Sunday, April 12, 2009

Student Tips: How To Start Organizing Essay Monsters

Sometimes when writing an essay, things get out of hand. More than once when dealing with a complicated topic where the thesis requires several other factors be addressed to explain the main argument, I find I end up with a monster. The thesis statement is on page 6, I've accidentally written an essay within the essay, and I'm over the page limit. An epic rewrite must be done, but going over and over all the pages of mixed up points seems to take forever and it gets overwhelmingly confusing. It seems like despite all the work that's been done, the only thing to do is start over from scratch.

In part, that's actually not a bad idea.

The best strategy I've found when dealing with this is to take advantage of the graphics interface and not try to do everything in one file. Open up two new blank documents. Copy and paste paragraphs into one of them in the order that they should be and slowly work your way through. While many paragraphs will need more than a simple reorganizing and suturing together, this is a great way to get back on track and not get lost in a wall of ramble. Once you have a structure go back through and interweave parts that had filled up their own paragraphs so that you get the important points in there without getting off track.

Use the other document as a graveyard. I find I lose a lot of time trying not to kill darlings, so if you find some, don't. Put them aside at the ready, and if they find their way back in, great! If not, it doesn't matter, because that means they weren't needed and you're past that part of the essay. If they are little pearls of wisdom, save the document and keep them. Maybe they will find their way into something else in the future.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

And the New Freddy is...

...a man with some experience wearing a hat and talking in a deep graveled voice. I'm having a hard time getting behind a Nightmare on Elm Street remake, but this seems like a pretty smart casting choice to me.

Still, it will never be the same without Rob.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Top 10 Recent Computer/Internet/Printer Annoyances at UVA and Home

10. The fact that using Firefox at the UVA Music Library
can result in printer errors.

9. That about half of the computer lab
printing stations do not have nearby student ID money deposit machines.

8. That said machines only take bills.

7. That iLike on Facebook keeps telling me people like Leonard Cohen, NIN, The Decemberist, The National, and Wilco are 'Playing NEAR You!!!' when what they mean by near me is the opposite side of the bloody country! It's such an evil sonic cock tease and it puts me in a bitter mood for about an hour after every time I fell for it before I learned not to trust them. Still, when I see the email announcements, I occasionally don't notice from the subject line that it's them.

6. That I can't seem to get Facebook Groups to notify me when people comment on the boards I set up... or basically anything important within groups.

5. The amount of ups on IMDB, even with Firefox. I mean, it's like accidentally following a bad link to a porn site in the late 90s.

4. That little load up, particularly with IMDB and Netflix, where they show the upper menu bar, but things below it are still loading, so when you click on it, there is this pause, then the rest of the screen loads, causing the menu bar to shift about one inch upwards, placing your mouse arrow over some new thing, like an add or a window to some TV section of IMDB (that I couldn't give a rat's ass about), thus making it send you to that even though you clearly clicked on a totally different thing!

3. People coming up and standing right behind me, chatting so loud I can hear them through my iPod, in Clemons when I'm are at a terminal...actually working...most of the time.

2. Facebooks new look, which is making it really hard to navigate and do a lot of the things I was in the middle of when it happened (such as reorganizing privacy levels so that friends and family and school might coexist... something I'm rapidly giving up on).

1. That the new UVA Basketball coach has an almost $2,000,000 salary, yet the Media Studies department has been cut back so much that faculty have to seriously watch how much they print, let alone can't get viewing equipment that works half the time.