Friday, August 20, 2004
And now for something completely different
In the past week, I've become a) unemployed (by choice, so technically not unemployed but rather "not in the labor force"), b) a full-time graduate student, and c) confirmed as one of the planet's worst bowlers. I have also been plunged into a constant state of panic because I don't know what my research will be about. Most of my incoming class also does not know, but it turns out that the Ecology & Evolution folks *do* know, and then there's me, trying to meet other grad students and bumble through the inevitable "So what will you be studying?" question. I spent yesterday on-line, following a stream of consciousness of potential topics from one dead-end to another, and by dead-end I mean someone's already done it. Sometimes something I read triggers a visceral response, a hint of a thought that there's something cool there if I can just zero in on it, but then it doesn't pan out. I desperately need some guidance here. But really, this is a topic for the WILIST blog, not here.
Last days of work were very very busy. I took my crap home slowly over the course of a couple of weeks, so near the end all that was left was some pens that I had brought (I'm picky about my colored pens). I ended up forfeiting a day of vacation to finish up my work, but the good part of that was that the ending was less abrupt and more of a trickling off. A couple of hours after leaving my job, it was like I'd never been there at all, just a strange memory of falling into a job unintentionally along my path towards science-dom. It's clear already that coming from this different background sets me apart from my new classmates, although whether it's in a good way or a bad way has yet to be determined.
Jazzy and Libby found a big ugly possum in the garden last night. It's interesting watching Libby's struggle between wanting to catch the possum and not wanting to cross that fence into Mommy's garden. I had to drag her back to the house and carry her up the stairs, with her quivering and struggling all the while. I tried to flush the possum out but I think it was lying low somewhere behind the spireas and at 11:00 at night, I'm not all that motivated to get the hose. It is interesting, though, that possums don't behave the way we've been taught to think they do. Every child knows one factoid about possums: they play dead when threatened. This factoid, unless tested by actual first-hand knowledge, stays with us our whole lives. I've had the factoid challenged several times here in our backyard, and from what I've seen, the main possum defense is running and hiding, and they only play dead *after a predator catches them*. Maybe not all possums do this, but the Irving Park ones do, and there's nothing more startling to a greyhound than having a mouthful of limp fur. Feh!! Ptui! And off the possum waddles into the underbrush to live another day and hopefully find some tasty triggered mousetraps for dinner.
I'm freezing. It's been so chilly lately, with temps in the 60s. In August!! I'm not actually complaining; I'd much rather have upper 60s than upper 80s. But it does make clothing decisions more difficult.