Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post 4: Curse of the Watchtower, or Life Imitates Blog

"There must be some way out of here." It doesn't matter that the joker said this to the thief. I'm stuck in a strange world that I've created. "I can't get no relief." Second Life is small potatoes. I've begun to believe that what I write in this blog is my real life, and everything else is just material for the next post.

"Businessmen drink my wine, and ploughmen dig my earth." Well, 0n Monday I drank the wine of a businessman, Damian O'Malley, whose wife Tricia ploughs the earth in their garden in her spare time when she's not dashing off to Ireland for work. David Bemis and Lisa Hoke from NYC introduced me to them. The O'Malley's had just returned from a ski trip in France on Sunday (helmets on head, I'm told) but Damian still managed to pull off a lamb pie with homemade mustard flavored crust, home baked bread, and salad from Tricia's garden (spring does come early in the UK). We had a lovely lunch with their charming and engaging twin boys and their older daughter (who, as it happened, was at the Little Red School House in NYC just about the time our boys started there) and her boyfriend (a college student studying molecular bio but about to take a test on neuroscience so I gave him a pop quiz on LTP and NMDA receptors).

Damian and I seem to be traveling in opposite directions but somehow meeting in the middle as life wraps around itself. I had 2 degrees in marketing before turning to psychology and the brain. He got a degree in psych before turning to marketing, but is now trying to find his way back to psychology, or at least to a place where psychology and marketing meet in a non-trivial way. I told him about neuroeconomics, which may be a way for him to proceed.

Tonight (Tuesday) I went to the acoustic jam at Haymakers in Chesterton. It was more of a blues jam. Johnny guitar from Jack, who I wrote about in post 2, organizes the jam every Tuesday. Amazing musicians get up there and play with each other. The Brits are still wild about Chicago Blues, and do it incredibly well. No, I didn’t play, in spite of an offer by Johnny. Stayed pretty late but then called a cab.

"Outside in the cold distance" I waited patiently for a Panther Taxi. But the “wildcat did (not) growl.” It purred up to the curb quietly and took me to my flat on Lensfield Road. I had "no reason to get excited." There were no "women who came and went," and the maid employed by Downing College to clean my flat was not barefoot earlier today.

During the day I'm been working on 2 grants. Getting lots of help from Josh , David Bush, and Chris in the lab back home. I've submitted lots of proposals in the last couple of years. Like a lot of my colleagues, I've had some difficulty getting funding from Uncle Sam starting in the late Bush years (signs are the Obama era will be better). I won't pretend that it's easy to keep slogging away at grants when they go unfunded after all the work it takes to do them. Yes, seems "the hour is getting late." My quarter century grant that achieved most of the things I’m known for scientifically is on the brink of extinction. "But you and I we've been through that, and this is not our fate." Indeed, I feel grant success is coming soon. Although “there are many amongst us who think that life is a joke,” the Princes at the National Institute of Mental Health who hold the purse strings have “kept their view” and “do not talk falsely now.” Actually they haven’t told me anything, but maybe life will imitate blog afterall.

"Two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howl." That, of course, is the enigmatic end to Bobbie's haunting song and Jimi's brilliant rendition, but also the end to this post.
Exciting news in Post 5. Don't miss it.

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