a wolf in a sheepskin coat

Addenda! These are things I meant to say last time but didn’t because a) it would make the previous post apocalyptically long, b) I forgot.

– History department foolishness, in apparent response to my unnecessarily tetchy email to Lynne Brydon (if you’re stalking my blog now, hi! I’m still not convinced!) has reached new heights for second year, combining miserable self-contradicting stupidity in paper returns (I got my ROMW essay back; the following day everyone else couldn’t, and then couldn’t for a week), mislaid papers (the model essays for Group Research, which were going to be pretty much my only salvation; the exam scripts from LAST YEAR which I’ve given up on ever seeing) and levels of spam that they barely reached last year. In order to get to the latest few pieces of meaningless, inconsequential crap that the office is spamming us with, I had to scroll past 888 email addresses, either because the office’s clunkily ancient software is incapable of BCCing or because the department itself is. THIS IS 2011, HOW IS THIS SORT OF IDIOCY EVEN POSSIBLE. <3 having programmed "end" onto one of the buttons on my fancy gamer mouse.

– I have been locking my bike on the outside of the totally unfit-for-purpose increasingly-frayed wooden porch support beam in order to avoid accidentally crushing the daffodils/narcissi that have poked their heads above the ground of late. However, I now have to put it back in the flowers' faces, to avoid Alex accidentally crushing my bike, as he ever-so-excitingly has a NEW CAR. Sorry, daffodils! Your lot in life was to end up the punchline of a lame ham-handed joke about technology and the environment.

– I went to a Birmingham GDL Open Day, and while the first two people were miserably bad at making either the subject sound good or Birmingham a nice place to do it, the third launched into an impromptu lecture on contract law which was – seriously – enthralling. More certain than ever that this is a subject I am suited for and will enjoy. Pursuant to this, am getting involved with the excellent new "Law for Non-Law Society" (created because the Law Society hates potential GDL students as outsiders, and apparently the first of its kind in the country). May be going for a committee position at the AGM soon; may not.

– I hate Group Research. This has been my catchphrase pretty much since we started Group Research, but I hate Group Research. Presentation is, surprisingly, going okay (mostly), but I can't help but feel doomed about both it and the attendant essay, because it's been hideously badly explained to us. What is it? Academic essay requiring academic references? Original research claiming salience and significance? "we went here and dun this" travelogue… thing? What even is the style for referencing "random bits of paper found in a box at the archives"? They didn't cover this at the library inductions. Stuart has told us that he will give us plenty of leeway. He has also told us that there will be a second marker. I'm so glad I have a lot of good marks banked for this year already, because I don't see any way anyone is coming out of this well.

Not every day you see these just lying around…


5 thoughts on “a wolf in a sheepskin coat

  1. What even is the style for referencing “random bits of paper found in a box at the archives”? They didn’t cover this at the library inductions. I was about to say I’m surprised you haven’t been told how to do that in dissertation prep stuff, but then remembered that I found out by asking the Archivist in Bradford Archives, so perhaps not..

  2. Anonymous says:

    I do not spam students with pieces of meaningless, inconsequential crap. Indeed I spend a considerable ammount of my time going through the large ammounts of general emails to ensure that what you get is at least relevant or course related, and normally sent on the behest of academic staff. If you want to moan, then go ahead do so, it’s a free country, but if you want to bring my name into it then at least have the decency to speak to me before hand and raise your concerns so that I can hopefully action them. These emails go to students on their university email accounts, and good on you, at least you are checking your bham account, which most students can’t be bothered doing even though they are obliged to, but why exactly do you feel obliged to slate me for what is basically carrying out the request of your lecturers? What I don’t inderstand is why you feel the need to hide your feelings on a blog of self obsessed whining and terribly constructed argument when you seem to consider yourself as a fighter and righter of wrongs. You merely come across as a coward who is willing to throw stones from behind a rock but not have the courage to stand up and work out solutions. Instead of writing streams of teenage angst which I would have thought you would have grown out of by now, why not simply email me and say,”Excuse me David, for I feel that you can address me by my christian name, and not the capitalised family name you seem to admire (otherwise, why feel the need to include it so blatanty in your post) but could you kindly not include me on all student emails as I feel that I am sufficient in the powers of omipitence that I know everything that is happening in my degree and don’t want you to east eyour time sending me messages.” Or maybe you could kindly remove my name from your post. This is not an official Universtiy request but from myself, who really has a right to reply if being slagged of in published form. Please remember that blogs come under the same laws of misrepresentation as the printed word so you do really ned to be careful what you write.

    • brosencrantz says:

      Fair enough. My mum’s a university administrator, and when she reads things like this she can usually give a pretty good explanation of why things are so and how hard her job is; but from this side it’s pretty hard to see.

      I asked you about the BCC thing in the office at the beginning of the year, and you said it was the crap software they’d handed and indicated a vague hope you’d be getting something better. I was also worried that, just like with your predecessor, we’d end up with our inboxes full of spam from course-unrelated sources. You turned out not to send us junk mail for most of the year, but over the last couple of weeks the spam volume has suddenly gone up massively; whether your own standards have lapsed or you’re just getting passed more junk to send on to us I don’t know, but it’s worth noticing, so I said it.

      I presume Dr Brydon put you up to this; no, this is not some sort of vindictive revenge. I don’t consider myself a fighter or a writer of wrongs. This is a personal blog, a diary, one which just happens to be available for those interested (and for the really personal stuff, not even that.) There is no crusade here. If I cared enough to want to raise awareness, I’d be making a Brummieleaks site, or taking it to my friends at Redbrick. This is not what activism looks like. This is, as you say, self-obsessed whining.

      I put your name capitalised because that’s how (due to whatever quirk of university email) all your emails are signed. If you’d rather I just complain vaguely about University admin, fair, I have removed it.

      But please: I scrolled past more than 800 email addresses, belonging to people who probably don’t want me to see them and who I don’t really want to see mine, and I now do this three or four times a day, to find nothing of value or consequence. If there were an option to only get department-related email, I would have signed up instantly, but there hasn’t been; when I brought it up at staff-student committee some time ago it wasn’t even recognised as a problem.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dr Brydon did not put me up to this at all, as I stated this is not a University response, but a personal one. The only reason I even spotted this is because I was advised by a recruiter to Google my name and see what comes up as I am in the midst of a recruitment campaign and the recruiter suggested checking anything that came up I didn’t expect, so thank you for removing my name. However I am quite concerned about this paranoia that we are out to get you. We aren’t, I can assure you of that, and I cannot see why you seem to think we are. All organisations are interested in comments about them on the internet and do occasional checks, this is how the last comments came to our attention. What you have to understand is that by publishing anything derogatory or detrimental or in some cases downright unsubstantiated and wrong, you are still responsible for your words and if these cause concern then people will take time out to check your blog as you could be making libelous claims. I have had to remove comments on past employers from my own blog due to misconstrued comments – written words have no context or emphasis and due to the vagaries of the english language what you write can be read as something very very different. Nobody from the department is out to get you, we really don’t have the time to , but carrying on in this fashion will only make people more suspicious of you, and get yourself a reputation that alters people’s impression of yourself.

    I understand your concern, but a list of the names of the History students on the course is something that we cannot prevent without using BCC, which you will be pleased to discover we now have had sorted out as they are all on an open address book and if you wanted to see someone’s details you can quite easily by using your student account. There is an option to get departmental only email, it’s by asking me not to send anything to you that is not from the School of History and Cultures, which would have prevented this whole fiasco in the first place.

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