kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. food )
  2. Also food. )
  3. Still food! )
  4. I am still chewing over last week's Elementary, and redemption arcs and chosen family and boundaries and necessities and narrative imperative in tension with multiple kinds of emotional satisfaction, and the things I find myself wanting -- superficially -- from the story, given points-of-view, and the odd and bittersweet relief at instead getting what I need. The murder plots make no sense, but then they mostly didn't ever; I am still very much here for the characters.
  5. My new CEA card arrived in the post yesterday, which means I will stop feeling faintly guilty about "wasting money" every time I go to the cinema. This is a Good Thing, given how much I'm looking forward to Hidden Figures.
  6. I'm having a really tough time writing an abstract this week, for a variety of reasons, but in the face of that I got a draft in more than 18 hours before the deadline that I was actually reasonably happy with, via the iterative-improvement approach to writing. It needs substantially rewriting, but I've demonstrated that my techniques work, and I've got reasonable confidence that the substatial rewriting wasn't in fact me wildly misinterpreting what was going on.
  7. I said no to someone, and it was fine. (And indeed several other someones, which was less fine but which left me feeling better than I would've if I'd stayed silent.) I told someone I'd screwed something up, face-to-face and more-or-less straight away rather than stewing for six hours over sending an e-mail, and it was fine. Both were really difficult, and I did them.
  8. I appear, via UCH, to have found a sustainable set of strength-building exercises to do that are resulting in measurable improvements. I'm dealing with a lot of complicated Feelings about this pretty well.
  9. Some stripy tulips were much reduced in the supermarket last week; they've been sat in a glass jar on the dining table slowly drying out and turning interesting shapes ever since, and they make me feel soothed and safe and at home.
  10. I am forever gently amused by the thing where, when A is around, we sleep under a single lightweight duvet and are frequently too warm. When he's away, I end up nesting in a pile of that duvet, my three-season much-larger covered-in-dinosaurs duvet, a weighted blanket, and a big soft non-allergenic stripy blue blanket -- and I end up comfortably warm, and with a lot of weight on me, and it's very nice to have occasionally.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Thing that are not terrible and also do not begin with P:

1. My baby brother phoned me this evening to vent about SPSS and request tech support as an excuse for catching up with me and it was lovely.

2. I heard someone asking a member of cleaning staff how to get to Leicester Square. There was perplexity and some problem with accents. I provided assistance in the form of detailed instructions, then checked the Earl's Court Thought for the Day on my way out, and it was about unexpected kindness, and I briefly felt less like shit.

3. I'm really enjoying seeing all the Canadians I know on tumblr being dazed and tentatively hopeful about politics. There are multiple aboriginal/Native ministers. The cabinet is 50% women, because it's 2015. The Minister for Science is a scientist who's served on the IPCC. 50% female cabinet appointments lead to 5000% increase in guys who suddenly care about merit in cabinet.

4. My local bike shop has got in a replacement pump head and a new set of tyres for me, and I have in all the necessary parts to peer suspiciously over [personal profile] me_and's shoulder while he applies a theoretically-straightforward fix to my power brick, whereupon taken altogether my big chair will work properly again and it will be a great relief.

5. Hot chocolate. Utterly ridiculous hot chocolate with mixed spice and condensed milk and plum brandy.

6. After having an enormous grump late last week and early this about my literature review (and massive thanks to each & every one of you who provided pep talks) I'm now feeling rather more confident about my framing and approach and am kind of enjoying working on it? Obvious sources of stress are obvious, but. Enjoying working on it. That's definitely a thing.

7. your blue-eyed boys. my e-reader.

8. I have acquired all the necessary ingredients for planned baking (bar buttermilk, which I am happy to work my way around not having). Ergo tomorrow all I have to do is Cook All The Things. (Planned: macaroni cheese, Apfelstrudel, two varieties of apple cake, as much stewed apple as I have jars for, a vat of chickpea thing, a vat of chilli, and the start of lemon meringue pie.) (Prep done tonight: loaf of bread started; fennel and garlic laid out for roasting.)

9. I picked up another bag of apples from my parents' this afternoon, and additionally liberated a jar of quince jelly made by my mother's own fair hand, an avocado, and the aforementioned fennel.

10. I'm not enjoying the shit my brain is throwing at me but I am at least recognising it as distortions, and employing coping mechanisms around it.


Mar. 16th, 2015 05:15 pm
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
Gave presentation to supervisor (which, because I am an incompetent, was in fact my first run-through verbally as opposed to just sitting and staring at it). She liked it and thinks I am going to be fine. I get on Really Well with people whose attitude to praise is that a dismissive "you'll be fine" means "I am impressed and pleased", heh. I'm bang on the permitted time, and I was talking a little fast but we've rejigged flow so that I'll need to repeat myself less, and aaaaaaaaaaahhh she liked it. She thinks it flows! She thinks I am clear and talk at my audience sufficiently! She has suggested a joke I can tell! (It is a relevant joke.)

(what I am actually doing in person is going "ssssssss" very quietly; it is a small victory hiss)


Feb. 17th, 2015 09:12 am
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. So I was saying that I hoped my supervisor was suitably pleased with my pile of data from this run? SHE WAS. She was, by her standards, extremely effusive; I am basking gently in the glow of having been told that I made the right judgement calls about the slightly difficult mass spec session, that I got a significant amount of good data, that the reproducibility of results was great, that I've done really well with my standard deviations given how low the concentrations I'm working with are. She was just really really nice about my dataset just being... really good work. Basking.

2. I crashed out at 9pm and woke up spontaneously at 6; I had a nice relaxed morning pottering about (packing bag for tonight, eating breakfast, making hot chocolate), got into work at 8am, had my supervisor tease me gently about it (she normally gets in around 7 but today I beat her...), faffed with some more data (including fixing the problem in my 'orrible plotting script that I identified last night after I'd put computers away to sLEEP), tidied my desk, replied to some e-mails, ... yeah, pretty pleased with myself. And I slept super well, so.

3. Help help I am seriously considering setting up a side-tumblr called "kaberants" for the sake of engaging with irritatingly wrong text posts without having them clutter up my set of nice pretty pictures??? (Today's discovery-via-tumblr of the morning: Emily Blincoe's photography.)

4. It is a source of great pleasure to me that it's now light at 7am; soon I will start getting the District line into work again (because it runs aboveground for most of the trip, whereas the Piccadilly is underground for this section). Also, I tamed my hair.

5. Indelicates gig tonight! And I have reason to believe they'll be playing lots of stuff from the upcoming album, which appears to be about SPACE SCIENCE and SPACE ROBOTS and CHOICES and consequently I cry everywhere at it every time :D :D :D :D

(and 6: facesfriend points out to me that if I think he is being ludicrously indulgent of me because he adjusts the toaster to provide me with toast slightly burnter than he prefers it, this is possibly an indication that my perception of myself as Really Difficult To Deal With and Always Making People Go Out Of Their Way is skewed.)

a note--

Jan. 11th, 2015 12:29 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
-- to say that I am doing very well! The absence here has been because I have slightly-to-my-surprise been busy.

I am currently actively reading Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon for book club; I have poetry by Audre Lorde, Stephen Dunn, Carol Ann Duffy and Rilke out on loan; I have just finished reading a book by Nnedi Okorafor (Zhara, the Windseeker) and am now intending to read everything else she has ever written. I continue listening to Vienna Teng on loop; I have just watched Elementary S0309 twice and am having lots of feelings about it!

Yesterday I made three huge vats of curry, some rice, and some chapati. I fed lots of people. It will keep feeding lots more of us.

I have code that increasingly does what I want. My slightly scary meeting with my supervisor on Friday was in fact incredibly exciting: I plotted up all of the data I've spent the past 15 months acquiring, and some really intriguing things popped out. The paper we were conceiving as "the ocean island basalts" paper - relating to intraplate volcanism only - looks like I might actually have things to say about all volcanism on the planet. And ergo mantle processes in a much broader sense than expected. Which -- yessss. All of a sudden I feel like my project is taking shape and making sense.

Also received a very pleasing compliment-shaped-thing on the topic of my poetry, aaah.

I have just flung myself through the shower and am heading out to Kew for a little while now with my useless ex and my housemate; this evening we are going to watch a free livestreamed CN Lester gig at 8pm GMT (I seriously seriously recommend CN if you haven't come across them - singer-songwriter, pianist, dealing awesomely with interpersonal interactions and mental illness; plus they're genderqueer so, you know).
kaberett: Zuko kneeling, offering up his wrists (zuko-defeat)
1. I ate raspberries I picked in my mother's garden yesterday.

2. I have worked through another level and a bit of Psychonauts on my ludicrous completionist replay. I appear to have little-to-no interest in the storyline this time around; apparently my patience for the misogyny and sizeism and even cissexism is 0 while I'm still interested in the mechanic. Also, I am playing through MUCH faster than last time.

3. Two meals, lots of meds. (Dinnerfood was leftovers from last week; it meant it was easy and I didn't have to wash up, just put things in the dishwasher.)

4. I continue my Ancillary Justice reread, and am probably going to put off reading the first chapter of Ancillary Sword until I have finished. (And I wept all over it on the tube, as ever - the scene at the beginning on Nilt with the kid whose family member was injured! The way the kid interacts with their mum! I have FEELS EVERYWHERE, every time.)

5. To my complete astonishment, I appear to have managed to tentatively set up a collaboration with someone I didn't previously know who is acquainted with my supervisor, on the merits of explaining my own research and asking tolerably intelligent questions about hers. I am flummoxed, but also greatly relieved (I feel like having set up a collaboration before I've even actually displayed my poster is fairly good going). (I really don't know how to feel about this conference - neither of my supervisors is present, but my head-of-group's wife & my mentor is one of the coorganisers, and two of the other organisers lectured and supervised me during undergrad, and there's an awful lot of people I know from Cambridge hanging around. Also an awful lot I don't, but... still weird.)

6. Wheelchair. I'd otherwise have been in even more pain by the end of the day than as it happens I was.

7. Continued progress on the introductions meme. I will post announcing properly when I'm actually up-to-date, but I've written a small pile more introductions!

8. D has arranged for me to own metallic teal eyeliner. I'm pretty chuffed about this. I mean, I'll have to learn to use it, but if I also acquire some gold + silver I will actually be able to do drag make-up eyes at least a bit?

9. Going via Green Park station (at least when I'm not transferring between Picadilly and Victoria lines) always makes me smile: the station art is lovely, as I believe I mentioned the last time I went to a conference in the area. (It's mostly built out of a limestone full of shells, in the way that means the outside face of the block has depressions for the hollows of the shells; one line of blocks is, instead of limestone, concrete with similar patterns made at like 100x scale.)

10. Because this conference is in Burlington House and hideously inaccessible (... more later maybe; not a good thing to dwell on now), I ended up waiting around a bit for help leaving. This meant that I got to peek behind the curtains at the bottom of the stairs that cover the first geological map in the world.


Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:53 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
That mantle sulphides doc I wrote up based on having gone "no, you know what, this stuff is important and we should think about it"? My supervisor agrees to the extent that she's intending to use it as the basis for a grant application and setting up some more potentially exciting collaborations for me. And while the writing deffo stands to be improved, I actually got "good" scrawled on the thing at a couple of points.

This really massively feels like a major milestone in terms of The Self As Researcher: it is the first time in my PhD that I have properly gone "nobody has done this before and I think we need to look at it", and -- I was right. I was right and I'm taking ownership of my project and setting direction. I was right and my supervisor is going to write a grant proposal based on my document, and let me see how the thing is done.
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
Discovering that I am in fact the kind of person who will track down a scientific pissing match conducted in the 1860s, half in French, to cite in my transfer report. (I have every intention of citing both papers in the thesis, too.)

Among the indications that it is way past my bedtime, however, is the bit where I was very briefly very confused by the paper in question talking about "ces grands reptiles perdus"... and only realising on triple-checking that I'd finished the thing I first thought of and was well into the thing immediately following it.

My hope that I'd've noticed by now if dinosaur bones contained thallium in significant quantities is, thus far, upheld.
kaberett: A stick figure wearing safety goggles taps their fingers together, standing over a pressure cooker on a stove. (xkcd-science)
... having asked me how long I'd been on the machine for. (Answer: since Saturday afternoon.) I told him I was going to spend Wednesday asleep. He grinned and told me this was the correct decision -- but I wasn't to fall asleep right then. (I mentioned in passing to my supervisor that I was contemplating sleeping here tonight. "... you have the code to [the head of group]'s office, right?" she asked -- because the PIs got so sick of PhD students refusing to go home during machine time that they shelled out for a sofa specifically for us to sleep on that lives in HoG's room.)

On Saturday morning my body decided I hadn't noticed sufficiently that I'm quite stressed at the moment, and concluded that a good way to get my attention was FACIAL HERPES. Meanwhile I've been walking too much: I can tell because the knee with the old cartilage injury has started screaming every time I walk down stairs. I am fairly certain that the last time I washed was Friday. I think I am still wearing yesterday's clothes; I can't remember if I changed them this morning or not.

But this sprint on the machine is nearly over - I have til midnight tomorrow - and I am getting data (and still eating regular meals!). And I am spending Wednesday alternating between sleep and cooking all the things, and in the two hours I spent home yesterday evening while the machine was running without me I cooked dinner and did the washing up and put away laundry and sorted out my pills for the next week and hoovered.

As mentioned, I chatted to my supervisor briefly this afternoon and asked her - she's been poking the very expensive vacuum leak when she gets in at 7am; I'm tending to stay til chucking-out at midnight - whether I'd got it tuned up okay. (There are eleven electromagnets, two quads, and three axes of torch position to adjust every single time you start a run; in addition to the sweep gas flow rate that is currently needing tweaking every hour or so, which is suboptimal, and the nebuliser pressure, and and and. This is why the first day on the machine is, for me, tuning up. Always.) She grinned and told me it was perfect - that she'd gone through two iterations of attempting to improve the tuning right down to the fine-grained settings, and hadn't changed a thing.

And you know what? That was pretty nice.

(Last night I got locked into the building through misjudging how fine I could cut it when leaving for the second time. I had to phone security - "ImpSec" in my phone, obviously - to be let out; thankfully I got someone nice. And then I got a night bus, because at 00:15 on a Monday morning in London there are still buses, which took me halfway home; and I walked the other half reading Octavia Butler and hugging the gingko trees along the A4, a little giddy on sleep deprivation. On Sunday morning I got to bed at 3am, via the Oxford Tube to Notting Hill Gate and hoping like hell there'd be a suitable night bus - and, again, at 2.15am, I only had to wait 5 minutes for one, after I'd got myself turned around twice trying to drowsily follow a map having slept on the Tube. My body is quite right to be kind of unimpressed with me, to be honest, but I haven't yet slammed into the wall. There is no way I can keep pushing myself this hard, but at the moment -- oh, right now, just right now, it's kind of glorious.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Apparently this week I am pondering the construction of the idea of "muse" instead of working on my transfer report.

In particular I am wondering about how other people have conceptualised their relationships with real flesh-and-blood human beings they consider muses; presence/absence, the form of inspiration, and so on, and so forth. I think there is an essay trying to happen, but in order to tease out the details I rather suspect I need to expose myself to a wider range of viewpoints.

Suggestions and discussion in comments very much appreciated.

eta "museum" is "a seat or shrine of the Muses"!!!!
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
In... nine hours' time I am giving a talk to a bunch of 11yos about why geology is awesome. Consequently I have just finished putting together a presentation, and I am going to find it easier to type my notes on what to say for each slide into this box than I would do to put it anywhere else. I suspect it is pitched entirely wrong but um I am out of cope for doing anything else.

In related news, I Will Never Leave This Basement Again, But Maybe I Am Finally Getting Data?

Slide notes )
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
1. My peas are germinating! All of them! I am ridiculously excited about this.

2. I have a lab coat of my very own. It only took five months!

3. My enormous stash of Misc Dried Stuff arrived in the post, such that I have an Adequate supply of dried apricots, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, misc raisins, etc. (Couscous salad! Toasted cashews! Raspberry-hazelnut brownies! Trail mix to keep at work! Dundee cake!)

4. Sunshine.

5. I didn't kill myself during routine lab work! (And I got the routine lab work done, which I wasn't certain I'd manage for a little while.)

6. The household's enormous pile of daylight bulbs arrived in the post, too, so the place will soon be brighter.

7. Ridiculous raspberry moisturiser I keep on my desk at work [context: it is not uncommon for me to wash my hands upwards of ten times a day when I'm doing any even-slightly-involved lab work. Moisturiser kept at work is a necessity.]

8. Seanan McGuire & her music.

9. Mia's latest art update. [Mia's Patreon.]

10. The book!presents I asked the Internet to send to my tinycousin have been dispatched. Hopefully she will enjoy them.

(More, because that is how this lists thing works: tasty dinner planned for tonight. Cuddles with housemate yesterday. Getting to make myself pots of tea. The lecturer who threatened to take away my meteorite hasn't, yet, and therefore has probably forgotten about it. The e-reader that means I can finish one book and swap seamlessly to the next. Brilliant conversations with [personal profile] liv. All-supervisor meeting yesterday went not-terribly. On Sunday I get to attend an S Bear Bergman talk (and maybe manage More Outing). Tomorrow is a Captain Awkward meet-up, and also I get to perform at a friend's birthday party. I have more-or-less worked out the shape of the next two weeks, including probably managing to see TOL & TOG twice *during* next week, and then again at the weekend. Things. :-) )
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)

Yrs trly, pulling the "I have been in lab for four hours and it's only just 11am" face. (On the plus side, I am making progress!)

The thing on my head is my lizard-print stretchy tube, wot I originally acquired for keeping my hair out of my eyes on hikes but have discovered is extremely useful for keeping hair out of eyes in lab when I am not supposed to be touching my face (in this image I am smooshing one cheek with the hand I am resting my chin on, with no gloves - that's because it's the other lab I'm not supposed to touch my face in, but I'm going backwards and forwards frequently enough that it's not worth the hassle of taking off the lizards). Also feat.: The Sky Above My Planet, my Roger Waters The Wall tour hoody (which I keep in lab for when COLD), and one of my favourite black shirts (acquired about ten years ago after a punt trip in torrential rain).
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
(2) from the Head of Department to the entire department, approximately "please don't use electronic devices during talks/seminars, because we've had some complaints about it from speakers; make notes by hand instead, please, but also get back to me if you've any feedback and we'll discuss it in the staff meeting on [date]."

To which I have replied:

(1) sure, but be aware that I have a very tiny amount of specialisation in this area so will probably rip if to shreds; and
(2) ... you do realise this is actually an accessibility issue, right?


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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