Saturday, October 28, 2006

No apartment yet

So I finally heard back from the realtor, I didn't get the place. He did say to get back to him after the elections and he would have more places opening up. So then I had to ask when the elections were so I would know when to call. Sometimes it sucks being an xpat. I figure what will happen is I will misplace his card and not be able ot call him. In the meantime I have asked the moving company to store my stuff for me that way everything is on one bill. Hopefully a place will come along soon.

I was looking at some of the groups and there are a few I would like to join. I am mostly waiting to find a place so I will know which ones are near where I will be living. I will definitely join the xpat Canadian meetup. I had fun in Boston with that group so I look forward to the fun with this group. I will also try out more outdoors groups to get to know the area better.

Friday, October 27, 2006

More unpacking

I was in to work today and I continued with the unpacking. I think starting next week I will have to start getting into paperwork stuff to try to get the lab up and running so we can actually work. At this point, a vast majority of the stuff is either unpacked or at least classified into what is in the box and where the box should be.

There was a party today hosted by the health and safety department. It would have been a lot of fun except for the rain and the music that was too loud to talk over. Most people ended up in the room to escape the rain but one of the speakers was pointed directly into the room. The barbeque smelled good but I already had supper plans so I just nibbled a little. Also, so many people were in line waiting for things to be cooked that it wasn't really worth it. In the end, I had an undercooked chicken kabob, carrot cake that also seemed undercooked and beans that were just a little on the hard and soupy side. I still had a good time and met some people I would be seeing around the building.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Drive to DC

Drove down to DC today. I had the movers in to pick up the boxes and furniture then I packed a few things in the car and down I drove. The car trunk is packed to the top as I did not know if I would be renting a room for a while or if I would find a place right away. Still waiting to here about that really amazing place near work. I really want is but there was an app in before me so I doubt I will get it. I am still looking and I am also looking for a room to rent for the short term. In the meantime, a cow-orker is putting me up and I will keep an eye out for a short-term sublet so I am not imposing for too long.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hopes possibly dashed

I sent in the application for the wonderful apartment but I fear I may not get it. There was already an application in before mine. I hope they decide not to take it. It is the perfect place and cat friendly. I will have to find another roommate as the girl I was looking with found the neighbourhood a little boring and far from teh good cafes. I don't really care as it is 5-10 minutes from work. I will have plenty of energy to go out and do things after work. We have decided that we will be friends and try to get together sometime. I have told her I will keep looking with her until I hear that I have the place as there is no guarantee I will get it. I hope I do but I have to keep my options open and be realistic. So I will have to find a self-storage place as I don't think I will be able to find anything before the furniture and boxes arrive. Maybe the moving company can hold onto my stuff for a few more days.

I will be leaving DC tonight to go back to Boston. The weather here has turned cold so I expect it to be even colder in Boston. I wish I had packed another layer, but I did not think it would be so cold. Oh well, it really isn't too bad, just a cold wind.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Beautiful Apartment

We went to see an absolutely spactacular apartment today. I loved the place but my roommate to be was a little hesitant on the area. She wanted something a little more lively. I have decided I will fill in the application and if I get the place I will look for another roommate. The apartment had two floors with washer/dryer in unit, a cute little patio with easy kayak access and off-street parking. Basically it is everything I am looking for as it is also cat-friendly and relatively close to work. I hope I get the place.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Potential Roommate

I meet a girl from Craigslist and we seemed to match up quite well. I guess we will only know once we start living together but we decided to look for apartments together. She did have one lined up but hesitated too long on the paperwork and had it snapped out form under her. That was too bad as it sounded like a really nice place. So we will start looking. I think that with the two of us looking for a two bedroom, we will be able to afford something nicer and bigger than what we could afford on our own. And luckily we are looking for something in the same area. She also has a cat so we can help each other on cat care. If this works out, I hope the two cats like each other.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lab move in day

So the lab was moved in today. We got the freezers plugged back in and most things ended up where it needed to be. So on monday the unpacking will begin. The move in actually went very smoothly. The trucks fit in the loading dock area, and since it was saturday we didn't have to worry about blocking traffic. They managed to get everything off loaded in about 3 hours. Not to bad considering we filled up two trucks. So for the rest of today I am vegging out in the hotel room.

I did walk over to see a basement apartment. The apartment was 1200$ with parking and supposedly "a creative use of space". I quickly found out that meant there was no extra space to speak of. It was absolutely tiny. My current bedroom was bigger than the bedroom and living room combined. There was no way all my stuff would have fit in the place. I would have been living on boxes. And the rent was quite high for something so tiny. The person doing the showing tried to justify it by saying that was what it had been rented at before. Well I don't care what it was rented for before, it was highway robbery. Needless to say I will not be taking it and so I am still looking for a place. I think I will meet with a few of the roommate responders to see if anyone will match with me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lab packing day

The lab was packed up yesterday. They actually packed almost the entire lab in about 5 hours. If you are looking for a company to move a lab, go with Mayflower. They loaded the trucks today and it took about 4 hours to load. Our freezers will be plugged in while on the truck and the liquid nitrogen storage tank was moved full with liquid nitrogen. All the other companies I called were unable to offer either plug service and could not move such dangerous things as liquid nitrogen or dry ice. We did do a minor amount of packing before the movers arrived but that was limited to a few things on our own benches, computers and some desk space items. I am now in DC until Tuesday to supervise the unloading tomorrow then start the unpacking process Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Down to NYC

Went down to NYC for a conference on radiation. It was somewhat interesting but it also had rather dull points too. I guess that can be said of any conference you are not willingly going to. Some of the people who were speaking sounded like they were trying to sell their product to us. Not what I really wanted to listen too. Others really needed a microphone. I thing I also ate way too much or something on Monday as I was sick after supper. I ate breakfast then got up to the conference room where they served us pastries with tea and coffee. So of course I snacked on the free food. Then I went out for lunch while I was still a little full from snacking and ate more. Lunch didn't really agree with me but after an hour I was fine so I just dismissed it. Then I snacked again on the free food. Supper was a large event with most people going to a very nice restaurant. Good thing I packed a nice outfit and changed into it otherwise I would have felt really out of place. I had a nice filet mignon. Unfortunately I started going down hill fast at that point. I felt aweful and then they brought dessert. I really wanted to eat the molten chocolate cake but my body was saying no. I did have the ice cream that was on top hoping it would help. My boss went out for drinks after supper with some others and invited me but not only did I not know these people but I was not feeling well. I had a good excuse to stay in. I would have liked to have done something while I was in NYC but I never really had the chance or any idea of what was going on.

The hotel was nice, not sure it was worth the almost 200$ a night price tag. The curtains in the room would not close. Now this does not really seem a big deal unless you consider how close buildings are in NYC. The windows of my room lined up with the windows of another room and I was not sure if that room was from the same hotel or another building. It was slightly unnerving and in the morning the room was flooded with light, not too good for sleeping in. As I only had to go up one level to get to the conference room, I could stay in bed longer than I usually can.

Good thing I was not paying for the room. All expenses from the conference are covered under the grant. Good thing too. I would have more than maxed out my poor credit card if I had to pay for both the flight and the hotel room plus other incidentals. I need ot look into getting a higher credit limit but I just got this card so I am not sure how long I have to wait before I can get it raised. I did pay for the flight, although after I had charged it my boss offered to cover it. He did pay for the hotel room so that was one less thing to worry about.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Writing again

I finally started writing again. I kept putting it off due to a lack of time, but I finally filed that excuse away and now I am making time. Mostly with all this travelling back and forth I have had time in the hotel room to make a good start. (I am in NYC right now for a conference.) Now that I have started, hopefully the process will encourage me to keep going. Time will tell. I figure if I can put in some regular time into writing, I will get into the habit and it will get easier with time. I guess if I want to write a novel length story, I have a long way to go. Best not to think too much about it. I might get hung up on the numbers. I will try to mark progress though.

1,008 / 80,000 (1.3%)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ancestor by Scott Sigler

I just finished listening to a podcast called Ancestor by Scott Sigler. I have to say I was absolutely enthralled by the story and how well it was read. I was held hostage by the story and the need to keep listening to the next chapter. I am grateful I had the entire novel available so I could listen to all the episodes back to back. I think I would have gone kept hitting the refresh button wondering what was going to happen next.

The story was well written even from a science point of view. I work in a lab and hate seeing science dumbed down for average poeple. He hit the mark nicely. I could envision what was going on without feeling too much was glossed over. I found that the characters were well developed that I really felt for them. One character was so awful that I couldn't wait for him to get his come uppance. He was developed quite well so that I never really found myself hating him until near the end of the story. While little of his background was presented, enough was given to make his actions fit his personality. It was near the end when his non-rational rational caused me to start hating him. I began to look forward to his timely end. I was sad to see a few of the lesser characters die and I was still hoping that somehow they had escaped but alas they did not. I liked the strong female characters. There were several of them but I liked one who on the one hand could command a crew yet on the other hand can still be uncertain about things in life. No one knows all the answers and seeing her indecision, while I am sure that helped the story along, it also made her human.

Overall this was a great story that I highly recommend. I did get a comment from Scott a couple of posts back. I am glad he got a chance to read feedback on his work. It is always nice to get praise and constructive critisism. I especially want him to keep up the good work. I can't wait to check out his other podcasts. I have Infection and Earthcore waiting in my listening list and Rookie is slowly making its way in. As I know I will be in DC the next few days and potentially trapped in a hotel room, I will have plenty of listening time. I will also have to drive the car down sometime soon too so that will be another listening opportunity, especially if I have to swing up to Montreal to get the cat first.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Man of the Year

As there was no movie group meeting up this Saturday, I decided to head out on my own and watch something. I decided on Man of the Year even though from the previews it looked like another cookie cutter movie. I actually went into the movie with a large assumption. After watching the movie, I realized it was not as cookie cutter as I had been lead to believe. There was actually more substance and plot behind what the preview lead me to believe. It was a little difficult watching Robin Williams trying to be a serious politician. It was a relief when he finally switched into his comedian role. But even when he was being funny, he was hitting the issues bang on and putting the other political candidates in their places. A very good point is made in the movie. When people consistanly turn to satire news show such as John Steward's to get the facts, it is a sad commentary on real news channels. And when a news show successfully wins in court the right to lie or omit the facts, what does that tell you about how news is disseminated. The movie was good. There were a few flaws that seemed to stand out. One of the main characters, Elenor Green, really needed more of her character fleshed out so we could better understand why she was behaving the way she did. In one scene she seems normal then in the next she is acting paranoid and squirrly. Is there something about her that would cause her to come across as paranoid, or is she extremely shy when put on the spot. This strangeness of her character was a real plot annoyance that could not be ignored or brushed off as she was a main character. A little more background would have helped. Overall I found the movie well worth watching and quite enjoyable. If nothing else, it was worth it to see a politician put in their place by having the truth shoved down their throat.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Border Crossing

I hate border crossings because it is like playing roulette. You never know how much traffic there will be, or whether you will get the border guard from hell. And to make matters worse, when I have to get paperwork processed, it just seems to double everything, will I have to wait in line and get another hell-spawn agent. So today I had to drive back to Boston and get new paperwork processed. And it all went off without any fanfare. I had a nice agent, and the immigration guy who processed the papers was fast and efficient. And the best was that there was no traffic at all. So I was in and out quite fast. Took a little while for the agent to serve me at first but I was the only one waiting to be served. I think the other agent was out on his smoking break and that was why I had to wait.

I did manage to listen to a huge chunk of "Ancestor" by Scott Sigler. I highly recommend it. If you like Preston and Child then you will like Scott Sigler. There is action and science mixed in with the fantastic. The nice thing is that is available as a free podcast that I can listen to on long car trips or long commutes. And as his previous book was published maybe this one will be available for sale soon too. I know someone I would like to give this to for Christmas. Scott narrates his novel and does a very good job. He changes his voice for each character and makes the story easy to listen to and exciting. I have heard other authors try to read their own work and had to stop the tape it was so bad. This guy has a great story and reads it well too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Working Vacation

It is really nice to be able to go home and get grease on my hands. Well, maybe not that nice. I had hoped to kick back and relax a little and yet I am glad I got a lot of car work out of the way. Some of it was rather unexpected but that is the way the car seems to be heading. The driver side brakes decided to lock closed so they needed to be greased, had to change the brake pads at the same time. As it had been a while, I washed and waxed the car then vacuumed it out and cleaned the inside of the windows. The car is still covered in little spots from the landlady's tree. Not sure there is anything I can do about it. I will have to find some time later to work at getting them all off. Once I am away from that horrible tree. So now my nice, clean car is in the garage.

A lot was accomplished this weekend. A tree was pruned back, another was cut down, I got all my ccar stuff done, I had a nice turkey dinner and really great turkey leftovers. Plus we all went out to catch another movie together. I also had time to get my dose of steamies and greasy fries. I don't know what they put on the hotdog that makes it so good but I had to get some while I was back. I also picked up some more ketchup Lay's chips. Wish they sold these in the States. Guess there is a reason they are called Canada's favourite. When I did a web search I found a website that sells Canadian items to those who crave what they can't get. Since I visit Canada often enough to satisfy my cravingsI don't think I will have to resort to buying stuff over the web, but I ma sure this site is a godsend to expats who can't get back to visit so easily. It is a great idea, if a little pricey.