Giddy, giddy, giddygiddygiddy…

I got the damn research position.

“What research position?” you ask. The one I carefully avoided mentioning in the event that it didn’t work out, or there wasn’t enough money in the grant, or, or, or, anything.

But I fuggin’ got it. What money the NSF grant doesn’t allow (the money is being split between me and another student), the Chemistry Dept. (headed by my current chemistry prof, which may have gone some way in my favor) will provide such that I get the full salary stated on the NSF grant.

Oh my friggin’ god.

So, I will return to Charlotte the last weekend of May (for all the people asking) and immerse myself in analytical chemistry, which I need to know, but haven’t had the class yet. Dr. M knows an environmental chemist up at UNC I could correspond with, should I find myself in that region of the state. Which is highly likely, given that that is where a buddy of mine will be, and that their library apparently r0x0rs various types of s0x0rs. Or it should, for such a big-name school.

It’s a really good thing I’m alone right now, because I’d probably drive anyone who came into the Thorn office right now friggin’ nuts.

At the end of June (the last weekend, in fact), I will haul my ass back out to the Haute and settle in for a long stay–forty (plus) hours a week in lab, mad tweaking on this UV Vis app, and dividing my brain between two research projects. Optimally, I can get housing for $8 a night on-campus, but I missed the deadline and will have to plead my way in. Worse case, I’ll have to pay up to $250 a month plus utilities to stay off-campus with the female student I’ll be doing research with (on one of the projects…).

Insert the fact that I will undoubtedly be sucked into doing Thorn stuff (not that this is necessarily a bad thing), and I’ve got a busy summer. It creates a bit of a problem with getting a job for the month I’m home–who the hell hires someone for less than a month? That’s a month of no income, which leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. If I’m stingy as hell, the research money will more than make up for that, but that still hurts.

But oh my friggin’ god.

A split-level room

This is a room I snuck a picture of during my deck-shopping today. This isn’t the deck we’re going to buy; we managed to find a couple of guys who said, “Well, if you take it down, you can just take it. We don’t really know how much it’s worth, anyway.”

Needless to say, we’re emailing them back tonight to cement things. We’re going to cannibalize Hillary’s current loft for two-by-fours to raise it (it’s lower to the ground than the one in the photo), making our only costs those for summer storage. And it’s really well made, probably by civil or mechanical engineering majors. Not that computer science/engineers or chemical engineers couldn’t have made it well, but there are certain assumptions one can feel comfortable making around here, and that’s one of ’em.

So now Michael‘s curiosity is hopefully appeased.

A thoughtful belated Ma’s Day

I read something beautiful this afternoon that I wanted to link, but wasn’t sure how to provide a context that is true to my thoughts. I could pass it off with a glib, “This is why I don’t want to have kids,” but that would be shallow and untrue and completely unfair to the writer, who did a beautiful job in her post.

I could also go into a sappy, commiserating commentary, but I’m just not qualified. Her situation is not one I’ve ever found myself in, and I can only imagine the depressing horrors of the rollercoaster of her situation. I can feel for her, but I can’t really sympathize because I just haven’t been there.

So what I will say is that it made me think of my mother. Because I don’t know how frequently, if ever, she has had that good type of day since Ali has been born, if not for a while before. I’m not at all sure that she has had the wonderful type of day that leaves her feeling comfortable with herself, where she isn’t struggling to get through the day until she can (possibly, and frequently not) get a break when the Old Man gets home. Maybe things are better and have improved since I was living with them, but I do worry. During my tenure, if you will, she was only appreciated in a very abstract “Of course we appreciate her–she does everything around the house” kind of way, with no attempts to actually improve her situation. Or rather, no attempts to provide some less stressful choices for her to take.

That makes me very pissed at myself, and the choices I’ve made these past five years. I should be able to surmount my dislike of children in general and Ali in particular for the sake of my mother. It’s like the interest in world news: what my father has been attempting to hammer into me for the past five years, I finally learn with the help of a good feed reader. Le sigh.

Happy belated Mother’s Day. I guess.

The causes of a good mood…

…because not all gift horses bite.

I’m fighting with Visual C++ 6.0 and working on this app for Dr. M that is requiring, essentially, translation from old Borland classes to STL equivalents that I myself am not familiar with, since we used proprietary Advanced Placement classes in high school. I know, though, that with enough time and persistence, I can figure out the GUI and event managers in Visual C++ and get this thing running again. Why Microsoft couldn’t make this shit as simple as it is in Visual Basic, I don’t know. Probably since the code will always be the most important aspect for any C++ coder, while GUI design always came first when we did VB.

So that’s fun. These types of puzzles I like.

I had very little interaction with Bridget this morning, which also got my day off to a good start. That sounds bad, but things are at the point now where every conversation becomes an opportunity for both of us to get in as many snide snipe-y attacks as we can, and it’s just damn annoying, although I’m being just as vicious as she is. Add on to that her new tendency to interrupt whatever I’m saying with “Huh?” (a major pet peeve of mine) and her childish overcompensation for my one-time request for the air to be turned down a little by keeping the air off and the window open on windless days, and the less we see each other, the better. At least she’s suffering from that last more than I am, since I can always leave and do work in the Thorn office. But she’s burning even me out at night, making it difficult to sleep.

So a lack of that, combined with a pleasantly social breakfast, started my day well.

Add on to this the extra time I’ve had to put on the clock this week at work due to long calls, and the little boost I can expect on the early-summer paycheck.

Then there’s the fact that I’m not rushing to finish Calculus homework because I got it done all this weekend–before the lesson was taught. At the beginning of the term, I expressed doubt that I would enjoy Calculus on the basis of a math major‘s suggestion. I officially sit corrected. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m finding all this stuff ridiculously easy, but it’s kinda fun, even if it doesn’t really seem to have practical applications. I do feel like quite the tool when I get a kick out of (or simply breeze through) working some double integration problem while the perpetually-confused alky sitting next to me gives me this look of complete horror as she stumbles to find the limits of the region. But that’s okay. I suspect it’ll catch up with me in the three friggin’ math courses I have fall of next year (Differential Equations, Discrete and Combinatorial Algebra, and Statistics, all one hour right after the other, no breaks.)

Then there’s the fact that my roommate situation next year is looking up. The rooms in the residence hall I’ll be living in have ridiculously high ceilings, so Hillary and I are going to buy a deck that turns the room into, essentially a split-level. There will be a single-level entry, then the room will have an upper level six feet off the ground that will be Hillary’s space, while I keep the ground floor. There will be separate lighting systems for nighttime working, separate space for friends/boyfriends/whatever, the floor space of the room practically doubles, and the setup is such that I won’t be in a cave even though I’m under the deck. It is a $50 to $75 expense I hadn’t planned on, but it’s worth it.

I’m finding myself keeping up with the news a lot more than I used to. I don’t read the newspaper so much, but I get RSS updates from several sections of BBC News. Add on commentary from (caustic and bitter, but enlightening) and (new on my list) The Liquid List, and I’m feeling kinda informed. And proud myself for actually being interested in something outside of my own little bubble, since I do tend to retreat into LissaWorld rather frequently. What my tenth grade world history teacher struggled to do for nine months, I finally do on my own with the help of a good syndication manager. Hmph.

I also got a good giggle out of “Living Down to a Low Standard“, a review of GNOME 2.6. The harshness of my review of this weekend’s show had nothing on this thing. Of course, I haven’t been a fan/user of GNOME in quite a few years, so I am both unqualified to judge the accuracy of the review and slightly pleased by it. I’m mean like that.

Off to a ridiculously early lunch and more classes.

taking joy in human unreason