the veiled sibyl

I have heard and said more inanities, since you took me in tow, than in all the rest of my life.

My Photo

like a dripping faucet

Thursday, August 31, 2006

No Such Luck, Loser!


That didn't work either.

God. Damn.



Saturday, August 26, 2006

Inane? Insane?

What a week.

Everyone knows the story, so I'm just writing this down for posterity.

On Monday, my boss called a lab meeting. I had a feeling that this was going to be "the day" - meaning, the day I would give him the resignation letter I'd prepared two weeks before. We were all dreading the approaching meeting. For the last three months or so, every single meeting we've had with the boss has ended up with him yelling, turning red, and becoming totally unreasonable.

The meeting started just fine, everything seemed okay - but that's how it always goes. He gave us an update on stuff that needed to be done, told us to make sure to get our presentations done for our big meeting with our funding agency in September, and then proceeded to talk to each of us about what we had been working on.

DxB went first, and it was completely fine. The boss said he hadn't gotten a chance to look at all the data DxB had been giving him, they noted that they wanted to talk about another project that they had thought up, everything was hunky-dory.

Next was me. He asked what I was doing, and I told him I was using X technique to verify DxB's previous findings. For some reason, I don't think he liked that idea, even though we had previously discussed it, and that's where things went downhill.

It's kind of hard to explain, but it all boiled down to DxB, Trani and I wanting to do things a certain way - a way we believed, based on our knowledge and data from our experiments, was the correct way. The boss was insisting we do things another way. Now, I won't get into the details here, but I have asked several different scientists about this, and every one says that our way was the only correct way. The boss became enraged when we tried to explain our point - mainly it was DxB doing the explaining - he stayed very calm while the boss raged on. It ended when DxB finally said, "Okay, I don't want to fight about this. Just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. Even if it is WRONG."

That's when the boss stood up and yelled "The meeting is OVER! There might not even be a lab next week!"

So, I took advantage of the highly charged emotional state of things and printed off my resignation letter and handed it over.

He talked to me and tried to convince me to stay - even going so far as to off-handedly threaten me by saying "you might not have just one income - I might fire DxB, then you'll have none." Now, that's reasonable - try to get me to stay at a job by threatening to FIRE my husband?? Makes a whole fucking lot of sense. Anyway, I refused, and told him I was out of there in two weeks.

Next day, DxB prepared a resignation letter and went in to discuss things with the boss before handing it over. Their meeting resulted in another yelling match, with the boss accusing DxB of "kneecapping the research" and "backstabbing" him. (What the fuck??) It ended up with DxB shoving his resig letter at the boss while the boss was shoving a termination letter at DxB. DxB refused to take the letter, but in it, the boss accused DxB of having no ability to design or carry out an experiment, of meddling in everyone else's experiments, of not producing any data, and of having no respect for the boss (OK, I'll definitely give him that one). Then, in yet another display of his great powers of reason, the boss told DxB that his task in his remaining four weeks was to gather all the data he had produced in the last month and prepare a manuscript for publication. So, uh... where did all this data come from if DxB had no ability to design and carry out experiments, or produce data??

After that little episode, the boss handed Trani a termination letter. He was nice to her, and said she'd been "caught in the crossfire". He said now that we were gone, there was no way she could do the experiments alone, so she'd have to be cut. I don't really think she cared much. She said he was being nice about it, but it was all a fucking mask, because there was an email that he sent to the secretary about the terminations where he said he wanted to cut all of us off sooner and get us out, but he'd keep Trani on for a while longer because she "whined about insurance." What a FUCKER.

So now he says he's going to drop the whole project. I'm interested to see how he does that since this is funded through a federal grant. You can't just spend that money on anything you want - you have to do what you've said you'd do. The secretary is under the impression that he can do whatever he wants, as it's his lab. True - but how you pay for it - that's a different story. I'd like to see what happens at this big meeting in September with our funding agency and our collaborators. How will he explain that four of the five key personnel listed in the grant are no longer working for him? (We had a post doc walk out a couple of months ago.)

Apparently he thinks he can just drop this project and have Cakes and NRA "carry the lab" from now on. What do they plan to do? Well, looks like they are going to re-hash all the old data - stuff from back when I first started here, stuff that Okashii and Polkahdot were doing years ago... Yep, Cakes and NRA are going to lead the lab... into THE PAST! (Advancement of science? Pshaw! Redoing old experiments is far easier!)

Interestingly, he told Trani that he was only going to hire people who "he liked" and who had personalities like his. Appears to just about everyone that he ditched all the people who had the balls to stand up to him, and kept only the sycophant females he could bully and cow. Just commands respect don't it?

Let me just for a moment "run the numbers" here:

3 = number of papers with DxB as first author.
3 = number of papers with your humble author as first author.
6 = number of papers with DxB listed as an author.
7 = number of papers with your humble author listed as an author.
2 = number of papers with Trani listed as an author (and she's only been here a year!)
2 = number of grants written by DxB. (Grants were funded)
4 = number of grants co-written by DxB and Dr. Z (Grants were funded)
1 = number of grants co-written by DxB in collaboration WITH THE BOSS'S WIFE (Pending)

0 = number of papers listing Cakes as first author.
0 = number of papers listing NRA as first author.
1 = number of papers listing Cakes as an author. (One of DxB's papers)
3 = number of papers listing NRA as an author. (Two of mine.)

So... all that goes down, and I go for my interview on Wednesday. It went great, and I heard from HR that they had an offer for me that they would send next week!

DxB - he's going to take some time and try to decide if he wants to finish his PhD or find something else to do. Trani's been applying like crazy (Love's Truck Stop? What??) and has another interview next week. She'll be fine, I know it.

So for now we three amigos bid farewell to the Xiphophorus Genetic Shit Center and the Molecular Biology Do What I Say Because I'm The Big Scary Boss Man And Don't You Dare Question It Non-Research Group, and say:




Sunday, August 20, 2006

like that one in bermuda... but worse

(Edited 1,000 years later when I got the whole story - Y.H.A.)
Love triangles are a bitch.

Last night we were chillin' before the TR show at Tiki with some of the NOLA group and Idle and T from Disaster. Then HairPerfect, another band-related rockabilly pal of ours, strolled in with the ever-hot Lambchop. Lambchop's workplace had just had a grand opening party and HairPerfect and his band had played there, so they (especially HairPerfect) were a little toasted by the time they made it to the Tiki. His band ditched him after the gig, so Lamb brought him to the Tiki so another friend, OiJa, who happened to be her very recent ex, and who was also playing bass in his band, could pick him up and take him home. (See how it's getting complicated here?)

HairPerfect was hitting on Lamb like crazy... which was pretty stupid because the whole time she was talking about her new BF (who was out of town) and texting him sappy sweet messages. But HairP just wasn't getting the hint. She was getting tired of it, so she called OiJa to come get HairP. Now, just the night before, Lamb and OiJa had a big old blowout in the Tiki. Like I said, those two just recently split up and OiJa is still madly in love with Lamb. OiJa took the breakup really hard and broke his sobriety, blaming Lamb for his downfall. That was what the previous night's fight was about. But because they have so many mutual friends, she is trying to stay pals with OiJa while still reinforcing the fact that they are broken up. (Difficult task... I know.)
OiJa finally shows up, and that's when things got interesting. He was a little trashed too, and he and Lamb ended up in another argument. (I think she was reiterating their status as "friends and nothing more"...) Then, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but DxB witnessed a "near-altercation" between HairPerfect and OiJa in the mensroom - not sure if OiJa was mad at HairP for hitting on Lamb, or if HairP was pissed at OiJa for continuing to pursue Lamb.

Anyway, we thought things cooled off a bit, but as the band was setting up, there was some kind of scuffle on the patio near the back door and I saw OiJa and HairP being held back by some of the guys from 3PO. Everything cooled off again, and TRstarted playing. About two songs into the set, I looked over and saw Houston and the 3PO guys looking over the back gate. I ran upstairs just in time to see OiJa run out into traffic on 8th, barely missing being creamed by a sedan. HairP was also in the street and all I saw were arms a-flailing. OiJa threw a wallop and knocked HairP to the ground. That's when the cops showed up.

OiJa managed to not get arrested (luck of the Irish!) and HairPerfect (whose hair, by the way, was perfect throughout the entire ordeal...) was escorted off.

I checked out Lambchop's Myspace this morning, and sure enough, there was a note from OiJa at 4 am that said, "When was the last time someone got knocked out for you?" Followed of course by the requisite pleading for forgiveness and begging to get back together. Lawd!

Always (dramatic),


(and i bet you thought this was going to be about someone else, didn't you?)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

nice shoe

Monday, August 14, 2006

I think it'll work

I have an interview tomorrow. This is what I plan on saying:

Wish me luck!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

More reasons to say "AMF"

"My Japanese is a little rusty, but there was clearly something said about fish drama." - Frylock

A few days ago, Cakes and NRA noticed that some of their fish were in dirty tanks and looked underfed. The leader of Fishworld told them that the person who regularly cleans the tanks was out for the week. Now, heads have rolled in the past if non-Fishworld folk clean tanks and such, so C and N went to Bipolo the Head Cheese to get permission to clean the tanks. (Why someone needs permission to clean a damn fish tank is beyond my comprehension...) BtheHC flew off the handle and accused Cakes of trying to tell the Fishworld manager how to run her show. (WTF?) He got done with that tirade, then went to Fishworld and started another rampage, this time with Fishworld manager (FWM) as his victim.

Now, let's be honest, FWM has, in the past, been a real pain in the butt. FWM is one of those folks who takes a mile if you give them an inch. We have had problems with her, but none that were Earth-shattering. Overall, she's a bit lazy, but does a very good job.

So, Bipolo is yelling and yelling at FWM for damn near an hour about the state of Fishworld. She's not backing down either - she's right in there yelling back. I don't really know exactly what happened, but there was lots of "Are you resigning?" type talk...

Somewhere near what should have been the end of this, FWM pulls a boner and asks Bipolo to sign off on giving her time off to take some classwork. (Background: FWM is employed full time by Bipolo and is attempting to do a research-thesis M.S.) Bipolo blows what little stack is left, and the yelling continues for another half hour. I think she wanted him to be her research advisor and thought she could work on a project off-hours in our lab. Makes sense. But, Bipolo told her she was lazy and there was no way she could do that. (Plus, he already made a big stink about not taking students...) He was really pissed and refused to sign off on her class time hours. He told her that she'd have to take unpaid leave if she wanted to take grad classes this semester.

Then Bipolo told her that ANY time she was not in Fishworld would be counted as unpaid leave. He told her that she needed to inform him or Soduc EVERY time she left the area, NO EXCEPTIONS.

After all this, Cakes and NRA are walking around feeling like assholes, but still believing they did the right thing by telling Bipolo. (At this point, who is to say WHAT the best thing would have been?) Everybody's really gossipy and wanting to find out exactly what happened. Word is that FWM is really, REALLY pissed at Bipolo, and Bipolo at her. Soduc, our always completely paranoid secretary, decides that FWM's access to the main office needs to be revoked because she is "a security risk". What the?? What could she do to the main office? Make some unauthorized copies? Put tacks in the chairs?? Wouldn't you think that if she was gonna do something, she'd fuck up the fish? And besides, if you are THAT worried about an employee, maybe you should think about getting rid of them...

Later that day, DxB runs into Dr. Wernstrom, chair of the department and graduate student advisor. Wernstrom asks DxB what the heck is wrong with Bipolo. Wernstrom says Bipolo called him and told him to kick FWM out of graduate school! What the holy hell? Wernstrom said he told Bipolo that there was no reason to kick her out, she was meeting all the requirements of the department, and her grades were excellent. He said the only way he could remove her from the graduate school was if her grades were not up to par. Bipolo then told him that she was NOT meeting the requirements and blah, blah, blah, department reputation, program quality, blah, blah, blah. (Funny - why should he even care? He's flat out refusing to take any students because he's not interested in "wasting time or funds" on them.) So Wernstrom calmly explained to him that yes, it would be difficult for FWM to work full time and get her thesis research done. He explained that many students try and many students fail. He explained that in these cases they (the faculty) just sit back and see what happens. Most times, these students simply just go away. Wernstrom said Bipolo was pissed at him, but there was really nothing he could do. (Is it just me, or does this sound like some kind of personal problem between Bipolo and FWM?)

Okay, next day... Bipolo has drawn up some kind of contract or agreement or something that he is forcing FWM to sign. (I have no idea what it said.) She didn't want to sign it because she didn't understand it. He got pissed, saying refusal to sign it could have severe consequences, blah, blah, blah. She reiterated that she was not refusing to sign it, she just wanted to understand it, and noted that before she DID sign it, she would have her legal counsel review it!! (Holy crap! Lawyers!!)

She did however, make sure to inform Bipolo her whereabouts during the day:
7:38 am "I'm here!"
8:10 am "I have to use the bathroom."
8:13 am "I'm back!"
10:00 am "I'm taking 10 minutes of my first break."
10:10 am "I'm back!"
etc., etc. (quite hilarious)

For what it's worth, I think this is simply a pissing contest between FWM and Bipolo. I think she wants him to fire her and he knows it, so he's doing his best to make her so miserable that she'll just quit.

It's just more shit as Trani says. Thank the gods that Bipolo is gone this week.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Separated at Birth 2.0

Couldn't resist this one:

D'Ablo and Beefsteak



Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's my forte!

I take pictures of bands:

I take pictures of people watching bands:

Apparently, I also take pictures of asses of people watching bands:

I know... I've got problems.



Monday, August 07, 2006

"Won't someone please think of the children?"

This is about a subject that seems to be coming up a lot lately: children and respsonsibility. I touched on this briefly a few days ago, but now it's time for a full-on rant.

Now, I don't have kids, so maybe I shouldn't even be saying anything. So this is just my opinion, so don't be offended by anything you read.

First of all, I think kids are a choice. Even if they are "accidents" they are choices. You decide to have them, or you decide to have sex which results in them. Your choice.

When you have kids, your life changes whether you want it to or not. You now have another human being that you are responsible for. You have to accept that responsibility. That might mean you don't get to have as much fun as you used to and you don't have the freedoms you used to, but you have to come to terms with that and act like what you are: A parent.

Sure, you can still go out and have fun sometimes. Hell, you probably need the break. But you can't be going out every night, leaving your kid(s) here, there and everywhere. You can't be staying out all night looking for drugs and sex. If you do come home, you can't be so drunk or fucked up that you pass out on the floor in front of them. You can't be so hungover the next morning that you can't wake up and feed them.

If you must insist on doing all that, then for fuck's sake, don't bitch and cry when the state or your family intervenes and removes your kids from your (lack of) care. Don't whine about not getting to see them. You should have paid more attention to them when you had them with you, and less attention to how much was in your glass and what was on the mirror.

Think about it. Do you really want your kids having images of Mommy or Daddy puking in the toilet, or downing a handful of pills, or worse?

I got angry with a friend of mine the other day and told him I thought it was "disgusting" how he takes no responsibility for his kids. In reflection, I guess it's really better that he's completely absent from their lives. God knows what kind of messed-up they'd be if they actually lived with him.

Everyone makes mistakes. Make them, that's fine. But fucking pay attention and LEARN from them. Do you want your kids to be just like you? You shouldn't. No one should. Everyone should want their kids to be better than they are - smarter, happier, richer, whatever. But at least try to set the bar a little high for them.

You're going to be a role model for them whether you like it or not. You're going to set an example for them whether you like it or not. You're not perfect, but for their sake, try your hardest to bring them up the right way.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

He said, she said

Remember that game "Telephone"? The one where you whisper something in someone's ear, then they pass it on to the next person, who passes it on to the next, etc., and the last person in the line tells you what they heard? You remember how it goes - the first person says, "I want to buy a puppy" and the thing the last person hears is "Purple monkey fishmonger."

So there's this university research lab, and a graduate student decides to do her Master's thesis research there. She works for about a year on a project that may or may not be a bit too advanced for her, considering her previous experience. She makes some progress, but she's not setting the world on fire. Unfortunately for her, she is following behind another grad student who, legitimately or not, is golden in the eyes of the supervising professor. This golden student worked in the same lab for many years prior to her entry in grad school, and therefore obviously has a certain amount of advantages over any new, fresh students who enter the lab.

The second grad student, as I said, works on her project, but simply cannot meet the demands placed on her by the supervising professor, who is comparing her directly to the golden student. In all fairness, the newer student is a bit of a pain - but who isn't?

The supervising professor, seeing that there may be a problem, takes the student aside and tells her that she needs to show "significant progress" within a set amount of time, or else she should find another professor within the department to work for. Not entirely unreasonable.

But here's where it gets stupid.

No one knows exactly what happened next because it was all third, fourth or fifth person information trickling down. But, it was all presented as VERY dramatic and life shattering.

The grad student is angered and irritated by the treatment she is getting at the hands of the supervising professor and the golden student (who is now a full-fledged employee in the lab.) She decides to leave the lab, as the supervising professor suggested. She goes to another lab and asks that professor if he can help her. He agrees, but the only problem is, this new prof is not in the same academic department as she is currently enrolled in. She wants to do her research in that department, but still be awarded her degree from the other department. This is a little odd, so the new prof tells her to speak to the Chairman of her original department. She does so. She comes back to the original lab and tells one of her coworkers that the Chairman was supportive of her idea and all she had to do was write up a research proposal and they would let her split her time between departments. She presents it as if everyone is entirely supportive and enthusiastic about the whole deal. She then clears out her desk and pretty much leaves the original lab.

A few days later, another employee of the first lab tells a second employee that the lab secretary told her that the grad student has been terminated by the original supervising professor. She says the secretary also told her that some mystery committee reviewed the student's research proposal and rejected it. The secretary says that the committee wanted to make sure that the Dean of the College didn't find out though, because he would have given her the approval because, as the employee said, "he is pro-Mexican". (The grad student is Hispanic.)

Then, this same employee overhears (from the secretary again) that the Dean of the College did find out, and sent an email to the supervising professor telling him that he HAD to take this student back. The secretary says that the supervising professor wrote back a very nasty email to the Dean informing him that the student had failed to meet expectations and was terminated, and that she was not allowed back into the laboratory for ANY reason, effective immediately. (The secretary presented this in a very dramatic manner.)

Here's what really happened.

1. Yes, the grad student tried to do her research outside the department. (This is odd as there are several professors in the original department. It seemed strange that she would go outside the department before inquiring within.)

2. The Chairman of the original department was skeptical and asked for a detailed research proposal. (The reason for the skepticsm, I'm sure was that the original department was Chemisty, and the second department was Family and Consumer Sciences Perhaps it's wrong, but there was some concern about the strength of the science in that department. Old school politics probably, but it is still a legitimate concern.)

3. The proposal apparently did not meet the standards set by the original department for Master's thesis-quality research. (The proposal was reviewed by the Chairman and several other Chemistry faculty.)

4. The Chairman politely told the student this, and suggested that she return to her original lab and try to work things out with the professor. This email was CC'ed to the original professor.

5. The original supervising professor sent an email to the Chairman describing his reasons for not wanting the student in the lab. A copy of this email was sent to the student. (The email was terse, but certainly not as dramatic or nasty as the secretary implied.)

6. The student replied politely and said she would seek another professor in the original department.

7. The Dean of the College was never involved.

Oh drama......


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mister Twister

Random thoughts while watching VH1 Classic's MTV Day 1. (That would be August 1, 1981)

Rod Stewart - She Won't Dance With Me
Crack Dance

Hanging around Austin, I see a lot of crack-heads (and I'm not just talkin' about my former coworkers.) Anyway, if you've been around these people, you know what the "crack dance" is - the shakey-shake Parkinson's-like tremor. The thing is, that almost invariably, it's women who've got the crack dance. Now I have seen a couple of dudes, but seriously - it's like 90% of the crack dancers I see are females.

The other night on the way home, this gal who was about 70 pounds soaking wet was shimmy-shaking on the side of the road and her man was just standing there kind of holding onto her shoulder to keep her from vibrating right off into the middle of the street. I was driving like 5 mph, 'cause I was afraid she was going to jump right out into traffic. He finally got her turned around and they went off over to the convenience store, her arms and legs a'flailing.

I wondered how old she was. Of course, she looked like she was pushing 50, but I'm betting she was younger than me. Sad.


Pat Benatar - You Better Run
Getting Rid of The Boy

3M may be interested in the adhesive properties of MS. I can't get him unstuck. I've tried reason, I've tried screaming, I've even resorted to physical violence. Nothing. The one thing I haven't been able to do is completely shut him out. If I don't answer the phone, he just calls and calls - eventually I break down. Stupid.

Remember the spider and the moth? For a long time I didn't know who was the moth and who was the spider. (It's not so bad you know, 8 legs means 4 pairs of shoes...) I told him I felt like I'd trapped him in a web and now I was giving him a chance to get away. But I think he's comfortable in the sticky silk.


April Wine - Sign Of The Gypsy Queen
On the plains of old Sedona

"I have two houses. Don't you want one?" LEP inherited a house in Arizona. She asked me if there was anything I could do in the desert west. I asked her if there was anything she could do there.

Is this some strange Karmic influence? Didn't I just say something about an eccentric little house in central Austin? Or maybe an eccentric little (okay - that one's not so little...) house in Arizona?


The Cars - Dangerous Type

This girl I almost knew - she's got two kids. They're far away from her - taken by the state or the relatives or who knows what. She's young, but old enough to know better by now. Her life is a whirlwind of drugs and alcohol and sex and excess. She spends her hard earned cash buying booze and coke for some loser guy she's trying to keep hold of. She spends her hard earned nights having sex in dirty bathroom bars with guys, with girls. Her money goes up her nose or in her veins, and her kids wonder where Mommy is.

And all she wants to do is have fun.


Split Enz - History Never Repeats

Two and a Half Decades

On August 1st, 1981 I was 13 years old. It was the summer before I entered high school. It was 1 year, 2 months, and 22 days before I became DxB's girlfriend. It was 4 years and 25 days before I started college at Southwest. It was 8 years, 8 months, and 19 days before my Dad died. It was 19 years, 6 months, and 23 days before my Mom died. It was 23 years, 4 months, and 2 days before I fell.