Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Passport woes

So I went to the dentist last night and he is on vacation. I tried the Doctors office but the nurse told me it had been too long, although I disagree with that. According to Passport Canada, as long as they have known me for 2 years and remember me today, that is good enough for them. So I tried my other dentist this morning, but she is not in until 1:00, and I will be going to my old university at lunch in the hopes taht a non-retired teacher still remembers me. This is starting to get right down to the wire. Hopefully someone will come through today and then I can run my papers over to the passport office. That will be fun as I forgot my old passport at home and that has to be presented at the same time. So I will have to run to the south shore, get my old passport, run back into town and drop off the papers, then get back to work. Guess that will learn me. Plan ahead. Get the papers signed in advance then present them later. The person who normally signs them is overseas on a business trip and mostly unreachable.

So an old professor did come through for me. My passport papers are signed and I gave them in to the passport office. One saving grace was that although the line was long, I was the next called as I had filled the forms out online. That was really sweet. So if all goes well, I will be getting my new passport on Thursday and I will be driving down Friday. Which leaves the next big thing to get being my visa. The papers came today but unfortunately no one was home to receive them so they will try again tomorrow. I always hate going through the border, especially when I have paperwork that needs processing. I really hope I don't forget anything. I should start a checklist. Hows that for a guarantee of forgetting something, this way I will know exactly what I am forgetting.

I am absolutely exhausted from all the running around I had to do today to get my passport stuff processed. I borrowed a metro pass and that helped a lot. Maybe I will sleep well tonight, otherwise maybe I will be buzzed on adrenaline and endorphins.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Freedom! Almost

So I gave notice at work today. They took it better than I thought they would, but then I guess what can they do. I didn't want to work out the week but I did agree to work until Thursday. Not sure that was a good idea. I still need to find someone who can sign my passport papers. Tomorrow is the latest before I start having real problems. I need to get it in tomorrow and back on Thursday so I can leave for the States on Friday. I hate going through the border but at least going through on a week day is better and I can always call Harvard if there is any problem. Plus it will give me the weekend to start looking for an apartment.

Another reason to go down on Friday is that I wanted to do something special for my boyfriend. And since he keeps telling me his birthday is February 31st, which is this Friday. I decided it would be a nice surprise to celebrate it then rather than on the actual date, which I did finally get out of him. I did find out he really dislikes surprises so if he is reading this, this should allay his fears of me pulling some horrible prank on him. Since he keeps swearing by February 31st as his birthday then that is what he shall get. Not sure what to get him as a gift though. I'm sure something will stand out for me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Great news!

I got the job. No more waiting on the edge of my seat. They called me last night to make a verbal offer and send over some pre-paperwork to be filled out. So I just need to decide on a date and they will send me the official offer. I also still need to get a passport and I need to find someone who is able to sign off on my forms. Since I haven't been in the province for a while, this is proving harder than I thought it would. I am now looking at apartment listings online but I really think it would go better if I was down there. So I will have to see what happens. I may be going down before I find a place and stay with friends or my boyfriend then start looking for a place. Then I can move my stuff down at a more leisurely pace. If they are okay with my doing that I could be going down in as little as a week. I will have to put a rush on the passport though meaning paying extra. Oh well. I should have thought about this before my father went overseas and had him sign the forms.

I really can't wait to start the new job. This one has me really bummed in so many ways. I am having ethical problems with the way they are dealing with the animals. And that is really not good as I now really don't want anything to do with the work in any shape or form. Although this place had some really nice benefits, Harvard has even better ones. Fridays off during the summer seemed kind of cool but if everyone I know if working, who would I spend that time with or would I end up at home twiddling my thumbs. I am sooo excited right now even though I am at work, bummed about having to go forward with yet another horrible experiment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Another boring day of waiting

So I am still waiting for some word from Harvard that they want to hire me. I feel like I am sitting on needles and the suspence is killing me. I really want to have an offer in my hands right now so I can start planning things and prepare to go. I am in limbo right now and I still have to go to work and pretend I want to be here and like my job. I am actually totally not right for this position and I am bored. I don't care about the research and I don't understand what it going on. While the guy is more than happy to explain, in great detain, how epoxy works, no one has explained what I am doing and how it is relavent to anything.

Just to add to the pile of boredom, I am sick too. I mostly only have a mildly sore throat and runny nose but I think it will get worse before it gets better. I have the chills and really just want to go home and crawl back into bed. My day doesn't really seem that bad when compared to by boyfriend who is looking forward to a root canal so he can get away from the hassels of work today. That is pretty bad. I have to collect samples which involves 5 minutes of work every half hour. So in the breaks I have to look busy. I am putting references in the computer but I am running out of them. I keep checking my email in the hopes that I get an offer but that only takes so long to do. So in the end I am bored and sick and tired.

I went to see "8 Below" last night. It was a very good movie if you just wanted to be entertained but I did notice that the sunlight in the seasons seemed to be off. There is a part of the movie when it is night in the fall and the sun has yet to set, which is mostly accurate. It is the time when it is winter and the sun is high in the sky and bright. In the Antarctic in winter, the sun barely if at all rises. In my opinion this was a glaring plot hole and while I am sure the director didn't want to be shooting at night, they could have shot in twilight. In the end I did enjoy the movie and the dogs were very well trained and just made the film come alive. The cgi seal was scary though both from a graphics point of view and from its image. I wonder if leopard seals really look that mean and imposing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What a wonderful weekend

I had a really great weekend. I got to spend some quality time with my boyfriend and we also got to go to the New England Aquarium. I had been to the aquarium before with my brother years ago, but it was really nice to go back. They have a really awesome tank in the middle of the building that houses part of a coral reef. It comes complete with sharks, sea turtles, baracuda, and various other fish. It even has a few scuba divers to finish off the image. The flight was nice too. It is much easier to spend one hour flying and two hours waiting for the flight then driving for five and a half hours.

I made it back to my absolutely favourite restaurant in the Boston area, Blue Ribbon BBQ. I found the place purely my chance on year when driving around in a bad storm woth my brother trying to find an open restaurant to have supper at. Although it looked like a garage, it was too late for a garage to be open so in we went. And the smell that hit us was amazing. The food was great and while it was served fast, is anything but fast food. I really wish they would open more locations that are easier to get too. By car, it is relatively easy to get to, but on foot it was not as easy. We caught a bus there then had to wait in the cold to get a bus back. And it was really cold. The wind was cutting to the bone and there was no shelter from the wind either.

So if I get this Harvard job, I have to put in a rush to get another passport. My current one expires in just a few months and for visa purposes I think I need to have a valid passport for the term of the visa. That should prove interesting as the person who normally signs my papers is overseas right now. They will be getting back after I would be due to leave. Seems that it is possible to fill out the forms online then print up the documents and send them in. I have filled out most of the forms and just need to find 2 people willing to vouch for me and verify the information.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Job Interview Update

So the interview seemed to go quite well. It was long. I arrived a bit early but it started at 1:30 and I didn't leave until just before 4:00. I left late enough that I didn't have time to go back to the apartment to change. Rather I just met up with my boyfriend at the prearranged time and we went out for supper. I got a grand tour of the lab space and the surrounding building space. It is very nice and clean and compared to what I am currently working in, very spacious and tidy. I met the two post-docs currently working there and the temporary lab manager. They are all very nice people. I was informed that, barring any complications with my references, I should be receiving an offer soon. I really hope it is very soon. I really want out of this current job very badly and that job looks so much more interesting. I would be coming in on the ground level of this job and I would be growing with the lab. This is very appealing.

So Harvard flew me in to Boston to see the labs and to interview for the position. This means I get to spend one day interviewing and three nights and three days with the boyfriend. This is going to be a very good weekend. I arrived Thursday night and I will be leaving Sunday afternoon. It was really sweet as I was coming down the escalator, he was waiting for me with some flowers. Red roses with baby's breath.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Job Interview! Yay

So I have a job interview this Friday at Harvard. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they want me. I am going on the assumption that they do as they are willing to fly me down to interview and see the labs. That means that the phone interview went well and they liked what my references had to say. I am hoping there is not much animal work to do but I know there will be a little. I guess at this stage of the experience game I will likely only be appealing to people who want animal experience. Maybe this time I will work towards getting a Master's part-time so I can try to move on.

I went to see "Nanny MacPhee" last night. My father is out of town and my mom wanted company and was unwilling to watch "Evolution: Underworld". It was a feel good movie but the ending was just dripping in fairy tale ending sugar. It was quite cute though and the story flowed rather nicely, except for the dancing donkey.

I am excited about going down to Boston again. I really do believe I have more friends down there than I do up here in Montreal. Also there are more opportunities open to me and the social life will be all English. I really am getting very sick of my inability to learn French. Although I think that even if I did learn French right now I would still not go out and do anything. I feel repressed by living in the Montreal area. Almost treated like a second-class citizen. I am sick of being looked down on for not being able to learn French. It is a difficult language to learn and I am not alone. So this time, I will look into ways to get a permanent card for the States and stay for longer and get a life.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A very Grand weekend

I had a good friend up from Boston that I had met at several Arisia's and just bumped into again at this years Arisia. We had a nice relatively relaxing weekend, lazing about and watching "Firefly". I had never seen the show before, probably because I haven't really watched TV for several years. So we were watching the season from DVD which means no commercial interruptions. I had watched the movie "Serenity", that is based on the show at Arisia. It was very good, with well done humour, and made me want to see the show. We also went out to experience some traditional Montreal food, namely poutine and smoked meat. We even had time to go to another Montreal landmark of Cinema du Parc and watched "Hair High". A very interesting and strange movie. I am not sure I really understand what happened at the end but it was entertaining and oddly interesting. Since I had never driven there myself, I ended up parking a bit far away and we walked up. The wind definitely had a nasty bite to it but it wasn't that cold.

I also finally went out and bought a network cable long enough to connect from the hub in the computer room to the computer in my room. Required about 50 feet of cabling. But at least now I have the potential of internet access in my room. Now all I have to do is get the computer working and recognizing that there is internet. It is time for a reinstall and upgrade.

I think my hair has almost recovered from the 6 inches I had cut off before leaving to go hiking. It hasn't hit the annoying length yet so I have left it to keep growing. I mostly keep it bound up in a braid so it doesn't really matter how long it gets just so long an I am not sitting on it. I think that will be too long for me. I actually like this length as I can braid it up and wrap the braids around my head. Cute hair style for Arisia and Ren Faire's but not really suited for everyday wear which is probably good as it takes a while to put it up like that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The weather and my day has gone downhill

So sadly, we are now into the more seasonally accurate weather. So when we had a fire alarm yesterday, of course I hurried back to the office to pick up my coat, gloves scarff and hat. I managed to forget to grab my bag though and now I can't remember if it was even here when I grabbed the scarf. In any case, it was definitely gone when I got back. So my journals, iPod and ID card are missing. At least I had my wallet in my coat which I was wearing at the time. The iPod, although it will be missed is replaceable. It is the journals with snippets of stories and shorts in it that will be dearly missed. I had also finally decided to by a Moleskine notebook and unfortunately that was in the bag too. So now I am in a real funk. I couldn't motivate myself to work before but now it is really bad. I just don't want to do anything. I guess I need to put things in perspective. I just found out that a good friend will be spending 6 hours in a dental chair to have some serious work done. All I have to do is sit in the office and pretent to look busy, moving to the other room every once in a while to check on the rats and ensure the samples are flowing okay.

I got to watch "Tristan and Isolde" last night. It was an relatively good movie. There was enough to keep you interested and distracted me from my earlier problem. I do find myself wondering if the theater ever changes the rally annoying ads at the beginning of the film. So far they have been playing the same very annoying ad about a hotel that is not a hotel, and the pink panther/phone ringing in the theater ad. At least with the second ad, I have been finding new and amusing things to look at within the ad itself. For instance, the kid sitting beside the Inspector starts to smile when his phone starts vibrating, then a hand touches her knee to warn her not to. And in the row behind him, when he falls to the floor, they sit up and look over to see him better. And the row after that I just noticed another kid reacting to him also. In the end it is an extremely annoying ad but by breaking it apart I can find amusement in it while ignoring the whole.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's Spring here!! Not

Wow, what is up with this weather. For the last few days, the weather has been almost spring-like. The temperatures have been hovering just above the freezing mark and it has been raining most of the weekend. Which has the potential to be very bad as the temperatures are supposed to drop to below freezing over the next few days and that could make for some very icy walking. The rain did help diminish most of the snow and all the roads are clear which is a plus. I just hope next weekend has good weather.

I tried to hook my computer up to the internet in order to download some files and podcasts and to install some programs. Sounds easy right? Well no, for some reason, what worked a few weeks ago now no longer works. Not only goes the computer refuse to have anything to do with my iPod, it refuses to run OpenOffice, and now it refuses to acknowledge the internet. I was trying to resist having to reinstall Gentoo but I may just have to do that, as there seem to be an accumulation of problems and things that are seriously annoying me. I love Linux, but sometimes it can be a pain in the butt and I am so rusty right now that I can't remember half of what I am supposed to do to get it to see the internet. Guess that is what happens when you go off and hike for 4 months and don't use a computer.

I finished the second report in a series of three reports for BackPackGearTest. They give me free gear if I test it and write up three reports over six months. It is a really cool way of doing it as the tests are carried out by the people who are mostly likely to go out and buy the gear. The companies also get unbiased comments back as we are not really being paid to say good things about their gear. I just wish I could test more gear right now. I have only been applying for items that I feel I can honestly test even though they are items I probably wouldn't buy otherwise. I really did want the snowshoes as I felt I could give them a good test run but with all this rain, it is probably just as well that I didn't get selected for the test.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Job Interview

So I finally had another job interview. I am really looking forward to getting another job as I really hate the one I currently have. I have not had any success in the Montreal area and haven't heard back from the Alberta people, which is a shame as that position sounded really cool. I have been looking again in the Boston area and just had a phone interview for a position at a university in the Boston area. I hope it pans out but I would rather hope that one of the big companies I applied too comes through too as there seems to be more opportunities there. I am sure they would pay much more than academia too.

I wasn't sure I wanted to head back to the States but after going down for Arisia I realised that I missed the area. I also have more friends down in Boston than I have here. And there is no language issue to worry about. It would also mean that I could become more involved in Arisia which would be cool to do.