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.
Reductionism who in the what now?