Sunday, October 25, 2009

what do boys dream about?

It's my question after I having read a long discussion about vampires and the interest they evoke in (young) women. There is a graduate student, in Sweden, preparing her dissertation about vampires and the view of them through history (and of course the sexual innuendo in regards to the biting, blood and the Hunger). And the Twilight books and "True Blood" by Charlene Harris and their popularity among teenage girls. And then they filled in with the newer series "Vampire Diaries" with a nice, good vampire and his evil, dark brother*... (I think it is a sad thing they didn't mention Angel from Buffy the vampire slayer, not to mention the World of Darkness (WoD by White Wolf) vampires - although in this they don't necessary fit the "nice man who refrains from biting the innocent".) Of course, the story about the vampires, and especially these newer ones, are about young looking men who refrain from hurting the young woman who is interested in him.... he is not interested in "violating" her, nor that she should "give herself up too easily" since he is truly and more truly in love with her. (I could go on and on about this subject since I find some of the newer stories - yes Twilight - a bit too simplistic... )

Clearly, there was no mentioning of Anita Blake (by K. Hamilton) nor the WoD vamps.... where some of them might be more or less chivalrous but never forget; they're only in it for themselves and if you are in the way, you're soon gone.

Anyhow, that was a slightly sidetracked comment. I was trying to state that I, maybe since I am a girl?, have read a tonne of different teenage books with vampires, Heathcliffs and other romantic figures you can dream about as a young (or not so young) woman. My experience of "male teenage books" would be old school Hardy Boys books, Biggles and some comics and role playing game books... although here is where I start wondering. What do boys (young male teenagers) read when they dream about sexual encounters and/or romance? Since I don't really remember too much girls in the Hardy boys (but there was two sisters, right?) I am really drawing a blank at the moment... Somehow I don't know if Buffy is the poster girl for "dream girl"... or the moping teenage girl Bella in Twilight? Can anyone help a poor thinking post PhD woman here? What is it boys dream about? What stereotypical girl/dream exist for them?** Is it porn all along? Or is it something more male figure with a girl side kick?

*evil brother is older and has, imho, a more mature look and therefore might be more attractive to the "already lost girls who are looking for the bad boys". This of course, my home crafted explanation and nothing with any research behind ;) I haven't mentioned the Ann Rice books since none of the articles I have read so far talk about them. I don't know if they forgot that Louis is a nice, kind vampire and Lestat is the evil one... then again, they are slightly more mature and slightly homoerotic at times and therefore not really a young teenage woman lure (nevertheless, I know girls drawling over both Louis and Lestat when reading the books).

**I also wonder a bit about the whole thing in general. If the "romantic dreaming" for girls is a trying to prepare for the complicated life of mixing romance and sex? If the whole thing is just a gender-bender-get-the-girl-to-dream-about-true-love-and-not-think-too-much-about-sex-for-fun-or-being-used ? Or maybe just the dream about the everlasting love and the man who will sweep the woman off her feet and marry her and live happily ever after? Do boys dream about that too? Or is it an age issue and it is different in the late twenties?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

it's not you

It's me.

there is nothing when something comes back with "simple answers" and nothing extra....


I'm just paranoid. Duh.

Monday, October 19, 2009

life in a cubicle

I live in a cubicle now. Funny, I have never lived in a cubicle before. I am not sure that I will like the cubicle life per se but maybe I was just spoiled with never having a space in the lab but rather in an obscure closet somewhere in a corridor... that meant I could leave my paranoia alone since no-one saw my computer, my notes or heard me if I was on the phone with the mother country*. And my notes on the wall were left unread by others than me.

Everyone seems nice. Although, maybe a slightly bit strange. As coming from this scientist, maybe I shouldn't throw rocks in the glass house?

My main concern, at the moment, is that I felt a bit frustrated. I guess it is as expected, with me being a tad bit on the stress side as well as "wanting to be effective from scratch", considering someone has worked on average too much the last couple of months. After all, when I left work after 8.5 hours today I was still the last to leave (not the last to come in mind you) but I know all people would still be in my (old) lab... and I felt tired, mostly from being on top of my game and wondering (worrying) if I bit off a too big a piece (rather, picked the wrong morsel** all together)... but I still liked it overall. It feels nice to be in a place where I will not have to go in on weekends. And where I still decide what to do during the day (as much as one can). And I get to help others with their job.

Hopefully my newly bought work clothes did not shrink in the laundry... that would be a bit of a bummer... since I am wearing them tomorrow for a training part. With that, I will go to bed to be a productive former post doc tomorrow.

*I guess the quick fix would be never to talk on the phone for a long time with mother country, but it is hard not to have even one conversation during the week considering the time difference. On the other hand, I guess I could take my phone outside and go for a walk during lunch since I will consider food intake and exercise outtake. Ah well, it's all going to go well for sure.

**I got a funny look (not the first time either) when asked on if I was a productive post doc... and truth to be told, I think it will be considered quite OK with three first authors and one or two second author papers in high impact journals (but I am not there yet, still a few of them to finish writing so no counting chickens before hatching). But that response from me has triggered some surprised looks and comments like "and you still wanted to leave?" or "really? that is great. but...."

I don't know if it's because they assume that I got this (non research but more tech) position because I couldn't hack it or because they are surprised I would want to leave Academia? The truth? I wanted to try something that I find will give me a slightly more secure job as well as maybe not killing myself in the lab with the weirdest hours. If I don't like it? I hope I don't hate myself. I mean, it doesn't really matter if I have to work much in the lab or not, if I can - I will. And then end up alone with maybe some nice papers and no friends when I am old. I think we have talked about that before. What good is a C/N/S paper if you have no family or friends when you are old? How much does a paper warm your heart? Trust me, considering the dropping rate of my friends and social gatherings the last couple of months I am in the outskirts now... better pick it up and move back in the circle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 it's going out of style

I'm throwing things away like it will never be a need for trees or post its ever again.

It's funny, considering I HATE throwing things away (you know, in case you happen to throw something out that would have come in handy one rainy day), that rather than save up time to do a good sifting through in a timely fashion I end up with the "alternative technique" also known as "The Box Technique".*

First, I throw away some stuff that I know I will never use again.
Second, some stuff will be very important to save, so they stay.
Third, that pile of "maybe maybe" will end up in a box that will be labelled "can be thrown away in three months (or a year)"

I started the box technique since I know that I am bad at throwing things away. I put things in a box and put it under neath the bed or in the closet. And then wait... maybe 1 year? And if I haven't gone into the box or wondered about some of the things, they clearly aren't as essential as I thought.

I guess there will be a lot of boxes in the house for a while now.... all these papers and things relating to the articles not yet written... not to mention other things like biology books, chemistry handouts, conference abstracts etc.

But the fridge got cleaned yesterday. And I have started cleaning out the freezer.... but not the BIG one. Ah well, I am sure that most of it can go to the trash, sad but true. Time to do do more, and chat less.

*the other option is to be on the phone with a friend and chitchat since that keeps my brain occupied and hinders it from thinking "hm, really shouldn't throw that away in case this and that happens". This alternative is better than the third one, which would be called the desperate one, i.e. "slightly drunk makes decision making easier" (again, it is overriding the over thinking part that is key).

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

the wet blanket

Concealing is not the same as lying. I know it is not the same thing, in the eyes of the law and for some other people, lying and concealing. It's a bit like the distinction between "not telling" and "lying", which in some laws are considered the same thing as illegal. The fine line between writing all the details in the M&M section and only write the bare minimum needed to repeat the experiment. Compared to data sets that are missing and not up for investigation by reviewers and new readers, it might seem trivial?

I still have a bit of a problem with it though. The distinction I mean, since I seem to be "over-explanational" and wanting there not to be any potential misunderstandings. where some other people are happy to leave it at that. When is the concealing actually worse than lying? When is it really wrong? When people draw faulty conclusions based on inadequate information? Or when you tell the bare minimum but do not clarify parts that might be misconceived? And I know that it is not as easy as it seems. And it still hurts sometimes when the deception is obvious. I guess it is part of "growing up" (getting more cynical again) and realizing that things are not what they seem, and the truth might be worse than the illusion.

Although, it is interesting on how many people want the illusion rather than the truth. Wanting the illusion and the dream in their head rather than the harsh reality. This is what we wanted to do, what we know think that we did (and not swirl around, whisper small incantations of "lovely bacteria grow for the soul has been sacrificed"). The truth hurts, the lie is unnecessary and too obvious, the concealing is there as a comfort blanket. However, some would say the blanket can reveal itself to be both damp, wet and blowing away when the winds pick up. And then it is very cold and gruesome and not protecting but rather weighing down and a nuisance. Who really knows you and your motives? Who really cares about it? And most importantly, does it really matter as long as you are happy in your made reality where you are king and everyone else are dancing around, clueless about what really goes on?

Friday, October 02, 2009

First rule

(no, it's not "you don't talk about Fight club".)

NEVER make stuff up.

Alternative solutions:
* "I did not have the time so I didn't do it"
* "I forgot"
* "I lost the paper I wrote down the result on"
* "actually what ever that is true works here"

but never ever make stuff up (and guessing would be in this category). Especially not if you make a stock that your collegues and/or friends and/or collaborators will use^.

And then people wonder why some scientists are control freaks? Yeah well, doesn't surprise me.

It's such a shame though. Yesterday was one of the absolute top 10 days I have had as a scientist! Absolutely wonderful results from an experiment that has been in the works for over two years. And this morning started with grinning faces and talks about C/N/S paper for me (we'll see if that really happens but maybe).

I guess it is only to try and not blow the fuse and find the happy place again and then regroup. It's not like it is the first time.... (I just thought it was "the last time" last time...)

^yes, you will look like a complete idiot and a lying piece of something when it is concluded that something crucial is wrong and not adding up.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It's over

And then it was the 30th of September 2009 when it was all over. Sundin retired from playing NHL and hockey*. After selling his house (mansion) in Toronto, finding a blonde Swedish woman to marry in the bright summer in Sweden and trying to win that Ring once (let's forget about the pathetic 7 months that lead up to the try) he decides to move back to his home town of Stockholm and start a new chapter of his life.

He might not be the greatest Leaf in times. (No, I don't think so either.) But he will always be one of the greatest. And most definetly one of the most important Swedish hockey players. Who can forget the awesome goal against Fetisov? Or other ones in the crunch time of the game. Not to mention the whole "we are going to be great once again now when Sundin is on the team". He sort of made the Swedish spirit those nice years in the 1990ies. (Everyone understands that it was several others too, like Forsberg and Salo, but in effect - without Sundin the team was severely crippled.)

You'll find a great video here , the first one in the article, not the second one. Funny enough, lots of goals in the video are from the MTL (Montreal Canadiens) games. Ha, there you have it. He scored against the greatest fiends there are. For that and all the Swedish spirit and being from the best city in the world, THANK YOU! (as if he would ever read this, duh.)

Now I have to sign up for Cath's Fantasy Hockey League... and choose who to pick for my team. One less obvious one but there are more Swedes.... and a whole lot of action coming soon!

*some people wants him in the Olympics next year.... I would like to see him somewhere else than on the ice though. It is over. No dragged out ending like last year. Not again. Be brave and be proud. And please do something good with all the money and the time now!