Well, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It’s a little bit late, I suppose, but I passed a generally happy Thanksgiving, so … consider that to be more of a statement of condition than a recommendation. I had a happy thanksgiving. That’s what I’m trying to say.

Thanksgiving dinner would have been better with tofurkey, but, alas, I was unaware such things existed until after the fact. The mashed potatoes were sure good, though!

It was nice to see the family and, of course, to spend some quality time with Chester. =) Jenny and Tory came up from Lubbock, and my Uncle, his wife, my Cousin, and his family came were up as well. Family is nice, ya know? It’s good to see them. It was good to see my parents, too. I’m glad I got to spend some time talking to them.

The down side is that I didn’t mange to get much done. To be where I need to be, I should have been putting in about 12 hours a day with my books. In actually, it was seldom more than two hours, at best. Consequently, I spent all last night writing a paper that was due last Tuesday. I have a research project more or less due on Wednesday. Realistically, I should be putting in twenty hours of research and work on it between now and then. Which might be feasible, if I didn’t have 16 credits of other classes, all demanding my attention (calculus, especially, which is vastly time consuming).

And then there was a lot of time spent thinking and evaluating about this fall. Which was valuable.

And I got to see “the old gang minus Sagar” (heh) on Friday night. It was nice to see everyone. I’m looking forward to Christmas break.

Oh well.

The ride down and up with Dave and Christina was probably more fun than one should have in a car. =) I’ve added a new life goal: to spend a week living in Christina’s house with her family. Odds are, I’d have enough stories to last me the rest of my life. Stories about brothers microwaving their heads. Or sisters being engaged, without the knowledge of the parents. Oh, irony. Or stories about tracking red paint across church floors, or squirting tomato juice into the hair of 70 year old ladies. I mean… c’mon, now. Good times. =)

I’ve discovered something interesting about the way I write papers. It’s impossible for me to write unless I’m in the right mood. Curiously, the right mood usually entails being in some state of somnambulism (I <3 Firefox spellcheck =) ). And then, once I get started, it just works. I don't have to struggle for words. I'm slow and methodical, and what I write is logical and well-presented. And, mostly, it feels natural. It doesn't feel like trying to puzzle together-- rather, it feels more like ... baking a pie? I know what's next. I measure the ingredients and put it in. Then I look at the recipe (a.k.a. my outline =) ) and figure out what the next ingredient is and, after careful measuring, add it. Etc.

I just wish I could do it a little more … on demand. For example, when I take the GRE, I’m not going to have 12 hours to try to write, fall asleep, wake up, review the material, fall asleep, wake up, try to write, sleep for another 20 minutes (heaven knows how many times I fell asleep last night between 10:00 and when I finally got going on my paper this morning at around 4:20 a.m.) and THEN, finally, realize that I’m ready to go.

There’s a certain element of internalization about it, too. Somehow, sleeping seems to be the magic ingredient (to extend the cooking image, ke ke) to writing papers. Usually, if I review all the material, but have NO idea how to assemble it into an interesting and cohesive paper, all I need to do is sleep for a few hours. When I wake up, I’ve either got it, or I don’t. If I don’t, I sleep some more. Then, magically, I know what to write, I’m in the mood (which is to say I’m mostly asleep) and I write it.

The only problem with sleep-writing is that I tend to repeat myself. It’s not an issue if I finish the paper in time to get some sleep and proof it, or if I can have another sober person (and by sober, I mean alert: physiologically, sleep deprivation has much the same effect as alcohol) proofread it to point out the places where I used the same word three times in a paragraph (hey, if it’s a good work, why not?), or where I re-introduce the author two times (like I think I did in the paper I wrote this morning, but I’m not sure).

Anyhow. I guess I’ll go ahead and upload the paper I wrote. I’m not sure if it’ll make sense without having read the book cited in the foot notes. Regardless, it engages the way that Indians accommodated, resisted and eventually acculturated the education in boarding schools between 1875 and 1928.

Here’s the link: Indian Boarding Schools in Rome

About Mark Egge

Two truths and a lie: Mark Egge is an outdoor enthusiast, opera singer, and a transportation data scientist. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.
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6 Responses to Tofurkey

  1. jaderobbins says:

    It’s rather funny, it used to take me forever to write papers, but now that i’m in upper division business and all i freaking do is write papers, my paper-writing skills (speed skills mind you, not quality) have increased dramatically.

    I think it comes from being less worried about the content. I used to just kind of freak out about writing papers fast because i was worried about the quality, but it seems as I’ve written more and more papers (and the average grade is about a B+) I’m not so worried about the quality while i write at the last moment :D

  2. markegge says:

    Man, last night was pretty amazing. I fell asleep at 4:00-ish (p.m.), intending to get up again at 6:00 to do some research. Well… I didn’t wake up again until 6:30 … a.m. Yeah. That’s fourteen and a half hours of sleep. Rock on. Now… it’s time to research like a mad man.

  3. Hopealess says:

    You didn’t know about tofurkey? I feel like I have failed you. You really ought you go to your local Safeway or the life and check out the veggie meat section – they even have corn dogs! But, its not really that good, stick to the other amazing foods that aren’t as highly processed. =)

  4. Ben says:

    Ya the tracking red paint in a church was funny, sucked to deal with but funny.

  5. Sagar1586 says:

    Wait Ben. Was the tracking red paint in a church funny? It sucked to deal with but it was funny?

  6. markegge says:

    Check out the veggie meat section? Forgive me, but I’m going to have to count myself a skeptic on that one. =P

    In other news, Brandon and Ben should have conversations on my blog. Just for grins. =)