(Dude, fuck! as certain DUs would say)
How did a one week vacation from dissertating suddenly turn into a month! Ok, so I've been organizing my thoughts on my third problem, but I've been pretty half-assed about it. And I finalized my slides for Ireland (an early deadline to be eligible for a student paper award), and that's related to my dissertation, but it's not forward progress.
Completed - Overclocked. Every nerd should go out and buy this collection of short stories, right now. The second and third stories (When Sysadmins Ruled the World and Anda's Game) are brilliant, and actually, a bit touching. The fourth is quite good too (I Robot - he intentionally re-uses well known SF titles for his stories, because titles can't be copyrighted. and he's making a point about Ray Bradbury. this is all in the author notes between stories). Between the three they make the investment worth it, overcoming the meta-mess that I found the fourth story to be (I Row-Boat). The last one is ok (After the Siege). Or, make no investment, and download it here.
Started - The Last Templar. Pure popcorn - dorky conspiracy theories, religion vs. science, heavy-handed romance, dramatic murders, writing on par with the Da Vinci Code (read: bad). A rollicking good time.
I'm in between apartments. Or rather, I'm still in my 'old' apartment and waiting to hear from my new landlady that her handyman is finished up and I can move into my 'new' apartment. Meanwhile my roommate has moved out, so I am couch-less and low on dishes. Her sister is bunking with me for June and July, which is convenient for both of us, but this week of limbo is highly inconvenient for her since she started work last week and currently has a bed in neither apartment (or, rather, she has a bed, in pieces, in the basement of this apartment. but who wants to carry a bed up two flights of stairs and put it together for a few days, then dismantle it, carry it back down two flights of stairs, then back up two flights, and back together for two months?).
The tenants who recently vacated my 'new' apartment passed along a disturbing story about my new landlady's handyman. Apparently, one of them swears she saw him drunk and begging for money on the subway, some time in the past year or two (she didn't specify the time frame, but it happened while they were living there and knew him as their handyman). They also suspect that he sometimes showed up for work on their place a little drunk. Now, of course, this is sad, and if he is an alcoholic and/or has other problems I'm sympathetic. And it's good that he has semi-steady work from my landlady (and he seems to do a reasonable job). But he also has keys to the apartment. Am I being unreasonable/paranoid? Doesn't it sound like someone who ends up drunk, begging for money on the subway might one day decide to use his easy access to my apartment as a way to make a few extra bucks? The previous tenants never implied that they worried about him having access to their place, and he has been working for my new landlady for at least a couple of years, so that bodes well...I don't want to get him fired, but I sort of want to ask my landlady to get someone else to change the locks, and not provide him with his own key. Is that unreasonable?
I have no idea what to get my Dad. Usually he's the easy one to buy for, as we're practically the same person, but I just haven't been inspired by anything lately. And I feel like at this point anything I buy will just be an obligation gift, and I hate that. Plus, Mom and Dad are trying to reduce their amount of 'things,' so I've been trying to buy them things that get used up and go away (Mom has been getting rotating gifts of soap, tea, and flowers). Dad drinks tea, but really isn't into 'frou-frou' types that make a nice present. He's not a flowers type of guy, and any scented hygiene products make him sneeze. I was going to order him a couple bottles of wine, but Mom mentioned in passing yesterday that they've got 10 bottles or so hanging out in the basement. So...I'm rapidly running out of ideas. He's hippy and progressive, like me, so I guess I could just make a donation somewhere in his name...just thinking out loud here.