tysolna: (medieval hands)
Today was my last day at work.

Let me explain. Over here, when you do temp or student assistant work at a university, you can only work in the same job for four years. When you work for more than four years, they have to give you a steady job. This was meant as a precaution against those life-time temp jobs where you only got six months' contracts and never knew if you were going to get an extension. The downside of this is that even if your boss would like to have you stay in your job, the university won't let you when those four years are up.

So anyway. Today was my last day at the computer language lab. Last week, my colleagues and my boss invited me to dinner, which was nice, and a happy evening was had by all. Today, I said bye to the student from New York who's learning German, shut down the computers for the last time, drew down the security blinds, turned off the fuses, and locked the doors.
And the unexpected happened: I actually had a lump in my throat; I actually felt a little sad. But then I remembered that I had had this job for four years, during which a lot has happened; and my current colleagues are quite fun to be around. Only they're not my colleagues any more.

Ah well. Here's to the future - future jobs, future colleagues.

Now excuse me while I watch House until I fall asleep.
tysolna: (medieval king)
So I'm at work again (if I am healthy enough to play a gig tonight, I am healthy enough to work; still, I will probably swallow some "instant health"-pills tonight), and digitizing the tapes. I'm at S, finally, and it's Shakespeare-Time. At the moment, it's Hamlet (with Gielgud), and I am surprising myself at how many lines I still know.
My memory isn't that bad, after all.
tysolna: (tube train)
So I'm sat in the "new office" of ours, the ex-copy room, and let me tell you, it stinks of toner and copier and yuck. I wish I could open the window, but there are roadworks outside and with the window open, the stench of tar permeates the room, which is even worse.

There's a lot of running around to be done in the afternoon, the most important of which is going to be convincing the bank not to cancel my overdraft credit. Bloody bastards.

The classes I hold at the adult education centre will probably not take place, there are too few registrations. Which means that I won't continue to work there.

Band rehearsal is switched from Tuesday to Friday, which means that I'll be able to pander to my House / Monk addiction on Tuesdays.

Yesterday, while reading and mentally dissecting a lecture on Australian literature, my mind started regurgitating a lot of thoughts and ideas, which I promptly wrote down. Good stuff there, too. Now, if only I found the knack again to put these thoughts into a coherent whole.

No word yet from Cardiff. Will continue looking.
tysolna: (penguin punk)
The other day, I paid 10 Euro for a five-minute conversation with a Doctor and a prescription.

I played the lottery, but believe me, had I won, I would sound different today. I did have three numbers correct, but in three different fields. Drat.

My last contract with UofO is signed. I'll be out of work come January 1st. Time to start looking for something new to be able to pay my bills. Or rather, to get out of debt. And high time to finish what I've started.

My body seems to have an anxiety attack, I'm bouncing off the walls, but can't get anything done, and can't concentrate too well. Methinks I need to take up meditation of some sort. Bloody hormones.
tysolna: (throwing stones)
Last October, my colleagues and I cleaned up our office, went through and threw away a lot of the old language lab stuff, and made the room not only presentable, but work-in-able. It is a beautiful office to work in now, and we are making good use of it.

This October, in two weeks or so, we will be moving.

When the new, second computer lab room was opened earlier this year, April to be precise, our Dean was very impressed with what we had accomplished. I think he had his eyes on the room ever since then.
Well, it seems out boss has finally caved in. We've been reassigned to two ... dare I say rooms? Cupboards with windows is more like it. One is currently housing the photocopier, the other is full of shelves with various folders for some project or other. These two rooms are connected via a door - it used to be a recording room / sound booth, and the walls are still clad in the soundproof stuff. They stink of old paper and photocopy toner. The two rooms combined - and of course the wall between them will stay - are about half the size of what we have now. There are no curtains, there's no heating, no sink, and most likely not room enough for the computer lab material we need to store there, the conference table we use, let alone for the two desks we have right now.
Our current room will be kept for "retired teachers who need an occasional room, and visiting lecturers." It would be different, I think, if it were one of our lecturers who had asked for a new and bigger room. But leave that room empty in case someone might need it for four months a year?
Believe me, we will leave the room empty. There will be nothing there once we've moved out, my colleagues and I will make very sure of that.
No wonder the University looks the way it does. Make and keep a mess, and you will keep your room!

I am a lot more upset about this than I probably should be, but if this is the way the universe / university rewards enthusiasm and commitment, then I shall from now on simply do the work that is expected from me, and not an iota more.


Aug. 24th, 2006 10:37 am
tysolna: (Barbara Aztec)
Ah, work, the time of the week when I actually have enough leisure to post here. Weird, eh?

About as weird as the dream I had last night, when I found myself on a parallel Earth, accompanied by a friend. There was something subtly wrong on this parallel Earth - we first noticed it while watching the Lord of the Rings movie, and confirmed it by browsing through the book. It started similar enough, but instead of the underlying theme of friendship, and loyalty, and good vs bad, it was reduced to an army under the command of Aragorn burning and pillaging their way through Middle Earth, forcing the Gondorians to fight on their side, and enslaving the Elves.
It seemed as if things like politeness, friendship, courtesy and community were all gone from this place, replaced by egotism, "me-first"-ness and elbow power.
Further confirmation of the wrong-ness of this parallel Earth was achieved when we saw a production of Verdi's Ernani (parallel vision had one version of my friend in the audience and one on the stage), which ended with Ernani killing de Silva, among other things. Even Beatles songs on the radio sounded wrong.
This parallel Earth was a dark shadow cast sideways off of this one, and to set it right, we needed to find out the exact event which caused the split. Too bad I woke up before we found it. Still, I can hear the plot bunnies grazing.

And one of the guys in the Harold Pinter play I'm digitizing sounds like William Shatner.
tysolna: (laughing cricket)
My place of work, the uni language lab, is open for one hour in the afternoon during August, for the foreign exchange students here during this month who want to use the lab to practice German or use the computers in some way. Since it's extra pay, I have agreed to be the one to open the lab, sit here for an hour, and offer help when needed.
Today, three exchange students showed up. The guy who talked to me really doesn't need to learn German, apart from an accent he's pretty much language perfect. But the accent sounded familiar, so I ask where the three are from.


We'll be speaking Czech from now on I suppose.


Aug. 8th, 2006 12:26 pm
tysolna: (wtf?)
There are few things so irritating than being at work, and having to work, cutting sound files, listening to the files, and generally being very focussed on what you're doing, and having a bored colleague sitting in the room who continually tries to engage you in conversation and, when that proves impossible, messing around the room being loud.
tysolna: (oh jo)
Back from the seminar, and a good one it was, too. The usual bell curve, though most could not only follow what I was saying, but actually went one or two steps ahead. That's what one likes in one's students. It was rather hot in class, though, and my throat hurts from the talking. But hey, it was fun!

England. Sorry, guys. :(

Now, for frozen cherries, what a treat, and that meme of yesterday night. After which, some old-school who. I'm in a Pertwee mood.


May. 4th, 2006 10:41 am
tysolna: (stack of books)
How strange is that... I'm at work again, that is, the work I had to do today is done and the tape is whirring away digitizing Coleridge, and I've used the net access not only to do some research, but also get a handful of free Tarot readings because it's spring and I felt like it.
And in three out of four readings, on different pages, the same card turns up in the "self"-position: the Nine of Swords. Coincidence?

It's brilliant sunshine out there today, and warm, and my brain feels like a dried-out sponge waiting for information it can soak up. The thought of books and libraries and my bookshelves at home makes me giddy. All that knowledge on the ledges! Read, read, read!

Oh, yeah, lest I forget: The gig on the 30th was very much OK. We played until we dropped, almost literally, because they didn't want to let us go - we started at nine, playing a set on the hour until two in the morning. Six sets. And we only have 25 songs, which means that the more party-oriented rocking ones were played three times at least. I agree with our bass player that it will be some time until I want to play those songs again, as much fun to play as they are.
I hope the recordings that were made last week on Thursday and Sunday are of good quality, because I promised a few people I'd send them copies. Fingers crossed!

Here's another coincidence for you: Today's featured article on Wikipedia is about the Albatross; the Coleridge playing at the moment is Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Ah, I love humans, always seeing patterns in things that aren't there.

PS: Would I be completely off my rocker to want to hear Coleridge read by Tom Baker or Brian Blessed?
tysolna: (face like me)
Lower Saxony, 2006. It was a rainy day, with only a few peeks of sunshine poking through the miserable grey clouds. The house was cold, as it was close to Easter and some clever guy had turned off the heating, supposing that no-one would be here in the afternoon except for a few struggling students. But here I was, sitting in the computer language lab bureau, alone except for the coffee on the table and some sugar-free chewing-gum in the top drawer for company.

My job was to digitize tapes. Old tapes that no-one had touched for years, if not decades. Old tapes with English Literature on them, poetry, drama, important stuff. But then, it happened. I reached the letter "C", after a lot of Auden and Austen, of Bronte and Beckett, of Byron and Blake, and there he was: Chandler.

Raymond Chandler.

Three novels, dramatized by the BBC, no less.

Now, reading this would be perfect stuff over the Easter holidays. However, as usual when I want to check something out of the Uni library which is either not High Literature or Really Important, it's in the magazine, which means it will only be there for pick-up the next day. And guess what the next day is? Correct: Good Friday. They're closed.
Good thing I still have my city library card. Off I go - wish me good hunting!
tysolna: (niiimooon)

I'm really not looking forward to work tomorrow; from the mails I am receiving, my colleagues are getting increasingly more frantic, and I can't abide frantic colleagues. Everything is more or less organized. Food will be there (I know this for a fact; I ordered it, after all). Drinks will be delivered to our doorstep. But the feelings of the boss usually translates to the workers, and I bet out boss is rather nervous. Understandably so, but I don't think he needs to worry much.


Never mind the weather. Out we go. Someone needs to get candyfloss.

Ahì me

Feb. 16th, 2006 04:50 pm
tysolna: (choochoo coffee)
At work again; digitizing and listening to a lecture held almost twenty years ago at this University about Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal". Utterly marvellous. The teacher from Hull just said, "Be careful. Never trust politicians or a lecturer". He's great, whoever he is.

I, on the other hand, am not great. At least, I don't feel great at the moment. I wish it was spring already, and I am glad February is such a short month (not least of all because then my salary arrives earlier; I do need the money; at the moment I don't even dare to look at my bank statements because the instant I do, the old familiar fear is back; but anyway).
I am dissatisfied with myself. I am slacking again, in many areas. I haven't finished a book for weeks, which considering I am a bookworm is telling in itself. I haven't written one word. I can't fall asleep at night and I can't wake up in the morning. I am not depressed, hooray for small favours, but I am annoyed and angry, both at the world and myself, which together with a surplus of nervous energy is contributing to a general feeling of "grARGH"-ness. If you know what I mean.

At least I am annoyed and angry enough to want to get off my ass and change something. Because I have the feeling that change is much needed. Or something to break open this shell of winter's sleep holding my mind.

Edit: While walking home after work, through the rain, and taking a shortcut across the old graveyard, I realized that what has pushed the "off"-button of my mind is the season, and that the "grARGH"-feeling is what birds, bees and trees experience when winter is almost over. Waking up and growing, that's what spring is for. It's not all bad, at that.
tysolna: (vampire squirrel)
Listening to Beckett while doing an inventarisation of software, not having seen a soul for the last three hours and being up since rather early this morning, or rather, early for me, because of the plumbers dropping in to put a new radiator into the kitchen as well as repairing three others for various reasons, anyway, when you're already in a slightly strange frame of mind, listening to Waiting for Godot does not help.

The kitchen thing is progressing apace. However, by now my other rooms, as well as my mum's, are a mess. I feel as if I'm moving. Now, if I could only get rid of all the stuff.

I've sadly not finished everything on my to do-list for January. A new one will appear here next Thursday. I have no room to read or write, let alone time and peace.

I need to contact someone, but lost email and apparently only have wrong snailmail. Bosskitty Rachel, if you read this, drop me a note please.

[livejournal.com profile] queuedub, you didn't get my email, did you?

[livejournal.com profile] manchester_red, I won't be able to reply before Saturday, I'm afraid.

[livejournal.com profile] xhirra, it's 1752, not 1852. Off by a mere hundred years. No worries, though. ;)

Still waiting to hear from the work application people.

Good things:
Went into a shop the other day and bought three sweaters. The shop's one I thought I would never find stuff in - Esprit. And a lot of reduced stuff, as well! Their trousers, though, are impossible.
It's Friday, and the Band will go to the pub tonight to meet with our ex-guitarist who's in town for the weekend. Fun!
Ten more minutes, and I can go home.
tysolna: (Mr Spock)
I'm at work again, digitizing old cassette tapes of English literature. There are some treasures here, radio interviews with authors, audio plays, and poetry, sometimes read by the authors themselves. It's a project for at least half a year, and it's worth it.
The tape in the player at the moment is of English poets - Auden, Yeats, Dylan Thomas, t.s. eliot - great to listen to, though it's like a very heavy banquet with no breaks to rest the mental stomach.
What makes me wonder is how differently the poetry is read, spoken, declaimed. Sometimes, it's with a tone of voice as if someone is telling me a story, or with a melody like normal speech. And sometimes, you can hear that whoever is talking is raising their voice, both in pitch and in volume, with very little variation in the melody, but a lot of pressure on the voice. I have to admit that those declamations are very difficult to listen to, or rather, difficult to draw meaning from. They are hypnotizing, but not gripping.
Now, it occurs to me that the latter way of oral presentation of poetry is somehow the traditional, classical, or perhaps the "learned" way of doing this. If that is so, then I am sure that generations of schoolchildren will have been turned off by, and from, poetry.
Am I correct about this? And if yes, why is it done like this?
tysolna: (Default)
A while ago, there was a snow chaos here, and I was teaching the HTML class. Out of eight paying people, four showed up.
Today, the second half of that HTML class took place. Last night, it snowed again, though not as much as a few weeks ago. For the class, out of four people, two show up.
Hey, I don't mind, those who didn't appear paid for the class all the same, and those four / two who were there got my full, undivided attention. And they were good, too. But it makes me wonder: When I next teach a class in spring, will it snow, and will only 50% of the people show up?

In other news: Uni's closed for winter holidays, all classes are taught, no more work until next year. Aren't you all envious now. I'm free! *cue maniacal laughter*


Nov. 16th, 2005 07:35 pm
tysolna: (Default)
Isn't it strange that, when you meet someone new, like a new colleague, and chat to him a little, getting to know the person you have to work with for the next year or so, that sooner or later he will, in casual conversation and while really making a remark about, say, Italian spiderman comics, mention his girlfriend?
That is usually the moment when I see the situation as if from the outside. "Aha", I think, "subtext alert! He's letting me know that he isn't available!"
Is this only happening to me? Am I giving off some sort of subliminal signal that I am not aware of? (Could be, who knows!) Or is this simply some sort of setting of boundaries?

Ah, humans... Such complicated beings... Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there.

And, since this fits so brilliantly, something gakked from [livejournal.com profile] waiwode:

Temptress Yielding Sensual Orgasms and Lustful, Naughty Affection


Sinister Unholy Scientist-Abducting Nightmare from the Ninth Earth


Nov. 1st, 2005 11:51 am
tysolna: (Default)
I'm at work at the moment, (ab)using the computer to update. What I am really doing is putting together a catalogue of the books we inherited from the old language lab, so that we know what we have and could even borrow them should someone be interested. For that, you need a sort-of database and numbers, of course, which is what I have volunteered to do.
So now I am sitting here, inputting titles and author names into the database, when I see a book on Colloquial English Pronunciation, by a Julian T. Pring.

T. Pring. T'Pring?
(If you can't remember where you've heard the name before, try googling for it.)

And I think my lunch / dinner today shall be pasta with gorgonzola sauce. Home-cooked Maccaroni and Cheese. ;-)
tysolna: (Default)
It's Sunday, it's raining, it's rather autumnal (fallish?), and I'm putting my feet up and either watching TV or listening to audiobooks, drinking tea and having a nicely relaxed day off after a busy week.

University is back in full swing, and we are swamped with people who keep getting younger every year, asking if I know the way around to some room or other. All the teachers are back by now, and getting fairly stressed out in no time at all. My prof, who I talked to briefly last Thursday and whom I will meet on Tuesday, mainly to fix her website, but also to talk over my PhD and perhaps even the possibility of a job, is ready for another holiday, since the classes she had planned for thirty to fourty people - which in itself is double the class size to what I was used to when I studied - are filled with sixty to eighty people, all of whom want to do a presentation or some such thing.


I found out firsthand something I always suspected. When people say, "Something's got to be done" or "Something needs to be done", what they mean is "Wouldn't it be nice if someone did this - but not me, of course".
Ever since I started my current job at the University, that of student assistant in a computer-based language lab, the room we call our office was in a mess. Mainly because we used to share this office with the people from the more traditional, tape-based language lab, and they resented us because we were the "new guys". That was before my time, but the sometimes decades-old remnants of the old language lab was still there: tapes, cassettes, books by the cartload, old documents and bills (and by old I mean from the 1970s onwards), as well as inches of dust. And every time someone said something, the consensus was that "something needs to be done".
So I sat down over the holidays and drafted a proposal, which was discussed and agreed upon in September. Taking matters in hand, I organized my colleagues, and we completely redecorated the office Friday and yesterday, cleaning things, throwing out what needed to be thrown out, up to and including cupboards and cabinets and a desk. I had also organized some energy food, and everyone was happy and actually having fun. One of the best moments was throwing trash out of the window - into the parking place where the big trash containers are. I never knew how hard it is to actually throw styrofoam packaging so it lands where it's supposed to, and not in the bushes, on my colleague, or sailing away with the wind.
I should have made before-and-after pictures of the office. It's unbelieveable how much space we have all of a sudden, and how clean everything is.
We now have a workspace that one can actually work in, and my bad conscience about all the hours I was in the office, surfing the net instead of doing something productive, is gone. Everyone is going to chip in to make things even more friendly, with posters on the walls and the occasional plant somewhere.

Now I am whiling away a rainy Sunday afternoon - the weather was golden yesterday, when I had to be indoors, as usual -, waiting for my Tandoori chicken to finish marinating.
tysolna: (Default)
I'm at the workplace, waiting for the girl at the photocopier to finish, so I can copy some stuff and get out of here to get myself my sorely needed second cup of coffee for the day. Next to me lie a baker's dozen of chestnuts, one of which fell on my head earlier. I don't know what I'll do with them, only they look so pretty I can't let them be run over. At the very least, they'll give our cat something to play with. Ah, autumn.

Over coffee, I will try to memorize the route I will be driving on Thursday. A combination of me having to work and mum wanting to have her car in the Czech Republic has changed our collective plan for the trip to celebrate mum's birthday: Mum and dad will start the trip early morning on Wednesday, while I'll head off after work on Thursday. They will return a week later, I will probably be here a day or two earlier.
The fun thing about this will be driving long stretches by myself, music on the car stereo, stopping when and where I want to stop. I admit I have a slight feeling of hesitation about this, but this should be a piece of cake to someone who's driven through London by herself, and through Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and Vancouver.

Next week Saturday, my band will be playing a gig, the first one with the new guitarist. One more reason I want to be back sooner, so I can practice some more. I'm slightly nervous about this gig, since we're far from perfect at the moment. I'm also annoyed by the bad timing, since the Nabucco premiere will be on the same day, and I was looking forward to seeing that. But, we have only the one gig, and Nabucco will be playing more often (though it looks to be an... interesting production, from what I hear).

Ah, the photocopier girl is done. That's me off, then.


tysolna: (Default)

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