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Showing posts from May, 2010

My Language Habits

An acquaintance noted, "I never hear you swear." Probably accurate. I seldom use harsh language, finding it generally pointless. Generally, I also find it offensive. Some people I find quite funny do (or did) use such language, but I'm not on stage performing like George Carlin or Denis Leary. Language should be as precise and clear as possible. Clarity does not require any of Carlin's famous words. The same acquaintance observed that I seem far too serious. So the lesson for the week is that people expect others to be profane and funny? No wonder I like sitting at home with the cats. They are easier to entertain and don't mind that I'm quiet. Part of me wishes humans could be entertained with laser pointers and catnip mice on strings.

Exhaustion of Conferences

I managed one partial day of an academic conference. The conference was from Wednesday through Sunday at noon. I attended four hours in the middle of Friday and that was more than enough for my system. Enough to attend a single presentation and give my own presentation before needing to recover from the social interactions. I had hoped to last longer and attend most of the Friday and Saturday events and sessions. Unfortunately, the stress of being in an unfamiliar setting meant I started Friday a bit late. After trying to attend the luncheon, which was in a large and noisy ballroom, I had to sit in a room alone for an hour before delivering my own presentation. After my presentation, I returned to the hotel and soon fell asleep. I decided it was definitely best to return home on Saturday. From Thursday through Saturday, I hadn't eaten a meal. Getting home was essential.The drive, all 612.5 miles each way, was actually relaxing. Just me and my favorite music. It was preferable to t…

Parents Pushing Therapies

On LinkedIn, in addition to scam therapies and nutcase "cures" for autism, parents keep asking for ways to "help" their children "become normal." Some of this is a desire for a better life for the child, but there is also a selfish desire to interact with the child in a comfortable way. People don't like atypical minds -- we're uncomfortable. "Repairing" or "recovering" a child seems cruel to me. Let minds evolve at their own paces. And embrace differences, don't try to "fix" people who experience the world and process data in a different way. There are days when I have no desire, no energy, to speak. The effort to organize and prepare speech is draining, a conscious effort to assemble thoughts in a way others will accept and respond to -- like having to translate from English to Chinese. I have to mentally, often slowly, convert idioms and metaphors I hear into the visual "language" of my mind. Then, I …

The Doctorate, Completed

Yesterday, I defended my doctoral dissertation and paid the last $120 in fees to the University of Minnesota. For the cost of tuition, they really should include the dissertation filing, even though the money is technically paid to a private publisher. Here is a portion of the "ETD" report you receive after submitting the final project:
Print Date : 05-12-2010
_____________________________________________________
Campus : University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Program : Graduate School
Plan : Rhetoric/Sci/Tech Comm Ph D Major
Degree Sought : Doctor of Philosophy
Plan : Supporting Program Minor

Dissertation: Online Pedagogy: Designing Writing Courses
for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dissertation / Final Research Categories
______________________________________________________
736 : Speech & Rhetorical Studies
810 : Educational/Instructional Media Design
835 : Special Education
864 : English EducationIt is complex enough you need a ke…

Exhaustion Sets In...

I'm down to five days until my dissertation defense. Following the defense, I should have the doctorate. Grading should be done in the next day or two. Once I turn in final grades, I'm done teaching for a time. This means I really will be done with academia by Tuesday afternoon, shortly after lunch.Today, though, I was too exhausted to do much of anything. I watched television and listened to the radio. My energy level is much lower than it should be. I keep telling myself the degree was for a purpose. Right now, I'm hoping I can use it to give my creative writing some authority. If I ever do teach again, it will be a part-time post related to my creative interests. Once I have a clear mind, I'll offer some general thoughts. I am trying to sort through a great many thoughts and some emotions. It will be nice to be done.