Friday, May 22, 2009

the list

Today's soundtrack:
"La Vida es un Ratico" by Juanes
"Me Enamora" by Juanes

Another update? It's as though I suddenly have free time. I just don't know what do to with myself. I've phoned some of my friends up and harassed them and my parents will begin to screen my calls any minute now. I've organized the big house party we've been talking about for a while. I went swimming this morning (and then promptly realized that my favourite part of swimming is the lounging on the deck that happens afterwards) and even bought groceries. That's right, my cupboard now contains more than rice cakes and peanut butter.

I thought I might like to follow Lady J's example and make a 101 things in 1001 days list, but math has never been my strong suit so figuring out what day it'll be 1001 days from now is just too much for my rum-and-coked mind. Besides, 1001 days is a big commitment (which, I suppose is the point), so instead I'm going to make a list of what I want to accomplish this summer:

- Read Wuthering Heights, The Sea, Niebla, The Idiot, Leaves of Grass, Norwegian Wood and The Rainbow. Also, I want to finish Possession and re-read The Divine Comedy. Hmm, that's a somewhat pretentious list, no? Well, you can just suck it, Stephanie Meyer.

- Go quasi-vegetarian for the summer. Why only quasi? Because giving up eggs, cheese, and milk is just not going to happen people. Also, I might sneak the odd bit of fish. But no red or white meat.

- Make my Ravelry queue, which is finally down to a reasonable size. At the very least, I want to have my Christmas knitting done by the end of August.

- Swim continuously for at least 45 minutes, twice a week. That means no more than a 30 second pause to grab water or a flipboard.

- Finish a chapter of my dissertation.

- Be less antisocial.

- Meet Lady J for a day-long coffee.

- Drink a beer at sunset on the roof of the Yard. Drink a beer at sunset at the Lake.

I think that's a pretty good list for the summer, although I may only accomplish the last two goals. In the meantime, however, if anyone has another goal to suggest for the summer, please feel free.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

survival of the fittest

Today's soundtrack:
Just the sound of pen on paper.

To paraphrase Lovelace, "The exam is over. Katherine lives".

exam bathous; or, the art of sinking in comps

Today's soundtrack:
Fantasies by Metric

Dear blog:

Yeah, it's been a bit hit and miss this year, hasn't it? The Saskatoon Knitting Circle hasn't seen me in months. Jason, whose birthday is today (Happy Birthday, Jason!), has religiously and very sweetly avoiding phoning me... although this may have something to do with me freaking out on the phone "I HAVE NO TIME TO TALK! THE FUTURE OF CIVILIZATION RESTS WITH MY FIELD EXAMS!" And I haven't had a good virtual coffee with the dear Lady J since the last time we actually had coffee. And the Spaniard? Last I heard, he was somewhere in Calgary, wondering who thought snow in May was a good idea. I spent most of April wondering if I was turning 27 or 28 in May (the answer: 27, so I feel like I gained a year) because all modern knowledge had been pushed completely out of my head. Sure, I don't know how old I am, but let me tell you about the evolution of the epic form in the Eighteenth Century...

But all this insanity is almost at an end.

I wrote the first half of my field exam today.

Sure, the moment I stood up from the exam I realized that the last question I answered revolved around the evolution of Sensibility, which of course my answer circled around without actually explicitly stating... but hopefully I can fix that during the oral examination. But enough about that.

Tomorrow, I'll have another three hours of writing, then a break until June 2nd, when I do the oral examination. Hopefully it'll go something like my thesis defense, when the whole procedure took two hours, but an hour and a half of that is full of the professors asking questions. And at the end, somebody got bingo.

In quasi-celebration, I ordered pizza, moved some boxes into the office (so that's where the dust bunnies were coming from), SWEPT MY FLOORS (this is news to those who know that cleanliness and... well... food has become a non-existent priority. I call it the field exam diet), and in a few minutes, will be drinking a rum and coke. Tomorrow? More pizza (okay, leftover pizza) and rum and cokes. And sleeping. Oh yes, sweet, glorious, undisturbed sleeping.

I think I've handled the whole thing well, and I write that fully aware that many women think they've handled menopause well, too. The only time I've broken down completely was on the phone with Daniela the other day when the stress had piled up to hyperbolic levels. She very wisely pretended not to notice. I'd love to say that in hindsight, all the stress wasn't logical, but it really was. Field exams, regardless of the fact that they are tailored for each candidate, are just as terrifying and difficult as you imagine. A breakdown is inevitable and maybe even useful (big fan of the catharsis am I).

Regardless, as of 4pm tomorrow, I'll be finished the most important test I'll ever write. At 4:01pm, the debauchery will be just beginning...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

a vindication of the rights of readers

Today's soundtrack:
"Pop is Dead" by Radiohead
"Piano Concerto K. 365" by Mozart, as performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra

Those of you who know me in real life know of my disdain for Dan Brown. Some of you, who live with me, remember the obscenities shouted at the terrible writing and ridiculously misogynistic pseudo-feminism.

Today, I'm happy to report that I'm not the only one who thinks Dan Brown is a hack writer who deserves to be pilloried like Colley Cibber. Ladies and gentlemen, Stellan Starsgard.

Yeah, I don't know who he is either, but seeing as we agree on Dan Brown being the epitome of everything that is wrong with the literary scene today, I think I'll be imdb-stalking his movies from now on.