Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Was just speaking to my supervisor (who is deathly ill, has an ear infection, and is climbing on a plane tomorrow to go give a talk a huge conference, then flying to Argentina - while concurrently attempting to direct the renovation of her bathroom and supervise a PhD student who's finishing next week). She's got her talk nearly written and gave me some advice about talking in front of people.

She says she always makes sure she has the first and last sentences written, and delivers them exactly. She ad-libs the middle, but this way the beginning (when you're nervous) is always okay, and the end (when you're running late) is concise. Sounds like good advice to me.

She also said that when you're speaking in front of scary people, you have to remember what really matters (aka the "Apple Pie Trick"). She's been told she makes the best apple pie in the world, which is what she remembers whenever she's up there at the podium: people might heckle, but they probably can't make apple pie nearly as well - so who cares what they think? :P
Sounds dumb but have a feeling it might work for me! Will road-test this next time. Anything that will help me convince myself it's not important seems to automatically make me do better at anything nerve-wracking, like public speaking or interviews.

in other news: Madge has sent me some brain pictures with boggly eyes! Thanks Madge! Creepy, eh? The section has been taken right through the eyeball! SO COOL.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Anne has a Brain

How freaking cool is this??! Almost makes all the time stuck down there scanning OTHER peoples' brains worthwhile.

Happy Remembrance Day. I was probably silent at 11.00, but sadly it's because I was stuck in the scanner running yet another subject. 19 down, one to go... and that one is proving impossible to find.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Things I learned at the pub:

The Welsh word for microwave is popty-ping, from popty, meaning oven or bakery, and the microwave sound PING.

That is by far the coolest Welsh word ever, and I will be keeping that one for future use.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Money worries

I got paid!!!!!!

Sorry, but I am excited. It has been a LONG year of not being entirely sure where the rent is coming from. The problem is that the university's casual payment system requires that you submit your timesheet by the 15th of the month, meaning you only ever get half that month's pay by the end of it. As rent is due on the first of the month regardless, this is a pain. In August I actually had to request an "emergency cheque" be issued. However, this month I got my October pay and the second half of September as well, and am very excited to have money left over. Having the Kiwi around is helping too - very nice to have a housemate who consistently pays rent (and if he notices I'm worried about money towards the end of the month, he always pays early, which is a huge blessing).

In other good news, I just got the unofficial word that I did "very well" on my thesis. Official marks are not released till March (!) but I am very very happy to hear I did well. 'Twas a lot of work. So here's official thanks to Steph, Del, Claire and the Kiwi for their help with editing/data analysis! Think it made a huge difference to the end result.

Back into the fMRI scanner this afternoon to run one more subject, but the bigwigs for this project were up from London last week and so the worst of the stress (on my part) is now over. Spent the day with a film crew following me around! That was a new one and will probably never happen again. Jordan I ain't. Was very weird having boom mikes hovering above me and giant bright lights shining in my face as I ran subjects. However, the film crew was lovely and easy to get on with, and I learned some interesting things about their jobs (plus they let me ramble on about what I will be doing for my PhD!) So in the end, despite the worry, it was quite a fun day and all went relatively well. (And by relatively well, I mean the program for the scanner didn't crash until AFTER the bigwigs had left - although the film crew was still looking over our shoulders!)