Now that we are half-way through winter, my yearning for a dressier pair of boots has intensified as my chances of finding what I want in my (very common) size diminish.

After lusting after several different pairs of Fluevogs particularly "babycake" which I can't even seem to find an image of anymore (a beautiful pair of mid calf boots with a small heel and rubber sole, in vintage style with brogue detailing and fake leather covered buttons up the side), I have finally found a pair that whet my appetite. Except... I can't find them online in my size or a colour I would wear (the bright red is simply not "me")... so what are the odds of walking into a store that has any stock left?

Sigh... for the best right? ... right?


disclaimer: i haz maybe lost mind

moar funny pictures

ohhhh... sorry for the groaner... couldn't help it... too funny to my tired brain today...


I learned a new word today...


Courtesy of the (very funny) Yarn Harlot's blog today.

stet |stet|
verb ( stetted , stetting ) [ intrans. ]
let it stand (used as an instruction on a printed proof to indicate that a correction or alteration should be ignored).

It is an editing term, derived from latin, that means "let it stand", as in put it back the way I wrote it, as in stop trying to ruin the greatness that I crafted in words.

Today, I am trying to finalize the edits for an article manuscript I just got back from a journal with some comments I swear indicate that the referees only looked at the figures and read every third paragraph. To be fair I get a little overly attached to my writing, and have a tendency to take it rather personally when a referee suggests changes. Ok fine, so sometimes I want to cry and just revoke my submission and say "fine, then the world will just NEVER KNOW!"... possibly including a "nah na-nah na-nah naaahhh". Of course I realize that is just silly, and then go about trying not to sound too defensive and like I am a reasonable being that is at least considering what has been suggested. Sigh.

I wish I could just reply with a giant "STET". No "please" attached.


ps- in all honesty, there are some good suggestions, and I suppose the paper will be better for it, except that now it will be too long. I just hate the revision process, and there are a few really odd comments I just don't know how to respond to besides to say "read it again!".


toasty toes

Warning: knitting post.


Pattern: Tyrolean stockings from Interweave Knits, Fall 2007
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino, antique rose (~1.75 balls)
Ravelry link

I finally finished my Tyrolean stockings. I started these right after I got the magazine as I was enthralled by the pattern, seduced by the thought of having some great knee socks, and justified yet another WIP by the fact that I was using stash yarn. I worked away at them here and there, but set them aside for the Christmas knitting, and interrupted them for a sweater. Over Christmas I finished the first one and was so thrilled I got the second done within a couple of weeks.

The pattern is actually relatively easy. I didn't think it possible, but by about half way down the first I had the chart memorized, and the second one flew by. I honestly never thought I would make it through a pair of cabled socks, but here they are.

One note on the pattern that wasn't clear to me was that the last row before starting the heel flap should contain the twists and small cables. I didn't do it on the first sock and by the time I'd finished the heel I realized that I should have done it, but was too lazy to rip out the whole heel to fix it. So they are fraternal twins, as I knit the second as I thought they should be.

A note on my yarn selection: this isn't an ideal yarn for the pattern. I used it because it was in my stash and I loved the colour. I forced it to gauge (though in hindsight I could have gone up a needle size and made them roomier anyway), which made for some very tight cable knitting that gave me shoulder knots. The resulting fabric is pretty tight (not so much stretch) and very, very warm. This is perfect for the -20 degC we have today, but I'm afraid these won't see too much use. It also isn't superwash, which means these are handwash socks. Yuk. However, Patons Classic wool is quite soft, and relatively cheap. If you have it in your stash, all the better.

Final verdict? Love. :)

(ps- don't worry, I wore pants with them today. my knees are quite safe from frostbite!)

identity crisis

No, no, I'm not the one having trouble with my identity, it's the internet.

Something that's bugged me for awhile is that, due to my very common name compounded with the fact that I usually publish with my given initials only, when I search for my own papers in web of science or inspec, or any other of the publication databases, it is next to impossible to find my papers through the hundreds of others with the same moniker. It is especially problematic as it seems there is someone at my institution with the same first initial and same last name that publishes on many, many super multi-author publications, thus totally drowning out my (meager) contributions to science.

Let's just completely ignore the fact that when you google my name you get a freestyle skier that likes to pose skantily clad for magazines.

So back to the indexes... I've often thought that in today's age of electronic databases that we could have some kind of online association such that if a person found ONE of your papers, or maybe knew some topics you had already published on, could associate you with you repertoire. I also thought this could be useful if say, you got married and decided to change your name. One quick click to associate the two names, and that issue would be taken out of the dilemma. Easy-peasy right? Seems like it should be. A little while ago ISI web of science introduced an author search and I thought I'd finally be able to find myself, but it wasn't really flexible enough to deal with a somewhat varied set of research papers associated with different institutions. Just not there yet...

Well, a couple of days ago I got an email from ISI to try something they're introducing called ResearcherID.com. Basically it lets you input your information, including institution, full name(s!), research area, etc, etc. Then you can search, though web of science, for your papers and add them to your profile. It then keeps track of the citation information for your papers, and people can search ResearcherID for your name and whatever other info they might know about you to find your unique profile. I think it's great! I hope it catches on.

Now I can stop calculating my own h-index and just look it up. Oh, stop looking at me like that... as if you've never kept track of your citations. The whole thing gave me a little confidence boost on a somewhat low day as well since I discovered that my 8 papers have been cited a total of 73 times! Whoah... However, my h-index is sitting at 3, which according to Wikipedia's article isn't stupendous for a physicist:

In physics, a moderately productive scientist should have an h equal to the number of years of service...

Ok, that statement probably doesn't apply well to the beginning of one's career (if we count from my first publication date of 2002 even though I was still an undergrad at the time, that makes 6 years.), but still, I would like to see it get closer.

... but I digress...

For those of you who are interested in this ResearcherID thing, it seems to be by invitation only right now, but there is a sign-up sheet to be informed of developments (I think I got invited because I evaluated the author search feature at one point and got on ISI's spam list).


2007: in the yarn

2007: in the yarn, originally uploaded by physics*chick.

2007 was actually a pretty big year of knitting for me, but somehow not much of it really made it to the blog. To summarize:

Not bad! I'd still like to get around to blogging a few (especially my sweater!). I've already got one FO for 2008 I want to share, and was making rapid progress on another I'm in love with until I got derailed by my knitterly ADD.


RSS feed reader...

Ok, ok, I know, I'm supposed to be working... but I just had to share...

I've been using RSS feeds to look really smart for awhile now. Most journals have RSS feeds of their tables of contents which update with all the new articles. Sooo... to "stay on top of the literature" I've been using the RSS feeds of the most relevant journals in my field (and the biggies... Science and Nature with their associated "news-y" segments) in combination with saved searches in Safari. This actually works fine, except that the search criterion are a bit primitive and getting logical statements in there is somewhere between a pain and impossible (I recall trying at some point... but I gave up). The other issue is that to check the feeds I end up opening my web browser and well, this snapshot of my bookmarks bar might give you a hint as to where that often leads...

uh-huh... so while in principle this saves me time and makes me look really on the ball, I end up reading your blogs or comics or... you get the point. Also note that the total unread feeds for all the journals I'd like to survey is a whopping 4821. Searching or filtering these with relevant terms is essential to this process being of any help at all.

Also, many dedicated feed readers out there have nice features that Safari does not (because it's primary purpose is to be a web browser... ) so I had looked and looked for a good *free* feed reader some time ago and basically hit the wall when none of the free version had the ability to search.

Until today my friends. Today I stumbled upon the fact that NetNewsWire (for Mac) is now free (the full version, not some "lite" version like before), and it can do all I want it to do.

Now my feeds are in there, organized and filtering out what I really need to know. It's fantastic. And I won't have to open a browser, so as long as I leave the blogs, and comics, and everything else distracting out of there, we are looking at a new era of productivity.

Yipee! :)

Another carnival of GRADual progress up

... and it's a good one. Go check it out.

I particularly enjoyed the bit about a good powerpoint presentation from academhack. Excellent stuff, really.

That is all.


Note to self: self, wake up.

Dear Physics*chick,

You performance so far this semester has been somewhat underwhelming. While you have accomplished several necessary tasks since your return after the holidays you have seemed generally unmotivated and somewhat disorganized. As you anticipate publishing several papers and getting started on writing your dissertation over the next few months I feel it necessary to encourage you to improve your performance as it will take a great deal more effort to accomplish these tasks than you appear to be applying. This is not meant to be a criticism, but merely a check between your goals and your current output.



Thank-you for your concern, Physics*chick. I recognize that I will need to apply myself more intensely if I wish to accomplish my goals. I have already taken your advice and taken action to get going.


Ok, maybe it's a bad sign that I'm talking to myself, but really, I do seem to be having trouble getting motivated and finding my way through the immense piles of stuff that ought to get done (but has no guiding deadlines). Since I really need to do a bunch of reading and am having most trouble motivating myself to do that I've decided to start with some papers that are of some general interest (ie. outside my field, but of peripheral interest to my field) to me. Maybe then I can get back into the swing of things.


2008: Year of the Potato

Yup, according the CBC News, 2008 is the International Year of the Potato (among other things).

It's the International Year of the Potato, of sanitation, of languages, and of planet Earth. The potato year, designed to raise awareness of the lowly tuber, already has its own website complete with glowing images of spuds.

Now, potatoes, those humble vegetables, are really one of my favourite foods. I guess this comes from growing up near one of the largest potato producing regions (Prince Edward Islands), securing a constant supply of high quality potatoes throughout my childhood. In fact, one of the things that bugs me the most about living in a large city, is that somehow it seems to be damn hard to get a good potato around here. Black beans? No prob. Potatoes that aren't gone soft? Enhh... maybe.

Here's hoping that the International Year of the Potato will bring it greater prestige and will bring to light the plight of us poor potato-starved city dwellers.

Glory to the Potato!


We interrupt this celebration for a brief announcement...

i got a goal!!! my very first hockey goal!!!

that will be all. :D


Happy New Year!

Cheers!, originally uploaded by physics*chick.


The year of the THESIS.

Eek. I actually worked out the LaTeX template yesterday and looked over my outline yesterday.

I wonder how it will go? I generally feel good about it. I'm confident in the collection of stuff I have to put into it. The data is solid, much of it is at least preliminarily analysed. Much of it is published or at least submitted. But what else will I learn? I came up with so many new ideas and interpretations while writing my MSc thesis, I'm kind of curious to see what will fall out this time.

And of course I can't wait to wear the floppy hat. THAT is a bold fashion statement.

And then there is the "I wonder where I'll be next year at this time?" California? Germany? Freezing my arse off in Edmonton? Will I follow the project I can't stop thinking about? Or go for a big name place? It's all exciting, but I'm not so good with uncertainty.

Why does every year seem like a BIG year these days.

Here we go.... Wheeeeeeee!