Friday, January 25, 2008

Essays and lots of walking

Today, I was very busy.
It started off with church - it was the nameday of the longest-serving priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and he served. After that, I went to my old house, collected my wireless internet box and gave it to some friends who are going to be using it; then I went to my real estate agent's office and handed in the authority to let (i.e. people can be toured through my old place) form.

Then I realised that I had forgotten my glasses at my friends' house, so I went back to get them, and then back to the bus and to my new place, where I did a bit of cleaning and a fair bit of essay writing.

For those keeping track, I was on the go (mostly walking, with a bit of bus and a bit of time to chill at my old place) from about 9:50 to about 12:30 - not easy, and a very hot day to boot!

Also for those keeping track, I've done about two-thirds of the minimum word count for the second essay, but I'm only about half way through the assignment. This is looking like being a trend - hitting six pages while being given 5-7 pages to do the assignment...it's boding well for a decent mark, in my opinion.

It's been a good day, in total.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Victory...1 of 7

So I finished my first essay. This one was about Baptism, its relationship with the Eucharist (which should be rock-solid, but today isn't) and whether it is a private event or one for the whole church (it should be the latter, but to our detriment, it's seen as the former), and my experience of both of these (which is a fairly comprehensive overview of the region that I live in).

I have to admit, I only started on the essay because I couldn't get to sleep. At all. I waited for over an hour before deciding, 'y'know what? I'm going to write an essay'. Not my most logical thought, but quite a productive one nonetheless. I slammed down a bottle of red eye (different from my usual practise of having a little as the night goes on) and slammed out an essay. Which is awesome :D

Completing this was actually easier than normal, but that was mainly because I'd done the research already and knew where to look to justify my pontifications.

Much to my constant annoyance, I had to use the Chicago form of referencing, which is apparently the standard for American humanities, but I'm well and truly used to Harvard (the humanities standard for Commonwealth countries), so it was annoying to have to footnote all the time. I think I got about 17 footnotes, with five references in the bibliography.

Doing a reading course has it's own pecularities, but none so much as when one is used to having a minimum amount of referenced materials. In this course, I got the impression that the marker would be more surprised that other references would be used; in my last degree, we were set minimum amounts (about a minimum of 5 for a 2000 word assignment - can't remember well enough).

The word count, not including references or bibliography, came out to 1936 words over 6 pages, which is right between the 5-7 that was expected. If footnotes were included, though, I'd have written 2308 words, a very respectable total (and more than most of my university assignments). By that count, half of my essays expect 1600 words; the other half, 1300.

Nonetheless, getting back to my main point - I am very happy to have finished one of the essays. Only six to go.

And in other news...
At the moment, I seem to be averaging out at weekly blogging. I'd expected to be so much more than that; but, stuff has been happening.

On the weekend, I found out that my theology course is, in fact, sponsored by the archdiocese, which will make life so much easier for me.

Yesterday, I moved house. Because I've broken the lease, I'll have to pay rent there basically until someone else does...kinda a sucky deal, but not unexpected.

On Tuesday, I communed for the first time in a long, long time. Also got to chant with an Athonite monk, Fr Palladios. Nice guy from what I could tell, but not having a common language has its own problems. For the first time, I read the epistle in Greek, and got plenty of compliments for it. Something tells me that I'll be doing that a little more often.

Later that day, I came second in Mahjong, which I mainly attribute to not losing a lot and winning a couple of hands.
Explanatory: in Mahjong, you only pay in two circumstances - in the more common, because you directly allowed someone else to win; in the other (and less costly) instance, because the winner picked up the tile they needed off the draw.

On the weekend, in my now-old place, I had the experience of sharing a room with not one (like was normal), but three guys - none of whom small. Definitely a new experience in sardines, definitely not one I'll have to repeat any time soon (hopefully).

Friday, January 18, 2008

New place

Phrase of the day: requires a bit of background. Due to some genealogical (sp) research by people on my father's side, we have some reason to believe that my surname, a perfectly normal and popular English surname, may actually be a German surname that has been anglicised.
Phrase of the day: "Your surname is the schmidt!"

Turns out that due to an opportunity that I just couldn't turn down, I'm going to be moving house. It's going to be somewhat further out (five busway stations away from the city instead of four), but it's going to be a far bigger place. It's a sharehouse, but I've known the other two people for almost-three years now, so I'll not be moving in with strangers or anything like that.

I've made all the arrangements that I can, moving out in a week's time and hopefully the place will be taken up soon after that (sadly, we still have to pay rent until someone does, but fortunately university starts soon, so there should be a high turnover).

In other news, I'm still waiting on my glasses. Expected arrival is now Monday or Tuesday. They're taking so long because they're so non-standard - instead of just having to be curved in a particular way, they also have to have prisms put into them, which is apparently a little difficult. Because of that, I haven't started on my essays yet, because I don't want to strain my eyes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

For those of you who are counting...

...here's where I'm up to with my theology essays (or exams, if you like to call end-of-semester essays that):

Liturgic Th., Baptism: 220 of 1800w
Liturgic Th., Great Entrance: 148 of 1800w
Ch.History, Judaism & Early Christianity: 0 of 1500w
Ch.History, Monasticism: 0 of 1500w
Ch.History, Alexandrian and Antiochene Theology: 0 of 1500w
Fundamentals, Theosis: 0 of 1800w
Fundamentals, Confession: 0 of 1800w

Sadly, I'd underestimated exactly how much I needed to write - turns out to be about 50% larger than I thought it was (based on not realising how much text could fit on a standard line), which means that the essays are actually pretty-well essay length - total of about 12000 words to be written in six weeks - it's starting to sound like uni again!

Curiously, because of not having glasses (and thus, not being comfortable with focusing for many long hours on books and computer screens), I am starting off doing the introduction for each essay, then working from there. We'll see.

Useful Procrastination

I really should be used to this by now, but I am continually surprised at how, at least for myself, I'm able to get some really good work done as long as I have something to avoid. It's a perennial university student issue, of course, so I'm quite familiar with the idea.

In this case, I have to clean my place for a Mahjong game this evening (it's an awesome game, by the way). Now, I've done most of it. But there are a couple of things that I really don't like doing - taking out the trash and washing dishes being really high on that list (in reverse order of distaste, for what it's worth).

I've had my applied theology essay questions in my hands for probably just short of a week. But, I've been able to use the excuse that I don't have my glasses, and I don't want to make my eyesight any worse (which is still a legitimate excuse). Of course, that hasn't stopped me from being on the internet quite a lot anyway, but hey.

But, now that I have cleaning to avoid, I've been able to make a start on my Liturgical Theology I essay. Of course, the glasses things is a legitimate problem, so I can't actually do that much, but the fact that I can play with the fonts, margins and line-spacing makes it all good procrastinatory material.

But, the time has come. I need to put my laundry into the dryer.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Busy Period and Evolution Article

It's the beginning of a rather busy period for me. Well, the busy period probably began three days ago, which explains why I haven't been talking about it much, but nonetheless.

But: aside from lifeblogging, I do actually have something to say (at the end of this post)

Firstly, I received my offer, which means that I have been confirmed to do senior secondary Education this year, specialising in Social Sciences (history, geography and a whole host of other barely-related subjects).

Then, I received the essay questions for my applied theology course. In total, and in terms I'm more used to, I'll have to write at least 8500w in the next six weeks. On the whole, not worried. At all. There are other issues, though - there is an overseas component which, although by all accounts Very Good Indeed, is also completely impossible for me to do...and this affects whether I can complete the otherwise-fairly-straightforward course. May have a few higher-than-usual level discussions about this.

Last night, I went to a meet up of my old high school bench - about a 50% strike rate of attendees. Good discussion, good to know some things don't change, but I'm also a little surprised to see how many things do.

Visited my parents a couple of days ago - partly to celebrate my acceptance into Education - and conveniently left my mobile phone behind. Minor catastrophe, but since I wasn't planning to go out the next day, I was okay. Today I went and retreived my phone.

Thus ends lifeblogging.

The article I wanted to disagree with is called "It's just not cricket" - basically, it's about Andrew Symonds, the fact that he's been taunted with the 'monkey' tag, and what that actually means. What the article concludes is that the media's unspoken premise is that calling a negro a monkey is racist because we believe that negros are less developed.

However, I must contest the findings of this article. I would still hold the term 'monkey' to be racist - not because I believe in evolution (and yes, it does seem to me to be a belief decision), but because of the intention of the sayer. It is fairly accepted that the person/people using the monkey tag (whether the crowd or a certain now-suspended off-spin bowler) were using it as a racially prejorative insult, and the fact that the ability to do this is generally accepted gives it power (obviously, calling someone a diary because of their race would have no power if no one knew what you were talking about; although, it could hypothetically still be racist).

So: it's not racist (or otherwise) because negros are less evolutionarily developed (which, for the record, is something that I would never say explicitly or implicitly), but it is a racist insult because the people using the term intended it to be insulting on the basis of race, and it is punishable as a racist insult because the meaning of the term in context is widely known.

I know, that took a long time to say, but when talking about race it's very difficult to say things in few words.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Stromata Update

It's been a fairly slow year so far, to be honest. Some things have happened, though:

- I'm getting glasses. Today was my second eye test, which confirmed my first eye test - it turns out that I have astigmatism, short-sightedness and what I think could be called 'strabismus' (after periods of concentration, I have double vision).

- I'm still nervous about my QTAC reply on whether I get into uni and what one I get into. That comes out on the 10th. Even though I know it's almost impossible for me to not get into something (since I have something on there that I actually got into straight out of high school), I'm really rather hoping that I'll get my first choice.

- I'm waiting on my exams for the St Stephen's course. They'll be coming out on the 15th.

- Caught up with my best friend from high school yesterday. Just like old times (except instead of talking for ages on the telephone, it was face to face. I know, weird.). Reminded me just how differently the Orthodox see the idea of the Church compared to Protestant theology.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008s job worries

It feels kinda weird, I've gotta say, to be in 2008 now (instead of it being 'next year') - throughout this year, and culminating in November, I'm going to be making the transition from uni student to high school teacher.

All apologies to those in rural Queensland, but I'm really hoping that I don't get the invitation to teach in a school that doesn't have at least 70000 people in it. That rules out most places - in fact, it means that if I have to leave my city, I've got Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Mackay and Rockhampton (in that order). And to be honest, I don't really like the thought of leaving my city. One big reason that I would want to leave would be to go to a more concentrated city, and this being Australia, that's just plain not going to happen (at least, not in Queensland).

I'm certainly considering my options if rural Queensland proves to be my only choice - perhaps that would be a time to move to a more dense city.
Of course, all this is well and truly premature - I've got until the end of the year before I lose my mind and plan other cities.