November spawned a monster

I really, really want to blog but there’s little on my mind these days beside quals. I even spent Halloween night writing rather than partaking in the festivities. For now, here are some notes and updates since I know you all miss me.

I celebrated on Saturday night with X, the boy I’m seeing, and his friends at a club in Santa Monica. I spent the day making my costume. I didn’t use any of my ideas mainly because (a) I’d done them before and (b) they’re too common for me. I like original costumes. My costume was kinda abstract and original, few people actually got it and when I told friends about the costume they asked, “how are you going to do that?” I had a little help from my mom in making part of the costume. My sister also helped. They rock.

Quals? Huh?
Quals, short for qualifying exam, is an exam PhD students take after completing coursework. In order to advance to dissertation stage, you must pass the exam. Exams are structure differently depending on your department and program. Mine is held over a three day weekend and consists of three ten-page (max) papers. The first questions is on a general higher education topic and tests our knowledge of the breadth of issues. The second is a critique of an article published in a peer-reviewed journal. This question focuses on our knowledge of methods and the research process. Finally, the third question focuses on your specific research area. My exam is scheduled for November 16th-19th.

My friend Arshad called me gangster. Not gangster as in chola gangster or Tony Soprano gangster, but gangster as in I’ll pass my qualifying exam despite my lack of preparation and my tendency to procrastinate. I value Arshad’s opinion, he knows me well and we’ve been in school together for years. However, I was annoyed with his support. Yes, annoyed. I wanted him to echo the voice in my head. I want him to tell me I’m not prepared, I’ve wasted too much time and when it comes time to take the exam in two weeks (exactly!) I’m gonna have a difficult time. Arshad isn’t the only person being supportive. Everyone is supportive. They all think I’ll do fine. Even my advisor, one of the faculty members who grades the exam and wrote my particular question, thinks I’ll do fine.

Día de los Muertos
I tried writing about Paco García, the first person I know to die when I was about 9 or 10 years old. Paco was probably in his mid to late 50s when he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was a prominent member of my church as both a co-director of the Spanish-language choir and artist for the weekly bulletin. Everyone loved Paco and his wife, Alba.

When he passed away, I remember being told not to wear black for his funeral Mass. Instead, I was supposed to wear bright colors. My mom may have worn a red dress. I was a little puzzled by this. On television, people wore black for funerals, so why did we look like we were going to Easter Sunday Mass?

If I had a photo of Paco, I’d add it to my mini-altar. After all, it was the death of Paco, a Cuban immigrant and devout Catholic, that helped me to see death as something more than tragic. It prepared me pretty well when I started to learn about Mexican traditions my family didn’t practice, such Día de los Muertos.

Something Wicked This Way Comes
I loved last night’s episode of Ugly Betty. Yeah, I know I need to study, but I have to take a break. Below are some of my favorite quotes:

Ignacio: You need to be with your family and food.

Christina: He’s your donut.
Betty: Yes, he’s delicious and I can’t tell anyone.

Christina: But you’ve got to take that donut and you’ve got to bite it. Dunk it in your coffee and get it hot and warm and wet…

Wilhelmina: What do we want?
Mark: Integrated chocolates!
Wilhelmina: When do we want them?
Mark: Now!

Gio: Oh yeah! Egg salad on white, sexy!

Betty: You’re about to hear a cough. That’s me saying hello.
Henry: You’re about to hear a sneeze. That’s me saying hello.
Gio: You’re about to hear gagging. That’s me gagging.

Mark: She doesn’t give dinner breaks. Wilhelmina treats all white people like slaves, something about payback.

Amanda: Not your type? It’s like he ate your type.

Hilda: I’m romantic, not crazy.


0 thoughts on “November spawned a monster

  1. WTF are you doing blogging right now…don’t you know you have quals! Seriously Cindylu, I expect you to fuck this up and fail horribly unless you use every minute studying for that damn thing! Get to it girl! Stop with the procrastinating and wasting time already!

    better? 🙂

  2. I hate to say it, but I sorta have to agree with HP. This was a funny first sentence to this post: “I really, really want to blog but there’s little on my mind these days beside quals.”

    Anyway, you don’t need to study. Arshad’s right. You’re gangsta.

  3. In chemistry (this is pretty much universal in American institutions), we have to write up one-two research proposals in an area outside of our field, and a write up of what we have done in our own research so far and what we intend to do.

    Then we have to present it to a committee. They can ask us whatever the heck they want, as long as it has to do with chemistry. Even if it has nothing to do with what we are presenting.

    anyway, good luck. and i hope you don’t read this comment until after you are done.

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