Tag Archives: Skype

an interview with two foreheads and an invisible man

I had the ph.d interview today- it was really weird because it was over Skype. I had made sure my cam would give a clear picture of me in front of a white, empty wall and that Tom was eating breakfast in the bedroom so the interviewers wouldn’t get an image of him wandering about half-naked. Very considerate, right? But what I got from the other side was a picture of two foreheads and sometimes a couple of eyes, and they weren’t even of the person asking the questions because he was sitting behind the screen. Very odd angling of the webcam. It would have been less distracting with no video what so ever. It’s really difficult to give the appearance of interest through body language and to achieve a feeling of eye contact for the other half you have to stare straight into the camera, not into the eyes of the picture beneath. I think I did OK under the circumstances, but they didn’t really make it easy for me. In general, I hate being interviewed, it’s awkward and I don’t think I’m any good at it at all. If I know “sort-of” what the questions will be I will prepare for them, but whenever a question catches me off-guard I find it difficult to come up with an interesting answer and elaborate. Annnyhhoooow I don’t feel too bad because now I can forget about it for a few weeks and focus on life here again. It’s quite nice that it will take them a while to decide who to give the job to, because that gives me time to think about whether I really want it or not.

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Short little update

Tom and I went to Oxford between Sunday-Monday and stayed with his parents, since he had to get a wisdom tooth removed at a hospital nearby on Monday morning. He came home from work today, had dinner, then fell asleep on the couch and has been sleeping soundly since then. Bless. I haven’t had any wisdom teeth removed and while I knew it hurt I didn’t think it made people so sleepy. Then again I have reason to believe that Tom’s reactions to medicine and surgical procedures (and contact lens examinations) is probably not the normal reaction. Usually I take a photo of him to shame him when he falls asleep this early (usually after 1 beer). He’ll get a pass this time though because he’s going to be sufficiently grumpy anyway because I made this blog post.

On an unrelated note, today I Skyped with mum’s dog (and mum and my younger sister). I miss him so much. I worry a lot about my family when I’m away, and that was my main hindrance against coming/staying here. The dog is fine, unfortunately mum has hit a rough patch again health wise after years of being relatively healthy, which is pretty much everything I feared before going here. She has some form of borderline/psychotic depression that’s been going on since she was a teen, but with long periods of being relatively healthy. I wish I could believe that, because she’s hit rough patches before and eventually things became OK, it will be OK again but the truth is that sometimes anti-depressants and anti-psychotics just stop working, and sometimes there’s no more medicine or therapy to try, and sometimes it’s been close – scary close – that everything ended the worst way possible. But I’m trying to stay positive and think about how she has a lot of resources that other people with mental illness don’t have access to. It’s hard to be so far away though when you kind of want to have a constant eye on someone.

On a second unrelated note, I’ve written a long post about hair (and I haven’t even had anything done to mine). Don’t worry, it will all make sense when I post it. I think. I doubt I’ll finish it tonight though. I hope it will be interesting, it’s tidbits of the social history of hair that I find particularly interesting. You’d think that it would be a bit disheartening that the posts that takes me the longest to make, the article styled one about whatever topic I find interesting, are the ones that very rarely gets any attention at all. To be honest, I’m just happy I have people reading my blog at all. I got a notification a while ago that I have received 100 likes and almost 50 followers, which is much more than I expected, even if a good few of them might be bots (I don’t know why someone would create bots to follow blogs, but if you know, please enlighten me). If you haven’t noticed already I try post a mix of posts relating to my personal life, recipes, funny stuff and more serious article style posts. What I’m trying to avoid the most is that kind of blog that is all about image crafting and showing the world how great your life is; what’s the point in that?

To finish off this very odd update (that I only thought of making because it’s been a while and it’s going to take a while longer before my hair post is done), here’s a photo of the aftermath of St Jude that I thought was really funny.

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Tom and I had our 1½ year anniversary last Sunday. We didn’t have time to celebrate properly, and to be honest I’m not sure if either of us thinks half-year anniversaries automatically means celebration, but we decided to have a date tonight instead. The only catch is that, as people who knows us are well-aware of, we are in a long-distance relationship. Really long-distance. Different countries. I think that, despite the fact that it’s getting more and more common, a lot of people still think it is a bit outlandish. That’s why I wanted to make a post about “Skype dates”, both as fun information for those who have never been in a long-distance relationship and for those who are and want ideas.

Most of the people I’ve met seem to think that long-distance relationships in general are completely fine and not a big deal. The things that raise eyebrows is either when someone is in a long-distance relationship that started online and where the couple got together before they physically met. I can’t really speak for those couples, because I imagine it is slightly different. The second thing that strikes people as weird is the idea of “online dates”. I remember reading an article, just after me and Tom got together, about a guy who had “dinner on Skype” with his girlfriend. I told Tom and we both laughed about it and concluded “That must be pretty awkward”. I guess it is because the couple in the article went to such length to create the illusion that they were physically close when they clearly wasn’t. “How do you even have a Skype dinner?” I laughed and imagined a fancy table with a trillion pieces of cutlery and lit candles facing a computer screen.

Yet here I am, some year later, and I’m starting to find it hard to remember why I thought it was so odd back then. I think that to understand why people Skype date, you have to get to the bottom of why people in long-term relationship have dates at all. Why does a couple that sees each other everyday, who eats dinner together almost every night and share a flat together, still need to have evenings with candle-lit dinner or something equally cheesy? I really can’t answer that, but it seems like most of us have a need to have a special night every once in a while, where you have an excuse to say cheesy stuff, eat cheese, drink wine while eating cheese, and maybe surprise your other half with a gift (cheese, perhaps). The difference with normal dates are (obviously) that you can show your affection by stroking someone’s hair, giving them a peck on their cheek,  murmur something naughty into their ear. Those are all things that I miss when we are apart, but they’re not the only reason for dates. I want to talk and I want to do some activity together, because that gives me a sense of intimacy.

It doesn’t have to be a dinner. We have never cooked the same dish separately, then eaten it on cam. A popular date night on Skype consists of both of us buying a bottle of wine, getting take-out and getting a movie that we watch together. If the internet speed allows it, we watch the movie on our TV:s while keeping the webcam window open, so we can watch each other laugh, react or comment on things. Eventually you stop thinking about the computer screen. I think if given an alternative, no one would chose to have a date on Skype over having a date IRL, but in the meantime it isn’t half-bad. Kind of like low-fat ice-cream; It’s not AS good but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it and it does make your craving for actual ice-cream a bit easier to live with.

Tonight is comedy night, which means we have prepared for a marathon of comedy shows, like Psych and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Tom sent me a bit of cheddar and crackers in the mail last week, which I plan on eating tonight. I hope he will find my letter in his postbox when he gets home, because there’s something for him there too. It’s only 2 weeks until we will be together physically again, by the time we won’t have seen each other for 7 weeks. Somehow it doesn’t feel that long.

Oh, and if you’re still really unconvinced about this Skype date thing, I promise you there’s much weirder things you can do on Skype. I have a friend who met her boyfriend online while he lived in Edinburgh. Before they even met for the first time, they had a habit of taking their laptops in bed with them and leaving their webcams on while they slept, so the other could watch them sleep. I have such a crap computer that if I ever attempted to do that I would not be able to sleep from the sound of the fan and it would probably end up setting the bed on fire, but even if I did have a good enough computer I’m pretty sure that’s not for me… 😉

Skype dates: perhaps not as weird as you think

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