coffee beans

Let's see how long this lasts

About a month ago, I cancelled my cable TV service - I had only basic cable and I really don't watch that much TV (more and more I'm watching off the web). I was still getting a TV signal and I figured since I had high speed internet, the company couldn't separate the signal - until tonight. My TV is old, so I'd need a converter box to pick up over the air signals, but unfortunately I can't put the antennae I'd need out because of HOA restrictions. So right now I just get snow, although I get weak signals from the 'premium' stations. Go figure.

I'm saving $25 a month (hey, got to save money for VanCon) so we'll see how long this lasts. The last time I went without TV was years ago when I had first moved to California and was staying in my sister's apartment that she hadn't moved into yet, but needed to start leasing (ah, the joys of the dot-com era) and my place wasn't ready yet.


Snagged from kristen999 ...
Resistance is Futile...

• Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions

Kristen999's questions and my answers
1) Science or mystery, which is the reason you got into genetics?

  I think it was the science, initially, but it's the mystery that keeps me intrigued.  When I started college, they thought there were 100,000 genes in the human genome, now that number is between 25,000 and 28,000 (and some think it is closer to 20,000), yet we humans are incredibly complex.  Every time there's a major discovery in genetics we realize how little we still know.

2) Einstein or Aristotle? Who would you want to have dinner with?
Einstein - his thoughts on some matters are fascinating, plus he had a sense of humor.

3) Would you rather explore the ocean or space?
  The ocean - there's a lot we still don't know and haven't explored.  Some of the deepsea creatures that have been spotted are incredible.

4) Which fanfic by any author would you have liked to see turned into an episode of Stargate Atlantis?
  I have to pick one? 

5) If you ran into Joe at the con outside the autograph and photo op lines, what would you ask or say to him?
  I'd love to talk politics, books, coffee, or beer with him!  For a quick question, I'd ask how the day's surfing was!



  Well, I'm waiting around to see if any of my students show for office hours.  I handed back their lab reports last week and there was lots of grumbling, partly at the low grades (I actually was pretty generous) and the prof's announcement about their second test scores.  Some of them did horribly on the second exam - below 50%.  I have a couple that were struggling before and now failing.  I'm trying to counsel them that they should withdraw (you get a W on your transcript) and take the class again.  If you fail the class and take it again your grades get averaged.  The prof went even so far as to say if you are struggling, they should reconsider their major, which is a little harsh in my opinion.  Still I have two students who got zeroes on the lab report (20% of the lab grade) for plagiarizing and neither of them understands what they did wrong. 

  In happier news, my research is slowly moving along.  I have one more batch of primers to check before I can start on the important part of my experiment and hopefully generate some data quickly to present at the conference in Dec.  I also need to finish working on one other batch of data - but that's primarily a software issue.

  I'm looking forward to the LA con in a little less than two weeks.  Time to see some people again and I need a weekend away.  I'm starting to think about going to the Vancouver con - but it is a bit expensive and one of the bigger cons (I'm not sure about dealing with some of the crazy people).  Still, I'm excited about the guest list so far and it might be my last chance to see the Atlantis set.

Ugh, property taxes!

Just got my lovely property tax statement.  I thought taxes might actually go down this year since my assessment was so much lower.  Right.  That and the fact that our lovely governor vetoed repealing a property tax increase means I'm paying an extra $100 this year.  My only consolation is that I don't have my property taxes escrowed and I can deduct them on my income tax next spring.
coffee beans

Back in the swing of things

Well, the week's almost over and I've survived the first week of classes (not that it really matters as a grad student).  Time to really get to work on the research - my advisor is thinking it will take at least another year or two on top of what I've planned to finish.  Part of me is pissed (both at myself and at him because I hate being a broke grad student) and part of me is ok because the economy is so bad right now that research companies are generally not be hiring.  I also need to get some stuff done for a conference I really want to go to in December.

One that is is my old lab that laid me off about 18 months ago (I was only working a couple hours a week, but it meant I could afford good sushi regularly, cable, and helped with con funding).  Unfortunately the location that is hiring is way on the other side of town, unlike before, where I was 3 miles from school.  Still, I told them I'd be interested in the occasional weekend.  We'll see if they're interested.

I'm teaching two labs of Intro Bio back to back on Thursday and it looks like I have two good groups of students (of course this is only the first day).  I've had two students drop, but gained two more - there's apparently a wait list for this class.  It's a little depressing that of the 280 or so students, two-thirds of them are not bio majors - a big chunk of them are pre-med.  I've got a couple students who already think my own research is cool and another I have to keep an eye on - he's active military (an Army medic) and not sure if he'll be able to complete the semester.

I went to the grad dept happy hour tonight.  It's not my favorite bar (surly waitresses who do not you your change, overpriced beer, and I won't eat the food because chances are 50-50 I'll get food poisoining), but it's good for the meet and greet and they at least had the misters going because it's 112 again.

The re-fi was worth it...

Ok, so refinancing my townhouse took forever and I was not that thrilled with how my new lender handled a few things, but the news this week made me glad I had refinanced.  Apparently my old mortgage company is no longer in business - they got raided this week by the FBI and were suspended by FHA, which prety much meant the needed to shut their doors..  Knowing some the problems I had (they stayed just this side of legal), I'm not completely surprised.  Their loans will be taken over by someone else.

Stargate & SciFi mags for sale...

#7 Nov/Dec 2005 (AT)
#11 Jul/Aug 2006 (TH)
#13 Nov/Dec 2006 (DH and AT)
#14 Jan/Feb 2007 (RL)

Feb 2006
Aug 2006

I'm thinking $5 per issue for the Stargate mags, $3 for the scifi - neogtiable if you're interested in 2 or more.  All are in good condition - this is to fund my con habit!

Cleaning and organizing...

Maybe it's the open houses with the staged homes I've been through, maybe it's watching 'House Hunters' and shaking my head at the room people think they need, or maybe it's just procrastination and stress relief, but I'm spending the long weekend cleaning and organizing.   

It may have started when I grabbed a few things out of my closet to take to the thrift store to add to my con fund, but it's kind of snowballed.  I actually put the wooden hangers I got as birthday gift last fall to use and my closet looks a lot better.  I'm not quite back to the days where my hangers were color coded, but there are a few less items hanging up since I've lost some weight and a few skirts and such don't fit (and there are a few more that will get consigned/donated when I lose a few more pounds). 

I've been meaning to do this for awhile, there are packrat genes on both sides of my family - I found my airline ticket stub and hotel receipt from the Bedford con.  I found a box of my research and papers from my masters thesis that I should go through.  I'm tempted to hit IKEA and the Container Store for some organizers, although I have one of George Carlin's monologues about boxes for your boxes running through my head.  I also should probably go through my books and CDs/

I do have a few Stargate and Scifi magazines I need to sort through and may sell some, for anyone interested.