2006/04/10

For those who have been wondering (and I appreciate your emails and text messages asking what’s been going on lately), here is the longish explanation:

I am taking my masters degree in communications, part-time. There are four classes that have to be taken before you can start your thesis; being a part-timer means that you only take one class per semester. I started my degree in September of last year, so I have taken two classes so far. 4-2=2. Right? Right.

At my university, each course that you take counts as 3 credits. I don’t know why, it just is. If you take a course that runs for a full year, then it’s 6 credits. Now, following that math, 2 courses * 3 credits = 6 credits for a year’s worth of courses.

The deadlines that we were given to follow stated that if you were going to have completed 9 credits of work by a given date, you had to have your thesis proposal turned in by such-and-such a date. If it was by this date (which would have applied for me), then you had to have it turned in in December, 2006.

Of course, if I had the emails in front of me, this would be easier. :P

Anyhow, along comes February, and on the 22nd, the administrative assistant for the graduate students sends out an email stating that suddenly full-timers had to have their proposal in by the 3rd of April (later revised to the 7th), and that part-timers had to have their supervisor and thesis subject registered by April 3rd (later revised to the 7th). Now, because the administrative assistant was in the habit of sending the same email multiple times, or just sometimes changing dates in the email that was otherwise a cut-and-paste job, with no “Hey, things have changed, here it is” warning, I, admittedly, wasn’t completely up on my reading of the emails. I asked her after the first one, “Does this apply to part-timers as well?” had it explained, and Bob was my uncle.

Bob came along and beat me up.

I found out in the beginning of March, from a classmate in the same boat, about what was going on. Now, as some of you may recall, March sucked a lot for me. I had crazy amounts of things going on and no time in which to get them all done. Some of them never did get done, ‘cause I just happen to suck that way.

So, I started making the rounds of desperate phone calls to various professors who might in any small way be related to my chosen subject matter. In my department, there are five such professors; four of them are francophones, and one of them is a professor I’ve had four times in my undergrad and grad combined, and I was hoping not to work with him.

Of the four francophones, I called three and was able to meet with two. All accounts said that the last guy was one step away from completely incomprehensible in English, and oh joy – he’s teaching one of the courses in the fall.

The first professor is the head of the graduate faculty, and seemed like he was interested and in the end, told me where he’d be able to be of use to me. He told me to keep interviewing folks, send me some of my writing – preferably something in the realm of media-related work – and then we’d talk.

The second professor was a bit dotty, but pretty much agreed to supervise me by the end of our discussion. The Anglophone professor told me I wouldn’t want to work with her, but I figured beggars can’t be choosers (or at least, those who have few options probably shouldn’t complain about the ones they have… I guess that was pretty redundant). She asked me to write up a little one-page explanation of what I wanted to do and send that to her on the weekend. I did – on Sunday. So I’m liberal about my application of ‘weekend.’ Whatever.

I hadn’t heard from her by Wednesday, so I called her from work before I left for class. She called while I was in a meeting and left a message on my cell, but I figured I’d check it later. I’m very glad I did.

I went to class that night, and my group did our presentation and watched and questioned all the others, and I felt pretty decent by the end of the night. The wine the last group had served might’ve helped that; I know I was definitely tired, which can be blamed on the wine and on my crappy sleeping schedule of the last few weeks (no one’s fault but my own, and sometimes perhaps the Smooshy).

I got home from class and listened to my voice mail, and it was then I learned that the dotty prof felt that I wasn’t developed enough in my ideas – no shit, I didn’t have to have them ready for another six-plus months – and she asked me to maybe come back to her again in the fall. Well, if I were to do the directed studies course over the summer as I planned, then I have to have my thesis proposal in before the fall… and regardless, I have to have a supervisor registered now, you bint, not four or five months from now.

So, needless to say, my mood plummeted significantly, and I found myself both very upset and depressed. And more than a little stressed, ‘cause that goes along well with the rest of it.

Instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour, as I had previously hoped/planned, I spent the next half hour or so composing desperate emails to the two other professors with whom I had spoken. I had warned the first francophone professor that when my computer had exploded, I had lost many of my previous papers, so what I ended up sending him were two papers from my second year and the research paper I had composed for my first masters course. If nothing else, it showed a literature review and a few other things that would be applicable to my proposal and thesis.

The Smooshy monitored my home account for me on Thursday, and forwarded me emails of relevance. The Anglophone professor wasn’t able to/was unwilling to sign off on my paperwork as he had originally offered (he said he would register as my prof and I could then find someone else at my leisure), but I called the department and got myself an extension as a precautionary measure.

In the end, on Thursday, there was an email waiting for me from the first professor, agreeing to supervise me. Major relief. Granted, I had to wait awhile to get the email, since the power was out in my neighbourhood from 3 p.m. until about 10:30, then a few times more during the night, but I got it, and I was pleased.

Also, I made sure my computer was unplugged during the night and the next day, since they had cautioned about rolling blackouts on the news. I wasn’t taking any more chances, especially not with my sexy new computer.

I was, however, able to use the blackout as a bit of an excuse for ‘sleeping in’ on Friday, and I ran first thing to the department to drop off my paperwork for my supervisor’s signature. It was also my last real day with my former manager as manager, so it was a very positive day in many ways, despite the poo weather.

Friday evening I was supposed to have dinner with Moose, but it fell through (for the second time, I might add). The evening was spent fairly quietly, with both the Smooshy and I in a bit of a funk.

Wednesday morning I’d had a meeting downtown, and I spent some time at the mall shopping for a belated shower/on-time bachelorette party gift for N. I managed to find a few things that were very appropriate for her fiancé (and my friend), so I picked up season 5 of Buffy on DVD for her, and the He-Man/She-Ra Christmas special on DVD for him. As her bridal shower had the theme ‘lucky’ and her bachelorette party had an 80s theme, I was trying to get something that might fit one or the other, but didn’t quite manage… though I claimed that season 5 was somewhat lucky because you got to see Spike with his shirt off. I did, however, succeed in some semi-fluorescent green wrapping paper, as well as some bright-pink… and I got some blank cards that are fluorescent green and have velvet paw prints marching over them. So I managed to continue my semi-regular cat theme for cards, which was a success in my books.

The bachelorette party was fun. I made a pasta salad that got compliments, and a chocolate-caramel cheesecake that I found a bit disappointing. The highlight of the evening for me was the horrible luck I was having bowling (I was granny-style bowling the ball too hard, so it kept spinning off just before it got to the pins) – and I’d like to point out that it was only my second or third time doing 10-pin bowling – and doing various dances with N in the bowling lane in our shoes and her bright white lacy dress. We were under blacklights, so she really glowed. Props to Mad for another successful (on-going) turn as a matron of honour. :)

Sunday was a very quiet day, and I got to spend many hours cross-stitching. I also took the bike out for a trip, and it was a fairly successful run, though a bit chilly… and then there was when the guy tried to pull out of a gas station in front of me, but we didn’t collide. I just felt somewhat unsettled in my stomach for a few more minutes after that. I think the guy in front of me who had his left turn signal on for three blocks before he actually turned help me get over that a bit faster, since I had an annoyance to concentrate on.

Aside from bobbling the bike in the driveway (which slopes downwards fairly stiffly) and the herd of elephants my idiot upstairs neighbours invited over for what seemed like wrestling and throwing bowling balls and furniture around in addition to the barbecue they were having, the evening was pretty decent. Is it wrong of me to be rooting for my neighbours to kill or maim one another, so we can just be finished with it?

Also, they did an episode of Mythbusters on flatulence and the Ben Franklin electricity/kite myth. At one point, they tried to fart Buster to death, as I so not-crudely put it. I love that show.

Finally, this article today amused me for the first part, then the last part was somewhat sad. But I wish there were more judges like her:

The Winnipeg Sun, 2006.04.08

NO FREE RIDE FOR PHONEY DRUNK

ROSS MCLENNAN

Three years have passed since Winnipeg Transit officially declared its Open Door policy .. er ... open ... in April 2006.

Predictions that some people would try to take unfair advantage of the new policy came true yesterday when a man became the first person to be found guilty of pretending to be drunk in order to obtain a free ride on a bus.

Judge Wanda Gavell sentenced Carver Flamboyne-Sussex, 48, to seven days in jail, with no chance of parole.

She also fined Flamboyne-Sussex $250 and ordered him to pay the dry-cleaning bill of each passenger he urinated on during his phoney drunken state.

Paying passengers testified that a seemingly intoxicated and belligerent Flamboyne-Sussex staggered on to the bus, told the driver he was "pissed" and had no money and then asked him what the %#@*% he was going to do about it.

The driver, in accordance with the Open Door policy, quietly wiped the spittle from his face and politely told Flamboyne-Sussex to take a seat.

"Considering Flamboyne-Sussex burped in his face more loudly than Barney does on The Simpsons, I thought the driver was being far more courteous than necessary when he added, 'Have a nice day,' " one of the passengers said.

Bus operator Zack Change was later asked if the reason why he was so polite to Flamboyne-Sussex was because he does, indeed, support the humanitarian impulse that sparked Transit's Open Door policy.

"Sure," Change said, adding, "Of course, if I'd just learned I'd won the lottery, I'd have kicked him right in the crystals."

Although Crown attorney Phil Buttress and defence lawyer Greta Meinhair agreed Flamboyne-Sussex should be given a conditional sentence, Judge Mavis Gavell decided a jail sentence would be more appropriate.

"I might have considered a conditional sentence," Gavell said, "if it hadn't been for the fact Flamboyne-Sussex also deliberately consumed 10 cups of coffee all the better to urinate on fellow passengers in order to make his intoxicated condition appear more genuine."

The judge dismissed defence-lawyer Meinhair's argument that Flamboyne-Sussex consumed all that coffee because he's been addicted to caffeine ever since a childhood spent with poverty-stricken parents who were similarly afflicted.

"Mr. and Mrs. Flamboyne-Sussex spent every penny they had as they drifted hour after hour from one Starbucks outlet to another," said Meinhair. "They took little Carver with them, and soon he was able to match them grande by grande throughout the day and into the night."

That was when Gavell asked the court reporter to stop recording the proceedings, turned to Meinhair and told her she was "nuts."

When the trial resumed, the judge said that Flamboyne-Sussex's failure to keep his pants zipped wasn't the only reason she decided to send him to jail.

She explained that Garwood Hemphill, one of the 13 bus riders upon whom Flamboyne-Sussex urinated, was a genuinely drunk man who was even less able to protect himself from Flamboyne-Sussex than the sober, fare-paying passengers.

"It's a sad day, indeed, when a truly intoxicated person is unable to take advantage of the bus company's Open Door policy without being subjected to this kind of behaviour," Gavell said. "It's cruelly ironic that the very kind of person this policy is intended to help became, instead, its victim.

"We can only be thankful that Flamboyne-Sussex didn't vomit all over Mr. Hemphill as well."

Hemphill later expressed surprise at the sympathy extended to him by Judge Gavell.

"To tell you the truth," he said, "I'm not sure which of the urine stains on my pants were Flamboyne-Sussex's or my own," he said. "And I don't think it would have much much difference if Flamboyne-Sussex had vomited all over me since I'd already thrown up all over myself before he got on the bus."

Although Hemphill said he remembered nothing about the incident, Gavell said Winnipeg Transit should recompense him for "having endured a humiliation he will never forget."

Following the trial, bus-driver Change was asked if he would continue to abide by the Open Door policy, despite his experience with Flamboyne-Sussex.

"Sure," he said, "as long as I don't end up like Garwood Hemphill."

Hemphill, Change explained, was a former bus driver who couldn't cope with the Open Door policy and was driven to drink.

"He lost his job and his home, and his wife and kids left him, and now all he does is stay hammered and ride the buses hour after hour," said Change.

"Thank God for the Open Door policy, or he'd never survive."

1 comment:

Troy said...

Yes, those who say tertiary study is easy compared to a having a job are insane or blissfully ignorant.

I actually enjoyed the masochism, but maaaaaaaaan (if you're smart) avoid all night essay writing. You'll add five years to your life. I'm serious.