Tag Archive: update

life, in a nutshell

really, it’s been three months since i posted anything – anything – other than spiders?  wow.  i do love them, but i never really intended to become an arachnid-only site.  amazing how time gets away from you, when you’re busy, oh, buying houses and finding new jobs.  that’s right – first-home-ownership is  on the horizon for us, with a new job starting for me two weeks before.  i suppose some of this requires a bit of explanation, so let’s see…

when i returned from the ship last november, i discovered that my ‘definitely to be renewed upon expiry’ one-year research post-doc, which finished halfway through the voyage, had in fact not been renewed, and that i’d been unemployed for three weeks already.  surprise!  actually not entirely a surprise, given the extreme dearth of funds in our research institute.  but anyway, to skip quickly past all that messiness and the politics of being moved to a different building, and make a long story marginally shorter, i haven’t been working full-time since then.  i picked up some teaching, on a first-year paper (course) that introduces students to university-level writing (can you hear my hands rubbing together gleefully?) and literature reviews.  that was good fun on many levels, and paid a reasonable part-time wage.

i did apply for some overseas jobs, just to try my luck, but (again, not so terribly surprising), no one anywhere seems to be serious about hiring.  the pebbles and i decided to wait for a response from one final overseas application, and then get serious about a house instead.  when that last rejection came in, we’d already done a fair bit of house research, and we’d had enough fun poking around open homes that the prospect of owning one really was a good plan B.  (reading that last sentence again, i wonder  whether the home-buying process is a little like giving birth, in that you suppress the memory of it so thoroughly that you can eventually be convinced to try it again.  every time we drive past an open home we don’t have to go to, we still chuckle sadistically.)  so, yes: to spare you some more details, we found a place.  it’s on the north shore, which means we’ll be leaving our beloved mt albert after seven years, but the location is still pretty good, and there will be plenty of room for guests!  and this is where the house and job tie back in together (other than the neat congruence of starting the job in late august and settling on the house two weeks later – paycheck and mortgage, probably a useful combination).  the new job, which is really a full-time extension of the part-time teaching this semester, is also based on the north shore.   it involves further work on the same paper as last semester, extended to full-time employment and encompassing some research time.  pretty much ideal.  it starts the day after we return from our annual sojourn to the states (goodbye, august in nz!  we won’t miss you!), although i was already invited to my future department’s midwinter christmas party, which bodes well.

so here’s the first house photo – the tip of the iceberg, no doubt.  9.5 weeks until moving day!

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it’s 2010! woot! … aw, crap.

crickets and tumbleweed, begone!  let the archives sneer ‘2010 (0 posts)’ no more.  yes, it’s been a very quiet month over here, but that’s just because i’ve been letting everything pile up into a huge backlog, waiting to burst through the dam of inertia and bad metaphors into the new year like a really big, bursting thing.  coherence is my middle name – tinten coherence fisch.
(how’s this for a brilliant start – glad you waited around?)
so, by way of a quick catch-up (and some thinly veiled excuses) the last month has involved: adjustment to non-full-time working schedule (sometimes optimistically called ‘early retirement’ or ‘between contracts’); surprise christmas visit to family in nelson, followed by three-week visit from parents, followed by weekend visit from the final remaining set of parental figures; interspersed visits from belgians and germans; hikes, beaches, barbecues, scrabble, food food and more food, a lot of presents; not enough spiders.
unfinished business on the inkspot that i hope to attend to within the next few weeks will include:
– the final photos and sealogs from my time on the ship in november
– the resurrection of webnesday, which i intend to see through to the full 52 episodes, even though this will stretch over more than the planned calendar year
– the supremely overdue conclusion of last summer’s trip to the US
– other bits and pieces as they crop up.  for example, opportunistic additions (i typed ‘addictions’ first – what does that suggest, hmm?) to the occasional 2×2 photo series.
– photos of the moon!  if i can improve my technique for shooting down the barrel of my extremely shiny new telescope (thanks, pebbles!).  initial results are not bad but could definitely use some refining…

so here we are, silence broken and first post out of the way.  bring on the tigers!

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possible upcoming radio silence

inkspotters, there is a chance that the entire month of november will be update-free.  i am off on a five-week research trip as of tomorrow, to the south atlantic ocean.  i hear that there will be email access (kind of counting on that actually), so i hope to get a few posts up here via the pebbles.  but if that doesn’t work out, i’ll tell all when i return in early december.  until next time, whenever it may be!

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easter eggs

sooo, it’s good friday, and i’m at work, and i feel a cold coming on.  our original plans for easter had us scheduled to fly to cairns today and be sleeping aboard a dive boat on the way out to the great barrier reef tonight.  sadly, the company we wanted to go with – the only company that did research as well as dumping tourists in the water to poke the pretty fishies (sorry, impending cold snark) – folded in february.  rescheduling with a different operator would have cost us about $1500 each and we didn’t feel that good about going with one of the non-eco outfits.

we decided to head over to australia anyway and visit the pebbles’ dad and stepmom in gold coast, and to catch up with tomboy for the first time in a year.  so tomorrow we head out in the afternoon, to start sunning ourselves and avoiding sharp, poisonous things for five days.  (by which i mean the aussie fauna of course.  what did you think?)  if i get lucky, maybe i’ll come back with some wicked new spider pics.  if i get unlucky, maybe i’ll get back with some wicked new spider pics and fond memories of a recent trip to the emergency room.  in which case a large haul of new stuff from our closest ikea (brisbane) will be necessary to assuage the trauma.

the weekend should bring merry reunions, cheese fondue, chocolate eggs and maybe even a vampire dinner show.  bring it on!  and in honor of the star-crossed cancelled dive trip and the spring (heh) fertility festival, i give you our own local brand of pastel easter eggs… from the arrow squid, Nototodarus gouldii.  courtesy of tony enderby.




birthdays, and friday the 13th

today is the 200th anniversary of charles darwin’s birth.  that makes him 198 years and 5 days older than the inkspot, which turned two inconspicuously while i was out of town last weekend.

i feel like i should say something meaningful about those birthdays, and evolution, and stuff.  but the air-conditioning is broken in this office, it’s friday afternoon, and it’s been a weird week.  for example, i spent an hour and a half this morning talking to a hungarian woman in her late sixties, who has been traveling around new zealand for a month on her own without really speaking any english.  (we get by in german.)  also, i dreamed last night that i had been convicted of killing someone and had twelve days before i would be executed myself.  (the alleged murder victim turned up alive in the end.)  so, running a little low on the sleep budget.

being that it is friday the thirteenth, and hot, and weird, here is a photo of a mutated octopus with branching arms (from sasaki, m. (1929) a monograph of the dibranchiate cephalopods of the japanese and adjacent waters.)  it seems somehow appropriate.







picking up pieces

unbelievably, roger has been gone almost two weeks now.  and yet, he is everywhere – a birthday present i had ordered for him has arrived; a scrap of handwritten paper with his blog address sits in my window; today we took his thesis to the bindery.

after he left nz last march, i believe he checked this site frequently for photos of places he’d been and new places he was looking forward to going when he came back.  i have a large backlog of things i’ve been meaning to post, from travels to local bugs, that i wish he’d seen; so i’ll start cleaning up my act with a photo from nelson lakes regional park (one of the stops on the pebbles’ and my honeymoon last november), and hope that roger can still enjoy it from somewhere in the ether.  he spent four days hiking in this park last february and it was one of his favorite memories from his time here.

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lynx alert

so far, in the inkspot's 19-month existence, i have mostly managed not to do the list-of-external-links thing.  today i can't help it.  there are more vacation stories to tell, plus the defense, but now i'm scrambling to get my final thesis version to the publishers and i must accept that others are far more entertaining right now.  and send you in their direction.

the facebook version of hamlet

oktapodi.  [link updated – works again now!)]

(is two a list?  yes, technically, yes.  the smallest list possible.)

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in my own defense

i’ll get on with the travel recap shortly, i promise.  just been distracted for the last couple weeks – my oral defense takes place in four hours and after that i anticipate something of a return to normalcy.  at least the buck lake pictures are calming.  if you’ll excuse me, i’m off to stare at them for a while…


colossal squid on tv!

we interrupt this summer reverie to bring you some real-time squid news!  the documentary about the colossal squid (including the specimen from earlier this year at te papa) is airing tonight on discovery channel (and possibly tomorrow) at 9pm, though not sure in which time zone.  of course, we kiwis don’t actually get to see it yet.  hope it’s good!

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a-schmoozing we will go

not that a week's absence seems require explanation, given my poor track record this year, but i'm off to a conference in christchurch.  rumor has it that there was snow down to sea level there over the weekend and i am ridiculously excited at the possibility of normal, wintery, non-mountain snow.  SNOW!  eeeeeeeeeeeeee
… ahem, anyway, should be some good stories and incriminating photos when i return.  :)

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