Day 207- March 16, 2010

Well, today’s trip into the university wasn’t nearly as bad as last Tuesday. For starters, the passenger density on the 7.45 from Watsonia was actually under Japanese-grade. It was still quite crowded (as morning trains tend to be), but there was at least one breath of air per passenger, which is a generally desirable thing. Also, the fact that I didn’t have to stop for 15 minutes in a bloody tunnel, trudge out through Platform 14 and then walk most of the way to the university was a marked and most appreciated improvement.

On the train, I saw four students from Ivanhoe, my high school, sitting in a cluster of five seats, with a bag on the last seat. Nobody said anything to them, and I couldn’t be bothered, knowing they’d get off in a few stops anyway. However, there were these two women, who appeared to be in their 60s, sitting a few seats back. They reminded me of the two old men from The Muppets, and continuously commented on everything. They moved on from their previous topic (I think it had something to do with the efficiency of trains from Greensborough) at some point, and remarked on the empty seat among the school students, deciding that one of them had probably put his bag up on it. Being quite loud, the student in question was embarrassed and removed his bag. It made me chuckle.

I had Russian first, in which we had to read out dialogues from the book in which Ivan couldn’t get it through his thick skull that there was no train station nearby (what a silly fictitious character). Social Science Research Methods was  next, being a rather painful and awkward lecture as the lecturer asked some question or other of us and stood there for, quite literally, several minutes in silence before giving up. He seemed quite happy when his guest speakers arrived to talk about their own research, doing some sort of bizarre German dance. Jackie, as always, took excellent notes (“Speaker 1: Oxfam”).

We then went, via conversations with James and Alice, to Castro’s to meet up with Charlotte (whom we had not seen for quite some time), at which point I bumped into Laura. What a large number of people to meet in the space of about fifteen minutes! The three of us (Laura went back to her friends– keep up, would you!) went and sat on South Lawn: me with my coffee and a rather delicious meatball sandwich, Jackie with her iced chocolate and Charlotte with some sort of fruit salad. After sitting on what appeared to be a luscious patch of grass from a distance (but in reality was mostly dirt) and discussing many things, we decided our respective buttocks  were sore and went for a walk to Shanti (via trying to find toilets in the Chemistry building, where Today’s Photo was taken).

I had my SSRM tute next, so I went off, and rather enjoyed it this week. We talked about research design, specifically considering operationalising variables, ethical considerations and (for some reason) Western men going to Thailand to pick up underage girls. It was all fun and games until one girl informed us that her dad had left her mum for a Thai woman. Awkward. I think we went back to discussing the Amish at that point (it was all somehow, albeit loosely, related to research design). Psych wasn’t bad either, being a lecture on amnesia.

I went home (another crowded train, but vastly improved by conversing with Jack) and tutored, explaining most of the language analysis terms I was teaching in terms of the Herald Sun. It really is a most useful publication for tutors, encompassing such varied elements as sensationalism, personal attacks, emotive language, hyperbole and shoddy research. God bless Rupert Murdoch!

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