Big News

•June 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Big news day.

The long awaited new version of the portiris.com website is up and running. You can find out more information at the official news post.

Today it was finally announced (here) that I will be the eBook assistant for Crossed Genres in addition to everything else.

If you’d like to talk to me about these new developments, anything publishing related or whatever comes to mind. I will be the on twitter tonight at 9pm EDT as @caseysays, where I will be the guest for #sffwrtchat.

May so far

•May 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It’s the end of another semester, and the undergraduate students have started clearing out of town, leaving a quieter, more peaceful place to live and more parking for the rest of us. Likewise, for 3 wonderful months, the campus gym will be lacking the swarm of people that normally fill it to capacity during the reasonable hours of the school year. Since my lab is 5 miles off campus, access is much more convenient during the off-season.

Today marked the first time in months my friends and I have been able to take advantage of the rock wall on campus together in months. I was fully expecting to have a little difficulty with the climbing. However, a healthy dose of house/yard work and foregoing most sweets has contributed to me having to pull up 10 pounds less than last time I’d gone. My belayer (friend holding the rope and my life in his hands) even noticed I was lighter.

So today, like yesterday, has been filled with a few ups and downs. May will be too busy of a month to keep undulating this much.

I started the month in the wee hours before bed, with good news that my offer to work with another publisher was accepted for a test run. I’ll keep the details to myself until things are a little more final. I’ll be sure to post more information as the project develops.

I spent the daytime of Sunday in the creating our new hanging garden and planting our veggies for the year as well as other yard work. Pros to having a big yard: plenty of room to play with the dogs. Cons: more grass to deal with when it gets to the point that mowing every week and a half is required for decency’s sake. Portions of the yard easily grow 2 inches in height in this time.

The highlight of the weekend was learning that my research article was accepted for publication. This is the first paper of mine to be published in which I am the lead author, so I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing.

However, I can’t rightly talk about big news of yesterday without touching upon the news of the death of Osama bin Laden. I will keep most of my opinions on this news to myself for now except to say it was a surreal and somber moment, which certainly dampened my joy. I came across two quotes so far that adequately sum up my feelings towards the overwhelming response to the announcement.

‎”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee.”–Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I merely hope that those people that have been most affected by the events of a decade ago will have some sense of solace which they can use in the ongoing struggle to overcome what had happened.

In the light of such things, the worst thing that happened to me today—receiving a rejection letter for the post-doctorial lab position at a dream job—doesn’t seem too bad. I’ve decided that I can take the optimist’s view of things. Things are going pretty well, and I have another chance to rewrite the grant proposal for the lost position.

Growing up

•March 8, 2011 • 1 Comment

I’d assume it’s safe to say that all people to have reached even an early stage of adulthood have had those moments in which they halt and recognize that they reached a point they equate with growing up. Or ‘getting old.’ I’ve been comfortable with getting old, so little things about age generally don’t phase me. I’ve been getting white hairs since high school, and as long as I have a decent amount of them hanging on, they could all turn at once for all I care.

What can come more unsuspected, however, are the moments of realizing that one has matured as a professional. Today, I had the surreal experience of sitting down with a scientist who’s been doing work for longer than I’ve been alive, and I realized she’s looking to me as an equal for advice in a new line of research. Even more, she’d read the article on my first graduate research project. No matter what kind of work you publish, the feeling of finding out a complete stranger has read your work is exhilarating.

Good News Contest: Update

•March 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Sharing can lead to good things. Last Thursday I posted about some good news as part of a contest, and to my good fortune I won part of the contest. The prize an eBook edition of an issue from each of two fantastic magazines: GUD and Crossed Genres.

GUD Issue 5Crossed Genres Issue 24

There probably couldn’t be a better time, as I can now load them on my new Nook that I got this weekend. I’ll probably have a post on this little technological gem, when I’ve felt that I’ve adequately test-driven it. I’m very excited to read both of these.

BTW folks: Some of you may just pick up on a little similarity in the content of the cover art above and the title of a certain other specfic magazine.

 

Good News

•March 3, 2011 • 2 Comments

I’m a little late posting my progress report for February, but truthfully it seems unimpressive because, although much work has been done, not much has been completed. Suffice it to say I spent a lot of February wading through PHP code for two websites and through the Port Iris Magazine slush pile to get it back a manageable level.

However, I wanted to pass along an awesome opportunity going on at the blog of Crossed Genres/Science  in My Fiction publisher, Bart Leib. The Good News Givaway seems like a great chance to win some great fiction from Crossed Genres, GUD Magazine and M-Brane Press, so I thought I’d throw in my lot as well.

My most recent good news is that today is my 28th birthdays and it went fairly well, but my best good news to occur recently is passing a huge milestone in my graduate school career, which signifies only one last leg of the journey left. More on that can be found in my previous blog post. Also, Port Iris Magazine received it’s first donation last week. Every little bit helps.

UPDATE 3/3/11 23:06: I just found out that a I was just awarded a $750 grant to present my research at a scientific conference. w00t!!!

Proposal Defense

•February 9, 2011 • 2 Comments

Yesterday, I hit another major milestone in my graduate school career. Today I defended my proposed research for the remainder of my time here. There are three such landmark moments to reach before attaining a PhD: the comprehensive/qualifying exams, the dissertation proposal defense, and the dissertation defense. All of these things involve the one thing I hate doing above most other activities: talking in front of people.

With a mild form of dysnomia, I’m not comfortable talking in general, especially not in instances where I’m supposed to be able to persuasively answer questions. So, the idea of defending my existence as a scientist and as a professional is typically met with much dread and resistance.

However, I’ve been getting a lot of practice by going to science conferences, where I have to present my research to rooms filled with people doing this for much longer than me. The max so far has been >250 people. More importantly I have to interact on a one-on-one basis with others in my field. Going to 2-4 of these per year for the last 5 years, I’ve come to the point where I actually enjoy the experience overall. Without attending them, I would not have the leads for jobs after graduation that I do now. (Not so subtle hint: attending confrences/conventions/other meetings in your field is important to your career.)

I’m an introvert by nature anyway, so my discomfort with verbal communication only accentuates my difficulty with making connections with people. I do make a concerted effort to build my confidence in expressing myself. Thus I often force myself into more social interactions and writing more often, as form of mental exercise. I can honestly say that I’m almost as proud of myself for the confidence I had going into it yesterday as I am for passing.

Progress report: January 2011

•February 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

January was a very busy month, and despite getting sick, I was relatively productive. Only one big day job assignment expected for February, so I will hopefully have more success on personal projects

Writing:

  • 1 finished short story draft
  • Handful of completed poems
  • 1 submitted poem

Science Writing:

  • 1 Scientific article draft written and edited
  • 1 grant proposal written, edited, and submitted
  • 1 postdoctoral fellowship application/grant proposal written, edited, and submitted.

Port Iris Magazine:

  • Issue #4 Web content edited and finalized

Art:

  • Several sketches
  • 1 nearly complete digital painting WIP
    • (Still learning digital techniques, and I’ve never been good with hair, so I’ve been putting off finishing it)