Saturday, November 7

Dream for a Depressed Grad Student

"That's for 5 years of my youth"

"And that's for all the mice I've tortured"

"This one's for the women I didn't save..."

"...that for the problems I didn't solve..."

"...this one for the questions I didn't answer..."

"..and here's for the diseases I didn't cure"

"That's for the 3 AM depression fits"

"That's for the constant worrying about never ever being able to afford a house"

"This one's for the grants that were never funded"

"There's 10 for the weeks of helplessness, inadequacy and loss of control"

"This is for the experiments that never worked..."

"..and the time courses that never produced interesting results..."

"..and the weekends spent in correcting proofs of manuscripts that never got submitted..."

"...poster sessions where noone came up to my poster...."

"..a big, fat one for crappy-ass conferences..."

"This here's for insane post-docs.."

"..let's not forget the socially inept grad students.."

"..demanding PIs who don't know what they're demanding..."

"..lily-livered mentors who quail in front of a thesis committee...."

"..thesis committee members, hah! A band of jerks if ever I saw one"

"Finally, here's 50 for the Shattering of my Illusions, you bastards"

Graduation gown confetti scattered around her feet as she glowed softly with satisfaction....and possibly exertion.

Tuesday, February 17

Blogging helps.

So, here it is. Or, I should say, here we are. Again.

It is not enough to know a language, to be able to immerse yourself in it. It is not enough to feel every comma, taste every meaning, thrill at the touch of a sibilant. That is the plain truth. It is not enough.

What you really need is the power of flight. You need to leave the language behind you like you would shed your clothes before stepping into the shower. Because, if you must have it frankly, the language just gets in your way.

The problem is though, that you become accustomed to the language. It is easy to become expert at spelling "loquacious" or learning to distinguish between the purposes fulfilled by a semi-colon rather than a colon. It easy because it is safe. The well known warmth, like that pair of threadbare cotton panties that appreciates the roundness of your bum just so, tenderly, is welcoming. It does not require squeezing or coaxing or the commodity that is hardest to come by, the courage to squeeze and to coax.

I do not talk about the ordinary, everyday courage that you need to put on lipstick and smile at a stranger without wondering whether there's lipstick on your teeth. I talk, rather, about that particular brand of courage that you borrow from insanity.

To think, first, and then to believe that those thoughts must be not proffered but thrust in to the mind of another, it takes a special sort of something. Let us pretend it is bravery. Let us even pretend that at least in some cases it is welcome. Dickens, comes to mind. Austen is another. And yet those names themselves should frighten any but the most foolhardy, surely. To follow in the deep trenches left by those lithe footsteps. Presumption itself must tremble at the thought.

Well satisfied, chastened, even, you beat a determined retreat. The fingers might itch in passing, keys might receive lingering looks and wistful sighs but the chin remains ever defiantly raised and the heart skips hardly a beat. Some thing lies in abeyance.

But you must write e-mails, after all. People need to keep in touch. Donne, that wise man, said once I believe that no man was an island. Even less of an island is a woman. Some might say she is more an oasis where Arabs and camels talk to the palm trees, as they chew on dates. The trick is to strike the right note in the e-mail. To never cheat, never flirt, never even try to look up that tempting skirt but to keep the note informal, informative and always without a flourish. That is the way to keep that some thing abeyed.

Maybe just the tiniest quip. A quip can do no harm. It is lighthearted, aiming to do nothing but create a smile in passing. A venture at a pun, maybe. You know old So-and-So enjoys his puns. There is no malice in a pun, unless it is intended. Everyone knows that. And all too quickly, the email is done. There is only so much that can happen in one life and the telling of it tends to create reduction. Embroidering is out of the question. That argument has been argued to a conclusion. There is not even anyone else to email.

And yet, those fingers - they will itch. Those looks, they will linger and those sighs most of all will insist on wisting fully. The monitor wists back. The keys glisten. The rising flood of thoughts must leave now. Must. leave. now.!

So, here it is. Or, should I say, here we are? Again.

Sunday, December 28

I'm 25

I feel blue.....don't you hate birthdays?

Sunday, December 21

Good Blog! Whither Goes Ze Time?

It's been so long since I've posted here that I couldn't remember my password! I still don't remember my password but by some Blogmas (all will be explained in the course of the next three paras) miracle or some such it all worked out and I'm here...and posting...sigh..just like the good ol' days. When I used to have a job that involved minimal effort and interaction with a few cute li'l yeasties. And folks, I turned this job in to become a grad student...and (wait for it, it gets worse) sustained traumatic interaction with mice!! I will spare you stories of my trials with the mice. It'll only serve to keep you up nights and I will not have that on my conscience, sirs (and/or madams, noone shall call me a sexist). Anyway. Long story short, I've gots me a case of the Busy-ies. But, some of you with keener insight might note, I haven't gotten rid of this blog o'mine yet. Why, you might ask. The answer, madams (an/or sirs, of course), is *not* sheer laziness. Nuh uh. It is rather, that I have a primal instinct to blog.

I've spent some time wondering why it is I feel this need. And (me being I), I have asked a lot of fellow bloggers this question. Varied responses I received. The most popular ones being you're a loser or you (meaning not me in particular but Those who Blog in general - or so I've convinced myself) don't have a social life. But this isn't true..can't be true. The blogger community stands second to none in having its fair share of losers and geeks and nerds and other people of that ilk that has no social life. But it also abounds with people who *do*, in fact, have a social life. Some of *these* people, it is true, blog because they like a fondly imagined captive audience for their rants and ravings (and no! that is *not* why I blog, thankyouverymuch). But I would like to believe that a lot of us blog because we like to write. More, we need to write.

This blog, after all, is my Great Unfinished Novel. The one I've always known I will write. So, if you think about it, this blog 1) saves many trees a senseless and untimely death 2) saves many people senseless and untimely expenditure on the thoughts and ramblings of a soontobe25year old (yes, I've said it, I'm getting old) graduate student 3)saves me the needless hassle of marshaling my thoughts into any kind of order or rationality.

The Blog, in fact, ladies and gents, is the Savior of the World (hence the Blogmas crack, remember? two paras up?). Sent down by a wise and generous God to protect us in our Hour of Need. In short, people, it is a Godsend.
-Also, stepping off that soapbox for a brief instant: we all know it's uncool in the Other World to talk about Profound Stuff and have Thoughts on Deep and Stirring Subjects like "Why are we here?", "What is the purpose of all of this?" and "Why, oh why, did we stop believing in God, the only reasonably happy answer to any of these questions that human beings have ever been able to come up with?". But down here, it's acceptable. Not just acceptable but almost de rigueur (plus I can use words whose meanings I don't understand. Win-win.)! And some people might say the main reason we blog is because The Blog lets us be who we are in our heads rather than who we are in everyone else's heads. Poppycock, *I* think. And pshaw! Alrighty, back on the soapbox.-
Hail, bloggers, to the one god, The Blog. (His only demand is that we are good and honest and kind and generous and that we give him offerings of gold and kaju katlis every second hour of the day. Very reasonable, considering the precedents.)

In conclusion, I would like to introduce a new worshiper at the altar of The Blog: My sister, the archeologist, at here. Tada!!! (You'll remember I was mentioning getting her to write stuff up, 'Fessor? Well, she did it all by her lonesome cuz I kept forgetting to get her to write stuff up :D). Enjoi!

Monday, November 10

Serial Number: 1 - Lines that Ought to Live In..

--> She nestled her nose lustfully in his fragrant armpit hair

--> He leaned over her vulnerable, fragile sleeping face and licked the drool from the corner of her slack mouth, tasting its musky odor gratefully as his quivering member did the Dance of the One-Eyed Snake

As ever, contributions welcome :D

Sunday, November 2

I'm thinking

it's time I started writing again.

It isn't as if the stories have stopped. Just the story-telling.

I should be ashamed of myself.

And I am (don't think I'm not - also I *didn't* temporarily pause blogging because I was busy acquiring a real life and I don't care what anyone says about it! So, hah!).

The Mouse

She could bite with her sharp little yellow teeth. She could kick, albeit feebly, with her hindfeet. She could use formidable silvery whiskers to suss her surroundings. But among the long list of things she couldn't do featured fighting the frightening progress of science.

Trying to cure cancer's a rather greedy goal. Even for humans.

Wednesday, July 2


In the end, it's the self-loathing that does you in. She knew this. Or at least she pretended she knew this. That was one way of coping with it, and that was her way so least said about it the better. If you reconstruct reality pleasantly enough, it seems winkingly real and that's enough to satisfy all but the most exacting.

Ah, that man in the leather jacket checked me out in the bus, I must be pretty, she would think. Or she goes out of her way to find me and talk to me, I must be a nice person otherwise why would she like me? I got invited to their party and theirs and theirs and theirs, clearly I'm popular. Sometimes, the polish wore thin. And for a moment, the glimpse of self-loathing was confusing. Was the self-loathing the real part of reality or was the nonself-liking of her the real-er?. If her judgment couldn't be trusted then surely everyone else's could be? But a-ha, the hole in the donut of logic: if I can't trust my own judgment how can I esteem my-self.

She sometimes wondered if she was insane. But then if you wonder about your state of sanity, you have to BE sane. Or so she thought she remembered someone else saying. And other people were so sure of their opinions so they must be right. Why couldn't she be like them. Fitting in was easy, it was *knowing* that you fit in. That was the tricky bit. But that was just her opinion and she had just proved that her opinion wasn't worth much. No wonder she loathed herself. At least I'm showing good judgment in that, she would think.

And so, as Billy Pilgrim would have said, it goes.

Thursday, May 15

At my grand-dad's knee

I hate to break it to you, but, yes, it's true. There was a piggy by the railway who was picking up stones (foolish little piggy). Unfortunately for him a train came along and broke all of his bones (as was only to be expected, really). With his dying breath, the little piggy gasps that it wasn't fair (maybe alluding to the brevity of his lifespan) and then the engine driver who had gotten out of the train by now and was staring down at the dying piggy with a sneer, sniffed and expressed his total lack of feeling on the matter. Moral of the story clearly is to fear and respect engine drivers.

Talking about piggies, one has to mention that Orson Scott Card is an excellent story maker even if a rather poor story teller. And so, I do him the justice of recognising that just like my grand-daddy (who seldom made up stories but was an excellent raconteur) he would have never suggested that the piggies with the twig and hay houses fled to their more fortunate brother of the brick house. No, certainly not. They were eaten by the wolf. Wolves are not simpletons. Any wolf worth his salt would eat up any piggy who was foolish enough to build houses out of hay and any wolf who had the persistence to blow stick houses down is a wolf worth his salt. Moral of this story, give the Ender trilogy a shot. You might enjoy it. I did.

Talking about wolves, there's the other classic wolf story. The one where the pretty little girl with the red hood goes jauntering through the forest and sells her grand-mum down the river to the big, bad, definitely male wolf. The wolf then proceeds to kill the grand-mum and feed the little girl the remains (that's the way *I* heard it, at least). The woodman comes along and saves the girl but I never heard tell of the grand-mum's rescue until much later (my grand-dad was a formidable man and I think he was trying to make a point there (he was also endowed with much foresight and it must have seemed like a good idea to him at the time to tell his grand daughter about the evils of the world in general and male wolves in particular)). The moral of that story was quite clear, I always thought. Get yourself into any kind of trouble and it's your family that'll pay. And additionally, pretty girls and wolves are fatally intertwined.

Talking of pretty girls, you must have heard of the wandering spirit who snuck into her lady's chamber and finding an old man in there, picked him up by his left leg and threw him down the stairs. While this might very well be a reference to Cromwellian supporters or King Henry or priestholes, the moral could be only one thing. For pity's sake don't let strange creatures liable to grab people and hurl them down staircases wander around your house. Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber. Ugh. Creepy.

Wednesday, May 14

Alternate Universe or What I Thought of While Brushing My Teeth this Morning

She looked up at the ominously dark sky, hurrying her footsteps along the dusty path. Gloomy skies, wet winds and the terrible smell of impending rain. Any moment now the burgeoning clouds would sag lower, their yellow streaked bellies ripping open under the weight of all that water. And then the water would leak out, tearing through the air, coating everything with its dripping wetness. Making everything moist and slimy. Stirring the lovely dust into a murderous paste.

Around her were other townspeople unlucky enough to have strayed out under the threatening clouds. They shied away from the muck of water, grimacing as the first drops splashed on their bodies, slickly glistening moisture oozing on skin. Noone tried to wipe the water off, though. It would smear before evaporating, escaping into the air, droplets begetting droplets. Shudder.

She got home in time to avoid the torrent but still sufficiently covered in the watery slime to require a shower. She stepped into the glass cubicle, turned the knob and heard the satisfying gurgle in the pipes. A second later, she stood under a torrent of warm dettol, letting the cleansing stream remove the slime and microbes of water from her skin. She imagined the droplets flowing down the drain into the water proof gutter from which they would never escape. More stolen rain kept from the treacherous skies. Towards a day when mankind could remain clear of water forever.

Tuesday, May 13

Three Months, It's Been. Let's Hear a Rousing Welcome Back Cheer.

A woman went to the super market. She needed a can of soup. Not just any soup but a particular kind. She didn't think she'd be able to find it in just any old super market. She looked first in Aisle 2: Soup, Noodles and Assorted Instant Foods. Not there. She then looked in Aisle 22: Asian Cuisine. Not there either. Last shot, Aisle 14: Canned Food. Not there either. She did a cursory search through the rest of the super market. She couldn't find it. She walked back home, not at all surprised that she'd been right. It happened to her all the time.

Friday, February 29

Out for Lunch. Be back Shortly.

Thursday, February 7


Why are you all angry and upset now?


Just that adults suck!

And noone understands anything!!!!!

Oh, to be thirteen again. No, no, wait. Oh, to be 24 and talk to 13 year olds who are in the middle of an Emotional Crisis.