Monday, April 30, 2007


Because I am self-obsessed, I thought that I would quickly go over my thesis again... Which is currently being reviewed by a few people who will hopefully say that I can join the fraternity of PhD's... No, I'm not that self-obsessed!!! I needed to go over it to prepare a poster on one of the chapters for a National Australian Rheumatology Association meeting here in Sydney at the end of the month...

Anyway, I was reading when I noticed something a little bit funny about a few of the references, 5 of them to be exact. 5 individual references out of 34 pages worth. Yes, I counted. They appear to be identical references. Or duplicates to put it another way. That's pretty crappy. Especially since it got through me and my supervisor a number of times... In my supervisor's defense though, he likely thought that I had enough wit to at least make sure my references are proper. Silly mistake on his part eh! (See, I still say "eh" so I retain my Canadianisms).

Ummm... I must have forgotten that I put that little mistake (well 5 of them) in there to see if the reviewers actually read the whole thing. We'll soon see though, we'll soon see.

Anyway though, I just thought that I would share that with the world...


I'm betting that you'll never guess what we took Alex and Madison to see the other day.... C'mon, give it a go... Ya, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!!

As a kid, I loved 'em. As a grown up.. well... although the illusion of turtles doing ninja fighting and blah blah blah has truly worn off, the movie was great!! I was pretty impressed. I honestly walked in thinking that I wasn't really going to like it very much, but low and behold, I really enjoyed it. The animation was great.. And I think that it's a different company coming into the CGI arena (as opposed to Pixar and Dreamworks). The animation looks different from other films, maybe a bit more Japanimation, but only loosely to my eyes (who has only seen VERY LITTLE actual Japanimation). But it was much better than 4 guys suited up as turtles like in the first two movies.

You do have to keep in mind though, this is a ninja turtle movie. As such, the story line is not something that you will be writing home telling your mommy how you have finally truly understood the meaning of it all, and that the space-time continuum is only relevant if you are acting upon certain presumptions, which may or may not be true, and that meeting yourself in either the past or the future, would not destroy its fabric as the eminent Dr. Emmet Brown, mentor of one Marty McFly, once stated, in three different movies. But the story line worked, there were good guys, there were bad guys, the turtles beat them up with some ninja kicking and good old fashioned team-work. Good on ya turtles.

I feel that the down-fall of this movie, is that there is no Vanilla Ice in this third installment. Yes, it continues on from the last two, which I liked as well... And also, that Vanilla Ice was possibly a high point in the second movie says alot about the quality of said second movie... and why it has been soo long in making a third.

I have to go home now, but in conclusion, I liked the movie, as did Alex. Mads fell asleep so I'm guessing she gives it 2 thumbs down. If only she knew what thumbs were...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

This'll only be a short post, but I wanted to wish mon amour a happy anniversary. For those of you who don't know, April 22 was our wedding anniversary and we have been happily married for 6 years now. We didn't do a whole lot, partly because we want to save up for something really special for our 10 year anniversary. But we watched our wedding video and realized that I look alot older now. Crap. My youthful good looks have faded to what you see below.... Yes, I'm in my office at work, with the lovely Cell Signaling pathway poster behind me on the door....

I think that's the first time I have ever used the web-cam that is built in to my lap-top... Notice to those "Mac" adds where the cool hip Mac computer guy is bragging to the older, business oriented PC who is getting a web-cam installed on top of his head... PC's have web-cams built in tooo....Poorly mis-informed Mac who in his arrogance does not know that he is not as high tech as he likes to portray...

Anyway though, nobody really cares about that....

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, so I don't have to go to work!!! Yay for me!!! It stands for Australia, New Zealand Army Corps, and it is a holiday to pay tribute all the soldiers who faught for the freedoms and liberties that we tend to take for granted today. So to you all, and to those of other countries, like Canada for eg, and in particular my Grandfather, Jim McRae (his website is one of the links), and my late Grandfather Phil Amon, thank you, and I love and miss you both immensely. Thank you.

Well, I'll write more later in the week..

Cheers my loyal followers!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Twice now

Yup, twice now this week I've posted. Lucky you!! I thought that I should post something a bit more positive and less bitchy than that last post. Needless to say, I was upset. Inside information for Mom and Dad, the meeting I went to on Saturday, while it actually occurred on Monday, they said "no".

Anyway though... So I am finally almost finishing all the ethics and other approvals to finally start the project that I was hired to work on this year. Only one left and it's very close to completion (20-30 minutes away!!!) YAY for me, I rock... A little positive encouragement never goes astray! Anyway though, It's been insane how much writing I have had to do, AFTER writing up a thesis. 1 good sized diabetes grant, 2 chunky and detailed animal ethics protocols, 1 genetically modified organism application, 3 more detailed animal ethics bits, as well as finish off a paper which will be submitted in less than a week.... And I just found out that I have to front up to introduce myself to the Animal Ethics Committee tomorrow. Ah well, I know the project (I did designed it) and I know what I'm doing and all the methods in decent detail at the moment. So it shouldn't be a big deal. I'll let you know when I get the approval though, 'cause I know that you are all extremely anxious to know that I am on my way to curing diabetes. Think positively.... Always think happy thoughts...

Well, I should run now, but I'm glad to see that tomorrow is Friday, and I don't have to come in on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Welcome back!

Alright, what can I say? I've been bloody busy!!! I've been learning new lab tricks, like inducing diabetes, isolating pancreatic islets (trying to), transplants into kidneys, and nephrectomies... all in mice. Tricky stuff that I am slowly becoming competent with. Tomorrow some more training, or practicing is more like it. Don't ask 'cause I won't tell.

Went to visit my in-laws down the coast for Easter the other weekend and had a great time. Not surprising as I have always had a good time there... No, I am not sucking up to get my name in the will, although if it'll help.... But me and my father-in-law went fishing. I caught a flounder, but it was too small so I had to throw it back, I almost caught a 30 kg flat head, but it decided that it didn't want me to eat it, so it turned it's head and cut my line. I'll get you next time Lunch!!!. But I did manage to catch myself a decent sized whiting so I have proven to myself that I can actually catch edible sized fish. Worked my technique out a bit, and I'm ready for more. As for my father-in-law, he outshined me greatly by catching 3 edible sized fish, and almost a 40 kg flat head. Alright, so the flat heads weren't 30-40 kg, but they were close to that...I swear!!! Really!!! Believe me, I'm a scientist!

Which brings me to another question of life: Now, I have been to University for too long. 4 years doing an honour's in Biochemistry with a concentration in molecular genetics and a minor in Economics. Then 3.5 years as a PhD student. All up, I ran up a decent sized student loan. Over $25, 000 actually. And this is considering that my PhD cost me nothing because I did it at a public hospital. so 25G for an undergraduate degree, and nothing for a PhD. To run the total: 7.5 years of freakin' University, married with a mortgage and 2 kids under 5. 25G is crippling. The Australian's really have it pretty good here though. They are required to pay back their student loan as a percentage of their income, and it's a sliding scale payment bit where if they earn less than something, they don't have to pay it back until they are earning more. Canada student loan, not so generous. If you are living on the street, no job, blah blah blah, you owe them $$. I can't afford to pay a couple of hundred bucks a month back on top of food. I just can't. I don't earn enough. I'm not trying to make all of you feel guilty or sorry for me, so please don't leave ANY comments to that effect. It's just that Canada does not appreciate the fact that life as a University science graduate, just does not pay for a while. We can't afford to pay back enormous student loans straight out of University. While the 6 month "grace" period to help you find a job is a little relief, it doesn't mean that you will find a job, or that that job will pay for the number of dependents you may have the pleasure of having during the 7-8 years post high-school.

I know that I am "preaching" to the converted, the system needs an overhaul. You're better off learning a trade which will allow you to work anywhere, you can start your own business and blah blah blah. I know the hours are bad as well, but a PhD has some pretty shitty hours too. You are expected (or need to as the case is slowly turning out to be) to work after hours, come in on weekends, etc etc just to stay level with everyone else. And if you want to excel, unbridled devotion to your job is almost a pre-requisite, unless you're bloody lucky and strike it rich. At the expense of family. I can't do that. I love my wife and kids too much to sacrifice too much more... But I now have to because of the magic of Canada Student Loan Service.

Again, I know that I am not alone in this, but please don't send me posts saying that it will get better soon etc etc. I'm writing out of irritation at a flawed system which caters for the wealthy and forces the lower wage earners to have to struggle that much harder for that loaf of bread. Everything comes at a cost, but was it worth it? I'm still not sure, but I'll keep you posted.