trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
I stayed late at work on Friday to do some studying and I was here for much of the weekend as well to the same end. I've now been at my job for more than a week straight. I'm having issues figuring out times and such. I think I have test today. That's about as far as I've gotten with scheduling. I also have a presentation to give on Friday for which I've planned not at all. But Friday is so far away. Isn't it? That's the problem with the holiday season: everything feels like a marathon. And despite my disinclination for running, I'm jogging along as fast as I can between events. If I can just avoid sleeping between now and Friday, I'm sure I'll get everything done.

In other disorienting news, I had gone more than two weeks without any soda at all until last Friday. I bought a Diet Pepsi on Friday to help keep me awake through a marathon study session and drank it at about 9 pm. At 3 am Saturday morning, I had the most uncanny and horrible experience of knowing myself to be awake but being unable to move or do anything about this. A quick Wikipedia check marks this as probably being "REM atonia," a perfectly normal part of the REM cycle in which your motor neurons aren't firing. It's perfectly fine with being the usual thing so long as you aren't awake for it. Not fun. Needless to say, I didn't sleep especially well as a result of caffeine and paranoia about that event. The good thing about caffeine is how quickly you can adjust to it. The next night, I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (phenomenal, by the way) and drank 44 oz of Diet Coke and though I behaved like a speed freak for a few hours after, I slept just fine.
trinityvixen: (Default)
So I did poorly on a chemistry test this week. I'm not fussed about it for a number of reasons--I've done well on other tests, this is a course I'm not sure I need, I've already taken it so I'm not concerned about knowledge I don't have. What I am is confused. I figured I'd throw this out to the people I know who know stats better than I ever have, do, or will.

Our grades are computed based on "z-scores," as befits a curve (apparently) that takes into account the fact we can drop one grade. This score equals [my score]-[test average]/standard deviation. The average z-scores of the class are then ranked. This is all well and good, but what rank/score equals what grade is not specifically ever stated. They say they chart the z-score averages, presumably on a histogram, and wherever there is a "break" in the graph--meaning a significant drop in the numbers of people at a given average z-score--there will be a change in letter grade. But since you have no idea where those breaks will be until all the tests are counted, including the final...what the hell will your grade be?

This is a useless way of keeping track of how well I'm doing. Also, pardon me and my non-statistical thinking here, but how does grading people based on how much better/worse they are than their peers accurately value what they've learned? This is not a new problem I know--this is the curse of the curve--but still!
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
Just some stuff I've been doing. )
And that's it, really. No, I take it back, I did do one thing recently: I accomplished my new year's resolution! As of last week, I'd seen 52 movies in the theaters this year, and I still have three weeks of year left to go!

I was looking to see where I declared my resolution on my LJ, and I can't find it. I did, however, find this list of movies I thought I would see this year. AND I SAW MOST OF THEM. In fact, the only one I didn't see--and I am still kicking myself for it after having seen how glorious it was on DVD--was Drive Angry. Depending on reviews for Ghost Rider 2: Ghost Riderer, I will go see that next year. There needs to be a balls-to-the-wall insane Nicholas Cage movie released every year. I will be there on opening night, I tells you.

But yes, I saw every single other movie on that list. I'll do a year-end review, let you know what's worth checking out or not. Not all of those movies were great. Or even all that good. It was still a fun experiment. I'm a little exhausted by it, but at the same time? It's nice to break the cycle of making movie outings "a thing." I do THE MAY MOVIE and that's something of a production. (My own fault, really.) It's nice to turn to a few people and say, "Hey, wanna go see a movie?" and just do it. It's a little bit of recaptured youth. Going to the movies, despite the soaring ticket prices, really isn't all that expensive. It's easy and fun and it's a frequent generator of fantastic outings. (Oh God, Priest. OH GOD THE THREE MUSKETEERS.)
trinityvixen: (surrender)
But applications are DONE. The heart-attack-inducing bill for this exercise in futility (and the resulting I-can-treat-myself-because-I-just-spent-10-times-as-much-on-applications post-application spending spree) is yet to come. I expect drinking will happen the night it does. A lot of drinking.

I can now resume caring about what is more important in life: television, movies, family (if I have to). My youngest sister is also applying to schools right now, and she's already at the interview stage (dental schools start earlier than vet schools). I promised to assist with my sartorial knowledge. Since she's a trifecta of tall, skinny, and cute, I don't really have to stretch my fashion skillz here--not like I will for when I need to dress myself, certainly. I have that to look forward to this weekend, as I do hanging out with my mother and geeking out with her about Spooks and Halloween stuff we both crave. (You guys, my mom is a-ding-dang-dorable.) Then I have a friend's birthday party to attend, which will kick off the birthday season as a whole. I look forward to being even more broke come Christmas.

I think I'm going to write something tonight. It's been forever since I wrote fiction and I've had a story idea kicking around in my head for a week that needs committing to electronic paper before I forget it.
trinityvixen: (cock)
I don't think I've studied enough--I know I haven't--but nothing more has been going in. I am so, so nervous, even though I think I know enough to do well. Gah, I want this test over with. I think I'm more nervous for it being an hour before the test than I will be, studied-well-enough or not, at the actual test.

Part of the nerves may be about having to ask the teacher afterwards for a recommendation. Part of the nerves is probably from my admittedly insane plan to do a lot of my running around after the test on my bike. Here's hoping I make it out alive.
trinityvixen: (insane)
This is it! The. Last. Test. And I only have two nights left in which to study. Work has turned out to be, surprisingly, less busy than I anticipated, but instead of working or studying, I'm making my second LJ post of the day. Ahhhhhhhh.
trinityvixen: (Default)
Not that he's, you know, ugly, just that he shouldn't be able to pull off this hair better than I do. And yet? That is my experience so far this morning. I caught my own reflection and was all, "....Top Dollar? Are you having a bad hair day? Oh, wait. It's me."

Le siiiiiiiiigh. I have a presentation to give in just over an hour, and I looked at the slides that I sent my professor, and, naturally, they've been lightly chewed around the edges in the transfer from her computer to mine despite the fact that I sent her a pdf of what the slides should look like, so she should KNOW that something is off. I mean, I lost the fun stencil font (standard with Mac versions of MSOffice!) for the title, and, worse, the fungus' genus is no longer capitalized...? I have no idea how Latingenusname latinspeciesname went from that to latinGenusname latinspeciesname. I mean, what part of losing a font should even do that?

SIIIIIIIIGH. I just have to hope the video is working better.
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
Test was brutal, especially the short answers. Last time, I breezed through the whole thing and lost points that more careful reading might have saved me. I tried to be more careful this time, but there were a lot of highly subjective fucking true/false and multiple choice questions. I mean "Can you use X technique to learn about Y AND Z fields of study?" Well, yes, you can, but it would be a waste of time and money to do so for Z. But technically you can use X to learn about Z, so I guess that's true. I even asked about that because there were two, right in a row. The second one was more like "True/False: A is used to for B and C," and that's not "A can be used," just that A is or isn't. So I said it was false because A COULD be used for C, but it isn't so...

Yeah, a lot of that. I'm no mindreader. This is just bad writing. Whatever, last time I though I did awesome, this time I'm convinced I failed, and I'm sure the truth, as ever, will be somewhere in the middle. It's done. I even got permission to take the final early. I did not, alas, work up the nerve to ask for a recommendation. I want to see how I did on the test next week and then ask.

In other news, this Penny Arcade strip, in which a real injury was sustained by the strip's artist, roughly resembles my own reaction to a relatively minor injury. Which, one-and-a-half weeks on, is almost healed. The severe looking indentation in my finger has been ameliorated by clipping away the dead skin around the wound. I can even see the scar below the wound where I cut myself ten years ago in almost the same place. I'm going to live!

Off I get to do some PCR now. Kthxbai.

Argh

Mar. 29th, 2011 10:46 pm
trinityvixen: (brain cells)
Studying fatigue. I has it. Mostly, just fatigue, what with all the many weekends being dedicated away at an alarming rate. No, seriously, people asked my availability, and I looked at my schedule and said "July" with no exaggeration. April is promised away, as are three of four weekends in May. June? HAH. First weekend is my lab retreat, then my GRE, then getting applications together for school...

...for which I need to study so I can pass this, the class I'm sure--this time I'm sure--is the last one I really need for a good application to most schools. But I can't. I've gone over the material so often, in such a recent period of time (once a day for the past few days, with on-and-off studying the week before), that I'm not retaining more, and I'm getting bored by it even though there's plenty I don't know well enough. So I'm stuck half-panicked by that but unable to persist through. Damn it, I should have spread this out more.

At least I'll know to do that with the final. I'll have no choice to cram things in the weekend before. Did I mention all my weekends are gone until July?
trinityvixen: (win!)
This same weekend as the gross personal injury, PopCap Games had a sale this weekend for charity to benefit Japan following the tsunami and earthquake. All their games we $1, $2 if you bought it for the iPad, which I did. I narrowly avoided buying Bejeweled, for fear that I would never stop playing. (I already have Catan on my iPad, and I'm killing the battery with that enough as it is.) Instead, I bought Plants vs Zombies and some other game I can't recall right now. For $2, I bought peace of mind by having a game or two to turn to when I'm about to smash the iPad into pieces because someone threw the robber on me for the third time, what the fuck I don't even have any cards for you to steal...

Ahem. Alas, it seems I didn't escape the Bejeweled problem. Plants vs Zombies is easily just as addictive. I do at least have some new home-preparedness ideas for the zombie apocalypse. Oh, I'm not saying that sunflowers and pea-shooters will make a lick of difference, just that the game made me aware of how criminally undefended my as-yet-unpurchased home's lawns and roof are. I'm thinking Sleeping Beauty-style wicked brambles and razor wire will get planted instead of adorable, bouncing flowers that sing.

Speaking of singing flowers, I've had the "Zombies on Your Lawn" song from Plants vs Zombies alternating in a loop with the theme from The Great Escape, which I finished watching while playing Plants vs Zombies last night after studying for my exam. Suffice to say, I paid a lot more attention to the movie before I started in on the addictive video game. I also bet that if the microbes I need to memorize were trying to reach my house and eat my brains, I'd know them a lot better by now.

(The Great Escape was good, but the ending is terribly tonally confusing. It's got a lot of tragedy and then some random levity surrounding Steve McQueen that...yeah, doesn't really follow from what happened immediately prior to that scene.)
trinityvixen: (balls)
As in, here goes nothing extra possibly getting fit into my head before this monster of a test. Previously, I had been quite wrong about my potential for test-taking in this class. This time, I've tested myself with practice exams and my "good" score was still several shades shy of a D. Yippie. It remains to be seen if I'll do as poorly as I'm expecting, if the rest of the class will fall into similar despair, and, if they do, whether the thing will be curved. I wonder if being away from "real" school for so long has made me into more of a grade-grubbing, freaking-out-about-score crazy person, or if I was always like that and the constant grind of studying took the edge off because more tests = less stress for any given test.

Man, I am no good at this school thing. Why do I want to go back again?
trinityvixen: (insane)
I've been telling myself, for a solid two weeks now, about all the things I'll do once my bloody test is over and done with. I'm sooooo close to that point, I need to make a list of those things to distract myself with happiness (lest I focus instead on the misery that will be the test and my eventual grade, if the practice tests I've taken are any example).

Lists are calming. I like lists. Especially hedonistic lists. ).

Note to self (or TL;DR for the cut above): Start working on studying for the next test now. You'll thank me for it later. But if you're a good girl, you can have some television. After you study.

Here's a fun thing to make this post worth anyone else's time:
trinityvixen: (question)
So, apparently, the test was a psych-out. I did tolerably well--I got the exact class average--and all the questions that had me despairing were both misleading and evil. For instance, we were given a molecule made up of 10,000 glucose molecules and asked, given the way it was constructed, to number the reducing ends and determine the reducing power of the sugar. There were three or four questions in this vein, suggesting, if you read into the psychology of such a question, that there should be some complicated answer. You don't keep asking questions about this unless there's an interesting or varying answer. I kept looking and looking and looking and all I could come up with was that it had one reducing end and, as a result of having one reducing end to 10,000 glucose residues, it basically had a reducing power of 0.

Turns out, that's right. Do you see what I mean about it being misleading? There was another question where the bulk of the points went to drawing the molecule and then there were two more questions: 1) Are there any reducing residues? and 2) If so, which residues are reducing? To my logical mind, you don't ask that follow-up question unless there are reducing residues. But there weren't. So I felt like I must have been missing something major when I wrote 1) No, and 2) None of them. I wanted to write "...none?" 'cause that's how I felt. I thought for sure I'd screwed something up majorly. Nope. Psych!

I can breathe a little easier now that that worry is off my mind. Just in time to start panicking again for the next midterm! Joy of joys!
 

trinityvixen: (balls)
...but yeah, that's how my test went.

Either this professor has mastered a heretofore unrealized goal in my academic experience to date--the perfectly timed test that fills the allotted time perfectly--or that test was like assault. Made worse because before I could be good and violated by it, I had to sit and listen to him drone on about stuff not on our exam. (And that's the last I make of that metaphor because it's creeping me out.) Because we only have one class a week, we can't actually afford to spend a whole class just on a test. So we had more lecture. Then a test. Because a room full of people anxious about their first midterm are totally going to pay attention to anything he's saying that's not related to test material.

Know what else doesn't help? The strange requirement that we fill out an index card with our names and general info during our testing interval. After, before, fine, but using test time for that shit? Really? And the TA? Coming by and TAPPING ON THE EMPTY CARD SO WE FILL IT OUT RIGHT THAT SECOND? Suuuuper helpful. Passive aggressive much?

I have to let it go. I'll have time to fret about how this class will destroy my GPA later. In the mean time, I've got a new iPad to play with, a trip to The Colbert Report with my lab mates tomorrow, and I've had "Bad Romance" stuck in my head for, like, a week, at this point.

Is it Friday yet?
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
I was supposed to do nothing but study this weekend. I even drove up to the middle-of-nowhere house so that I could be as far removed from the internet and video games that might distract me from my studies. I did okay, but I'm not yet satisfied with my progress on studying for my test tomorrow night. I won't be, really, until I take the test and get a grade so I can judge both a) how hard the tests will be, b) whether my studying method is appropriate for the tests I'm to be given, and c) how well the rest of the class does relative to me. That last is important, seeing as Biochemistry is a subject likely to be stocked choc-a-block with serious nerds whose lighter schedules give them a distinct advantage in terms of securing time to study, and who are more likely than not to be either pre-meds or related-science majors, both of whom are of the study-to-death, grub-for-every-point archetype--that archetype absolutely RUINS some class curves.

So, I was supposed to do nothing but study. I got five-six hours in on Saturday, more like 3 on Sunday. I just cracked. I needed a break on Saturday night, so I went to see Let Me In. It's fine. It's serviceable. It's the same goddamned movie as Let the Right One In but in English. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't seen the Swedish version first. Perhaps--and this seems more likely to me--I'm more forgiving of movies filled with ponderous silences that are filmed in other languages in which I can pretend thirty seconds elapsing between bits of dialogue could be the norm.

While sitting in the theater for Let Me In, I was seized with the notion I should see Devil, and so, the next day, I did. Seeing two movies in a weekend? What, am I back in high school? Devil, by the by, is disappointing only in that it wasn't worse. It was a middling-to-okay thriller. Not having M. Night Shyamalan in the actual movie was a big step in the right direction. I admit to being biased towards disappointment more than most, however, as SPOILER (not really) the Devil was not, in fact, the elevator itself. That would have been too awesome. Also, the building got a bad rep despite the fact that it was really just the elevator that was misbehaving. And, as I may have mentioned, it wasn't even the elevator's fault, really.

That was my weekend. On the plus side, I seem to know the structures of most of my relevant compounds for the test. On the minus side, well, I did waste several hours (and dollars) on movies that were only eh-level of interest to me. I think the growing unease I have about the test is making me antsy--anything for a distraction. I predict that I'll get home tomorrow afterwards and not give a rat's ass what I do since there won't be any pressure on me not to do it....
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
Over vacation, I managed to catch a nasty cold that pretty much flattened me when I let it. I'm at that not-quite-recovered stage where I still sound stuffed up but can breathe. Cough's better, but still very gross-sounding on occasion. At least I don't get those coughing fits so bad that I hurt any more! Woo?

Other stuff happened:
-I got an A in statistics despite bombing the final. There were questions about older material that I didn't know to expect because he didn't send out an e-mail to that effect until after I'd taken it (since I took it earlier). I'd be aggravated except that I got a good grade overall, so that's a wash.

-Finished Prison Break, otherwise known as the most ridiculous TV series outside of Heroes or Smallville that doesn't have either of those series' excuse for its re-cock-ulousness. The mastermind who engineered the first of all the prison breaks became MacGuyver and then Jesus in that last season. It was nuts.

-Speaking of Heroes---CANCELLED!!! Oh thank you. I don't know who to thank--the assorted hosts of Heaven or Hell?--but I thank you. Oh thank you thank you thank you. I'm free! Free at last! For real, I almost cried. I hugged [livejournal.com profile] darkling1 when he told me. So much joy!
trinityvixen: (balls to that)
I'm out the door for my Stats final in a few minutes. I think I'll be okay. Keeping my fingers crossed, though, which hurts because I burned half of them last night cooking. My fingers on my writing hand. Geeeenius, I be it.

At least I had no huge anxiety dreams last night. I did dream that the burn on my pinky swelled up into this huge blister, but other than that, I just dreamed that my brother sent me an e-mail with a picture of a crowd at a football stadium. He'd enlarged one area because he couldn't believe who was sitting in the crowd: it was either my cat, Wally, large as a person, or Lu Bu from Dynasty Warriors. Either one would probably not be fun to attend a game with--Wally because he's large and skittish and would freak out on you, and Lu Bu has those head feathers that would really ruin your view...

Okay, enough. Test time. Ciao!
trinityvixen: (kitteh!)
Kitty is fine. He's got bandage-paws, which makes him walk hilariously silly. (Monty Python ain't got nothing on my Wally.) But I am all reassured that he's fine, if still pained by the wound. I'm lucky I got him back at all. The vet and her assistant both love Wally. He barely complained as she pulled and pressed at the wound to be sure there was no pus or anything similarly distressing. I think he was just terrified into silence, not necessarily being brave or even-tempered, but they love him. Between these ladies the and ones who nearly walked off with Oscar this weekend, I'm lucky I have any cats left! I will pat down visitors to check for suspiciously meowing lumps from now on.

Studying continues apace. I've got two whole chapters of material to read and teach myself. I'm progressively less worried about the final. For one thing, I learn on my own very well. For another, there's going to be a special extra credit assignment that I can do on top of studying, which I can only believe will help with studying for the final. Extra credit redeemed me the points I lost to stupidity on the last midterm and then some, so this could really keep me from panicking. Not that I am. In the e-mail announcing the extra credit he stressed that people who got 60s on the last midterm might want to do it. Erm, wow, are people really doing that badly? Or is it, like, one guy? Who knows?
trinityvixen: (face!)
For those of you who have ever wanted to know how not to brush off an entirely too-harsh thing with "humor," here's how not to do it:

Do not say, after saying this and getting back a panicked and penitent response, "Couldn't let you off the hook without even a little preaching, could I?

That date will not cause me any serious extra work.  Better that you took the course than
not.  So don't loss any sleep."




Sigh. If I hadn't said I would talk to him at class, I'd totally skip it tonight...
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
Ugh, I walked out of a test puzzling over this one question that I could not, for the life of me, figure out why it was so bass-ackwards. Immediately figured out what he probably meant as soon as I was three steps outside the door. It's a stupid mistake mostly due to stupid wording. Because I don't want to be "one of those" students (i.e. the post-bacc who ruins the curve for everyone), I'm fully prepared to accept that I should just eat the 5 points for that one. The test had substantial extra credit, which I'm sure I got right, seeing as it was one I'd done from the textbook while studying. It will more than offset the stupidity of that one question...unless I got a lot else wrong.

Great, now I'm fretting. The question, by the by, for people who know statistics, Curse you, random variables!!! )

Need to stop worrying and/or kicking myself over this. Compared to the panic-attack I was having over the material that had previously seemed impenetrable prior to studying, a 5-point goof is too stupid to worry about... Nope, still kicking myself. Stupid, stupid, stupid....

Onto sillier things! My excellent friend H tweeted this picture, and I had to share with LJ peeps who might not see it on Twitter. The text of her tweet was "Sean Hannity's book where it belongs." (Only her Tweets never have capitalization, and I'm beginning to think she's an eagle**.) I assumed it would link to something typical, like when people reshelve the Bible in the fiction section. Oh no. It was so much better!


**h/t [livejournal.com profile] glvalentine for this reference. I find the ALOT jokes funny, but the image of an eagle typing cracks me up. I think it's because Harvey Birdman's eagle was his secretary.

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