31 March 2006

You want to go where everybody knows your name

I have been so blessed to be able to take this impromptu trip down to Southern Cal. I hopped in my car and drove straight to Mike's house yesterday (Wednesday), and after calling Mom for directions after I missed the freeway offramp, I arrived at the casa del Mudd in good time, but Mike was not awake yet. Heheh. I hung out with some of his roommates for a time, and he was eventually ready to go out. We delighted our senses with Indonesian food, and talked about politics. Good stuff, all around. We returned to his house, and he showed me his business setup. Interesting. He had to go to volleyball in the evening, so I went over to Mom and Dad's house and did the hangout thing with Dad--we watched Jeopardy, and I introduced him to Bones (sadly, I didn't think this particular episode was all that great). Mom came home from Bible study, and we chatted until late into the night.

This morning, I had a slow start, made slower by the fact that I encountered a train on the way out from the parents' house. I finally arrived at Biola, and Mia was in SMU. We ended up at Starbucks, until it was time for me to meet up with Laurel for lunch. It was so good to see her, and we talked for about two hours. We also saw Chelsea Van der Kooi. I walked Laurel to work at ISF, and while I was moseying back to the main campus, I crossed paths with my spunky friend Chelsea Shelby; Chelsea was on her way to the post office, so I walked with her (I was going to the SUB anyway), and even saw Jeri in the post office. Chelsea went back to work, and I went to Student Ministries to see if my friend Barbara was there, but she was gone until next Monday, so I left her a note. I had the good sense to go check in with the science division, and I'm so happy that I did. I met up with Mr. Johnson, who was so kind and interested in what was going on in my life, then went to the office to greet Susan Lopez and drop some more notes off, and saw Dr. Rynd and Dr. Bloom. Dr. Bloom invited to come up and see the current Circuits class in lab, so I chatted and joked with them, and even had my picture taken for the alumni section on (I think) the Wall O' Photos. I poked my head into the Gen Bio lab where Ruth was teaching, and finally stopped into Rafe's office. All my old professors were so kind, and I was very happy that I had followed my instincts and gone to see them. Ruth and Rafe specifically asked about grad school, and were quite positive and encouraging, and it really helped me to remember why I have love for science; I'm beginning to realize that if I don't do at least some advanced study in the sciences, I'm going to regret it and always wish that I had. Talking with Bloom and (later) my sister reminded me that I can do more than one thing, and the key is balancing it out. But anyway, the mad whirl continued, as I went into Sutherland for yet another note dropoff; none of my humanities-related friends were around, so it ended up being a short visit. I moved on to an important scheduled visit: Melissa in Metzger. I came and saw her office, and we talked for a while, even though we were in the middle of the IT department. I almost passed out, due to (I guess) insufficient food, so I obtained caloric salvation from the vending machine. Mmmm, Cheez-its. I was so happy to see Melissa for even a short span of time, but she too had to return to work eventually. I was heading to pick up Mia and drive off to Watts for visiting parents' Bible study, and I made one final stop: library media center to see Will. We ended up talking for quite a while, and I was (once again) so happy that I made the effort, because we were able to connect about a lot of things. While making my way to Emerson to collect the poor, patient Mia, I ran into Linda Kazibwe, of all people. We talked a bit, but she was on her way to the car, and I'll see her tomorrow night anyway (GC reunion concert!).

Wow, that was a lot of people interaction for one day! But these were all people I'd really wanted to see (whether planned or unplanned, I was happy to see all of them), and since I was seldom required to interact with more than one person at a time, it was not too taxing for me. It was a real blessing to see so many wonderful people, and to realize from our interactions that there really are people who care about me, who took time to spend with me. Seeing friends, and being encouraged by former professors (who, in most large schools, would not even have known my name), was a great way to end the several weeks of semi-hermitude that I've engaged in since leaving the HATC at the end of January. Just as I was beginning to feel restless, and to think that I would like to leave my solitude and begin serve God in a more active way again, He provided a job. I think He waited until He knew that I was healed from my many years of overstress and overwork, and then arranged for a job with timing that allowed me to make a priority of taking a trip to see family and friends.

Mia and I had a few minor adventures (like striking off onto an unknown street in order to avoid being stopped at a train crossing) while making our way down Rosecrans and the 105 to Watts. We arrived safely at the WI Bible study, and there studied the discipline of solitude. We (not so much me as others) also talked about Myers-Briggs personality typing; it's a trendy topic at WI right now, I think. Then Mom and Dad (in their car) and Mia and I (in my car) drove back to the Price house in LA. Mia convinced me to join MySpace, and Mom had issues with other people's irresponsible actions. Personally, I'm so glad that I do not have to do what my mom does! I would not put up with it, and that's all I'm saying.

Now, after a long, full day, it is bedtime. I'm exhausted, but looking forward to Mommy time tomorrow, and girl time (first with Elizabeth and possibly Sara, then with Mia) on Saturday. I'm sad that I won't be able to connect with certain people (e.g. Sherida and Christina--I'm sad our schedules didn't mesh), but that's to be expected when one's travel plans are conceived on the spur of the moment.

Selamat malam dan selamat tidur!

29 March 2006

All points south

Hi, all, I am taking a rather impromptu trip down to the LA area. I'm spending most of the time with my adik-adik and my orang tua, but will be at Biola on Thursday. I'd like to see folks if I can.

And I just met with the manager of my new company today, and I'm very excited, because it looks as though there will be opportunities for me, not just project administration. More on that when I have more info.

28 March 2006


Jeff and I had a great weekend. Christina and Will drove up to visit us for a few days. They arrived on Friday night, and we were all exhausted. In fact, I had fallen asleep on the couch while waiting for them to get here, and was only half-awake when they came.

We went up to Fresno on Saturday, since there is nothing to do in Visalia when it rains. We went to the Fresno Art Museum and saw modern art. Ann Weber had paper media and big sculptures made of cardboard; Yoshiko Shimano did big silk wall prints; Stephen de Staebler had lame-o bronze sculptures about suffering or whatever; and Stacy Neff had a cool organic blown-glass structures. There were also collages by Nathan Bertoldi, which were overall pretty interesting. The permanent exhibit had oodles of pre-Columbian Central American stuff, and some more recent artwork, such as a Diego Rivera painting.
When we went home, we watched The Sixth Sense, which I'd never seen before. Good movie, better than I expected. Sort of beautiful, in fact. And great acting. I refused to let anyone spoil it for me, so I was really engaged and surprised by the ending.

Sunday morning, we went to Starbucks, for old time's sake, and then to the second service at church. After lunch at Mimi's, we went back to the house, and Will and Christina had to get ready to leave.

Though both are self-professed "dog people", Christina and Will were surprised to discover that they really enjoy cats. Will liked playing with Hobbes. And Hobbes, of course, loved the attention.

Details on job

I'll be working as a project administrator for a small anonymous technical company (known hereafter as SATC, I suppose), working on product development. It will involve a lot of working with the programmers and developers internally, as well as with the customers externally. The environment is very much into the team spirit and mixing business with pleasure. The people that I've met so far have been nice and they seem to want me on their team. I'm intending that it will be good experience, and I'll learn a lot.

27 March 2006

I am a camera

Or, at least, my digital camera is.

I cleaned out my memory card, since I haven't been doing much with my camera for several months and finally picked it up again. If anyone cares, I'll try and document some of our lives and adventures. =)

The pics from the memory card stretch WAY back into 2005. Lots of memories, and some pictures I tried to get of the cats (who will never stay still long enough to let me get a good shot).
I present to you Touchy and Hobbes, the cutest cats ever. Touchy has the white kitten face, Hobbes has the darker and sharper face. Precious-weshus!!!!

Hallelujah, I'm a wage slave!!

Or I will be soon. I now have a job, to begin next Monday, April 3. This is the answer to many prayers, and it looks to be a good opportunity. It's not a "forever job", I think. It's a good, probably steady job that will give me the opportunity to obtain income and learn new skills, while spending plenty of time with Jeff at home and figuring out what I want to do with my life.

23 March 2006

Submit to the Power of Hello Kitty

DSFGE Day 39: I had my follow-up interview today. It had been originally scheduled for Tuesday, but moved to Thursday due to illness. I think it went well, overall.

My interview was at 10, so I had ample time to fuss and stress before I left the house this morning. I ended up wearing black slacks and a red blouse, after changing a few times. I first interviewed with the person who would be my manager, should I be hired, and a person who also works in that department. It was fairly standard; they asked about experience and had questions specifically focused on things like client relations and the need to be able to handle criticism with the correct attitude. Then they had four other people from the team come in, and there were more questions about work-related stuff. I actually handled it pretty well.

Here's a little anecdote:
Mr. Manager asked me a question about "the stages of team development". Now, I know nothing about management theory and all that crap. BUT, I totally RULED. I said, "I'm not an expert, but let me think." And I thought out loud, and described what I saw as obvious stages of a team. It was something like, "Well, a team starts by forming. It could be intentional, such as a team forming as part of a business directive, or incidental, such as people being the only survivors of a plane crash and needing to team together for survival. Then they get to know one another, and either consciously or subconsciously agree and commit to being a team. They formally or informally decide on roles, and define a mission. They start accomplishing their mission, must evaluate (possibly cyclically) their progress, to determine whether they need to reassign or redefine roles or mission objectives, then progress with mission, then find completion. Again, these steps could be formalized or just subconscious." And Mr. Manager said, "Wow, that is pretty close to a textbook answer." And I said, "Yep, as I said, I am very good at taking ideas and forming them into a system." I think that was a strong point in my favor.

Anyway, after the various people took turns asking relevant questions, one of them asked me (I think this was the first odd question in this portion), "What is your favorite dessert?" I replied, "Pretty much anything chocolate," and she nodded in approval. Another person said, "What, you're going straight to the lightning round?" Apparently, in group interviews, if they like a person, they have a system to get to know the candidate's personality, and they start asking random questions: favorite color, top five favorite movies, favorite books and music, etc. They are a quirky group, that's for sure.

One very nice thing: the dress code is relaxed to non-existent (unless one is meeting with customers). Coming from an office where I was allowed to wear jeans and Skechers (engineers hafta go to the lab, you know) pretty much every day if I chose (although not, of course, when we had a big meeting), the prospect of having to wear nice clothes every day was daunting. The truth of the matter is that I once worked in a fancy restaurant where I was required to wear a skirt, nylons, and high heels, and do my hair in a French twist kind of thing. When I finished that job, I promised myself that I would never, ever work in a place that forced me to wear nylons and high heels. So far, I have kept my promise to myself: at Intel, casual was king; tutoring at Sylvan, jeans and t-shirts were verboten, but business casual was allowed; at the above-mentioned HATC, practical professional clothing was encouraged. My trend seems to be continuing. I love working in the tech industry.

It sounded as though they are planning to take steps to get me on board. We'll see how it goes.

//stop here to avoid discussion of women's lingerie//
The interviewers no doubt thought that it was my greatness that dazzled them. However, I must give credit where credit is due: my stunning brilliance came from my secret weapon, the Hello Kitty* undies that I donned this morning for extra good luck. The power of Hello Kitty is such that mere mortals must wield it only in the form of undergarments. To wear Hello Kitty uncovered would likely prove so overwhelming as to blind and/or incapacitate onlookers. Being a responsible citizen, I kept Hello Kitty under wraps, but channeled the power, yo. Respect and revere Hello Kitty!!

*Trademarked by Sanrio; all rights and monetary privileges of Hello Kitty belong to them.

21 March 2006

Mono was like the best diet ever

Truly, should one desire to cut back on one's caloric intake, illness is an unpleasant but viable option. I've been living on bread and sour apples for the last day and a half.

Now Jeff is feeling sick, too. He stayed home today.

20 March 2006


This is no joke. I've been sick all day. My tummy is so nauseous! It's such a bummer, since I had stuff I really wanted to do. Instead, I lay around all day, and barely got even laundry done. I kept telling myself that it would pass, but it has persisted, and it's been hard to convince myself to eat anything. I haven't even been able to drink a lot of water. Bah.

The plumber fixed our leaky pipe, so that's a good thing. Rosalee came by with cheese that Olaf won at some banquet (long story), and also kindly brought some apple fritters from the donut shop.

Jeff came home as I was trying to make dinner (pizza), and he was kind enough to help with it, poor hungry guy. He told me that Josh (who visited us last week) had a case of the stomach flu over the weekend. That Josh-- He's always willing to share!

19 March 2006

Today, I took the CSET. It was long and arduous, and I came home to be pampered with dinner, strawberries and whipped cream, and Buffy.

17 March 2006

Good stuff

DSFGE Day 34 was somewhat eventful. I had an interview, and it was, overall, the strangest interview I've undergone so far. I'm being considered for a position in the product development division of a local company, and if I go corporate rather than education, I think I'd really enjoy the job. I met with someone as a sort of initial interview, and he was very energetic and passionate about what he does. He gave me an overview of the company, and told me about the their team-focused culture, etc. He asked questions such as "Would you consider yourself a geek?" and "How's your ego? Is it fragile, or can you handle criticism?". Very bizarre. He even gave me feedback (constructive criticism) on how to be more effective when I come in for my second interview next week: I came off as rather demure, and I need to be more forceful in presenting myself; he was, however, impressed with how intelligent and articulate I am when I do work up the courage to say something. Fair enough, since I am naturally rather shy, and just barely manage to pull myself together to be confident in my areas of expertise. Argh! I wasn't able to act my way out of this one! But on the plus side, I do have a follow-up interview (with the person with whom I'd be directly working) next week, so I didn't completely blow it. He explained that the company really wants to find out who I really AM, rather than who I think I ought to be, because the real me is who they'll be working with, day in and day out. Makes sense, huh? I got permission to be creative in presenting the real me.

Hard to believe tomorrow's already Friday again.

I'm tired.

14 March 2006


Jeff and I are doing computer stuff and watching Buffy with the writer/director commentary. It's quite interesting. You should try it some time.

DSFGE 32. Boy, am I getting tired of all this. It wasn't a bad day, however. I had an interview with a staffing agency, since I am hoping to at least get temporary work while I progress on being ready and able to apply for teaching jobs (if that indeed is where I end up; things are so confusing right now). While I was there, I took the standard "office skills" tests, on Excel, Word, typing, and "basic office stuff". My scores were apparently quite good, and the recruiter was very excited about that, and about my work experience. She has a permanent job opening for which I might be perfect! I dunno. If it's something I'd enjoy, maybe I'll go for that. I told her I would definitely be willing to consider it. I'm going to take the CSET on Saturday anyway, but things are by no means certain in any direction, I guess.

I did something equally as exciting afterward: I went to the library and got myself a card! I like libraries, and it's always an important thing for me to sort of establish myself at the local library whenever I move to a new place. The fact that I haven't done it sooner is a definite indication of my general languidity of late. I got some nice books (sadly, there were no Math CSET prep books, which were ostensibly the reason why I even opted to go to the library in the first place), but the Visalia library is... small. Much smaller than the Beaverton or even Hillsboro libraries. I think it's less well-equipped than the Fullerton one. It's about the same size as La Mirada, but the La Mirada library seemed to have more modern and extensive books and other media.

Okay, well, I came home, had lunch, and tutored my geometry student again. I hope she recommends me to some of her friends.

I made blackened Italian chicken (tasty, but ended up a bit dry, as I cook meat to death in an effort to avoid even the slightest bit of pink meat in the center) with marinara pasta for dinner. Unfortunately, I didn't do any laundry. I'll have to do that tomorrow.

Furry lobster

Scientists discovered and described a hitherto-unknown deep-sea crustacean. It resembles a feathery or furry lobster. People find the oddest things in Oceania.

This reminds me of an experience that I had as an adventurous child paddling around in the warm waters of the Pacific. I encountered a creature of which I've never been able to find record. I was probably 10 years old, and was swimming with my family among the sand flats in the Sowi area of Manokwari Bay. Coral reefs and other havens of marine life are found quite close to shore, and a child on the surface (I tended to float on my tummy, to keep my feet elevated away from sharks and stonefish and other vicious animals) just a few meters into the water could get a good view of creatures in the shallows there. I would hold my breath and keep my eyes open under water (perhaps all this willful exposure to harsh sea water eventually compounded my optical issues?), loving to see the colorful fish, budding coral, and the infrequent sea snake. On this particular occasion, I looked down, and moving over the sand (maybe 3-4 meters down) was something that looked like a the convex outside of a smooth brown coconut shell, and all around its edges were blurry ripples that looked like flagella-type things that were propelling it. It was hard to determine exactly how big it was, due to distortion of the water, and me being several feet away, but it might have been 30 cm or so. It moved pretty fast, and it wasn't as if it was crawling. No, it was skimming the surface of the sand. I watched for several seconds, until it went out of view, and then I swam back to the beach, because if there were unknown animals cruising in the water, I preferred to be on the solid ground, where they couldn't pull me under (remember, I was just a little kid, and yet even then, I recognized that discretion is the better part of valor).
Does anyone know what I might have seen? I took marine biology with Rafe Payne, and when I asked him, he couldn't identify it from my description. I've looked in text books and journals. The closest things that I've seen is, believe it or not, are artistic renditions of trilobites, but those are supposed to be extinct. Could it be possible that in the waters around New Guinea (the land that time forgot), there still lurk prehistoric crustaceans? Maybe there were trilobites until the 1980s, and it just so happened that I saw the LAST TRILOBITE EVER, and now they have all died off (Note to self: Blame global warming? V. good thesis, but hard to stick as equatorial waters are warm anyway.). Wouldn't that be interesting, and such a joke on all those paleontologists that probably wish that they could have been the ones to see the Last Trilobite Ever, instead of a snotty-nosed kid on an evening jaunt to the beach. And if not, then what did I see, so many years ago?


This weekend was fairly easy-going, if a little chilly.

We watched Voyager and Angel episodes, and didn't do much else, since the weather was spotty enough to preclude any yardwork activities. Saturday evening, we were blessed to have dinner and chat with the Yoshimotos (Bill and Judy); they are, I think, really hoping that we will decide to go to church at Gateway. I am not overly fond of that idea, but to be honest, I don't much care for any of the churches we've visited. I told Jeff that he can just make his choice, and I'll just go along.
After dinner, we had to zip away home, since we received word that we were going to have surprise guests: Ben!, his brother Barry, and Barry's two children. They were all up in Fresno for a cousin's wedding, and had planned to drive south that night. However, the 5 was closed over the Grapevine, due to snow, and they needed to stay the night somewhere in the valley. Cue in Jeff and Kiti and their house of hospitality! Seriously, though, it was great to see Ben (I was just realizing, we've known each other for almost ten years) and to be able to help friends in need. I made pancakes the next morning, and was greatly amused to watch the children interacting with the cats. The younger child, in particular, was cute and funny, and he seemed to also like hanging out in the kitchen chatting me up while I cooked. I didn't mind, since both children had good behavior. I dislike poorly-behaved children, and feel awkward even among nice kids, since I can never think of anything to say to them; this young fellow solved that problem by being gregarious and bringing up all manner of topics to discuss, on his own initiative. Because of our company, we weren't able to get to church, but we plan to go next week.

Puji Tuhan! I have another appointment with the girl I tutored last week. I'm glad, because I really sensed that she needed some more help. Her mom e-mailed me, and had nice things to say about the results of that one hour last week, which are the results that I truly desire for any student that I help.

Now Josh is here. He's here in town on business, so he's spending the night with us because we're more fun than his parents. Heheh.

Let's see. I spent a long time chatting with K-W a few nights ago. We discussed everything from Nietzshe and western centrism to secret celebrity crushes, living and dead. K-W is a cool guy, and he's single, ladies.

11 March 2006


Tonight has all the season finales for Sci Fi Friday. It will be a long and agonizing wait till July, to see what happens with Stargate SG-1.

Meanwhile, I'm not-so-secretly hoping that Stargate Atlantis will end with all the humans being devoured by the wraith, a fitting conclusion to all their meddling stupidity. *spoilers* The humans decide to experiment with genetic mutation on a wraith they kidnapped. Bad idea? DUH. Then they strike a deal with a faction of the wraith, to enable them to engage in genetic experimentation on their rival factions. Ya think it's a TRAP? Ya THINK?!? Yep, I'm totally routing for the wraith here. Except that I don't think the entire earth should suffer for the Atlantis team's idiocy. Ah, well. When the life-suckers show up in the Central Valley, I'll know who to blame.

Battlestar Galactica - Apparently, this finale is so amazing that they couldn't have just an hour. This one is an hour and a half. It's still good drama. Wild and cliff-hanging ending. We have to wait until OCTOBER to find out what goes down with the Cylons.

Star Trek: Voyager - Via Netflix. It pisses me off so much that the Voyager crew, while traipsing around a quadrant where they are intruders, still persist in referring to the indigenous races that they meet as "aliens". Hello????

And now: bedtime.

Demon car alarm

Remember my encounter with the senseless car alarm of doom in the strip mall parking lot? It happened again today, in the same parking lot. I was going to put groceries in my car, and had a Savemart bag person with me carrying them. When I turned the key in the lock to open the door, the alarm began to blare. I managed to play it off, saying, "Oh, that thing. It goes off randomly." I then fiddled with the lock, shutting the door and opening it again, and the alarm stopped. Again, I have NO IDEA what triggers the alarm, nor do I understand exactly what my actions have done to terminate it.

I didn't get a callback from a job that I applied for and really wanted. Disappointing. I am beginning to think I will never get a job. On the happy side, I tutored a high school student in math for an hour. For that one hour, I had a sense of clarity, a notion that I have a place in the world. I could help someone understand geometry; I knew exactly what to say, and how to break down problems into easy steps, in a way that would maximize comprehension. If only I could just tutor several hours per week. Happiness and income for me, better grades and stronger students for everyone else.

10 March 2006

More about schools

I have repeatedly stated that one of the major problems with schooling in the U.S. is that students are lazy and unwilling to invest in their education. [Finally, someone else speaks up.] I know this from my own experience and observation, having tutored California high school students for years. If Student X is doing poorly in algebra, it is very often not because:
A. The teacher needs to take more continuing education units.
B. The budget shortfall causes short-circuiting in a student's brain.
C. The prescribed math program needs to be revamped AGAIN (i.e. "new math" becomes "new new math" becomes "CPM" becomes whatever the heck it is now).
D. The textbook is somehow inadequate, or racially biased (Note that immigrants, or children of recent immigrants, of a wide variety of ethnicities and cultures perform very well with these same textbooks.).
E. Etc. ad infinitum, playing the blame game.
Student X does not succeed in algebra because she/he is not willing to put forth the discipline and effort that are usually required for mastering the necessary skills for excellence in mathematics. While there are societal factors that may come into play (e.g. gang activity, a real problem in many urban schools), this supports my statements. A student who refuses to take advantage of free (well, it's free to the student, but the taxpayers foot a hefty bill) and readily available opportunities, opting instead for culturally reinforced involvement in dangerous and destructive activities, is the student who is choosing the path of least resistance, for no good reason. This trumpets nothing so much as laziness and a lack of vision for her/his potential.
Students must first and foremost take ownership of their futures and assume responsibility for their education, or the cycle of failure will continue. But there is hope. Students of California, you CAN master algebra, and that is only the beginning!!

09 March 2006

Wouldn't you know it?

My health has been reasonably good the past few months, but this morning, I woke up with a headache. It's a persistent, piercing pain running in a line from behind my left eye to the base of my neck. I tried loosening up my neck and shoulders, but it didn't go away. I also searched for ibuprofen, but couldn't find any.

I can't make it go away, I can't do much (sudden moves or carrying heavy things makes it throb; I wonder if it's blood vessel-related), and I'm depressed. Great combo.

07 March 2006

Jeff came home very late last night, being kept at work until midnight. We slept in this morning, and he worked at home today. It would have been nice to hang out with him, but he really was working, so I actually stayed downstairs and let him be productive. I applied to jobs, and completed registration for the math CSET (state-mandated testing is a real racket, let me tell ya).

I'm happy to report that the ladies over at Go Fug did not disappoint, although I really wish they had heaped scorn on Michelle Williams.
Seriously, everyone was talking about how she was so well-dressed, etc. Well, I guess her stylist played a cruel joke on her. "Oh, but you simply must get this bright yellow gown! Glowing primary colors are so now. *snicker snicker*" Unfortunately for Williams, this shade of yellow clashes with her pretty translucent skin; she'd have been better off with a lemony pastel. Red carpet commenters kept stating that she was going for a "thirties starlet look". However, it is worth noting that most 1930s starlets were photographed in black-and-white, so they could hypothetically get away with colors that looked horrible on them; Ms. Williams has not that luxury, living as she does in the age of instant full-color digital photography, posted on the internet, pretty much real-time. Furthermore, her makeup seemed unfinished: too much lipstick, too little of anything else. And her hair looked like it wanted to be done nicely and the bangs marcelled, but quickly wilted and gave up due to the heat emitted from the bright yellow dress. And as a final insult, she was (I think) wearing cool (silver color) accessories with a warm (saffron yellow color) dress.

Cheer up, Michelle. It could have been worse. You could have had Jennifer Lopez's stylist, who convinced her to show up at the Oscars in a dress the color of split pea soup.

06 March 2006

Oscar Goes To

I watched most of the Academy Award ceremony. I didn't have strong opinions, as I have not yet seen most of the nominated films. I can't afford to spend $10 apiece to see all those movies! I guess I'll watch them as I can, and form my own opinions about things (since my opinion is more important and prescriptive than all those Academy voters'). As it stands, I'm most looking forward to reading the fashion snark on Go Fug Yourself. =) Heather and Jessica, don't let me down!

I spent most of the day on the bed with my laptop, looking at jobs. I did so largely because it was nice and warm, and the kitty cats came and napped on the bed. It was so sweet!

04 March 2006


Let's see. Not much to report from around here.

Yesterday, we had a tornado warning. No joke. Apparently, there was a twister sighted near Porterville, so pretty much all of the county was on alert. I was watching The High and the Mighty on AMC (haven't been able to see it for years, due to the only-recently-resolved copyright dispute, or whatever it was, that caused the Wayne family estate to prevent its release into the home entertainment market), and the emergency weather warning system interrupted the broadcast--the first time I've ever seen that happen. The tornado didn't actually come anywhere near me, though (despite the fact that we're only a few miles from Goshen, heehee), so nothing exciting actually happened. There was a double rainbox just to the east of me, though.

Last night, we watched Sci Fi Friday and ate pizza (it's getting to be a tradition). The folks at Sci Fi are trying hard, but I think the Stargate shows had problems this season, particularly Atlantis. Okay, all things considered, Stargate SG-1 was pretty good. So that leaves Stargate Atlantis as the culprit. I've felt that they really lack forward momentum, and a lot of their episodes indicated nothing so much as the fact that the Atlantis base is led by rank idiots (*spoiler* Cf the wraith guy they kidnapped and experimented on with the retrovirus--WHO thought that was a good idea? Oh, yeah, Dr. Weir. She brings shame upon all of us who seek to be taken seriously as forward-thinking leaders.). If they don't pull their act together, they're gonna get cancelled. Perhaps Sci Fi will replace them with Firefly Season 2 in their Sci Fi Friday lineup.

Now, Jeff is working on homework, and I'm puttering about the house doing minor chores.

More fun stuff

I forgot to mention that the other day, I was able to use my parasitology gifts to help someone. A friend consulted me about a friend of hers who had returned from traveling in the Middle East, and had some sort of infection. It had been diagnosed as Blastocystis hominis, but was resistant to treatment, and was manifesting itself in an unusual way.

Now, I am not officially a parasitologist, but I was able to take the information I was given, do some research, and draw some conclusions about what was going on, and what should be the best course of action. Blastocystis hominis often follows a typical pattern of infection, so it wasn't too hard. But it made me feel good to be useful, in even a small way.

02 March 2006

Fun stuff

Report on the interview (Thanks for asking about it, Ben!) of DSFGE Day 23: I must admit that it was the worst interview I've ever had. It wasn't that I did badly. No, I actually did quite well answering questions and everything. That wasn't really the problem. It was just a difficult situation, because I walked into a panel interview in front eight people, without having any idea of what exactly it would be like, and I really knew that I wasn't fully qualified for the position (I was honestly surprised that I was even called for an interview; I do have the abilities, but not the necessary experience). In retrospect, it was actually a positive and valuable experience, with plenty of potential for humorous stories. It was good for me to have an interview in which I didn't wow my interviewers with my charm and competence (which is honestly the way most interviews go, even if I don't get the job).

Anyway, so I got to the interview (which was at an adult school, and had NO PARKING), and was summarily ushered into a conference room with a long table. I was seated at the head of the table, with a sheet of paper with 11 typed questions in front of me; there were eight other people there, four on each side of the table. The interview panel were all serious school district bureaucrats: two principals, a facilities manager, a union rep, and some other functions I don't remember. The mean age was somewhere around 50. I looked around, and it totally felt surreal. So, anyway, it was pretty funny. Even though I had the questions in front of me, they all took turns reading a question, and then I answered it. Some of them were general and self-explanatory ("Explain how your education and experience make you a good candidate for this position.") and some of them were specific ("What is deferred maintenence, and how does it relate to locally funded bond measures?" or some such thing). Since I don't have any experience working in public school administration, I didn't know specifics, but I was able to answer with a lot of common sense ("Deferred maintenence is obviously maintenence that has been deferred, and context indicates that it has been so because of lack of funding; obviously, the funding must be raised by local bonds and stuff."). Nobody who had not either (1) been prepped with the questions beforehand, or (2) had this exact same job already, could have perfectly answered all those questions. My favorite question, however, was the one that went something like this: "This school district has been troubled by unclean air, mold, and fleas, which have been problematic and resulted in unpleasant media coverage. What issues do you see with these things, and how would you address them?" I almost laughed; I wanted to say something like, "You guys have mold and fleas in your school buildings? You suck!!! Also, I'm getting out of this building right now!" However, I made some obvious comments about these things being an enormous health risk, and even worked in a comment about how the presence of fleas can put people at risk of the plague. Yes, I was able to discuss the plague in an official interview. My life is now complete. I pretty much zipped through the questions, because I figured there was no point in drawing out the torture. I just felt really weird.
I went to the office when I was done, to turn in some paperwork, and saw the person who was very obviously the next interviewee. He was in a dark suit, and looked to be well into his mid-30s. He just looked so much more authoritative and bureaucratic than I do. It is illegal to discriminate with regard to age, in hiring practices, but I'm sure they all thought I was waaaaay too young, even if it was just subconscious in their minds; in a way, I think it is justified, though, because one has to be a certain age in order to have a specified amount of experience, etc. I am not really old enough to have a lot of experience at anything, and I look even younger than I am.

When I finished the interview, I was very shaken, and I went to my car to recover. I was waiting for Jeff, as we were going to grab lunch together, so I just sat in my warm car, and started to read the book I had bought: The Text of the New Testament, by Bruce Metzger. After a few pages, I felt so much better. I thought, "I'm so much happier just reading about ancient manuscripts than I ever would be as an operations manager in a school district. What was I thinking? I don't even want the job!" Ah, well. As I said, good experience and good funny story material ("Deadly disease-carrying fleas? Unpleasant media coverage? Heehee!").

Note: The drive to and from Fresno was actually quite pretty. The early spring rains have made all the fields green, and the fruit orchards are in bloom. I even drove past a field of grazing sheep. Now, I am not one of those who idealize the pastoral life, blah blah blah. I think sheep are stupid, smelly animals. However, when one is driving at freeway speed down the 99, one can neither smell them nor observe behavior, so the general impression is simply: "Sheep! Sheepy sheepy sheep! Fluffy and cute!"

I had tea with Debbie in the afternoon, and we chatted about a bunch of stuff. I went home, Jeff came home, and we had dinner and relaxed.

DSFGE Day 24 involved looking at various jobs, and working on online applications. We watched our nightly Stargate when Jeff came home, and there was this one character in the episode that I totally called out as a traitor, even though it hadn't been revealed in the plotline yet. I rule! Now if only I could have some talents that were actually marketable...

Mike called me today, and we had a nice chat about grad schools and stuff. I miss him.

Jeff is working on his homework, and I am (yes, you guessed it) blogging.

Catch ya later!