September 19, 2006

All You Hear is Our Song, Like A Siren on The 101

Ok, I can't find where I packed the camera ... so those pictures are going to have to wait a bit. And I can't get internet started until Thursday some time, so blogging will remain light.

I will tell you though, as cluttered, chaotic, and unkept the new place seems in the midst of unpacking ... it is still SOOO nice. I just may have to start calling it The Manor, but I shall open a poll for the official name once I find the camera.

Unfortunately, I have had trouble sleeping the past couple of nights... but, I think that will pass. The overhwelming peacefulness of lying in my own bed, in my own house, listening to the crickets under the moonlight pouring across the ceiling has made me see how much stress I have been carrying over the last two years ... just from the tension of my living arrangements.

The guy I lived with was just the wrong person for me. Without placing too much judgement ... our personalities might as well have been oil and water. What was I thinking living with a Democrat? As awful a roommate as he thought I was, I hope karma sends in my place someone worth complaining about. My landlord was just too much of a slumlord for my taste. I have had better luck with apartment complexes with incompetent management. And the track-star children living upstairs were maddening. Having my car keyed in the parking lot didn't help my comfort level either.

I see frequent and prolonged use of my new soaking tub in the near future.

Posted by Princess Cat at 03:15 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Don't Worry Little Doggie ... Someday, You'll Get Sold Too

My interview today was ... unconventional, shall we say ...

It was a good chat, but very little interview. We told stories, but I found it hard to fit my sales pitch into the mix. I have no idea if a position will come out of it or not.

So I am again left feeling like grad school prepared me very little for the job market. I am able to perform like a trained monkey for 2 years - this time that skill yielded a piece of paper (that I have yet to see btw) ... fantastic.

I am a highly skilled dynamo ... on paper.

I am even more highly skilled in real life. Give me a job, I'll almost assuredly figure out how to do it and do it damn well. I'm nothing if I'm not impressive when I put my mind to something.

So what happened to make the job market feel so narrow?

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006


I survived ceremony #1 ... and ...

I am now officially an alum of yet another University.

I think that means I'm old, twice.

Now I just have to wait until ceremony #2 is over on Sunday to say I'm officially done with Grad School.

Posted by Princess Cat at 04:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

In 24 hrs ...

I will be primping for my final day and stressing about getting everyone there on time.

Tomorrow is the day I can walk across the stage, flipping the bird to those who well deserve it, and genuinely thank those that helped me maintain my desire and fueled my passion.

Too bad my sickness is getting worse by the day ...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

Almost There...

Three more days ...

Count 'em with me - one. two. three

I'm sure as hell not ready for it to be here, but it's about damn time

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2006

Worn Down

I'm 25 days away from graduation and 5 days away from my final class meeting of my first tour in graduate school* ... and I'm having a tough time reaching the finish line. How pathetic is that? I'm just that worn down.

Coming off a night at Fran's and the Milblogging Conference, I'm doing a bit of wallowing, I suppose ... Feeling a little guilty for being so stressed over things that are so minor at the end of the day. Truthfully, I had a hard time remembering everything that was said at the conference simply because I had to fight so hard to not cry.

I sat there Saturday afternoon, trying not to let the tears show, ashamed for having been so petty and having felt so mired in drama over the past several months. I am young, I have a roof over my head, I have been given a multitude of great opportunities. My biggest concerns are finding a job and a relationship that I can be happy in. Really not such major things when you really stop to look at them.

I know that I will not starve as I try to find a job ... I have a safety net, even if it does come with a lot of drama. Somedays I would rather starve than depend on the net, but it is there nonetheless. And a job is there, I'm sure of it.

I know that "the one" will be revealed to me someday - that one day I will find my sanctuary where I can be safe from the mean, mean world. And I know all the nights I have cried myself to sleep were nothing more than me tolerating way too much of the wrong kind of treatment. I can't blame anyone but myself for that.

But I am so worn down that seeing the light at the end of the graduate school tunnel, the roof, the net, the path to "the one" takes more focus than I usually feel I can muster most mornings. And right now, I just feel like a horrible, selfish person for being so upset ...

*I say first tour in grad school because anyone that has talked to me for 5 minutes knows, I will more than likely pursue another degree by the time I hit 30.

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April 14, 2006

A Slave No More

Today, at 18:00, I left my place of work - seemingly for good.

I am a slave no more.

If I return to the dreary halls, it shall be with a salary and benefits.

and in 37 days, I shall be free...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

It's OK To Fail

I've just gotten home from an interview that appears to be with a good group of people, flexible work environment, and decent pay for part time work.

But I'm pretty sure I bombed it.

I was distracted by trying not to cough ... which failed and to which after a few minutes one of the interviewers said, "you sound miserable" - great, just what I want an interviewer to be focused on...

My head was definitely not in the game. I did not sell my skills, my talent, or my interests with any kind of convincing bravado. I listened to them more than they listened to me, and given that I depend on the face-to-face sale in order to be hired, that's just not a good thing.

Yet, I'm pretty ok with this failure.

I took the interview, despite feeling like complete ass, because every interview helps prepare you for the next. So, I learned some lessons this morning from actual interview experience - that's a good thing.

Then, you have to think - a foot in A door, isn't always going to get you a foot in THE door that you're looking for. I know I could do the work they are asking for but it is a foot in the door to an aspect of the industry that I haven't ever been super-infatuated with. So, maybe there is no real big loss in not going to work for them.

But more importantly, maybe an immediate opening isn't what is meant to be for me at this time. This job starts ASAP - like in 2 weeks or less. No break between current job and next. No re-grouping. No downtime. Only start now, work now. Somewhere I have to hope that fate has scheduled for me some kind of respite from things. Sure, there are a lot of people facing lives much more difficult than mine but that doesn't mean I'm not deserving of some rest.

And then there's Dad, who has asked me if I might come to Kansas again and share in some of the childhood he experienced there. I can only guess he wants to re-live and pass on to help him heal from the loss of his mother, the re-awakened pain of losing his father at the age of 13, and the realization that he has no parents left. And knowing that what little support my dad is willing to accept comes only from my brother and me, I feel that I have to make that something important in my life right now.

So, maybe it’s ok to fail this time. Maybe this failure it is part of something larger that is meant to be, for a better opportunity and a better me.

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 11, 2006

Long(er) Days

Bonus points for anyone that can guess what time I left work today...



That 1 Guy pretty much nailed it. I finally left work about 00:15.
I had gotten up at 05:00 and arrived at work by 07:15.

Talk about cheap labor...

Posted by Princess Cat at 01:02 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 09, 2006

Long Days

I walked into the house this evening, coming home straight from 11 hours at work ... with a relatively short commute ... and I still set foot inside my door only to mark less than 11 hours until I had to be back at work.

Dinner, laundry, ironing, attempt at a life, job applications...

... shower, hair, make up, breakfast, rush hour commute ...



Posted by Princess Cat at 08:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 07, 2006

Job Fair Day

I think this is where I find out if all this "education" has made me employable.

Somehow, I think I'm screwed...

Update: 9:15 PM
After 2 hours, 17 conversations, and 12 resumes ... either I have a lot of smoke blown up my skirt, which would be really embarassing to have happen (again), or it wasn't an entirely unsucessful afternoon.

At least four of the potential employers appeared interested enough to pursue an application...

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:36 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Me-ing - Week 1

Grad studenting - Week 1:
I haven't had my super special "you - can't - graduate - until - you - take - this - class" class yet, but the class I did have this week turned out to be pretty cool. The instructor is very knowledgable AND personable. Though, I wish he had discussed blogs a little bit more (and in a little bit more favorable manner). He should prove for a good first half of the semester.

Re-interning - Week 1:
The good news ...
There is some really cool shit going on in this office
There's definitely a full day's work ready and waiting every morning
I don't think I'll ever be bored

The bad news ...
Going home early appears to be a thing of the past
Schoolwork will likely have to be left at home

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

The Final Stretch

Tomorrow I head back to life as a grad student (Oh Joy!) and as an intern. That means I have spent my afternoon obsessively ironing clothes and fretting over which outfits make the best first impressions. You see, I will be interning in a new office this semester so I'm a little nervous about meeting the new boss. Even more so because these programs are terrible about providing adequate information prior to arrival. Oh, have I mentioned I'm not a big fan of uncertainty?

- I have no idea if the guy who called to offer me the position will be my boss. I'm getting the sinking feeling that he may not be. Mostly because I can't see them trusting an intern to work with a Deputy Director.

- I have no idea what my job function will be. Clearly my job function at the last place ended up being much different than I had expected it to be. This time, I just don't have any expectations. But if someone asks me to make coffee, get coffee, or do anything with dry cleaning ... I'm going to be pissed.

- I have no idea if my ID badge will work or if I will be able to access my computer. Especially since these aspects of my internship went so swimmingly last time...

- I have no idea how much fuss I will cause with HR tomorrow seeing as my paperwork from the last internship was never filed correctly (their error, not mine). I was not properly 'exited' from the system, it will be interesting to see what happens when they try to properly re-enter me.

What I do know is, I need to get crackin on my resume so I can line up a real job...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 21, 2005

Well That Semester SUCKED...

I have grades from two of my three courses up and boy is viewing them painful...

I'm generally little miss good grade...

So far,
One B ... very hard to swallow but probably very well deserved. I struggled with those four papers like I have never struggled with any assignment before.

One B+ ... incredibly disappointed here ... I loved this class. The final was a piece of cake, which can only mean I did miserable on my paper. Guess he didn't think I was creative enough...

And I don't expect a wonderful grade in the remaining course. That professor and I clashed a bit, and he tried to nail me saying I didn't turn in a final paper, when I had proof that I had.

I will be so glad when I have graduated...

The last grade finally came in. Another B+ ...
I know I shouldn't really care at this point - how much is my GPA going to matter once I've landed a job? But it is the first time in my life that there wasn't an A/A- on the grade report. A definite blow to the ego, but also a reflection of how disinterested I've become in the program.
My courses in the PhD department were tough, they were a challenge, they attempted to answer some of the questions plaguing our field. Maybe I need to be back in that department instead....

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 14, 2005

Please Hold

...Please stay on the line, your call is very important to us...

My final paper of the semester is due this afternoon so that explains the bit of quiet on the blog. But I'll be back later this evening...

...hopefully rather intoxicated...

UPDATE (12:17am):
I am not rather intoxicated as planned. In fact, I am far too sober for how stressful this semester was. Getting lost in the city, being late, having to walk between bars in the freezing cold, and having friends flake out is a bit of a buzz kill. But, (silver lining time) there is always Friday's happy hour... that is my last day of work for an entire month!!! Perhaps a bit of drunk blog on Friday instead.

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 04, 2005

Swamps & Bogs

No, I'm not dead... I just wish I were...

It's the last week of classes and final paper are upon me. That alone is enough to make anyone want to play in traffic. But, I am managing to get through it... so far...

I have 20-24 pgs due Wednesday, an assignment due next Tuesday of unknown length or topic, and 20-25 pgs due next Wednesday.

If I'm a little crabby, now you know why...

Posted by Princess Cat at 08:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

Son of A...

Not 24 hours after I turned in those oh so horridly evil science policy papers, the professor e-mails out the next round of questions.

Doesn't this guy understand my poor tired brain can only handle so much of his mish mash rolling around my pretty little head?

But its going on the back burner anyway... I've got another assignment due ahead of those ones. I tell you, it just never stops...

Posted by Princess Cat at 08:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

Science Policy STILL Blows

Did I say something about my work ethic not letting me abandon my boss?

Yeah... um... scratch that... I'm at home today.

After all, isn't my GPA more important than an internship where I don't get paid, I do good work, and I'm willing to stay past my expected date of service? I think so.

So now the pressure's on, progress has been made, but I think the quality of the work has actually improved. I still don't like writing these damn things though.

Leave me a joke or something so I don't feel like this day sux so much... please?

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:05 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 06, 2005

Science Policy BLOWS

I have never been so unmotivated to write papers in my life. I realize that science policy is important and it does have an impact on our national security, but these questions are just not up my freakin alley.

20-24 pgs, due by tomorrow evening...
My work ethic says I can't take the day off tomorrow, even though I work for free, because my boss hates to run the report I normally do Monday morning...
And I've got about, oh, eight pages?

I'm screwed... and not for a lack of effort either...

The only light at the end of the tunnel is that this is my last course in order to complete this concentration. Thank all that is holy I'm graduating in May. (Hopefully I haven't spoken too soon on that one...)

Back to the grindstone ...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

WTF Wednesdays

Good news: no class tonight so no irritatingly moronic line of questioning

Bad news: I still have a paper due for the class tonight ... and I haven't written it yet...

UPDATE - 4:10am
The book review I was working on - DONE, four hours late...

but I have a feeling I'm going to be late to work today...

Anyone who wants a copy of my review on The Coming Democracy by Ann Florini, let me know... it's a great 6.5 pgs of bedtime reading.

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2005

Tantalizing Tuesdays

We got to look at examples of different terrorist attacks from around the world in class today... it was really interesting stuff! I kept looking at the clock though, not because I wanted it to be over but because I wanted to know how much more I was going to get to see. I realized though, he probably thought I was bored...and it reminded me of a story back when I was teaching...

I told my students up front, point blank... (1) I would not take attendance, (2) anyone who would rather be somewhere else, is welcome to be somewhere else, (3) I only wanted people in the room that genuinely wanted to learn something.

The guy in the back though... perhaps he was hard of hearing...

One day he was fidgety and sort of noisy. He kept distracting me from my lesson and from the explanations individual students were asking for. Finally I noticed he was trying to find a clock - he was getting frustrated because the classroom didn't have one.

Unfortunately for him, I was having a bad morning...

I paused for a moment, looked down at my watch, looked straight at him, and said... 'There's no clock in here, but it's 10:20...which means I've got 30 more minutes to go, unless you have somewhere else to be...'

He squirmed a bit and turned sort of red, but remained silent.

Remember I said bad morning? It was a particularly bad morning...

I followed his silence with, 'No? Ok, good’ and went back to teaching my lesson.

I think it was a pretty good day after that...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005

Tantalizing Tuesday

If there is any question about why I so enjoy my Tuesday night instructor, just read his piece in the Washington Post about the media and terrorism (I've posted it below the fold) even if it is a few years old. I think he's trying to start a new reality show, "Who Wants To Be My New Hero?" A little wordy but I think he shows promise as a contestant.

The piece is a little old but it is no less true today than it was in the year following 9/11. He calls for what some people say is censorship of the media - he says it is common sense. And I for one think he is right on the money. Report the news but can you guys please start leaving out some of the specifics? Tell American's that their freight system might not be as secure as they'd like but leave out the specific company you interviewed/researched, the specific location, and what the guard staff normally does with their time! For christ's sake... that's just common sense people.

If the military can function and communicate within the limits operational security, I think the media can get on board with the same concept without short changing their overall purpose or the public interest.

Read for yourself and decide. Nut-job or sensible individual?

They Heard It All Here, And That's the Trouble

By Dennis Pluchinsky
Sunday, June 16, 2002; Page B03

I accuse the media in the United States of treason.

I have been analyzing terrorism for the U.S. government for 25 years. My specialty is "threat analysis." This is a rather difficult field that requires the imagination of Walt Disney, the patience of a kindergarten teacher, the mind-set of a chess player, the resolve of a Boston Red Sox fan, the mental acuity of a river boat gambler, and the forecasting ability of a successful stock market analyst.

While the media have, over the past several weeks, written extensively on alleged intelligence "failures" surrounding the events of Sept. 11, I want to address the media's common-sense "failures." As a terrorism analyst, I am both appalled and confused by many of the post-9/11 articles published at home and abroad, in newspapers, news magazines and academic journals, as well as on the Internet.

Many of these articles have clearly identified for terrorist groups the country's vulnerabilities -- including our food supply, electrical grids, chemical plants, trucking industry, ports, borders, airports, special events and cruise ships. Some of these articles have been lengthy and have provided tactical details useful to terrorist groups. No terrorist group that I am aware of has the time and manpower to conduct this type of extensive research on a multitude of potential targets. Our news media, and certain think tankers and academicians, have done and continue to do the target vulnerability research for them.

Imagine that you are a supporter or sympathizer of a terrorist group and you have been tasked to identify and collect tactical information on potential U.S. targets. Consider some of the following headlines that have appeared since 9/11: "Private Plane Charters: One Way Around Air Security," "Suicidal Nuclear Threat Is Seen At Weapons Plants," "Priority Required for Protecting Utilities," "NRC Warns of Missing Radioactive Materials," "Freight Transport: Safe from Terror?" "Chemical Plants Are Feared As Targets," "America's Roads May Be Just As Vulnerable As Its Skies," "Study Assesses Risk of Attack on Chemical Plants," "Terror Risk Cited for Cargo Carried on Passenger Jets: 2 Reports List Security Gaps," and "Truck Terrorism Possible, U.S. Says: Investigation Finds Lack of Licensing Safeguards."

I do not understand the media's agenda here. This country is at war. Do you honestly believe that such stories and headlines, pointing out our vulnerabilities for Japanese and Nazi saboteurs and fifth columnists, would have been published during World War II? Terrorists gather targeting information from open sources and field surveillance. What other sources do they have? Do they have a multibillion-dollar intelligence community with thousands of employees? Do they have telecommunications satellites to intercept communications?

If there's one thing terrorists have been open about, it's their reliance on open information. In the mid-1980s there was a Belgian left-wing terrorist group called the Communist Combatant Cells, or CCC. At the time, it was carrying out a series of bombings against American targets in Belgium. The media there were speculating that the CCC had plants or spies inside various Belgian agencies to be able to carry out attacks so efficiently. "NATO Pipelines Sabotaged: Military Secrets in the Hands of the CCC?" read a headline in the Dec. 12, 1984, edition of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. Finally, in a written communique disseminated in April 1985, the CCC explained how it acquired its targeting information. The communique stated: "Being methodical types and having considered the relative accessibility of the pipeline, we consulted the top-secret telephone book where, under 'Ministry of Defense,' every pumping station in the entire country is listed. We drew up our lists of all the towns these stations were located in, and decided to explore them during long walks in the countryside."

Terrorist groups continue to rely on open sources to come up with targeting ideas and tactical information. This is why the Internet has become so valuable to terrorist groups. Richard Clarke, head of the White House's Office of Cyberdefenses and probably the most knowledgeable high-level government official on terrorism, testified to Congress on Feb. 13 that, based on evidence found in the caves of Afghanistan, al Qaeda "was using the Internet to do at least reconnaissance of American utilities and American facilities." Furthermore, he noted, "if you put all the unclassified information together, sometimes it adds up to something that ought to be classified."

So why do the research for the terrorists? For example, "vulnerability" articles appearing in the media always contain interviews or comments from three or four experts or specialists. It could be the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an American Trucking Associations official, a union leader, technician or consultant. These experts will talk to reporters. None of them would ever talk to a terrorist. Therefore, if not for the media, terrorist groups would have no access to the insights and wisdom of these people. What also infuriates me is when the media publish follow-up reports noting that security measures or procedures around a specific target or system still have not been implemented. Not only do the media identify potential target vulnerabilities for the terrorists but they also provide our foes with progress reports!

In a war situation, it is not business as usual. Use some common sense. Certainly, if a reporter or academician believes that he or she has discovered a vulnerability or flaw in one of our sectors or systems, it is important to let others know. It seems reasonable to me that a process should be established where such articles are filtered through a government agency such as the proposed Department of Homeland Security. A skeptic would call this censorship; a patriot would call it cooperation. This type of cooperation existed during World War II and believe me, this current war is a "world war" also.

I also am concerned about the many articles detailing how the 9/11 terrorists were able to come and live in the United States. These articles have noted which mannerisms of the terrorists aroused the suspicion of their landlords, acquaintances, neighbors, flight instructors and others. Articles have pointed out what mistakes the terrorists made and how we failed to pick up on those mistakes. Al Qaeda terrorists now know to pay a speeding ticket promptly. They now know not to pay for things with large amounts of cash. They now know to buy some furniture for their apartments or rooms. They now know that they have to act friendly and not surly or antagonistic in their dealings with neighbors and other locals. They know now that they should have a phone installed in their apartments or rooms.

The U.S. media's autopsy of the movements and interactions of earlier terrorists may have helped the 9/11 hijackers and others seeking to come to the United States to do us harm. In a March 23 article entitled "The Jackals of Islam" that was published on an Islamic Web site, Abu-Ubayd al-Qurashi, believed to be a close aide to Osama bin Ladin, commenting on the 9/11 operatives, stated that "the suicide hijackers studied the lives of Palestinian Yehiya Ayash [a Hamas bomb maker who was himself assassinated] and Ramzi Yousef [operational planner of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing] and the security mistakes that led to their downfall while they were preparing for the September 11 operation." How did al Qaeda know about the security mistakes that led to the death of Ayash and the capture of Yousef? The media, at home and abroad.

Courtrooms can also give terrorists windows into our thinking and methods. In the 1980s when German terrorists from the leftist Red Army Faction (RAF) were tried in Germany, the prosecution had to detail all of the evidence, including how they linked the terrorists to specific attacks. Forensic experts from the German BKA (comparable to the FBI) described in the open courtroom how they extracted fingerprints from items left at the attack sites. At the time, there were RAF sympathizers and supporters in the courtroom who took notes. It did not take long for the RAF terrorists still at large to change their methods -- wearing gloves and spraying their hands with latex so that they would not leave any fingerprints.

The U.S. media are providing a similar service for al Qaeda. I am sure that al Qaeda will fix its mistakes and mannerisms before its next attack in the United States. I say the following with a heavy heart, but if there were an "Osama bin Laden" award given out by al Qaeda, I believe that it would be awarded to the U.S news media for their investigative reporting. This type of reporting -- carrying specifics about U.S. vulnerabilities -- must be stopped or censored.

I propose that the Department of Homeland Security establish a program where academicians, reporters, think tankers or any citizen could contact the department and inform them of security vulnerabilities. If the department determined that these vulnerabilities indeed existed, then it could award "Homeland Security Protective Security" certificates to individuals or "Homeland Security Gold Stars" to newspaper or Internet sites that put the country first during a time of war. If displayed on its banner, this star might increase circulation.

During World War II, there was a security slogan thatwent: "Loose lips sinks ships." Maybe the current security slogan should be: "Prolific pens propagate terrorist plots." The president and Congress should pass laws temporarily restricting the media from publishing any security information that can be used by our enemies.This was necessary during World War II, it is necessary now. These restrictions were backed by the American public during World War II, and I believe the public would support them now.

As for "treason," well, maybe that accusation against the media is not justified. Webster's dictionary defines treason as violation of allegiance toward one's country and lists one of its characteristics as "consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies." I know the media have not consciously and purposely aided al Qaeda. Therefore, J'accuse the media of lacking common sense. As a concerned terrorism analyst, I say the following to the media: You are making the jobs of terrorism analysts, intelligence officers and law enforcement officials very difficult. Help us, don't hinder us from defeating our enemies.

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 09, 2005

Blogs Are Good...

After all my troubles with the head of my department and this blog, another faculty member has published an article espousing the benefits of blogging. This professor is a representation of the opposite side of academics publishing their opinions than the one I have previously blogged about here - He has a point, he argues it articulately, and maintains professionalism throughout. I am proud to say he is representing our institution in the public eye.

The article itself references the importance of academic blogs in multiple disciplines and closes by saying blogs should be embraced wholeheartedly. Here is the link so you can read for yourself what he has to say.

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

And You Do What Again?

Since I found out about this internship I have been pestered by family, friends, classmates, and anyone else who knew about it with the inevitable... "So...what exactly will you be doing during your internship?" I always had to come back with either the truth (I didn't know), or something witty, yet believable like, "My job will be to save the world from idiots like your ex-girl/boyfriend."

But today I found out what I'll actually be doing instead...

Re-writing/updating procedural manuals, developing quality assurance procedures from existing metrics, and overall making the assistant to the head of the office look good.

Not exactly what I had in mind when I signed on, but better than the call center I thought I was going to be sitting in.

Humorously enough though, I have already managed to put my foot in my mouth. In trying to characterize myself for the boss I managed to say... I'm an anal fixer ... before I realized how it would sound out loud. Perhaps the words perfectionist or detail oriented would have been a better fit...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Mish Mash Monday

Hallelujah! Four weeks into this course and the flashing fluorescent migraine maker is finally fixed.

Unfortunately, that little God-send did not improve my ability to concentrate. The instructor got knocked off his agenda by a student induced tangent and once he was of, it was clear that the derailment was fatal for the lecture as a whole.

Poor little agenda... he never even had a chance...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Intern: Day 1

Wow...It was a really full day! We showed up at the ungodly hour of 8:30a to get pre-screened and collected in a conference room by 9:00a. Ice breaker games and chit chat lasted for almost half an hour, but then it was down to serious business.

What came next was aboslutely grueling hour and a half spent having paperwork explained, blanks filled, and signatures checked. My brain was truly taxed...

At 10:30 we were sent to find ourselves some lunch. Which made us happy since 10:30 is a much more reasonable breakfast time than the earlier 7:15 when I had a piece of toast. I ended up leading a posse to Starbucks and then my office mates to a courtyard. I parked myself in the shade, sat up on a cement call, kicked my shoes off, and enjoyed my iced americano & turkey sandwich. You know, we felt a little rushed though... only three hours for lunch! You can't fit food and a decent map in that time... I mean, I'll do my best to try... but I can't make any promises...

So... disappointed with the medicore lunch plans ... we trooped back for our last brief of the day. Boy, we sure exherted ourselves on that one, I tell ya... and after being sent to an office that turned us away, our day came to a close at the late hour of 2:30p.

I know it's going to be tough, but I made it through the day so I know I can make it through those that come after. The first step is always the hardest...

But I think I can do Federal work...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

WTF Wednesdays

Did I say I hated this instructor? What I meant to say was, I really hate this instructor.

I spent the week preparing for my presentation tonight and the dude just walked all over it. 30 minutes into my discussion of the main article he interjects that we need to move on. Ok, so my partner and I move on. Only he's not happy with that. He wants us to go back to the theoretical type discussion we were having previously. Well if you had let me finish my presentation the way I wanted to we would have been able to address all the topics you were so frustratedly trying to add. I mean, my God... if you wanted us to present specific concepts from these readings then why the hell didn't you just do the presentation yourself? The best part was how he lost his composure trying to direct the discussion that the entire class refused to sign on to.

Oh, and that giggling you see us doing during class? Yeah, we're all looking at each other and laughing at you ...

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tantalizing Tuesdays...a little late...

Each Tuesday I look forward to going to class - it is the class I have outside my regular department. If all my courses were like this one, I would be getting a PhD.

This week I was highly rewarded for my attendance... he kept my attention for the full meeting, educated me, and entertained me. I'd say I love this man, but I can love only one at a time and right now that place is reserved for an instructor I had last fall. Mmmm... easy on the eyes, decidely Republican, confident, and oh so connected... We really could have had something ... that wife and those kids were a bit of a problem though... But I'm daydreaming...

Back to Tantalizing Tuesday... the annoyingly argumentative leftist in the class decided to pipe up a few times today and just would not let go of his ill-formed concept with very little relevance to the big picture at hand... The instructor finally had enough of his badgering and shut him down by retorting, "Well, that's certainly one viewpoint" and moving on. I damn near shot my iced latte out my nose it was so funny.

Tuesdays are the new highlight of my week.

Posted by Princess Cat at 02:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

There's Combat Everywhere

In case you didn't know, it looks like G.W. has gotten our country into another war...and YOU are on the front lines!

Well, at least that's what this man wants you to think...

and of course, where would my lovely graduate institution be if they didn't support overblown, exaggerated language used to garner attention? That's right, we're hosting a 'free exchange of ideas' on campus tomorrow night titled "The Republican War on Science"...unfortunately, that man will also be there. Here's the excerpt from the back of his book that they posted to promote the event:

"The Republican War on Science" is Christopher Mooney's assessment of our current government's politicization of scientific findings. In his presentation, Mooney will tie together the disparate strands of what he sees as an attack on science into a compelling account of our government's increasing unwillingness to distinguish between legitimate research and ideologically driven pseudoscience."

Now come on people... do you seriously expect me to believe that today's science policies got to where they are based on the single handed actions of G.W.? There is only so much evolution that can take place during one man's time in office so if you're upset you can't say he got to where things are all by himself. Take a look at decades past before you start pointing fingers.

And this issue of 'war'... Was that word really necessary? Do you really want to accuse the President of the United States of actively seeking the destruction of science policy? I hardly think so. The man has a country to run and he may have different priorities than you'd like, but that doesn't mean he's going out of his way to plan the destruction of your pet projects. There's only so much money and every year a lot of people work to try to figure out where it goes. That's the long and the short of way around it...just deal.

Now get off your high horse and take a long look at reality before you open your mouth again.

Yes, I'm having a bit of an angry period... just bear with me...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


After all the phone calls, confusing e-mails, and disorganization...

I have finally landed my Fall internship. I start exactly one week from today.

I'm not as excited about this one as I am about the one I announced a few months ago that starts in the Spring semester, but it is going to look good on my resume just the same.

Unfortunately I am still a little bit in the dark on the whole thing. I know what the Department does, and I know what this section of it does, but I have no idea what the office I now work for does. God forbid these people provide any information... From the sounds of it, it isn't exactly my field. Not that I expect to be in over my head, just less interested than I would have liked. Oh well, I'll just keep reminding myself ... foot in the door...foot in the door...

Too bad I decided to go to school full time on the assumption that I hadn't gotten it... this should be fun...

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

How I Spent My Friday

Shower, get dressed, have a bite, talk to Dad, check availability of books at the library, leave for library, talk to friend on the way to the library, get to library, book is checked out, I lose it.

That's right...In the 25 blanking-blankity-blank minutes that it took me to get to campus after checking to see that the book being held on reserve is available, someone else borrowed it. GREAT.

So I call my partner in the project and it's not him. SUPER!
So I sit outside the library, try to study. It's not working, I'm too pissed.
So I go back inside to see if they have some kind of waiting list. Oh, gosh, no... Of course not! That'd make too much fucking sense when the book is being held for the semester, not allowed to leave the library, and given out for only 2 hrs at a time.
So I go back to a computer and start reading the news. Partner calls & I go outside. The next 25-30 minutes are spent bitching about how ridiculously incompetent the professor is and how the program is just absolutely FUBAR'd. I felt a little better after that but for some reason there weren't any people around me anymore once I was done...

I finally got my hands on the damn book 2 hrs later, spent less than 10 minutes photocopying the pages I needed, gave it back to the library people, and promptly left. The train was semi-crowded on the way home too so that didn't really help my mood.

After I got home I ended up scanning my copy and e-mailing it to the entire class just to prove a point.

Told you I'd be royally pissed if this happened...

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

WTF Wednesdays Man

The professor from WTF Wednesdays...


whew, I feel better now...

Seriously though, wtf is this put a book on reserve for the whole class and not have it in the bookstore bullshit? Do you seriously think I want to sit my ass in the library and read this book? No, first because I don't even want to read it at all. It is an inappropriate choice for graduate level study and useless in furthering our knowledge or our discussions. The only reason I'm going to read it is the 'discussion' I am supposed to lead next week, for which you assigned a lame-ass chapter by a commie blowhard that can't write a rational thought to save his life.
And what do you think I'm going to do when I spend the time to drag my ass all the way to the creepy life sucking center that is the library and someone else has decided to read it in the time between I checked its availability and got to the library? Yeah, that's right... I'm going to be royally pissed that I have to spend the next two hours waiting around campus for this crap-tastic bit of reading.
Oh, and those excuses you throw out about being too busy to make the readings available electronically and too busy to finish grading our papers? BULL.SHIT. 40 papers, 2-pgs each, double spaced. Not done 3.weeks.later? WTF.IS.YOUR.PROBLEM? 'I have too many students' 'I don't have a TA yet' 'They are all so different I'm having a hard time comparing them to one another' Uhm, NO. I've graded papers before response exams for 600 students...IN A SINGLE WEEK.

Like I said before... I feel better now...

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

Tantalizing Tuesdays

I meant to actually post something today but I slept in (to the wonderful hour of nearly 11am), went shopping for school stuff, stopped by the grocery store, and I've been stuck in the kitchen hacking up a chicken ever since.

I've got the fun class tonight and I'm taking someone with me to listen in because I think the professor is so kick ass. I'll be sure to report anything cool he says this week. Last week's winner was, "If you can successfully go underground for two years, you don't have to do the project." But if you get found out...I think you fail...

Btw - taking a whole chicken and hacking it into pieces isn't exactly easy the first couple of times you try doing it... but whacking through its bones with a cleaver is amazingly fun...

Posted by Princess Cat at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2005

Mish-Mash Mondays

Last week I was damn near asleep only half way through Monday's class and I was kept awake solely by the growing migraine caused by ... blink.blink.blink.blink ... of the fluorescent light at the front of the room that was flashing more than 60 times a minute, accompanied by the wonderful sound of ... buzzow.buzzow.buzzow.buzzow ... of each and every flash.

This week I faced a nearly identical situation. Before I had been sitting in the classroom for even an hour I was already obsessively checking my phone to see what time it was.

The light was strobing away, flashing like a drunken 18 year old on her first spring migraine was again gaining irritating strength...and the professor had yet to make a single argument despite all his talking...

...I got grumpy...

I respect the guy - not only is he an incredibly smart guy (who just happens to talk through his nose and have hair rivaled only by The Donald), but one that can talk politics (as is the nature of the program we're in) AND leave his personal leanings at the door. I just wish he could do more than throw out bits & pieces of information that could form an argument if assembled correctly.

Maybe then I could stay focused...

Posted by Princess Cat at 07:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

WTF Wednesdays

After sitting through two class meetings I am ready to say that this semester, Wednesdays are going to SUCK...

As I dread going back for a third session tonight, let's take a moment to revisit last week's gathering:

**scene: 20 students seated in individual chairs with desk arms, chatting to their neighbors about various topics**

**enter instructor - think Dr. Nick from The Simpsons**

Instructor: Ok, everybody... lets put our chairs in a circle...


I couldn't help it, my reaction just spewed out...
'you've got to be kidding me... what, did I just fall back into pre-school or something?'

If he heard me, he didn't let it show. My classmates just laughed and rolled their eyes at how annoying the next two hours were bound to be.

The only thing that got me through the evening was the joy I found in my classmates all ganging up on the instructor for his irritating nonsense. You see, he spent an hour and a half discussing whether or not there was a transnational space. Not like outer space, not like a building, not like a country, but as an abstract concept. We grew bored of his blathering early on and tired of his metaphors that fell apart mid-sentence. The truth is, in order to have the course we have to take on faith that there is a transnational space. Without that assumption, there is no course. Therefore, Mr. Blah Blah Blah was wasting our time instead of dropping the discussion at the point we all agreed with each other and disagreed with him.

From now on, its Whiskey.Tango.Foxtrot Wednesdays...

Posted by Princess Cat at 03:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 13, 2005

Thorn Revisited

The guys over at The New Editor have picked up the same op/ed I commented on last week (check it out here). Go check out their brief take on what the professor had to say.

I think it is important to make clear that I believe this professor is entitled to his opinions - freedom of speech and all that - but I argue that it is his position that requires greater discretion. While he is free to write articles expressing his beliefs outside the classroom, the problem lies in the fact that this man does not leave those expressions outside the classroom. That is not an estimation, that is personal experience talking.

At the risk of incurring his wrath or being struck by the force of his vengeance, I shall continue my rant...

Actions such as this article are inappropriate in a professional setting, especially one in which this gentleman is tasked with training the security/intel personnel of the future. His students, as practitioners, need the tools to build a better tomorrow, not a scathing vocabulary capable of hurting the opponent's feelings. It is his responsibility to equip them with the critical thinking skills necessary in order to deal with a crisis, before or after it occurs.

Moreover, threats to our security are blind to party lines and it is important for those working to ensure that security to be as blind to them as possible, as well.
In the end, regardless of their party membership, government personnel need to be able to respond to security threats of all types. By pushing politics instead of developing the skills necessary to do that this professor is robbing our country of a class of professionals more savvy than those that came before them. Whether he is on the left or the right, he should recognize that he is moving the current problem into the future instead of working to solve it. Moreover, by engaging in these tactics, he is simply working to ensure that genuinely bi-partisan government remains a pipe dream. His unwillingness or inability to teach in a non-partisan manner does nothing less than undermine critical aspects of America's future security.

What's more, it is unimportant which side of the aisle this article's author stands on when his op/ed was nothing more than an attack on individuals. It was not constructive toward the future he claims his party can provide or even a useful critique.

Katrina is tragic, without question, but he should be using it as an opportunity for people to learn how to do things better the next time. Partisanship and personal feelings are not part of that.

Posted by Princess Cat at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

Thorn in My Side

If anyone ever has a question as to why I don't get along with the administrators of my department, all they have to do is read this op/ed piece one of them wrote in the Baltimore Sun today.

Headline: After Katrina fiasco, Time for Bush to go.
(The article is posted in its entirety below the fold)

God forbid this academic institution employ people capable of putting their personal partisanship aside for a few moments (or in the classroom). We couldn't possibly exhibit a sense of professionalism that focuses on solutions to the current problem and preventative measures for the future. Oh no, we most definitely couldn't have that.

ARTICLE: After Katrina fiasco, time for Bush to go
By Gordon Adams
Originally published September 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - The disastrous federal response to Katrina exposes a record of incompetence, misjudgment and ideological blinders that should lead to serious doubts that the Bush administration should be allowed to continue in office.

When taxpayers have raised, borrowed and spent $40 billion to $50 billion a year for the past four years for homeland security but the officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot find their own hands in broad daylight for four days while New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast swelter, drown and die, it is time for them to go.

When funding for water works and levees in the gulf region is repeatedly cut by an administration that seems determined to undermine the public responsibility for infrastructure in America, despite clear warnings that the infrastructure could not survive a major storm, it seems clear someone is playing politics with the public trust.

When rescue and medical squads are sitting in Manassas and elsewhere in northern Virginia and foreign assistance waits at airports because the government can't figure out how to insure the workers, how to use the assistance or which jurisdiction should be in charge, it is time for the administration to leave town.

When President Bush stays on vacation and attends social functions for two days in the face of disaster before finally understanding that people are starving, crying out and dying, it is time for him to go.

When FEMA officials cannot figure out that there are thousands stranded at the New Orleans convention center - where people died and were starving - and fussed ineffectively about the same problems in the Superdome, they should be fired, not praised, as the president praised FEMA Director Michael Brown in New Orleans last week.

When Mr. Bush states publicly that "nobody could anticipate a breach of the levee" while New Orleans journalists, Scientific American, National Geographic, academic researchers and Louisiana politicians had been doing precisely that for decades, right up through last year and even as Hurricane Katrina passed over, he should be laughed out of town as an impostor.

When repeated studies of New Orleans make it clear that tens of thousands of people would be unable to evacuate the city in case of a flood, lacking both money and transportation, but FEMA makes no effort before the storm to commandeer buses and move them to safety, it is time for someone to be given his walking papers.

When the president makes Sen. Trent Lott's house in Pascagoula, Miss., the poster child for rebuilding while hundreds of thousands are bereft of housing, jobs, electricity and security, he betrays a careless insensitivity that should banish him from office.

When the president of the United States points the finger away from the lame response of his administration to Katrina and tries to finger local officials in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., as the culprits, he betrays the unwillingness of this administration to speak truth and hold itself accountable. As in the case of the miserable execution of policy in Iraq, Mr. Bush and Karl Rove always have some excuse for failure other than their own misjudgments.

We have a president who is apparently ill-informed, lackadaisical and narrow-minded, surrounded by oil baron cronies, religious fundamentalist crazies and right-wing extremists and ideologues. He has appointed officials who give incompetence new meaning, who replace the positive role of government with expensive baloney.

They rode into office in a highly contested election, spouting a message of bipartisanship but determined to undermine the federal government in every way but defense (and, after 9/11, one presumed, homeland security). One with Grover Norquist, they were determined to shrink Washington until it was "small enough to drown in a bathtub." Katrina has stripped the veil from this mean-spirited strategy, exposing the greed, mindlessness and sheer profiteering behind it.

It is time to hold them accountable - this ugly, troglodyte crowd of Capital Beltway insiders, rich lawyers, ideologues, incompetents and their strap-hangers should be tarred, feathered and ridden gracefully and mindfully out of Washington and returned to their caves, clubs in hand.

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:08 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Tantalizing Tuesday

I have ventured out of my department and into another school within the university for one of my classes this semester. So far, I am highly impressed.

How sad is that? Just one class and already I'm impressed off my ass with this other department. It just confirms what I have said from the very department/school has its head so firmly planted up its ass that the light of common sense shall never be seen within its halls.

The next 13 Tuesdays should prove to be quite interesting...and finally it is in a good way!

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

And We're Off

The semester has officially, and finally, begun. And following in our institution's sorted fall tradition, we kicked it off with alcohol cheap beer. I believe they officially called it the 'New Student Social' for which you must have RSVP'd or your lowly presence would not be tolerated - tuition paying or not, those not on the guest list were proverbial scum at this event.

I personally couldn't tell you how the food tasted - I wasn't in the mood for watery salsa or melted cheese - but most people were upset there was no 'real' food to speak of. How hard is it to get a mini-sandwich out of these people?

Yingling and Bud Light in a can and wine in a box just weren't what I had gone looking for that evening either. So when a good portion of the student body headed to the bar like lemmings marching to their death, so did I... Killians it was for the rest of the night.

Snippits of conversations from the bar...

"Can I touch your boob?"

"If it's anything besides penis-vagina sex, she just squirms!"

"Do you know how hard it is to be a gay republican?"

"This is so cool, you're such a geek!"

I took last train home that night. Not so much because I was that intrigued by those I was talking with but because I just couldn't tear myself away from the oddity that the new class of students freaks truly represents.

Posted by Princess Cat at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 09, 2005


I just got a phone call from a very soft spoken, speed talking, and seemingly annoyed woman asking if I would be willing to accept an internship in Washington DC. I could not understand what office she was calling from. Finally I figured out where she was referring to and told her I would be willing to since I live there.
But I had to make sure it didn't conflict with my other one so I asked her what time frame she was talking about. She had no idea what I meant. Finally we sorted out that she was referring to the fall. Well slap me silly and call me susan, you're damn right I'd accept an internship for the fall!

and then she said, "ok... we'll be in touch..."


UPDATE: They have called 3 times now to confirm if I would be willing to take an internship in DC instead of San Diego. But none of the calls have been to actually offer me a position... AHHH! These chicks are driving me crazy!

Posted by Princess Cat at 08:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Miss Intern

Just under a month since I applied for it, I have finally landed an internship.

Not just any internship though... a fantastically awesome internship...

I will be working on matters of international security pertaining to our foreign policy and military affairs. It could not be more perfect for what I have studied and what fascinates me in daily life.

The hardest part now is going to be waiting until January for it to start...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 30, 2005

Summer School

In approximately 2.5 hrs I will be giving my final presentation for Strategy & Military History. I will be enlightening my fellow students on the US command decision to cross the 38th parallel during the Korean War. Should be the greatest 5 minutes of my evening (well, at least since I'm fairly certain I'm not getting laid).

Oh, Did I mention it's a group presentation? And that we have not met on how we are to coordinate our individual portions? And how we have 41 powerpoint slides for a 12-15 minute talk? We're awesome, I know.

But you know what, once it's done...I'm DONE! No more summer school. No responsibilities until I decide to take some on. Who's up for a little vacay?

Posted by Princess Cat at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

Another Degree?

You know...I just may never be done going to school...

I have 2 Bachelors degrees, I'm in the process of getting a Masters degree, and now UCONN develops a Masters degree that is more in line with that I'd rather be pursuing...CNN reported on it today.

So, how many want to bet I apply to UCONN for Fall 2006?

Posted by Princess Cat at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

John Warden

I'm off writing about this cat right now...

Once I'm done later today I'll be back to bemuse you

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2005

Library, Then and Now

It's a pretty nice day out and I'm heading to the library...ugh...

I am not a fan of the library. Period. It just creeps me out, I'm not sure why. It brings out every insecurity I have so deftly hidden beneath the surface of my cutely freckled self.

In my 5 years as an undergrad I set foot in the library a total of ten times, if that even. And beyond the tour of the library that I got at freshman orientation, it wasn't until my third year that I started going. Once Intermediate Microeconomics was over, and I stopped meeting Carol to study there, I had very little reason to go back. Study groups always found somewhere else to meet and 5th year I had an office to go to if I was stuck on campus.

As a child I would beg to ride my bike to the library in the summer time. I can remember as a young child climbing up the 'bookshelves' in the kids room that were nothing more than a semi-pyramidal shaped wall of cubes housing books in every nook and cranny. All the cool books were at the top... I was proud of my library card and the speed with which I consumed books. As I got older, I stopped climbing and sought out books about a life I had never lived...the sea. Island of the Blue Dolphins captured my attention over and over again. I grew obsessed with whales and my parents took me to Boston to see the aquarium and go whale watching. I read Dove probably a dozen times. I kept reading about all kinds of sea creatures I had never seen but longed to encounter some day.

When the new library opened at my elementary school I helped to build and populate the terrarium at the entrance. I was cool because I was putting within their reach the very animals the younger kids would read about. Then came the lessons on how to use the library...I was SO above this...I mean, come on...I was in the SIXTH grade...I had been using the library for years...what was this woman going to teach me about books that I didn't already know? I was Miss Library...

Hehehe...being young was so much fun...

Posted by Princess Cat at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2005

John Warden

Upon the professor's suggestion, I am writing a research paper about Col. John Warden (USAF) for my strategist project due Tuesday. I know nothing about him other than he's a Persian Gulf era airpower enthusiast.


Stupid research papers in summer school!

Posted by Princess Cat at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2005


The morning has been full of learning the appropriate chain of command and drafting letters to get things moving. This bastard instructor is using up way too much of my blogging time...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

Sci/Tech BS, pt 2

So, my "I'm too good to answer my students' emails" Sci/Tech instructor sent out a mass mailing today explaining what he expected of our papers and thus why we ALL received poor grades in the course. Well his 'criteria' were complete and utter shit. Four bullet points, one of which was essentially stating we should spell correctly. The other said we should use sound reasoning. Thank you Captain Obvious! His first 'criteria' was something he NEVER mentioned to us:

I looked for references to the themes and conclusions from the course. In the seminars, we discussed different models for innovation, decision-making, and for linking science/technology to national security. If there were no references to any of the material discussed in the class or to the assigned readings, it counted against the grade. The final essay was in lieu of an exam, but a requirement to demonstrate familiarity with the subject matter and readings remained.

Well, Mr. "I knew what every student planned to write about before hand and didn't argue with them on it" ... You failed to mention this. And no, we did not need to assume you wanted us to do it. It is not uncommon for final research papers to be independent projects. Each and every one of us discussed the topic and goals of our paper with you at least twice. If this was one of your expectations, how come NO ONE knew about it? Oh...that's cuz you didn't tell us...

Little do you know Mr. Instructor...I am queen of bucking the system at this institution and I no longer fear rocking the boat. It's not just me that's pissed off this time...I'm rallying my classmates and we will have retribution...

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:50 PM | Comments (1)

May 18, 2005

Sci/Tech BS

A previous blog of mine managed to grab some attention from the university administration back in February as I complained about a couple of the professors and against better judgment, I'm here to do it again...

Previously I had expressed some displeasure and reservation over an instructor without teaching experience...I felt bad once the course got more underway because he seemed to get a little better idea of how to run things...well now I feel more justified in my hesitation and complaint that he lacked experience in this setting. I had a 4.0 for the semester until this jackoff submitted my grade...

If I earned a bad grade, fine...I earned a bad grade. But there is no way in hell that I earned this grade from him. I am an excellent writer and I was highly participatory. An A- is the bare minimum this guy should be giving me and even then I'd be a little pissed considering the vagueness of his rubric.

We submitted a written midterm assignment and despite our repeated requests for them to be returned, they never were. No attempt was made on his part to indicate his level of satisfaction with our work. I have no idea what my grade on the midterm was. We wrote research papers on a topic of our own choosing. I worked with him on the topic prior to writing it and he was rarely responsive. When I talked with him he never told me not to write it, he simply said it would be a difficult paper and should be interesting to read. It was difficult but it was a damn good comparative analysis of competing security concepts and how the US should proceed in making a trade-off. That grade was never returned either. All we were left with was the final grade posted online either yesterday or today.

So I'm going to stand by my original analysis and believe my instincts...
Mr. Science, Technology, & National Security Professor... YOU SUCK!

I will demand an explanation and I will not rest until I am satisfied. Sooner or later this school will learn, I am not a sheep and I will not be herded. I have a voice and I intend to use it.

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:57 PM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2005

'Dr. Nanny' Professors

Last time I checked, I am matriculated in a graduate level program at a fairly respectable institution of education. So why do I keep running into these Dr. Nanny type professors? Who am I talking about? Professors like the two that have e-mailed me their syllabi for summer/fall courses.

Prof 1: Class meets once per week for two hours. At each class students are required to have written a one page paper in reaction to the week's assigned reading. (This assignment is in addition to two research papers, one to be 20pgs & one to be 30pgs - to be accompanied by class presentations)

Prof 2: Class meets once per week for two hours. 48 hours prior to each class meeting students are required to have submitted two questions regarding the week's assigned reading.

I am shocked and appalled by these requirements. No, they aren't difficult and they could easily be completed without much additional effort. I object to these requirements on pure principle. I am an adult in a seminar where I expect to learn and discuss with my peers. I am not an undergrad taking a class because the university said I have to. I chose to go to grad school and I expect to be treated like a capable adult with good decision making skills. If I don't do the reading for class, my participation will indicate that. I don't need a professor to check up on me any more than that. I am responsible for my grade and my learning so let me make my own decisions about how I choose to go about achieving them.

I see the same things happening in undergraduate programs around the country as well. Friends that have not yet graduated are coming to me with professors that are asking for similar 1pg assignments twice or three times per week. It just drives me crazy. Why does the education system insist on holding a student by the hand? University level instructors should know by now that if a student can't manage to learn the material on his own, he's not going to. They aren't doing anyone any favors. When's the last time your boss held your hand that closely? Because submitting questions for the board meeting 48hrs in advance is such standard practice...

As far as I'm concerned...Let the students figure it out and if they fall on their face, they fall on their face...

Who knows that the real reason they like to check up on their students is... maybe they have no confidence in their ability to motivate students to adequately care about the subject... maybe it is their way of checking to see if they are actually getting through to the students... maybe they are insecure about their ability to lead a discussion and must have it planned prior to the class meeting... maybe they just have a power trip and know that they can make the students do it... maybe they are just unreasonable pricks...

Maybe I'm not taking your classes... I want a seminar, not nap time with the nanny.

Posted by Princess Cat at 10:26 PM | Comments (3)

May 03, 2005

Grammar Nazi

Apparently I have become a grammar/punctuation nazi. You wouldn't know it from the way I blog or IM but when it comes to academic/official/professional work of some kind... you'd better have your ducks in a row.

People give me their papers to edit and I am more than happy to help them out. Writing is hard and we all feel better if we have someone else read over our work. However, people inevitably get their papers back from me with scores of strike outs, arrows, question marks, and red ink galore. Sometimes they get their feelings hurt but like I used to tell my econ students that thought I was a grading nazi, "It's not about making you feel good, it's about making sure you get it right. And you can hate me now but if you stay in this field, you'll thank me later."

I'm still shocked at basic rules of writing that people don't understand though. Like the rule that says two spaces between each do you get that wrong? Type, type type, period, space, space. It's not hard! It's a rule that you ALWAYS follow.

*shakes head in disbelief*

Posted by Princess Cat at 02:32 PM | Comments (3)

May 02, 2005

Bittersweet Finish

My instructor just e-mailed me the feedback on the tough research paper I was stressing over and presented last week. Things came out well but after reading his email, I'm hanging my head in shame...

Paper 3 A: Well written, well researched, and well structured paper on a difficult topic. Your recommendations are well developed and reasonable. Great job overall.
Participation A: Excellent presentation of your paper but I continued to be disappointed in the amount of your participation in the seminar. Please do yourself, your fellow students, and your other instructors a favor by getting more involved during seminars. You were a great pleasure in class. Best wishes in your future endeavors.

My grade will come out pretty well the course...there's no way it can be below an A - if I remember my earlier grades correctly. But that part about him being disappointed just cuts in a way I can't overlook. Usually I wouldn't care how an instructor felt about my performance as long as I was happy with it and I got the grade I wanted... but I respect this instructor more than most... and I disappointed him...

I'm sorry, Lt Col ... I really didn't give you everything I could have ... and I have no excuse but my own foolishness ...

Posted by Princess Cat at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

Outer Space

So...I had an interesting experience this semester in grad school. I got screwed by the administration (as usual) and had to give up on one of the concentrations for my degree (which completely pissed me off) but I've ended up in a pretty interesting situation out of the whole deal. I know, the semester isn't exactly over but with this space research out of the way, it might as well be. I have stressed over this point for hours and hours. Just sitting in class and joking with my classmates, I felt so much better. Getting the presentation out of the way felt a thousand times better. Afterward we said our goodbyes because it was our final class. One of my classmates who has a good 5 yrs in space oriented work experience for notable employers came up after class and complimented me on my presentation. Day one I walked in knowing nothing and didn't try to pretend. She remembered that and commented on how much my presentation proved I had learned and how well I had done. It felt great. To be honest, I'm shocked that I wrote this piece. I didn't know crap about space, let alone military space a few months ago... I've actually learned something ... whoa...
Anyhow, getting screwed on my courses led me to pick up a concentration in science, technology, and public policy that has turned out to be really interesting. I'm not sure how useful it will be in the long run but at least I don't want to shoot myself in the head when I'm sitting in the classes. In fact, I actually look forward to the discussions...
Does this mean I'm growing up? Cuz I'm not really into that whole being an adult thing....

Posted by Princess Cat at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2005

Almost Over

Just a few more hours before I present my comparative analysis of competing concepts of security in space...

And I fully agree with this comic today:

So if you see me doing the conga all by myself down the street on my way home tonight, don't be surprised. Getting this stress off my back will be a great relief I've been looking forward to almost more than sex...almost...

Posted by Princess Cat at 01:50 PM | Comments (1)

April 17, 2005

Missile Defense Lobby

Here it is...Saturday night...and what am I doing? I am on the verge of finishing up my case study on Boeing's efforts to lobby Congress on missile defense funding. Fun stuff, just what I imagined doing with my Saturday nights in grad school.

If anyone has an interest in the way Boeing influences policymakers to specifically appropriate for missile defense within the overall defense budget, let me know. Otherwise it is going to get turned in and then take up space on my hard drive.

You may now carry on with your joyful weekend adventures.

Posted by Princess Cat at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005

Professorial Quotes

"You'll always get quoted by the press if you use one of the following words in a believable sentence: befuddled, bamboozled, hoodwinked."

"I am under no illusion that the [Congressional] members are listening to me."

"Politicians are not the most courageous people."

"Do they still teach how to find your position in the military?"
"In the Air Force we just used Map Quest."

"This is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!"

Posted by Princess Cat at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

Ok, Now I'm Frightened...

I just got an email from a professor saying, "I appreciate you having the
courage to take this on."

You know you've picked a tough research topic when the guy who has done this kind of stuff during his day job for the last who knows how many years says that to you.

Oh, and did I mention I have until April 19 to write it?

Posted by Princess Cat at 01:08 AM | Comments (1)