Wednesday, October 31, 2001

$#&&*$%@$#T U#&$@$#$^%^*&*(&*()(^&%$#!$#$*%&* professors! Not remembering if I graduated or think he might have mentioned that when *I* contacted him about a reference...

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

How much of the stress we experience in life is created by our own expectations and outlook? Quite a lot from what I've seen. Not that anyone does it on purpose, but I'm finding I really need to take a big step back once in a while and think about what actually matters. NOTHING that has happened in the past weeks has gotten to me nearly as much as the smallest things did before. Probably a sign that I'm doing something right.

Well...I guess there's a first time for everything.
The interview went well, he seems to really want me to come work there, but since I haven't applied through the official channels (he contacted me after seeing my resume elsewhere) he has to go through the motions of interviewing a couple other people, and then show me to the human resources people in about 10 days. Then I'd be officially taken on a 6 month contract (to make it easier to get me working asap) though I'd only have to leave at the end of that if thing went seriously badly.

It's the Whittier Institute of Diabetes, and I'd be working on breeding and maintaining trans-genic mice, and carrying out investigations using fetal pancreatic tissues and hopefully stem-cells. I have no idea what the time frame is for me to be officially accepted as an applicant/worker. But it looks good.

Monday, October 29, 2001

Oh, and the parents (and sibling) may be visiting for Christmas, taking advantage of the lower airfares following Sept 11th.

My first thought was that I didnt want them to visit until I was more established, had the apartment sorted out and a car and everything, but really, it would be nice to see them. This would be my first Christmas without them otherwise, and that wasn't something I looked forward to. This way they can help me with the car-buying process too, which would mean I don't have to impose on anyone else for help so much.

Mum will also get to take advantage of my Costco membership. Teehee.

Time to read up on the pancreas. Oh Joy. Two publications to read, off the computer screen too, as I'm not going to waste that much ink by printing them.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

I feel so grown-up, I've got a membership to the Price Club before my Mum has one. HAH!

It also means I'm officially K'wyn's "optional spouse" *ahem*

Today has been a slightly expensive one, but it's all "set up" costs. I'm realising I really should get myself a bank account and credit card here so that I actually HAVE a credit rating.

Friday, October 26, 2001

If I could give one gift to my close friends right now, it would be peace of mind. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to do that, all I can do is reassure them that life goes on, and somehow it takes you with it.

The closest I can get is to offer this book It seems a strange substitute, but having immersed myself in the whole series, I realise the moral is: whatever life throws at you, illness, death, political intrigue, even idiot cousins called just go on. Improvise, blag your way through life with as much honor as you can manage, and somehow, you come out all right at the end of it. Tired, but happy. It seems silly that a scifi novel series can do that, but it really does.

Take heart my friends, it gets better from here. Go curl up with some chocolate and a good book.

Life is seldom fair, but it's a damn sight more fun than the alternative.
TWO more job interviews lined up. Yay me.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

Give an inch and they take a mile, hell, OFFER a millimetre and they take a mile.

You know who you are.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

On the subject of transport, I am nearer a clear idea of my game plan. Inbetween car good, as my insurance premiums will be higher for the first three years that I drive here. To afford an inbetween car that lasts me almost 3 years, I shall prolly have to wait until I'm actually working. Sooo....ideally, borrow VW for first month or so of work/liscence possesion, then get a second hand car that will hopefully last me a couple years. If I can't borrow the VW, I'll have less money to buy a car with, but will try to get one asap, and hope it lasts me a couple years!

Ooooh, someone at Scripps showed someone ELSE at another lab my resume and they've contacted me about a job. Heh, I must look more impressive on paper than I thought.

Which brings me back to the Aurora situation. I got a call this morning from Aurora Human Resources, saying that Jim Rader had got mixed informaiton from my referees. Apparently some of them weren't that sure if I'd GRADUATED. WTF?? I think what it probably was, is that Marcus Rattray was being nice and trying to downplay my 3rd class status, and it came across as him being unsure whether I actually had a degree or not. Chances are Jim Rader doesn't know that UK degrees are graded, *I* wasn't about to point it out to him, cause then I'd have to also point out that mine was graded as 3rd class...

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Need transport to get to job. Need job to afford transport that won't leave me stranded. Hrmmmm. Ok, so I need a liscence before all of those, but it doesn't hurt to plan ahead while I'm reading my handbook does it?

Yeah, ideally I'd wait until I've been working long enough to get a loan for a car. Which means imposing on others quite a lot until then. Not acceptable.

Funny how Mum seems to have completely forgotten how close to impossible it is to get around without a car here. "Just wait till you've been working a while, then you can get a reliable safe car with side impact bars..." Side impact bars are her big thing. I completely understand wanting me to be in a safe car, especially having seen some of the drivers around here. The more I think about it, the more I think I may end up going for a Toyota Corolla like Kw'yn's, because they seem to be such a good balance of cost, safety and reliability. And then we'd match of course. I know the VW cab of my aunt's is not the most tank-like of objects, but if I start work b4 I have a car it would be so useful to be able to borrow it. It's very much preferable to no car. ESPECIALLY if I manage to start work when K'wyn has finals.

GRAWR. There's a lot of chicken and egg stuff going on right now. Can't get a decent car till I have a job, can't get to work without transport. Can't get a job wihtout experience, can't get experience without a job. All that I can extrapolate from this chain is that the job is the facilitator to solving most problems here. However, just beccause the job is the most important, does that mean I everything else has to wait until I have one?? I'm certainly planning to already know which car I plan to get by the time I can afford a decent one, but is it a spectacular waste of time and money to get an "inbetween" car and make it last as long as possible, THEN get a new one later on, when I will be more financially stable anyway? Hrm. Time to argue with parents again. If I can borrow the VW, then no inbetween car, but if not, I vote for an inbetweenie.

I guess the NEXT most important thing is whether my vote actually counts!
Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to jobandflatandcar hunt we go...
Phew, saved from evil professor by a post-doc who actually SAW me doing practical stuff in the lab. Said evil professor is a neurobiologist who does not believe in the existance of depression as a disease. It's clearly a choice we flaky students make to become miserable recluses, afraid to leave the apartment for fear of, well, just for fear. Or maybe for fear of having to deal with insensitive professors ne?

Monday, October 22, 2001

The trip up to the mountains was also extremely good for the general Faerie Cohort morale, both of us were able to do a much needed cobweb clearing of the brain. Mountain air is good for that.
A weekend in the life of Agent Ash, Combat Faerie
It's been a long weekend, but mostly in the good way. That makes a nice change. Going along to a flatwarming party with K'wyn on friday helped a lot to alleviate the black mood, but it came back on saturday morning when a parcel arrived containing a few items of sentimental value, one of which was a photo I took when I was 15. It is newly scratched by the shattered glass that accompanied it in the parcel. Glass frames with no wood around them to protect the edges have a habit of breaking when mailed with only three layers of cellophane to protect them. I really don't like having my temper on such a hair trigger, it doesn't feel at all like me.

Many problems can be fixed by asian market and BOBA. So K'wyn and I went off to battle the crowds and purchase asian-style yummables for the week, and then went to Lollicup for my first pearl tea in a year and a half. Followed by a trip to the Japanese market, which has a section for pottery and china. I was bad, I spent $34. but for that $34 I got a sake set (two flasks and five cups), two little sauce dishes that can double as ash trays, a little china cat chopstick-prop with spots, the same as the one I have with stripes on it, and four mugs with a pretty design on them. Ohhh, I manabed to buy FOUR of something in a Japanese shop! Heehee, guess which objects are designed to be sold to westerners with no idea of the 1,2,3 DEATH, 5,6... problem?? Apparently most Japanese now say "yi" instead of "shi" just to avoid that problem. That little pearl of knowledge came from Mr Doyle (no, not the real name, the screen name) who came over saturday evening. He and K'wyn also had a lot in common with their interests in Japan, and Anime, so the three of us talked for a long time before he and I went out to wander and catch up by ourselves, yet again we talked till nearly dawn, unless we figure out how to have a conversation that's less than 9 hours long it'll be hard to find time slots for coffee together! He's one of the frankest people I know, and that is extremely refreshing to me after knowing far to many people who bend and reshape the truth according to their mood. (admittedly most of those have been women, makes me feel ashamed to be one sometimes)

Sunday I dragged myself out of bed after 4 hours sleep to get on the road to Julien. YAY fresh-baked bread. YAY apple pie. YAY hoarshound losenges (yeuchy but they work) YAY cheap strings of stones. Between us K'wyn and I bought malachite, lapis-lazuli, rose quartz, garnets, carnelian, and a second string of garnets to give to our third initiate into the circle of Combat Faeries: Agent Ophelia.

Ophelia had organised an expidition to investigate the newest representaion of our kind, namely A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Old Globe theatre. We were all mightlily impressed wiht it, it's always a fun play, and the faeries really were combat faeries this time, as they were bedecked with elbow and knee pads and DM boots. The choreography of the arguments between the four lovers was fantastic, much flinging around of poor little Hermia, and the Helena was a great comic turn, very tall and gangly, which is perfect for her. Puck was also great, an asian guy with pink in his hair to echo his pink velour suit, he was perfectly pixie-ish and very graceful on roller blades, skateboard and space-hopper. Yes I said space-hopper, it was in 1960's clothing. Kind of.

I have also located my parents. They were in Vienna for 4 days, so that's sorted out.

Shower time.

Friday, October 19, 2001

I don't know what's wrong with me, I haven't been this angry for as long as I can remember. It's just sitting and stewing in my guts, waiting for a chance to leap up out of my throat and do some damage and I don't like it. It's not really ME.

It makes me madder that it's possible to turn me from a good mood to this mad with only one sentence. I know what this is, this is manic/agressive. I've not had this since I Was 17. Woooo, don't you just feel so SPECIAL? I have to get out of here, go smoke a cigarette, bang my fists agains a wall, SOMETHING. Just to clear out the awful frustration that I've let someone hurt me this much.

I suppose I should have know I'd get like this sometime, and it's nowhere near as bad as it's been before, there's still a couple other threads of thought running, I'm still aware of my surroundings. Like the fact that I'm sitting next to a stranger, and I hope she doesn't look over because I don't know what my face looks like right know, but I'm pretty sure I'm not exactly projecting happy contented vibes.

And as fast as I can type about it, it passes. But I'm leaving this up, as a reminder, though to whom I'm not sure. You probably know who you are.

*ahem* Have just logged into my Mum's hotmail account, and found that she had set the filters to exclusive, and no addressbook entry for little me. So Rosie was in the junk mail folder, which she prolly hasn't thought to check, lord knows how many emails have actually been DELETED without being read because of that. Cue Rosie rearranging mummy's address book for her, then sending a slightly snooty email pointing out the joys of looking in the sodding junk mail folder once in a while just in case.

Yeah, I'm pissy, but it would be nice if my mum actually GOT my emails. I need support and stuff right now.

*grumble grumble grumble*

Oh, I'm really not a happy bunny now. Have just recieved an email requesting Novembers 1/2 of rent. Yes, it was agreed, but it's still not a good subject at ALL for me. It just makes me want to throw my hands up in disgust and stomp about and yell.

I don't know when it switched from sensible redistribution of wealth to feeling like I'm being used, but that switch was so long ago now that I am probably going to be terminally touchy about serious money matters for a considerable space of time. I'm never going to be someone who freaks out over $5, but I am a lot less cool with lending than I once was, maybe a good thing actually, to be cautious, but I don't like being cautious and bitter.

I'm somewhat concerned by the lack of contact from the parents. I know my mum rarely checks her email, so it's easily possible for her to not get a message / reply to it for a few days (yes, I count every 3rd day as rarely, though maybe infrequently would be better) but I know Dad checks his daily when at work, and replies straight off to prevent massive 400 messages waiting to be dealt with incidents. Maybe Dad's out of town, and Mum's not checked her email yet.

I'm such a wee baby, a week and a half with out parental contact and I'm all "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!" Nice to know I miss them though, when I've spent a long time there I sometimes wonder if I'll ever want to go back!

Gah, was downloading shockwave to view the Gorillaz website and it decided to close all my windows. Thus losing the blog I was typing.

I'm in a random mood today, prolly looking forward to the weekend, which seems strange because I'm not working or at school right now. But we've got mucho stuff planned. Tonight I get to see the Cowboy Bebop movie, I watched chapters 2-6 yesterday to get a clue, and I'm looking forward to feature length anime-ness. I really like the look of it, and the intro sequence and credits are great, very '60s action TV show, but less naff. Saturday will be chilling out, then meeting up with Ryan to catch up on the last year+ of stuff. Prolly not actually swing dancing though, I'm very out of practice and he's gone off it, bad combo. SUNDAY is a trip to Julien for herbs, apple juice, general faerie-like prancing around the hills, and de-stressing. Followed by A Midsummers Night's Dream at the old globe, though prolly not the outdoor ye olde style one. Busy busy.


Thursday, October 18, 2001

Urgh urgh urgh. Conflict sucks.

I'm going to go have a ridiculously long shower and wash away the crapness.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

JOB UPDATE (just to make it clear)

They like me, they're checking my references and background. The background check people wanted me to fax in a copy of my passport, but then their fax machin was on the blink/out of paper/switched off, so that didn't happen today. It's looking good, but I don't want to hope TOO much and jinx myself.

Ah, I failed to mention that over the weekend K'wyn and I went to ren fayre in Las Vegas, with her Mom, brother, and the Mom's fiance. It was fun, and it was really nice to come back to K'wyn's place as "coming home" afterwards, it made it feel a lot more like home.

The fayre was pretty small-scale. There was alot of stuff I'd seen before at War, or the San Bernadino fayre, only generally worse quality. The most interesting thing was the wide diversity of costume styles in evidence. There were a few Tudors, and a bunch of musketeers (definately pushing the boundaries of when the SCA "period" ends) the requisite older women wearing bodices with no boob-coverage and spilling out and down over them (hint: after having kids, you might need some support other than a chemise) There were two girls wearing fur bikinis, going for the "captured savage" look, some really cool faerie outfits, a bunch of ppl walking around together dressed as their D&D characters (or that's what it looked like) and then the leather/goth/vampire brigade. Not to mention the Xena Warrior princess gone S&M with zebra bodypaint...

My only purchase was a pair of burgundy and gold faerie wings which match my garb perfectly. (yay) They tie on with ribbons instead of elastic, which makes em both more adjustable and more comfy. They also cost the same as wings I've seen in stores, unusual for Renfayre.

So that's the report on the weekend.
As my blog goes the way of every other journal I've kept in my life: more stuff happening, therefore less blogging. You only get to know what's happening when it's boring.

Things with Aurora look really good, as long as my references are ok they luurve me. YAY. I can't believe how well this has gone, K'wyn says I'm due some karmic payback, in the good way, and I guess she's right. Things haven't been horrible, but I've had a fair streak of crapness going on for about 5 years. If not total crapness, a lot of things have started out promising and ended up in the range of blah to disasterous. I'm still not sure which category my degree falls into ;-p

Today I'm going in with K'wyn again, to choir, where Colin will be (yay) I also ran into Nick on campus yesterday.

THIS time I'm remembering how chilly it gets in the evenings on campus. I'd forgotten the whole damp yeuchyness side of SD weather, and bought a sweater yesterday to keep myself from having a comeback of my cold.

Must dash to the shower.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

I survived the interview. Me in my smart skirt and jacket, and all the interviewers (almost all anyway) in jeans! One of the women had blue hair too, which is a good sign of a relaxed work environment. It looks like a really great place to work, relaxed friendly atmosphere, but they still get things done, which is the perfect balance to me. In fact I think the relaxed atmosphere is the best way to concentrate on the important things, instead of worrying about office (or lab) politics.

I don't know when I'll hear from them, so I'll keep applying for other jobs, and keep in touch with Aurora to see what happens. Jim Rader, who is basically the one who would be hiring me, said that he thought I'd made a good impression on all the interviewers.

Tomorrow we're going to Ren Fayre in Las Vegas. Looooong drive, I hope my books last me.

I'm knackered now, wanna go home and have hot chocolate and sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.


Wednesday, October 10, 2001

So tomorrow I have an interview. In fact I have my first ever interview that is both scarily intensive AND important to me. Yeah, I have been through the Cambridge interviews but, frankly, I wasn't stressed out about them, because I already had an unconditional offer from Kings and I liked the look of Kings more.

I now have the interview timetable/itinerary, which lets me know that I have a long string of 30-45 minute sessions with different members of the research team. Yeep. My first response being a wish to hide under K'wyn's desk. But then I think about it a bit longer and realise that this way is both a more efficient use of their time, and it's not as hard on me. I won't be the little person on the other side of the table from a large panel of people grilling me. I won't feel outnumbered. They won't have TIME to ask me too many really in-depth questions. I won't be spending so much time around the same people that I feel under attack, and THEY won't be sick of the sight of me by the end of the day. Huh, they're also having me in the same room the whole time, so I'll feel like I'm holding court (!) unlike my Cambridge interview when I had to be herded about from building to building by a "sheep dog" third year student. Hopefully (also unlike my Cambridge interview) everyone will remember that my interview is happening, and won't have to be hunted down before talking to me, thus putting them in a bad mood.

On a more random note, it's nice to be using a keyboard with all the letters still marked on it, and this keyboard feels nice to use too, the keys don't stick, or rattle.

K'wyn has an exam tomorrow at 9.30, and my interview starts at 9am, so it's studying tonight, waking up early tomorrow. I wonder how long it will be before they let me know if they want me at Aurora. It would be so great if I can start up right away, and then concentrate on getting a driving liscence sorted out. And be EARNING too, that would help so many things.

This weekend will be fun too, Ren-Fayre will be a good reward for surviving the interview, even if I'm not in my "real" garb.

Time to go bone up on GABA receptors and epilepsy. wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I'm actually HERE!

Tha journey was uneventful, apart from all three of my check bags having to be searched b4 I could be given my boarding cards, but we were at the airport so early I got put on earlier flights, so I got to SD at 1-30 instead of 3-30. I'm going into campus today, to hang out with Radiskull, and then I'll be using a computer at K'wyn's work to research for my presentation tomorrow. Eeeeeeep. I HAVE AN INTERVIEW TOMORROW!!!

On the flight from Houston to SD I sat next to a very nice woman who lives in San Diego, she gave me her phone number so I can let her know if I get the job or not.

OK, time for breakfast.

Monday, October 08, 2001

No sleep for the traveller. Meh, I'm used to it, and I'll catch up.
I started typing a more comprehensive blog, but then the computer froze, so it got lost. The moment is gone.

Suffice it to say that I'm packing, and getting there slowly, the plane leaves tomorrow at about 12-30, but I'll be at the airport at about 7am because it's a choice between getting there 3 hours ahead of take off and Loki getting no sleep b4 work, or getting there 5 hours ahead of take off and me getting a nap before departing the apartment. I can sleep on the journey.

My interview outfit (it took me a LONG time to decide on it) is going in the carryon roller case with my laptop, that way I don't have to worry about my luggage going missing.

Now my mind's ablank, there was lots to say, but I forgot it all in my ire at the damn computer gremlins.

Been so much to blog about I didn't know where to start so I skipped it to avoid a really LONG random blog.

Friday, October 05, 2001

Getting things straightened out somewhat. Too tired to say more, now I'm mostly stressing about my interview. Going to seek out a shirt tomorrow, since I somehow have managed to have two smart skirts, two smart jackets (one lightweight one heavy) and no smart shirts.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

*mental note* STICK TO VEGITARIAN FROZEN MEALS.... whatever they're using for chicken in this thing, it tastes ODD. But then it might be the difference between US and UK farming too, people I know have noticed a difference in the beef. It's prolly the BSE...
Yay, I've set up the archive to work form this page, all by my self. Yeah, yeah, so someone else did all the html coding, and all I did was cut and paste MY links into the approproate spaces, but I managed to do that without messing up. Pretty good for someone who's never done a thing in html before. The aim is to code my whole website myself, instead of relying on pagebuilder to do it for me, just so I can feel the achievement of it being all my work.

I had a scare this morning, my oldest friend was online and said he needed to call me. Marc's always preferred phones to online so that wasn't anything special. Then he tells me a guy he split up with recently is now HIV positive. And logs off. So I'm sitting here madly trying to remember exactly WHEN they split up, and if he's been tested since. It was a very unpleasant few minutes. Marc is in the clear, he got tested in July, and they split up last September. It's a big relief, I'm sad for his ex, and for him, because this is a rather close brush with death for him. I also know that the ex was very irresponsible about his habits, and it frankly doesn't surprise me, people think that HIV has gone away because it's not publicised nearly so much nowadays, but it's still there, still just as deadly.

This is the closest I've ever been to knowing someone who's HIV positive. It's frightening to think of it, this guy is 19 and he probably won't make it much past 30. It's not a "maybe", there's no chemotherapy that could put the disease into remission, there's only hoping you're lucky enough to delay the onset of actual AIDS as long as possible by keeping healthy. My uncle died of cancer, but most cancers are treatable to a certain extent, and many are curable. HIV is still a death sentence, signed the moment you're diagnosed, even taking the drugs as soon as you can will only increase your life expectancy by about 5% at the most.

Marc called me partly because we've been good friends for 6 years, and partly because I'm his "biomedical expert". He wanted someone who knows biology to reassure him that if he's been clear for a year, he most likely really is clear of HIV. I'm glad when I can make people feel better about the scary medical stuff, I'm glad that I can pass on the things I've learned to reassure people. There's so much mystery built up around genetics and other branches of medicine now that people really believe that we can wave a magic wand and turn them into a genetically modified frog, or even change their religion with injections. (I kid you not, K'wyn has actually been asked if her aim in life was to make everyone an atheist by feeding them genetically modified foods...)

On that note, I'm going to go eat. Before I do that I will add a link to Marc's homepage, it's very cool and he loves getting random emails from people who are friends of friends.