Being Where

So where have I been? I’ve been busy, and for some reason I haven’t had much inclination to update my journal of late. Here, then, is a brief summary of what’s been up with me.

Writing

I’ve revised a short story that I wrote about a month ago, something called "Ten Feet Tall, with Eyes of Flame". I am about as finished with this story as I’m going to get any time soon, and it’s time to send it off to find a paying home. I’ll let you know if I succeed with that. But the project that has really eaten my time has been my newest short story, "Burying Uncle Albert", which I think it one of the better ones that I’ve ever written. I’ve also been consistently fussing with The Troll King’s Daughter and "Mother Tsan-Chan". Lots of ideas rushing around in my brain, bumping into each other, trying to make sense out of each other.

Evilpheemy has said of my last two stories that they are a sort of "Prairie Home Companion" meets "Severn Valley". I’m not entirely sure what a Severn Valley is, but I appreciate the compliment.

Working

I guess it was inevitable that I would end up back in the Temporary Employment Pool at UC Davis. I put in my application a couple of weeks ago, dreading the notion that I’d be back at some desk, scheduling meetings and doing correspondence and such. The first assignment I was told about was one in Sacramento, at the UC Davis Medical Center, where I’d be doing transactions on the University’s Financial Information System. Accounting is not a thing that I go into ecstasy over, but I am used to the software and I’m good at making it work for me (every now and then I’m even reminded of the time that I’d just finished a long and complicated transaction that I made work right after two hours of slaving… I screamed at the computer, "You’re my bitch now!", much to the amusement of my coworkers and the annoyance of my boss). Working at the Med Center would have been truly ironic, though, since, specifically, I would have been working in the department that was the medical specialty that my old company tried to deliver to. Ironic? Yes.

But, you know, God had that sense of humor that every now and then makes you remember that He/She/It/They is/are watching. The position was canceled at the last minute, and instead of doing accounting in Sacramento, I’m doing marketing in downtown Davis. And not just any marketing; I’m helping to market the new inventions and discoveries that come out of the University and that need to make their way into the wide world. As a consequence of where I’m sitting, I get to see just about every cool new project, idea, research direction, and so on that comes out of the University. I get first crack at the various magazines that our department subscribes to — Science, Nature, and Issues, among others. I’ve been wanting to do some science writing; where would be a better place to actually get in touch with the cutting edge of research? Naturally there are confidentiality rules and rules about what can be revealed when, but even my supervisor — who I actually like very much — concedes that given what I want to do, this is probably a prime location for me. As an added bonus, it looks like I’ll be able to take over some of the department’s database and web development needs as well.

The downside, of course, is that the job represents a 33% pay cut for me from my last job. Still, it’s better than Unemployment Insurance.

Playing

Well, yes, I’ve been playing with my new grill a lot lately. Boy, that’s fun. If you haven’t tried taking pieces from a dead animal and putting them over fire, you ought to. Nothing like it. What, me savage?

And because I have spare time, I’ve been playing with our network at home as well. I’ve installed Apache on our little webserver, just because it’s so much more secure than Personal Web Server is, and now I can sleep better at night. I’ve been experimenting with port routing, FTP, TelNet, and SSH daemons, and now I can pretty much log in to our network from elsewhere and control things remotely… if I’m willing to put up with the timelag. For some reason, it’s all incredibly slow. Our DSL was down for a few days, and now it’s back up, better and badder than before. I hate to think what my SSH throughput would have been before the new modem.

And that’s about it, really. I feel better now. How about you?

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