kitsjay: (Woo)
My sociology professor has got to be one of the nicest guys on the planet. So I'm one of those people who really enjoys feedback and criticism on things I write, because, hello, I write a lot. (Seriously, have you seen my entries? They're massive.)

I turned in my paper to him and got the grade back (26.5/27 points), but I still had this vague, niggling question, "But what did I miss?"

I'm a perfectionist too lazy to perfect before I turn things in.

So I get an email today from him saying that he's decided to email everyone's comments on their papers to them, here's mine, with an attached document! Without my even asking! How nice is that?

I sent back an email saying, "I had to leave town Friday and couldn't come back to pick up my paper, so I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you taking the time to do this," and he sends me back, "No problem. I enjoyed reading your paper. Good luck to you!"

What a fantastically nice guy. I was spoiled this semester on professors.

Also, I talked to a guy at Palo Alto and surprise! He was actually competent. He put me into a calculus class without my even having to beg/threaten/act crazy. Amazing with a side of awesome, that is!
kitsjay: (Default)
I got my grades back today! That sociology paper, the one I worried incessantly about and was convinced I would fail? 26.5/27. I would loathe the man were it not for the fact that I made an A in the class. Also, I have no idea what grade I made on the BritLit final but my overall grade is an A, so I'm not too terribly concerned about it.

Aside from a brief tangle with TurboTax, I have been enjoying my brief respite between the end of spring classes and the beginning of summer ones. I woke up late today, sunbathed for a while (my thermometer said 113 degrees, but the weatherman insisted it only reached 97), then went inside to read for a bit. So far I've read three of The Dresden Files, Leaves of Grass, Call of the Wild, and Looking for Alaska since I've been home.

I also rekindled a latent love of hockey and baseball. Dad and I watched all three of the Astros-Nationals games, jeered Zimmerman, and cheered Pinsent and Berkman. Dad doesn't much care for hockey, so he went to bed while I watched the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs.

At one point, the action in front of the New York Islanders net got tense and they showed a close up of the goalie, DePietro, throwing a punch that sent one of the Tamba Bay Lightning guys flying to the ice.

"Goalies are going to get feistier," the sports announcers predicted.

Later, DePietro tapped his stick against the back of one of the opposing team's skates, trying to send him tripping. A small brawl broke out. The refs broke it up and the camera went to the coach, pacing and shouting things that suspiciously had no sound accompaniment.

"Feistiness starts at the top," one of the announcers said indulgently, with a paternal 'boys will be boys' chuckle.

Oh, hockey. Never let me down, okay?

ETA: It won't. There's an old saying, hockey is where a fight took place and a sport broke out. This video proves it--



Particularly hilarious is about two minutes in when the sports-casters segue seamlessly from a play-by-play of the game to a play-by-play of the fight.
kitsjay: (Woo)
I took my last exams in British Literature and Sociology!

Pretty sure I did well on the BritLit one, though halfway through I suddenly had the need to go to the restroom. Try writing on the line "charter'd Thames" when all you can think is, "That last cup of coffee might have been a mistake..."

Also, there was a tense moment when I realized I had to write two pages on two lines of poetry, but I managed to squeeze something out that sounded halfway decent. Anything I missed I completely made up with my stunning discourse on the comparison of Kurtz to a god, so all good there.

Then my sociology exam, which was a twenty-page multiple choice (I gather this was meant to be a break for us, but all I could think was, "HOW much does each question cost?"). One of the questions gave me a spot of trouble, but then the last two were absolutely incomprehensible. Apparently he had done some statistic trick on one of the two days I missed out of this entire semester and thought, "I should put these two on a test that means if they miss it, it drops a letter grade!"

So we have this:

Effects of Church Attendance on Self-Rated Health
Model 1 Model 2
Hot tempered 1.087** .067
Extracurricular activities -- .54*


19. What theory does model one represent?
a. Reverse causation
b. Independence of science and religion
c. Selection effects
d. None of the above

And really? There is no intuitive way to answer this. I finally put something down and left. I had to forgive him though, because he gave us candy after the final. It was utterly adorable.

Afterwards, Mom and Dad came to pick me up, and we went out to eat at Dirty Martin's, where Janis Joplin used to work. Then we went to the place where I wanted to get the apartment, turned in the pre-lease information and paid the deposit. My parents liked it pretty well! In my dad's words, "You did good, kid."

The only thing is that my parents decided to treat me like I was two, not nineteen. My mom says that she wants me to give her a key to my place so she can crash there. I do not have a problem with my mother visiting, but she had better call first.

Then Dad says he's worried about me not having a roommate, and Mom says that if I don't answer the phone, then she'll call the apartment manager. She says this in front of the manager. I could have died. It's not unreasonable to assume I'm alive if I don't speak to them every day. Really.

In any case, I'll set them straight later. The lease information is supposed to come through next week or so.

Finally, I signed up for summer classes. I'm currently signed up for Bio I, lab and lecture; Chem I lecture; Chem II lab and lecture for the second summer session. There was a problem registering for the Chem I lab, so I might have to take Bio I online in order to take them both, then I have to talk to Palo Alto and convince them that if I did alright in calculus at UT, I really do not need a pre-req to take it at Palo Alto.

So yes! Busy times, glad to be home. Good luck on finals, everyone!
kitsjay: (Expectations)
My brother may have some small success in finding the knaves who broke into his apartment. A woman came forward to the apartment manager about two kids living in the same complex who were bragging about breaking into a cop's apartment and stealing two guns. We're dealing with criminal masterminds, most assuredly.

Speaking of apartment managers, Court graciously drove me to the 108 Place and we looked at a room. I'm quite charmed by it! I'm already envisioning how the layout is going to be and looking forward to it. The deposit is steep ($500) and the rent is more than I wanted, but upon further reflection, I think it's a fair price. Austin is an expensive place to live and I'm already starting late looking for housing. Not to mention that the location is wonderful--I'm within three major bus routes, walking distance from Walgreens and a park, and it's a very safe neighborhood--so I think I'm going to go ahead and take it. I tried checking out another place that was somewhat cheaper, but they did not even come to the door when we knocked during office hours. I was very unimpressed.

I turned in my paper today in sociology. My teacher was cheerful as always.

"How many of you are confident about your paper?"

Three people raised their hands. Three. I'm torn between being extremely worried and just relieved that it's over with. Thankfully I have two finals in the next two days to keep me from fretting too terribly much.

We were discussing Yeats's "The Second Coming" in class in preparation for our final and my teacher brought up a book by somebody titled Slouching Towards Gomorrah.

"I don't get the reference," someone said.

"Sodom and Gomorrah? The twin cities of sin? We get the word sodomy from Sodom," my teacher explained. He paused. "We don't get anything from Gomorrah, but if we did, it'd be awesome."

I think I'm really going to miss that class, actually. For one, I never would have read Equus on my own, but I read it tonight at the library and quite enjoyed it. Not to mention, I've begrudgingly accepted Jane Austen into the fold of my personal library and I really got something from Eliot and Yeats that I don't think I would have normally. My class next semester, Walt Whitman and His World, had best step up to top this one.
kitsjay: (Default)
I got my paper back in sociology. Five pages of essay, an abstract, a perfect works cited, and he puts, "Good start!" on the bottom. Five pages is not a good start. Five pages is, "Change a few things here and there, and you'll be done!". I am terribly vexed over this.

That said, he did give us today off, so I forgive him somewhat. I've been using my time wisely (Reading the article for Friday? No. Working on my paper? No. Watching Due South and gawking at Paul Gross's incredible ass? Yes indeed!)

In BritLit, we're reading Equus. Correction, my fellow classmates are. The beginning of this year, I could not afford all the books, so I forewent purchasing Frankenstein and Equus. The former was online, but I haven't had any luck finding the latter. I've been faking it in class, but sometime before our final, I probably should read it at the PCL. If some other cheapskate hasn't checked it out.

And finally, I am down to $2.49 in my dine-in-dollars account. I've been scrounging to put together enough meals to last 'til the end of the semester.

My larder consists of a tin of oatmeal, half a jar of peanut butter, two cans of soup, a Ramen packet, mustard, and a packet of tuna. With the $2.49, I can buy 3 more packets of Ramen (the "oriental flavor" is highly recommended, by the way). I can live off of peanut butter sandwiches for a ridiculously long time, but bread is hideously expensive.

Also, I called several apartment complexes yesterday and found several leasing for fall semester. Two of them I am particularly drawn to, though I haven't physically checked them out yet and they may be a bit dodgy. The prices are mostly in the $550 area, with the one I am partial to being $670 a month. Most of them, I'd have to pay for electricity and Internet, but they are along the UT Shuttle route and about a ten-minute ride to campus.

This seems like a nice place to segue into the other thing, which is my schedule. Either it is the most hellacious schedule in the world or the best.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I would be taking Bio II at 8:00-9:00, then Creative Writing 9:00-10:00, Latin from 10:00-11:00, then Cultural Anthropology from 12:00-1:00, except for Fridays when Anthropology would be from 11:00-12:00. On Mondays, I would have the additional discussion section for Bio II from 4:00-5:00.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would have Latin from 10:00-11:00.

The creative writing is iffy--I really would rather be in either a class on "Walt Whitman and His World" or "Shakespeare's Selected Plays", but both were closed when I last checked. The waitlist supposedly opens Thursday, so with luck, I may be able to put myself on that and drop the Creative Writing class.

I am a tad worried about the lack of any breaks, but as my brother said, "Think of it as high school"--I think he meant it to be comforting. Mostly it just provokes nightmarish flashbacks that I would prefer to draw a veil over.

Speaking of drawing a veil over painful scenes--

7 days left!
kitsjay: (Woo)
YAWP!

That is my victory cry today, ladies and gents! For I, your friendly narrator today, am amazing. No, really, you can applaud/throw money/build a shrine to me anytime.

Because that sociology paper I was complaining about, the one I mentally dubbed "The Monster" and brooded most unbecomingly over? Tomorrow is the last day my sociology teacher is accepting rough drafts to correct and I was despairing over my ability to actually get it done by then. He returned my earlier efforts with red ink all over it, a few disparaging remarks (and one good one--it turns out my thesis was something not only sound, but relevant), and at least three, "This needs to be more focused". I was having such a hard time figuring out how to organize it. Should I talk about Japanese religion first? Social support in churches? Or how about how gender roles work? They all were so related that you have to understand them together, not in any linear manner.

As I came back to the dorm from class, I thought about working on my paper and grimaced, deciding on a nap instead. I lay there in the dark for a few minutes and was peacefully drifting off when whammo! The introduction starts writing itself in my head. I hoisted myself up, grasped around for a pen and notebook, and wrote two pages before I realized I didn't have my glasses. I wrote another two pages before I turned on the light. After my inspiration was finally exhausted, I typed it up, added citations and am now sitting pretty at five pages, without even mentioning the American studies on women's involvement in religion and the health benefits related to that. Plus I finished my works cited.

So I turn it in tomorrow, get it back, correct a bunch of little things, then turn it back in for my A. The Monster is FINISHED!

YAWP.

11 days to go!
kitsjay: (Default)
I have three pages of my essay written!

Granted, the thesis may be fundamentally flawed, the paragraphs ramble from one topic to the next, and the actual writing is possibly the worst writing I have ever done, including my third grade paper on "How to Build a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich", but it's something.

Ironically, I had a flash of a scene last night, wrote down a line from it, then came back from class this morning and wrote two pages of a story. I seem to be chronically unable to have a plot idea plus spectacular description, which is the wall I am hitting currently. I know the smell of the air, the color of flaking paint on the porch and how the blades of grass are moving,--but I have no idea why these two boys are there or what they're going to be doing. So far nothing. I may post it later, depending on how bored I am tonight.

Speaking of, after thirty minutes of sociology, my teacher looks up and said, "Well, I have my defense for my dissertation at 3:30 this afternoon. See? I'm wearing my interview shoes!" He held them up for our admiration.

"What do your normal shoes look like?" someone asked.

"I'll show you Wednesday," he said cheerfully.

He then gave us the option of leaving or staying to listen to a "mini-defense" of his dissertation.

"I'm not going to say that I'm going to use you as guinea pigs," he said. "But I kind of am."

Halfway through, he gets to the CES-D and kept messing it up as he tried to say it. "I'll have to practice that."

"I'm sure they'll understand. They know you're human," Front Row Guy comforted him.

My teacher shot him a disbelieving look. You could see the, "You're in for a shock if you do grad school," written on his face.

"We're scholars," he said semi-seriously. "We're not supposed to be human."

15 days to go.
kitsjay: (Expectations)
I woke up this morning and stared at my ceiling for a few minutes before heaving a gigantic sigh and maneuvering myself up and my computer on in a complicated motion perfected by a semester of practice. My bandwidth has, alas, once again dipped into the negatives, which I tried convincing myself was a good thing as this would encourage me to start my major essay that I resolved to start this weekend and hopefully finish by Monday. I have never had so much difficulty writing an essay. Normally as soon as I finally sit down with my research resources and a keyboard at my fingertips, the words begin to flow and I occasionally insert a source here or there to make it official. Not so with this one. This one resists all attempts to be written. Even breaking it into an outline, which I absolutely hate doing, has not helped any. I keep starting before realizing I’m either writing myself in circles or starting an entirely new thesis. It is beyond vexing. I promised myself I could watch more episodes of due South if I actually worked, though, and there is nothing like proper incentive.

Earlier this week, I had toyed with the idea of going home for the weekend, but Dad and Mom informed me that they would be in College Station for Parent’s Day with Chris. Joking with them, I mentioned that they had not been to visit me once and Austin was two hours closer than College Station. Now, my recent obsession with Northern Exposure and due South recalled a yearning for the outdoors in me and I quickly went through a list of people it would be acceptable to go camping with before finally, and somewhat inexplicably, landing on Dad. So I called today and Dad answered the phone. He must have felt guilty about my joking, because when I awkwardly blurted, “Would you like to go camping with me this summer?”, he readily agreed.

“I’d like that,” he said. “Think about where you want to go and we’ll set aside a weekend to go.”

It seems strange that not four months ago, Dad and I could scarcely stand to be in the same room without a fight breaking out and now we are planning on going camping together. I find myself simultaneously dreading and looking forward to it. I am leaning towards the latter. I never found myself overcome with any bouts of homesickness or loneliness while here, no doubt partly because of the comforting presence of [livejournal.com profile] panpipe, but with only three weeks to go, I find myself wanting to be home. The first thing I plan to do when I get home is to make chicken fajitas with corn tortillas, mango pico de gallo, and grilled bell peppers, complete it with a couple of beers, and sit in the hot tub with a good book at my side.

But, before all that, I suppose I have to finish up here. This essay, then two more tests, and I am D-U-N done--and not a moment too soon.

20 days to go.
kitsjay: (Archie Confuzzled)
I got my test back today--95. Hear that noise? That's the sound of your mind being blown.

(Yes, I've used that one before but it's so awesome that it needs to be repeated.)

My only problem was that he crossed out "ingrained" on my paper and replaced it with "engrained", which while technically is also correct, implies that "ingrained" is not. Which it is. Totally. See?

And it shouldn't bother me that much--he didn't take any points off for it--but it's one of those things that really annoys me, because he goes around thinking I'm a moron who can't spell and I go around thinking he's thinking I'm a moron who can't spell and -- well, dammit, I'm an English major! I shouldn't have to take this abuse!

I want to send him an email with a discreet note at the bottom saying, "By the way, ingrained is also correct" but Court says that would be obnoxious.

Which, yes, it totally would be.

But it's very tempting all the same.
kitsjay: (Woo)
At 5:00 in the morning, I finally decided it would be prudent to actually, y'know, read the things we were supposed to for my test in four hours.

At 5:09, I realized that included two entire books, two forty-page research articles, and two twenty-page articles (two written by my teacher).

At 5:11, there may have been frantic flipping of pages and trying to randomly memorize, but I don't remember.

At 6:37, my zen nature kicked in and I relaxed while deciding not to actually focus on what I was reading, but simply absorb it, much like I didn't while sitting in class.

And so it was, at 8:50 this morning, that I finished both books and three of the articles, took my test, and walked out sincerely appreciating my procrastinating nature. Otherwise I may have done something silly, like worked really hard for a test nearly laughably simple. And teachers usually get upset when you look at your test and burst into laughter and/or tears.

Or so I've heard.

In sum: I rocked the sociology casbah. Thank you, essay tests!

In related news, we are supposed to be writing a term essay in this class. We turned in outlines maybe two weeks ago or so (my outline being a random works cited of articles that had "Japanese" and "elderly" in the keywords, along with a thesis so weak it makes Mickey Mouse look like a bodybuilder--bewilderingly, it was returned with full credit), and now I want to change the entire premise. I really am not exaggerating when I say I have no idea what I wrote, why I wrote it, or even why he thought it was acceptable, other than that he must have been feeling either compassionate or too tired to actually grade--probably the former, because he noted the word "lugubrious" then questioned word choice. Don't mess with me, buddy. I'm an English major.

In any case, we had the option of analyzing and comparing a religious aspect of the U.S. to another culture we covered or writing a fictional request for a research grant. He cautioned the second would be harder which is usually teacher-speak for, "I'll grade easier". Despite this, I went with the former.

Then I got this idea in my head about analyzing the physiological benefits of doing yoga for religious purposes, as in the case of religious yogis, or Western-style, where it is viewed primarily as a form of exercise and meditation without the original spiritual overtones. I mean, it's one of the few cases I could think of where ritual and religion are so clearly delineated. The only problem with this is that it's due in about three weeks and of course, we were supposed to be working on this for months now. I think going up and asking him, "Would it be okay to do this?" would evoke an, uh, interesting response.

I am strongly considering explaining to him that I work better under pressure.

(Except when I don't, in which case I curl up into the fetal position, crying piteously and questioning the value of 42. But that's a different story.)

Finally, I leave you with this, which I found on my school's homepage. April 7: Watergate co-conspirator to discuss integrity. I wish I could say it was a joke. I really, really do.
kitsjay: (Default)
So instead of studying for my sociology test this Monday, reading Heart of Darkness, going to the gym, badgering my mother so I can finally get this FAFSA in, or even doing anything remotely resembling productivity, I have instead ate pizza, watched a marathon of due South, combed through the summaries of four seasons of Northern Exposure on tv.com, run out of bandwidth downloading episodes of Corner Gas, convinced myself to become a forest ranger, and spent a truly ungodly portion of my time sucking down Coke Zeros and scouring the 'net for good fanfiction.

... and it was glorious.
kitsjay: (Default)
* Minor success this morning at the gym! There is an extremely cute guy who works there, swiping people in. I see him every morning and try to make a point to smile and say, "Good morning." I came close to giving up on my assault until this morning, he was swiping a mass of boys in. When he got to me, I was pleasantly surprised when he looked up, made eye contact, smiled and said, "Good morning," and held my gaze for just that second longer.

* On the way out of the gym, I passed a group of NROTC guys jogging past. One of them physically turned around while running to look at me. Very nice.

* All of the fire extinguishers on my floor are gone. I passed by an empty case the first time and thought, "My, that's strange!" but the one by the laundry room has disappeared as well. Slightly worrisome.

* My mother has (almost) given me all the information I need for my FAFSA. I sent her a list of questions I needed answered and got about three answered. So I sent the remaining questions, got a few more answered. After about four emails, I am down to three questions I need answered.

* I should probably start figuring out what we've been doing in sociology, since I really haven't been paying attention. At all. Ever. Something about butsudan and matsumuri, I think.

I wish this post was more interesting, but alas, I am boring.
kitsjay: (Expectations)
This weekend I went home with Court. Saturday, Christy, Court and I went to see Fool's Gold which was awful in a fun kind of way. I thought it would have been better suited for the summer, but then again, it's February in Texas and I went sunbathing on the roof today. In the movie, everytime the plot took a turn for the worse, I would say, "Wait, that's--" and then Matthew Mcconaughey took off his shirt.

I had dinner with my grandparents and Sean, who impressed me through his sheer jackassery. He shows up fifteen minutes before dinner was ready (which Grandma fixed for us), eats, then takes the TV she had for him and leaves without even waiting to clear the table. I was apalled. Grandma later commented on it, saying, "Do you think Sean had a date? He rushed off in a hurry..." Classy move, Sean.

Court and I left Grandma's with a bag of homemade banana nut bread and a knife secreted away in my bag (this is completely normal and not at all psychotic; try slicing up an apple with a plastic knife one day) and drove back to Austin. I saw a sign on the way that said something about "Austin to Cancun! $9.99!"

"Surely they don't mean $10," I thought. Out of curiosity, I looked it up and found them. I am very tempted, but the May ones right after finals are for $20, so Audrey, Court and I are entertaining the thought of going then. Audrey confessed the pictures of Cancun I looked up were what kept her going through her classes. I just keep repeating an inward mantra of, "Beaches, booze, and babes" in my head while sitting in class. I did the same skip-the-reading-then-write-an-essay-on-it in Sociology as I did in my BritLit and ended up getting full credit. With a "Well done!" at the bottom. It's hard to motivate yourself to work when you know that you really don't have to, true story.

Finally, Audrey said she had a dream last night we were at Cancun and there were dinosaurs that chased us. Apparently at one point we were trapped in a room with a group of guys, and a T-Rex on the outside trying to get in when I shouted, "F this! I'm not going to die a virgin!" and started stripping with one of the guys.

I should have asked if he was at least good-looking.
kitsjay: (Expectations)
So apparently my subconscious knew something I did not. Last night I found it incredibly hard to motivate myself to actually study. I'm a little ADD on a good day, but this was absolutely ridiculous.

"Kitty, you have a test tomorrow," I kept saying to myself. "Stop clicking on that Psych episode. Don't--well, okay. But after this, you're going to work."

And then I spent the next twelve hours or so wikihopping and getting distracted by shiny things on my computer.

I was feeling restless, so I went for a walk at 4:00 a.m., then decided at 5:00, I had best actually study. So I spent the next three hours staring at my notes and pretending I knew what they were talking about.

The class is basically set up to where you read one article for Monday, another article for Wednesday, then another one for Friday every week. Without slacking off too much, I could either choose to read the articles and not pay attention in class or pay attention in class and not read the articles without losing ground.

Yeah. That didn't happen. Instead I stopped reading the articles and wrote letters to people every day in class.

Even with all this, the test was ridiculously easy. I don't think I got a perfect score, but I'm thinking easy A.

Also, in BritLit, we were supposed to have read the first few chapters of Gulliver's Travels, but I skipped a class period and wasn't sure how far we were supposed to read. I've read it before, a long time ago, so I thought, "Surely I'll be able to catch up!"

During class, I hurriedly read enough to insert a few comments here and there so it looked like I knew what I was talking about.

I have three classes. And I still manage to get bored and slack off in two of them. Good times.
kitsjay: (Pfui)
I am proof positive that bad things don't just happen to good people.

I have studied every day for hours, studied straight through from 11:00 a.m. this morning until my test, and went to every review session there was.

And I got there, did all I could, then realized I was going to fail.

At a certain point, it isn't, "Maybe if I do random operations I'll muddle through", it becomes, "What letter haven't I used in a while?"

I hit that point far, far, far too early.

Even with a curve, I think I failed. High failing, but still.

Not much I can do about it, though. Right now my brain feels like a gerbil on crack running around on a wheel to get to the speed water bottle while snacking on an LSD power bar.

Good thing I have that sociology test Friday! Otherwise I may have done something stupid, like try and relax. Silly me.

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