Cup of Coffee, 7 October 2015: Darkness

No doubt but that everyone is saddened by the elimination of the NYY in the Wild Card game. Gloomy, dark wasteland, that's what the world is.

41 thoughts on “Cup of Coffee, 7 October 2015: Darkness”

  1. Leaving today for the long drive to God's Country for a few days. We'll be blazing through the Twin Cities tomorrow, and to throw a bone to Runner daughter, we're meeting a coworker of hers (somewhere around 169/394 interchange) for lunch. Wish I had time to try meet up with Citizens, but not this trip because family.

  2. Don't think we've tackled this week's Invisibles quiz yet.

    I only managed 3 on first take, and one was a complete gimmie.

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    1. I also got #1. Haven't ever seen it. I hold some not-critical thoughts about this particularly filmmaker though, despite what I perceive to be general public opinion against him.

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            1. Might be. Been a while since I've seen it, so I don't recall well enough to agree or disagree.

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            1. Have no idea why these are spoilered.

              I liked Lady in the Water for what it was -- a "modern day fairy tale". The Village did nothing for me. Also, if there's one think M.Night does right, it's find a good soundtrack composer.

              1. I still think of the characters in Lady in the Water in random situations, so at least I can say they were interesting. Story didn't do much for me, though. Didn't hate it, but didn't love it, sort of just fine.

              2. So people don't make the connection to the guns thread Because people may yet want to play the quiz, and this mentions one of the movies.

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            1. I have not seen The Happening, though I recall reading about it and thinking "well, that's not exactly a deep double meaning."

              So really, I haven't seen all that many of his movies, I guess. I just like the few that I've seen.

            2. The Happening is a bottom 10 movie for me (to put this into context, it places it in the same area as Date Movie), though a few of the takedown reviews of it were hilarious.

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  3. I think I'm going to apply to grad school. (special thanks to I think CoC who suggested an MPA when I brought this up a while back) The "preferred application" deadline is March 15. I'm going to have to take my GRE before then. I've done well at standardized tests in the past but that's close to 20 years ago now. Any idea on how much prep I want? I think my GPA will be borderline, so I'm hoping high test scores + a good personal statement and references will help push me in.

    1. It's been a long time since I took the GRE (11 years now? Wow.) I literally signed up on a Friday and took it on a Monday, and was completely unprepared. I would recommend more prep than that. But that's about all I can offer you. My sense, from looking into grad schools myself not all that long ago, is that it's going to vary from program to program as to how much importance they'll put on that test. I think they all officially give a safe "we take all factors into account" answer, so talking to people currently in the program might help you get a better sense of that. I found the "current student" population to be the best resource when I was looking.

      A very exciting choice. Best of luck!

    2. I've made admissions decision for graduate programs and just talked to a guy today who has spent time on the admissions committee for one of the California state schools about graduate applications (both in physical sciences, obviously).

      His advice was that admissions is generally looking for mature students who will be able to handle the challenges of graduate school and that an applicant was better off addressing any deficiencies directly in their personal statement (and in reference letters) rather than hiding something and hoping they won't notice (because they will). The biggest thing he said was "make them reject you, don't reject yourself by not applying".

      As far as preparing for the GRE, I think that the scores only matter in certain conditions (for chemistry no one ever even looks at verbal or writing scores - it's all about the quantitative score. For other disciplines it is probably very different).

      I found the test-prep books (I think I had the Princeton Review book) to be very helpful and pretty representative of the types of questions to be on the exam (took the GRE in '03-'04).

      The other thing that helps admissions is a connection in the department (it sounds icky and preferential, but it's absolutely the case. And that's not to say that it's impossible to get in without a connection, just that it does help). So if you have that, exploit it shamelessly. If possible, make contact with the department - depending on size, they may or may not be responsive.

      Most importantly is that admissions is incredibly far from a perfect process, they accept many who will not succeed and reject many who succeed elsewhere, so an admissions rejection is nothing more than a function of that committee making decisions based on incomplete information, so don't take it personally (as much as that's possible).

      The process can be daunting and overwhelming, but if you have questions, I'm happy to try and help (my wife also did a Master's in family therapy - so she may have some input into the non-physical science side of things).

      1. Thanks for the advice! I called the department today and spoke to the person who is the head of the specific concentration I'm applying for. I have her email and stuff, and she did say to reach out to her with any questions. The other person I talked to in the department said that they did informal interviews that were part of the process. I guess I'll have to turn the charm on! It's tough since I don't have a lot of connections with profs at my current school (because distance ed), and I'm a thousand miles away from the school I'm applying to. Hopefully I can get it sorted out!

          1. I didn't ride nearly as much as I'd have liked. I was incredibly uncomfortable on my seat, because I think the bike wasn't fitted properly. I'm hoping to get it taken to a shop this winter to get myself on it correctly. I also want to get my sit bones measured and find a more comfortable saddle.

        1. It's tough since I don't have a lot of connections with profs at my current school

          I've had students ask me for a letter after half a semester of knowing them. In that case, due to my unfamiliarity, I usually ask for a resume/CV and a list of things that they would like me to focus on or anything that they think is particularly relevant. When I asked for letters for my most recent job search from a member of my thesis committee that I hadn't been in contact with for several years, I sent along a page or two of my accomplishments and examples of my efforts to seek out relevant experience.

          The nice thing about that type of document is you can use it to reinforce the focus of your personal statement.

          Maybe these are all things you already know, but it smooths out things so much more from the letter-writer's side of things, and makes it much easier to write a good rec.

          (EDIT - If you have a draft of your Personal Statement, that would also help focus a rec letter)

        2. Not to be dismissive, but terminal Masters' programs tend to be about revenue generation for the school. More power to you, but know why you want to get an MPA (assuming you mean Masters of Public Admin) and apply to programs that match your goals. Admissions need not be overly selective.

          Out here, Sac State has a program that has been very successful at placing students into leg staff careers, for example.

              1. Actually, It's like in the Catholic church, there are some deacons that are transitional: a step on the way to priesthood. Other deacons (those who are married being the obvious example) have no intention of becoming priests.

            1. a program designed to terminate in a Master's degree, rather than having the Master's as a way station to a Ph.D.

              MBA programs are the most obvious example. There are Ph.D. programs in business schools (e.g., the Haas School at Berkeley; GSB at Stanford), but the large bulk of the students tend to be in less academic, more "applied" tracks.

                1. I share your cynicism, but it tends to be more extreme for the masters programs that bS is describing. Those programs tend to have higher-than-undergrad tuition rates, nearly no financial assistance, and certainly no TA/RA positions (which often pay your tuition for you, though that can depend on your major) that you would find in a lot of PhD programs.

                  1. The financial assistance bit is good to know, and honestly my enrollment in this program would be pretty dependent upon getting a decent amount of assistance.

                    I figure I'll apply, see what they say, and go from there.

    3. When I took the GRE way back in 2001, I got a test prep book and took one practice test. I scored well enough on the practice test, and left it at that. I also had to take a subject test (physics), and knew that the subject test score mattered a lot more than the general. Similar to what DG said, for us it matters that your quantitative score is pretty good and that your verbal score is not completely horrendous. As long as you meet those minimum requirements for the general GRE, it doesn't really help you or hurt you.

    4. Thanks for the h/t ... I believe my suggestion was more pointedly, "NOT LAW SCHOOL..." but yes to graduate studies in public policy or something like that. There are some great responses here w/ regards to grad school in general and the applications process specifically. My family has done a lot of graduate work and almost universally they've said - essentially - what brianS said, "Know what you want to get out of it and make sure the program fits those goals." Also, try to be sure it's an area of study that you're really interested in immersing yourself in.

      My wife did well in undergrad, did a lot of test prep via textbooks for the GRE (Princeton/Kaplan/McGraw-Hill?) and found it very helpful come test time. She absolutely smoked the exam, and then sat on her scores for almost four years trying to decide if she actually wanted to go back to school for her MBA. In the end, a program to pay most of the costs (through her employer) convinced her to go. She's happy she did and enjoyed the experience. She has also said that although a graduate degree can open some doors, there's more to be learned/gained from work experience.

      1. Also, try to be sure it's an area of study that you're really interested in immersing yourself in.

        My quip whenever people ask about grad school is "make sure you do grad school in something you absolutely love, because you're going to hate it at some point."

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