Friday, May 19, 2006



I finally starting to plan my next hike some. I really haven't had much time to plan because I've been working hard on the presentation for my 1st year paper (another story in itself). I plan on hiking from Erwin, Tn to Wauga Dam near Elizabethton, Tn. It should take 6 to 7 days. I have never done a hike that long. The last hike I took as 4 days and my right knee was killing me after the hike. I am going to work to take some weight out of my bag.

I have quite a few things I think I can leave at home. My percolator is really heavy; it won't be going. As much as I like warm food, I'm thinking about leaving the stove at home. I probably won't though. Warm dinner is good and I'll already miss my coffee so much I don't think I want to give up the possibility of some warm meals. My sleeping bag weights a ton. I tried weighing my sleeping bag. I figured it weighed a good 7lbs or so. It looks like I was wrong. I might weigh 5. I can leave some tent parts at home though, including the frost liner, the center support pole, and the vestibule. I'll have to think more about what I can leave home. I'll be wearing fewer clothes, which will also help drop the total weight.

I'm looking forward to the hike to help me clear my head. The hike will be between when I finish the development of my presentation and when I give it. Now I just have to finish the presentation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Thank you sir. May I have another?

I had another shit day at school. It seems like I can't say or write anything without it being taken out of context. I'm really not sure how much more of this I can take.

To help myself feel better, I finally went to the shooting range with my homemade targets. I called Palila at work, picked her up, and we both went. It was nice. She then took me to dinner. And I'd heard the new Tool album was really good from J. I picked it up on the way home. That's some good shit. Then I stopped off at the liquor store, picked up some Bombay Sapphire. Now I'm having a "muther fuckin martini" and am getting ready to watch Office Space and just chill out.

Maybe if I can get relaxed enough my life will start going better too.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Still Kicking

Well, in some programs a "c" would have signaled the end of my Ph.D. career. Of course, I never would have entered a program where professors are rock stars and Ph.D. students are good for nothing more than licking the dirt off pavement. So, I'm still in, and I'm still kicking. The professor I came here to work with is very understanding. I still kind of wonder how I got mixed up in all of this working with a professor who I really had no interest in. The good news is, the professor I do want to work with and I are already working on a conceptual paper that she hopes to have out by the end of summer and I'm already gathering scales for a data collection we might start this summer.

Palila and I are looking at houses. Which is taking way too much time, but is sometimes fun.

I'm reading a bunch.

I'm also planning a hiking trip at the end of May and a trip to Indiana to see the F1 race at the end of June.

It should be a nice summer.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


What to do with a bad review

In the spirit of all of the "make it yourself" stuff on the web, I've made a template for dealing with bad reviews.

In academia, where publishing is the ruler of our fate, we live and die (and get paid more or less) based upon the comments we get from reviewers who influence our ability to publish. Often, these reviews are less than what we expect. Some are downright nasty. Based partly on my recent experience with a professor, I've decided to develop an instrument for helping me ease my tension and bad mood (this one experience is not likely to be the last review I ever get where I totally disagree).

It is well known that target shooting can be very relaxing for some. To target shoot well, you must be relaxed and your breathing must be very smooth, stable, and predictable. Your heart rate has to be steady. Getting yourself into this state where you can control your breathing and feel your heart beat is very calming.

I developed the template below to help me combine the experience of removing my anger with a poor review and the calming effects of target shooting.

Take the staple out of the paper that received the bad review. Place the sheets of paper in your printer. I chose to make sure the printing and the reviewers almost unreadable scribbles were on the back side. Then print out this target template on each sheet. Then take the sheets to you local shooting range and blast away.

Note: I found an indoor shooting range very close to my apartment. They have a special offer of five sessions, one hour each, for only $40. Not too bad. Of course, this would be cheaper if I were still at home and could visit my dad's farm, but I guess that's life in the big city.


Spitting Nails

I'm so pissed I can hardly think straight.

I've talked to a couple of other professors about this situation. The suggested course of action is to drop it, forget it, and move on. Just go about the rest of my career with just one "anomaly."

I understand, somewhat, how I got here, but I just can't stand it. This will preclude me from any additional funding (above and beyond what I already get) from the school or any outside agencies.

The one positive thing: I will NEVER have to work with him again. He, however, is on the faculty, and all faculty have to approve all papers and dissertations. I hope he's not going to continue acting as a roadblock from this peripheral position.

I do not enjoy situations where someone I hold with such disdain has power and influence over my life.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Glad I didn't try

The one paper that was giving me trouble turned out to be a real bomb. I ended up pulling most of my ideas and worked on trying to edit the paper so that it would just get by. And, while it did get by, it may not be good enough.

I had my meeting with the guy this morning. It was a real browbeating. Luckily it only took about 15 min. He ended up giving me a "C" on the paper, which will be a "C" for the course. It was not enjoyable. I'm more than a little pissed off. I hope I have not hurt my career here in the Ph.D. program, but this may very well have been a very bad thing. I had already spoken with some others in the program before this, so they know I am not getting along well with this guy. Now I will have to check to make sure things are not totally messed up. "C's" are pretty much unacceptable.

To do so well in everything else and have to deal with this is a real pain in my ass. I'll have "A's" in all of my other courses. Hell, if I get 100% on the final like I did on my mid-term, I should get all the points possible in my Stats II class. This is really just silly.

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