Friday, April 27, 2007

I can't get in sync

So my adviser and the other grad student in the "lab" are excited about a new grant application we are working on. Today we had a meeting about it. The result was that we came up with an almost identical research plan to the proposal that I couldn't get my adviser to pay any attention to six month ago. Six months ago when I was trying to come up with a research plan for my thesis they weren't interested and now that I really need to be concentrating on writing my thesis they want to plan for new research. I'm so frustrated! I should be happy, but I have mentally moved on.

On the positive side I have made quite a bit of progress in getting the current data set into a usable form. That process has really helped to clarify for me what it is possible to say with this data and what just isn't there.

Also, my new "super boss" and another grad student at my new job are working on a conference panel to do with the data collection method for my current project. They seem really interested in having me submit something for the panel. The conference is in August in a big east coast city and sounds really fun. I spent over two hours yesterday talking about research methods with the other grad student. Her dissertation topic is related to my current thesis project, especially in terms of data collection methods. She has been collecting data this year so she had lots of interesting stories.

Yesterday made me realize what a truly scholarly, collegial environment would feel like (at least occasionally.)


Friday Cat Blogging

No photos this week. BOK (Big Orange Kitty) had to go to the vet this week because his nictating membranes were showing. Apparently that is a sign of illness. The vet claimed that it usually meant a stomachache and that we should start giving him a bunch of hairball medicine. It's spring and he is shedding a lot. He seems OK other than that. I still worry a little.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

My soul is an ocelot, apparently


The Real Me?

As seen on Rising to the occasion


Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm Back

I'm back from my first academic conference, but I'm getting sick, so I'm not going to write much. I think I overdid it. The next conference is closer to home and much smaller. Thank you God/dess!


Monday, April 16, 2007

Conference anyone?

Tomorrow morning I'm heading to a huge conference. I'm not presenting thankfully, because I'm currently in a morass of data.

Random questions:

How can one possibly choose when there are 15-20 concurrent panels?

Any other bloggers conferencing this week?

Suggestions for the best ways to chat people up during a conference? I'm hoping to network a lot, but it seems difficult when there will be so many people there. There will be too many people to just run into the right ones.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Carnival of Gradual Progress

The Carnival of GRADual Progress is up at Fumbling Towards Geekdom.
I especially appreciate StyleyGeek for including me considering my recent dirth of posts. I'm always amazed that 20+ people a day stop by my little blog in view of my habit of bipolar posting on academia and sci-fi/fantasy culture.

Hopefully I will get my thoughts together and post soon on my dissertation ideas and considerations for changing programs. First I'll have to look through my previous posts to see what I have written about already. If you had spent three years on a masters and so could be done with coursework and ABD relatively quickly would you choose to start a new PhD program or just stick with the program you had? Everyone here is vaguely supportive, if not willing to help me navigate through the morass that is grad school. On the other hand, if I change programs I might be able to get more money, quit working 30hrs/wk and concentrate on my research. Also, other programs might have more professors who identify with my discipline and/or interests. I'm also considering applying to more "prestigious" programs with the idea that a degree from a big name U. might help me procure a faculty position. (Also, keep in mind I have a husband who wants to go to grad school and lots of undergrad debt.)

Addendum: I should post late a night when I'm tired. I had to go back an fix my typos and other errors. I spelled "prestigious" incorrectly. That takes special talent considering the auto spell checker on my browser.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

They Might Be Giants!

Rob Helpy Chalk posted this video. I love They Might Be Giants!

I love mammals!

Type rest of the post here


People who are too nice

Profgrrrl posted the question "Evil or Insane?" I have quite a bit of experience in this area. One of my employers/mentors here at Big Ag. U. was crazy making in a similar way.

For whatever reason she was so vague about what work she wanted you to accomplish that it was almost impossible to get anything of consiqence done. If you attempted to actually do something and then show her what you had done, then she would look at it and enevitably tell you what you had done wasn't at all what she had been thinking. Then you would change your work to conform to her requirements and the next time you showed it to her she would want you to change it back.

She was also OCD about the office in a very strange way. Things had to be out and visible so that she could find them, if you made any attempt to organize the office she would become irate. She would also come in and reorganize you desk and computer files while you weren't in the office.

I worked for her for over a year and got almost nothing done. Besides feeling really guilty for taking her money, I decided that her "games" were distracting me from getting any real research done. After six month she still emails me to try to get me back participating in her "projects."

Is she insane? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that she's not conscious of the effects of what she does. She seems to genuinely want to do good and help people, but she makes me crazy.


Friday, April 13, 2007

I can't figure out how to make this new posting system with the summary and hidden ending work, but at least you all get to see cute pictures of my animals.

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Cat Blogging

Drinking: a brazen hussy ala Dr Brazen Hussy

Watching: (sadly, there's nothing on) National Treasure

Playing: The Lord of the Rings Online (we gave up on WOW a few months back, which explains
the lack of gaming related posts. Now LORO is in beta, giving us a chance to take up gaming again.)

Cats: super cute
The Princess

BOC (big orange cat)

Type your summary here

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I'm learning to give you all some context

Recently I realized that I'm often to spare in my writing, failing to give enough background and assuming that my readers know me and my point of view. To follow up on my recent post on this evangelical comic, I thought I might give a little context.

Beorn and I are sort of vaguely tree worshipers. Just for good measure between us we fulfill all sorts of stereotypes of geekiness. Beorn worked for many years doing various types of tech support (read: computer nerd.) He has a beard. He likes gaming and science-fiction and sometimes wears a kilt. My parents were hippies. When I was little they went "back to the land" and tried to make a living as organic farmers. I still look vaguely hippy-ish, despite my attempts to hide it. I like botany and gardening. I know (at least a little) just about any craft you can name: sewing, cooking, baking, knitting, pottery, jewelry making, etc.

Given this background I just wasn't expecting an Evangelical comic from Beorn.

"The Rise of the Pagan Right" is more his style. (I especially like the part at the bottom, hippy-geeks can't afford to take themselves too seriously.)

or this one from Devil's Panties


Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Golden Compass as a movie?

The meteoric rise of cgi has resulted in the making of many of my favorite books into movies. At times I'm not sure how to feel about it. Kermit pointed out that photos and clips of "The Golden Compass" are online.

Without giving the story away, it's the first book in Phillip Pullman's trilligy, His Dark Materials, which tackles some very heavy themes including death, sacrifice, the human soul, and the role of God and the Church in oppression. According to the BBC, "Pullman acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy tells of a battle against the church and a fight to overthrow God." That is some pretty heavy shit for a movie that will most likely be marketed to children and families.

I'm not sure how I feel about this story becoming a movie. It could be done so poorly. Pullman is an atheist and a strong critic of C.S. Lewis' stories The Chronicles of Narnia. Personally I liked both series.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

D&D is evil (the comic)

Beorn pointed me to this comic. I kept on reading, expecting a punchline. It never came. I thought this negative stereotype of role-playing died out in the 80's. I'm more used to the stereotype that all gamers are teenage boys with no social skills, but the main characters in this strip are both young women.

(I'm not going to the trouble of reposting the pictures, although they are hilarious.) Here are the things I learned from "Dark Dungeons":

Remember, if your character dies, your friends won't allow you to roll up a new character, so your life is over.

Playing D&D is intense occult training!

Priestesses of Diana are into bondage.

Spellcasting results in financial windfalls, that's why witches are all millionaires.
Next time I get stressed out I'm going to let Breena take care of things.