Sunday, June 20, 2010

Updates from the almost-field

Almost one week into my time here and we're almost ready to head into the field. Housing arranged, equipment rented, permissions acquired, staff hired, etc. etc. We've had to "hurry up and wait," for most of it, but at least things move slowly forward. We'll have some time for preliminary work, and then the students arrive later this week; by then we should be ready to dive in.

Partner is home right now, tearing apart our bathroom. I've been working in this part of the world for six years, and he's never gotten to come along. As a graduate student with no say in arrangements, and no cash, that wasn't going to happen. But even as a PI I've yet to make it happen - partly due to logistics, partly due to money, partly due to Partner having a job of his own. One of these years I'm going to drag him here with me, but so far he's been the cat sitter (and this year, bathroom remodeler). Poor guy.

I admit that I will appreciate one more night of bed/shower/internet. But it will be nice to get things rolling.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

out for the summer

....or at least a month and a half. Tomorrow I pay the airline a pile of cash in order to get my heavy bags full of field gear on their way - and then I sit down for a long, long trip. See ya in late July.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I need to work on my blogging follow-up. I talked to my GP about the rabies vaccination, and while he didn't really know anything about the vaccination he did manage to find out that I can get a titer when I'm back from the field. Which is great. Except that he also tried to talk me out of maintaining my vaccination - as if he knows anything about where I work. He also doesn't seem to get that this has now been a several-hundred-dollar investment that I don't want to waste by letting it lapse. Grr.

So. I will figure that shit out in August.

More recent busyness:

Finalizing grades. Discussing departmental course changes. Meeting with my Dean and asking questions about tenure progress. Submitting a manuscript revision with the hope that they don't reject, since this particular thing is not something I can turn around for another journal. Being talked into writing a CAREER, apparently just for the hell of it.

Yesterday I shopped for clothes. All. Day. I don't really enjoy shopping for clothes, but I managed to get what I need for the immediate future.

Now, to pack.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

on gendered pronouns

I've been grading student exam essays. In a few questions I make them discuss the likely positions that would be taken by various people on particular subjects - people such as scientists, economists, etc.

Some of the students have been using feminine pronouns when discussing the scientist's point of view, in theory because I'm their professor. They do this even when all the other pronouns are masculine. So, hooray for providing some sort of role modeling, I guess.

I'm saddened by those few essays where, even when every other hypothetical figure has a feminine pronoun (generally these are essays written by females), the scientist persona is MALE. The economist is a she. The member of the general public is a she. But the scientist is a guy. Makes me want to go back in time and end this course with a completely off-topic discussion of gender roles in the sciences.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

road blocks

I work in fairly remote areas, where there are lots of roving dogs and other random wildlife. I highly doubt that they would ever cause me problems, but since it might be a day or two before I could get myself to a medical facility I have maintained the pre-rabies vaccine series for the past six years. This is, might I add, an expensive series of vaccines that require a booster every 2 years. When I lived in City I would just head over to the county health clinic and get my shot, no questions asked.

This week I've been attempting to find a place to get the booster shot, since it's time for the booster and I'm leaving for the field in less than two weeks. The county health center in my city doesn't carry it. The county health center in the large town north of us doesn't carry it. The county health center in the town south of us DOES carry it, but they WON'T GIVE IT TO ME because I am not a veterinarian.


Apparently IF I can find a place to do a titer and illustrate that my antibody levels are low, they will give me the shot. The fact that I called my local doctor's office and they said, "how would we test for that?" does not make me feel confident that this will be a useful option.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I'm hoping my doctor will just order the damned vaccine. I hope they can do it before I leave. I am full of rage at the idea that some damned panel of jackasses gets to decide whether my specific situation warrants a particular vaccination. What, are people doing pre-rabies as a recreational drug or something, that we need to dole it out only to "qualified" recipients?



I just spent more time in the lab than I have all term. How bloody depressing is that!? Yet, kinda nice to get some lab work done; I'm now finally finished with a tedious cataloging/sample treating job that I could only get a student to partially finish during the term. Peeve of the day: discovering that at least 1/3 of the glassware needed to be re-washed. This will have to go on the training list for the fall.

Some of my grading is done, including Senior projects: for the most part I was really happy with my research students. They did good work, with a single (and not unexpected) exception. In comparing myself to my colleagues I think I gave out more A's for senior research than is the norm. Maybe I have low expectations? Maybe I just got lucky this year with motivated students?

Now, because I still feel like crap, I will go home and do nothing for a while. Hooray for getting things done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

seven years

Happy Anniversary, Partner! Too bad we're both too busy today to do anything special ;)