Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Loose ends

So imagine we are sitting here, me and you. On the couch in the lounge, in a kind of sprawled out "I wish we'd stopped halfway through that chocolate fondue" position, but happy despite it all. We're a little bit sway-y, what with that bottle of cheap red wine and all, but the air is too hot and heavy to try and sleep. We're wearing hardly any clothes already, and don't know each other well enough to take off the rest of them, so we're just going to have to steam gently in the eucalyptus-scented heat and fend off heatstroke as best we can with ice cream. (Yes, I know, I lost you for a minute there while you did a double take at the thought of New Year's Eve in midsummer. Do try to be a little less Northern-Hemisphere-centric when you read this blog, okay?)

Anyway, we're here, hot and tired, but there's still half an hour to go before we can reasonably start to stroll towards the city centre to watch the midnight fireworks show. Geekman is in the other room, trying to invent a better lossless bitmap compression algorithm, because that's the sort of thing he does for fun, but we aren't like that, you and me, so we sit here and chat.

And you remind me that I've been a little bit thoughtless with the switch-and-bait blogging lately: setting up half a story and not following through. You give me a Look and I know it means you are half joking but also kind of pissy and it's only the wine and chocolate that's tipped the balance in my favour. So I give you permission to hit me with the questions and once you start, you're a regular little Energizer bunny.

"Whatever happened to...

... the scam you mentioned a couple of weeks back?"

Remember this magazine writing job I had for, like, five minutes (if it ever existed at all)? I had an interview, was offered the job, and asked to write six feature articles for the February issue. I did the work and emailed it to the guy in charge. The email promptly bounced. All emails to his address and all other addresses associated with the company have bounced ever since (15th December onwards). He doesn't answer his mobile phone: it just rings forever and doesn't even go to voicemail. The company's landline cuts in with an answer phone, and the messages I have left there go unanswered. I have not been paid. Since the deadline I was given was 16th December, and I was told the February issue needed to be finalised and sent to the printer by Christmas, I am pretty sure that something is wrong. I just have no idea what it is, why it happened, or what this guy stood to gain from scamming me, if that's what it was.

"... those American chocolate bars you promised to taste and report back on?"

Didn't happen yet. Hopefully it still will. Maybe I should make it my New Year's Resolution to eat more chocolate. That's one I could probably keep.

"... your plan to throw yourself at the mercy of the new superstar professor and beg for a post-doc position?"

I did it. He said he didn't have funding for a post doc himself, but was happy to support me in a grant application. We had a brief very strange meeting, where he arrived on bicycle wearing pink flip-flops, shorts, and a pink Hello Kitty backpack, and tried to persuade me to go and do fieldwork in Papua New Guinea. In the end, I decided that if I'm applying for my own funding, I'd rather do a project that really excites me, so I'm putting together a grant application for my blog-reading-as-research idea. I'm hoping Superstar Professor will still want to support me, as it's still tangentially linked to his own research, but I won't find out until I send him my draft later this week.

"... the pseudo-semi-pesco-vegetarianism?"

I'm not pressing the issue at other people's houses, so pretty much went back to being carnivorous over Christmas. Otherwise it's going well, and Geekman is even sometimes choosing to join me in a vegetarian meal even when he has other options.

"... your mother's cancer?"

She finished chemotherapy just before Christmas. They told her that with her type of cancer she had a 25% chance that it was still waiting in the wings somewhere and would reoccur. This can be lessened by radiation, so she is now on a waiting list for that. She was pretty pissed off about it all, since they have been telling her since mid December that she'll be called to start it "any day now", so she couldn't leave town over the holidays. Yet they still haven't called. She just wants to get it over with and get back to work.

"And did you really get Geekman's parents the cranberry jam they wanted for Christmas?"

No, we aren't quite that cheap. We got them cranberry jam, but also visited Ikea in Melbourne and bought them knäckebröd and hjortronvinegär and glögg and Swedish coffee and julmust as well.

"And how about 2008, anyway? Do you have a...

... job?"

Not really. I have three part time web design jobs for various university departments, and some tutoring lined up for the first semester. But I need something that pays the more serious bills. Preferably some academic work. Does anyone need a research assistant? I can telecommute!

"... place to live?"

Yes. We are moving on Saturday (argh).


Let me see... Would you like some more coffee? Let me clear away those cups and plates.

"Have you even graduated yet?"

No. I'm still waiting for the examiners' reports on my thesis (these are the overseas anonymous referees that we have in lieu of a defense). Unofficial word is that one report is in and glowing. Two still to come. Hopefully they will come in in the next month or two, so that I can make any necessary revisions and graduate in the July ceremony.

"Isn't that a poisonous spider sitting on your next-door neighbour's door?"

Yes, but it's been there for more than a week now, and they don't seem bothered. Although, come to think of it, I haven't seem them around lately, and there is a funny smell from their apartment...

Anyway, now that we're all up to date, and you have asked all your awkward questions, I'll pour you the last glass of wine and we can toast the New Year in together.

Greetings from 2008, guys! Come on over! I got there before you, but I'll keep it warm until you get here.


canuck_grad said...

Happy New Year! It's only 9 am on New Year's Eve here, so I still have a ways to go yet.

skookumchick said...

Happy New Year then! What does it look like? Any better than 2007 so far?

Lucy said...

Happy New Year!

Cheeky Prof said...

Have a wonderful New Year!

post-doc said...

What a wonderful update post! I love it when people write those! I hope you're enjoying a very happy 2008 so far.

Bardiac said...

This was GREAT! It lacked only a parrot pic or two, but I'll forgive you (chocolate fondue would make me very forgiving!)

I hope your new apartment works out well, and that you find some new parrot friends there.

Happy New Year!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Ooo, I'll have chocolate fondue and red wine with you anytime.

Happy parrot-filled 2008 to you!

Propter Doc said...

Merry Christmas...no...wait...that was last week! Happy New Year! Thanks for the great post and I hope 2008 is superwonderful awesome in everyway! And it's still 9 am on New Year's Eve here!

ScienceGirl said...

Chocolate fondue complemented with stories sounds wonderful :) Happy New Year! (We still have half a day to go over here).

Geeka said...

It must be really fun to have new year's in the summer.

RageyOne said...

Happy New Year! We still almost 6 hours left for 2007 in my neck of the world!

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks everyone! So far, 2008 involves a dodgy internet connection that keeps failing, and lots of coffee. Let's hope that only the second bit is a sign of things to come.

liz said...

Happy New Year!!!

Badaunt said...

Happy New Year + 2 days!

That writing job thing is just weird.