Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dunedin, you gorgeous thing

"Got into Dunedin for a most freezing evening yesterday.  We woke to a frost this morning and had to water the car windscreen to go to work.  That said (ok - complained) it turned into a completely beautiful day.

It was...very strange being back in the biochem department."


The words I had time to write at the beginning of my time in Dunedin, and now I am flying out today at about 1pm.  Its been a crazy hell of a week-and-a-half.  Mostly completely sublime - catching up with some most loved people again, always fantastic.  But - I am exhusted and will expound upon my adventures after I get some sleep up north.

We're up early because today is the last day of Genetics Week - DNA day at the Otago Museum.  I have written and designed the paper posters and resources - hopefully I'll remember to snap some pics for proof and for my SciCom portfolio.

Peace out homies.

(Lets test this tablets front-cam!  I of course have it in a keyboard case obscuring the better back-facing camera.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

So this is what it's like

Last week was completely crazy.  I was in Auckland for work, including a symposium for the Monday and Tuesday and then office-bee for the rest of the week.  A delightful 50 hours plus logged.

I flew back home Friday night and then had two days of a rescued-dog training course at the SPCA.  It was run by Sue from Dog Almighty and was absolutely fantastic.  The aim of the game is to have a handful of volunteers who spend time training the dogs to do basic manners skills like sit, down, touch and 'go to mat' to make them more attractive to potential adopters.

Sue is Irish, so it was a delight listening to her talk, and talk a lot she did.  It was a crazy amount of work to cram into two days, and following on a crazy week away - come Sunday night I was exhausted.

Exhausted, I say.

I haven't packed again yet (helps that I didn't fully unpack, of course...) and I am off down to Dunedin tomorrow, for two weeks on a short work contract for Genetics Otago to help out with Genetics Week, which by all means looks like it is going to be brilliant (no less due to my being there :P).

It was fantastic catching up with people over the symposium this last week (my main work contract right now is with the people who funded my PhD project and scholarship), and I am looking forward to seeing more of them for decent hangout time these next two weeks - and catching up with my other Dunedin people not involved in the current job sitch.  I didn't realise how much I had missed the stuffing out of them till I was sitting in the back row of a lecture with The Crazy One and felt like crying and/or hugging her (probably lucky for my rock solid rep that I refrained...).

At some point I am going to have to sit down and write the big "Alternate Career" expose...there are still some people who don't know what I am up to, nor even my reasons for a change.  Certainly you do not, which must have caused some confusion.  Still, it can wait.  At least untill I can put enough thought into it to be coherent.

We did indeed make it to the Craft and Quilt Show the week before last, it was very much like ComicCon for crafters - complete with the weird home-made outfits.  There were less of the smaller oporations than usual, apparently it has gotten very expensive to have a booth there.  Shame.  I liked the quilt exhibition the best - some of the quilted art was beautiful and when I get around to extracting the pics from my big camera - I will be sure to share (its not like you're sick of seeing quilts, right?!).  I don't think I would go again, but I don't regret having gone once.

In other news we have a new nightly war on our hands, within this house.  The Mother has decided its time to stop locking the kitten in the lounge at night and somehow - the little possum decided that my bed was the best place to sleep.  Trouble is fine with this sitch, as long as she stays off his side of the bed (yes yes our dogs are all spoilt little monsters).  The war occurs when either The Mother's dog decides he wants to sleep on the bed too, or the cat tries to play with Trouble when he's sleeping (I say 'play' I mean 'attacks ruthelessly').  Waking up due to animals scrapping on you is not too pleasant.

I have a new toy!  One which incidentally just deleted a paragraph so I'm not in the mood to speak overly nicely about it.  Anyway - a Galaxy Tab 3 10.1", which makes work emails a heck of a lot easier, if nothing else.  I wanted something middle range (I am very very poor) and not apple branded.  I fully plan to replace my laptop the next time it dies with a desktop, and then work off a tablet and smartphone when travelling, utilising google synching of email/calendars/etc and dropboxing of files.  However the main problem I have encountered so far - is the complete lack of any spellchecking functionality.  So prepare to have slightly more errors than usual, at least until I can source a work-around.

See you at the other end of the country!  Where I'll probably be freezing my butt off.  I'll pack winter jimjams, thats a shock.

Right; to sleep, perchance to dream.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Surely Not

Some blithe busy-with-work not busy-with-hobbies disclaimer.

Quite a shock.

More of a shock - my dressing like a professional, and not an academic hobo.

That's enough of that.

In more delightful news, the menagerie have been being monsters; including but not limited to: bringing in half rotten birds and flinging maggots about under the dining room table.


The three are getting along better and better as the kitten gets older and bigger, helped along by her being a complete/equal menace.

She particularly likes waiting for The Mother's schnauzer to come up and sniff her head (or just innocently walk past...) before launching herself at him, wrapping her front legs around his neck and biting his beard hair.  He stands there rather bemused and quite baffled, and lets her do as she would.  It's pretty cute.

He's started playing with her a little, but the playing between the three is basically her sneaking up, whacking one with a paw and then haring off in a grand game of chase.  My Trouble is especially fond of the chasing part.

Have caught her sleeping grumpily a couple times.  Not sure who slighted or wronged her in this instance.  Most likely the dog was kicking her back every now and again.

We went to Tauranga a couple of weeks ago for a bit of a job and some stuff, and the day started out quite sublime.
Of course, by 11 there were massive black storm clouds banking up and it was pouring with rain by lunch.  Interesting fact - that lovely waterfront area upgrade incorporated timber recycled off the Rena.  A disaster very few beach-living locals will easily forget.

One weekend The Mother and I took tea in The Father's lovely vege garden - it was a beautiful day and since the area is out of bounds to the dogs, the kitten has claimed it as a play pen of sorts.  I also made a new friend (though I doubt they're a mutual friend of the veges).
The possum was quite taken with the concrete blocks:

I discovered the panorama function in my phone's camera (seriously, spring was sprung quite a while ago up here...).

During one of my trips up to Auckland the pilots actually remembered to turn off the seatbelt sign (Whakatane-Auckland, the guy on the tarmac is an old dude in stubbies) and I snapped a pic of the Rotorua lake and the Matata-Maketu coastline.  You can see Mokoia up the top there, in a cloud hole, just to the left of the wing tip.
And the coastline, which I can't wait to drive along in early summer when the pohutukawa cliffs are blazing with flowers.  Its funny how being ~15k feet up makes everything look rather flat.

In the next couple of days we are hoping to get over to Hamilton for the massive Craft & Quilt Fair, which should be fantastic.  Expect some make related posts over the weekend.

Next week I am back in Auckland, for a symposium in the first half (being held at the Villa Maria Estate), and the latter half of which I will be staying in Parnell, where exists some very lovely buildings and churches (are the two uncoupled?), so I'm looking forward to that (and catching up with some very special cool peeps wink wink (but not that kind of wink wink)), and getting a good swathe of work done.  Good things.

The following week I am headed down to Dunedin for a different two week work contract, helping out with this sitch - which should be fantastic.  And, of course - ample opportunity to catch up with even more very special cool peeps.

Love!  Hugs soon.