19 August 2011


Today has been a mental storm of melancholy, restlessness and anxiety. But most of all, I can't help feeling that I've failed a friend because I keep on forgetting the one thing I mean to remember.

I've learned over and over, ad infinitum, to get out of my own head and to approach a person with love and kindness. It's a hard lesson to relearn, especially when it's so much easier to be weak and pretend that someone is just being an asshole or a jerk. It's so tough for me to recognize that perhaps there is something deeper going on, and to come out and say something or just be a kind person. Sure, that doesn't excuse some behaviour. But it also doesn't excuse my indifference, especially when the person in question is a close friend.

{pregnant pause for effect}

So perhaps by putting this out there, I'll make concrete this abstract lesson. Perhaps it's my Dark Tower, and I am the gunslinger...making my way across the desert in pursuit of the Man in Black.

17 February 2011


I am coming to the realization that I've been blogging, aka bitching, about alot of things that distress, annoy or piss me off. While that sort of charm only works for some, and beautifully in the rarest breed, it is really not who I am. I am really not doing well for that "look on the bright side of life" goal for February. This is a lesson, indeed.

I do not want to be grumpy old woman, nor do I wish to be a grumpy young woman. These sorts of attitudes manifest over the course of time into a wild, hideous beast that is best kept in the closet. So, perhaps some good news or happy reflections are in order in the Den.

I am planning my first trip to Comet. Two weeks without the goodly goodness of crafted joe is just too long. Hmmm. Perhaps that is contributing to my less-than-stellar attitude.

Anon I go then, to dream perchance.

15 February 2011

The Illusion of Danger

Having returned from a 9-day sojourn in Mexico, I can now reflect with pleasure on the experiences, the people we met and rejuvenating our mental health.

If I had listened to a couple of friends, I would have never gone. Because to them Mexico is a dangerous place-rife with people who will harm, kidnap or rob me. These warnings are juxtaposed with my experiences and give me a platform to contemplate the idea of what is danger. I don't want to belittle the fact that there are portions of Mexico that are not safe. But that is true for every country.

If I told my parents half of the things we did, they would fear for my life. What they fear, I find fascinating. It may be callous to find their ill-placed fear comical, but I do. Is it because I "know" better? Or is it because my idea of what is dangerous is calibrated based on the belief that all people are good and kind? Of course, this is tempered by a knowledge that it's best to not flaunt wealth or act loudly or obnoxiously...but that advice can be applied when travelling anywhere in the world. So I only wear my wedding ring and a modest watch, and I use a bookbag because it indicates a student who doesn't have much money.

So what sort of wild, dangerous things did I do?

Right off of the plane, our first meal was at a hole-in-the-wall taco shop near the bus station. It is not dangerous to eat food from a street vendor. It may be inadvisable for those with less sturdy intestines. But not dangerous. In fact, I only got stomach problems once we got to the resort-a so-called "safe" zone.

We spend an afternoon with a lovely Mexican family who are managers at a tourist attraction. Was it dangerous to get into a car with a father, mother and daughter? I don't think it is dangerous to talk to strangers, or accept help from them.

We swam in the ocean with no lifeguard around, and we left our meager belongings unattended at the beach. We walked down a poorly lit street. We climbed the 43 meter Nohoch Mul pyramid without a guardrail.

We roamed around the Yucatan with abandon and joy for 4 days. All around, we found warmth and kindness from locals and tourists. Now why would that be dangerous?

:) LJS

27 January 2011

Conspiracy theory

The universe conspires against me, because every time I come on to blog all of my ideas disappear.

I have no idea why, but I will come to an answer...and promptly forget it once I get my blog.

:) LJS

20 January 2011

Keep it private, dammit

There is just some stuff one just doesn't do in research.

Like lie. Or be sneaky about tweaking data. Or making shit up.

I try my hardest to be responsible in my research. I keep a lab notebook, I try to make sure credit is given where credit is due, if I removed a data point, I say so and why I did it. It's not just about maintaining a good reputation and making sure that you are above reproach, but it's also about being a good steward to the field of science.

My anal retentive attitude about my keeping own personal information private resonates with the perfectly logical and ethical standards of clinical research. Specifically about keeping private information out of the paws of people who have no damn business seeing it. Clinical researchers are expected to maintain patient privacy at all times, for damn good reasons. These rules are wonderful, I fully support them. Clinical researchers should hold themselves to these high ethical standards because people depend on us.

So imagine my delight and surprise to find that my husband's personal information was in a dental student's bookbag. Said bookbag was stolen. Who am I mad at? The neurologically-challenged student? Yes. He was pretty stupid. But I am even more mad at the backwards system in place. The system for allowing a student, probably untrained in HIPAA rules, to carry around patient information in clearly unprotected environments. Why is it necessary, in this day and age, to carry around papers with patient information. Get a fucking encrypted database.

This incident is especially irritating because of the high standards we have in place for clinical research. Why should students be allowed to carry around this information when there are rules, and systems, for maintaining patient confidentiality?

17 January 2011

My alias

I try to be fun "in real life" also. Bookface allowed me to share with the world my languages, and I thought I'd find something goofy to share. Why mess with the Bookface, you ask? Because, really, who the heck cares what languages I speak and why would I share that information anyway?

:) LJS

14 January 2011

Yielding electrons, quietly

I really do try to avoid talking about other people in the Den. You see the Den is small (it is a wee Den) and if I foul the air with ranting or bitching, then the stench hangs in the air for weeks like unwashed haggy armpits.

Also, I have better things to write about. Like that one time I visited a colony of Elvis clones and was able to negotiate a peace treaty between army ants and an impoverished village in Ghana.

That being said, I must admit that the only thing better than using earplugs to find sleep in a noisy hotel is not needing them at all when I'm at home.

My month of "not buying useless stuff" is going well. I'm not even cheating by making a list of things I'd like to buy, for a Feb 1 purchase. It is harder than I remembered, probably because I now have a car and can go out to buy things on a whim. But maybe that, too, is a lesson.

It wouldn't be a violation of my non-disclosure agreement to say that a colony of Elvis clones would explain alot of unusual things.

:) LJS

07 January 2011

Well, it had to eventually happen

We mark post # 300 here in the Den with the fanfare and accoutrement to which we are entitled!!

I wanted a big celebration. I was thinking of hiring the "Firefly" cast, asking Jack White to emcee, and having the reddit guys cast spontaneous drawings. But, the crew were not hip to the planned celebration. They revolted against the idea of Jack coming back. Then the "Firefly" guys got really really busy warding off Reavers. The crew thought I said "Felicity" anyway. And the reddit guys got all OCD about narwhals which rendered them useless. To avoid mutany, I'm taking the crew to a Star Trek convention where I'll regale many with my deft verbal adaptations of tlhlngan Hol dialects.

Hey, it was either that or try to recast the One Ring.

Holy crap! It's 2011. I've been thinking of an interesting way to approach the year, and my ponderings led me to think on ways to live out the ideal "In discipline, lies freedom".

12 months, 12 opportunities to recognize where I could stand a little more discipline. Wait, that's just a bit too much of ass kicking for me. So I whittled it down to 4 opportunities which I think will be tough yet really rewarding. There is already swearing involved.

One: Buy less shit.
Two: Look on the bright side of life
Three: Stop with the fucking caffeine already
Four: Enjoy running

So, I'll tackle these in repeating order throughout the year. I'll also (at no additional cost!) provide my insight, whining and utter contempt for narcissistic new years resolutions.

:) LJS