Sunday, 22 January 2012


There is a magnet on the fridge at the new house that reads:

Having someplace to go is HOME
Having someone to love is FAMILY
Having both is a BLESSING

(I'm sure you can picture the cutesy font and floral background).

It is taking all the self-control I have not to add an extra line underneath:

Having none of the above is GUELPH

Never mind! I will just have to make sure that I do what I have to go to get out fast...

New Year, New House, New Students... New Thesis Draft?

So, new house. I moved in straight off the plane from Alberta, at about midnight on a Monday. It took me two days to meet any housemates, so that was deeply weird. Luckily there is a super chatty one called Kate who caught me leaving on the third day and gave me the lowdown.

New House Pros:
- SO CLOSE TO WORK. I am still excited about this. I used to walk past this place every day and then keep walking for 40 minutes until I got to 127. Now, if I forget something at home/school, it's no big deal! I could even COME HOME FOR LUNCH! (not that I ever do).
- Someone is designated to clean! That person does not require nagging! The bins even get taken out and the toilet paper replaced. Heaven.
- If something is broken, in theory someone will come fix it. About to test this out with a burnt-out lightbulb, as soon as my room is in a state that I'm not embarrassed to let the landlord in :/
- Big huge window. Natural light rather than a view of next-door's hallway: bliss!
- Never see housemates unless I want to, and way less kitchen and bathroom crowding than you would expect.

New House Cons:
- That one weird dude who told me he's been "watching my room to see when my light would come on" right after I moved in. (Have avoided the heck out of him since). Creepy, or just slightly socially awkward? I don't necessarily care to find out. Luckily, as above, you pretty much never see anyone if you don't want to.
- Small room, right next to the bathroom. Awesome.
- Coin laundry.
- People who beep the microwave a million times at 6am. Although lately it seems I'm able to sleep through this, so dropping down on the cons list. In general people are pretty good about not making noise in the common areas.
- For some reason, all the S1 shelves (my room's name) are the highest ones, so I can't actually reach anything without climbing on chairs.

The setup is basically a big house that's been made into a sort of boarding house. It's like if you lived in a hostel for months on end, but with fewer Australians. When I come upstairs it's just a hallway full of closed doors, unless someone is cooking (rare). Mind you, I'm generally in the lab from 9 until 8 or 9 or 10, so maybe I'm just missing the majority of activity. Everything is hilariously labelled ("Put shower mat HERE." "Do not use this soap dish." "Men: please consider sitting down for all your toilet activities" "Only two pairs of shoes per person in front hall please.") including all the shelves in the kitchen, so there is no question where your stuff goes. It's going to be a tight squeeze once I get my stuff back, but I will manage...

Anyway, at this stage it suits me fine. So nice not to have the drama (or the sullen boyfriend spending weeks on end sleeping in till noon at our place and then using our shower).

Work-wise, it's going to be a crazy semester. I'm wrestling with my thesis because I REALLY want to have a draft to my supervisor by tomorrow, and let's just say there's a way to go. I just want to be done with it for a while, though, so probably worth pushing hard now. Today won't be fun, though. I've promised myself all the caffeine and chocolate I want today in return for exerting some self-regulation in thesis-related areas.

Apart from that, I'm teaching two seminars and TAing/marking for two classes. I've acquired another student, meaning I'm supervising three projects this semester plus keeping an eye on Asma's students (as she's in Bangor learning to do fMRI, lucky toad). I also am collecting data on two other projects since I keep thinking this might be my last chance for a while.

So in theory I should also be freaking out about postdocs and What Do I Do After? - but I find I just don't have time. I will have to assume something will sort itself out. Will start applying again after thesis draft is done, I suppose...

We were on Korean TV this week! Mostly my supervisor, of course, but I starred as "Girl in Fake fMRI Scanner". I'm sure it is merely a small step to superstardom in Korea. The program, by the way, was called "Brain Garden" (as far as I can tell) and featured a flower garden in the shape of a brain!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


I have high hopes for this year. We will see how it goes.

If I had a ridiculous run of good luck, my semester could look like this:

Jan 31: Thesis totally approved by supervisor and sent to committee (who have never even met with me and have not heard from me since my thesis proposal - not that they seem to mind).

Feb 29: Committee approves draft.

March 31: Changes suggested by committee made and everything fixed up. Draft sent to external

April sometime: Defend

Since everything seems to take at least three months as long as it should, though, I ain't holding my breath.

Plus, after that comes this part:

Summer 2012: No job, no plan, no idea.

But hey! It should be interesting.

In the meantime, in honour of the New Year, here are some things I did for the first time last year:

- Lived in America, Social Security number and all
- learned how to collected EEG data (i.e. wrestle a wet, soapy net onto the head of a recalcitrant teenager and try desperately to get the impedances down)
- learned how to analyze EEG data - sort of. Require heavy supervision with this one.
- Moved to Connecticut, met some cool psychiatrists, did a lot of clothes shopping
- Went to an amazing Catalan wedding and learned to say "fantàstic!" and dance some random Catalan folk dances
- Discovered and semi-stalked Josh Ritter
- Drank a Dunkin' Donuts latte, and then about another three a week depending on Helena's level of sleep deprivation
- Got two papers in press, woo hoo! (One, we just found out, has just been for real published)
- Was on Korean TV (this I assume is true, although I have not seen the evidence) and did a photoshoot in a fake MRI scanner