May 27th, 2009 | Comments Off on une catherinette sous peu…

Thinking back, I have definitely had better birthdays.

Ones that don’t involve babysitting reactions which look like chocolate soufflé but smell like concentrated vinegar.

Ones that don’t involve cleaning up said reaction after the oil bath overheated while I was in a meeting.

Ones that don’t involve said reaction mixture splashing onto my pristine lab coat and arms.

As my lab mate kindly pointed out: “Hey, at least you got a story for your birthday.” Thanks, R—.

Posted in quotidian
May 12th, 2009 | Comments Off on *fails to think of science pun*

(My lab mate is really good at chemistry puns, actually…)

Anyway. I’d like to think I totally rocked the conference–my presentation even picked up a prize, and I met some really awesome people (how could they not be awesome? They’re chemists!) Despite my misgivings about the small town of K—, it turned out to be irrelevant: We chemists know how to drink. And enjoy board games. Especially drunken board games.

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Posted in snippet
April 16th, 2009 | Comments Off on BLAJLASJAKHLS

I hate writing my thesis because I HAVE NO CONCLUSIVE RESULTS and MY COMPLEXES HATE ME and REFUSE TO BE MADE. Then, when I do make them, THEY DON’T REACT THE WAY I WANT THEM TO.

This is science, I know. As I found on the French Wikipedia Chemistry Portal: Cherchez, et vous trouverez…. autre chose. (Look, and you will find… something else. –Jean Jacques)

On the other hand, seriously, I think I might have missed my calling, folks. I complained a lot about Rousseau (and a little less about Zola) but I honestly did really well on both of my French lit papers. I think I can pretty much just show up to the final, write my name, and pass the course. That’s good because I don’t really plan on studying for it that much.

(ON THE OTHER HAND: I think I might die from the stress sometime between now and the 29th. THAT WOULD NOT BE GOOD.)

Posted in quotidian
April 9th, 2009 | Comments Off on not even remotely clever

I expect you’re all tired of hearing this, but I’m not a great chemist. I think I’ve been researched-out, honestly. One can only take so many failed experiments before one’s morale drops to abysmal levels. I’m in that abyss, and I’ve been here for quite a while. I can’t actually remember the last time an experiment worked.

My thesis write-up so far is full of the phrase “mixture of products.” “Complex mixture.” I’m worried I haven’t done enough work for it, and so I don’t have very much to write about; what’s more, all the stuff I did try didn’t work. Do you have any idea how unsatisfying that is? “I tried” doesn’t really cut it for something like this; you need results.

A few weeks ago, I caught myself thinking: “Once I’m done this experiment I can go and do what I really like.” And then it hit me: chemistry has never really been “that thing I like.” My supervisor lives to work. I’d rather work to live. Don’t get me wrong; I like chemistry well enough, but I also want to be able to leave work at work and have a life outside of the lab. This is at the core of why I don’t want to go into academia. The pressure to publish and produce results is incredible (at least until you have tenure.)

People tell me that with my French, I can easily get a job in the federal government (let’s ignore for the moment that English is the lingua franca of the scientific world, and any scientific position I find will not require me to use French in Canada). I’ve worked for the government. Not a whole lot gets done. I’m not sure how happy I would be in a situation like that. I know one thing, though, that I haven’t been happy with my research for a long, long time. I think it’s time to move on.

I’m almost cracking now; thesis is due in a week and a half, and I have an exam next Tuesday. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit all of this in, and I’m driving myself mad.

Posted in ramblings
November 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

In this post, you’ll find:

  • Career ramblings
  • School musings
  • Music murmurings

(I needed to keep the parallelism!)
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in ramblings
November 15th, 2008 | Comments Off on So um…

Chemistry drinking socials are vaguely amusing for the first hour or so. I really only went because a former co-worker of mine was going to be there; not having seen her for a few months, I jumped at the chance to catch up a little bit. This turned out to be a mistake, actually, as she and I never really went beyond workplace acquaintances. So we chatted briefly–she was already a bit buzzed and so was a little distracted. We parted ways soon after.

The crowd at these things tends to be a mix of undergrads and grad students; now and then a prof will wander in–I saw the head of the department there, actually, though I didn’t speak to him. Later, friends of friends start arriving–I met a physiology major, a math/comp sci major, and a few engineers…

I need to learn how to mingle a bit better. It’s always a bit awkward in situations like this where people often come in groups–how do you break in? Is it okay to break in? I had tried to rustle up a friend to come with me–I popped by his lab, and he assured me he’d “meet [me] there in half an hour”. He never showed up, of course.

Because he wasn’t there to save me from social interaction, I did get to know one of the other Honours students a bit better, and re-connected with a few people I’d seen before. I also ran into (if that’s the right term) an old classmate from elementary school. That was interesting.

I’m not exactly sure why I keep going to these things. I think it’s really more to chat with people than the cheap alcohol; I don’t like beer, anyway, and nursed one drink for most of the evening.

Posted in quotidian
October 9th, 2008 | Comments Off on disillusioned

I mean that quite literally.

Who would have thought–being in the lab at 11:30 on a school night is really, really not that glamourous.

Posted in quotidian
May 17th, 2008 | Comments Off on Chemistry PARTYYYYY

This (ad? publicity spot? something else?) video is quite hilarious.

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Posted in lemming!
January 31st, 2008 | Comments Off on ARGH

I am now half-convinced that these authors just made this citation up. I’ve looked in the journal and I can’t find it at all.

Posted in quotidian
January 17th, 2008 | Comments Off on blip blip blip

I feel… buoyant. 🙂 My panic was completely misplaced, and even though my nerves did get the better of me, eventually I did calm down a bit and it was fine. I may be working for an awesome prof this summer. 😀

Lab reports and problem sets are bringing me back down to earth a little bit, but I’m still feeling rather pleased.

Posted in quotidian