Dream of the Dolphin
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore
Thud!That would be the sound of me crashing.
Where do I begin on this humdinger of a week?
Okay, first the lab stuff. I've been getting into a bit of a tiff over the treatment of the tanks. See, I just razored the hard water scale off a couple hundred tanks so we could set up the experiment. We set it up, and Dr. Gross decided that the scale that's still on the plastic edges (you can't razor plastic) looks messy, and wants an extremely basic (requiring full protective gear) chemical used to get the tanks sparkly clean. Now, the chalk still on the glass disappears when the tanks are filled and the chemical doesn't actually work on the plastic parts.
I pointed this out, but Gross insisted, so the grad student supervising said we have to go ahead with it.
My problem? I agreed to cover two weekends. I was happy to come in and help set up the experiment because it needed to be done, I've put a lot of work into these fish, and I could use the money. But when I'm working at the lab, I'm not writing. WorldCon is coming up and the revisions to Elysium: OUAT aren't done yet. So I had to draw a line. I said I could make time for the necessary setup, but not the chemical stuff.
I was told that the chemical stuff had to be done anyway, and some confusion was expressed as to why I could make time for more setup but not re-cleaning the hundreds of tanks I've already cleaned.
It's like helping people move. I'll take time off work to help clean out the apartment, move stuff in, and hook up the computer, but I won't take time off work to hang curtains or polish the silverware. And that's essentially what the chemical cleaning is -- polishing the silverware. So I had to say no. Again. I kept getting challenging e-mails over my reluctance to re-do all the tanks. And the stress over it is doing awful things to my stomach.
So that brings me to my second, worse outrage. Most of you know that Jen has been waiting for months for Ontario Disability to give her an answer as to whether or not they'll cover the meds she needs to get better. They just turned her down. I can't even talk about this, I'm so incoherently furious at the fuckwits in the government who let Jen get this sick and then consistently block every chance she has at recovery. I have never wished Variel was corporeal more than I do now. Griffin have lovely sharp talons for destroying any red tape that stands in their way.
And then there's the cool things that help soothe the ulcers I've been getting. Foremost of which is my roommate, Megan. She's flying out to South Africa on Sunday to be initiated as a Zulu healer. That's cool enough in and of itself, but the CBC is now doing a documentary on her. The camera crews will be at our house this afternoon, and she's taking a camera with her to document her three weeks in Africa.
She's running at 150% to pull everything together in time, but hey, at least someone's life is incredibly cool.
( 10:33 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Full CircleIn 1997, I moved out of my parents house to the big city for school. I was on my own for the first time. Well, not quite on my own. Like almost all first year students in residence, I had a roommate. Her name was Erin. She was nice, fun, kind of kooky (in the best way), and even though we weren't best friends or anything, we were somehow more. Living with someone is hard. Sharing a bedroom with someone is harder. Not everybody can pull it off. Though we ran in different social circles and didn't spend a lot of time together, we were still friends at the end of the year.
There was only one other pair of roommates on our floor who could boast the same.
Over the years, we didn't really stay in contact, except for some fleeting encounters in the ether. But now, six years later, things have come full circle. Tonight we interviewed and pretty much locked in a new tenant for the empty bedroom in September.
Yup. My old roommate, Erin. Who is still as nice, fun, and kooky as she ever was.
It was kind of a strange evening. Nathaniel was just down the street, and came over. Megan, who was due to meet with Erin at 8, showed up an hour late (due to strange events of her own). But everyone seemed to get along quite well.
After everyone went home, I ended up writing 1,000 words on Elysium 2, and then watching a DVD -- L'Odyssee d'Alice Tremblay. Which was surreal. It's kind of like a low-budget, Telefilm Canada, Quebequois version of The 10th Kingdom. With kink. And really cute bunny slippers. Not great -- I'm not aching to buy the DVD and add it to my shelf next to T10K -- but for Canadian cinema, it wasn't half bad. I called the ending about 20 minutes into the movie, and some of the humour was just BAD, but the movie did have certain charms.
And now I'm off to bed.
( 2:00 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Dammit!My dream job is in the States. And you have to be getting credit for it. And it's unpaid. But DAMMIT!
Jim Henson Company Internships
Film/TV Development Intern Positions Available
Accepting resumes for Fall, Spring and Summer Interns
in our Los Angeles office
Supporting the Jim Henson Company creative team in the development of fantasy genre films and television.
Duties include; reading lots of scripts & books, writing coverage, creative research, writer/director/design research, compiling artwork and pitch materials, general office support, assisting executives, coordinating materials with the Archive department, running occasional errands, etc.
We are looking for students with a great positive attitude, desire to learn, and willingness to be flexible. This is a fun, relaxed place to work with a lot of creative energy and a good mix of hard work.
( 1:42 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Friday, July 25, 2003
On WritingSomething I talked about with Dan the other day brought up my views on this big nebulous thing called "writing".
To me, writing (and publishing) is a huge mountain, full of sheer drops, peaks, pitfalls, plateaus, and dead ends. You can fall into these if you're not careful. Sometimes there's no way to see them coming. Climbing the mountain is extremely difficult, and it takes a long time, but the view from the top is pretty spectacular.
There are people on all levels of this mountain. Sometimes people on a smaller peak like to delude themselves into thinking theirs is better than anyone else's. Sometimes the people who've reached the top like to lord over the people below them, and fight like hell to keep their spots at the top to themselves. And sometimes the people who've reached it like to reach out and give a hand up to the people who are still climbing.
I'm not very far up this mountain yet. I'm fortunate enough to have a few people who reach back to help me up every so often. But I sometimes forget how far up I've come until I get a call from someone who's still just starting up the mountain. And then, even though I'm not far up, even though I'm still climbing, even though I still get help from the people farther up than me, I reach down to give a hand to the people coming after me. Because I may not have gotten very far, but I can still show them the path I've taken to get as far as I have.
And climbing the mountain is a lot more fun when you've got company.
( 9:58 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
FARSCAPE ALERT!!!Breaking news from Julie's Newsgroup:
Please watch Hypaspace, on SPACE THE IMAGINATION STATION today.
It's a media news feature that runs just before the hour. I believe it will be on at 5:57 pm, but will likely run several times over during the day. This particular one features interviews with 5 Farscape cast members.
I would appreciate this announcement being shared with those on Save Farscape boards and related sites. While I'm not personally advocating the recording and posting of television broadcasts, I do feel they'll want to know about this.
Julie is IN with the guys at Space... this sounds like it has the potential to be big.
( 10:46 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
It's A Head-Smacking Kind of Day
For those of you who haven't been following the dramas in our house, we're down to the wire in trying to figure out whether or not Emily wants to stay on for another year. We'd thought we could forego the legal 60-days-notice and give her 30, but Megan's leaving for Africa on August 3, so we need to know now.
There have been tensions over the year. Don't get me wrong, Emily's a lovely person, but when it comes to the house, the littlest things turn into these huge fiascos that have nearly cost us our relationship with our landlord, who is giving us a $700 rent break -- we get 2 floors of an 1860's Victorian house with hardwood floors, original moulding and carpentry, living room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms, huge deck, utilities inclusive, free laundry, etc. for $1500/month (Canadian -- going up to $1650 in September, but still very good). But in exchange for that, we have to clean the common areas of the rest of the house, do maintenance stuff (like installing smoke detectors and painting) ourselves, and keep the place very, very clean. Including the bedrooms. Emily has had some problems with this.
Because of it, Mark is putting the lease back in Megan's name in September (she's the reason we get the rent break) and Megan is subletting the other two bedrooms. She offered the empty upstairs bedroom to Emily.
Today Emily delivered a list of ultimatums for us to meet if she is to do us the favour of staying on for another year. Including us cleaning and painting that bedroom (which has already been done, because Megan and I went nuts on Sunday, but that's beside the point), installing locks on her bedroom door, and moving MY air conditioner either into that bedroom or into a common area.
I thought today's Head-Up-The-Ass Award would go to A.S. Byatt for her "Harry Potter and the Childish Adult" article -- don't bother paying for it, it's not worth it, but she basically says it's the refuge of people who watch reality TV. But instead, the award goes to Caleb Carr for his response to it:
Let children who love Harry read on. But let adults know that their obsessive devotion is feeding something far more frightening than the dark arts: a retreat from the complexities of adulthood in a dangerous world.
My God. His head's so far up, I'm amazed he hasn't turned himself inside out yet.
On the up side, my shift at the museum yesterday was a blast. We had Bob visiting yesterday, the other guy in my life. He's squishy. He's cuddly. He's a ball python, but he's absolutely adorable. And when Bob left, we discovered that the male hornyhead chub in our freshwater aquarium had built himself a nest out of pebbles by moving them, one at a time, with his mouth (we're talking hundreds of pebbles here) and watched as he courted the female, fertilized the eggs, and proceeded to care for and defend them.
Nature is extremely cool. And at least the cool natural phenomena doesn't get all arrogant and full of itself.
( 10:44 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, July 21, 2003
More Save Farscape StuffOkay, this project is just cool. The wonderful people at Save Farscape are organizing a big photomosaic picture composed of individual pictures of the Scapers. "I am Farscape... And I'm Still Here".
You can email this guy, or mail your photos to:
PO Box 1506
Allen, TX 75013
So frelling cool!
( 7:34 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
I Think I Need Longer Hair...I just opened my office door to go to the bathroom and found it blocked by three very heavy, shoulder-high panels of drywall, stacked in such a way that I couldn't budge them. I had to call two of the A/C installation guys over to let me out. First I'm under siege, and now they're sealing me in. I feel like Rapunzel. :oP
I finally managed to make the TorCon panel selection thingamajig work today, and got all my panel selections in, squeaking in just under the wire. There was one though that made me laugh:
857 Labcoats vs Shirts - Scientists vs Writers
The audience comes up with a doomsday scenerio which the panellists must find a solution to. Can the scientists best the writers with a creative solution to the doomsday scenerio?
Panelist Qualifications: scientists and writers Scientists: Jean-Louis Trudel, David De Graff, Dr. Isaac Szpindel, Peter Watts, Writers: Julie Czerneda, Sarah Jane Elliott, David Shtogryn, Michael Lennick, Robert Sawyer
Major double-take time. "Huh," thought I, "I think I'm pretty qualified to be me. Check!"
I have no idea how my name made it on that list, and I feel WAY out of my league, but look at that list! It's going to be so much fun!
Pyewacket remains well, and enjoys helping me work on the computer. Thanks to the high back of my desk chair, his favourite perch now involves resting his hindquarters on the back of the chair and his paws on my shoulders. My sibling thinks the kitten-on-the-shoulder thing makes me look like a really wimpy pirate.
Life has been crazy-go-nuts lately. Nathaniel, Amanda, Peter, Nancy, the sib and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean, which was so much fun. Johnny Depp has the BEST ENTRANCE EVER. I really loved that movie. Karina and I went to X2 last night, too, which was just as good the second time around.
Megan and I attacked the hideous orange bedroom yesterday, and it is now the bedroom-formerly-known-as-orange. It's a lovely pale greyish-blue, and the hideous lime-green ceiling is now cream (we couldn't find any cans of white in the basement). Yes, the former tenants were most likely on acid. But it's absolutely gorgeous now, and well worth the pain of my back and shoulders.
And I continue to dash hither and yon. One day, I'll get my life back. Someday.
( 12:56 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
ChoicesSaw the doctor today about sinus surgery, and he had some interesting things to say.
I've been sick more over the past two years than I have over the course of the rest of my life altogether. Even now, when I'm "well", I've got so much gunk in my head that the pressure changes caused by the weather are excruciating, and I'm constantly blowing crud out of my nose. The last sinus infection I got (last month) was treated with the normal round of antibiotics, but I've been on them so much that not only did I get a fungal outbreak, they also caused nerve damage, resulting in excruciating pain in my ear and jaw, and deafness for a day.
So there's surgery.
He said that there's no guarantee that it'll be perfect. He said he'd have to cut through my septum (cartilage and bone). He said there are the usual surgical complications. And he said that the complications specific to the surgery, while admittedly rare (though he has to tell me about them) are:
I have a lot to think about now. I'm scared as hell. I can't not have this surgery, because if I had any other job, I'd have been fired by now for being sick so much. But now I'm afraid to get this surgery. Nnnnng.
Nico, you said you've had it, right? Anyone else who's had this surgery care to throw their two cents in?
Add to that, my sibling doesn't want to come up today and I'm working the rest of the week, meaning he can't get down to attempt salvage until at least next week. Put it all together and I've had a very bad day. I hear the triple brownie Haagen Daaz in the freezer calling my name...
( 5:39 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!Spoke too soon. When am I going to learn to keep my big mouth shut?
Long and short of it is, it looks like the archive the backup was stored in is corrupt. Sib is pretty sure I've lost everything.
I do have a backup from January of My Documents, so a lot of the writing is safe, but everything I've written in the last seven months is not.
Excuse me while I go hang out in this corner and make small, whimpering noises.
( 8:06 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, July 14, 2003
Whoa, weird funky stuff going on with the blogger post window. Crap. I don't like this one bit. Gimme my "manage posts" in the same window as my "create a post". Sigh. Your computer goes down for two weeks and blogger goes to hell in a handbasket.
Anywho, the wonderful, amazing sibling has fixed my computer, and I'm in the process of restoring the backups, so I should be back online very very shortly. I just wanted to stop by to say
Happy Birthday Sheila!
( 4:46 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Crikey!We have mossy frogs!
The Vietnamese mossy frogs are a relatively new species discovered by one of the ROM researchers, and they resided in the Discovery Gallery until its closure. We'd been promised and promised a tank of the frogs, and finally, yesterday, we got them.
They're really neat -- they look just like little blobs of moss, so it's pretty tricky to spot them in their rainforest terrarium. There are 14 frogs in the tank, and it took us all 4 hours of our shift to locate all of them. With no natural predators they're getting a little busy... ahem... amplexusing. We tell the kids they're playing leapfrog. Or hugging.
I really miss my computer (and it's easy internet access), but I did manage to get Megan's old one up and running, so I can write again! Hurray! The sib is in the process of formatting my hard drive. We'll see what happens when he does. Oh lord, I really want my computer back. Not being able to write was like losing a limb. Getting Megan's computer online is like a prosthetic -- it does the job, but it's just not the same as the real thing.
( 11:06 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
PyewacketA couple of you have inquired, so yes, Pyewacket is doing just fine. He went in for surgery on Monday. When we found him, something had grabbed his tail and the bone was sticking out. So we took him to the vet, and they lopped off the tip.
He was out the same day. No complications, and he bounced back from the anesthesia to become the cat-on-speed. His tail is completely encased in a bright blue bandage (for the Scapers, it looks like a colourful version of the Peacekeeper ponytail), which is supposed to come off tomorrow or so.
I'm trying to get a picture. As soon as I do, I'll post it for you.
( 2:34 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Oh CanadaNathaniel and I went to the festivities at Mel Lastman square yesterday. I have to say, Enter the Haggis was the highlight of the musical lineup. They were amazing, the Irish Descendants went on way too long, and Ashley MacIssac now sounds like a bizarre hybrid of Red Green, my uncle Steven, and Ed the Sock. And the fireworks, which took three tries to actually get launched, were singularly uninspiring (we did better in Granny's backyard one year).
And yet, it was a wonderful night. The crowd was hilarious (the guy behind us was... enthusiastic, to say the least. He sang "Barret's Privateers" along with the Irish Descendants, even though he didn't quite know the words, and kept singing it when he didn't like what the bands were playing. He was actually quite entertaining).
And the company made it all worthwhile. :o)
I am basking in happy contentment this morning. It's been a good week. I'm sitting in my office watching a family of raccoons parade across the roof of the neighbours' house, and thinking about how sometimes, life surprises you. Just when you start to think that your life is destined to play out a certain way, fate throws you an unexpected curve.
Okay, enough introspection. Caro needs me. Oh, and that pesky work thing.
( 10:40 AM ) Sarah Jane ~