frankly, i'd rather be smooting

My dissertation defense date is almost official:  I am just waiting for two more professors from my committee to log into the website and confirm they will attend.  I swear to dog, dealing with my committee is the most ridiculously annoying thing about the whole effing project.

I have an “outside member” (dirty!) whose job is mainly to make sure the school isn’t handing out doctorates willy-nilly, and who sits on the committee but doesn’t work very closely with me throughout.  Although he requested not to see the dissertation until it’s complete, I did make sure to copy him on all of the planning, scheduling, and logistics emails as it is absolutely necessary that he attend the actual defense.  We have had one date and one date only in mind throughout the whole thing, and just as I sent out the email stating that I was entering the scheduling module online, he finally piped up to complain that the chosen day was his busiest of the week and sweet sassy molassy but he didn’t have a spare minute between eight and five, the pobrecito.  Well, too bad, sucka, I guess we will just do it at five then.

On the plus side, this should ensure that everyone will be tired as it will be the end of the day, and thus they will hopefully not feel like sticking around after my talk to pepper me with difficult questions, like did I actually do any research or why I think anyone in the known universe would be likely to care about my little project or who the hell do I think I am.  That kind of thing.  Hopefully, it’ll be a quick talk, some quick questions, get in, get out, get a round of shots.

In other committee-related crap, I had also picked out a draft deadline before leaving Zembla — a date by which I would have a complete manuscript in the hands of each committee member for their perusal.  Although the grad school suggests this be done three weeks before the defense, we had decided on doing it six weeks before the (then still hypothetical) defense date, just to make sure everyone had adequate time to read through and give me the go-ahead on setting the defense date officially.  After all, no one wants to walk into that room to face a committee that has decided, upon reading the manuscript, that it is just not done yet. Surprise, you don’t graduate! Oh, oh no.  Shudder.

So the six-weeks-ahead draft deadline was supposed to eliminate any problems, but when it came time to set the date officially, had any of those people read the thing yet?  No.  And of course this is my fault, not theirs, as I surmised from certain emails that were sent to me using words like “frankly.”  Do not “frankly” me, people, oh no.  DO NOT “frankly” me, because frankly I think I have given you more than adequate time to read the manuscript and frankly it is not my fault that you put it off until the last minute. Frankly.

Whew, I feel better now.

Anyway, I can finally start looking for a plane ticket back to Zembla for the defense.  That should be fun — I get to see my Zemblan people again and wear a coat again and get a blessed break from the sight of khaki and Polo shirts and Topsiders and protestants.

Tomorrow is another day of teaching: it’s Chaucer these days.  I must strive to be more like the pilgrim who gladly wolde learn and gladly teche, even though of late I am more inclined to model myself on the guy who went around with his iren hoot, other people in the ers for to smoot.


  1. Chaucer AND Chinese poetry? Maybe I will stop complaining about having to teach a class including biology AND geology AND physical oceanography (at the kindergarten level). Do you ever cringe at the sight of a raised hand? It’s good they learn that professors are people too, and don’t necessarily know everything, right?

    As for the committee, yes, keep them in line.

    And, “sweet sassy molassy”, that’s beautiful.


  2. Ah, university administration. You’ve got to love them – why, just today I received this little gem:

    Your page is totally different of what we got from the other students and it’s not very good.

    I would like also a picture of you , not in the same file (JPEG format) and in good quality please.

    Take notice of the glaring “English as a second language” style errors. At least I’m glad to know I’m not “one of the sheep” so to speak. In fact, “it’s not very good”.

    I’m thinking of sending a picture of me wearing one of those baseball caps that has beer holsters and a big tube in my mouth…I mean, they did say “good quality please”.


  3. Well, I hope the outsider isn’t one of those high on the horse theorists or some bullshit.

    Are you looking forward to going back to the other Zembla land for a visit?


  4. Speaking of outside members, cast your innuendo over one of the committee who dissed my ertation, the so-called “internal examiner”. That this sounds altogether gynaecological and sadistic is no coincidence.


  5. I will bring you an iren hoot, so that when you have passed your defense, you can be all “SMOOT” right in the face of them. Their collective, defense-wise face.


  6. B — I think I am expected to know everything, at least about those topics. This weeks it’s medieval Japanese women writers. Must bone up now.

    J — “It’s not very good.” Nice they’re so diplomatic about it! Maybe a soft-focus Fabio-style shot would do the trick? Or a “myspace-angle” high-contrast B&W with half your face obscured by a bad haircut?

    C — Amen!

    O — worse, he is a philosopher. Heh. Yeah, I am looking forward to it muchly.

    A — Eww! Get an internal examiner together with an outside member and they could have a regular party.

    S — Prepare the iren! Hooten it up!


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