Category Archives: Miscellany

Moving your business (not recommended)

So we recently moved – which means my freelance business recently moved.* Anyone who has moved can appreciate what a hassle it is to change your address for your utilities, your magazine subscriptions, etc. So I sorta figured that moving my business would also be a lot of work.

I. Had. No. Idea.

Beyond changing my website, my business cards, and my letterhead, I had to inform all of my clients and change my address with the IRS, the state dept of revenue, the assumed names division, the USTPO (for my service mark), the Secretary of State (because I’m an LLC), my registered agent, my insurance agent…it seemed to be endless. Add that to packing and unpacking an entire household AND my regular writing/editing workload.

Lesson learned: if you can avoid moving, do.

*This is actually a long-winded way to excuse my absence from my blog. It’s been a bit hectic around here.


Advice from Dad – a post for Father’s Day

My dad always works hard. And not just at his job. If he takes an interest in something – from caving to playing Santa Claus – he works hard at it. He doesn’t just go diving, he pushes himself to become an instructor. He doesn’t just fix up the house, he replaces all the windows and siding. It seems like there is nothing my dad can’t do – and to the nth degree – if he decides to. I’m pretty sure I can thank my dad for my quiet determination and work ethic. (And for not being able to sit still through a whole TV show – the commercials are there so you can keep getting stuff done, right?)

Other things my dad taught me:

  1. Be prepared to accept the consequences of your decisions and actions. This started with “You want to swear? Fine, but if you do it in my house, be prepared for me to wash out your mouth.” Later, it became, “You want to become the best at [fill in the blank]? You have to be prepared to work hard for it.” And I find myself echoing this exchange today in my own head, “You want a family and a career? Be prepared for a crazy rollercoaster ride.”
  2. Just get it done. It doesn’t matter how inelegant your approach is, or how crazy you make yourself, if you agree to do something, do it. No excuses. This bit of advice is closely tied to item #1. If I chose this path, if I made this decision, I must figure out how to make it work. (Hi Tim Gunn!)
  3. Learn from your mistakes. Remember the definition of insanity? If I find that I have indeed driven myself crazy, tripping over myself trying to fulfill the obligations that I have chosen to take on, then I should at least make it worthwhile by taking a moment for some self-reflection and adjustment so it doesn’t happen again.
  4. Don’t Panic! (Thanks Douglas Adams) I used to get worked up about little things and I know it drove my dad crazy. Having kids shocked that character trait right out of me, as did starting my own freelance business. In the end, panicking is a waste of energy – better to just take a deep breath, assess the situation, and move on. I find myself channeling my dad’s calm (at least outwardly) demeanor when I am faced with overlapping deadlines and trying to juggle too many things at once.

This is probably the most personal post I have put on my professional blog, but in honor of Father’s Day, I just wanted to acknowledge how much my dad has shaped my professional decisions and my approach to work and life. Thanks Dad!!

Yep, starting a blog was a pretty good idea

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome! (SCT: Wow, didn’t expect that!)

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2010. That’s about 3 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 29 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 58 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 16mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 7th with 75 views. The most popular post that day was In which I defend my chosen profession from wily ghosts.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bloom’s taxonomy wheel, bloom’s taxonomy, blooms wheel, bloom’s wheel, and blooms taxonomy. (SCT: This, I just don’t understand. Either someone really likes Bloom’s taxonomy or they can’t remember my blog’s name or they haven’t bookmarked the page…I’m stumped.)

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


In which I defend my chosen profession from wily ghosts December 2010


About Stacey July 2010


About The Tobin Touch July 2010


What’s up with the ELS, Stace? August 2010


Did I sell out? Nope, but thanks for asking. September 2010

All About Stacey in 5 questions

I did an interview for last week on how I became a writer and what I am doing now – check it out here: Interview With Stacey C. Tobin

Geeking Out Over Science Maps

A few months ago, I covered the First Annual International Conference on the Science of Team Science (SciTS). For a brief description if SciTS, check out the Wiki entry I helped write here. In an even smaller nutshell, SciTS is the study of how science is done collaboratively, by teams of researchers. Funding agencies are particuarly interested in how successful and efficient team science is versus the traditional single-PI, silo-based model. Can basic science discoveries reach a translational stage faster by groups of researchers working together, or will the overarching research effort be thwarted by logistical, geographical, institutional, and personal barriers? The hope is that research in the field of SciTS will lead to an understanding these obstacles and how to overcome them, guidance on the best ways to measure the success of team science, and the development of tools that can help researchers working in teams and the SciTS researchers themselves.

I learned that there are many types of data that are used by SciTS researchers to assess how team research is done – but the method that I totally geeked out over was mapping the relationships between science research groups, by co-authorship on journal articles, or being co-PIs on grants, among other metrics. I guess I’m just a sucker for visual aids – I did end up studying cell signaling, didn’t I? Lots of complicated pretty maps in cell signalling.

Anyway, one of my new favorite sites is Maps of Science. I loved the Disciplinary Posters so much I sent away for one and it’s now proudly adorning my office wall, reminding me of how all scientific endeavor is connected. A friend of mine took my obsession one step further and sent me a link to the site Visual Complexity. Now I am totally done for.