Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

What Kids Don’t Know These Days

I’ve just finished grading exams (yes, I have to do that on top of lab reports–oh, joy!) and all I can say is, there were points when I couldn’t believe what I was grading. The other TAs and I had this little joke since the beginning of the semester: whenever there was a question about Gram staining, Alexander Graham Bell would be lurking about as a “trick answer”. We thought it would be obvious to the students that Bell had no place in a microbiology lab. Boy, were we wrong.

And now, even at the end of the semester, some people still don’t think that Alexander Graham Bell had anything to do with the telephone.

End of the Month Mumblings

The semester is drawing to a close and obviously, everything is piling up. Exams (cringe). Committee meeting (double cringe). Grading undergraduate lab reports (a long protracted scream and running away). I have a bunch of half-finished book reviews that have been sitting around for the past month that I might end up posting sometime this week, but other than that, expect me to be, er, rather absent from the blogosphere for the next couple of weeks.

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Giving an Academic Talk. If I were the type of person to get a tattoo, I’d put this on my forehead (along with the aforementioned FAQ).

Nature, Nurture, or No Chance in Hell? Well, aside from the fact that I find it hilarious that Kurt Vonnegut referred to writers’ conferences as budding yeast, I’m not so sure if it’s one or the other. I feel very left out when all the other zealous writers say they’ve been storytellers since they were wee babes. I didn’t. When I was seven, I wasn’t telling stories. I was focusing on surviving the three (or was it four?) different schools I was being shuttled in and out of. The first time I actually enjoyed penning a story was in fourth grade for an assignment. It was a terribly cliched story starring a hard-boiled detective, a femme fatale, and a rich bad guy.

Page Numbering Question. I don’t number my pages. I date them. And unlike Neil Gaiman, I am too cheap to buy nice blank journals to write my stories in. Well, I do have blank journals, but they’re the cheapo kind and even then, I got them on sale. And I only brainstorm in them. Still, it’s very interesting to look into a Famous Author’s process.

Guidelines for Writing Literary Fiction. Fans of romantic fiction point out that literary fiction has its formula too–emotional hangups, dysfunctional relationships, irrelevant minutiae, unhappy endings. Yep, literary fiction would have to be a kind of genre, too.