Given that I have a 6000 word paper due on Wednesday, I figured it was about time that I got my main workdprocessing laptop (the one with the bigger screen, as opposed to my netbook) up and running. I kind of started reinstalling the OS on this machine a couple of weeks ago, but due to some of those usual sorts of initial problems whenever futzing around with a new distro, things weren’t working perfectly so I just put it off.
I finally fixed it all up this morning. The strange problem was that somehow my var/lib/dpkg/available got corrupted, and it was making it impossible for me to acquire any new pacakages. It was really strange. I noticed it when I was trying to apt-get a small package (gparted) which kept on failing. At first I didn’t think too much about it, and figured “oh, maybe there’s something wrong with the server or something.” But then when I tried other things, like getting dropbox, or libreoffice, the problem persisted, and I started reading the error messages. Turns out the “available” file for some very very odd reason had like 1k of garbage characters stuffed in the middle of it. It read 00/00/00/00 etc etc for several hundred lines– just smack dab right there, for no reason. Naturally, when apt-get was trying to process things, it runs into all these garbage characters and basically threw a hissy fit. I kind of think it’s related to a plymouth update (damn you, plymouth!) but who knows. After I gedited the garbage out, things are now working normally. Touch on wood.
I am now downloading a word processor as we speak, and once that’s done, it’s time to start writing this paper.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I incurred a 3 or 4 level injury yesterday. 1 being a laceration. 9 being something broken. 10 being … I don’t even know what a 10 would be.
While one of the brown belts, [Pan], was teaching me how to block someone’s hips with my hand, my hand was in a not so good position. Top skip to the end of the story, I basically almost dislocated three fingers at the big knuckles. It wasn’t his fault, and it wasn’t really my fault, it was just an accident because my hand happened to be in a really bad place (apparently). So my three fingers got pullet backwards pretty far– my pinky was too short and didn’t get caught, thankfully.
It’s much better today, and the swelling has gone down substantially, but I can’t unscrew the cap off a bottle of milk because I don’t have enough gripping strength, or hold my electric toothbrush because the vibration is really irritating. The throbbing pain has gone down to about 10% of what it was yesterday.
Thankfully, I have enough strength to type so I can get started on this paper.
I really enjoyed the cases that we were reading for the summer class, but I really didn’t enjoy the course itself. For an international student, taking a 6 credit course like that costs me over 4000 dollars Australian (which is roughly equivalent to American and Canadian dollars). There were two teachers. In the mornings from about 9:30 until noon, the teacher would lecture– basically reading off of their notes, with little or no class discussion or any attempt whatsoever to make the ideas easier. They were basically reading off passages of sumamries they had written for themselves, which would later be integrated into their published book. And in the afternoons? The students would give presentation after presentation for the entire duration of 1:00PM until 5:30PM.
The fact that every week we had to come up with a 30 minute group presentation meant that we spent basically every week trying to coordinate with our classmates to cobble presentations together. Of the reading materials, I only handled 1/6th of the total materials for the course, because preparing for my own presentation was so time consuming that I didn’t have time to read anything that the other groups would cover.
The marking criteria was really vague. I scored a 92 on the first presentation, a 95 on the second, and an 80 on the third. The first two presentations, I got the highest grade, but the third? I asked for feedback, and one of the professors said “you didn’t address X, Y, Z” which pissed me off– you expect me to read 30 pages of raw case transcripts and come up with exactly the point that you wanted to make on X, Y, and Z? How about some guidance on what it is that you want?
The upcoming final paper is divided into 4 questions, each worth 25%, and each section with a maximum of 1500 words. Question number one essentially asks the student to design the ideal anti-trust legal framework. Oooooooookay. Why bother with questions 2, 3, and 4 if they’re all going to be related to the pros and cons of anti-trust law anyway? Why not give us a 6000 word essay on just question number 1, instead of all this other bullshit asking for various levels of focus on the same topic?
Despite that I did overal pretty well with the presentations, the professors basically wrote a book on this subject (global competition law)– so I’m reading this book from cover to cover first before saying anything. I feel that this is one of those classes where it doesn’t matter how well I write, so much as what I write, and that annoys me.
I’m not a med student, but [CM] is and to be honest, its caught me off guard how much of my life is affected by it. I was just adding up the amount of time that I spend doing things for us, like groceries, laundries, cleaning, and more recently shopping– things that normally would be done by two people, I usually take on on my own because med school owns her. I know she’s under a lot of stress. The hours for her are crazy and the amount of work expected of them is insane– there is no way that they could possibly learn everything that’s on the schedule in the amount of time they’re given, especially since they spend 4 days per week doing rotations in hospital departments. But she tries, and as a result, is under a constant feeling of falling behind.
Maybe I just have too much free time on my hands. Given that she’s in school right now and I’m at the end of summer school, maybe I’ll lower my standards when I go back to school and am also busy. Them we can suffer and be equally oppressed by school and the lack of real quality time together, and we’ll have that in common at least.
Sometimes I just miss CM. We don’t have time to waste the way that we used to. Sometimes I just want to lie around in bed with her, but that’s not possible now– every minute is scheduled. It’s impossible for me to ask for more attention from her, because I know what her schedule is like– there is no space for anything. But as a boyfriend, aren’t I entitled to the impossible every now and then? I keep second guessing her time management.
We have a different way of dealing with people and responsiblities though, so it’s not realistic or fair of me to judge her according to my rules. For example, if someone repeatedly shows up late when I’m going to meet them, I tell them, very directly. Not malliciously. But clearly, and unambiguously. Something like “Don’t be so fucking disrespectful– I took steps to show up early, the least you could do is not show up late” works well when in doubt. People get unlimited continues with me, but they’re the ones who have to make the step to get back in my good books. Until then? I manage my aggravations by disabling fucntions and services to people who let me down– because it’s a waste of my time, time that I can spend more gratifyingly doing other things.
I had a mentor in first semester who gave me a lot of common sense advice that I thought was quite obvious back in the day. [Mario] had a lot of good advice. He wasn’t so good at tutoring me as to the details of getting better grades in specific classes, but he taught me a lot about how to survive in law school.
He told me, quite simply, school is a lot of work. As an international, it’ll be worse. You’re going to have to work hard, you’re going to have to study– you’re going to have to find that here and there, you’re going to have to decline going out because you need to do readings. You might even have to give up friends along the way so that you’ll have more time to efficiently spend on things that make you happy. It’s a tough worldwhere you start trying to calculate how much results you get out of every choice you make in life– but it’s something you’ll need to learn how to do, because this isn’t just school, this is life, and you can’t have everything.
My dad recentlly came out of retirement to work part time at a bicycle store. He’s building bikes and doing maintenance. It’s still in the trial stages. He and my mom are the kinds of people who can’t stand to do nothing. They just can’t. They must work. Their entire lives revolve around work.
My mom has over 3 months of annual vacation, which she has never fully taken as far as I can remember. She would actually rather work than have a day off.
I keep telling myself that I cannot make so many choices and be forced into so many corners that one day I turn out like my parents– unable to enjoy a day off.