Thursday, October 30, 2008

First day at work

It was pretty uneventful, actually. I've been impossible to live with, throwing out hypothetical situations where everyone spits on me because I wore the wrong color, but everyone was very nice. There were two bad things, and one amusing thing:

One of the grad students brought lemon bars. They were terrible.

During my interview, they said
"You'll basically be replacing incredibly intelligent and energetic dude that everyone knows" and I turned pale and said
"I'm not at all qualified to do his job." So they hired me. When I met this man today for the second time, I really wish I'd recognized him. He remembered me, the bastard. It was a little uncomfortable.

And the amusing thing- I worked for one professor for two summers. (Castle Lake) I took two of his classes, went to lots of office hours, proctored a lab for him, went to a couple of parties at his house, and got drunk with him twice. (Okay, he got drunk, other people got drunk, I had a drink. I am lame.) I bumped into him in the hall, and my new professor pointed me out. He shook my hand and said,
"Welcome aboard, Jane. It's nice to meet you."
So, um, that's one of my possible letters for grad school down the tubes. Damn. I would have tried to jog his memory, but I'd been recently reminded that it's an embarrassing experience.
"A pleasure, Doctor." worked just fine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What we need: uninformed website design tips

All these websites now require me to sign in before I view their content/post a comment. Señor C has an e-mail for collecting the spam that this generates, which I love him for. I have my username, I have my three passwords- don't care, care a little, and has my credit card. But these people assume too much. They assume that I'll remember that I created an account for the site I read once a month, or comment on once every two months. When I try to sign in, they tell me the password's wrong and boot me to the registration page. When I try to create a new account with my usename, they tell me it's already in use and boot me back. There is no discrete "Aha, it's been a while since I signed in" button for me to click and try again. I have to crawl back to the main page and muck around. After three times, it gets really old.

Wait, did I use Señor C's login for this page? Which password did he use?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

$5 15 min Soup of Doom/Thursdays

1 tsp oil

1 onion, diced

1/2 tsp cumin

1 can white beans/garbanzo beans/red beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 package frozen spinach / 1/3 bunch fresh spinach/rest of the parsley hanging around bottom of fridge

2 cups broth/ white wine/ beer/ water

Saute onion and cumin in oil. Add broth and contents of cans. Bring to a boil, add spinach. Simmer for five minutes. Eat.

Serves 3 as main dish.

Food is magic

The father figure is reading a book called Deep Survival. It's about epic saves and how brain chemistry makes you dumb. I like the parts about internal maps and remembering the future- how you try to convince yourself that what you observe is wrong, and what you believe is right. I've spent the last few years making a list of thoughts that serve as warning flags. (I've believed all of them at some point in time.)

The creek is dry right now.
This road was put in after the map was made.
The river bed changed shape.
My compass delineation is off.
The hill eroded.
I am on an entirely different road system, five miles away.
I have managed to walk seven miles without noticing.
The crummy (vehicle) has been stolen.
The poles have switched alignment- magnetic north is now south.
The GPS is wrong.
I've been transported to fairyland by malicious sprites.

I got lost at work a couple weeks ago. You know how it is. You know where you were, you know you haven't walked over that river to the south, but there's about four miles where you could be, you're tired, and everything you've seen in the last fifteen minutes does not match where you want the map to say you are. I stared at the map for a while, folded it up, and continued to walk in the wrong direction. Then a switch flipped deep in my brain. I dug out some vest snacks (pocket jerky! smashed crackers!) and stuffed them into my mouth. They revealed to me that I was not transported. I turned around and walked the other way. Let me re-emphasize that: after walking two miles out of my way at the end of a very long day, I turned around without a landmark offering proof positive that I was lost and backtracked. Food is magic.

Psssht, you non-outdoors people are thinking. That's not hard. But it is terribly difficult- having your rational brain clamp down on your screaming instincts and native desire to be lazy. "No no" whisper your legs, "The crummy's just around the bend." It isn't. You're lost. This is the hardest thing to communicate when training new field people. The road did not change shape. The compass is right. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T DOUBT THE GPS. Doubting the GPS is doubting the theory of relativity. Doubting the GPS is doubting geometry. I may not be certain of many things in life, but I know my location relative to four satilites.

If only I could teach them to skip right to faerie. That one's actually pretty useful as a transient meme.

Apologies to Brenny, who was dozing in the backseat of the third car in a caravan, and still managed to guide us out of the slums of Ensenada without a false step.

Back at the Alma Mater

You know how when you visit your parents, you're automatically 12 again? That's a best case scenario, by the by. Worst case, you have to be 15 again, trying to convince them that you're not really 12 anymore. Moving back to your college town is like being 22 again. Only you have only two friends still living there, you're not prepared for your classes, and you gained twenty pounds being not broke and not 22.

My boots weigh two pounds each, by the by. Not five.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

En español...

If a child is grinning and gnawing her own foot, the approved notation for the photo is "ñom ñom". Just in case you wanted to do cross cultural lolcats.

Dispatches from the moving front pt. 2

Where did you hide my razor vs. Don't take that tone with me. Unpleasant all around.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ha ha!

All right, three days of concentrated cleaning are over, and the pre-inspection of damages has occurred. I managed to make it look like we were lovely clean people who hadn't gotten around to tidying up in a couple of weeks. That's not so bad, right? Now we have to do heavy cleaning on the surfaces painstakingly exposed by light cleaning. And preform slash and burn on the jungle in the back yard.

Of course, I've been impossible to live with during the time of cleaning, but now the fights will boil down to two crabby people who hate to clean finding the each other not cleaning at inopportune moments. It should be great.

Also, when someone comes to inspect your house, it's not necessary to give them a detailed description of your new job. One can also avoid telling them to send their child to your alma mater.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dispatches from the moving front, pt. 1

Tempers are high, and the moving fight is beginning to coalesce. (I predict it will involve sweeping the contents of Señor C's bedside stand into a large tupperware or feminism.)

I've been cleaning bathroom one, and there is a surprising amount of hair. Of course, we have a combined hair length near 1.5 meters, and we do most of our shedding and grooming in this place. It's not so odd to find lots of hairs there.

What's odd is that there's a scum of cat hair throughout the bathroom. You know the place with the swishy noises, linoleum and the water in unexpected places? Yeah. That is the best place to hang out, drink out of the toilet, shed seven thousand hairs, and then leave. Why would you shed somewhere a vacuum could reach?

A sample of our conversation :
C, "I'm not a serial murderer, I'm just a serial negligent. That's not so bad"
J, "I plan on having children with you. I'd rather you bury people in the basement than forget..."
C, "I don't forget, I'm just too lazy to... not helping, huh?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

So, um, check my math.

I spent the last few weeks of my job working inside like a normal person. In an office, with people, no constant drone of NPR, no cause for movement... Usually by the end of the day Tiny Alligator's been on three-four adventures, the paperweights have "Pie!" scrawled all over them, and I'm pretending to be a dinosaur.

Anyways. Besides revealing that my social skills have actually regressed since high school, these afternoons give me ample time to contemplate lots of small puzzles. Like really fast Alt-tabbing techniques. Theories on the home lives of my coworkers. Plots for RPGs. Ideas for blog posts. And then it's 1730, and the last place on Earth I wanted to be was looking at a computer screen.

I went to the barracks and watched 3 hours of NCIS instead.