Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do NOT procrastinate on term papers, no matter what!

That is my message to anyone who actually reads this blog: If you have a term paper due, and you know it's due, don't put it off. Even if you are busy or stressed, as I am, procrastination is not the answer.

I was always very good with this stuff in high school, but have gotten worse with it since I started college. I wonder if college is having a bad effect on me. Of course, I didn't have a job in high school and definitely not much of a social life, so it was easier for me to get that sort of stuff done. Now I do have a job and not just a job but a full-time job (although with three days a week the last few weeks it doesn't feel like a full-time job). With MiraCosta, it was all right; I was able to keep up even with work, but then I was working part-time for most of that time. Only in my second to last semester did I start to go to school while having a full-time job, and I struggled that semester too. Lately, I've been getting off early enough on the days I work that I could do homework, and with the little stuff I have actually done ok so far. But for bigger stuff it is hard sometimes because I come home from work tired and usually stressed out too, cause the last few weeks my only hours have been on weekends, and weekends are so much worse than during the week (especially midweek, like Wednesday or Thursday).

Not to mention that Sandra is pushing all of us to the breaking point most of the time, mostly to look good for the supervisors, especially Diana Kelly, who have been visiting a lot recently. I'm feeling it, Laura's feeling it, and I know Jose (one of the bakers) is feeling it. And probably Karen (the main baker) too. The cake decorators (the around 3rd-trimester-pregnant Noemi, Katie, and our new decorator Ana) not so much, except on weekends when there's a lot of cake orders. And newbies Jenna (a Massachusetts native with a Boston-esque accent who used to be a pastry chef and once tried out for Hell's Kitchen) and Silvinia (a Hispanic woman who understands English but doesn't appear to speak it) don't seem to feel the heat yet.

Yes, we have new people, and I think this might figure into why I am getting less hours. I'm not complaining -- time off is nice -- but I do want to make money. And $9.20 an hour ($10.20 on Sundays) for 24 hours a week isn't much, especially after taxes, Social Security, union dues, and the $7 that goes toward my insurance.

Anyway, I had a term paper due today for my History class, and though I got the books last week (one from our library and some from the Circuit) I didn't have a chance to do anything with them until this week, mainly Tuesday, yesterday, and today. I actually wrote the paper itself today; the rest of the time was spent in note-taking from sources. I barely finished it in time for class, even with the extra time I had thanks to French class being canceled today. This was mainly cause one of the sources was an e-book where I'd looked up things in the index that each had from one to three "see alsos" that I also looked up. I was having to go all over the place in the book, only to glean very little from the book anyway. Plus, according to the book on citation that Professor Mekenye told us to consult, I had to do Chicago style, which I've never done before. (Other history classes I've taken have used MLA). It turned out this mainly involved using footnotes for citations, which I am very familiar with from my book review for my World History class last fall, where I did MLA with footnotes. So it wasn't too bad. I had to check the summary I found on the CSUSM library site of Chicago style a few times and also look up how to cite an e-book in the library's print copy of The Chicago Manual of Style, the guide for Chicago style.

The introduction and conclusion, which I wrote last (I do this sometimes if I can't think of a good intro or conclusion right away), I don't think were very good since I wrote them in a hurry. But the rest of the paper was all right. I basically just used my notes to find the info and tried to structure it in a logical manner. As far as using the notes were concerned...thank God for OneNote. This nifty little program, included in my Student and Teacher Microsoft Office '07 suite, is very useful. I use it to take notes for my bio and history classes (the two classes I know I can use my laptop in) and have also been using it to organize plans for my websites. I simply put the term paper stuff into the "notebook" I already had for that class, and I did different "pages" with the info from each book. Changing pages in OneNote is way easier than cycling through Word documents like I used to do. And as for Word, it now has some nifty tools for entering citations and stuff. I didn't use that stuff, but I did use the new nifty "Insert Footnote" button.

Anyway, my next paper (I think) is paper #1 of my lit project, and aside from getting the books and doing the annotated bib, I have done nothing on that end, so I better get going on that. That is not due till October 14th, which seems like a long time yet, but that's really only a couple weeks, and time escapes me so fast these days. The first paper contains the first three parts of the final project, which are a biography of our chosen author, an "explanation of the writer's significance within literary history or histories," and an "in-depth" discussion of the writer's major themes. At least there's not as much analysis involved as shall be in the final project, but there's still a lot there. The biography will be eased by the fact that I actually found a real biography of my author, thanks to the ever-helpful Circuit that allows us to borrow books from UCSD, USD, and SDSU. As for themes, I found a lot of journal articles regarding the work we are going to read by my author, so hopefully that will help. I'm not sure on the second part; I'm going to ask Professor Cucinella to clarify that for me.

Fortunately, I did well on my Annotated Bibliography (an A-), which is nice considering the work I put into it (devoting most of a day off to it) and especially since I'd never done one before. The fact that Professor Cucinella posted a sample online for download was really helpful. I think Professor Cucinella's notes on my annotated bib. will help a good deal as well.

One lesson I learned from doing my history paper is to have a better idea of how the paper will be organized before going through your sources (whereas for my history paper I really only had a skeleton outline at first, without even a thesis). Now, as I mentioned, the topics have already been given and also what order they will be in, but where you use stuff from various sources is ultimately up to you, I figure. Also, it's up to you to put things from various sources into a logical order so that the paper flows well. That's how essay writing works.

This is the major project of this class, encompassing the whole semester, and the rest really is just reading and a few tests. If I can keep up on the reading (which except for Mexican Village I have been doing good on), I can devote more time to making the project good. And I really want to pass this class, not only because it can count as an elective toward my major, but because it is a 400-level (meaning senior year level) course, and I am technically still a junior (300-level) so I will feel like I accomplished something by doing well in this class.

The bar has definitely been raised this semester. The jump from community college to the university is quite a leap to say the least. It's not going to be easy. But, to quote my favorite Queen song, "I consider this a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain't gonna lose."

Not much else has been going on, really. I spent the ride home from school relaxing, feeling after the agony of doing the report I deserved a little rest. I played Pokemon Pearl and then listened to a new episode of WTPT, which was about Berries.

My pleasure reading has been scant lately, thanks to having so much reading for my Lit class, as well as reading for all my other classes, mainly Bio and History. But I did manage to re-read The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan while trying to also read for my classes, and now I am re-reading Sixth Covenant, book 6 of the A.D. Chronicles series by Brock and Bodie Thoene.

My video-making has been scant too; I haven't posted anything in around a month on my main account, and in a while on my backup one. I have run dry on ideas, so I am focusing on my fandubs. I am still planning Act 24 of the Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project and am waiting for the rest of the lines from AmyMizunoPGSM, who, if all goes well, will be our new Usagi. I also need to finish planning what music to use and record my lines.

Also, I am planning some solo fandubs - two Pokemon eps, some songdubs, and a redo of my second fandub for the channel, a Generator Gawl fandub.

Okay it's getting late and I have to get up early tomorrow. I'll post later about the English workshop I went to yesterday. Bye for now!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Research and such

I have an annotated bibliography due tomorrow for my Lit class, so today since I had the day off from work I went to the library. I found a bunch of books and also, using my laptop, found a bunch of journal articles. Also, on the way, I read the Luis Valdez play Zoot Suit, which the teacher said we'd be discussing tomorrow and which I had not yet read. It was easier to get through than Mexican Village for sure.

I also got a book on Islam in Africa for my history term paper, and there's some other books I need to get too. I think I have to request some from the circuit.

Today in the lobby area of the second floor of the library, I was leaving my stuff to go search for something upstairs when I saw a familiar sight: a DS with Pokemon on it. A guy was sitting there playing it. I asked him about it and found out he was playing Diamond. Sweet, I found someone who plays that game.

Speaking of which, I decided to train a new team. Not with any theme or anything (though that would be fun to do, and I may do it eventually), just some new Pokemon. So I got some of the Pokemon out of my Boxes that were lower level so I could train them. I was going to use either my Volbeat or Illumise (I managed to catch both in the Survival Area, even though Illumise is rare in Pearl) but then realized I needed a Pokemon that could learn Fly. So I had to substitute my recently-caught Spearow. I also went to Eterna City and changed the names of the Pokemon that didn't already have nicknames (except my Abra, which I got in an in-game trade and thus can't change the name of). My team now is: Tweety the Spearow (as in Tweety Bird; I know, lame name, but I couldn't think of anything else), Lucky the Chansey (after Chansey's Japanese name Rakki/Lucky), Mare the Azumarill (Mare being short for Marill), Kazza the Abra, Pachie the Pachirisu, and Bunny the Buneary. Since only Bunny, Pachie, and Mare are decent levels (in late 20's to early 30's in level), the other Pokemon get KO'd pretty quickly most of the time. The one exception is Lucky, because as we all know the Chansey family have really high HP (Lucky has 119 hit points already and it's at level EIGHTEEN).

Sorry I got sidetracked for a while. I better start getting ready for bed, what with school tomorrow. Bye!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Work can make you go crazy

This last week has just not been good for me at work. Not like I'm in trouble or anything. There's just been a lot of stress. I don't know whether the fact that we're coming out of a holiday weekend (Labor Day) has anything to do with the craziness of our department, but it is stressful for all of us. Sandra (my department head) apparently must forget how few people she actually has working for her, because she assigns work as if she had tons of help, even when we're ridiculously shorthanded (as we are probably 90% of the time). This includes extra cleaning, etc when she is tipped off that a supervisor is coming, regardless of whether the supervisor actually shows up (a lot of times we are told a supervisor is coming on a particular day, and they never show).

I think the problem is that Sandra comes from a small store, even smaller than my old store, and she is supposedly at our store to learn how to run the bakery in a high-volume store before going to run the bakery at the new Carlsbad store, set to open next Feburary. Plus, she is rather stubborn and tends to do things her own way and not always listen to suggestions from others. At least this is my impression. It may not be totally accurate. I just get miffed when I make a suggestion about how something should be done, based on observation and past experience, and I get ignored.

It's hard when you have more than one manager in a short period of time and thus have to learn different ways of doing things just to suit the manager. I've had four bakery managers in the short time I have been in the bakery at this Stater Bros. (according to this blog, I started at the store I'm at currently on April 4, 2007. This means I have been at this store one year and five months as of this last Thursday, September 4, 2008. I started in the bakery -- also according to this blog -- in early May 2007. So that is a year and 4 months, meaning I was only in the deli for like a month). The only people working in the department right now that were there when I started are Katie (who was my first manager but then she went on maternity leave and decided not to take her manager position back when she came back), Joseph (who has the most seniority in the department - he's been at that store for 8 years), and Karen (the baker). Everyone else came since then.

First we had Katie. I love Katie. She was a very good manager, and continues to be an admirable figure today. She is also a really excellent cake decorator. She also knows a lot of stuff about the store and has way more courage than me about standing up to superiors when necessary (as I found out today). Though she's actually two years younger than me (she was born in 1986), she seems very wise and is sort of like the big sister I wish I had. Sometimes (like today) she'll kind of lecture me, but in a way that makes you realize that she is doing it for your own good. The sort of thing a big sister should do.

After Katie went on maternity leave, Dina (who was the unfortunate victim of a department swap - she went to the deli when I went to the bakery) took over. Dina can be fun and joking, but say or do something she views out of line and she can turn pretty nasty and strict. Dina was only our manager for a short time, because she was picked to take over the deli when its previous manager, Nelly, left.

When Dina left to become deli manager, Tori came to us. Or rather Veronica Garcia a.k.a. "Tori." (Not sure where you get "Tori" from Veronica, but whatever). Anyway, she was interesting. I'm not sure whether she was older or younger than me; she was really short for whatever age she was so it was hard to say. I don't know if she was ever really strict per se but I had some issues with her. She kept assigning me a task and then pulling me off of it before it was done to do another task, so it was hard to get anything done.

By some twist of fate (or maybe, as people say, it's "in the water"), Tori became pregnant. Shortly before she would've left anyway to go on maternity leave, she got transferred to another store. Shortly after that, we got Sandra.

Sandra is something else. Aside from doing the same task-switching thing as Tori, she is similar to Dina in that she switches from fun to strict really easily. She doesn't take no crud from anyone. She does sometimes try to make jokes with me, which is of course a useless thing, because for whatever reason (maybe cause of my Asperger's) I tend to take everything seriously. She also "disappears" a lot, going off to the office or to do the order or something and not coming back for a long time, or at all. One day she disappeared for like 2-3 hours and when she came back she said she had to go home and change cause it was her "time of the month." The only thing is she looks like she's at least 50, and don't you usually stop menstruating at that time? Also, I'm not always sure if she's entirely truthful, as I have heard two versions of the story telling why she came to our store. Her pride and joy is her 10-year-old daughter, who she raises alone, being separated from the father (who she has to see in court every 3 months because of some custody or child support issue). She also is very proud of her brother, who is supposedly the musical director for Jordin Sparks (the winner of American Idol season 6).

Ok enough about work.


What am I up to lately?

Well the second week of school is over already, and there's lots to do. I have to start research on Nella Larsen (my chosen author) for my ongoing Lit project, which begins with an annotated bibliography due on the 16th (next Tuesday). Meanwhile, by this coming Tuesday (the 9th), I have to read all of our first "novel," Mexican Village (it's actually a collection of self-contained "chapters," but the chapters are really long - the first one is like 30 pages - so you could call it a novel since all together it's like 300 pages). I finally started reading it yesterday before work, and I finished the first story tonight while waiting in the car for my parents to do something in Wal-Mart. I do not find Mexican Village terribly interesting so far, but maybe this is because I have been pretty tired the last couple days and thus not enthousiastic about much. I imagine I will find Passing (our novel by Nella Larsen) much more interesting.

My research should be easier thanks to our extremely helpful library day on Thursday, which was tailored to our class specifically. I thought maybe it would be a rehash of stuff I've already heard, but I was pleasantly surprised. And I learned that we have borrowing rights via circuit from SDSU, USD, and UCSD, the other three universities in the area. I also know that when I was at Mira Costa, we could borrow books from Palomar and CSUSM (something that was a lifesaver for me for speech class, which is where I found out this information), and I suppose that this agreement works both ways - i.e., CSUSM students can check out books at Palomar and Mira Costa just as Palomar and Mira Costa students can check out books from CSUSM as well as from each other. So I have lots of options. If I do borrow books from Mira Costa and Palomar, it's not too hard to take them back -- Mira Costa isn't too far away, and I go by Palomar on the way to work and school anyway.

I am also thinking out the websites. I realized the thing with history and mythology in film wouldn't quite work. So I am back to more of a general site. I thought of possibly having certain projects be permanent but have a changing featured one or two "projects" each month. I was inspired to do this by thinking of Libby on Wednesday, a novel I really like. In that book, Libby has rooms on the third floor of the McCall house where she houses collections devoted to what she's studying (since she was homeschooled up to the point the book starts). Three of the rooms change in theme from time to time, but one room, devoted to the 1930's, stays the same all the time. I am playing with a concept of a focus on women, especially after learning (from random Wikipedia-searching on my laptop during lulls in class) just how many minor goddesses there are in Greek mythology.

As for my sole anime site, Misty's Piscine, I should be able to update that one easily now that I bought the second "volume" of the Diamond & Pearl player's guide, which, aside from a post-story guide for D/P, features a full National Pokedex. I will have to do a lot of updating and rewriting, since a lot of my descriptions come almost plagarized from The Official Pokemon Handbook, a really old book I own that covers the first 150 Pokemon. I will probably keep some of the Red and Blue info, since it comes from the Red/Blue player's guide I no longer own, since I am not sure from which game the info comes for the Red/Blue Pokemon featured in the National Pokedex.

Through leafing through the National Pokedex, I saw a lot of Pokemon I want to catch, like Absol (on the left). I also want to get Milotic (on the right) cause it looks really neat, though you have to get Feebas first cause Milotic evolves from it.

The Republican National Convention was this last week. I watched Sarah Palin's and John McCain's speeches. They were both good, but I liked Palin's better cause she seemed less nervous. I also still find it sad that McCain can only lift his arms so high because of how he was tortured in Vietnam.

Okay I can't think of anything else to say. I'm tired, I have a headache, and I still haven't eaten dinner. Good night for now.