Thursday, December 21, 2006

...nose bleed...

Funny how yucky it feels when all of a sudden, in the stillness in front of the computer, something wet and sticky starts its way down your face. The faces of my co-workers when I more or less moved quickly towards the paper towels in the common room (the bathrooms are way down the hall...) while holding a couple of fingers on the bridge of my nose, pausing for a second while the pain from the still slightly swollen cartilage (can cartilage really be swollen?) made my eyes fill with water (aka tear fluid) and finally I reached the wondrous paper to help stop the blood from being everywhere in my face….

Combined with the knowledge that my jar of Advil is almost empty, the memory of when I last had spontaneous nose bleeds makes me think a little more. Again, I can see why hiding is tempting, but still - it is going to be like Jack Torrence ‘Come out, come out where ever you are’ or Roy Batty ‘Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.’ - which makes the hiding quite irrelevant.

And as always, the rational cynic man (Gaff) sums it up:
It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?

[quotes from The Shining and Blade Runner. I still wonder how it would have been to act against Jack Nicholson when his character is also called Jack. How could you distinguish them apart, when trying to explain “are you like that. No I am like Jack… Jack who?” Redrum indeed.]

Reality `a la feminist?

Thinking about reality and that, with one exception, the [female] post docs in my institute all are single or have a spouse that is a senior post doc [they are juniors]. The male post docs are either single or have a spouse that is a junior post doc, research technician or a stay at home mother.

The situation in the field back home, as I have seen it, was female researchers often happened to be in the spouses’ lab, i.e. the spouse was the professor or senior PI. Or the females were research technicians in lab of their spouse.

All this is generalization, of course. Not reality. And even if it was some kind of reality surely this is mostly due to the research environment, rather than society as much?! Or if it is in society, it is probably most natural and nothing to go against… who am I to preach about something like that?!?

Looking at the relationships that my friends have… All in all I could say there is a slight bigger diversity – although there is only one woman who finished her degree and got a job before her husband, and they met during the same education in uni. Other than that, it is indeed a somewhat bleak picture. Or maybe it is just life.

I would like to know, for real though, if it is due to the women (wanting men to be ‘more’ than themselves so they can learn) or the men (wanting to not threatened by the woman they love)?

Love is indeed something that makes us vulnerable so maybe in order to open up and be a real man, you have to be with someone who you can beat, in education, salary or something… Because she can always be the better mother, emotional icon for your children and social hub as for your friends and families… (All this according to the truth as known by the 50ies…)

Maybe I should just conform and find my place in all this; because boy, am I in the wrong end of the spectra at the moment!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kant and Hume

They might be the two people I thought most about today - apart from a little trip into the lands of freedom as seen by Nozick and Rawls. (I still find it very inspirational that both of them worked at the same university, Harvard, and kept so different views of society! That is my sense of academia, needless to say it is not as much that feeling today for me...)

Kant apparently said Hume woke him up from his sleep... and Hume was a scientist as well as a historian and a philosopher. With Kant, there are some things I like. "Maxims should be made as they could be hold an universal law" [could be off a little with the translation] as well as "not be treated as an ends to an mean" and the autonomy of a person. Rawls make it all a little more "modern" in his A theory of Justice and Nozick writes his reply in the book Anarchy, State and Utopia. (Night watch state as a minimal state with less rights than the individual etc.)

Hume on the other hand handles causality and empirism interestingly and as a scientist I do like some of the more complex thoughts he presented. He worked from Locke, a large influence, and improved some of the more "old" empirists and also showed that some things are deductable, rather then experimental - touching rationalism just a little.

I guess that is some of what I truly like, a little bit of rationalism and deduction mixed with empirism and true dogmas (like the 'universal law'). This is also one of the reasons I detest stupid people who try to make all issues simple, easy and think the discussion is unnecessary unless you agree with eachother from the beginning. Really, an easy and worthless argument of never having a discussion and never increase your own view of the world. Of course, it is easy to say if you do not agree with me, you are dead stupid.

I prefer to say, if you can not even argue your own stand point or admit the complexity of the world, then you are truly stupid... and your place in science is, as far as I am concerned, questionable.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Me, myself and I – neolibertarianism and egos

Having yet another discussion that ended into “Do not infringe my rights to do what I want” I realize what it is that really bothers me. It is not as simple as saying that it is only, “you are a person that is allowed to do whatever you want and society (government) should not interfere with you” attitude that disturbs me. No, it is more than that. It is first and foremost the assumption that YOUR needs are in focus. That the thing you want to do and what you want is more important than anything else. Rather than seeing you as a part of something bigger, society or a community or whatnot. It really bothers me.

And in combination with “all people are free, have free will and adults should be allowed to do whatever they wish” (the more vocalized argument of allowing prostitution) and “ethic and morals are only something for religious people who wants to pass judgment over me” it gets downright silly. Trust me, if life was so easy and clear cut things would be lovely (maybe even a little boring) but now it is not.

Furthermore, a very common argument (or maybe I should call it excuse since that it was I think it is) is the “don’t put up boundaries just because there are small things you don’t like”. When said in reference to large question in science (stem cells, animal research etc.) or things like what you as an adult can do with your own body and mind.

No, I do not think people in general are free and unbiased and that these people can make educated decisions about all things that can lead to very unforeseen, at the time of the decision, consequences. It is very hard to define a line in certain cases and simplifying the questions really does not help in the end. That is why we would be content and thank our stars that we have “professional” people who use their lives to ask the hard questions and keep the rest of us not falling down the slippery slope too fast or too far gone… we will never be able to climb up again when we loose our footing.

Also, what bothers me is the fact that they use this “individuality” (egocentric) view as an excuse not to care (take responsibility) about other people, this since we are all have free will to make our own decisions in life. Spiced up with the wonderful naïveté that people are unbiased and unattached to feelings and desires of other people (not to mention money…) and therefore that the so called “freedom” of choice is always somewhat murky and biased.

No, I do not believe that people make the right decision, especially since most people tend to choose the simple and wide road rather than somewhat smaller and trickier… it’s just life…
And I do not think we should ban things or keep strict laws about everything, but I do think that certain things might be harmful to us and that if it isn’t directly beneficiary for us… why allow it? Just taking the argument 180 degrees around… sometimes I just tire of people and their so called rights to do whatever they want.

Freedom of speech, I would die for your right to scream your hate to the world – just don’t expect me to smile when I do it. I am doing it since Kant, Hegel, Aristotle, Mill and Voltaire had very good points, most of them called moral, ethics and grounds of value.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

1984, already gone and over with?

I kind of promised myself a while back that I wouldn’t write too much political stuff in this blog…or maybe I should say not too much nonscientific political stuff… I avoided commenting Mr Padilla, Guantanamo or Iraq although I had some thoughts regarding moral and the kind of actions people and their governments now assume one can do in the name of freedom and security.

I also avoided talking about things I found particularly frightening and annoying in the EU when the talk was mainly about the national parties gaining ground, Islam, Christianity, libertarianism and of course, the right not to be included in society.

Well, now I have to say something simply because this annoys me. In Seattle Times, and I realize now that it is an old issue from mid November, they report that “hunger” is exchanged for “low food security”. Sure it is only in the States, in the governmental papers, but still…. When talking about poor people. Sure I can see the somewhat need of distinguish between people having now food at all and people having almost no…. No I can’t. Sorry. Sometimes I feel that the need for new words and things really does not help with the real problems we’ve got. But hey, newspeak isn’t bad all the time now, is it?

Better go back to the slides… they are beaconing me… (or rather I know I will sleep better once I make them)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

confusion and languages

It is hard to think in one language and talk in another... realising that is not my situation today answering a statement in a conversation "you don't translate do you, in your head I mean" and my response was simply no. Not unless it is feelings... feelings are still hard to tell in only English. Half of it is still trapped in the belly of the beast in native tounge.

it is interesting, as well as scary. I am on the verge now, this is a time were I have been before. A few months in and your head starts to spin. You are not good at your native tounge, yet not a master in the new language. It is a confusing and frustrating time. Last time I "solved" it by reading more dictionaries and picking up words, at least one new a day, in English while I wrote essays in native tounge during weekends and evenings.. maybe I need to do that again.

It is worth thinking about. As is some other things. I think the brewing is finally getting somewhat done. I relish that thought. Although in this context I must admit the relish part seems strange and out of place... hmm... maybe I should find a dictionary...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Closer (Portman, Owen, Law and Roberts)

Remembered today that I saw Closer the other weekend. Interesting movie. It felt like a real grown up movie without that much "fluff" stuck into everything but rather just the story about relatioships and there problems/attractions. I had some problems with every character (indicating complex things which I like) and I felt sorry for some of them, maybe all, in the end. And it left a certain taste in my mouth that the most happy of them was probably Owen's character.... and he did some very questionable things as well as being the one who were determined but also the revenge guy. I resented, for a short second, that the character of Julia Roberts could be allowed to have a happy life after being so decieving but then I realised that that is the hope for us all. That we can rise above the mistakes of ourselves, as well as others, and forgive both ourselves and those who trespass against us.

(Yeah, going to church/thinking too much does this to me. Realising it is nobler (gooder? better?), mostly for your own good and sanity, to be forgiving than to turn into hate.)

On the other hand, I am not really there yet. Give me the bullies of my school years, only two of them nowadays, and I must regretfully admit that I have not fully forgiven them...

so this test was not completly off mark. Even though I thought I was better than this...

You Are 64% Evil
You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.

How Evil Are You?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Bringing back the thought about the corperate wives since there is an ongoing debate (and has been for a while) back home about selling and buying….women. (Partly based on a book by Petra Östergren that just got released.) Or maybe I should just call it a debate about selling and buying sex, why and why not it should be illegal? Obviously the debate and arguments are done in Swedish but I can not leave it without a word.

So, here a link in Swedish by Katrine Kielos that points out some things that I ususally see as the heart of the problem. (Note, yes it is Expressen but their opinion pages and editorial section are generally interesting.) Maybe it will be a little more understandable when saying that P. Östergren has been influenced by Gayle Rubin and her article "Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality" . It pretty much sums up her standpoint on the issue and in the other corner, this time, one would find the researcher Jenny Westerstrand (phd student in law).

And I guess the sentences that summarise the article and the idea behind it is these: (and oh by jolly gosh I know my translations will suck. Hey, I’m just trying here.)

That the man, in order to be a man, has to buy a female body with a transaction in some kind of currency (social security, four gin and tonics, 12 long stemmed roses) is a rule, not an exception.
(Att mannen för att vara man måste köpa en kvinnokropp mot betalning i någon valuta (social trygghet, en fyra gin och tonic, tolv långskaftade rosor) är regel, inte undantag.)

A higher value as an object only gives more/bigger freedom to choose customers.
(Ett högre värde som objekt ger bara större frihet att välja kunder)

And maybe I am portraying myself as a radical feminist, maybe I am not. The only thing I do know is that this points to one of the main things I find difficult here in the States, accepting people giving me coffee, food or drinks… since my upbringing always keeps me thinking “what does he want in return?”. (Thanks grandmother for telling me never to accept gifts from men that are worth more than a certain amount… it really messes with your head.) When I know that most of the times it is just a normal thing to do... but still, is it normal because men usually make more money? (Since when I try and buy back it is ...well, let's just say that it isn't that easy. And it is, almost always, a thing about it.)

And yes, maybe I am just a cynical woman who has trouble believing in men being good for the sake of it? But hey, it isn’t that uncommon with ulterior motives, but perhaps they can not be found everywhere?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

wives and their purpose...and goals

I recalled a conversation a few days back when I read the interesting, yet enormously sad, article The corporate wives’ club by Vicky Ward in The Financial Times.

A random quote just to being about the thing I recalled
."She needs, above all, to understand The Deal. The Deal is that her life is about one thing only: him. She must be there at the end of the day, looking good, drink in hand, ready to pleasure him with witty conversation or in other ways. If not, she will be sacked. And since she will not have entered this relationship without having signed a pre-nuptial agreement, she knows exactly how she will be sacked and what assets she will be left with."

The conversation I recalled was more about the fact that I find it hard not to generalise and say "It is hard for a female PhD to find men that aren't threatened by the degree [ambition and determination]" as well as 'why would you marry a scientist with her own agenda and lots of work since even if you would like the family, the woman should be home'. I guess that is my first mistake. I wanted to have a family as well as a job. Not to say that I would like never to be home with my kids and only pursue my own career, gosh no, but (and this is the infamous but) I would like to have a job that I like and be able to share the responsibility of children with my husband. This is all a hypothetical argument at the time but still... paternity leave back home is 14 months shared by both mother and father so... the option is still huge and possible. Still, it is a mom’s world, even with the option... so either society has rules that will not be shifted too fast, or biology is a very strong thing that can not be overruled by silly thoughts of certain career hungry women.

Anyway, the other comment I have been brooding for a shorter while is that it is still considered to be a male thing, this sex need/drive . Same conversation, between two men, going on about the "need you have after a few months/weeks alone"... well... let me tell you a secret, not only you can have that. Women do to. The question, of which I am not going to tell ‘the answer’ or ‘the truth’, would rather be if women are less likely to "live the urge" than the men, since they can not hide behind the comfortable "I have needs you know, I am a man".

And I have this nagging feeling that this will be another of those things men do not really want to know. (Like the conversation a few while about what women say and what men say about the other gender… women are apparently more explicit than men when it comes down to it. Men tend not to want to discuss the whole ‘does size matter’. Most women I know don’t want to talk about their size or what men think about their size either… but that is of course another size.)

Going back to the article, it is on of those things that I am wondering about for real. What turn these men on? Personally I have a little problem finding a very handsome, yet nonambitious, nonworking, non-‘I have my own thing’ non-whatever self, that attractive and he wouldn’t really be my first choice in the marriage issue. I prefer men (one man) that have their own agenda, yet are interested in building something with me and can be vulnerable with me as well as the strong one to take care of me in case that happens… more of the “two can play that game” rather than one fixed role in the relationship. On the other hand, I am just going to shut up now. Obviously I have somewhat of a thing going on so maybe my need/wanting is just non-feasible?! I’ll leave this with this.

I do not, honestly, think that a relationship will ever be good for both individuals if the power is solely with one person, i.e. like the corporate wives thing, simply because I can not understand where the safety and trust would build on.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Luxury problems.... maybe that is the term I should say instead of the beautiful word 'lyxproblem'. (I have started to miss my own language. The nuances I can master which is not as easy in English.)

I wrote a while ago, that perspective is a fond friend to understand your own importance in the world. While I might think the world, and God, is unfair to me I have to realise that I am not that important and yet I am just that important. Contradiction? Maybe. Maybe not.

Life is not fair, life is very unfair. I was born in a place where I didn't have to be scared that my parents would not come home since they got killed when going to work in the morning. And all those things I experienced when I was younger, well you know... lots of people have those. It is just a question of raising to the challenge, again, and walk through life with a little more memory.

The cronicle published in The guardian yesterday was one of the worst things I have read in a while. Simply beacuse it is so clear, it is so horrible. It is soldiers with guns on one side and unarmed children on the other side.

The same thing with Sudan, Somalia and other places that we tend to say "never again". Well, I am not convinced. Maybe even more since the trial against one former soldier in the Balkan war started yesterday. (Wondering if I should call it the Kosovo or Bosnia war, or maybe just Jugoslavienkriget as we would do back home.) All memories come back now. The world watched, but then it took time to actually do something. And that was chillingly the same places where WWI started.... and we stopped talking about it in class since we had one boy from Bosnia and one from Serbia... and the weirdest was the realisation that their extended families were fighting against one another, and that they were friends prior the war. I guess I could see it as hope for the future though, when they stayed friends after everything, even though they never went home together. Their parents were closer to the conflict.

Just a reality check when I feel sad and complain over my bacteria or my life. It could be so much worse. So much worse.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sandman and Preacher

It's on the shelf, right in front of me. And I am trying not to pick it up. Sandman, volume 1. I bought it last week, even though I know I read it before and got scared. I quit reading it after the first four volumes since I didn't like the way it was drawn but also since I read it during bedtime. Not such a smart idea.

And now it is calling out to me. "Come and get me. Read me. Enjoy me!" (Of course I am not hearing voices for real, then I would be in a psych unit.) But I think that would really be a bad idea.

I refused to buy Preacher at the same time. Good idea. It is drawn in a technique I like more but the stoy is even with less hope than Sandman... if possible...

So, tonight is about getting to bed and sleeping before going to church tomorrow. First time in a month. First time when I need to answer questions. And I will not know the answers to the questions at all. But I will try. All this is about trying to give up self control, pride and everything else that I feel are important right now. Honestly though, if you have nothing left but pride - it is hard to give it up and at the same time feel like you are worth it.

Again, I am looking into the abyss and as Nietsche said "when looking into the abyss, the abyss looks into you"... wanna come and play?

I might just wait and see what comes along...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Neil Gaiman and love

It opens your chest

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable.
It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.

You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...

You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore.

Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ’maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart.

It hurts.
Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind.
It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain.
I hate love. "
/Neil Gaiman

Thursday, October 12, 2006

second trial

It is funny that the second trail, or maybe it should be called "the redoing" or "confirmation" of my experiment seems to be not too good. This together with the feelings inside make me a fragile person at the moment. Well, I do have some friends here to keep me from thinking too much about anything since we are doing things every day and every evening. Yesterday was a the first day for only pizza and a movie back home. I almost fell asleep watching "Lucky # Slewin". A decent movie, with a different story. Although I kept thinking about The usual suspects. And of course, Josh Hartnett's eyes.

So, being somewhat frail I can always go back to a behaviour I had when I was 14.. .dreaming about the future when I would meet all these good looking movie stars... Now I know I will never meet them and almost 100% sure of that I don't really want to dream about the future at all. Everything I have dreamt of so far has just gone wrong, almost everything anyway. Or maybe I should be truthfully. Everything I have dreamt of that I wanted for me> i.e. phd, post doc abroad has been, if not accomplished yet but I have the opportunity. The things that has gone quite the opposite would be wedding and love life. Yes, that being things you need to be two... I might have to face the music. I am not meant to have someone that loves me and be happy about it. It's just me and the question now becomes, will I be a halfdecent scientist with no family or friends or should I do sometyhing completely different with my life now? Maybe I should just go back home and try and find a real job - something 9-5 with not too much brainactivity and then look for an apartment where I can live the rest of my life in.

On the other hand I don't see myself living that kind of life. Maybe I can become the "auntie" of all my friends children... the strange lady who writes bad novellas and talks to herself in the small apartment with only dead plants in it? (I didn't mention that I really don't have a green finger in my entire body. I love Succiilentus since they survive when I forget to give them water every week.)

Ah well... I know where I am heading now and it is not the best solution. I should just go home and prepare for the happy sighseeing for today. Next week I am alone for real. Then I can work all day and all night so I don't need to think. Wonderful.

welcome to the next day of you new life. Thanks, feeling so much better now.

Friday, September 29, 2006

one good thing in the world of chaos and destruction

I have had to choose on which day to recieve these good results I think I would have chosen the last two days for sure. (Yes, the days have been bad - for real.) It actually gives me some kind of hope for this project (even though I have been known to be uneffective when it comes to part two: aka known as "the primers". I have promised myself though, I will order them before the weekend and due to things I will not talk about today I will have lots of time next week to stay in late at lab etc. Then I might actually get to do the pcrs and the sequencing.).

So, back to the happy project, which I probably should call "look, there is actually something happeing here" and then maybe, just maybe write some kind of draft for a manuscript... or a least summerize for the PI what has been done and what needs to be done in order to get a manuscript. Or I could always let him lead (since in this place obviously the PI plans the manuscript and what need to be done more rather than the post doc.)

There is a difference adding the compound 6 h after the bacteria rather than 24 hours. Gahh... sometimes the theory can be proven and not disproven! :) Always something... need to have a nice little graph of it though.

Then I can go home to the weekend I will never ever want to repeat. And yes, I do know that in advance. And yes, it will probably break my heart. And yes, still I will try, try, TRY and believe that it might work. But then again, Eeyore might come and visit Sunday night... we'll see what happens. But of course, as always, I must wait and see. (If I ever could have one wish it would be now and a time travel machine to the future. )

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

in his sleep he turns to her

"He is not very warm these days, more distant, cold... like a former friend I once new. They are slowly turning around, slowly as to not disturb one another and their own space. The wierdness is in the air. Every day she looks for the same thing. Every day she gets rejected. Not openly as in words, but rather the things not said. She longs for the old times when he could look at her and just smile and the warmth of the smile radiated into her and thawed her heart. Made her not so distant, made it possible to love. Picked up the pieces and put together the heart, once broken in so many parts, shattered for the wind. Not any more. The smile is gone from his face. It might be another smile but it is not the same. Not the same warmth, not the same care. Just a smile, with nothing behind it. She longs for the smile, the other one. She longs for feeling his heart towards her own. But nothing like that happens during the day. She waits in vane.

In the night they go to bed. Lay next to eachother. Where they before shared a kiss and a warm good night is now only silence. Nothing is as it once was. And she slowly dies inside. The light goes out. He turns away and yawns. She hears his breathing turn into sleep. Slow, long breaths. And then she stares into the night. Into the dark room. And waits. She hears his body turning, in the sleep. His arms wrap around her. His nose into her hair. She waits for the only moment, when his body gives in to something that his mind will not do. And that is what keeps her heart from breaking. That only moment. In his sleep, he turns to her. Giving her warmth. Seeking her out. Looking for her.

But he still has a ticket out. And he still does not talk about it in the morning. They wake up in silence. Things are not what they once were. Hopefully they will be. The hope still lives in her. For a while. For the next night. For the next time the arms will look for what they once loved. Once promised to love. But inside there is doubt. And the feeling of emptyness. The feeling of a heart too close to breaking. Only this time, there will be no saving. Only lost hope and lonliness.

research and work

Things to do when you're dead... or not. Well, there are certainly things I would love to do, and then of course there are things I'd love to not do for the rest of my time here on earth... I have been postponing doing one thing for several weeks and now I realise that it might have been really stupid. Ah well, we'll see what happens after next Monday anyway. If people really stick to their promises or not.

There is also this thing about swiching seats from "knowing it all" to "please, I'm new with this", also known as "I suck at this and nothing really works - sorry for being so lousy at all this". Let's just say that I realise, again, that I am not a person that handles pressure and being new to things good. Pressure on it's own, fine. Not knowing things and always being new to things.. .nahh... combination sucks. I do not like the idea that people think I am lazy (especially when I have that nagging feeling that I have right now, knowing that I haven't worked really that hard as I could have but have really thought about other things and tried to live a life even though I started a new job). Partly this since I know that when I started my last job I really worked every day for a year, almost anyway -lets say 6 out of 7 days plus being at work long hours, and when I finally started working regular hours my boss asked me why I was slacking off... so, I kind of thought this time I would do it the other way around, or at least not presuming to be lazy once I have a so called "family life" here.

Well, family might be a bit strong to call it, but anyway. I won't talk about that here. Not now anyway.

So, I promised myself today that I wouldn't stick my head in the sand but rather take a bite at the things that scare me and really do them. It is now 30 min before "going home as I promised" and I haven't even started doing that... so, I guess I know what I'll do tomorrow.

Hopefully I will soon stop to have belly ache for bad results and look on life a little more happy. Guess this is why I question if my future really is in science... on the other hand, there is nothing more fun than to look at the results when you have had a theory that's been tested and you know something new and fun :) I just have to focus in that and remember, my phd time wasn't exactly easy and this is not even close to that... so, maybe I'll survive without being too crushed.

time to go.