Tag Archive for Rants

Maybe Writing In My Blog Will Keep Me From Throwing My Lappy. Maybe.

Microsoft Sucks

Warning: This is a ginger rage article (i.e., explicit language)

Whoever created Word 2013 should have a cheese grater run over his/her/their feet just before making him/her/them walk on Tobasco sauce, lemon, and salt. Separately.

It. Is. Horrible. First of all, I don’t want a theme. I want to have complete control over my formatting, whether you think I can handle all the options or not. Make them available but not mandatory. Secondly, don’t make me type in a fucking text box. I don’t care how easy that makes it to move entire paragraphs to the corner of the page, it’s annoying; get it off my screen. This is Word, not publisher or whatever other creativity suite you’ve included. I am not making a website, thank you, I am attempting UNSUCCESSFULLY to do a HOMEWORK assignment! Third, not everyone writes only ONE page. WHY CAN’T I HAVE TWO PAGES???

I am trying to finish my homework! Word USED to be helpful! Now it’s making me take twice as long to write stuff cause I CAN’T SEE WHAT I’M WRITING!

And, for the record, I don’t care if I look like an idiot because I didn’t spend more than 3 hours looking for answers to my questions. It shouldn’t take more than the 3 hours I looked. “Small tweaks” shouldn’t lead a seasoned and highly functional 2010 user to lose their EVER LOVING MINDS when trying to get rid of a god damn text box and trying to see their SECOND PAGE! So, for those of you who have make it this far reading this post, please don’t leave me fixes in the comments. I don’t care. I’m done with 2013. I would rather have 2003 at this point.

Word, your bullshit took so long to mess with that my comp battery is dead and I still haven’t figured out how to see the rest of my paper!!! What. The. ACTUAL. Fuck?!

I still wanna throw my lappy. I am gonna go reinstall Word 2010 again. Wait… What do you mean this product key is not available for download? I already purchased your outdated-but-still-better-than-the-new-shit program.

I quit. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go sob in the fetal position until my deadline in two hours.

Academic “Struggles” for the Academic

illusion comic - educationSo I got my grade back from my PhD essay this week and the word my professor used was “thin”. Which I absolutely agree with 150%. He said the writing is insightful and well done, but that the question was only somewhat addressed. I agree with that too. So why did I do it? Because I’m a straight A student (aka honor student, nerd, academic, suck up, etc.). Not an excuse? Let me give you some insight.

Not all straight A students get their grades because they’re incredibly smart, suck information up like a Dyson (not using Hoover… I refuse to conform), or spend ALL their free time studying. What each of us knows how to do, however, is work the system. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t have a lot of work to put into doing that because we do. What I’m saying is that we all have figured out that when you give teachers what they’re looking for- figure out that magic formula at the intersection of what they say and what they like to see- you get the grades you want. Sometimes it’s MUCH easier said than done. There are several reasons for this. For one (this is my BIGGEST PET PEEVE IN SCHOOL), the teacher may be telling you he/she wants one thing but grading you on a totally different thing altogether; invisible standards are nearly impossible to meet (unless you’re a mind reader). Other students setting an unexpected curve is another problem. You could be the smartest, most prepared student in the class, but if another student hits the professor’s invisible mark, you have no excuses. They’ve shown the professor that their standard is not unreasonable and everyone else suffers the repercussions. There’s another one that I suffer from most. It’s the reason I didn’t turn in the essay I’d WORKED TWO HOURS ON, but turned in this “thin” post instead. Self-doubt.

comicstrip-rubricsNever EVER, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, doubt what you’re doing. Every academic has done this at some point or another. Why? Because every academic has been burnt at least once. We think we’ve figured out the professor- “I want this many pages, I want it to be creative, and I DO NOT want you to regurgitate” turns into “Not long enough. Your creative approach took focus away from the facts. What I wanted was every single thing I said all semester long so I can hear how brilliant I am.” You feel AMAZING about a paper you’ve turned in and you get a HORRIBLE grade on it (I mean.. a C? REALLY?!). You have to spend the rest of the semester submitting to the format, you now are PAINFULLY aware of, trying to fix your grade. Assuming it wasn’t your FINAL that you fucked up on in the first place! And the kicker… the thing that makes this whole mess so incredibly painful, is that you knew. The whole time… every time you read that grading rubric, you KNEW what it said was NOT what the teacher actually wanted. You knew because you ignored the others and gave them what would feed their ego and did brilliantly. But they convinced you that this time it would be different. This was a big, special project that needed extra oomph. It needed to take your soul from your spleen (or wherever your soul is kept.. I’m a ginger, so I don’t have one) and POUR it out into the paper. You TRUSTED them. And your friends were interpreting it the same way. But that ONE JERK. That ONE little miss perfect got it right. They ignored what was explicitly written on the requirements and fed the ego. And you got that stupid C.

phd011812sWell… That’s what happened this time. Kind of. See.. an academic LIVES for feedback, because it’s the only way to know what the professor is looking for. Give us format, specific guidelines, and feedback and we can give you what you want. The word creativity is like acid (unless it’s how to creatively prepare for the honor society’s big Halloween fundraiser). I know how to write an essay. I know how to write an informative research paper using the information provided. What I don’t know is how to write a 2-3 paragraph post giving my insight from a first person point of view.

So at the end of the day, I abandoned the page and a half long paper in essay format with zero first person sentences to post what it seemed was wanted. I didn’t listen to myself… didn’t follow my gut. Didn’t hold true to my writing style. I have to remember that it IS possible for ME to be the jerk that sets the standard; goes against the specified requirements to submit an assignment I’m proud of.

Sigh. This week I will kick ass and take ALL THE NAMES. And I will NOT second guess myself… it takes too long to write an assignment twice anyway.

To Degree or Not to Degree: A Rant

(NOTE: Yes I appreciate the irony of this post immediately following one about critical thinking and argumentation. I said this was a rant, and I meant it.)

So I’m watching a stream today. I LOVE this stream. The person who does it is one of my favorite people on the planet. He’s smart, funny, kind, generous, etc. Today he said something on his stream which sparked a conversation with his more than 300 viewers that upset me. Now granted, he didn’t say it to be offensive, and he isn’t feeling well, but the conversation bothered me. A lot.

Let me start by saying that I have told my daughter numerous times that she doesn’t have to go to college if she doesn’t have to. I realize that in a time where people are convinced that the smartest and most successful go to college this is not a normal thing to say. However, I think it is important that she follow her dreams, loves what she does, and doesn’t let the creativity get smooshed out of her. The below video is my favorite TED Talk describing and speaking to exactly what I mean (Thank you, Ken Robinson. You’re an inspiration).

apple vs orangesThat being said. THAT BEING SAID… just because there are those who are educators, academics, therapists, doctors, and others our society considers “the most educated”, who get things wrong, are socially awkward, or like to one-up everyone, doesn’t mean that ALL of us are like that. Yes, D is for degree, so you don’t have to pay a ton of attention to get a piece of paper, nor do you have to learn all that much. Yes, there are tons of people who get degrees and then go work at Taco Bell for the rest of their lives. Yes, there are people who pay tons of money for 30+ years after school getting a degree in something they HATE cause their parents expected them to. And on and on. But in this conversation I saw people effectively defecate on education as a whole; the higher the degree the harder they raged against it. Only one other person bothered to say that he went to school for himself and he loved it… that social smarts and common sense are not the same as book smarts. I absolutely agree.

My opinion, which I expressed in chat but which I’m sure no one saw (hence my frustrated post here) is that a degree is not always just a piece of paper, just as those who do not have degrees are not always idiots. But, by ripping on those who have chosen academics as their path, regardless of the reason, these people are lowering themselves to the place those that degrade them live. You are no better. It is a choice. There is no “right” choice. There is only a “right for you” choice. People without degrees one-up others too. People without degrees can, and will, correct a statement with an inaccurate remark that is maddening. So what you’re effectively telling me is that if I have a degree, I can’t be human? Isn’t that the attitude you’re fighting? I’m not perfect, but I’m not claiming to be.

All I’m saying is I LOVE learning. I am STOKED to get my PhD because it will allow me to do the thing I want to do; teach graduate school. And WHY do I want to teach graduate school? To avoid, as much as possible, those who do not WANT to be in school. Here, the atmosphere is peaceful, we disagree without contempt (for the most part), and while we have the assholes who make everyone furious with their pompous nature, THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. And I’m okay with that. I like a little bit of pompous with my cereal.

Also, to the one in chat who said that he ragequit college because his English teacher told him that ’empirical evidence’ is NOT just something you can observe with your five senses, she’s right. Good grief.

[ted id=66]

On Being a ‘Ginger’

Social norms come in all shapes and sizes. They change based on where you are, who you’re with, your culture, the weather, and sometimes they exist only because people THINK they do. Philosophers have been arguing morality and the breaking of social norms and values since the beginning of the ancient occupation. But what makes us take offense? Yesterday, I talked about harassment being in the eyes of the beholder, so how do we avoid offending and harassing if that is not, in fact, our intent? I’m not sure- though there is a lot of research other there- that there is a definitive answer. But what I do know is Abraham Lincoln made a good point when he said,

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

So why am I even concerned with this? One of my dear friends commented on my last blog, saying that he thought by the title it was going to be a call against all of those who call redheads ‘gingers’, and the discrimination that is cast our way. It occurred to me that a term that I think of as a compliment (the term ‘ginger’ is used as a means of denoting a red head with a fiery personality and spunk, in my group of friends), is actually used as an insult in some places. It got me thinking about the term, about being a red head, and about how interesting it is that perception varies so vastly. Also, I wanted him to know that I appreciate and value the differences in our perceptions.

“Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered.” (Red head, 2012)

Certainly, in England they have a more historically negative connotation for the term ‘ginger’, as red hair is most common in Scotland and Ireland (and most of us know the struggles there). Here in the US, it seems the biggest reason people are likely to find the term ‘ginger’ offensive is if they’ve in some way been exposed to the episode of South Park where they poke fun at prejudice in general using ‘gingers’ as the trait being discriminated against. Little did South Park writers know that  people wouldn’t get the irony they were going for (Ginger kids, 2012). Admittedly, it is hard to believe (not to mention be okay with) people supporting ‘Kick the Ginger Day’ (on FB the group apparently had over 5,000 supporters at one point). Nicely done, people. And, of course, if you grow up with red hair, you have undoubtedly been called ‘carrot top’ or some other ridiculous name (carrots are roots, people… they’re tops are GREEN). In some ways, the negative perception of the “mutation” in pigment is perpetuated by theatre and movies as well (Red head, 2012).

Then again, blondes and brunettes have various jokes made about them due to the color of their hair too. There is research that suggests that men perceive blondes as being less intelligent than brunettes, and redheads as being more temperamental than both blondes and brunettes (Weir & Fine-Davis, 1989).

Click the picture to check out this annual redhead day! SWEET!

No surprise there. In medieval times, they apparently thought redheads were over sexed (is there such a thing) and  morally degenerate. That explains the no soul thing, I suppose. However, in other cultures red hair is revered (apparently Muhammad was thought to have been a red head… score one BIG one for us!)

However you perceive the word ‘ginger’, I guess the point is to make sure you aren’t calling someone a ‘ginger’ who doesn’t want to be called by that name. Intention matters, and if you’re being cruel to someone, any word can become a derogatory one; keep it in mind. As for me, and I hope my friend forgives me for this, I’m going to keep calling my little rants ‘Ginger Rage’. I am proud of the fact that I am feisty, temperamental, and don’t have to dye my hair to have an excuse for it all. I take pride in my heritage (I’m Irish), in my excess of pheomelanin, and although “I have a thing for redheads” gets old as a pick up line, there’s a part of me that can’t blame them. We have the peacock thing happening… we’re pretty incredible, what can I say?

References: 

Ginger kids. (2012, September). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger_Kids

Red hair. (2012, September). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair#Beliefs_about_temperament

Weir, S., & Fine-Davis, M. (1989). “Dumb blonde” and “temperamental redhead”: The effect of hair colour on some attributed personality characteristics of women. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 10(1), 11-19. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/617608718?accountid=10868