Oh yes, you read that right. (My job is so weird sometimes.)

We were asked to work on a video project related to tagging Lake Erie fish, so co-worker and I packed up all the camera equipment we could scrounge up and took a road trip to Cleveland.

Seriously. This was our view for the entire morning. It was beautiful.

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The fish were basically caught in a net, pulled up into a water tank on the boat, tagged, measured, and thrown back into the lake. All in all, a seriously efficient operation, with pretty minimal handling, considering.

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However, it's basically spawning season. And, well, when you grab a male fish and hold him tight enough to accurately insert a tracker... there's squirting. We may have had some "there's semen on the camera lens" incidents.

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Ah, science. Never change.
Or, you know, the university union outreach fair.

I got to hang out with Andy, who's just the cutest.

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Elaine and I figured out that we each have a snake that likes us better. Andy wouldn't hold still for her, Sheldon wouldn't hold still for me, but they were perfectly content when we switched.

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Free range snake! (Eastern Fox Snake, to be exact.)

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Eventually, Andy needed a break.

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But it got cold, so, warm hands to the rescue, and I acquired a snake bracelet.

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Which very quickly turned into "wait, your torso is warmer. Let me just get up there..."

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Silly snake.
We had some interesting guests in the office last week, to help us raise interest at a student activities thing. Obviously, nothing else got done that day...

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Penny is an Eastern Fox Snake, and tends to come to most outreach events, because she's actually quite chill and relaxed. Despite the fact that she spent some time trying to find a way to escape her terrarium at first.

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She and Andy, our resident milk snake and lover of hoodie pockets and sleeve openings, eventually settled down though.

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It may have had something to do with how cold it was in the office that day. They ended up cuddling for warmth (not particularly effective when you're a reptile).

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At least until we got them a heater. That, they approved of.

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Some people go to fancy hotels for work. Or they end up in crappy conference rooms for a few days, barely staying awake.

Me? I get to hang out on a Lake Erie island.

Retreat on the Rock 2014

When this is the view that comes with coffee, you don't care what time it is. Promise.

Retreat on the Rock 2014

Retreat on the Rock 2014

Also, my office owns a castle. Yeah.

Retreat on the Rock 2014

And we do the best teambuilding stuff. Yes, that's a snake.

Retreat on the Rock 2014

Of course, occasionally your co-workers get attacked by crickets.

Retreat on the Rock 2014

But mostly, it's all fun and games. And food. So much food.

Job Search: mediocre.

I found a number of openings at different places across the country, but sadly, most of those applications then disappear into the black hole that is university job boards. At least OU gives you an option for a contact person sometimes - a lot of other systems don't go beyond "info forwarded to department" in the way of status updates. I do have one interview at OSU on June 1 (fingers crossed for that one, it's pretty much exactly what I'm looking for), but otherwise things are quiet after two weeks of activity.

Got a very supportive (and pretty much expected) "no thank you" from the University of Chicago this morning, which seemed to be only down to a lack of certain basic qualifications they were looking for, not to any mistakes in the phone interview. I hadn't applied to that job posting to begin with because of those requirements, but the Director was given my resume by someone else and at least wanted to talk to me about the job, which was fantastic. Awesome program too, definitely worth the hour I spent on the phone with him.

Life: slowing down.

You know, having some extra time for fun stuff is fantastic. Lots of knitting time, lots of time for little things I've been wanting to get done but didn't have the motivation to do, lots of time to catch up on TV shows (Burn Notice is pretty awesome, for example). But guys, I'm bored. To the point where going to job hunting seminars in Columbus was a welcome way to spend a day. Rush hour from Canal Winchester to Powell, and I found it somewhat entertaining... well, except for that one day where it poured buckets and most drivers lost all ability to signal lane changes. But hey, it's adventurous, right? Yeah, we're just going to go with that.

Meeting random strangers I met on the internet: more fun than you'd think it would be.


I know I've mentioned the Harry Potter group off Ravelry before, but recently I got the chance to meet two of the other members in person, just to hang out and chat. One ended up having family in Athens, so we spent a couple of hours at the coffee shop chatting - she convinced me that looking for a job in Seattle wasn't a completely lunatic idea, among other things. She also lived in Japan and Germany for a while, so we had lots of stuff to talk about. The other girl is a grad student at the University of Wisconsin, in physical chemistry, who grew up in Columbus and was visiting her parents. So we had lunch after one of my seminar things, and had planned on going to a yarn shop in Powell afterwards, except it was closed. So we went to a yarn shop in Dublin instead :-P It is weird that it was the first time I'd ever seen that part of Riverside Drive? Probably... the only area I'd seen before was the bit between the freeway and the zoo. I think... my geography of that bit of Columbus is still kind of fuzzy.

Knitting: quite a bit.

Because it beats chewing my nails until they bleed while I wait for people to return my emails. And, well, because it's fun :)









Soon to come: ridiculously complicated socks, and hopefully a Dance of Joy.

I spent most of last week in Lisbon, Portugal, for a work-related trip to the European Thyroid Association meeting. The argument for me going went something like "you're European, right? Do you speak the language?" "No, I don't do Portuguese, I can sort of do Spanish..." "Close enough, go help out with the booth." Or at least it went like that in my head... it seemed either a very spur of the moment decision or something that was planned for a couple of days without anyone remembering to tell me. Either way, I went to Portugal for a week :)

    

    

I spent most of my time sitting at the University of Lisbon watching a tradeshow booth between sessions and reading loads of books during the sessions when nobody was around. I think I got through four books just while hanging out there, and another two books during the flights there and back. The conference was an interesting experience, as it was much more education-focused than the tradeshows I've attended before, but you guys don't want to hear about that - the free time I had was much more fun :)

One of the trips the conference people offered as part of the "social program" was to the World Expo park in Lisbon, specifically the aquarium they built as part of the expo. It was a pretty little place, and you got to get much closer to the animals than you usually do at US zoos... I probably could have touched the penguins if I didn't know better :)

    

    

    

The brochure said that dinner was included in the trip, so they directed us to a restaurant right next to the aquarium, where seating was a bit scarce, and food turned out to be even more scarce. "Dinner" actually meant "heavy appetizers, brought out on a tray that is unlikely to get far past the entrance to the patio." Which meant that people were crowding around the entrance and the door to the kitchen, and a feeding frenzy broke out every time a new tray showed up. In the end, I stood by the kitchen and grabbed food as it came out - it was very good (like all the food I had that week), especially the fish dishes, there just wasn't enough of it, apparently :) However, there was LOTS of wine. LOTS. Meaning people were tipsy within an hour and drunk within two hours. Quite entertaining for a little while, but I was glad the bus back to the hotels left an hour earlier than they said it would, because it got boring eventually. The bus ride ended up being about an hour-long city tour for me, as my hotel was one of the last ones on the route, but Lisbon at night is rather pretty (and really active), so I didn't have a big problem with that :)

The university itself pretty much looked like any other European university I've ever seen... why is it that even historic universities seem to be kind of ugly? Maybe I just never see the pretty buildings, but all I ever really remember is concrete and graffiti, of which this one had plenty.

I did find the science building, however - it happens every time I visit a university ever since I graduated from Witt :)



The last day turned out to be a bit more interesting than expected. The conference ended at noon, and I had to send some stuff back to the office from the hotel, but apparently in the 24 hours since I had asked them out shipping tape, the tape seemed to have mysteriously vanished. The alternative? Going to a store across the street, which happened to be located in a football/soccer stadium. Yeah... WTH? The grocery store turned out to be a Lidl, which is a German chain (I think). So I ended up buying packing tape and some German chocolate in a German store in Portugal, and then I took the chocolate back to my Portuguese hotel room to watch Sky News. I love Europe :)

... we have a Level 3 snow emergency today, which apparently means you can get arrested for driving on local roads. So I'm staying home with tea and my laptop, checking in on work emails (now that the server is back online), and mostly working on one project with people in Cleveland. I'm stalking the news sites to see if the Level 3 goes away, but it doesn't look like it will until around 2 at the earliest, and who knows how slippery the roads still are after that. Part of the issue also seems to be trees covered in ice falling onto the roads, and the sheriff doesn't want to deal with drivers, so I feel better staying out of it.

When I called work this morning, almost nobody was there, so most people must have caught the announcements about driving bans - or they just can't get out of the side streets because of the inch or so of frozen rain everywhere :) I kept waking up last night because icicles (or something) came falling down outside my window and smashed into the frozen snow and against the glass.

Power is out south of here and has started cutting out occasionally, and internet seems to be cutting in and out at the moment... bugger. Now it's snowing. Guess there's no going into the office today :)

In the past month, I've made it to Germany and back, gotten my visa, and done a whole lot of other stuff none of you probably care all that much about :)

Germany was great, it was good to see the family and animals again, even though they're all crazy - the animals, not the family. Murdoch has started to fall off the couch on a semi-regular basis (asleep, sliding, sliding, sliding, THUNK), Ming screams for treats when you come home like she's going to fall over from starvation any second, and when Malaki wasn't limping, he decided to cut his eye open... fun stuff as usual with the fuzzy ones. Christmas was fun, apparently getting smaller presents has made us all more creative, so we all get fun stuff :) Everyone pretended to love their knitted stuff, so I can be happy about the gifts I gave too.

The visa interview was a lot faster and easier than I expected... stand in line outside the embassy for half an hour (go in the summer, it's much more comfortable), go through extremely paranoid security, stand in line inside the embassy to have your paperwork checked, sit in the waiting area of the embassy until an interview person shows up, and then make sure to tell that person that you have lots of family in your home country and how terribly you miss them. Ten minutes later, walk out with a visa and figure out what else you can do with the rest of the day in Berlin. Fun stuff :)

I moved into my new office at work today, and whoever set up my laptop deleted my account profile... I lost every single email since December 2006. Let's just pray they can restore the darn data... otherwise it'll get pretty darn ugly. Poor IT guy feels really bad... can't really be pissed at him either, I think I was the only one with a profile that was set up weirdly in the whole company. At least the new building looks like it'll be nice, once they figure out how to set the heater to "not 80."

Sara and I are starting to plan a 2009 vacation in the UK... London, Cardiff, Blackpool, Glasgow, Edinborough... or as much as we can do of that in two weeks. I wish I could go see Hamlet this summer, but sadly, I have to save more before I can do that without killing my savings. Hopefully we'll be able to see something fun when we go next year, although I'm not sure there's much that can beat Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in Hamlet. But we'll have fun either way, and I can finally see Scotland... wanted to do that for years now, and I guess I'll just have to do it and not keep putting it off.

Vacation this year I think is going to be Boston with my mum and a friend of her's for a couple of days, and not much else so I can save for 2009. No yarn until I've worked through the stuff I have, promise! *mumble* England, keep thinking England *mumble*

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