Saturday, February 7, 2009

The calm before the storm...

... hasn't actually been so calm.

Thursday afternoon I helped a grad student with some outdoor winter sampling, involving skis, snow, cold wind, many layers, and significant adventure.  I felt like a hard core ecologist.  Took a couple of pictures, so maybe I'll take them with me on interviews, in case anyone doubts my abilities as a theorist to understand or perform fieldwork... That evening we had an indoor soccer game; tough game, but we managed to scrape out a tie when one of my team makes scored a brilliant goal off of a free kick in the closing minute of the game.  

That was pretty much the high point of the evening, after which a lot of stuff went downhill.  We stopped at a grocery store on the way back home, and I discovered when I went to pay for my groceries, with my debit card as per usual, that my bank had recalled my debit card.  In other words, the cashier was instructed to take my card and not return it (as usually when a bank recalls a card it's because the card is suspected to be stolen).  Talk about confusing/disturbing/embarrassing, I didn't know quite how to deal with it, even though I knew it was my card.  I must have looked like a pretty suspicious character, since I had just played soccer and my hair was going in all directions, i was wearing sweats, and looked pretty grungy.  Aaaand, since I usually pay for everything with my debit card, don't carry much cash, and have been unable to get approved for a credit card despite numerous attempts, I had no other way to pay for my things.  Ucky ucky ucky.  One of my friends/teammates was kind enough to help me out, but I haaaate asking for favors like that, and it was just all around an unpleasant deal.

Finally made it back home, flipped on my computer to check my account, and found out that all of my banks' debit cards had been recalled, because hackers had cracked in to some big company's database and stolen names and numbers.  So I guess it's good because my account and savings were all just fine.  But it also is really bad timing, since interviews start next week, and I have to get gas in my car, and traveling without access to some sort of resources is a bad idea.  I think a friend is going to help me cash a check, but this is all more than I wanted to put up with.

All of that is nothing, however, to what one of my friends is dealing with right now.  I got some very very sad news from her in a brief email that same night, and by comparison, this financial hullabaloo is trivial at best.  I'm hoping and praying for her and her family, so suddenly faced with something very hard to come to terms with.  Remember always to love life people, and share love with the people in your life.  

Friday was nuts too.  Started off sleep deprived and tired from the game the night before, plus staying up late helping edit a letter, and getting up early to finish reading a journal article for our lab meeting.  Our lab was hosting this week's seminar speaker, so he was at our lab meeting as we discussed a recent paper of his.  Interesting to have such discussions with the author present - quite enlightening.  Nice guy, although very confident that what he has found is the answer.  Seminar follows meeting, lunch follows seminar, and then I was meeting on and off with my advisor for most of the rest of the afternoon, trying to catch him up on the things I've discovered during the last two weeks that he was away.  I also spent half an hour talking one on one with the seminar speaker, which was fun.  I'm getting better at it - fewer nerves getting in the way i think, maybe because they've all become desensitized to repeated stress shock.

We had a second soccer game Friday night, the last of this session.  I was really tired before the game, and pretty fed up with being around people (I can really only handle so much social interaction in one day before I get overwhelmed and stressed/cranky, especially in the presence of group indecision/inefficiency; when I get tired, this effect intensifies.  Eugenie is realllly good at buffering for me when I get like this.)  Once we got playing though, I perked up quite a bit.  It was a really good game.  I had two good goals, no lucky/cheap shots this time.  The whole team played really well, and we carried the game, finishing the session with the best record in our league.  Yay!

Fortunately, today I've been able to slow down a bit and recuperate.  The weather has been stunningly spring-like, which I have very mixed feelings about.  But I guess it's nice to be walking around in sweats as supposed to experiencing negative temperatures!  I've installed my new RAM, quadrupling my former capacity on my laptop, and I'm backing my files up to my new shiny external hard-drive.  When that's done, the project for the rest of the weekend is to reformat my laptop hard drive and try to see if I can get everything running smoothly again.  Also laundry, and trying to organize my thoughts in preparation for 4 interviews in as many weeks.  I'll be sure to try to keep you all up to date on how things go!

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