Saturday, August 30, 2008

Got dog(s)?

My sister recently alerted me to a dog toy recall from Four Paws. The recall is on a series of toys which have been reported to cause massive trauma for some dogs. The full recall alert can be found at the Four Paws website. I've put some info below also*.













The info above is in a jpeg format. My apologies for any inconvenience imaging the text makes for anyone who wants to pass the info on, which I encourage you to do.
If you want text for copy/paste, go to the Four Paws recall site, or you're welcome to use this image if you want. My reason for doing this is that while sometimes I think it would be nice to have more visitors, I don't think I want the ones who will be brought in via searches run on phrases constructed from certain isolated words in the names of the various dog toys above.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday

See I can do that because I skipped Friday last week.

Many people talking politics, presidential politics that is. I follow politics, not so much as an enthusiast but as er, a citizen I guess. My level of interest never struck me as odd until I moved out of Massachusetts. How people in other places I've lived are during presidential campaigns is how most people around where I grew up are in general. At least in my personal experience. Possibly this has influenced my take on voter empowerment. See, I think that presidential campaigns (and elections) are to a truly democratic governmental process as Brittney Spears is to music.

This observation has ripened as I age. As I get older, I find the furor around presidential campaigns has become a bit more irritating. Of course the last eight years have amply demonstrated the kind of hell a president can bring down upon a nation. This shows up most especially with presidential appointments. Consider just Gonzalez and Ashcroft for some excellent cases in point. But with the exception of talk of supreme court nominations, we don't hear much about that in the mainstream big ticket item news. I.e., if not talk of specific picks, then what kind of climate and policies do the candidates believe will be appropriate and right in their FCC, their SEC, their FDA, their Justice Department, their Health and Human Services? How would Hilary Clinton's EEOC and Labor Relations Board picks have differed from Barack Obama's?
Etc.

Since I've been unemployed, I've been in a bit of a bubble. I don't get out much on account of my laying around and eating bon-bons, watching my "stories" and scouring job postings oh about 5 times a day. But today, I was on campus primarily to deal with an amazingly screwball fuckup from payroll (someone accidentally changed my name in a database that communicated with my insurance companies to reflect a mutated form of my (former) married name, the equivalent of which would be a change to PEG-S instead of just plain old legal PFG). For most of the day, I managed to not speak too much to anyone. I scared a grad student who stumbled into the lab where I was trying to troubleshoot a program for my former advisor. I bumped into a former co-worker and plied her for information about possible job leads. But no politics. And then, just when A___ and I were getting ready to leave, we ended up chatting with A___'s office mate R___. R____ was all atwitter about the campaign - specifically the news about McCain's choice of running mate.

"Well I read that she's got the Tina Fey vote tied up" he said. "Huh?" "Because she looks like her...you know?" he said. I think this was supposed to be ironic. "Oh, yeah I saw her. I kind of thought more Julia what's her name, the one from Seinfeld." R____ went on to discuss her record a bit too and give me his analysis on the reasons why McCain picked her. I said I felt McCain and Obama both choose people who seemed to have the aura of just the other side of the center. McCain picked a woman (to show he's a stand up guy who the ladies don't hate for having let rip a stray rape joke) and Obama picked Whitey McWhiterson. I know, I read Biden's bio. But when it comes to presidential elections, it's a show. And for democratic mainstream and a safe, nice, clean articulate white guy who makes the less than liberal center folks feel like everything is in "good hands", I think Biden is the man, so to speak. "Well, there's Dodd too. He's really fucking white." A___ quipped. Yes, Dodd. But Dodd's a dud. He's from CT (ew) and he's recently had some bad press, at least locally, involving special mortgage deals. Anyhow, I said all that and R___ told me that he likes Biden and then went on to say why. I feel like a jaded churl when I hear him discuss Biden as anything other than a PR device which panders to a low and likely racist electorate, but I can't help how I feel.

However, that is the point. It's how I FEEL, not how I think. How I think would reflect research on the potential Vice President picks and since I am just not that enchanted with presidential campaigns, I haven't brought myself to do that research. And without doing the digging, I'll never get real info. I'm certainly not going to get it from the tickerworthy news stories like this one, which was ambitiously titled "Obama says he'll 'fix broken politics'. "Oooh," I thought. "What's he gonna do?" because I really am a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington kind of gal. Term limits? Campaign finance reform? Ethics regulations? What might he be proposing to fix broken politics? I read on. And on. I got near the end still waiting for that crucial bit of information, but knowing who the entertainers were at the convention (Jennifer Hudson (who the fuck is she?) and will.i.am (?)).

Anyhow, because this is how I FEEL and not how I think, I've decided I am just not in the mood to engage in political bullshitting about this particular aspect of the upcoming election. I think instead my full attention would be better spent on the other races and issues that will be decided in the upcoming election. E.g.
The U.S. Senate...
Elections for the United States Senate will be held on November 4, 2008, with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate being contested. Thirty-three seats are regular elections; the winners will be eligible to serve six-year terms from January 3, 2009 until January 3, 2015 as members of Senate Class II. There are also two special elections: one in Wyoming and another in Mississippi; the winners will serve the remainder of terms that expire on January 3, 2013, as members of Senate Class I.
And the U.S. House of Representatives...
The 2008 U.S. House of Representatives elections will be held on November 4, 2008, to elect members to the United States House of Representatives to serve in the 111th United States Congress from January 3, 2009 until January 3, 2011. All 435 seats are up for election. Democrats, who regained a majority in the 2006 elections hope to retain or expand their control of Congress.

Also, we have state legislative elections this year as well. How important are those? Consider same sex marriage in Massachusetts. An amendment to the Massachusetts' state constitution was proposed which would have defined marriage "only as the union of one man and one woman." The first vote by the state legislature involved a majority against it (yay), but still enough support (61 votes for) for the amendment to warrant another vote in the next legislative session (boo). The next vote resulted in only 45 for the amendment (yay). The required number of votes to pass it was 50 (yikes! just five votes from banning same sex marriage? Holy shit!).

So again, how important is your state legislative election? Rather, I'd say. And yet the news coverage is buried if present at all and the interest is low. My god, am I the only person who remembers Newt Gingrich?

So...(I say that a lot, how about "thus"?)
Thus, while I certainly do believe who the next president and vice president and presidential cabinet and federal executive appointments will be is terribly important, I can't help THINKING when I hear people around me all riled up and wanting to gab about the latest media mangled presidential campaign PR/news that they are sort of johnnie come latelies to the realities of their power as members of an electorate. And I am just not going to be a part of that bullshit. I care, I really do, but I'm not going to let that concern divert my attentions into what is a essentially side show extravaganza. I know the political icons are the elephant and donkey, but I THINK that perhaps at this point they should retire those fellows and replace them with the dog and pony.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

work out

What, no leg warmers?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

job posting of the day

Retail Sales Opportunities in Women's Lingerie at Nordstrom

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesdelightful

I'm taking a break from the job search bonanza that is my life these days. This morning's highlights included applying for one more low paying clerical position at a place which has already discarded two of my applications for being "overqualified" and "not best fit". Excellent. Also, I rearranged my resume so that the job titles appear before places of employment and modified descriptions and skills to fit HR jobs.

Wow. How's that for fun?

I opted to take a few moments away from this laugh-a-minute romp that is my job search to attend to the serious work of stream of consciousness internet surfing. Here's today's catch.
Addictionary, or more specifically The Political Addictionary.
What is The Addictionary? In their own words: The Addictionary is a site for word lovers and those who like to see our beloved English language grow in serious or humorous ways. We built the Addictionary to empower word-play and to help lovers of word-play showcase and market their cleverness and creativity to the world.

Discover new and exciting words like "suffragitis", "hibridicule", "preciselessness" or add your own.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday

Well Thursday wasn't too bad. I was on campus, did what needed doing, and got my tooth filled. Turns out I have another filling due next week - gah. But hey, fillings and not root canals, so there's a bright side.

On the down side, I've been feeling like shit lately. I mean physically. I don't post too much about that stuff here anymore but weeks like this one make it impossible to write about me without this coming into it. I am in pain and feel sick every frikkin time I eat. Aside from losing weight again (yeah, this is why I dread buying expensive clothing...the yo-yoing weight issue), I'm feeling drained and angry. The anger come from exasperation, a lack of validation, and too many limitations. This anger is potent and it's in the form of a blank check, just waiting for some fool to stumble across it and write his or her name in the "Pay to the order of" line. Currently, I'm fighting to keep my primary care's office out of that line because I don't need to be any more surly with them if I want to maintain functionality of my relationships there. But it's not easy. I had an ultrasound on Thursday and was told by the tech they'd have results that day. No calls. No calls on Friday either. I had planned to give them most of Friday and then call around 4:00 but I forgot about it until about 20 minutes after I ate dinner Friday night.

Ok, enough of that. Thursday was good. I was energetic despite eating so little (no food for two hours after the filling and only being able to chew on one side of my mouth kept my food intake, and thus pain and nausea, down). One of the prof's whose house we were at offered for A___ and me to get married there. They have a nice place and it was a nice offer. But knowing him, I told him he should make sure that weekend works with his wife. Come to find out that no, it does not. So we're back to the justice of the peace at someplace pretty and then out for dinner/lunch somewhere plan. This isn't too bad, not just because it was what we had originally figured we'd do but because having it at the faculty home was starting to put it into the more formal category. I wanted to avoid that for some good reasons that will nonetheless sound jaundiced and jaded to some. Then again, most of that kind of person doesn't read my blog so fuck it. The reasons have to do with the fact that once you open that door, it's like you invite in all the expectations about "real weddings". E.g., my brother's reaction after I told him we might have this at the faculty house, which he's been to and knows is pretty and a slightly more formal venue.
"Do you have a theme?"
"Ah, a theme? Well we were thinking everyone could wear hats."
"..."
"You know, like I was going to get one of those ridiculous sun hats they sell at the drug stores in the summertime and A____ can wear this plastic party hat bowler thing because it will go with his tuxedo t-shirt."
"Oh no no no. He needs to wear a suit. We'll go shopping."
"We don't have money for that. Plus, A____'s wearing the tux T, we already bought it. He wanted to get one for you but I said you wouldn't wear it.
"I'm wearing my Calvin Klein suit."
"Go right ahead."
"What about cake? Are you doing cake?"
"I was thinking of asking our sister to make one."
"No. No no no. I'll go to my bakery (my brother has a bakery?). We'll get something, I won't say wedding but lots of flowers and a cake topper. You're having a cake topper."
"If you must put something on top, can it be a unicorn?"
"..."
"A___ would love a unicorn."
"A unicorn?"
"Yeah...oh and rainbows. Put a unicorn leaping over a rainbow on it."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday

Just checked The Chronicle of Higher Ed job search pages. The postings include non-teaching positions, pretty much what I'm looking for or at least what I'll take. In case you missed it or forgot, I don't dislike teaching. I dislike teaching in a system which has so many institutional impediments to teaching and learning. Anyhow, no luck today. However, I did run across this pretty cool essay from the First Person feature in the Chronicle Careers section. It's a reflection on dealing with denial of tenure. So no jobs, but a nice essay which resonated well with me.

I'll be heading onto campus again today for more loose end tying up, then off to the dentist to make the most of the last few weeks of my dental insurance (cavities - yikes!), and then I'm scheduled to accompany my fella to the house of a faculty couple who routinely invite people over for drinking, hazing, and schmoozing. While I've been in the department and have spoken to a few people about my decision, if I go to this thing tonight, it will be the first time I'll be immerse in a high contact environment with my former faculty and peers since making my decision to leave official. By official I mean since having told staff and grad students who are integral to the departmental communication network (i.e. the gossipy people). I'd be a flat out liar if I said that the idea of going tonight hasn't given me some pause. But I'd also be lying if I denied the perverse impulse I have to not slink silently off the scene. I've had enough small scale, isolated interactions on this topic to know that some of the elements described by the author of the tenure essay seem uncannily like aspects of my own situation.

"For the time being, I have chosen the satisfaction that comes with confounding colleagues' expectations that I should be a cowering wreck. Dignity and forthrightness are easy to embody in my increasingly brief visits to the office because the bar is so low. Surprising people by merely walking upright offers both small victory and perverse amusement. I am always cordial, sometimes frank, but never ashamed.

A few people have praised my plucky stance. Being commended for how you handle tenure denial is a dubious honor, yet it also makes clear the absurdity of the logic that equates losing a tenure bid with losing dignity. I need my dignity not to prove something to my colleagues. Rather, I need it to prove to myself that I need not be helpless in this scenario. I have decisions to make."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Personal truths

Again, stealing from Bubblewench (whose blog has made me smile on more than one gloomy day). Here are some personal truths that make me smile and get me through my day.
- I have had an abundance of love in my life.
- Migraines suck, but if you can manage to rise to the occasion, migraine sex is amazing.
- Having all this time off (i.e. unemployed) means extra time with my fella and my kitty.
- We have three pounds of coffee in our fridge (sale!) and as my fella says, if you have three pounds of coffee on hand, things have gotta be at least moderately ok.
- I have a clean credit history.
- It is extremely easy to make me laugh.
- I'm pretty good at making other people laugh.
- My siblings are funny, smart, strong, and loyal.
- I know that I have made at least some aspects of a few people's lives easier or better.
- On any given day, someone somewhere is probably having the best day of their life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

in sickness and in health

To be realistic, it's likely to be more the former than the latter. Regardless, A___ and I have decided to seek government sanction for our union. Yep, that's right. Marriage.

Pragmatics, finances, and other whatnot dictate that the actual event will be sooner than later. We've spent a good deal of time talking about this decision. It's held up to many discussions, recastings, and even some arguments. And so we come to now, today, when we sat down to print out the marriage license application and talk actual real details. Pending a bit more information from the government about what is required and when (etc.) the event will be possibly as soon as within the next two weeks - although we are both leaning more toward the weekend of September 13th so we can indulge a romantic whim or two. Oh and families. Brothers and sisters, since they all are local.

The September date unfortunately puts our anniversary quite up near my birthday. To counter the bunching that would otherwise occur, we've decided we will celebrate an actual anniversary in May, which is when we finally stopped talking about this decision in hypotheticals and started discussing it as a future reality. Cinco di Maio looks like a good candidate for celebrating as our anniversary because, well, why not?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Personal lies

Bubblewench has asked "What are your personal lies?" That is, lies you tell yourself to get you through your day. Here are some of mine.
- People find me more charming than abrasive.
- My cat is going to live forever.
- Someday when I live near real doctors at real hospitals and I once again have good health insurance, I will be given a diagnosis of something which explains all my daily physical ailments, is readily treatable by eating something q.i.d. that tastes remarkably like candy, which has a 100% cure rate, and which has any or all of the following side effects: boundless energy, an unshakable sense of happiness and belonging, increased intellectual efficiency, and multiple orgasms.
- I do not have an autoimmune disease.
- The real reason I haven't found a job yet is that all of these jobs I've applied for are crap. The excellent, just right job for me is still out there waiting and will make itself known ANY DAY NOW, but certainly before I run out of health insurance and money.
- My fella is not getting fed up with my seemingly endless stream of illnesses.
- My family are not getting fed up with my seemingly endless stream illnesses.
- I'll feel better tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Best hit yet

I was checking my site meter today and saw that someone happened upon my blog through a google search for tour de france shitting pants, which apparently yields this post as the top result. I'm so proud...

Friday, August 15, 2008

sign of the times

Last summer, I was at a crucial point in my decision process about whether or not to go forward with my PhD or to "cut and run". With most of the faculty from my own academic concentration rating somewhere between "clueless" and "douchebag" on the functionally useless scale, I had all but stopped trying to find academics in my department to talk out my problems with. And then I ran across this guy, this one junior professor from another academic unit in my department, and we had a really nice chat.

Well I stopped by his office again yesterday when I was on campus to officially drop out (i.e. meet with the dean and say "dude, I'm out of here...now how do I do this in a way that will not tax me in terms of me money, time, or my precious little tolerance for faculty based chicanery?"). Turns out this fellow was just up for tenure review this past year and didn't get it.

Oh. My. God.

He is an EXCELLENT faculty member. He has grant money. He has an active research program. He has great data. He's doing high impact research. His students LOVE him. He goes the extra mile for graduate and undergraduate students and for the department - the list of how would just be crazy long and it would sound like I was describing mother fucking theresa. But he didn't have enough first author publications. Thus, the department's finding was that if they could vote on the two separately, they would (a) give him tenure but (b) not promote him. This is the same deal which was given to a junior faculty member in my own academic unit this past year. The professor in my own unit is an unctuous bastard who routinely scoops the graduate student slave labor he employs, who runs a research sweat shop staffed by a gaggle of uninformed and undertrained undergraduates, and whose motto could quite reasonably be "Cramer can cram it!"

For some reason, which I do not fully understand possibly because I didn't want to pry for more information than this (outside my unit) professor was volunteering, this professor did NOT get the tenure without raise deal.

And so I left his office yesterday feeling more shaken than I had about actually officially dropping out a few hours before. On the, uh, bright (?) side, this embittering news only strengthens my conviction that I have made the right decision in leaving my program.

will it work?

A video of my cat making out with his catnip plant. The quality is bad because it's recorded on a cell phone. But what I'm wondering is will it even play? Go blogger - yay! The lovely audio is the downstairs neighbors remodeling. At least they have the decency to work on the condo during reasonable hours (not like my old landlord, who felt 10:00 PM was a perfectly reasonable time to begin stripping the floor on the apartment above me). When I get a chance to sneak into my (ex) lab next, I'll use the version of quicktime pro I bought those losers and add some nicer audio. Perhaps a love song, maybe some Isaac Hayes. For now, I give you my cat (with carpentry, allergro ma non troppo).
video

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

job posting of the day, or "girl 6"?

Actor/Actress
You could be working for the largest telecommunications company in the world! Do you have a charming voice? Do you love chit chat? If so, you may be the perfect candidate for telephone acting! You MUST have an open mind and a very charming voice!

It goes on, but really, by this point it's just about said it all. Or rather, it's said much more without explicitly saying it than much else in the job description ads to. A quick google of the company.com referred to in the posting* discloses that yes, indeed, it is phone sex. So how much does phone sex pay these days? "$15+ per hour. (hourly rate plus bonuses)" Man, I don't even WANT to know what the bonuses are for.

*It probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyhow because it's so important: For any job search, always, always google the company if a company name is given and if not, google what you can get from the posting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

terrible life choice

Grad School Musical

"Where is my P.I." is my favorite...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

blah

The last few days have kind of sucked. Fortunately, the Kitty Cat Dance helps.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

job posting of the day

Women's Health Breastfeeding Recruiter
The phrasing suggests a breastapo-like agenda. By the title, this sounds like a job where you'd be recruiting women to engage in breast feeding. But no. Turns out you'd be recruiting women to participate in a study on promoting breast feeding. A slightly different thing, although in practice I suspect both meanings are accurate.
This position is part of a grant funded, multi-year study designed to see if peer counseling, specialized for obese women, can be an effective strategy for promoting the World health Organization's recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. ...This recruiter/interviewer will have the critical role of recruiting obese, low-income pregnant women from the Women's Ambulatory Health Services Clinic At HH to participate in the study.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

bomb

Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

"As the bomb fell over Hiroshima and exploded, we saw an entire city disappear. I wrote in my log the words: My God, what have we done?"
- Capt Robert Lewis, co-pilot of the U.S. Air Force bomber Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug 6, 1945. At least 117,000 people were killed. (Reuters)