Archive for the 'Etc' category
"The cost is more than what you get paid, but do it anyway...."
Having filled our previously advertised job in Seminar Napping, Employment University has a new position available immediately, entitled, Journal Club Killa.
Applicants must religiously attend journal clubs on topics they know little about, but purport to do research in. They must be able to ask a bevy of questions that derail the discussion into obscure topics of self-interest and be persistent enough to smother constructive conversation. The successful applicant will also never print out the paper being discussed and repeatedly spout random inquiries that make plain the fact that they never read the paper to begin with.
Candidates who prefer to talk at length about the way research was done 20 years ago are strongly encouraged to apply, particularly if they try to pass it off as though they are doing "cutting edge" work. Using the same arguments week after week, regardless of the paper of choice will also be reviewed favorably.
The job pays only in self-satisfaction and ill-tempered glares from presenting students, but if you are interested in this position, this seems to be all the compensation you ever seek.
Applicants should send three letters of reference attesting to their ability to read from the paper of the student next to them and inability to use anything but their outside voice when asking said student questions while others are talking. If possible, letter writers will be asked to comment on the candidate's refusal to back down from any position on how new data are wrong, despite overwhelming contrary evidence.
Please forward application packets to:PLS, Department of Science, Employment University
Dear Finance Office,
I never thought you would catch me, but your diligence has paid off. To truly understand my crime, we need to go back a few years to when I was an undergrad. You see, at that time all I wanted was $46.72 worth of random supplies from Home Depot. But in my lowly life as an undergrad, this was out of my reach... so I plotted.
First, I got myself involved in research between my second and third years of college. I worked many hours of two years to produce a thesis, a couple of papers and admission to graduate school. I left my home country, family and girlfriend and went to get a PhD with a well respected member of the scientific field I wanted to pursue. It was a hard decision, but I had my eye on the prize: $46.72 in Home Depot goods.
I spent two years doing the long-distance relationship thing in different countries and time zones before I married my girlfriend, who moved to a new country with me. She knew how important my dream of Home Depot supplies was to me and I owe her a lot for being willing to move her life. After 5 years of graduate school, I had my PhD, but still no university purchasing card to abuse to my own selfish ends.... so I plotted.
I started a postdoc at a new university and started a family. I wrote grants. I wrote papers. I did research and supervised others doing research. I went to meetings and gave talks. When the time was right, I sent out job applications. LOTS of job applications. I got some interviews and some went better than others. I chose Employment University in no small part because they offered university purchasing cards.
I toiled at building up my lab for two years and even sat through your three hour 'training' session that was like a long winded parental speech about responsibility and how closely we would be watched. I endured much, but I was so close.
I used the Pcard for all sorts of things, diligently keeping receipts and lulling you into feeling like I was up to the task. I was never late, never lost a thing. Always crossing my t's and dotting those i's.... and I plotted.
Finally, I thought I had covered myself well enough to get away with a crime over a decade in the making! I went to Home Depot and carefully chose my precious items, ensuring they added to my envisioned total. I purchased them with my university card and when it went through a nearly wept in joy. I rushed out of the store, clutching my hard sought items to my chest, laughing manically. I thought I had won.
Your sharp eyes caught my missing receipt and the accusations started. You sent me emails in blue enlarged text! I knew I was doomed, and no amount of explanation was going to make up for the fact that there is no receipt. Letters were written, promises were made, and my Pcard was nearly revoked. I would estimate that ~$400 in employee time was used to rectify my egregious flaunting of the Pcard rules and regulations and I am now under double secret probation.
But for a few brief moments, as I held that $46.72 in Home Depot supplies in my hands after so much work, it all seemed worth it.
And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids.
It is merely September and I'm already on my first bought of anti-biotics. All the kids who were out of day care for the summer are back and the Wee One already has pneumonia. Of course, you would never know it, save for an occasional cough, but I'm wiped out. Seemed like a good idea to bust this post back out from just last spring.
Day care is a necessary evil if you have a two income family. Unless you have relatives close by who are willing to entertain your child while the two parents are at work, chances are you have to rely on day care. It can be expensive and a huge hassle, but there are not a lot of options.
There are good things about day care, such as your child getting to play with their peers for much of the day. This can lead to learning a lot of things they would otherwise not be confronted with at home. Children at day care also have to get used to being with non-parents for much of the day, which one could argue helps them when their parents need to leave them with someone to get something done or to go out for a night. A lot of day cares also go to great lengths to take what is understood about how children learn and incorporate that into daily activities. All of these are good things.
But daycare has another effect on your life. Before we sent the Wee One to daycare she almost never got sick.
We had the normal run of one or two colds a winter as a household, but nothing major. But day care changed all that. Day care is apparently where every cold and flu goes to party. It's like the runny nose equivalent of Burning Man and we have our very own vector from that source. It's like living with the monkey from "Outbreak".
This winter the family has been a revolving door for colds. Every time one sweeps through and leaves us for dead, there is another one at the door. I'm pretty sure I have been healthy for a grand total of 8 days since November and my wife has been hit harder by each cold than I have. Day care is probably taking a year off of our lives, and we're not even getting to play with play dough! The thing I am most excited about this spring is the chance that the time between colds will lengthen as the days do.
Like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I watched live as the second tower in NYC was struck and news started to come in that the Pentagon had been hit as well. At the time, I was close enough to DC that the fighter jets were scrambled all over the East Coast screamed overhead at regular intervals. It was a day that changed a lot in the U.S. and, indeed, all over the world.
It is an important day to remember for many reasons. The innocent lives lost is the primary, with a close second being the foreign policy that got us to that point in the first place. Why was the U.S. targeted in that initial statement and not Canada, England, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Australia, etc... It certainly wasn't because we were watching baseball and eating our apple pie.
Nevertheless, in remembering 9/11 it is also critical that we not forget.
We can not forget that our nation was founded on the notion of freedom of expression and that, for better or for worse, the majority groups in the U.S. are here because their ancestors were seeking a refuge from intolerance. For the many who are descendant from immigrant groups, remember that your ancestors likely were discriminated against in their effort to carve out a life for themselves in their newly adopted country.
We should not forget that in every group there are extremists who either take actions in the name of something or are later associated with it. Yes, the hijackers on 9/11 were Muslims, but that incriminates ALL Muslims in the same way that any other religion has to answer for the worst among it. If you are catholic, do people scorn you or hate you because of the actions of some priests in your church? Is that a direct reflection on you, as a person? Do you feel responsible for those actions, which you could not possibly have known were taking place?
We should not forget history, even recent history, has shown us that the combination of a poor economy and a spokesperson who is happy to capitalize on fear, hatred and ignorance*, can provide enough spark to start a fire with devastating consequences. You can read a much more lucid post about this at White Coat Underground. Those who are willing to use people's difference against them have always been the enemies of society, no matter what group they self identify with or what flag they wave.
The simple fact remains, if you are willing to categorically hate a group of people just because they believe in something different from you, look or speak different from you or live different from the way you do, then you are no different than those who were willing to kill the innocent on 9/11.
That is what I will never forget.
*Ignorance does not mean stupidity in this case. Plenty of intelligent people have happily filed into the ranks of the mobs of hatred.
There's a new blog in town, my friends. Long time commenter Gnuma has decided to take a stab at effusing to the intertubes under a new moniker, Cackle of Rad. Which shed the old handle? She explains:
First I want to explain the very unattractive gnuma pseudonym. It was gifted upon me by the computer guy in my olde department and as much as I loved the computer guy, who loved me more in return, [Note: we completely hated one another, but that developed after (I think after) he gifted this name, which was a log-in] I have decided on a new handle. Gnuma is/was pronounced 'New ma' and computer guy gave it to me following the birth of my first child, Spawn1. I logged in once to google to comment on a blog over here, it asked me for a name, I wasn't feeling very creative, and thus I became gnuma to the public.
She goes on to describe the idea behind the name, as well as herself, thusly:
As for the job, more specifics: I am an assistant professor of an -ology who is starting up a research program full-tilt. I've been on the job less then a year, and in that time I've haz a bebe, been on a grant panel, ordered a shit-ton of equipment that cost a fuck-tillion amount of dollars, hired people, begun to navigate through a new department and its weird kinks, and most importantly....I now have to deal with living less than an hour away from my husband's family.
Follow up posts to her intro post include one on the difficulties of under-producing milk while breast feeding and racing frogs in a small town.
And did I mention the blog is purple? Go check it out.
Until we get the server stuff sorted, I'm going to throw a few posts up on ye old blog. This should be resolved this weekend, but in the meantime: