Free-Floating Hostility

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Alpha Dogs and Beta Decay

So my first week at my new job is over, and I think I can safely blog about it without jinxing things. I'm at UCD, specifically the Public Health department of the Med School, specifically the Ag Center. As I have learned, it is one of 9 Ag Centers across the country funded primarily by the National Institute for Occcupational Safety and Health to study Agricultural health issues specific to their regions.

So how is it working for an organization devoted to improving the health of working folk? On the one hand, everyone is well-educated about ergonomics. I have an adjustable purple chair and was encouraged to redesign my work station to meet my own comfort, which I did. On the other hand, the office is located right next to a superfund site. I mean right next to it, as in you walk out the door and point to the giant lead drums and go "that's where the Beagle Project was." Ah, the Beagle Project. Up until recently (I have heard 10 years from one source, 6 months from another), some UCD research scientists were irradiating Beagles with God-Knows-What to many gamma rays it takes to make your dog glow? I don't know. Anyway, pretty much the first thing everyone says on your first day is "you didn't drink the tap water, did you?"

Speaking of dogs, my boss, with whom I share an office, graciously asked my permission to bring in her two Chihuahuas. I am no great lover of the breed, but I find Chico and Olive pretty appealing. Olive seems to be the alpha dog. She's rather fat, and when she gets bored she waddles around begging for grapes. Chico, who gets cold easily, generally naps under his blanket for most of the day. They're very well behaved, affectionate and quiet, except when making this vaguely asthmatic Chihuahua noise which is apparantly known as a "reverse sneeze." I'm a little worried about running over them in my ergonomic chair though.

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