Thursday, January 22, 2015

The ability to ignore

This is a photo of the Biohazard sign outside our lab. The tape around it peels off the wall periodically and needs to be replaced, lest the sign fall down and not be able to warn visitors that there are "microorganisms" in our Microbiology lab.

A few weeks ago, the part that had curled away from the wall captured an impressive clump of hair and dust. I don't know if this particular tumbleweed was caught roaming down the hallway or if the tape attacked some unfortunate soul leaving the lab (Rule #1:Never leave the lab) but it was undeniably disgusting.

I eyed this ball of grossness each time I entered and exited the lab for several weeks. I was half hoping that the cleaning people would dispose of it, but no dice. The distasteful flotsam continued to greet me each morning. After a while, I began to hope that my boss might get rid of it, thinking that it was a poor reflection on our lab cleanliness. Again, no such hope. The wretched debris continued to hang there, mocking me.

It reminded me of hair stuck in the drain or on a pool deck, two of my least favorite things. I've always hated how peeling tape collects dirt and dust, and hate not knowing what else that particular length of stickiness might have collected over the ages. Seeing this monstrosity each day was a horror, and the longer it hung there the more it began to initiate my gag reflex.

Finally, today, after becoming annoyed with things in general due to a serious lack of protocol and organization by my lab mates ( to be excused (?) since they're only graduate students) I strode towards the door with a pair of scissors. "I'm going to take care of that disgusting ball of hair stuck to the sign on our door," I declared to my boss. I was expecting a thank you, a confirmation, or at least an "I was going to get to it later." However, what I didn't expect was, "What hairball?"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between a man and a woman.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Selling out

I’ve been kind of lazy about posting here, so I got a Twitter account. @EmersnianIdeals Hooray(?)

Monday, January 12, 2015

My L(Kiwi-Multi)D

My Little Black Kiwi-Multi Dress

I've been invited to be a bridesmaid for the first time ever.  I'm very excited because although I had several close friends get married, they all had extensive families and/or childhood friends who were "first in line" for the jobs of bridesmaid. I always thought I would make a great bridesmaid, not the least because I'm not afraid to tell people that they're being ridiculous (a real go-to quality for today's bride!) but now that I am one, I realize that the job has some unfavorable aspects as well.  For example, the closest I've ever been to having to hold someone's dress while peeing is... not close at all.  However the most commonplace cliche of power and delusion going straight to the bride's head is the dreaded dreadful bridesmaid dress.

The product description reads, "Inspired by a vintage piece from the '50s (we imagine it was worn to a Sadie Hawkins dance), this feminine, flowy dress has an easy silhouette and romantic details like delicate shirring at the bodice. With a low V-neck and dramatic cape sleeves, it's equal parts sweet and sultry—and it's the kind of dress that goes easily from a gallery opening to a gala and everywhere in between."

However I would edit it to say, "Inspired by the curtains hung in my grandmother's bathroom, (we imagine it was worn to a Sadie Hawkins dance by someone whose date didn't show up), this Amish-feminine idea of a dress has an easy silhouette and what those with poor taste might consider romantic details like delicate shirring at the bodice. (Nobody besides J crew employees cares about, less knows the definition of, "shirring".) With a low V-neck that doesn't make up for the bulk of the dress elsewhere and dramatic cape sleeves reminiscent of bat wings, it's equal parts sweet and sultry from the view of a father of a sixteen year old daughter going on her first date—and it's the kind of dress that goes easily from pajama party to a meeting of the members of Goodwill Shoppers Anonymous.

It's just maniacal of J Crew to market this dress. Oh, and the color is listed as "kiwi-multi".  That alone would ward off any normal person.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Celebrating a new year on January 1st seemed a little soon to me.  I started a new job on October 31st, so it's felt like a new year since then.  It's come with many new challenges and some things I just can't seem to figure out.  It's been exciting, and disappointing, and fulfilling all at the same time.

I defended my PhD thesis in early October, to an audience of my peers, superiors, friends and family.  The closure of a certain long and arduous period of my life was wonderful and at the same time almost unbelievable.  It was particularly appropriate that those people whom I relied so heavily upon for support were there to share it with me.  Looking at the audience and sharing dinner with certain members later in the evening, my heart was filled with joy rivaling that originating from my life transition that day.  To have maintained these friends despite time, distance, and even disagreements reminded me that they were not friends of circumstance, but people who truly cared.

That night at dinner I also found out that I had been offered a job as a post doc.  I was overjoyed.  I'm still happy and grateful to have the job.  It's not everything I wished and hoped for in terms of research topics, but it's the next step on my career ladder.  I'm not going to complain.

It hasn't solved all of my problems, though.  I was looking forward to leaving all of the shortfalls of my graduate institution behind, but that, alas, has not been the case.  The isolation I felt in graduate school, which I attributed to the small graduate student population and the liberal arts focus of the institution, has followed me to my new job.  The post doctoral community's size is equally limited here.  In addition, I work in a lab with only two other graduate students and no other post docs- plus, the lab is considered a biosafety hazard and the door must remain locked at all times.  Kind of puts a damper on casual socialization.

Have I mentioned that one of the grad students is a masochistic self-centered know-it-all who actually knows nothing about laboratory science?

Still, I'm enjoying having new surroundings and challenges.  Transitioning from a 3 minute to a 35 minute commute has been interesting, but my new apartment is lovely and makes me feel both peaceful and energized.  I'm happy to be back at the bench (lab bench) after spending months and stupid months writing.  My new boss is funny, genial, and I think I can learn a lot from him.  Another unfortunate aspect of this place is that there are very, very few female roll models (i.e. tenured professors).  I guess these are just more challenges, more obstacles, which I will surmount as needed.