Showing posts from March, 2016

Fear no weather

"Feel the ocean as it breathes Shivering teeth See the mountains where they meet Smothering me As the wind fends off the waves I count down the days Heavy stones Fear no weather" - "Empire" by Of Monsters and Men The song quoted above describes my Saturday, but in all honesty, I have a different one stuck in my head. Its lyrics are much simpler: "There are four ORs in Port Orford, Oregon Port Orford Oregon Port Orford Oregon There are four ORs in Port Orford Oregon..." Ocean view from Port Orford And on and on it goes. Julie sang it for a grand total of 5 seconds, but we both agreed, it has the tendency to get stuck in your head. Port Orford, Oregon is about an hour south of Coos Bay, and it's a gorgeous little spot. The small town is populated mostly by retirees, but it has a surprisingly good art scene. The port of Port Orford is also curious, since the small boats are lifted out of the water by crane and set on trailers on the


"She is a living, breathing, booming woman Sent here with a mission, a purpose, a spark... She is here to inhale pain And exhale fire." - "She is Not" by Sarah Harvey I knew this would happen, but I didn't know how long it would take. It took a month. I've been in Oregon for a solid month now, and I'm starting to feel antsy. It doesn't help that most of my work is computer-based now - reading, writing, data analysis. I spend the whole day sitting. And my condition is most certainly exacerbated by the fact that I recently started reading the memoirs of Philip Glass, one of the people whose work I admire the most. Glass is in my mind the greatest composer who ever lived. I'm reading about his life at home, then coming to the lab to read scientific papers, and I have this itch, this spark, this small fire starting inside of me. I want to get up, get out, see, and explore. I want to discover something new, change the world for the better. Mor

Centrifugal force: Part 2

Hyalinoecia artifex after being removed from their tubes on R/V Atlantis , July 2015 It's a warm, cloudy Friday in Oregon, and I'm proud to announce that another project has been eliminated from the endlessly rotating wheel of chaos. It has been released - ejected! - sent flying by its own centrifugal force. I'm talking about my onuphid manuscript , which I have now re-submitted for publication. The reviews that my co-authors and I received for that paper were incredibly constructive. It was obvious that both reviewers knew more about polychaete worms than me, so I was grateful to be able to draw on their expertise. The manuscript represents a collaborative effort, as investigators and students from two different labs all contributed different aspects of the analysis - reproduction, diet, distribution of the worms. It's amazing how much you can learn about an organism just by observing it and performing some simple tests. I'm proud of how the manuscript tur

Chocolate sauce and ice balls

B-B-Ching! My phone sounded its three-part tone to indicate a new text message. I checked the screen. It was my labmate, Caitlin. "So we're keeping the original tidepooling plan" her text read, "South Cove at 7:30 am. If the weather looks too bad, we'll head back to the docks. The kitchen is serving French toast with raspberry jam and chocolate whipped cream and bacon for breakfast, and we are welcome to join them at 7 if we want. I would like breakfast if you're ok with that. Can you pick me up at 6:45?" Dark skies, bright faces. Photo by Carly Salant. Oh, Caitlin, dearest Caitlin, would I, your valiant and enthusiastic labmate, pick you up at 6:45 am for breakfast and tide pooling? Would I brave the gray morning with you for the sake of science education? Would I withstand the punishing wind, the dangerously high surf, for the sake of the intertidal? Would I even arrive early to partake of morning nourishment? Let's just say you had me at

Centrifugal force

With a flurry of color and a mechanical click, the Endlessly Rotating Wheel of Chaos comes alive and rotates once again. I feel like a contestant on  The Price is Right, pulling down on that wheel with all my might, clapping my hands, and getting slightly dizzy as I watch it spin. The wheel is speeding up. Colors fly past my face. The gold numbers are no longer legible, and the glitter paint is just a blur. The projects rotate endlessly. Shipwrecks, dropstones, thesis. Shipwrecks, dropstones, thesis. Shipwrecks, dropstones, thesis, onuphids. Onuphids, dropstones, thesis, shipwrecks. Cape Arago! Shipwrecks, dropstones, thesis. Dizzy and bewildered, I peel my eyes from the Endlessly Rotating Wheel and find a spot on the wall to gaze. I've had enough; the wheel must stop. Blindly, I reach my hand out towards it, and - The wheel stops. A project flies off, launched through the air, the victim of its own centrifugal force. That's right, friends. Today, I was able to remove o

The endlessly rotating wheel of chaos

Oh, grad school, how we love thee. And hate thee. Often simultaneously. (See pertinent Ph.D. Comic here .) Regular readers of this blog should by now be familiar with my habit of rotating among several different projects, working on one data analysis while I wait on my collaborators to review my work on another. Occassionally, I stall out on all my projects at the same time , but there's usually enough work to go around. This week has been no exception. I've got my dropstone manuscript, which is just waiting for approval from my supervisor before I can submit it for publication. My thesis introduction has taken a rest on the desks of my committee members. Then there's my shipwreck project, awaiting a sweep of my adviser's critical eyes before I send it to my other co-authors for review. So what is a grad student supposed to do while she waits? Pull out another manuscript, of course, and add it to the endlessly rotating wheel of chaos. Hyalinoecia artifex , pho