Wednesday, April 26, 2006


So, most of the people in the company that I'm temping for are away at some big meeting today. Most of the rest of the people are either in the other office (two floors down) or away elsewhere. For most of today, it's been just me and TempBoss....but an hour or so ago, he went home to work from now it's just me. These people are very trusting. Fortunately someone showed me how to have the door lock behind me a few days ago.

Oh, and yesterday TempBoss asked me how much I'd make if I were to get a "real" job since they've discovered how useful it would be to have "someone like [me]" here.

My brain is slightly less fluffy today, but it's still hard to do the one very boring task someone left for me.

It's also hard knowing that ABC hates me and is showing this by showing the last episodes of Alias on Wednesday nights when I can't watch them. Bah.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Limit as Time Approaches Infinity of Leia Temping

So I think I've discovered the limit of my ability to handle temping. It's approximately one month. It was torture to get out of bed this morning and come in, and it's been like pulling teeth to get myself to do the work that I actually have to do.

I'm pretty sure that my TempBoss just isn't going to hire anyone until I find a "real" job because he likes me so it's not like there's even any hope of the work changing any time soon. My database is still growing....I'm still filing things....I'm fiddling with Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations....and my brain is slowly turning into mush.

Maybe the nice spring weather outside isn't helping....although going outside isn't what I'm craving right now....I literally begged the other night to be the scorekeeper in our card game, just so I could do some math. I don't know why, but math always settles me.

I remember a time in Baghdad when some of my army friends were literally within hours of going home when some heavy fighting broke out in their area. Not only was I pretty sure that my friends were in the thick of things on the US side (and that it would delay their return home), I was also pretty sure that I had probably interacted with (and might have known) some of the folks on the other side in my travels as well (this was a poorer part of town in which we'd given out food and water at various times). As I sat in someone's living room waiting for a meeting to start, I happened across their teenaged son's Algebra book. I opened it up and started doing Algebra. It was very calming. Math is just so......sure....and constant. I mean, sure there are times when there is more than one "right" answer, and things can get pretty crazy if you're talking hard-core math like math grad students do.....but when you're just talking about your standard Algebra, Trig, Gemoetry, Calc, DiffEq.....well....1+1 will always equal 2. That's very nice.

I don't know what that has to do with my brain being fried from temping. Maybe math is just my "happy place."

Draw your own religious parallels here. My brain is too mushy.

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston pie..... (read your Winnie the Pooh and you'll know what I'm singing)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Secret is Out

So, it's not like I was trying to keep it quiet or anything, but I was doing my standard "I'll only tell you what my major was if you ask me specifically," so that I could avoid the "wow, you must be really smart" kinds of comments and glazed-over eyes. I did that a lot in college at social gatherings (that weren't initiated by my geek friends), and a whole lot after college as a youth chaperone at my church, but I guess I've been somewhat insulated since then. It helped that I was either working at church (where it wasn't amazing anymore) or going to class (where everyone was a "rocket scientist) or staying home (where the cat really doesn't care one way or the other as long as I feed, water, and pet her and occasionally clean out her litter). everyone at my TempOffice knows, and those that hadn't been in the lunch room when it was discussed previously are now being told by those who were, to the point that when they walk by, certain people ask the other people if they knew that I'm a) a rocket scientist, and b) that I own land on the Moon (oh, go buy your own, you know you think it's cool). It's been the primary topic of conversation for the past couple of days.

While I've always thought it was cool to be a "rocket scientist"....I also take offense at the kind of "circus freak" mentality that seems to surround us. Now, the people at my TempOffice are smart people. They play with VERY large amounts of money (and take home very large amounts of money). They do things with money and the stock market and futures and stuff like that that I couldn't even fathom. But they still look at me like I'm a freak.

Granted, part of it is that you don't expect anyone with an MS in anything to be the TempReceptionist/Executive Assistant at your office, and especially a "rocket scientist," but still......I am not an animal! :) I don't have horns or a tail or any other physical feature that makes me significantly different from other people. I have relatively normal social skills. I have relatively normal interests (yes I do.....shut up!). I just happen to also have different degrees than most other people.

But guess what? So does everyone else!

Rocket scientists are people too!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Interesting Concept

I just received an email forward from one of my friends who always forwards everything she gets to everyone she knows. Usually, I read them and delete them, but this one included an interesting concept (in addition to the standard "look what we can do" portion).

Gas prices are going up this summer. We've all heard it, we all dread it, and there's very little we can do to reduce the amount of gas we need (without paying out the wazoo in lack of convenience). So, this particular forward suggests that everyone stop buying anything affiliated with one gas brand in particular. You can continue to buy from other sellers (and thereby continue on your merry way), but if no one buys from this one company, then they will be forced to reduce their prices (theoretically). Once their prices start to drop, theoretically, the others will follow suit. We're supposed to continue with this boycott until the prices are back around $1.30.

My issues with the idea are the following:

  1. It seems to choose one company as the "losing" company without any particular reason behind it. I mean, if the originator chose this oil company because of unfair practices or pollution or whatever, then it would make a little sense, but the company was chosen, seemingly at random (at least, they didn't share their reasoning).
  2. While I'm not a big fan of the prices now, and while I'm sure the oil companies could take losses for several years without really feeling it, the price of a barrel of oil has almost doubled in the past year or so...the prices have done approximately the same. Gas prices have not quadrupled while oil has only doubled. They are passing on to their consumers an increase in price which is mostly proportional to the increase in their costs. So, while I don't like paying almost $3/gallon, I don't think it's "unfair," per se....I think it's capitalism....and I'm not really one to knock that.

But it's still an interesting idea. So, if you'd like to participate, then boycott all Exxon/Mobil products until gas prices reach $1.30 (or whatever is acceptable to you). This doesn't really affect me one way or the other since VNB and I have Shell gas cards which give us a discount if we buy from Shell (so we buy from them pretty exclusively)....but maybe it does you. And it's an interesting concept.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Shorn Sheep

So I did something last night that has been a long time coming. That's right, folks....I cut my hair. Well, actually, some woman in Columbia Mall cut my hair, but that's just semantics. She cut off probably a good foot prior to the actual cut/style, so I've got another long swag of hair to go into my collection. One of these days I'll actually have enough to make a thick wig, but I think it'll take a few more croppings before that could happen. She did a really nice job and was very sweet about making sure of what I wanted before doing any cutting. It ended up as a very nice slightly shorter version of the famed "Jennifer Aniston" 'do. My main comment at this time is that it's very bouncy.

And for those of you who knew the "story" behind my hair....well....that's a lesson I think I've learned (so I don't need the constant reminder anymore) and really, my hair was just in pretty bad shape. In order for it to be really healthy, I would have needed to cut 6-8 inches off of it anyway, so this really isn't that much more. And this way, the next time it grows out, it'll be all nice and healthy again! :)

Why now, you ask....well...VNB's been curious about what I'd look like with short hair....and we're finally past all wedding-related parties, so I don't need long hair anymore for a wedding up-do.

Anyway, just thought I'd share about my new 'do. So far it's been a hit. All the ladies (except one) and one guy in my TempOffice have commented positively, and VNB absolutely loves it (which is really all that matters...well, other than my own opinion, but I haven't been able to get much past "mmmm....bouncy" yet).

Hopefully it won't be too much of a distraction (to me or anyone else) on Sunday morning when I do some last minute fill-in singing.

mmm....bouncy..... :)

Thursday, April 06, 2006


So when I was in like the 3rd grade, the coolest thing in the world was this little turle called "Logo." He stayed still unless you told him to move, then moved in a straight line until you told him to turn. Using simple commands, it was possible to have Logo "draw" Spirograph kinds of pictures on a computer screen. Logo was one of my first loves (after Buck Rogers, of course - he still kicks butt).

At some point in time, my parents when to one of those "resort" presentations where they give you free stuff if you'll sit through their 90-minute schpeil. One of their free gifts was an Aquarius "computer." It was basically a keyboard that you hooked up to your TV. You could type in an entire program, then say "run" and the program would run. Basically it was Logo on very weak steroids. That was cool too. I tried all of their sample programs several times over, even the one that was for "Concentric Circles" that never worked. That one was several pages of text. And that was really cool to me.

When I was in middle school, one of our art projects was to create a picture by commanding the pixels on the computer screen to change to a certain color. That was the coolest art project I ever remember doing (actually, it's the only art project I actually remember doing). Aside - Why is it that I remember all of our Home Ec. projects, but only that one art project? Anyway...

In high school, I went to a month-long science summer camp (what? it was cool!) and "learned" a semester of college-level FORTRAN during that month. I don't remember what the programs were that we wrote, but I do remember that there was a guy there with my same initials (everything coming out of the VAX machines we were working on started with a big page of your initials and last four digits of your SSN so that you'd know who's was who's) and the joy of getting a program to do what you wanted it to do.

But somehow, by the time I got into college, I knew I didn't want to code. Word processing was fine (even back in the day when there was no GUI associated with WordPerfect - I amazed my dad with my WP skills in high school). Maybe it was because my family didn't get a computer until I was away at college (and then it was a Mac - at my suggestion, but still a Mac - which wasn't exactly known for the average coder's use at that time). I didn't get my own computer until several years after I finished college. Maybe I would have been more into it had I had more access to computers as a child.

I got through all the Mathematica and Matlab stuff I had to do in college, but I cringed all the way through those assignments (and relied heavily on my friends and classmates).

So why is it that in my spare time one Christmas break, I taught myself "C?" I still haven't figured that out. I think I was just very bored at work (this was during college).

Maybe that's the key because, being very bored at work today, I'm teaching myself Visual Basic. I figure that once I'm gone, the actual Executive Assistant will need to keep using this contact database that I've developed, so I should put in nice things like search and data entry forms. So I'm figuring out how to do that. Might as well learn something useful while I'm here, huh?

I'm Flattered?

So TempBoss (who is back today, thankfully) just said, "Are you sure you don't want to be an Executive Assistant full time? You're so good!"

I think the "deer in the headlights" look that I gave back to him wigged him out a little. There are people in this world who would absolutely love this job, and more power to them - we couldn't get along without them. I may be able to do it well, but I am very certainly not one of those people.

I mean, the lunches are nice and all.....but my brain turns to mush stomach drops just thinking of it.

So, thank you to the people of the world who like doing things that I don't like to do. You keep the world running. I'm flattered that I could be counted among your ranks.....but this job is so very much not for me.....

Unless they paid me like $1,000,000/year. Then I might be able to handle the mental mush.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bored, nothing to do...

So the guy I'm temping for told me on Monday that he was going to NY yesterday. He had to leave early to go to a dinner, but then he was going to come back to sort some files that he wanted me to make a spreadsheet of (the files were companies that he wanted sorted into three different types, then he wanted each company listed with its stock ticker symbol). Well...he didn't sort them and wasn't here yesterday and I had nothing else to do, so I started on sorting and cataloging them myself. Well....he wasn't here again today, so I finished up that project (and a few other little things that other people asked me to do)....and here I am, 25 minutes to go, and absolutely nothing left to do.

I really hope he comes back tomorrow because the only other thing I can think of is to list the stock exchange(s) each of the companies is listed on....and that would be really boring, and, I'm guessing, pretty useless.

In better news, I had an interview on Monday. That's a government job that requires clearance, so it would be 6-9 months (or more - that's just the average time) before that could possibly start. But I've also got an interview this coming Monday. It's at a place in Elkton which is like an hour and a half from my house, but it sounds like it'd be really cool work. Then I got emailed the other day by another company who wants me to come in for an interview. That would entail working in either Aberdeen or Alexandria (MD and VA, not Scotland and Egypt), which would be about an hour from my house. It would be pretty cool work too - the Aberdeen/Alexandria job would be testing products that the Army wants to procure to see how they match up to their specs and to each other. But the Elkton job would be systems engineering with aerospace applications, which would be optimal....except for the 3-hour+/day commute.

But three interviews is better than no interviews, even if the jobs aren't exactly next-door!

Anyway....18 minutes to go.....

Take THAT, Dukies!

Woohoo! Go Lady Terps! National Champs!!