redfiona99: (Default)
So a couple of weeks ago, I tried to donate blood (because I promised I would if I got out of helljob alive). Got turned away because I hadn't eaten enough. This may be the only time in history I have ever been told I haven't eaten enough.

Went again on Monday. This time I was allowed to donate. Only it turns out my veins are like the rest of me, small, sneaky and unwilling to give things away. Cue 3 different nurses trying to get blood out and when one of them eventually managed to get a needle into me, it taking 5 minutes to get 95 ml out of me when they're supposed to be able to get 475 ml in 15 minutes, so they give up. Apparently I need to drink even more water. Also, according to nurse number 4, who appeared while I was mid-donation to try to get the blood out more quickly, I have peculiarly cold arms, which has led to my mother saying I told you so because she has said that repeatedly.
redfiona99: (Default)
(Trigger warning for mental health. And my evil ex-boss.)

I know that ex-boss did one heck of a number on me, but I hadn't realised how much of one till this job advert came over the wires. It's at a good university and I know the boss is good people (I know some of her old PhD students and I know her from conferences). The job is not quite perfect for what I want.

And I nearly didn't apply for it because all my brain was doing was "OMG, what if you get it. You'll only let her down."

So I took my brain aside and had a word. I told it that the way to look at it was it was win-win. When even the worst thing that could happen is getting a job, it's not a bad deal. At least it gets me out of the clutches of the job centre. (The best case scenario is that awesome Prof emails me going "your ex-boss has given you a really bad reference, just a heads up". Which I don't think he would, but I repeat my usual thing of never having been able to get a read on him.)
redfiona99: (Default)
Today's finds include:

1) Smash Hits articles about this new band called Boyzone.
2) Smash Hits running a story about Louise from Eternal jumping ship, and saying how it got overshadowed by Robbie Williams doing the same to Take That.
3) The novelisation of The Shadow, which remains *the* most under-rated superhero film, and which is a brilliant novelisation because it deeps the background and gives some wonderful descriptions.
4) The rule book for "Time Lord - the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game". I always said it existed.

Those two books were assumed lost in the move from last maternal house to this one. Or 10 housemoves for me ago. Why do I keep on moving house when I hate it so much?

5) The handwritten version of my long-lost New Professionals fic, which was one I was bitter about not finishing because I thought it had potential. I still say it does.
redfiona99: (Default)
So my Mum is moving house. Which means I am going through my stuff to try to get rid of the useless stuff I hoard. (They say admitting the problem is the first step to solving it.)

Amongst the many treasures I have found are:

1) Articles on the Spice Girls where Posh Spice was still Victoria Adams
2) The news that Take That will be returning as a fourpiece, sans Robbie Williams
3) Ant and Dec still being called PJ and Duncan
4) Jerome Flynn at the height of Robson and Jerome mania. Those of you who know him only as Ser Bronn would be most amused.
5) The handwritten version of the first wrestling fic I ever wrote (which, yes, I am keeping, for reasons).
redfiona99: (Default)
In good news,I've found somewhere that I can slance Internet and power from while I wait for my home Internet to be set up.

Bad news is that said Internet connection hates dreamwidth and livejournal so the only updates forthcoming will be text only ones.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
So I am trying not to feel bad when the amazing Chinese girls that weigh 2/3 of what I do can deadlift almost as much as I can.

Emphasis on trying ;)
redfiona99: (Thinking)
And have it make sense and stuff.

Really I can.

That I've been writing something and just realised the middle section is ... non-existent. There's the lead up and then the break up, but the middle is missing and it's not the sort of pairing where there is obviousness on my side. And I've suddenly realised why I didn't write the middle bit because it is difficult.

Other than that, I've most been loathing work and playing far too much Star Wars: The Old Republic.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
In between talking to a plumber to get house improvements done, because I will have a shower somehow, and teaching PhD students, I may have to acknowledge that I am not longer a kidult and am now a growed up. I disapprove of this.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
It's been a bit manic in RL. Two weddings (lab people), two fencing competitions, three birthdays and one after graduation party in two weekends is a bit much.

Last weekend was probably the busiest with the after graduation party, a birthday party, a fencing competition and then a World Cup final party to go to. It was very much in the family of bad idea/great time.

I went to the after bits of P's graduation because no-one else could make it, and I graduated sans people from the lab and it made me feel a bit 'meh' about the whole thing, and since her grown ups couldn't come all the way from Mexico, I wanted her to feel like a superstar.

I must say, the Birmingham after-graduation ceremony shindigs are >>> the Leicester ones.

Anyway, after a brief break for work and a change of clothes, I went to the student's post-graduation shindig. Then, because P had made me promise, I went out clubbing with them afterwards. I have now found a suitable drinking and dancing place in Birmingham! (It's the Victoria -

We then went to Snobs, which is significantly less nice.

At this point, I feel I need to state that I am not pretty and apparently manage to convey an aura of masculinity that with long hair and a cleavagy dress, people still think I'm a man. Despite this and the fact that I was rocking this season's Burtons Menswear I still had some creep try to feel me up. Now, if I'd been Helen reborn, it still wouldn't have been right, but it does suggest it's less to do with sexual attractiveness and more to do with some sort of peculiar male dominance thing.

I dealt with the creep the traditional way (elbow to solar plexus) [resorting to this only after moving away did not work] and carried on. I did worry that he'd call the bouncers but I think, drunk as he was, he twigged that calling bouncers on a 5'3" girl would only get him laughed at.

It didn't spoil the night at all, I had a great time with the physicists.

Because I only got home at 4.30 - 5 (ish), I overslept madly the next day, which was not so good as it means I still owe T a botanical gift, bit I was at least in time for her party (it being a round number, I was determined not to miss it.).

The best thing about friends who are fencers - you can ask them if its okay to bring your kit bag along and the response is 'yes, sure, just make sure it's your kit you pick up in the morning.'

That party finished at 3-4 in the a.m. so I set the alarm for 8. Now unfortunately, mine is a new phone and I am bad with tech so the alarm didn't go off. Cue yours truly being woken up by a knock at the door and having to do the 5 minute dress and go.

The competition went okay - I finished 5th so I should get some points but I am unsatisfied. I'm back in that position where I've improved a bit and I can beat people I am better than, and against people of the same standard it's a coin toss but I just can't seem to beat (or land that many hits on) the people who are better than me. Oh well, more practice is called for.

After that came the World Cup final.

To a certain extent, I'm glad Germany's opposition were Argentina, rather than Holland because it meant I could happily cheer for Germany (my love of Dirk Kuyt > my love of any of the German players sans Özil).

It wasn't much of a match and I could have done without the occasional acts of GBH by both sides (thinking particularly of poor Christoph Kramer who can't remember most of the match and Neuer's attack on Higuain) but I am so very happy for Özil and Khaderia and Klose et al. And Jerome Boateng who should have been Man of the Match.

The two things I think I will always remember are Hummels's ecstatic exhaustion after the match, where his signif. other is rubbing his tummy and he's just lying there, almost as though he was thinking "this is my bit of grass and it is the best bit of grass in the world and we've just won the World Cup and it is unbelievably awesome."

The other thing is Joachim Löw wandering around like he had no idea what to do with himself because he couldn't quite believe it.
redfiona99: (films)
I know a whole (actually quite long) post is a bit much for a 1 minute 33 clip, but there are reasons.

First about the actual clip itself )

Funny story about the post-credits bit )

Some theories about what they're going to do with the thing in the post-credits bit )

My theory about why they're doing Days of Future Past and (spoiler) )

Also, on the topic of Hugh Jackman's body, it's a wonderful teaching aid, because one of my male friends was all "that body is impossible, ridiculous Hollywood standards etc", and I just said that that was exactly what all the women he'd known were complaining about when it came to models and Hollywood actresses, and he said [paraphrased], "oh, so *that's* what you meant."  I thought we'd been reasonably clear but ... at least it's finally got through.

RL Update

Jun. 28th, 2014 07:25 pm
redfiona99: (Thinking)
1 - Girl cousin is getting married this October and I am a bridesmaid. This is a good thing. I have been given the following as a guide for what I'm wearing, "sleeved dress, black, ivory or burgundy". Of course, those are the colours that aren't in at the minute, not with sleeves and with lengths longer than risque for a wedding.

2 - For the above, I am growing my hair out. My hair hasn't been long for more than half my life and it's all how did I use to cope with this. Too much hair with a vengeance.

3 - We do not speak of the paper.

4 - Due to the above I am running away on holiday at some point. The options are fjords and Norway in general, which would knock off another one of my 'one day I will' destinations, or pool/beach/boil my brain in the sunshine.

They've both got their good points and bad point, so I'll see what happens later this summer. If the weather stays good, Norway's probably the way to go, but trying to get itineraries and prices for the same trips is almost impossible.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
I'm a great believer in better living through chemistry* so I don't mind taking pills and potions to keep me functional.

For tooth-related reasons, I've basically gone low caffeine, which isn't a problem in terms of staying awake, but I use caffeine as a wit-sharpener, particularly while fencing.

Before, I used to use diet cola, but I know what that does to teeth. The other options are tea or coffee, but lots of fencing halls don't have those facilities or you need an urgent pick-me-up and don't have time to get a tea and let it cool.

That leaves the option of caffeine pills. I was a little wart because 3 people I know (2 rl and 1 on-line) have had really bad experiences with them, but at the same time, I also know that caffeine improves my performance including after nights with little to no sleep. The deciding factor was confirmation from on high that no amount of caffeine is enough to get you disqualified.

So I gave them a go, using Pro-Plus pills as recommended by the packaging.

Some observations:

1 - They give a nice steady dose. You don't end up jittery, not do you get the horrible caffeine crashes associated with coffee.

2 - I haven't found that it interferes with my post-competition sleep, but you're tuckered out anyway so I'm not sure that I count as a reasonable data point.

3 - Increased frequency of urination, but since that happens when I get nervous anyway, again, I'm not sure if that's a reasonable data point.

4 - You sweat buckets. Now I fence so I have a high sweat expectation; there is an ancient fencing proverb that goes "horses sweat, men perspire, ladies sweetly glow and fencers drip." This is the step beyond dripping.

Most importantly, all other things apart, it means I'm still alert going into the fifth, sixth and seventh hours of competition so I'll happily take the side effects.

*There are those who would say that since I don't take any illegal or illicit drugs I don't count but I'm a biochemist so I have a broad concept of chemistry :)

RL Update

May. 4th, 2014 09:33 pm
redfiona99: (Thinking)
The laptop issue turned out to be a hard-drive failure so I'm going to have to get a new laptop. See also expenses I could have done without, because in between the leak, the tooth thing (which I suspect is about to gain yet another add on but I'm going to see if I can convince the dentist to chuck it in for free) and the laptop my contingency fund is about tapped out. Although that's what it's there for so I shouldn't complain too much.

I'm looking at either a Dell or a Toshiba from PC World. I'd like to buy from PC World because I like the idea of supporting a shop so when I have a tech problem I have somewhere where I can walk in and go "help!" but when equivalent spec laptops are ~ £100 ($169) cheaper at Dell, that becomes an expensive and unsupportable luxury.

The one advantage to the death of the laptop is that I've now got the time to do all of the things I keep not doing because they're less fun than being online. Noticably, tidying the flat. Otherwise my mother will murder me when she comes down after the fencing.

Also, I finally watched "The Case of the Silk Stockings" which is a Holmes I've had on home-taped video for ages but never got round to watching.

Generally approved of and Rupert Everett should feel free to play Holmes any time he wants. Spoilers below. )

Some X-Men related silliness produced by said Holmes )
redfiona99: (Thinking)
So my laptop has basically died on me ('master table data file is corrupted' is never a good sign) so I won't be around for a bit.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
Even though I can't do the stuff I wanted to do at work over the weekend (partly other people's fault, mostly mine), it's probably just as well that I'm not at Excalibur because I've caught a horrible cold and spending 2 days fencing sabre when you can't breathe is a good way of getting sent to A&E.

I've also managed to tweak one of my obliques while coughing last night. While it's not quite 'breathing hurts', coughing definitely does.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
I tend to be live and let live when it comes to politics. People have a right to disagree with me. But 1 particular person in RL is driving me batty.

He's virulently anti-EU.

Not a problem.

Were it not for the fact that he's working in Holland after stints in Austria, Germany and Belgium. He works for ESA (which is partly EU-funded). He is able to travel and work without needing a visa for each new country because of the EU. He's paid the same currency and doesn't have to lose money exchanging it, because of the EU.

He's getting all of the advantages of the system and wants to get rid of it because he feels it's not worth it.

How can you be so stupid!!!

(It must be said that this guy drove one of my friends to Shakespeare. It is, apparently, "a vice to know" this guy.)
redfiona99: (Thinking)
What I lack in timeliness, I make up with by being right

First a statement of interests - neither I, nor any of the people in the group I work in are funded by Cancer Research UK. However, Cancer Research UK did fund the building we work in.

For those that missed it, basically a charity "no make-up selfie" thing swept the nation followed by a series of articles/blogposts/social media what have you all about how wrong it was. The complaints can be broken down into two main varieties:

1 - How dare people publicise their charitable donations? Cue, quite often, bonus rants about the same re: Race For Life and its ilk.

My immediate response is that I don't care if people get a ego-boner that can be seen from space when they publicise their donations, provided they've given money. In the words of Bob Geldof, "give us your fucking money."

Apparently, good people never mention charity drives. Quite frankly, I'll stick with the bad people.

2 - Why is it always for cancer?/Doesn't cancer get enough money?/Why not my charity of choice?

The main argument I saw was that mental illness is almost as prevalent as cancer* and therefore should get a bigger slice of the pie. Which I have little argument with. My response is, well fundraise then. The reason CRUK get a lot of money is that their fundraising department are leet ninja level. They get out there and do their thing and money comes in**.

A lot of people were bitching because "wah, cancer doesn't need more profile-raising," but these are the same people who were complaining about people publicising their fundraising. Maybe if they were less like shrinking violets then their own causes might get more of the limelight.

I am also peeved by the idea of people telling other people where to put their money. My charity pot goes to the Big Issue, MSF, Amnesty and Sloths, more or less in that proportion. And that's my right. It's other peoples's right to put their money where they want to.

As I've said, I work in a cancer research building but the last on-site fundraising we did was for Anthony Nolan (please insert the usual have you considered signing up to Anthony Nolan message here. It's very easy. Please see here - We've raised money for the Samaritans, Alzheimers Research and Marie Curie before now. Yes, some of our fundraising is for Cancer Research, but mostly it's guerilla fundraising for people whose projects have shown promise in animal studies but haven't been funded for human trials yet. If those projects can have the funds to get some starting results, then it'll help them get funding in the next round. The project we're fundraising for at the minute is for late-stage multi-resistance breast cancer. The last one was for a cheap way of treating endemic-type Burkitt's Lymphoma in Africa (

And yeah, maybe cancer gets an unfair slice of the pie, but as populations everywhere get older, it's going to become more important. Huge strides have been made, and there's no point stopping now. A commenter on the 'In The Pipeline' blog ( is a retired GP, or whatever the American equivalent is, and I think he phrased it best when he said that, when he started childhood leukaemia was a death sentence, now they're worrying about making sure the treatment doesn't affect the children of the patients.

Cancer vs mental illness is also a really poor comparison to make, scientifically. Cancer is easier to study, both in animals and man, than mental illness. We've got half-decent models for a lot of cancers and nothing like that for mental illness. How, as it where, do you measure schizophrenia in mice?

Even with human patients, drugs for combating mental illnesses appear to have large placebo effects (and horrid side-effects) and seem to have wide-ranges of effectiveness. Part of the problem is that clinical diagnosis is symptom-based rather than cause-based, making it hard to tell if all patients with disease x will respond to drug y which attacks target z, when we don't know if z is non-functional in all of them.

But yeah, it's either rant here or tear some RL peeps to shreds on Facebook and I try not to do that. Even when I'm feeling rage-beasty.

* there can be no dealing with people who think 1/3 of 60 million is similar to 1/4 of 60 million, but we'll let that stand.

** second statemnt of interest - I used to volunteer in an Imperial Cancer Research charity shop before their merged with the one to form Cancer Research UK

I Live

Apr. 6th, 2014 03:05 pm
redfiona99: (Thinking)
It's just work kicking my tush. And I'm having a running row with one of my supervisors about a paper. And so on.

Many posts to come.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
When you’re tempted to write that “why are there no women in science” article, could you maybe change it to “why are there so few women in science” or something, because as a female scientist (and by no means the only one), I’m starting to think you’ve not done any research, because there are a fair few of us out there.

Not enough, and certainly disproportionately fewer as you go up the hierarchy, and asking and discussing why that is will be of more use that asking why are there no women in science, when there’s actually quite a lot of us.
redfiona99: (also by fileg)
Inspired by this post of [ profile] nwhyte, this is what my bookshelf looks like

Yes, it's more of a book/DVD/CD/computer game case, and is urgent need of organisation.


redfiona99: (Default)

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