Thursday, October 27, 2005

Any questions?

The Doktah and I had several theories about the best way to schedule a thesis proposal and defense. Traditionally, people schedule them for early in the day, so as to get them over with. In addition, hopeful grad students usually try to get on the committee’s good side by plying them with coffee and doughnuts.

But The Doktah and I agreed that this is where typical students go wrong. The best time of day to have a thesis defense is not first thing in the morning, when the committee is fresh and awake. And it is definitely a mistake to give them coffee. The last thing you want is an alert, caffeinated thesis committee, full of probing questions. No, the best way to hold a thesis defense is in a warm room at 2:30 in the afternoon. Bribing the committee with food and drink is advisable, but give them wine and turkey. And warm milk if they’ll drink it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Careful, that last step is a doozie

For Christmas one year, I gave The Doktah soft, fuzzy socks. I’m talking soft, here. These socks called out to be petted. The Doktah was thrilled to get them, because who wouldn’t want soft, soft, fuzzy socks? And even better, at the time, The Doktah was living in an old house with a front hall that featured a highly polished hardwood floor.

So after work on the day I gave her the socks, she rushed home and ran up to her bedroom to put them on. She couldn’t wait to go sliding in the front hall. With the new, soft and fuzzy socks on her feet, she ran down the stairs to the hall.

Unfortunately for The Doktah, the stairs also featured a highly polished hardwood floor.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Whudduz this do?

There was a pipe sticking out of the wall over my desk in the lab. It had a valve, but it was capped, and we had no idea where it led. One day during the lab remodeling, some construction guys came over to examine the pipe.

"Where does this come from?" they asked. "Is it connected to anything?"

"No idea," The Doktah told them. "We've always just ignored it."

"Hmmm," they said. Then, in the research-oriented spirit of the lab, they decided to test whether the pipe was hooked up to any plumbing. They did this by prying off the cap and turning on the valve. That's when gallons of brown, cruddy water spurted out all over my desk. Turns out, it was connected to the plumbing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not what I was looking for

I worked with photoresist for my thesis project, and one time I did an internet search for the chemical that removes photoresist, which is called the stripper. Except I didn't search for "photoresist strippers," I searched for "strippers."

That wasn't what I meant.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

These are bones.

A few years ago, The Doktah was invited to give a talk at a mini-seminar on osteoblasts (bone cells) at the American Society of Cell Biology meeting. This surprised us all, as The Doktah did not work with osteoblasts. We had a lot of fun planning a talk where she entered the seminar room with a demonstration skeleton and began with "These are bones." Naturally, she would have continued with, "The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone is connected to the knee bone. The knee bone is, of course, connected to the shin bone which is in turn connected to the ankle bone." Nevertheless, the ASCB annual meeting is huge, and it was a big honor to be invited to speak. Especially for a grad student, because grad students typically only present posters. Talks are usually given by post-docs or above.

At the time, I was the only one of us going who had a laptop computer, so the night before we left we loaded her talk onto it. The meeting was a two-hour drive away, and her talk was on Saturday afternoon, so we left Satuday morning and went straight to the mini-seminar room so she could get ready.

Now, I don't know who out there has tried to use one of those overhead projectors for showing Powerpoint presentations, but anyone who has will know that they never work. Especially five years ago when they were just starting to be the norm. There was a secret order in which you had to connect things and turn them on, and people always seemed to get it wrong. Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this. Yes, when it was The Doktah's turn to speak, I plugged my laptop into the projector and... nothing. Her talk didn't show up.

While we were fumbling around with the projector, the coordinator of the seminar asked The Doktah if she could just do her talk without slides. Without slides? Was he insane? No, she could not do it without slides.

Fortunately, before she was forced to answer the talk coordinator, we managed to get her talk to appear on the projector, and all was well. But seriously. Without slides?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the right explanation

The Doktah came into the lab one morning and said, complaining, "Why does it smell bad everywhere I go?" Then she paused, while I smirked at her.

"Wait, that didn't come out the way I meant it," she said.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ah, marriage

Over the past two years, I have come to realize that The Husband enjoys reading the paper in the morning. Unfortunately for me, he only enjoys reading the section of the paper that is in my hands at the time.

Wonder killer

Warning: The following contains a spoiler for The Sixth Sense. But since that movie came out about 6 years ago, I feel safe.

I advise against going to see any kind of suspense movie, mystery, or thriller with The Doktah. I went to see The Sixth Sense with her, and about twenty minutes in, she gasped and said, “Oh! Bruce Willis is dead!”

Twenty minutes in!

Speaking of the movies

We got to the theater in time to see the hateful ads that come before the previews. The first ad was for the movie theater itself. The commercial depicted a boy about 13 years old on a date with a girl. His mom dropped them off at the theater and he used gift certificates to buy two tickets, two large popcorns, and two large Cokes. As he made each purchase, the girl looked at him with growing admiration in her eyes. He impressed her so much, in fact, that when the lights went down in the theater she leaned as if to start kissing him.

The Doktah and I watched this with our mouths hanging open in shock. When it was over, I leaned over and asked The Doktah in a whisper, “Did that commercial just suggest to thirteen-year-old boys that if they take a girl to the movies they’ll get lucky?”

All she could do was nod.