Friday, December 14, 2007

Snowed in

Locked in my apartment all day, working from home; it's just as well that I didn't even attempt to get to the office first thing, as when I attempted to go somewhere later in the afternoon, my car got stuck in the snowdrifts three-quarters of the way out the driveway. That was some fun times, friends. Thank god for friendly people on the street who know the right combination of pushing and rocking and shifting and shoveling to extract a low-quality mobile tin can from winter's detritus. I then parked my car as deep in the driveway it would go and settled back into my home workspace.

So. GREs are done, recommendations are done, transcripts are done, now I only have the some statements of purpose to struggle fruitlessly over for a few weeks. I was never a big fan of this genre of writing, due to my own problems articulating a clearly-defined set of research interests and projects. My questions all get so large that they lose coherency. Which is kind of a problem when you're looking to publish bite-sized chunks of inquiry and develop coherent projects and the like. You know, the whole being-an-academic part of being an academic. Hm.

I do desperately hope that I'll somehow acquire this ability somewhat naturally (osmosis-like...) when I'm a full-time student again. I don't recognize "the publishable topic/paper/etc." when I see it, yet. I have a paper that I'm in the process of substantially cutting and revising for submission to a journal, on the recommendation of Adviser Guy. I wouldn't have thought of it as something publishable until somebody told me so. Re-play of a conversation from a few weeks ago:

Me: I don't know how to write something that's publishable!
AG: Well, this [the paper] is publishable.
Me: But I don't know how I did that!

So I guess until I figure out a process, "spirit possession" will be my process-by-default. I'm sure that's sustainable.

That's all for now. Many thank-yous to Sisyphus, whose lovely shiny blogger gift came in the mail on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Limbo + presents

I don't know what I'm doing with my life. Specifically with grad school, but the grad school I select (or the set of departments I choose to apply to, and when) has implications for other potential career paths that are important to me, not to mention for my current position.

My solution? Take a mental health day, and catch up on sleep for most of it. Yes, I am an avoider. However, I think it did provide some perspective. But I still have a lot of reading and thinking to do. And potentially scrambling to meet other departments' deadlines. Or potentially withdrawing my one application. Life is full of endless possibility, ain't it? Goddamn.

In other news, in light of Sisyphus's generosity, I have an offer to make to all two of you who read this:

By the end of the calendar year, I will send a tangible, physical gift to each of the first five people to comment here. The catch? Each person must make the same offer on her/his blog.

(And no, if fewer than five people comment, you can't come back for seconds.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No, really, I am here.

I just have been too exhausted and busy most of the time to be interesting. (And that is the only reason for my ever not being interesting cough)

Hey, so it's October, isn't it? I should get on with taking that ol' GRE exam, shouldn't I now? Which means I should start knowing what words like "sedulous" mean. And how to, um, do geometry.

I'm now having second thoughts about applying only to one grad program. I think I'm getting sick of this university, even though I'm not even an undergraduate here anymore. I hope these feelings pass, a process which I plan to aid by ignoring said feelings completely. La la la, can't hear you, doubt!

Oh, and also, I'm getting my wisdom teeth out next week. I'm ambivalent, as even though I know sweet sweet drugs wait for me on the other side, I'm probably not going to be so good for personal-statement-writing for awhile if I'm in a Vicodin haze. Though I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are the Chronicle blog titles always this tongue-in-cheek/ironic?

Or is it just a bad day?

Princeton Gives Top Marks to Its 3-Year-Old Policy to Control Grade Inflation

Thanks to Colleges, Students Just as Ignorant as They Were Last Year, Report Says

In related news, I'm so glad that, due to my circumstances, I have a free online subscription to the Chronicle. I'm getting to cultivating my academe nerdiness/navel-gazing to an extent not previously thought possible. Look, I even used the term "academe."

In unrelated news, I'm sick. Ugh.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pseudo-productive things I did today

(That "s" in the title is misleading...)

During a lull in work this afternoon (not so much a "lull" as an "oh my God I CANNOT read/answer any more e-mails or I'll end up forking myself in the eye") I paid a courtesy call to Better Than U Grad School's online application. I took the opportunity to enter the contact information for my second recommender, Advisor Guy, whose assistant had just let me know that he'd be fine with using the website to submit his letter. I already had the go-ahead from Mentor Woman to enter her in last week, so aside from the (rather significant, natch) next step of getting said recommendations actually submitted, I've two down, one to go.

And that's where we have a problem.

My would-be third recommender, outside my discipline but quite relevant for my academic interests--and, most importantly, knows and likes my work--has gone on "deep leave." Meaning that she's not writing any recommendations unless prearranged. And I did not know this until I sent her an e-mail in mid-August and got an auto-reply saying as much.


I'm aware of how necessary it is for faculty to protect their research time, especially when presented with the opportunity to take a sabbatical--I don't want it to seem as if I'm not sympathetic to that. But, dude! AUGUST, and already no deal if not prearranged? Can't I get a grace period? A grandfather clause? I didn't even know for certain that I would be applying in this admissions cycle until a week before I e-mailed! (And I thought I was being good by asking four months in advance...)

All is not lost. She did write me a recommendation for something a few semesters ago, and I wrote a cordial and tiptoe-y e-mail asking if she might be able to find time to pull that out of the deep freeze and send it along, just change the dates or whatever. And, most charitably on her part, she did respond, though unfortunately to say that she hasn't been able to find it in her files. aaaaaaaaaaaaagh. So now what I do is pray that she stumbles across it before earlyish November, probably the latest I should be asking people for recs. (Unless any readers think otherwise...?)

This wouldn't be so bad but for the fact that she's basically the only person who knows me as an academic being from whom I haven't already requested a recommendation. I know other professors, in a few cases fairly well, but they have little experience with my work that was a) not mediated by TA grading, and/or b) the best stuff I'm capable of.

Presuming my would-be third doesn't find that old letter, I think what I'll do is schedule an appointment with Professor I've Assisted, From Whom I Took Two Classes, And Who Likes Me to talk more about my academic interests and plans for graduate work, and then hope that's enough for her to go on to write a compelling letter on my behalf. Although I accidentally saw a letter she wrote for me for another thing awhile back, and it was pretty "eh."

Of course, all of this probably doesn't matter, given that those first two letter writers are tenured members of the department to which I'm applying for admission--one of them actually being the guy I want to work with and have advise my dissertation.

Any advice, ether?

Peace! And quiet! ...!!!

I had a feeling my burst of sociability last week would burn off quickly. It's probably due to more factors than my introverted side's strangled cries for mercy, namely, that I've been so ridiculously busy with work (and now, school--hooray for auditing a most wonderful class with Advisor Guy) that I have not furnished my body with enough rest to actually enjoy consciousness--much less consciousness in the company of others when I feel like I have a bunch of shit to do that's not been done. Along those lines, my room's really messy and there are a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink since it was my week to clean the kitchen and I most certainly have not and though my roommates are lovely and understanding and care more about my physical and mental health than about the stagnant water collecting in our dirty half-rinsed wine glasses--this bothers me.


(There is cause for exclamation points!)

Not ONLY was I able to sleep an extraordinarily helpful twelve hours last night, but...! My lovely and understanding roommates?


For the whole weekend!

All three of 'em!!!


Sorry, I'm a little giddy. I had known that two roommates would be away, but it was only about twenty minutes ago and after an evening of puzzling (albeit very serene puzzling in an atmosphere of quiet relaxation) that I remembered the third had also been planning to go out of town this weekend. And this makes me way, way too happy.

But not as happy as I'll be once I have those damn dishes done.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Random bullets of wisdom teeth. And angst.

Okay, the title of this post is kind of a lie, but I don't care. First, non-bulleted wisdom teeth update (fascinating):

Last Wednesday I went to the dentist (yay having dental insurance!) to get some x-rays. I was originally supposed to have had that appointment tomorrow morning, but they were able to squeeze me in last week because I called whining about my sudden inability to swallow without swells of jaw pain. Verdict? I'm teething! Or on the top of one side of my mouth, I am. Apparently one of the little suckers was able to fight its way through without getting too impacted, and that mysterious okay-something's-pinching-something-but-there's-nothing-in-that-area-of-my-mouth-to-pinch pain that was waking me up at night? Tooth, ripping flesh. And now it's extraordinarily weird to grope around the back of my mouth and feel, hey, more chewing capability back there!

Now the bottom tooth on that same side is starting in, but it's semi-impacted and thus going to be much more annoying to wrench out. And speaking of annoying, the wisdom tooth on the bottom on the OTHER side is, like, completely horizontally impacted. So, it's off to the oral surgeon for me, and with all due speed. By which I mean September 27th. For the consultation. Yeah. Thanks, guys. I'm hoping none of my shifting teeth begin to inconveniently press on any nerves before then. I'm actually still up now because I'm having this inexplicable headache/sinus pain, and I know nothing about whether that could be connected to my teeth, but dammit, until I know better I'm gonna blame it on them.

The angst, believe it or not, is actually completely un-teeth-related. It was prompted by (another) conversation with (another) grad student. Basically the example this guy sets has got me all in a tizzy about my own motivations and ability to trust/believe in myself. More on that soon.

Another good reason to be angsty? I had to get my MacBook's power adapter replaced because, um, the wires were starting to burn through their protective covering (thanks, Apple!). I sent my craptastic fire/death hazard of an adapter back in the little box the AppleCare people sent me, but the bastards apparently did not receive it, because they just charged $76 to my credit card. *(@$&*(&%$^*(#*@&$#). Although I guess I should be glad that now my computer poses a slightly (?) lowered risk of immolating me while I sleep. Cheers!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

You know it's fall

when they bring back the pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks.

Okay, back to work...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It's fun to be social!

I knew I'd have to work harder at having a social life/being a non-loser when I left college. It's only natural, no longer having forty of your closest friends living ten to sixty seconds away. But I didn't anticipate how accomplished I'd feel simply by virtue of having a successful dinner with my housemates and a new person I met at my HR orientation. The food thrown together was kind of crap (we're none of us cooks around here), but the company was lovely--New Person, a fellow recent grad who just moved to the area, really clicked with our merry band, and we're all hanging out again next week. Yay for non-loser-dom!

I've been feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about social things lately--two of my undergrad friends who now live far and farther away came to visit yesterday, I'm getting to know and quite like my coworker who also just graduated from BTU, and all my non-grad friends have been coming back for the start of the new semester, so there's been an unusual influx of people to catch up with. Plus the pestering-grad-students stratagem has been a good way to get acquainted with more folk; I like having a reason to talk to new people. That's the rub--I love knowing people, but I hate having to find and meet them. The grad student thing, and the HR/recent-grad thing, and the coworker thing, we come equipped with stuff to talk about! Instant acquaintanceship.

Wow. I'm afraid if this continues I might lose my misanthropic credibility. But right now I'll just enjoy it. I mean, it's hard not to have fun when one is like so totally popular! *gigl*

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Maybe herein lies some explanation for the neuroses articulated by the previous post

'Cause I just can't resist, more personality test results. This time, personal DNA:

(I also like that I'm both low masculinity and low femininity. Does that mean I'm androgynous, or just bland?)

Talk to me.

My default course of action, no matter the situation, is to gather information. Knowing more about something can never hurt, right? If I have perfect information, I can anticipate all consequences and be confident in the perfection of my own response.

As the amount of times I used a variant of the word "perfect" in the preceding sentence might indicate, this so-called course of "action" amounts to procrastination, the M.O. of those afflicted by crippling perfectionism (hi!).

This is enough of a pathology on its own. My problem is, given a critical mass of evidence, I tend to resolve myself to whatever course of action "feels right," which is often congruent with assuming whatever I really really want to happen will happen. And, stupidly, for several significant life decisions this has worked out okay. I applied early to Better Than U for undergrad, had a good feeling about my chances even though it's a complete crap shoot for ALL students, and after I got my acceptance notice in mid-December it thankfully no longer mattered that I had not started a single application to other schools. This summer I stumbled upon a job opening that I had reason to believe I was an excellent candidate for, and despite the disturbingly excessive length of the search and hire process, I thought to myself, "what's the point of writing all those cover letters and redoing your résumé to send to a bunch of positions you're nowhere near as enthusiastic about? It makes so much sense for them to give you this job. They will!" And they... did.

I know, poor baby. But bear with me for a moment while I work through my issues.

I can maintain my perfectionist street cred because my refusal to do any real work in pursuit of Plans B once I've put all my eggs in one big-life-decision basket does not in any way keep me from worrying about my lack of work done on behalf of alternatives. I spent endless time from junior year of high school on, obsessing about which schools to apply to, reading the Fiske guide, honing my list of colleges according to constantly-evolving Perfection Criteria. Then Better Than U emerged as a first choice, and my gut told me this was it. Which did nothing to stop me from worrying about the essays I did not want to write (and didn't) and audition tapes I did not want to record (and didn't) for other schools while I awaited BTU's decision. And as the hiring cycle for This Job dragged on and on, I would check BTU's HR website, constantly finding other suitable openings for which I reeeeally did not want to submit applications. Once I have my ideal situation in mind, I make bad faith overtures toward preparing for the worst-case scenario without actually applying myself, unless you count the stress and obsessing.

This, as you may already have been thinking, is stupid. Really stupid. The wisest thing would probably be to prepare my back-ups more concretely. And if I'm not going to do any triage work, I should get the fuck over myself and at least be a little carefree about it.

I know this, intellectually.

But. Here in front of me, we have graduate school. Hi, graduate school! You look fulfilling and benign here from my not-in-graduate-school vantage point. Anyway, again it seems like I've stumbled into a pretty sweet situation, through no effort of my own. First of all, BTU's department in my discipline is excellent for my interests. I did not realize this until, by sheer dumb luck, I came upon Big-Deal-particularly-in-Subfield-of-Interest Advisor Guy my senior year. I wrote my senior thesis with him, he liked it, and he seems to have my back in all things admissions. Also by sheer dumb luck, three years ago I also happened upon Also-a-Big-Deal-in-the-Discipline Awesome Mentor Woman, long before I knew the first thing about what I might want out of advanced academic study (if I wanted advanced academic study), much less what discipline in which to pursue my all-over-the-place interests. She let me into one of her graduate seminars as a lowly sophomore, which I appreciate even though I felt like I didn't really belong there and was intimidated as all hell by the grad students, and she has been a wonderful intellectual and personal support the entire time I've known her. She's also, naturally, in my corner for admissions; that's just the kind of person she is.

Leaving the it's-likely-I'll-get-in thing aside, there are other compelling reasons for me to stay here. I like BTU City; if I enroll next fall I know I'll still have social support around, since one of my roommates is staying at least another year, too; my one-of-a-kind music teacher is here, and I do not want to give up the seriousness with which I study singing just yet. And, like I said, BTU's department looks unique in terms of what it can offer me as a student in Subfield. I already know I have productive working relationships with Advisor Guy and Awesome Mentor Woman. It can't really be this fucking easy for me again, can it?

Of course it can't. I wouldn't let it, natch.

In practical terms this means I end up talking to a lot of grad students. I could, you know, study for the GRE or start writing my personal statement or even attempt to contact some professors in my field at the other departments I was looking at earlier in the summer, before I concluded that BTU is where it's at. But, nah! I talk to BTU's graduate students. I talk to them and ask them questions about applying to grad school, this department, its culture, blah blah blah. All of that conversation is useful, and pretty pleasant, too. But what I'm really looking for is for people to tell me that given my situation, no, it's not the most ill-advised thing in the world to apply to only one department, (presumably) get in, and go on my merry way.

And you know? That's pretty much what I've gotten. It is going to be that easy for me, apparently(?). Maybe. Again.

And if it isn't, I can only hope all this information I'm gathering will cushion the fall for which I'm so richly due.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Shit. I think my wisdom teeth are coming in. Wisdom tooth, at least. I grope around the back of my mouth and I can feel a horrible evil little tooth point lurking below the surface on the one side, and that area's been all tender the past few days.

Shiiiiiiit. But at least I might get some Vicodin out of all this.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Random bullets of my life is really not that interesting

  • Went to my first HR orientation this week (aww!). Still need to turn in payroll forms and get a damn parking permit and fax in the you-don't-have-to-contribute-so-hey-why-not life insurance policy. My friend who's still in college says that thinking about retirement accounts makes him uncomfortably aware of his mortality; I'd like to see how he'd deal with an official pay-out being attached to his demise. Also I hope that if I don't get the direct deposit form in on time for Friday's payday that nobody steals my check from the mailbox in our desolate office building.
  • Trial periods are valuable things. Babysat a cat for a week and a half, a really sweet cat, too, but dealing with fur and smells and litter that makes my feet itch being strewn all over a corner of my room including an edge of my rug has made me realize that now is not the best time for me to have a pet. Her "real parents" picked her up tonight--I need to remember to make her deadbeat dad pay me for the Meow Mix.
  • Office life is kinda fun when you finally have someone else working alongside you in your creepy isolated fluorescently lit hallway.
  • Based on a conversation I had with a very helpful grad student today, I'm reconsidering the wisdom of only applying to a single Ph.D. program in my discipline of choice. I'm meeting with another grad student in said program tomorrow, and likely another one next week. I selfishly hope that I will be able to rationalize what they say as justifying the appropriateness of my initial impulses.
  • I switched to Gmail today from my university's webmail. I still prefer the webmail look and all my precious precious but teeth-grindingly slow-loading nested folders, but I really hope I'll acclimate, since I know intellectually that Gmail and its labeling capabilities just make so much more sense.

Those should probably be shorter to qualify as "real" bullets (the Platonic ideal of Bullet), but whatever. Time to obsess over e-mails that need to be sent tomorrow, while I drift off to sleep...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Maybe I should read the book now.

You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

via Anastasia

There but for the grace of bloggers

Last week I went to meet with an administrator in the graduate school here at (forgive my lame attempt at assigning pseudonyms) Better Than U, to talk about a fellowship I was thinking of applying for. He couldn't help me much with that part of the conversation, but we got to talking about graduate school as a whole, my current plans of working for a year or two with an organization at BTU (heh) and then, luck willing, my beginning life as a grad student here in one of the departments he happens to oversee. We talked about the nature of the department and its requirements, the transformation it's undergone in recent years, the extent to which a graduate school curriculum can do its job of preparing students to be professional academics and the necessity of avoiding getting bogged down in the grad school morass for years on end.

I made some comment about how fundamentally different the experience of TAing (leading a discussion once or twice a week, perhaps giving one lecture in a semester-long class) must be from the load one takes on as a first-year junior professor (a 4/4 schedule, research and service expectations, etc. etc.), and the guy looks at me and says, "Oh, you need to come here--you're so reasonable!"

Which, well, cool. But it also made me realize how important so many of the personal-professional blogs that I've taken to reading have been for informing my expectations about graduate school and the professoriate. I'm immensely glad that these resources have been at my disposal, especially given that, judging from this dean's reaction (which, granted, has its own biases), many grad students apparently don't come in with their eyes open to these issues--even at hoity-toity BTU, which I imagine attracts its share of obsessive/Type A/think-ahead-and-plan-for-everything types.

Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of saying thank you to those who devote the time to sharing their everyday experiences in academe. You're helping the neophytes more than you know.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I've gotta stop

staying up way too late, causing extreme lethargy at work the next day. And then posting about it on my blog. At least no one's here to see this. And if they were, they wouldn't care. Oof.

I have HR orientation next week, I'll be better then, I swear. And maybe I'll eventually learn how to go to bed early. For now: (more) coffee.

Also, on my office PC I notice that my Cheshire Cat picture looks kinda fucked up. Sorry, PC users. Another reason to give it up already and get a Mac. You're going to be assimilated eventually, y'know.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hey, a post with content!

Granted, it's still a meme. I'm building momentum. (Found over at Adjunct Whore's.)

1. What Do You Say Most When You’re Trying Not To Swear?


2. Do You Own An iPod?

Yep. White 30GB video iPod. It was a rage purchase during finals of junior year spring. I got a little discount through my university, and a free inscription of my choosing: "In memoriam: resistance to consumer whoredom."

3. Which Person(s) In Your Top Friends Do You Talk To The Most?

Only the non-élite use MySpace. And I haven't downloaded the equivalent Facebook application.

4. What Time Is Your Alarm Clock Set To?

It's my cell phone, and every day a different time. Lately, early enough so that I can get to work at a reasonable-ish approximation of 9am. I have a feeling I'm really going to like it when I go back to school--and I've only been out of school for 3 months.

5. Do You Want To Fall In Love?

Sure. Doesn't everybody?

6. Do You Wear Flip-Flops When It’s Cold?

Yep. Flip-Flops all the time, for everyone. Although somewhat less so now that I don't need designated shower shoes for daily use anymore.

7. Would You Rather Take The Picture Or Be In The Picture?

I'm horribly unphotogenic, but I like being in pictures when I deem myself tolerable-looking. Given this, then whatever evokes the better memory, as I'm a sickeningly sentimental person--my screen saver is currently set as a slideshow of precious moments from my college years.

8. What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Shit, this is actually kind of difficult. Oh, no, wait--Thelma and Louise, the special edition DVD, from a free Netflix trial earlier in the summer. Not bad! And I may see Young Frankenstein at our local way-expensive theatre this weekend.

9. Do Any Of Your Friends Have Children?

Dude, hells no. Well, friends in my cohort, at least.

10. Has Anyone Ever Called You Lazy?

Probably. I wasn't too good at getting the chores done when I was a kid.

11. Do You Ever Take Medication To Help You Fall Asleep?

Eh, "medication" in the sense of wine plus an Effexor that was not mine, once, when I was really upset. And also some entirely ineffectual sleeping pills (plus wine) to attempt to keep myself from freaking out on planes. Usually doesn't work.

12. What CD Is Currently In Your CD Player?

What CD player? ...Okay, no, I used to use mine sometimes last year, when iPod/computer speakers were not readily available. Probably Rufus Wainwright (eponymous, Poses, or Want One).

13. Do You Prefer Regular Or Chocolate Milk?

Don't drink milk anymore, but back when I did, I lived off of regular milk.

14. Has Anyone Told You A Secret This Week?

Yes. A really good one! In several senses. :)

15. When Was The Last Time You Had Starbucks?

Earlier this week sometime. Large iced coffee with sugar-free vanilla, some half-and-half, and cinnamon.

16. Can You Whistle?

Nope. I suck. I'd really like to be able to do the badass two-finger whistle.

17. Do You Have A Trampoline In Your Back Yard?

I don't have a back yard. I DID just watch that episode of The Simpsons from the fifth season with the evil trampoline in it, though.

18. Do You Think People Talk About You Behind Your Back?

Sure, I'm totally paranoid. Plus my group of friends are all gossip whores.

19. Did You Watch Cartoons As A Child?

Certainly! Garfield and Friends and Animaniacs are looked back upon with the most affection, but also Woody Woodpecker, Tiny Toons, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Rescue Rangers, DuckTales. Oh, and of course, The Simpsons (allowed after I was about 7 or so).

20. What Movie Do You Know Every Line To?

Um, The Lion King has been burned into my brain ever since as a fourth-grader I resolved to watch it EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE when it came out on video. I lasted a little over a month.

I can probably recite many TV episodes verbatim, though, particularly the good years of The Simpsons.

21. What Is The Last Thing You Purchased?

So boring and uncharacteristically girly: make-up sponge wedges, nail polish remover, discounted plum nail polish, and a vanilla Coke Zero, at Walgreen's today. I'm taking a trip to Trader Joe's soon, though, whose spoils will include cheese curds, wasabi almonds, Greek yogurt and microwave-ready Indian food.

22. Is There Anything Wrong With Girls Kissing Girls?

Of course not. Death to heteronormativity.

23. Do You Own Any Band T-Shirts?

Yep. "Love Guster, don't eat them" and a Barenaked Ladies shirt from their Maroon tour. Oh, and I think I have Ben Folds Five somewhere. I've, like, never worn any of them, though.

24. What Is Your Favorite Salad Dressing?

Blue cheese, no contest.

25. Is anyone in love with you?

Well, it's ME, I can only assume...

26. Do You Do Your Own Dishes?

As opposed to using a dishwasher? Yes.

27. Ever Cry In Public?

Yeah. Stupid stuff, usually. What can I say, I'm very flappable.

28. Do You Like Anyone?

Bwah. Cute. <3 <3

29. Are You Currently Wanting Any Piercings Or Tattoo?

I have none of either, though recently I felt a sudden urge to get my ears pierced. I like the idea of tattoos in theory, but wouldn't know what to get. My roommate, unprompted, said that a Cheshire Cat would fit me. Hence the blog icon.

30. Who Was The Last Person To Make You Mad?

Idiot at the U-Haul place. And one of my supervisors. Oh, JUST now, as I was writing this, my upstairs neighbor.

31. Would You Ever Date Anyone Covered In Tattoos?

I'd probably be a little weirded out initially, but why not?

32. What Did You Do Before This?

Um, drank some refrigerated coffee, said goodbye to a visiting friend who's going to Boston.

33. When Was The Last Time You Slept On The Floor?

When I first moved into my apartment at the beginning of June and hadn't gotten my futon yet. I did have a huge pile of clothes and pillows, though, so it wasn't bad.

34. How Many Hours Of Sleep Do You Need To Function?

Hard to tell, since I so often split them up. 7 minimum, 8 maximum before I wake up with a sleep-hangover, I think.

35. Do You Eat Breakfast Daily?

Eh, kinda. I always have coffee/caffeine, and usually graze a bit in the morning before I leave for work. I suck at preparing "meals."

36. Are Your Days Full And Fast Paced?

Yeah, but with generous helpings of screwing around and wasting time mixed in.

37. What are you doing right now?

Er, writing this?

38. Do you use sarcasm?

Only when I talk. [eta: And write.]

39. Have You Ever Been In A Fight?

Emotional fights, yes. Physical fights, no.

40. Are You Picky About Spelling And Grammar?

"Picky" is an understatement.

41. Have You Ever Been To Six Flags?

Other amusement parks, but never a Six Flags.

42. Have You Ever Gotten Beat up?


43. Do You Get Along Better With The Same Sex Or The Opposite?

Eh, about the same, I think. My close friends are a mix. And none of them really cleave to gender stereotypes.

44. Do you like mustard?

Of course!

45. Do You Sleep On Your Side, Stomach, Or Back?

Usually back.

46. Do You Watch The News?

GOD no. Well, national news wouldn't be excruciating, but local news is the tool of Satan himself. ugh. just ugh.

47. How did you ge--Actually, no, that's not enough. Here's the entry for "local news" that I copied out of the Television Without Pity book at a Barnes & Noble last winter, because I felt so passionate about its truth:

"News, Crappy Local --

No matter where on the North American landmass you live, or where else on said landmass you travel, you can rely on one constant: The local news is bad.

The average 11:00 broadcast leads with footage of police-car lights flashing while an inoffensive-looking anchor-clone with a bulletproof blow-dry reads sonorously about a shooting, a robbery, or a raccoon knocking over the trash at Wendy's. After the top stories (in order: a tragedy, local or national; something involving local unions, about which nobody cares; footage of the president walking around somewhere; and a nice juicy car wreck or building collapse), the broadcast segues into everyone's favorite local-news staple, the "Something Perfectly Innocent COULD KILL YOU"-slash-"Good God, WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN" feature. First comes the assy graphic of, like, a bowl of oatmeal with fangs, subtitled something along the lines of "Quaker? MORE LIKE 'DAMNED LIAR,'" and the revelation that oat bran is not all that good for you if you eat nothing but oatmeal, in which case you will get scurvy, which: doy. Or the graphic is a crooked, eeeeevil close-up of a trampoline, which some Darwin-Award-winning parent allowed her child to play on unattended, and the kid bounced head-on into a tree and broke his neck, which was obviously the trampoline's fault. This is inevitably followed by a clumsy "but kids love basketball, don't they, Bob" transition into the sports segment, and then the weather report (always overhyped, always inaccurate), and then some footage of a pie-eating contest or fun run which nobody in their right mind would have attended. The anchors chuckle and shuffle their papers, and then mercifully it's over."

The end. Hope you enjoyed. Totally worth the copyright infringement.

47. How Did You Get Three Of Your Scars?

a. Three slight pock marks forming a triangle on my forehead, between my eyebrows, from chicken pox in fourth grade. Actually, they're not really there any more, but it used to be my go-to when asked about scars.

And I only have one more, but I like it so much, it's worth two:

b.&c. Quarter-sized scar on my left knee from a bad scrape, acquired this spring in a fall. I was rushing to meet my trusty theatre-going buddy at a student performance of The Seagull, and I tripped and ripped a hole in my favorite pair of jeans and got a fairly nasty bleeder. But I'm quite fond of it, because it reminds me of four years of college theatre spectatorship in the company of a good friend.

And that's a nice, characteristically sappy way to end this meme.

Hey, that was kinda fun! Why don't you try it, Swiss Beats? Warren?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I win!

I always knew there was a reason I overused these...


Your Score: ellipsis

You scored 46% Sociability and 76% Sophistication!

Your life can be difficult because of your insecurities, but you should know that it isn't your fault. YOU didn't ask to be thrown in around thirty times per page in every bodice-ripper on the shelf! Those who overuse you can kiss your . . . you know. You need to learn to hold your head high and glory in your solitude. You really do have excellent, scholarly tastes. You must never forget that your friend, the period, will be there to support you at the end of every sentence where you truly belong, and, if what is left out is as important as what is said, why, then you are as vital as the alphabet!

Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I keep taking these instead of vacuuming.

Your Score: Ceiling Cat

44% Affectionate, 36% Excitable, 48% Hungry

You are a master of stealth. They never see you coming. But you always see them coming. HEY-O!

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Okay really gotta go clean and shop for groceries now. Starting this evening I get to babysit my very own lolcat for three weeks!


Mid-50s in August? Seriously?

Also, I slept til 3:30 today. shite...

Reflections upon the occasion of my being a special snowflake

I've come full circle. I got the INFJ (well, don't that sound vaguely medical) back when I first started playing around with Myers-Briggs stuff, probably around freshman year of high school. Over the eight (eight? omfg) years since then, my personality has proven fickle, cycling from INFJ to INFP to INTP to INTJ to INTP to my present INFJ state (though I tested as INTP, the "Loser"--perceptive!--as recently as a week ago). In the interest of navel gazery, I'm breaking this shit down:

I - well, duh. I hadn't imagined that I'd be up in the 80% range of introversion, but eh, not even too surprised by that. I do like people, but I am and always will be an introvert.

N - I guess I'm a dyed-in-the-wool intuiter, too, but lord knows I've never really understood what that meant. I'll smile, nod and go with it, 'cause it doesn't seem like it's gonna change any time soon.

Now, the tricky parts. Notwithstanding the idiosyncratic 68% Judging result in my personality badge on the blog sidebar, I'm hardly ever over 55% on any one of Thinking, Feeling, Judging OR Perceiving. This is where the desire to answer "but it depends!" to so many of these personality test questions probably does the most to impede said tests from assigning me, once and for all, forever and ever amen, a personality:

T/F - looking at my history I apparently went through a significant T-leaning phase. Unsurprising, given that a lot of my identity had grown to revolve around a respect for critical thinking, general smarty-pantsitude, intellectual snobbery and deification of logic etc. (Thankfully, I have evolved somewhat.) I think the F is correct here, though--whenever I make a big decision, I tend to go with what feels right. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of facts and reason and all that jazz, and I spend forever thinking and finding a way to logically justify what I believe is compelling... er, wait, wouldn't that just make me a hopelessly subjective rationalizer? (Well, we're all hopelessly subjective rationalizers...) Or wait (again), maybe the "feeling" I describe is really "intuition." Yeah. I think it is. So why the hell am I an F? Just because I can be emotional? Cause I picked mercy over justice (mercy CAN be just, fuckers..)? Or what? ...okay I don't want to talk about this anymore or I may have to go lie down for awhile.

J/P - now, this one's interesting to me as a general category. My understanding of the difference is that J-leaners like to check things off lists, have decisions made and out of the way, get tasks done and so forth. P-leaners are go with the flow, open to change, flexible, and have a vaguely earth-mothery all-is-connected-and-is-endlessly-evolving sort of view of the world. Now, I love making lists and ESPECIALLY crossing things off lists. Ooh, how I love crossing things off lists. It's like huffing ether or something. Er, anyway... so in that manner I can definitely see how I'd come up "J." Thing is, I view this as a character flaw. Not the narcotic thrill I get from striking through various tasks with my lovely extra-fine-tipped roller ball pen (although I guess that's a little weird), but to have such a closed-down view of the world. It's the control-freak mindset, and more than that, it's a basically faulty outlook. We're never really "done" with anything. Always more information to be taken into account, revisions to be made, infinite rivers to step in and all that. The P's have it. Or they have the right approach to successfully deal with it. I dunno, anyone want to put a different spin on this or redeem the J side of things for me?

Wow--that there was a lot of blather about myself. Granted, I DO score fairly high on intrapersonal intelligence over on aforementioned personality badge. Gotta keep my skillz sharp somehow.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm a special snowflake.

Your Score: Freak- INFJ

13% Extraversion, 66% Intuition, 46% Thinking, 53%

Well, well, well. How did someone like you end up with the least
common personality type of them all? In a group of 100 Americans, only
0.5 others would be just like you. You really are one of a kind... In
fact, I do believe that that's one of the definitions for the word

Freak's not such a bad word to describe you actually.

You are deep, complex, secretive and extremely difficult to understand.
If that doesn't scream "Freak!" I don't know what does. No-one actually
knows the REAL you, do they?

You probably have deep interests in creative expression as well as
issues of spirituality and human development.

You've probably even been called a "psychic" before, because of your
uncanny knack to understand and "read" people without quite knowing how
you do it. Don't fret. You're not actually psychic. That would make you
special and you'll never accomplish that.

You're also quite possible the most emotional of them all, so don't take
this all too hard. Nevertheless you most definitely have the strangest
personality type and that's not necessarily a good thing.


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less
negative way, check
out this.


The other personality types are as follows...

- Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

- Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

- Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

- Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

- Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

- Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

- Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

- Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

- Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging

- Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

- Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

- Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

- Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

- Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

- Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Link: The
Brutally Honest Personality Test
written by UltimateMaster
on OkCupid Free Online Dating,
home of the The Dating
Persona Test

Diminishing marginal returns: the substance abuse edition

I gave up coffee cold turkey over last year's winter break, since I was drinking WAY too much, but I've recently returned to it--it's just so much more efficient than diet soda. Also, I was drinking way too much damn diet soda.

As one might surmise, I have an addictive personality; if I cut myself off from one thing, I'll swing too far in the other direction on the substitutes. So I end up in situations where I'm drinking four liters of cherry vanilla diet Pepsi Jazz in a single day. Not good. So for now, it will be a lovely free-floating non-obsessive mix of coffee and diet soda, and hopefully I'll gravitate naturally toward the caffeine level at which my body feels best. Heh.
Or at least to an appropriate level of addiction such that I drink enough caffeine to give me a nice little productivity-boosting happy-making buzz, but not needing so much that I overwhelm my system and end up with stressed-out innards that make me paradoxically sleepy.

Speaking of, I kind of want a nap. And that's on account of not enough caffeine rather than too much. Coffee time...


Do we like the new color scheme? Not as harsh on the eyes, but it makes me a bit sleepy. Suggestions from those with visual acumen are welcome.

Also, I'm rather sad that I've lost the previous inane comments from various fr(i)en(d)z. Repopulate, people!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Working 9 to 5

My first day in the office as a full-time worker bee. I made an effort to look halfway professional this morning, with the business dress and the heels and whatnot. I saw myself in the mirror, and I realized that I look like a grown-up. I'm not sure how okay I am with this.

Also, I met with my senior thesis adviser yesterday to discuss grad school. There is good news. I'll blog about it after I finish obsessively updating my planner and fumble around the office server some more...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


And my blog re-emerges, newly aliased. No special significance to the name, except I used to sing one of her arias quite frequently for voice things. Also, it's a half-assed attempt at irony, since I'm pretty much not like the character at all. I'm less Google-able this way, I'd like to believe. And it's more interesting than my real name. Well, more interesting than my real first name, at least.

Anyway, I'm mostly doing this blogging thing in order to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis. I figure if I ever do take the plunge and become a "real" graduate student, rather than a conference-attending, real-grad-student-pestering interloper-cum-parasite, it'll be good to have had the practice. So, into the abyss my words go.

That's not to say I'm going to have a scholarly bent here, particularly initially. I'm not a graduate student now, though I'm planning on doing some auditing and journal reading in my spare time. I don't have any memories of a time in which I WASN'T obsessive about school, so this will be a lesson in moderation for me. We'll see how that turns out.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I hate GRE prep.

Weren't SATs and SAT IIs and APs enough for you, ETS? I've paid my dues. I'm spending way too much time being made to feel like a moron for not knowing how to untangle your accursed word-based math puzzlers and geometrical riddles. I have done nothing to deserve this.

Well. Actually. I suppose an interest in grad school is enough to warrant its own knock on the head--but I'd rather it be done by those who don't profit from my misery, or at least are nice enough to keep their profit hidden.

In other news, I may have a reason to switch my voter registration back to North Carolina. Heart you, state legislature.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Have you ever looked really closely at your shower curtain?

I have (mine, not yours). Half of our shower curtain is covered by novel cartoon frogs wearing various fanciful articles of clothing, hats, expressions etc. And as I was showering earlier today, I took a moment to examine what I guess was intended to be a hippie frog, or a 60s-to-70s transition frog, wearing a gold medallion bearing a peace sign. Thing was, when you looked closely at the peace sign, you notice that instead of completing the line that goes all the way down the center, like so:
...the design omitted it, resulting in this:

In other words, the frog on my shower curtain is wearing the Mercedes Benz sign.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I (still) hate having a weak constitution.

So I went back to work today. "Back" in the sense of cramming in three hours of productivity before an early lunch, after which I went to meet with a professor for whom I'm doing entirely different work, and then... um... went home, because it was Friday and I wanted a nap. Go team.

My Thursday absence was more legitimate, as I woke up very early feeling like I wanted to vomit and also lobster-hued. The lobster-huedness I had already noticed Wednesday night, after having spent four straight hours outside in 95-to-100-degree heat in service of the same job I blew off today. But as far as the nausea went, apparently my symptoms of heat exhaustion were on time delay. Everything's a-okay now, aside from what I imagine to be a marginally increased likelihood of getting skin cancer.

Also in the realm of things I hate: supervisors/coworkers who believe you are stupid. Especially when said supervisors/coworkers are themselves stupid. Three days ago this woman actually felt the need to explain to me the difference between "pins" and "pens." AND THE TWO WORDS WERE WRITTEN ON THE INVENTORY LIST SHE HAD JUST GIVEN ME. gah. This is the same person who, when instructing me on which information sheets to print out for some press packets, told me, "Get the FAQs--that's 'Frequently Asked Questions'..." Mother of God woman shut up before I hit you with my project folder.

That's enough happiness for one day. Off to ready myself to spend two and a half hours inside a large magnetic tube tomorrow. (I love participating in paid experiments.)

Monday, June 25, 2007


Not that my posting on here was ever anything but erratic, but, having been inspired by David, I am putting up a token hello. Given that now I've graduated and have officially lost all of my friends to the ether, maybe that'll inspire me to post here more often for the purposes of keeping up with people and such. But let's not kid ourselves--I have the attention span of a caffeinated flea.

In other news, I can't believe I didn't know about
this until a few days ago.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I just discovered RSS feeds clearly, no work on my senior essay is getting done. I have, however, managed to drink over a liter of diet Coke and chew through two packs of Orbit, and it's not even 2:00 yet.

Ooh, gotta go, two new posts on Lifehacker...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh, my head.

In the pursuit of knowledge and graduation, I just spent a good hour of my life subjecting myself to articles from the dread bile that is the National Review. For my senior essay I'm writing about Nancy Pelosi's accession to the speakership and women as civilly legitimate actors, and oh, the sheer gendered venom is astounding. (Really, how much bearing does one's jewelry or clothes or hairstyle have on your ability to lead?) And for good measure they usually throw in some non sequitur comment about how feminists are trying to push women away from their natural roles as feminine pretty things blah blah blah. Lexis-Nexis, thou hast forsaken me.

In order to cheer (?) myself up, I went and reread Katha Pollitt's great blog post on International Women's Day here.
Not cheer, exactly, as more than anything it articulates just how much women's issues around the world demand more than one day a year of deliberate attention, but at least it's well written, in contrast with the other stuff I've spent time on today.

And here's a non sequitur of my own: how much do I love that there's a board game that's actually called "Fact or Crap"? They could have just called it "True or False," but lord knows the entertainment value would have been diminished to almost nothing.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Suburban consumerism, ahoy.

I went to a mall today for the first time since maybe last May; in terms of mockery potential, it was all I dreamed it could be, but I suppose that was facilitated by the company I was with as much as by any innate ridiculousness of things seen.

The clear zenith of the experience was in front of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise (has anyone ever heard of these before? I sure hadn't), where shoppers were confronted with a massive, despondent-looking stuffed bear slumped over on its side such that it nearly blocked the store entrance. Yes, I did take a picture with it. Yes, in it we both look like we're sleeping off a bender.

Boy, if that don't put you in the mood for some milk chocolate pecan Bears (, apparently), I don't know what will...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Break (?)

Two sweet weeks of senior-essay-writing, although the "writing" part remains an abstraction at this point. I have, however, made extensive use of Preview's oval annotation tool on the three essays on the politics of recognition that I've managed to read so far. I finished the second and third ones today, and gave myself a not-entirely-intentional two and a half hour nap as a reward. I guess the semester has worn me out more than I'd imagined.

I've been more productive on non-academic fronts, if "productive" is understood to mean doing something, ANYTHING, that does not consist of my constantly refreshing my e-mail and then not responding to things I really should respond to. Example: I spent much of yesterday downloading a bunch of Mac software recommended by this guy. No particular reason, save that I am extremely suggestible. Oh, and I finally made use of the Adobe Photoshop and InDesign that a friend burned for me awhile ago. Photoshop scared me away pretty quick, but in InDesign I made text type out onto a curvy line! It was exhilarating.
Reductionism who in the what now?