Wednesday, November 26, 2008

my personality based on this blog

Thanks to a link at professing mama, my blog has been analyzed to determine my personality. It's pretty close, but not completely accurate.

ISTP - The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

macs are not wonderful

30 slides.

I know, I'm not sticking to NaBloPoMo at all. That's okay because I say it is.

I've been hoping for a while that my work macbook would give up and die (I won't intentionally kill it, but I'd like to). It randomly restarts sometimes and I don't know how to reproduce the problem on demand so the IT people can locate the problem. I've been carrying two laptops to work in case this one suddenly decides to take a dump.

This computer has been a problem from the start. It's DVD drive had to be replaced after a few months. It was out for almost a month for that. Then over the summer it started the random restarts. It was in the shop for a little over a month. First, it took a week and a half for them to reproduce the problem, then they didn't know how to fix it. They tried replacing several parts. I'm still not sure what they settled on...I think they only replaced the main board.

The macbook worked okay for a while, but it started randomly restarting a few weeks ago. I used the temporary fix (take out battery, unplug, and hold power button down to reset something) so I could back up some stuff and I haven't been able to reproduce the problem since. I took it to the department IT people anyhow. They ran all the diagnostics they have on the hardware and nothing showed up. All they could do was tell me to hope it dies. My advisor and the IT people want to throw it off the top of the building.

The disease itself is kind of interesting. It starts with not-so-random restarts. When it has been sitting for a bit and I move it, it restarts. If the computer is on battery power, it restarts without my input. If it is plugged in, it asks me to restart it, but doesn't give me another option (at least that's a bit more polite). As the disease progresses, it gets ruder and never asks me to restart. Eventually it restarts whenever it wants to (don't have to move it to make it restart) and may get stuck at the grey start-up screen. If it gets stuck on start-up, it emits the first half a second or so of the start-up sound once every one or two seconds.

Needless to say these computer issues have been an impediment to my research. If the computer would just die, I might get a new one that doesn't have so many problems. Failing that, I could rely completely on my personal laptop. It's not as powerful of a computer, but it seems more reliable.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

random tidbits

I may be the first person ever to start working on her seminar almost three months before it is scheduled. I have 27 slides so far that show me exactly where I need more explanation.

It seems that a bit of caffeine makes me more able to stay away (duh) but also makes me more cheerful. Caffeine also prevents headaches by not making me fight to stay awake and concentrate. This does not apply to migraines, just simple headaches (which could, however, turn into migraines if left unchecked).

I'm tired and I have an orchestra concert tomorrow. I'll have to update more later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

starting seminar early

I've started my seminar powerpoint. My seminar is February 4th of next year. I figure this way I can see where the holes are earlier and have plenty of time to fill them. No rushing to finish at the end for me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thesis agreement? What thesis agreement?

Yah, I know. I fail some more at NaBloPoMo. But at least it's reminding me more often to post something.

I've somewhat regained my brain, I think. In my department, there is this thing called a thesis agreement that is supposed to be submitted before you start any significant research. It outlines a project that the student and advisor agree is reasonable for a master's degree. It is intended to protect the student from added expectations and the advisor from a slacker student.

I'm in my second year of the master's program and expect to finish by August 2009 (then continue directly into a PhD). My thesis agreement is still not submitted. I just sent a draft of it to my advisor this afternoon.

This may seem like a problem since it conflicts with the departmental guidelines. However, it is not an issue at all. From what I've heard, most students don't submit their thesis agreements on time. I'm comparatively on-the-ball.

That seems to be the way in academia...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Fellowship application is submitted. Finally. Now I wait.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

so far, I fail at NaBloPoMo

I didn't post November 3rd, and technically I didn't post November 4th. I claim this post as my November 4th post because I haven't slept yet.

I barely started working on research again when I got feedback from my advisor on the fellowship proposal. At least I got my mind partially wrapped around the program I need to expand. I haven't looked at it in months. Friday starts my focus on research again. Three months from today, I need to have enough done to give my seminar.

I finished the fourth draft of my fellowship proposal today. That consumed about eleven hours of the day. My life has been exceedingly dull because of this major time sink. Tomorrow should be a bit more interesting. I'll at least go out to dinner to celebrate my officemate's seminar completion. Otherwise I expect a lot of the same through Thursday to finalize the proposal.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

shopping sucks

This was an unproductive weekend. Yesterday I went to a hockey game and that's about it. Today I went bra shopping. That is a major accomplishment considering how much it usually pisses me off. Unfortunately for something that fit comfortably, I spent $100 on four bras. I hate bra shopping, I hate the bra industry, and men must design them because most of them fit like shit. And to Victoria's Secret: how can a bra possibly be worth $48? You're ridiculous.

Still no word from the advisor on any of the fellowship stuff.

I'm currently battling a migraine (again). It's not really bad, but it has potential. If this round of over-the-counter stuff doesn't work, it's on to prescription meds.

I hope tomorrow is more productive. I at least have class in the morning, ice skating around lunch time, and orchestra in the evening. I have to do something tomorrow. I also hope the advisor gets back to me in a major way on the fellowship essays and proposal.

By the way, count this as my second post of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). My goal is to write one post here every day. Some may be short and unexciting, but this blog has gotten a slow start due to my busy semester. NaBloPoMo should provide some motivation to pay more attention to writing, which is somewhat therapeutic for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm trying to be patient...this is not the first time it hasn't worked very well

The boyfriend says I'm not a very patient person and in many cases he's right. This fellowship application is a prime example.

I emailed my advisor all the written portions last Thursday for him to comment on. I got comments on the first half of a two-page proposal Friday around lunch time. I emailed him an edited version that addressed all but one comment so I could get some more input on the second half and see if I'd interpreted his comments correctly.

I have yet to receive another email on the proposal. There are also two other written parts to this fellowship, neither of which he has read. I realize that he has family obligations, especially having been out of the country for two weeks and now his wife being out of town, but I really want to get this thing out of the way so I can return to research. And it's due Thursday, which doesn't leave much time for procrastinating if I do more than one round of edits on it.

Did I mention that this is my first proposal, so much of my first draft is guessing what a proposal is supposed to look like? It's going to take more than one edit to get it reasonably good and within the page limit.

It'd be nice if I could blame someone, but it's been an accidentally badly scheduled semester all around. The advisor wasn't supposed to teach, but another faculty member bailed on his class after the semester schedule was made. My advisor got to take up the slack. That means that next semester he'll be teaching one class instead of two with very little travel--just in time for both of his advisees to be studying for the qual.

Speaking of his other advisee, I feel bad for her, too, because she's trying to put together her seminar, a required part of a master's degree, so she can graduate in December. Her research has not been going as planned and she's been very stressed. It's more evidence for the bad timing of everything this semester.

I've also received preliminary news that my spring semester will be rearranged in such a way that I won't get much break over winter break, but more on that once the details are confirmed.