hmpf: (Default)
Was ist die bessere Anrede:

Sehr geehrte Frau Professorin Müller

oder

Sehr geehrte Frau Professor Müller?
hmpf: (Default)
I really will be a full day late with this. Or rather, the e-mail version (they want both an e-mail version and a paper version) will be on time, but the paper version won't. :-(
hmpf: (Default)
Tomorrow is absolutely the last day I can spend on that Ph.D. thing. And the cover letter. And the C.V. And everything. And I still don't have the first fucking clue how to do it. I wrote less than one sentence today on the proposal, and haven't even *begun* the cover letter.

I'm already two days over the limit I had set myself. Saturday is absolutely the last day I can send this stuff if I want it to have even the slightest chance of arriving before the deadline.

I still haven't spent one minute preparing for the interview coming up next Wednesday. And you could say that that interview is orders of magnitude more important than that stupid uni job, because, unlike with that uni job, I actually *have a chance there*. Because it's an actual *job interview*, not a half-assed Ph.D. proposal for very remote chance at a job that, let's face it, four dozen people with way more academic cred than me will also apply for. I should be working on *that*, I should be preparing for that interview, not stare entire days at a blank screen to try and get inspired for a proposal I can't possibly finish in the time left anyway.

Dammit. I wasted three entire weeks on this. I could have applied for six, maybe even nine other jobs in that time. I could be more than halfway to my statistically likely next job interview! (It's currently roughly one interview per fifteen applications or so. Statistically speaking.)

**

It's just... I really *would* have liked a shot at doing a Ph.D. Deep down, I am kind of in love with Academia. I just can't afford to prolong my long, unhappy affair with her - without her finally starting to pay me for it, that is. Somebody give me money to do academic work, though, and I'm *so* there...
hmpf: (Default)
*boggle*

(I'm applying for a uni job which sort of requires it. I know it's extremely unlikely I'll get the job, and maybe it's a bit crazy to invest *that* much energy and time into something as unlikely as that job, when I could apply for half a dozen other jobs in the same time, but it's the first uni job that's appealed to me, so...)

Ouch.

Jun. 17th, 2010 08:59 pm
hmpf: (Default)
I find it extremely hard to believe that this only weighs 2 kg...

Or maybe it's just the bag that weighs a ton? Hm.

(TV seminar, filming week.)

My shoulders hurt.
hmpf: (Default)
on the issue of doing a Ph.D., that the Ph.D. idea I tossed around in the previous entry differs from the kind of Ph.D. I rejected in my previous Ph.D. entry insofar as it - at least theoretically, if I did a good job - would actually address the current crisis, and possibly enable me to confront that crisis more effectively. Whereas a Ph.D. about comics, much as I would love to do it (and I would!), probably wouldn't have much of a chance of improving the world in any currently significant manner.

Speaking of comics - Finder, the comic about which I wrote my thesis, won an Eisner award recently! The Eisners are sort of the Oscars of the comics field. :-) (I'd put a link here but Finder's website seems to be broken at the moment.)
hmpf: (Default)
(Well, okay, maybe nobody is wondering about this, but just in case:)

Will I expand my M.A. thesis into a Ph.D. thesis?

Short answer? No.

Reasons:

1.) I've spent the past thirteen years living on a shoestring budget in a shared flat; I feel I'm ready to graduate to a slightly less financially and spatially restricted situation. (Of course, for the time being I'm jobless, and so I'm still poor and living in a shared flat - but I'm an optimist: I assume this situation is temporary.)

2.) I'm nearly 33. Doing a Ph.D. would add another three or four years to the age at which I could hope to first enter the 'job market' (I hate that phrase). This would probably negatively impact my chances of finding a job, which aren't that great to begin with. The three letters to attach to my name would probably not really help either, and might even be a hindrance.

3.) On my personal list of priorities, uni stuff was always, at best, a distant second or third to writing and other kinds of creative endeavours; now that I've discovered I want to do my part to save the world, uni stuff has been downgraded to fourth or so. You can't do a Ph.D. if you're only willing to grant it fourth priority - and a distant fourth at that, behind things as time-consuming as writing, making jewellery, and saving the world.

4.) I would have to get a job anyway, because my parents aren't going to support me any longer, so I would have to do the Ph.D. 'on the side' - and I'm a low-energy person, my life broke down completely even while I was doing 'only' my M.A. and working a measly 10-hours-per-week job. With a full-time, or nearly full-time job *and* a Ph.D. thesis to write, I'd go mad. Or at least starve, for want of time to eat; and probably forget the face of every friend I ever had. Not to mention that I'd have to give up all my 'hobbies' which, as I described in 3.), are really the most important things in my life.

Damn, now I've burned my dinner.

I'm alive!

Jun. 30th, 2009 07:37 pm
hmpf: (fanatic)
And not a student anymore!

Well, officially still a student, I guess. But, I'm done. As of today. Many, many things went horribly, horribly wrong. I lost my nerve before the written exams. I got really sick for several weeks before the oral exams - lie-in-bed, cough-up-a-lung sick. I forgot to prepare for one half of one of my oral exams. (Yes, completely. As in: you enter the room and the prof says, 'We have two topics...', and you go, '... Wait, what?' My powers of repression are obviously prodigious. Seriously, anybody here ever *forgot* to prepare for an exam? I think that kind of puts me in a league of my own...)

But. Despite all that crap, it went better, way, way better than expected - all of it. Even the exam I forgot to prepare for went well (2-, for you Germans) - it probably helped that the topic I hadn't prepared for was one I'd done a heap of papers on over the years, so I still had some general idea of the main points. The thesis got a 1.0, which is basically as good as it gets.

The final average, for those who care (and know the German grading system), is a 1.4. I was a bit shocked to hear that, mainly because apparently I can't do even basic maths anymore - four of the five components of the final grade have been known to me since last week, but I must have added them up wrong, because I thought the range of possibility extended from 1.7 through 1.5. Good thing I'm not studying maths!

***

In other, more important news: I'm building a computer game.

Which is a bit of an exaggeration, really. I'm not building much myself, I'm just applying graphics (not made by myself) via an editor (also not made by myself) - but I hope I'm applying them in an aesthetically pleasing, and perhaps at least occasionally somewhat original way.

I downloaded this game, Knytt Stories, a few months ago. It's a platformer, a genre I'm not usually fond of, because I have the reflexes of a geriatric sloth, but I needed something to take my mind off uni for at least twenty minutes or so per day while I stayed at my parents' - something that didn't require an internet connection. So, eventually, I actually tried playing this game that had been sitting on my disk for a while, and liked it quite a bit. Unlike many platformers, it focused less on evading Death by Spikes or Death by Monsters or whatever, and more on exploring a fairly large and frequently quite pretty world. (Pretty in a 2D, stylised way.)

So, for a while Knytt Stories and its predecessor, Knytt, kept me entertained. But they're not that large, and sooner than I liked I had I finished them. Looking for something similar on one of my increasingly rare online forays I found user-made levels for Knytt Stories, and downloaded a few of those. But many of those are *really* short, and a lot are impossibly difficult and therefore do not appeal to sloth-like me, so that was a limited source of relaxation. So eventually, in between studying, I started playing around with the editor that Nifflas, the creator of the game, has generously included in the download package... and it turned out to be one of the greatest toys I've ever been given.

I'll post some images soon, when I'm back home with a normal internet connection (Friday, probably.)
hmpf: (Default)
After two days of being fairly motivated, some kind of paralysis of will set in and I didn't manage to do anything worthwhile (for uni) for five days. This, of course, is wonderful if you *already* don't have enough time to prepare adequately. But at least I discovered some truly beautiful flash games (about which, more later. After exams.)

So. I did the maths today, and found out something fairly surprising, and faintly comforting (though also faintly depressing - strange, how the same fact can be both comforting and depressing): If everything goes perfectly and I achieve the best result that's still possible after all this procrastination, in every single one of my exams, I will get the final average grade of 1.8. This is the depressing part, because once, I had a *realistic* chance of getting something quite a bit better - and, keep in mind that this 1.8 grade is only marginally possible anymore now; it's really very, very unlikely. However, here's the comforting part: if everything goes truly, truly crappy - including failing one of the exams completely - my final average grade will still be 3.3. And that's only if the thesis was crap as well (I still don't have the result). If the thesis was okay and the American studies exams go okay and only archaeology goes crap the result will be somewhere in the 2.3 - 2.6 range. 2.1 is still possible, too, though less likely.

These grades aren't great, but they aren't exactly disastrous, either. I'm a bit surprised that even failing one exam doesn't change the average all that much. It's still a bit crap that I'll end up with a 2-point-something grade, because my CV doesn't contain anything else that particularly recommends me to prospective employers, and I'd hoped that I could at least polish it up with a really nice final grade ;-) but then, for the kinds of jobs that I'd *like* to do, it's very likely that even a 1.3 wouldn't suffice to get me into them without additional skills and experience I don't have; and as for the jobs I can *realistically* get, I doubt the grade makes that much of a difference, as long as it's not an outright horrible one.
hmpf: (angsty)
I'm sorting through seven years' worth of notes and excerpts to find stuff that may help me to prepare for exams. The first shock is how much stuff there actually is. I really did spend more than half of my archaeology studies doing vaguely or directly metal and metal technology related stuff, so I have heaps and heaps of notes about that. Far more than I thought. Should have checked earlier; I hadn't hoped to find much because I was under the impression that I'd been crap at taking notes etc. Turns out I'm just crap at remembering - both at remembering the stuff I made notes about, and at remembering I made notes in the first place. (Granted, not all of my notes are really all that useful.)

The second shock is how much the physical remains of my year at a British university make me want to cry. Had I been able to stay there, I really do think I would have become a real archaeologist. (Incidentally, browsing *all* the folders filled with my old uni stuff makes me sad - as usual, now that it's over, or nearly over, I'm realising how many opportunities I missed; how much more I could have gotten out of the last seven or eight years, if only... well, if only I were a different person, essentially. More single-minded, less distractable, more disciplined, etc.)

And the third shock, really, is how little I remember of it all. Seven (eight, really) years of my life, and much of that time spent on things that, yes, I *am* interested in, and here I'm surprised to find entire *presentations* I'd done that I'd completely forgotten about. Why is it that nothing that's related to archaeology really sticks, with me?
hmpf: (Default)
to tell you the story of my truly epic fuck-up with not one, but *two* profs involved in my exams, some day.

(Short summary of the current situation, without the, ahem, (pre)history of it all: I have a shitload of stuff to learn, in an impossibly short time, and I've managed to piss off everybody involved fairly thoroughly, so I can't really expect mercy from any quarter. Yay.)
hmpf: (Default)
Things continue to go extraordinarily crappy on the exams front. Hooray.
hmpf: (Default)
about a prof whose e-mails sound pretty friendly, but who consistently starts every e-mail to you like this:

"Dear Mr. [RealName]"

?

(And nope, my name is not gender-neutral, and I do sign my mails with my full name, and send my uni-related mails under my full name, so it should be visible in the 'from' field of his mail program when he receives mail from me.)

Will he ever get a surprise when I turn up at his office tomorrow... :-D
hmpf: (Default)
Fare you well, my friends - until May or so. Feel free to e-mail me, though; I will generally make an effort to at least check my e-mail, even if I drop out of most internet interactions. (Especially, feel free to e-mail me about fannish concerns; I tend to miss fandom a lot in my 'away' phases.)

One last bit of frivolity before I leave: I have to admit I'm considering ordering a copy of this just for the concept, although I'm not actually overly fond of either of the two components on their own... Sadly, I already filled my monthly "buying something just for the bizarre premise" quota yesterday by buying Towing Jehovah, which is about, well, towing the gigantic corpse of God. Last month's quota was filled in abundance by Afterdead, of course.

Speaking of which: Donna Barr has begun making The Desert Peach available online. The Desert Peach is a classic of the alternative comics 'explosion' of the 80s and 90s, and a marvel on many different levels - a complex and humane work about the moral muddle, the inner and outer conflicts and compromises that characterise individuals' lives in very nearly every social context and life situation, examined against the background of a compound of the worst contexts and situations people have managed to create (nazi Germany, the military, and war). If this sounds depressing: it isn't. Some of it is quite funny, in fact - but it's also deep and often unsettling. There are no easy answers; just questions, and then more questions. The characters breathe, and so do the backgrounds; everything feels alive and real. I've been particularly impressed with the depiction of Germany after the war, in the last few issues of the series before it morphed into the mindbogglingly psychedelic Afterdead. (I have the good fortune of owning most of the original series in print.) Those last issues remind me of the "Trümmerliteratur" (Wikipedia: "rubble literature") some of us probably remember from school, only... not. It is, of course, less focused on the whole "woe is us" aspect, which accounts for some of the difference. It feels less apocalyptic. The main difference, though, is perhaps the way in which the issue of guilt is handled, which... deserves an essay, sometime, I think. After my exams, maybe.

**

In other news: I had a wonderful night writing fic, the day before yesterday. Best writing session in ages - nearly a whole page in less than five hours, really moving the plot forward, all the way into madness. I'm still floating on that high. I should be really worried about my exams right now, because, to put it plainly, I'm in deep, deep shit due to some circumstances partly out of my control, but somehow I can't make myself care. Writing feels so much more important. *g*
hmpf: (angsty)
Note to self: if you ever go back to university for another degree, make sure to check if you fulfil all the necessary requirements *at least* a full semester early.

Also make sure to check if there are requirements that can only be fulfilled at a certain point of your course of studies.

Arrrgh.
hmpf: (Default)
More or less fine - kinda panicking in slow motion about the thesis.

Cleaning and cooking obsessively, because cleaning is nicely manageable, something you can actually *finish* in a day or two, and cooking likewise leaves you with a nice sense of having accomplished something useful.

Making jewellery(!) - finishing half a dozen things I abandoned, half finished, years ago. Currently working on two rings, six pairs of earrings, two necklaces, and that's just the beginning.

Watching Twin Peaks with a friend, about once a week, in hypnotic seven-hour sessions.

Have managed to sort of 'normalise' my sleep rhythm a bit (it's 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. now instead of 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Still practicing LJ abstinence, because I still feel rather overwhelmed atm.

(Of course, this only makes my ongoing project of catching up with EVERYBODY, ARRGH even less manageable than it already is... *sigh*)

I'll try to return some of my attention to you guys in the next few days. Thing is, I'm so horribly bad at multitasking, I'm not sure how I'm going to find the time without growing massively less efficient in some other area again... but I guess I could kick some of the cleaning and cooking, and replace that with internet time.
hmpf: (Default)
Okay, so I didn't continue writing my bloody paper after all, because I remembered I just have to *talk* about it tomorrow, not hand in the written version. I can take a day or two more on the written version.

But. I was worried I wouldn't be able to reach the necessary length of ten pages. And just now I realised - dude, I can change the font! I'd typed it in Times New Roman, but Arial is also acceptable for uni papers!

So, I changed the font, and hey presto! Six and a half pages became a full seven pages. I think I can fill another page and a half with what's left of my notes, and possibly expand the introduction a bit. I should be fine.

Now I just need to whisk up a halfway decent handout before tomorrow afternoon, which is entirely manageable. Also, I'm still in that pleasant 'I really don't care *at all*' state where I'm convinced that all I need is a 'pass' - the grade doesn't really matter. It's true, too. This is a very small part of my qualification for the M.A., and won't have any influence whatsoever on the final grade. Sure, it would be nice to actually do a *good* presentation, especially as this seminar is held by my advisor. But, on the other hand, I think she probably understands that I'm under a lot of pressure right now and can't really put all the much energy into that paper.

(And yeah, I know, if I were an ideal student I would react to all that pressure by actually *working* hard... and some of the time I do, but I get these long stretches of basically freezing in terror - masquerading as indifference - for weeks at a time.)

Going to bed now.

Numbers

Jan. 8th, 2008 01:20 am
hmpf: (rainbows)
I just noticed [livejournal.com profile] jumping_off has 72 members now, about twenty more than there were last time I checked. This makes me happy.

[livejournal.com profile] lifein1973 has around 1400 members, so that means that the percentage of people who didn't like the ending is around 5 percent. We're a bigger minority than I thought! (I thought we might be around 1 percent.)

**

I still haven't written the last page and a half of my frelling paper. I have just about reached the right stage of "don't frelling care, but time's kind of pressing now" to be able to write it, even if it's utter shite, and not mind so much.

Edited for wonky maths.

Ugh.

Jan. 7th, 2008 06:07 pm
hmpf: (angsty)
Hungry, tired, exhausted. Not writing the paper I have to present tomorrow, and which should have been finished, oh, a week ago or so. Haven't e-mailed the prof about it, either, which I should have done, really. But what should I have told her? "Uhm, I'm still not finished, sorry!"?

Hopelessly behind on thesis research. Basically, no chance of getting there by February anymore. Which means another term of paying fees, and another half a year to add to my age when I'm finally ready to join the working population.

Depressed about writing (fic, that is). Yeah, writing-based depression is rare with me, but it still happens, occasionally. I think it's all those end-of-year memes I've been seeing in other people's journals, rarely listing less than a dozen of stories written in 2007. It's painful to be reminded repeatedly of my inability to learn faster. You learn writing by writing, and that means you have to write *lots*. But I'm still not able to write as much as I should, if I really want to improve.

And I really do want to improve. But to write as much as I would need to, I'd have to basically have several hours per day to set aside for writing, and I can't do that. Half an hour per evening or so gets me... three words, maybe a sentence on a good day. It's not enough.

The really sad truth is... I don't actually care much about uni, much of the time. I just want to write. Of course, I usually don't - the guilty conscience is efficient enough to stop me from writing. It's not enough to actually motivate me to work properly for uni, though.

Gah.

I need to eat breat with almond cream now. And possibly some chocolate.

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