Friday, October 21, 2005


Yesterday I decided to be brave and upgraded my SUSE 9.3 to the new 10.0.
I had read all sorts of differing opinions and was a bit scared that I might mess everything up and have to reinstall from scratch. Happily this didn't happen, and except for a few dependency issues which I sorted out to the best of my abilities, it went rather smoothly.
Sure, I had to reinstall Thunderbird, xine and a couple of other things, but that wasn't too bad.
The reason I wanted to upgrade (well, one of the reasons) was to see if the new version with the new kernel would help my sound card work. It didn't...
In other new and exciting computing news, I just figured out that I can use the Ctrl+L feature to push citations from JabRef to Kile! Yay!

Reading through this post, I suddenly had this feeling of being a total pathetic geek. This is what gets me excited?? Oy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Surprise -- VSU!

How long has it been since everyone started talking about VSU? Quite some time! But now Australian Unis are saying that it's too quick, too surprising, they didn't have enough time to prepare! Oh well, they'll just have to force the students to pay fees even if it's against the law.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What a difference two years can make

We celebrated my son's second birthday this weekend. All weekend long I kept thinking, what was I doing 2 years ago? Two years ago I was hugely pregnant... two years ago I went into labour... two years ago I was still in labour... two years ago I was still in labour... two years ago my son was finally yanked out of my belly by two surgeons. Two years ago I heard my son crying for the first time, and held him in my arms. Two years ago I looked at him as he was sleeping, and in the morning we watched his first sunrise together from the hospital room.
He was so excited by the party and the presents that he couldn't fall asleep that night. I sat by his bed and stroked his hair as he fell asleep, and he suddenly looked to me just like he did on that first night in the hospital, when he was only a few hours old. In two years, he learned how to walk, run, talk, jump, do puzzles, feed himself, go to the potty, feed the ducks. He's turned into quite a vivacious, loving, wonderful little boy. But I suspect he will always be my baby...

Career, kids, and life in general

One of the things I love most about working at a university is the opportunity to attend courses, seminars and training programs. Last week I attended a 2-day seminar that was meant to encourage women to seek executive positions at the university. While there are more women than men in the undergraduate, graduate, and lower level academic staff levels, when it comes to the top jobs women are still under-represented, and the university is actively trying to change that.
Well, seeing as I only started my career here a couple of months ago, I'm still rather far from any executive job, however the seminar was very useful in several ways. First, it got me thinking about my career in the long-term, rather than focusing on the next few years like I had been doing. Second, it gave me the opportunity to meet and listen and talk to women who are older than me and more advanced in their careers, and to learn from their experiences. Finally, it was great to meet other women academics and network. And the food was good too.
I was quite stressed specifically about the next couple of years. Now I'm a bit less stressed, but still. It's the same old dilemma that so many other women face: how do you raise kids and also advance your career at the same time? We really want to have another child. I really want to succeed in my new job because I see it at the base of my future career, and also because it's so interesting and I'd love to spend time doing this research. The problem is, there aren't enough hours in the day! As it is, my son is in day care full time, and I spend less than full time at work because I have to drop him off and pick him up, so I'm left in the middle, feeling guilty that I don't spend enough time with my son and that I don't put enough time and effort into my job.
The seminar helped me to think about these things a bit differently and put some things in perspective. I saw that some women took time off, either completely or part-time, to raise their kids when they were very young, and then went on to develop their careers later on. And some women put their kids in day care 50 hours a week, or hired a full time nanny, cleaner, and cook and paid them their entire salary so they could get on with their careers. I decided that I would rather have kids now, enjoy this stage of life of being a parent to very young children, and take time off from my full time job. I think part-time would be the best option. After a few years, when the kids are older and don't need so much attention, I will still be left with three whole decades to advance my career before I retire. I reckon I can achieve quite a lot in that time!