phthalombrage: (bosscat)
but these baby Edmonton interns have actually driven in snow, and Martín reminds us that sometimes December is summer. He has memories of earthquakes. I just have hurricanes and floods.

I'll get a Katelyn to gamble for meat because in these 32 miles there are churches and thrift stores but not a single supermarket. The regular market has closed, and I remember being seven years old and wondering for the first time, via Spanish with Señora Robinson, why our Kash 'n' Karry was so damn super. Those are one of the Katelyns' initials, too, since her mother had the incredible foresight to ultimately reject the middle name Kory. The post office and gas station/Subway apparently make it a step up from my physical therapist's Alsatian village, but they ain't got bears or alligators to shoot at.
phthalombrage: (bosscat)
In the summer, it's hot everywhere.

Everyone wishes they were interesting to listen to and that their opinion were valid.

The soundtrack to emptiness is still just as satisfying.
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I am idle and waiting and starting to despair. I am living basically as a housewife at my boyfriend's place in Avignon. I no longer have income (since mid-September) or health insurance (since October 1).

I've been promised both since May in the form of a Ph.D., and I'm afraid it will somehow fall through. It's certainly been dragged out long enough. I feel like I'm being strung along. 8 months since my application, 6 months since my interview, 5 since I accepted, 3 since I learned there were issues with the corporate sponsor, and 1 since the corporate sponsor actually started the process of trying to hire me. Meanwhile my master had its own screwy timeline, wherein classes ended 7 months ago, those grades were released 4 months ago, and the final results for everything only came on October 2, the day after Ph.D.'s usually start!

I'll be fine, but it's ironic that these people got me to pick them over other topics because they claimed the funding was "certain". Meanwhile I still have very little information about the administrative details of the project...

I don't know if I should start looking for a backup plan. I hate mooching off of my boyfriend (it's illegal if I pay part of his rent, though I do perform housewife duties and buy part of the food) and not working (it's illegal for me here as a tourist), and I'll be even more unhappy if I have to stay at my parents' house for longer than a month. I guess that would mean I could take a temporary job in foodservice or holiday retail or something, but I haven't ever NEEDED to stay with my parents since high school. I can keep myself busy while I reapply for Ph.D. topics in France. It's just kind of shitty that I'd have to after rejecting five other topics in favor of this one.

timeline )

logistics to work out )
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Backing up a copy for future reference.

le recul )
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So I've been signed up for my Ph.D. since June (applied in February, interviewed in April) and I still don't have any idea of the timeline for what needs to happen before I'll know when I start.

(up) in the air )

When will I feel safe? When I finish this goddamn master? When I have my visa? When I have an apartment to call my own? When I have some money and a room of my own?
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My internship sucks, but at least I'm closer to my boyfriend for a while.

The topic isn't especially interesting, the professor gives me very little direction, there are no grad students in his group that do work like this, we're not going to be able to finish what the corporate sponsors want us to do, I make $575 a month and have to work 11- or 12-hour days at least once a week, in addition to the normal 8-10-hour days. But my boyfriend is nice.
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Why Kai is the worst roommate I have ever had:
1. Doesn’t clean the common area (it's only one room that combines kitchen/dining and laundry, and we only ask for once a month), yet cleans his own room regularly. The common room has a door to the outside and gets so dirty that it could actually use a cleaning more than once a week... but that's never going to happen.
2. Doesn’t clean the common area as thoroughly as others when he does clean; leaves the broom full of dust bunnies.
3. Wok sprays oil all over the other three burners, range, backsplash, range hood, and other people’s food: only wipes burner covered by wok. Romain doesn’t clean often, but he also doesn’t cook often.
4. Frequently spills sticky cooking liquid on the floor; leaves it to dry.
5. Leaves crumbs on the table every morning from his breakfast, wet ring on the counter from milk bowl.
6. Doesn’t clean the rice cooker corner, so I won’t either. It’s the only thing/area nobody else uses.
7. Doesn’t clean the calcium deposits in electric kettle.
8. Doesn’t clean the microwave, and he's the only one of us who doesn't use a cover/lid. Thinks the top of the microwave is his personal filing cabinet.
9. Doesn’t clean the trash can, even after spilling blood onto lid, drops food in gap between bag and can wall. Doesn’t understand we almost lost the privilege to use this trash can because it was dirty.
10. Doesn’t understand recycling, lets bottles and jars build up.
11. Left Fang’s wok/kitchen stuff under the hutch. Now we can't clean under it, and our super-controlling clean freak landlady sometimes enters to drop off our mail (shared mailbox).
12. Swapped out one of the kitchen chairs with the chair in his room???
13. Spills blood in the freezer.
14. Often leaves shrimp antennae and other food bits in the sink. I am allergic to shrimp.
15. Often leaves shrimp antennae, vegetable peels and other food bits on the floor. Once I found a huge chunk of cauliflower under the bike tire.
16. Fogs up the windows every time he cooks. The range hood is not enough, and he often does not turn it up to the maximum setting.
17. Stays in the kitchen for 2-3 hours per meal, sometimes longer on weekends. We don't have a living room, because you're supposed to live in your own room!
18. Sometimes waits until he hears me using the sink to do dishes.
19. Destroyed two of my sponges (cut up with knife, oily, black) before I started keeping mine separate.
20. I don’t understand how we go through dish soap so quickly.
21. Hasn’t bought his own sponges, dish soap, garbage bags, laundry detergent, or cleaning products.
22. Wipes dishes with sponge and sets on newspaper in drawers… possible grease damage to drawers.
23. Invites friends over without asking; they stay in the common area for hours, not his room. It can be just one friend, or six, or eight... around our kitchen table. For hours. Making noise.
24. Washes only 5-8 items, every week, runs washer for full cycle, blocks drying rack for days.
25. Doesn’t seem to understand other people use the same resources and that they aren’t always going to clean up after him.
26. Doesn’t understand me when I talk to him and repeats my questions after pretending to have understood. I can’t always understand him. It makes me never want to talk to him.
27. When I highlighted the fact that since New Year’s three weeks have gone by when nobody cleaned, he claimed “it was very clean.” Thérèse and I did not think this was true… You can’t take advantage of us!
28. Always home on weekends and holidays, so you never get a break! I don’t think Romain has ever cleaned the bathroom, but at least I don’t have to see him all the time.
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I was happiest freshman year and when I studied abroad, and it's hard to figure out why. I should know better after having studied failure analysis than to look for a "root cause", but I am trying really hard not leave hating everything. To be fair, I'm not a total failure, I just don't know where I'll be come September, and not because I haven't tried. I could have realized earlier that my advisors give the same advice to everyone and saved myself the trouble. Going with my original plans, I have to wait a little longer than everyone else to find out what comes next, but all the questions I keep getting kind of unnerve me. Here on the border of being a student and possibly being something else, I keep having to fill out surveys and answer questions about the recent past and the near future, and I don't want to let my non-standard responses to the questions about the latter to influence my thoughts about the former. I am not a typical MSE major, but nobody has time for details.

I need to become okay with the fact that I have a different time frame for knowing whether I will be a student or something else. This is hard because it feels like everyone assumes I am less good for not knowing this already... I just don't want what people usually want.
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When I smile it is as genuine as a porn star's tits, but I'm almost out.

Two exams, only one hellish, next Thursday, four days of intense studying (I hope), one homework due tomorrow, one dance show, one brief performance at the CIT banquet, one drug test, one invasive physical including urine test and chest x-ray, various other little meetings and obligations, one housing search, and I'm bound to pack it up for a rare "real vacation" of two weeks where I renew my driver's license and apply to grad schools a second time, followed by an internship at ArcelorMittal East Chicago!
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Rejection from interview of last week came this morning.

Then this afternoon I had 2 phone interviews that seemed promising.
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Had a phone interview with Arcelor East Chicago. They're the only ones to have gotten back to me so far, out of 6 specific intern positions applied for at 5 companies plus 2 general interest résumé dumps at 2 other companies. I would prefer to work for either them or Areva, but we'll see.
I feel like I have to take what I can get, since apparently having a 3.0 is a baseline for competence.

One of the Arcelor guys did his Ph.D. in the same group I worked with at CMU, I found out they're on a team with my boss from last summer's best friend (an Arcelor guy in Metz), and they said "good answer" after I described my internship from last summer (even though I forgot to mention MnS precipitation), so I am really crossing my fingers that it will work out.

Alternatively, I keep checking the Areva site a few times a week and have so far applied for two internships, one of which appeared today, the other of which disappeared last Friday. A guy who works for them is the president of Pittsburgh's ASM and is giving his second guest lecture in my Materials for Nuclear Energy Systems class today. I'm going to ask today about a general-interest résumé dump through him, since that's what got me the response from Arcelor.

Then I just have to figure out where I'm going next year. I have five good French schools to apply to, and actually a couple months to do it.
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Tetanus shot! Did not freak out.

Next medical épreuve on April 1.
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Doom is taking pictures together.
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At one point I was an interesting person. I guess that is reassuring.
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I can't even talk to you anymore.
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Capstone is still shitty. I just want it to be over, and my partners are pretending to be sick again like they did when the last report was due. I should probably check with the professor tomorrow because I really don't think he gave us another extension.
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My Eeepc 901 died today; I guess. I bought it September 29, 2008 and already had to send it in for repairs once, within the first 5 months of purchase. Defective keyboard.

I can still get an image on an external monitor, but otherwise the screen is white. I have to plug it in to get it to boot properly, and it smells like burning. Possibly like solder, according to Rigel.

I JUST updated to a newer version of Ubuntu on Monday morning to try to fix a few minor problems. The hinges have been iffy for a while (one might argue they were always a little defective), and I think they finally snapped on the inside.

The 901 is no longer sold where I bought it (Newegg), my warranty has expired, and because of the burning smell I don't think just replacing the screen would suffice. I have no idea how much Asus would charge to repair it. I called them and got an RMA number... we will see how much they want to charge.

This upsets me because it was a convenient little computer to bring to class with me. My big laptop has a pathetic battery life and is heavy, and I only very recently saved it from several months of failure. I am hesitant to buy a replacement netbook because I may get a new computer next year if I get into a Ph.D. program and only just found a research job to bring in a little income this semester.

BAWW. Any thoughts on netbooks?
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About downtown...

There is construction EVERYWHERE!

Holes, rubble, dust, little dirt paths, scaffoldings blocking sidewalks, rerouted buses, semis parked up on the sidewalk. I saw one of the buses run over a bird carcass. Someone had kicked another dead bird behind a trash can. Behind, not in. The buildings seem older and more ornate than the ones in Nantes, but even looking for a decent-looking cafe to do lunch in, I saw, kebab (gyros), kebab, pastries, McDonalds, another McDonalds, something called "La Boucherie"... no. I got a pizza closer to home and kind of regret eating so much. I don't feel like dinner yet and doubt I will before bedtime. There also didn't seem to be as many bars, not that I have friends to go with.

Some old guy was smoking a pipe that made a smell sort of like cotton candy, which was sort of nice, but EVERYONE EVERYONE seemed to be smoking normal cigarettes, which made my lungs sad. My ear was already blocked up, too... Nobody cares if they are blowing smoke into a pregnant woman or a baby's face, they just whip out a cigarette as soon as they hit the threshold of a door to the outside and light up another a few minutes after they drop the smoldering butt they may or may not stamp out. This happens many places in France.

I missed the bus in because an ambulance came when I was trying to cross the street, just as the light changed to "go pedestrians" and I had to wait through two full light cycles. It turns out it's not all that far to walk, and downtown itself is pretty small, but I got there early enough that my legs hurt by the time I decided to go home. I practiced my walk between the radiology clinic and the immigration office (appointments starting 30 minutes apart, 15-minute walk with lots of traffic lights to wait for) several times, but apparently a chest x-ray takes like 7 minutes in total, so I was definitely there on time. After I presented my passport at immigration, they weighed and measured me, had me read letters on a vision chart, asked if I smoke, asked if I exercise, took my blood pressure, stethoscoped me, and I was back in the waiting room. I now have a residency permit, so my last two months here will be legit :P. I didn't bother telling them about the insufficient postage problem with their convocation letter; they were already aware of at least two other problems with it from when I called.

I realized I never heard back from the health insurance people here; supposedly I am covered, but I never got confirmation. The nurse seemed to think I should have.

The vast majority of women wore skirts and shorts, and I barely own those. Many wore heels, or wedges, or sandals with heels. I felt pretty American in plain jeans and a plain, solid-color, high-collar t-shirt, hair in a plain ponytail, no jewelry except a couple rings I even sleep and shower in, nothing-special flats I bought at a street fair. And there are sales going on right now, but I don't know what I want, don't want to deal with trying on things that don't fit and look bad, don't want to spend money, don't want to get rid of existing clothes to have room in my suitcases. I am used to Target, and these are like little boutiques with annoying salesladies and higher prices for better-quality, more fashion-conscious, more feminine clothing. I don't even know if they have H&M here, they are close enough to Target...

I don't know what it is about old ladies with leg problems, though, they're everywhere. Sometimes they still try to wear heels. French crutches have the things you rest your forearms in. The people, the sidewalks, they're broken, broken here.

Still no alternatives to freezing cold water. I did laundry anyway, learned it costs almost 5 euros per load, and I still have to hang up my jeans, towels and a few other things that didn't get entirely dry after 2 dryer cycles. The last time I hung up my clothes after one dryer cycle, I couldn't wear one of my pairs of jeans because it smelled bad, since the hanging apparatus has close-packed bars and is in the bathroom where there is little air flow. I can afford it, but it is sort of a pain in the ass.

Maybe this place doesn't always suck, but I seem to have hit it at a peak time for being boring and kinda crappy.

It's none of the obvious things, nobody mugged me when I was carrying the cash for my "fiscal stamp" to pay for my permit, nobody attacked me when I was reading along in the train station, enjoying the breeze, nothing dramatic or shocking, none of the things my mother worries about. It just sort of banally sucks.
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