Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{November 20, 2008}   Why I Need This Vacation

I promised that I’d snap a picture of my copy of the grant application that I just submitted. Because I knew you’d never believe me about its ridiculous size.  That is me with just one copy of the grant application1.  We had to submit the original, plus five copies.

Ostensibly, that’s a 13 page proposal.  However, 21 CVs, 15 publications, 3 appendices and many, many pages of administrative stuff added to those 13 pages result in the behemoth you see in the pic.

So, yeah, after months of work on that, I feel I’ve really deserved the few vacation days I’m taking to go to visit my family and to celebrate my neice’s 4th birthday. I’m still not done my marking, but I figure that’s what five hour plane rides are for, right?

Update: I added up the pages, plus all the photocopies, and the grand total what I sent in was 4962 pages. Wow.

1Dr. Beth inserted into photo with grant application to give you a frame of reference to judge size.


{June 12, 2008}   Making Me Feel Like a Slacker

I just saw a job posting that listed, among others, the following criteria:

  • between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the time of intake/selection;
  • post-secondary graduates;

15 year old college/university graduates?  Seriously?

Today we had a grant application due for a grant we’ve been working on for the last eleventy billion years.  Finishes touches were put on it over the weekend and today it just needed one last read through and then to be photocopied and picked up by the courier.  Last night I had a dream that it was tomorrow and we discovered that no one had sent the grant app in.  I thought my colleague sent it and she thought I’d sent it.  I was panic-stricken at the realization that eleventy billion years worth of work, by a fairly large team of people, was all for naught as we’d missed the deadline.  Fortunately, the dream ended at that point.

When I got into work, I told me colleague about this dream, and she was like “No way!  I had the *exact* same dream last night!”  Apparently we spend so much time working on this grant together that we are turning into one another.  Later on in the day, after we did actually have the grant successfully picked up by the courier (and don’t think that i didn’t go into paranoia mode all day today making sure everything was on track, ‘cuz I *totally* did), one of my other co-workers  and I were chatting in the hallway and she asked how I was celebrating being done the grant.  “I’m going for a run this evening,” I said… only to hear my dream-sharing colleague yell from her office, “ME TOO!!”  It’s official, we are turning into each other!

  • Busy-ness necessitates point form notes, incomplete sentences.
  • Busy writing grant, planning year-end extravaganza for my program, various other tasks
  • Next two days = conference at SFU
  • Presenting at said conference tomorrow – presentation ready?  Hells no.
  • Friday = heading to Kelowna for the long weekend for hockey provincials
  • Purchased hockey bag with wheels yesterday = w00t!
  • Starting tomorrow, supposed to be sunny and 1,000,000,000 degrees outside; right now = pouring rain
  • Gotta run to catch a bus now – SFU = a land far, far away

{April 21, 2008}   Can’t blog. Marking.

It’s exam time, which means I’m now faced with a giant pile of exams to mark. *sigh* And they don’t seem to be marking themselves, so I’m resigned to the fact that I will, in fact, need to mark them myself. *double sigh*.

And, because I have this crazy idea that university should be about learning how to think critically, how to analyze and synthesize and evaluate using information rather than how to regurgitate random, out-of-contexts facts, I won’t give fill-in-the-blank or multiple-choice or matching questions, which are, of course, waaaaay easier to mark. So marking 94 exams is quite a project. Now, I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much, as at least I’m being paid to do this, whereas the students have to pay to take the course and write the exam!

But I still don’t like marking. I don’t like it in a house. I don’t like it with a mouse. I don’t like it in a boat. I don’t like it with a goat.

{April 17, 2008}   D’oh!

I get into the office this morning at 8:30 a.m. Turn on my computer. Open my Outlook¹ and a message pops up, reminding me that I registration for the workshop I was supposed to be at started half an hour ago. A workshop downtown. And I, as you’ll recall from 3 sentences ago, am in my office. Which is not downtown.


Fortunately, I was able to get a cab to come to get me and whisk me downtown pretty quickly, so I only missed the first few minutes of the first session, but boy did I feel stupid! Why hadn’t I put that workshop in my Palm Pilot calendar? Or set the Outlook reminder to remind me yesterday before I went home, instead of for this morning?

¹Yes, I use an evil Microsoft product. Not by choice.

This afternoon I gave my last lecture for the class I’m teaching. It was a short one because it was just an exam review and my students clapped for me at the end, which totally caught me off guard¹. The exam for the class is next week and I can’t *wait* have all the exams marked and be done the class. Don’t get me wrong, I *loved* teaching the class, but, damn, it’s a lot of work. I know that any time you teach a class for the first time, it’s a ridiculous amount of work, but it’s one thing to “know” that and a totally other thing to live it. So I’m looking forward to having some time back because I was totally getting burnt out from the lack of sleep². And now, a list.

Some of the things that I’m going to do once I have the exams marked:

  • clean my apartment, for the first time in I don’t even know how long, including vacuuming, cleaning my icky microwave and doing battle with the sentient lifeforms that have evolved in my bathroom
  • my taxes
  • scrapbooking my photos from 2000-2008, inclusive
  • sleep

¹Is this common? I’ve never seen students clap for their instructor before, but maybe it’s what kids do these days. Or maybe they were totally fucking with me. Or could have been because I said I’d be perfectly happy if everyone got an A.
²This may also have something to do with taking on a few different contracts and spending a weekend in Vegas.

{April 2, 2008}   Electronic Devices Hate Me

You know what is totally awesome? Having an shrill, piercing alarm going off for no fewer than SIX HOURS while you are trying to work. Especially on the day you have a really, really important grant application due. Like really important. Like one that funds not only your own salary (meaning if we don’t get the grant, I don’t have a job), but also the salaries of 20 other people.

The alarm was already going off intermittently when I arrived at work at 8 a.m. Monday and when security showed up around noon to try to fix it, they managed to make it so that instead of going off intermittently, the alarm was going off non-stop. And then told us “you should call maintenance.” After *two hours* of nonstop high-pitched alarm, maintenance *finally* showed up to fix it. By which time, of course, I was already finished with said grant application.

Now, I have to say that this isn’t the only machinery-related anomaly in my life of late. Machines have been effing up around me all the time lately and I’m starting to wonder if it’s something about me. Perhaps that freak lab incident where I got bitten by a radioactive, genetically engineered lab rat means I am now giving off electricity-disrupting gamma rays that interfere with electronic devices.

In addition to the rogue alarm that just wouldn’t shut up, I’ve also had to deal with:

  • my laptop deciding that it doesn’t want to keep proper time, losing anywhere from a few minutes to almost an hour on some days (while it’s totally fine on other days).
  • waking up the other day to find that my watch was, completely inexplicably, behind by 1 hr, but also ahead by 1 day. It said it was April 1 at 5 a.m. when, in fact, it was March 31 at 6 a.m. I know I’d reset my watch to Pacific time when I returned from Yellowknife (otherwise I would have been an hour late for my class on Friday), so I know it wasn’t that. And it’s not like it could have gotten the date mixed up and tried to do Daylight Saving Time, as then it would have sprung forward, not back.
  • msn messenger decided to log itself in several times during my lecture last week. Yes, during my lecture, which I was presenting to 94 university students, my msn kept popping up on the screen over top of my PowerPoint slides, despite the fact that I had logged it off and the “log in automatically” box was not checked (trust me, I have 94 witnesses that can verify that).

I’m pretty sure that electronic devices just hate me.

{March 20, 2008}   My Messy Desk: A New Low

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m messy. There’s a very good reason why one of my childhood nicknames was “Messy Bessy.” But I think the mess on my desk has reached a new low, as evidenced by the following “To Do” list that I wrote before I left the office yesterday:

{March 12, 2008}   Happy Work-iversary to Me!

One year and one week and one day ago, I was unemployed and seriously wondering how I was going to continue to pay my rent, buy groceries, and basically, well, live.  I was filling out the necessary paperwork to postponing the onset of my massive student loan payments on the basis of abject poverty.  I was pouring over job posting after job posting, all of which I was either way over- or way underqualified for.  Then, one year and one week ago, I had a meeting.  Then, one year and three days ago, I was offered a job.  A job with a description that was pretty much written for me.  At a cool place, doing very cool work.  A job with a paycheque.  And benefits.  And pretty business cards.  And a swanky office with a view of the mountains.  A big girl job.

Happy workiversary to me.

{January 3, 2008}   The Cake, the Bad and the Ugly.

How many times do I have to say this? SPIDERS DO NOT BELONG IN MY HOUSE!!!

This morning when I turned on the tap in my bathroom, I discovered one hella big motherfucking daddy long legs spider1 sitting directly under the spout, so that when the water turned on, the motherfucking big spider came crawling out over the top of the spout2! After much screaming and throwing things at it on my part, the monster got what it deserved – death and a watery grave in the sewage system of Vancouver. Motherfucker.

And speaking of scary, I’m going to see this horror movie tonight. Sneak preview. You know you are jealous. Admit it.

Also, there is cake at my work today. It’s one of my co-workers’ last day of work at our office today and, well, we use just about any excuse to have cake. There is truly a lot of cake in my life.

In summary: spiders bad, cake good. Cake with spiders in it – very, very bad.

1In keeping with my long-standing policy on refusing to look at pictures of spiders, I am not linking this to its Wikipedia page.
2Even just typing that out gives me the creeps!

{December 4, 2007}   Out Out Damn Report

report This is me and the report I’ve been working on for the last 87 months. It’s a report about how great I am, and all the the wonderful things I do. In triplicate.

And writing it has prevented me from doing all the wonderful things that I do.

But now, mercifully, it’s done and has been sent off to those who want to read about how wonderful I am. So I can get back to my real work. Well, for half a day anyway. Then I’m on vacation until next week.

et cetera