Saturday, July 23, 2005

even more updates

Things are good here.

...oh, you expected more detail? okay. Right now I'm watching someone make brownies, shirtless. He knows I'm watching, so he's pausing to flex from time to time. It's a good sight.

Earlier today I was laughing so hard I was crying at silly stories my new boss was telling. She plus her grad student plus me make a coven. The boys in the lab are a little bit overawed.

The harbour is glassy as we get closer to sunset. The adorkable little "water taxis" are making their adorkable little way back and forth across False Creek.

At lunch I went for a walk in the woods and stuffed myself on blackberries and thimbleberries. The brambleberries aren't quite ready yet, which is good: they'll come along right after I've eaten all the blackberries.

My dissertation defence has been firmly scheduled and my committee all have copies of my dissertation.

The cats that live at the place where I'm staying like to sit on my lap.

The experiment has finally started working, AND I don't have any more night shifts.

Next weekend I might be going paragliding (parasailing? whatever). After all this experimenting I deserve a weekend off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

more updates

Unfairness of the day: Last night I had my first spider dream in months. They're not supposed to happen after stress goes away. It just ain't right.
What I find weird is that in waking life I am not bothered by spiders at all. There's a large spider living on the windowsill of my new bedroom (I think it's a wolf spider), and there was a large yellowish spider who seemed to spend most of her time crawling around the wall behind my bed in my old bedroom. The way I see it (when I'm awake at least) is that they've got their own spider plans and aspirations, and I shouldn't mess with them. When I'm asleep, it's apparently quite a different story.

Good thing of the day: Today was my first day working with my new boss. We'll call her Allie. She's a month older than I am. She's been a professor in the UK for a couple of years now. She's tremendous fun. It's gonna be great working with her. Today was a good day, because it was mostly manual labour: assembling delicate detector arrays, mounting them, connecting cables--the sort of thing that takes a lot of attention, but not a lot of thought, which is absolutely perfect after the strain of the past few days. Plus there was a beautiful moment when Allie and I and another female physicist (Italian, charming and sophisticated) were taking detectors out of their containers: to handle them, we put on latex gloves. I found myself thinking, "Three smokin' hot female physicsts (and yes I AM including myself in that category--got a problem?) wearing latex gloves...this HAS to be someone's fantasy."

Monday, July 11, 2005

it is finished

Yeah, you heard it. I finished my dissertation.

...for some value of finished. I still have to upload it to the web so the long-suffering departmental secretary can print out copies for my committee (I'll send the link if you're interested in reading it...ha ha), and of course my defence isn't for six weeks yet...and after the defence there's sure to be changes to make before I actually submit it to the grad school. Still. Finished, even only approximately, feels...good. Very good.
...particularly after this weekend. It was a long weekend of frantic writing. Today my supervisor was literally standing over me in the control room where I was writing while I kept eye on the experiment. (Today it came in handy that I don't really know the set-up yet: when things went wrong I was able to claim ignorance and get someone else to do the debugging.)

I celebrated by buying myself flowers. They don't look like they'll last long, but for now they're making my room smell nice.

Other general updates:
I'm settled into Vancouver for now, after a weekend of enjoying being "of no fixed address". I have a cell phone that works nicely for short local calls, and I'm looking into Skype for long distance chatting.
I still haven't heard anything about the "real job" that I've applied for, but the more I hear about that department the less I want to work there anyway. They sound disorganized at best and possibly passive-aggressive.
I may start getting paid sometime soon. By my employer, I mean. My grad-school supervisor hasn't cut me loose yet, so I won't starve, but it's taking a while to figure out which hoops I have to jump through to get paid by the university in the UK. Apparently they want to deposit my cheques into a UK bank account, and I have yet to find a UK bank that will let me open an account from Canada. We'll see how that all works out....

I'm too sleepy now to tell you about my parents' adventures in Turkey. Maybe next time.

Monday, July 04, 2005

scenes from a roadtrip

"Spiders are incredibly intelligent. Also evil."
"No! Spiders are nice!"
"Nice? They control our minds!"
"Yes, but it's for our own good. Bow before the benevolent spider overlords!"


"I don't want octopusses to be arachnids. I also want the plural to be "octopi"."
"You're not a revisionist historian, you're worse: you're a revisionist biologist AND a revisionist grammarian."




"I bet I could climb that. Have to have multiple belayers, though."


"You should update your Orkut profile and put "hoodoo spotting" in the "interests" section."


"You know, hoodoos are often haunted. In Haiti, that would make them Voodoo hoodoos. I know you're keen to climb these ones here, but would you do voodoo hoodoos?"
"It may also surprise you to learn that several years ago I participated in a UN mission to bring peace to Rwanda by broadening the cultural horizons of one of the warring factions."
"Yeah. First we taught them ballet. That was a bit of a mistake because they were so taken with the costumes that they refused to take them off. Then we did a nature appreciation class with them. They were particularly good at imitating owls. Then we did a sightseeing tour of the Wild West, and they took to the sixguns-and-hipflask lifestyle immediately. And we capped it all off with a rockclimbing expedition to Haiti."
"uh huh."
"Yeah. You should have seen those rootin' tootin' hooting tutu-ed Hutus on voodoo hoodoos."