Sunday, September 30, 2007

School Routines and a 1L Break at the Grand Ole Opry

Since my last post, I've been getting adjusted to life as a grad student, life as a married person, and life in Nashville, and I think things are coming along pretty well. Statistics and I have begun to make our peace. That, and I started doing the homework earlier than the day before its due, which I always knew was a bad idea, but it's really hard to shake undergraduate habits. Theory's going fine. We don't have to read as much as I thought we would, so it gives me time to actually take notes and be somewhat organized before class, which is always nice. Deviance is also fine, although it's a silly, silly class sometimes. Gary does enjoy talking about his own articles, books, projects to make a point, which isn't too bad, but he's written a LOT of articles, books, etc. so a good chunk of the class is devoted to him. I guess that's what happens when you're a famous sociologist, chair of the department, and 65 years old. I suppose he's earned the right to talk about himself, having done such cool work on deviant and criminal type people.

Chad and I are working out our schedules, especially now that Chad's vandy card doesn't work for the bus. (It was never supposed to, but it took the bus system a couple weeks before it found that law students and med students were getting free rides on the bus. Mine still works, but Chad's is on the 'bad list.') So, we drive to school together in the mornings, I swipe some little half and half containers from the law school for my morning coffee, and he heads to the law library while I head over to my office. I share an office with Ebony and Tammy, our Taiwanese student, so there's one long desk with dividers for us to share, and we all have shelf space and filing cabinet space, so it works out pretty well. I'm in the office pretty much all day Monday-Thursday, so it's pretty fun to be the kid who is always around. I've been getting to know the other cohorts better since I'm there so often. All of the grad student offices are sort of on the outside of a bigger room in the middle, and the bigger room in the middle has a big table and a coffee/tea/snack station and a copy machine. So, it's actually a pretty nice set up for socializing. And if there are several students sitting at the table, it's pretty common for a faculty member walking by to come in and say hi. I think they're still getting used to the fact that there are actual students around since 7 in one cohort is the biggest they've ever had. We pretty much take over the entire department with our loud rambunctiousness.

This weekend was Chad's "1L Break," a break for the first year law students, basically so they don't go crazy a third of the way through the semester. I was definitely ready for Chad to have a break, and I know Chad was too. I came home on Friday, and Chad was just sittin' on the couch, watching TV like he didn't have a care in the world. After seeing that kid at his desk every single waking moment for the last 6 weeks, I just about fell over. But he was watching the news, so I knew it was real Chad (he's been doing that lately, weird, I know! But I guess in law school, if you don't know who's on the Supreme Justice court and who's up for election, all the other kids throw rocks at you and beat you with lemons. Ick.) That night Mom and Dad came flew into Nashville and took us out for a delicious steak dinner, and the next morning the drove on to Memphis to visit Darcy. This could turn out to be a very nice arrangement, if you ask my tummy. Plus, it's nice to know that family isn't so far away. And then, yesterday we went to a nearby state park yesterday afternoon and walked around for a while, and last night we had my birthday dinner and night out (sponsored by Chad's mom) at an aquarium restaraunt and the Grand Ole Opry. It was definitely a Tennesseean day.

The Grand Ole Opry was pretty darn hilarious too. It was just like that movie "Walking the Line," where you have a whole bunch of acts in one night, just one after another. And the announcers were off to the side, and in between acts, they would recite a corny advertisement for Cracker Barrel or a bread company while the stagehand were wandering around and hooking up equipment. And then then, a really, really old singer, who's last best-selling hit was in the 60's would come out in a purple sequin suit, or a white rhinestone suit, or a brown sequin and rhinestone suit and sing his favorite song from back in the day. Then, they might have the local father at the piano and daughters singing group or the square dancing group. In the third 30 minute slot, they had the Grand Ole Opry's newest member come out and do a couple songs. Now, he's pretty young, but you keep an ear out for him, because someday this whippersnapper will hit it big: Josh Turner. And of course, the old guys made it sound like Josh Turner didn't already have 3 albums out with a handful of top 10 songs. And all the girls came up to get pictures, and he pretended they (okay, fine, WE) weren't there. But he did a great show, singing his new "Firecracker" song and his remake of "Me and God," and then he was off the stage. It was a funny, funny production, but we definitely enjoyed seeing some historic Nashville country stars and the Grand Ole Opry.

Okay, I've been going on and on enough. Maybe I should just post more frequently rather and super long posts every few weeks. Okay, I'll shot for that. I also have some pictures I might post. Hope everyone's doing great!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


WHY? Why why why why why why whyyyyy!!!! Why why why????? Why WHY!!!!

That short rendition of "WHYYYYYY?!?!?" was composed for the perpetually anonymous Mr. Cutler. The musical score is soon to follow.

In the meantime, I hate statistics.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

10 days in

Classes have been in session (for me) for the last 10 days, and things are still going good! Ok, here's my schedule:

Tuesdays from 1:10-3:25 Deviance with Gary, 9 students. Since classes started on a Wednesday, we've only had one class with him. We talked about witch hunts - his project for the last 15 years, which came out in book form recently, I know because I had to buy the (expensive) book for this class. Seems like it'll be good. We have to answer an assigned question in essay form once every three weeks and present our answer in class. And then there's a term paper at the end. So, it doesn't sound like it'll be too bad. The worst part about the class so far as that the book we're reading actually makes witch hunts sounds boring. I think we should spice things up by watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Wednesdays from 1:10-3:25 Classical Theory with George, 15 students. George is great, and he's also my faculty mentor for this year, which is very cool. He's from Germany, and even though he's lived here since he was 17, he has a massively thick accent, especially when he's saying "Durkheim." (who is a really big sociology guy from 19th century France, wrote about suicide, and came up with a bunch of basic sociological theory that we still use today.) Fun class, and George's big thing is that grad students don't socialize as much as they used to, so we have weekly social hour over at the pub on campus on Friday afternoons. Fantastic idea, so you can see why I like having him as my mentor.

Thursdays from 2:10-4:25 Statistics with Tony, 18 students. Tony is freaking hilarious and very cool, but not the best stats teacher ever. It's a good thing Chad practically majored in statistics. We've been to two classes, and all we've talked about is how to use the stats program. Nothing about mean, median, mode, variation, regression, etc. All of the typical intro stats things. I kind of feel like he doesn't know how to go ALL the way back to the basics. Could be tricky. Luckily, the software we're using reminds me very much of C++, so that's kind of fun. Sucks for the other kids in the class, though, because he's not great at explaining the software either. Really fun prof, though.

Fridays from 1-2, Statistics lab, also with Tony. This is where we sit in the computer lab, mess around with the stats software, maybe do some homework, and ask Tony questions.

Fridays from 3-4-ish, Social Hour with the theory kids and George. Already a favorite time of the week.

So, those are my classes. I usually have a good amount of reading for each one, so that keeps me busy. Chad and I both do a lot of our work up at school. He's staking out a space in the law library, and I have a cubicle type desk in an office in the sociology department - very nice though, I like it. I share the office with two other 1st year girls, and there's a main common area for all of the offices where students often hang out, each lunch, or pretend to work.

Yeah, so, Chad and I usually catch the 7:36 am bus together, we go to the law school, where they have free juice and coffee, and then we split ways for the day. Chad's had opportunities for free lunch every day, so we generally don't see each other until dinner. By that point, after being in the office all day, I'm usually fed up with work, so I watch Scrubs and other hilarious programs while Chad goes back up to the law library until they kick him out at midnight. Then, he comes home, I'm asleep, and he stays up doing more work. And then we get up for the 7:36 again. I think you can tell who's more loaded down with work. That may change, though, since my classes are just now starting to pick up on the work load.

And in the meantime, we still have to write thank you notes. Arg. But overall, life in Nashville is good! It's rainy today, so yay for coffee and reading!