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This past weekend, I canceled the DVD-by-mail portion of my Netflix subscription and sent back the DVDs I had. However, the no-DVD bit didn't kick in until yesterday, so they mailed me two more DVDs on Monday. I watched them last night. Major mood whiplash ensued, because the DVDs in question were The Gods Must Be Crazy (which I had practically memorized at one point) and The Secret of Kells. The former is funny, and the latter is Not, although it is gorgeous.

I know I'm not the only one who does any work on junior promotions, but of the 22 files on the October agenda, I've read 18 of them. I have another dozen Waiting For People To Send Me Stuff. I also have a sore shoulder that won't let go and I keep catching myself grinding my teeth. Apparently it's one of those days. The meeting I just had didn't help hugely, either; after an hour of discussion I still don't know which night next week is going to be the late one.

The ATA meeting is in Boston this year, which gives me pretty much no excuse for not going. Problem is, I'm not sure I want to, because I'm just about convinced I'm never going to get to call myself a translator. I didn't count how many business cards I gave out at the last ATA meeting I went to, but none of them got me any work. Having just failed the TransPerfect pharmaceutical test didn't do a whole lot for my confidence either. So why should I want to spend $400 or so going to a conference that won't get me anywhere? Because who knows, and if I don't go, I definitely won't get anything out of it.

I think I disapprove of this "dark by 7:00" idea. Bring back my daylight, dammit! (Especially today, when the definition of "daylight" includes the word "soggy".)
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I went to a "speed networking" event, which was like speed dating only for translation. It was in a very large room with bad acoustics, so it was very very loud. But it worked, in that in half an hour I met:

An Arabic>English court interpreter
A Portuguese & Spanish>English translator
A project manager to whom I have to send a resume
An English>Spanish literary translator
A Spanish & Italian>English financial translator
An English>Greek translator who has friends looking for French>English translations
A Spanish>English technical translator currently at Kent State
A Spanish>English court interpreter
An English>Japanese internationalizer
An English>Argentinian Spanish translator
A Spanish<>English translator
An English>Japanese financial translator

(Oh, and guess what, Christine Lavin fans? There really is a phone booth on the corner of 49th and 3rd.)
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So far I'm in favor of the Megabus, which has wifi, which distracts me from the seats being uncomfortable after four hours. I am not so much in favor of an 18-block walk with suitcase between Penn Station and Times Square at rush hour, but that's my fault for getting driving directions. It might take five minutes in a car in the middle of the night, but it takes about half an hour on foot at 6:00.

I forgot, since I haven't been to this conference in a while, that between the end of breakfast and the start of the first panel is about three hours of dead space. Unless you're a voting member (I'm not), in which case you can spend it voting for next year's officers. I wish there had been somewhere to sit down on one of the four floors of the hotel which the ATA is occupying, but there wasn't, so I merfed around in the exhibitors' hall and sat on the floor reading the program. Everything I want to go to conflicts with something else I want to go to, but it wouldn't be a conference if that didn't happen. I picked the right one for this morning, at least.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to sneak off and be a tourist.
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Remember the Scottish restaurant we played phone tag for twenty minutes trying to find?

I'm staying across the street from it.
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Off I go, into the wild NYC yonder...hooray for wifi!
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My cold seems to have found a plateau level on which it's happy existing. I am not happy, because I don't want it to exist at all. I keep considering taking a sick day, but it feels weird to do that when I've already had the cold for a week and the worst (at least in terms of feeling truly sick) seems to be over. I'm constantly tired and I sound like a frog, but I've stopped feeling like a train hit me.

If you ever need a lot of money in a hurry, get into the hotel business in Manhattan. Ye gods. (Yes, I know it doesn't work like that, but $850 for three nights in a Comfort Inn? My credit card ought to have exploded by now, because next month's bill is going to have the ATA conference and the India tickets on it. At least I have the money for the tickets sitting in the India fund.)

I keep having to remind myself that it isn't actually October yet. It feels like it should be. I think part of it is the weather; if it's 60 out, it's October. Except it's not actually October until Thursday. It's gonna be a long October.

Apparently I'm physically incapable of being cheerful today.
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It's cold in here. I know this because Snip has been in my lap for most of the last hour. She never does that unless it's cold or she thinks she hasn't washed me sufficiently lately.

My cold has migrated down far enough to make me cough, but also to mostly dry up the Niagara Falls in my sinuses.

I must go to Trader Joe's today, but I don't want to deal with the process of getting there and back. I want to suddenly be there, and then suddenly be home.

Against my better financial judgment, I am going to the ATA conference in NYC at the end of October. Now, because the conference hotel is in Times Square, I have to figure out where there's a hotel I can both stand to stay in and afford to stay in for three nights. (The answer is most likely "not in Manhattan". That's fine as long as I can get to Times Square by subway.)

The weather tomorrow is supposed to be terrible, so I should go do the things I need to go elsewhere for.
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When we last left our heroine, it was Tuesday, and she was making a list of Stuff To Get Done...

Tuesday night )

Wednesday )

Thursday )

Friday )

Saturday )

Panels I went to )

NOLA in general )
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It's sort of a shame that I only have a two-hour layover in Atlanta on the way back from NOLA in November. I hit Atlanta right at dinnertime, and airport food is generally overpriced and flavorless.

I feel considerably better this morning. The fact that I slept for 11 hours or so probably has a lot to do with that.
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I'm beginning to agree with the prevailing opinion in the office: why do all these people want to get promoted? Can't they just be happy as associate professors? (Because that ain't how it works, that's why.) I'm going to be really busy in October, November and (probably) March.

I don't know if the wind was just wrong last night, or what, but I just could not get the smell of secondhand smoke out of my living room. I wonder if I can reasonably request that people who want to smoke in the garden do it on the side of the building that doesn't have windows?

It occurs to me that if I'm going to the ATA meeting, I should get something put up on coffeeweasels.com so I can point people at it. Time to make myself a web-design hat to put on once in a while. (I don't have a web-design hat yet, because I haven't done it in years.)

Right. Time for some lunch, I think.
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I wish people would realize that my bedroom is right in the front of the first floor, and stop having conversations on the sidewalk at 2 AM. Unfortunately, nobody who hasn't seen the place would know that what's behind the shutters isn't my living room. (Well, except for the lack of overhead light, but you can't see that from the street either.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the return of passable sleeping weather.

I've got a running list of things I would do if I had a couple of months of free time to do them. Nothing ever comes off that list, though, because the only times I have a couple of free months, I spend them looking for work. The list items are things like "learn AppleTrans" and "design something to put on coffeeweasels.com" and such. I could probably do at least some of those things if I had three consecutive weeks of vacation, because after the first week I would probably feel like being productive again. A lot of the things on the list are things I don't really want to do (or learn) piecemeal; I want to sit down and argue with them until I get some decent results.

Speaking of AppleTrans, the ATA conference this year is in New Orleans, and in a couple of months. I should decide what I'm going to do about that (other than go to the conference, which is a given. What isn't so given is how I'm going to afford it.). Usually I at least entertain the idea of skipping an afternoon of conference and going exploring, but I'm not sure NOLA is the best place for that these days.

I think it's time for lunch, or at the very least, time for more liquid.
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As it turned out, the cookie dough got put off by an hour and a quarter. It took me half an hour to get to the grocery store and back, and then I had to let the butter sit around for half an hour and soften up because I forgot to leave it sitting around when I left for the grocery store. Then it took fifteen minutes to get the cookie dough put together. It was indeed what I wanted, but don't ask me why, because I don't know.

I finally got done jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get proof of my degree for the ATA exam. It turns out that the registrar can't do it this week, but the College of Arts and Sciences can write me a "letter of completion", so I got them to do that.

I've got a whole big long list of rampant materialism I want to engage in when I've got a job again. Most of it is a long list of relatively small stuff, and some of it is a list of rewards I promised myself for various things, and some of it is peer pressure ("well, everybody else I know has one/does this/etc...."). But it's all stuff I haven't been able to do for two years without thinking about it and deciding not to, and I'd like to have income enough to get some of these things without worrying about them.

In aid of income, I believe I'll send out resumes after lunch. Anybody know anybody who wants to hire a French-to-English translator?
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I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying not to have a stomachache and something that wasn't exactly vertigo, but made my head feel wrong every time I stood up. I think it was a mild migraine echo. It did go away after about three hours or so.

I have something like a list of things to do this week, including finding out what the ATA wants me to do about proof of eligibility for the certification exam. They want proof that I've got the MA, but my transcript (according to KSU) won't say so until June 6 and I have to send out the application forms and proof of eligibility and registration fees all together by the end of the week. I have the transcript I used as proof of SSN in order to get a learner's permit, but that was over spring break and doesn't prove anything except the fact that I was enrolled as of March. I sent e-mail to the ATA asking them what I should do about that.

I also have to return the key to my advisor's office (I should have done that last week but I got sidetracked), call the driving school (ditto), and start putting together a glossary of sorts for commercial and legal translation, since I don't own a commercial and legal dictionary. I need a good medical dictionary too. There's the one everybody says is good, and then there's the one I saw at the ATA meeting, which costs an arm and a leg, but what I saw of it is amazing.

I wonder if I can arrange a driving lesson that takes me out to the Akron airport, so I don't have to call a shuttle service for the outgoing trip? That would be sneaky of me.

Today is also a good day for making soup. I've got so much food around, due to having my family around this weekend, that soup is about the only way to use it up. And it's back to being cold and cloudy again, so it's a definite soup day.
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It scares me when things fall out of the sky and land in my lap, and I think something like that just happened. Now that I have time to remember to do it, I went and looked up the next round of ATA certification exams. I always had it in the back of my brain that I should take the exam sooner rather than later, in case I end up having to spend most of my working life not doing translation and therefore fall out of practice.

So I looked up the exam schedule on the ATA web site. They're holding one IN KENT, on June 25. I wasn't planning on leaving until June 30 anyway. This is bringing the mountain to Mohammed, to a severe degree. The timing couldn't be any better. Granted, this is not an easy exam to pass, and although it's possible to get hired without ATA certification, it would definitely help if I could pass the exam.

Looking at it one way, the universe has just confirmed that I spent the last two years doing what I was meant to be doing. I put in the work getting myself to this point, and now I get help, of a kind I might need, right when I need it.
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It took us three hours yesterday to put together a fifteen-minute project management presentation with Powerpoint slides. However, since we all can't go for three hours without one of us mentioning case studies, I did get an idea about how to start my analysis, and I'm planning to put a hurting on it tomorrow (if I can; we have another meeting tomorrow afternoon). Wednesday I'm going to finish my glossary, Thursday is shot to hell because it always is, and Friday I have the next round of editing to do. Today is shot to hell too, because CLD burns my brain out rather severely and I can't get anything done until after dinner on Mondays.

My kitchen floor needs washing again. I'll do it when I have a good start on my analysis.

Self-pity and miscellaneous odds and ends )

I suspect it'll all work out, but I really want to know how.
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So I went to the ATA conference in Toronto. General observations:

-I could live in Toronto. I don't like cities all that much, but I loved what I saw of Toronto.
-Standing up all day for three days in dress shoes I haven't worn in months is not a good way to make my feet happy.
-The ATSA conference was all about the presentations; the ATA conference was all about the people.
-I kept forgetting that $1 USD was $1.20 CAD.
-The Fox and Fiddle on John St. is a nice place for beer.
-The customs inspector on the way back into the US was slightly surprised when we handed him 13 passports from 5 countries.
-There is in fact such a thing as a French thesaurus, and I bought one.
-I also bought a $100 dictionary for $55 CAD.
-Having available internet connections in the exhibit hall was good. Unfortunately the e-mail I got was less so.
-Flamenco dancing has to be harder than it looks, but I wish I could do it.
-I got a fair bit of "Oh, you're a student? Oh. Well." when I was talking to people.
-OK, so I don't have any real translation experience. That doesn't mean I don't know anything about translating.
-There's a lot more market for accounting/financial/economic translation in any language than I thought there was.
-It rained. A lot.
-The PATH reminds me of the world's largest airport concourse for some reason. It did have a couple of good cafes, though.
-SDLX sounds like a better program than Trados. I'll have to try SDLX sometime soon.
-I drink entirely too much coffee at conferences, but it's free, so I drink it. I wonder how many pounds of coffee the conference went through?
-When in doubt, write it down. I know there are things I've forgotten because I didn't write them down at the time.

Now that I'm back in Kent again and more or less awake, I have to buy groceries. I hope it decides not to rain on me while I'm doing it. Today is the cold and grey variant of October.
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