Monday, November 30, 2009


I thought I was chugging along, doing ok, getting at least one post in per week. And then I realized that I posted exactly five times during the month of November. I thought I was way more neglectful earlier this year, when I had the project from hell (as alluded to here), but apparently I'm not doing terribly well in the regular-posting department. And it's not just that I was sick for a week or so.

It's so much easier to keep writing daily when you're a grad student. Also, much easier to keep writing daily when you have 2+ roomates and you can't just plop down in front of the TV. Much easier when your commute is short enough to walk. And much easier when you don't have a sweetie distracting you.

I haven't forgotten you, dear reader. I'm just working on my time management skills.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving fun

I love this holiday. It's the one non-religious (although you can certainly add as much religion as you'd like) holiday that everybody can really bond over.

This year, I spent Thanksgiving with my sweetie's family for the first time. It was a good time, with seven people and almost twice as many dishes. I saw my sweetie's grandmother for the first time in a very long while and spent most of the post-dinner slump fending off complaints that I was not providing offspring for her. They went mostly like this:

"You can do whatever you want with your relationship, dear. Don't let anybody tell you what to do...but I'm an old lady and I want great-grandchildren before I die!"

I hope my (US) readers also had an enjoyable thanksgiving. Did you also get/take off today in order to have a nice long weekend of recovery? I sure did....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

more hotel amenities

A while ago, I mentioned the various hotel amenities that I appreciate the most.

When I was sick earlier (incidentally, I'm much better now) I was staying at a place that had a bed with a hard, lumpy mattress and a pillow that was way too thick. I was achy all over and had exquisitely sensitive skin.

I ended up spending most of the night staring at the ceiling, fantasizing that I was staying at the hotel chain that supposedly uses all high-end mattresses (Sheraton), or at least the chain that has a big variety of pillows (Holiday Inn, I think) ...maybe I'm becoming over-familiar with the various hotel chains.

Maybe next time I travel, I'll pack my own pillow, at least.

Friday, November 20, 2009

misery is...

...when you've got a massive respiratory bug that has you hacking/blowing out nasties continuously, plus you have two unrelated uncomfortable conditions, and you're in the field in the rain.

Luckily, I didn't have to expend much physical effort during this project. So I could scrunch under an overhang and feel sorry for myself.

The problem with fieldwork is that sometimes it takes a lot of money/coordination to get everything set up, and you may have a small window of opportunity to get everything done. It also may be impossible to get someone to cover for you. So most of the time, I just suck it up if I'm sick.

I've only stopped fieldwork because of illness once. In that case, one of the subcontractors was also fighting the same bug, so when I gave up mid-morning, the response was "yay!" and they tore out of there as if they were afraid I would change my mind.

So how much misery does it take you before you give up and go home?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

super duper elite

It must be close to the end of the calendar year...I finally got my super duper elite travel reward status.

I travelled a fair bit in grad school, but my field site wasn't anywhere near the sort of places that had travel rewards. I spent a lot of time in a local no-tell motel. So by the time I finished, I had depleted all my rewards and lost my special status. I only started building up my points again this year.

I don't think my super-duper elite status really does anything for me. The reward program has like 7 levels, and once you get past the basic "travel once and get a card" level, the benefit appears to be just increasingly snazzy cards.

That's ok. I get enough rewards to never have to pay for a hotel room on my own, and occasionally enough to buy the odd household appliance. What else could a girl ask for?

Monday, November 9, 2009

grading fun

Thanks to continual internet problems (gotta love travelling) I am hopelessly behind on my blog writing as well as my blog reading. But I did notice a post that reminded my of one of my grad school pet peeves: horribly messy and/or incomplete work.

I taught the laboratory portion of an upper-level required course. My students were generally at least 20 years old, were majoring in the subject, and needed to pass the course to graduate.

How did these students get this far into their college career without learning such basics as filling in all the blanks on labs or even tests? I thought they were too old for the "I can't give partial credit if you leave it blank" lecture, but I was wrong.

When the students didn't bother to answer questions, it mystified me but did make things a lot easier to grade. More aggravating were the smudgy hand-written answers on separate paper which not only were not in order, but were not labelled with a question number. I hated going on treasure hunts. They were a sure-fire way to ensure that the partial credit got a lot less generous.