Friday, 31 January 2014

Tracking Grant Writing with Gaming Stats #2

Exactly one year ago, I posted about Tracking Grant Writing with Gaming Stats. Since I primarily game on an Xbox 360 these days, I can track my progress with gaming achievements via Coincidentally, one of my colleagues at MQ (Hi Louise) asked me today if my gaming had been impacted by grant writing. This graph shows my cumulative true achievement score (MS Gamer Scores adjusted by difficulty of achievement) over the last month. Basically there's been close to zero gaming for the last week or two. I have an NIH grant due to be submitted in 5 days, and then the pace picks up with 4 NHMRC grants, an ARC Laureate Fellowship and an ARC Discovery Project due in the next month.

Gaming time has flatlined since grant writing started in earnest a couple of weeks ago

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Growing up with Doctor Who

I've always been a big sci-fi fan, and my interest in sci-fi probably significantly influenced my choice to pursue a career in science. It's clearly genetic, as my older brother Steve in his spare time is a published sci-fi/fantasy/horror author.
As a kid I grew up watching classic BBC sci-fi programs like Doctor Who and Blakes 7. Though there was the giant spider incident that Steve still hasn't forgiven me for. I was about four years old, and Steve was a teenager. It was Sunday afternoon and time for Doctor Who on the TV, which happened to be Doctor Who and the Planet of the Spiders, with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. The giant spiders were very terrifying for a four year, and in order to stop my screaming, my mother made Steve turn the TV off to his great displeasure. Although he loves to tell that story these days.

 My reason for bringing up the topic of Doctor Who is that I recently came across Adventures with the Wife in Space, where a guy blogs about watching every classic Doctor Who episode that exists with his wife, and records his wife's opinions of each episode. For a Doctor Who nerd like myself, it is an enjoyable and nostalgic read, though I am surprised that his wife didn't kill him during the process. Now when I want to procrastinate about grant writing, I can just browse an episode or two of Doctor Who on this blog. As an added bonus, they have now started blogging about watching all of Blakes 7 (I'm a huge Avon fan), now they have finished Doctor Who.

To a 4 year old a cardboard cutout spider was very scary

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Grand Theft Auto 5 and Southern California Nostalgia

My first job after my PhD was working as a postdoctoral research fellow at UC San Diego. It was the first time I had ever traveled overseas from Australia, and I was pretty young and naive in retrospect. When I first arrived I thought I was living somewhere called "la jolla" (hint to Australian's it's pronounced "la hoya"). Anyway I worked at UCSD in Milton Saier's laboratory for several years, where I developed my love for transporter proteins, bioinformatics and the San Diego Padres baseball team.

I've been playing alot of Grant Theft Auto 5 on my Xbox since Christmas, and in addition to the fun of driving fast cars like a complete maniac, I must admit they have done a great job with the virtual imitation of Southern Californian scenery in the game, playing it has made me feel very nostalgic for my postdoc days. I'm almost at 100% completion on the game, I just need to win a medal in the stupid 26 minute triathalon and then it will be time to move on to the next of my Christmas presents- Assasin's Creed 4: Black Flag (please give your pity to my poor partner, she will have to put up with me talking in stupid pirate accents while I play Black Flag). Of course multiple looming grant deadlines will probably interfere with those gaming plans.

Southern Californian scene from GTA 5

La Jolla cove

Thursday, 9 January 2014

One way to spend a vacation

It's currently 4 am or so here. I'm still on vacation this week, though I'm not sure how relaxing this week has been. I'm part way through an 8 hour conference call to the US. I am serving as a member of an NIH grant study section section assessing grants on developing novel diagnostics or therapeutics targeted against biodefense microbial pathogens. This week was a mini-frenzy of grant reading and reviewing in preparation for this study section. Hopefully, I will be able consume sufficient caffeine to last through the conference call, and then have the rest of the week to recover before I officially go back to work next week.

Sadly, I'm not here