the joys of being put together

I usually look fairly snazzy for a grad student – I don’t go in for the jeans and flannel look, and I always wear makeup to lab.

This turns into an unexpected perk when I’m feeling under the weather: if I arrive in lab in jeans, a schlumpy sweater and a bare face, instantly my labmates tell me I look AWFUL and should go home.


Student update


I saw the student mentioned in the post below on Thursday. We talked about some questions he had, and then I asked him to name a specific protein we’d talked about for, oh, ALL of recitation (one hour previously, people!). He couldn’t name it. I asked to see his notes. He said he doesn’t take notes, because he feels like he doesn’t remember as much.

I tried not to laugh on the outside.

So I explained to this kid that maybe, just maybe, because ALL the answers to the exam questions and pset questions are based on stuff said in lecture (and not in stuff you find in the book or online), it would behoove him to take notes. Sure, the instant understanding quotient might go down, but it’s clearly pretty low already….

So, college grads, did you get through college without taking any notes? If so, what was your major, because I’ll recommend it to this guy.

yes, it’s been a while

I’ve had thoughts for good posts, but I keep forgetting them. The last week has been busy; had to present at journal club for my lab, and also had to proctor and grade the first exam for the class I’m TA-ing.

Speaking of the exams, I had one of the students in my section approach me today and tell me he was going to start coming to my office hours, “because I can’t seem to get good grades.” I had to bite my tongue, because this is the same guy who falls asleep EVERY section, and on the rare days he’s awake, he doesn’t take any notes. Now, the answers to the section questions are online, but it’s really time this guy realized that reading the answers does not mean that he understands them. I’m trying to figure out how to point this out to him gently….

I am the big fish

In lecture today we had a guest prof who had the kids play a game called big fish – little fish to teach about predator-prey interactions. To play the game, each kid received a palm pilot and was instructed on how to open the game (use the stylus to select the picture of a fish). They were then told to type in their name, and NOT to press start. We asked kids with questions to raise their hands.

The most common question? “What do I do if I already pressed start?” The answer? “Go get a new palm pilot.”

So the big fish run around and eat the little fish (using their IR ports) and we learn important life lessons about predators and prey. Namely that if you’re a little fish and you hide behind the podium, you will not be eaten.

In the recap after the game finished, the prof wrote down various students’ theories about the predator prey interaction. And then we discovered that we had one of THOSE students. You know the one: he has to contribute something that is already on the board, but in a voice that indicates that he came up with it himself and it is clearly the correct answer. Argh!


I went to see the new touring production of the Bellydance Superstars last night. I was by and large unimpressed. Yes, they can dance, some of them beautifully, but it really seemed as if most of them (especially Jillina, the founder and lead choreographer) phoned in their performances. With only a few exceptions they looked bored with the choreographies and didn’t connect with the audience.

The performer who really carried the show was Bozenka . She was the ONLY one who looked like she was happy to be there and having a good time. Now, Bozenka also led a three hour workshop on Saturday (during which she proved to be a very nice person and a good instructor) – and if the woman who led a workshop can smile and look happy, then I’m damn sure you other dancers can at least look interested.

Also, while I appreciated the numerous tribal numbers and egyptian style pieces, I take issue with some of the choreographies. Do we need to see tributes to the Moulin Rouge, Samba, hip-hop or Polynesian Dance? I don’t think so – you’re the BELLYdance superstars, and bellydance is what I came to see. Even on the bellydance front I was disappointed. Yes, there were tribal numbers and the obligatory egyptian choreographies, but where was the veil? Petite Jamilla spinning with quadruple veil is impressive, yes, but spinning is all she did. I’d like to see a well choreographed veil piece. Also, a turkish number would have been nice. Or maybe sword. Or candle. There are a lot of variations on belly dance besides egyptian and tribal that don’t involve samba costumes or grass skirts.

While I’m glad the bagpipe players and stilt walkers didn’t make it back for this version of the show, I still don’t think I’ll go see the next version when it rolls into town.

breathe in, breathe out

Went to see Beethoven’s 9th at the symphony last night. Was seated directly in front of a noisy breather.

The symphony was wonderful; listening to this guy breathe through his nose while he had a head cold, not so wonderful.