damkianna: A cap of Wash from Firefly, with accompanying text: "We should call it your grave." (We should call it your grave.)
Man, it feels like even longer than it's actually been since the last time I posted. I don't even have a good excuse, really, except that I'm even lazier than I thought I was. :P

The job's going well, though it still hasn't picked up much; about a quarter of the time there's nothing for me to do, and another quarter of the time there's stuff I ought to and/or want to be doing, but I don't know how to do it, or whether I should. The remaining half is split between stuff I find really satisfying, like taking the godawful and practically unnavigable page for the athletic handbook and filling it with internal links, and the stuff I find incredibly tedious, like adding new students to the website database by hand because the place that does our data processing is ridiculously slow. (To be fair, it is August, so I assume they're getting a lot of new student processing requests right now. But still.) I've also started daydreaming about being able to make my own database and fill it with minor characters and details from the great HP AU. Seriously, you could do great and hilarious multimedia fannish/RP things for Harry Potter, with a fully functional school website. (Teacher pages! Grades and comments! Schedules! Quidditch games on the athletic calendar! ... I am totally losing my sense of perspective.)

Anyway. Fannishly, I finally got off my butt - and the weather was good enough for long enough - for me to get mostly caught up on Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, and The Closer. I'm not caught up a hundred percent on Rizzoli & Isles, but I'm working on it. Now I just need to catch up on Warehouse 13, and I'll be all set. A little nattering, mild spoilers. ) Mostly, though, I really do not have any deep thoughts.

Which is possibly because the part of my brain responsible for deep thoughts is too busy buzzing around Arabic. Now that I have actualfax money, and - at least for the moment - no regular bills except gas to spend it on, I splurged a bit on a Rosetta Stone. I'm pretty sure it's Modern Standard Arabic; there are times when some of the speakers are a little difficult to understand, and I think it's partly because of dialectical differences that aren't being covered in the program in general. Anyway, it is, of course, fascinating. I'm only on the fourth lesson, so I haven't gotten a lot further than, you know, "The girls have bikes. The girls do not have bikes. There are three yellow bikes." And the phonetics are tripping me up a little, which I was expecting; I can't always hear the difference between emphatic and non-emphatic stops, or between the velar fricatives and the pharyngeal fricatives. And I definitely can't produce them very well. :P But I'm sure practice will help, at least, even if I'm too old to really get good at it.

Mostly, it's just a ridiculous amount of fun to do. There's nothing I like better than learning languages, and with a computer program, I don't have to do skits or dialogues or worksheets or any of the other stuff that I don't like about regular intro language classes. But I haven't gotten far enough to say for certain whether it works, either. ^^ (If it does, though, I ... may have already composed a prioritized and weighted list of the languages I want to get next. :D)

I'll conclude my wall of text by saying that I have never listened to so much NPR in my life as I have commuting to and from work - which is part of the reason I'm experimenting with taking my pretentious post titles from the Writer's Almanac poem of the day, instead of songs. I could seriously listen to Garrison Keillor talk all day.
damkianna: A cap of Milo from Disney's Atlantis, with accompanying text: "Dork." (Dork.)


The first two days were very slow, which I guess I was expecting; I have to learn how to use their website before I can really do anything. Unfortunately, the "webinars" on the subject are unbelievably dull, and I went in today expecting to be bored out of my mind yet again. But, miracle of miracles, today I got to edit things! They're fixing up the student handbook for the upcoming school year; I sank into it this morning and didn't come out 'til lunch. It was awesome. And my computer arrived, too - the monitor is gigantic and beautiful, which is great, but the OS is Windows 7, which ... I have not yet gotten to know, let's say. Still, it is very pretty, and I shall have to think of a name for it.

Also, I am already busily fantasizing about the things I can get myself once I have actual adult-type monies - books, mostly, although I am deeply, deeply tempted by the chance to buy myself some Rosetta Stone software. We'll see. :D

But back to more fannish things: I caught the pilot of Rizzoli & Isles. Spoilery! ) I'm definitely going to keep watching for a few more episodes, in the hope that it'll pick up some.

I also saw most of the Covert Affairs pilot. Also spoilery! ) I missed the final fifteen minutes, because the satellite gave up the ghost entirely at that point; but I liked pretty much everything else well enough that I'm going to try to catch it again.

... Clearly I'm not good at having deep thoughts about pilot episodes.


Sep. 2nd, 2009 07:18 am
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
This whole survey thing really exploded, huh?

I've caught up on a lot of the posts about it between classes and such, and have found it hilarious and infuriating by turns. The "slash is like dudes liking transsexuals" comment was bewildering; the responses to it warmed the cockles of my heart. I think that what throws me the most is the staggering number of hugely broad assumptions they are working from already - they are treating things like givens when they are not actually givens, and that anybody who is supposedly some kind of qualified researcher would not know better than that blows my mind.

I have seen it mentioned that the people behind the survey have implied that, because they were not intending any minors to be involved, they did not need IRB approval. (Although I did not actually follow any specific link to a comment containing that implication, so I have no first-hand knowledge.) If that is the case, then I would like to weep for all the time I wasted filling out paperwork just to get an expedited review of my thesis project by UVM's IRB when no minors were going to be involved.

I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking when I first saw the banners for the survey going around; I've seen that kind of thing before for people's smaller statistics projects and such, and I guess I never really realized that this was at least trying to be an actual official research project. That being the case, the problematic survey items take on a whole new meaning. We spent ages in Measurement of Communication Processes learning about just how careful you have to be about everything when you're making a good survey, including the wording of the items and the various options for the response setup. We had to run our project surveys on a pilot sample and test the validity of the items and chuck the really awful ones and rephrase the only mildly terrible ones and argue for, like, a day and a half about whether we had really picked the right response setup. And that was just for a class project, not for something we were planning on turning into an actual research tool.

Other people have talked quite a bit about the myriad other problems, so: linkspam roundup. I would be so lost by these blowups if it weren't for these roundups.

... And now I have to go to Human Cultures. Sooner or later I will put up a riveting account of my Tuesday, though.

ETA: Obviously I should have checked my e-mail before I left, or I would have noticed I had a comment (on LJ, I mean) before this posted, but somehow my last post about the survey actually ended up in the linkspam. It's like I have some kind of actual presence on the internet or something. o.O

ETA 2: Also, something so basic I forgot to even mention it: every statistics class I have ever taken has hammered home the point that convenience samples are almost totally worthless. Obviously this is a situation where you are aiming to get a particular population, and so a convenience sample, as long as it's taken from that target population, is perhaps slightly less useless than usual, but.
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
My birthday was Monday; sadly, it was not wholly stress-free, since I had to do an interview, but it was pretty close. I got an early present over the weekend, so that some birthdaying could be done while my dad was still at home - it turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous antique typewriter, whose only flaw is that its spacebar is a little bit overenthusiastic. (Also the part where I can't save anything is very weird. There's no Ctrl key! I am so lost!) Bonus: I now understand why the Shift key is so named.

On my actual birthday, I got only one more present - my sister's present for me hasn't arrived yet, but that just means when I do get it (this weekend, I'm hoping) I'll have plenty of time to watch enjoy it. Whatever it is. Because I don't know. **cough**

Anyway. I got a Polaroid camera - the sort I remember from grade school, where the teacher took pictures and everybody fought over who got to wave it around 'til it developed. My mom went all old school on me this year. :D The cake was awesome, as always.

A few more wildlife encounters to document, also. The fuzzy cheerful one would be a very close pass by a deer in the car, going up the lower curve of the road my house is on; it was standing right by the guardrail, staring over it at me with its enormous eyes. The somewhat less pleasant one would be the one where Calvin caught a squirrel at the end of the walk, and, well. Suffice it to say that it did not end especially well for the squirrel, who now presumably roams the Great Pine Tree in the sky.

A little fic chatter. )

Also, this song has been dogging me recently, so.

J'ai compris que les années se passe vite ... )

And, of course, the translation - again, the work of my fading high school French.

Translation! )

A BAFA is not quite a diploma, if I'm remembering correctly; it's more like some kind of youth leadership certificate. A ZUP is a zone à urbaniser en priorité, a "priority urbanization zone", which doesn't really condense to any succinct English phrase I can think of ("slum" has something of the same feel to it, the same sort of connotation, judging by the way one of my French teachers explained it, but it's not the right word - and, of course, the denotations are totally different).

Man, I get such a nerdtastic thrill out of translating things. :D
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
I've been sort of overdosing Harry Potter lately - first going to HBP, and then my mother got OotP on her Netflix because she couldn't remember anything about it, and we watched that, and then also I just got up the nerve to share the few chapters of the HP AU that I've actually written with M (she liked it! Although she's definitely the sort to say that, even if they were deeply terrible - though she would probably add a little concrit to the compliments, if she really didn't like it). So it's possible that I shouldn't be surprised that I had an HP-verse dream the other day. ) I very distinctly remember thinking at this juncture that I was a dreadful Mary Sue, because here I was, an original character (and a self-insert at that!), and I was beating Voldemort about the head with a jacket, and I wasn't dead. (And, of course, in a larger sense, I was fighting Voldemort, which was something Harry, or maybe some of the professors, ought to be doing.)

It was very odd, but rather a fun dream. I must add it to the list. That makes three flying dreams (one with wings, two where it was my superpower), a pirate dream (I was Elizabeth the Red, scourge of the high seas - mostly I remember the part where that was my name, and the part where I boarded a ship by swinging on a bit of rigging), and three fandom dreams (one SG-1, one J2, and this one).

I also must add to my wildlife count for the summer, with two more moles in Mary's garden, a wild turkey crossing the road on the way home, and a deer in the field across from my house, nomming very happily on some grass, and regarding my car with a very blasé kind of air as I passed it.

My thesis research is slowly but surely progressing; I have now completed three interviews, although one is probably not long enough to provide a good speech sample, and have two more scheduled for next week.

My mother is currently updating me daily on the tale of my birth, as my birthday approaches. My due date was three days ago, but my birthday's not until the third of August; I was very late indeed. (If I had been five minutes earlier, my birthday would be the second of August, but no; I felt it was best to wait until 12:04 AM of August third.) She loves to tell us these things, she does the same thing to my sister when March rolls around. I have done a little hinting around as to things I would like, and it looks like the first season of Burn Notice on DVD has a very good chance of happening. \o/!

Syntax is slowly leaching away my will to live. I appreciate the quirky beauty, the intricacy and arbitrariness, the flexibility, of English grammar, really. But I've taken, like, five classes on it. I was kind of hoping that this course would be a little more comparative - a little more about other languages, languages that are very different from English, languages with tenses and moods and particles and other things that don't exist in English. ... Sigh.

Thank god for conlanging, I guess. :D
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
I can't help it; discovering this proofreading thing has made a new model of couch potato out of me. I actually had to force myself to stop after doing another 100 pages' worth this morning. There was a little dip in my enjoyment when I hit a medical text that was mostly concerned with surgery - reading about the best ways to gouge and saw out diseased sections of bone nearly made me physically ill. But then I got to a French book of prayers and devotions; not really my thing in a certain sense, but full of very beautiful language, and it was fun to let what bits of French there are left in my brain out for a while.

Apparently, there is a French translation of Uncle Tom's Cabin up for review, too. I ought not to do any more pages tonight, but hopefully there'll still be some left tomorrow. Most of my experience with reading books in both English and French has been with Harry Potter, which I've basically memorized anyway; it'll be fun to do with a text I don't know as well.

Jeremiah was the Show of the Day today. I'd been kind of hoping to get a chance to watch it - Jeremiah is one of those fandoms where most of my exposure to it (before today) was through the medium of a few Jeremiah/Kurdy fics I ran into somewhere once upon a time, and whence I gleaned that there was possibly some awesome to be had in the source material. Which there was. I think I hit a batch of later episodes, because it felt like it was decently far through a relatively major plot arc, but I could still understand most of what was going on, and man. Now I ship Jeremiah and Kurdy for real. :D There was we're-so-married bickering! With textual acknowledgement of the fact that it was we're-so-married bickering! Jeremiah had past history with a girl, and Kurdy got all wary and insisted they check her out (and Jeremiah agreed)! Kurdy was briefly interested in a girl, and Jeremiah got all huffy, left, and got himself hurt, only to be rescued (when Kurdy realized somebody else was wearing his boots)! There was even a conversation about how Kurdy should never have let him go off by himself because he had promised to watch Jeremiah's back, it was totally adorable.

I wasn't completely on board with the end of that episode, because it pushed a religion-is-hope/morality-and-atheism-is-nihilism viewpoint a little too hard for my taste. But I do have to give the show some props: that episode was weirdly perky about vaguely cultish religious groups, but one of the following ones went pretty completely in the opposite direction, which left me with the general impression that they were going for an even-handed, "it depends on what you do with it" kind of treatment. Which is fine with me. I don't have much commentary on race and gender accumulated yet; I think I'll have to watch some more, and think on it a while.

Tomorrow, it's time for filling out paperwork to get my research approved by the IRB, and then an afternoon out with M, J, K, and Q. \o/

(A quick note about tags, mostly for myself: the "tv show" and "movie" tags are for discussions of viewings of movies or episodes; "fandom" tags are for when the post is more concerned with the fannish side of things. This one? Gets both.)


May. 13th, 2009 10:09 pm
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Today was nerdy fun pretty much from start to finish. I got up early to feed the pets - two dogs, two cats - as promised, only to find that my mother was already awake, and had pretty much done everything. Turns out the loose dog and the more active of the cats had been waking her up intermittently for an hour or two.

So I ended up lounging around for a while reading back issues of ... Asimov's, I think it was, a little sci-fi short story magazine; there were a few disturbing stories, a few stories I'm not sure I totally understood, and a few stories I liked, which is pretty par for the course, as far as me and short stories go.

And then I got up and mixed up some sugar water for the hummingbird feeders, before putting them out. My mom put out some seedlings on the porch to get some sun before she left for work; I checked on them, and ended up putting a skirt - yes, when I say that, I actually mean a piece of clothing, this is not some kind of fancy horticultural terminology - over them, because they weren't quite used to full sun and they got a little wilty.

And then I proofread a hundred pages of text for Project Gutenberg. :D Aside from the obvious lure of proofreading in general - I got to fix typos! And formatting! It was like heaven! - the pieces of text themselves were actually really interesting. I did a few pages from a book about a young girl trying to become a dancer; another, a very sharp, dryly funny one, about cross-examination strategies in the courtroom; an old children's book about the life of Jesus, including a lavish description of the beauty of "Magdalen" and her "courtezan" lifestyle that made me think of Inara; and another one that seemed to be pretty much a collection of discussions and reviews of equipment for helping gamblers cheat at cards. And when I say reviews, I mean that some of the pages boiled down to "A+++++++++ WOULD CHEAT WITH AGAIN". That one was pretty awesome.

There was also some fail, natch - there was another relatively old children's book about some soldiers attached to an operation to lay railroad through the Rockies, and the part I proofread was the part where they get chased by those horrible savage murderous Indians, who are bloodthirstily persistent in their attempts to take the scalps of innocent white men. ... Yeah. I think it may have struck an especially unpleasant note with me because of MammothFail.

And then, after I decided that I should probably not do more than 100 pages a day, my recording thingy, the one I order because I'm going to need it for my thesis research, arrived! \o/ Whole new avenues of distraction were opened! I don't have much of a voice to speak of, but I do like to sing, so I took the opportunity and recorded some (rather terrible) renditions of songs that I know but do not actually have - ones I learned in chorus, stuff like that. Oh, and the Mingulay Boat Song; I learned that one in elementary school, and became very used to hearing it in soft, sweet, 4th-grade girls' voices, before discovering that most of the professional recordings of it are sung by big growly men. This is a very scarring situation to be in, so obviously I needed a nice high-pitched version to keep me sane.

All told, today was kind of awesome. Shiny.
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Yeah, that's not gibberish - well, okay, it is, but it's not completely meaningless. That would be the first line of the Babel passage in my most recent conlang; I haven't finished the whole thing, I still have some more glossing to do, but I wanted to post a little bit, just to feel accomplished.

Cut for nerdery. )

This is another one of those things that's kind of a waste of time by any normal definition; it's meant to be the language of a desert-dwelling minority group in a story that is never going to go anywhere, a bit of not-quite-original fic born of getting a copy of The Blue Sword for my birthday and watching the Dune miniseries a few too many times. :D Still, it's a fun thing to futz around with when I don't feel like working on anything good - it's a nice worldbuilding exercise, with bonus femslash. \o/

Anyway. Off to dinner, and then quite possibly the whole suite's going to watch Harry Potter. Good times.
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
Note: the dance is not nerdy because the source of the yay is nerdy, or anything like that; it's nerdy just because I'm doing it. :D

My Scottish Gaelic paper is DONE OMG. \o/ It's not a great paper - it may not even be all that good of a paper - but it's FINISHED. And, frankly, I did well enough in the rest of the class that I can afford to take a minor hit on the paper grade, if it comes down to that. (Sidenote: I am so crazy used to Google Docs that I keep stopping to hit Ctrl+S every few sentences - which Chrome interprets as me trying to save the Dreamwidth journal-update page to my computer, natch. I am such a winner.)

My goal for the rest of today mostly involves more Age of Mythology, although I was also hoping to finish up the first round of word generation for my latest conlang, and maybe get started on glossing some words - enough to translate the Babel passage, at the very least. If I do manage to get the Babel passage done today, possibly I will post it here, just for future reference. I LOVE being able to tag things, I cannot even express how much, except possibly by going ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ a few dozen times. There are times when I kind of wish my computer were just sort of a sea of documents that I could tag appropriately.

Also: this is the CUTEST THING EVER.


Apr. 29th, 2009 08:09 pm
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
No more classes! \o/

... Okay, so there is still work I have to do, technically, like writing that paper on Scottish Gaelic and language revitalization, but it's the principle of the thing. And in celebration of said principle, I did pretty much nothing today.

Nothing useful, at least. I did play Age of Mythology for the first time in months; I built up until I had a decent-sized army, and then basically just went around pulverizing the other teams until they resigned and taking their town centers. But I don't think that counts. :D

I was, however, helpful to other people's academic goals, if not to my own. I spent a while editing one suitemate's archaeology paper - man, do I love editing for grammar and word choice, it is like LOVE and SUNSHINE and PUPPIES and COMMAS, all rolled into one - and then also went through another suitemate's Spanish paper, despite the fact that I ... have never taken Spanish. Which seems stupid, I know, but what I have taken is at least ten years of French; even if I don't know all the words, I can usually get the gist of Spanish, thanks to that. And I did manage to catch one mildly amusing error - where she had meant to write "especial", she had written "espacial", which turned her point about a particular character in a short story being special into a point about said character being spatial. O.o

That's about it, though. Now I'm just trying to put off working on my paper. As it turns out, my sister has developed a twisted affection for that random-minor-character shipfic from my HP AU 'verse that I keep writing dribs and drabs of. In order to make up for the fact that I'm not going home this weekend, I promised to write her a few more bits of that, so perhaps I'll bribe myself with that - for every page of my paper that I manage to get done, I get to write another couple of bits in the Significant Moments in Insignificant Relationships series I have going here. That could work.

... But only if I stop distracting myself by posting! So. Right. Work time.
damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
My usual strategy with research papers is to absorb all the necessary media first - read all the books and articles I've dug up, often more than once - and then let it percolate for a while. (I've discovered that if I put something on the back burner on the stove of my brain and leave it there for a while, when I come back to it, it will be much better; my mind will have put things together and made connections while I wasn't looking.) Then, I just flat-out write, and save adding citations and footnotes until after the paper's written.

I finished my paper on Saramaccan yesterday afternoon, which meant this morning was footnote/citation time! \o/ And, as noted, it was actually kind of fun. Despite what you might think if you looked at my desk, I do like being organized, especially with text; it pleases me to enforce consistency on things. That's probably part of why I like editing the formatting of things so much - making sure that every instance of a particular formatting choice is the same makes me so happy.

... That was probably the last whisper of a chance of being normal that I ever had flying out the window, right there.

Anyway. The footnotes are all done, everything's cited, the bibliography's formatted. Now I just have to review a couple things for Literature, and then I will totally be ready for the last round of Tuesday-Thursday classes this semester. Today, and gym class tomorrow morning, and then I'm FREE. (Not that there aren't classes I liked - Pidgins and Creoles! Linguistic Anthropology! ♥ ♥ ♥! - but, still. VACATION.)

Also, it had better rain today, or I'm gonna melt. *flop* QUIT PLAYING WITH MY HEART, OUTDOORS.


damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
'tis not so deep as a well

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