Wednesday, November 26, 2003

This week has so far been a quiet one. It's always like that after something big has happened; in this case I handed in my thesis last Thursday. Right now I still have a couple of conference papers to write, and experiments to perform. There's also the problem of finding a job looming over my head. I'll get into it while I'm running those experiments and writing the papers. There's not a whole lot of time left... those phone numbers on my resume probably aren't good for much longer, which leaves me wondering if maybe I should get a cellphone. I offered a while back to mow people's lawns for money while I'm looking for a job, so I can at least live off pocket change for a bit. Unfortunately, it's winter, and there are no lawns to mow anymore. I had a phone interview with Bridgestone yesterday, which went as badly as my interviews usually do. They ask the darndest questions. " Why do you want to work for Bridgestone?" Well I don't, in particular, I just want to work. sigh... looks like I'll need to buy one of those interview books that tell you how to lie your way through these questions.

Monday evening there was a little bit of fun to be had. Me, Brent, Marci, and David had a small cookout by the Laurel apartment poolside. Actually Bryan Wang was supposed to be there, too, in fact it was his idea, but later we found out he forgot about it. He had some extra chicken from a previous cookout he wanted to use. But he forgot he was having a cookout, so he didn't show up, which is alright, since apparently he didn't know I and David were going to show up. We didn't know he wouldn't show up and he didn't know we would. Funny how that works. It's a good thing I had some frozen orange roughy I wanted to use for the grill and David brought some burger meat, or Brent and Marci would have had nothing to eat except dilly green beans and potato salad.

We got out to the poolside and if we were reasonable people who listened to our parents and wrote their advice on our hearts and abided by them even in our adulthood, it might have dawned on us that having a cookout in 35 degree windy weather in the dark of night wasn't the smartest thing to do. But nobody said that. I think, even, that Brent thought the exact opposite. This was going to be fun. Anyway, when we got down to the poolside we found out we'd forgotten to bring the spatulas, lemon pepper, olive oil, limes, aluminium foil, Dales seasoning, oh, and Marci wanted some rice cooked. So who got to grumble all the way back up to our apartment about our collective incompetence?... yep you guessed it.

While I was up in the apartment scratching my head trying to remember exactly what I'd been sent up there to do (hey, it was a Monday. The ol' brain doesn't starting grinding til Wednesday), Marci comes in, announces that it's cold outside, so she's in here, and can she help? No? She'll just sit here and watch tv, then. Alright, I tell her... just bring the rice down with you when it's done cooking, when it's done you'll hear a 'click' and the cooker will be on 'warm' instead of 'cook'. Then I went downstairs.

I found David and Brent talking next to the fire, which was started using those neat, nut-shaped lumps of coal that our grandfathers never got to use, because God in His wisdom decided it wasn't the time yet for regularly shaped lumps of coal that fit neatly in a bag and probably burn better. No, back then things tended to look rougher and more random, such that you sometimes had to look harder to figure out there is indeed order in the universe. Anyway, I looked at those lumps of coal burning in the grill, they were struggling to burn in that cold windy weather, but they were burning. It was a good, faithful fire. I thought what a neat picture that would make, and as it happened I had my camera with me (I've started carrying it around now, mostly so I have pictures to back up my semi-fictional stories on this blog). I took a couple of pictures with the flash on and off, and with the close-up feature and on plain old auto. I think the picture I've got here turned out the best. And then it was time to grill, which Brent did, mostly, since he was the grill expert in our apartment. We put the burgers on one side of the grill and the fish on the aluminium foil on the other. There wasn't a whole lot of space the the burgers were small, like Hardee's slammers. It was very cold. My fingers were turning to icicles. David was shivering all over. Brent didn't need the spatula to flip the fish. He could use his fingers just fine, it was so cold. I watched closely to make sure he didn't pick his nose in between. Brent is a big fan of nose-picking.

After a while, Brent announced we need plates to put the food on when it's done. I couldn't feel my cheeks (both kinds) anymore at this point so I didn't mind volunteering to go back upstairs at this point. I was also wondering why the rice was taking so long. I got back to the room to find that the rice was indeed done and that Marci was just tucked in warmly on our couch watching tv. Okay Marci, I said, the rice is done, time to get out and there and freeze your touche off with the rest of us. We brought the plates down and set it all up on a card table in the rec room. The fish and burgers were done soon after, and we gathered around the card table in that brightly lit warm rec room. We dug right in, and forgot to say grace, perhaps because it was already so obvious that we were plenty grateful to be out of the cold and seated in front of a meal in a warm place. Mostly I think it was just our chronic incompetence acting up again. The food was, of course, quite excellent, all the more since we suffered unnecessarily for it.

Lots and lots of pictures. Because I can. Again.

We had a practice session for the YAMs skit at Heather Grieves' house last night. Once again, I had my camera with me.

Dee drove me there since I didn't know the way, and I plopped right away on a two-seater in the living room, where Robert was also lounging on the couch. Guys know their priorities. While Dee and Heather talked in the kitchen, I noticed that the view I had would make a nice picture. So there you have it.

Post-practice, Dee Lewis had some death-by-chocolate cake, and Heather posed for a picture with a hostess-like smile.

Thanksgiving holidays have started, no one's in the lab, Nori my friend from Japan is in town, and I'll be busy entertaining him tomorrow with the Sacks. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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