This time last year:
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
- Someone just offered us $30,000. A PhD student in Geekman's department is, by some quirk of the system, drawing both a PhD scholarship and a postdoc salary. He doesn't want them. He asked the university to take some of the money away, but they won't. And now he is trying to give it away. He thought we might like it to help pay off the house. We turned him down. But that was a weird conversation.
- I have now been asked to teach into five different courses this semester. People seem confused when I suggest instead that maybe they should get the people they JUST HIRED to teach the courses instead of the person who they just rejected. "But those people can't teach!" they complain. "And you're so good at it!" Yeah. Isn't it nice that, as we are always being told, our university values teaching so highly.
- I am going to Japan on Saturday. (Osaka, Kyoto). Any tips?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I bought one of these LED faucet thingies, and it arrived today.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
They just created a new job so that they can hire one of the men.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
... whether I can teach some courses for them next semester.
Monday, June 27, 2011
The only thing I'm kind of struggling with with this job situation is the thought that this was it. This was my only chance. Those gazillion retirements that are coming up as the baby boomers get to the end of their careers? They've all happened now, in our department anyway. We've had six retirements in the past couple of years. They replaced them with two hires at full professor level (but younger people who probably still have 20 years of career left), one at level C (so, maybe equivalent to the US associate professor level?) and this one junior hire. They may still be hiring one more junior person, but if they do, it will be to cover a sub-discipline that there is no way in hell I am qualified to teach, and I doubt I could even apply. The next retirements in our department are probably going to happen in around 15 years.
Geekman (fortunately) looks like he's set here for the foreseeable future. We aren't going to be doing an international job search any time soon. So I think I'm now committed to putting together one of those careers where you try and line up one grant after another. And that's pretty exhausting, if I can even do it at all. So many grant agencies don't let you apply for your own salary, and collaborative grants are kind of the exception in my field, so having other people willing to apply for a salary for me on their grant is unlikely. The big national grants scheme has just revamped all its funding rules, and I can't even tell if I'll be eligible to apply for a fellowship at the end of this current one.
Dammit. This is really hard.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I didn't get the job. But it did go to a woman, and she is definitely the best qualified for the position. People have been talking about this position as "B—'s job" ever since it was first advertised. And the short-term one has been offered to another woman, who is also a good fit.
I guess I have to stop hoping for his support and just get on and do things on my own. As I have been. But it's exhausting.
Friday, June 24, 2011
I have been interviewed by 24 people so far for this job. Four of them were female. Two of those were PhD students. For two of the interviews I was facing a large panel consisting entirely of old white men.
French guy "I was in Sydney on the weekend, and tried to strike up conversations with people in the street like I would in Paris, but no one wanted to talk to me. They even looked frightened that I would try to approach them. Australians are so cold and rude."
French guy "But it has never happened to anyone I know. French people are not like that."
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I think the job talk went okay. People said it was fun. Hopefully it's okay to be fun. But if they want to hire an un-fun person, maybe I don't want to work there anyway.
Friday, June 17, 2011
The final Big Deal Thing out of this little catch-up-with-my-life series I seem to be running is that I have been shortlisted for a permanent job in my department.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
But then we painted it.
We were quite lucky it was yellow, actually, because it didn't show well, and we got it for the lowest price paid for a house in this suburb for over a year. Even though it was in perfect structural condition.
Another example of the yellow:
After after the de-yellowing:
The bedrooms benefited both from a de-yellowing, and an un-horribling of the curtains.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Yes, we named our kitten after a Lovecraftian horror. But doesn't she look like a terrifying demon? A sleepy, sleepy, terrifying demon?
“It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train, a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and unforming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down on us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.”
“Still came that eldritch, mocking cry: 'Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!'”
“Shoggoths and their work ought not to be seen by human beings or portrayed by any beings.”
“I had seen those primal sculptures, too, and had shudderingly admired the way the nameless artist had suggested that hideous slime coating found on certain incomplete and prostrate Elder Ones those whom the frightful Shoggoths had characteristically slain and sucked to a ghastly headlessness in the great war of resubjugation”
Yeah, the vet didn't think it was funny, either. But I have a receipt for one vaccinated Shoggoth, which is more than Lovecraft ever had.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
So yeah, we finally succeeded in my project to outsource the replication of my genetic material. The whole not telling anyone thing (since Claudia understandably wants to wait until she's past the highly-likely-to-miscarry period before making announcements) is tricky, because I'm very excited. So I thought to myself: I wish I had a secret place on the internet where I could talk about stuff to people who don't know any of the real-life involvees. And then, oh yeah.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Today I had to deal first with a random cold-call from a mortgage broker, whose "mate" (a real estate agent who showed us a place last week) told him we might be in the market for a "good deal on a mortgage". I don't recall telling the agent he could pass on our phone numbers to his mates so that they could advertise at us, but thanks anyway.
Then I had the following call:
"Hi, it's [random agent] from [generic agency]."
"I'm calling about [address]."
"You emailed me about it last week, so I'm just returning that call."
"I'm sorry, I've sent a lot of queries to real estate agents lately: can you remind me what I asked you?"
"I don't know. I'm just getting back to you."
"But I sent you an email. Don't you have it there?"
"Could you perhaps find it and reply to it by email?"
"I'll call you back."
We've now looked at 20+ places, and have identified four that we might actually be interested in. To put this in some perspective, there are currently 94 properties for sale in our price-range in the region we would consider buying in. The problem is, each of the four we like has a serious flaw. Do we hold out for perfection?
On the one hand, you might argue that we should definitely hold out longer, because if four out of the 100-ish on the market right now are great, then given the speed of turnover in this city (properties are usually on the market for less than three weeks), more great ones should pop up soon. On the other hand, these four have all been on the market since we first started looking, i.e. nearly four months now. Nothing approaching the awesomeness of these has shown up in that time. (On the third hand, why the hell are the properties that rate so high on our scale of awesomeness precisely the ones that aren't selling???)
Anyway, here's a sneak preview, should you happen to care, along with pros and cons.
Three-bedroom ancient monstrosity, oh my:
This place is 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from university, has the biggest lounge and kitchen of any of the houses we've seen, and has a beautiful garden with a whole lot of weird little outbuildings that have been used as chicken houses, greenhouses and an artist studio. According to the building report, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it at all, despite it being over 50 years old. On the other hand, it has no heating (yet), no cooling, and yeah, that picture in the top right is the kitchen. (Oh dear.) It also has no plumbing for hooking up a washing machine (WTF). Geekman doesn't like the exposed brick "feature wall" in the lounge (top left), and both of us worry that that room would feel like a school hall, and be impossible to keep warm.
Three-bedroom-in-a-park, and yes it's mainly about the windows:
This place is much smaller than the one above, and really the bedrooms are kind of ridiculously sized. But potentially we could knock out the wall between two of them and make a large one. It has the most amazing bay windows in the dining room (pictured) and one of the bedrooms. The garden is gorgeous and has mature fruit trees. It backs onto a national park. On the other hand it's about twice as far from university as the one above. But on the third hand (or whatever I'm up to now), the route is on bicycle paths through parkland all the way. The biggest problem with this place is that the building report lists a LOT of small issues that would each cost no more than a few hundred or a thousand dollars to deal with, but that together add up to about $20,000 of work, not to mention being annoying to have to deal with.
Two-bedroom plus secret office, but the body corporate fees of DOOOM:
This place is perfect except that it has the world's tiniest kitchen (it looks big in this photo, but that space is doubling as the lounge too. Oh, and the body corporate fees are twice what any other townhouse I've seen charges. (The two properties above are free-standing houses, but this one and the next are not, which is nice because we wouldn't have to do our own external maintenance, plus townhouses have better energy ratings, but sucks because of lack of control over anything much, and because of the fees.) It also has three bathrooms for some inexplicable reason, despite only having two bedrooms.
But! It has a secret room! And the bedrooms are reasonably sized, the whole place has heating and air-conditioning, lots of storage space, and a little private garden/courtyard as well as access to a communal herb garden and outdoor areas. It's only 2km from university (1.2 miles).
I am so in love with this next place I want to marry it but it doesn't like my hypothetical cat:
This is the most awesome place ever. It is a similar distance from university to the previous one, but the route is entirely on bike paths through parkland. It is huge and funky and I have frankly never seen anything like it before in my life. I WANT. It also has a secret criminal mastermind lair! The kitchen is a tiny bit smaller than we would like, but the three bedrooms and lounge are enormous. There is even room on the landing to have a desk and bookshelf and pretend it's an office. The only flaw is, perhaps, a fatal one: it is not possible to have cats in this building. And one of the main reasons we are considering buying a place is to get a cat. Gah!
The lowest asking price of the four places (the no-cat place) is 25% lower than the highest one (the bay-window parkland place). Ancient Monstrosity is part of a deceased estate, so perhaps they are more likely to accept a low offer. Body-Corporate-Fees-of-Doom is kind of weird, as it went on the market last year at a stupid-high price, then was withdrawn, and now it is back on the market for auction, and the lower end of what the real estate agent tells us is really quite reasonable (and puts it lower than any of the others in this list.) As for No-Cat-Ville, we happen to know about an offer the seller accepted (which then fell through), so we have a fair idea that they would take a bit under asking price as well, making THAT one the cheapest.
Advise me, O internets! How do we make this sort of decision! Or do we keep waiting?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Colleague: "So I have these Word files that contain lists of data, and they are in this format." He shows me some short Word tables. "Do you think it would be possible to put the data into Excel?"
I copy and paste it right out of the table into a spreadsheet. "Like that?"
"Yes!" he says. "Wow. That's great!"
"How many of these files do you have?" I ask. "A few hundred? A thousand?"
"So it would only take..." we both say at the same time.
I finish the sentence with "5-10 minutes" as he says, "about a day's work."
Monday, January 17, 2011
Me, to real estate agent: Have you had a lot of interest in this property? How many people came through on Saturday?
Real estate agent: Oh yeah, yeah, you know how it is. Yeah, there were a few. Some people came through.
Real estate agent: So how much do you think you would pay for a place like this?
Me: "Yeah. Yeah, you know how it is. Yeah, I'd pay a bit. I'd pay some money for it."
Geekman, via text message: "Do you want some coffee and cake?"
Me, "What sort of cake?"
Geekman, "Actually, I don't have any cake."
Me, "That's okay. I'll just have coffee. Shall I come over to your office?"
Geekman, "Yes. Can you bring some cake?"
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Geekman, while I am massaging his feet: "This is a win-win situation!"
Me: "I don't think that word means what you think it means."
Geekman, waves one foot: "Win." Then the other. "WIN."
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Listening to the radio just now, A Winter's Tale came on. Hah, I think. I know that song. I had forgotten about it completely, though, for years. Why do I know it? Oh yeah, we used to sing it at school, at Christmas assembly and in choir at Christmas time. I start humming along.
But wait! What is this? The words! They are different!
The normally formatted text below is the original. The bold italics show the version we sang at my (supposedly non-religious) school.
The nights are colder now.
maybe I should close the door,
And anyway the snow has
covered all your footsteps
And I can follow you no more.
The fire still burns at night,
my memories are warm and clear;
but everybody knows
it's hard to be alone at this time of year.
It was only a winter's tale,
Just another winter's tale,
And why should the world take notice
and see how the world takes notice
of one more love that's failed?
of love that never fails
It's a love that can never be
It's a love that will always be
though it meant a lot to you and me
and it means a lot to you and me
on a world-wide scale
but on a world-wide scale
we're just another winter's tale
it's just another winter's tale
All I can think of is that our rather religious choir conductor (who was the principal's wife)*, interpreted the song as being about the birth of Jesus, and objected to the idea that the nativity was "just another winter's tale", so changed the words when she taught it. I can't believe I only discovered this now!
* And who also managed to get an anti-evolution video shown as an "extra credit" activity during the period when we were learning about Darwin in our science curriculum.