Page 3.14

This time around, we’re talking to Shelley Batts of Retrospectacle.

What’s your name?
Shelley Alyssa Batts. I feel like you should now be asking me my favorite color and then the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow.

What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Working on my doctoral thesis, re-submitting my NRSA grant, playing tennis, pilates, logic puzzles, PS2 (GTA Vice City!), teaching my African Grey (Pepper) Bond movie themes and disturbing movie quotes. I also enjoy a good beer or six.

What is your blog called?

What’s up with that name?
I don’t know. I think I thought it sounded cool a while ago, and then tried to make it make more sense in a “look how far I’ve come and women have come blah blah” way. And now that I’ve found out that Retrospectacle is also the name of a Supertramp anthology, I like it less. Actually, I just like Supertramp less, if that’s possible.

How long have you been blogging, anyway?
My blog-iversary was October 14th.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from all over, but I was born in Texas (lived there 6 months), grew up in Orlando, and went to high school in South Carolina. Back to Florida for undergrad, and now I’m in Ann Arbor, Michigan for graduate school.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
Well, I do drag my lazy butt into lab most days. I certainly ascribe to the axiom “Work smarter not harder.”

Any educational experiences or degrees you’d like to mention?
I got a B.A. in Biochemistry from New College of Florida, which was a fantastic little liberal arts college on the beach. Currently in the process of trying to get my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan.

What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
The subject of my thesis concerns (as I like to say, to get a wow) a cure for deafness. But that’s more of a long-term goal. Specifically, I’m attempting to successfully regenerate the sensory cells in the inner ear, which gradually die off in humans and are not replaced. I’m also interested in philosophy of mind and the development of language.

The last book you read?
The Diary of Anne Frank, which I bought at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Sleeping in till noon. A butler brings me coffee and Eggs Benedict in bed. Nature calls and says my paper is accepted with no revisions, and they want my data as their next 10 covers. The NIH awards me a lifetime grant. I drive to the beach in my 1965 Red Mustang convertible with built-in parrot perch for Pepper. Nuclear fusion reactions are real. People tithe to labs instead of to churches.

What’s your greatest habitual annoyance?
Spelling nitpickers. Politics in general. Nonsense which tries to parade around like its science. People in denial.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill
Ralph Maccio (aka the Karate Kid)
Indiana Jones
Scarlett O’Hara

Your favorite heroes in real life?
I would say that I admire most anyone who has bettered the world by being in it.

What’s your most marked characteristic?
I have a scar above my left eye from a car accident. Although I’ll usually say it was from a drunken knife fight.

What’s your principal defect?
I hate to lose.

What quality do you admire most in a person?
The ability to accept painful truths and move on, rather than live in a pretty lie. And 6-pack abs.

Who are your favorite writers?
Josef Conrad, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Bishop, Patricia Churchland, Michael Ende, Truman Capote, Ray Kurzweil, EM Forster

What would you like to be?
A neuro-rockstar goddess. Aphrodendrite.