Random Tuesday Bullets

Things I need to do today:

  • Write paper on Victorian poetry

Things I have managed to accomplish today:

  • Read old blogs, discovered new ones
  • Spent an hour playing with different word processing programs
  • Spent another hour creating a “paper writing” playlist in iTunes
  • Spent yet another hour dancing around my living room while listening to said playlist
  • Mastered the art of procrastination as yet another semester begins

Things I haven’t really touched today:

  • Writing the paper on Victorian poetry–but I did think about it, does that count?
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18 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, that is impressive. You didn’t even have to resort to housework! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. If you have five more minutes of procrastination time available, you could have a look at my very severe point of view about word-processors. In a nutshell: wysiwyg is evil, but OpenOffice.org is less so than that word processing program which-must-not-be-named.

    I addition, procrastination is good. I have an article project (in a draft state) entitled ‘the virtue of procrastination’. I keep procrastinating the publication.

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  3. Sylvia: I was sorely tempted to vacuum as well, but I managed to avoid it at the last minute! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mandarine: Hooray for severity! I agree wholeheartedly about the program which-must-not-be-named. My preference is for LaTex, which makes everything I write look beautiful. Moreover, if something doesn’t look right, I generally know exactly where to look and how to fix it. And sometimes I wonder: LaTex takes time to get used to, but in the past I’ve created a page layout that’s perfect for me, and I wonder if people realize how much time they have to take to prune away the excesses of most WYSIWYG programs? I mean, yesterday it took me quite a while to a) make a single style sheet (I agree with you–no need for 20) and b) to make everything actually work out the way I want. Would it really have taken that much longer in LaTex? Probably not. My brainwashed impulse, though is to go for WYSIWYG (since I was writing a short paper)–but I’m rethinking that decision for future essays and you can bet my dissertation will be in LaTex (at my husband’s university, anyone who handed in a diss using LaTex had a much easier time getting it past the final formatting checklist!). Thanks for the link to your article, it did provide me with several moments of procrastination (particularly as I’m now looking up WYSIWYM editors for LaTex….)

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  4. In the case of science & engineering PhDs, LaTeX is a life-saver: my PhD student found out that a notation in section 4 was clashing with one that had been used in about every equation from section 1. Can you name another word-processing system where you can find-replace mathematical notations everywhere in equations and text alike?

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  5. Mandarine: Exactly! The only problem for me, is that it’s hard enough to explain the intricacies of WYSIWYG editors to many of my colleagues in the humanities–most of the people I’ve spoken with don’t want to take the time to even think about something like LaTex. And yet, it has powerful potential for us as well (particularly when issues like poetry formatting, bulky dissertations, and images come up). Some day, when I get to be in charge, I’d like to strongly encourage everyone to really examine other options, rather than settling for the likes of the WP program-that-must-not-be-named.

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  6. Hmmm, WP program-that-must-not-be-named. I have a feeling that’s what I use. I would love to investigate other options. I’m also in the procrastination vortex. I waited until yesterday to do everything and now I feel like my brain has been squashed into a pancake. I’m waiting for it to re-expand because the week is only half over. Very encouraging to hear others admit to procrastination. I’ll even wash dishes to avoid sitting down to program-that-must-not-be-named.

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  7. Ian: As far as WP programs, if you use a PC there’s the option of Open Office, and if you use a Mac (which I’m more familiar with) there’s Open Office, Nisus Writer (I recommend Pro because it has features that are necessary in academic papers), Mariner Write (which I’ve only played with a bit), or Pages 3.0 (which I used last night). Open Office is FREE! and the others often have trial versions. And as far as procrastination techniques go, I’ve decided to start baking cupcakes on a regular basis, which I like much more than doing household chores (although, there are times when I’ll clean the bathroom rather than face any work).

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  8. Thought is a VERY important part of the process. Let’s not diminish its importance. Now, continue dancing and ruminating.

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  9. of course it counts – I mean, certainly, you were writing in your head, right? Right?

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  10. I wrote my PhD thesis with LaTeX, and I think it was one of the better graduate school decisions I ever made. People love to comment about how they don’t have time to learn how to use it, but the perception that it takes more time to thesisize in LaTeX is just wrong. Sure, I spent some time my 3rd and 4th year of the program learning the language, but when it came time to turn in the final versions and get it past the registrar dude with the ruler who measures your margins and decides if your page headers and figure captions are in the right format, LaTeX saved my life. LaTeX lets you put in the time in the beginning, learning the ropes, using a WYSIWYG word processor will still takes tons of time, it will just be at the end of the process when you are trying to get the hell out of school!

    And just to add, I do approve of your cupcake making habit.

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  11. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  12. Andi: Thinking while dancing is particularly important, although as it stands now, I also tend to come up with my “brilliant” ideas either in the shower or just before bed (to the point where I have to keep a journal by the bed to catch the words as they tumble through my brain). I prefer the dancing…

    Everythinginbetween: I was TOTALLY writing everything out in my head. That’s the beauty of it–in my brain, the words flow effortlessly…then I forget everything by the time I get to the point where I’m willing to write it down. If only the profs could see that everything was beautifully executed in my head, then I wouldn’t have to waste the paper…

    Thermochronic: more cupcakes will be made tonight! And I’m going to try out LyX–it might be the perfect compromise for those of us who don’t have to use many complicated math equations but like multi-layered footnotes instead.

    Sylvia: That one is going to have to go up on the fridge! And perhaps another copy above my desk for inspiration! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. Best of luck with your Victorian poetry paper!

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  14. Dorothy: Thanks! I turned it in this afternoon and I’m just hoping it’s not a complete mess.

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  15. Sarah, I’m the same way. I used to keep a digital voice recorder in my car because I would lose the BEST STUFF driving to work.

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  16. Andi: I really should try a voice recorder again (if only I could stand hearing my own voice playing back at me). I know that if I try to think about a paper deliberately, my head will be empty. But ask me to do a completely unrelated task (such as baking cupcakes) and suddenly the whole concept will snap into place. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. Sometimes people work much better when they are under pressure. It’s best not to finish the paper too early…

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  18. Danielle–Exactly. I sometimes worry that if I were to finish a paper early (has not really happened yet…) then I would get too complacent. Of course, that could just be me trying to make excuses for my incurable case of procrastination.

    Reply

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