30 June 2007

Cinderella Story

So I realized a couple of days ago that the plot of Novel #1, that reeking pile of unpublishable tripe, is basically the plot of Cinderella.

OK, so my Cinderella has mean step-brothers, instead of step-sisters, and my Prince Charming is a drug-addict. I've still got the absentee father and the evil step-mother who makes Cinderella's life miserable. I've even got a grand ball and a sorta fairy-godmother (well, she really Cinderella's martial arts master, but same difference).

The only thing I'm missing is the goddamned glass slipper.

I'm not sure whether to be horrified or amused by this.

28 June 2007

Bumpah Stickah

An oldy, but goody:

Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot.

Yeah. 'Bout says it all.

25 June 2007

Nothing to Say, Really

But I feel like posting, so here I am.

Grant Hell is winding down for this season. Ms Five is off at her grandma's house. Ms Baby is asleep. The Husband is parked in front of the TV.

And I'm still chained to my desk, because my bloody wireless LAN is still messed up from when my dad was here is frikkin' April. (Or was it March?) Haven't had time to fix it (been a-granting, doncha know).

Oh, I re-upped with Critters finally! Been meaning to for weeks now. I learn a lot from critting that I find useful - believe it or not - in my job. Shouldn't make any sense, I suppose, but clear writing is clear writing, and it doesn't matter whether it's about giants and dragons or genetic variants and diet, the rules are pretty much the same. Use active voice and active verbs. Don't spray and pray with your adverbs. Learn where the commas go dammit.

Yeah, that said, I'll be off to my first crit in about a year. Woo-hoo!

22 June 2007

I Love the Muppets

Not a bumpah stickah. But it should be. My google quote of the day today:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.

-Miss Piggy


I love the Muppets. My whole family watched the TV show religiously when I was a kid (yeah, yeah, I'm dating myself. Shut up.). It was great - Fozzie Bear, Pigs in Space, Gonzo and Camilla, Statler and Waldorf, and especially, Miss Piggy.

For some strange reason it reminds me of where I work.

Seriously, there are all these Very Original People from all sorts of different cultures and backgrounds all thrown together and trying to do Really Important Stuff, usually under a deadline (10 minutes to curtain!). And naturally, there's a lot of conflict and a lot of people in need of black eyes.

Especially during this past episode of Grant Hell, when we could have used Miss Piggy and her, erm, special brand of tact.

'Cuz getting shit done in life comes down to your attitude and whether or not you're going to take "No" for an answer this time or take things into your own hands.

Yep. Those are the days that life just screams out for Miss Piggy. Hiiii-YAAAH!

18 June 2007

Love What You Do

I found out a couple of days ago, that one of the little girls in Ms Five's pre-school class lost her mother to breast cancer last month.

It breaks my heart in so many ways. First, of course, is this sweet little girl and her sisters who now have no mama. Then I wonder what must it have been like to be that mama and know that you are leaving, that won't see your little girls grow up. I'm not sure which is worse.

She was only 37, this little girl's mama, and that hits close to home. Too close. That's how old I'll be next month. 37 years doesn't seem like nearly so long a time on Earth as it did a week ago.

Finally, it isn't helping matters to know, thanks to the job I love so much, that this woman's death places a kind of curse on her daughters. To die so young from breast cancer means that very likely she carried a genetic susceptibility to the disease. Her daughters may carry it too, increasing the chances that they will get breast cancer themselves. That seems terribly unfair.

However - oddly and unexpectedly - the death of this woman has made me appreciate how important my job is. No, I will not personally find the cure for cancer. But dammit, if I can help the people I work for to write a better grant or explain their results more clearly and if that ultimately leads to something that changes the odds for those little girls, then I'll have done something with my life.

It's weird that it feels so personal now.

Or maybe it isn't.

It's not just data anymore. It's not just numbers of cases and controls. It's not just a line in a table that says 'first degree relative with cancer'. It's not just a bunch of random gene names and odds ratios and confidence intervals.

It's one little girl, and her sisters and their mama. That's what it's about now.