Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And so it continues....


I would like to ask you to help us out in figuring out some features of your strains.

Your thesis is complete and thats all done. It does now look like many of your conclusions are incorrect....

regards, Dr. AH

Now he is accusing me of fabricating my data. Fuck me, will this ever end? The one and only thing I had was the integrity of my work. Now he seems hell bent on taking that away as well.

I would also like to point out that some of these strains he refers to, were made and tested by him! This whole thing is absurd and a lie. I always make multiple candidates, I confirm them many ways including PCR and sequencing. I have meticulous notes on all of my experiments. Furthermore, after talking with our technician today she was blown away by Dr. AH's accusations because she sees similar numbers when working with my strains as I did. She has been reconfirming my data before Dr. AH submits the paper. She is going to copy her data for me, but this appears to be another moody tantrum the be great Dr. AH.

Lucky me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another offer

I've been traveling the circuit lately. Great opportunity to meet, network and fine tune my talk. I'm happy to report that I nailed this last one...and at a BIG wig institution. It felt great. Must have because the offer came in today. Now that's two. Not bad for having no reference from my former PI, Dr. Asshole. Yeah.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I had lunch with a friend yesterday, who nearly spit out her drink and proceeded to laugh at me for nearly 5 min. when I told her I used to play Dungeons and Dragons. Now, I'll admit I do not "look" the D&D part. Here's another phrase I hear a lot..."oh, you're a scientist?"

So I proudly say to the world......yes, I am a scientist and fuck yeah, I used to play D&D! As a matter of fact I just added a new image to my site and she is just as awesome as my female fighter D&D character . And guess what, I've also been to a Star Trek convention too.

What can I say, while I love being who I am on the outside, I'm a true geek on the inside.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do something

Inspired by PiT’s recent post regarding fixing the postdoc experience. A bit delayed, but I have a good excuse...postdoc interview...and got a offer...yeah!!! Celebrating by drinking wine and eating cookies, so I hope this post makes sense:)

Anyways, what I find so interesting about PiT’s post is: 1) dead on! All proposed approaches are very proactive and doable, even on an individual basis. 2) Not surprised, but a bit put off by the many pessimistic responses. And this point is bigger than just the PiT comment board. In general, if you just want to bitch...declare “just venting”, I think that’s very fair...we all need to exhale (really hard) sometimes. But if someone is bringing suggestions to the table, to just bitch and say it’s not going to work, then have NOTHING to offer...well that’s not very helpful either is it?

Where do I get off dissing the pessimists? It’s just not in my nature to bitch and bitch and have nothing to offer. I’m currently leaving a lab were nothing I did worked. It has been my first and hardest lesson at realizing that some problems just don’t have a solution. But I didn’t give up on being progressive in other ways. While option A was clearly a loss, I wasn’t willing to give up on options B and C. And I’m so glad I didn’t. Without them, I would not have the Dean of the College of Science as a reference, I would not have been able to network my way into interviews that I normally never would have scored since my PI is such an asshole and unwilling to write a letter of support.

Bottom line, it’s all up to me. So if I have the opportunity and option to try some of the suggestions poised by PiT...you bet your ass I’m going to try. Because if I can help it...if I have any say in the matter...I refuse to be the same asshole who supposedly raised this confident female scientist!

Relevant reading: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. Robert Sutton. Great book and fun read.

Now, I love any book that contains either shit, fuck or ass somewhere in the title! Secondly, is the story told by the author following a visit from a big wig in the field, being highly sought after for their open faculty position. The part I really like, was when the faculty met to discuss if they should extend an offer. The room was silent for a moment, until one voice in the back spoke up and said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think we can afford the consequences of hiring an asshole...” (not the exact quote, but close). From that point on, subsequent to all interviews, they would gather and vote if the individual passed their new “no asshole rule”.

I have a great friend, Greenhouse Diva (GD) who works for an engineering co., She has her PhD and a great new job. Small issue with one of her bosses. An older women who for whatever reason hates GD! Personality issue from day one. Well the other day this boss pulled GD aside to an empty office and began screaming at her. She was supposedly so worked up she was shaking and just lost it...was threatening her job, and just totally freaked.

I can’t help but to think about this situation, about all my crazy moments with my PI and I wonder what it takes to be in a workplace that is normal. What can I do? One of my first blog posts involved the question “what would you do, given the following absurd situation”.

So what did GD do while being screamed at in an empty office? DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS....that’s what she did. She was so pissed at her boss and at herself.

What would you do? If you could be prepared for this possibility and it was happening to you, how would you address the enraged boss?

CFS: “The first mistake you made was shoving us in a room with no witness, the second is screaming like a rabid banshee...Back off, get the fuck out of my face, and never do this again. I expect from this point on that you behave like a fucking adult and a “professional”....Capice?!

Yes, I love to prepare for all scenarios. I’m so sorry for GD. She is a wonderful women, a crazy intelligent professional and bottom line no one deserves to be treated that way. Nobody should have to endure working for or with “tyrannical assholes”...as PiT points out....do something to change it. Even if it’s just you and your little lab. Make efforts to sway change in your departments and just try to make changes in your field. Just try.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Now what?

Interviews starting to fall into place, conference scheduled, thesis finally done...ok, I keep finding things I want to work on, but it's turned in to Dr. AH and is essentially done.

Still haven't got any comments back from him....until today.


Can you provide me with the comments of the other members of the thesis committee?

Dr. AH

What comments??? I defended and they signed a paper and said I passed. That's it, he was there...What is he talking about??? What does he want? ugggggggggggggggggggg

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It never hurt so good

My first drum wound. Fuck yeah, Bitches!!!!

Graduate school taught me one thing...You can learn anything from Google!!!

Yes, I have taken up a new hobby. In all my spare time and to avoid beating people, I've decided to learn to beat the drums instead. it started as a nervous twitch; me, my finger and a hard surface for air drumming to some imaginary tune during lab meeting (this was my way to focus on something other than the absurdity happening at the time). After several lab meetings and air drumming sessions, I decided it might be fun to REALLY learn to drum. Slight limitation, little hook up, a minute detail really... and that was the lack of an actual drum set.

So I started watching drummers on you tube, and looking up free on-line drum lessons. I wanted to know if it was really possible for me to learn. I was surprised at the wealth of resources. What started off as a distraction and kind of Google-learning joke was becoming a real interest. So one day as I was driving to pick my daughter up from softball practice, I passed a music store...did a double take and flipped a bitch. I felt so awkward. The guy helping me was a bit surprised when I said I was there to look at the drum kits. I think he expected me to be a mom shopping for her kids violin or something. Then he asked what kind of kit I currently have. I couldn't help it, I'm a bitch and I think I'm funny so I said I don't have a kit. Surprised he said, well how do you practice? "With my fingers and a hard surface, so clearly I need to at least upgrade to some sticks and a surface don't you think? And I taught myself everything I know...you can learn anything from Google." Ahhh...the look on his face was priceless! He was so embarrassed for me he didn't know what to say and just walked to the shelf to get me a pair of sticks.

Needless to say, I've found a better music store. Run by a guy with a great sense of humor. And I have a kit. It's cheep (free) and it sucks, but it's free! AND I LOVE IT!!

This new outlet has literally saved me. Today I was practicing for nearly two hours. I have no illusions that I will ever be Danny Carey (Tool), but it's a hell of a lot of fun!

Rock on all you science junkies!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What’s your cocktail personality?

PhysioProf I am going to go out on a limb and answer for you, “Motherfuckin Jameson!” Was I close?

I am on some kind of e-mail list for the Fine Living Newsletter and this one came through today.

Are you fun and flirty or a world-wise traveler? Find out which of our signature cocktails best matches your personality in our new quiz. Oh, how fun. But I don’t need a cocktail to establish my drinking needs or to tell me I'm an alcoholic. I like wine. No, I love wine.

I love red and white wines. I love the tasting experience, the science behind making it (yeast baby! yeah that lovely single cell organism and all its fermentation biochemical abilities). And the genetics of the various strains. I love that I can buy a perfectly good Merlot for $3 and then save 10% when I buy 6 bottles at my grocery store! I love a great Oregon Pinot Noir because it’s like heaven to my taste buds....slightly earthy with a lovely hint of berry bomb. I love wine bars and wine tastings which foster an environment of socality (is that a word? if not it’s a new CFS term) mixed with education. I love going to vineyards and walking about the vines and taking a look at the growing stage and development of the plants, the smell of the soil and the ideas that come to me for growing great new wines. I love talking to the owners and wine makers about their skills and even listening to those who swear Biodynamic wines has basis and works (even when they have no idea what biodynamic means:). I love to cook with wine and enjoy the artistry of creating a savory dish. I love to make wine with friends while drinking wine. I love to taste wine from various regions around the world and ponder their skills and history. And sometimes I like to drink wine and think of nothing at all...just sip and enjoy how it makes me feel when I’m drunk!

And when all else fails and I need to drown my sorrows because some experiment isn’t working, or Ms. Brown nose is undermining me or stealing my ideas, or Dr. AssHole is being an...well a ass hole, I go straight to the Makers Mark baby! A strong poor on the rocks will do just fine thank you.

My first love!
The 2002 Classique is a delightful wine laced with aromatics of intense fruit, cherry and red berries. True to the varietal and vintage, this Pinot displays ripe but refined tannins. This, combined with a hint of oak, lends to an opulent texture of elegance and lingering finesse. Pair this wine with any number of Burgundian specialties (Boeuf Bourguignon or Coq au Vin) and/or a selection of artisanal cheeses (Comte, Epoisses, Gruyere.)

91 "Like Drouhin's Laurene, this Willamette wine is deeply vinous at first, showing little more than scents of black tea. It's so bound up that it takes a full day to come together, and when it does it's a wonder. Brisk, dusty red cherry flavors and a fine weave to the texture suggest a long life. Cellar, then serve with juniper-scented pork loin."
Patrick J. Comiskey, Wine and Spirits

90 "Stylish, supple, polished and generous, with spicy, mineral-scented cherry and raspberry flavors. Balanced, with lively acidity, lingering on the firm finish, which shows a woody note. Best from 2006 through 2012."
Harvey Steiman, The Wine Spectator
For the fourth consecutive year, we were blessed with a beautiful growing season – long sunny days and cool nights, allowing the grapes to mature and develop flavors slowly, just the way we like it! There was no pressure from any impending rains, so we were able to pick each vineyard block at the peak of flavor and maturity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


How to turn a CV into a resume.

I’ve been putting the finishing touches to my thesis. But my main focus has been on finding postdoc positions. Enduring it has forced me to put together one hell of a polished CV! However, as I am applying to both academic institutions and government agencies I find that I needed a resume as well. I needed something that gives detail of a CV (latin for curriculum vitae translation is “I’m going to list in excruciating detail everything I’ve done in my entire fucking life”) and another document that provides a bullet list of the highlights.

I also have received feedback from the academic applications, even if its to say that they already hired somebody for the position. But fuck me I can’t even get passed the human resources groupies of the government agencies.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Totally random but made me laugh

Example of what standing in front of a committee during comps feels like.

Grads at an event with free food.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm back

After some time off I've decided it's time to get back into the game. I still have some lose ends to deal with in my lab but they are minor and do not require me to see my lab mates or my PI again (I hope). Unfortunately following my defense Dr. AH decided to send me one last absurd e-mail. And I have to say this one hurt.

Hi Dr AH,

I have to turn in a progress report to the NIH for my fellowship. One of the requirements for the report is a sponsor statement. Would you like to fill it out and sign it? Or would you prefer I fill it out, email it to you then you can sign it. Which ever you prefer. I need to have this progress report submitted by the end of the week. I have already spoken with my NIH contact to discuss the changes regarding my original proposal which she approved. These changes are the following:

1. I will be terminating my contract/fellowship one and a half years early (specifically this May when I graduate).
2. My stipend will be adjusted accordingly.
3. Given the approval of my sponsor (you) and my committee, I have met the requirements for graduation by completing two co-author publications and my # paper.
4. Following my defense, my final obligations include a few experiments for the genetics paper and the completion of my dissertation.
5. I will also use the remaining misc. funds to attend one scientific conference.

And one last question. We never finished our discussion regarding if you were willing to write a strong letter of recommendation on my behalf. This is important to sort out, for obvious reasons. I see no reason why we should have to meet with # about this. Either you are or you aren't and I will accept either decision you come to.


Dr AH's response:


It is probably best if you fill out the progress report--you were not in my lab for the last 6 months or so, so clearly I can't say much about what you have done.

I am unwilling to write a letter of recommendation.

The best thing I can say is that the entire affair of your education has been extremely disappointing, and I will leave it at that.

It is critical, in my view, for you to get me a completed thesis by the date we agreed on, March 1, so we can get all of this behind us.

Do make sure that # knows where all your strains are, and that they get transferred to our -180 freezer. Thanks.


Well now that I got my answer it's time to move on. To what I'm not exactly sure yet. But it's a big world out there and I'm confident that I will find a way to play in it. So here's to playing in the big bad world. Cheers.

14.9% alc., 120 cases, $150. 3.51 acres, 15 year-old vines, yield 1.28 tons per acre of Calera clone. This wine is crafted by Sashi Moorman in Lompoc. · Very dark reddish-purple color. A shy and brooding nose which starts out with woodsy and barnyard aromas but evolves nicely revealing bright fresh berries, violets and a hint of tobacco. Rich, plush and multilayered on the palate featuring dark stone fruits and flavors of fig and cola framed by a lively edge of acidity. The texture is pillowy and the finish, which has a citrus peel note, lasts and lasts. There still are substantial tannins to shed. Decant if you drink now and pair up with substantial food. This wine will cellar very well. Reviewed May 7, 2009.

Monday, January 18, 2010


And, I defended. And passed. And I walked out of that room proud.

I'm really happy I held on and finished. I was graceful, confident and just plain fucking great! My PI couldn't even look me in the eye. Now I just need to find a post doc/job.

I'll continue that search tomorrow!

Wow...it's over. I can't even express the exhaustion and emotional ride this has been. Wish I could, it would make for a great book.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I haven't been around for a while, mostly because I can't stomach thinking about most of this any more.

But I have finished a draft of my thesis and all my papers, and scheduled my defense for Monday.

Finally, two days ago Dr. AH asks to see my thesis....noting that he better, because my committee will expect he went through it. Anyways, I got comments back today. Nothing major (which is great!). Just small and unhelpful grammar stuff mostly. Not worth the ink used to print out all 100 pages (which he insisted I do...only to email me a list of 20 items he requested I address).

But one thing he did say really made me sad. Just triggered me mostly, but I'm over it. Just thought I would toss it out to the bloggers...

For your talk on Monday, who do you want to introduce you?
Good luck. Dr. AH

This just brings up all my emotions regarding this defense. This is a day I AM NOT looking forward to. This is not a day I am proud of, nor do I think being forced OUT is necessarily something I wish to share with the PUBLIC.

So having to endure an "introduction" will just be too fucking much! I have requested that I not be introduced and I just start my seminar. I made this request from my dept. head. I haven't heard yet.

I just need to get through Monday....PLEASE DON'T GET EMOTIONAL CFS!!!! Just give you seminar and walk away....head up!