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.