Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Luckily This is Exactly What My Dissertation is About

D: "There are ladybugs all over the house! And I can't kill them, because they're ladybugs!"
R: "Well, then we have to learn to coexist with them."
D: "No. I just have to dehumanize them."

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Unnecessary Roughness

If it is possible, there are two last things on earth I need right now:

1) Having my blog hacked into along with my Gmail, so that it redirects everyone to sites for Viagra and cheap prescription drugs from Canada, and
2) A sudden meeting with my supervisor to go over drafts before I leave for Johannesburg in, oh, 36 hours.

(The first part I fixed after twenty minutes of troubleshooting, while the second is unexpectedly on the agenda for tomorrow.)

This is in contrast to exactly what I did need, which was to go into London today to get quiche, see The Children's Hour, and then have a debrief coffee with Emma. Elizabeth Moss was fantastic, and even though Keira Knightley doesn't really do anything except look wispy and alternates between carefree and solemn for the better part of two hours - so basically, exactly what Audrey Hepburn does in the film, slash every film she has ever been in - she totally pulls it out in the last fifteen minutes and goes absolutely buckwild. If I were Ellen Burstyn, I would have wet my old lady clothes.

My plan is basically to keep my head low until I get to Johannesburg, where I'm attending a conference but also - and just as importantly - hanging out with Sam and watching as many episodes of 7 de laan as I can before somebody notices and judges me. And if it turns out that my supervisor has negative feedback, I will just pretend she is Keira Knightley and tell myself that if Ellen Burstyn can handle it after all the horrible things she has done, I should be able to handle it too.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Take That, Pile of Three Ring Binders I Am Currently Buried In

Like somebody playing rock and roll in reverse and hearing the voice of Satan, I've just realized that basically all I need to do for my doctoral dissertation is take the literature review from my old thesis and reverse it. Bam! 10,000 words! I feel like I should write a thank you card to myself circa 2008 and send it back in time.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Happy Together

In the midst of DPhil hell, David and I have been trying to get out and go on dates on the weekends. This week is going to be kind of grueling and then I'll be in South Africa next weekend, so tonight, we went to see Happy Together at the Magdalen Film Society. At the end, David was like, "it seemed like they were not actually happy together." I nodded. And he added, "and they were pretty abusive." I nodded. And David was like, "well, at least we got free wine and I didn't really understand what was happening."

I really need to start reading spoilers before dates.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Why I Invite People Over for Dinner

"I think I've had too much wine. Ooh, can I alphabetize your spices!?"

This Goes Out to the Chicago Manual of RUINING LIVES

Editing footnotes is one of the things I always think I will enjoy because it requires relatively little brain power and I can do it to music without getting distracted. (This is relative - I'm not good at focusing under the best of circumstances, but let's be real, changing commas to periods is not quite the same as struggling to articulate a theory of human agency.)

And then I try to navigate the Chicago Manual of Style and try to format things with like thirty tabs open to help figure out how to format snarky asides made in footnotes or references to e-journals that refuse to do anything but look like a half-baked journal footnote or an overlooked hyperlink. And slowly, I lose the will to live. I've been working on this off and on all day and I'm about two hours away from replacing all of these references with one footnote that says, "I tried my hardest and concluded that if you have any questions it's probably best if you just call me."

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Huntsman in 2010!

Signs I have WAY too much time on my hands, and also why tabbed browsing will keep me from ever being successful in life:

Adventures in Basic Daily Tasks

I got to the graduate student office to bang out a press release and a couple hundred words of my dissertation, saw that the alarm on the office was set, and was like, whatever, they gave me the code for the alarm earlier this year, I can handle this. And then I stopped, and I was like, Ryan, empirically, can you handle things like this? I shook my head no.

But I tried anyway. As I'd entirely expected, I punched in the wrong code approximately five times, started panicking and just pressing random buttons to clear the keypad, and set off the burglar alarm for the building, which happens to be where most of the professors in my department work. (In retrospect, I feel like this whole working in the department to demonstrate that I'm an attentive and competent student thing is going to backfire horribly.)