My lovely friend Tope passed her big, bad oral exam this afternoon and is now, except for a couple of technicalities, “All But Disseration.” (She too is an historian of science.)
Join me in congratulating her on this feat, will you? Just to put this in perspective, we’re talking here about six months of preparation, a list of 250 books, three to five professors, and one graduate student on the hot seat.
Let’s just say that under the best of circumstances, this is a daunting situation.
But in this case, a minor, diabolical SNAFU was added to the mix: Tope had been telling us for weeks that her exam was at 2 p.m. on January 31st. So she was in a teaching assistants’ meeting just slightly after noon when the department administrator burst in, interrupted, and said, “Tope, your oral exam was supposed to start at noon.”
Excusing herself, no doubt first to regurgitate her lunch, Tope hurried off, late to her own exam. Nasser later reported that Tope had turned “ashen,” and Alex added that, “really, she did not look well at all.”
Nonetheless, she turned in an excellent performance. In spite of starting out under circumstances that rival your most horrifying academic nightmares. Impressive, very impressive indeed.
In fact, the only person I know with a more nightmarish story about orals was a guy in my program who received a phone call at home the night before his exam—a call that interrupted his busy evening of panicking, retching, and wringing his hands—to inform him that his exam would be cancelled because one of his professors had died. His immediate response, which he would later deeply regret, was, “How could he do this to me?!?”
Tope was good enough to stop by the yarn store after her exam to give us the good news and have a look at “Time Out of Mind.”
Time may or may not be on my side, but here is Time’s backside.
The front, in progress.
A couple of technical things to note about the sweater: if you do a similar sweater in Malabrigo, do make sure that you alternate balls of yarn as you knit.
Malabrigo, with their spurious “dye lots,” tries to deceive you into thinking that if you buy skeins that are all in one dye lot, you will have uniform skeins. Do not fall for this trick. I have eight skeins from the same dye lot, yet two of them are no more like the others than a didgeridoo is like a bull moose. They have to be intermingled.
This is in no way a criticism of this yarn, which I love. Just a word of advice.
Secondly, I plan to surprise you with the neckline. Many thanks to all of those who offered their wisdom on this question a while back! Soon, all will be revealed…