Sunday, August 5, 2007

random bullets of catching up

* Always keep multiple copies of documents, especially documents in progress. I normally do, and by "normally" I mean I can't remember a time when I didn't do it. The last large document I worked on (my thesis) could be found in four or five different directories and backup drives. However, I've been working on an instructions document for the last few weeks, one related to my job (such that if an emergency issue came up and I wasn't around, since I'm technically a contractor and not an employee anymore, my boss or other boss could do it). It was very long, upwards of 100 pages and not quite finished. I woke up one morning, ready to finish it and hand it over, and *poof* ... corrupt echo of a file. Gone. I have to recreate it (and it will be shorter!) because I was a complete idiot and didn't have a backup...for once.

* I consider the above to be a smack upside the head from the universe, reminding me not to have too much of a blasé attitude about said job. Not that I would, really, although it's tempting...hence the smack upside the head from the universe, reminding me that those two people are dear friends and not to be a jackass. Duly noted.

* I finally went over to the English Dept. and met the grad director. I'd only ever spoken to him on the phone and in e-mail. What a lovely fellow (although I knew that from the phone and e-mail). We talked for an hour or so. Orientation is in ten days and I'll meet more people at that time.

* There are 17 new students this fall: 12 MA students and 5 PhD students. One of the other PhD students took the detour track like I did, only her career was in finance or something like that while mine was computer stuff. I think she's a year older than me, even (I'll be 34 in December, if anyone is keeping track). But I'll meet everyone at orientation.

* I registered for classes ages ago, and have all my books. I even started reading, like a dutiful student.

* Although I cleared my language requirement for my MA via exam (French), I'm taking a sort of easy way out with my language requirements here (with the blessing of the grad director, whose idea it was). I could have continued on in French and taken an advanced exam, or I could have picked up a second language via coursework up to the intermediate level, or I could take the only one-semester advanced reading course they have here, in a language unrelated to my sub-field, and just be done with the requirement now. I chose the latter. Unfortunately for me, there is no one-semester advanced reading course in German, which is the language I really wanted to pick up. So, this semester I'll clear my language Spanish. I lived in East San Jose for several years, so I actually know more vocabulary that I thought (I took a sort of pre-test) and my French background makes the syntax a breeze.

* I joined a gym and have gone regularly for the past two weeks. Although I am very fat and out-of-shape, I actually have a great deal of knowledge in things gym-related (long story, not necessarily a good one). So when one of the trainers was staring at me one day and I finally said "what?!?," he said (incredulously) that my form was really good. As if a fat and out-of-shape person couldn't have good form. I briefly mentioned I was taught technique by a really hardcore trainer who was a stickler for elbows at right angles and so on. The trainer wasn't a jerk or anything, but I guess he's used to seeing floppy-armed people or something.

* I like the gym. It's a brand new Snap Fitness, open 24x7, and is low-traffic. It's not a meat market or anything of that sort (those people go to the campus facilities!). A fair number of senior citizens are there in the mornings, the owners are nice, and the vending machine is only $1 even for Gatorade. Yay! No need to carry quarters!

* I do a treadmill workout (bleh cardio bleh bleh) and then the complete circuit of Cybex machines. I always do 3 sets of 12 on every machine, which is a typical circuit workout. I really don't understand the people who go to the machines and do 1 "set" of 5 or 6 and then move on to the next machine. Yes, I know the difference between sets for strength and sets for toning, but these people just sit down, push a few things around, and the move on. They'd get more of a workout with a stretching sequence than from what they're actually doing. I try to find rhyme or reason to it, but I can't. Then again, they probably think I'm a freak with my consistent 3 sets of 12, so it's a wash.

* My school chum Mary is coming up here from Tues til Fri and we're going to explore all sorts of nature things. She wants to see Palouse Falls, so be prepared for another rattlesnake story. Her loser husband (just kidding! he's great) didn't get vacation time off work so she's leaving him at home. I haven't broken the news to my skittish kitty that someone else will be in the house. It'll rock her world, but she'll get over it. Maybe the draw of the birdies and squirrels in the yard will outweigh her fear of people-who-aren't-me. We'll see.

* Condo has not sold yet. It's stressful. I know it will sell and for a decent price, but I'd prefer it do so now.