Archive for: December, 2010

Pick Your Superpower: Fuhgeddaboudit

Dec 14 2010 Published by under [Etc]

I often like to ask people (typically at parties, after I've had a few to drink) what kind of superpower they would choose to have if they could have just one. Swirling their swizzle sticks, my conversational partners will tilt their heads to the side, gazing at the ice cubes motoring around in their cocktails.

Superpower?, they'll ask.

Yeah, I know, I'll respond, I live in a fucking fantasy world. Humor me.

And then they'll say dumb shit like breaking stone with your fist or producing infinite quantities of spiced rum. I fucking hate when people don't take my fantasy questions seriously.

I, personally, imagine a life in which I am capable of instant transportation. Oh? Want to travel to Paris for the weekend? Non problem! Need to run into lab at 7am on a Saturday morning to check on your experiment? You're there- and then- oh!- you're back. No more commutes, no more traffic, no more car requirements, no more airfare... and hell, you could take a vacation where every day you went to a different part of the world, and every night you could sleep in your own bed. Sweet.

I've long been convinced that this would be the very best superpower to have.

Today, though, I was talking to a graduate student who had just finished his final exams, flustered about his performance. I always hated, as a graduate student, when people told me that my grades didn't matter, as long as I passed. Of course they mattered, sweet Jesus, how else were people going to judge the goodness within the essence within the academic?

I was such a tortured soul.

Now I'm thinking that maybe a better superpower would be the ability to receive memos from my future self regarding the shit that doesn't matter.


To: Self
From: Self
Date: 8 years later
Re: Your compulsive anxiety over graduate coursework

Your final grade doesn't fucking matter. No one will ever care whether you got an A- or a B- in Genetics as a graduate student. (Except for maybe those L'Oreal Fellowship bullshitters, and who cares about them, anyway). Stop all of the bad dreams, stop waking up the morning of exams, doubled over with nerve-induced diarrhea. Stop the madness!! It doesn't matter!!! It will never matter!!!11!!!


Now, this is probably all more important to me because of my anxiety- but I would just love love love if, in the present moment, when someone tells me to stop freaking out about something because it will not matter, that I could just listen. That I could just accept the wisdom wafting over me, that I could just inhale the good air filling my lungs, and just chill the fuck out.

So why don't you tell me what you would wish for. Grab a cocktail first, classy reader, and swirl away.

27 responses so far

Ring-a-ling! It's your Mother-in-Law

Dec 12 2010 Published by under [Etc]

Starting in mid-October, my husband & I enter that blessed time of year when we are mercilessly hounded by his mother regarding all things Christmas.

What you want for Christmas why haven't you two given me your Christmas lists yet I don't like those suggestions, what else do you want your aunt is being crazy again yesterday, I made eight Christmas stockings by hand what does your cat want for Christmas I sure am hungry for some cabbage casserole.

You know, good times.

And because this chatty lady lives far away, most communication comes in via phone call. We, like most people, have caller ID on our land line. And when the phone ring-a-lings, and I see his parent's phone info appear, like a warning, in bold black on yellow screen... I go ahead and don't answer. No fucking way. I value my time and sanity far too much.

But it has recently been suggested to me that I am being too harsh about this. And that surely, my MIL must realize that I never answer when she calls, and therefore must think that I hate talking to her on the phone. It has been suggested that I need to answer some portion of the time as a gesture of goodwill.

So, that has me wondering what YOU all do when the in-law phone rings. These polls probably only apply if you have a land line. The first poll is for when you look at the Caller ID and your partner is NOT home, and the second is for when you are both home, but you are closer to the phone and see the Caller ID first. And please, for special circumstances or further explanation, leave a comment.

When the Caller ID reads "Your Mother-in-Law" AND your partner is not home, what do you do?online surveys

18 responses so far

In Which I am Neither Vicious nor a Sucker

Dec 07 2010 Published by under [Education&Careers], [Etc]

Scene 1:

Candid Engineer is hard at work surfing the internet. An email appears in her inbox:

Dear CE,

I really absolutely must get Experiments X and Y done this week. However, I cannot do them because I am swamped with final exams & other very, very serious obligations. I was wondering if you could take 3-4 days of your time this week and do my experiments for me.

Best regards,
Hard-Working but Clueless Grad Student

Ahahaha!!! Good one, really. Uhh, let me check my schedule... uhh... hmm, no fucking way.

Scene 2:

Supervisor: So, are you sure you want to be a professor?
CE: No, I'm not sure, but I think I'd be good at it & I don't know anything else I'd be as good at.
Supervisor: You would be great in a company- large, medium, or start-up.
CE: Oh no, are you turning this into a patronizing you'd-be-good-at-anything lovefest?
Supervisor: No, I'm not. You'd be a terrible VC. Absolutely terrible. You're not vicious enough.


I'm not too mean, I'm not too nice
Don't give me your mangoes to slice & dice
This princess postdoc has her price.

10 responses so far