Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Maligayang Pasko!

This is our parol. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not enough hours in the day

Well I've been home 1 month now. I'm still unemployed :( but I've got an interview at Digene tomorrow from 1-4pm. A 3 hour interview with a number of people (eek!). It's a little last minute because I only heard back from the company on Monday and couldn't get a definite interview time until 5pm today. So I'm a little nervous, but I'll just let them know what I know and hopefully they want what I got. Because they got something I want: money
I was mistaken in my last post though. While Digene is the manufacturer of the HPV test, they are not the ones who do that "I didn't know HPV causes cervical cancer/tell-someone.com" commerical. That would be Merck, which has the HPV vaccine that is recommended for girls and young women 9-26 y/o. There is another HPV commerical that is from Digene, that has a big orange circle logo that says "HPV test, ask your doctor, tell your friends". HPV is getting a lot of media these days. Too bad it's not singable as 'herpes' like in Stephen Lynch's "Love Song".

So yeah, despite being unemployed there don't seem to be enough hours in the day. It's probably just the holiday effect.
Sunday my parents and I bought a Christmas tree. We also went grocery shopping for regular stuff and ingredients for Christmas cookies. That evening I made three different kinds of cookies.

Cookie #1: tried and true Jam Thumbprint cookies. Recipe by Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa.
They are super-buttery shortbread rolled in coconut flake topped with a dollop of strawberry jam. I mistakenly picked up seedless jam so it was kind of runny. And of course I always put twice as much jam as the recipe calls for.
I also used apricot jam.

Cookie #2: Tastes Like Fruitcake Cookies from the Food Network's Cookie special. It was a viewer submission. My mom saw it and requested I make them. It consists of yellow cake mix and assorted dried fruits and walnuts (instead of the candied fruit and three different kinds of nuts).

The recipe reviews weren't great, just 2/5 stars, mostly because the reviewers thought there must be a typo in the amount of butter flavored shortening and the cookies would end up greasy and flat. Knowing this, I cut the amount of shortening in half. And it didn't seem like the recipe would make many cookies, so I doubled the dough part of the recipe without doubling the fruit and nuts. Who wants that many fruits and nuts anyway? But the first batch came out flat and greasy despite the shortening reduction. So I added more cake mix and chilled the dough. You can see the difference here (flat cookie in the foreground):

Cookie #3: Ultimate Oatmeal cookies with bittersweet chocolate chunks, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts. This was a Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen recipe. They promised the perfect oatmeal cookie that wasn't overloaded with crap and crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle (dark brown sugar being the crucial ingredient). I love this cookie. So does my mom :)

The recipe makes 16 cookies so they come out as big as saucers, I guess. *sigh* I love Cooks Ilustrated, even if they are ridiculously anal retentive.

Monday I accompanied my mom to Prince George's Hospital for her interview. Then we went Christmas shopping for little present for the people she works for at the nursing home.

Tuesday I wrote KSA (knowledge, skills, abilities) narratives for my NIH application for a job doing mouse work and dissecting skeletal muscle. Cross yer fingers and yer toes. I felt a lot better about writing these dumb federal job essays after I found a really helpful PDF from a workshop for writing KSAs. A vague KSA like, "[What is your] knowledge of scientific principles and theories?" totally threw me off. I mean, how do you possibly answer that? Do you really want me to tell you everything I know about science? But then I learned it's just basically asking you, "What science courses have you taken?" There are usually 4 KSAs and each should be about a page long with examples, so that took a while to do.

Today I ran some errands, looked over my Sallie Mae loans so that I could figure out how to go about deferring them (am I eligible for unemployment? is On Assignment Lab support an employment agency, and not a temp agency?), and picked up Goo at BWI, which is about an hour each way.

I still have to finalize the invitation for Alexis' birthay party on January 20th and contact all the inviteeeeees AND make some jewelry before the end of the week!!! IN ADDITION to running errands tomorrow AND going to my THREE hour interview at Digene. Apparently they have a lot of applicants so cross your fingers and your toes and your arms and your legs and your eyes and wish me luck. A job would be an awesome Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It's been a while since I've posted. I've been pretty busy for an unemployed person.

Trying to find a job is a job in and of itself.

I had to slow down an think about that idiom. All I could hear in my head was "in an oven self".

So anyways, my first priority has been trying to find a job. I have put in applications at a handful of places: Quest Diagnostics, NIH, Digene, and some other companies I found on Monster. I also am officially an employee of On Assignment Lab Support, which is basically a recruitment office for lab contract jobs, mostly in industry. So I'm waiting to hear from them.

The job at Quest was in their cytogenetics lab in Chantilly, VA. It's something I'd really like to do in the future, but unfortunately now was not the time.

NIH has crazy-involved job applications that include essays, like school applications. So those have been taking a lot more time. Of course I would LOVE a job at NIH, so I'm crossing my fingers hard for a job there. Unfortunately, the jobs that I am applying for are mouse related, so I wouldn't be able to have pet mice at home. Oh well.

The job opening at Digene was found by my mom in the Washington Post's Health and Science section. Digene is a molecular diagnostics company that developed the HPV cervical cancer test that is being promoted by all of those new "I didn't know I could get cancer from a virus" commericals. I really hate those commercials because it makes me mad that women don't know that the virus that gives you genital warts can give you cervical cancer. It's just something you should know if you're gonna engage in sexual activity. Same with the people who say, "I didn't know cold sores were caused by HERPES." The same herpes that causes brain damage, blindness, and death in newborns. And you can't get rid of it, EVER. Don't tell me herpes isn't a big deal because up to 75% of the people in the U.S. have it. That's just nasty and there are too many uninformed people!!!! Grr.


I also considered working retail for the meantime. I went to the mall and got applications and filled them out and got all ready to turn them in. But then I got calls from Quest (which ultimately led to nothing) and On Assignment and I spend all my free time applying to real jobs. So since I hate people, especially during the holidays, and I don't have to pay rent or nothin, I decided to put off the retail job until I'm insanely desperate. True, it means no cash for the holidays, but I was planning on making presents anyways. This Christmas is rather dry for the whole family anyway, so it's basically no pressure and I like that a lot.

I hope to get a job soon, because well, I like money. And for two, I will be able to concentrate on other things like writing a thesis. And fun stuff like making jewelry and making friends and exploring a city I've called home but really have no idea how to get around.

I have also moved my bedroom from upstairs to downstairs. I had to get a space heater because it is FREAKIN FREEEZIN down here. But, since I got the heater, I gots the coziest room in the house. And hopefully I will get to repainting the room before it gets cold again. Daytime highs lately have been 55-60degF and I need to have the windows open.

Last weekend my Pa and I put up some Christmas lights. We plan on putting up more this weekend as well as getting the tree and hanging the parol.

Also this weekend I need to make Christmas presents.

So, until I post again, wish me luck.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Aww, is that a man-embrace at the end? Almost. Check out the Guy Love video.