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So since everyone else seems to be hopping on the Dreamwidth bandwagon, I figured I'd go along for the ride.

Here I am. New journal, new name, same me.
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Wow- I really haven't made a public post in two years? Not that I've had much to say in the interim- looking back, it's two years of character development work for an Exalted game with a splash of melodrama for flavor.

And now I still have so little to say, despite everything going on- wedding, residency, house-hunting. Check back in mid-June, when I can finally breathe. But really, it's all so close I can taste it...
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April is National Poetry Month, so when you see this, post a poem you like on your LJ.

"Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
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Ridiculously long meme thingy...

(Click here to post your own answers for this meme.)

I miss somebody right now.  (I'm at work. :() × I don't watch much TV these days. I own lots of books.
I wear glasses or contact lenses. I love to play video games. × I've tried marijuana.
I've watched porn movies.  (I did live in Jones for two years.) × I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship. I believe honesty is usually the best policy.
I curse sometimes. I have changed a lot mentally over the last year. × I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.
More, you say?... )

Lab Monkey

Jul. 10th, 2006 11:53 am
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I am a lab monkey, which means I do primarily idiot work and get paid for it. Today I am mostly watching cells grow. Work continues apace, mostly horrifying slowly- I think I could easily apply the old "a watched pot never boils" adage to my cell lines right now. Hopefully they'll get going soon so I have something productive to do at work. The rest of the week I'll be running a gel (whee), doing a Western blot (ugh time-consuming) and maybe doing some more samples if the cells grow out by Thursday or so. Otherwise I will hopefully be getting at least one new plate from the lab downstairs.

My triceps are killing me today from a combination of longsword classes on Saturday and working in the yard on Sunday. It's good exercise, though, so with any luck I'll be in good shape when I go to California in August.

And now, off to the bank, to get some lunch and go home. I love my job.
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13,000 feet and falling...

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I'll be so glad when anatomy lab is over.

I mean- I like it and all, it's interesting, and it usually doesn't bother me. We had to bust out the bone saw today, though, and the noise is kind of squicky. Metal on bone.

Plus, my hair smells like formaldehyde and corpse. UGH!
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Silly meme thing stolen from various people...

My Johari profile. I picked six words that I feel describe myself. If you click on the link, you'll pick words that you think describe me, and eventually I get an interesting analysis of how the ways in which I perceive myself differ from the way other people perceive me. Also, you can create a profile for yourself and do the same thing... any takers?
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My grandma died last Monday.

She hadn't really been sick, so it was very unexpected. We went to visit her in the hospital Friday night/Saturday morning, when they thought she wasn't going to make it past then (she hung on until Monday morning which just goes to show you that stubbornness runs in the family). I was supposed to have an exam on Thursday and the stress all just piled up. I spent the entire time I was at the hospital throwing up. Not really an auspicious start to my hospital career- which is funny, since when Chris was in the hospital, even when he was really sick, I never got that way. I suppose part of me always knew he wasn't going to die- but with grandma I knew it was ending, and there wasn't anything I could do about it.

It didn't really sink in until Wednesday at the wake- I think my vastly inappropriate affect on Monday was proof enough of that. Generally when I'm upset I end up a little slaphappy instead of showing that I'm upset- I was mostly off-the-wall ridiculous on Monday. So sorry about that, everyone. Wednesday, though, the wake was open-casket so I really couldn't avoid the whole thing. They did a good job with her makeup, to the point where I would have been fairly unsurprised had she sat up and asked someone to turn on the TV to see if there was a Cubs game on. Overall the effect was disconcerting.

The funeral was on Thursday. I cried a little. Mostly when they played Ave Maria- I always liked that song in particular but I'm not sure if I'll be able to listen to it for a long time. I went back down to school and took the test on Friday instead. I don't know yet if I passed. I wasn't really concentrating for that week- I spent most of it sleeping and when I studied the notes just ran out of my head back onto the page. We'll see how it goes, I guess.

I flew down to Phoenix today to spend Christmas with my family, and there is a wheelchair in the garage that she used to use sometimes when she and grandpa would come visit in the springtime. Now it is just a wheelchair, sitting in the garage and breaking my heart every time I look at it. She was my favorite grandparent. Sometimes I wish one of my other grandparents had died instead of her.

Does that make me a bad person?
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.... I wish that I'd taken more pictures.
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I finished up this quarter's exams on Wednesday and Chris said he was taking me out to dinner that afternoon... we took a walk down to the lake beforehand and he pulled a book out of his pocket, saying he'd gotten something I'd like. When I opened the book, there was a ring in it. Diamond and platinum.

He asked me to marry him, and I said yes.

So that's the biggest news I have.. I'd been thinking maybe something was up for a little while but I wasn't expecting it already. We won't be having the wedding for at least a couple of years yet but now everything is formalized. We both have some school to get through first so we'll just take things as they come. We're still working on finding a place to live for next year- downtown by the medical school is very expensive so we're looking for another place in Evanston. I hadn't filed my intent not to renew my lease yet but my current roommate has new roommates lined up for next year so I'm out of here come September 1. (Or maybe a little bit before).

I also have a job interview for the summer on Wednesday, so I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully I'll get this job and then I'll be basically settled for next year except for the place to live.
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I got back on the 14th and am here til the 30th. I'm enjoying the weather so far but everything else has been decidedly so-so.

Tried to go get my hair cut on Thursday for portrait-taking on Friday, only to get in the car and find out that the bitch wouldn't start. So much for that. I gave my mom a call and she swung back around to take me over to the salon, but I hate being dependent for rides.

Thursday night Dad jumps the battery on the car, and gets it going again. Somewhere in there he notices that the belly plate has started to detach a little (it's a Beetle, that thing comes off if you go over a speedbump too fast) and orders me to take it in to the dealership on Friday morning. I get up bright and early and do so. The car starts fine and they fix the plate; inspection turns up nothing about a battery problem. Later that day my sister and I went to get our respective graduation portraits done.

Saturday, after some family togetherness, I'd had about enough of that and wanted to head to the mall to get my Christmas shopping mostly done. I hop in the car and.... *click click click*. Bitch is dead again. Dad jumps it two or three times and it'll start with the jump, but the battery just isn't holding a charge.

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I just got back from picking up my little sister at her dance studio. I was standing outside one of the dance rooms, waiting for her to get out from the lesson, and out of the corner of my eye I see a goth-looking older guy with dark hair. Then I remember where I am and who owns the dance studio, and think to myself...

Holy shit, that's Alice Cooper.

And it was.
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I've tried my best to stop posting rants about work here, since I only have six shifts left to work and no one wants to listen to me bitch anyway. But this guy I had to deal with yesterday... well, I've got to post this so I can remember it in the future and tell myself, "Things aren't so bad. It could have been foam bead guy."

So, foam bead guy. He came in to the store yesterday and was looking at our little styrofoam-filled pillows. The pillows aren't meant to be opened- the beads are so small and static-y that they cling to everything and make a huge mess. But one day a while ago, two kids were playing tug-of-war with one of the small pillows (where were their parents? God only knows.) and ripped the covering. We scooped up some of the beads and put them in a plastic jar, then superglued the lid of the jar down. This way, we figured, people could see what was inside the pillows without another three days of cleanup.

Enter foam bead guy. He's looking at the pillows, and wants to see what's in them. I go get the jar from behind the registers, and say, "Now, don't open the jar... but you can see that each of those little dots is one bead. They're just made of styrofoam, but it's the small size that makes the pillows squishy." He shakes the jar. I wince. "The lid's glued down, sir.. but you can see the beads quite well with the jar closed." Meanwhile, he's unlatching each of the four locking clasps on the lid of the jar. I say again, "Sir, please don't open the jar. The beads are very light and will get everywhere if the lid comes off. Besides, the lid is super-glued down, so the jar can't be opened."

He looks at me.... and pries the lid off the jar, tipping it sideways in the process. The beads clinging to the cover fall all over the counter. He then says, "It wasn't superglued, it came off easy!"

At this point I'm restraining myself from leaping across the counter and strangling this guy. It's not like he didn't understand me... native English speaker, probably about thirty-five years old.

"Yes, sir. The lid came off because you pried it off. Now as you can see, the beads have gotten everywhere. Now may I please have the jar back?"

He then sticks his hand into the jar, pulls out a small handful of the beads, and hands the jar back to me, saying, "I work for an import company, and people have been telling me to check out these microbead pillows, but I'd never seen one before. Now I know what's in them." All I have to say is, God help whatever company employs you, you self-righteous, incompetent, disrespectful jackass of a man. I point out that the beads have now gotten all over the counter. He then brushes them off onto the carpet (!) and proclaims the area clean. Never mind that I now have to vacuum the carpet due to this fucker's idiocy.

Meanwhile he's managed to read my nametag (bully for you, jackass, given it's probably at your usual eye level when addressing a woman) and proceeds to wander the store, trailing foam beads and bellowing questions across the store, preceded by my name. I answer his questions extremely snappishly, and he either doesn't notice or doesn't care. Eventually he leaves. I put the lid back on the jar and walk it into the back room, slam it on the break table and tell my manager to glue the lid back down. He asks why, and I relate the story of "bead guy."

In summary, foam bead guy, I hope you choke on those beads. Jackass.
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Okay, so I finally got all the pictures back and scanned in and uploaded. I'm no professional photographer so most of them are pretty crappy, but you can get a general idea of things. They can all be found here.

Day 1-2: Sunday and Monday

I worked most of the day on Sunday so was pretty tired by the time we got to the airport. Mom and I flew overnight and landed in London at around 1pm on Monday afternoon. Dad had been there for a few days already (he was working the Farnborough airshow, which is the reason for the trip) and his driver picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel. We stayed at the Lanesborough, which is on the site of the old St. George's Hospital in Hyde Park Corner. Some of the later pictures in the album show how close the hotel was to Hyde Park itself and Buckingham Palace.

We got to the hotel around 3pm, rested and had tea. The tea tray picture in the album is the tray they bring you when you ask for tea... silver and fine china and tea biscuits and all. The hotel itself was impressive... a little too chintzy for my tastes, since I'm not a big fan of Regency/Victorian decorating, but nice nonetheless. There are some pictures of our room in the album.. foyer, bedroom, sitting room and all. I had a little rollaway bed in the sitting room area and occasionally felt like a bad Dobby going to sleep in my little nook. I really shouldn't complain, though.

Later on we had to go to a customer reception at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was open just for us. I didn't get to see much that day, though, because most of the galleries were closed. I got dressed up and drank more champagne than is good for me and ate little canapes and made small talk with important people for a few hours, then went home and went to bed, having been up for ~35 hours by that point.

Day 3 Tuesday

Since we didn't get to see much of the museum on Monday, mom and I got up and walked down along Knightsbridge to it, stopping in Harrod's to sightsee as we went. Harrod's is mostly overpriced, but nice to walk through. The museum was huge- I took a few pictures of some interesting costume articles they had on display. We ate lunch in the courtyard there, then headed up to Hyde Park and spent the afternoon wandering. We walked by the new Princess Diana memorial fountain (which was being used as a swimming area for small tourist children until it was closed due to falls) and along the Serpentine. Overall the weather was great for the entire trip; it never rained while I was out and about, which was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday night we had dinner with a group of clients from an Israeli company (I don't want to print names here because I don't know how much of these dealings are public domain), including the ex-head of the Israeli secret service. I apparently have a standing invitation to visit Tel Aviv anytime I want. The food was great, conversation boring as usual, but I'm not going to complain over free dinner.

Day 4 Wednesday

Wednesday morning we got up and walked to Buckingham Palace to watch the end of the changing of the guard. I didn't stay for the whole thing, since the crowd was making me pretty intensely claustrophobic, but I got some good pictures of the guards returning to the stables. Mom and I then headed down to Westminster Abbey and did the walking tour through there... I'd been there before but it's the kind of place I like to visit. There's so much history in one place. We then took the tube up to Covent Garden, browsed the shops there, walked through the National Gallery and had a snack before heading back to the hotel. We didn't make it quite all the way through the Gallery, but I was happy with what I saw. It's a very weird feeling to see the actual works of paintings you've only seen in books.

Wednesday night was dinner with Japanese clients. Apparently they always take us out to Chinese food, but we've agreed that next time the companies dine together we're all going for sushi. This was met with approval on both sides.

Day 4 Thursday

I'd gotten really tired of my mother's insistance on walking everywhere and peculiarities, so I spent Thursday on my own. I started out with St. Paul's Cathedral, which was sadly being renovated so the pictures don't show nearly the impression you get from the inside. The climb to the top is long- 500+ steps up and the same number down- but well worth it; the view from the top observation deck is incredible. Sat through a communion service too, so that gets me out of church for the next few weeks (I hope). It was the feast of Mary Magdalene, which I found somehow appropriate. Next I walked across the Millennium Bridge and took the path along the Thames down to the Tower Bridge. This way takes you past the new Globe Theatre, the London Bridge and a few other popular attractions. I stopped by the Tower of London next, and had the good luck to make it there as the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula was opening- it's only open rarely, and it's a neat little place. Anne Bolyn, Katherine Howard and Jane Grey are buried there, among others. After the Tower closed I got back on the underground and headed up to the British Museum, which was open late. I wanted to take about a thousand pictures there... sadly I took about three before the digital camera battery died. Oh, well.

Walked back along Oxford St and had dinner in a little cafe there, then did a little bit of shopping. Mom and Dad had gone out to another customer dinner, so I hung around a little bit longer in the shopping district and then headed back home.

Day 5 Friday

Friday, Dad didn't have to work the airshow, so we all took a boat down the Thames to Greenwich. The boat ride was gorgeous and I took lots of pictures (most of which didn't turn out due to people's heads in my way). Once we got to Greenwich we ate lunch in a pub, since I needed to have fish and chips and a pint of cider at least once before we went home. I surprised my parents by finishing the entire pint, though I'm not sure what they were expecting given their college drinking habits. I had my picture taken on the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory, so now I've been in both hemispheres at the same time.

Later that night we had a dinner for all of Dad's immediate staff, with delicious Indian food. I had a champagne and mango juice drink that was surprisingly good, and chatted with all the company wives. Exciting, exciting... but the food was great.

Day 6 Saturday

Spent all day Saturday in Camden Town, shopping. After I shook my parents off my tail, I browsed all over the place and picked up a few pretty things. I also got properly fitted for a corset, which I didn't buy but wished I could have, and which when laced got my waist down to 25 inches. It was a little constraining, I'll admit, but looked damn good. On the way back into town I was taking the underground through King's Cross and decided to be exceptionally geeky, so I went looking for Platform 9 3/4. There is, in fact, now a sign for Platform 9 3/4 at the railway station, so I took pictures.

Eventually I had to head back to the hotel for dinner and theatre with the parents, both of which were good. I'd seen the show before (Joseph and the Technicolor et cetera) but my dad hadn't; a good time was had by all.

Day 7 Sunday

Uneventful. Woke up, taken to airport, long plane ride home. We'd gotten upgraded to business class somehow so we got the neat chairs that fully recline into bed-like contraptions, which make the ride much more comfortable.

That's the trip in a nutshell. I've captioned most of the pictures in the album, so hopefully those are all clear. Also, I have chocolates for those who requested them, which will be mailed as soon as I am sure their recipient is in town to receive them.
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In travelogue-related news, I should have the second batch of photos back from the developers by tomorrow, so I will post those and the day-by-day of my trip when I get those back. (Not, I'm sure, that most of you care, but I know Karina wanted pictures so I'll post them for her, at the very least.)

In work-related news, working retail is making me more cynical. I wasn't sure that was possible. I have a few pet peeves about work so far, but these are pet peeves of the "don't make me find a box-cutter and kill you with it" variety.

First... yes, I have to wear a badge with my name on it. Yes, my name is actually Sam, and yes, it's short for Samantha. Being able to read my name badge does not impress me, nor does it make me your friend. And if you touch me, I swear to god I'll fuckin' kill you. You may think it's cute, customer, but trust me. After the 50th sketchy old Scottsdale man tries to make touchy conversation, I'd like nothing more than to go home and shower.

Second, our registers are from 1989. No, we're probably not getting new ones any time soon (corporate sucks). Yes, it prints your credit card number on the slip you sign. No, I can't change that. No, I'm not going to steal your card number. And no, customer from today, you self-righteous jackass, my register is not internet-capable. If you want to look on our website, go home and look on our website. Jerk. Telling me to "get in the 21st century" will not endear you to me, it just makes you die.

Third, I am not your babysitter. I am not your wedding planner, your chiropractor, your garbage collector or your maid. I bet you pay your child care professional a lot more than I get paid- at least, I hope you do, if you value your children. I do NOT have time to watch precious Junior while you lollygag in the massage chairs. Yes, those are steak knives, and yes, they're sharp. If Junior breaks it, you just bought it. That goes double for yappy little dogs. I'm not cleaning up dog pee off the floor, so keep Fido outside. Nor do I care to hear about your various health problems. Save that for after medical school, when I'm getting paid to listen to you bitch.

Handled fourth black Amex card today. This is a new record for me (and it's still July).

Whew. I feel better.
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Back home again... a little tired after the 10-hour flight (direct London to Phoenix). I have lots of pictures to upload when I get a chance- the digital camera battery is charging and I have to finish off the disposable camera before I can go get it developed. I'll probably try to do that tomorrow since I have the day off work, and will try to get those on a webpage sometime this week so those of you who wanted to see the photos can do so. I'm going to wait and write a more detailed account of the trip when I put up the pictures, so I don't have to do it twice. Overall the weather was really nice- no rain at all when I was outside, which is rare for London this time of year.

More later.
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I leave for London on Sunday night, so I'm taking requests now for anything reasonable that people want brought back (pictures, small items, etc). Reasonable does not include anything over $25 cost, nor does it include Prince William, the crown jewels, or the Tower ravens. Sorry- luggage restrictions, y'know.

Anyway- I thought I'd offer. I'll be reachable by comment through here, by email, IM or cell phone until late Saturday or possibly midday on Sunday. After that I'll be gone until the following Sunday, with sporadic access to email.
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I've been getting to know my co-workers (not much else to do when there's no one else in the store, god forbid I be antisocial) and I've had to explain my love-life a few times now. I feel like I overestimated how well people "get" long-distance relationships. The question I've gotten the most is "Isn't it hard not being able to see him all the time? I mean, why would you want to go through all that?"

Well, fuck. Why didn't I think of that? Idiots.

Of course it's hard. This summer hasn't been terrible so far, but it's only been three weeks, and that after a full year of getting to be together all the time. My freshman year was hell... but that's another story for another time. He went back and deleted all his journal entries from that time- I'm not going to do that, since I like keeping things around, but it's not something I enjoy dwelling upon. We'll have been together five years in January (where does the time go?), and have long since entered that weird symbiotic relationship state where you finish the other person's sentences and think in the collective "we." So when I'm not around him it feels like half of my soul is missing, and there's this gaping empty space where it's supposed to be. It hurts.

It's the kind of deep hurt you get used to, once you experience it often enough, so I'd stopped noticing it as much. Having to talk about it, though, drags it all up again. Meanwhile I get to listen to all their insipid stories about making out with cute girls at parties and my contempt for them scares me. I wish I could be happy for them, but I can't.