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Preview: Dr Bunny hops and hops and hops and...

Dr Bunny hops and hops and hops and...

Updated: 2018-03-06T13:00:33.953+13:00


I am a woman. I am a feminist. I work in STEM. I love science. I am a gamer. I am here!


Hey there, World. I haven't written anything for a long time, but this is my response to GamerGate. Hate me if you have to, but this is my space too...

I am a woman. I am a feminist. I work in STEM. I love science. I am a gamer. I am here!

I don't feel I have much to add to the discussion. I'm sure my gamer and even my science credentials are questionable and I feel like an imposter speaking out at all, but actually, that just proves the point! So to Anita Sarkeesian, Felicia Day and all the other amazing women who are fighting for our rights out there on the internet. Thank you! I am here too!

The years start coming and they don't stop coming



So this is Christmas.... What have I done? It's been a busy year but none of it is recorded here. I'm sad today, but overall feeling positive about the future. I think it might be time to start looking outward again which is kind of why I'm posting here and not on LJ, home of roleplaying and introspection.

Parenting is still my major focus. J and T are happy and reasonably secure. They have an amazing relationship with each other (most times), good relationships with both their parents and with lots of other people. I think they like themselves. I see this as a major achievement.

I'm halfway to my stats qualification... 'Graduate Diploma of Applied Statistics'. This year I got a B- and an A- for my third years stats papers (Biostatistics and Quality Improvement). Not too bad, given that the rest of life kept happening. I also took a couple of extra maths papers as background, which didn't go so well (D for Linear Maths and C+ for Calculus) I'm predicting I'll be under review at work by July, but hopeful I'll survive there long enough to complete my diploma and maybe do some consulting jobs to get some experience. If not, I think my skills may now be provably transferrable enough to get a job even in the current market. I am pretty competent. This job has developed my work-social skills enormously.

Roleplaying has continued to make me happy this year... Regular wonderful Wednesday gaming... some LARPing (highlights this year were Jenni's Silver Kiss and Shell Beach, and Sophie's amazing steampunk Mad Goddess LARP), Day of Games, My game So Cold in Alaska winning a prize at Kapcon... and constructive play test with awesome gamers for White Rabbit, next year's offering.

Also I have lovely friends... If any of you are reading this, you should know that I think I am extremely lucky that so many intelligent, creative, kind, talented, beautiful people consider me worth spending time with... Yes, I am looking at you! Happy holidays to everyone in my village... You bring me hope and inspiration! :)

I think this will be my theme song for 2012

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Oxygen Mask


I recently found Big Think, and at the moment it's my favourite site to visit when I have a few minutes to fill with something awesome. I love watching the videos of smart people (sadly, mostly smart guys) talking about things they are passionate about, and sometimes it's useful or affirming, like this one, where Tal Ben-Shahar, a psych lecturer from Harvard, talks about Five Ways to Become Happier Today...As I was watching this, I realised that I'm already doing some of this stuff... I'm getting better at separating out and naming my negative emotions instead of trying unsuccessfully to pretend that they don't exist. It's far easier to mitigate loneliness, money worries and fear that I can't cope, for example, than an un-named and dreadful turmoil pressing in on my mind. And not-so-strangely, I really am much happier...... And I exercise most days, for at least half an hour and I do Jenni's TiLT and I do try to make sure that, at the end of the day, I spend some time really appreciating being with my boys, cuddling and reading and talking and making sure that they go to sleep knowing I adore them... which has the fabulous side effect of making me feel adored too!And thinking about all that I was reminded of this......which arose out of a conversation with my friend A, after he visited from the UK 18 months ago (just after I changed jobs) and came on holiday with me and the boys. I think it's fair to say that he was pretty worried about me at the time... He compared my situation to a incident on an aeroplane where I should put on my oxygen mask before helping the kids with theirs. I didn't (and don't) believe things were catastrophic, or my behaviour was life-threatening, but he made some pretty accurate observations about my mental state and some recommendations for weekly goals, which I wrote down (there were some other goals too... getting divorced and moving to Wellington, but they aren't relevant here). I started exercising more regularly and by the middle of last year had begun habitually exceeding 30 minutes/day. I don't always manage the requisite dose of 15 minutes of Karen time (which has to involve intellectual activity... ideally something that would make me say "Hmmmm"... A assumed a Thinker pose as he explained this) But, realising that A is right, and that thinking about cool and interesting things does make me happier, I am going to try and generate a new habit. 'Dr Bunny hops and hops and hops and...' started as a blog about learning to cope as a single parent, but when I lost my job and during my divorce it became a blog of failures and self-indulgent whining about bad choices.I haven't felt comfortable here in recent months. I've even been considering starting a new blog, but I think I should 'own' my bad times as well as my good ones! So, instead, I am going to reclaim this one and try and establish a new habit. In the spirit of 'history has expired due to inactivity' (which has expired due to inactivity, but some people may remember), I will don my oxygen mask, seek out and blog about at least two things each week that I think are cool or interesting or thought-provoking. Let's see how it goes... [...]

Finding Reality Thrilling


I find it harder to stay motivated in winter and I've been a bit lonely and sad lately, so I've been spending more time trawling for inspiration or meaning or something... Apparently this could be a symptom of depression! But anyway, here's some cool stuff, mostly science to help keep you going through the dark and cold...First up, some good news in the fight against climate change apathy and denial... A Dutch enquiry and a British review have both confirmed what we already knew, that the science behind the IPCC report was sound. Now hopefully we can put our effort into doing something about it?!Symphony of Science is a project that is putting the wonderful words of some of the world's greatest science communicators to music. My favourite is 'Our Place in the Cosmos', but the others are really worth listening to... the vids are amazing too!I found this via Clear Science which gives nice simple explanations of scientific concepts and phenomena, with some history of science thrown in... and I got to that from Fake Science which never fails to make me giggle (thanks adrexia ).Depleted cranium is a skeptical blog that exposes bad science. It usually gives me something to think about.exiledinpn affirmed my world view by sending me this article about how the science career path is broken. I think I should expand on this at some stage... I think, for example that it is still more broken for women than men... but I'm encouraged by Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn winning the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine last year for discovering the structure of telomeres (the caps on the end of chromosomes)... and tonight is not a night for grizzling!It isn't science but I want Andrea Bocelli to come and sing beautiful bedtime lullabies at my house!I'm waiting for the earthquake I just felt to appear on geonet so I can see how big it was. I'm enjoying putting numbers on things at the moment, so size mattters :-) Yup... here it is, really close and I've put in my tuppence worth :-)This Short Sharp Science blog entry links to the incredible chromoscope... view the universe in gamma rays, then check out the European Space Agency's annotated map. Next stop the Galactic Centre on our way to a winter holiday in the Aquila Rift...But because we're not there yet, here's a beautiful reminder from Carl Sagan that this incredible Pale Blue Dot is the only home that you or I will ever know.[...]

Still here


Still breathing, as an elderly colleague of mine used to say... until, one day, he stopped...

I have been a bit flat today, following a slightly imperfect MAF audit yesterday, but I have been having some pretty happy days lately too...

Things I really like right now:
  • spring (masses of bluebells in the Esplanade were the highlight of today's floral offerings but kowhai and blossom and our 4 red tulips also rating pretty high)
  • recent visits to Wellington
  • swimming (2-3 times a week) and the happy I feel after I have run (while I'm running, maybe not so good :-) )
  • the cuteness of my children (J cites anecdotal evidence from imaginary scientists to support his arguments... he seems to have a grasp of the fact that large samples are required for good science that many tertiary students and some scientists lack... "A scientist told me he went in his submarine and he saw 100... no 600 of rainbow fish and they were all eating krill", ipso facto, "Some fish eat krill, eh Mummy")

In spring even Palmy is fairyland


The pink blossom avenue in the Esplanade is like a fairy tale place and we have purple hyacinths, creamy freesias, red and pink and purple and white anemones, purple pansies, purple and white and yellow violas, hot pink dianthus, 3 yellow and orange daffodils and a red and yellow tulip in the pots on our deck. Tiny pale green leaves are starting to appear on the trees... Today was cold, but the sky was blue and the sun was bright... So many colours... No wonder T's favourite song is "I can sing a rainbow!"

Further, faster, fitter


This evening I ran 3.1 km in 25 minutes (apart from walking across one busy road), then when the kids were in bed I made myself a healthy dinner of awesome deliciousness... medium rare steak in a wholemeal wrap with hummus, mesclun, tomato, cucumber and chickpea salad (+ pumpkin, sundried tomatoes, mint and coriander from the garden, lemon juice and madras paste)...

... On Saturday I swam 750m and cycled 5 km (though not consecutively)... And on Sunday I rode my bike 9-and-a-bit km (which is d**n close to 10 km)... even mamnaged to go down some gentle slopes without my feet in the ground, and only feeling slightly shaky (well, quite shaky really, but I stayed on and kept going)...

I am so totally going to do this triathlon! (It is 6 months away, so really quite a reasonable goal)

Full and sleepy now... milk and bed!

(I copied some of this across from facebook and it has made the formatting go psycho but I am too knackered to fix it now)

Runnin' down the road trying to loosen my load


I just ran for 20 minutes continuously, and from this useful website, I can tell you that I ran 2.4 km and burnt 852 kJ (one advantage(?) of obesity is that you get to work harder when you exercise)... After the 1st 5 minutes (during which I wheeshed and puffed like a tank engine), I found a comfortable hippo-trot, and it didn't hurt again until I got stitch right at the end. I'm pretty pleased given that my aim is to be able to run 3 km in 20 minutes (after swimming 6 lengths of the real pool and cycling 10 km) by February. My workmate and I are planning to do the Palmy TriWoman triathlon before we turn 40. She's got a couple of years, but I totally have to do it this summer!

I swam 1 km yesterday, and we're swimming again tomorrow (and we walked at lunchtime today too... I am such a jock), so now I just need to overcome the cycle-vertigo I developed during pregnancy and get on my bike and ride :-)

The queen of suburban fusion cuisine


Tonight we ate tacos with slow cookered mince, beans and lentils (1 kg beef mince browned in batches in the frypan with 2 chopped onions and a large dollop of cheat's garlic, a Tsp of coriander, a tsp of cumin and a smidgen of chilli, then chucked into the slow cooker with 2 cans budget chopped toms, a can of 4 bean mix, a couple of grated carrots and a sprinkle of salt, and left on auto for the work day), raw grated carrot, grated cheese, sliced cucumber, 1/3 of a tiny tomato each, tinned beetroot and steamed brocolli. It was consumed with gusto, apart from the broccolli which was grudgingly nibbled... It seems beetroot goes with everything!

Personally, I found it a little bland, but couldn't be bothered reaching for the chilli sauce.

Stuff that's happening


  • Beautiful crisp frosts, but ever so cold
  • Broken car, but not the head gasket, so Millie survives to drive another day
  • Awesome car-lending D who caught the bus to work for 2 days so I could drive the kids to creche in comfort
  • Weird automatic car
  • Warm fire, Idiot's cookies and Battlestar Galactica
  • N feeding kids dinner on his nights now (an unexpected outcome of the Family Court counselling I believed was a waste of time)... and have used the time to go jogging twice (albeit in a pathetic staggering panting way)... 20 lamposts, then 26... in pairs with singles walked between... next week shooting for 30 in threes.
  • Soup with smoked chicken stock and barley, pulses and pumpkin in the slow cooker, then carrot matchsticks and brocolli and assorted leaves from the garden in at the end... good contrast between the soupy broth and crisp and fresh veges... and the kids liked it too!
  • Swimming with colleagues once or twice a fortnight
  • Working harder on looking professional for work and getting some positive comments
  • Haircut that I like
  • Emotions that crash on me unexpectedly if I stop concentrating on positive, leaving me in the toilet at work with my head in my hands
  • Weekly gaming keeping me sane... how do non-gamers escape?
  • Kids sleeping better, so I am too, and both abed by 7:30 tonight, so 2 hours + to myself when the chores were done!
  • Divorce goes uncontestable on Tuesday if N hasn't contested it yet, which I don't actually know. Still, it is done, and cannot be undone, just delayed...

The evolutionary significance of appreciating beauty


Today my feelings are hurting me (James, source of accurate descriptions, has given me this one). Where is my handsome prince? Where is my luxurious castle? Where is my beautiful swan-body? Was I cheated, or since I am clearly not in line for a happy ever after, perhaps... perhaps... I am evil?

So yeah... today... emotions not good... concentration shot to sh*t... walking around in a blurry cloud of misery. Poor concentration is certainly not a survival trait.

But this evening was beautiful. So beautiful it broke my bubble of bad Red and yellow autumn trees glowed in the golden light. the clouds were fluffy and peachy. The gorgeous young man next door smiled his sweet smile and gave me a cute little wave as I drove in, and a full rainbow presided over the washing line as I brought in the washing. And hey... here I am back in the world again!

At the start of the year, after a walk to Dawson Falls on Mt Taranaki, A asked me why I thought we evolved to appreciate beauty. I couldn't come up with a reason. But now I'm thinking... too much misery and stress is not good for us (I went to an awesome "resilience" seminar at work a while ago which touched on this. I intended to blog about at the time and maybe will soon). We need something to activate our "happy" hormones and neurological pathways or we get horribly depressed and life feels like it's not worth living (interestingly we are not the only animals that suffer from depression) and we can't be having sex or eating ALL the time... so maybe "beauty" pathways and "fun" pathways have co-opted those other pathways to keep us happy more of the time. Because let's face it... unless you're in a flight or fight situation, stress is really NOT that great

What do you think?

Still Feeling Tragic


Alas alack!

Alo alas alack
Alamus alackus alant

'Allo... Alas alack! Alarmist! I lack kiss... a lant???

A very obliging little monster


T: "Roarrr roarrr, I'm a monster"
Me (cowering): "Ooooh ooooh. Please monster, please don't eat me"
T: "Okay"

Appropriately tentative


In an email from a colleague, she was unwittingly apt... "You can diffidently put me down for [that task]". If only she knew... or maybe better not?

Seeing the world through new eyes


(image) I got new glasses before Easter. I think they look kind of cool, but unfortunately the only picture I have is this one my Mum took of me in my dressing gown with my hair all messy...
What I really wish I could show you is my new clarity of vision. I'm loving the crisp clean edges and bright shiny colours... helped along by the golden April sunshine and the crunchy leaves underfoot. I'm having an especially beautiful autumn this year!

No longer milking it...


Highlights of a fantastic Easter weekend...

  • Staying with the wonderful Ruth, D, H and K.

  • Finally getting to watch some Flight of the Conchords... the 1st 6 episodes of season 1... I loved it... especially the Bowie episode and the 'if you're into it' song Brett sings to Coco.

  • Big yellow bus adventure on Friday to Oriental Bay, admiring the swampy waterfront gardens and the skateboarders, hanging out in two very different, but clearly enjoyable playgrounds, having a picnic and looking at boats, and our first ever crocodile ride... ding ding! My kids also paddled in a most-of-body immersion kind of way... and D kindly got wet instead of me:-)

  • Saturday, another beautiful day... walked in Otari with Ruth, H and K and another friend and two of her kids... enjoyed the treetop bridges and lookouts, and the alpine garden sandpit (we are a menace!). The troop picnic area has a very nice toilet now!

  • Fluffy dinner on Saturday at the Mexican Cafe in Newtown... very yum, but closed early, so we adjourned for dessert to a nearby Fluffy-dwelling. It was lovely and I am so lucky to be friends with such awesome women! Extremely grateful to the wonderful D, who not only babysat, but put BOTH my wee darlings to bed!

  • On Sunday, Easter bunny left eggs in the garden for our little darlings (and gave me one too). We drove back to Palmy, but T woke in the traffic jam south of Waikanae, and inspired by Friday, I picked up food from the petrol station in Otaki, and headed for the beach... first time at a beach alone with both kids. It was great... lovely sunshine, although the breeze was chilly, I took their trousers and pants/nappy off , but left their fleeces on (an autumnal fashion statement). Because J is cautious round water, keeping track of both of them was fairly easy... initially J dug a paddling hole for me to fill with buckets of water, If T got away, his protective big brother charged after him, bullrush style... eventually J also braved the waves, to help collect water (apparently I wasn't fast enough) and then I had to bribe them both out with the promise of icecreams. We ate them at the playground a couple of blocks back from the beach, which has very cool merry-go-round, that I'm sure is dangerous by modern standards

  • Today, Brunch at Cafe Cuba with Giffy and her friends, a trip to the Esplanade and a ride on the train

And most excellent of all (though right now my breasts are huge and hurting)... with the support of Ruth and especially D (who both boys adore) I have weaned my little T, who actuallyseems mostly unfazed... so long as I let him keep the light on and "read" for a while before he drops off to sleep. And this means that all of bed-time takes less time, and tonight both boys were asleep by 7:40, and since I have not got the new episode of Dollhouse yet (my other reason for blogging slackness), I wrote this. Now I must do the dishes, make lunches, pack bags for tomorrow, and sleep, for sleep is good.

Happy Birthday Dear Darwin!


It is 200 years today since the birth of Charles Darwin (many happy returns Chuck, we love you!). There's a Nature special, some of which is even open access, Scientific American has an awesome podcast, with Darwin himself speaking and the ever wonderful David Attenborough discusses why you'd have to be incredibly blinkered not to believe in evolution. Enjoy! (object) (embed)

For he's a jolly good fellow... and so say all of us!

If today were a Covenant game


Motifs: "Torrential rain", "Windowless spaces", "Grey", Emergency vehicles".

Conventions: "If I keep doing stuff, I'll make it through to bedtime", "Laughter makes life bearable", "Tomorrow will be better".

I think my character has a story level consequence of "Makes bad choices".

Unsustainable development


We have emergency services stickers with cool fire engines and ambulances.

J was dry overnight then did wees in the toilet. Then he got dressed, including asking which drawers his clothes were in and finding them for himself.

I am running out of stickers!

*Edited to add. Tonight he did poos in the toilet even though he already had his nappy on, went to bed beautifully and was miraculously asleep by 7:40... but we used the last ambulance!

Who is Dr Bunny now?


As you can see, I finally updated my profile last night with some actual words... It's too long so I'll change it soon, probably to something less job-oriented. I'm posting it here, so it doesn't get lost because I think it is an interesting part of the refocussing process I'm going through (thanks to Giffy for pointing that out!)

I'm a single parent with two beautiful boys J, aged 4 years, and T who is 19 months. I feel very lucky to be their Mummy and am learning with them as they grow! I was once (and forever) a plant biochemist, but recently fell prey to funding shortages and my poor publication record. I'm now working as a Science Facility Manager or "Compliance Guy" (what my position was called before I was appointed). I'm finding the transition difficult, but starting to see the funny side... Compliance Guy would make an awesome super-villain. In fact, one of my current performance objectives is "to build my evil empire of beautifully compliant scientists." My boss even approved it; but told me I had to word it more subtly to disguise my blatant ambition! Mwahahaha! I also think it would be cool to make a Reality TV spoof called Extreme Compliance, but I don't have the skills or technology (and it has probably been done).

Beware... voracious computers may consume you!


"Warning, computers fed off this board" says the sign on a grey metal cupboard at work. Sadly, the sign doesn't tell you when it will be feeding time. and I've never seen the zookeepers or their hopeful charges.

T spoke sentences


"Apricot not yum".

"Out there blow... pffffffffffff" (He was telling me it was windy and I must have looked blank, so he blew to illustrate).

"Oooo look, Jessie... ball" (his friend had a balloon)

Another study states the obvious... but nothing will change


"Our study [also] indicates that children and adolescents who may face the greatest risks of vitamin and mineral deficiency are the least likely to be taking supplements," said Ulfat Shaikh, lead study author, assistant professor of pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine and a clinician at UC Davis Children's Hospital.
"The study findings seem to bear out the hypothesis that cost is a barrier to children getting vitamins. Among households considered below the poverty level, 22 percent of children used vitamins. The number jumped to 43 percent among those not considered poor. Among households not enrolled in the federal Food Stamp Program, 38 percent of children used vitamins. But in households using food stamps, vitamin use was around 18 percent. Children in 36 percent of households where there is no hunger use vitamins; only 15 percent use vitamins in households where there is "food insecurity and hunger.""
U.S. families living in poverty are less likely to be able to provide adequate nutrition for their children or to supplement their diets with vitamins to compensate... I'm guessing the situation is probably similar here... so, how do we change it?

"I don't think 9 billion [people] is better than 1 billion"


James Lovelock, the scientist who originated the Gaia theory has written a new book (The Vanishing Face of Gaia) and New Scientist has an interview with him.

Read it... It's pretty extreme stuff:
"I think it's wrong to assume we'll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less."
I don't really have enough background to assess this at the moment, and I'm very sure my values differ from his a whole heap, but if this was a marketing ploy, it was effective, because I definitely want to read the book now!

Terraforming planet earth


Now you can replant a forest by dropping seedlings out of helicopters... Awesome! Has anyone got a spare helicopter lying around for a wee bit of ecoactivism? I fancy reforesting the Manawatu!