ifeelbetter: (Inception - falling)
I totally make myself believe that I'm about to be kicked out of the program every couple of months and then my adviser is surprisingly wonderful (despite having actually kicked a good friend of mine out of the program just last year) and talks me down. It actually goes down with a lot more professionalism than all that sounded like....but it's still a crazy loop that I am stuck in.

ANYWAY. Long story short--I got plastered last night after figuring out that (a) I'M STILL HERE and (b) I HAVE MORE TIME TO DO ACTUAL THINGS AND SO THEY WON'T BE BAD. OR AS BAD. (THEY MIGHT STILL BE BAD.) And I watched alllll of Psych that I missed in the past couple of months. And now I'm watching Inception. Yeah, that's right. I'm watching it right now.

You wish you were watching Inception right now.

THOUGHTS. I AM HAVING THOUGHTS ABOUT INCEPTION. )

And then I stopped keeping track of my thoughts and just shouted at the TV. God, I LOVE this film.
ifeelbetter: (Blackadder dude kiss)
SO. HI. YES. I HAVE BEEN IN CAPSLOCK FOR LIKE FIVE HOURS NOW. NOT LIKE LITERALLY OR WHATEVER BUT IN MY HEART, RIGHT, BECAUSE. I FOUND THE PERFECT THINGS.

Breathe.

I was doing the research for my syllabus for next term to avoid writing my dissertation again--whoops--but. BUT. I found this book:



And I was like


BUT. THEN THERE WERE MORE OF THEM.


THERE'S A WHOLE SERIES OF POP CULTURE AND PHILOSOPHY BOOKS THAT WILL MAKE MY TEACHING LIFE FULL OF HAPPINESS AND UNICORNS. ALSO. I WANT TO DANCE IN A FIELD OF RAINBOWS WITH THESE BOOKS.
ifeelbetter: (Default)


I'm applying for funding today. It always makes me feel a bit like a beggar and then the phrase "cap in hand" starts to roll around in my head until I get the whole Proclaimers song stuck in there.

Also, my roommate and I were Interview With A Vampire for Halloween:

Just thought I'd share that with you. :)
ifeelbetter: (H50 - Danny's face)
So I have this long-term fantasy about teaching. I imagine that one day---one beautiful, shining day--there's a student who, when unsatisfied with the grade given them, decides to come up with a logical argument for why they deserve the higher grade rather than just tell me how much they want to get a better grade. Everybody wants a better grade, fella. That's why they're better. Prove to me that you've absorbed my argumentation skills enough to warrant a grade change and I'll change the freaking grade. But no one gets better stuff just by wishing.

Basically, my dream is to have Cher as a student:

I'm not even joking, which is the sad part. I would completely dig having her in my classroom.

Also: I tend to post the more ridiculous quotes from students on facebook. And a girl I knew in college actually had the stones to comment that (and this is a direct quote), "my students' feelings might get hurt." (a) Every teacher knows you keep your privacy settings on par with the Pentagon, yeah? (b) I never say a name and (c) I am contractually obligated to read drivel. I am not contractually obligated to be tortured silently. The best teachers I have ever known are the ones with a sense of humor and the ability to blow off steam elsewhere. No one could read this much drek in a row without doing something vent-y and this is mine. It hurts no one and it helps me enormously.

So. That's my rage.



ifeelbetter: (Default)
I was thinking about The Oatmeal's tumblebeasts the other day and it occurred to me that there ought really to be a procrastination beast as well, don't you think? I mean, there's Hyperbole and a Half's Why I'll Never Be An Adult, which (let's be honest for a moment) has warmed my heart during dark times that try the soul, but there's no specific mascot to flock to during bouts of procrastination. I feel we need a mascot. Someone should get on that.

I did actually get some work done yesterday. Like, totally real work. Not the justify-the-hours-spent-flipping-through-various-books kind of work. And not the I-cleaned-all-the-things kind of work either. Like, actual typing in an actual document. And some actual progress made on making sense of the jumble of things I feel need to be crammed into my dissertation. So....*self fist-bump*

AND I e-mailed and called lots of people---I am naturally a hermit so these sorts of things take a lot of windup for me---and am now (a) signed up to audit a history course in the Japanese department to shore up some of the gaps in my credibility, (b) back in contact with my adviser, (c) closer than ever to having a cognate person for my committee, and (d) scheduled for a physical on Thursday. (That last one was especially hard because I find phones abnormally, absurdly difficult. The other tasks could be done via e-mail, which I much prefer.)

On the other hand, my old AOL e-mail address is sending horrible spam to everyone I ever knew. So that sucks. -_-;;
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I have had a tumultuous week. That sort of week makes me make lists:

1. My laptop died. This is always a tragic occurrence but
2. it is made even worse when you are in the crunch time before your prospectus is due.
3. Which makes me twitchy with nerves.
4. Especially when I couldn't actually work on it till the new laptop arrived.
5. So I took up multiple short-lived and intense hobbies.
6. Like making cheese. And jam. And yogurt. And knishes.
7. Until the new laptop finally arrived and I could get back to panicking about the prospectus.
8. Which is a giant mess.
9. And Borders is closing. Which is tragic because I live in the town where the first Borders was from.
10. But it's awesome because they're having tremendous sales.
11. But it's awful. A true tragedy for the romance of buying and browsing books.
12. But I got a super cheap DVD of Anne of Green Gables.
13. And Fern Gully.
14. But it's suuuuper sad.
15. And the prospectus. Ohgodohgodohgod the prospectus.
16. So I got my hair dyed blonde.
17. And now I'm watching allll of Anne of Green Gables as a blonde.
18. It's mostly the same, it seems, for blondes as brunettes.
19. Ohgodohgodohgod prospectus.



The end.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
So. I have handed in my last paper (of all coursework of EVER...except for those courses I want to audit in the Fall), handed in my final grades for the semester, read my student evals from between my fingers in abject terror (personal favorite in this batch is "I think the instructor did a fine job teaching the course, but the course itself was created simply as a means of testing how strong a student's will to live is"), and am now officially footloose and fancy-free for summer.

If only the weather would join me in summer. Geez, Michigan. Catch up.

I am going to make a list of things I intend to do this summer. In the fall, I'll check back in and see how much little I accomplished.

· construct super-awesome syllabus for the fall
· learn to drive
· get license / permit
· crochet a hat
· knit roommate a scarf (that should have been done months ago)
· take ukulele lessons
· write a novel in June
· move occasionally in a vaguely athletic manner
· experiment with new recipes
· write Prospectus
· start first chapter of dis
· read all the things I only skimmed for prelims
· be outdoors more
· don't be misanthropic and/or emo when it's hot
· reject apathy

There. That should do it.

PS - I can't manage November NaNoWriMo so I do it in June with a bunch of friends. If anyone wants to join in, feel free!
ifeelbetter: (Default)
So, Mondays have not been my friend this semester. It involves me waking up at ungodly hours (7--I know, real people do this every day, yes, but I am a chronic insomniac and so that often means I don't sleep at all the night before), going to a three-hour seminar (that was amaaaaazingly dead all semester), office hours, teaching, more office hours (because students, bless them, are incapable of figuring out real office hours)....one long exhausting day, is my point.

I just had my wisdom teeth out and the drugs have been making me sleep massive amounts. I had just gone off them yesterday--hence, no sleep--and it turns out that my wonderfully co-operative Jaw? That wasn't giving me any issues? Decided it was time for issues. I sounded like one of the Little Rascals. It was ridiculous.

Also? Having spent the weekend sleeping, not getting any sleep was extra unpleasant by comparison. So I was a Super Giant Mess by teaching time...and I still sounded like a cartoon. So I ended early, went home, and napped away my speech impediment.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention I live in a place that decided April 18th was a good day for snow? I mean, I'm a big ol' fan of snow. In winter. Which it is not anymore. It is definitively spring. Very Spring. Not at all snow-appropriate seasonally.

And then--and this might be where your sympathy for me evaporates, if you had any to begin with--Hawaii 5-0 was not the usual wellspring of happiness it tends to be. And whatever that sitcom of horribleness is that precedes it....I hope to never have to catch the final seconds of it again. That's all I'm saying.

To sum up: :(
ifeelbetter: (Default)
My To-Do List for the Next Two Weeks:

(1) finish reading Bring on the Books for Everyone by Jim Collins for class tomorrow.
(2) write a brief response paper on Bring on the Books for Everyone by Jim Collins for class tomorrow.
(3) write an aprox. 4-pg account of my reader's interview for class tomorrow.
(4) plan a lesson for my own class.
(5) condense a 20+ page essay about Darwin and detective fiction into 10-pages for the conference on Friday.
(6) come up with and begin to write an essay for the Reading Readers class.
(7) get my wisdom teeth taken out.
(8) see Jane Eyre and NTLive's Frankenstein before I leave for the conference on Thursday because they will both be gone by the time I get back.
(9) do fun-person writing.
(10) grade the papers I will be getting tomorrow night.

Speaking of Jane Eyre, does everybody agree with me that this dress on modCloth would allow the wearer to become a modern-day Jane? I think it would.


Am I the only one who feels like modCloth is getting more and more prohibitively expensive every day? It used to be only the occasional dress was over $100. Now there are plenty over $300. I was already an envious lurker before...now I'm even moreso.

PS - I can't wait for romper weather to come back. I own two rompers--despite agreeing with everyone that they are shameful purchases--and I am dying to romp around town in them.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
The things that make me happy!face right now:
1) Just finished the batch of papers that was making my life heavy and horrid for weeeeks. And that was the longest paper of the semester over-and-done-with so it's all downhill from here!

2) Also revised my pre-prospectus (and finally read my advisor's comments which were shockingly un-negative) and gave it back to her to check over before I hand it in

but mostly

3) MY DAD IS IN TOWN VISITING ME. He called me from the hotel he checked into to tell me he's here--which is all sorts of warm-fuzzifying on its own--and to repeat a quotation he thought I would like: "Taste is in the eye of the beholder."

GUYS MY DAD IS AWESOME BEYOND MEASURE.

I am now so excited for the next two days chilling with him, I don't even know if I have a sufficient grasp on synonyms for "excited" to fully express it.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
This is the latest installment in How Is That Bromance Class Going, Anyway? for those who are interested. Last episode, we were making the transition between the philosophizing and homo-eroticism of the idea of male camaraderie into a discussion of women, feminism, and how female friendships compare/contrast with all the male-dominated ones.

So I gave them this article by Jennifer Scanlon called "If My Husband Calls I'm Not Here": The Beauty Parlor as Real and Representational Female Space. I also gave them an assignment that should have been familiar since we've done similar things throughout the semester: they had to go find some instance of fashion in the "real world" and bring it into class for a quick close-reading. These presentations/close-readings were supposed to be 2-3 minutes MAX.



It was brilliant. It went EPICALLY over the time but it was so brilliant. The boys who caused a minor ruckus--a planned, calculated, ultimately productive quasi-misogynist ruckus--a week or so ago are still grappling with how "silly" fashion is and how "silly" women are for caring about it, right, BUT. These two boys--oh, this was brilliant--they each thought of presenting their own sneakers for their item of fashion. And they were competing brands of sneaker. The boys actually acted out--without any prompting from me--how heated and contentious fashion can be for men as well, even men who had already identified fashion as "silly" and "just for girls."

ANDANDAND. This anecdote completely got away from me in my enthusiasm... )

In short: I sometimes have glorious days teaching. I sometimes have these moments when I look at a student and I think to myself, "Yeah. I'd leave a planet to you, no problem."

To prevent this entry (and me) from seeming overly optimistic, I should conclude with this lovely piece of literary criticism from the same group of students:
Taking the violence against women one step further, and much more literally, it is easy to see how Eminem and Dr. Dre approach the line of homosexuality.

Ah. Right. Life is awful sometimes, too, and students can be the worst humanity has to offer as often as they can be the best. I almost forgot.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I finally have funding to go to the conference in my home state! I will be at my old undergrad university too...and will be able to take a fabulous friend home to meet my dear old Da (who got a PhD but couldn't find an academic job back in the 70s and is totally happy in his job now as a copyeditor at Sports Illustrated (because then he can be nerdy about sports and grammar at the same time) but who, deep down, loves the opportunity to waffle on about literature/theory). The friend in question is particularly fabulous and my Da has been getting lonely now that he lives alone most of the time. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to have vibrant conversation all over the house to cheer him up. Maybe bake some bread together. My dreams are limitless.

I also do not feel quite right without a sojourn to New Jersey every couple of months. I don't get attached to places, really, because I love moving and starting from scratch....but I still need a NJ fix. I just love Jersey so very, very much.

So. NeMLA, here I come!
ifeelbetter: (great mouse detective - bipolar)
So I'm now the only Victorianist in my year. The only other one has had a giant kerfuffle happen around/to him--I am hazy at best on the details but it seems like his committee advanced him to candidacy and then dissolved itself??--and so I am now the only Victorianist. He's apparently moving to Brooklyn to start a chicken farm.

We share(d) an adviser, though, and I'm not seriously terrified of her. If one half of the things he says about this experience are really as little his own fault as he claims they are, she's done him serious wrong. I've never heard of such shady, back-door dealings before. And if she's capable of it with him, she must be with me as well. So. Terror. Good for staving off lethargy, I guess?

So I just drafted my pre-prospectus in the last three hours. I'm going to submit it after I edit out the crazy in the morning...but I want something on her desk before she decides she wants my head on a platter too. She likes me now...but I keep getting only Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Hyde must just be biding his time...

So. My pre-prospectus. It rambles between Austen, wood-print porn, Whistler, Wilde, Dickens, postcolonial feminism, and about a thousand other things. I think I can predict at least one comment she'll make: "You might want to include a little organization in your next draft." True fact.

PS: Mondays. I hates'em. They usually end up with me being awake for 21 hours straight.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
Guys, look at this:

He would not stay for me, and who can wonder?
He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder,
And went with half my life about my ways.


NOW look at this:
No, seriously, look at this business )

So I taught Stoppard today. I feel passionately about Stoppard. Like. IDEK. It's a Big Deal for me. I know The Invention of Love because my sister heard about it when we were in high school. And we were walking around NYC one weekend, that being the basic activity of most of my youth, and we see the sign for the play. My sister--who had her first job at the time--ducks in and we ask how much a ticket would cost--imagining something like the enormous amount of $20 or something. The answer comes back: $100. Per ticket. And we've never even conceived of such a large amount of money before--we were still doing our mathematical calculations by how many bags of chips that amount of money could theoretically buy--and my sister hesitated for a beat and then handed over her card and bought two tickets on the spot. And so we saw the play--not understanding the words, the names, the laughs that rolled through the rest of the audience, nothing--but we both agreed, afterward, that we loved A. E. Housman passionately and permanently. And that has not changed since.

I mean it when I say I feel passionately about this play. And students can be so glorious sometimes--they voiced their confusion at the beginning of class but, an hour and a half later, they had caught my enthusiasm. It's days like this that I know why I do what I do and how people can exist with each other in peace and happiness.

Also. I made a new rule when we did Tennyson that students could win extra credit by memorizing poetry and reciting it to me in my office hours. A student actually came up to me to ask if she should memorize the original Latin of Catullus or the translation. Sometimes, man. Sometimes I glory to be a teacher.

I'll leave you with this from Catullus:
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.

Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred,
then a second thousand, then a second hundred,
then immediately a thousand then a hundred.

blergh

Feb. 3rd, 2011 02:50 pm
ifeelbetter: (Black Books - leave angry)
I caught something nasty in the woodshed yesterday and am now stuck inside with allllll the tissues and only a hacking cough for company. Thanks, world. This is like that time you attacked me with tonsillitis just because I worked at an iHop. You're not nice, is my point.

So. I feel like death on wheels and I have 9 more papers to grade. I think it's the papers that got me sick, honestly. I think I caught unhappiness in viral form from them.

Also--since I'm on the subject of writing--have an anecdote:
Anecdote (and a switch of tone) be here. )

So that was my anecdote. I have no sense when stories about my mom are going to be sad or happy to people--they're all sort of happy to me.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
Just went to the end-of-prelims-season party...all of my cohort passed! This is unsurprising but still awesome because my cohort is made of such a combination of awesome that I have no words. I am paid to have words and I don't. There aren't any for this massive amount of awesome. And even awesomer was the two people who have dropped--still awesome people (they both quit to do more for the world than spread a love of literature and, yeah, legit beef there, ladies)--were both there!

So. After group griping (and drinking) and general survivors' bonding (and more drinking), here is my new wisdom:


This is wisdom in two ways (and, yes, I get more bullet point-y the drunker I get):
(a) "Fuck it" is the only legitimate reaction to a stress test like this one, especially after the fact and
(b) Julie Andrews rocks my world. For realsies.

My dad once told me that you feel too young for everything until, suddenly, one day you feel too old. I still feel too young--definitely like a kid playing dress-up in that exam--but whatevs. I passed.

More wisdom:
ifeelbetter: (Default)
In case there's anyone out there who isn't interested in my Academic Woes, be warned: this way leads to Feelings.

Prelims, a saga in many parts. )

On a lighter note....things I have texted to people in my madness over the past week or so:

yes maybe so true but what about sudden death. like with newborns. i could get behind some sudden death right about now.

hank youn dont jinx knock all the wood

Do you think curly hair looks disrespectful?

sdfghjcvbnm


That last one--the keyboard smash--was actually what my phone sent when I replied to a text by hitting it against my forehead.

In conclusion, I would like to offer some advice to people preparing for prelims:
1) You're more likely to pass than not if you cared enough to do the work.
2) Nerves are something you have to just admit as fact. Work around them if you can, expel them when it's possible, but don't ratchet up the stress by feeling guilt about your stress.
3) Your gut already knows your problems. They will agree with what your gut has been telling you all along. So just listen to your gut in the first place.
4) I found Edith Piaf and Garth Brooks equally energizing right before. That and cutting myself off from caffeine.
5) Read all the books.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
"In a past century that was known for two world wars, and a standoff between two super powers, there was another stabilizing factor: The Beatles."

"As society has advanced it has been able to place definitions on almost everything: laws, customs, even slang; but more spiritual ideas like marriage, relationships and friendships haven't found a stable definition."




There are only so many euphemisms I can think of for "What the fuck are you ON, dumbass?"


It's gonna be a looooong semester.
ifeelbetter: (Psych - Just Shawn)
My prelims are just slightly more than two weeks away. I swear, there's an "oh shit oh shit oh shit" mantra going through the back of my brain all the time these days. I am panicking so much I have begun to forget things--like manners and the English language and to eat.

SO. Like I always do in times of need--when my mother used to say, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" because, honestly, she was made of different stuff from the rest of us--I am procrastinating. I am procrastinating like there was an Olympic event for it and I was aiming for the gold. I am procrastinating like it's going out of style.

On the one hand, internet, you should have this in return for the love I bear you:


AND NOW THIS. This is what the internet gives ME because it loves ME:

"How d'you know I don't have a big house?"

I have also been knitting like a crazy person. I am making the most fugly teal circle (you could ask why but then I would have to say something annoying like "ask me no silly questions, I'll tell you no silly lies" or "..to make a fugly teal circle?")...all I want from life is to knit the fugliest sweater some day, the kind I will give to relatives at major holidays and they will make faces behind my back because they are so ugly. I am majorly excited, no joke, to someday be that crazy aunt.

When I fail prelims--I know, I probably won't, yes, I get that in my brain but, guys, panic is panic is panic--I will move to a shack in some frozen woodland with a cow (whom I will also name Bessie and she shall be called Bessie 2 or The Return of Bessie) and I will knit all my own clothes and own several cats who will be mostly feral and kill lots of mice. That is my backup plan.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
As I mentioned in my last post, I am doing a Bromance class this semester. Every time I've tried to explain the arc of the class to people (ending with responses by women, female friendships, etc.), they always give me weird looks. And--despite being raised by a second-wave feminist who gave me kid's books by the Feminist Press (The Girl with the Incredible Feeling should be required for young girls, as far as I'm concerned)--I'm not sure what readings would work best for that.

The idea is to deal with exclusion--women being pushed aside for being extraneous to the more "worthwhile" friendships between men--but also the nuances of female friendships.

These are the readings I have right now:

in response to a male-poets-responding-to-male-poets section earlier in the course, a female poets version (included so far: Joyce Carol Oates on Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell on Emily Dickinson, various poets on Sappho, Elizabeth Barrett Browning on L.E.L., Christina Rossetti on Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I so need more of these)
Gilbert and Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Part I: Toward a Feminist Poetics)
Karen Hollinger, In the Company of Women (The introduction and possibly chapter 1, "Women's Film Precedents")
Both versions (the 2008 and the 1939) versions of the film The Women
Jennifer Scanlon, “If My Husband Calls I’m Not Here”: The Beauty Parlor as Real and Representational Female Space (from the Feminist Studies journal)
excerpts from fashion blogs and fashion magazines
Valerie Traub, "The Politics of Pleasure; or, Queering Queen Elizabeth"
The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman

So, internet, I put the question to you: Can any of you think of something more central to the topic at hand than these? It doesn't feel right, I know that much. Maybe it needs more literature-literature? Or maybe I need some Simone de Beauvoir or Germaine Greer?

What made you guys feminists? Was it something you read/saw/heard or was it a chance conversation/ eureka moment?

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