30 Mai, 2006

dealing with banks...

is it ever easy???
I am starting to think that I can kiss my £ 150 goodbye with the way the banks are dealing with me. I am being sent from one to the other and no one is willing to actually help me. The UK bank (I won't mention their name) is telling me that my German bank needs to make the claim since they are the only ones who can confirm that my account was actually debited, and the German bank is simply saying they wouldn't know whom to contact in the UK to even make the claim, which is besides the fact that it apparently is ridiculous of the UK bank to say that the German bank has to do some work, because the UK bank's ATM is screwed up. And I am caught up in the middle of everything. I am really getting worried that it will all end up being that they turn around and tell me that the time limit within which a claim needs to be made has passed and that the money is lost in the system somewhere. I wouldn't worry so much, but £150 is a lot of money for me. Oh well, I have now given my mom all the info from here and she will try again to go to the German bank to see if they are now anymore willing to help.

Not much else has been going on today. I went to uni and got my new computer on the desk. Then I tried to do a bit of work, had lunch, and then spoke to someone at the bank on campus. They sent me back to the bank in town and when I came back to my desk after that there was a paper I have to mark. I was really annoyed so I thought it's not really fair to the student to mark a paper when I am in a bad mood so I decided that had to wait until tomorrow...

29 Mai, 2006

another fun personality test...

although I wonder how accurate this one is... I don't think I really put the needs of others before mine, but then again it is just a funny quiz.

Also found this test (once again on Sarah's blog)

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

I am not sure how right this is about me as well... I don't think I am that logical and much more emotional, plus if you saw my room you knew I wasn't a total neat freak. I am not a slob either, but still I am not that neat. But then again it is just something fun to do. I wonder what Ernie's characteristics are though :P!

I had a nice day today, even though the start to it hasn't been the greatest. Well really it started a few days ago when the ATM on the high street refused to give me money but when I checked my account it was actually taken out. So now I am £150 short on my German account and when I went to Natwest (as I used their cash machine) to report the problem they said they couldn't do anything about it and I had to contact my German bank. Well my mom went to the bank in Germany this morning, and they said they can't do anything and I have to go to the bank here. It was a bit odd as I had just woken up when my mom called and handed the bank teller the phone so I could explain to her what the bank people here had said. So now I have to go back again tomorrow and see if the Natwest people can do something... Well after that and a bit more waking up I had some breakfast and then cleaned up a bit, and then Neil came over for lunch and we watched a film (the guy who plays the british guy was actually born in England...) and after that we went to the Imperial for a meal and a few drinks. It was quite nice so after we finished our food we sat outside for a while enjoying the sunshine (and the wind).

Just remembered... I am getting my new computer on my desk at uni tomorrow!!! It will be so nice to have a flat screen monitor. Should make working a lot more comfortable...

28 Mai, 2006

at least I will look the part

I still don't really feel very confident about going to the conference at the end of June, but at least now I will look the part because I went to buy a suit today. I picked it out yesterday, but I never know if things actually look good on me, so I reserved it and went back today with a friend (we didn't end up going to Starbucks after all, but went to Boston Tea Party instead) to get her opinion. She approved it, and now I am the proud owner of my first suit ever. It isn't too fancy really (there are no pin stripes), but I still feel really odd. When I looked at myself in the mirror in the store I didn't look like me at all, but oh well. It's a start into a (somewhat!) professional life I guess, I better start getting used to it. I want to go to the APA convention next year or the year after, I can't quite make up my mind if I prefer San Francisco or Boston. I guess a trip to Boston paid for by the department would be cool!
Didn't do much last week really besides marking. Mostly all day, and then I didn't feel like doing anything else. But I guess that's just the way it is, and it is paid quite well, and I am finally done with it. Oh on an exciting note, I am finally getting that refurbished computer with a flatscreen next week :)

Hmmmm mal sehen was war denn so los in der letzten Woche, nicht so viel irgendwie. Ich habe fast jeden Tag Aufsätze korrigiert, und danach hatte ich nicht mehr viel Lust was anderes zu machen. Na ja, so ist das eben, wenigstens wird es relativ gut bezahlt, und ich bin ja jetzt damit fertig.

21 Mai, 2006

Da Vinci Code and the rest of the weekend

apart from the horrible weather we have been having here, this weekend was really nice actually... Friday afternoon started with a chocolate cake that Laura brought to uni in honour of Andréa's birthday and then we went to the Mill on the Exe for a drink around half past 4. It was nice to get away and relax for a bit. Then Neil and I went to Steve and Sarah's for an evening of chatting and then playing poker, that was quite a lot of fun.

Saturday started out rather dull. I got up fairly early to get laundry done, then watched a bit of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and then went into town to have a look around before going to see Neil. In the evening we went to friends of Neil's to watch the Eurovision Song Contest on tv. It was a lot of fun actually, and not just because of the pizza. The German entry was not too bad, but my favourite was the Latvian a capella entry. The winning entry was just a bit too strange for me... But I guess they still deserved to win. A few days ago at uni someone mentioned that a few years ago there was an academic paper published that looked at the relationship between voting in the Eurovision Song Contest and political relationships between countries involved. I must have a look for that, would be quite interesting to see what they made of it.

Today we started the day with a friend breakfast at George's Meeting Hall and then went to see the Da Vinci Code at the Picturehouse. I thought it was really good, finally a film that actually stayed true to the book, and it made me junp a few times. I know lots of people wouldn't like that too much, I have heard that about the Harry Potter films, that it is boring to see them and things like that. I don't really mind. I didn't actually read the book, I just got the audiobook sometime last year and I thought it was really good. Then I read Angels and Demons which was really good as well. I think if they turn that into a film it would be a lot creepier. Anyway, I did enjoy it, even though I knew the story beforehand, and Tom Hank's hair wasn't actually that bad.

18 Mai, 2006

sorry I just can't be bothered with German at the moment

just came back from the cinema, we went to see Paradise Now. Very interesting film about the situation in Palestine. Right after the film a lady from the audience got up and let us all know that she was from Palestine and if anyone had any questions about the film she would be happy to answer them. I felt a bit strange, and kind of like I was sitting in a seminar where I was being forced to come up with a question... anyway, since no one seemed to want to speak to her about the film she just went... anyway, I would have thought that the film would have more impact on me, but maybe I am just not in the best of moods at the moment. That whole Jolanda not liking my research is really bothering me and I am getting more and more worried about going to the conference. I think if that wasn't coming up I would ask Brian if I could take some time off... but then again I know that wouldn't be a solution. I would just start doubting myself even more... ok before this gets too deep I think I will just get to bed. Tomorrow is another day, there is more marking and we are going to have a bit of a birthday celebration for one of my office mates...

17 Mai, 2006

I just saw a link to this personality test on Sarah's blog... so apparently:
it was a nice distraction from this really annoying day. Well actually it was not that bad. I had an eye exam in the morning and my eyes are fine. No real significant change, just a bit more astigmatism whatever that really means. After that I went to uni and met a friend for lunch and then spent most of the day marking papers. I expect tomorrow will be much the same...

16 Mai, 2006

when important people don't like your research...

that's what I found out today. The one person in the department who gets to decide over continuing the PhD or not actually disagrees with my research. She thinks it is not academic enough... but then again this is based on a presentation I gave as an interview for that teaching position for next year. It is so frustrating, all the internal politics in this university. I am sure it wouldn't be any different at a different university or even in another department, but I am really starting to get sick and tired of it. Sometimes I think I should just quit because it really isn't worth it to put up a fight about this. I told Brian today that I sometimes feel that people with my research interest are not really made to feel welcome in the department, I mean they pride themsevles in being a centre for Economic Research, but they should really say that they are a centre for Economic Research but only if it incorporates social identity theory... oh gosh I am being really cynical, but I just can't help it. It makes me feel even more worried about going to this conference in June... now that I have everything booked and Jolanda even agreed to give me a bit more money so I actually will get all the expenses paid for that trip. Oh well... hopefully Brian was right and everything will sort itself out once I actually get going on this research properly...

14 Mai, 2006

at least a short update

I know I have been lazy updating this, but it's been a bit of a strange week work wise. I have been slightly more motivated, but at the same time the weather has really been great so I never
really wanted to be stuck inside infront of a computer. Ok here is what I have been up to since i last posted something...

Last Sunday with the nice weather I met Sarah for a cream tea in town. The Michael Caines Cafe Bar makes a nice one, although that is the only one I have had here in Exeter. After that we went into town for a bit, looking for a nice pair of sandals for Sarah, and I ended up buying a new mobile phone. I had had my eye on the Motorola V3 for a while now, and now I have one. It is really nice and it even came with the data sync software, so I have been playing around with all those things lately as well.

Monday I had a bunch of meetings and then in the evening met Neil for dinner at the Imperial and then we went to see C.R.A.Z.Y. at the Picturehouse. Very funny and at times very sad story about a boy growing up with four brothers and realising that he is gay. A lot of other family issues were included as well, and I didn't even mind the French so much ;)

Tuesday I went to out for dinner with some of the people from the department, at first it was just going to be 5 of us, and then it turned into this huge occasion which I wasn't really prepared for. Most people got drunk fairly quickly and my food was really bad. Never order lasagne in that place by the Quay, order pizza instead!

Wednesday and Thursday were really nice days, so I tried to sit outside in the sun a bit during the day. I had a meeting with Jonathan about about the conference, and he gave me some good tips about speaking and also about networking. Who should I introduce myself too and things like that. But at the same time this conference now sounds very daunting, he said that most people would attend every session, and there will be like 50 or so people there. I really hope I become more convinced that my research is actually good and worth while by then. At the moment I sometimes worry that they will just tear me to shreds and tell me that what I am doing is all complete rubbish. I guess everyone in the beginning of a research career had these doubts, and maybe i am in the wrong department here at the Uni... but we'll see. Maybe it ends up going well as well. With the reviewers it was fairly mixed in what they thought, all said though that the ideas and questions were relevant, so I don't know. I guess I will have to wait until after I come back...

Friday I got quite a bit of work done on the write up of my first study. I was surprised how easy it was coming along too... anyway, in the evening I went to Neil's and since it was nice enough to sit outside for a while we enjoyed the nice weather for as long as we could.

06 Mai, 2006

the last few days/ Die letzten paar Tage

Let's see what's been happening since i last posted something... not very much I guess. The last week has gone by fairly quickly, with finally getting the final version of the conference paper written and submitted. It was really scary to see my name printed in the provisional programme for the conference, so I made an appointment straight away with my second supervisor - Jonathan - as he is also going to be at the conference. Brian won't be able to make it as he is running a seminar here at Exeter Uni over the same time.

I also volunteered to attend this Employers Event that the University ran last Thursday to make employers more aware of University of Exeter graduates, and we represented the Graduate School Skills Programme as Skills Ambassadors. It was fairly boring as almost no one wanted to talk to us all day. It was worth it for the free lunch though ;)

Yesterday was a fairly lazy day again, I went to a talk in the afternoon by a fairly well known Social Psychologist from the US about the female leadership advantage. I really enjoyed it, the topic was interesting enough and she was a great speaker, plus sometimes I just like listening to a proper American accent. Recently people have been telling me that my accent, when I speak English, is changing slightly; I guess I am starting to pick up more of the British accent. I guess it was bound to happen since there are more British people than Americans I hang out with these days.

In the evening I met Neil at George's Meeting House for dinner and then we went back to his house. And since the weather was so nice we spent a few hours sitting outside in the sun reading the paper and chatting. It was really nice and we both enjoyed the sunshine.

Today was not the greatest weather, but after a quick run to the uni to find my bus pass and home to drop my things I met Neil in town. We started with a drink at the Pheonix Bar, then went to get Neil a new phone - the upgrade was needed - and then did some more shopping around in town, and the day was finished with a nice dinner at The Old Firehouse.

Oh yeah I have also been trying to keep up with my learning Spanish. I bought this audiobook in the iTunes Music Store quite a while ago called "Quick and Simple Spanish", but I am not sure how much I am actually learning from it. I guess I just don't have much opportunity to practise it...

Und jetzt auf Deutsch:
Hmmm, mal sehen was war denn so los in den letzten paar Tagen..... ? Nicht viel! Die letzte Woche ist schon ziemlich schnell rumgegangen, aber ich hab wenigstens endlich den Beitrag für die Konferenz in Edinburgh fertig bekommen und auch alles eingereicht. Als ich dann meinen Namen im vorläufigen Programm gesehen hab, ist mir schon ganz schlecht geworden vor Aufregung, und da habe ich erst mal ein Meeting mit Jonathan abgemacht. Der ist ja auch mit in Edinburgh; Brian kann ja nicht weil der am gleichen Wochenende hier in Exeter an der Uni ein Seminar leitet. Na ja, wird schon alles irgendwie gut gehen!

Am Donnerstag war ich dann den ganzen Tag im Finance Centre hier an der Uni, weil ich mich hab breitschlagen lassen das Graduate School Skills Programm da zu vertreten für den Tag. Am Ende war es einfach nur langweilig, weil kaum jemand an uns interessiert war, aber für das Mittagessen umsonst hat es sich doch gelohnt. Und ich war dabei.

Gestern war auch wieder ein Tag der fast so vorbei gegangen ist. Am Nachmittag war ein Vortrag von einer Amerikanischen Sozial-Psychologin, der war echt interessant. Das ging so um Frauen in Führungspositionen und ob Frauen in solchen Positionen besser geeignet sind als Männer. Und ab und zu ist es einfach mal gut einen ordentlichen Amerikanischen Akzent zuhören. In letzter Zeit haben mir ein paar Leute gesagt dass sich mein Akzent ändert. Na ja das war wohl vorrauszusehen, wo ich jetzt eher mit Engländern als mit Amerikanern zusammen bin.

Am Abend habe ich mich dann mit Neil zum dinner getroffen, und danach sind wir zu ihm gegangen. Das Wetter wat echt schön und so haben wir noch eine ganze Zeit draussen gesessen und haben Zeitung gelesen und uns unterhalten und das schöne Wetter genossen.

Heute war's nicht so toll, aber wir sind trotzdem noch in der Stadt gewesen. Erstmal haben wir in der Phoenix Bar einen Stop eingelegt und was getrunken. Danach wollte Neil ein neues Handy haben - nach über 2 Jahren war das auch mal nötig - und dann habe wir so noch ein bisschen run geguckt und der Abschluss war ein nettes leckeres Essen im Old Firehouse...

oh ja, ich bin ja auch dabei Spanish zu lernen :) Na ja, ich versuche es wenigstens. Ich hab mir vor 'ner Weile im iTunes Musik Laden ein Hörbuch zum Spanischlernen gekauft, aber man weiss ja nie genau wie viel man wirklich lernt wenn man keine Gelegenheit zum üben hat...

01 Mai, 2006

Brick and Bank Holiday Monday

Today is May Bank Holiday and so far the weather actually looks like it could be nice during the day. Not sure what we will do today, but if the weather holds it will involve going somewhere for a walk. We'll see, it'd be nice to be close to the sea somewhere. But I'll write more about that later.
Yesterday Neil and I went to see "Brick" at the Picturehouse. It was a free members preview, and it was quite nice to see a film in the morning on a Sunday. Here is what the Picturehouse program said about it: "Imagine TWIN PEAKS with dialogue by Raymond Chandler and you're halfway to this hard-boiled, high school noir by outrageously talented newcomer Rian Johnson. An outsider by nature, Brendan (Gordon-Levitt, MYSTERIOUS SKIN) is forced to penetrate the elaborate ranks of the school social scene when the body of his ex-girlfriend is found lying lifeless in a remote creek. From the highest-ranking athlete to the lowest level burnout, no one is above suspicion. Assisted by egghead The Brain, Brendan's relentless quest leads him into a labyrinth of patsies and players and ultimately to the The Pin (Haas, LAST DAYS), a mysterious drug lord who lives with his mother. A Sundance prize-winner for 'originality and vision', BRICK heralds the arrival of a major new cinematic voice and is most certainly this year's DONNIE DARKO."
I haven't seen "Donnie Darko" and also am still not too sure what to think about this film. It was definitely different from most of what I have seen before, and very very strange. There were some scenes where they clearly said something in English but I just didn't understand what they were talking about. When we were leaving the cinema one of the people from the Picturehouse came up to us and asked us if we would recommend this film to others and what we thought of it, and all we could say is that it was very strange and that it really depends on who was asking. Anyway, we shall see what people think about it once it comes out on general release. One thing I can definitely say about it is that it made me feel a little homesick for California and being close to the Pacific.
After the film we went to get lunch at George's Meeting Hall which was nice as always, and after that Neil went off to a party and I went to do some foodshopping and then went to the hospital with Daisy to visit Andrea.