Friday, 15 August 2003

the working week

This week has been a holiday for me. Yes, the office has been closed - well, closed as far as I'm concerned - and I have been able to sit at home...and study. All week, no respite. At it hammer and tongs with Tony bush, Jacky Lumby and Keith Foreman, household names none and all. They do, however, write textbooks on educational management which are mostly dry but sometimes quite interesting. The deadline for this assignmant is getting closer and closer but, after a week of study and numerous emails to my tutor, who is now back after a month swanning around on a real holiday, I think I am a little closer to a title. The rest is easy...

Except I made the profound and sadly irreversible mistake on Wednesday afternoon of reading a chapter in my Research Methods text about 'analysing quantitative data'. Quantitative data, for those not in the know, is stuff you can count, hence the root 'quantity', as opposed to qualitative data, which is stuff you can't count and therefore have to think about. Anyway, I thought that, at age 16, I had left equations and numbers-with-letters-added-as-well behind in Calthorpe Park, never to return again. Oh boy was I wrong - I've just discovered that things called 'statistics' exist (in a real, 'I've to confront them' sort of sense, I've always known about statistics in the useful 'statistically speaking, BMW owners wash their cars more than other car owners' sort of sense) and that they are quite important for doing things like proving your research is accurate, or even that it is research at all, rather than some jolly ideas you've been having.

What made the really wry smile (soon followed by much swearing) was that this was classed as 'an introduction' to the 'basics of statistics'. Oh yes, that's right, the basics...Actually, they probably are just the basics and I am in for an extravagantly shit time. I could follow the calculations for their Chi-square, but I didn't really see how that then proved whatever it was they were trying to prove. It says something like 'the calculated figure 4.68 passes the significant critical mass of nuclear reactor number 1, proving that the number of children observed reading books wasn't down to chance and/or community chest unless they have 2 degrees of freedom in 1% of insignificant research' - or something like that. I intimated something like this to my tutor, perhaps without so much detail, and she suggested that maybe a reliance on qualitative data could well be more suited to my research focus. Thank f**k.

Moving on, it has been suggested by one of the regular readership of this nonsense that there has been little in the way of information regarding the good lady wife, and had I, not to put too fine a point on it, murdered her and buried her under the patio? Well rest assured this is not so as we live on the 7th floor and the patio would in effect be the balcony and even I realise that if I dumped a body on the downstairs balcony, people would talk. So I threw her in the river instead...

Not at all, true, Minako is alive and well and currently sleeping on the sofa about 2 metres to my left. Poor thing is tired and shagged out after accompianing me to the doctor's today for my obligatory annual medical (clean bill of health, except their instruments were faulty as they seemed to indicate my body fat percentage was slightly above normal, how odd...). As a lady of leisure she doesn't have to move around too much, so an unscheduled trip to the docs can be very tiring, I suspect. Other than that, not much to report - you see, this is why there hasn't been much mention of her as there isn't a lot to mention - anyway, I will keep everyone posted with events if and when they arise.

Lastly, it is raining here again. Typhoon number 10 last weekend meant it was raining for the whole weekend and whilst sunday, monday and tuesday were quite pleasant, it has been raining since wednesday afternoon and will continue until sunday apparently. Still, better weather in which to attempt to study statistics I guess, statistically speaking.

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