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Rated: 13+ · Book · Biographical · #2274705
A monthly blog started June of 2022. *discontinued*
The blog is currently on hiatus, as of July 2023.
Please come back in February 2024.

This blog has officially been discontinued.

However, my monthly writing challenge is still running:

The One-Line Lyric Challenge  [13+]
A musically-inspired challenge with monthly writing prompts. Prizes included!
by Anni Pon


It's that time of the month again. Time to hear all about the general happenings of my life.
Expect puns, quotes, poetry, tips, etc.

Now with the infamous "Myth of the Month" (M.O.M.), where I bust a common myth every month. Just like Myth Busters. With less explosions. Maybe.

(Rated 13+ just in case language or controversial topics arise.)
Previous ... -1- 2 ... Next
February 24, 2024 at 8:20pm
February 24, 2024 at 8:20pm
Well, hello there. It's been a while.

I did say I would return to the blog in February once my Bootcamp finished... I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath.
Now that I'm officially done and graduated, I'm struggling to come back to this blog.

I think there's a few reasons. One, I don't like talking about myself. I struggle to write bios and personal statements, for the same reason. I just don't enjoy it and don't have much to say. What else is a blog, if not exclusively writing about yourself?

Two, I'm a private person by nature, so blogging about personal things on a public site that anyone could read, even with a great community like this one, still kind of makes me uncomfortable. Especially after so long. I'm a different person than I was 6 months ago, in a lot of ways. Too much has happened to "catch up" half a year in a blog entry. I don't even know where I’d start.

Three, this is going to sound odd and possibly elitist, but I've recently realized that my daily life is not very interesting or relatable to the average person. I live in a weird academic bubble, in a job that most people know very little about and can't relate to. Not just a "job", academia is your life and your identity. Trying to explain the world I'm currently in to folks who aren't in it kind of makes me feel like an alien.

And so, this blog really became a chore to update every month. That's probably why it was the first thing to go when I got overwhelmed. Looking back, I think it showed. No one wants to read something that the author didn't really want to write.

I'd rather spend my time and writing energy on something creative and fun.

That is to say, I don't think I'm going to bring this monthly blog back after all. At least, not in the same format. I'd only start blogging again if I could make it creative or topical, instead of just about my life. For important or interesting life updates, I prefer posting shorter newsfeed updates in real time than curated monthly blogs.

So if you do care about what's happening in my life, you'll still be able to follow along in my notebook when something of note happens.

I'll have to think a little more about what I could turn this blog into that would be more interesting, to me and those reading.
Until then, I guess this is the end of another blog era. Hope I haven't disappointed anyone.

July 25, 2023 at 11:09pm
July 25, 2023 at 11:09pm
A lot has happened since my last entry on here, just a month ago.


*Bullet* I discovered, applied for, and was accepted into an intense 6-month long bootcamp for AI & Machine Learning. Classes start on Monday. It's designed for working professionals, so it's night classes, 3 times a week, with 20+ hours of outside work a week. Yes, I do realize that's a lot. Yes, I realize I already have a (more than) full time job. It's going to be rough, make no mistake about it. But it's also going to be essential for my career. The program includes a ton of professional development and career services for up to a year after you graduate to help you land your next job.

I really thought I was done with school and classes forever after the PhD... apparently, school was not done with me.

*Bullet* Friday is the last day of the summer undergraduate program, so our two summer students will be leaving. It's bittersweet. It was a marathon to the end, but they both did a great job on their projects and their posters. I'm really quite impressed and proud. One of them might be staying on to work in the lab through the school year, we'll see.

*Bullet* Just got back from the vet (again) with my wild cat. They stole her blood and $75 from me. Here's hoping her bloodwork will be good and she can go off of these damn liver meds. I'll probably find out in a day or two. If things haven't gone down, or if they go back up when she stops the meds, she'll need more testing to figure out why her liver enzymes are high.


*Bullet* This bootcamp is going to cost me $13,000 in tuition (oof) and the next 6 months of my life. No nights, no weekends, no free time at all. In light of this, I will probably have to put this blog on hiatus for the duration of the bootcamp. Sorry to the few loyal readers of the blog, I just really don't think I'll be able to manage it. Remains to be seen whether I can manage it even without the blog.

I'll post periodic updates in the newsfeed if anything interesting happens.
My guess is, with 9 hours a day in lab and 3 hours in class most days, it won't. But you never know.

I think I can continue the "The One-Line Lyric Challenge since it honestly doesn't take that much time or effort. But if things get out of control, there's a chance I'll change my mind on that. A slim chance. And, I'm going to try, really hard, to not let 6 months go by without writing anything. According to the great philosopher Yoda, there is no try, but according to me there is.

One last “Myth of the Month” for the foreseeable future:


“The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776.”

Independence was declared on July 2nd, 1776. The final text of the declaration was approved on July 4th, but the document wasn't officially signed until August 2nd of that year, with several people signing after that date. In fact, one of the writers of the declaration, John Livingston, refused to sign it in the end. Apparently, Jefferson originally included language that criticized the British slave trade, despite being a slave owner himself, but it was removed from the document before signing.

Also, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the approval of the Declaration of Independence.

More facts about the declaration of independence here.  .

June 28, 2023 at 10:56pm
June 28, 2023 at 10:56pm
Ah, the end of June. Wherein the summertime sadness hits, every year, and yet it's somehow still a surprise to me.


*Bullet* My humble little challenge, "The One-Line Lyric Challenge was nominated for best new activity in the Quill Awards!! It was originally nominated for "best contest" (which it's not), but our Quill Mistress Lilith of House Martell, in her infinite kindness, moved it to a more appropriate category instead of just throwing the nomination out. Thank you so much to whoever nominated the challenge and to everyone who's participated or shared the challenge in the newsfeed. It's the first activity I've run on WdC and the first Quill nomination I've received.

*Bullet* At the beginning of the month, I went on an intense two-day department retreat at a resort a couple hours away. I was on the planning committee, and still couldn't convince the director that 25 talks, a 3-hour poster session, and two 90-minute round tables was simply too much to fit into a two day "retreat". In fact, he started off the retreat by talking about all the fun things to do at the resort... when he'd given us only an hour of free time the entire 12-hour scheduled day. 14 hours if you include travel time. I did get to swim in the lazy river on the second day, and lounged in a hammock for about... 9 minutes. I call that a win. At the end, he announced that next year's retreat will be 3 days, so people can actually enjoy the resort. If things go to plan, I won't still be here at the institute next summer. However, things usually don't go to plan.

*Bullet* I signed up to present again at the big annual Neuroscience conference in November! The reason I've never been able to attempt NaNoWriMo before, and I guess this year will be no different. I feel like I have to play rock-paper-scissors between writing and work and life. Unfortunately, work wins. Work always wins. But don't get me wrong, I'm already excited. It's in DC this year and the whole lab is going. It's always a lot of fun, a lot of people, a lot of science, a lot of schmoozing, a lot of time. It's just a lot. But the timing should be perfect, right before I go on the job market. In fact, this conference is where I got the job I have now. It may well be where I get the next one.


*Bullet* It's 85º today with an AQI of 161 and an air quality warning. And I walked home about a mile in it. Maybe don't do what I do, if you're also in an area downwind of the Canadian wildfires.

I thought for sure I'd left this behind when I moved here. In Northern California, we had "smoke days" instead of snow days. They once cancelled classes for an entire week, distributed N95s and told us not to go outside except for emergencies when the AQI was over 300 (hazardous). I remember headaches, dry throat, and a consistently bloody nose. And that was indoors. I only left my apartment once that week to get groceries, with an N95 (this was pre-pandemic), and I regretted it. Smoke is no joke, folks.

At least this is manageable. I'm just sitting here with an air purifier running and all the windows closed with my asthmatic cat on my lap. My eyes are already irritated from being outside for about 25 minutes. I can't imagine how she feels.

In a completely unrelated note, I'm just gonna leave this here: "Earth" by Imogen Heap
No reason.

Here's the “Myth of the Month” for June:


“The bible says that Adam and Eve ate a forbidden apple.”

In the story of Adam and Eve, the bible mentions "forbidden fruit" but never explicitly says that the fruit was an apple. The original word used, "peri", could refer to any hanging fruit. However, most stories and visual depictions use an apple as the forbidden fruit. This likely comes from a mix-up when the bible was translated from Hebrew into Latin by a scripture scholar named Jerome in the 4th century A.D. He decided, probably as a little pun, to use the word "malus" which translates to both "evil" and "apple". And from then on, the forbidden fruit was an apple.

I'm not religious, but I still find the history of these things, especially language, interesting.

Read more here.  .

May 26, 2023 at 6:29pm
May 26, 2023 at 6:29pm
Happy May, belated Happy Mother's Day to the mothers out there, and Happy Memorial Day to the veterans and service members out there! Bonus points if you're both.

I'm writing this entry from across the state, where I've been exploring different areas of Virginia for Memorial Day weekend, including Colonial Williamsburg and the original Jamestown settlement. Seems appropriate for Memorial Day to dive headfirst into the history of America's beginnings. Honestly, it wasn't that long ago. If I've learned anything, it's that things haven't changed all that much since then. There's a lot of traditions and legacies, some harmful and some just weird, that have carried over from English rule and religious institutions that are still in place today. And people were JUST as divided at the time, about whether to declare independence or remain loyal to England.

Also, according to the 45-minute informational video we watched, the colonists already had fully fledged American accents. Fascinating.

This month has been much better than the last one.


*Bullet* I gave another talk, this time to experts around the world in my very specific field. Big names to me, probably no one you've ever heard of. I was invited as the first author on the paper we just published back in February. I have to say, if you'll forgive the bragging, it went really well. Better than the talk last month. You should really only compare yourself to yourself, as a general rule.

*Bullet* The lab has increased in size again, with two new undergraduate students that I am now in charge of for the next 10 weeks. It's an intense summer research program where they get to take on an independent project in the lab and present their results with a poster at the end. It's a great experience for them, and I like mentoring and working with students. That said, it is another full time job on top of my actual full time job, as they come in with no lab experience at all and need almost constant supervision and direction.

*Bullet* I finally got an actual vacation, if only for a long weekend. It almost didn't happen, the universe itself was conspiring against it. Including the weather. But I decided to do it anyway, and I'm glad I did.

*Bullet* I've had some of the best food I've ever tasted on this trip. Delicious Indian curries with na'an, mahi mahi tacos and ceviche from a Mexican hole-in-the-wall, handmade Brunswick stew and onion pye at a tavern in colonial Williamsburg. I have been eating well, my friends.

I'll be heading back tomorrow, after spending the morning at Jamestown. Then back to reality and the 21st century…

But first, I have a “Myth of the Month” for you!


“George Washington wore a powdered wig and wooden teeth.”

At the time, most men, and some women, wore wigs. They came in a range of color, including unnatural colors like bright blues and purples, and a range of quality and extravagance. Darker wigs were considered more informal, while white powdered wigs were used for formal events and fancy parties. This was because the white hair was reflective and much more visible by candlelight, while darker hair would simply disappear in the darkness. But George Washington's hair was actually his real hair, not a wig. Also, he did not have wooden teeth, he had dentures with a metal frame and a mixture of horse and human teeth.

Source: The folks at Colonial Williamsburg.

April 28, 2023 at 9:03pm
April 28, 2023 at 9:03pm
April has been a bit rough, but fortunately it's almost over.
And I hear that April showers bring May flours. Maybe I'll bake a cake.


*Bullet* Gave a talk to the whole department earlier this week. It went pretty well, I think. I haven't given an in-person talk since the pandemic began, so I'm a bit out of practice. I was supposed to give this same talk a year ago, but I got Covid the week before (the only time I've gotten it), so I had to postpone.


*Bullet* My Aunt had half of her thyroid removed because they found a nodule. Doctor gave her a 4% chance the nodule was cancerous. Well, lucky her. She's in the 4%. Which means she has to have the rest of the thyroid removed, and I assume she'll be on thyroid medication for the rest of her life. However, this shouldn't be life-threatening. It just sucks. Cancer sucks.

*Bullet* My furball is also having some health issues. Her bloodwork showed elevated liver enzymes, which is a bit of a concern in cats. The vet said it could be the medication she's on for asthma, so he wants to wean her down more and start her on a daily liver supplement. I actually think it could be her weight, so she's also going on a diet. And she's not going to be happy about it. Hopefully one of those things will work. She also needs dental work, which I hate because they have to put her under. A risk even for a cat without breathing problems, so we'll have to wait until we make sure her asthma is under control on the lower dose.

It's been a lot, as you can probably tell. I haven't had a full weekend off this month, until this weekend. Yes, that does include Easter weekend; but I don't celebrate Easter anyway. I'm making the most of it, trying to catch up on everything, but I don't think one weekend is going to be enough. I was roped into giving another talk next month, so it's not over yet.
In fact, it's never over.

My threshold for burnout used to be a lot higher, pre-pandemic. I don't know what happened. How did I ever get through grad school? This is nothing compared to qualifying exams, committee meetings, grants, writing a 200-page dissertation and defending it. Believe it or not, my life is a lot less chaotic now than it once was. I just handled it better.

One difference is that I worked hard, but I played hard. Nowadays there's no play, just the work. So I've been thinking a lot about time, how little there is and how I want to be spending it.

Something needs to change, but I haven't decided exactly what yet.
I just know what I'm doing now isn't really working.

Whatever I decide will involve spending more time writing, so you can look forward to seeing more from me on here.

Never fear, I haven't forgotten about the “Myth of the Month”!


“Albert Einstein flunked math or flunked out of school.”

There's a popular story that Einstein flunked math or flunked out of school entirely. The trope of an underachieving and misunderstood super-bright genius with learning disabilities is very appealing. It is true that many very smart people struggle in school. However, Einstein was not one of them. Although he was a late talker, Einstein got high marks even from a young age and was often at the top of his class. If there was a struggle with the educational system, it was that he disapproved of the teaching style, memorizing facts and following authority without question.

It's also a myth that Einstein was left-handed. There's photographic evidence that he used his right hand for most things, including writing and playing violin.

More info here  .


I'll try my hardest to talk about something that isn't work or health related next month.
Can't guarantee anything.
March 31, 2023 at 6:50pm
March 31, 2023 at 6:50pm
Well, it's the end of another month. It's been a long one, and yet somehow not long enough.


*Bullet* I went to see Chicago on Broadway, starring Jynkx Monsoon   as Mama Morton! It was quite an audience and quite an experience. My first true Broadway show, although I've seen shows in San Francisco before. I was so impressed by the whole cast. Highly recommend!

*Bullet* Took a full week off of work, during which I stayed in New York and did absolutely nothing of importance. And loved every minute of it.

*Bullet* We're getting a new member in the lab, a first year med student. Hopefully he's a good fit... it's hard to tell just meeting someone once. I've seen how one person can completely change the dynamics of a lab, good or bad.

*Bullet* It turns out that justice isn't quite as blind as I might have thought.   I may have to retract this piece .

*Bullet* My first lucid dream experience: I was visiting my old PhD lab and catching up with folks in the department, mostly new people I didn't know. Everyone in my class and my old lab has long moved on. The topic of dreams came up and I realized that I was currently in one. The first thing I did? "Hey, watch this!" and attempted a backflip.

*Bullet* No lowlights this month!

Has anyone else here had a lucid dream? Can you do it on purpose? What would you do if you knew you were dreaming? I'm interested to know. I haven't had another one since, and apparently can't do it on demand. Maybe some day I will.

My dreams are usually very movie-like, with detailed plots and even plot twists. I only wish I could create such intricate plots and imagery while awake. When I'm really stressed, I dream of natural disasters. Sinking ships, earthquakes, trapped in a burning building. You know, the usual.

Besides that, the weather has been warming up here. I'm kind of excited about not needing a jacket anymore and kind of terrified for what summer will bring. I'm not ready.

In a related point, here's the “Myth of the Month” for March:


“Dogs can't sweat.”

Dogs do have sweat glands and they do sweat, mainly on their footpads. However, they don't sweat enough to cool themselves down. Dogs mostly regulate their temperature through panting and through their blood vessels. This leaves dogs more susceptible to overheating, which is also why leaving a dog alone in a closed vehicle is so dangerous, even if it doesn't feel that warm outside. And it turns out dog sweat doesn't smell bad, like human sweat does.

More info here  .


If you've come here looking for the monthly writing prompt, it's officially been moved out of the blog. You can find it here: "Where I Go.

It was time for my challenge to fly the nest.

Fly, my child, fly!
February 27, 2023 at 11:37pm
February 27, 2023 at 11:37pm
This will be a bit of a short entry for a short month.


*Bullet* Survived another trip around the sun, I'm now a year wiser and a year more foolish.

*Bullet* My lab has so much to celebrate lately that we made a Google doc and added to each other's lists. We've been doing one celebration a week for every member of the lab. Everything from painting pottery together, to the arcade downtown, to laser tag. I couldn't ask for a more supportive group. Still two more celebrations to go!

*Bullet* The new position has been going well, so far, despite a few setbacks mostly out of my control. I think I just got past the biggest of them. Which means I may not have to analyze 3,000 images by hand after all. Whew.


*Bullet* Back to the vet for my wild cat. She started wheezing again shortly after she finished her meds a few months ago. She's back on steroids now, and will probably need to be on a low dose steroid indefinitely. Either pills or an inhaler (very expensive). At least it's treatable, I suppose.

I won’t talk too much about Valentine's Day, partly because it was a while ago now, partly because I've already shared my thoughts on it here. Seems like every holiday has become so commercialized it's basically lost all meaning and significance. But don't let that stop you from celebrating if you want to. You do you.

Besides that, I've been getting my own health in order this month, after more than 3 years of neglect. In accordance with my New Year’s resolution, which was to take better care of myself. That's right, New Year’s resolutions don't end in January, folks. They're for the whole year. And I'm not just all talk. Mostly talk, yes. But when I decide to do something, I usually follow through. Eventually.

To be perfectly honest, I take way better care of my cat than myself. Regular meals, access to fresh water (filtered, of course), exercise, regular check-ups. But I'll go an entire 8 hours in lab before realizing I haven't drank anything.

And now it's time for everybody's somebody's favorite, “Myth of the Month” (M.O.M.)!

This month’s misconception is in honor of wet February.


“Clouds are light and fluffy.”

As you're probably aware, clouds are made of water which is heavy. They may look weightless suspended in the air, but the average cumulus cloud weighs about 1 million pounds. A big storm cloud can exceed 2 billion pounds. Yes, with a "B". So how do clouds float in the air if they're so heavy? Turns out they're still lighter than the the surrounding dry air, which is almost 1,000 times heavier than the weight of all the water particles in the cloud.

Just think about that the next time you're walking underneath a perfectly formed, cotton-like, fluffy cloud.

More info here  .


I'd like to try something a little different. I want to incorporate a writing prompt with my song of the month.
Music always inspires me, and I hope this will inspire others too.

So here's the challenge. Write a poem or story, at least 100 words, and incorporate the prompted lyric somewhere in your work, word for word. Can be the opening line, dialogue, character description, whatever you want. No time limit, you can enter any time after the song is posted. Feel free to repurpose the lyric and take it in a completely different direction, your work doesn't have to be related to the song. Part of the challenge is to see how you can reinterpret and work the lyric into your own work.

If you're inspired by a different line in the song and want to use that instead, you can do that for partial credit. But only use one line from the lyrics.

Now, the important part: What's in it for you? If you tag me and link back to this blog in your entry, I will read and review your work. You'll get 5K GPs for entering (as long as you met the challenge requirements). If you use the prompted line, you'll also get a merit badge of my choosing.

With that said, here's what I've been listening to this month:

"So Sad So Lonely" by Matchbox Twenty


Prompt: "All the one-way rides"
January 30, 2023 at 12:17am
January 30, 2023 at 12:17am
Hello 2023!

Welcome to a new year and a new era of the blog. Considering that all 3 people who apparently read this voted that they want more of the same, I’ve decided to completely change things up for the new year. Because I do what I want.

I think I'll still be updating monthly since that seems to be working out well. I welcome any feedback on the changes I’ve made, positive or negative, including anything I’ve taken out that you would like me to bring back.

Well, this year started off strong already.


*Bullet* The manuscript I submitted was accepted! With no changes needed.
After more than a year, two major revisions and two outright rejections. About damn time.

*Bullet* I've decided to take a promotion starting next month, instead of extending my current position for another year. Not just a promotion... this new position is a shift in my career trajectory, moving off of the traditional academic path to tenured professor. I already know that’s not what I want. Having been in academia since I was 4 years old, with no breaks, I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this move. But I'm pretty sure it's the right one.


*Bullet* My PI was back for less than a week, and already tested positive for COVID. She met individually with every person in the lab during that time. Fortunately, with masks. No one else has tested positive yet, but her four-month-old now has congestion and a fever.

*Bullet* Looks like I’m substitute PI again for another week or two. Unless I get sick. Who’s going to be substitute to the substitute PI?

And now for a new section of the blog I like to call “Myth of the Month”, or M.O.M., in which I clear up a common misconception, and you get to learn something new or feel smart for already knowing it. A win-win situation!

This month’s misconception is in honor of dry January.


“Alcohol makes you warmer, so drink if you’re cold.”

Alcohol only makes you feel warmer, due to dilation of the blood vessels bringing blood to the skin. This causes the sensation of being warm, while actually lowering your core body temperature. You've probably noticed that alcohol also feels warm going down. The "burn" you feel after a shot of tequila is because alcohol triggers the nerve receptors that normally detect heat. This tricks you into thinking the liquid is hot even at room temperature. (Mint has a similar effect on cold receptors.)

Alcohol also reduces your ability to shiver and regain lost body heat, making it even more dangerous to drink in very cold weather. Another common misconception is that knowing this will stop anyone from drinking in the cold. Cheers to that! *Drink*

Read more here  .


Did anyone out there do dry January? I can’t say I meant to, but now that I look back… I don’t think I've had a drink at all this month. I suppose there’s still time. I might be the only one who’s been drinking less since the pandemic began. I understand if the last three years have made you want to drink yourself into oblivion, believe me. I guess I just don’t enjoy drinking alone. And I don’t think I’ve ever been more alone, in the literal sense, than these last few years.

The irony is, I'm probably not alone in that statement. We are in the midst of a pandemic of loneliness, on top of an actual pandemic, and we've been isolated to the point it seems people are forgetting how to socialize and how to behave properly in public.

But that may be a topic for another blog.

Now I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions because I don’t normally keep New Year’s resolutions, but I have been making some changes that I think will make my daily life a little better. My focus for this year is to take better care of myself, including doing things that are unpleasant, hard, or even scary if I know it will be good for my current or future self.

So far, so good. 2023 has really been my year. I'm afraid I may have peaked already, and it's only January.
What’s left for the next 11 months?

I hope everyone else has had a good start to 2023!

Instead of some Positivitea™, here's what I've been listening to this month:

"Beautiful Day" by U2

What you don't have, you don't need it now.
December 22, 2022 at 10:19pm
December 22, 2022 at 10:19pm

Familiar sight to see
New leaf, old tree
With hollow fruit so tender
A December to remember

Hello from New York state, where we are going to spend Christmas hunkering down due to an ice storm and possibly in quarantine due to my parents coming down with a "cold" immediately after my arrival. As in, like, the same day. My mom tested negative this morning, but I think we all know how accurate home tests are. There's also a lot of nasty stuff going around that isn't COVID.

Which means I may be getting sick too, shortly...

It's been a month, folks. I know I said I might disappear for a while, but I didn't really mean the entire month of December. I've been working 10+ hour days, including many weekends, since Thanksgiving. To the point I couldn't even take care of myself, or my home, or my cat. And even so, it took me until just yesterday, on the 9 hour train ride here, to actually submit this damn paper. On 4 hours of sleep, after getting up before 5am to catch the train. We were meant to submit it on the 7th. And, technically, it's not even finished, because I submitted it without a supplemental table that's going to take me hours to finish when I get back.

Remember when I said this: "We'll see how I feel 3 months from now, when everything is in disarray and going wrong and I have no one to ask for advice on what to do."

Yeah, well, looks like I should be looking for a new career as a fortune teller. Definitely not as a PI, at least. Turns out, I am not a replacement for my PI and we still very much needed her.

So I haven't been to any holiday parties or events, didn't even manage to decorate my place. Actually, I did go to one super fancy holiday dinner. For work, of course. Man, I sound pathetic.

But NOW I can take an actual break. I think I slept for about 10 hours last night. If I can, I might take off work until the new year. (Besides finishing that stupid table.) I've more than earned it. And I have so much leave to use, and I don't know if all of it will roll over into the new year.

So that's the update. Now that I have some time, you might actually see some writing from me. No guarantees. I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn't nominated for any Quills, before I realized that you have to actually write something to be nominated. As in, this year. Oh well, maybe next year.

That's the theme of December, isn't it? Maybe next year.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their holiday, whatever you celebrate. I know the holiday season can be really hard for a lot of people. Be kind to yourself (and others), say no if you need to, and treat yourself to something that makes you happy.

As a holiday treat, I got you this nice warm mug of *Tea* positivitea *Teapot*:

”Last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.”
- T.S. Eliot
November 29, 2022 at 11:54pm
November 29, 2022 at 11:54pm

The fall of Fall has begun
Farther and farther from the sun
Winter displays it's temper
No splendor in November

Happy end of November, Happy Holidays, and congratulations to all the NaNo-ers out there!
Even if you didn't reach your goal, you have more written than you did at the beginning of November. All progress is good.

I'm back from the conference, and almost recovered after a nice relaxing holiday weekend. I presented some science, I got some good feedback, I learned even more science, I ate good food (mostly tacos), I went to a professional development workshop for Brain Data Science but missed the first half, I saw a great talk about sleep and a whole session about how the brain codes music, I caught up with an old friend from my alma mater (and ran into a former labmate in the airport), I went to socials and met people from around the world, I networked like I've never networked before, I figured some things out, I found an AI based image analysis program that might work well for my current project, I was actively recruited for the same position I'm in now (which I don't want, but still flattering I guess?), and I connected with a "talent acquisition partner" for a non-profit research institute that I've been interested in for a while.

Yep, that all happened in less than a week.

My poster went so well I didn't sit down for over 4 hours and nearly lost my voice (on day 1). It's been several years since my last big in person conference, and I completely forgot how demanding it is. Physically, as much, if not more than, mentally. I remember now. But I will say, that time change was a life-saver-- I felt like I had an extra 3 hours in the day.

Although the trip there was surprisingly enjoyable , the way back was... less so. My first flight landed early, for the first time in the history of mankind. Which means, of course, that my second flight was delayed. And delayed. And delayed. Because they... (checks notes)... couldn't find the flight crew. I was stuck in the airport for 7 hours before they finally found another crew and we ended up landing around 1am. The flight after us, supposedly the last flight out for the night, left well before we did (to the same location).

My first mistake was trying to leave California.
Guess it's true what they say: "You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave."  

My second mistake was flying American.

At least I still had my bags. And, past me had the wisdom and foresight to take the next day off.
Great work, past me. Truly inspired.

What I didn't do, is work on this paper revision that's due in about a week.
So now it's crunch time. (When isn't it crunch time? Does such a time exist?)

That means I probably won't be around the rest of this week, or the next. Don't be alarmed if I disappear (again) for a bit. Hope everyone is staying warm and safe! I hear much of the Southern US is being hit with severe storms and devastating tornadoes as we speak. If you're in the path of one of these storms, please take it seriously and take shelter.

And now, how does a spot of *Tea* positivitea *Teapot* sound?

”Don't count the days, make the days count.”
- Muhammad Ali

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