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small victory

spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655 ✭✭
edited March 2006 in General Discussion
About two years ago I bought another house. I thought the taxes were too high on it and filed for a reduction. My lawyer said they almost never reduce taxes and the assessor said the same thing. I would go and make a pest of my self about every two months. Yesterday I got a property tax refund for $334.00 Thats the amount it was reduced per year.[:D]


  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    after 5 days of pain and discomfort . my kidney stone has left the building [:D][:D][:D] or my baby as wife was calling it . just a tad smaller than a BB . but it felt like a roll of barb-wire passing thru [xx(]
    I had one in the 1970's sure do not remember it hurting like this one did . getting old and turning into a wussy I guess [:I][:0][B)]
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I passed my preliminary exams today. That's a grad school thing. I'm aiming for a PhD, and the preliminary exam marks the point when the faculty agree that, yes, you are a viable candidate (only candidate, mind you--there's still a dissertation to complete) for the degree, based on the breadth of what you know so far and your ability to apply that knowledge.

    Basically, you stand before your committee (in my case, three faculty) and they can ask you ANYTHING they care to, for about two hours. You stand because you're in front of a black-board (or white-board), and they will ask you to put things on the board. Students who take the time to talk to other students understand that one key strategy is to erase the board as often as you're able....because anything you leave up there is fodder for further, more evil questions. I answered my first round of questions and turned to erase the board. "Well, I can see that you've been coached," said my advisor. "Yes," I replied. "And that's the very reason I'm using this blackboard and not the over-head projector." (Overheads these days have scrollable you can't ever really erase anything if you're using an overhead projector.)

    Usually, as in my case, the examining committee is reasonable and will keep their questions focused on stuff that's relevant to your degree. But they're under no obligation to do so. One famously mythical question is: why is the sky blue? (Well, our atmosphere is 70% dinitrogen gas, and dinitrogen gas tends to scatter light in the blue wavelenghts, which is why the blue light becomes visible.) I don't know of any graduate student who actually has had to answer this question; I also don't have any (science) graduate student friends who have not been prepared to answer this question, should it arise.

    It's common for a graduate student facing prelim's to meet with each member of their committee to ask the question: "what is important in a prelim? What should I be studying?" I did this with all three of my committee members. And I mis-read them all. The two from whom I thought I had good answers did not emphasize in the exam what I expected (they didn't lie; I mis-read them). The one member from whom I thought I had the least information regarding the exam (our conversation lasted less than 60 seconds) examined me EXACTLY on what we'd talked about.

    So....for the first two faculty above, I spent quite a lot of time studying for what I thought would happen--and neither of them asked me about a single thing I'd studied. But I was still able to dispatch their questions readily, probably because my interests are pretty close to theirs. For the third faculty member, I spent very little time studying what we'd talked about, and EVERYTHING I studied for him was relevant to the exam. He was also the examiner who posed questions any questions (and not less than a few) to which I had NO good answer.

    There is a theory among graduate students that the preliminary exam is designed to make the student understand just how much he or she does not know ("there's not a committee out there that is going to let you walk out of that exam feeling good about yourself"). The first thing that happens in a prelim is that the faculty kick you out of the room so that they can agree on a 'procedure.' I have one friend who contends that this 'procedural' meeting is actually a conference to decide which of the faculty is going to be the ask-hole and ask you the unanswerable questions. It was clear to me (from comments during and after the exam) that the procedural meeting did involve some discussion of which faculty members were going to hit which topic areas.

    Maybe it depends on your point of view. Maybe the faculty aren't trying to demonstrate to you how much you do not know. Maybe the process is designed in such a way that you demonstrate a reasonable grasp of the material, and that then you are presented with questions that you cannot reasonably be expected to answer, just so that the faculty can assess your thinking facilities.

    But then, that's easy for me to say. I passed, today.
  • mondmond Member Posts: 6,458
    edited November -1
    congrats, go on! keep it up..[8D][:)][;)]
  • MosinNagantDiscipleMosinNagantDisciple Member Posts: 2,612
    edited November -1
    Sounds stressful. What are you getting your PhD in?
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