my brain is all melty. all day today (and, just for fun, most of tomorrow) i’m stuck in a fairly nice hotel in bethesda doing grant review stuff. this is where a whole pantsload of scientists submit seriously-worded entreaties for money, wrapped in shiny new preliminary data and promises from collaborators, and a whole panel of experts butchers them to death. as a lab animal veterinarian, my approach to this is all backwards: all my training is designed to facilitate getting someone’s work fired up once they’ve ironed out all that sciencey stuff, while my colleagues all view each individual proposal with the jaundiced eye of a competitor. i find myself wanting to defend the little proposal that could…at least until i see the K-razy price tag. needless to say, these sharp-taloned fellow reviewers of mine are keeping me on my toes. now, it’s all super secret like a spy scientifically confidential, so i can’t tell anyone what it’s all about, but i can tell you it involves a LOT of letters. the alphabet soup alone is quite filling: NIH, CDC, CRO, CFO, SOW, BSL, GMO, GLP. but those aren’t really the letters that are weighing me down. it’s the fact that each one of these damn pleas is the size of a small-to-moderate novel, and every bit as dense as faulkner. sigh. it’s bleeding-edge cool, but ow, my head.
and while we’re on the subject of weighty tomes…dunno if anyone checks that goodreads box over in the sidebar, but ‘cryptonomicon‘ has been there for 3 weeks now. i’m reminded of slogging through tolkein
¹, with the obvious difference that this book is actually good. tolkein took fo-evar because it was so damn boring, but this book? well, it’s more like it’s very nice cheesecake. it’s wonderfully delicious, but you can only consume a little at a time.
¹ i’ve gotta just admit it here: ‘the lord of the rings’ sucks. it took me over a month to wade through that crap. dense as setting concrete. i will, however, contend that this does not revoke my high-level nerd clearance, as i once took a picture of a damaged smidge of liver that was then published as the cover shot for a scientific journal. i’ll keep busting that out to prove my nerd-cred for as long as i live, seriously. also, i once kicked ass on star wars trivial pursuit to the chagrin of the roomful of guys there, a feat which i’m not sure i can ever replicate, but was most definitely über-geeky at the time.