Monday, October 26, 2009

And speaking of which

I promised myself that I wouldn't post about work, but some things are just too, too sweet. For clarity, I work in a university department which helps students with learning techniques like essay writing, referencing, research and time management. I returned today to a message on my answering machine from a student:

"Hello. Can you tell me how to use Endnote?* Oh, but how are you going to call me back? Hmm. This is a perplexing concept ..."
*hangs up*

Me (to answering machine message): "Madam, if the concept of the telephone is beyond your ken, then you haven't a hope with Endnote."

*bibliography software


  1. I envy you.

    At least you get stupidity to chuckle at.

  2. As I type this, I am sitting in a paper writing workshop. I could use a tip or two on endnote.

    Hey that'd be a first, me asking you for tech support.

  3. Shippy - And sometimes cry at.

    Dan - Here's my one and only Endnote tip: "It's like a filing card system, only on a computer."

    Seriously though, I'm a bit of a gun, so if you want any tips, just email me and I'll answer.

  4. I don't even know what endnote is. Could you explin it please? And what it's for?

  5. Duh! "explain"
    Having read your reply to Dan, I get that it's a filing system, but how does it apply to essay writing? Is it like a file of quotes or notes that can be applied by category or theme? Am I making sense?

  6. Franzy's right, River. It's a way of cataloguing every single book, paper, web story, pamphlet or article you've ever read in your entire life so that you can write an essay that is literally so studded with references that the long-suffering reader's eyes explode internally, causing them to forget which bits are your own original writing and either passes you in order to get on with their life or makes their PhD student check every single reference....

    Or something like that.

  7. Ah yes, I have heard of this tool. It adds the references to the relevant areas.

  8. River - You know those little boxes of alphabeticised card files, kind of like mini library catalogues? Just like that. But on a computer.
    So you can press a button and it will make little ordered lists of the stuff you've read at the end of your essay, in your essay, at the bottom of every page, get stuff to read from libraries, keep all your photos, websites, blah blah blah ...

    Kath - Your new word for today is "implode" - it's like "explode internally" but shorter.
    Uni's also changed since some grimey postgrad was checking your sources. Now they have a computer which does it and tells you (and your overworked tutor) to the percentage point, exactly how much plagiarism your work contains.
    Hence we get questions like:
    "Is 20% okay?"
    "Well, that means that 20% of your work, which you say is yours, isn't yours. You copied it. 20% of it."
    "Is that okay?"

    Shippy - "Tool" is obviously on the right track ... (see first sentence of my comment to Kath).

  9. Dan you don't need writing or end note tips. All kidding aside, END NOTE is an absolute life saver for a uni student. P.S. for years I heard baby boomers declaring end note to be impossibly hard. It's easier to use than WORD...

  10. Something I'll never need then, but at least now if I hear it in a conversation I will have some idea of what is meant. Thanks.

  11. I reckon it's a pretty safe bet you'll never hear it in conversation either!


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32