Professing * Reflecting

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Robin Red Breast*

This is one of my favorite neighbors. She has a nest in the neighbor's chimney and spends a lot of time in the tree outside of my kitchen window. Isn't she lovely?

*Not to be confused with Dr. Crazy's friend, Fire Tits.



Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ninth Circle of Burnout, Second Level of Dante's Hell

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

No surprise that I am in Level 2. I am confused, though, about the "high" results in 7 and 8. Perhaps I am a violent fraud? I really thought 2, 3, and 4 would be my highest general area of sinfulness.



Must get to work

The last thing I want to do is hold myself accountable on the blog, but I think I must. I am pretty sure I have lost an entire week of planned work time. Two whole weeks at the end of the semester to take care of personal, medical, and household projects?? Positively scandalous. Oh, I am forgetting that last week I actually did do the major department project TDC was riding me about. I even submitted it a full week earlier than she had originally asked for it. (She moved up the deadline 10 days at the last minute. Typical.) So my first week off, I went to the dentist, to the eye doctor, started on insane workout plan, and emailed various folks about various research projects. Second week, I did major department project. But, I still have not:
  1. Planned summer class. It is a class I have taught before, but I have never taught it summer-style. This will take some tweaking but will not be terribly too much work. I just want to make sure assignments and readings are perfecto so that it's pretty laid-back for me. I need to do two other research projects while I am teaching it.
  2. Worked on Major Project due to publisher tentatively in June. Work on Major Project involves:
    1. Emailing several people I want to be involved to ask them to be involved, including AB, AE, LE, and KC.
    2. Looking over some guidelines and sample thingies
    3. Deciding on several important details regarding format and content
    4. Emailing some other people
    5. Compiling
    6. Writing
    7. Crossing fingers
    8. Sending
  3. Cleaned out study by: filing this year's course materials, move boxes to basement, move big photo project somewhere, set up sewing machine, cleaning out files, and getting S. to come over for an estimate on finishing shelves.
Did I mention I also have a meeting with TDC (grrrr...), an appointment for a scary medical test (it's nothing, just a c.y.a. thing my doc is making me do), an appointment for a haircut and highlights (ok, this I count as pampering and fun), and a shrink appointment this week? Then there's Insane Workout Plan to work into the schedule every day. Did I also mention that in less than two weeks I may be joining More Fun for a few days here and then a few days with the rock-n-roll circus? Did I mention that three weeks from yesterday I am going to the Deep Red (where work does not happen) for a 16-day visit to my family?

Yes, I conduct my life like an idiot. But how can I not when my life is so idiotic? I am soooo tired of all the pressure, all of the crazy blinding-to-all-else amount of teaching during the year, all of the Summers of Deadlines, all of the family obligations that require me to come to them in the Deep Red for increasingly extended (and irrational, considering my work load) periods of time, and all of the department ridiculousness. I cannot tell you the last time I began a summer not mildly to utterly panicked about the amount of work I have to do. It's not normal. It's no way to live a life. I am in the ninth circle of burnout. I am this close to packing it up and doing something totally different. I feel like I would jump at the first opportunity to do so.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Medusa's Holiday Weekend

This holiday weekend has been pretty low-key, something that I usually do not mind but that this year feels like a kind of lame "kickoff to the summer," as all of the local news station insist on calling it. It's not like I made plans or anything, since this weekend falls during the three weeks before I begin the summer travels (which I have dubbed the Three Weeks of Six Weeks Worth of Work ), and it's not like I have not done some socializing and some relaxing. Still . . .something feels too lonely or quiet to me. Maybe it's that last year's Memorial Day weekend involved having a huge party with friends new and old, engaging in an ugly public argument and breakup with my boyfriend, and unexpectedly leaving town for a few days with the rock-n-roll circus. Maybe it's the sense that I should be doing something, that holiday pressure that I think we all succumb to sometimes. Anyway, I am not nearly as sad or mopey as this post has so far made me sound. What have I been doing with myself on this unholidayish holiday weekend during which I seem sad and mopey but am not?

  • Well, the weekend began with me Building an Outfit over at the superfantastic Manolo's blog. You can check it out on the forum. I did not win but it was still superfantastically fun. My thoughts on my non-winning outfit are: a) I took a risk with matching the open-toed ankle strap pump with a city short (as really I prefer only flats with the city short or if a heel, a casual wedge); b) something is somehow off with the cut of the off-the-shoulder silk top, along with the placement of the ruffles; c) the necklaces, bag, and sunglasses are brilliant (and I may have ordered some of these items as a part of the retail madness part of this weekend, see below); d) I was never sure about the bracelet, though it does tie in with the shoes, but I think that's precisely why I do not like it, and I think it is too much with the necklaces; and e) the whole outfit might be a little boring--cream and brown with cream and brown. In any case, it was great good fun and I am very much looking forward to the next contest. Incidentally, I count this as the weekend's (only) "work."
  • I have been following A. and Crazy's Vagina Power Weekend 2007 telephonically and on Dr. Crazy's blog. By yesterday they were feeling hungover and remorseful but I think this is wrongheaded and perhaps the undue influence of penis power. I am hoping they will reclaim the Vagina Power today, as Dr. Crazy and A. are fun and charming and witty and fabulous.
  • I continue to work out as if it is my job. As you might surmise, working out like it's your job, which is to say for about an hour and a half every day, prevents you from doing actual work. Anyway, I am on some sort of mission that apparently involves seeing what will happen weight-wise, body-wise, and mood-wise if I work out for many days in a row. Today will be Day 14, and I think I might be (insanely) going for 30. The results thus far: I have lost 3 pounds; my legs, arms, and waist are visibly toned; and I feel almost too good--tons of energy, almost zero anxiety, and hence no work on looming projects this week, oopsie. I also feel like I might be living in the 1980s--the fitness-crazed 80's, not the cocaine-fueled 80's. I wonder what I would be feeling like if I had decided to live in the cocaine-fueled 80's** for 30 days. I would definitely have lost more than three pounds but I might be dead.
  • Speaking of death, I almost choked on a cherry pit yesterday. During the near-choking, I thought about how funny and convenient it would be to die on Memorial Day weekend. I also thought it would be kind of nice to die by choking on a cherry pit, theoretically of course, as I am sure it would be a real nightmare physically. But how could you not smile just a little when in answer to your how did she die question, you got "she choked on a cherry pit"? Not only is it an alliterative death, but it prevents a maudlin and melancholy response. It's comical. By the way, I am not feeling particularly morbid this weekend, though the holiday inspires a kind of morbidity. I am always and have always been this morbid. There's this extraordinary line in Little Children (which I watched last night, see thoughts below) about all people being "miracles" because they know that everyone they love will die and they still go on. When I was very young, I realized just this--that everyone I loved would die and that I in fact would die. I completely freaked out and starting alerting everyone to this fact, like "Wake up, people! Do you not know what's going here? Why are we just walking around like this is OK?" Eventually I decided that this fact made life absurd and was a sign of God's excellent but sick sense of humor. (Around this same time, I started planning my funeral and have found such plans drafted out in various journals and diaries of my youth. I also was convinced I would die at the age of 24 right up until midnight on my 25th birthday, but that's another story.) So anyway, yeah, I was a freaky and morbid kid. But I still have that idea in my head. I still believe that this knowledge of certain loss and this refusal to let it stop us makes this life absurd. But maybe it does make us miraculous? Absurd or miraculous? An absurd miracle?
  • Friday night I took a friend out for a belated birthday dinner and then we went to see another friend play music. I have been hanging out with the belated birthday friend since September. How to describe this relationship? We are friends but there is also an attraction and he has tried to make it a thing but ultimately it has gone nowhere and in the end I think we are just not that into each other. It's as messy and boring as the construction of that sentence. And the fact that I have now actually talked about him on the blog probably means that I am about to end it, at least in its current ambiguous configuration. Anyway, the other music-playing friend is the person some of you know as Demetrius or One True Love. Going to see him play with Ambiguous Friend (uh oh, a pseudonym, a sure death knell) was a kind of worlds-colliding experience, as it was at the bar that was my practically my living room during grad school and that contains at least three people I have slept with at any one time (Friday night's count was four) and everyone I had ever met was there. But it was actually kind of lame. My friends were nice to Ambiguous Friend. Ambiguous Friend was very laid-back but also seemed kind of bored. I was "meh" about the whole thing, even after two Sapphire and tonics. Who knew worlds colliding could be so uneventful?
  • This weekend has provided the climax to the retail madness of the past two weeks, during which I have ordered far too many glorious treats from places like Sephora and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and a gluttonous number of books from Amazon and local shops. Hmmmm. . .seems like I might be living in the mindless-consumerism 80's as well. Yesterday I went into Marshall's to pick up a sports bra and a pair of running shorts and ending up spending $116 on neither a sports bra nor running shorts but on things such as a DKNY chemise and the piece de resistance, for only $39.99, a new dog bed and burrowing blanket for the Chalupa:
    Isn't it wonderful? As you can see, it is most luxurious and absolutely perfect for our very girly-girl bedroom. Yes, it is big enough for a German Shepherd but she loves her super king-sized chihuahua princess bed.
  • Ignoring Major Project due in June and the unwritten syllabus for my summer class and instead watching stupid T.V. (the Real World Las Vegas marathon, the kind of boring Shear Genius with the mechanical and unlikeable Jaclyn Smith, What Not to Wear, this new fixer-upper show with my imaginary boyfriend Andrew Dan Jumbo, who I have figured out reminds me of my second fiance, P.) and good movies like Blood Diamond and Little Children. Continuing with my reviewing style that is part Ignatius J. Reilly and part obvious pointer-outer that movies cannot resist the force 0f the heteronormative train, I will say that I thought Little Children was spectacular--the strangely funny darkness of it, the performances of Winslet and Connelly and really everyone, and the clean yet somehow stifling and oppressive look of it. Just a fantastic film, really. But the end feels odd to me. Is the optimism supposed to be ironic or does it seriously want us to think traditional family values will save us from our post-9/11 world of fear-mongering and bullying? Is it just Tom Perrotta? He does seem to be obsessed (Election, Little Children) with the cheaters-never-win theme. On the one hand, there is all of this wonderful questioning of the joys of marriage and child-rearing; on the other, there is this idea that the reason we are not being good mothers and fathers and partners is because our growth is retarded and we are behaving like a bunch of adolescents. Perhaps that is the final message: grow the fuck up and handle your dissatisfaction in a less deluded state of awareness. Blood Diamond slams the American marriage industry, indirectly blaming heteronormativity for massive bloodshed. Among its political messages is an unexpected one about family and life choices and the ultimate luxury of such choices. And that Leo. My my my.
  • Hanging with the Chalupa. Here she is with a friend, known as "Baby," watching a home-decorating show featuring a bedroom that looks eerily like my own. If you look through the window in the shot, you can kind of see Hairy Yoga Guy's porch.
That's all from Medusa Central. I must go out into the sunshine with the Chalupa, perhaps break up with someone who is not my boyfriend, and at some point sweat profusely on an elliptical machine, perhaps in some sort of Jamie Lee Curtis-inspired head band. Happy holiday weekend to all!

**Updated to add: Apparently Lindsay Lohan was doing my living in the cocaine-fueled 80's for me this weekend.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And last but never least, for the chihuahua freaks

Hello viva la Chalupa friends of the internets! What is the up? Hey, check it out. . .

. . .my impression of the drunk guy about to be falling over! Hahahahahahahahhahaha! I make the joke!

High the five!



For the meth heads and the hippies

Meth Addicts Demand Government Address Nations Growing Spider Menace

The Onion

Meth Addicts Demand Government Address Nation's Growing Spider Menace

WASHINGTON, DC—Activists called for federal assistance as a last resort after trying to contain the problem with diplomacy, cathode rays, and methamphetamines.

Report: Swelling Hippie Herds Pose Threat To Delicate Freakosystem

The Onion

Report: Swelling Hippie Herds Pose Threat To Delicate Freakosystem

WASHINGTON, DC-The indigenous North American hippie population has expanded to the point that its teeming herds are endangering the planet's fragile freakosystem, warned a Department of the Interior report released Monday.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On poofing posts (and the 48 Laws of Power)

Just poofed away a rant about TDC that I wrote this morning. It didn't reveal all that much and it was not all that scandalous, just another petty frustration really. I am not sure why I feel uncomfortable writing about TDC, uncomfortable enough to want to erase the occasional post. I know I need to vent, but I also think I may be giving this too much power. She's an asshole, yes. Most of what she does is total bullshit, yes. But so what? I cannot keep feeding the negative energy. I have to find a way to let it roll off my back--to know she is going to be a jerk about most things, to know I will have to continue to fight battles over the most basic things to do what I need to do, and to stop allowing myself to react emotionally. I have to stop letting myself get caught up in the pettiness and stupidity. If she does have an agenda to screw me over, unless I let myself get totally crazy, I can certainly outwit her, right?

Hey, maybe I should re-read that diabolical bestseller among corporate generica, the 48 Laws of Power. Do you know this book? I discovered it in grad school, when I found it on my then boyfriend's bedside table. I immediately had to buy a copy and study it with a mad intensity to see what kind of mind power he might be trying to wield over me. (I should point out that this was a completely ridiculous relationship that began in an arcade and only got more ludicrous from there.) Around the same time, my Uncle, the fundamentalist Christian with whom I have a long-standing long-distance book club, mentioned it as something I should read. I was shocked that a) two such wildly different people were reading the same book, and b) Uncle J. did not recognize the tome as the work of The Devil that it is. I also got Dr. Crazy involved in my study of the 48 laws, as she was also involved with the bassist of one of the crazy boyfriend's bands. (Was he the bassist, Dr. Crazy? Why am I remembering him as a bassist, other than the fact that I was drunk that year?) Anyway, Crazy and I began to assign one of the 48 laws to each person we knew as "signature laws." The signature law represented a person's standard operating procedure, their normal modus operandi in life, relationships, etc.--kind of like an astrological sign. The authors of 48 Laws, by the way, never mention such a thing or suggest this as one of the uses of these laws. We, being students terrorized daily by a harrowing graduate program, were just heavily into methods of divination, even those we totally made up. My signature law, for example, was Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with The Mirror Effect. I believe Dr. Crazy's was Law 17: Keep Others in Suspended Terror by Cultivating an Air of Unpredictability.

Hee. Can you see me next year covertly trying out a new law of power on TDC each and every week? This week, in our meeting regarding assessment, I will whip out Law 37 and "Create Compelling Spectacles" in order to generate an aura of power that dazzles all. That might actually make for a very amusing academic satire, I think. What I should probably do instead is re-read Straight Man, drink some martinis, and stop taking everything so fucking seriously.

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Grrrrr. . . . .

I am so frustrated with TDC and . . .*poof*

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dreaming The Grand He

Remember The Grand He, the much older professor guy I had the whirlwind romance with in the Spring two years ago, the consummate narcissist who had our lives planned into the next five years, the one who immediately went back to his ex-girlfriend when I told him I needed to catch my breath and get my life a bit back on track before I could a) jet off to Europe for a couple of weeks; b) spend a month at a cabin with his teenage daughter; c) make a trip to the ancestral homeland to meet my mother; and c) seriously consider his marriage proposal? That guy? I have been dreaming about him at least a couple of times a week for the past few months.

I can't figure it out. He is getting married at the end of this month, but I seriously don't care. I am relieved we are not together. We made our peace about a year ago and are in regular contact. I have seen him at a couple of conferences. He was a little too attentive the last time I saw him, and I sensed that he might be looking for a new mistress. (Did I mention that the woman he is marrying was the mistress of his last marriage? Oops. Probably shouldn't have blogged that. Good thing I did it parenthetically.) This idea completely disgusted me, and I ended up avoiding him toward the tail end of the conference. Things were still cordial, though, and we have exchanged a few emails since. He has been a mentor and given me a great deal of career advice. I think I may have dissed him in one of these emails on this front, but it was because he was once again making grand plans for my life, just this time for my career rather than our romantic life. I responded in a jokey way, saying that his plan for me would be great if a little something called my life was not already in progress in ways that made his plan impossible. I haven't heard from him in over a month, which is unusual, but I figured this is because of year-end and wedding busyness and not because of being miffed by my dissing.

So maybe the dreams are a part of the career stress? Maybe he represents a career lifeline? Last night's dream involved me coming to his house in my kayak and only having a minute to talk with him, because his mistress-wife was coming home soon, and then not being able to find my kayak. (Why a kayak? Because the earth is now mostly covered in water and we travel along canals rather than roads. Global warming, you see. Duh.) Anyway, as I was frantically searching the house for the kayak, he ended up finding the kayak, discovering holes in it, and taking it across the street-canal to the gas station to have it repaired. He did this really fancy, daring, and adept roll thingy in the kayak as he crossed the canal-street. I remember being relieved and impressed. Then a chihuahua was licking my face and I woke up.

Hmmm. . .so that seems pretty clear--career stuff. Am I missing something? Do you think there's more to these dreams? Is it really about love? Am I still stuck on something to do with that relationship, something that keeps me from moving on? (Let's ignore for the moment that I had an eleven-month relationship with the Silly Hippie after this.) I want it to stop! Begone The Grand He! I want to paddle my own kayak to the post-apocalyptic gas station for repairs! Begone!


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Random Bullets of Still Here

Apparently my one down week meant going incommunicado on the blog, which I had not anticipated. What have I been doing with my one week of complete freedom? Going out every night? Taking long walks on the coast? Hanging out with friends? Maybe even just taking my time getting things in order in the garret, clearing out from the semester and getting ready for the summer? No no no and no. Rather, I have been:

  • Sleeping late every day and spending lots of time in bed reading magazines (New York, Elle, and Us Weekly, which has mysteriously starting arriving--I am not kidding! Does anyone know how these things happen?--at my house every week) and watching movies (Stranger than Fiction, The Science of Sleep, Sex and Lucia, Zizek!). I very much enjoyed Stranger than Fiction, even though the Dustin Hoffman character calls literary theory "literature theory" and has weird books for a lit prof on his office wall . . . but the Gyllenhaal! The Gyllenhaal is fantastic; I love love love both The Science of Sleep-- Gondry! Gael Garcia Bernal! The fantastically beautiful and wacky dream sequences! I was in heaven!--and Sex and Lucia; and I would like to watch Zizek! every single day if I could, though I could do without the scene in which Slavoj is shirtless in a hotel bed.
  • Taking a good hard realistic look at my chances of getting tenure, as much as I reasonably can with the ever-ambiguous and ever-in-flux tenure requirements at Foggy C, and feeling very panicked indeed at what I see as the very real possibility of being out of a job in a couple of years. I am also realizing just how radically TDC has screwed me in terms of allowing me to do what I need to do to get tenure, so I have also been considering how I might keep her at bay (but not incur her wrath) this year so that I can make a last-ditch effort to salvage my chances. All of this is nervous-making.
  • Emailing colleagues. Almost all of my communication has been on a business front, NOT with Foggy C stuff (I am refusing to answer TDC's inane and still-constant emails) but with people about various research projects. I got bad news about a publication that has been tied up for two years and looks to be either dead in the water or tied up indefinitely. I am still waiting for news about another article that I thought was already accepted but now I think may not be. All of this is of course adding to the anxiety of prior bullet.
  • Indulging myself by ordering way too much from Sephora. Love Sephora. Love the confirmation emails telling me my orders have been sent to "our fulfillment center." I want to live in the Sephora fulfillment center.
  • Paying bills, running a million errands, and getting appointments--eye doctor, dentist--out of the way. (I guess this counts as getting my life, if not my physical surroundings, in order.)
  • Working out like it's my job. I am frustrated that spending 50 full-out minutes on the elliptical every single day and eating a low-calorie, low-fat, low-carb diet with not a drop of (ack! I voice the blasphemy!) alcohol for an entire week apparently = 1/2 lb weight loss. What the fuck?
  • Spending some very nice quality time with this adorable creature, who has been very companionable in the sleepy laziness around here.
So, as you can see, I really know how to have me some fun on my week off. Seriously, though, I know that the good times are coming soon enough and that I needed this week of going underground--being alone, thinking, and regrouping. This coming week I have to plan my summer class and write a massive and massively annoying document for the department, which has zero meaning in terms of getting tenure but which, if you ask TDC, is The Most Important Thing in the Whole Wide World. After that, the summer is mine. Full of work, but mine.


Monday, May 14, 2007

My one down week before I go up for tenure

I am doing something that I rarely rarely do--planning my life in a detailed way far into the future. How have I managed to get advanced degrees and to get a job in a preposterously competitive field without doing any planning, you ask? Would you believe me if I said I just kind of fell into it? No, you would not and you should not. Of course I had plans--to go to grad school at university a, b, c . . . or k; to do my course work in x amount of time; to do my language exams in this language and that one; to work with this person; to write my dissertation on that and to finish by approximately then. On the other hand, I came to the profession late. In many ways, what I have done with my life makes perfect sense but in others it is a complete surprise.

There were also surprises and shifts during the time I was doing my graduate work. In the months I was getting ready to move across the country to go to graduate school, I ended up meeting a man who moved with me and whom I almost married. I ended up writing on a different topic under the direction of a different advisor. I very nearly switched programs mid-stream. I applied for jobs in publishing the same year I applied for academic jobs. The year I got my job, which in so many ways was and is the perfect job for the somewhat unusual candidate that is me, I had not done a full search. So does this mean I am a flake? Would I be more successful had I stuck to a strict plan? Maybe. But I think I realized (or decided?) very early, maybe because we moved so much when I was a kid, that there is a certain amount of uncertainty in all things and that all plans need to account for some amount of give. I also thrive on that uncertainty, I often welcome those shifts, and I need that give, that looseness.

I often joke that my reluctance to make lists is a tell-tale sign of my extreme commitment phobia. I do not want to put something down on a list, because then I have to commit to it. That's not exactly how I feel, though, and I do not think I am really a commitment phobe. I usually do not make lists until I have a plan and then the list only serves as a reminder of tasks that must be completed. The kind of lists I hate, the kind that cause me great anxiety, are the "big picture lists," e.g. five-year plan, all the things I want to do to renovate the garret, things I want to do before I die. Ayyyyyyyyyyyy!! Just thinking about such lists makes me crazy. Why? Because I think they are retarded. I know there will be change, I know I want change, and I don't want to be stuck to a plan. Some might say that you just have to account for a certain amount of give when making your big lists. I would say that those same people ABHOR any shift in the plan and are miserable when things do not go according to plan. I used to think this not wanting to be stuck to a plan was essentially the same as commitment phobia. I don't think so anymore. I am very committed to my career, my research, my teaching, and my family. It also happens that I am passionately committed to my independence, and therein lies the problem of me appearing to live my life willy-nilly, according to no particular plan. I must be a fuck-up if I am not married and do not have kids by this age or at the very least if I am not wildly successful in my career.

But I am not at all living a wildly irresponsible life according to no set plan. I have a good job. And hell, let's face it, just having a job in this market = being wildly successful. I am actually very thoughtful about my life. I know where I might be going and where (of several directions) I might like to go at any one time. I have also always been a bit of a free spirit (yes, the secret is that even though I firmly believe hippies ruin everything, I am a bit of a hippie, just of the bathed and clothed and anti-drum circles kind) and always will be or want to be to the extent that this profession allows. I just formulate plans in different ways and my lists serve to remind me once plans are laid, not to motivate me to lay them.

What does this have to do with getting tenure? Well, because now would be the time when my hippy-dippy modus operandi may not serve me well. I have to get down to some serious planning and some serious account taking. The P & T committee will not, I suspect, be interested in hearing how I have intuitively moved down my path flowing with the give of the best-laid plans and the take of blah blah yadda yadda frittata. I will be applying for tenure in about fifteen months. So many things have to happen before I will be comfortable doing so, and I have to do everything in my power to make them happen. This means doing an incredible amount of work between now and then, pretty much going full steam ahead and working almost every single week with very little down time. I make these power plans all the time for teaching and for service obligations. You should see my book of lists I use during the school year. Now I have had to do it for all areas of my life, including my personal life. (Doesn't it suck that what I really mean by "personal life" is "my research agenda"? Yes, at my institution your research is supposed to happen on "your own time." Grrr. If I choose to stay at Foggy C, I will change this.) Anyway, I have made this fifteen-month plan and it is insane but doable.

I know what I have to do. Some things are out of my control. If certain things do not come through, I am not in a good place to go up for tenure. I do not necessarily have a rabbit to pull out of my hat in that case, but then I will have to roll with it and do what I can do. I have almost decided that I want to stay put in this job (it is a good job and I may have the ability to change the things that suck) but there is the possibility of going on the market this year and next. I will have to think about that. For now, I have to do what I need to do for tenure first and then decide what else I can fit it as it arises. I am more terrified of not keeping this job or not having a job in this profession than I am letting on, but to stay sane I have to remind myself that I cannot take this job or this profession too seriously. And there's always Mexico City, right?

So, yeah, as far as I can tell this really is my only goof-off week for the foreseeable fifteen-month future. There are periods of travel and More Fun next month, but this is my only time to sleep late and loll about and daydream and slowly get my ducks in a row. I am doing unlazy things like cleaning up the garret, going to the dentist, FINALLY getting a new prescription for contacts/glasses (yay!), joining a new gym, and getting out some necessary emails related to Big Major Project tentatively due in June. But I also hope to be truly lazy.

See what happens when non-planners like me plan? We come up with realities like this being the last possible week we can possibly hope to relax for more than a year. And who wants to plan for that reality? Put on paper, though, that is the exactly the case. Isn't it more realistic to expect some bending of the time-space continuum to accommodate my bid for tenure?



Friday, May 11, 2007

Poetry Friday for Mother's Day, Delmore Schwartz (& Sarah)

In honor of Mother's Day, I give you a little Delmore. I love this funny little poem and it contains one of my favorite words in the English language. (Guess which.) I am too sick to get out of bed, so I am going back to sleep until I must get up for a school thing tonight. I'll be attending it high on about five different (legal) drugs.


The angel said to me: "Why are you laughing?"
"Laughing! Not me! Who was laughing? I did not laugh. It was
A cough. I was coughing. Only hyenas laugh.
It was a cold I caught nine minutes after
Abraham married me: when I saw
How I was slender and beautiful, more and more
Slender and beautiful.
I was also
Clearing my throat; something inside of me
Is continually telling me something
I do not wish to hear: A joke: A big joke:
But the joke is always just on me.
He said: you will have more children than the sky's stars
And the seashore's sands, if you just wait patiently,
Wait: patiently: ninety years? You see
The joke's on me!"



Thursday, May 10, 2007

I blame the meth heads (and somehow also the hippies)

When did they take pseudoephedrine out of NyQuil??

How am I supposed to breathe???


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

That cold

The nasty nasty terrible head cold made up of all of the toxins built up in your body over the school year that explodes just a bit before you are done but as soon as you finally start to let your guard down a little bit--I have it.

I am at school for meetings, TOTALLY dosed on Theraflu Daytime Severe Cold medicine. I am simultaneously hyper and spacey, a delightful combination. I feel like I am about to have a big fight with TDC over silly minutiae not worth fighting over. Tell me not to do it.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

21st Century Rear Window

You have got to be kidding me. Hairy Yoga Guy is back!! And unbelievably he has brought a Yoga Friend out to the porch to do yoga with him! And AND they have brought a boom box and are playing a YOGA TAPE with an annoyingly soft yet precise voice calling out positions and reminding them to breathe, all to the atonal mess of new-agey flutey music playing in the background! And Yoga Friend is right behind hairy yoga guy on the narrow porch, having to look right at his hairy scantily clad downward facing hairy body parts! And his nasty feet are right in her face! What is wrong with you, Yoga Friend? What kind of misguided masochistic kinky hippie chick are you??

Oh. my. god. As I write this, barrel-chested, super-muscular, tank-topped, shaved-head, tattooed, goatee guy has come out to his porch directly above yoga porch to do pull-ups on a roof beam. And he has turned up the STP on his stereo to do so! Go Shaved-Head Rocker Dude! Go! Heeeeee. It's like watching the battle of "body work" style choices.

Wait! Hairy Yoga Guy and Yoga Friend of Questionable Proclivities have scurried inside. Oh oh. . .Shaved-Head Rocker Dude is now leaving his porch, satisfied with one set of pull-ups. Oop. Hairy Yoga Guy and Yoga Friend of Questionable Proclivities are back! Ewww. The bent-leg pulling the foot toward the crotch and then outward. Ewwwwwwww! Oh oh. HA! Shaved-Head Rocker Dude has come back. OH OH OH OH! To beat a rug over the side of his porch!

Well-played, Shaved-Head Rocker Dude, well-played!


Friday, May 04, 2007

Poetry Friday, Lorca


Just your hot heart,
nothing more.

My paradise, a field,
no nightingales,
no lyres,
a river, discrete,
and a little fountain.

Without the spurs,
of the wind, in the branches,
without the star,
that wants to be leaf.

An enormous light
that will be
the glow
of the Other,
in a field of broken gazes.

A still calm
where our kisses,
sonorous circles
of echoes,
will open, far-off.

And your hot heart,
nothing more.

Original Spanish here

This is what I--fevered, mesmerized, sleepy, exhausted, so so close to the end of the school year--want on this Spring day. Simple enough, no? I have no idea who the "your" of "your hot heart" might be, but that's not really the point. I am blogging the want (like blogging the lost) into the universe, via the powers of Lorca.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Brad Pitt's ass is mesmerizing

Yes, I am watching the newly acquired HBO again. So far, the above is all I have to say about Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Edited to add, 12:36 a.m.: And ultimately the above is all I have to say about Mr. & Mrs. Smith. And I do mean "mesmerizing" in an original sense, à la Franz Anton Mesmer, in that I believe Brad Pitt's ass has a sort of trance-inducing magnetic force. This must account partially for the fact that I have now watched this movie two or three times and I can't ever really remember anything that happens in it. Everything about it will be erased from my mind by morning. Right now, I know it is a sleek and smartish and funny send-up of all deadly middle-class surburban marriages. But all that is already being slowly crushed by the weight of all that confusing beauty (as well as the magnetic force of Brad Pitt's ass).

By the way, I was fast asleep tonight by 9:30, having been mesmerized by BPA and exhausted by grading, etc. The only reason I am awake right now is because Paloma called me (on the cell phone, which turns into the emergency/bail me out of jail, please phone after midnight on weeknights) to ask me if I could hear random explosions in the distance. She had been hearing them sporadically for about two hours, they were freaking her out, and she couldn't sleep. After listening for a while, I heard them and came up with this explanation to calm her down: dynamite blasting at a rock quarry. I told her I recognized the sound from when I lived in Indiana. She was relieved because she had been thinking [laughingly] that "maybe The Idiot was right and the terrorists had followed us home!". So she got off the phone to go to sleep. I am now wide awake. I do not really know what the sounds are. They sound kind of cool in the (quarry-less, I am pretty sure, within any conceivable ear shot) distance. And while I do not think G. W. Idiot is right about anything, I am left sleepless.



Dos and Don'ts

DON'T arrange your life (and by "arrange" I mean proscrastinate until you have no choice) so that you have to grade fifteen 15-page essays in one day.

DON' T spaz out in the middle of mandatory grading session and decide you cannot read one more word of student writing until you relocate to your favorite coffee house in the middle of one of the most crowded parts of the city and DON'T drive to that place stupidly thinking you will find a parking place because you will not and you will have wasted over an hour of your precious grading time driving around like a jack-ass.

DO rejoice the next morning as soon as you realize every last one of those dreaded papers is graded.

DO not fret that I was too busy to post pictures on Chihuahua Wednesday. The Chalupa is on the job:

Good morning of the day, my viva-Chalupa friends of the internets!!

Welcome to my sunny kitchen! Is it not lovely? I extend the warm greetings to you from this particular spot of the garret, for I have the most exciting news! Since I came to live with the Mama Medusa I have been on the diet, mandated by the Doctor of the Chalupa. My former companion, bless her elderly and ailing soul, she did not walk me so the much but she did feed me much the muchness of the peoples food. The Doctor of the Chalupa is of the feeling that I will be of the better health, in the heart and in the floating kneecaps, if I lose a few of the poundages. A few is quite the bit for the 9 pound dog, my friends! How the ever, I visited the Doctor of the Chalupa this week. And?? I have lost nearly the one full pound in this the very short span of three of the months! Now I will spin for joy!

I have done well and deserve the congratulations, no??

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Random Bullets of Women, Mothers, and Beauty (and some links and an apology)

  • I apologize for last night's melodrama. I am in the throes of something and, as I warned in an earlier post, I will be letting almost all fly here. Mix the throes of something with a few generous glasses of red wine and "almost all" flies out the window and you get a post like last night's.
  • Lina has written an excellent post on Camille P . . .'s breathtakingly abhorrently increasingly poor attempts at theoretical analysis. I am glad the clear-headed Lina was able to put into words what I felt but was too blinded by rage to come close to articulating. I haven't been able to speak (or to type, apparently) CP's name for a full two years, ever since one of my students insisted on using only CP and none of the feminist critics we were studying to do a "feminist reading" of something or other. This student brought up her admiration of CP early in the semester, and I had to spend much of my time resisting the urge to leap across the room and strangle her.
  • Continuing my zealous devotion to bad movies on the newly acquired HBO, I watched Flightplan night before last. This is one of those 9/11 movies not about 9/11 but that reference 9/11 (e.g. Reign Over Me, 25th Hour) in weird ways that force the audience to draw comparisons between 9/11 and things like anal rape. Flightplan draws a connection between post-9/11 racism and the collapse of "family values," essentially making the claim that Americans (and German pilots, of course) hate mothers and children and should be more ashamed of this than assuming all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. In sum, post-9/11 hysteria is represented as less dangerous than the dissolution of the traditional family. The best things about the character--a working mother, an engineer no less--are actually criticized as she suffers all manner of punishment for not being a typical mother. I had a moment when I blamed Jodie Foster for not being a poststructuralist radical feminist film critic in choosing her movie roles. Then I thought that if she does indeed choose movie roles for political reasons I could see why she might choose this one: strong working mother who designs planes is targeted by terrorists and kicks some ass and shames some stupid conservative racists as well. But it goes all wrong, Jodie. Don't you see? Then I realized if I was Jodie Foster and anyone told me that I should chose my movie roles according to what might happen on any level as a result, I would tell that person to fuck right off. Then I realized for the umpteenth time that I am not the preferred audience for this movie or any, for that matter, that I have been watching on the newly acquired HBO. But then again I am, because I was riveted and I am not uncomfortable watching them or at the very least I am comfortable with my discomfort. And, like it or not, I have HBO now. So really only the people who are made potentially uncomfortable are the people who have to listen to my half-baked ideas about the shitty movies I watch on HBO. And, honestly, these are not really the same ideas I talk about and write about for a living. Those are fully baked, of course. No, here I am much more like Ignatius J. Reilly in my movie critiquing style. By the way, I am reminded of dear Ignatius as I read one of my new favorite blogs, the new and truly brilliant Korncrake!. If you have not checked it out, you must--especially you medievalists.
  • I have a beauty recommendation, a beauty warning, and a beauty question.
    • Recommendation: This at-home facial peel by Oil of Olay really works. I wasn't particularly worried about wrinkles--have very few and like the ones I have--but my skin was looking a little dull to me. After using this once, my skin looks perfectly radiant and plump and beautiful. I also have the most sensitive skin known to man, and this was not at all irritating.
    • Warning: I was on my way to get a haircut the other day, and I met a very confused looking and acting woman in the elevator to the salon. She was about 60, perfectly coiffed, and in very stylish casual wear. She was talking to herself, expressing great concern about which floor she needed to get off on. I was headed to the fourth. She pushed buttons for the second, third, fourth, and fifth. At each floor, she would peek out and look down the hallway. She got off on the fourth floor with me and walked into the salon in front of me, blocking the doorway. The receptionist said, "Third floor, ma'am" and she turned around and nearly knocked me over as she rushed babbling back to the elevator. In response to the WTF? look on my face, the receptionist said, "She does it every week. She's looking for her manicurist on the third floor." I replied, "A bit off, isn't she?" My receptionist then revealed that no, not exactly: "She's just wicked senile. Looks great, doesn't she? She's like 80 or something. A lot of work done, by the best too". I am thinking that this is going to become more and more of an issue--getting a totally different read on people who are actually behaving somewhat appropriately for their age because said people are plasticized. I remember having a similar worry when people starting walking around talking on their pocketed cell phones with their Bluetooth technology, and I could not really distinguish them from the raving mad people roaming the streets talking to themselves (except the Bluetooth people tended to be saying much less interesting things). Pretty soon we are just going to assume all the crazy people have just had face lifts and/or are on the phone.
    • Question: I am seriously considering going off the Pill, largely because I want to lose 15 pounds. Here's the thing, I don't really need to lose 15 pounds and I of the amazingly fertile women people in my family will very likely get pregnant if I have unprotected or condom-breaking sex. I gained 20 lbs. after I stopped smoking and went back on the Pill. Before that, I was pretty significantly under a normal weight, because I had crazy sinus infections and had been on antibiotics for nearly a year, so I needed to gain anyway--just not 20, I think. I have lost 5 since I gained the 20 but no more will come off and I am certain it is because of the Pill. Everyone tells me I look great, better than my thinner self, and I sort of agree. I definitely like the curves. I don't necessarily need to lose all of the rest, but 5-10 lbs. would make me much more comfortable and have me fitting back into many fabulous clothes I can no longer wear. I also kind of want to go off because I feel different when I am on the Pill, but mostly if I am honest with myself it is because I am vain vain vain vain. Thoughts?
  • Since I began writing this, I have heard from ETF, who now is not leaving until later in the week. Seems the cosmos will not let the throes of anything get in the way of its need for irony.

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