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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Real Estate Porn

You know you want it, baby....Don't be shy.  No one can resist the lure of vicarious real estate porn.
It's time for me to find a place to live in Ithaca. Now, housing costs are a lot less there than they are here.  In fact, housing costs anywhere are a lot cheaper than here.  I am indulging in some good old fashioned real estate porn. I can get a house that's two or three times the size of my current house with a lot that's 10 times the size for half of what my house would sell for here.  (The real porn equivalent would be watching men half my age who are twice as well-endowed and have ten times the stamina of what I might find in real life, and they never leave the toilet seat up). Drool drool drool.  I'm not selling my house here, so I can't get the giant mansion with the pool boy and lake view  just yet, but that doesn't stop me from fantasizing.
A real estate agent is sending me selected listings from the neighborhoods I'm targeting.  I'm supplementing with internet searches on my own.  At this point it's mainly serving for me to familiarize myself with what to expect at various price points, and for her to figure out what I like so she can narrow it down a bit.  Some of the houses may still be on the market when I go out there in two weeks, but I'm trying not to get my heart set on any one in particular.
The sentimental favorite is the purple Craftsman-style house within walking distance from the chemistry department.  It has solar panels and is super cute.  I do hope it's still available when I visit.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I have a confession to make.  I am jealous of those people from my former company who quickly found jobs and don't have to move.  Today I saw that the company started by my former boss had a job listing for someone with my exact background.  Even though there's no way in hell I would work for them again, and I'm happy with how things have turned out, my brain started doing the shoulda, coulda, woulda routine, aka wishing for the parallel universe where nothing ever goes wrong and I never make a mistake or speak my mind too much, and no one else makes mistakes either.
In this parallel universe ("SCW"), I would've maneuvered carefully through the hell project a few years back and not gotten kicked out of the group for reasons that were never entirely made clear to me, and former boss would not have made his own set of mistakes.  Let's say, since we're in SCW universe, that T and I never broke up either.  Then, in SCW universe, when I get laid off, I do like some of my former coworkers do and just go get a new job with former boss and life goes on very much as it did before.  La la la coasting along in fantasy land....But the reality is that even if this had somehow happened, I'd be fighting the same uphill battles at work that used to drive me crazy, and I'd still be in my comfortable but not entirely comfortable relationship with T, and I'd still be in the rut that I've been in, itching to have a mid-life personal and professional crisis.  
Anyway, to that I say, "F%^$ that shit!"  Apart from wishing I didn't have to move, there's nothing that could make me want to jump back into working for them.  Incidentally, although they've hired six people (in addition to the two founders) from our former company, they haven't hired any women, which is totally unsurprising given the history.
I admit, I still do the SCW routine about T.  But I'm starting to do it less.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Decision time

I had my interview at Normal Small Company (NSC) two days ago.  It was fine.  The technology was good, the business plan was sensible, and the people were nice. It was definitely in the top third of all the places that I've interviewed.  However, they would've had to hit a home run and really wow me.  That didn't happen.

I had a moment of doubt.   I hadn't realized they were planing to have an IPO at some point in the future.  Money is a good thing.  However, when I talked with the HR person, she said that stock options weren't given except to senior management. Uh, WTF?!?!  I'm from Silicon Valley, so I don't get out of bed, much less relocate 2000 miles, unless there are stock options involved.  Of course, she could've dug out of the hole she dug herself by telling me that salaries are very high, but she didn't.  She said that salaries were market rate, and didn't ask me what I made back at my old job.  I didn't get the impression that my salary would've been that high, assuming that I even got an offer.  They still have a few more candidates to interview, so it will be a few more weeks before I find out.

So in the end, it didn't come down to a close decision for me.  I gave my verbal acceptance of the other job before I had even gotten on the plane back to California.  Now it's official.

It's not me, it's you: another Wankercon update

I talked with M yesterday.  She is a former coworker.  Anyway, she's been in touch with Wankercon too.  They've been just as weird to her as they were to me.  That doesn't really surprise me, but nonetheless it is a bit of a relief that there wasn't just something strange in my resume that prompted all of this weirdness.
She got a phone call from them.  The interviewer asked if she'd be willing to work 80 hours a week.  Uh, no, dudes.  Maybe if they were actually working 80 hours a week instead of trying to seem like cool startup dudes they'd be smart enough to listen to Prof X and just interview the people he recommends instead of making even more work for themselves by trying to analyze the meaning of what our favorite movies are.
But no, that would be too easy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday LOLcat

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wankercon Update

Dear readers, you may be wondering if I ever heard back from Wankercon.  Well, indeed I did.  On Tuesday, I got the following email.  I also got a phone call but they didn't leave a message.

Hi Old Biddy,
I got your contact from Prof X, who we collaborate
closely on one of our projects. He said that you have many years of
experience in organometallic chemistry and recommended we reach out to
you to ask you if you know of anyone in the field who would be a great
fit for Wankercon. We are a start up so ideal person would be very high
energy, proactive, passionate about the mission of the company,
talented technically and somebody who loves to solve interesting
challenges. Just wanted to stress that we are more interested in
attracting passionate and talented people rather than finding a
specific skill set.  (Uh dudes, you might want to get rid of the stupid "7 questions" screening email.  Just a thought.  Besides, I thought it was pretty clear that I was passionate about synthetic chemistry and "Animal House"))
About the company, Wankercon is more of a mission with a company rather
than the other way around, and that mission is to turn biology into an
information science, and ultimately to cure all diseases. Wankercon has
developed a nanorobotic DNA manipulation technology that is the best thing since sliced bread.(ok, I changed the wording slightly, the original was a much bigger exaggeration)
For a broad preview of what Wankercon does, watch this video of our
scientific advisory board member Big Wanker at SpaceX last
year.  Note that we are no longer just five guys in a garage. (link omitted)
Please keep us in mind, and we appreciate any suggestions you may have.
Kind regards,
A Wanker

Uh, ok.  Granted, Prof X may've told them I've got something lined up, but even if he had, would it kill them to do a phone interview or even pretend like they're considering me for the position?!?!  They've only had my resume for four months. If they had my resume, they probably had resumes from my coworkers.  Guess what - most of us have found jobs.  I'm all for networking, and have even told colleagues about open positions that I myself was applying for.  However, I do that for normal companies with normal search procedures.  Wankercon is not normal.  So I took my time and wrote back to them today.  Here's what I wrote.

Hi A Wanker,
Thanks for the email.  I'm currently in negotiations on a job offer, and most of my former colleagues have already located employment.  However, I believe that so+so* is still looking for a job.  She is local and is a talented organometallic and polymer chemist.  Her professional profile is available on LinkedIn (link omitted)  You may also want to contact some of the inorganic faculty at local UC school.  Professors Larry, Curly, and Moe are well-known chemists and they may have some students or postdocs who are looking for employment.
I hope this helps.  Best of luck with everything!
-Old Biddy

 * hopefully so+so has already found a job. I'm going to send her an email just to warn her.


9 AM, Saturday morning.  The phone rang.  I thought it was Missy since that's when she usually calls, so I did my usual juvenile thing.
long silence then sound of call getting transferred to another line, then canned greeting: "We're sorry, we are unable to complete this call due to a problem on our end."


Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Cleanup

It's raining so I don't feel like working outside or going to Rancho.  In light of the fact that I may have to move cross-country in the near future, I decided to clean out my closets.  I filled up four kitchen sized garbage bags with clothes.  I was surprised by how much there was, considering I do a closet cleaning at least twice a year.  This time, however, I was more merciless than usual. If it didn't fit, I got rid of it.  I also targeted sentimental items, such as the gothy black velour tunic sweater I bought at the ACS meeting in New Orleans in 1996 and my two beautiful wool skirts that I'll never fit into again unless I lose 25 lbs AND get liposuction and a tummy tuck.  (Really.  My weight has all moved to my midsection.  I'm not really sure where it was before.  On my butt and thighs, I guess.)  I also targeted all the cute clothes that I bought a few years back when I was at my lowest weight and was dressing all cute when I went out with T.   I've been through this before.  On the hangers, I think they're cute but if I miraculously lost 25 lbs instantly, I'd put them on and realize they're out of style.  It did bring back a few memories, but it wasn't too bad. The fashion police will be glad to hear that I also got rid of some of the uglier but very comfortable items in my closet, like those ratty purple T-shirts and oversized sweaters with holes in them.
Now I'm tackling my perfume collection.  I went through a major perfume phase a few years ago. It mostly stopped when I started dating T, since he has major allergies. I have a huge collection of perfume and I don't know what to do with it.  Part of me just wants to get rid of most of it, but I know that my perfume tastes vary according to temperature and humidity, and that a lot of the heavier chypre scents work well on the East Coast but not so well out here.  My current compromise is to keep the stuff I paid full price for but donate all those bottles that came from garage sales and all those sample size ones.  I may also use them in my bathwater.
Luna's a little bit weird when it comes to perfume.  She wanted to smell them all, and once she was done doing that she curled up in the middle of all the perfume action and went to sleep.  Yes, she has asthma.  This is probably why.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


On Monday, I finally caught up with all the things I needed to do.  Now I'm kind of bored so the house and yard projects have started. It has stopped raining for now so at least I can work in the yard and go to Rancho San Antonio now.
The job search stuff is going ok, but it's SLOW...The prof is putting together the offer letter, which means he has to go through a lot of rigamorole with the university.  Meanwhile, I have an interview at a place in Chicago, but they're slow too, so it's not for another two weeks.  I'm kind of cranky since they scheduled it during the ACS meeting, which means I'm missing out on some prime networking opportunities.  In the meantime, I feel like nothing is official until it's official, so I'm not celebrating just yet. 
It's kind of weird being in limbo like this.