29 November 2011

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride

Brief observation: I have come to the conclusion that there are certain Southern traditions that I will never be able to get behind, thus leaving me always in the "transplant" category versus "native".

Case in point?  Okra.  Ewwww.  Okra is Satan's boogers.

27 November 2011

Project 365: Week 48

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Still trying to get back on track with P365!  These are some pictures I took this week.  I don't remember exactly when so I'm just going to post them with any accompanying commentary rather than assigning them days.

Say hello to Munchkin - or at least the parts of her you can see.  The cat faceplants into the sofa and the Spousal Unit and I marvel at how she can even breathe...and snore.  Oh my gosh, how she can snore!

Kitty TV!  I don't know what she sees out this window but she's over by it, gazing intently, for minutes at a time.

This is what I am greeted by most mornings when the alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed to go hit the gym.  Look at that face.  It says, "You love me.  You want to feed me.  NOW."

Who has two thumbs and is (a) happy it's the day before a four day weekend and (b) the campus is a ghost town so I can wear sweats to work?  THIS KID!!  (P.S.  The reason the hair looks funny is because I was wearing pigtails.)

The photographic record of most of my weekends this semester.  Laptop, notes, and a stack of journal articles and web site printouts off to the side.  Coffee and bottle of water NOT optional :).  On the bright side, OTOH, I think I am done - all 25 pages are written and cited and formatted correctly as far as I can tell.  Now I just have to get through my presentation tomorrow night and then turn the final paper in on the 12th.



20 November 2011

Ballad of the Overcaffeinated Grad Student (a segue)

I am currently sitting in a Starbucks, having arisen at the stupid hour of 5:30 in order to be up and revising my lit review by 7am with a cup of coffee and a bottle of water in front of me.  (I'm taking a break at the moment since I've worked through about one-third of my paper, moving stuff around...adding...deleting...pausing for a moment to think "the hell?" when I come across a particularly obtuse piece of writing.)

Of course, there was a moment when this almost didn't happen.  I have the luxury on occasion of being able to work on my homework at my job if it's slow.  I keep everything on a jump drive and take that jump drive home with me every day.  Well, every day except yesterday. 

I got all the way home, grabbed my backpack out of the back seat, and suddenly had a clear and vivid picture of me shutting down my work computer with my jump drive still stuck in the USB slot.  Cue me making sounds at a frequency and pitch that only dolphins should be able to make.  There may have also been a slight dance of "well...CRAP!".  (Ball fists, bend knees, turn in a nearly complete circle while trying to not give into the desire to punch the car or the side of your head.)

'Cause, see, my campus locks the buildings on the weekends.  Sometimes there is an entry door left open and sometimes not - it's like Jeopardy.  "I'll take the South entrance for $200, Alex."  The Spousal Unit and I drove down there Saturday morning while running our errands and hoping we were early enough to avoid the Razorback crowd*.  We made it and I ran across campus to my building to find the open entrance to Track 9 3/4...er, my building so I snatched up my jump drive, ran back out and we boogied on down the road.  Whew.  God likes me.

He likes me so much I'm here in Starbucks drinking bad coffee and playing my iPod really loudly in order to drown out the stuff Starbucks calls music :).

*Look, I know y'all here in Arkansas have the whole "Soooeee, pig!" thing going down for your cheer but  you still can't beat the cheer from my previous university:  Austin Peay (pronounced "pea").  Know what ours was?  "Let's go Peay!"  Yeah...

12 November 2011

Ballad of the Sad Grad Student: Really? Really?

I knew the silence was too good to last...

Visiting Dude has sent an e-mail to the group saying we should all join in a round of happy revisions and he'll put my document up on Google Docs so everyone can have input.  There should be enough time to rework everyone's input, right?


Don't make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.  Seriously...

I have sent VD and the rest of the group a letter.  It was nicely worded even.  I was polite.  I was cordial.  I used correct grammar and made no reference to anyone's cranial-rectal inversion.  I merely pointed out that I had three out of five people's input by the deadline and had the document ready by mid-morning the next day.  However, since two people DIDN'T BOTHER (ahem) to let me know they would not be contributing until they JOLLY WELL FELT LIKE IT (er, sorry), I was unable to send the document until I received all input on Tuesday.

The document was sent out Wednesday.  It is now late Saturday and he wants to send it round for more discussion.  No.  Not happening.  Not for the least of which is that apparently you and others cannot be bothered to actually give input and now you want to try and round robin input and revision of a six-page, fact-specific document before Monday?  No.  Nein.  Nyet.  Other people in the group have said it's great and, mysteriously, others have made no comment whatsoever.  In the meantime, my efforts this weekend are concentrated on finishing the rough draft of my literature review so I can spend the next two to four weeks revising and polishing it for presentation and final turn-in.  Dear VD, while I will be happy to look at the final document and consider adding to the final paragraph, I will not be doing any type of full monty revision on a document that is due in 48 hours. 

You missed your chance.  You are the weakest link.  Goodbye.  (Dear  Buddha juggling lemons while riding a unicycle, where *are* the stabbity things or projectile weapons when you need them???)

*goes off to corral homicidal munchkin before it escapes*

11 November 2011

Ballad of the Sad Grad Student (cont'd)

Here is a brief timeline of the second case study we had to do as a group project:

Case Study is assigned.  Date of 11/4 is agreed on by all five group members as the date for all input to be submitted to me so I can write the draft.

11/4 - I get input from two other people.  Superman's is excellent.  Sidekick...well, he tried.  

11/5 - I spend 4 hours in a coffee shop putting together our case study (six pages in total full of fun facts and budget figures)

11/4-6 - I e-mail the two missing members.  No response.

11/7 - Visiting Dude e-mails me his info along with 'Oh, I was out of town all weekend."  Me:  You couldn't get it to me before you left?  And hey, next time, you might want to let your group know so they don't wonder what the hell has happened to you."  Him:  "Oh.  Hey.  Good idea."

11/7 - 7:30pm - group case work time after class.  Other missing member:  "Oh, I had food poisoning all weekend."  Me (in my head):  "And you couldn't drag your carcass to the computer to write a two-sentence e-mail to tell me that?"  Out loud:  "Do you have your contribution?"  Her:  "Yes.  Two whole paragraphs."  Superman and me:  *facepalm*.  Her:  "But I can write more."  Me:  "That...would be good."

11/8 - Receive final input from Ms. Food Poisoning is the Silent Killer.  Add in what I can and then finalize draft.

11/9 - Send out draft to everyone.  Complete bibliography in APA style.  Superman responds that draft is excellent.

11/11 - Only other response so far from Visiting Dude:  "I think this needs a theme."  The homicidal munchkin in my head:  "THEME??  DID NOT YOU NOT READ THE SIX FREAKING PAGES I SENT OUT???  DIE!  DIE!  DIE!"  Me in e-mail calmly points out there is a theme - we are saying that the integration of the one agency into the other has not worked since 2002/03 and that money and manpower continue to be wasted to this day.

11/11 - No further response from group members to date.  TCH makes plans to stop by the liquor store on the way home.  Nobody should have to deal with this sober.

05 November 2011

Project 365 - Week 45

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com


Got a text shortly before class Monday that we were apparently missing our back deck (we live on the second floor of our apartment complex).  It seems that the complex decided to tear off all the siding on the back side of our particular quad and, in doing so, replace the deck...along with the window behind the TV...along with the sliding glass door.  And all with absolutely no prior notice! 

So the SU came home Monday and saw strange men walking in and out of our apartment and one of them said, "Hey, you live up here?"  He said yes and the guy said, "Well, you ain't got no deck."

Yeah.  And we still don't.  (At least they did replace the sliding glass door fairly quickly even if they forgot to install the hardware.  Us:  "You *are* taking all the ladders away when you go home at night, right?"
)  Oh, and did I mention that the back of the building was apparently decayed and about to cave in?  Good times...good times.


This is Beanie and her little brother, Collin; two of my favoritest kids and siblings to The Monkey.  Their mom knows I have a thing for Marvin Martian (he's one of my tattoos) and snapped this while she was out shopping with them.  Beanie is posing like a rock star while Collin seems to be trying to figure out where his head disappeared to :).


My son was working here in Little Rock this week (he's based out of Wisconsin) and called us so we had him over for dinner Wednesday night.  I can't believe it's been three years since we've seen him last!


This is my current state of mind after the first go-round on my second group project.  Can I just say  how much I hate group projects?  (For more from the Ballad of the Sad Grad Student, see below).  The SU keeps telling me I can't hold people to my standards but, seriously, my standards are basically that you do what you say will, turn it in to me when you say you will, and if you can't?  Let me know ASAP.  Not all that unreasonable or unattainable, but it makes me yearn for projectile weapons like you would not believe.

(Ballad of the Sad Grad Student:  OK, in our last episode, we had one person who did not turn in any work despite three attempts at helping her to do so.  Our group got marked down.  This time, I have had one person turn in work that was great - he was in my last group and I was so relieved to get him again.  Another person has turned in about a page worth of stuff with no citations or references for the blog, full of very vague ideas and his main source is eHow.com.  The other two?  Haven't seen hide nor hair despite a reminder e-mail on Friday and another one this morning.  GAAAAAAAAAH.)

04 November 2011

My personal philosophy

And the fact I use a sci-fi show to illustrate this pretty much assures my dorkdom :).

01 November 2011

Why I Dislike Urban Fantasy "Tough Chicks" (UFTCs)

You know, as I look through the list of books coming out at Amazon, I find myself snickering over the female urban fantasy "tough chick".

1.  Long flowing hair - nothing better to grab in a fight than untamed hair.  Here, Mr. Demon/Succubus/Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man!  Let me give you a handle by which to yank me around and snap my neck!  Of course, if it's tied back, then said heroine can't be pictured in her moonlit alley with hair gently wafting in a nonexistent breeze (which always makes me think of a wind machine just off to the side and a director yelling, "Sparkle!").

2.  Speaking of moonlight, do none of these people hold down regular jobs?  They work for so many shadowy, underground paranormal agencies that I'm starting to think they should unionize.  Either that or they are the "go it alone" types until they meet the really hot demon/half-demon/had a bad date with a wereturtle they're supposed to kill/maim/bring in for a bounty/give fashion tips to.  Suddenly, it's much less hunting and a lot more boinking.

2a.  And alleys?  Seriously.  You know how bad those things smell and what they're used for?  Well, in your world, they're apparently used for posing hip-shot with your breasts trying desperately to escape your flimsy tank top (or the ever popular "look over the shoulder" pose) versus peeing, shooting up, trash disposal, etc.

3.  The tramp stamp.  Siddhartha on a hippo, the tramp stamps.  First, thanks for the totally unwanted pictures of y'all's backsides with the waist of your jeans riding low enough to give me way more information than I will ever need, but seriously?  You guys can't come up with anything more than a vaguely Celtic-y or Native American-ish tramp stamp to provide some "authenticity" and "individuality"?  I'm starting to think any application to become a UFTC either has a place to describe your tramp stamp or you have to sign a form stating you will get one within your first six months of employment as a UFTC.

4.  The clothes.  Why must UFTC's dress like they just got hired at Hooters?  More accurately, the Amish Hooters - long pants required.  Let's see, you're fighting demons, ghosts, and other paranormal things - many of which are armed.  So, when choosing an outfit, let's got for something that shows miles of skin and provides basically no protection to boot - I've got it!  A tank top and a flimsy pair of "leather" pants.  To finish off the outfit, we'll put on some boots with stiletto heels because nothin' says I can run like the wind like a five-inch boot heel that is as big around as a toothpick.  If they don't die from falling and breaking their flipping necks, do the UFTC's have a health plan that includes bunion surgery?  And with the tight pants, please tell me you get coupons for Monistat.

5.  The ridiculous big swords or guns they hold behind their backs in the "look over my shoulder" pose.  Number one, unless you are Immortal, there is NO WAY you are going to be able to hide that sword anywhere that is not going to cause (a) a wardrobe malfunction, (b) serious injury or (c) some of both.  Besides, WE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SUBSTITUTES FOR.  Same for the guns, sister.

6.  Please stop bemoaning that you will never fit in with the rest of the world.  You chose this gig.  No, saying you were somehow chosen by a higher power/your Chinese fortune cookie/a prophecy/family lineage doesn't work.  You picked this gig.  Stop whining.

7.  Yes, yes, we know.  He's a bad boy.  You're so conflicted.  Should you trust him?  Oh, who cares?  Just screw him silly and then act like a thirteen-year-old girl who needs a Valium the size of a pudding pop the next time he does something you don't agree with.  Rage against The Man about how he doesn't treat you as an equal in your dangerous world of demon hunting/ghost chasing/ballroom dance.  Pout and write in your diary when he does something that makes you think he's "gone bad" again.  But for God's sake, never apologize when you find out you're wrong and his motivations were all good.  *He* had nothing to do with it.  It was all down to your magic hoo-hoo.

7a.  And if you're really that untrusting, perhaps a bit of counseling.  Or maybe date a nice accountant.