Re: Spring Ahead

1

Sometimes it is totally worth paying to get a job done. How great that you'll be back on your bike next week!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:00 PM
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The weekend is really, really far away. Why would you be talking about it already?

(My exam tomorrow, let me show you it.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:14 PM
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I'm not even sure that it needs maintenance. But it's three years and at least 3K miles old, and it squeaks in ways that don't go away when I oil the chain, which is pretty much the only thing I know how to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:14 PM
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The weekend is really, really far away. Why would you be talking about it already?

Because SPRING BREAK is so very close.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:15 PM
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You should get a tuneup. Bikes should be quiet, by and large.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:15 PM
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4: lies. Spring break is far on the other side of midterm mountain.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:15 PM
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Bikes should be quiet, by, and large.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:15 PM
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I thought this post was written by Stanley.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:37 PM
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Does Stanley even have a bike? I think he rides a horse instead.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:46 PM
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The time change is my third favorite holiday.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:58 PM
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But this is the bad time change. I'm looking forward to it because of spring and biking, but this is the one that means getting up at what my body thinks is an hour early. I hate that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 3:59 PM
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But the after-work daylight! Isn't that worth a missed hour of sleep?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 4:22 PM
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But the after-work daylight! Isn't that worth a missed hour of sleep?

No.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 4:41 PM
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For the record, I'm also in team nothing-wrong-with-paying-a-bike-shop. The first and best thing to do with a bike is ride is and enjoy riding.

Knowing how to fix it is handy because it can be fun, can save you money, and can help you ride more (because there are fewer obstacles to doing so) but is really less important than riding a happy bike.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 4:47 PM
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I don't understand the premise of this post. I mean, I haven't between able to stick to my ride-up-Twin-Peaks-every-day week-before-new-year's resolution, averaging about 3.5 days a week, but the weather's only been at fault maybe five days out of 70ish. Oh, right, some people don't live in California. Cackle.


Posted by: Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 5:11 PM
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Also, I'm totally on Team Summer Time. If we just stuck with it all year, there'd be no list hour, either.


Posted by: Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 5:12 PM
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17

No lost hour, sigh.


Posted by: Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 5:13 PM
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18

I'm definitely on Team God's Time. DST is particularly bizarre in Alaska, where the last thing you need in the summer is more daylight.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:15 PM
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We should all calibrate our lives to the needs of Alaskans, it's true.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:22 PM
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I'm just saying that it might make sense at least for Alaskans themselves to do that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:23 PM
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White Alaskans, no less. The Alaskan Natives have so many different way of telling time that this issue don't even register for them.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:23 PM
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20: now you're really in it. You want Alaskans to start doing things that make sense? What's the point of moving to Alaska if people are going to expect you to make sense? You're a troublemaker, teo, a meddler. And a federal bureaucrat to boot.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:24 PM
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But not two boots. Mmmmmm, Two Boots. I wonder if it's still good.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:25 PM
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There are actually many things about Alaska that make sense (along with plenty that don't).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:27 PM
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24: name them! (Really, please name them. I'm genuinely interested in the Lost Continent of Alaska.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:28 PM
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Can I talk about my exam, though? Fifteen hours, open book (apparently it's only designed to take twelve, but I've heard the people writing the questions kinda overshoot, time-wise). Stupid rites-of-passage.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:32 PM
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That sounds awful. You'll get really stoned first? Good, then! Problem solved!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:36 PM
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28

I should go get wasted tonight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:36 PM
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29

Can you bring booze *to* the exam?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:44 PM
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30

I'm going to take it at home so in theory I could drink the whole time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:47 PM
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31

btockterm


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:47 PM
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name them!

Okay, here are a few I can think of off the top of my head, focusing on ways Alaska differs from (most of) the Lower 48:

1. While the state is huge, the majority of its population lives in a few small portions of it, and most recent population growth has been within those areas rather than sprawling out into the undeveloped parts.

2. Those undeveloped parts, comprising most of the land in the state, are overwhelmingly in public ownership and managed for public purposes. (The exact definition of "public purposes" depends on the mission of the specific agency doing the managing, of course.)

3. Most of that public land is now and has always been used primarily for subsistence purposes by hunter-gatherers living in small villages scattered around the state. Development and recreation are decidedly minor uses overall.

4. The Permanent Fund ensures that state oil revenue leads to at least some direct benefits to the state's residents rather than disappearing into a Resource Curse money pit.

5. In place of the reservation system, Native Alaskans are shareholders in for-profit corporations designed to provide them with an ongoing source of income as compensation for the cession of most of their lands. (The success of this system has been fairly mixed so far, but it's an innovative idea and on net it's probably been beneficial.)

6. The landscape is spectacularly beautiful even in the more developed areas. (It might be a category error to say that this "makes sense" but it's certainly true, and an advantage of the place.)

So, yeah. Obviously this list is somewhat slanted toward the things I deal with in my work, and there's a lot more to say about the place, both good and bad. You should come visit and see for yourself.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 6:54 PM
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33

I assume number one is because y'all are huddled together for warmth.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 7:10 PM
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34

That's part of it, yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 7:47 PM
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35

Awww,


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 8:07 PM
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36

4: I am loving my "spring break." Cold weather, work, and plenty of homework.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 8:35 PM
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37

I'd have thought daylight savings would be mostly irrelevant in places where there's so much light day in day out. That is, so irrelevant as to seem like neither problem nor solution.

I guess you still have to change the clocks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 10:49 PM
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38

The weirdest thing about the short terms here is that even with a break in February, we're basically done in early April. I'm actually starting to worry about that now, because odds are I'm moving back to the US by the end of April without a job lined up and I have no idea what to do for health care.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 10:50 PM
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37: Here in the tropics we just leave the clocks alone. It does make scheduling calls somewhat trickier, particularly with the east coast.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 11:04 PM
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40

Fically conservative Republicanism doesn't sound all that different from fiscally conservative Democratic centrism. Except centrist Democrats are generally socially conservative and pro-war.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 11:13 PM
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41

Wrong thread.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 11:14 PM
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42

37: Yeah, it's not actually a big deal. Changing the clocks is no more of an annoyance than anywhere else.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 11:17 PM
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43

Down here, where there still are some real night hours, having the sun set after 10 really threw me off last June, even with my usual up too late sleep schedule. I guess an hour earlier sunrise would throw people off too, but my windows don't get direct sun in the morning.

The one time I saw the "midnight" sun, daylight savings just affected where on the horizon the sun was going to be.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-12 11:23 PM
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44

I thought the Alaska Native Corporations, even if initially well intentioned, were ludicrously corrupt boondoggles, on a spectacular scale.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:24 AM
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45

44: They vary a lot. During the Stevens era there was a lot of really shady stuff going on, and still is to some extent. A lot of them specialize heavily in government contracting, which opens up some pretty huge opportunities for corruption. Most of them also haven't been particularly beneficial for their shareholders, either, and there's been a lot of tension at times between the corporations and the tribes (which function basically as the local governments of the villages). I think they're still probably a better system on balance than the reservations, although that is of course an extraordinarily low bar.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:29 AM
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46

Basically, the ANCs get preference in no-bid government contracting, so military contractors would use them as fronts and then pay non-Alaska non-natives millions, a few native executives a healthy sum, and the natives themselves get an extra $100 a year or something. The whole system is blatantly corrupt.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:30 AM
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47

46 before seeing 45,


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:33 AM
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48

46: Right, that's the way it's worked for a long time, but with Stevens gone they've lost a lot of their political clout and it seems likely that a lot of that stuff is going to dry up. There's an ongoing case over a big kickback scam involving one of them that'll probably go to trial sometime in the near future.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:39 AM
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And it's definitely true that the Natives themselves (aside from the ones who are officers of the corporations) haven't gotten a whole lot of benefit from the system so far. The dividend payments for most of them are pretty trivial. Importantly, though, and again in contrast to reservations, they also haven't had to suffer any major changes to traditional lifestyles or become dependent on the government as a result of the corporation system. Not that they don't still have plenty of problems, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:43 AM
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Here's a link to an interesting series of articles on the Alaska Native Corporations

Anyhow, my experiences in the wild world of Indian Gaming law haven't made me think that the lower-48 reservation system is exactly corruption-free, either.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:58 AM
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Eh, the link doesn't work. Anyhow, it's a Washington Post series.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:59 AM
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52

Hey, it's bike maintenance week here as well! I just ordered new brake blocks and pedal clips. I should also get a new chain, clean the bike, and adjust the gear cables. The latter I'm not 100% keen about tackling myself.

I've been taking the kiddies to nursery in a bike trailer for a while now. Bike trailer is an awesome piece of German engineering. Hauling an extra 40kg up hills is killing my bike however.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 5:17 AM
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I found 32.5, 44, 45, etc. about Alaska Native Corporations interesting because I work for one. Well, I technically work for one. The company's headquarters is in northern Virginia rather than Alaska, and I've never even been to that headquarters, I've spent every workday at a federal regulatory office in DC. But my W2 and other employment information show the company's name, and the company's Web site says it's an ANC, so I guess I work for an ANC.

I'm not aware of anything like the link in 48, but I went into detail about my employment status because while it's obviously all legal, I find it kind of a shady shell game. As I put it in an early blog post at my other blog*:

Here's something that I'm pretty sure is unique to working in a government bureaucracy, though: my status as a contractor. If someone made a TV show of my life and you watched the show with the sound off, you'd never guess that I wasn't a government employee. I've been a technical writer here for about two and a half years, and every day on the job has been in the same government office building... What does our contracting company add to the process? Eventually, I griped about this to a friend who's also a contractor, but with a different company doing a different job. He told me that the advantage of using contractors is that we're easier to fire.

* I've mentioned it before under my usual name, but I'm being more careful than usual to keep this other blog anonymous for work-related reasons.


Posted by: Dwight D. Eisenhower | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:02 AM
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54

First ride of the season was long. It was windy, and I was overly warmly dressed. But next week will be good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:13 AM
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3.25 hours down, 12.75 hours to go.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:13 AM
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56

The time change is my third favorite holiday.

I assume Purim is first, on account of the hamentashen.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:51 AM
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54: I don't know what time you usually leave in the evening, but unless you like your wind wet, you probably want to do it on the early side today.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 11:24 AM
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58

Today was about getting the bike into the shop for its tune-up. I just dropped it off on my lunch hour, and won't get it back until hopefully tomorrow, but probably Monday, when it should be all invigorated and frisking merrily about.

(I love the bike shop -- it's this psychotically small hole in the wall under a stoop. There literally can't be two customers in there at once. They have to sell folding bikes because they couldn't fit the full-sized kind.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 11:37 AM
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58.2: With a John Cusack portal hidden behind the wheel truing stand.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:02 PM
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Really, though, this is too long. I'm losing steam and I'm not even halfway through. More coffee, I guess.

Apparently they used to be 24 hours but there was a revolt.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:46 PM
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I really don't understand the point of a 15 hour exam.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:46 PM
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Yeah, law school had some 24 hour exams, but the idea wasn't that you'd spend that long on it, it was a three or four hour test that you were allowed to do at home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:51 PM
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63

Hazing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:52 PM
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63 is pretty much it. It's a rite of passage? We don't have quals, just the midterm and final for this class.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:56 PM
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We don't have quals, just the midterm and final for this class.

That seems very weird. Are there any other departments that do this?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:58 PM
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This year is the year I do the Dunwich Dynamo (120 miles, at night). Furthest I've been so far is 36 miles. But I have until July.

Also, I've found that the ladies are onto something with stockings and such ('leg warmers' in cycling parlance). They really are very comfortable in cold weather.


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 12:58 PM
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I had a 24 hour exam in law school that took most of the 24 hours. So annoying, although not actually that far off from some of what you have to do professionally.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:01 PM
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68

I really should take some longer rides -- I need to figure out a comfortable route out of the city. Probably over the George Washington Bridge, but I'm not dead sure what to do on the other side.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:01 PM
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One subject in my grad school program notoriously had untimed qualifying exams, but I don't think people stayed longer than 8 hours or so. The rest were all 3-4 hour exams.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:02 PM
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Probably over the George Washington Bridge, but I'm not dead sure what to do on the other side.

Classic New York. I love it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:03 PM
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71

I kind of think sometimes that LB might be my aunt. Wrong age, though.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:10 PM
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72

Fuck a bunch of God's time. You'll pry fly fishing at 8pm from my cold dead fingers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:10 PM
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68: Turn around and ride back quickly and hide under your bed.

Actually, I believe you can get down to the road along the Hudson through Palisades Park , and eventually up to 9W.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:14 PM
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73: I know it's something like that, I'm just a little spooked by the transition. In a car, that all looks like freeway spaghetti -- I have this image of taking a wrong turn and being killed instantly by a series of Jersey drivers.

I should just explore and assume I'll be able to figure it out, but I haven't done it yet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:16 PM
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70, 71: Assume I had something apropos and insulting to say about LA here.

Or, on the other hand, your aunt sounds lovely. I wonder if I know her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:17 PM
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I 100% honestly think you would love my aunt. She loves knitting, is pleasingly grouchy, hates with a passion anyone who ever voted Republican in a NYC election, lived in the City (sorry SF) forever, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:20 PM
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77

What does she think about copyrights and patents?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:23 PM
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78

She could come to the meetup.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:23 PM
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77 -- I am way too scared of her to ask. Her views on Hollywood (and Los Angeles) are not positive -- at least one trip to Europe every other year, but no trip to LA in 45 years despite having tons of family here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:30 PM
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I have this image of taking a wrong turn and being killed instantly by a series of Jersey drivers.

From what I've heard, that's pretty much what biking in NJ feels like.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:31 PM
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LB, Halford set me up on a date with a different female relative and it was lovely. Take him up on his offer of an aunt!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:35 PM
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74: I have this image of taking a wrong turn and being killed instantly by a series of Jersey drivers.

Yep, between right turn on red and a bounty on Manhattan lawyers you'd be lucky to get a block.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:39 PM
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My wife worked for a ANC Fed-contractor for a while, and 53 sounds accurate. Hiring was a bit easier, too, so the positive spin was that it added some flexibility to the otherwise pretty lumbering federal hiring process. Switching over to the Fed side was frequently a goal of the people who worked for the contractor. Also, there was some fascinating shadiness over whether their health plan met Massachusetts standards, and whether anything could be done about it, as they were an out-of-state corporation anyway.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 1:39 PM
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84

Over the GWB, then this?


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:03 PM
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85

Well, a piece of that. I'm a slow, diffident, out of shape middle-aged woman on a ridiculous bike with tiny wheels.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:07 PM
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86

WOO HOO!


Posted by: NJ DRIVER | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:16 PM
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56: My birthday is first on account of people feed me cake. "But that's not a holiday," some say, shortly before I pull the lever on the ejector seat.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:20 PM
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Some of those places sound like pharmaceutical products. Demarest? Oradell?

Anyway, special pleading isn't going to do it, LB. We've seen you at meet ups, so we know what you're capable of.

Myself, I go with 'fitter than at least some people half my age'.


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:25 PM
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so we know what you're capable of.

Drinking somewhat more than my civilized capacity?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:26 PM
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Some of those places sound like pharmaceutical products. Demarest? Oradell?

Perhaps relevant in this context is the fact that New Jersey is a major center for the pharmaceutical industry.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:29 PM
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gnaaahfaaffffff

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 2:53 PM
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92

I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 3:00 PM
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93

I'm going to make a post about it if you get a B.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 3:01 PM
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94

I totes heart this folding bike. It looks really well thought out.

Also 15 hour exams are abusive.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 3:02 PM
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94.2: They should be taxed!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 3:04 PM
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I've been litigating against an ANC for 16 years. Too bad I can't really talk about it.


Posted by: Some Lawyer Guy Who Comments Sometimes | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 4:26 PM
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||

first pass complete! The chance that I will turn it in having failed entirely to answer one of the questions is now very close to zero.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 5:04 PM
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97: Woo Hoo!

And you still have (almost) two-thirds of the time left.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 5:07 PM
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99

Having failed to answer any one question or one question in particular?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 5:14 PM
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100

This exam sounds fairly ridiculous. I guess it's just assumed that none of you could possibly have anything else worth doing today? All the super-long take-home exams I had in college were three or four day affairs, which may have taken 24 hours but they could at least be non-consecutive hours.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 5:36 PM
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101

Just cracked 7000 words.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:04 PM
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Actually, the test is nominally designed to take 12 hours, on the assumption that we would need a few hours for 1. dinner and 2. the talk that we were supposed to set up for/order food for/attend/clean up after.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:05 PM
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103

That's fairly awful. We had a few 12 hour exams, and many, many 4 hour exams. Never loved those.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:07 PM
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Honestly a lot of the questions have been stupider than I expected. The degree to which it's been an exercise in finding the right section in the reading and then speed typing is a bit disappointing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:13 PM
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The degree to which it's been an exercise in finding the right section in the reading and then speed typing is a bit disappointing.

The more you say about this test the more it sounds like a complete and utter waste of time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:28 PM
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106

Wait, isn't it March? Is this time for finals?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:30 PM
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107

On a quarter system, yes. Finals in two weeks over here.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:37 PM
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108

Rides over the GWB and then up 9W are great. Back when I lived in Manhattan I did it all the time, slowly working my way up to longer and longer rides each season, assuming I wasn't spending the summer in Europe. There are plenty of natural endpoints, nice views, easy but not completely flat terrain. I strongly recommend it. You'll be up to West Point and back by the end of August. I've also heard that the ride up to the Croton Reservoir is nice, but I never went up on that side.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:38 PM
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106: this is a midterm.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 6:49 PM
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Wow then that's even more stupid. Are there lots of situations where the average [researcher in field X] has to come up with conclusions on 12 hours notice? At least in law school you could kind of squint and see a pedagogical purpose.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:11 PM
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This is a midterm? Somehow I thought it was a qualifying exam or something. Though the part about consulting the text and then speed-typing seemed off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:15 PM
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Are we actually marveling at the arbitrary nature of an academic test?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:22 PM
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Sifu is doing a take-home exam, isn't he? That doesn't seem that weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:36 PM
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114

112 -- what are you doing, curing cancer?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:38 PM
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This is a midterm? Somehow I thought it was a qualifying exam or something.

Both.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:38 PM
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A good friend and housemate had his qualifying exam in the form of a 24-hour take-home exam, and it was reputed to take most of that 24 hours. It was certainly long, but it definitely seemed long and annoying rather than long and genuinely difficult.

Fortunately(?) for him, I had recently discovered cold-brewed coffee concentrate, and I think he drank several mugs of it straight.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:42 PM
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115: Gulp. Okay, then, get to work!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:42 PM
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116: yeah, that sounds very similar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:52 PM
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It seemed like you started first thing this morning. So it's due at midnight or something?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:59 PM
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114: Gosh, I never looked at it that way before.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 7:59 PM
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119: yeah. I'm actually basically done, but I feel bad about turning it in so early, so I'm reading it over and over again and making minor tweaks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:04 PM
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I just ran out to buy a beer to drink after I turn it in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:04 PM
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That seems reasonable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:05 PM
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Dare you to turn it in drunk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:06 PM
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It's like heebie doesn't even want the blog to be fun.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:07 PM
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I turn it in online. Who cares if I'm drunk?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:14 PM
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Yay! Never had one of those long take home thingies. Normal length ones yes, all nighters to finish papers that I had plenty of time to do before, but didn't, also, but not that. Us lucky duckies didn't even have a written component to our comps. Just a three hour oral.

Still not quite sure what it is that you're doing - if it's your comps don't you get to schedule them yourself? If it's a midterm, don't you get to sue your prof for cruel and unusual?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:14 PM
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Never had one of those long take home thingies.

Well you've come to the right place, sailor.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:17 PM
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I just advised Tweety to print out his answers so he could do a final readthrough in hard copy, since he's been reading on a screen the entire day. Somehow his printer ended up on some setting that caused it to print the pages super fast and spit them out across the room. Much laughter ensued.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:19 PM
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Hijinks!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:20 PM
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It must be the full moon!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:22 PM
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126: Me. Us. Humanity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:22 PM
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Us lucky duckies didn't even have a written component to our comps. Just a three hour oral.

I'll take a four hour written exam (not take home, no open book, just straight from head to page) over a three hour oral any day.

Ahem.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:23 PM
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But it was you who seemed to be artificially constraining the start of beer drinking.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:23 PM
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Your hazing rituals are way hazier than our hazing rituals.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:25 PM
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I must have had the testingest test-giving graduate program ever. MA exams, four hours written, 1 hour oral. PhD qualifying exams, two four-hour written exams, one two-hour oral exam.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:25 PM
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Most interesting question I was asked in oral exams: Where do you find eating in German literature? (Wo wird es in der deutschen Literature gegessen?)

Most wankerish question I was asked: What would Hegel say about the difference between theater and film? My first, joking answer, "What's a film?" was not appreciated. That was the two-hour exam, asked by one of the two examiners (out of three total) who played guess what I'm thinking for most of it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:34 PM
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136: Yeah, I think the Political Science dept. at my school did something insane like that as well. That's hard core, man. As far as I could tell, everyone in that department practically fell apart during that season of the year.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:34 PM
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We do a 4-hour written and a 1-hour oral, and I think even that setup is both somewhat inhumane and profoundly stupid. The thing is, taking a test, oral or written, has absolutely no relationship at all to being a talented, practicing historian.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:38 PM
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||

For those interested in the health care case in front of the US Supreme Court, but not following it so closely you've already seen this, the government's reply brief supporting the constitutionality of the individual mandate is up. It's a pretty good read if you go for that sort of thing.

|>


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:38 PM
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128 Well you've come to the right place, sailor.

"Three hour oral" sounds like a bit much, really.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:39 PM
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who played guess what I'm thinking

I am so bad at handling people who do that. There are, admittedly, strategies for approaching the guessing game, which make you sound smart without committing you to anything in particular, but holy shit is it silly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:41 PM
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I think the only tests I had in grad school were three separate one-hour orals (counting the defense). Probably they figured if they did any more people would be leaping off a bridge.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:42 PM
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A woman a few years above me was taking her orals, and the German history prof, who was also the ex-provost, held up the most recent university annual report, and asked, So, Ms x, what would a professor from the Kaiserreich think of this? Her first thought was, 'Well, what do you think of it Herr Prof. Dokt. Dokt. X?' She didn't say that, instead mumbled something like 'I've never looked at one of those, how the fuck am I supposed to know', to the general sympathy of the other examiners.

And this might be the wrong thread, but right towards the end of the three hours of my comps, I was asked about the distinction between Fatherland and Sonland in Witold Gombrowicz's 'Transatlantic' (my minor field was 20c ECE lit). My frazzled brain heard it as 'Sunland' and what came out of my mouth was 'huh?'.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:44 PM
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139 I found it to be a great way to get a firm grounding in the lit in the various fields - being forced to carefully read a few hundred books with the knowledge that you can be asked anything about any of them was educational, albeit quite a bit more stressful than the orals themselves. We had more or less mandatory two hour mocks with each examiner, if they felt you weren't ready, they'd 'suggest' you postpone, so once you got to the orals themselves, you tended to be pretty confident that you'd pass.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:48 PM
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137: Where do you find eating in German literature?

Did you mention The Tin Drum?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:55 PM
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My comps where four days of eight hour long written exams, one day for each committee member, and a couple weeks later, a two-three hour oral exam.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:57 PM
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146: Yes! And fairy tales. Though I think my first answer was, "Um, not Kafka."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:59 PM
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Though I think my first answer was, "Um, not Kafka."

Hah! Excellent.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:59 PM
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The first question was how to pronounce 'niche', followed by a discussion about whether birds were dinosaurs (not even joking).


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 8:59 PM
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... and it's in. Final tally: 7177 words. Beer time!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:00 PM
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145: I had the same experience. Actually, I loved preparing for my exams (though I hated taking them). But I think that says more about me than the process. Regardless, the same salutary results can be accomplished without the hazing.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:02 PM
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150: I see they were easing you into the discussion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:03 PM
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At least I won't have to do this again for a whole month and a half.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:05 PM
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7177 words

That's, what, the length of a 35-page journal article?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:07 PM
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It might be longer than any paper I've ever written.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:15 PM
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Best of luck, Sifu. I have no doubt that it's fine.

You only have to get nervous if they suddenly ask you what the difference between the mind and the brain is, or something like that, and then start tapping their fingers waiting for your answer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:16 PM
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That's, what, the length of a 35-page journal article?

Historians must use large words.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:18 PM
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I feel very little pressure about passing, actually. The way they work is that if you fail any of the sections, they make you redo that section. (Well, you can also fail the whole thing and get kicked out of the program, but that doesn't happen much and I'm not too worried about it.) I mostly just hope that I am actually done with it. For, as I said, the next month and a half, until I have to do it again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:19 PM
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158: I was having trouble getting to 35. I was thinking maybe there were copious figures involved?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:19 PM
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7000 words in 12 hours is a severe pain in the ass. Enjoy the beer.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:21 PM
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Hey Blume (or anyone I guess) have you read Harry Mathews' The Conversions? There's a short story embedded in it that seems to me to be a really good Kafka pastiche, and then it's presented at the end in German translation (with the conceit being that the German is in fact the original).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:22 PM
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Tables, maybe: those can take up half a page.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:22 PM
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What's up with this story? I had somehow thought "conversion disorders" were some kind of wacky Freudian-era nonsense, but it sounds like they're considered a legitimate diagnosis. Weird.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:22 PM
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164: disorder shmissorder, there's a girl named Katie Krautwurst?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:25 PM
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Where do you find Katie Krautwurst in German literature?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:26 PM
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shmiƟorder


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:26 PM
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There are actually several alliterative names in the story. Katie Krautwurst, Lorie Longhany, Penny Privitera-Watson. It reads like fiction.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:29 PM
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Historians must use large words.

You know what they say about historians with large words...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:42 PM
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...they have small margins.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:49 PM
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167 Nah, the dueling fraternities are all male.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 9:57 PM
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My qualifying exam for the Ph.D. I never got was 6 or so hours, written, and was a hell of a lot of work to study for. First semester of law school: four exams, 8 hours a piece, one free day in between each. But law school exams are well known to be among the most idiotic of evaluation methods.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:13 PM
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170: and enormous, hand-stretched dialectics.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:14 PM
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||

Off to try to see the Northern Lights! Will report back.

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:22 PM
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My consisted of a single 2 hour oral exam. There was also no dissertation proposal. I'd say this has something to do with why I still haven't finished, but plenty of other people did the same program and got their work done.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:34 PM
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comps


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:35 PM
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I had neither comps nor quals, which is why I am so ignorant.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:37 PM
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I had neither comps nor quals, as far as I know, which is why I am so ignorant.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:47 PM
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We had more or less mandatory two hour mocks with each examiner,

We had meetings with each examiner, but nothing formal, and usually they involved more than one student in a discussion - it was more like a study group. One prof did consider the one-on-one meetings as important as the exam itself, so that was a bit more formal. He was a bit less formal on the exam itself than the others. Although I probably would have been worried about his decision to do the 20th century US in reverse chronological order if he'd been the first examiner of the day.

We also had supposedly mandatory "pre-orals" with two of the four examiners that were some amount of time, maybe an hour, and then you got feedback and they decided if you were ready. I felt like I'd just stress out about that and then stress again about the real orals and I didn't see any value in that.

I figured that the only way any of the profs would know I hadn't scheduled pre-orals was if more than two of them talked to each other about it - otherwise they could think the other two were going to do the pre-orals - and that wasn't likely to happen. So I just never scheduled them.

A couple of days before my exam, my advisor mentioned that he'd realized I hadn't done the pre-orals. He asked if I thought I still wanted to do them. I shrugged, he shrugged, I took the exam a few days later.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-12 10:49 PM
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||

The Lights were amazing.

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 1:14 AM
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So we should all go to the light(s)?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 7:50 AM
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I danced my test, Von Wafer. Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance.

And I've only figured out one thing I definitely got totally wrong so far.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:23 PM
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So we should all go to the light(s)?

I wouldn't be so prescriptive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:25 PM
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Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance.

Like the Northern Lights! They really do dance; it's pretty fucking cool.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:26 PM
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Are they big?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:28 PM
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I absolutely will see the Northern Lights (again) some day. I fucking hate the widespread use of the disgusting phrase "bucket list", but seeing the Northern Lights (again) is something I will do before I die (for the first time).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:28 PM
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Are they big?

Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:29 PM
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I would have thought so. I don't think I've ever figured out how much of the sky they cover.

Up there can't you get HAARP just to turn them on whenever?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:30 PM
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I don't think I've ever figured out how much of the sky they cover.

I think it varies. The ones I saw last night covered between a third and half the visible sky, but the other half was pretty dominated by light pollution from the city so it's possible they would have covered more in a more rural area.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:33 PM
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Up there can't you get HAARP just to turn them on whenever?

I know I've told the story of stumbling upon HAARP on my drive up here. I wouldn't go knocking on the door there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:34 PM
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Aw, it's fine. All smiles and sunshine! (The second link in particular cracks me up.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:41 PM
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Apparently they have an open house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-12 12:42 PM
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I was just wondering how I managed to stay awake until after 3:30 AM. Damned time change.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-11-12 12:43 AM
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