Monday, January 31, 2011

Always make the most from the least!

I attended a retreat at Stanford University this weekend.  This retreat was about my least favorite current project, so I was not excited to go.  One of the presentations was by a Stanford professor that used to work in industry.  He said that he is always asked about the biggest difference between Industry and Academia.  He said that Academia makes the least from the most and Industry makes the most from the least.

At first pass, this seems to be about money and backwards.  Industry definitely has more capital devoted to their projects than Academia.  In Academia you are working with taxpayer dollars (not in every case, but in most cases either state or federal funding) so you are expected to generate the most data with the least money.

However, he explained that in Industry you have one idea that works kinda well.  But you push that one idea as far as it will possibly go.  You use that idea to treat multiple diseases or develop multiple tests.  You make the most from the least.  In Academia you have a great idea and you generate incredible data and you write one paper and then you move on. "You are only as good as your next paper." You make the least (one paper) from the most (great idea).

I really took this message to heart.  I want to make this my new motto.  I want to live my life this way!

Always make the most from the least!

What more can a person want?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Never stop learning

I feel like this past week has been an interesting learning experience.  Last Saturday we helped a friend move.  I learned that helping a friend move totally counts as a workout day.  I am also the kind of person that believes that if said friend lives in a 2nd floor apartment and is moving into a condo which also happens to be on the 2nd floor and neither place has an elevator, it counts as a week's worth of workouts.  I discovered that my head is not harder than the back window of Chris' car.  On a related note, I learned that my head is hard enough to insist that I don't have a concussion - just a nasty headache.  When the headache is directly caused by a very large bump on the back of my head, maybe I shouldn't be trusted on my assessment of my own mental state.

Anyway, moving on.  I found out that you can stave off an impending panic attack with a very large chocolate covered marshmallow Santa.  Also - discount Christmas candy on sale for super cheap is excellent.

I learned that I am only capable of working 6 consecutive 10+ hour days before I start to have panic attacks (see above).

Finally, I learned that sometimes you need to celebrate surviving the week with a bottle of cheap champagne. And that's a good thing!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Confessions of an overweight skinny kid

I've always been a skinny kid.  Now my grad school lifestyle (unhealthy food and absolutely nothing resembling exercise) has caused me to gain ALOT of weight in unfortunate places.  I'm also closing in on the end of my thesis and I need the exercise to help keep me sane.  So I'm trying the resolution thing.  I'm eating healthy and exercising when I can.  I'm using Chris' Kinect to do the Ubisoft Your Shape exercise program. I signed up for their website that helps track the calories you burn.  So far so good.  The Kinect is pretty awesome because all of the games get us up and moving, which at this point is exactly what we need.  The Kinect Sports lets you post videos of you playing the games.  It's fantastically funny to watch the videos.

I figured I would track my progress here, not because it's entertaining but because it might help keep me motivated.  I'm not really weighing myself to track my progress.  I'm a scientist.  I know exactly how long it takes to lose a pound.  It's depressing.  I also know that weight is just a number.  It has a correlation to health at extremes of the scale but not so much in my weight range. So if I'm not weighing myself then I can't get depressed about a number and how little it has changed. I'm hoping it will force me to notice that I have more energy and am sleeping better.  I'm hoping it will make me notice how much less stress I have (haha).  My goal is to be healthy, reduce stress and not let exercise be another source of stress.  If I work a 14 hour day, I don't need to workout.  I need to fall into bed, and that's ok.  If I need a break from work and Disco Dance for 20 minutes, that's ok too.

Today I broke the 200 calorie burned mark on Your Shape.  I've been doing the Zen classes and the personal training so far.  I really am enjoying the workouts.  I like the potential variety you can have in your workout. I like the short sessions so you can do more sessions if you want, but you aren't locked into a 45 minute workout. I wish the program it designs based on your fitness test was a little more varied.  Based on my fitness level and the answers to a few questions, it decided that I wanted to do a toning program.  Which is not wrong.  But I want to do cardio too.  And sculpting.  I want to be well rounded.  And not bored.  So I've been selecting workouts myself and not following my "personal workout" that it designed for me.  I also have some trouble because I'm tall.  I'm 6'2" tall.  When it tells me to lift my arms, they go out of the Kinect viewing area and I don't get credit for lifting my arms.  Whatever, I'm not worried about it.  I'm moving, which is all that matters.

So stay tuned.  It will either be a success or an amusing decent into madness.....