Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Workin' in a (thesis) Coal Mine...

It's the second week of Spring Quarter, and I just wanted to touch base here while I had a few minutes (time I really don't have) to talk about things.

I managed to get through last quarter with my head intact. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of reading my online evaluation scores the day before the new quarter began, and I was slaughtered by my students. Since these things are now online, only half of the class bothered to do the evaluations, and I had at least one student give me straight 1s. The rating system is from 1 to 5 with 1 being the worst score you can receive. However, my department also makes students fill out a more comprehensive evaluation form where they actually have to answer questions with words and not filling out the bubbles on a Scantron sheet, and those have been more fruitful. I had one student say my instructions were never clear, and another student said that my instructions were very clear. I am going to go over everything with my teaching advisor soon, but I'm already making changes to my teaching style that I think will improve things.

My uncle went back home for a little while, and I had to go pick him up on what would have been my mother's birthday, so we went to the cemetery to pay everyone over there a visit. I left some flowers (and don't ask me where I got them) and I also went to see a kid who I've been kind of visiting since the 1980s. [He was born in '79 but died in '87, and he used to be in a crypt on the other side of my family's crypt wall until a new crypt was built in 2008. Unfortunately for his family, I found out why he was moved. He apparently had a sister born in '78 who died in '08, and I feel very sorry for them because they've now lost both kids.] And since my daughter was with us, she got to visit with her Gram-Gram and everyone else who departed before she was born. I then decided to go look at some crypts that are in the sides of hills there and fell on my butt running up to look in one (forgetting that I wouldn't be able to see squat, since it's mostly in the ground). I finally got to see what some of the family mausoleums look like, and I think people who buy them today are getting ripped off a little, because the old ones can hold up to eight people (even though the ones I could see into weren't full), and the ones I've seen online only hold six, but are much larger buildings.

What? The goth in me has always been fascinated by cemeteries, so this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that I went looking for interesting things in a historic cemetery.

Anyway, I've been working on my Master's thesis bibliographies lately and I'm trying to get that done tonight before my meeting with my committee chair. I'm a little afraid for this meeting because, for our previous meetings, I had to turn in my bibliographies a week in advance. This time, she didn't assign that expectation, and I'm still trying to cobble one together. Except that I'm supposed to turn in two of those things this time around. It's been a challenge because a) My thesis has shifted from looking at sound and emotive effects in manga to studying online forums (and I'm not thrilled about this at all) and b) I've not been sleeping well, and this is affecting my performance and ability to work.

It also doesn't help that I gave a mini-presentation on my work Friday and had the attendees tell me that I need to find a way to bring the thesis back to what I really want to do, and since my chair wasn't there to hear this, I'm worried about the fact that what happened there has gotten back to her somehow. Great.

Anyway, I've got to get back to my research. I just wanted to stop in and say hi, and I've also got to remind myself to not get into it with a certain webcomic writer because it's a battle with no point. I made a comment on Twitter about how I was sick of reading said artist's posts about this artist's love for a certain brand of technology and it turned into a mini-war of sorts between the artist and myself. And when I had calmed down enough to try and explain my position, said artist blew me off as if it was stupid of me to think what this person said was in any way arrogant or insulting. Honestly, I've had better debates with inanimate objects than this. All I should have done was stop reading the webcomic, which I only tolerated because of moments of brilliant hilarity, but those brief moments just aren't worth it anymore. That, and because I have to keep visiting said comic's Twitter page to see the responses to me, because I never receive them (since I do not follow this person), I've wasted way too much time when I know I won't get in the last word, and I'm running the risk of getting flamed by this artist's followers. I'd prefer to work on getting to the PhD phase of my studies than engage in this kind of conversation, so thanks but no thanks.

Hopefully, I'll get some sleep tonight before my office hours begin. I'd rather not be up all night doing this bibliography work. Goodnight, everyone.