30 June 2005
That put me in sufficient panic that today was spent preparing the poster that I'm supposed to present at said meeting. And I pretty much finished it! Ha! Luckily, I've been writing all this stuff up for not one, but two grant proposals, so it's all very fresh in my mind, and all the information was pretty much all at my fingertips. Plus, I had the power of the newest version (12) of CorelDRAW!, one of my favourite pieces of software, working for me. I made up a small version of the poster (i.e., not the two meter long version I'm going to print next week) and sent it off to my colleagues and students to review in case I did anything stupid with it.
I'm getting closer to actually being able to spend time in the lab generating data. Soon. But not yet.
27 June 2005
I am largely finished another grant proposal for the NSF. This one will be a bit of a risk, because it's venturing into a new area of research for me, getting away from the emphasis on neurobiology and behaviour that has been my mainstay to date. But you live and learn, or you don't live long, as Heinlein said.
Next writing project is my poster for the International Tunicate Conference in California next month. The news there is that my co-author on the poster, Virginia, informed me today that she's had minor surgery on her arm and can't go with us as planned. So our travel plans have been completely thrown up in the air. It just isn't easy going anywhere this summer! Louisiana visit falls through, California trip all wonky, and loose plans for other trips are still just that -- loose.
But speaking of writing the poster, how am I able to do all this writing? All thanks to the power of having minions! My two students, Michael and Sandra, have been given the task of going to the beach today. They get to muck around in the warm water and collect animals while I stay in my office and write, and write, and write some more. I'm not sure which of us is getting the better deal. Sunburn or repetitive strain injury? Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions...
Here's the new Dean, same as the old Dean. Literally. After we lost Michael Eastman, who went back to University of Texas El Paso, the assistant dean, Ed LeMaster, stepped in as interim dean. There was a search, and Ed put his hat in the ring. Somewhat to my surprise (surprise not because I think the less of Ed, but for other reasons), he got the gig and will be the real, actual, factual Dean for a while. I think that means the university now has two colleges (out of six!) with actual Deans instead of interim Deans.
Additional: I believe I noted some time ago that a kid's magazine, Spider, was doing a story about sand crabs (or, as they called them, mole crabs). I supplied them with some photos for that. I just now received the copies of the July issue that feature the article. I'll see if I can't get a small thumbnail scan up here a little later.
And that's just some of the stories we're following this week.
26 June 2005
24 June 2005
23 June 2005
I always get wound up reading reviews for a paper or grant proposal I submitted. Even after all this time, I still get little shakes and trembles and a weird feeling in my chest. That was as true of this most recent manuscript rejection as anything. So what is the normal behaviour following rejection? Well, my entry title kind of gives it away. I have been obsessing about revising this manuscript, and getting it into the hands of another journal editor. After sitting on the paper for years, literally, I feel more than a little desperate about not losing momentum.
Get back on the horse. Plenty of other fish in the sea. Get over it!
22 June 2005
21 June 2005
20 June 2005
Yesterday, on the other hand, was refreshingly non-science. Went shopping with a little "windfall" cash. Spend pretty much all day buying about six items. But luckily, we came in at a good weekend, with lots of semi-annual sales. About three of our purchases were 50-60% off, which was good news.
16 June 2005
In less thrilling news, a trip I had planned for next week to Louisiana State University is now in serious jeopardy, because I haven't got back paperwork from Canada yet. I'm having my passport renewed, and I want my passport back and some associated paperwork before I travel. I wasn't planning on flying, but because I'm nudged right up against the Mexican border, there are road checkpoints, mainly for drugs and illegal immigrants. And I have been pulled over and asked for my passport at one of these things before. So Finagle's Law says if I try to travel without this stuff, I will end up needing it.
More time to work on grant proposals. And manuscripts. And supervise students. And update courses. And fix the graduate program. And... and... and...
15 June 2005
13 June 2005
12 June 2005
11 June 2005
I just printed off and am ready to stuff in an envelope my third manuscript in as many weeks. Wow. I'm very, very pleased about getting all those out.
I do have a confession to make, though, about something of which I'm not so proud. All of those manuscripts were based on my last post-doc, which I finished slightly over four years ago. Ouch. Those really should have been put into the hands of editors a lot sooner, but when you become a new assistant professor, trying to find uninterrupted time to concentrate and finish these things is sometimes hard to come by. That said, my colleague Virginia told me research has shown that if a scientist didn't write a paper about their research before they left the institution, the chances of it ever getting done were vanishingly close to zero. So I am a teensy, tiny bit proud that I've bucked the trend.
In other news, my recent ascension to graduate program director has come with an unexpected side effect. I now seem to be one of the people in the short-list to substitute for the Department Chair when he can't make a meeting. I'll be going to a meeting about faculty credentials (yawn) this Tuesday. Turns out that UTPA is getting ready for re-accreditation, and one of the big things is to show that all the faculty are 24 carat, bona fide, certified academics with degrees. Somewhere along the way, some documentation was never asked for or got lost.
In fact, I was one of the ones they asked to provide with a new undergraduate transcript. I was prepared to be quite miffed at this, and was prepared to ask who was going to pay for all this documentation that apparently administration lost. It turned out, though, that the missing transcript from my undergraduate institution, the University of Lethbridge, was free for the asking. And I can't get too upset when it doesn't cost me anything.
I doubt other faculty will be so lucky, though.
08 June 2005
05 June 2005
04 June 2005
That's if the university decides to pay her like they're supposed to, that is. My HHMI undergraduate student, Michael, informed me last week that none of the students in that program have been paid since December. Wha—? It's not like there's no money, it's over a million dollar grant. But a big chunk of the institution doesn't seem to care if we treat what are ostensibly our best and brightest students like rubbish. I wrote an email to our university president today informing her of this situation. Don't know if it'll do any good, but at least I can say I tried.
Still, a day at the beach might relieve some of the stress. I was able to do that last week, when Sandra and I went out to collect mud shrimp on the beach at South Padre Island. It went well; god day, low tide, animals coming up quite easily. We're planning on making another run out this Tuesday, only this time, the whole lab (Sandra and Michael and incoming HHMI student Veronica) will be heading out for an afternoon trip to our Coastal Studies Lab to collect and plot and plan.
Of course, I still have other irons in the fire. As new graduate program coordinator, I'm meeting with our dean to talk about the state of the program. I've spend the last couple of days chewing through some data so I'll be able to convince him of a few things (I hope). No shortage of things to fix in our graduate program.