strain anyway...which I don't elaborate on, but I can only recall you had a question mark next to 381 in your book. If I'm remembering correctly this was why we wanted to remake the strains and why I had made the 288 and 289 strains in the first place.

Dr. Ass Hole response:
Did you test 380---and did that strain have any differences from the others?

For 381, I will check with the tech.

Did the growth phenotype of 380, 288 and 289 all have same result?And did you check if the remaining events still are centered predominantly in the our region for any of these strains?

......and so ends another day......hummmmm

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Really....I just spent 2 or more hours trying to figure out why my endnote and Mac (pages) would not get along. I've watched tutorials, spent time in various forums, and even searched for video’s through Youtube. And FINALLY it worked! Why? Switched the “edit citations” from “all” to “annotated” WTF!!!!!! Really.................