eilonwy2017: (Default)
So, if you didn't know this already, I'm an English professor, and more than that, I'm an English professor in an area where education is not really valued and where students are underprepared and I teach at an open enrollment school. So, while I DO get to spend at least one course per semester (and usually two) teaching literature, I also have to spend two courses per semester teaching composition.

(This is particularly ironic since I never even took a composition course. I petitioned my way out of them at my own undergraduate college.)

At any rate, summer enrollment is very low, for lots of reasons (many of them having to do with financial aid, and the lack thereof.) So I have only 5 students signed up for my online summer composition class. And yet I have spent more time dealing with one of these students in the past two days than I have with entire classes in past semesters.

My only main point here is that writing IS important even if all you'll ever do is send an email. Because of the the dozen emails I've received from this student, I've had to puzzle through all of them and even sent two of them back, writing, "I don't know what you're trying to say here." And this student's most recent email was not even a full sentence informing me "I have the assignment done at 5." All right, but what? Does the student mean s/he will have the assignment done at 5? Does it mean that the student already has it done, and posted it yesterday or this morning at 5? And what assignment is this student talking about, since this was in response to an email about two different assignments?

The kicker to all of this? THIS STUDENT IS A COMMUNICATIONS MAJOR.

All I'm saying is, if someone tells you they don't write, or don't need to know how to write, point out how this sort of thing looks in any kind of business world. I'm not expecting everyone to be able to produce Shakespeare (and Shakespeare produced some questionable stuff at times, too...) but as casual a form as email has become, you still have to be able to convey ideas, right? Surely?

Call me a snob, but I want a communications major -- and frankly ALL MAJORS -- to be able to communicate.
eilonwy2017: (Default)
What set me off yesterday, I think, was the glibness of conversation happening around the twp/nazis invading Pikeville and how my colleagues were ignoring that, and yet rushing to talk about safety concerns due to antifa/ara. I sat there in the faculty meeting, arms crossed, realizing my body language was getting more and more defensive but just so angry that I couldn't bring myself to care.

I know being angry all day / kicking a wall due to "presidential glibness" is overreaction. Please see my previous post to see my struggle to articulate the event.

Anyway, to follow up, the university president has posted the following on our website and it is MUCH more evenhanded and better in tone and reassuring about not welcoming (or ignoring) the kinds of ideology that brings the twp here. (I ... don't know how to make an LJ-cut, 'cuz this isn't LJ. Sorry.... Stop reading here if you're not interested and visit me for my next post...)


from the university president...
When my wife and I moved to Pikeville, Kentucky, we were immediately impressed with the kindness and hospitality of the people who call this region of the country home. Our little town is warm, safe, and has a charm that one would expect from a village nestled in the mountains on the edge of the south. Our university has been in this place for more than 125 years. We are blessed with caring, expert faculty in the arts and sciences, humanities and professions. Our medical school is exceptional and our new optometry college is highly innovative. Our university is diverse and welcoming. We have students, faculty and staff from across the country and around the world. Faces of all colors walk our streets, work in the local hospital and study on our hilly campus. We love it here.

It now appears obvious that this weekend we will be invaded by people who want to bring hatred, fear, and violence to our part of the world.

By now, you have probably heard about the rally sponsored by the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) that is scheduled for this Saturday in downtown Pikeville. They were not invited to our town and are not welcome on our campus. They chose to visit Pikeville for their own reasons, contacted the city, and were granted the right to assemble in our courthouse square. Groups of all sorts come to this same location in Pikeville. The city does its best to provide a safe place for free speech to occur, regardless of the political agenda. According to several reputable sources, the TWP is a Neo-Nazi organization that has a strong racist platform. If you have doubts about the truth of that statement, look them up online. Though violence tends to follow this group, they seem to be expert in provoking rather than being violent.

As a university founded by Presbyterian ministers, we have worked hard to build and maintain a tradition of a hospitality toward everyone, therefore, we utterly reject racism in all of its forms.

In fact, one of our students partnered with another student from the region to create a counter protest. They contacted the city and reserved the city park for their event. The Rally for Equality and American Values (REAV), was to be a family friendly alternative located just a few blocks from the TWP rally. They gathered significant financial support and had generated significant enthusiasm in the community. The hope was to have an event that would show the true spirit of Pikeville - family, equality, and peace - as a contrast to the rally at the courthouse.

There were some concerns for safety. Would the TWP leave the courthouse and walk the five blocks to the park? Would a shouting match ensue? At a meeting between the organizers for the REAV and myself, we determined that if they moved to our campus we could help them increase the distance from the TWP. While the REAV was never an official university event, it did closely align with our mission and values.

Over the last week or so, it has become apparent that at least two other groups are now planning to come to Pikeville. Anti-Racist Action (ARA) and Anti-Fascist Action (ANTIFA) have both made it known that they plan to send contingents to Pikeville this weekend to protest against the TWP. At first glance, it might appear that these two groups would be more closely aligned with the REAV and university positions, but you must look deeper. These two groups are vehemently opposed to the TWP, but their tendency to incite violence causes me grave concern. Review their history online and you will discover that their form of confrontation is usually not peaceful.

As a university founded by Presbyterian ministers we have worked hard to build and maintain a tradition of a hospitality toward everyone, therefore, we utterly reject violence. Indeed, racism is a form of violence that is insidious.

This week, in meetings with city officials, law enforcement, and others whose job is to watch these kinds of events we have come to the conclusion that the presence of the TWP, ARA, and ANTIFA in downtown Pikeville presents a real danger to the peace of our town. The likelihood of a violent conflict between these groups is too significant to ignore. When presented with this information, organizers of the peaceful, family oriented REAV gathering on our campus determined it was in the best interest of safety to postpone their event.

If you have ever been to Pikeville, you would understand. We have limited parking here because we live in a narrow valley. It is impossible to keep crowds separated when there are large events that occur simultaneously. The risk posed by bringing peace-loving families into the same parking garage with the TWP, ARA, and ANTIFA was simply too great.

The university agrees with the decision to postpone the Rally for Equality and American Values. We think it was the right decision for this day, but we wholeheartedly support their goal. We hope that in the weeks to come we can work to bring a peaceful event to our region that celebrates our diversity and upholds our values.

eilonwy2017: (Default)
Quick background for those who don't know: I am a Yankee who has lived in 5 states, become over-educated, and is currently living, somewhat under duress in Appalachia.

A few months ago, the traditional workers party declared that they were going to rally in Pikeville, KY (the town I currently live, work and teach in) to give training seminars and recruit new members. Their reasoning was that because this area is overwhelmingly white, poor, and voted for trump, that they'd have an easy time gaining new followers and support. (To give you an idea of the area, I routinely have students admit to me that they had never seen someone who wasn't white until they came to college. There are students of color at the university in which I teach, but they are almost uniformly recruited as athletes from other areas of the country.)

As you can imagine, some people were upset about learning nazis were invading, and a med school student and a high school student stepped up to the plate like heroes and put together two rallies for unity and diversity and equality and peace. (Each rally has a long title that I can't remember, so I'll lump them both together as "diversity rallies" for this post.) There was meant to be a rally tomorrow (Friday) in Floyd County, and one Saturday in Pikeville, because those were the two areas in which the nazis declared they'd be demonstrating.

(Yes, I know that some twp people wouldn't call themselves nazis. I don't care, at least for this post. If it talks like a nazi and acts like a nazi...)

The diversity rallies very specifically said that they appreciated the general support of outsiders but requested that no outside groups come into the area, that they wanted this to be community based, a celebration of the people who live and work here. They invited veterans, politicians (from the spectrum), religious figures, and planned a really good looking schedule of events for Saturday. (I know more about Saturday's than Friday's, although I expect that Friday's would have been great, too.)

Because the nazis plan to demonstrate downtown at the courthouse, the diversity rally planners wanted to gather and celebrate peace and unity at the park about 300 yards away. Some city officials got nervous about this and my university agreed (I suspect somewhat under duress) to host the diversity rally on Saturday instead. The university is significantly farther from the courthouse and up a large hill-- the high ground, you might say. This was never, however, really a university event.

Many of us were truly hoping that the nazis would turn out to be three guys in a pickup truck and a confederate flag driving through town a couple times, but social media and such have definitely escalated the situation. Several anti-racist/anti-fascist but pro-violence groups have now also declared their intent to come into town on Saturday. (Some are already here, according to colleagues who know.) Their websites and online rhetoric suggest a plan for violence and for destruction. The city passed an emergency measure to ban hoodies and masks in response. Apparently these groups are the same ones (or branches of) that were causing destruction and violence in Berkeley.

Let me state for the record that while I am anti-fascism, because duh, I'm also anti-violence. But I'm really super anti-nazi. So it's been upsetting me that the nazis got barely an eyebrow raise and the anti-fascist groups are getting "oh god, lock up your children, get off the street." I get that the reasoning is, apparently, because the nazi group gets right up to the legal line and dares the other people to cross it.

I also get the university's lack of enthusiasm because I assume they fear reprisals, lawsuits, danger.

I don't know how bad things might get Saturday. The university president has told us that there will be regular cops (we only have 21), state troops, and homeland security in town. There will be, and I can't believe I'm typing this, snipers on the roofs of the downtown buildings. Expectation from the various security groups talking, is 600 outsiders arriving to demonstrate and/or make trouble. I don't know where that number comes from (beyond the chief of university security). But to put it in perspective, if true, that's 10% the population of the town. (Pikeville is 6000 people, roughly, and much of that spread out.) So yeah, people coming to town, looking for trouble, it could be bad.

I'm not suggesting that we, as academics, encourage our students to go looking for more trouble or danger or violence. But I'm still incredibly disappointed in my university, my adopted community, and my colleagues. (Not all of them, I should clarify.)

I can't help but think back to my own undergraduate days. I wasn't particularly well informed on current events when I got to MHC, age 17, but I was quickly involved in things. I marched in my first protest my first semester. I was already enraged about gender inequality when I got to MHC; I quickly started to understand intersectionality (even though I didn't have that word til much, much later), mainly by thinking critically and being aware of the world and people around me. Even if MHC were not in a more liberal area (MA), I still cannot believe that something like this would happen anywhere near that campus. I cannot imagine the faculty not making a stand-- with university support.

The university here? Has canceled the diversity rally. (I don't know who actually decided to cancel it, since the verbiage I've seen in emails and on social media has been vague. But hearing the university president in a meeting today makes me think pressure came from the university.) Obviously they've cited safety concerns.

Judging from what I've seen on both sides of the fence's social media sites, yeah, I think both sides are looking to start trouble. Yeah, both sides are pointing out that KY is open-carry and stand-your-ground. Yeah, I think someone could be an idiot on Saturday in downtown and get hurt.

But I think not supporting the diversity rally is a mistake. Where is the demonstration that this community doesn't want nazis here? The same thing that got us to this point (ignorance, reluctance to talk about let alone deal with the systemic and institutionalized prejudices and racism in this community and country) continue to fester, conversation quelled by fear and a reluctance to do the heavy ideological lifting.

The rhetoric I've heard from colleagues lately has been "nazis? meh. but anti-fascists? run for the hills!" Again, let me reiterate, I'm not advocating violence. But where is the condemnation of the twp and what they stand for? Where is the soul-searching to understand what brought them here? Where is the demonstration that they're not wanted here?

I know I just wrote a very long post, so it's ironic that in closing I'm writing "I can't put into words what I'm feeling right now about all this," and yet it's true. It's taken me all day to be able to articulate even this much. (For all my anti-violence, I did stupidly kick a wall and hurt my foot over this... Well, we make mistakes.)

My instinct is to move away-- I've been wanting to for a while and November 9th clarified that for me-- but in some ways I'd be doing the same thing: shutting up, ignoring the problem, sweeping nazis under the rug.* So let this be a call to action to myself, too, to be braver, to stand up, to bring up the tough questions in class.

(The title of this post comes from the fact that last weekend was Hillbilly Days, the area's biggest festival and the first thing that comes up in search engines if you look up Pikeville. It's supposed to be a reclamation of the idea of hillbillies but frankly what I've seen makes it look like it's mainly a reification of harmful stereotypes. When getting some dates confused earlier in the semester, I realized that April here this year is basically hillbillies and nazis. Ergo, title.)



*and rug nazis might be even harder to remove than ordinary ones.
eilonwy2017: (Job sucks)
(Note: I copied/pasted some of this from writing it elsewhere, and now whatever I do I cannot make the middle paragraphs have spaces between them or they have too much space. Apologies for the awkward reading situation.)

Student evaluations always make me nervous. I genuinely want feedback so that I can continually improve my classes, but on the other hand, no one likes to be told what they suck at. Then, too, as useful as evals can be, it's been proven that women consistently do poorer on evaluations than men (because of gender bias) and that students giving good feedback on a course does not correlate with their actually having learned from the course, which, frankly, is more important than whether they had 'fun'.

I've been, honestly, dreading my feedback from the fall semester because ... well, after November 9th I kind of checked out. I don't remember much between November 9th and Thanksgiving. (I know I drove to MD to get Mia and Jessie. And that [livejournal.com profile] pyrite came to my house the weekend after so that I wasn't alone. I only vaguely recall Thanksgiving. Things are kind of a blur between Thanksgiving and Christmas, other than driving to TN to give Jasper and Jaimie to [livejournal.com profile] pyrite and driving to PA to go to the memorial for [livejournal.com profile] tamnonlinear. I missed a lot of classes between Tam's death and Thanksgiving, and while there weren't many between Thanksgiving and break, what there were I was not all there for, let's say, even though I was in the classroom.

So yeah: dread. More dread than I've felt aobut evaluations since I was a graduate student just learning to teach. So let's look at them together, shall we?

From my students in First Year Studies, I've learned that my weak points include having a "slight display of personal belief in teaching" (which is code, I'm pretty sure, for being too liberal.) And I'm timid and unconfident (I get one of these most semesters) but also harsh (which seems a bit contradictory.) I think unconfident might be code for "young and female."

From my composition two students, I've also learned that I have a very hard time taking criticism seriously when it's grammatically poor. One comment I received was "papers need to be wrote differently." I have no idea what that means...

Someone in comp 1 really hated me. (We get to see minimum and maximum ratings as well as median). "Sense of humor and proportion: 0" I was once told while still in undergraduate, by a professor for whom I TA'd, that some students just wouldn't understand my dry sense of humor. He was right. It's commented on at least once a semester, too, in these evaluations. But I think this is the first zero I've gotten for it.

I do appreciate that while some comments say I'm disorganized, others say I'm very organized. Some say I'm extremely helpful and others say I'm terrible at being helpful and need "major work." (Ouch.) I'm not an organized person, but I work very hard at being clear in my expectations to my students. I know I dropped the ball a bit this semester, but I don't think it's too defensive on my part to say "holy crap, kid, the due dates are on the syllabus."

One comment from comp 1 was that my strength is being very excellent at English (well, given the degrees I just hung up in my office today were all earned....good to know.) But the same student used three exclamation points to inform me that my weakness is that I'm "extremely biased." I think that, too, is code for "liberal." In introductory classes, I'm careful to be neutral, so this is a little upsetting, actually. But since the student did not learn enough in this class to understand that audience is someone other than him/herself, and thus some context would have been good to explain biased in what way(s), to/for what, my biggest concern here is that I was unsuccessful in teaching audience, not my perceived biases.


Let's move on to the upper level class I taught: Brit Lit. Oh, hey, those were all good (except for having had them do a 10 page paper. Poor kidlings.) Thank goodness I saved that one for last.

Conclusions: Honestly, overall the evaluations were fine. There was only one mention of my personal life having affected my teaching (I expected more.) The negatives were mainly outliers. The median numbers were fine. (I take solace in the solid 10s across the board for Brit Lit.) The negatives didn't seem to have anything in common other than my apparent bias (OMG A LIBERAL IN EASTERN KENTUCKY, BURN IT!) and that I talk too fast (I'm a Yankee in the south. I'm not shocked).

Verdict: I'll survive these. (I'm not up for promotion for another 2 years, but it all matters. And these get looked at every year with my division chair. And I've been making noise with the provost about how contracts are awarded here and that I ought to be looked at for an improved one now already, not next year, and that if I don't get it this year, then I'll need to be job hunting next year because if I don't get an improved contract next year I also won't get any contract next year, because you're only allowed to have 4 years of the kind of contract I currently have. So.
eilonwy2017: (Fox licking glass)
An appropriate subtitle would be Evidence My Brain is Messed Up and Why I Don't Have an Ordinary Life...

So, one of the courses I'm teaching this semester is Introduction to Literary Criticism. It's... not my most comfortable subject, but it's going pretty well. (My students tend to leave the classroom saying things like how the class makes them think about things they've never had to before, so I think that's a plus.)

Last week they read Althusser. One major aspect of what Althusser talks about, very very simplified, is the Repressive State Apparatus (RSA) and the Ideological State Apparatus (ISA). The RSA is made up violence or threat of violence-- people stay in line because RSAs threaten them with injury. This would be stuff like the police, the army, large men with big baseball bats, guns, etc. The trouble with using just an RSA to keep people doing what you want is that you need a lot of other people willing to hurt other people (or threaten) and it's just not consistently feasible. But, ISAs take over-- people are influenced by the ideology in which they live-- they are influenced by family, church, school, politics, etc. So in a sense, people police themselves and their own behavior because they do things that they think they should (and don't do things they think they shouldn't.)

I showed the King Arthur and the peasants scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to illustrate this to my students. The peasants and the king are talking from two completely different ideologies (ISAs) and when Arthur gets irritated enough, he physically attacks Dennis (the peasant) who even points out that he's being repressed (RSA). My students thought this scene was hilarious and most of them had never seen the movie before (tragedy!!! sacrilege!) but planned on seeing it as soon as possible. (Success!)

At any rate, that's been somewhat on my mind. Meanwhile, as you know from an earlier post, I've been watching a lot of La Femme Nikita. I've been enjoying it, of course, or I wouldn't be continuing to watch. I've enjoyed the good stuff and enjoyed snarking at the stuff that hasn't aged as well (although hey, by episode 9, Madeline's hair shrank down to half its previous size, so someone figured out that much.) And the episode I'm watching as I type this, "Rescue", is amaaaaaaazing because it's had 1/2 naked Michael and also Madeline and Nikita off to rescue him in an almost-buddy-filmesque romp through "Eastern Europe" and OMG that would have made an incredible spin-off. But for all that, I've also got Althusser in my head.

A brief background to the world of La Femme Nikita, so that you can see what I mean:

The show centers around a clandestine organization called Section One (or just Section.) It's probably American (once in a while the US government is specified and in an early first season episode they investigate a rogue faction in the CIA) although the show was filmed in partnership with and in Canada, and most of the actors are Canadian. Section is ruthless, not particularly worried about collateral damage, and have no trouble working with the bad guys as needed, if just shooting them (which is what usually happens) doesn't work best. The field agents/operatives are sometimes undercover (Nikita often is) but are even more likely to just be dressed in black and sent someplace to shoot a lot of people.

What makes up the interesting tension of the show is that Nikita was recruited in the first episode (just like the French movie by the same name that the show is based on and like the American version of that film, Point of No Return.* Nikita was a street kid who was wrongfully accused of killing a cop and sentenced to death. Section removed her from prison, but to the rest of the world, she's dead. She the has zero choice but to work (read: spy and assassinate) for Section or be killed by them (euphemistically known as being "canceled"). Since Nikita was not actually a killer, and she still has her morals, she's frequently at odds with what Section wants her to do and bends/breaks the rules to save people, running the risk of Section deciding she's not worth the trouble.

And you find out over the course of the season that ALL, or at the very least almost all, of the operatives were recruited the very same way. Nikita isn't the only one torn and certainly not the only one who wants to leave Section One.

In other words, except for the people at the very top (Madeline and Operations), everyone is there because if they don't do what they're told, they'll be killed. The system is entirely a Repressive State Apparatus. (Nikita almost joins another operative in order to escape during season 1, and Michael essentially seduces her into staying because he knows she'll be caught and killed if she goes, as the other operative was. He frequently covers for her, in fact, because of course another major point of the show is the will they/won't they tension of their relationship, but also because if any of the operatives get caught doing anything they oughtn't, they'll be killed.)

My point is that it seems to me a really unstable way to run an organization, particularly a clandestine agency full of high tech weaponry. If enough people chose to go against the RSA, they could succeed because there would be more of the rebels than the people in charge. (I assume that the people in charge have actually bought into the ideology-- if there's no one above you to keep threatening you with cancellation (execution), you wouldn't keep doing things you morally disagreed with.) Once in a while the show will have a character say something about how, since they did the crime they were sentenced for, this is a life they wouldn't otherwise have had and thus they shouldn't complain but a) that isn't human nature and b) they do complain.

Almost never does the series show people trying to convert the recruits/operatives based on ideology (a "we get rid of bad guys/keep the general populace save unless they're in our way" kind of thing), presumably because... well, why? Wouldn't having true believers, ideologues around be the best way to get stuff done and not have to spend resources and time on policing (via RSA violence/threat of violence) your own people?

The other way to look at Section is through Foucault. (Because as I mentioned above, I am a NERD and because the two work pretty well together.) One thing Foucault is really known for is "panopticism". Super simplified, it applies the idea of the panopticon to society. The panopticon was an idea for a prison put forth by Jeremy Bentham (and actually created in some places, albeit much later) where all the prisoners each have a cell in a cylindrical, hollow prison. Each cell has 3 solid walls and one that's a window facing the center of the cylinder. In the middle, there's a guard tower that can see into every single cell, but the prisoners cannot see into the tower. This means that prisoners never known if they're being watched, but they know that they can always be watched or seen. Since any activity could be seen, they act as if every activity is seen, or, in other words, they internalize the police state. Big Brother isn't necessarily always watching but he absolutely could be and probably is, so don't do anything wrong. From the idea of a physical prison, Foucault takes this to a much wider perspective, that of society itself. And he was writing in 1975-- can you imagine if he were to write now, when there really are cameras nearly everywhere and the NSA can listen in on civilian phone calls and home appliances (like tvs) can be equipped to turn the camera on the household constantly?

(I take comfort in the fact that I'm too damn boring for anyone to watch. The fact that I'm writing this post should, frankly, illustrate that fact...)

The world of La Femme Nikita, particularly within but not restricted to Section, is a panopticon. Partway through season one, Nikita finds out that there are cameras in her apartment (she tears them out and tells Section she'd rather be cancelled than spied on, but who's to say there aren't more cameras? She has to have thought of that, too.) Surely Section itself is full of cameras, not to mention other people within the organization willing to tattle on a colleague in the hopes of buying themselves some privileges or maybe saving that information until they need it (if they're in danger of torture or cancellation for some other indiscretion.)

But the panopticon of LFN is still part of Althusser's RSA, and no matter how much the characters internalize the policing, they aren't internalizing the ideology, which means they continue the tension between Section's ideology and directives and their own ideology and morals.

This makes for excellent television, but a really terrible way to run your clandestine organization which is supposed to keep the world safe from terrorists and the like.



------
*The show even uses a few seconds of film from the American movie in its pilot and recycles one of the film's story lines in a first season episode.
eilonwy2017: (Default)
I had a very difficult time getting out of bed today because last night I stayed up waaaay to late rereading a favorite novel. Oops. Upon getting ready I came to the realization that it's been a really long time since I'd bought any clothes, especially "basic" type clothes and that many of the shirts I have are falling apart. I'd already decided to drive to campus today because I want to get groceries on the way home (as there is a very real chance of a grocery strike starting tomorrow) so I decided to stop at Target on the way in the hopes of finding some basic short-sleeve fitted v-necks or scoop-neck shirts. I was quite surprised to not, in fact, find any-- you'd think that since this is AZ they wouldn't be trotting out mostly long-sleeved stuff even though much of the rest of the country is chilly. But I did find a three-quarter length v-neck that I liked (in green) and a white tank top to wear under it. After purchasing these two items (and some lip-stain and a few other oddments) I changed into the new clothes (annoyed by the shirt I'd been wearing which had started off this entire enterprise by having a small hole in, potentially acquired via cat claw.)

Sadly, the cheap parking lot near my office seemed full, so I parked in the nearby (more expensive) garage. Two douches in suits were walking in the middle of the driving area, which was irritating, but fortunately I wasn't running late for anything. Then an undergrad in a sports car nearly crashed into me because she took the corner too fast and too tight, but we avoided a collision and I finally parked up on the fourth floor. I decided to stop in the coffee shop as I'd not had breakfast (being out of food at my house) and ordered a breakfast sandwich and a hot tea.

I don't know if you drink tea, but when you order it in a typical coffee shop, it is really freakin' hot. I'm used to this, and tend to put a few extra napkins around the cup, on top of the piece of cardboard that is supposed to keep your hands from burns. So, no trouble there. Unfortunately, Mr Coffee Shop Owner didn't put the lid on the cup right, and there I am, going for the door, and the lid pops off and hot tea/water pours all over my right hand/arm. I probably should have shrieked or something so that someone would have noticed and I'd have at least gotten a free drink out of the deal. But no, my usual modus operandi is to avoid conflict or notice of any kind, so I mopped up the spill (on myself, not the floor) and went about my business with my new first-degree burns and tea stains on my brand-new less-than-hour old shirt Grr. Okay, so it's less than an hour later and you already can't see the bright red skin that had originally shown up. It now feels a bit like a light sunburn, so all in all, not a big deal. But still, it made me cranky. And my shirt has drops on it. And I have a bit of a crush on someone that I see on Thursdays and I'd wanted to look like, I dunno, not-a-slob. :P

I'm especially cranky since the last time I was heading for my office (Tuesday, since campus was closed yesterday) I got run into by a skateboard. (I'm crossing the street and this guy quite clearly can't control his skateboard and steps off it-- leaving the freakin' heavy board to slam into the top of my foot/ankle. I shrieked "Fuck!" he apologized vaguely and skated off, I limped out of the crosswalk and assessed the damage. A kind woman who'd been in front of me at Subway just moments before, randomly enough, asked if I was okay. I blinked back tears and said yes. And I was. Until a few hours later, after I'd been sitting to grade for a long while, when I tried to walk to Flurije's car (as she was being kind enough to give me a ride) when I realized I was in achey agony. Grrr. I went to a friend to complain about the situation, but it had turned out that just hours before, in front of the same building, he'd seen a skateboarder slam into a blind man's cane and keep going. The poor man, clearly not knowing what had happened, was left to fluster his apologies. Freakin' skateboarders, man. Ouch.

ANYWAY, I and my new burns headed on into the office. I stopped at the Writing Programs Office to check my mail, however, because I've been waiting for a week now to hear if I'd passed my portfolio.

The portfolio, for those who aren't slaving away in academia, or who might have a different set of rules compared to ASU, is essentially the first part of the PhD examination process. It's kind of both the capstone to your coursework and the doorway into the dissertation work. You have to turn in two polished essays-- ones which have received more work than simply for a course, as if you were thinking about publishing them-- and your preliminary bibliography, which is to say 50+ works on which you "want" to be tested on. I'd been told that this whole process was just a hoop to jump through, and not to worry about it, just get it done. I had assumed it was pass/fail, and fail just meant that you had to fix some things. I turned in the article that was published in Shakespeare Bulletin and the paper on The Fatal Dowry that I'd originally written for a class, then revised for Renaissance Colloquium. I did not revise it again, however. (This is the same subject as the paper I gave at the Blackfriars, but a longer version.)

I had run into my adviser twice between handing in the portfolio and receiving the letter about it today. She had given me comments about how she thought I'd be pleased. I assumed this meant I passed. I honestly never thought about the potential for not passing-- remember everyone had told me that this was just a hoop needing jumping through.

So it turns out, I learned today, that there are, apparently, levels of passing one's portfolio. Had I known this, I undoubtedly would have given that second paper at least one more going over, probably many. And indeed, upon receiving my letter from both my committee and the department chair and the supervisor of graduate studies, there was a lot of commentary on how I should try to publish this second paper, but that it would need significant work before that could happen. Regardless, that paper did what it needed to do in a portfolio, which is to say it showed that I could research, write in an academic style, etc.

But it seems that I continue to owe my success to the paper for Shakespeare Bulletin. On the strength of that paper, my committee suggested (and the department awarded) a "pass with distinction."

Woo?

I should be quite happy, I know. And I am! But it's weird because ... I didn't know that existed! I didn't know there were levels. Are there other levels, higher ones, that I just missed? Are there lower levels (besides pass and fail) that I leapt over? I know I should just be happy, but it's a really weird feeling to not really understand the good thing that I have apparently achieved! I can't find any information on this question on the ASU site, so... Y'know what? I choose to believe Heather when she guessed that Pass with Distinction is the highest. I feel like I and my first-degree burn might deserve the celebration. :)

Besides, the award for passing your portfolio is to study for the comprehensive exams, so... :)

And I'm off. Much to do. Gotta get a chapter of German done for class at 3 (the subjunctive-- bloody hell, more freakin' verb forms). I also have 30-some papers to grade for 221 (would have liked to have turned them back tomorrow, but so not going to happen it seems), classes to plan (tomorrow's 101 and 221), and a play to read (Massacre at Paris by Marlowe for tomorrow's Renaissance Colloquium.) Whee.

Tonight is Supernatural. And Project Runway, even if the latter is on ridiculously late at night now.
eilonwy2017: (Stabbity)
and, in fact, miserable.

What I desperately need is three months (ie: 'til mid January) to do nothing but teach (and not that, if I could help it) and read for comps.

Current Stress:

221 LECTURE: Tomorrow I must lecture on A Midsummer Night's Dream. While on one hand, that's a piece of cake (better that than just about any other play, and I can talk about staging for half the class) it's still a lot of work to prep the lecture and the power point and to then be ready to stand in front of an entire lecture and my prof.

221 PYRAMUS & THISBE: I am currently leading about 15 undergraduates in a "production" of Pyramus and Thisbe. It goes up on Wednesday in class (a week from tomorrow), so on one hand it's short-term stress, on the other, though, it's additional time and effort.

PFF: This class has been fairly useless and it requires a great deal of effort-- not to mention twice monthly THREE HOUR seminars on Friday afternoons, plus other workshops and such. I am very close to withdrawing from it, but it may well be too late in the semester. (Just looked-- I have 'til Nov 8th to withdraw... I will make that decision very soon. I promised myself I'd stick out this year but... why? I shouldn't make this decision while I'm this upset, though.)

SLEEP APNEA: This one is a multi-part cause of stress. First, the apnea itself which causes me to be tired all the time. I know most people are sleepy in the mornings, for example, but I could barely keep my eyes open during the Blackfriars Conference, and these were all papers I was interested in. Imagine how you feel after catching perhaps only 2 hours of sleep-- that's how I feel every day.

Add to that the fact that the people who are processing my prescription (for the machine) are incredibly incompetent (I spoke with them today.)

And the fact that my insurance company has denied my claim.. I now get to spend $1000 for a machine which may or may not help me to actually feel better. Turns out I can spend $225 on a humidifier (gotta buy that regardless, evidently) and "only" $105/month in a rent-to-own scheme (which is how I'll go because I am not convinced that this is going to entirely work. Judging from the nightmares I had when I used the !#@$ machine in the sleep lab, I may not be able to keep the damn thing on when there's not a tech to come rushing in and admonish me.)

I will be emailing/calling the health insurance for a clarification of their denial, of course. My mom said it could just be something like messed up paperwork. I, however, am a cynic, and am fairly certain it's because my apnea is only "moderate" meaning I am unlikely to die in my sleep because of it. This would be more reassuring if it weren't for the fact that I'm likely to die while falling asleep in my car or something equally stoopid, and still caused by the sleep apnea. Even more likely is the fact that I am not exactly functioning very well, and so I honestly don't know that it's at all possible for me to continue this career. Melodramatic? Perhaps. But honestly true. I don't know that I'll be able to write the diss at this point (or pass the comps) let alone struggle for tenure! This is BULLSHIT. My body is defective and I can't afford to get help. And I can't say that anyone really understands, either, which is equally frustrating.

COMPS: Most people get 6months to a year to prep for comps. I get 3months, while I try to do everything mentioned above and below as well.

VACUUM: Is broken. Gots to fix.

CATS: Still a bit worried about Jackjack's spot (on his tummy) but it actually looks less bad than it did before (it hasn't shrunk, but less of it is scabby.) Callie's feline acne seems to be clearing up even though I can't get her to let me clean it with anything. (I did, however, take away the plastic bowls.) So that's good stuff. But then there are the ferals... There's a kitten I need to catch (and doing so, and taking care of him will probably run about $200 in vet bills-- shots, neutering/spaying, check-up, food, medicine) and at least 5 adults I should try to catch and get TNRed (Pigpen, as before, Tigger, the gray tabby who's friendly, a new Tuxie, and the new gray-ish cat with the white tip to his tail, and a couple of moo-cows I never caught.) I need to raise $300 before I can contemplate these endeavors, though. I considered another raffle (the last was very successful) but then remembered that those are, actually, technically, illegal.

GIRL-PLUMBING: Probably as a result of stress, I've been having some, relatively minor but very very very irritating, issues. I shan't say more here, 'cause I don't want to lose readers.

STUDENTS: The problem? I has them. No, most of them are great, but how can I focus on studying when I have teaching and vice versa? And some of my students are ... difficult. Apparently the 17% student saw the prof today and he cannot recall the name of the book we are currently reading. She directed him to talk to some other people here at the university, but he's evidently resisting the idea that he might have memory trouble. He is, however, the extreme version of many students here, frankly. (One student went to the prof to complain that she'd gotten a D on the exam. She said she'd googled all the answers and studied for 3 days, so how could she have done so poorly?!)

MONEY: I'm not, like, unable to pay my bills on a regular basis (thank goodness), with the exception of the unexpected things, like this sleep apnea equipment. But I need to get to the Globe this May, as part of my dissertation work, and I don't have $3500 to do it. (Plus food costs.) I have no ideas. I'm all out.

CONFERENCE: Honestly, I'm still frustrated by the conference even though it has now been over for several days. I spent a lot of money and a lot of time to attend and it was ... not great. Good parts? Absolutely. Awful parts? Yes. And the worst was my own "roundtable." I honestly think I'd have gotten more out of just flying out to VA and hanging with [livejournal.com profile] spade and peeps from C'ville.

Cut for Probable Insensitivity )

So now I'm going to do some German homework in an attempt to play catch up in that class (I'm behind by a week's worth of work AND I have to make up a quiz). Then hopefully I'll still have some time to work on the power point for tomorrow's lecture before German class. I don't think I'll go home right after class, though, 'cause I still have 101 stuff that needs doing and such. Sigh.
eilonwy2017: (Dean: don't wanna fly)
[livejournal.com profile] flurije has assured me that one of my dresses (which I was worried about) is not, in fact, too fancy for the conference, so this means that I actually have 5 nice outfits that I like and don't feel hideous in. (Often dress clothes make me feel fat and ugly and therefore panicky, which is not what you want at a conference, y'know?) So that's good.

It is, however, much later than I wanted it to be as I finished the packing extravaganza. Le sigh.

And I don't have a nice briefcase/bag (or even a not-nice one). This is problematic as I feel a backpack does not give the right ethos. :P Not happy. I asked Flurry if she had one I could borrow, and she said maybe, but since she's picking me up at 6am, and neither of us are morning people, I'm not holding my breath. :)

Maybe the conference will supply messenger bags like last conference! :)

I'm wearing jeans on the flight tomorrow. I know that I'll be meeting a scholar and an MLitt student, but ... I just can't see dressing even snappy-casual, let alone business-nice for a cross-country flight.

Speaking of cross-country flights, I haven't had time to think about mine, and therefore panic, so that's good. But if you don't hear from me within a week, assume I've been in a horrible plane crash. :( (I got this icon just for this sort of thing!)

I'm pleased that I won't be missing a Supernatural (this week is a random repeat) but I am very displeased to be missing this week's Criminal Minds. Anyone know where I can get it? I don't really want to bother the (totally awesome and kind) person who gave me the season premiere because she's a friend of a friend, so it would suck to bother her, y'know? (So I'm bothering all of you instead.) I'd *almost* rather miss Supernatural because I already have a season pass to download episodes of that.

I keep sneezing because of the dust I kicked out of my (not currently working) vacuum when I replaced the bag. Y'know, vacuum bag manufacturers, the see-the-dirt! window on the bags is cute and all, the first time or two you use the vac, but I'd prefer you put your efforts into a bag that not only formed a seal when *in* the vac, but formed one when you took the bag out of the vacuum, too. (My old vacuum's bags did that. You'd think the one that *isn't* 30+ years old would be able to, too.)

Shower is scrubbed. I *love* magic erasers. They work very, very well. Surely there must be something horribly wrong with them, right? You have to cut down a whole forest to make one? They're carcinogenic? Something-- 'cause no cleaning product that works that well can be without drawbacks.

Time to finish packing (does one ever really finish packing, or does one just eventually stop and assume that there's enough stuff in the bag that whatever's missing is just too bad?), shower and sleep. Gotta get up at 5. :(

VA here I come. :)
eilonwy2017: (Dean: don't wanna fly)
Doing all the travel prep crap. Whee.

Tonight's tasks have been CLEANING and LAUNDRY. Fun, fun. I'm about to scare the hell out of the cats vacuum. I'd rather wait 'til I've straightened up my bedroom, but it's almost 9pm and I know I wouldn't want my neighbors (especially if I had any above me) vacuuming late at night, so I'll do it now. I also have to run to the post office-- yes, obviously the counter is closed, but the machine thingie isn't, and I need to ship out a skein of yarn I sold. (My shop is now on Vacation Mode until I return from VA.)

Not a good day-- nothing went right the first time around. Everything took multiple tries. BUT the portfolio (a step in the PhD process) is turned in. Unfortunately, when my chair saw it, she thought the secondary sources on my reading list were too few. Sigh.

But I should get some ideas at the conference this week-- seeing as how my dissertation is renaissance performance practices on modern stages and all.

(It was ridiculous, the hoops needed to be jumped through to turn this damn thing in.)

On the bright side, I've straightened up much of my house, so that's good. I found my kitchen table, which has been buried beneathh stuff for so long I wasn't sure it was still there... Still need to scrub the bathroom and straighten the bedroom.

Laundry is almost done-- I can go get it in a few minutes. Much of it will be immediately packed, which saves on folding/hanging up. :)

I have to pay to check my bag, so I'm packing some books for my dad. I figure if I have to pay anyway, let's make it worth my while. :)

Now if only I had the money to pay for this trip... Must. Be. Frugal!! (Thank the heavens for [livejournal.com profile] spade's family letting me stay with them!!)

Grumph.

Oct. 17th, 2009 01:53 pm
eilonwy2017: (Sam is Not Amused)
Grumph grumph grumph. I am a gretsy Eilonwy.

Mostly I have a baseline spazzed-out stressed-out crazy mood 'cause of how much I need to accomplish before Tuesday morning.

A sampling:

Chore Stuff:
Clean (and my house isn't just dirty, it's also MESSY); prepare cat stuff (they're being babysat by Flurije), laundry (so I don't have to travel naked); pack (see previous); shop (for some cold weather conference style clothes); run errands for things like cat litter/cat food

Teaching Stuff:
Prepare 3 lesson plans for 101, 1 lesson plan for 221 (even though I don't know what's being taught on Monday/Wednesday), grade 21 papers (101); prepare the lecture and powerpoint for a 221 lecture for as soon as I get back, prepare an assignment for 221; read book 8 of Morte d'Arthur; cast Pyramus & Thisbe (for 221); prepare Pyramus & Thisbe script

Conference Stuff:
Respond to the criticism of my paper (it's a roundtable); read and criticize other people's papers

Academic Stuff:
Research/find/pepare my reading list and portfolio to turn in on Monday; attend a production meeting for The Second Shepherd's Play which I will be either-- get this-- directing or playing the lead female role in. HA! I did say I wanted more theatre in my life.

You know. All by Sunday night.

ANYWAY, I actually started this post to complain about the BuddyTV contest I entered. If you followed the link I posted on Thursday, you'll have noticed that there are 4 showdowns with 40 entries in each. But rather than choosing your favorites of the 40, or ranking them, you're faced with two images you get to choose between, out of a possible 780 (for each showdown) pairings. I suppose you're expected to go through all 780 of them.

This would be fair, I guess, if it moved entries up or down bracket style, based on which one beats which one. BUT NO! As far as I can tell, entries are being ranked based on a flat number of votes (clicks) they receive.

And that would still be fair, I think, if every person voting went through all 780 matches. But they take a long time to load and even if they didn't, 780 is a lot and I have a life (see above; no matter how incredibly RIDICULOUS my life may be, it's a life) so I, for example, don't have time to click through 780 pairings. And I really really really doubt that anyone else does, too.

Maybe it is still fair because all the pairings that come up are random, so any time someone starts (but doesn't finish, I'm betting) going through the pairings, they're getting a random pairing and therefore randomly have the choice to give one of two entries his/her vote. But it doesn't seem quite fair.

My point in all this is not sour grapes. I don't, at this point, know how my entries are doing (although I'll admit that last time I looked, they were not doing well.) My point is that I kind of wish I hadn't entered/put effort into it because I don't feel like the results will be fair. (If I felt they were fair and I was still losing, that'd be a different story. Still incredibly disappointing, but ok.)

ANYWAY. I am going to get dressed now (I overslept.) And do some of the above stuff, followed by some more of the above stuff, and then with some more of the above stuff on top.

(On the bright side, last night I did manage to finish my German homework, and the majority of a piece of crappy stupid busy work work for PFF. Chugging along, I guess, chugging along.)

Wish me luck.

Thoughts

Oct. 16th, 2009 12:51 am
eilonwy2017: (Work)
I have actual thoughts on tonight's episode, mostly on Sam and Dean's interactions with the MotW, but they must needs wait. For it is late. And I am tired.

And also, all of my brain power is on the horror that is the list of things I must accomplish in the next three days. I honestly don't know how I'm going to do it. It will be a feat of unimaginable...ness. It's not that any one thing on the list is particularly hard, it's that a lot of them are time consuming and there is so much on the list. It's stuff that would normally need to be done, plus stuff that needs to be done for the sake of travel (I leave for the conference on Tuesday), plus stuff to cover for the fact that I'll be gone for a week, plus stuff that's due right after I get back. Holy carp.

Bedtime now. Gonna try to get up early to get some work and/or reading and/or grading done before I teach tomorrow.

(Doesn't help that I'm being observed in 101 tomorrow. Fuck.)

(Followed by 221, where I get to tell students how much they've fucked up the most recent quiz. And then a break wherein I must read book 5 of the Faerie Queene. Followed by 2 hours chatting about the FQ, to get home around 6, exhausted, but needing to get still more work done.)

I pout.
eilonwy2017: (Stabbity)
My parents and I chatted tonight, and I felt so boring 'cause I had nothing to say; I haven't done anything lately.

Which is, at least in part, why I haven't been updating here in LJ-land. I've been reading, though.

Teaching:
Been grading. Am actually caught up on that, but I get final drafts for 101 on Wednesday. :P Fortuately, only 21, and they don't take too long to grade.

Academia:
PFF is proving a total waste of my time, and I'm thiiiiiis close to dropping it. Especially since there's a big assignment due at the end of the month-- when everything else is due in my life, too.

I'm very much looking forward to (and afraid of) the Blackfriars Conference at the end of the month. I have a lot to do for that, though.

German's going okay.

Health:
FINALLY heard from the supply company regarding my supposed CPAP machine. Unfortunately, my insurance refuses to cover it. AS I told my mom tonight, I hate the idea of needing to use one, but to have to pay for it, too? That's just horrifying. I'll hear more tomorrow about how much it's going to cost, and what happens if, after a month of use it doesn't work, and why the insurance isn't covering it. I am NOT happy about any of this. VERY CRANKY EILONWY.

Am, obviously, therefore, still exhausted all the time.

Facebook:
It's been nice o get in touch with old friends on Facebook, a few people from high school. But ... they all have babies. So do my previous friends from MBC/ASC. Babies everywhere. And here I am, growing old and alone (and, as I told [livejournal.com profile] flurije on Sunday during a grading session, when I die, I will be found alone and half eaten by cats-- not wild Alsatians like Bridget Jones, but still.)

Arts & Crafts:
No real progress on ami!Jo. I've been knitting a cat for [livejournal.com profile] pyrite. I'm almost out of yarn for it, though, and don't have the supplies (yet) to spin more, so I'll go back to the amis then. Was getting frustrated with this cat (I'm knitting, so I'm using a pattern, one by Alan Dart) but had a sudden understanding breakthrough a few minutes ago. A good feeling, that.

Took pictures this afternoon out in one of my apartment complex's courtyards. I haven't put them on the laptop yet, or fiddled with them, but hopefully I'll have one or two that I can use for the BuddyTV contest. I think I'll also have gotten one or two I can use for postcards to Vancouver since I haven't sent any in a loooong time.

Supernatural:
I started planning a meta on time and clocks (or clocks and time?) on the show. I'm halfway through a LONG meta on magic use (positive and negative) on the show, too. One of these days I'll even finish them and post them.


Hm. That's about it. :)
eilonwy2017: (Dean Yorick)
Yes, it's a Supernatural night, but no, that's not what I'm squeaking about. (In fact, I won't get to see Supernatural for another 3 hours, out here in AZ.)

But I do have something to announce.

I AM PUBLISHED.

As in, officially. The Shakespeare Bulletin vol. 27, no. 3 came out and I hold in my hands (well, not while typing, but it's right in front of me) my very won copy, in which my article shares pages with Ayanna Thompson, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Peter Erickson, Bradley Ryner, Virginia Mason Vaughan, Margo Henricks and Jyotsna Singh.

Also, my article is mainly about the American Shakespeare Center, and so is one of the theatre reviews-- so the ASC got some press! Woot!

My very firstest published article!! YAAAAAY!

Now, to get another published... well, time enough to worry about that tomorrow. Today, celebrate! Eeeee!

(And it's really awesome that it came out this month instead of next month because it means that I have been published before turning 30.)

This means I am now searchable, too, in, say, Project Muse and JSTOR. (The former I checked, the latter I'm only fairly certain of.)

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
eilonwy2017: (Default)
According to German Quickly, Miss Meier and the mailman seem to have a little somethin'-somethin'. So far in the first three chapters we have learned that Miss Meier has two good cats (indicating, perhaps, a state of spinsterhood?). She also answers the mailman and bakes him an apple-cake. Then, I think, he gives her a red rose. (I might be confused about who's doing the giving there.) Things are getting hot and heavy in a Prussian kind of way. Then we learn that the mailman does a lot.

Then things jump ahead. Every friend of the mailman knows Miss Meier. (If you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) Oh reeeeeally?

I will update you further on the torrid affair between Miss Meier and the mailman in future chapters, should they pop up.

Also, apparently "the wife of the doctor doubts the proverb," so I guess the disorderly lives of people aren't making her husband rich? Or perhaps she's just cranky at German proverbs concerning doctors in general, as the next one to show up is "The earth covers the errors of doctors"!!

Meanwhile, the theme of mothers and aphorisms continue. Repetition is, evidently, the mother of wisdom. Really?! How dull. Fathers don't get off entirely scot free this time, either, though. Effort is the father of luck, evidently. Daughters are in on this time 'round, too: Health is the daughter of work. Ugh.


While I'm here, could someone translate this for me?

Der Segen der Eltern baut den Kindern [die] Hauser. (there should be an umlaut over the "a" in Hauser, but I'm lazy.) I translated it as The blessing of the parents builds the house of the children. But "den Kindern" is dative, so it can't be "of the children." I is confoozled. :( [livejournal.com profile] mousecatfish?
eilonwy2017: (Yarn!Chester Callie)
I'm printing out the publishing agreement for my article with Shakespeare Bulletin now... I have to mail it asap (once I've, y'know, filled it out and stuff.) It's a wacky weird feeling.

I finished ami!Sam (and ami!Dean's amulet) and took pictures. So there will be Yarn!Chester Scene Challenges again starting tomorrow. They'll be posted every weekday until I run out of ideas. I honestly don't know how long that will be. I do think, however, that some of these new scenes will be harder than the original 15. (By the same token, the only homage I've photographed so far is *really* easy.) We'll see...

I went to two (2!) thrift stores today in the hopes of finding more Yarn!Chester accessories. No luck. I did, however, realize as I was wandering up and down the aisles of the second one, that anyone seeing me there must wonder about me. When looking for Yarn!Chester accessories I'm perpetually smirking because there's a monologue in my head about Supernatural and the Yarn!Chesters and what would and wouldn't work. You can't go looking for something specific because I guarantee you won't find it, so you have to have an open mind. For example, I spotted a rocking horse and poked at it (just because it was a rocking horse.) Then I thought, Hm, wasn't there an episode with a rocking horse? Yes! "The Kids are Alright"! Oh, but the Winchesters never saw the rocking horse. Poo. Moving on.

(One thing I did see and, I suppose, could have bought, were a huge number of angel knickknacks. At some point there will likely be a "Houses of the Holy" with angel-statues scene, if only so I can reference Dean's line about being filleted by a hooker from God, but not in this batch.) I also found a really creepy clown, but I didn't want to spend money on a clown, and, more important, did not want it in my apartment. Ugh.)

I was surprised that in the three thrift stores I've gone to thus far I've not found a Barbie car. I want to find a really cheap Barbie car so I can take its wheels-- I don't really want anything else from it (unless it's the 1989 model of the 1957 Chevrolet, in which case I could use more of it.)

The second store had a lot of naked Ken dolls. Today's stores were both Goodwills. Small stuff, like wee toys and dolls, were in plastic baggies, but not the giant ones of the store I went to last week. (Also, these bags were a lot more thematic than the ones from last week.) So there were a number of bags with just two naked Ken dolls (or maybe they're the large G.I. Joes? I dunno) and all I could think of was that they seemed to be in some really interesting poses, but for all that the poses were unusual, I bet slash writers have covered them. You see why I'm constantly smirking?

Accessories I need most: phones, weapons, Sam's laptop. But every time I think I'll go ahead and try to use Sculpey I remember that a: I'm no good with Sculpey and b: my oven isn't working. (I really ought to get that fixed.)

I plied a lot of yarn in the past two days, bulky weight (one thick'n'-thin, the other just bulky). I'd forgotten why I didn't like spinning bulky-- when it's arty yarn and bulky weight it gets caught on the damn flyer hooks and you spend more time untangling and hand-winding than you do plying. It's really irritating. Of course, while I was at the fiber shop last week I bought a bag of locks, which means that this tangling-in-the-hooks-thing isn't over yet-- but maybe I won't spin the locks next. So now I have four skeins of yarn that I soaked and hung up to dry. The 12wpi merino (275 yards!) will be dry tomorrow, no worries, and put upon Etsy shortly thereafter, I hope. The thick'n'thin wool/wool/soy blend will probably be dry tomorrow, too, although it is more damp than the merino. (But there's not as much of it-- it's only 60 yards, I believe.) The banana fiber/wool/soy blend, however, may not be dry for another day, even though it's outside in central Arizona dry heat. Man that stuff turned out thick. It also bled when I soaked it (weirdly it bled a beautiful purple color, even though the fiber is a medium blue) which muted some of the colors in the wool/soy blend, but I think it'll be okay. Depending on when it tries, it'll be up on Etsy soonish. (There's 122 yards of that which is respectable, in my opinion, for a 6wpi super-bulky!)

I started working on ami!Mary but something went wrong in step one already, so it doesn't count. Also, I don't have any really fine yarn to do the lace on her nightgown (well, not in the right color), which I've decided is a sign meaning I shouldn't try to do the lace on her nightgown. Just doing Bobby's hat in that weight thread n early drove me insane and has definitely sworn me off of making another ami!Bobby any time soon. (I probably do have to redo ami!Castiel for my collection because for some reason my Cas is smaller than he ought to be. But Bobby and Chuck are okay, and while John is a little short, I'm okay with that.)

I made a huge mistake with Puzzle Pirates. I decided that since I play so often and because I canceled my Big Fish account, I would go ahead and subscribe to PP for 3 months. However, upon clicking "subscribe" I didn't notice, but it took me to my *old* account, the one I thought was no longer existent. I didn't notice this until *after* I paid. Craaaaaaap. I've emailed the company to ask what I can do (can it go to my new account? The one I actually have a pirate on so that I don't have to redo all my stats and make a new character, etc.) but they haven't responded and I didn't really expect them to until tomorrow. Sadness.

I should stop procrastinating (which is, honestly, what this entry is) and prepare for tomorrow's class. (Last one! Woo! although my students don't know that yet. Hee.) I also want to have the Yarn!Chester Scene Challenge ready to post as soon as I wake up.

Hey, if any of you see me online on Thursday, can you remind me that I'm not allowed any caffeine or naps that day? I'm worried I'm going to forget.

Hm. I also need new Yarn!Chester icons, methinks. Well, I'll never give up my Callie-cat one, but the other has the 1.0 Yarn!Chesters and we're up to 2.1 now. Must ponder.
eilonwy2017: (Sam: Not working for the Mandroid!)
Well, it's 10minutes from afternoon, but that's out here in Arizona-land (which currently still matches West Coast Land) so it's afternoon for the rest of the country already, and even later than that for my handful of UK readers (::waves at British readers::). I don't think I have any Australian readers, but if I do, I'll be honest and admit I haven't the foggiest idea what time it is down there, or whether it's tomorrow or yesterday for you.

So, first-- "my guests" in LJ? Anyone else think it's really friggin' creepy? For the record, I have it turned off. You may come and go from my journal anonymously. (Which also means, I think, that I remain anonymous if I'm reading other people's LJs. So if you *don't* see my name, it's not 'cause I'm not there, mwhahahaha. Or, y'know, something.) Internet stalking is easy enough-- why would you want to leave a more obvious trail about what you've been reading in Livejournal? And why do you care who's been reading your LJ? Besides which, if you have a creepy stalker person, s/he could just sign out of LJ and still reading your (public) entries. I dunno. The whole thing just seems weird.

Next up, fandom stuff. I haven't decided yet if the Yarn!Chester Scene Challenges will restart tomorrow. I actually have one left (a video!) from the original set that I could post, and one or two ideas that I could take today yet to cover the next few days. ami!Dean 2.1 is finished (other than his amulet, which takes roughly 5 minutes, 4 of which is hunting down the right sized needle for threading the bead which then gets smashed with a hammer, which is still conveniently on the counter from where I used it to make ami!Dean 2.0). ami!Sam 2.1 is not quite finished. I had some major issues with his overshirt, which are now on the way to being solved but required making a new set of arms. There's the possibility of finishing him tonight yet but even if I do, I don't know that I'll have time to take pictures (or the inspiration to.) I rather suspect that the Yarn!Chester Scene Challenge will restart on Wednesday, although I hate that it means I'll be missing a self-imposed deadline. (Yes, yes, most of me realizes that no one cares, but part of me hopes that people were going to stop by my LJ looking for the scene challenges because I'd said they'd start tomorrow.)

And speaking of self-imposed fandom deadlines that I did not meet-- you may (or may not) have noticed that there were no reviews of Bone Key yesterday (or, for that matter, today.) That was... unintentional and regrettable. There are two chapters left, but I have not yet read, recapped or reviewed them. Chapter 19 will, however, be up tomorrow, and the final chapter (20) will be up on Tuesday, with my overall thoughts on the book posted either Tuesday or Wednesday. There are roughly 3 of you reading my recaps, so I suppose it's not like I'm disappointing hordes of followers, but I hate to disappoint anyone. :) I had every intention of posting yesterday but I overslept. A lot. Like, alarm set for 10:30, got up at 4. yeah...

In other news, I've been watching Reaper season two while working on the Yarn!Chesters. It's... not as good as season 1. And the whole "Sock lusts after his stepsister" plotline was really problematic (in many of the same ways that Dean favors Busty Asian Beauties is problematic, actually, only, y'know, worse.) From the point of view of the article that H. and I are writing, it's not as interesting as season one because so much of the plot hinges on (SPOILER FOR END OF SEASON 1--) Sam being (maybe) the son of the devil rather than having had his soul sold by his (human) father. His attempts to get out of working for the devil are therefore muddled. But it's still quite useful since this season there are gray-area souls that he doesn't want to send to Hell, and therefore attempts to renege on the deal, which is again useful for the paper. (END SPOILERS). Which reminds me that I really need to type up my notes on both Reaper and The Monkees episode "The Devil and Peter Tork." I also need to do more research into the mythology of playing games/challenging the devil and death because I think modern Western culture is now equating the two, which was not the case in medieval/renaissance England.

Drat, I have misplaced my notes on the Monkees episode. Grumph.

Only things I must do today:
1. Plan for tomorrow's class (revision day)-- make worksheets
2. Visit Fritz and Malcolm-- Skilliam's cats. Skilliam and I don't get along all that well any more (well, he acts no different than ever, I guess) ever since my last birthday when he pretty much said flat out that he doesn't all that much care for me. But we still have to work together and he never seemed to have realize what he'd said (even though it had the effect of my no longer visiting him in is office, etc.) Regardless, I still like his cats, especially Malcolm who was one of my fosters. Skilliam is out of town this weekend with his girlfriend/fiance/wife (to get married.) I was over at his house on Friday to see said house (as he'd recently moved) and Malcolm was terrified of me, choosing to hide under the stove the entire time I was there. I plan on spending a good chunk of time hanging out and reading so that Malcolm will (hopefully) investigate me and make friends. (This was the kitten who would sleep under the covers with me, his head on my pillow, while he sucked on my fingers.)

Oh! Most random thing ever-- I had to perform surgery on my dress. See, I have this sea-foam colored sundress (purchased inexpensively on sale at the Gap a few months ago). I wore it to the zoo a couple of weeks ago. During this, I noticed a dark spot on the bodice and figured I'd gotten a stain on it. This annoyed me, but what can you do? As I said then, one really ought not stand below a giraffe who's eating. So I tried to get the stain out when I washed it, but alas, it was still there when I took it out of the washer.

But this is when I realized it was not, in fact, a stain. It was something dark colored in between the two layers of fabric which make up the bodice. I knew this because it would *move* when you pulled the two layers apart. Weeeird. So yesterday, because I want to wear the dress, I made a small hole in the inside layer of fabric, used a tweezers to remove the object and then sewed the hole back up. Micro-surgery! (It turned out to be several inches of rolled up dark colored thread. All is fixed and I am wearing my dress today.

Hey, the subject line says Random.

I'm off to write up my thoughts on Reaper for the article.

I hope your Sundays are fabulous!
eilonwy2017: (Norrington- Looking Forward)
(Sorry for spamming the LJ tonight.)

So....

September:
My adviser invited me to London for a panel at the Globe, but I have to decline as I can't get money for that that quickly.

The former Aussei_NYC is visiting me and we're attending the Discworld Convention.

Then a week later [livejournal.com profile] xayide, a friend from college who hasn't posted on LJ in so long that I had to look up her name, will be visiting. She'll be here for a conference, but has agreed to make time to see me. :)

October:
My paper for the Blackfriars was accepted as part of a public round table discussion. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have to decide within 3 weeks if I'm going to go. I'm leaning towards yes, if only because it means I'd get to see 6 plays, which is relevant to my work, and see [livejournal.com profile] spade and her family. Plus, I think I'd be able to stay with them, so the cost wouldn't be too terrible, just airfare and incidental-stuff.

November:
Parents will, I hope come visit me for Thanksgiving, although this is not definite.

December/January:
The usual trip home, I sincerely hope.

April:
I really, really, really, really ought to go to SAA. I've been informed in no uncertain terms that I must go. It's in Chicago this year, and Want has already offered to let me stay with her. But I'm thinking that if I can swing the trip I want in May I'll have an excuse not to go to SAA this year yet. (Not going to SAA likely means going home to PA for Easter as these are at the same time.)

May:
I'm scraping pennies together to go to London with [livejournal.com profile] spade and her family and the college kids that they take every other year. This way I'd get to the Globe and such. I'd also, I hope, I hope, be able to spend a little extra time and see a number of British friends here on this LJ. (I'm looking particularly at you [livejournal.com profile] a_starfish, [livejournal.com profile] hobbitblue and [livejournal.com profile] ladylizbet. I have no idea where *any* of you are in relation to London, but I figure once I'm in the country I'm too close to not find a way to meet you.)

June or July:
Out of freakin' nowhere my parents have decided that if they can afford it, they want to go to Oberammergau in Germany. Seriously. Out of nowhere this came up. They're going to an information session about it on Thursday. (It's a multi-hour passion play put on once every 10 years.) If we can afford it, they'll pay for me to go. And I can't say no-- Germany! Once in a lifetime every ten year opportunity! More to the point, apparently they've been putting on this play for hundreds of years (since the plague), so obviously I want to go (even though it's in German and a passion play) and potentially write about it. I mean, at the moment I know nothing about it, but it's got to be useful to my research somehow.

August:
Vancouver. Supernatural Convention, with [livejournal.com profile] spade. Yes. Yeah, it's one of the big ones (but not as crazy as LA, I imagine) but I figure if I'm ever only likely to go to one fan convention, it should be a biggee. I plan on splurging (although how to afford that, I'm not sure. I was saving pennies, but now those pennies are likely to go to London, so... eek?) and getting autographs with everyone. And if there's a set to tour, I'm touring it. (A set to tour would require a season 6, however, which is far from a certainty.)

So. Um. Heh?
eilonwy2017: (Bad Idea)
Woot. I am, I think, up to date on comments I needed and wanted to post or reply to. Hurrah!

I ran into my adviser and one of my professors in the coffee shop this morning. On one hand it was great to see them, but on the other it was very stressful to think about how much work I've NOT done this summer. But I briefly mentioned the "seeing many doctors" thing, and trying to get healthy, of which my adviser approved (she saw me in a bad spot this Spring.) The three of us talked classes and travel and theatre. Unfortunately, this meant I didn' t have the time I usually take in the mornings to prep (again) for class.

But class worked out, too. I had already planned on letting them go early (to, hopefully, draft papers.) The problem with a composition class, in my opinion, is that *so* much of the important work of composition is, well, composing, which is to say, just sitting down and bloody well writing something. And while that can happen in the classroom, some students (like myself) aren't very good at it doing it in the classroom. (Although one of my students pointed out that he likes writing in the classroom because if he goes back to his dorm he'll just play with his XBox. I said that I understood, and that finding a space to work is very important. I, for example, work in coffee shops.)

I like my students, generally. There are 16 of them total. Two of them are very, very quiet, and rather poor writers, and so I'm having no luck reaching them. I'm trying, though. One of them is a football player with a major in business and he writes amazingly. Fuck, what a waste. I mean, not that he's a football player, but that he'll be a business major. He has a talent with words that should be nurtured. (He also wrote a free write on My Bloody Valentine and his second paper is going to be on Friday the Thirteenth, which amuses me for reasons I cannot explain to him.)

About 2/3rds of my class are athletes, mostly football and basketball. This has actually been really good for me because in a school like ASU, sports are really important. But... I know nothing about them and have no interest. AND many of the student athletes I've had in my classes before didn't do the work and had a hyooge sense of entitlement, which these students don't have. I don't know if this latter is because they're brand new (this is the first class for most of them) or if because I just have a better batch of students or what.

I handed back their graded first papers today. It'll be interesting to see how the dynamic in the classroom shifts now. (It *always* shifts after the first major grade.)

After class I ran into my professor again, which was good because I had scheduled a meeting with her for Tuesday (to talk about student evals for the class I TAed for her) which it turned out I couldn't make (and emotionally is better to have later in the week when there's the chance of having gotten some of my own work done, too.)

I came home, ate lunch, played a spot of Puzzle Pirates. Then I crashed, as I so often do after teaching. I've had a lovely nap and have now caught up on LJ, as I said above. Whee.

I know it's a Friday evening and very few people are online, but I have a Life By Committee question for you all...

Tomorrow is Winter in July at the Phoenix Zoo (where I am a member, but have not gone since becoming one-- oops.) It sounds like much fun (see info here.) It would, however, require getting up very early. Tomorrow I also *must* visit A.'s cats (this is a sizeable time commitment as it takes 40 minutes to get there, 40minutes to get back, and I should, y'know, spend some time with them.) AND, in the evening I have agreed to hang out with H. and D. and see their new house and have dinner out with them. That wouldn't happen 'til about 7:30 (they like to eat late). Given that I will NEED a nap in there somewhere, knowing my body's current style of (not)working, should I really try to do all of that??

Aminals. in Snow. Only chance to see 'til next Winter in July, next year.

Other information: I would be going alone to the zoo because I don't know anyone who's interested.

Also, I should clean my house and do laundry and unpack from the trip. And I cannot do any of those things on Sunday since that is when I *must* comment on student drafts (as I'll only be *getting* the student drafts at 5 tomorrow via email.)

Of course, I should be reading Coriolanus (for Tuesday) and working on my dissertation materials. (Oh the guilt.)

Thoughts?
eilonwy2017: (Sadface Will)
So, first the despair. As the entire fandom knows by now, the Creation Con in Vancouver is selling tickets to tour the set of Supernatural. (Info here, scroll down.) I heard this a couple of days ago already, and it's been percolating in my mind. Given that I posted things like this entry on how much I'd like to meet the designers and builders and creators of the SPN sets, you'd think this information would make me ecstatic. Alas, no. No matter how I run the numbers, I cannot figure out a way to afford to go. Tickets for the set tour alone are $350. And while that sucks, I don't actually fault the convention because it *is* an extremely rare occurrence to be able to see a working set, and talk with a crew person and such. But that $350 is on top of the price of the convention (itself not cheap) and then there'd also be airfare and hotel rooms and food. (Also, since you're at the convention, you'd probably also want to, I dunno, go to some of the panels and get some autographs and pictures. Mind you, the Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki autographs and pictures are already sold out yet too.) So... unless I get an enormous unexpected and extremely unlikely windfall, I will not be seeing the SPN sets, nor getting my picture taken with the Impala. I'm extremely sad about this. I don't feel that I'm entitled to go or anything, just that it really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I can't do it. Just very disappointed. Alas. I will have to console myself with the fact that some of the Yarn!Chesters will be sent to the production offices, when they are finished.

Academia. I am also consoling myself with the fact that Heather and I have decided to write a joint paper about the Faustus myth in popular culture. This, naturally, includes things like the movie(s) Bedazzled, but it also includes Supernatural. We're not entirely certain where this article will go (as we came up with the idea over a sushi lunch this afternoon) but that's part of the joy. We do know that it will deal with the difference in commodification of the soul, now vs. the renaissance (when the Faust myth was written/disseminated.) And yet the Faust-myth remains potent and in use. (If someone says that a person made a Faustian bargain, you know what they mean, right?) Hopefully we'll get the majority of it done this summer. Her adviser, who has written books on Faustus and economic exchange, is away for the summer, which means that we can get away with not telling him about it until it's already drafted. He's no help whatsoever in the development stages anyway. Once it's drafted, he'll be quite useful, however.

On that end, you (yes you!) can help: where have you seen (in popular culture, preferably performance based) the Faust myth used? Where do people sell their souls? A sampling of what we've come up with so far:
Supernatural tv
Reaper tv
The Haunting of Molly Hartley film
Bedazzled (1967) film
Bedazzled (2000) film
St James' Infirmary (2009) stage
Hercules film (animated- Disney)

There are more, of course, but I'm blanking at the moment. Any thoughts you have, I'd appreciate. [livejournal.com profile] arkstangent says that no one in BtVSor Angel sells their soul, but [livejournal.com profile] pyrite assures me that both Lilah and Lindsay do in Angel, so I guess I'll look into that. I know of several (popular lit) books that use the Faust myth, but I'm more interested in performance.

So. Not nearly as cool as seeing the SPN set, but it's a way to put my obsessions (both the Faust myth and Supernatural) to work for me.

And lastly, Yarn. ami!Dean v2.0 has all his major body parts crafted. I'd have finished them sooner but one of his legs just would not cooperate. First his foot was too big, then his leg was lumpy. Very annoying. Anyway, head, torso and one leg are sewn together. Second leg and two arms are made. Still need to make the rest of his overshirt before I can sew the arms on. Then I'll make his jacket, then his face and hair, and he'll be set.

Also, I purchased supplies today to make a teeny-tiny journal for ami!John's coat pocket. It will very likely not be a working journal (too tiny!) but it will look good closed.

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