new seasons

So.  In the last 6 weeks, my workgroup went from 7 people, to 8 people, to 5 people.  So.  Yeah.

I’ve got a lot more going on now, and in the last 2 days, I’ve completely taken apart the inlet system of our GC trying to figure out why we’ve got a 4 minute later retention time shift on two different columns, using two different methods/samples…  But it’s most likely a pressure controller issue that has actually been causing problems for a while.  It’s just been misdiagnosed.  /techspeak

Actually, one guy who resigned from our group would like to come back.  And I really want him to.  But HR is making things difficult.  And he’s only been gone a week.  Stress is definitely present in my life – even though I don’t feel really stressed, I know that I am.   I’m figure I’ll just get more grey white (my hair doesn’t do grey – it goes straight to white) hair out of this.

But it’s fall here in South Kak, and things are starting to look up in other ways.  A friend of mine just emerged victorious from her doctoral defense, a god-daughter of mine will turn 2 this week, and next week I’ll use up my last 2 vaca days before I get 3wks.  Nice.  [I just hafta keep reminding myself not to think of those folks in our European sister company that start with 6 wks of vaca.]

Of course, fall also means new shows to be watching for.  Several have intrigued me enough to watch, with varying results.
Nikita ~ I watched the Peta Wilson show on USA, so the story has a soft-spot with me.  I like Maggie Q and am overall digging the show – although I’m not sure if it really shoulda been called “Nikita”.
Undercovers
~ Hello, Kodjoe.  And a lady lead with hair like mine?  So far, so good.  Or maybe so far, so super-sweet.  I like this show, but I’d like a little more from it.
No Ordinary Family
~ Live-action Incredibles.  Why didn’t Disney think of this sooner?  Heroes has been crappy for three seasons!  And where is the sequel to the first movie already???
The Event
~ Seriously.  Does everything Blair Underwood is in have to suck SO bad??  Maybe the Losties are filling their void with this, but I have to pass.  I don’t have the patience to wait for it to get good.  This is no MSCL.  Or even Firefly.  Or even Dollhouse.  (I might watch Mike and Molly now that I won’t be wasting my time on this…)
Running Wilde
~ I have waited this long to see Felicity again, and she’s a mom now?  With a daughter named Puddle??  Even though I have to suspend all disbelief to watch this show, I like it.  Or maybe I just liked Felicity.  But I’m still watching. 
Hawaii Five-0
~ I skipped this at first, just cuz I’m tired of sequels.  But when I saw Mick St. John (isn’t that the coolest name?  Moonlight was hotter than anyone gave them credit for – and ahead of its time) I had to go ahead and check it out.  Good action, nice Daniel Dae Kim.  Really bad choice on the Caan boy though, IMO.  He’s ugga-mugga in my book.  Gives me the skeevy heebie-jeebies.  And there’s not enough pidgin for me to wax nostalgic about the island.
Hellcats
~ Now.  I lurve cheer.  I can listen to cheerified words – a la cheer-tocracy, cheer-ific, cheer-tastic, etc.  I have seen (and most likely will see) every Bring It On movie ever made.  Some more than twice.  I even like Sharpay from HSM.  I’m a freaking fan of interracial relationships on TV!  And I can’t watch this show.  Sad.  Really.

You're slippin, NBC. ABC's all over ya.

So my newly acquired shows will join the standbys of Bones, Castle, and the Mentalist.  But mostly Bones.  Because I love the Deschanels.  And Angel.  In the next few weeks we’ll see if I stick with any of the newbies, or kick them all to the curb when i get tired of them.  Right now, I’m just tired.

the j.o.b.

Life without my work-spouse has had its ups and downs.  My bday was pretty awesome, but the rest of it all has been pretty much all downs.  I really miss having someone to talk to that at least partly gets me – and what I’m talking about.  There’s something to be said for not having to explain yourself all the time.

Since he’s no longer here, I’m getting a lot of his work.  Which can be seen positively, as it ensures that I have something to do.  Unfortunately, there was at least one thing he was doing that I really didn’t want to have a part of.  He worked with the most annoying guy in our group for a week a month, basically.  And now I get to do that.  Oh well – life happens.

Anyway, this morning I happened to overhear a conversation between two white dudes that I don’t really know, while waiting on the rest of my coworkers to come out for a break.  It was so startling to me, that I had to tell someone, but I knew I couldn’t really share it with other people at work, because they wouldn’t even get why I was taken aback by the comments in the first place.  I couldn’t update my facebook, because it was too long to text and I don’t have access at work.  I couldn’t update my blog at work.  I wasn’t going to call my sister in the middle of the day – although I may next time.  And it was bursting out of me – I had to tell someone.  So – I did something a tad bit out of character – I emailed the team @Racialicious cuz I was gonna POP!

the email (sans intro):

This morning in my work cafeteria I was sitting by myself, waiting for my coworkers to join me on break, when I overheard two white dudes talking about the tragedy of the shooting deaths that took place in Juarez this week.

white guy #1:  You know, if we had just invaded and taken over Mexico when we had the chance, we wouldn’t be having all these problems out of there right now.

white guy #2:  Yeah. –pause– But then our next president would probably be Mexican.

this movie is a trip.

white guy #1:  Haha.  Well – at least then he’d be American.

Yup – that’s what it’s like around here.  Apparently, there are still folks who don’t believe our president was actually born in Hawaii.  More scarily, some people think we should’ve expanded the imperialist vision of our country by conquering  Mexico.  Which could only remind me of this movie I watched on Netflix – CSA.  Apparently the Confederacy actually did plan on expanding toward the south – toward Mexico – and beyond.

Nice.

carnival of me

I’ve been woefully unmotivated to write, recently.  A host of reasons have contributed, not least of which the fact that I didn’t get to talk to my best friend for longer than I ever have since I was about 4 yrs old.  Never underestimate the meaning of friendship.

I’ve been following the various race@school debacles happening at UCSD and now Missouri and I don’t really have much left to say.  Other than the succint: “Post-racial, my eye!”

I actually wasn’t super-concerned about the thing at Missouri, even though they’re pursuing it as a hate crime.  But I realized that may have just been due to my own lack of context.  I spoke with a coworker about it and he was very upset.  He told me that he remembered his mother picking cotton – as her job – when he was a kid.  He also remembered her not being able to go to work one day because the Klan was burning the fields.

It’s kinda crazy to me that this stuff was happening in the last 50 yrs, but I suppose it should be, considering what’s happening today.  We haven’t come as far as we like to think we have.

My work-spouse has been gone for all of one week and I barely know what to do with myself at work.  Besides work.

Having a buddy sure makes a difference.

Speaking of buddies, I found out that a very old friend will be moving away.  Far enough that it’s likely I won’t see him…much, if at all.  We’ve been through all kinds of things together so even though we’re not as close now as we once were, it stings that he’s leaving.  Some more unenlightened acquaintances liked to imagine that we would marry.  This is highly unlikely, but I suppose I should never say never.  One of us could have a stroke and become a different person.  You never know.

Since the olympics have been on [and I’m not into the winter olympics], I’ve watched a bunch of movies.  My recommendations?

Amreeka: a great story about a Palestinian woman and her son who move to America right around the time “shock’n’awe” starts.  Realistic, but still fun, with a great heart.

Mame: Definitely read the book first [Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis], and then enjoy Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur, and Robert Preston in a musical that may have you singing along the first time you watch.  Lucille Ball *makes* this movie – and she’s at her most attractive here, I think.

Dakota Skye: indie rom-com ostensibly about a girl, but also a lot about the boys she likes.  Still, how cool would it be to actually be able to always tell when someone’s lying to you?  This one was right up my alley.

Phoebe in Wonderland: indie with some big names [Felicity Huffman, Bill Pullman, Elle Fanning (Dakota’s lil sis)] plots the story of a family with two precocious little girls.  Phoebe is enamoured with the story of Alice in Wonderland, and as the movie unfolds you begin to understand her.  Excellent!

I loved them all, and wouldn’t rank them…except for maybe Dakota Skye.  That was more of a guilty pleasure for me, but I still really liked it.  Everything else was fantastic!

I love how specific netflix is with me, now that they know me, my #1 recommended category is: Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead.  =)

losing my work spouse

Have I mentioned that I work for Darth Lady?  Once or twice, I suppose.  And in the last 2 1/2 yrs, whenever she’s been on my case, I’ve had someone to commiserate with.  Someone to vent with, laugh with, and generally get along with.  My work-spouse.  [I’d say work-husband, but apparently – due to overt sexism – that language implies actual attraction, whereas work-wife only implies the type of person I just described.  And I’d call him my work-wife, cuz I like the sound of that better, but I don’t want to imply anything gendered, so I’m sticking with work-spouse.]

We have similar senses of humor and similar political ideals, though he leans further right than I do.  He introduced me to Moxy Fruvous.  I introduced him to The Princess Bride.  (! – I know, right?)  He’s the only white non-black person that I can actually talk about any -ism with at work, racism, sexism, whatever.  He’s been looking for a new job for the past few months, and I was the only one he talked with about it at work, though others suspected (in the last couple weeks).

And now he’s leaving.

And my boss took it well.  Initially.

But the realization of what will happen when he leaves is setting in, and the harpy is coming back out.

So, I’m looking too.

sytycd: all tapped out

Like me.

Right now at work, I am pretty much drained, every day.

And the folks in the bottom 6 on the results show tonight seemed the same way.  Nobody had a good solo.  Nobody.

But I’m cool with who they kicked out.

***********************This Just In*************************

I know I broke up with Heroes.  But.  I didn’t delete it from my DVR yet.

So I skimmed through this week’s episode tonight and lo and behold!  The Haitian has a name!

René

Nonchalantly uttered by Claire, as though we all should’ve known his name.  Whatever, Heroes.

too little, too late.

professional adjustment

Yesterday at work wasn’t earth-shattering or anything, but we had a few good laughs about it…

ours is even newer than this

ours is even newer than this

We received our new GC/MS about a week ago, and the service engineer came yesterday to set it up for us – that’s usually how these things go.   He’d been corresponding with one of my coworkers, so he was aware of our schedule, and supposed to be meeting us at 8am to begin the installation.

Eight came and went.  At 8:30 my coworker called him and woke him up.  He assured her that he’d come soon.  So we unpacked the instrument, and moved our trade-in out of the way.  And went to break.  And came back.  I suggested that perhaps he had stopped at a breakfast buffet…  Finally he was escorted in around 10am.  He walked in wearing some ratty, yellowed jean shorts and a polo that has definitely seen better days.  I thought it odd, but brushed it off.   I’ve been conditioned since college about the proper attire for a lab.  Pants and closed-toed shoes are a given.  Since he had no idea where the instrument would be located in our lab, he actually took a chance coming in shorts.  Today, we thought about it and posited that maybe his luggage had been lost – although, since he came for just one night, we’d have expected him to just bring an overnight bag carryon.  But then, perhaps there was another reason for the shorts.

Apparently our friend has a set spiel that he gives to all customers when he sets up the instruments.  And it seems that he most often does installations for people who possibly have never seen such an instrument before, and have no clue what it does or how to use it.  I say this because he wasted a great deal of our time with

See, nitrogen and helium are gases at room temperature.  Water, on the other hand, is a liquid at room temp.  And it boils at 150 degrees. *pause*  Oh.  I mean 100 degrees.

and other lovely bons mots.  He later suggested to me that we didn’t have to use methanol as our solvent.  We could use acetone, or any other solvent that our samples would dissolve in.  This is when I started wondering if he could see the instrument we’d just placed on the cart to make room for the new one – or the other one sitting across the room.   I actually can’t imagine anyone who would order one of these instruments who would be unsure of the definition of a solvent.  And I know that I’ve known 3rd graders who know that water is a liquid at room temperature.

cool spectrum - not a solvent we'll use tho

cool spectrum - not a solvent we'll use tho

Before lunch, I’d been setting up our newly cleaned density meter while taking notes on the new GC/MS.  After lunch, I was fully focused on the training, and had the misfortune of sitting directly in front of him as he demonstrated how the software works.  This is when I had to start looking everywhere except directly in front of me.

Why, you ask?

Because, besides sitting across from me with his legs spread far and wide, this fellow was adjusting himself (yes – exactly what you’re thinking) every 5 minutes!  – not an exaggeration –  At least every five minutes, he had to fiddle with things in the frayed shorts.  While it was happening it felt like a visual assault, but once he had gone I began to wonder if he didn’t have some kind of medical condition.  I’m thinking that he needs to get seen – maybe get some kind of cream?  baby powder?  I don’t know.  What I know is that I ended up closing my eyes, staring at the monitor, or staring at the clock until he left.

What the crack?  Who wears frayed shorts to go see clients for their job in a *chemical laboratory*?  and then spends the day adjusting themselves forthefunofit?  Crazy.  Keep taking the meds til they run out, buddy.  Don’t skip a day.

running away with me

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been telling more children’s stories at church in the past few months, or what – but it seems like my imagination has been in overdrive the past couple weeks.  Maybe it just eeded some dusting off – I don’t know.  But my dreams have been all kinds of extra-vivid lately.  A couple nights ago I dreamt that a friend and I were fighting the Decepticons alongside the military.  And we won.  Sans Autobots.  Then we went back to our bunker and listened to the radio. (no, I haven’t seen the new Transformers movie yet.)

I’m not saying that my dreams are making *sense* – just that they seem more vivid.

And then – you know how sometimes you’ll be talking with a friend or coworker, and you’ll riff off of what each other says – taking a joke to the next level – until the end becomes an inside joke only you guys understand?  Sometimes those require the visualization of someone or something in a humorous light.  That’s happening a good bit, too.

I’m singing more often, as well – so all my creativity is flowing, I guess.

Now, as I think about things, it’s certainly likely that the project-from-hell was sucking the life out of me, and I could no longer use my creativity due to the death of part of my soul during that awful time.  Perhaps this is a rebirth of sorts.

I have no idea.  All I know is that I’m ready for another great dream.  They’re fun.

summer, so far

imagine the inside glowing orangey-red hot - kinda like the sun

imagine the inside glowing orangey-red hot - kinda like the sun

My life has been topsy turvy for quite a while, and I’m starting to feel like I’m on an even keel again now.  Or…getting there.  I think I briefly mentioned the project from hell that lasted close to 2 years and was almost responsible for me quitting/getting fired.  Thank God that’s complete.  It was a nightmare, mostly because of my boss and our really awful communication, but I think most of that is over – now that the method works and the results have been reported.

It seems that I’ve been living on the AA [atomic absorption spectrophotometer] at work for the last two years, and once I finished the project from hell, I started on a rush project with more method development work – some on the AA and some in a muffle furnace.  It turned out I’d need a high-temperature burner and nitrous oxide for the AA work [which translates into super heat and 2 foot(!) flames], and 1000°C in the furnace.  I did what I could, put in some long hours, and pretty much got it done.  We’re looking at some alternate methods for that furnace fiasco, though.

imagine the flame another foot and a half taller and a bit redder

imagine the flame another foot and a half taller and a bit redder

So craziness at work has been contributing to weirdness for a while.  Not to mention random schedule changes from 8 to 10 hour workdays and back again.

But then I’ve had some weirdness going on with some friends, too.  Folks that I’d gotten really close with and now seem like they’re avoiding those of us that had gotten close with them.  I figure it’s something personal that’s going on with them, but it can be frustrating too.

I bought the Mustang – which I love love love to drive.  But I put a little too much on the principal last month, and now I’m strapped til my next paycheck.  I definitely want to pay it off as soon as possible, but I’m not aure how soon that will actually be.  The actual payments aren’t bad at all, but I think I got a little too ambitious last week.  Now it stings, a little.

But I just want to go places in this car.  It’s freaking hot, and I just want to drive it.  I’d actually like to take it some place new, cuz the drive to ATL is kinda boring.

I’m supposed to be reading The Color of Wealth, but I’m being delinquent about it cuz it’s so heavy.  And since I’ve been getting home late a lot, I’ve been watching a lot of random tv.  I just watched “Millionaire Matchmaker” for goodness’ sake.

I did get some shoes that I wanted [Converse All-Stars and some white church shoes], along with a few clothes to make sure I’m ready for my Labor Day vaca.  I cannot wait for a whole. week. off.  At the beach, no less.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out if I want to plan anything else for my dad’s 65th bday next month, or if a BBQ is sufficient.

unraveledMy mind flits from one thing to the next [as does this post] cuz I’m a bit sleep-deprived and I’m getting used to 8-hr days again. But my Fourth was lovely!  I went to the itty-bitty town nearby to see fireworks [since my town couldn’t afford them this year] and had a good time doing that.  Then I stayed up talking with a friend until ~3:30am that night [Sunday morning].  So of course, that threw off my sleep pattern, and last night I stayed up til ~3 reading a book. [And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman, whom I really enjoy as a fun mystery writer.  It was good, but I suggest waiting until the sequel is published – it’s a quick read and when you get to the end, you just have to wait for the next book anyway…]

Oh and I’ve seen two(!) movies in theaters in the last couple months – Star Trek and Up.  And I’m seriously considering going to see The Proposal.  Just cuz it looks funny.  Betty White, Sandra Bullock, and Ryan Reynolds – sounds good to me.  Of course, I’ve been wanting to see the new Maya Rudolph movie Away We Go as soon as I heard about it.  I want to support her in everything, because I LOVE her.  I thought she didn’t get enough sketches to showcase her talent on SNL, but then there are a lot of misses on SNL.

And then of course, Michael died.  And some people don’t understand why it impacted so many of us.  Some folks at work were like – why are people crying?  They said they never had an emotional connection to him or his music.  And it never really occurred to me that that’s what it was for me.  But that’s exactly it.  So on the eve of his funeral, I’m sending encouraging thoughts out to his family and close friends.  Those of us who shared that emotional connection can dig out Dangerous and listen to “Gone Too Soon” one more time.  In the mean time, remember.

it’s only logical

I’ve been catching hell at work lately.  The last week and 1/2 have been SO way better.  But there’s no telling how my review is going to go next month.  Let me explain.

No, there is too much – let me sum up.

I’ve been working on a project for over a year.  One specific test [Fe content] will not work.  The method isn’t complicated, it just doesn’t work.  I’ve had other people try it, and they’ve gotten the same results that I got.  I’ve gotten pointers and suggestions – nothing helps.  My boss has been content to let me spin my wheels, until the end of last year.  There wasn’t much in the way of support from her.  She applied more pressure as time went by, coming up to most recently saying that I need to stop “messing around”.  [Like I enjoy working on something and failing every single day.  Oh and getting yelled at every day.  In front of my coworkers.]

I planned to visit NYC to see my sister, and got my vaca approved in Feb.  Later my boss said I wouldn’t be able to go unless the project was completed.  Finally, she took this test away and gave it to someone else – along with way more support than she’d ever given me.

I can go on my trip [I leave tomorrow after work], I’m getting way more done [I have 3 other projects at work, besides this], but because she took the project from me, my review will most likely be really crappy.  My only consolation is that the test isn’t working any better for my coworker than it was for me.

I haven’t needed a vaca this bad since last year when my boss was being awful.  But I am SO glad to be going.

in-the-heights1I’ll be seeing a few shows and eating phenomenal food and having a great time – cuz I need it.

One more day of work – and then I’m R-U-N-N-O-F-T.  For a few days, anyway.

Maybe sometime I’ll delve into the reasons that whenever I mention issues with my boss, people make comments about her being a woman, as though her erratic/mean behavior is connected to her two X chromosomes.  Or they posit that it’s a hormonal issue.  AAAAAAAAAAAACK!  Yes, she’s bizarre and randomly heinous, but I don’t think it’s linked to gender, people.

personal motivational speaker

That’s what I need for lots of stuff – a personal motivational speaker.  Because this would actually be super-expensive, I take every opportunity that I can get to tell/remind myself how awesome I am.  And yet, I constantly forget.

Crazy how that can happen.

I’m still fighting the same beast at work [a particularly gnarly sample will not run with good accuracy and precision on my AA], and unresolved problems such as these can really get me down.  I actually don’t even wanna talk about it.

But this lack of being able to make something ostensibly simple work is starting to affect me in other parts of my life and I think I’m getting mildly depressed about this crap.

So I need to be shouting my awesomeness from the mountaintops, right now, but I don’t really feel it.  Hence, not a lot of writing.

Oh, and I get to go to the dentist in the morning.  Whee!