The aesthetics of academia

February 21 2011

So, today was my first official day on The University of Western Australia campus. The jet-lag had dissipated (for the most part) and so I thought that I would make a little effort to spiff up a bit; to make a good impression on my Australian colleagues.

That didn’t go so well. The hairdryer blew up as soon as I plugged it in. Ooops. I am pretty sure that it’s garbage now. So I had to settle for Velcro curlers. This is my low tech back-up for travel to foreign destinations where electrical connections are incompatible. I learned all this (the hard way) the last time I was in Australia when my flat iron melted down to it’s skeletal steel remains in a hotel bathroom in Cairns. I got to it just before it burst into flames – but not before the fire alarm went off. Ooops.

Anyway, back to the Velcro. I had little hope that this beauty strategy would work as whatever efforts I made in creating sumptuous volume and body would be at the mercy of the Australian humidity. But I tried it anyway. Eventually I settled for the ‘messy bun at the top of my head’ deal. (The ‘do’ that looks like you ‘did’, when you really didn’t).

What’s with this hair stuff, you ask? Well, I’ll get to that a bit later.

After a meeting with Siddique at 8:30 am, I spent the morning at my new (but temporary) desk space at the Institute of Agriculture confirming appointments for interviews and setting up new ones. Michelle, personal assistant to Dr. Siddique, was extremely helpful in getting me hooked up to the Internet (no easy feat here at UWA) and locating some taxi chits for the trips that would take me around Perth to places like: the Council of Grain Growers Organizations (COGGO), Canola Breeders Western Australia, Department of Food and Agriculture, and to Burswood for the Agricultural Crop Updates meetings on the 23rd and 24th.Then I met a few more folks on campus, headed with them to the Science Cafe to enjoy a latte and to network.

Overall, it was a very productive morning. I was feeling like an accomplished, well-travelled academic with a solid research strategy in place and backed up by the reputation of a formidable, world-renowned post-secondary institute. Bazinga!

A midday conversation with Siddique and Michelle seemed to be in order as pride compelled me to share my accomplishments. I am not sure what made me, at that very moment, slip my hand up to the back of my head. Karma, I would wager. But there it was: One pink Velcro roller wrapped in a few stringy tendrils of hair.


Highlight of the day: drinking Mountain Goat Steam Ale in the Trinity College quad(no opener, so I had to pound the cap off on the edge of my desk (helloooo high school).

Lowlight of the day: the curler.


3 thoughts on “The aesthetics of academia

  1. Hey Cami I am sad to hear that velcro rollers is a last resort. I always use them as my first resort and now feel somewhat behind the times. But will definatley being doing a final head check before I leave the house when using the rollers.. as for the tip ouch but I am sure you made the young mans day. Tess came wtih Beverly, Bob and I for lunch on Saturday, he and Bob chatted for quiet some time. I think they made new friends

  2. Hey Cami,Back in the courier days….I had the same experience. I wore 1 velcro roller to the office until noon one day. I tore it out of the back of my head in front of several employees. (keep in mind I started at 8am)Thanks guys for telling me. They all received pay cuts. Very humbling for me.

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