I’ve had two days in the new job. As with any new thing, there are a number of administrative things to take care of. At Michigan State University, pretty much the big initial thing is getting one’s “NetID”, the computer service identity for dealing with the campus information systems. Until you get that, you aren’t really a person at MSU. In order to get the NetID, you have to get a PIN number to go with the MSU identification number. (The first four digits of my MSU ID number are the same as the designation of a CMOS LSI quad switch chip, so that makes it easier to recall the remaining four digits.)
I met with Rob Pennock on Monday, and we talked a bit. He got me a key to the Avida-ED lab, where I can have a desk with some space for books and files. Avida-ED, by the way, is a project Rob is working on to provide a version of Avida suitable for use in classrooms to demonstrate evolutionary processes happening in real-time and graphically, a big plus for showing students what evolutionary science is all about. The rest of the day I spent in dealing with administrative stuff, like trying to get my NetID, actually getting my MSU photo ID card, parking permits, and trying to get the CD that the benefits office has for choosing benefits.
I met up with Rob again this morning, and we went to a Devolab (Digital Evolution Laboratory) meeting. The scheduled presenters were not actually present, so I was introduced to the group and then everyone took a turn saying who they were and what progress they were making on projects. There are some cool developments being made using the Avida platform, and in making the Avida software more widely available. A binary version for the Windows platform, for instance, is getting nearer to release. After the meeting, Brian Baer spent a while showing me where my desk in the Devolab is (easy; it’s the only one left, right by the door) and getting me set up to use the Beowulf cluster for running Avida. There are several accounts that have to be set up for new users, so that took some time.
Diane picked me up around lunch time, and we headed around to see some of the possible houses for rent. We filled out an application for a house near Laingsburg that looks promising. It is a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath place on 2 acres in a rural setting. The landlord didn’t flinch on hearing about the dogs or hawks. There’s another possible house in DeWitt, but that one has more complexity in doing things like adding an outbuilding for the hawks, since it is included in a neighborhood association, and we would have to clear fencing and outbuildings with them as well as the landlord.
There is essentially no way that we can stay solvent in the long term if we only have my income from MSU. Postdoctoral positions are not noted for having high pay, and this one is no exception. We have debt from our graduate studies and from when I was ill in 2004. Diane is also looking for jobs, and we worked this evening on getting an application for her done for a position that is also at MSU. We are in a time crunch to get a rental house set up, since we can only stay where we are now until our friend returns from out-of-state this weekend. So in general, the househunting takes priority this week. However, the job Diane spotted had an application closing date of today, so we just needed to get it done in order for her to be considered.