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It's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder. mostly silly, with a 20% chance of science

Updated: 2016-10-17T03:50:10.699-07:00




Or rather: HOUSTON, WE ARE GO FOR LAUNCH!!! (I've always wanted to say that). --------------------------------- Dear friends, This will be my last post on this blog. BUT! DON'T PANIC! I'm not quitting, I'm just relocating! My new blog is here (RSS feed here), and it's part of a brand spanking new blog network called Occam's Typewriter. The network has been set up (with much blood,

Twelve Months of VWXYNot?


As seen everywhere, here are the first sentences of my first post of each month in 2010. Bragging Rights Central, hockey pools, grants, visitors, quizzes, and bears - sounds about right! (But no Winter Olympics posts? That's hardly representative of the year as a whole!) January Congratulations to Massimo for winning the First Annual VWXYNot? Readers' Choice Comment of the Year Award!

Family fortunes


Me: "Ooh! There are two fortunes in this fortune cookie!" Mr E Man: "Mine too!" (Munch munch, rustle rustle) Me: "OH! I don't think mine are very compatible with each other!" Mr E Man: "Heh - same here!" Me: "Why, what did you get?" Mr E Man: Me: "NO FUCKING WAY!" Mr E Man: "Why, what did you get?" Me: Spooky, eh?! ------ ETA: I just remembered another fortune cookie story! I was

Bragging Rights Central: stats and a reminder about the annual vote!


It's that time of year again! The shortlist of my favourite blog comments for the year is down to 33 entries, and as soon as I've managed to whittle it down to 12, we will be ready for a vote! I had a blast reading through all the archives. I really do have amazing commenters, and I'm very proud of this community of clever, insightful, and very very funny people. Many, many thanks to everyone

Because I know how much you love my screenshots


Do you ever open up new browser tabs to read later? I do. It's a very bad habit - I sometimes end up with as many as ten blogs and news articles open at once, and it can take me days to get through all of them. It's the internet version of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. It's also very confusing, as I sometimes forget exactly which articles are currently waiting for me. So I'll be

Just... don't.


"BRCA status" is not so long and clunky that you should feel the need to say "BRCA-ness", as in "property X is probably related to the BRCA-ness of the cell line". If you absolutely must say "BRCA-ness", pronounce it "bracka-ness", not "bee are see eh-ness" Please.

Ever say never?


Spotted on a whiteboard in a PI's office, written in massive letters (colours as in original): Book chapters and reviews are for people with no data - NEVER SAY YES

A cure for piles?


One of the Research Ethics Board applications I submitted last week bounced back today, with a request to attach the original patient consent form used for sample acquisition. I searched all my computer files (I use extremely logical folder and file names, and rename every file that people send me to fit my structure) and found... nothing, nada, zip. Not a sausage. My boss took over this

Elevated anxiety


Spotted on the top floor of my building yesterday: In other, no doubt completely unrelated news, we have a new PI in the building! Dr... Wonka, I think it was. Model organisms guy, working on a species closely related to C. elegans - V. kniddus.

Now that's an odd name for a dog.


Weird that they didn't give the photographer's name, eh? (Awesome photo, though, that is in danger of making this Yorkshire lass feel homesick. Check out the series - there are some stunning shots included in the slide show).

What I Did On My Staycation - Part II


Wednesday The heavy rain that greeted me first thing in the morning made me exceedingly glad that I'd braved the windstorm to visit Stanley Park while the sun was still out the day before. However, an hour or two later the bus driver greeted me with a cheery "did you bring the sunshine with you?", and by the time we reached my stop (in the scary heart of the Downtown Eastside) the glare of

What I Did On My Staycation - Part I


(This got way too long for one post. Also, the return to work has been a wee bit stressful, and our internet connection at home is all messed up,so it's taken me ages to write it. Boooooo. I'll try to get Part II written soon! It'll even have photos!) Monday First of all, I slept in - bliss! I had a leisurely breakfast, then took the bus and SkyTrain down to the Vancouver Art Gallery. This is

So apparently I suck at calligraphy


First of all, my sincerest apologies if I inadvertently wrote something offensive. If so, it was a result of incompetence, not malice.This was at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen classical Chinese garden, which was lovely (full post on my staycation adventures is to come). You sip on your free tea and use water and a brush on a reusable slate thingy, which explains a) why the top part had already dried and

Should I stay(cation), or should I go (to White Rock)?


This is Day One of my staycation! I've been to the art gallery and am now poncing about in a cafe with my MacBook, pretending to be a writer. Too bad I forgot to clean the laptop screen and outer casing before I came out, but hey, maybe the smudges add to the bohemian look. I originally declared the weekend that's just finished to be the beginning of my staycation, but then Nina pointed out on

Nuclear fiction


Conversation last night: Mr E Man: "I was really enjoying that show I was watching before we went out" Me: "Oh, it was a show? I thought it was a movie" Mr E Man: "Yeah, it was a movie" Me: "Oh right, I keep forgetting that you guys [movie industry people] call movies shows. It's very confusing sometimes" Mr E Man (in his best fake-patronising voice): "Well, you've only known me eight years.

Lest we forget


Hockey pool, week 5


I forgot to check who was going to post the update this week, so I guess that means it's me! It was Chall's week all the way: just look at the slope on her line as she took first place! Lavaland and I also had good weeks, climbing from 8th to 6th and from 7th to 4th, respectively. It's still pretty tight at this early stage of the season though, and it's definitely still anyone's game! Here's

Cocktail sausage


I've never before had a drink that came with meat in it.Mmmmmmmm. Meat.

QUIZ: Elementary, my dear readers!


Ooh, this is gonna be a good one! Remember that this time I've activated comment moderation (for the first time EVAH), and you have 24(ish) hours to submit as many answers as you can before I open up the comments (as soon as I get up tomorrow). Put them all in one comment, or keep coming back and leaving multiple comments - either way is fine! Once the comments are open, you can keep submitting



  (posted from my iPhone) ETA: Wow, what a show! The best I've seen in years! More photos: I danced my ass off and sang and yelled until I was hoarse. Awesome stuff.

Fox hunt


Yesterday, while composing an email to our IT department trying to persuade them to let me install Firefox on my new computer*, I decided to quickly check that the new version of Internet Explorer doesn't have any of the necessary features** I was claiming were unique to Firefox. I guess it doesn't: Yay, Microsoft! ---------------- *it's not so slow that I want to throw it out the window!

The people have spoken!


Poll results The next quiz will be posted at 7am PST on Friday, November 5th. Comments will be closed for the first 24 hours (well, probably more like 26 or 27, because I'm not getting up early on a Saturday just for this!) You will be able to submit answers for as many questions as you wish during that time, in either one comment or multiple comments. After the 26(ish) hours are up I'll open

Hockey Pool, Week 4


First of all, many thanks to Chall and ScientistMother for hosting the last two updates! Here are this week's results: Congratulations to Thomas, who reclaimed top spot from Bob this week! You two must be getting lonely at the top there, but luckily ScientistMother is making a bid to join you. I think it's obvious that we need to have a Canadian in the top spot, so yay Scientist Mother!

How the scientists stole Hallowe'en


Here's some classic X-Files dialogue from an episode called "How the ghosts stole Christmas": Mulder: [alarmed at a noise] Shhh! What was that? Scully: [irritably rational] These are tricks that the mind plays. They are ingrained clichés from a thousand different horror films. When we hear a sound, we get a chill, we, we- we see a shadow and we allow ourselves to imagine something that an

Context is everything


Gotta love the intersection between science / clinical trial acronyms and automated word choice suggestions: Yes, lots of people eat rye bread in the former colonies, but that's not quite what I was going for. In other news, I started quite the debate on Twitter today when I asked whether it should be wildtype, wild-type, or wild type. According to a Nature subeditor who replied, wild type is