Sunday, November 30, 2008

with thesis out of the way (update to possibly follow, although my topic was not that satisfying to me and i'd be happy not to revisit it for sometime, if only to avoid the pain that comes with seeing a previously unseen error. such revisting might be necessary, however, sooner than later as there is interest from some quarters in turning one part into a submissible manuscript), i can turn to some leisure reading for approximately 17 minutes, before the next thing comes down.

i've still been thinking a lot about foster wallace's death. the rolling stone piece by david lipsky is first rate, and really just goes to show you how fucked up antidepressants can be, but also really speaks to the ways in which wallace was a classic white male author (substances, women, drink), which is somewhat heartening.

in any case, i'm hoping to tackle infinite jest at some point (v. soon) although i would like to get away from reading white dudes for a while (i picked up an octavia butler novel at the library, also, to facilitate this). i got a wallace secondary source that seems to be pretty legit, and which source i'm hoping willl help me to get further through IJ than i did last time (~175 pages). i'm buoyed by a friend recently completing it. which means that it is possible.

i'm gearing up by reading some of the things i already know. but i came across one essay in a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again about this tennis player named joyce. it's helping me think about (as opposed to just enjoying the prose, which is what i usually do) why i like wallace's writing. one thing is clearly his ability to take in a situation and know that situation and then help you to know it as well. this is the great thing about his nonfiction--there's almost no barrier between what's happening, and you since DFW (seemingly) lets you in on everything that he's thinking about and that composes his experience. obviously something must be filtered for the printed page, but it seems like not much is. he's far and away my favorite nonfiction author, but the fiction...maybe the problem is that the fiction leaves reality behind, so whatever is going on in wallace's mind is just too advanced for me. when he's stuck in the real world he has to meet me on my level, necessarily. with fiction there are no such constraints.

plus this guy really fucking loves tennis. and i really couldn't care less about tennis. but i want to read anything that he's written about it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

fine malt thesis

my biggest fear right has nothing to do with not finishing the thesis. it's about setting the margins somehow incorrectly and grad studies making me wait another quarter to get my degree.

a handy option in word is the ability to set a gutter in addition to a normal margin. i'm not exactly sure in what way it's different from a normal margin, but i've added two one hundredths of an inch to the left gutter and it seems much better. for some reason what word showed as a 1.5 inch left margin on the screen was in fact not 1.5 inches wide by my ruler, once printed.

this isn't turning into a word 2007 tips blog. although, there should be one. i have big plans for scholarly work post-thesis involving science studies, engineering, and travel demand modeling. excited? i thought so.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

word 2007 tip

when you have a large table (or anything else) that you need to print in landscape, but you want to keep the page numbers vertical, you won't find any help on the internet.

the only way to do it is to insert a text box in the footer (after unlinking everything, of course), then insert a page number at that position. PRESTO.

don't forget to remove the outline from the textbox.

MS thesis due in seven days.