I am currently in the middle of the grueling rite of academic passage known as comprehensive doctoral exams, which are a series of eight-hour days in which you answer essay questions foisted upon you by professors. You do not know the questions in advance, and the goal is to write like a madman, fully answering the proffered queries and generating 25-40 pages worth of essays from the top of your head. This is one of those significant milestones where PhD students either get a pat on the head or a kicked-out-of-the-program note, so I have been studying like there has been a twitchy-fingered, gun-wielding psychopath right behind me.
As a result, I have been bogged down with testing and last-minute fact-cramming, and have not been able to update the site, answer non-emergency emails, or comment on recent posts. I hope to be through running this acdemic gauntlet on Friday, provided I satisfactorily demonstrate a knowledge level sufficient to be certified to move on as a doctoral candidate. Luckily, the department allows graduate students to bring along their iPods to break the monotony of sitting in a chair and staring at a montor for eight hours.
If not, there is always the position manning the grill and the deep-fryer at the local late-night diner. I am hell on kicking out fried chicken and deep-fried mozzerella sticks, while simultaneously watching a dozen burgers and some sirloins.