Thursday, September 30, 2004

I am terribly tempted to blurt out some question tonight like this one from an episode of the Simpsons:

Lenny: [at microphone] Uh yeah, I'm a
techno-thriller junkie, and I'd

like to know,is the B-2 bomber more

detectible when it rains?
Kent: Oh, what do you think, Tom Clancy?
Clancy: Well, the B-2--
Lenny: No, no, no, I was asking Maya Angelou!
Angelou: The ebony fighter awakens, dabbled

with the dewy beads of morn.
Moe: Maya Angelou is black?
Angelou: It is a mach-5 child, forever bound
to suckle from the shriveled breast

of congress.
Lenny: Oh, Maya, you're a national treasure!

Oh, I'm sure I'll be able to resist. But still.

[Reference: Insane Clown Poppy episode]

Found myself OWP again today, but it was just because I had such a run on peanuts yesterday. I was on campus in the evening, and in the (quad? diag?) found myself feeding 4 squirrels, 2 chipmunks and 2 bluejays--and a Northern Brown Flicker was lingering in the branches overhead. While I was feeding one squirrel, another came over and grabbed a finger on the hand I wasn't paying attention to. With his teeth, but not hard. It felt exactly like someone with long nails gently pinching my finger, except much cuter.

Oh, and the reason that I was on campus in the evening was to pick up the congratulatory flowers sent by Argotnaut & Frinkenstein! They smelled very woodsy and delicious. I realized that this is the only time in my life anyone has ever given me flowers! (Is that normal?) Anyway, I like flowers a lot, so it was very nice.

Well, better grade some papers and upload a new assignment.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

After a couple good nights' sleep, I'm beginning to feel motivated again. Yes, I'm still buried in work, but they're medium-to-large chunks instead of giant superhuman ones, so at least I can breathe. And my "patented" treatment works as well as always. Whew!

Turns out that if you cut a baguette before vacuum-sealing it, you get bread jerky. Though it's very well-preserved bread jerky.

Had to avoid squirrelific areas on campus yesterday, as I found myself Out Without Peanuts. I hate when I'm OWP! Luckily, today I remembered to refill the bag, so I was able to walk with head held up through the squirrel areas again.

Tomorrow Maya Angelou is going to be speaking here. In all the hubbub I forgot to get tickets, so now I will see if any are still left. My colleague Melanie wants to go, too. This may be the first non-school sociable kind of thing I've done in months! (If I can get tickets, that is.) Well, I mean besides relationship stuff, which is a different sort of high priority.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Well, what I actually ended up doing was going home, speaking to my advisor on the phone regarding changes the committee wanted me to make by today before they'd sign off, and then took a 20-minute nap that turned out to actually be 4 hours long. The surprise part came when I awoke with an instant bladder infection!

This pretty much used up the rest of my evening, as I had to go catch a bus to the health food store to get stuff to treat it.

Okay, quick, while Blogger is still up. Here's my "patented" treatment protocol for UTI. This-advice-is-not-meant-to-substitute-for-the-care-of-a-physician-yadda-yadda. (I pre-dated it so those who are freaked out by medical stuff wouldn't have to read anything disturbing today , even though it's not really that disturbing.)

Hope the water is on when I go home today. It's been like living in a war zone for the past 6 months or so, with the constant construction in front of my house.

Monday, September 27, 2004

FINALLY! Defended my thesis today and am now a Mistress of Science (they can keep their old Masters degrees as far as I'm concerned.) That makes a total of three sequential degrees in Psychology that I have achieved.

I think I worked about 150 hours on this in just the past two weeks. Feel too tired to be excited. Also, having been squashed like a fly the first couple of times made it a lot harder to build up that anticipation. In fact, I was crying this morning right before my defense. Just a little bit, from stress and exhaustion, and the certainty that it was just never going to fly. But it did, somehow.

Colleague: "Congratulations! So what are you going to do this afternoon?"
Me: "Well, I have a lot of papers to grade, and I have to prepare my dissertation research design for a meeting tomorrow, and develop the plans for my therapy group for this fall."
Colleague: "You sure know how to party."

Really, I just want to go home, have a nap, and then vacuum-seal things.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

As part of my traditional Autumn Student Loan Splurge, I got something that I've been seeing ads for on TV for a long time: a vacuum sealer for food. That's one of those doohickeys that suck the air out of a polyethylene bag of food and then seal it shut. Yippee!

After about 20 minutes of agonizing in the store, I bought the cheapie one. But when I got it home, it didn't suck. I was extremely disappointed. But what did I expect from something with the brand name "Toastess"?

Luckily for me, S--I mean, TheLimey-- was amiable enough to take me to return it this morning before we headed off to his place for the weekend. I got the "Rival" one, which was conveniently on sale.

I have been sealing all kinds of produce from his fridge, and also a whole tomato from his garden. I am most excited to get the sealer home and mount it on the wall, and then seal up my potato chips, cheese, celery, baguettes, cereal, and carrots. It is really fun to use, I warn you. Oh, it's distracting me from re-re-redoing my dang thesis presentation for Monday, although that's pretty pressing. I wish I had silver items so I could seal them up!

I can't wait to seal up our pizza leftovers tonight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I was recently explaining to Someone (he knows who he is) that Captain Picard's directive "Tea, Earl Grey, hot," is not nonsensical simply because no-one would drink Earl Grey cold.

It's clear that he's talking to a computer, and "Earl Grey" is a subset of "tea", and "hot/cold" is a subset of whatever tea flavor it is (Earl Grey).

(My conversation partner muttered something to the effect that I should have gone into programming.)

Anyway, much in the spirit of that exchange, I found this great site. The thing I like most about it is the graphic representation of the different cooking activities and which parts of the food are involved. Very comprehensible!

Cooking for Engineers
Me 'n' Argot in front of some books. Probably unread books, as they were at the Moon & Sixpence Pub.

The "haunted pool" at the motel where we stayed in Portland...

...And the most Portlandish scene imaginable, featuring TheLimey, Frinkenstein, and Argotnaut all at once.

Two recent searches that led to my blog: "disastrous plastic surgery" and "latex". (Apparently not the same person, however.)

What is wrong with people?!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I kept thinking that this guy working across the cafeteria was looking at me, yet whenever I looked directly at him, he was industriously writing in a notebook. I finally realized that the sunglasses perched on the bill of his cap were triggering my subconscious "eyes alert". Kind of funny.

By the way, in case you missed the recent monkey week on, I found it pretty funny.
I finally turned in the third version of my thesis yesterday. I put in more than one 20-hour day during the past week, between that and the quals paper. (For which I had 3 and a half pages of references, and have now heard that others had anywhere from 10 to 17, so that pretty much lets me know that I will be getting it back with more writing required. Crat.)

Well, presumably this means I will be defending (again) sometime soon, though I must say the thesis thrill drops off pretty darn quickly after the first time of turning it in.

Finally got my student loan, which makes me think there must have been some mistake. There should be more roadblocks. It's still only September!

I think I left all my normal toiletry products in Simon's bathroom, so this week I get to use all those weird makeup and bathroom products that were crammed in a drawer somewhere and make me feel noticeably "made up." It's like when I've used up all the regular food in my kitchen and have to cook something from scratch or a box on the top shelf, but for my face.

While I was so busy, I thought of a ton of stuff I wanted to write, but now that I'm here I'm too used-up to think of them.

PS: As I may have stated before, EMU library's wireless is the suckiest I've met so far.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I think it's time to update the list of nonwords that people pronounce so badly, you know they have no idea how they are actually spelled. This is because I got this email from Library Squirrel:

"This morning, I was at a meeting with a woman who makes way more money than I do, who kept using the word 'half-hazard' when she meant 'haphazard'. It was very distracting.
I kept thinking how good it would be in your list."

Then I heard someone use the non-word "high-bred" (hybrid). As in, "I want one of those new high-bred vehicles."

It's not going to go away, is it?

Sent in the major changes to my results section and discussion section around 4:30 this morning. I still have a list of things to do on this version, but the major change was to get my new analyses incorporated. I spent about 20 hours straight working on it yesterday, and ended up rewriting about 20 pages, so that pretty much parallels my usual page-per-hour rate for writing this kind of stuff.

There is a lot more that I'd like to see it turn into, but now is not the time for fancifying. Now is the time for getting all the thesis requirements done. (Again.) Maybe later I can add in some results of some other analyses I did in order to submit it for publication. (I'm thinking the research journal Appetite, or maybe the Journal of Nonsignificant Results. You think I'm kidding...)

Not surprisingly, I'm feeling a bit slap-happy from lack of sleep.

As a nod to "Official Talk Like a Pirate Day," you may want to visit the followin' --er, following link:

Pirate site converter

(I chose "buccaneer"-level pirate-speak for mine.)

Saturday, September 18, 2004

I'm giddy with technology. Finally have appropriate programs on laptop so that I can actually do my work on it! (Also some things I probably don't need, but what the heck.)

Must rewrite thesis today based on new regression analyses run yesterday. (It actually makes more sense now, go figure.) Not saying I got a lot of results, mind you, but at least I came by them honestly, or correctly.

It took Simon a few hours of aggravation last night to work around the various disks that my computer was demanding in order to install the stuff, but he somehow managed it, and now it works. (Mmmm, smells like new machinery.) I think he gave me a lot of clip-art that I don't necessarily need, mainly because he loves clip-art. He furthermore got me hooked up on his home wireless network (I laughed when it popped up on my screen that the wireless network "Limey" was available).

I have transferred a great deal of non-laptop data onto (fresh new) zip disks, and there are more waiting to be filled when I get back home. Who knew I had so much memory invested in photos?

Plus, also, too, in addition, I saw that the school has finally sent my student loan to my bank. (Good job I don't have to buy texts any more, as I am the instructor now.) It'll be a couple of days before it registers, but--yippee! Perhaps my luck is turning around. It had better! [shakes fist vaguely at destiny]

Well, off to theese.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Ah, I have to love the emich site. (AKA the "Page Cannot Be Found" site.) Because my life is so easy otherwise, I need more obstructions to every single little activity I undertake!

It is also making life hard for my students, who were supposed to love using the WebCT format to turn in their assignments. I guess that applies when the server is working properly.

Well, the relieving thing is, Simon managed to wangle a zip drive onto my home computer (though it was touch and go there, for a few) and so I have saved a TON of data and have just now burnt it onto CD at the computer lab here. There is something extremely satisfying (and amazing) about watching years of various data being safely compiled into one little silvery disk. I still can't believe how much data space is on each disk! It's incredible.

However, turns out I have about 600MB of photos (and RIF files, and drawings, etc.) on that Syquest disk. So I need to buy a few more zip disks today to rescue all of it.

The sad thing is that he was not able to put Office on my laptop due to lack of an elusive XP disk. So still without capability of doing schoolwork on the laptop until we rustle one up somewheres. Also must find a way to get that stats analysis software on it, if it's still floating around the department somewhere.

Note to self: ctrl-c this post before posting today, dammit!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I have to complain. I mean, even more than usual. I'm panicking now because the computer that I have been working on (not the laptop, which still only has Wordpad, but my regular big at-home one) can only communicate with the outside world via floppies. And lately it's been messing them up from time to time.

So today, just to make sure I didn't make the trek all the way here for nothing, I put copies of all the documents I have to turn in/email/print out on three (3!) separate disks.

Well, all three of them are suddenly unrecognizable by the school computers. I am going to freak out if all this huge stuff that is due today is trapped inside my computer at home, unable to be turned in. Completely aside from the fact that I wanted to spend the day editing a hard copy of the paper before I turned it in, which is the whole reason why I came in to the lab to print it out. (And email the other assignment I finished at 6 this morning.)

Mocking voice of lab computer: "This disk is not FORMATTED. Do you want to format it NOW?" Arg!!!

Dammit, dammit, dammit!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Wrote a sort-of big post moments ago, but true to my apparent jinx this week, the Blogger server chose my exact posting moment to poop out.

Anyway: thesis, defense, train, and wreck.

Would have been very nice to know more than one day in advance that the analyses I was using were inappropriate for the type of data I collected. Now that I know, of course, it seems obvious. That is, obvious to anyone who looked at the document in advance, of course, instead of cramming it into a desk drawer until the day before the student's actual defense.

So all the quals-writing time I sacrificed in the past two weeks to get this thesis in were not a sacrifice but a waste! Now my quals paper (due tomorrow, of course) is merely a crazy-quilt of information bits, and does not even meet the length requirements yet. And yet I still have to redo my entire thesis by next Monday--again.

In better news, I discovered that the reason my tax return was so delayed (by about four months) was that the state was redoing my return to give me a bit more money than I expected. This has happened a couple times before, but I still don't understand what credit they're giving me. The EIC seems to require having a child, for example. (Which I don't, more's the pity.)

Anyway, so much for counting my catching-up chickens before they hatch...god, I need a serious rest.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Whew. Feeling more like a normal person (whatever that is) today, thank goodness.

Having a kind of brain overload because there is a vociferous geology prof behind me in the cafeteria ranting loudly through his facial hair about how gender equity is BS, and badmouthing multicultural stuff, etc. etc., just after I got out of teaching my class. (Frankly, someone with that big a beard has no room to criticize anyone for anything.)

Arg! First he was railing against centralized government, then a second later he was saying there should be some kind of standardized, uniform educational standards across the country. Talk about your soapbox lacking insight, to violently mix my metaphors. He also mentioned that people in his family "aren't readers". Huh! Who'da thunk it?! Then he followed it up with the fact that he "hates physics" because it's "too conceptual" and there's "too many numbers." Good lord, what kind of scientist is this guy?!

Still trying to plow through the giant exam paper. Must finish over this weekend, and also prepare thesis presentation, and also get that one assignment from last fall done during the meanwhile.

In other news, two new links added for no reason (as usual):

Squirrel of Death

"...picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street...on one wheel and with a demonic squirrel on his back."

And of course the ever-popular Milo's Tongue, which involves either the cutest or ugliest dog you've ever seen. Certainly the weirdest.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Had a very nice visit to partly-cloudy Portland, despite having to turn off anxiety about huge workload. I have a bunch of photos, and Argot has even more-nicer ones due to her cooler camera, but I've no time to mess around with uploading them and so on until maybe a week or two.

Naturally, I am now experiencing a huge post-weekend crash, including all kinds of depressive and miserable and pessimistic feelings about anything and everything. Funny how predictable that is. However, I expect it to lessen over the next few days, as it generally does, as long as I take care of myself. I'm trying not to take my own dismal viewpoint about anything too seriously until I'm feeling more like myself again.

Teaching is going well, on the other hand, and it looks as though my thesis defense will finally occur next Tuesday. I just have to get everyone to agree on a time. Now, to just finish this *&%$# ferflinkte $%#@!# exam paper. I'd better get back to it now, as a matter of fact.

Oh yes, I did finally come up with an appropriate name for the new laptop: he (gendered computer) will be called "Clu". (If you know where that's from, you get some kind of MegaGeek certification.)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Last post before flying to Argotnaut & Frinkenstein home tomorrow.

Still about 15 pages behind on that 50-or-so-page paper that is my 3-year exam! Crat! It's that darn thesis that threw me off course. Maybe I can bring this laptop and do it on the plane. And don't say I'd never do it, because when you're a grad student, you do more desperate academic things than under any other circumstance I've seen so far.

Had my first class today, in which I think I managed to bore the socks off those poor students before we even really got started. Well, I'll make up for it later when there's a cartload of sturm and drang and people are weeping or punching one another once the discussions get started...I know how tough it's likely to be, but I don't think they know what they're in for yet. There are nearly 40 people in what should probably be a 20-person classroom. I hope there are no race and/or gender riots.

I just made a list of discussion groups the students are assigned to. Basically, I tried to spread out all the criminal justice majors and intersperse them with the people who are taking the class because they wanted to, rather than as a requirement. Also tried to spread out the male vs. female population to make sure there's a lot of arguing potential!

A few of them know my advisor/mentor, so that's good. Today she took back the key to her office after three years, which made me feel we're breaking up! She said I should think of it as me moving up in the world, as she handed off the key to her new doctoral fellow.

Had to dress like a prof today, too. Poo. But I like the nerdy kind of high-heel shoes I got. (Back to that "sexy lab tech" kind of style, I guess. As Argot and I were once thinking of doing a poster of, with thick glasses, short skirts, lab coats, slide rules--the whole geek chic thing.) If only I was doing the kind of research that involved wearing a lab coat...sigh. Like with rats. Darn! If only I were doing research with rats, full stop!

Now, must figure out how to get WebCT docs uploaded...may have to transfer to a lab computer and then do it. Crat!

Okay, weirdest spam message I've received to date:

> Be careful! said the piglet, with a squeal, you're squeezing me! Dear me!murmured the Wizard,
> looking at his pets in astonishment

I wish that whatever product it was would actually be related to this.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

My first wireless post. Take a picture for the photo album! I feel very technologically advanced now.

Still trying to get used to this keyboard, though, as it's only recently that I learned to touch-type in the first place.

I begin teaching tomorrow. I came in to the school library today to try out their new wireless capability and to upload my syllabus into the web component of the class (WebCT). Unfortunately, the first email I opened was a message from tech support at the library stating that they took WebCT down about half an hour before I got here because it's all messed up, and they are sorry for the delay. They're sorry! Huh. Guess I have to make up my syllabus the old-fashioned way: on a word processor.

Checked at the bookstore to make sure they ordered the books for my class, and they did. It was gratifying to see that the shelf tag referred to me as professor, although technically I think I would be considered a lecturer.

I have decided that I will hold my office hours here at the library cafe. My actual office is a tiny cinder-block windowless dungeon (though on the fifth floor), I share it with other grad students, and the antique computer has neither printer nor internet access. Also, some of the teaching materials I read suggested having a "coffee hour" instead of office hours, because students find one more approachable if the contact format sounds less formal.