August 21st, 2007

A restless night, a fat ass, ENG 583 level-setting, and almost finishing Owen Meany...

Last night I fell asleep at 10:00PM, woke up at 12:30AM, tossed and turned until 1:15, got up and read until 3:30, reset my alarm from 6AM to 8AM, fell back asleep, and woke up at 7:30AM this morning. Annoying.

I have a friend who on occasion has asked me, "Do these pants make my ass look fat?"

Whenever anyone asks me that question, I always want to answer, "Actually, it's not the pants that make..." I absolutely love, love, love this bumper sticker I saw recently, which sums up exactly how I feel about the question.

Does my fat ass make
my ass look fat?

I worked from home this morning, spending most of that time foraging through e-mail and devising a note to my department requesting a schedule of their editing requests for the rest of the year.

I met with (Dr.) Jason (Swarts) for an hour, where he introduced me to the research work of his that I'm going to be working on as a part of the ENG 583 Analysis of Verbal Data class that he's teaching. The work is very interesting, and I'm very much looking forward to being a "graduate research assistant" on the project.

Basically, he's researching:  when people decide to re-use data, how do they decide what to re-use, and then what, if anything, do they do to it once they get it from the source location to the target location. I was actually a research participant in this study last year for him, since I re-use a lot of stuff devising my blog entries.

Using the syllabus and assignments information, we also spent a little time setting expectations as to what I will and will not do that'll make this a 2-hour class for me instead of a 3.

At the tail end of our meeting, we went upstairs to the English Department administration area to:
  1. Change my registration record to reflect that I'm really taking this course as an independent study course for 2 hours, instead of the regular 3-hour course that everyone else in the class will be taking it as. (I only need 2 hours worth of it to meet my degree requirements, and it will be cheaper for me taking a total of 5 hours instead of 6.)

  2. Verify that this independent study indication will also make the class a pass/fail class as opposed to a graded class.
The fact that it will be a pass/fail class for me is good news in that it's one less thing that can affect my GPA.

I currently have a 4.0416 (Who's counting to four decimal places? I am... and in reality, it's a continually repeating 6 at the end, so I'm actually counting to the gazillionth decimal place.) GPA, and I would love nothing more than to graduate with a GPA higher than 4.0. That means I just have to get an A in the other class I'm taking. I'll have to figure out if an A- would work as well.

This made me think of the "cum laude" designations, the distinctions of which I've never been quite sure. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true!):

  • cum laude, “with honor”; direct translation: “with praise”
  • magna cum laude, “with great honor”; direct translation: “with great praise”
  • summa cum laude, “with highest honor”; direct translation: “with highest praise”
It is difficult to generalize what percentage of top marks correspond to each of the degrees of honors, given that the percentages or grade point averages required for each rank can differ from university to university. Degrees summa cum laude used to be quite rare—often reserved for the top one percent of students at the most—and degrees magna cum laude only a bit less so.

I went into the office at IBM to work this afternoon, and once there, on my way to the printer, I saw signs on at least two doors that said, "Working remote."

With all due respect, I would kindly suggest: "Working remotely."

I read a good part of the last 200 or so pages of Owen Meany last night. I'm almost to the manifestation of the dream.

I went to karaoke at Flex last night, and I'm just going to leave it at:  "I shouldn't have gone." I expended too much negative mental energy while there, and a repeat performance here would be tiresome—both to you and to me.