Archive for: March, 2009

My Day so Far (UPDATE)

Mar 04 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

It's 9:30am and I have already had what seems like a full day. I woke up this morning at 5:45 because the wee one was up and she lets no one sleep if she's not. My wife went downstairs to mix up a morning bottle for the wee one while I pulled her out of the crib. From downstairs I hear "the heat is not working". Something is wrong with our furnace and the house was cold and getting colder. Nice way to get things started.

At 6:00 I was in the bathroom and getting in the shower when our cat appeared carrying a mouse from the basement. I don't mind mice in the basement as long as they stay down there and don't get into our stuff. We haven't really had a problem as of yet and the cat seems to keep them honest. As most cats do, ours wanted a prominent display location and at my feet in bathroom seemed like the ideal spot. The only catch was that the mouse was still alive and bolted once dropped. With the cat in rapid pursuit, my wife and I spent 10 minutes running around the house with a bucket and broom like some deranged cleaning crew, trying to re-capture the rodent. We managed to get the scurrying beast outside and I finally got my shower in.

By 7:00 everyone was fed and I was in the car. I turned the key and the car started, but the tire pressure light is on now. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal because my drive to and from work is not all that far, but I have to give a seminar at a college about 45 minutes away this afternoon. Again, not a huge problem but unneeded.

At my desk by 7:20 because I was sick yesterday and wasn't sure if it was going it get better or worse and therefore did not finish my talk for today. I'm feeling better (yeah), but still had half a talk to put together (boo) and all with a my wife and child in a freezing house with no where to go since I took the car.

After 9:00 the furnace guy had been to the house and temporarily gotten the heat working. The fan is shot but we're renting so as long as it gets fixed today, I don't care. My wife also got offered a job at Employment University (yeah) but at a (non-negotiable) salary that was lower than she had been led to believe (boo). In this economy, it's better than a kick in the teeth, but now comes the reality of taking the wee one into day care, etc. We have all that set up, but now we have to brace for a disease pipeline directly to our house and the emotion of having someone else take care of the wee one after a year of being home. We'll also have to figure out a new daily and weekly routine to accommodate two of us working full time, etc, etc. Oh yeah, finish your talk.

9:30 and the talk is done and hopefully coherent. An hour until I leave to get there (on low tires) and I have four faculty meetings and a student lunch to go before I talk for an hour on a throat that is just coming back from feeling like I just got back from sword swallowing summer camp. How many hours until I can open a beer? A student lunch is probably an inappropriate venue for that...

I guess that furnace was a bigger issue than it looked. After getting back from the seminar I gave I got a call from WLS saying that the furnace guy told her that it would not be fixed until the next day and we would have to go to a hotel for the night. Some might see that as a nice opportunity to get away (at least that's how our landlord tried to sell it - "they have a pool at the hotel!") but when it is getting close to the wee one's bed time, we are scrambling to pack and figure out where we are being sent, haven't eaten ourselves and need to prep the house to survive the cold overnight, it is less fun than it sounds. Luckily we finagled a suite so that we could set up the pack n' play in an area that was not right next to our bed. We got take out sushi, bathed the wee one and were settling in. I fed her her goodnight bottle and was burping a very tired wee one when she let out a loud and squishy-ish burp. In parenting, this is known as the "oh shit" burp. I have heard this many times and despite being fully aware of what it indicates, the long day had worn my reactions down to a gnarled nub. As WLS yelled "bathroom!" from across the room I too slowly made my way to the tiled floor and two steps from an easy to clean surface, the wee one let lose with a foul combination of formula, pasta with marinara sauce and strawberries. The rug took the major damage but the tile was not spared, nor was my shirt, pants or socks. I managed to get to the sink for rounds two and three of purgefest, but the damage was already done. No one told me that parenthood would involve more puke than a year of college frat parties, but it does. We got everything cleaned up and the wee one back to bed, but the smell of that stuff sticks and the poor hotel staff has their work cut out for them. Hopefully we are back in our place tonight and can soil our own space.

4 responses so far

Gratuitous self-citation guy

Mar 03 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

I am in the process of reviewing a review paper from a large lab in my field. They have given it a catchy title, but what it should really be called is "Stuff we have done in the last 10 years, with a tiny bit of new data thrown in because we didn't know what else to do with it". The paper endlessly cites previous lab publications without remorse and blatantly under-sells work by non-lab-affiliated people. Even as a review, the manuscript re-hashes points made in two papers already published in 2009 in high-profile journals, which of course, go uncited. I'm not surprised since it seems like this lab publishes 4 reviews for every data paper it churns out, but over 20% of their references are papers published in the lab. In a field where they were solely working that might no seem too bad, but in this case it is a little over the top. It's not the sheer quantity of self-citation, but also the placement. In any area of the paper where they have lab papers, it is those that are cited as examples, whereas papers of equal impact to the discussion, but from "competing" groups, are mentioned almost as an after-thought - as though they recoginize that a reviewer will call them on not citing those papers so they have them in there on their terms. Is this a blatant attempt to de-emphasize the contribution of others to the questions at hand or simply a case of knowing your own data better than that of other labs? While I want to believe the latter, the former seems to be jumping up and down, waving it's hands like a first-grader who wants permission to leave the class and go pee.

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