Fuelling the festive chasm

Let’s not beat around the bush here, I’m pretty sure WordPress hasn’t missed me complaining and I haven’t missed being here because too much urgency whirlwinded into 3D life again. There is, however, something about Christmas with someone else’s family that forces my hand back into typing. I had hoped this time it would be different, and I’d like to say the turning point wasn’t when a statement from the hostess to me began with the words ‘if you have a big poo..’ but I’d be lying. It is a veritable wonderland here. Those xmas things you see in the shops, singing dancing trees, flashing lights rudolf lights and the like appear to have sufficient appeal that some people buy and display them.  ho.ho.ho.indeedy! 

The culture shock is always somewhat stark for a snob like me when we come here. The welcome of someone having a pungent christmas morning piss in the shower so that everyone else can smell their urine while they try to wash under the weakly dribbling showerhead is not a custom with which I am familiar. When watching an ensemble performing Leonard Cohens hallelujah which reminds me of someone dear who is no longer with us (she used to sing along really badly!) my remembrance was interrupted by ‘eugh, is that a couple of pooftas?’..and giggling about the over the top costumes and apparently nauseating sentimentality. There is nothing nice to say in response to that really. 

Sigh. it’s going to be a long day and I’m waiting to see whether the current degeneration into teenage rebellion status will manifest in anyone’s attendance at the dinner table complete with headphones and ipod again; at least then I guess the claims that the wine (albeit very average to questionable quality) gifted from us was off and would make people ill, wouldn’t need to be heard. 

Merry yuletide with YOUR local weirdos, you lucky sods. I can feel some sparkly pompom earrings of allergenic origin calling…

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Short and sour

Remember how I was saying that I couldn’t pass an eye test? Well now I’ve done 4 and they are all different. So much so that this new optician has referred me to an ophthalmologist. Not only that but they stipulated some degree of urgency that I can only assume is code for “suspected maggot infestation of visual cortex”. 

The maggots may have ventured further still because last night after a bathroom trip in the dark, I mistakedly walked into the spare room and wondered where the hell that cd rack came from and where the fuck my bed was!

I’ve had to look at some childhood photos for a family project and it has made me realise once again that I am a very weird looking human. I think this has triggered that relentless recurring dream to descend; the one where I’m single and no-one is interested in me because I’m so hideous and awful. Today I’ve put on my frumpiest jumper to prove a point. 

Indecisive miscellany 

At the traffic lights a middle aged woman siddled up to me and positively beamed about the Rolls Royce that had just driven by. Wasn’t it glorious! Her brother had owned one back in the day because he was quite well off, don’t you know, but not she. Oh no, she was a humble lady, proud to have built up her organisation by talking to 750 people in 32 different countries, and not a smart phone in sight! Not like those immoral noxious drivers who won’t change their selfish habits until they kill someone. 

And then the lights changed and I bid her farewell.

I really need to stop making eye contact with strangers while my bike is static.

Pickledsparklymooseprincess et al. Is out at a reputable journal near you now. It comes with metrics too, some kind of mesmerising social experiment on manuscript popularity and self-indulgence….so exactly how many people have tweeted about my findings, how many news sites are relaying our message? More importantly, why do i care? The work speaks for itself, the scientific community will either accept, digest, cite and build, or disagree, overlook, or seek to prove us wrong. And yet I keep on checking of anyone has ‘liked’ that tweet by #healthypartidgesnutterideology*

I’m favouring the Oxford comma these days. For no real reason except a dry need to jazz up my punctuation parties.

(I’m wearing the parenthesis costume so don’t even think about it.)

This ongoing dietary adventure is somewhat of a sideshow. All “gluten-free” this and “dairy-free” that and all I want to do is lay in bed eating apple pie with icecream chased by an Irish coffee. When hunger strikes it’s not a lesson in exploration but in stock-taking and problem-solving. An academic exercise in keeping myself preoccupied with anything else but fixation on this shameless digestive oppression. 

A word of unsolicited advice if I may though: when at a wedding and rolling your eyes at everyone throwing themselves around to the likes of ‘five’ or ‘sclub7’ don’t be pulled into telling anyone what kind of music you like because to a wedding dj, rock/metal/electronica is a metaphor for Bryan Adams and bloody Bon Jovi. And having effectively ‘requested’ this shit, someone’s dad is gonna make damned sure you dance to it even though you’re dying inside. 

*fictional, or at least presumed fictional. 

Ps. It is probably clear that I  don’t know how twitter works…please don’t mock me, at least I didn’t draft a 400 character tweet (I’m looking at you boss lady) 

If there was a better way to go it would find me

When visiting my mother I found this:

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This laminated bad boy was my ticket to high school freedom. Whensoever the fancy took me to maybe not attend a class, I always had an ironclad yellow alibi. I got pretty good use out of this flexible friend when it came to physical education. It really was amazing how all my musical instrument lessons coincided every week! Weird huh!

I also found some old drawings I did. Now although I am using Accidental Tentacles for my arty stuffs these days, I have vowed to only post new work, no old has-beens for that shiny new site (except the header dragon, and he will go as soon as I make a suitable replacement).

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Here is an example. A hint of tortured mask wearing vampire.
I was really flattered to be referred to as an artist recently by a talented writer known as Gordon Flanders, instead of just a weirdo, or a nerd 🙂 it pretty much made my week. Though based on the above picture he may retract that descriptor! Now that I’m talking about Gordon, I’d like to mention that without his feedback when I started this blog years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had much confidence to continue, so I am ever grateful that he stumbled here, so go read his blog if you don’t already, you won’t be disappointed! While I’m on a train of praise and thanks I’d also like to thank the babe and Tony Single for their continued inputs, you guys are so amazing and it’s really just incredible to have you come and read my inane jabbering 🙂 I feel very lucky to have caught your attention. Go read their blogs too, ok?

Now for something possibly even more awesome, a picture of my childhood dog Abbie:

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Now, I’m sure you are thinking that your dog is probably way better than this one, but I regret to inform that you are wrong. This beastie was the pinnacle of all dog, or for that matter mammalian evolution and her like will never be seen again. Certainly not to be confused with this monster:

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Who incidentally, I taught to play fetch during my visit. She’s an eight year old nervous nutcase and normally just wants to go for your ankles but this visit she wanted to be my buddy, so I guess my dog whispering is on point. I’m still watching you Tiggy, I know how your brain just pivots in weird ways sometimes.

I’ve written two posts recently that are sat in my drafts because I have finally developed the maturity to realise that sometimes you don’t need to impulsively let off every thought that you have to run rampant in the world wide Web. Sometimes prudence is your friend, and pissing people off just isn’t always worth it. They are safely out of my head and in my drafts and I think it would be best all round if they stay there.

The title of this post is, of course, from Fiona Apple’s song “extraordinary machine”.

Also sorry if you saw this on my other site for a flash. It’s my first slip-up since blog bifurcation!

Taxonomic treats

Ever since I heard of the fungal species Neosartorya fischeri I wanted to work with it. Not because it’s especially weird, or relevant but because I love the idea of a fungus that is the new elegance of Dr fischer!
Only now I discover that it’s actually just an Aspergillus in its telemorphic sexual state. For a fungus that doesn’t mean it’s feeling frisky, it means that in this state, it is making sexual spores. When it’s reproducing asexually it’s called Aspergillus fischerianus. Aspergillus comes from the name of a holy water sprinkling device, but I wonder where the -anus came from!!! I know the aspergillus anamorph has been called invalid before but there’s no need to call it Dr fischeri’s holy-water spinkling bum, surely! Taxonomists have quite the sense of humour it would seem.

OK I take it back, Now I know what the aspergillus name means I want to work with it EVEN more.

Seagull poo and floor bacon are bad omens

Today started with every woman’s favourite medical procedure: the cervix scraping test for cancer. Yum!

Nonetheless I was determined to make it a good day, as I had planned a complicated, involved and lengthy experiment, and my technical pride was on the line.

I should have known when I arrived at work adorned with seagull poo that maybe this wasn’t going to be the experimental masterpiece that we all expected.

I should have read more portent into the peice of crispy bacon on the floor in the corridor, and taken heed, but I was, as of yet, unperturbed.

My good mood faltered, spat and petered out as an unprecedented train of misfortune and (my) incompetancy led me through a very powerful storm of emotions that have left me utterly exhausted. Seriously, I can barely even type this.

I ran the gamut from total fury (at machine failure and the fact that I’d been told  a few days prior by the engineer there was nothing wrong and I just needed to reboot the pc….NOT TRUE!!! No-one would make eye contact with me until I lost the wild eyed frenzied look), through frustration (with equipment limitations), along horrific disappoint in myself and into a deep well of bottomless sadness from which I only surfaced because it was all taking too much effort. In resignation I remain.

Despite all the trauma, the pain, the self-deprecation (apparently I shouldn’t call myself a fucking idiot out loud….but I totally deserved it right then), what got shat out of the end of my 11 hour coldroom-heavy nightmare was actually, more or less what I set out to make. My pride remains, relatively-speaking, intact.

So….Yeah…that’s a good thing right? I’m so adrenally exhausted that I just don’t care.

Pass the chamomile tea love, it’s time for some well earned zzzs

“It’s spiraling down 
Biting words like a wolf howling” ~Daughter, still

Accruing detective and shopping skills

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Aaaand just like that, a lazy snap of the fingers and the holiday is over and work returns.

I figured my thighs would be the first to forget how to cycle, but actually after a month hiatus from horse and bike riding my knees and more significantly, my arse, have forgotten their role in this -riding malarkey. So you see, I figured that my bottom aught to be able to cope with just being sat on, and I don’t know if it’s because of those few pounds I dropped, or if maybe there was once some muscle back there that has since degenerated into blubber, but I do know that I’m more than a little sore in the ischial tuberosity region, and that is most inconvenient.

I just got interrupted by my boyfriend asking what I was doing. Apparently it’s ‘mentow’ to write a blog post about my arse. He’s probably right. Sorry. I’ll try and dial back the mental for the rest of the post.

At work, one of the little darlings left a present in the fume hood for me. Some spilt unidentified Chemical. I saw this as an opportunity to play detective and interrogate the witnesses and potential culprits but no-one was playing ball. Someone knows something but they aren’t spilling it. Now I’m left with a pile of potentially toxic, corrosive, irritant, reactive, teratogenic powder to deal with, safe in the knowledge that it is something pretty nasty Because otherwise it wouldn’t be in the fume hood. Watch this space for info on the fallout when I potentially blow up the lab / burn off my face / poison myself trying to clean it up. 

Ah! It’s good to be back at work! Clearly everyone missed me because there was a backlog of health and safety tedium awaiting me, along with some logistical problems. For example, imagine being told you have £17,000 to spend in two days. Woohooo!!! Party time…we can have a life-size Unicorn cake made!! what’s that? Has to be spent on lab stuff? Hmm, ok it’s going to be a pretty nerdy party, but let’s buy some awesome treats that we see other labs have but are too stingey to buy for ourselves,like multicolour sparkly  pipettes, they’d be fun! Huh? What do you mean it has to be spent in our in-house store? Oh, come on! That’s just mean..
What kind of spending spree is that? And just HOW could anyone spend 17K on biros and pipette tips? We had the lamest shopping spree ever and only put a dent in the money that is going to evaporate any minute now. No parties, no cake and certainly no sparkly pipettes. Anyone would have thought that money was meant for research. Damn our usual thrifty nature,  resourceful and unnecessarily strong willpower.

So with all this perfection,
Who’s going to make a brilliant mistake”~tsunami, enter misguided