Thursday, January 27, 2011

How [R] You?

In my Statistics for Linguistics class, I have to learn how to use a new computer program called [R]. It's not terribly intuitive and I was having a hard time with my first homework assignment, so, in an attempt to seem proactive, I went to my professor's first office hour to ask for her help. I left feeling distinctly unhelped and humiliated. It was not a great first impression, not only for her, but probably also for me.

Anyhow, I struggled though and even though I didn't do it all properly, I flubbed my way through the first homework and handed it in.

Last week, my professor was ill so the TA taught the class: the whole class was a primer on the program! Dreamy! Well, I feel so much better about it now. I don't know if the prof intended to spend that whole time going over [R], but I really liked how the TA taught us. He showed us how he uses [R] and helped us through where the guide was particularly opaque. I feel much better about it now.

Fun fact*: When I saw the title of the required text (see link above), I got all excited that our class was going to be so specific to our dialect of English that the book had to include the rhotic /r/ in its title.

*Wait... not "fun." Disappointing... that's the word. Oh! And nerdy. Disappointing and nerdy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recurring Nightmare.

Get ready to share my terror.

One of my classes is online through Athabasca. For the tests, we have an hour-and-a-half to do 25 multiple choice questions and two essay questions. Good timing, actually - I budget about half an hour on each essay. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

No. I make it difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

Because I'm afraid of submitting an unfinished answer by mistake, I write the essay questions out in Word and then cut-and-paste them into the Athabasca fields. Last weekend, with 8 minutes left on the clock, I highlighted the text and instead of cutting, I hit paste by mistake, replacing what I had just written with the first essay I wrote. I scrambled together a taciturn essay which was less my style and more what you'd hear out of a Speak & Spell.

Last night I sat down to write another test, and with 7 (!) minutes on the clock this time, I did the same bleedin' thing!!! I crapped out another replacement essay, but unlike the last one that just had facts and no style, this one was simply shitty. I submitted it with a note for the TA, explaining what happened, although I suspect that since it happened twice in one week, he might think something is fishy. I would. (Damn on-line courses!)

Anyhow, this morning, in the light of day, I didn't think of something: why didn't I just hit the undo button? I was writing in Word, for Pete's sake! Word is a cozy little nest for me - I've been using it quite deftly for over a decade. Why the hell didn't I think about the undo button? I suspect it was the blood pressure spike, me being unable to see through the wordcloud of expletives I created, or the fraction-of-a-second panic attack I had.


I wrote this whole thing in the Blogger field.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Back In The 416.

So long, 902.

Bah on moving in the winter.

Bah on me having secreted my towels in the deepest, darkest box in our storage room.

Bah on cat hair.

Hurrah hurrah on seeing good friends again.

Hurrah hurrah on T coming to fetch me at Pearson in stupid weather.

Hurrah hurrah on Caplansky's!