Monday, January 30, 2006


Finally, we participated in something recreational by renting a DVD and watching it in bed. I had Serenity-flavored dreams that night.

I am still PO'd that they killed off important crew members, though the first kill was not too surprising. However, it was a good flick with an actual plot, characters, and dialogue, unlike some space movies I could mention.

I did notice that when they were saying something "naughty", they were more likely to say it in that Shakespearean-futuristic space-pirate dialect. (" 'Twixt my nethers" indeed.) It was nice that River finally got to do something besides being kooky background material, and also nice that the characters who got together finally got together.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I'm Back!

I returned last night from my last out-of-town interview. Well, that's a little misleading. Let's say, from my last interview, full stop!

I have to say that yesterday morning was possibly the nicest morning I've had since the holidays, of course not counting the spousal absence bit. (I wish he could have been there to enjoy the languor.)

As I had two visits on the other side of the state, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday, I stayed in a hotel near Grand Rapids the night between. My Thursday appointment wasn't until 2pm, so I had all of Thursday morning to myself.

Although I awoke at 6:30 despite my best efforts to stay asleep, I managed at least to stay in bed until 8, at which time I leisurely slouched down to breakfast. The buffet had the usual "cereal and bagels" kind of options, but they also had an array of cups of waffle batter and waffle irons set up so patrons could make their own waffles, which I did.

After lingering over my waffle, I meandered upstairs and dozed on the bed for another hour and read some of my current book (Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot). it was a shame that checkout was at 11, because I could really have dozed for another couple of hours. Even the shower had great water pressure. I didn't check out until the absolute crack of 11. Yep, most luxurious morning ever.

So now I'm back, and have to get to the tsunami of duties that have been on hold since before the holidays. [drowning not waving].

Oh, and there's also that pesky task of rating all the internship sites on various weighted characteristics and entering them into the computerized APPIC system, to see if the places that I liked, liked me. (Once you've entered your rankings, you're legally obligated to accept the site that it pairs you up with, so you have to be pretty certain.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Beyond the Touch of Evil"?

What gets me about this story, aside from the obvious horribleness of it, is this quote:

"In Nixzmary's case, there had been warning signs, but ACS officials said the family was uncooperative."

Huh! You don't say--investigating a crime, and the suspects are not feeling too forthcoming? Well, then heck--why even try to continue the investigation? I guess I would have thrown in the towel, too. After all, the only way we can investigate crimes is when the suspects cooperate.

Why am I still surprised??

What amazes me is how someone can hear this message on my personal voicemail, and still give me this kind of response (at my own cost, of course).


Update: sorry , I realized the poor victim-slash-idiot also left her own phone number on that message, so it seems [probably fair but] cruel to actually post it online. Therefore I deleted the link.

Anyway, apparently I am now giving people a 15% discount on some kind of phone services with Sprint, according to some Federal Telecommunications list or something. You'd think that my message would deter people from trying to get it from me, but that's not the case with some persistent people. (I want to say persistent-vegetative people.)

At least this guy gets the idea. (But he still called back a second later and hung up.)

I don't know what's going on exactly, but it looks like some new listing came out recently with my number on it, because I've gotten about 7 messages already today.


Okay, here's what seems to have happened. While it's clear that Sprint published my number on some list a while back, apparently they recently put out another list for federal employees to get a 15% discount on their cell phone bills.

I discovered this when I Googled my number yet again and finally it came up posted publicly on the Marines for Life discussion board, no less. Sheesh.

I had to sign up for the discussion group in order to even contact any of the posters. However, somebody got the list from their boss, who probably got it from Sprint, and so forth, so the root problem is still unresolved. Stupid Sprint.

I wish I was an attorney. Which is something you won't hear me say very often.

Monday, January 16, 2006


So dumb, yet I have to watch this again. Especially the part where the Christmas tree gets dragged offstage.

I guess I _am_ feeling pretty charitable...

Another test triggered by Argot:

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride?

In the approximately 24 hours since my Freecycle group was approved, 40 people have joined. I haven't even begun promoting it yet! Frankly I am puzzled as to how they found it, since last time I checked it wasn't in Google or in the Freecycle zip code search yet.

Oh, and I also got an email from a local reporter who wants to do a story on it.

I told him, yeah, good luck with that "getting a photo of people doing an exchange" thing. (Only in nicer words of course.)

Crazy, man!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update: 2 days, 66 people. With thank-yous, yet!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Word Gets Out Fast

This Freecycle thing has really taken off, and in only a few hours!

The group was approved today (finally), but naturally it takes a while to propagate in order to be searchable by area code on (and the usual search engines). The only way to find it right now is to go to YahooGroups and specifically type in the name of my town and the term Freecycle.

Nevertheless, 8 people have signed up since I checked this afternoon. I guess there is a need for it after all. Or maybe they're Freecycle trolls who hover vulturelike, waiting to find items to sell on eBay.

At any rate, there they are. Somehow.

(Whoooaaa! Jane, get me off this crazy thing!)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ersatz indeed

I have been trying to start a Freecycle group in my area, which (gasp!) doesn't have one. When you apply, you get a huge chunk of text comprising requirements including the fact that you should be a good speller (and know how to figure out online stuff).

So far, so good...except, the person who is the regional coordinator (or whatever it's called) who has to approve the group before it can be activated is having even more trouble than me figuring out various aspects of the group formation.

It does not help my respect for her expertise that every single time she has sent me this one particular email address that I must add to the group, I can see that she is spelling it wrong. She's even come up with more than one way to spell it wrong: instead of "ersatz": "erstaz" and "Eresataz". (At this point I'm guessing she doesn't know the word "ersatz" exists and just sees it as a random conglomeration of letters.)

During the course of frequent email exchanges where she's trying to walk me through stuff I've already done to no avail, with vague emails that require mind-reading to understand, I finally asked outright if "they" (to make it less accusatory) were spelling the name "erstaz" instead of "ersatz". You would think at that point she would at least double-check to see if she had made a typo!

But no--she still ignored my question completely and instead went on about the necessity for adding the name and doing this and that with it. (Which I had already tried.)

Now obviously, the operation is not going to work if I'm using her imaginary misspelled email address, but it's also not working when I use the correct spelling (from the site). So I still do need her help, but I now have absolutely no faith in her ability to even understand what she's trying to lead me through. I would make a wild guess she has not set up a Yahoo group anytime recently herself, that's for sure.

Dang, least try to take spelling seriously!! If nowhere else, then at least in email addresses.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Can you spell turkey vomit?

This site is completely pointless, yet greatly addictive. (It comes in German, too!)

I wish there was a way to make more rooms, because the "D"s are always taken.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

But can it be sung in the shower?

This may be my favorite music story of the year--or century, as it were. I can just picture the notes being sounded down through the centuries; all the wars and changes and things.

(I admit, I would like to see the sheet music, and to hear what it would sound like on a more human scale.)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Like Cash Donated by Abramoff...

...I'm outta here.

I still have to finish packing to get to Acorn. The Silo Hotel (as I'm calling it) does appear to have wi-fi, but I hope I don't get sucked into looking at lovely sunrise photos on Flick'r as usual while I'm supposed to be getting some sleep before my interviews tomorrow morning.

Had the second one yesterday, with three people on a speakerphone. It turns out to be more difficult to interview over the phone than in person. (And not only because we lost the connection once and I had no idea at what point in my description of a treatment plan it had been lost.)

I decided this difficulty is mainly because I had no cues when to stop, so I ended up feeling that I hadn't given enough information. As I recall it, they asked for a 5-7 minute reply to each case scenario, and I think mine were a lot shorter. I have this problem when I'm writing, too. I get very impatient spelling out remedial details that I know my expert listener already knows: it feels like I'm talking down to them. Like I'm making us both stupider.

This tendency of mine to telegraph ideas was only made worse by the complete lack of any kind of conversational cues. Since it was a speakerphone, I couldn't even hear anyone breathing, or hear any of that "space" you can hear on the other end in a normal conversation.

All I could hear was my own voice. It was too hard to go on and on in an echoing vacuum. (Never mind the scientific contradiction in that statement.) Especially after I lost the connection once and went on and on to no one at all for a while. After that I literally felt like I was talking to myself during the answer segments, and how long can I do that? (Not long.)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Smoosh Time

This afternoon, nobody call me! I have my first internship interview by phone. Tomorrow I have another phone one, and then I have to go out of state to attend two more on Friday. (Which will mean about 6 hours of interviews in one day.)

Internship interviews are not normal job interviews that simply assess your job skills and whether you'd be a decent person to be around all day and maybe try to figure out whether you'll steal from the company. They are interviews by psychologists, trying to see what your secret flaw in relating to others is. Or what your personal insecurities are, since in Psychology your personal insecurities are a job liability--they are your flaws in relating to others.

And all this is going on while you might be suddenly tested on something you learned in grad school at any point during the past five years. (Or worse, didn't.) I've heard of someone's interview being conducted entirely in Spanish because one of her reference-letter writers mentioned that she was fluent in Spanish. (Not that they're likely to find someone to interview me in Norwegian, but one never knows.)

And the thing I find myself worrying about most today is out of my control (of course). It's that the one-time guest parking pass sent me by one of the out-of-town sites is marked for the wrong date. And it promises in small print that if you write on it, you get a $100 fine, so that's out.

I also considered bringing a bunch of quarters, but does that mean I'll have to repeatedly run outside to feed the meter during the all-morning interview? (Even if I did find a pay spot that was coincidentally close to the interview building, which since it's on a college campus I'm seriously doubting.) It could be a stress test, but I don't think so. I think it was just a dumb mistake that's now stressing me out. I emailed the contact person about it, but never heard anything back from her, and at this stage it would be really bad form to complain about inconveniences, since she's likely to be one of my interviewers.

Today I had planned to try to finish my cramming and then spend some time relaxing by painting, before the phone call this afternoon, but we'll see. I may end up feeling too nervous to be distracted like that. At least it's not one of my top sites today, so I'll probably feel less anxious about making "mistakes". However, tomorrow morning's interview is my top choice site. Too bad it's not scheduled for next week after I've had some more practice.

So anyway, wish me luck! (And don't call me this afternoon, for the love of dog.)


Upon viewing my MapPoint depiction of interview Friday, I realize that not only did I choose a close hotel, I chose a very close hotel. Neither of my interviews is more than .5 miles from the hotel. Now, regardless of weather or what fant-see clothes I'm dressed up in, there is no half-mile I can't just walk on my own two legs.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Squirrel Pic of Envy

Originally uploaded by Terry_Lea.
I so wish I had created this picture myself.

This flick'r person has a TON of great squirrel photoshops. I could have used them for cards this year! If I'd had time to send out more than 3 or 4 cards, that is.

(Do they even have squirrels in Texas??)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Ear

Happy New Ear
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
Ah, 2005 finally over. What a year. I mostly avoided media roundups of what-all happened, as my memory (of Katrina and the Bush administration) is just fine, thank you, and no media focused on our wedding anyway as far as I know.

Also, I have been concentrating on preparations for my slew of interviews and could hardly care less what celebrities did what in the past 12 months, so there go most New Year's Eve programs entirely.

We opted to stay in this year, which is my first choice anyway. In my opinion, New Year's Eve is extremely overrated as a party night.

Also, when living in a small town, one's choices for New Year's are A) to be crashed into by someone drunk-driving or B) to drunk-drive, yourself, on the ice. I am really not motivated to experience either one.

So we stayed in, and TheLimey tried out making pizza from scratch, as per our our cookbook from America's Test Kitchen.
(Having used this cookbook a few times, he is now a raving convert.) It turned out well, so I hope he does it again.

We watched Monarch of the Glen, and then finally got to see March of the Penguins on pay-per-view. What an agonizing experience! Sheesh.

"Nonono! Don't let that egg sit there!"--as it cracks and splits open from the cold, and then the mother penguin getting eaten by the sea lion, and that damned cormorant or whatever it was eating the precious fuzzy penguin babies...

I feel drained just thinking about it. I think the moral was "don't walk 70 miles in the snow to get fish or your kids will be eaten while you're gone."

So, yeah---Happy New Year!

No, really--it was a good night. I'm just very very glad not to be a penguin.