Monday, December 19, 2011

Ode to Howl's Moving Castle

19 December 2011

Seriously, the last two weeks have been hella stressful. Every semester I tell myself that I’ll be better about my grading, but I totally failed at that this semester. As a result, I haven’t done much the last week but sleep, eat, and grade. Thankfully, now all of my grading is done and my grades are posted. Now comes my yearly pre-Christmas frantic cleaning and errand running. Fun! (not really)

But all of that is for tomorrow. Right now I’m watching my go-to relaxation movie, Howl’s Moving Castle. I bought a copy of this ages ago solely because I’m huge Studio Ghibli fan (and apparently I paid a whopping $24.95 for it). I watched it, and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until I spent a semester in England that I really became attached to it.

Without a doubt, that semester in England was one of the most stressful periods of my life, and I did not handle it well at all. I realize now that I was going through a pretty serious bout of depression (which began before I even left for England), but hindsight is 20/20. I spent four months cold, broke, sick, lonely, and hungry. I was there January through May of 2007.  English winters were a shock to me. Now, I’ve lived in the South for my entire life, ya’ll. I was not used to months of cold, rainy, cloudy days. I did not have suitable attire for English winters, so I was cold pretty much all the time. My stomach was constantly hurting from the stress of the work load. And every two weeks, like clockwork, I got sick.  

For some reason, the only thing that would give me any modicum of relief was watching Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m not sure why. I would watch it over and over again in one sitting. That movie was my escape, my comfort.  It still is. Even now, I rarely travel without it. Even though Diana Wynne Jones was English and movie is Japanese, something about it felt like home. In watching it, I was able to get lost in the narrative. It enabled me to forget about looming paper deadlines (there was this paper about Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women that was particularly torturous) and the need to put together a dissertation committee from overseas. When watching Howl’s Moving Castle, all of that disappeared for a bit.

There’s something captivating about the story. I love everything about it, the narrative, Sophie, Miyazaki’s signature animation style, his use of color and imager, I even love the English dub. And I have this movie to thank for introducing me to one of my all-time favorite authors, Diana Wynne Jones. (fyi: Howl’s Moving Castle is a delightful book, quite a bit different than the film, but fantastic all the same) Watching it today reminds me of that time in my life. I don’t regret going to England. I met some interesting people (oddly enough, they were mostly Americans). I got the chance to live with an English family for five weeks. I was able to go to London multiple times. I got the chance to see Patrick Stewart perform in two different Shakespeare plays (Yes, I was in the same room as Captain Picard!!!) I read some absolutely fantastic Victorian literature, and I loved, loved, loved talking about that literature in my classes.

But underneath it all, was that insidious depression (mental illness is a bitch like that). I wish that back then I had been brave enough to get help. What I didn’t realize at the time was that no amount of interesting and cool stuff and fun people could make that go away. I really felt like a freak because I couldn’t have fun like the others. But for a couple of hours at least, Howl’s Moving Castle, helped me not think about it all. And for that, I’m still profoundly grateful. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why I Decided to Go to College

7 November 2011

This week I’m teaching a cluster of essays that asks students to ponder whether or not college is worth the effort. Today I asked them to spend a few minutes writing about why they decided to go to college. Many of them said that they decided to go to college so that they can obtain jobs that pay well once they graduate. Very few said that their decision was based on the desire to learn and experience new things.

Their answers made me ponder what was behind my decision to go to college. And the honest answer is that this was a decision I never made—it was made for me by my mother. I remember my mother dropping me off at my very first day of school. Before I got out of the car, she told me that I was at the beginning of a long journey that would eventually take me to college. “And you will go to college,” she said. This is something that she reiterated many times throughout my education. So when the time came for me to think about what I was going to do after high school, there was only one option on my mind—college.

Her desire for me to go to college was not monetarily based. She wanted me to go to college so that I could find something that I loved doing. Even when we struggled financially, and there was a lot of that in my teen years, her desire for me to get a college education was so that I could spend my life in a career that I loved. And this was good, because I seriously considered becoming an archaeologist when I was in high-school. (I love me some Pre-Columbian cultures!).

College was a good fit for me. I loved (most) of my classes. I read so many interesting works of literature, I learned to speak Spanish, I spent a summer studying in Mexico, I declared a second major in history—just because I enjoyed it so much. And when I realized that studying and teaching literature was something that I loved doing, no one was more excited for me than my mother. Both of my parents supported me, even though my decision wasn’t one that was going to pay off financially. They still support me in any way they can, and when I FINALLY finish my dissertation and get my PhD no one will be cheering more loudly than my parents. .

Though I’ve questioned my decision to pursue my doctorate in English, I’ve never regretted it. Studying literature and teaching brings me more joy and fulfillment than any other career could. This is more than a career for me, it’s a vocation. And it all started with a five year old girl sitting in a car with her mother on the first day of school. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I am a Crotchety Old Woman?

6 November 2011

I like to think of myself as young and young at heart. I have examples and everything! Last night, I walked over to my neighbor’s apartment and together we watched a couple of episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Jem and the Holograms. Sure, these are cartoons aimed at 5-7 year olds and we are both 34, but that’s youthful! And then, at midnight, we decided to go over to another friend’s house. And then I had 2 glasses of wine! (Note: my friend did not—she was driving. We are youthful, but responsible.) Drinking (which is totally fine because I am over 21)! 12am shenanigans! And by shenanigans I mean we talked very loudly and watched a bunch of episodes of Parks and Recreation--but it was very late at night, That’s very college student-esque!

I’m providing you with these examples of my youthfulness because I am convinced that a crochetedy old woman lives inside of my head.

Example 1: I see some of the clothes teenagers and young college students wear and I think they look inappropriate. For example, a few weeks, I was teaching class, and one of my students walked in, wearing a skin tight mini-skirt with a loose fitting top that fell over her shoulder to reveal her bra strap. Now, she did look cute, but it’s class, not Friday night. Every time she got up, every straight boy in my classroom was ogling her.  In another class, a male student came to class wearing pajama pants that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. Last year, I had a student who wore a skirt so short to class that she had to put a coat over her lap to cover everything up. 10 years ago, I did not have these issues. I don’t really remember noticing what my students wore to class. I thought tight, midriff baring tops were totally cute. I was all about low-rise jeans (well, I still am actually).

Example 2: I live near two sports stadiums. I am not a sports person, so I could really care less about all of this sports hoopla. Most of the time living near these two stadiums not bad, but when there’s a game, the helicopters drive me insane. They’re constantly flying overhead. This morning the non-dulcet tones of an incredibly drone-y helicopter woke me up at 8am. It’s 8am helicopter people! The game doesn’t start until 7pm! Of course, the helicopters will be equally annoying at 7pm.

Example 3: Apparently, it is my destiny to have neighbors who enjoy playing their music loudly at all hours of the night. I teach at 8am, so I have to go to bed pretty early. But I feel bad about asking someone to turn their music down at 9:30. It’s not like it’s midnight, it’s 9:30—that’s not particularly late. And also, I’m going to bed at 9:30pm. 9:30!?! The 10 years ago me would have scoffed at going to bed so early.

Now I don’t particularly want to be 10 years ago me ever again. It was a wretched time in my life. But I was in my early 20s then—I was really young then. I’m still young now, but slightly less so. And I feel more alive and confident and vibrant and youthful and happy at 34 than I did at 24. So, if this is the case, why has a crotchedy old lady come to live in my head? I am not old!

(And I didn't blog yesterday. Boo to me. But I was out being youthful and stuff! And doing laundry.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Zoozey, Molly Bloom, and the Vet: Definitely Not a Fun Combination

4 November 2011

The highlight of my Friday was wearing my brand new hot pink sequined converse tennis shoes. I bought them yesterday because I knew I’d need something morale boosting to get me through my Friday. Because today, I had to take two of my cats to the vet.

As any cat owner knows, taking a cat to the vet is never fun. We all seriously deserve medals for getting our cats proper veterinary care. Because it is not easy. They hate going with a passion they reserve for only a few things, and they make you hate taking them even more. I speak from extensive personal experience.

I am the former owner of a “caution kitty.” Caution kitties REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE the vet. More than other cats. Caution kitties sometimes have to be muzzled or sedated just to get exams. Caution kitties, who are otherwise nice well-behaved cats, will rip you, your clothes, the vet, and the vet techs to ribbons. The owners of caution kitties get phone calls from their vets when they board them, begging you to come pick your caution kitty early.  It gets even more fun when your caution kitty goes into renal failure and has to go to the vet every two weeks for bloodwork. And I now know, that caution kitties don’t mellow with age.

Rocky is in kitty heaven now, and, because I’m insane, I now have three cats, none of whom (thank God) are caution kitties. But they still don’t make it easy. This morning I had Molly Bloom all ready to go in her harness and leash. About 2 minutes after I got her in the leash and harness, she had managed to pull herself out of the harness. I saw her running around with her collar around her head. As soon as I had caught her, Zoozey, the other cat I was taking to the vet, escaped from his cage. Clearly, they did not want to go to the vet. And Zoozey is really really hard to catch. Running away from stuff is his very favorite thing to do, so he’s gotten pretty fast. My third cat, who was not going to the vet today, wisely decided to hide under a desk. I could swear he was smirking at me as I was running around and chasing Molly Bloom and Zoozey.

Fortunately, that was the worst part of today’s veterinary experience. Zoozey glared at me from the back corner of his cage and meowed like he was being tortured.  And Molly Bloom, who is ever the energetic cat, tried to get into everything she possibly could within seconds of being released from her cat carrier. But Zoozey is all show and he was semi-cooperative with his exam and vaccinations. Molly Bloom, who had to spend the day at the vet for a test, won herself a legion of fans with her enthusiasm for absolutely everything—apparently, for Molly, even the cage at the vet is a toy for her to play with.

Molly and Zoozey are home now, worn out from their day. I’m worn out too. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Morbidly Awesome

3 November 2011

It’s day 3 of NaBloPoMo! And it’s Thursday, which I’m wildly excited about it, but only because I’m one day closer to sleeping in on Saturday.

I feel like it’s pretty obvious to most people that I’m a weird geeky nerd. I wear my weird geeky nerd flag proudly. What’s perhaps not so obvious is that I have a fascination with the morbid. You’re reading the blog of the person who, as a teenager, insisted that her father take her to the Museum of Funeral History. It was super cool and interesting, btw. I totally want to go back. (Right now I have a mental image of my mother shaking her head and saying “I just don’t know where she gets it from.”)

And so I ran across a video today that totally appeals to my interest in the morbid. It’s called Ask a Mortician and Caitlin the mortician will answer any questions about that viewers have about death, dying, funeral rites, and death-y stuff like that. Here's a link to the video.Caitlin makes being a mortician seem super cool, which, if you think about it, is probably no easy feat. She answers questions about rigor mortis and cremation in a fun and interesting way that makes me want to think of a question to ask her. Her website, Order of the Good Death, is pretty interesting.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This is a straight up random blog entry. Really random.

2 November 2011

Buenos dias readers! It’s the second day of NaBloPoMo (which is really fun to say out loud)

Today, I did not work on my dissertation. I’ve done no grading. And right now I’m watching tv. But I did spend pretty much all day teaching. It’s the productiveness that I get paid for, so that’s certainly an important part of my day.  And darn it, six hours of teaching freshman composition is pretty tiring. I also think I might be crashing from the large amount of Halloween candy I’ve eaten today. What I’m saying here is that I think I’ve earned some tv time.

So I’m watching The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which so far seems like a live action version of Scooby Doo. I’m not hating it. I watched a whole lot of Scooby Doo when I was a kid. Frank and Joe Hardy, along with their band of intrepid crime solving friends are the meddling kids of this world. And they are certainly as equally wholesome as the Scooby gang. Their 1970s clothing isn’t as fabulous as that of  Hawaii Five-O, but it’s my personal opinion that it’s hard to reach the level of fabulousity that is Hawaii-Five-O. Plus THB/ND doesn’t have the mesmerizing power of Jack Lord’s hair. Although Shaun Cassidy’s hair could perhaps be a distant second to Jack Lord’s.

And before you go thinking I have an odd obsession with tv hair….Well, hell. Maybe I do. I was going to say it’s because I tend to latch on to strange things when I’m tired and headachy, but I do find Jack Lord’s hair mesmerizing even when I’m not tired and headachy. However, I don’t think Shaun Cassidy’s hair will seem as fabulous after a good night’s rest. Or really anyone else’s.

I’m going to go watch Psych now. Because I love that show! I must say that I don’t find Shawn and Gus’s hair mesmerizing at all. Maybe my mesmirization only applies to only1970s tv hair and not 2000s tv hair. Which really isn’t any less weird. In fact, it might be more weird.

Well, now I’ve always wondered what kind of blog I’d come up with if I wrote about what I was doing at any given moment. Now I know. A weird one. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


1 November 2011

My office mate says that grad school is enough to make anyone crazy. I think she’s right. Who in their right mind would do willingly undertake all of the stress and the mountain of work that is graduate school? Me.

I’ve been pondering this because I’m currently writing my dissertation. I chose some really dense theory to work with. I love Homi Bhabha and postcolonial theory, but it frustrates me so much. Why am I doing this to myself? Because I’m crazy. I mean, I did willingly undertake this whole PhD thing in the first place.

With my dissertation my normal state is one of avoidance. I am really really good at not working on my dissertation. I will do just about anything to not work on it—even things I don’t particularly enjoy doing. I’ll clean, take my cats to the vet, grade, do laundry—anything but work on my dissertation.

However, for some reason, a metaphorical fire has been lit under my ass, because I have suddenly and inexplicably become quite determined to submit my first chapter and submit it soon. I spent all weekend working on it. All I did was dissertate, sleep and eat cookies. By the end of the weekend, my apartment was a mess, I had been wearing the same clothes for two days, and I was in sore need of a shower. And after all of that work, I went from having six pages to having nine—and a paragraph. All that work—and three pages.

Where is the girl who wrote a really good 10 page paper on D.H. Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent in 8 hours? She needs to come back and stay forever and ever. Because if she were here, this chapter would have been submitted already.

It would appear that even when I’m actually working on my dissertation, I don’t want to do it. But the thing is, I do. I could talk to you about postcolonial theory, Homi Bhabha, and 19th century England all day long. (Not that you’d want to listen) Seriously. I love this stuff. I think my idea for this chapter is really interesting. So why am I not making more progress?

Blargh. I’m just frustrated. Not a good way to start National Blog Post Month, but right now, my dissertation is all I can think about.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Further evidence that I am enormously nerdy and geeky.

Today on Facebook, Geek Chic Daily posted an image from New York Comic Con. You can see a picture of it here: There are lots of cool things on it, but in the right hand corner is Jem. Jem! Naturally, I was super extra excited at the thought of the reissue of Jem dolls because I love me some Jem. So I sent this email to a friend who loves Jem just as much as I do:
Jem needs to have a presence in the hot pink corner of my office, and this could make that possible! I can see it now: Jem and Barbie (of Barbie and the Rockers fame) can be fabulous and hot pink together with Bubbles and the doll with the hot pink hair and fish net stockings that I found at a gas station. They can play concerts to the wall of action figures and my sci-fi Mr Potatohead collection. Wow. My half of the office is pretty darn geeky. And I love it SO MUCH. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Insomniac Rambling About Jack Lord's Hair and my Late Night TV Viewing Habits

8 September 2011

Insomnia blows, People. Lately, when day turns to night and people begin to ponder a hours of blissful slumber, my body decides that it is pefect time to be WIDE AWAKE. Even if I got three hours of sleep the night before. I’m really kind of hating my body right now.

But there’s a silver lining to every cloud, and I have discovered the joys of late night-tv. Apparently, after 10pm my viewing tastes change. Instead of normal diet of sci-fi, anime, and the Gilmore Girls, all I want to watch are procedural crime dramas. My current favorite is the original Hawaii Five-O starring Jack Lord. If you’ve never watched anything with Jack Lord, then you have missed the glory that is Jack Lord’s hair. Nothing ever happens to it. It doesn’t matter if Steve McGarret gets shot, beaten, kidnapped, if he’s burning a sugar cane field or running six blocks to catch a criminal. It looks EXACTLY THE SAME. It’s mesmerizing. And if he happens to be wearing some crazy casual clothes his hair is even more fascinating.  (Steve seems to be rather fond of jaunty, but brightly colored, ascots—which are AWESOME) See the awesomeness? 
No one can rock an orange ascot like Steve McGarret. No one.

And while watching it I wonder how people even got out of bed and functioned in the 1970s. And I was alive in the 1970s (for two whole years—so it counts). They’re all wearing polyester, and it must be hot in Hawaii, but absolutely everyone looks fabulous, wearing their suits and ascots and cute minidresses, so that’s a reason to get out bed right there. Fantastically awesome wardrobes. But they have to go to phone booths to make calls when they’re not at headquarters. Cutting edge forensic science includes making a cast of a man’s footprint. And in the episode I watched this evening, the guy tracing the phone call had to literally trace cables across a ginormous warehouse. And my first car was a 1972 Mustang, so I know how hard it is to drive those gunboats featured on the show as police cars.

And then I tell all of this to my mother, who, being 27 years older than me, was around for all of the 70s, and she looks at me like I’ve gone crazy. I probably have. The lack of sleep you know, and the fact that I love no piece of technology like I love my cell phone (and automatic cat food timer, but that’s another entry) And when she was visiting me a couple of weeks ago, she was as glued to the Hawaii Five-O as I was. We marathoned it, watching 20 episodes in something like 3 days. She says loves the show because she likes crime shows (and to be fair she really does), but I really think it’s because of Jack Lord’s hair. She’s just as mesmerized as I am. But she still thinks I’m crazy. 

Steve says I'm not crazy. I'm right to be mesmerized by his hair.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adventures in Grad Studenting: Life Sucks Sometimes, But Perhaps That’s a Not Such a Bad Thing.

So I wrote this four months ago and completely forgot to post it, so here is my entry, in all of its magnificent glory
6 May 2011
 I’m feeling quite demoralized today, and I’m having a bit of a pity party. And all I really want to do right now is order a pity pizza, drink real Coke, and watch multiple episodes of Murder, She Wrote.

Today was our First Year Composition yearly end of semester meeting. And it did start off pretty well: I won a best practices award today for my teaching for the third year in a row (yay me! And another line for the CV). But the meeting quickly made its way to disappointing territory when we began to discuss next year’s curriculum. I have absolutely no complaints about the curriculum—I understand its purpose, it’s well thought out, well written, it will be incredibly beneficial to students, and it will most certainly make my life easier while I’m trying to finish my dissertation. I’ll be happy to use it in the fall. Really. I mean it. (And my words are sincere. There’s absolutely no sarcasm here).

I just feel that this curriculum is further evidence that my freedom to create assignments and assignment sequences is being taken away bit by bit every year, and this feels a little demoralizing. I’m incredibly passionate about my teaching, and I truly love where I teach. It’s the whole reason I went to grad school in the first place. And I put so much hard work and effort into creating my classes, assignments, and lessons. Learning how to do all of that has made me a better instructor.

Perhaps this evidence I just need to finish up my dissertation, graduate, and move on. But even that’s kind of sad. I love where I teach; my colleagues and bosses are wonderful, and what they’re wanting us to teach and their rationale behind it is solid stuff. Things can’t and shouldn’t stay the same forever, nor would I want them to. I guess I’m just a little sad about the change and maybe this is evidence that I’m really just scared about actually finishing and leaving the relative safe world of grad school.

So I left school this afternoon feeling a bit on the irked side and the demoralization just dug its way deeper into my psyche after I got home. A few weeks ago one of my committee members nominated me for our department’s yearly academic excellence award (yay her!) And then I learned that I didn’t win the award. Logical me says that it was an honor to be nominated for the award in the first place and that my submission for the award was really strong. But then emotional me creeps in with her disappointment and questions the quality of my submission, which was the prospectus for my dissertation—the project over which I’ll be spending the next couple of years sweating blood and tears. But logical me is jumping back in. Because you know what?  My prospectus IS good. And even though the free food at the banquet would have been cool, and the award plaque would have been cooler and the award money would have been the coolest, in the end none of that matters. These disappointments, these are right now. My dissertation is what I need to get my PhD, and I’ve been dreaming of this PhD since I was 19. That PhD is my future and teaching English is more than just my chosen career path, it’s my vocation. And I am determined to make all of this help me into being a better instructor and a better scholar. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

This is the nice thing about writing/blogging on my feelings about all of this. I gave myself a pep talk and you all (if there are any you all out there) get to read it and (perhaps) feel pepped up yourselves. I do actually feel better now and less demoralized.

But I’m still going to drink my Coke, order my pity pizza and watch Murder, She Wrote. And one more (completely unrelated) thing: my cat is grooming the couch. I have no idea why, but it’s just kind of funny.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Very Informative Post About Easter (Not Really, But Read It Anyway...Please?)

Easter is my very favorite holiday (it's so pretty! and there are bunnies!) and I try to spend each Easter with my parents. So after I finished teaching on Thursday, I packed up my car, loaded my cats into the back seat and headed home. After an agonizingly long 5 hour drive (filled with whiny cats who were very vocal with their displeasure about being stuffed into cat carriers for 5 hours) I arrived home, ready for Easter weekend. Little did I know that it would be filled with learning (of a sort).

So, without further ado, I present the list of things I learned (because I know you were waiting with baited breath):

·         1 twin bed + 2 large adult cats + 1 me = 4 nights of bad sleep
·         It will always rain when I wash my car, even if there is a drought.
·         I will never grade, work on my dissertation or read for school while visiting my parents, so I need to stop lugging all of that stuff. That backpack is really really heavy.
·         I spend inordinate amounts of time on my computer while visiting my parents. (And I’m still not any better at Bejewled Blitz than I was before)

So there you have it. The results of my very informative (not really) weekend. I know you the readers of my blog (if there are in fact any of you at all) are the better for having read this. (Again, not really, but thanks for reading anyway). 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Star Trek is NOT My Guilty Pleasure

I love me some Star Trek, I always have, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Anymore.

I read an article today about a new Star Trek coffee table book, and one passage in particular caught my eye. The author, Mark Dery makes a lot of cool points about Star Trek that I completely agree with. Really. Go read this article (  if you have a deep and abiding love of Star Trek. But one passage made me stop in my tracks and ponder: “Granted, TOS (The Original Series) is often groaningly lame. (I'm thinking of those surfer dudes from Gamma Trianguli VI in "The Apple." The ones in the bouffant wigs and lava-lavas. The ones with the radiantly fake Snooki tans. The ones who worship Vaal, a serpent-headed idol sheathed in Reynolds Wrap. Literally.) That's why the term "Trekkie" reeks of geek, and why some of us are loathe to admit that Star Trek classic is a guilty pleasure.”

Though Dery doesn't appear to think of Star Trek as a guilty pleasure, that particular passage made me stop and think about the whole of Star Trek and trekkie-dom as a guilty pleasure--because it was for me for many years. I thought back to my younger years, when Star Trek was my guilty pleasure. After hearing someone, probably more than one someone, bash Star Trek and derisively proclaim that those Trekkies were nerds, I didn’t openly proclaim my geeky fandom for fear of being made fun of. I, like many children and adults, was far too concerned about other people thought of me than about what I thought about myself. Even in college, I would furtively sneak to my dormitory’s common room for the late night showing of DS9. I probably would have died if someone had seen me.

My reluctance to admit that my love of Star Trek is a part of who I am, and to deny that publicly was to deny a part of who I am, and today that makes me sad. It’s clear to me now that my tendency to closet my Star Trek loving ways, was an indicator that I didn’t feel very confident about myself. I had many many geeky guilty pleasures back then. Why lie? I STILL have many many geeky pleasures, and I’m not at all ashamed to admit it.

However, I wouldn’t change my past, because in reflecting on it, I see how far I’ve come. I like the person I am. I love that I love Star Trek. I love that I’m a big ol’ geeky nerd. I don’t need anyone’s approval to be a trekkie or to wear outrageously colorful outfits and crazy jewelry (I LOVE color. A lot).  I’ll proclaim my ardent love of ponderously long nineteenth-century British novels to anyone. I’m proud to show you my awesome Mr. Potato Head collection. Sure I’m not perfect, no one is. I could be more diligent about working on my dissertation, I wish I weren’t such a couch potato, and I really need to learn to manage my money more effectively, but that’s okay. I have every confidence that I will finish my dissertation, spend less time watching tv (except for Star Trek of course), and I will finally learn to manage my money. I don’t let my flaws get to me. (Much. I’m only human after all). But despite my shortcomings, I’m proud to say that I love being me. A lot. I wouldn’t want to be any other way. It’s freeing. My life is better, more interesting, and more fun than it’s ever been. Star Trek will never be my guilty pleasure ever again. 

And I totally want to buy this coffee table book. It looks awesome.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Adventures in Grad Studenting: What to Do When There’s No Cable or Internet Because You Can't Afford to Pay Your Bill

Because periods of grinding poverty are the lot of the grad student, there are certain points in my year when I am really broke. Thanks to an unexpected root canal, right now is one of them. This month the only things that got paid were my rent and the minimum amount of money the electric company needed so that they wouldn’t shut off my power. So my cable company had every right to shut off my cable on Monday when I was unable to pay the bill (note to cable company: you will get some money as soon as I do, I swear). And yes it sucks being without cable (and internet as well), but I’m finding that it’s really not all that bad.

I have a lot of really cool dvds that I almost never watch because there’s almost always something on the vast array of channels I get. Last night I had fun picking out the specific Disney movie references that Disney stuck in Enchanted. Apparently, I know my Disney movies.  And I’m not able to check my email as often (note to my students: I swear I will answer your emails as soon as I get to school in the mornings) but I have a bit more time to work through the really cool novel I’m reading right now. (It’s called The Monk, and it’s very salacious) And best of all, I’ve unchained myself from my laptop and given my lap over to two very cuddly and friendly cats who are thrilled for the extra attention.

Now what I really wish the preceding paragraph had been about was how I used my cable-less and internet-less state to get massive amounts of work done on my dissertation. But alas, I threw my back out on cable-outage Monday, and I’ve had to spend a lot of my time at home laying down, which isn’t terribly conducive to my writing process. However, I’m quite certain another period of really brokenness will descend at some other point this year and I fully intend to use that time to get loads and loads of work done on my dissertation.

And even though I may moan about my poor pitiful poverty stricken state, I realize that in life even sucky things like having one’s cable cut off has its advantages. And, dare I say it, it's been kind of fun. I'm enjoying myself. In the end I have a roof over my head and food to eat, so despite my lack of cable and internet, I’m in pretty darn good shape.

Post Script: The paycheck gods came through with their monthly deposit; I've paid my past due balance and welcomed cable and internet back into my life. But in the end this experience was a good one for me, because I learned that sometimes the sucky things that happen are really not so sucky after all.