November 29th, 2004

Gender in Technical Communication...

I readjusted my health benefits choices today, and confirmed them. My 1:00 went fine, and we decided on just one more meeting in 2004, Monday, December 13th. Yippee! I'm off for the rest of the year starting on Friday, the 17th. BIGGER YIPPEE!

During the day, I received notice of a couple of the articles I had requested from the satellite shelves, and read one online, and was told the other one was available at the library. I stopped by there on the way home, and read two articles, from which I gleaned a couple of nuggets. Cool.

By the time I finished up there it was about 6:00, and I decided to just go directly to class, since I was already right there, and had a decent parking spot. I incorporated the two found nuggets into my speaker notes, and made a note for one quick updated once Will arrived with the presentation on his memory stick.

I was sitting in the hall doing this, and a couple of people from our class walked by wishing me luck. Amelia, who is so so sweet, offered to buy me water, and rub my back. I asked her if you get your grade back on the group project pretty quick, as she did hers last week. "Oh yeah; the next day," she said.

"Is she being lenient on them?"

"Not at all," she replied, which is not what I wanted to hear.

Tanya and Will both arrived shortly after 7, and Susan arrived shortly after that with the "technology cart." We booted it up in the hall, Will copied the presentation from the memory stick to the hard drive, and I made me two little corrections to one chart.

The class in the room before us went on and on, and I finally opened the door to give them the evil eye. A few minutes later, when they still hadn't come out, Susan opened the door, and just started talking right on top of them, "I need to set up for a presentation, and you're way over."

Susan asked for 5 minutes at the beginning of class, which immediately stressed me out, because I was already worried we were going to run out of time having the full hour and fifteen minutes. She took her five, and then we had trouble with the slide projector, and ended up starting a full 10 minutes late. Not good.

Susan pointed out a couple of things, which caught all three of us guard -- "you have an extra period in that citation," "why did you choose those journals," "what about 'Brown'? you didn't give her first name," etc. It was a little disconcerting, and I began to feel like, "uh-oh, we're going to run out of time and it's not going too well.

I didn't know this at the time, but Susan's question to Tanya about her choice of publications set her off. She told me later that she got so mad, which actually helped her to calm down. But she was pissed.

On the way out, two people commented to us about how picky Susan was on our presentation, so it was good to see that it wasn't just us being overly sensitive. SO, anyhow, after tons and tons and tons of work, I left there not feeling good about anything but that fact that it was "done."

Once home, I had an AIM conversation with Tanya that was just unbelievable. She was killing me. She was so wound up. I then, got a note from Erin saying how good our presentation was, which was sweet. At the end she said something to the effect of, "What was up with Susan tonight with the 'defend-your-thesis' type questions?"

Tanya told me that Will had expressed the same feelings on their drive home -- she dropped him off on the way home.

With all that, I decided to call Susan to ask her what was up, because I just don't think it's fair that she was harder on us than she's been with the other groups. She never interrupted the other groups at all, and we were the fourth group of five. I called her at 10:20, even though she said at the beginning of the semester that we could call her as late as 10:00. She was gracious enough to take my call.

I told her that I wanted to talk to her before we saw our grade, because I would like to understand what happened without it looking like I'm trying to raise our grade, or having our grade play any part in it. I told her that we felt like we were being picked on a little during our presentation, unlike the others have been.

She was immediately apologetic, and it sounded sincere to me. She said that she thought we did a great job, and that we had a very "playful" feel about our presentation, and she was just "playing into it" -- and that she was so sorry if it didn't come across like that.

"It was a very good presentation; you're going to get some kind of A on it."

"Well, that's good to hear. Thanks you."

"Would you tell Tanya and Will that, or would you like me to call them and tell them?"

"No, I'll take care of it, thanks. And, again, I'm sorry to be calling you so late. Good night."

I told Tanya on AIM that I had just called Dr. Katz.

"No you didn't! You have balls of steel."

She called me and we had a short telephone conversation, in which I told her we were getting some kind of A. I called Will right after that, and after his roommate got him to the phone, I told him the same thing. "Cool, dude. Thanks for doing that."

Tanya and I were both working on our Project Notebooks (for ENG 518, due tomorrow) all night long, sending funny AIMs to each other on and off to break the monotony -- and asking each other questions, too.

At one point, I asked her if she had a three-hole punch.

"Yes. I bought one for this class," she responded, which cracked me up. So her.

"Would you bring it to class tomorrow night, so I can hole-punch these last few items of mine?

"Yes. I am putting a huge sign with my stuff now that says, 'HOLE PUNCH.' It's on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper."

I laughed at loud.

At 3:00, I typed, "I'm about to call it a night."

"I'm going to take a 30 minute nap, and then get back to it," she responded.