Saturday, June 16, 2007

a long long road

I was doing some work on my proposal today and I realised that the somewhat 'leisurely (i.e. I can do it mostly alone if need be and manage everything) pace I was planning on for my proposal was a bit... awful becasue it'll require about 5 years of field work, not counting all the analysing and writing up time. So now I'm trying to squeeze more than one project into each field session. It's mostly doable, mainly because the nature of a lot of my work is lab-based. I'll probably do it AT the field site because test-subjects are in plentiful supply and I don't need more permits that way. So if I do the actual field work component, while running experiments in the 'lab' might just be able to do the entire degree in the expected 4 years. The problem is I FINALLY saw the point of my whole study as well as figuring out exactly why it is as original as I need to make it really cool. But to do it in that way means cutting out a few sections that I really really want to do. So it looks like my rationale needs broadening once again.

I worked today. As it happened I had to switch shifts to make my boss's life easier and ended up not workingwith LAra, which is really sad because it means I'll never work with her again. She decided now to insist on working my last shift with me. We're going to have an awesome party behing the counter in 2 weeks, including balloons and party hats and making a lot of noise. We'll probably even do a screening of Kung Pow just for old time's sake!

Which makes me sad. A part of me can't wait to leave. I've been working weekends since I started university, so basically I haven't had a weekend for almost 5 years, and the the thought of being able to wake up on a saturday and not have any commitments is amazing! But I'll also miss the weird customers and the crazy jokes and all the fun we have. And the money of course, but I'm not too fussed about that. It means I might not always have spending money, but I think that that won't really be a priority once I'm staying in the bundu with my lizards for a chunk of every year. And my petrol will be paid for then which cuts a nice chunk out of my budget!

Anyway that's about it. My supervisor went off on holiday for a week on the spur-of-the-moment, which annoyed me. I'm thinking seriously about asking someone to cosupervise me. I know the perfect person, who is already helping me a lot, and if he says no I have someone else who is helping me a whole lot, so there shouldn't be a problem getting someone to agree. The only thing is getting my supervisor to think it was his idea. I think it's doable, but I'll have to see.

So that's what's going on here at the moment. I'm going to go and get some sleep now. I've worked hard today and I think I deserve it!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

another week ... GONE!

Time is slipping away scarily fast right now. I can hardly believe it's June already! Next month is the third year fieldttrip, thes tart of my actual project and my first conference. I shouldn't get so freaked out about the conference, it should be relatively small and I was supposed to present last year but decided to go to the desert instead!

So last week I decided that it was time to get my butt in gear and get to work properly. I submitted my abstract, my animal ethics and got my proposal in some kind of shape so I can actuallty work with it instead of pulling my hair out and crying whenever I thought about it!

Then early on Saturday morning Luke and I left to deliver a car and some equipment to Ben, a friend who is working on owls in the kalahari. It was a totally unforgettable weekend! First we got lost. I was looking for a turnoff that I'd been warned was rather small and hard to see. We went past a sign that I thought said we were 30km frmo the end of the road. Turns out we were actually 50km. So we turned around and drove back, realised that we were ketting a little bit too close to the town we'd just passed through and turned around again. As it happened, we had been 4km from the turnoff when we'd turned around the first time! The worst part was that there was a donkey-cart with people in it that we had to pass 3 times!

Molopo, the reserve Ben is working in is really amazingly beautiful! I've been to the kalahari before, but it had been a bit of a disappointment, but this was incredible! There was nothing except for a few trees and soft soft sand. Occasionally a tuft or two of grass, but it was real desert! Tswalu, where we went before had had a lot of rain that year and was really densely vegetated and I'd been really sad that I'd missed the sandy desert I've always wanted to see!

We'd been warned that it would be really cold at night and had packed accordingly (Luke even made me get a hot water bottle...) but it was actually perfect weather. We had so much fun, the conversation never died down, we laughed almost non-stop and we both got to hold the cutest little owls! They were so well behaved and never mauled us (unlike my pet birds...). We had gemsbok fighting around our camp, tree rats (we never saw them, but heard many stories, and saw a dead one) and ground squirrels stealing socks and there was sand everywhere. It was AWESOME!

I also ate enough meat to last me until about August, but it was all really nice. Luke also blew up some gemsquash, so one evening we had these little yellow strands of vegetable matter flying everywhere!

It was really hard to go home on Monday, and Wits has been really horrible and cold and entirely non-desertish, which is never fun. taht's the problem with Joburg. I love it and it'll always be home, but every time I go away it's harder to come back! I'm also starting to get excited about my fieldwork. Just because it'll be nice to get away for a while and do something other than sit behind a computer trying to think scientific thoughts!

Friday, June 01, 2007

I got tagged :)

I tag Sarah, Jeff, Angela, Meva and... Kymmy!

Here goes:
First Add a direct link to you below the name of the person who tagged you!
Include the city (or state) and the country you live in (a great way to score links and find new reads).

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
Velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
Tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [Ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Bubs (Mt Prospect, Illinois, USA)
Jintrinsique (Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA)
Dino Aka Katy (Newport News, Virginia, USA)
Angel (Gauteng, South Africa)
Tom Cat (Joburg, South Africa)
Mangaliso (Joburg, South Africa)
Helen (Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa)

Second: List your 5 top eateries where you live!

1. Thai Cafe in Paulshof. There's also a branch in Dainfern, but I haven't been there. It's next door to where I've been working for the last 3 or so years and they make
INCREDIBLE peanut butter curry! It's also run by a Thai woman who brings all her staff out from Thailand and all the decorations and everything is authentic and really beautiful. Some evenings they do traditional dancing as well, usually if there's a big function.

2. Angelo's in Bryanston. I'm not usually a fan of sitting outside on benches while I eat so I can look 'cool' like all the rich people who think it's fun, so I'd advise getting takeout and going somewhere nice that has couches... but they make really really nice lamb, chili and roasted vegetable pizza. It's not on the menu anymore, you have to ask for it, but it's awesome!

3. Radha's in Melville. It's a tiny little place that only sells vegan indian food. It's really cheap (R30 for a HUGE tub of all these weird and really nice dishes) and it's run by a really friendly guy who's name isn't Abdul. We just call him that.

4. Primi at Melrose Arch. I know some people don't like it, and it does get really noisy from the whole 'ware-house' design, but if you ask you can go upstairs and there's all these couches and it's really nice. Their food is expensive but really good and usually enough to split with someone. Last time I had some of Laura's gnocchi and it was really good! They also have teapots, which is always fun!

5. Mythos in design quarter. It's really not too great because it's squished in between a primi and somewhere else nice that I've forgotten. The only reason I'm posting about them is that as a starter you can order pita bread with humus dip. And it's really really good!

Third tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.(see above)