Mm nothing beats Russian in the morning. The “compelling story line” (actual quote from the textbook blurb) has moved from Ivan being unable to find the train station to Ivan and Ludmilla visiting an old woman for some reason (she sounded old on the recording) and the shock revelation that Ivan is a millionaire businessman from Saransk, a town (as the textbook helpfully informs us) which is noted for its production of electric light bulbs. Meg and I are determined to find innuendo in the book and are now convinced that the old woman’s husband is having an affair (off to “lunch”, indeed!).
Next came the weekly Over-Enthusiastic-Research-Methods-Guest-Lecture Hour, featuring intermittent interruptions from the heavily German-accented lecturer. Actually, that’s not completely right– the lecture goes for one and a half hours (sigh). Today’s Guest Lunatic was a very excited researcher from RMIT, who waxed lyrical on the wonders of a data analysis software program called NVIVO (invented, of course, by a friend of hers). This technological white knight (well, aren’t I just full of idioms today!) was contrasted with “the bad old days” of having to colour-code interview transcripts with pencils according to themes, stack the transcripts in demographically-based piles whenever you wanted to compare, say, men to women; and (the old favourite) having homicidal tendencies towards one’s cat when it knocks over said demographically-based piles of colour-codes transcripts. This woman also gestured wildly the whole time, waving her arms about like a mad woman and swinging her head around so violently that it seemed in danger of detatching from her body.
The tute for the subject was no better, being an exercise in using this marvelous NVIVO program. Marvelous it may be, but not when does not know how to use it. Less marvelous still (it’s BYO adjectives tonight– I’ve run out) is when the tutor who is supposed to be instructing in the use of said software also has very little idea of how to use it. And matters are further complicated when the sample interview transcription with which one is meant to be practicing is a formatting nightmare of textboxes and tables (which, conveniently for all, cannot be selected once imported into NVIVO). O Joy of Joys! Well, eventually I worked it out. And the assignment’s done. Good riddance!
In between the lecture and the tute, I had a three-hour break, which I spent with Jackie (Charlotte, the other member of the Tuesday Afternoon Lunch Club, or TALC, being at home with a case of food poisoning that she somehow contracted from a blueberry muffin). Being bored with the university and its open, windy spaces, we went to the city for coffee at Hell’s (or whatever the downstairs bit is called). I made her drink coffee, because it is my firm belief that one is not actually a person if they do not drink coffee. It was coffee flavoured with condensed milk (a Saigon), but coffee nonetheless! We then ventured to the lolly shop in Lygon St, where photography was regrettably not permitted, so that Jackie could buy her lunch, which consisted mainly of chocolate-covered banana lollies. A health freak, that girl.
Before heading home to a delicious dinner of homemade soup and vegetable samosas from Costco (which were actually really really good and will be consumed for lunch tomorrow), I had my final class, which was a Psych lecture on sleep disorders. To satisfy today’s irony quota, I naturally fell asleep. I woke up to having missed half the lecture and found that I drooled on my tshirt. Charming. To detract from that less-than-attractive image, Today’s Photo is of a butterfly that I saw while en route to the Psych lecture. Sure beats the previous contender: a photo of Jackie eating an apple.