Thursday, February 19, 2004

Move 'Spam'. For great justice.

Seven and a half months.
That's how long I successfully kept my favourite e-mail account spam-free.
For seven and a half months.
Until today.
What happened? I wondered. What did I do in the last few days that might have made me a target? To whom did I give my address?
And then it dawned on me:



I checked Google, and there it was, in plain view, for the whole world to see.
One lousy post to one lousy newsgroup, and somebody set up me the bomb.

On a less dark note, at least Yahoo has been able to identify the spam as such, and has duly sequestered it to the Bulk Mail folder, where I can more easily deal with it. I can't ignore it, however, since the four spam mails I got today ate up about a fifth of my storage limit, and would have remained there for 30 days if I hadn't deleted them and emptied my trash folder.

In other news, I'm in the market for a laptop, if I go to Japan. I'll bide my time, and spend the next three months researching... unless Japan doesn't want me, in which case my research will terminate in a month and a half, probably resulting in no laptop purchase.

Checking out Dell's website today, I was trying to figure out what my monthly payments would be, and how many would be required, were I to buy one of their laptops on credit. I tried to go as far through the purchase process as I could without actually buying one. They wanted to know if the computer will be exported out of the US. Well, yes, I said, it will be. So they had some additional questions for me, including:

Will the product(s) be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nuclear applications, missile technology, or chemical or biological weapons purposes?
  • Yes

  • No

As Sol put it, if you're into creating weapons of mass destruction, you probably have no scruples preventing you from lying about it.

What else was there I wanted to say? Oh yeah, my interview in NYC went well enough, considering I ended up with only two hours of sleep beforehand.

Killed the morning and the early part of the afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History. Saw some nice dinosaurs. Was unimpressed by the astronomy exhibit, but maybe that's just because it didn't teach me anything new... and because some of the interactive displays didn't work very well at all. Could have spent extra to see "The Search for Life: Are We Alone?" but decided against it, since I knew it would just be a whole bunch of information culimating in, "We don't know!" Spent $13.63 on lunch for a sandwich ($7!), an admittedly tasty tapiocapudding/grahamcracker/mandarinorange/ whippedcream/rainbowsprinkle concoction, and a fountain soda. But I was simply too exhausted to find my own dining arrangements.

Walked across town to the Consulate General's office, at 299 Park Avenue, a path that took me across Central Park where everyone and her boyfriend were taking horsedrawn carriage rides, so much of the park smelt of poo. Thought the interview was the best part of the day: the interviewers were friendly and unintimidating, none of the questions really stumped me, though I could have answered a couple better than I did, and I left feeling pretty good, in a "mission accomplished" sort of way.

Tried to get back to the airport before my feet turned into knobs of pain, which was an adventure. Bought a thick spiral-bound atlas of all the boroughs of NYC, and discovered that it contained a subway map of only Manhattan. Hopped on a train anyway, and eventually figured out where I was, and how to get back to JFK, with the help of some friendly New Yorkers (they do exist). Bought some gummi worms at the airport (which reminds me, I still have gummi worms!) and played GameBoy until my flight left.

I had that other interview at SUNY Upstate yesterday. I'd talked with Dad about the possibility of being offered a job there, and what I should do in light of the Japan thing. He said definitely not to take the job only to leave four months later: I'd end up blacklisted. Though I don't know how widely such a blacklist would circulate, I agreed with him that it would be a lousy thing to do.

When I went to the interview I discovered just how lousy it would be: Dr. Olson has only been at Upstate for six weeks; he's just getting his lab started, and hasn't yet hired a soul. So when he asked what my time frame was, how soon I might be able to start, I did what I found most conscionable: I told him about Japan, and said I wouldn't find out for another month and a half. He seemed to understand. He said that he was looking for someone to start sooner than that, and in any case he'd prefer that his first hire have a biology background, so he wouldn't have to do so much training right at first. But he's applied for some sort of grant that would allow him to hire a technician/data analyst, a position he thinks would better fit my experience. He'll find out about the grant in a couple of weeks, and if he gets it the money won't start coming in for another couple of months after that. He told me to keep in touch, and if Japan doesn't work out, then he might be able to hire me for this other position where, he said, I could gradually branch out into the more biological work his lab would do.

So hey, that interview went well, too. And that's a nice feeling, considering my very first real job interview at Bristol-Myers Squibb left me wondering why my temp agency had sent me there:

Have you had any chemistry lab experience?
Any biology lab experience?
Any biochemistry lab experience?
What was the last lab course you took?
Experimental Physics II.
What kinds of experiments did you do there?
Radioactive isotopes, gravitational constant....
So nothing related to biology or chemistry?
Lord have mercy.

At least they were kind enough to tell me, four weeks later, that they weren't going to hire me. I still haven't heard back about my second job interview, also at BMS, which took place in October. It was then that I realized Adecco was about as useful to me as a penis enlargement e-mail.

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