Sunday, February 26, 2006

Books and Movies

So my week off has come to an end. I really don't want to focus much on going back, it's getting a little too hard to deal with recently. Gotta get me a good anti-anxiety prescription, me thinks.

I finished
Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald this week. It was absolutely captivating. I wouldn't describe it as a nicely enjoyable book - it gets pretty disturbing and deals with some pretty wrenching topics. But it's one of those books where I'm still thinking about it, a week or so after I've finished reading it and am half way through another book. It will definitely stick with me for a while.

Over the break, Elisa and I saw Eight Below, the movie with Paul Walker (rawr) about a team of huskies in the antartic. I wasn't expecting too much, it was essentially the only one we could agree on that was showing at the right time. But man, that was a pretty heart wrenching movie. It seemed like I was crying every 15 minutes. I went home and cuddled my cat for a few hours.

Now I'm reading a book called Sunshine by Robin McKinley. It's a vampire/werewolf magic kinda book - my much loved no-think delicious dessert reading. Otherwise known as beach trash. This one is pretty good, I've already got sucked in. The reason I love these kinds of books is because it really becomes an all-consuming activity when reading them. When watching TV my mind wanders, I still think about stressful things and what I have to do tomorrow. When I read these books, there's no room for mind wandering. I can just jump in and forget everything else. It's therapy.

That and a regular night cap.

Speaking of which, great party night on Friday. Hence the pics.

Going to miss you, Elisa and Katina! Have fun in Australia, girls!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Soulless Evil

How I love the unpredictableness of Canadian winters.

Wednesday: warm and sunny. Thursday: freezing cold huge snow storm.

Today: freezing rain, regular rain, and gusts of wind up to 90 km/h.

Now let me explain what that combination is like. This morning, everything outside was covered in an inch of ice. Of course the sidewalks don't get salted, so there's no 'walking' involved - only slipping, sliding, and falling (of which I did all 3). Because it started to rain normally after the freezing rain, everything is also soaked - so it's wet slippery ice. My boots got soaked, my feet got soaked, and my gloves got soaked (from grabbing onto things to avoid from falling and also from pushing myself up off the ground after falling).

This is pretty typical for a winter here, but the wind was fucking unbelievable. It's hard to explain what 90 km/h gusts of wind are like - but let me just paint you a quick picture.

Me + ice + wind = sliding down an entire city block by simply the power of the wind and my gripless boots. I didn't even have to move my feet, I seriously got pushed down the ice for an entire block by the wind alone. I was laughing my ass off at the pure insanity of it.

Thankfully I'm at home now, next week is reading week (i.e spring break just not in the spring) so I will be getting some much needed time off.

All the stress and exhaustion and sleep deprivation is starting to have some bad consequences: namely, an uncontrollable rage at even the littlest things that leaves me having pretty graphic fantasies about beating the shit out of random people. Not good.

The week's plan involves some partying this weekend (a 90s nightclub), a whole lot of sleep, fun reading, movie watching, and staying in my PJs all freaking day. I will have to do some work, but it's mindless stats work (GAH in itself, but a necessary soulless evil).

Let's just hope the rage goes away before I get arrested for excessive use of violence.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Oh... shit... shitshitshitshit

It's 3:00 PM and I can already officially say that today was a bad fucking day.

I had it all planned out. Today one of my lab members was giving a talk for the weekly MNI (Montreal Neurological Institute) Research Discussions at 11 am. I wanted to run out the large SDS Page gel (a technique used in biochemistry and
molecular biology to separate proteins according to their size - click here for more), which takes about 4-5 hours. I have an aerobics class from 5pm - 6pm, so I knew that if I started making the gel at about 10:30, it would be ready by the time the research discussion was over at noon, then I could run it and be done before aerobics.

All nice and fine - theoretically.

Making the gel requires funneling a liquid that will solidify into a gel in between two glass plates. You have to fit the plates together and anchor them to a stand - the trick is to make sure the bottom is properly sealed against a sponge barrier so the liquid doesn't leak and go all over the place.

So of course, the gel leaks on me. I curse profusively under my breath, remake the liquid, wash the plates, and attempt to try it over again. 11 am is approaching and I'm starting to hurry to make sure it's ready to go. Gel attempt #2: it leaks AGAIN. At this point I'm pissed and frustrated and annoyed because I know it's basically all over. I can't miss the research discussion, and now I won't have enough time to run the gel and make it to aerobics - and I don't miss aerobics.

After I calm down a bit (with the help of Starbucks), I realize it's not a huge deal and that I'll just run the gel on Monday instead. A few days later than planned isn't the end of the world - it just generally annoys me when things don't go as planned.

At this point, I'm pretty much over it. After Ikue's presentation, we were walking back to the lab and some other lab members ask me if I have to give a talk this year. I'm all "oh no, thank god, but next year I have to". I'm petrified of these talks because they're all biochemistry, and I'm a Psych student. I very rarely understand what's going on during the discussions because I have zero background in biochem.

Turns out I do have to give a goddamn fucking talk - on April 27th. NO ONE TOLD ME, I had no bloody idea. I was told you only have to give talks during your second year of your Masters degree.

I essentially tried not to immediately break down and start crying. I don't think I was doing a good job of hiding the absolutely core-shaking fear and dread I was feeling, because Linda and Carole were like "oh it's okay, you have plenty of time to prepare!".

It's not the goddamn preparation I'm worried about - it's the nonsensical questions I know I'm going to get asked in front of all the really smart biochem people. People ask such anal complicated questions every week, and I know I'm going to get reamed out - and have absolutely no idea how to respond. I barely understand what I'm doing, it's not what I thought it was going to be. On a daily basis I can walk around and pretend I know what I'm doing, but the reality of the situation is I'm up the fucking creek without a paddle, and I've never felt this way before.

I think my iPOD felt bad for me on the way home because it was playing all my favourite songs one after another. I think I need to go out and find a shirt or something that reads "Before you ask - I have no idea" and wear it during my presentation.