elspethdixon: (Default)
( Oct. 14th, 2008 08:45 pm)
I am now getting spam with titles like "downlooadable archives"

I'm suddenly reminded of the Piled Higher and Deeper comic where one of the character's getting spam mail with subject lines like "increase your thesis! Make you advisor happy!"
elspethdixon: (Default)
( May. 13th, 2008 01:57 pm)
Time remaining until my research seminar paper is due: 10 hours.

Pages left to write for the paper to actually be good: 5-7.

Pages left to write in order to pass: 3.

Edit: Time until deadline, 1 hour and 30 minutes. Paper handed in. Final page count: 25 (the exact length specified - and I probably could have made it two pages longer if I'd felt like working right up until the deadline. And to think I was worried that I couldn't get enough length -- I should never underestimsate my ability to babble on and on about things).

New deadline

Hours until Digital Preservation Final is due: 18.
Questions remaining: two 3-page essays and three 1-page essays.
Look what I found while searching the National Agricultural Library's Special Collections for Ephemera:

Henry Cantwell Wallace Papers

I wrote that finding aid! And arranged those papers, and labeled the folders, and everything.
After getting up at 6:30 so that I could get to the student services office when it opened at eight and still have time to make it to internship on the metro, in order to drop off a form, and then finding out the history department had given me the wrong form, collecting the right form, which I apparently should have been notifed of the need to fill out last semester, and coming back to the Library Science building after I got back from internship to corner my advisor and get him to sign said credit transfer form (and talk to the student services people, who were very surprised that my name and paperwork was nowhere to be found in their pile of applicants for graduate despite the fact that I submitted the electronic request well before the deadline), I will hopefully be able to graduate in May.

If I'm lucky and the graduate school administration people process everything in time. Otherwise I'll have to take a one-credit audit course in June/July and graduate in August, and I don't know how the hell I'd be able to afford staying in College Park another three months.
elspethdixon: (Default)
( Mar. 1st, 2008 04:11 pm)
Debating whether I can reference superdickery.com in a paper on the uses and treatment of ephemera. I bet comics count as ephemera -- if brochures, flyers, musical programs, restaurant menues, political buttons, and chapbooks count, then so do comics.

Actually, I'm not so sure chapbooks should count. They may very very cheap books, but they're still books, and not intended for a short-time, single purpose use. Technically, neither are comics, but I bet you could make a case for old, 1930s comics. Sold from newsstands, printed on cheap paper, generally considered disposable... ephemera!

(Buttons definately = no. They are physical artifacts, as are stamped pennies, wooden signs, and anything else that's not paper-based or photographic).

There are times when I thank God I did all that history and English -- because I can pull Lyon's Sex Among the Rabble and Alice Fah's The Imagined Civil War off my book shelf to pad this paper out with examples of the usefulness of print ephemera to historians.
elspethdixon: (Default)
( Feb. 18th, 2008 07:35 pm)
So, I got up at seven this morning, got ready to head off to internship, and arrived at the FAA building (after the usual 35-minute metro-ride) only to discover that it's Martin Luther King day, and a Federal holiday, and that, of course, the FAA is closed. I can't believe I forgot about something like that.

Though, come to think of it, the fact that I could actually get a good parking spot in the metro station parking lot should have been a clue. That, and the fact that I was the only person on the (half-empty) metro car in a suit.
One of the nine exceptions to the US Freedom of Information Act is, and I quote, "geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells."

No, I don't know why, either. But someone in 1966 thought it important enough to mandate that it be kept confidential.

Also, government agencies must make "all reasonable efforts" to search for a record? That's like copyright law's requirement that you make a reasonable effort to search for a copyright holder, or sexual harassment legislation that defines as harassment anything that would offend "a reasonable woman."

"Reasonable" is a weasel word, and can either be used to get you off the hook entirely, or come back to bite you in the ass if you claim you made a "reasonable effort" and someone else disagrees.
elspethdixon: (Steve/Tony together)
( Jul. 3rd, 2007 03:58 pm)
So, by 11:00 am tomorrow, I must have my Information Technology exam finished. Current status: 1/4 of a question down, 4 and 3/4s to go.

It's 35% percent of my grade, so I will get it done by dawn tomorrow (though, [livejournal.com profile] seanchai, this probably means I'll spend all night in the campus computer lab).

Then I can move on to the really important thing, getting the first segment of sugary-fluffy-wish-fulfillment Resurrection fic posted for Steve's birthday tomorrow.
elspethdixon: (Default)
( May. 21st, 2007 11:30 pm)
Yes! Last final is emailed to my professor, and I am officially done with the semester.
Done with paper! Now to get two hours of sleep before I have to get up and go to work.
Good news on the paper front-apparently, it only has to be five-ten single-spaced pages, not eight to ten, so if I can write another page (getting me to a solid five) I should be able to append my three pages of hierarchical linear arrangement for comics titles and get eight pages, and hand that in for a solid B )at least I'll have fulfilled the requirement of proving I understand the course concepts and citing the text and readings five times).

So, for those who care deeply about hierarchical arrangements (probably about as many of you as cared about entity-relationships), here's another excerpt from the paper:

Everything is more interesting with Captain America in it )

Steve doesn't agree that his presence makes hierarchical categorization more interesting. Look how sullen he looks in the GIP (Tony, on the other hand, probably would find it fascinating).
To further the pretense that I'm actually working on this Information Structure paper, here is an excerpt (and by excerpt, I mean "half of what I have thus far") from my schema for a searchable comics database:

Captain America demonstrates entity-relationships for us! )
Well, the paper on Baltimore voluntary associations and the Freedman's Bank is turned in, as of 11:00 this morning. All 24 mediocre pages of it--I simply couldn't make myself care enough to seriously rewrite it or polish it, so when I get a B- or C in the class, I'll have only myself to blame. I'm hoping for a B, so I don't have to (ever) retake it.

Depending on what I got on the midterm-I-still-haven't-gotten-back-yet for American History, I may be able to pull and A- in that, and I know I can get at least a B in Information Structure class, provided I can get 8 pages on hierarchical categories written by Thursday and not suck on the exam tomorrow.
Paper is done, as of 4:30 today, and was turned in at 6.

Final page count is 20 pages with a couple of lines overflowing to the 21st (after I left blank spaces at the bottom of one page to get the table of occupation data to fit all nicely on a single page). 22 1/2 pages counting the bibliography.

I did in fact do 20 pages of research paper in just over 24 hours. I am the (probably going to get a B-/C, but the grade on the first draft is only tentative, and will be replaced with whatever we get on the final draft) woman!

And one other student in the seminar also had a 20-page draft, and hers was even incomplete rather than just under-developed, so I feel somewhat better about the impression I likely made.
Paper is due exactly 48 hours from now. We shall see if my skills at overly-verbose BS still remain strong enough for me to get a halfway decent paper banged out during that time, or if my English major kung-fu is now weak.

Primary source research in bank records and 1867 & 1870 Baltimore city directories is done (well, mostly--I'll probably be adding more sources in the second draft).

I probably should have spent today desperately catching up on the secondary sources I haven't read, but I wanted to get through the second directory, so that I could have those extra bits of occupational data--and it turned out to be a good move, because I found 36 people who weren't listed in the 1867 edition, and who I'm therefore positing came to Baltimore after 1867 (luckily for me, their names are all from 1868-and-onward bank accounts, so I can make the hypothesis).

I've now got an outline and a set of conclusions (no thesis statement yet, but that generally materializes halfway throught the paper, anyway), and it turns out I have more information than I thought--I know I can get at least ten pages out of this, which means I can hopefully pad it out to 20-25 by being tediously verbose. My goal for tonight is to get at least five pages written before they kick me out of the library.

If you encounter me anywhere on lj between now and Monday afternoon, an all-caps comment along the lines of "get the hell off the internets and write your fucking paper, you whore" would not be inappropriate.
I now have approximately 72 hours (not counting the four hours I'll be spending at work on Monday) to write a 25-30 page first draft for my research project.

It should be an interesting eperience in last-minute BS, since I've done way too little secondary source research, my time having been spent entirely in 19th century bank records.

On the plus side, I have discovered an 1867 Baltimore city directory that's allowed me to discover the occupations of about 1/4-1/3 of my banking committee members, giving me the ability to make tentative conclusions about the nature of the organizations' leadership and stretch my paper out another couple of pages.

I wish to marry John W. Woods and bear his Victorian children, since he organized his directory of Baltimoreans by color. All hail un-PC 19th century publishers--it's allowed me to do what would have been days of research in three hours, by cutting the number of names I had to go through down by about 70%, plus let me be absolutely certain I'm not getting some 19th century white guy with an identical name mixed up with a guy from my Freedman's Bank files.
You know, I finished two extensive cataloging projects for information access class today, and yet I still feel like I've accomplished nothing. Because I haven't written any fixit fic yet.

This may be a sign that my priorities are ever so slightly skewed.

Also, I still have 3500 bank records to get through by Friday. But, you know, a grad-student research project on post-Civil War Baltimore isn't going to begin to contribute as much to society as post-Civil War Marvel fic. (That actually wasn't sarcasm, by the way)
I got no Freedman's Bank research done today, but I needed today to heal/recover from yesterday.

I'm really glad that I'd already signed up for the campus blood drive today and signed up to write the WWII propaganda paper and lead the discussion in class today. Donating blood felt like just the right way to honor Steve's memory, and choosing the comics covers and ads to print out for class and baking a red velvet cake (presenters have to bring food) and icing it to look like Cap's shield were, well, kind of my own personal wake. (I totally listened to appropriate music selections and everything).

What's kind of ironic is that I'd already planned to bake said cake weeks ago, when I signed up for the presentation slot. I just hadn't intended it to be a memorial.

No one else in my class recognized the shield cake, though they got that it was patriotic, at least, but baking it and decorating it and serving it fulfilled some kind of weird need anyway.
I have to pay $90 for class materials for my library science class. $90! Because the professor is charging us forty dollars for the syllabus and class assignments! (as well as fifty for the books, which we have top buy from him, not the UMD bookstore).

Personally, I think that's unethical. Actually, it goes beyond unethical to just plain slimy and possibly evil. If he doesn't want to pay the photocopying costs to make multiple sets, he could just email them to everyone in a pdf file for free. You do not charge for assignments or for your syllabus--that's supposed to be covered in the already too high tuition prices we're paying to take the class.

In more pleasant news, I watched the interviews on the director's cut to Daredevil. Turns out, the directors cut was originally intended to be the theatrical release. The studio had them cut out almost a quarter-to-a-third of the film so that it would be ninety minutes long and "fast-paced." Hence the gaping plot holes and rushed feeling to the theatrical release version.

Studio guy claims that the theatrical cut is the "true" and superior version of the movie. The director/writer and producer claim that the director's cut is superior (and truer to their vision of a darker, more complex story, rather than a straightforward action/revenge plot, as well as truer to the characters, especially Foggy and Matt).

I get the strong impression that Mark Steven Johnson and Avi Arad are comic book people first and foremost (or at least comics fans), and that studio editor had never picked up a Daredevil comic in his life. The cutting process apparently went something like this:

Writer/director: But, but you can't cut that scene of Foggy in the courtroom! It's so well-acted and funny.
Studio guy: But not exciting enough. Cut it!
Writer/director: But it has Coolio in it, come on.
Studio guy: I thought I told you we were cutting the subplot that shows Matt and Foggy actually being lawyers and the Kingpin actually being a threat to Hell's Kitchen. It distracts from the action plot.

Studio guy: Why is this scene here? It's too slow.
Writer/director: Because it provides depth to the character and is also taken directly from a panel in "Man Without Fear." It's classic Daredevil backstory! Trust me, fans will love it.
Studio guy: But who are these people? Why do we care? Cut it!
Writer/director: But, but, if you cut this shot, Frank Miller will cry!
Studio guy: Who's Frank Miller?
Hah! Done with my stupid article reviews for archive class (the one on the relative merits of various kinds of microfilm was interesting. The one about current challenges in the preservation field was dull but thought-provoking. The one about collection developement--with diagrams!--made me want to gouge my eyes out from sheer boredom).

Said articles did not have a unifying theme, due to my selecting them from Academic Search Premiere at random, so I made one up and claimed that they all dealt with the effects of changing technology on the archival profession.

It was nowhere near as emotionally satisfying as BS-ing about the construction of American identity. Being pretentious about history is fun. Being pretentious about the relative merits of print media vs. electronic media is pointless.


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