Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Official "If I had time, I would read this" Booklist

Every time someone recommends an interesting book for me to read, I always say that I will read it when I have the time. Since I'm still pushing through graduate school, there really is no time. Well, now that I will be a dissertator in the near (or not so near) future, I've decided to squeeze these books in during short periods of "free" time (like riding the bus, sitting in the bathroom, going to bed at night, proctoring exams, waiting for people at the airport, etc). So far, I've managed to knock down a few (Frankenstein and Lolita).

Here are the rest (in no particular order):
  • The God of Small Things (I honestly never finished (sorry, Tomas!), but I'm currently working on it)
  • Ulysses (was working on it as bedtime fodder)
  • The Buru Quartet
  • The Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde
  • His Dark Materials trilogy
  • The Dark Tower Series (which I've been dying to read for about a decade)
  • Harry Potter (2 down, how many to go?
  • À la recherche du temps perdu
  • For the Time Being
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Cloud 9
  • Persuasion
  • War and Peace
  • Lemony Snicket
  • The Dubliners
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • The Faerie Queene
  • Anti-Pamela

2008 New Year's Resolutions

Like every blogger in this time zone that isn't at a party, I'm providing a list of my 2008 New Year's Resolutions. In a year, I vow to check back here and see what I've actually accomplished.

Well, here goes:
  • I resolve to exercise on a more frequent basis to become healthy, strong, and fast...That way, if I get chased by zombies, aliens, pirates, ninjas, etc., I will be prepared to run like hell.
  • I resolve to have my dissertation prospectus of absolute brilliance (*cough, cough*) completed. I also hope to have at least 1 chapter written, revisions and all.
  • I resolve to read 5 non-school books that are on my "If I had time, I would read this" booklist.
  • I resolve to post on my personal blog at least once a week and on my academic blog 5 days a week.
  • I resolve to take at least 1 Writing Center course on Style. According to HW, my life depends upon it!
  • I resolve to become more serious about my academic career and less serious about everything else.
  • I resolve to stick with a cooking and cleaning schedule. My illustrious partner deserves as much.
  • I resolve to learn how to cook at least 5 different main dishes well.
  • I resolve to curb my eating, shopping, internet browsing, email addictions. Maybe I should pick up smoking and heavy drinking instead??? J/k.
  • I resolve to stop gossiping. I consider it truth proliferation, but we all know I'm a monster and I need to stop.
  • Finally, I resolve to complain/whine less and appreciate everyone and everything more for their quirky and lackadaisical selves. Objects have feelings too...And so do students (grad and under) and boyfriends (current and ex).

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Historical Lunatic Test

I'm Ludvig II, the Swan King of Bavaria!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

You are Ludwig II, the Swan King of Bavaria!

Born with the name of Otto, you became Ludwig at the request of your grandfather, King Ludwig I, because you were born on his birthday. You became Crown Prince at the tender age of 3, and soon after stole a purse from a shop on the basis that everything in Bavaria belonged to you. Tragedy struck when your pet tortoise was taken away; relatives thought the six-year-old prince was too attached to it. Your childhood was lonely and formal. Once, you were prevented from beheading your younger brother by the timeous arrival of a court official. From the age of 14 you suffered from hallucinations.

Despite striking an imposing figure with your great height and good looks, your speeches were pompous to the point of incomprehensibility. You became even more of a recluse, often spending hours reading poetry in a seashell-shaped boat in your electrically-illuminated underground grotto.

You are most famous for building three fairytale castles - Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee - at tremendous public expense. Declared insane and confined to your bedroom by concerned (and embarrassed) subjects, you escaped on 13 June 1886, but were later found drowned with your physician in Lake Stamberg in mysterious circumstances.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Super Mario Galaxy is REALLY good

Yes, I played Super Mario Galaxy. I couldn't stop playing for 4 hours....

Now, I think that Super Mario Galaxy is an appropriate incentive to finish my very last seminar paper. If not, then a super sexy/expensive haircut is in order!

The goal is December 31st. I must. I shall.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Incentive

At the end of every semester, I provide myself with some kind of material or tangible incentive for getting my work done. Of course, there are the benefits to finishing that can only be expressed through a sigh of relief or a beam of pride... but these don't really work when I'm in the throngs of paper writing.

Usually, I offer myself a sushi dinner... I am more than willing to go to a sushi restaurant, by myself, and gorge myself on a variety of sashimi pieces. I love to take in and savor my favorite, yellowtail tuna, which melts in your mouth with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

This year, however, there is no sushi. This year, I'm abstaining from playing Super Mario Galaxy. This is supposed to be the greatest game made this year. Of all gaming systems. Moreover, this is the greatest game made on the Wii.

Furthermore, this isn't really helping my motivation. Now, all I think about is this game and not my paper. Why is food such a better motivator than a video game?

I think I shall play a little bit of the game, just to see how great it is... Yeah... That's the ticket!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I can't believe it

Y'know, I've always reluctantly shopped at Walmart. Everyone knows that they're bad, right? Well, I'm beginning to change my mind.

Yesterday, we decided to check out the new Super Walmart in Monona. It's the first green Walmart, and let me just say that this is the best freakin' Walmart I've ever seen. Ever. Aside from the fact that it's pro-environmental, it also has pleasant florescent lighting, attractive color schemes that incorporate black (which really does make you feel like you're shopping somewhere classy), and a pleasant quietness. Moreover, the cooler/freezer sections light up only when you walk by them, and there were no messes on the floors or in the parking lot. It's simply beautiful.

We realized after running around the store that no one was using the PA system to shout about random specials, and there are no lcd screens at the checkout stands that attack you with commercials. Everything about shopping at this Walmart was pleasant. They even have an underground, indoor parking garage. I even giggled as I pushed my cart onto a cart escalator... Yes, a cart escalator... just like the one in IKEA.

Keith beamed over the same low prices that he misses since he's left Colorado. I was pleased with the overall atmosphere and friendly service. Finally, they also have a Subway near the underground parking garage. I don't honestly know how this place could get any better.

We've either become crazy or Walmart has realized its potential. Probably a little of both. Wow.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is it the weather?

I've been quite tired lately. And it's not the kind of tiredness one would experience from doing a lot of physical activity. I think my brain is tired, and I'm a little depressed. I've seriously let myself down into terms of all my classes, my work, and my proposal.

For whatever reason, my film classes have sucked the life out of me. I no longer enjoy film studies as much as I used to in Greeley. It may be due to their more historical and stylistic approaches, which disagree with my more cultural studies approach. All the same, anytime someone wants to see an art house film at the local cinematheque, my face gets this rather disgusted expression on it.

I also didn't give myself as much time as I should writing these damn film papers. I had to take an incomplete in one class, but the guilt of taking this incomplete has been plaguing me. I feel like my professors (yes, 2 for the one course) really dislike me and can't possibly understand why I am in their course. Frankly, I can't either.

As for my students, I have noticeably shortchanged them. They know this. I know this. I'm going to have to give them grades soon. But, I'm not sure how well I can assess their performance given how much of a slacker I've been. Can I blame them for procrastinating? Isn't that what I've been doing to them?

I also didn't get a chance to do hardly any research for my proposal. I now have a very vague, nebulous idea, but that's about it. My professors will be gone for a long time after this spring, and the inevitable push to get this thing done by April is looming over me. I'm not even thinking about this much since I've been working on my papers. But, it is just another thing that's just out there, waiting for me.

Finally, my personal life. I can't say that I've been very fair to Keith this past semester. He has been plodding faithfully along with all of the housework and other chores while I've been tearing my hair out about prelims, my courses, my students, and my proposal. He's already beyond fed up, and I can't blame him. Yet, I'm totally stuck in a rut of unproductiveness, and I can't seem to shake it off. What the hell???

Maybe I should take more vitamins. Or quit grad school. Or go on a run in the icy, unplowed streets. Blah. Sleep doesn't help. Staying awake doesn't either. And, right now, I'm currently procrastinating from commenting on a few of my students' papers. Not even all of them... just a few. I suck.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

We figured it out, and it wasn't pretty

Keith finally figured out what was causing our braincells to die. One afternoon, while I was out doing something else, Keith managed to use his shopvac to blow out all of the vents in the apartment. He found the following toxic materials:
  • many melted crayons
  • plastic hair barrettes
  • pieces of miscellaneous garbage
  • human hair
And finally...

  • One used condom. Black. Ribbed for someone else's pleasure.
Every time we turned the heater on, all of these things would melt, and fumes would rise into our air. Once he cleaned out everything, we are slowly returning to sanity. And the sanitary.

This, my friends, is a lesson to be learned about apartments. You can never tell who lived here before you, but you definitely want to get someone to clean up after them.