Academia, Career, Economics, Faith, Neurological Disorders, Pain, Problems to Solve, Spinal Cord Injury, Uncategorized, Writing

Grant Amazing

I  did! I posted again!

Okay, it’s been a long time since my last post. While I feel bad about not keeping up with the blog, at the same time, I have a good reason. I’ve been deep in the bowels of grant-writing.

Science, despite all it’s glorious discoveries and wonders, fails without cold-hard cash driving it forward. In our day and age, money motivates discovery. Almost all our breakthroughs in science have some kind of sponsored backing.

Sad, but true. But then, many of us who are in the field of academic science research are driven by more than simply the need for knowledge fulfillment. Personally, I believe I belong in research (for now). And I love to teach…. which in my position provides me with that opportunity.

Regarding Money

With my desire to propel my projects forward, I’ve stopped nearly all distractions from my ability to devote time and energy to getting a grant. As some of my friends know, I’ve made this a top priority. I firmly believe that the work I’m doing in the lab will have some future benefit as well provide an exciting perspective on the issues of Spinal Cord Injury and Pain. 

A metaphorical image….

So I give myself a pat on the shoulder, because just a day ago I got a phone call from the funding agency that my grant application has been award full-funding for the next two-years.

I’m a young investigator, and this is my first grant funded as the principle investigator. In the course of an academic career, this is a THE milestone toward something “bigger” or at the very least more independent. For a little bit of time, and to a point, I will have my own little research space to study something on my own. This is nice, scary, and exciting all at the same time.

As I move forward, as the quiet margins open up again, I will try my best to continue my ruminations. Writing continues to be a great outlet… no matter the topic.

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A nice anecdote on something I think is relevant to me and others in the field

New Faculty

source

I have a good friend who is married with a child who is now middle school age.  For years, his wife was trying to get hired full time as a  teacher in the local county system.  She started out as a substitute, moved up to part time, and last year, was hired full-time.  A dream come true for her.  Her husband, my friend, supported this–not just because he is a good man but he loved that his wife was so happy and doing what she was passionate about.

We were chatting the other day and as we wrapped up ‘business’ the conversation turned to family and life outside of work.  He made some comments to me that really got me thinking for a few reasons.  His main point was this,”I love that my wife is so happy and while it’s easier to pay some bills, I can’t say that…

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Existence, Problems to Solve, Storm, Time, Uncategorized, Writing

There, I did it


On the back burner of my mind, I know I need to blog. I want to blog, but don’t have the time to write something compelling or well-constructed.

In the middle of writing a grant and finishing up some experimental projects.

But, I know that if I don’t write something, I’ll go crazy.

So there. I did it. Blog posted….back to writing my grant.

 

Grants

Grants (Photo credit: Steve deBurque)

 

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Faith, Humor, Memory, Thinking, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing

Baptism by ink?

I have a confession to make, and it’s one I’ve not told many people. I love fountain pens, and there have been consequences.

I’ve got nimble hands, which is useful in my line of work (as a neuroscientist). I first learned I had a gift for fine motor ability when I was 3 years old and figured out how to tie shoe-laces just by watching my mom do it. I was able to do it in one try.

Now, here’s where it goes all wrong. I got prideful. I forgot I had this gift, and when you have a talent and misuse it with things it’s not meant for, the result is humiliation or worse. In my case, it was worse.

I had become very good at twirling pens between my forefinger and middle-finger, sort of like a cheerleader’s baton, except with a small writing instrument. I’ve done it well, and back in high school, I was a master.

At that time, I also discovered fountain pens. Oh, what a cool little toy. You pull a fountain pen out of your pocket to take notes in English class and you’re a brand new person. You are different–when I reflect on this now, however, it was kind of an odd-ball thing to have–but I’m older and more mature (yes, I am!) so I have the freedom to smile at these memories.

A Lamy 2000, best pen ever...discovered

I was sitting in English class and was listening to a lecture, but not really paying attention, twirling a pen around. Spinning and spinning, like a smoker absentmindedly tapping ashes into an ashtray. You see, I was practicing. Always practicing for some big show. Of course, I guess some shows aren’t meant to be shown.

Someone turned, maybe to pass a love note to their neighbor and glanced at me, then laughs. But it wasn’t a laugh. She was choking like it was a burst of laughter, only repressed.

I realized I was twirling a fountain pen. And it was uncapped! I felt something wet on my face, my neck…. My hand came away with blue smudges when I tried to feel what it was.

My English teacher unmercifully asked in front of thirty-or-so of my peers if I needed to step outside and use the bathroom. Well, being in the back (I liked sitting in the back of the class) I had to walk through the aisles, past several occupied desks, and across the front of the room by the blackboard to the exit. I could hear the laughter, giggles and whatever muffled jokes were being told right outside in the hallway.

I thought it was game over when I arrived at the bathroom. I would just take my time, and slip back into the room unnoticed. Nope. I was punished a second time.

The volume of laughter, ridicule and hilarious comments increased when I came back into the classroom. Apparently, I had scrubbed myself so hard my skin had become red and splotchy; in exactly the same locations as the worst of the splattered fountain pen ink.

I had learned a big lesson that day.

Fountain pens are fun, but must be handled with care and respect. Cap ’em when not used for writing!

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This is a fantastic post about the power of slowing down (to save time).

Hannibal and Me: life lessons from history

“I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” So Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician and philosopher, allegedly excused himself once. Or perhaps it was Mark Twain or George Bernard Shaw.

It’s witty, it’s ironic, it’s true: that’s why any of them might have said it.

Here is how I know that: I write for The Economist, and most of our articles are short. I’ve opined on the subject of optimal length in writing before, but in this context, let’s just say that it is the shortening that takes all of the time.

Because I have so little time, I got into the bad habit of not shortening, and not cleaning up, my emails. You see, there were too many emails, and I was too busy to take time for any one of them. (Bear with me. You’re supposed to…

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Prose, Thinking, Uncategorized, Writing

Adventurous Writing

Writing about naught. I’m sure I’ve got something inspring to say this afternoon on Saturday. It’s raining. A good time to sit back with a cup o’ joe and brain dump a blog post. I’m inspired to say the least by a lot of other bloggers. They have so much interesting content that I’m betting, with my limited financial prowess, that a lot of it comes from reading a lot.

There’s a whole lot of material out there…. like movie reviews, food tasting, current event news stories, and the like. I’m still trying to find my niche of what I like to write about here on my blog. 

Image

A stock photo...from somewhere out there

I guess it’s going to end up as a sort of a melange of many things. Some of my thoughts come out impulsively and I post a tad too quickly; in which I end up suffering the bit of grammatical pop-ups that appear when I re-read my already published material.

I suppose I’d rather just be myself and not be afraid to communicate at this moment (this absolute micro-second) what my brain is trying to congregate as a cohesive thought or idea. Really, in being really uninhibited, the real me comes out and I discover him, whilst also allowing others to see that person, too. Kinda scary.

I suppose I could keep this blog post in draft mode, but hey, it’s Saturday and I’m feeling adventurous (!) right now. 

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