Friday, January 23, 2009

I'd Rather Be Blogging

Blogging is relaxing and what I have been doing is not. Nine credits is considered full-time for grad students at my university. This semester I am taking 13 credits, unofficially auditing 3 additional credits, and preparing to take my first Big Program Final. In addition, I am searching for an assistantship or a job. I'm not insane yet, but I just might be by the time the semester is over. If I don't post much for the next few weeks, it's because I am either buried under journal articles or hovering over insects, mites, and nematodes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Verbal Shorthand

I went to Office Max today to get some notebook binders for my classes. I selected my binders and then proceeded to the checkout. I placed my binders on the counter. The cashier asked me how I was today and I said, I'm fine. Then the following exchange took place:

Cashier: Ink or paper

Me: I beg your pardon?

Cashier: Ink or paper

Me: Ink or paper?

Cashier: Would you like to buy some ink or paper today?

What do you think about that? Is this some new shorthand verbal language that Office Max is teaching their cashiers? Is the shorthand of text messaging now carrying over to verbal conversations?

This exchange has similarities to when a cashier asks at the grocery store 'Paper or plastic', where we choose one or the other. Is this a new sales technique in which Office Max is trying to make the customer feel like they have to choose either ink or paper? Whatever you call it, I don't like it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

An Upcoming Change

I am dissatisfied with the template and colors of my blog. I am considering changing them to something else. I have tried every template that is available in blogger and I'm not entirely satisfied with any of them. Unfortunately, my knowledge of HTML is very limited so I have to decide which blogger template to choose. Some of my preferred background colors are black, white, or green. Since I am studying plants, it would make sense to have a green background like with the Rounders or Rounders 4 template. But, those just do not feel right. Besides, sometimes I blog about things other than my studies. So I am probably going to go with either the Minima black or white template. Please do not be too shocked if the next time you look at my blog, it looks completely different.

Have you ever considered a blog template/color change and did you make the change? Was it hard to make the change? I'm finding it a difficult thing to do. I think that our blogs function as our identity on the internet. So, to change some aspect of our blog is synonymous with changing some aspect of our identity. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To My Readers

Crimsonpanda's artwork has generated a fair amount of traffic to my blog. I have let Crimsonpanda know this and she is thrilled! So am I! Unfortunately, some of the traffic has been spam, so I have added word verification to the comments section. I don't like word verification and I was hoping to not have to use it for my blog, but for now the situation necessitates that I use it. Hopefully that will help to reduce the spam. Please do not let it deter you from making comments. I enjoy reading your comments very much. Hopefully once the traffic dies down, I can remove the word verification. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Dragon Horse

Photographic Artwork by Crimsonpanda

The spring semester starts this week so I may not have time to post anything for a few days. In the meantime, here is a work of photographic art by one of my favorite artists. It is used with permission.

Creative Commons License

Friday, January 2, 2009

Planning For A New Year

In yesterdays post, I said that I hope that 2009 is a better year than 2008 was. Well, I am going to have to take action in order for 2009 to be better for me. Last year, Congress made some changes to the Farm Bill which caused all funding to be frozen until new proposals were submitted. The funds for my assistantship came a farm bill grant. My major professor is working on a new proposal and it will be submitted soon, but there is no guarantee that it will be approved or that there will be funding for an assistantship for me after April. In addition, I am going to reach the maximum of $138,500 for the U.S. Department of Education Direct Student Loan in May.

To have 2 sources of funding for me end at almost the same time has me very concerned. I didn't expect to ever reach the U.S. Dept. of Ed. maximum. It's shocking to me that I have. I went to a very expensive private school for my undergrad. Although I went to a public university for my masters degree, I really should have graduated sooner that I did. Now here I am working on my doctorate and almost out of funds.

I have to apply for the Graduate Plus Loan, however I am not sure that I will qualify for it. That loan requires that one has a good credit and due to the long hard road that I have traveled, my credit is not so good. But I have to apply anyway.

The actions that I take to make 2009 better for me will in part depend on whether my assistantship gets renewed and whether I get approved for the loan. But there are some other things I have to do as well. I will write about them in a future post.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Goodbye and good riddance to 2008. I hope that 2009 is better.