Friday, October 16, 2009

Is it boring to just tell people how busy you are all the time?


Oh well, here goes. I submitted my essay to the Scientific Blogging contest, and while the judges hem and haw, I contemplate additional writing-related opportunities. I'm also keeping my artistic muscles limber by illustrating a card game about science. These pursuits, however, are mere sidelines to this year's primary task of Finishing The Thesis. Data analysis and paper-writing continue apace. A continued brake on forward progress is the near-incapacitating cuteness of my cats.


I'm sorry, dear little blog. It's been a while since I gave you any quality time. You haven't even seen a mention of the International Cephalopod Awareness Days (October 8-10). In my defense, I did honor every single ICAD over at Squid A Day. Furthermore, I'm working on a longer, more serious Cephalopodiatrist post about the whole meaning of ICAD and Squidmas. So, be warned! Something not-hilarious might show up here! Because, you know, everything else I write is a laugh a minute. (That phrase was once used rather dryly by an eminent larval fish biologist to describe a scientific meeting he was about to attend, when I rather thoughtlessly suggested that he "have fun".)

Anyway, hi! I have been wildly busy with a variety of boring things, like remodeling a kitchen and having the flu, but also with some interesting things, namely, the three obsessions of my life, SCIENCE, WRITING, and ART.



I am trying to finish my thesis. By May. There, I said it. I want to finish my thesis by May. Hah! That does not mean it will absolutely happen, but I do have this feeling that the more often I say it (and the more people I say it to, most particularly members of my committee, which--yeah, I should get around to that) the more likely it is to happen. Also, of course, the more work I do, the more likely it is to happen. So, I am writing a chapter up for publication, analyzing data on all the rest, and learning about deadlines.


I have my eye on two internships: the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship, which I had really better apply for, but I haven't even started, because I was focusing on the other one, the Scientific Blogging contest that I mentioned way back--when? Exactly three entries ago.

As of yesterday, the competition is closed! My essay, my superb-nay-flawless chunk of prose, has been submitted and is now available for all to read. It is rubbing shoulders with a whole lot of pretty outstanding pieces--I haven't had a chance to read them all, but these are my favorites so far. Now, the secret judging panel at sci blogging is doing secret-judge things to pick the finalists. Picking winners from amongst the finalists, however, will be done not-secretly-at-all by the plebes--anyone and everyone who wants to vote. So if I make it into the finalist rounds, this is what you will hear: HEY PEOPLE GO VOTE FOR MY ESSAY NOW PLEASE. (Just practising! In case!)


I have been illustrating a truly awesome card game that my friend Kevin came up with. It is about Science, of course. And it is really fun, even compared to real games that real game companies come up with. But right now, many of the cards are lacking pretty pictures. And they need pretty pictures. That will make it more fun. So, that is my job!

We're hoping to auction off the first fully-illustrated version of the game at WSN this year. After that, there may be some revisions, but pretty soon the game will probably be available to buy through The Game Crafter. Never fear (or, maybe fear), I will keep posting about it! It's very educational--you get to use your botanist to distract your opponent's chemical oceanographer with pretty flowers, or have your theoretical mathematician prove that cloaking is possible. This is true!


I have been very busy.


There are also the two cats, who are mercifully (and adorably) sacked out on top of two different stacks of boxes in my office right now. And then there are the boxes themselves, which, although they are very serviceable cat pillars, might someday want to be, I don't know, unpacked.

Then there's the kitchen. But let's not even go there, okay? Instead, I'm going to go back and write a little abstract for this absurdly long rambling entry, to make life easier for people who might be too busy to read all fifty pages (just a guess, of course--isn't it nice how webpages can be as long as forever?) about how busy I am.

After writing the abstract, apparently, I will decide it would be clever to organize the whole entry like some kind of warped, mutant scientific paper. Then I will start using future tense to describe things that have already happened, and at that point it is CLEARLY time to go work on something else.


  1. Hi! Been a fan for some time. Just posting to say, you WILL tell us where we can get this game when it's ready, won't you? I must have a copy!

  2. Danna,
    I was watching the Discovery Channel and a program aired entitled Squid Invasion and there you were fertilizing Humboldt squid eggs. I was riveted and delighted to see you. You are still you. Thank goodness.
    From time to time you pop into my thoughts and I wonder how you are doing and what you are up to. Now I know. Congratulations on your work. I will be pulling for you to finish your doctorate in May as predicted/proclaimed.
    I am currently retired (last June) from the HGM and from teaching. I am not, however, glued to soap operas with a box of bon bons, becoming a serious couch potato. I've got many irons in many fires, so life is cooking along just fine.
    All the best,
    Barbara Barnett

  3. Hi Dan! Thanks for asking--yes, of course I will tell you (probably ad nauseum) how and where to buy the game.

  4. Dr. Barnett! What an surprise treat to hear from you! I'm so extremely glad you caught the Squid Invasion show and tracked me down. Yup, I'm very much still me, change in surname notwithstanding. =) Thanks so much for your vote of thesis-finishing confidence!
    When I think back on high school now, English is one of the classes I remember most fondly (alongside calculus). I just loved reading Shakespeare, writing carpe diem poetry, working on the Magnitude . . . Anyway, I can't imagine you vegging out in front of the TV--you must be doing all kinds of interesting projects! I'd love to hear more if you'd like to e-mail me: dannajoy (at) gmail (dot) com. Take care!


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