semiotic_pirate: (Default)


May. 6th, 2008 05:54 pm
semiotic_pirate: (huzzah! turtle)
Life is good.

The Final Cumulative Oral Examination by Presentation went superbly well. Huzzah!

Now I am just waiting for the change to the grade (from Incomplete) for the independent study from last spring... then I will know what my graduating GPA is.

I haven't talked so much at one time in a long time. 45-60 minutes non-stop speaking while going through about 130 slides on power point. Whew! The committee only had a few questions each to clarify some stuff that they were interested in. The only other people in the nice comfy conference room with wing back chairs and a semi-loud and not so powerful AC unit were CoB and my friend Jess from the department. Just the way I wanted it.

I'm gradumatating.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Staggering amounts of debt and abysmal credit scores are what awaits most upon graduation...

Majoring in Credit-Card Debt
Aggressive on-campus marketing by credit-card companies is coming under fire. What should be done to educate students about the dangers of plastic?
September 4, 2007, 12:01AM EST
by Jessica Silver-Greenberg

Seth Woodworth stood paralyzed by fear in his parents' driveway in Moses Lake, Wash. It was two years ago, during his sophomore year at Central Washington University, and on this visit, he was bringing home far more than laundry. He was carrying more than $3,000 in credit-card debt. "I was pretty terrified of listening to my voice mail because of all the messages about the money I owed," says Woodworth. He did get some help from his parents but still had to drop out of school to pay down his debts.

Over the next month, as 17 million college students flood the nation's campuses, they will be greeted by swarms of credit-card marketers. Frisbees, T-shirts, and even iPods will be used as enticements to sign up, and marketing on the Web will reinforce the message. Many kids will go for it. Some 75% of college students have credit cards now, up from 67% in 1998. Just a generation earlier, a credit card on campus was a great rarity.

For many of the students now, the cards they get will simply be an easier way to pay for groceries or books, with no long-term negative consequences. But for Seth Woodworth and a growing number like him, easy access to credit will lead to spending beyond their means and debts that will compromise their futures. The freshman 15, a fleshy souvenir of beer and late-night pizza, is now taking on a new meaning, with some freshman racking up more than $15,000 in credit-card debt before they can legally drink. "It's astonishing to me to see college students coming out of school with staggering amounts of debt and credit scores so abominable that they couldn't rent a car," says Representative Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
Congressional Oversight Weighed
Read more... )

It would be interesting if credit card companies (on campus or otherwise) had to put each prospective borrower through the same type of introductory class that students have to attend before being allowed to take on federally subsidized student loans.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Okay true believers... I believe that I have completed the final draft of my paper. The big paper that I've been working on for EVER is this close *hold index finger and thumb of right hand an inch apart* to being DONE!

I'm not counting it as done until I get the financials done *three-quarters of an inch* and then the paper gets approved *half an inch* and finally I get the presentation ready *one-quarter inch* and presented to the committee & whoever *index finger and thumb a nano-inch apart* and this *index finger touching thumb* will occur when I sign on to the Peoplesoft system and see that my Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics has been awarded. Whew!

Damn, this is exciting. I'm actually looking forward to getting a job. I'm really looking forward to getting into the ARC program and becoming a teacher for the VO-AG schools up in the Quiet Corner of the state of Connecticut. *big cheesy cheshire cat grin*

I'm going to (hopefully) finish up the financials before taking a break and heading out with CoB to go see Stardust finally. I must buy him a drink and some candy - this is the bribe he insists upon being paid in order to accompany me to the movies. Heh. Too funny.

I want to finish up the financials beforehand so that I can RELAX while at the movies... I woke up at 3 AM this morning, wide awake with bits and pieces of this project floating through my head. So... I got up, after trying to fall back to sleep, at 3:26 AM to begin my day. Yikes. I haven't gotten up this early voluntarily since I was in the military.
semiotic_pirate: (Sloth)

Yeah. This is how I feel sometimes. The clock is ticking down and I've got to get things finished. It will be done in time though, no doubt of that at all.

Watching a version of Richard III now and after that The House of Usher. Must be a Vincent Price marathon today on Turner Classic Movies. Interesting look he had when he was younger and unwrinkled. Still pretty disturbing in appearance.

Harry Potter non-spoiler thought: (kadath beware!) Vincent Price would have made a fabulous Professor Severus Snape. Makes me think in a way how some people (myself included) will imagine their characters as they read a book.

I did get some stuff done today though. I stripped down my vacuum cleaner and rinsed out all the HEPA filtration system filters and containers. By this time tomorrow I'll know if I cleared that clog out of the lower tubing - the only section I couldn't get to because I was hesitant to expose the motor to try and get to it. I tried running a wire brush through there and it would only go so far, there is a twist or something so that it cannot be easily accessed. It was an expensive investment, getting it in the first place, I can only hope that it does work. *fingers crossed*
semiotic_pirate: (rawr kitty w/apple)

June 10, 2007
Private Loans Deepen a Crisis in Student Debt

WASHINGTON — As the first in her immigrant family to attend college, Lucia DiPoi said she had few clues about financing her college education. So when financial aid and low-interest government loans did not stretch far enough, Ms. DiPoi applied for $49,000 in private loans, too. “How bad could it be?” she recalls thinking.

When Ms. DiPoi graduated from Tufts University in Boston, she found out. With interest, her private loans had reached $65,000 and she owed an additional $19,000 in federal loans. Her monthly tab is $900, with interest rates topping 13 percent on the private loans.

Ms. DiPoi, now 24, quickly gave up her dream to work in an overseas refugee camp. The pay, she said, “would have been enough for me but not for Sallie Mae,” her lender.

The regulations that the federal Education Department proposed this month to crack down on payments by lenders to universities and their officials were designed to end conflicts of interest that could point students to particular lenders.
Read more... )
This reminds me of the consolidation loan people who snookered me into signing a waiver concerning the six month period before I would need to start paying for my loans... They got to me in the confusion between undergraduate and graduate school. Claiming that "the rates are going to go up!" When the rates on each loan are fixed when the loan is taken out - and all I would have to do is consolidate the low rate loans together and the higher rate loans together. Blech. So now I am waiting for the loan repayment schedule to come in the mail... and I did call them to notify them of my graduating... Bastards. Makes me feel used and abused. If they "misplace" that request for a repayment schedule and then try and claim that I didn't start making my payments on time I'm going to be royally pissed. And I have this bad feeling like I should transfer the consolidation to Sallie Mae so that I at least have the same lender for all my loans, plus I feel like I'm going to get screwed somehow by these people, since they already did already in a way. Bastards! Of course, I did all my homework otherwise, for the most part all I have is federal sub and unsub loans. Only one very small private loan from a local bank for a summer class.

Great, this article has had such a wonderful effect on my cramps... They are now MUCH WORSE than they were before I read this.
semiotic_pirate: (PirateWildKate)
Out of the seven I originally applied for, I only got three "you do not fit the bill" emails - those were for the USDA Farm Service Agency Loan Assistant positions. I think they were looking more for people with experience in bank loans as well as finance specific geared majors.

Of the other four, no word yet. This is good, because according to the postings it takes 60-90 days to hear anything back from them if you've made the initial pile to be assessed. Yay. One with NIST, and three with DOC - Bureau of Economic Analysis, although only two (don't know why) show as application completed.

Yesterday I applied for another four jobs listed on USAJOBS, great site. They are all economist positions, so my degrees are perfectly aligned with them. So, those new jobs are listed for th Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Economics and Statistics Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Bureau of the Census. Of course, applying for the BLS is kind of like having thirty applications in one - since they are listing so many different locations at the same time. Signed up as amenable to all of them except Los Angeles county. I don't think I could deal with the Hollywood set nor with their climate/environment.

So, that means I have *counting on my fingers* eight applications out in totol. Yay. Otherwise, I'm not really sure of any good places for an economist to start at entry level in the private sector. Forget about the non-profit, I'm sure they all want people with experience. Anybody want to put in their two cents, feel free.

In other news, my Captain Marvel comics FINALLY made it to me... eBay guy had to (supposedly, becuase he has many many - appx 2% - bad reviews about missing in transit, very long shipping time, offering and selling stuff that he doesn't actually have on hand "yet" and another bunch that are either neutral or leaving masked with positive rating negative comments - in fear of retaliatory bad ratings). This will teach me to read through a person's ratings before buying. OTOH, the comics themselves are mar-vell-ous, heh. It is a three part set about Mar-vell just before he and the other Kree head to Earth - when he encounters the Brood. Now I want to read more about him. *sigh*

In other, other news, I got in touch with the local rep (he is the rep for both of the following organizations) for the Uconn Cooperative Extension System and the Tolland County Cultural Center. He is the person to go to to get help for writing a business plan, especially one with an agricultural focus. Has experience with both the academic side and actual business side of writing business plans. Yay. Oh, and if this plan actually pans out as being feasible and all that, I might actually try and attempt doing it. Hell, this is a plant that goes for about $80 - $100 USD/pound, and there are only three growers in the United States, one in Canada. No, I am not ready to reveal the product yet, tyvm. ;-D
semiotic_pirate: (warm glow)
Okay. Ready?

Good thing from graduation: The guy who won the Nobel prize for discovering Bose Einstein Condensates was our speaker.

Bad thing from graduation: The guy who won the Nobel prize for discovering Bose Einstein Condensates was our speaker.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It seemed like it was never going to end. I mean, it was great to see him in person but... and the intent and idea of his speech was good, however, the delivery was long-winded and badly presented. That and everyone NOT GRADUATING patting each other and themselves on the back throughout the ceremony that's supposed to celebrate and honor the people graduating. RAWR.

The exact moment when my family finally realized exactly where I was (front row) in my section and waving wildly when I looked in their direction: priceless

Willington Pizza was some of the best "gourmet" pizza I've had. I had some doubts about pepperoni on a greek pizza, but it worked. Pepperoni, spinach, feta cheese, black olives, and garlic with red sauce and the obligatory cheese. There was a LOT of garlic. I'll be exuding it out of my pores for days.

My Mum gave me a little "sugarplum fairy" with a miniature tassel (2007 fob on it and everything) draped on its arm - yeah, I took ballet lessons a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away and my first stage appearance was as the sugarplum fairy (or rather, I think, a troop of them). Along with some sapphire heart earrings and a box of assorted chocolate truffles.

Now for today.

Got to see Spiderman 3. It was okay. Definitely not as good as one and two, it had an homage to Saturday Night Fever and another movie I cannot remember the name of now, which were kind of cute. It was Stan Lee's best cameo appearance in a Marvel movie, IMHO. The extras were too distracting, hamming it up all the time, overreacting in a over-the-top cartoonish way. All the time. It was a background annoyance that never ended. And where were all the strange and normal looking people that populate NYC? There was no one homely or unplastically beautiful through the whole thing. There was no subtlety at all. The most (unforced) moving part was when the Sandman was transformed and rediscovering himself as sentient sand.

Post movie we headed to the mall - where I got my graduation gifties from CoB. I found a product that combined a slew of Marvel comic book heroes, zombies, and The Army of Darkness guy (who also had a cameo in spiderman 3, btw). Imagine almost all superheroes (and I'm not sure if the regular populace was too) turned into zombies. Yeah. It is gonna be good. Apparently it came out (first printing) in 2006. So, I was able to find it (after buying 2 and 3 out of 5 at Newbury Comics) in the all-in-one hardcover book format at Hot Topic. So a five comic limited edition type of thing. Kind of reminds me of the special edition comics where aliens capture all the earth's superheroes and make them fight each other - but with zombies, and Army of Darkness coolness. AND... Also at Hot Topic, I found Marvel Zombies t-shirt goodness. W00T!

Soon, however, I will be bringing the CoB back to the airport. *sigh* All good weekends must come to an end.
semiotic_pirate: (OH NOZ!)
please send me good thoughts, well wishes, and telepathically help me to remember the answers to the questions on the final this morning! yeah, I know none of you will probably see this until after I've taken it but, the thought counts! ;-)

please send me more good thoughts to keep me from throwing up in nervousness. don't know why but with all the friends and family coming to my graduation, I'm nervous about that too. anyone who wants to join the festivities after? head to CT, Willington Pizza on Rt. 32. They have a website for exact location and directions.

and now I go into the still dark morning, with two competing loops in my mind:

Loop 1: Gaaaaaaaah! Gaaaaaaaaaah!
Loop 2: Mahna manha - do-do-duh-do-do - mahna mahna - do-do-do-do


May. 2nd, 2007 09:14 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Starbucks Addiction)
So, thanks to [ profile] crabbyolbastard and his posting of the Mahna-mhana song, I had to go ahead and watch a few more muppet classics that I remember dearly. The first was the orange singing Carmen. The second was Ernie singing Rubber Ducky (which as the CoB knows, I have modified to sing about our cat whom we call Smelly-belly). The third was the Ladybug Picnic. Yeah, they don't make 'em like that anymore. *sigh of nostalgia*

Spent eight hours today continuing my work from yesterday. Finished the take-home final, three question answered in ten pages, with equations and a diagram. Myah. Going to study econometrics exclusively tomorrow and friday, and tommorrow at 5:30 pm I'm getting together with a study group. Which, yes, I posted about yesterday.

Now all that's standing between myself and the actual diploma (I'm getting an incomplete, but it is for a spring semester class so I would still go through this commencement ceremony) is getting my Tilapia Farm business plan done - as realistic as I can make it - and presented.

Gah! Got to remember to hang up the robe so it is relatively free of wrinkles! I hope someone will be able to help me figure out how to put the hood on the robe too. *sigh*

Now, on to the broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken & tots... Yay!

Tomorrow - Starbucks!
semiotic_pirate: (right?check - spock&kirk)
I got all the way through the first out of three problems on my take home final as well as finishing the basic outline (based on class notes & powerpoint presentations) for my other final. Tomorrow I should be able to get the other two questions done, and it isn't due until sometime Thursday afternoon, early evening so I can pick at it and perfect it. My tablet PC is coming in handy for this because I can type up all my written explanation and the meanings of each of the parts of the equations. Then I can use the "pen" to write out the maximization formulas and hamiltonians. Yay. The perfect part is that my sweetie-pie got us a brand new thing-full-of-ink (don't feel like wracking the neurons I have left to remember the name of it) for the printer.


Add to this the fact that I am going to get together on Thursday evening with my (possibly aforementioned in previous posts) homework group to study for the final on Saturday. Yay. I'm hoping that it helps because I'm really nervous (still) about that final. There is no telling what will be on it or how it will be formatted. I only know that it is highly unlikely for there to be multiple-choice questions. My worst fear is that I'll get the test in front of me and choke.

The most exciting thing that happened today is that I dropped some chips on the floor and it attracted a troop of ants. Which I sprayed with Windex multi-surface cleaner (with vinegar) that killed them off pretty quick. There wasn't a line of to and fro ants coming from anywhere - thank goodness - just that small group. I followed up the cleaning by calling the apt complex mgt office and leaving a message about it and asking when they were going to spray outside in the courtyard to head off the yearly invasion.

All in all, I got a lot done today and I'm happy about it.
semiotic_pirate: (penguin spy)
not hardly studying... got a lot done today - have one take home final, which is due on Thursday evening. The other final is 8-10am on Saturday, just after I pick up [ profile] crabbyolbastard from the airport and it is over four hours before I go through the graduation ceremony.

I'm getting an incomplete for my independent study for now, should finish it sometime in the next month. With lots of running around and working hard at it. do you think anyone would buy organically grown tilapia online? like they do other organic meats?

going to have to check with the people who hold my undergraduate consolidation loan to see if I have to start paying right away... *sigh* got six months for the graduate level ones - before they are consolidated by sallie mae. *more sighs*

gotta get a job. anyone know anybody hiring entry level economists?
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Hello there strangers!

I've been lurking around a lot lately, occasionally commenting but that's about it. I am now extremely close to graduation. I have already applied for graduation and gotten my regalia and am going to be sending out my invites very very soon. If everyone on the list shows, I'll have 25 guests at my commencement ceremony. Yay.

Of course, I have to finish and present the darned independent study before the end of the semester first.

So, for the next few weeks I'm going to continue putting my nose to the grindstone.
semiotic_pirate: (ron growling)
Yeah. I'm up right now... though I've actually been awake since 3:30 AM when my cat woke me up with his "Meow? Meow? Can I come and cuddle? Meow? I might be hungry... Meow? Cuddle? Meow?" Needless to say this is my long day; first class is at 8 AM and the last class gets out at 4:45 PM, and then there is the homework group - even though as you all know from last night I got it all done already.

At least I won't be scrambling to get out the door today - I even packed up all my stuff last night and layed out today's clothing selection and accoutrements/electronics.

Good times.
semiotic_pirate: (right?check - spock&kirk)
I feel damned accomplished. I didn't get into class this past Thursday because of the snowstorm - I wasn't driving in for an 8am class (the only one for the day) before the snow removal between here and there was completed. I woke up today with the intention to go over the Power Point presentations for last week - this I did - and I realized that we must've finished the chapter on Thursday. This means that this Thursday the homework is due to be handed in. I got cracking, opened the book up and started going through the assigned problems. Only one part of one problem gave me any distress, so I put it aside for later. I emailed with my main homework buddy to confirm that yes, the homework is due on Thursday; usually we are chatting through the weekend pinging each other back and forth with what we are doing... So, to sum up, I just figured out that last part that bothered me...

I did the homework ALL by myself!

This from the person who has been dreading econometrics for the last two years. Though I know it will get harder over the course of the semester - probably - I'm feeling pretty good right now. I think I need warnings from all of you not to get too cocky. Wow.

Now, I'm just waiting to hear back from the Cow Pot people so that I can get started on some sort of Independent Study project. This is essential for my graduating this May. That and finally getting my European Economic History paper graded and having that Incomplete changed over to a GRADE which I hope is at least a B.

Damn... Does this mean I have to start looking for a job? Shit.


Feb. 4th, 2007 03:36 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Angelina eye)

In other news - I finished the paper that I had to do to convert my incomplete grade from last semester's class. Yay! Now I have to wait for it to be graded...
semiotic_pirate: (spock & kirk)

1. Got hardly any sleep last night, and I tried to sleep too, really.

2. Was awake and out of bed by 6:20 AM. That's just wrong, but it will be a regular occurence until May.

3. It was 20 degrees F with the wind chill factor.

4. I was able to fit the Gargantuan 17" laptop with the bulky extra battery into my favorite backpack!

5. Had a really good first day of classes. My second class especially.

6. Met new to the department students that were actually approachable and not snobby.

7. Have to read two chapters by tomorrow afternoon. Shouldn't be a problem, given the content.

8. Must not forget to complete EEH paper to clear up the Incomplete from last semester. Need those credits.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Have any of you seen this? I feel glad when I say that I can do all of the things mentioned that "most" college students cannot do. However, I learned these things without the help of college. Strange, neh?

Study: College students lack literacy for complex tasks

-- More than half of students at four-year colleges -- and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges -- lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found.

The literacy study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the first to target the skills of graduating students, finds that students fail to lock in key skills -- no matter their field of study.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

Without "proficient" skills, or those needed to perform more complex tasks, students fall behind. They cannot interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

"It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they're not going to be able to do those things," said Stephane Baldi, the study's director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.

Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills. That means they can do moderately challenging tasks, such as identifying a location on a map.

There was brighter news.

Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation. Study leaders said that was encouraging but not surprising, given that the spectrum of adults includes those with much less education.

Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.

"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and nonpartisan group.

"This sends a message that we should be monitoring this as a nation, and we don't do it," Finney said. "States have no idea about the knowledge and skills of their college graduates."

The survey examined college students nearing the end of their degree programs.

The students did the worst on matters involving math, according to the study.

Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.

Baldi and Finney said the survey should be used as a tool. They hope state leaders, educators and university trustees will examine the rigor of courses required of all students.

The college survey used the same test as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the government's examination of English literacy among adults. The results of that study were released in December, showing about one in 20 adults is not literate in English.

On campus, the tests were given in 2003 to a representative sample of 1,827 students at public and private schools.

It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
semiotic_pirate: (pirate rosabella)
So, it should come as no surprise to some of you that I am having trouble nailing down just exactly what I'm going to do my Master's Paper on... My assignment for the moment by my adviser is to take some time to think of different ideas. I had dallied for a while with the Plague of the 14th century, and that's still on the table, but I'm not sure if something else wouldn't be more interesting and easier to research (relatively).

Here are some of my ideas )

And then I wandered about, reading from my f-list, and I discovered this post by [ profile] puf_almighty about the possibility of extending our lives for as long as we want sometime in the near-distant future. My reply is replicated here, and I encourage you to comment in either post your opinion and mental murmerings. I am especially curious as to each of your choices if you were to have a life of 500+ years to live.

I think that we, as a society, would be better off with a longer lifespan, say five times what we already have at current technology. All that time would allow us (rather, force us) to look more to the long term, instead of making decisions that give us something NOW and sacrificing something that could be available to us in the future; we would be more likely to make the decision that doesn't cost the future detrimentally. I really don't think we have enough time to experience everything. Travel everywhere, have five (or more) full changes in professional life - and I mean something like, okay first I want to be a Resource Ecomomist, then a Tailor (yep, clothing based on fashionable designs without the designer price tag), then an Electrical Engineer, a Pearl Diver and then maybe a Book Editor, followed up by a Fisheries focused Biologist with a partnership in an Aquaculture company. I'd probably be able to come up with quite a few more, given the time to explore each one.


semiotic_pirate: (Default)

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