June 18th, 2007

study, words, language

pulling out of the tailspin

hah. Phone call on the way out of the apartment: "yeah, your suit for your wedding? that adjustment you wanted? our tailor says it can't be done, and it'll look bad. we'll refund you the $35 for the adjustment but we won't do it. Do you still want the suit?" great. yes, I say, I still want the suit. But I may look for another....

Got to the lab and my swipe card doesn't work. Lovely. Most of the students in the lab have the same problem. We jerry-rig a system to make sure someone's always inside to hear the knocking. I set to work on my slides for the talk.

Oops. I discover that i forgot to check in some changes I made at home over the weekend, so my slides won't recompile on campus. I texted boobirdsfly, who was still home: "Could you turn my computer on so I can retrieve a forgotten slide? Merc retro in full effect."

The laptop I'm borrowing needs a password, and I don't know it. I walk over to the linguistics department to get the warrant for the exam, and get the password. On the way I run into a fellow ling grad student, who is on his way to another generals practice talk. I ask him to pass on my apologies; things are too nuts. When I get to the department: "Oh, we didn't promote your generals," says the admin. "I'll do it right now." Not expecting many attendees with this kind of lead time. This isn't all bad; I don't need extra faculty there.

Off to meet with summer workshop students: two are blind; two are deaf; we have interpreters in the room for one of the deaf students. One of the interpreters asks me "how do you spell /lɑtɛk/?" I fingerspell the answer to him. "Oh," he says, "like 'latex'". Yep. I have pizza lunch with the students and talk linguistics and CS shop, making sure to keep my face where they can lip-read.

Printing out handouts: the lab's TeTeX version is deeply out of date. I install a local tweak to the one module that I needed (worked fine on my home Ubuntu system, which isn't running Late Iron Age Linux). One printer runs out of paper. The lab stapler is out of staples.

Nevertheless, I'm almost ready to go. Just to test the slides on the projector in the next hour, and then upstairs to set up....


I passed!

The fifteen minutes in the hallway were long and nervous. Advisor stuck her head out and said "[trochee]?" I walked down the hallway. "You passed!" she said, and stuck her hand out to shake. I shook hands with her, with the committee, and joked about handshaking with the one committee-member (commissar?) on the phone.

A minor moment of dread when Advisor says "the committee really agrees that there's more work needed on [second paper]", before I realized that (1) I completely agree and (2) the second paper is the one that I'm excited about (the first is one I'm so sick of...). If they'd said that about the first paper, I would have gone to get drunk. But the second paper: fun!

[ETA: I should clarify: the committee did not require any additional work on the second paper -- they passed me anyway. But they want to see more -- and I want to do it!]