Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last post

I've decided to stop updating this blog. There's a whole bunch of reasons why. In no particular order:

1. I feel like this was a record of my time as a grad student, and that period in my life has been over for a while now.

2. I actually have a job that it looks like I might quite enjoy. And, you know, maybe even want to keep. If I post rude things about the other project members on the internet behind their backs, maybe I won't get to keep it after all. And without posting rude things about my colleagues, maybe I won't have enough blogging material (see point 4).

3. In the last couple of weeks, I've become aware that a few colleagues, both at my university, and people I know in a professional setting from other universities, have started reading here. This feels really weird to me.*

For those of you who've been hanging around since forever, you may remember that a couple of years ago a post here was featured on Lifehacker, and I got 7000 hits by lunchtime. My writing muscles were completely paralysed for the next few days, mainly because I had no real sense of who my audience was. This feels a bit like that, except maybe from the opposite direction. I do have a clear sense of who my audience is, and it's become a bit too diverse for comfort. Up until recently, I think most of my readers were other pseudonymous bloggers with whom I had a sort of reciprocal reading arrangement. Now I think maybe close to half my daily hits are people from my real life. And that just feels odd. I'm thinking I might try, you know, TALKING to people instead of blogging.

4. I've run out of parrots. I've posted over 100 photos of parrots, and that's pretty much all there is. Yes, in the whole of Australia.

5. I've heard there's this thing called the Real World. I'm thinking about spending some time in it. Well, either that or on Facebook.

I think I had some more reasons, but I've been putting off writing this post for so long that I've forgotten them all. (Reason #6: I keep on putting off writing here, which is maybe a clue that I don't actually WANT to keep writing here. And I'm totally over doing jobs that I don't want to do for no money. (Thanks, Academia.))

I'm going to keep the blog up here, for a year or so, or until I figure out how to back it up in a form I'm happy with. And you never know, I might find I don't get the hang of this Real World thing, and am back here again this time tomorrow.

We'll see.

Thanks to all you wonderful readers for the past few years of loyalty, hilarity, community and other things that end in -ity. Seriously, though, you've been some of the best things (and people—I'm pretty sure you aren't all inanimate objects) in my life in the past few years. The only reason I've been hesitating to shut this blog down for the past few months is because of you. (And you. And you.) I'm even a little bit grateful to the trolls: it's nice to think I've had my own little pet trolls from time to time. (I wonder if that's an achievement I could list on my CV?)

PS: I'm leaving comments open, because I'd love you to say goodbye if you want to do so, but please don't think I'm fishing for people to ask me not to stop blogging, because if you do that you'll just make me feel guilty and that's no fun for either of us.


* Shannon, this is not about you. Nor is it about you, Joanna! If I haven't mentioned your name in this footnote, then yes, it probably IS about YOU.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Too much Maori used in NBL commentary!

Okay, this is weird. And kind of cool. Not only is the only free-to-air coverage of the NBL semi-final on Wednesday in Maori only, but usually when someone is "not happy with the amount of Maori language content" on TV, they mean there isn't enough of it!

Foxtel has never been happy with the amount of Maori language content there is in coverage of Breakers' games
If all sports coverage in New Zealand was in Te Reo only, I wonder what that would do for the number of Pakeha enrolling in Maori language courses?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A 11:30pm sort of thought

Of course, if I had been teaching this semester, one advantage would be that I could yell out the window at the first-year students having the world's loudest party across the courtyard from our apartment to "Get off my lawn" "Cut out the noise or when I see you in class next week your asses are going to FAIL."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bring out the drama llamas. Oh wait, they already did

My department is full of the kind of insanity right now where it would probably be a really bad idea to blog about the specifics. Let's just say that it's the kind of insanity that involves spontaneous resignations, un-resignations, rumours of lawsuits, blackmail, and classes (which start on Tuesday) left in the lurch.

All of this means that I'm quite popular right now. Yesterday I was treated to yet another example of people who can't do the math, this time suggesting that maybe I should give up my new job ($45,000, 28 hours a week, at least 1 year guaranteed, possibility of a further year) in favour of stepping into the breach ($10,000, 40+ hours a week, can only guarantee two months of work). Admittedly the amount of money offered increased dramatically as the conversation wore on, but even so, I am running very fast in the opposite direction.

Oh, and the ironic timing of this all? Due in equal parts to the current hysteria and another situation, our department might actually have been in a situation to advertise a new faculty position. Which, you know, YAY. Except that the university chose yesterday to announce a hiring freeze. Awsumness.

I don't really have a way of ending this post, except to say, HOLY SHIT. And to reiterate how glad I am to have the new job I do, as I otherwise would be bending over backwards to take on some major teaching at a crappy payrate at three days notice.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brief question

In a grant application (Geekman's): "The significance of the proposed research cannot be overstated."

Yea or nay?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At least I'm not teaching. (Now with bonus jellyfish).

Things are weird around here. The students are back. It's orientation week.

Today that meant llamas.

I have no idea. But there were llamas outside our building.

Also, undergraduates.

The llamas looked like they were more heavily into personal hygiene.

And while we were having a civilized department dinner in a local restaurant tonight, be-grass-skirted undergrads with Hawaiian leis around their necks came rushing in, ordered water, chanted incomprehensibles loudly, downed the water, and ran away giggling.

As well as the students, baffling things happened to me in a supermarket.


The copy on the back reads: "Instant natural jellyfish is a kind of seafood of high-protein and lowfat, containing indispensible trace elements iodine and iron. To human beings, it has the unique refreshing and crisp and tender and smooth tastes of its own."

And this woman is obviously having a little astonishment (and perhaps a sexual fantasy) brought on by the crayfish in her soup:

You too will have to remove your strappy top when faced with our instant noodles. Or jellyfish, as the case may be.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So, wow, yeah, a job

I got a job.





I didn't think things like that happened to people like me. Woo HOO!

Admittedly I think I'm still a bit over-qualified for it. It's quite a long way down the academic pecking order. But it also has the potential to be what I make of it. There's some administrative work and some data entry, but also some actual linguistic analysis, the opportunity to sit in on research meetings and have my say, lots of fun digging around in libraries, and I'll get to help write papers and co-present at conferences.

It's 80% of full time, which should leave enough hours in the week for me to continue my own research as well.

Initially it's for a year, then they have to advertise, but if I've been a good girl they'll advertise internally only and write the job description to fit me.

And it's a real. live. salary. More than I've ever earned before.

The process of getting this job has been a bit of a roller coaster, so in between the waves of elation I just feel kind of exhausted. The story went like this:

Two weeks ago: a friend who currently does this job comes to see me with the exciting news that she got an ongoing lectureship at another university and will be leaving. Together we lay plans to scheme me in as her replacement.

Twelve days ago: Friend's current boss comes to see me. Friend is leaving! He will need to replace her! Am I available? Yes? Fantastic! They will be so happy to have me! They don't have anyone else in mind for the position! But maybe they will have to advertise it. (Maybe I'd prefer them to advertise it?) They will find out and get back to me.

Ten days ago: friend says she doesn't think they have to advertise. From what she hears, they are planning to appoint me.

One week ago: Out of the blue, I hear they have offered the job to someone else.

I sulk.

Five days ago: I write an email to the other people involved in the project, who I have not had a chance to talk to about this position. I explain why I would be awesome for the job. I say I know they offered the job to someone else, but that if he doesn't accept it, please to still consider me.

Four days ago: I get a reply to say they did NOT offer the job to the other guy. Well, you know, they kind of did. But conditionally. They are still trying to find out how close he is to finishing his PhD and if he won't be finished in time, maybe they don't want him. They aren't sure. They'll get back to me.

Two days ago: They email both of us, asking us to apply in writing with CVs and letters addressing five selection criteria. 'It doesn't need to be polished' and—oh yeah— they'd like the applications within 24 hours please.

Yesterday: I finish my application and get feedback from everyone I can think of. Rewrite it. Submit it. Five minutes later I hear that the other guy changed his mind and doesn't want the job after all. I am back to being the only candidate. I have the job offer in writing.*

I start on the second of March.


* This is important because this is the same project that offered me a postdoc last year (verbally only) and then when we got to the point where contracts were about to be drawn up, they turned around and advertised the job instead, with a selection criteria that excluded me from even applying. Of course, this now means I will be working with the guy who ended up getting "my" postdoc and is doing funner work and earning twice as much as I will be. But I think I'll be okay with that, even though (yeah, I know) I sound a little bitter about it here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A little request

Dear blogfriends,

I love you all. Really I do. But please please please if you happen to run into someone from my department, don't say, "Oh yes, I know [real name]: I read her blog!" If you accidentally DO mention this little piece of information, please then also let the person know that the blog is anonymous and that I would like to keep it that way. Then they won't happen to say loudly in front of other, more senior colleagues, "Hey, I just heard you have a blog!"

I'm not mad at you. I just thought I'd better clarify my anonymity preferences.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

I really want to use this in a class

I'd love to use this in a class to teach about dummy subjects.
Sadly, as Geekman pointed out, that would probably require me to first explain how venn diagrams work, and then the origin of the quote. By which point it probably wouldn't be half as funny.


(Image from GraphJam)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


... free money!

Am I meant to feel guilty that I plan to squirrel it away rather than spend it to stimulate the economy?

Strategies I've been forced into thanks to this ****ing heatwave

Bringing a towel to work and taking cold showers every few hours.

Sleeping in the lounge with the balcony doors and curtains wide open (verdict: does not help).

Bringing a laptop to work and working in the air-conditioned tea room instead of my heat-trap office.

Stealing fans from other people's offices while they are out to lunch.

Setting out bowls of ice-cold water for the cockatoos to bathe in when they show signs of impending heat stroke. (Honestly, there is nothing more piteous than a panting cockatoo, wings stretched away from its body, drooping against your window.)

Giving up and going home to lie under the air-conditioning.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I fail to believe this is a direct quote

In this article in the NZ news today, a bank spokesperson is quoted on the question of whether snow in London prevented people from trading the NZ dollar yesterday:

"It probably matters not for they will have time for another crack at the NZD."

Seriously? "It matters not, for..."??? Has New Zealand English changed THAT much since I've been away? Or has the ANZ begun employing wannabe Shakespearean actors?

(Also, the juxtaposition with "another crack at" made me laugh.)

Monday, February 02, 2009

I always harbour fond hopes he might decide to go inside and do my filing

Hypothetical (Note: I have not (yet) been offered this job)

Imagine you are unemployed and someone offers you a job that they could reasonably assume you would find attractive.

They give you a choice:
(1) you can have the job automatically, and start right away, with a contract for a year, at the end of which they will have to advertise the position and you may or may not be successfully reappointed.
(2) they advertise the position now, which will take a few weeks (perhaps a month or so), and they expect a lot of applicants. Moreover, the selection criteria are unlikely to fit you very well (i.e. your only chance will be if no one with a certain qualification applies). BUT if you are successful, you will receive a two-year contract.

I would choose (1), no question. Someone who I said this to was quite surprised, having expected me to choose (2). I cannot imagine how anyone could possibly even consider choosing (2). Or am I just unusually risk-averse?

What would you have chosen?