Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Donut endings and Donut beginnings

It’s grey and cold this morning and my mind turns to the coming winter, and the winding down of my time here at UWM. As a confirmed creature of habit, it makes me wonder what the future holds. Are things going to be better in a new place? What happens to the donut empire I’ve built here? Will someone carry on the tradition, or will this tiny light, trying to draw the department closer, go out? Either way, I’d love to see donuts go out with a flourish. If you haven’t been in a while, come out for one last cruller before I move on.
Wednesday Donuts, 10am, LAP S185

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of my donut heir, Heidi “MLJ v.2” Hargarten.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Donuts and Fountain Pens

I found a really cool fountain pen in my mailbox this week, along with a note from my friend Ben Franklin. To say it made my day would be a major understatement. There’s nothing quite as much fun (in the writing world) as writing with a fountain pen. So I resolved to write this week’s donut email with the pen. What a pleasure. Then, halfway through I realized that I didn’t know how to get a handwritten donut email out to everyone. So, I rewrote the email with the keyboard. I’m not sure how I’ll get the scratches out of the monitor either, but that’s an email for another day.
Wednesday Donuts, 10 am, LAP S185.

PS->This is the last week of Ben’s generous donation. If you’ve got $20 burning a hole in your pocket, let Heidi or I know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Donuts in the best of all possible worlds

We live in a golden age. Crime is way down. Rates of worldwide poverty and hunger have never been lower. You can carry your music collection in your pocket, even if it’s too big to fit on a single cassette. PhDs in Biology are abundant across the land. Sounds like it might be time to celebrate! Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185, 10am.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of our dear friend, “Benjamin Franklin”. Did you know: Franklin coined one of my favorite phrases, “In the dark all cats are grey”, modernized to “All cats are grey in the dark.” Awesome. Founding father, kite enthusiast, lover of old cats. What a good guy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Donut Job?

Beloved colleagues,
I’ve just revised my job application cover letter for an assistant professor job I’m applying for at the University of the Northwest. Can you take a look at it and offer suggestions?

Dear Search Committee,
I’m writing to apply for your recently advertised position in Molecular Genetics. Please, please, please give me a job. I’m desperate. My wife said she’d leave me if I don’t get a real job soon. How about this: if you hire me, I’ll start a Wednesday Donuts in your department? Mmm, donuts.
Yours Sincerely and Professionally,
Mattias Johansson

Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185, 10am

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of our mysterious friend, Ben Franklin. As great as he/she is, I’m thinking Ben Franklin should be president. Of Earth. I’m starting the campaign now, so if you want to volunteer, let me know. As Obama showed us, it’s all about your ground game.

Wild donut conjecture

Thankfully, we still don’t know the identity of our mysterious donut benefactor, “Benjamin Franklin”. So now it’s time for some wild conjecture about their identity, based on no evidence (a la CNN). First, we know that the note was written in pen. So, they’re obviously intelligent enough to write with a pen. Unfortunately, while this eliminates all departments outside of Biology, it doesn’t tell us more than we already suspected. The next clue is that the pen they used was blue. This suggests that they are quite physically attractive (beautiful, or possibly handsome), in addition to their intelligence. Again, this pretty much encompasses all of Biology, plus Jordan and our beloved janitorial team. So, no closer to the truth. I guess it remains a mystery.
Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185, 10am.

PS->Donuts courtesy of Biology’s Best Friend Forever (BBFF), “Ben Franklin” (BF)!

A Donut Mystery

A week or so ago, something interesting happened. I got mail in my mailbox. While that in itself was pretty great (and rare), the mail itself was even better. In an envelope labelled Wednesday Donuts, I found an anonymous note. The note said:
“Ben was pushing Patrick Henry to use the phrase “give me Liberty or give me donuts” but it didn’t pass the marketing test. He’d be proud to sponsor the Wednesday Liberty Donuts”
Clipped to the note was a month’s worth of sponsorship, in the form of a crisp $100 bill.
To say that it made my day would be a major understatement. There’s nothing I like better than an anonymous (and mysterious) gift. I’m still smiling at the charm of it all. I hope the mystery is never solved.
So, thanks, Ben Franklin. You’ve really made me smile.
Wednesday Donuts, 10am, LAP S185.


Liz Kierepka's Last Donuts!

Liz K. is about to shake the dust of Milwaukee off her feet and start living the Hollywood lifestyle of the PostDoc. We’ll miss her conversation, her love of fine food and fine mini bottles of wine, and her techniques for distracting dancin’ pirates. She won’t miss us at all, because she’ll have all the wealth and power that come with being a PostDoc. Come celebrate her coming up in life tomorrow at Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185, 10:00am.

PS->Donuts courtesy of Dr. Liz Kierepka! A generous last gesture on her way to bigger and better things. ;-)
PPS->To the mysterious “Ben Franklin”: Thanks! Your generosity really made our day (and the next 5 weeks). More later.

Thoughtful Donuts, N202

I woke up this morning around 3:30 with shoulder pain, as I have for the past week or so. The great thing about waking up really early is that it gives you plenty of time to think. As I lay there, I thought to myself how great my situation is. I love my job, and the people I work with. I work in a great department, full of awesome people. I own the motorcycle that I’ve dreamed about owning since I was 15 (even if I can’t ride it properly). I get together with colleagues for donuts every week. Truly, not a bad life at all. Now, if only I could sleep until 6:30…
Donuts is in N202 this morning, 10am.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of Jordan Gonnering, building technical guy extraordinaire. Jordan is great because he supports donuts, but he also regularly supports crazy Alberto Lab schemes. Whether we need to build an Ikea hack standing desk or saw something in half, he’s there with the tools and advice. Thanks for all the support, Jordan!

Recovery Donuts

Contrary to popular belief, Wednesday Donuts is not my only interest. I ski, kayak, mountain bike, and hike. I also ride a motorcycle. On Sunday, I did my first track day with my Ducati. Track days are awesome, in that you can practice your riding skills while away from many of the dangers of riding a motorcycle on the road. And it’s amazingly fun. Bombing down the front straight at 100+mph makes you feel like a superhero, no joke. Unfortunately, it’s not completely risk free… so, of course a moment of inattentiveness (and edge-of-the-track target fixation) and I binned the Ducati coming out of the chicane. Luckily, both I and the bike were relatively unscathed. Unluckily, my one injury is a pretty serious clavicle fracture. I’ll be hunkering down in the safety of Wednesday Donuts, recovering, for the next 6-8 weeks. Feel free to join me tomorrow, 10 am in LAP S185.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of Ambi Henschen and Becky Schneider. As far as I know, neither girl has ever crashed a motorcycle, but I won’t hold that against them. They’re still generous, and pretty cool. Thanks, ladies!

Nelson's Last Donuts!

So, the day we've been dreading is finally (nearly) here. Nelson's packing up his Milwaukee life and heading back to old Europe. It's a sad moment, but it's been a year of great memories. There was that time we played a farewell concert on the roof of Lapham Hall, the time we won a shrimp eating contest (and found out later that the shrimp were bad, if you know what I mean), the time Nelson pipetted a bunch of samples... Man, the list goes on and on. I know the Alberto Lab is going to miss him, as will lots of other people. But, all good things have to come to an end. Come to donuts and wish Nelson a fond farewell. If he leaves donuts early, we can just reminisce about stuff that may never have happened instead.
Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185, 10am.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of our own beloved Nelson, generous to the last. Thanks, Nelson!

Donuts in N202 today!

Donuts this week courtesy of the Amazing Four, who gained superpowers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific experiment in their lab. The Amazing Four are: Mister Kangaroo (Justin Speck), a scientific genius and the leader of the group, who can transform into a red kangaroo in order to kick enemies or jump over stuff; Concrete Man (Adwaita Parida), who can control concrete with his mind and is best known for his "cinderblock punch"; Venus Flytrap (Sydnee Rausch), who swallows enemies whole and digests them slowly for their sweet, sweet nitrogen; and the Waterboy (Shubhajit Mitra), who is capable of transforming into any form of H20 in order to pass through tight spaces or freeze an enemy's head off. 
Thanks, Amazing Four! Your secret identities are safe with me.
Donuts in N202 this week. 10am.


At least there are Donuts

There are some pretty scary things going on in the world right now.​ Planes are crashing, Eastern Europe is turning into a war zone, the Gaza Strip is being blown to kingdom come, Ebola keeps spreading farther across Africa, the plastic everywhere is slowly poisoning us, people still say climate change is a hoax, there are land slides and floods and fires, the US government is I don't even know...

But hey, at least we have each other. And coffee and donuts.

Come to Lap 185 for a little Kum Ba Ya and donut therapy to ease your mind at 10am Today.


PS Donuts this week are brought to you by the one and only Jena Rock! She's pretty great, and always has a positive message to lift your spirits when you're feeling down and without a donut. Thanks Jena!

The Reason for Donuts

The following is a semi accurate transcript from the birth of Wednesday Donuts:

Mattias: Hey Heidi, I have an idea.

Heidi: Ok....

Mattias: We sit down here in the basement and we don't get to meet very many people in our department. We work all day everyday, and that's good fun, but wouldn't it be great if we could meet our fellow scientists here at UWM? We used to do this thing called 'Donuts' at my previous post doc at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. We would bring donuts each week, sponsored by one of the faculty, and we would all hang out for a half hour or hour and catch up. I learned some really interesting research from doing this and we even started more inter departmental collaborations. Plus it was good to take a break during the middle of the week. I found my productivity went up too.

Heidi: That's a fantastic idea Mattias! I would like to get to know my fellow grad students too. I'm genuinely interested in what other people are doing. This might help my networking skills too, since it can be difficult to talk to new people sometimes. I like the idea of creating more of a community within our department. It does get mighty lonely down here in basement...

Mattias: Excellent. You're the grad student, so you're going to do all the work, ie find donors, pick up the donuts, set up and take down... those sorts of things. I'm going to write witty emails each week to the department to invite everyone to join us.

Heidi: Sounds good Mattias.

Wednesday Donuts: Trying to create a sense community in the Bio Sci Department since January 2013. Stop on by at 10am in S185 today to grab a slice and meet someone new!


PS Donuts this week brought to you by members of the Young Lab, Jake and Livia. Jake is a PhD student doing crazy things with meat eating plants... I think he said something about making an army of killer mutant plants for the government. I've never seen Livia before this summer, so its quite possible she's from the government as well, helping him carry out his evil plan, or spying on all of us. It's always the quiet ones you have to watch out for...

Party in the L.A.B

"Party in the L.A.B"

He hopped on the plane at 8:50
Said "gonna be gone three weeeeeks"
Off to the land of Swedish fish
with his wife to see the sights

Left me alone
with undergrads for the first time
Look to my right and I see Nelson smiling
This is all so crazy
We can totally have some fun now!

Nelson brought the chips and I've got a 12-pack
Undergrads are gettin' nervous
That's when Nelson said turn up the radio
And a Jay-Z song was on
And a Jay-Z song was on
And a Jay-Z song was oooooonnnnnnn

So we put our hands up
The PostDoc's gone
The butterflies fly away
Noddin' our heads like yeah
Pumpin' our fists like yeah
We got our hands up
the PostDocs gone
This is gonna be fun
Yeeaaaahhhhhhh, its a party in the L.A.B
Yeeaaaahhhhhhh, its a party in the L.A.B

If you want to sing along at Wednesday Donuts at 10am in 185 with us, its to the tune of "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus. We will have it on repeat the whole hour so you wont miss a beat.


PS Donuts this week are courtesy of Dr. Chuck Wimpee. Chuck is a man of many talents, and one is his mad skills on the acoustic guitar. Seriously, he brought me to tears one time. I bet he's the best guitar player in the department. Maybe next week he'll bring it to Wednesday Donuts and serenade us all....

I can't be funny every week: Wednesday Donuts

I can’t really come up with anything funny to write this week. With my postdoc here ending at the end of the year, I’ve been looking for my next opportunity. Sadly, it’s not going to be the permanent gig I’ve been hoping for, but I’m deciding between two different postdoc offers right now. I realize that it’s a wonderful problem to have, but it’s stressing me the heck out. How can you ever know what the right option is? Without a time machine, I mean. I’m naturally a worrier, so I can’t help but wonder if choosing one or the other will permanently torpedo my career. Stupid, maybe, but it does help me wake up nice and early in the morning. 2:30 or thereabouts…
Anyway, Wednesday Donuts. 10am LAP S185.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of Kim Scherzer. Kim is a big reason that this department is a good place to work. She’s also been a steadfast supporter of Wednesday Donuts. I asked her to buy last week, but she didn’t have any cash. Then, money just appeared in my mailbox on Monday, with a note from Kim. Awesome.

Travel Donuts

So, I took a quick trip over to Windsor, Ontario on Monday as a “Visiting Scientist” (nudge, nudge, wink). Windsor is really close to Detroit, so it’s usually a pretty easy trip over. Since I booked the trip pretty late, I couldn’t get a direct to Detroit, so I ended up going through O’Hare. And then, on the trip back, the US travel system kerploded because there were thunderstorms in Chicago. To cut a long story short, it was the first time I’ve ever had a plane delayed more than three hours where my domestic connection WAS STILL THERE WAITING FOR ME. F***, it’s good to be home…
And in time for Donuts! (Just barely). LAP S185, 10:00am.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of Tony Paladino, our favorite “Italian Financial Guy” (nudge, nudge, wink). Sadly, Tony’s beloved Italians were eliminated from the World Cup yesterday by some South American cannibals. Not some isolated tribe, but the Uruguayan national team. To make Tony feel better, you should definitely visit him in his office, pat the back of his hand, and say “There, there, Tony. There, there.” Don’t worry if there’s a line out the door, Tony has all day. Everyone will get a turn.

No Donuts? No thanks!

As is common in the Postdoc game, my position here at UWM is winding down as the money runs out. So, I’ve been applying for new opportunities elsewhere, and figuring out where the winds of fortune will carry me next. I managed to sweet talk my way into an interview at J­­___ College last week, which seems to have gone well. Shockingly, they don’t have a Wednesday Donuts program, yet. I thought to myself, “No Wednesday Donuts? No Thanks!” Then I realized, I could take inspiration from the great man who started Wednesday Donuts at UWM and start my own in a new place. Then I further realized, I AM the great man who started Wednesday Donuts. And all was well.
Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185, 10am.

PS->Donuts this week courtesy of our favorite league of supervillains, the Consortium of Catastrophe. Apparently they’re bothered by their current low approval ratings, so they’re working on an outreach campaign. I’m not sure it’ll work, but it was decent of them to chip in. Thanks, CoC!

Sweet Donut O' Mine

It's got a shape that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as a new Krispy Kreme
Now and then when I see that shape
It takes me away to that
special place
And if I stared too long
I'd probably get a crazy sugar craving

Sweet donut o' mine
Sweet love of mine

Where do we go
Where do we go now
Where do we go
Wednesday Donuts, LAP S185 10am


PS->Donuts this week courtesy of Dr. Laurel Symes. Dr. Laurel is a highly sought-after frog communicator. Once, I had her translate some stuff this frog was telling me. It turned out to be so filthy and obscene that I can’t repeat it here, but I do remember that toads were mentioned several times. Mmm, toads.