Sunday, September 30, 2001

How do you know when you're taking the easy way out, and when you're striking out on your own? Most options in life seem to bring up plenty of their own problems, surely it's more a question of picking the walls you CAN climb, not beating your head against the ones you don't have a big enough ladder for?

Like many poeple I easily fall towards what looks like the easier option, against my better judgement sometimes too. Each time I've done that I've regretted it later, usually not a lot, but it's there. What I'm most thankful for is that I've managed to pull myself out of it every time. It's not good to be the girl who can't say no, but as long as you can say it when it's REALLY important it can be ok.

I'm too tired to make any more sense right now, anyone who knows what's going on with me will get what I'm talking about. Anyone who doesn't know what's going on with me shouldn't have this url anyway!


Friday, September 28, 2001

Yes, I have got a new-look blog, thanks for noticing. I admit I just took it off the sample templates, but I'll work out how to personalize it later. I am pleased that I managed to get the links to my website and to the sister blogs up without running to K'wyn for help with the html.

I've had a call about the interview, I'm going to try to get it the thursday or friday after I arrive (will be flying into SD on a tuesday) It will have to be that week becasue one of the interviewers is off on his honeymoon the following week. So will the human resources woman I spoke to. What is it with October??

I'm going to take the newsletter to Rocky now, Loki's going to hide in the car, he's very cold-ridden!


Thursday, September 27, 2001

Well, I've got my first job interview, somewhere around the 10th of October (waiting to hear the details form the human resources dept) for a research job at an SD-based company called Aurora Biosciences Corp. It's as part of a research group investigating ion channels (mostly the voltage-gated variety) and the effects on said ion channels of new drugs, with a view to applicaitons in cystic fibrosis treatments.

The interview will take all morning, and will involve a 1/2 hour presentation from me (eeeep) on one of the research projects I've been involved in for work experience. Cue Rosie doing mucho homework on ion channels, cystic fibrosis, and whatever she's supposed to already know about lab work for the presentation.

It's really exciting, and nerve-wracking, because this is actually the only job that has really jumped out at me so far as something I want to do, I'd rather have an interview for one I'm not QUITE so keen to get so that I can practice on it!

Loki and I are still on tender footing about this, understandably he's not a happy bunny, but a job's a job.

So on october 9th I'll be heading for California, and sometime soon after that I'll be subjecting the poor interviewers at Aurora Biosciences with my spiel about GABA-linked long term potentiation in the hippocampus. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Sunday, September 23, 2001

Still looking online for good fares to SD, I've found a bunch, but I'm looking more to see if I can beat 'em by the time I've organised the payment for said ticket. Hey, if I lived in Phoenix AZ I'd be able to fly to San Diego for $68 round trip... That's what all national flights should cost! I'm used to being able to take a train to almost anywhere in the country for 50 pounds or so ($75), usually less, and of course you can get practically anywhere in the UK by train without having to arrive a day later, or even 3 days later.

The cat is caterwauling. It's her job. She's apparently complaining because she can't go out and hunt squirrels all night. Not that she'd be able to catch one, or know what to do if she even caught up with one. Captain Kit is fairly limited in her hunting skills. Grasshoppers are a challenge, and we don't have any of them. Loki and I have debated buying a few from a pet store, just to give her the exercise.

*drumroll* today I've applied online for 7 (count em) jobs. I emailed my biotech resume out like a mad resume-mailing demon thingy. I rewarded myself with a cute little imitation zippo (ie, 1/3 of the price, works just as good) with a cartoon cat on it that looks like Kit, and a pack of clove cigarettes. (OK so I did the buying b4 the emailing, but I did earn em....)

Now it's bedtime, and of course I'm feeling energetic again. I'm sure it won't last, once I'm lying down it's very hard to convince my body to stay awake.


Thursday, September 20, 2001

"International credit card company" my arse!

Mastercard...heard of it? Yeah, international company right? But can I use my Mastercard with a UK billing address to buy ANYTHING online in the US? Nope. Garg.

I'm looking for tickets to fly to San Diego sometime soonish so I can see all my friends there, and if I buy thorugh I can get a ticket for $188, but they won't let me buy it with my brit credit card! So I'd have to go through, pay $100 more, and it would be sent to my parents house in Edinburgh! AAAAAAAAAARGH! Hello Auntie, can I borrow your credit card number for a minute...

*sigh* I'll figure something out, hopefully something that doesn't involve paying more just because I'm a damn brit.


Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Somehow we always think that "these things don't happen" There is a universal conviction that the atrocities we hear about are all past, and that none of us will ever have to deal with the horrors that faced our parents and grandparents in Vietnam and the World Wars. But time and time again we are proved wrong, because there are just as many violent-minded people in the world, and increased technology gives them even more opportunities for wreaking havoc.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have shocked the Western World, and I keep hearing phrases like "unprecedented" and "never before". The stark truth however, is that terrorist attacks as cold-blooded as these have been going on all my life in the Middle East, yesterday's attacks are mostly notable for the extreme melodrama of the gesture, the fact that the "untouchable bastion of freedom and democracy" has finally succumbed to the violence that affects our cousins in Israel on a daily basis.

When I was 7 years old a Lybian bomb destroyed a Boeing 747 above the small town of Lockerbie, the debris landed on a residential area and made a huge crater where minutes before had been quiet suburban residences. I was too young to really understand the incident, but I spent almost a year wanting to hide under the kitchen table whenever I heard a plane go overhead. Eight years later, when I was old enough to understand death and violence, a man burst into a classroom of 4 year olds and killed 17 of them with a handgun, a copycat incident involved kindergarten children and a machete attack. Not long after that, someone walked into an examination room and set a flame-thrower on the 14-16 year olds sitting their exams there.

This all happened in the UK, I grew up in Edinburgh, not a war zone, but everyone who has watched the BBC news in the last 20 years will be able to reel you off a list of terrorist attacks and random acts of violence carried out by lone crazies.

I spent my childhood watching news reports on IRA bombs going off in shopping centres and train stations. Of "Freedom Fighters" kneecapping civilians because they wanted to have a friend of the "wrong" religion, or even because they wanted to sell their business to the "wrong" person. Later on, after the situation in Ireland had calmed down somewhat, it was the Gulf War, the Gaza Strip, atrocities in Bosnia, Afghanistan and more places than I can even remember. But still people say "that kind of thing doesn't happen nowadays, we're much to civilized now" Ethnic cleansing is going on right now, as I type. Women are being beaten and stoned to death by the Taliban for not keeping themselves completely covered up in public, or simply because their husband wants another dowry and decides to accuse his wife of adultery so he can get a different one. The world is full of violence, and yet all of us are irate and disbelieving when this violence intrudes into our small lives.

Every person on this planet has the right to live a peaceful, sane life. Yet there is violence in the world, and we deal with it by pretending it's not happening, or by saying "well, that's just what those Arabs are like isn't it? Nothing we can do to stop them, they're all bloodthirsty maniacs" Tough luck for the child that happens to be born in Palestine. Tough luck for the family who loses a relative to terrorist violence. But let it happen on our doorstep and suddenly it's unacceptable, "why don't they do something to stop these things?" Why indeed? Because until it does happen on your doorstep, until it's you who are frantically trying to make sure that no-one you know was hurt, these things don't happen. Those screaming mothers you see on the news after their child was hit by shrapnel, they're not real people, they're just Palestinians, Irish, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Israelis, FOREIGNERS. It doesn't affect me, it's someone else's problem, let them sort it out. I am as guilty as the next person of these thoughts. My anger at the perpetrators of the attack on US is combined with anger at myself for not taking any action to call for more peace talks, more understanding in the world.

The US decides to bomb Iraq, good, teach Saddam a lesson. Meanwhile my English classmates are numb with terror because their brother, sister, parents, cousins...whole extended families live in Baghdad. Only now am I getting a slight insight into what that time must have been like for them. My cousin works in lower Manhattan, it was the work of a panicked minute to e-mail her and ask if she was ok, and another minute before I got a reply saying she's safe. Two minutes of fear for a relative's life, and I'm still shaken by it. Imagine not knowing for months.

The horror of yesterday's attacks lies not in the fact that it was Americans who were harmed, nor in the fact that it was an icon of democratic free trade that crumbled to smoldering rubble. The horror is in the realization that there are people in this world who will plan and scheme and risk their own lives to kill tens of thousands of civilians who's only crime is being human living in a certain country. "How dare they attack us?" people are asking, the real question is: How have we managed to escape this violence for so long? How have we seen what innocent humans are subjected to daily and not risen up against the injustice of it? The world is at war, and we aren't even paying attention.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

I don't even know where to begin. Somehow terrorists have managed something that should only ever happen in a Bruce Willis film, and it makes me sick. The magnitude of this is so beyond anything I thought I'd ever see in my lifetime.

Friday, September 07, 2001

Time to sum up my first week and a half in Atlanta...
Waking up after noon most days and having to scramble to get anything done before offices close [check]
Getting used to the keyboard with stickers to mark letters, some of which are on sideways. [check]
Experiencing Rocky Horror as a non-virgin. [check]
Walking a mile in high heels (in the rain) to get to Rocky, thus giving myself a 2" blood blister on my foot. [ouch, I mean check]
Playing counsellor (with Loki) to victims of melodramatic breakups [check and double check]
Fielding a phonecall from one of the causes of first melodramatic breakup without letting on that I know about the porn film. [check]
Failing to print out snazzy Resume due to lack of drivers on my laptop and floppy drive on Loki's [check] (feeble excuse, but I hate giving money to Kinkos)
Waking up with a cat trying to either smother me or steal my pillow. [not sure which, but check anyway]
Acting like an old married couple even though we've only been living together for a week [check]
Bitching at Loki about the mess in the apartment [*sigh grumble* check]

That pretty much covers it. Yes I did mean that about the porn movie. There's certainly some interesting people around here...


Tuesday, September 04, 2001

Wow, the cat finally figured out what that heap of kitty litter was for. Last night in fact. Loki gave her catnip (otherwise known as Kitty Crack) as a reward, and she's had the run of the apartment all night and still behaved herself! This breakthrough was achieved by taking the newspaper out from under the litter, so she's using litter that's just directly on the floor. Not ideal, but it's a start. I'm going to see if I can find a clear plastic mat to go under the litter to protect the floor. Then we can work our way up to a litter box. *sigh* I wonder how much harder than this potty-training is?

But it's nice having the furball out and about, especially when she's keyed up on catnip and thunderbumping about all over the place. She was on my lap a minute ago, but suddenly decided that it was imperative she race through to the kitchen and then back to the bathroom. She's a busy bunny. Places to go, people to bitch at. Speaking of which, I'm going to head down to open a bank account, now that I can remember my SS# properly.


Monday, September 03, 2001

There are some films you really can do without seeing. Some because the scripts are painfully bad, and some because they're just plain painful. "Hannibal" was on in the Pint last night while I was keeping Loki company at work. As he said, it's like a train wreck, you don't want to see, but you can't stop looking. I was (just about) ok with the gut-and-hang the Italian policeman out of the window of a famous building in Florence, I was even (marginally) ok with the man-eating wild boar. It's the slicing-open-someone's-head-and-feeding-them-their-own-brain part that I, personally, could really do without. Yick yick yick yick. And did I mention OW!? It's probably made worse by the knowledge that it is theoretically possible to do, no pain sensors in the brain and so forth. OK, I'm changing subjects before I make myself, and you, sick.

*deep breath....thinking happy thoughts* Oh, Kit is still rebelling against the opressive toilet rules. I guess it is rather an infringement of her rights to expect her to only ever use one of the two litter trays provided, and not have the freedom to poop wherever the urge takes her. *ahem* Otherwise she's being a sweetie, probably because she knows she's being "bad" so she's not bitching or trying to bite the hand that feeds/pets/cleans up after her.

Today is Labour Day, and it's raining. Teehee, so much for the best BBQ day of the year. Muah hah hah, I have foiled the puny Atlantans' plans for outdoor fun by bringing Edinburgh weather with me.

Loki's off to work now, and I'm gonna locate quarters and do some laundry.

Ooooh, I can go back to Banana Yoshimoto now I've finished the last (sniff) Lois McMasters-Bujold book.