Monday, April 27, 2009
Many people have asked if I'm changing my name. I'm not, so I guess that makes me Mrs. Karina Anirak until I become Dr. Karina Anirak. I like the name Anirak and I've published under it (barely) so I'm content to remain an Anirak. Jon likes being Jon Rene and is keeping his name. We'll cross the what-do-you-name-the-children bridge when we get there.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Friday was a total whirlwind in which I ran all over the place, including through the airport.* Now we're in Jon's hometown finishing up the wedding preparation** and trying to iron out important details for my upcoming trip to Ukenzagapia.
Last year on my way back from Ukenzagapia I flew some insane path on a non-refundable ticket that took more than 36 hours and resulted in my bags being severely delayed. I have vowed never to fly that way again. I've raised my standards for international flights. I just can't risk losing my bags because this time their contents will be even more valuable.
My higher standards (among other things) have resulted in higher ticket prices this year. Someone at the museum who frequently travels to Ukenzagapia recommend that I contact a travel agent. The power of the internet and plethora of cheap airfare sites makes travel agents seem unnecessary, but this travel agent saved me $300 on my ticket and my fare is refundable. Amazing. I think that it is worthwhile to consult a travel agent for international travel, especially one that specializes in the region where you are going.
Jon got his tickets through the same travel agent, though his are more expensive since he's flying at abusier travel time than me. Now that we both have our tickets to Ukenzagapia, we submitted all of the necessary paperwork for our visas. I leave on May 15!
*We made an embarassing public transportation mistake followed by a bad decision that resulted in us checking our bags only 30 minutes before our flight. Only one of the bags made it at the same time we did.
**It is supposed to be beautiful and sunny on Saturday with a high of 80° F. Fantastic!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
In the next month I need to:
-Get a visa
-Order equipment & supplies
-Submit grant from my prelim proposal
-Submit grant I've been sitting on for months
-Send my endless review article somewhere
-Figure out how I'm going to answer the research questions I need to answer this summer
I think this would be a busy month with these things alone. Add onto that the fact that Jon and I are getting married in 10 days and that we'll be away from Big City for a week... and I'm trying not to be completely overwhelmed. I have so. much. to. do. Better stop blogging and start working.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
In the meantime, here are some photos I took of wind turbines a few weeks ago on our way to Joshua Tree National Park.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We are writing this email on behalf of Professional Society Outside of My Discipline to invite posters and presentations at our upcoming annual meeting. Could you please forward the following information to the students, post-doc fellows and researchers in your department/program?
Student Chapter Committee, PSOMD
[Relevant conference information]
PSOMD Conference Committee
This is disturbing for a few reasons.
- The first part of the email assumes that all recipients of this email are men.
- The first part of the email is from the STUDENT committee! The non-student committee used the more appropriate and gender-neutral term "colleagues." Aren't the students supposed to be the ones challenging the status quo?!
- I am sad for the women in this particular field who have to deal with such asinine assumptions.
Monday, April 6, 2009
It is exciting to have identified a project, and even more exciting to see how each one of us fits into it. We will be working with several other individuals on project at a public institution.We will finish our part of the project in the next year, and the rest of the project will continue, hopefully better for our involvement.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The main problem stems from my fellowship and the fact that UBC did not take taxes from my paychecks. Other people in the same situation at UBC have received all kinds of varying tax advice, including some very liberal interpretations of qualified educational expenses. Most of the students ahead of us have not paid taxes on the fellowship. My cohort is totally confused.
Tuition waivers further confuse the picture, though those are clearly qualified educational expenses. But, it appears that my waivers and my stipend both appear on my 1098-T. I have no idea how to interpret my 1098-T.
In addition to the fellowship and tuition waiver confusion, I received $3,000 in grants last year that were given to me personally, not administered by an institution. Apparently these are taxable. I have no idea how to deduct the research expenses that these funds were used for, or if I even can.
I'm 99% sure that I am supposed to pay income tax on all of the above, except for the tuition waiver. However, when I calculate my taxes using one of those online filing services, I only owe about 25% of what I set aside in anticipation of paying taxes. How can this be right?
Why can't I figure this out myself?!?!? Help? Suggestions?
On the bright side, I have only lived in one state this year.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Hey Karina!! It's Student X...you know, one of the trip to the museum Students? haha. Ok so I have a huge favor to ask of you, like the subject line says...will you be willing to write me a letter of recommendation???? I will owe you my life! haha. It's for an Unusual Internship with Unusual Employer...random, I know, but I graduated in January and my dream of becoming a [Job Kids Dream About] right away hasn't been going too well so I'm just looking around for anything that will benefit me. It's cool if you don't want to do it, I won't hate you :) but if you are willing to help me out I will send you my resume and the link to what the internship is about so you have a clue on what to write. Thanks for taking the time to read this rambling email! I hope your semester has been going great! Another Student always tells me how she sees you at the gym. I miss BioX!!!At first I wasn't sure how to respond. Clearly she needed some advice on etiquette for professional correspondence. After much consideration I replied:
Hi Student,I decided to add the smiley face, even though it's a bit ironic considering the context. Apparently, my advice was very well taken. She replied:
Wow, that internship sounds quite unusual! As one of my most enthusiastic students, I am happy to help you however I am able. I may be able to write you a letter, but I need to know what the deadline is to know if I have time. In order to write a good letter, I need as much information as possible. Also, I highly recommend reading this page that talks about asking for letters of recommendation. Even in asking for a letter for Unusual Internship, professionalism goes a long way! Especially in this awful job market, you should always err on the side of formality, courtesy, and standard composition. You can start practicing in your correspondence with me. :-)
Dear Karina,What a huge improvement! I'm so glad that she demonstrated that she's capable of higher standards of correspondence. Seems like it should be common sense or at least previously taught, but apparently not. On the bright, this bad habit in students is relatively easily corrected (assuming they actually do know how to write in complete sentences) and a little advice may go a long way in helping someone develop essential professional skills.
Thank you very much for helping me out! I will try to be as professional as possible in this email after reading all of those guidelines you sent me. I'm going to keep that because it's very helpful! [Many internship details] I really appreciate this! I'll let you know about the deadline as soon as I find out, and if you can't make it, I'll understand :)