September 15th, 2004

WFH...

I worked from home today, and to be perfectly truthful, I wasn't a very good IBMer today. I spent most of the day catching up on my grad school homework. My week in Greece put me further behind than I thought.

School continues to really engage me, and in class Dr. Katz once again mentioned the Ph.D. program that's about to be approved at NCSU, and how last year there were 60 jobs open in the U.S. for PhDs in Technical Communication, and there were only 12 candidates for them. Interesting and intriguing.

I sent my sister an e-mail saying that way in the back of my mind already, I am toying with the idea of pursuing my doctorate, and asked her if she thought there was room in the family for two "doctors." Ever encouraging, she wrote back:


AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s all about perseverance. You’ve definitely dealt with way harder things in your life than getting a PhD, TRUST ME on that!


She added this in her note:


BTW Have you spoken to the rels? Mom fell in the bathroom while sleep walking about two weeks ago. Dad called after about a week (!) She didn’t go to the hospital, which pissed me off. They had just had the tile in their shower stall repaired and she walked into the bathroom in her sleep and kept going straight. Since the doors were off the stall to let the tile set, she tripped over the lip (no doors to bang into) and fell. She is horribly bruised and banged her head hard on the tile floor of the shower. She said she was still dizzy ( one week later) "but all my medications make me dizzy, so I can’t tell if it’s my head or my medications."

I tried to insist that she go to the doctor but…

I asked if they needed for me to come home and they both said no. Actually, they were both still going to the "spa" and working out in the pool and on the treadmills/bikes so I guess she’s okay. In fact, it’s a miracle she didn’t break a hip! I guess the spa is working!!

Just a warning before you call.
Love,
Your sista’


Class was so great tonight. We had an article to read by Guba on post-positivism, critical theory, and constructivism, which was a total bitch to read and understand, but by the end of the class it was all as clear as a bell. (Are bells really all that clear?) Dr. Katz read a paper she had written on the subject while she was in grad school and told a couple of stories that drove it all home for us. I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

This was bizarre. She told us about a story she had heard on NPR, it was about a study someone was doing on whether we can think abstractly before we have (know) language. This is difficult to test because you can't ask people who don't have language yet questions.

She went on to say that they said you need a little background on this to understand the story, and it's just very bizarre, and you won't understand it, but here it is. When westerners think of, or talk about, "things," we usually think or talk about them in terms of location or place. For example, when you look at a glass and think about it, you might think, "The glass is on the table." or looking at a pen, you might think, "The pen is in my hand." etc.

Well in Korea, and this is the bizarre part, when they think about things, they think about them in terms of whether they are tightly or loosely wrapped rather than in terms of place or location. (HUH??? She said we wouldn't understand it.)

So basically the scientist devised an experiment in which (in Korea) she created a bunch of puppets, some of which were decorated with loosely-wrapped items, others with tightly-wrapped items. She then placed a video camera "back stage," that is, behind the puppets facing out to the audience, which consisted of babies, and filmed them watching / looking at the puppets.

What she found was that the children quickly became bored with the loosely wrapped puppets -- didn't watch them long, were distracted more easily while they were on, etc. They were engaged when the puppets with tightly-wrapped items were being shown, though.

Weird. Weird. Weird. She didn't say, but I assume a similar study was done on babies looking at things that weren't "placed" somewhere and found a similar reaction; that is, that those not placed or in a location bored the babies, and those that were shown in relation to place or location engaged them.

The conclusion was that you can think abstractly before acquiring language.

I went to Flex from there, and got a warm welcome from the few who were there, asking about our trip to Greece. Adam and Van both had 5:00 shadows (some nonsense about not being able to find a razor in the house), and I thought they both looked terribly, terribly sexy.

Dancing was not too crowded. Some straight people came, and this one straight, drunk girl was one of those who thought she could just get out on the floor and learn complicated line dances in ten minutes that some of us have been learning for two years. I don't mind people trying, but it would help if they weren't drunk, and if they'd try over in a corner of the dance floor where someone doing the dance right won't accidentally trip on them and sprain or break an ankle. GRRRRRR.

Van polled the dancers about Dolly Parton tickets, and low and behold Missy heard him and asked for a ticket. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!