Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer update...

... really, it's been a pretty good summer so far.

  • I actually like my summer class students -- not enough to keep teaching them, but enough that I won't have that sinking feeling of doom if one of them takes other classes :).
  • I may have a student who wants to write logic problems for my textbook. He's smart, has an independent source of income, and wants to go to philosophy grad school. I gave him a stack of logic textbooks, told him to look at them all and we'll talk later..
  • My first brain injured student dropped out of logic pretty suddenly. I had no discussions with him before he went away, he just stopped coming to class. I think it was a bit much for him -- which is ok.
  • I found out a bit later that another student is in my class because he's recovering from a brain injury. He's had his own sets of challenges, but I think he'll be fine.
  • I've been in the pool a lot -- nearly every day. It's really nice -- and I'm getting a bit of a tan.
  • I'm revising my dissertation prior to submitting it to the grad school. The revisions are very small -- mostly typos and extra punctuation.
  • Next week I'll be doing a seminar on the ethics of warfare for the faculty at BNCC -- as our common book is about the war in Iraq. That should be fun -- but, I still need to prepare.
  • Tomorrow is my last day of summer class -- then, some grading and it's over!!
YEA Summer!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time for student stupidity...

.... of the obnoxious and non obnoxious sort.


Student A: my quiz didn't work right. I changed one answer I knew was wrong and got the same score.
Me: no, you gave the same answer the second time around...

Student X: I have no discussion grades.
Me: Clearly, you missed my multiple announcements about one of the discussions -- you'll get a grade eventually. As for the rest, you failed to meet the deadline EVERY FRIGGING WEEK!

grrr. I'll be happy to be done with them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All that stands between me and the pool...

... is a student struggling with logic.

S/he is a decent student. They show up for class and seem to get it.

S/he is also a member of a Native American tribe and they're having a ceremony when s/he would otherwise be taking a practice quiz.

This is the first time I've done an alternative practice quiz. The only reason I'll do so is for religious reasons -- even illness doesn't get you a make-up.

So, I really wish s/he would just finish so I can get out of here and enjoy the second day of summer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June happenings...

June 1990: I packed my car and moved to Denver to live with Hubby.

June 2008: I had my "boob-ectomy", learned that I needed chemo and met MY oncologist.

June 2010: Dr. ItPF

I think I prefer either 1990 or 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A good Ph.D. advisor...

... is a lot like Tim Gunn...of project runway.

Tim's stated goal is to give direct, honest and respectful feedback.

Wrapped up in that is taking the one-on-one relationship seriously and treating your grad students like young colleagues.

I've had friends who haven't been as lucky as me (A, in particular) -- as a result, I came to appreciate Dr. Advisor.

I'm sure Dr. A would have liked to get it finished more quickly -- but he also understood the demands on my time and he never set hard deadlines for me. I suppose I helped the situation by setting my own deadlines and generally meeting them.

Dr. A read and considered what I wrote. He politely disagreed with me and he realized that the dissertation is my project, not his. He told me early on that the point wasn't to write down what he thought -- rather, the point was for me to figure out what I thought and how it could be justified.

Dr. A also was willing to work outside his regular comfort zone -- because that's what I wanted to do. The fact of the matter is that the number of people in the country who could have supervised my dissertation is pretty low -- so, he told me that if it was going to get done, I was going to have to figure out the state of the field -- and he'd catch up. I hope that supervising my dissertation expanded his philosophical horizons a bit, even though I don't have any illusion that he'd have done that expansion on his own :).

The chances that I'll supervise grad students are quite slim -- but, I can take Dr. A's example and apply it to my own student and mentoring relationships. For that, I and my students owe Dr. A a large bunch of gratitude.

A Ph.D. by the numbers...

... since I started coursework, I've had:

1: sweet Hubby
2: speeding tickets
3: years of LD Hubby
4: surgeries
5: addresses
6: cats
7: hour drive from MN to Lincoln
8:or so years working on the darned thing...
9: (million) times someone asked me when I'd be done.
10: how it felt to finish.. on a 1-10 scale

Friday, June 11, 2010

Some identities revealed...

When I started this blog -- long, long ago, I tried to protect my identity. Many folks who know me in real life figured it out long ago. One of the reasons I did it was so that I could, if I wanted to, complain about dissertation/advisor stuff. Turns out I had nothing to complain about -- I know I'm lucky :).

So, while I'm not going to post my name -- because I don't want Google to find me or Hubby -- I'll reveal some new details --

Red State is Nebraska. The "red" is both political and "Go Big Red" is the common sports cheer.

My new Ph.D. is from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The only option for a philosophy Ph.D. in the area -- and, it turns out -- a pretty decent choice regardless of the rankings.

BNState is Minnesota. Because it's big and northern.

BNCC -- if anybody cares -- is Century College. It's in a suburb of the Twin Cities.

With this information, if you wanted to dig around a bit and play connect the dots, you could figure out who I am --but, really -- don't you have something better to do with your on-line time? :) --- I hear Farmville is fun, they pictures of cute kitties out there and stuff... and there's always porn ;).

BN University is the University of Minnesota -- although, as I was teasing Hubby -- when Iowa invades he'll be a 2L at Very Northern Iowa University.

Not like it's really all that interesting -- or secret -- but, I don't have a good reason to keep it a secret anymore.

Oh yea -- "The Queen's" real name is Tera -- "The Minion" is Spock. I think I'll otherwise protect their on-line identities... I hear you have to watch out for kitty porn.

... so, go about your day with the happy image of me driving from Omaha to the Twin Cities today in my little brown Corolla, enjoying the wide varieties of green in Iowa -- and grinning from ear to ear.

Celebration tonight...

Hubby has arranged a night out on the town...

"fancy dinner" followed by "fancy hotel".

The details are a surprise.

Dr. ItPF -- has a ring to it, no?

The defense was fine -- challenging, but generally went well.

I have to say that I made a good choice with Dr. Advisor. He always gave my work careful consideration. He was timely in his attention to my work and understood when my teaching and medical challenges slowed me down.

Dr. Advisor also figured out a good committee for me. They were thoughtful, polite and generous. I felt that their questions were fair and that they were honest questions not veiled attempts at criticism or 'you didn't do what I do -- why not?' questions.

and -- I left the room as Dr. ItPF, and that's what really matters -- no?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In Red State...

... without hubby.

It's really, really weird to be in the house Hubby stayed in while working here -- without him actually being here.

Instead, he's in BNstate -- cozy in our apartment with the cats and I'm all alone in a 4 bedroom, 4,000 square foot house. I can see why he was lonely --

I'm here to defend my dissertation. It seems oddly appropriate to stay where I wrote decent chunks of it -- and where I formulated a lot of it.

My plan for the day is to spend some time this morning at the coffee shop getting caught up with my on-line life, then to take some time to look at my notes. I'll leave the house about noon, as I have to apply for graduation before the deadline tomorrow :). Then I'll do some more review and thinking about the points I want to make -- and meet the committee at 3:00.

By the end of the business day, I'll probably be Dr. Steck ( I'm more confident than that sounds -- but I don't want to jinx it :).

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

My bags are packed...

... well, almost.

Your advice was great!! My 'defense day' bag includes:
  • A copy of my dissertation
  • An outline for my talk
  • A cheat sheet listing all of my just war principles
  • A bottle for water & cereal bars for quick energy before the defense that can't mess up my clothing.
  • The appropriate forms & a checkbook to pay fees
  • A pad of paper and a pen
  • My ipod --
I'll also bring a clean top with me, just in case -- I have a nightmare that I'll show up for my defense with a spot on my shirt...
My 'fun' (i.e. distraction bag) includes:
  • Several good books, including the most recent Steig Larsson book.
  • DVDs of old and mindless TV (Mad about You, Will & Grace, Arrested Development)
My suitcase will include several outfit options for tomorrow, pjs and comfy clothes for the rest of the time.

I'm planning to get a pedicure in Red State city late this afternoon, then some good Indian food for dinner.

Tomorrow, after my defense, I have a hair appointment with my favorite stylist / honorary older sister and very good friend. I like that she'll be the first non-committee member to call me "Dr. ItPF" -- in person.

I'm pretty sure I'll have no internet where I'm staying -- so, don't expect an update until Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

You can buy anything on the internet....

... including a pretty good fake boob.

Yep, I decided I needed a new one and ordered it on-line.

These things come in various sizes and colors -- and are designated as left or right.

It works.

It's weird, because I now feel lopsided, because I was used to no weight on the mastectomy side.


Dissertation defense advice, please...

So, day after tomorrow I defend.

The standard way it works for my department is for the candidate to give about a 10 minute or so talk about the dissertation. At some point, the committee will interrupt with questions.

Do you have any advice?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Excuse me while I brag a bit...

... about Hubby.

His grades are in -- and they are really good. Really, really good. One of them is the best possible grade -- and the rest are very high -- in a system with a forced curve for 1Ls.

He also got honors in both of his pass/fail courses -- and he got a "best oral argument" award.

Those of you who knew Hubby the Debater won't be at all surprised by the last one :).

Suffice it to say, if he doesn't make law review, it won't be because of his grades.

I'm really happy about this -- mostly because Hubby has worked really, really, really hard at this. It isn't all raw intelligence, it's the combination of raw intelligence and hard work. I suspect even Kingsfield (from Paper Chase) would be impressed.

Way to go Hubby!!!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Exciting developments... probably...

  • I got my new water radio -- and I made it work!
  • I might be making a love connection between a couple of old friends!! She's someone I hung out with in high school, but we didn't go to school together. He's someone I knew in high school, but we didn't hang out together. They're about the same age, both have kids and both are fun, nice people. I'd love it if it worked out!!
  • We're having a little pool party today!! An old friend, a recent friend and her daughter. It will be a lot of fun!!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Read the frigging schedule....

Goodness, for an "on-line" generation, something so simple is turning out to be complex.

I have a hybrid class. It meets together on Monday, then half the class comes on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday.

They can register for MW or MTh -- with the "on-line day" being the other.

Several bozos so far have insisted they registered for one, when they actually registered for the other.

At first I thought the software that pulls the class lists was off -- it's not beyond possible.

It turns out the students are off.

The problem is that I made some class deadlines different for the MW vs. MTh students.

I'm not doing that again -- now, thanks to this bunch of bozos, every hybrid in the future will have the same set of deadlines -- whatever the earlier ones are.