rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
Made it.

Everyone is in one piece.

Selene and Leo are sufficiently not-hating us that they are in the bedroom with me while I write this.

No real internet yet, but hooray for phone tethering.

THERE IS AN AVOCADO TREE WITH TONS OF FRUIT I WIN THE FRUIT TREE GAME, also there are figs and pumpkins (what?) and maybe some kind of citron and maybe just possibly but probably not but possibly mango?

Cleaning is needed and figuring out which light switches go to what and which bulbs are burnt out and also the frog sculpture in the shower HAS TO GO but overall this house is amazing and I am excited to be living here and Tucson has bike lanes like everywhere and only taking two classes will hopefully mean I get to have a teeny tiny bit of a life outside of work and school.

...and soon the patches on the air mattress will have settled and I can go to sleep. Probably no more posts from me until after I get back from Wisconsin, but who knows. also in 24 hours I will be on an airplane what
rax: (I have the technology. i can evolve you.)
  • Woke up this morning with Selene curled up on my chest and Leo curled up mixed in with my legs and blankets. I guess it could have been better, but I'm hard pressed to ask for more than that. Particularly because when I got up and hopped in the shower and came back, Selene was lazily grooming in a sunbeam, and I ended up just sitting and watching her for ten minutes while Leo sat on my lap. I don't know what I would do without cats. 
  • My next reading assignment that I haven't done yet --- barring things that get sent out last-minute, as I expect two to do --- is due on April 6th. By Tuesday I would like that to be April 13th, but that's probably unrealistic. Regardless, I am back to "ahead of where I absolutely have to be," which gives me leeway to put lots of effort into the books I most care about and/or get work done ahead of time on my final projects. This is very important to me, particularly because my girlfriend and her wife will be in town the weekend before one of my final paper drafts is due, and so I really want to have free time then, but also just because RACHELS LOVE WORK.
  • Related to this, I haven't finished the main plot of Pokemon Black yet, because I keep doing homework instead. I'm pretty sure this is a good thing, but it means I keep not being able to read my friends' posts about it, which is frustrating. If you are curious where I am: pokemon babbling, an attempt at no spoilers )
  • I'll be in San Francisco next weekend, doing Fisher-Price My First Fieldwork (tm). Relatedly, if you can think of anyone in the Bay Area, particularly who I don't know, who is into animal costuming and role-playing and might be interested in talking to me about it for 15-60 minutes, please drop me an email so I can send an official form to you [to send to them] to see if they are interested. I'll have somewhat limited time and mobility, but I have no problem spending hours on public transit to get data. DELICIOUS DATA. Also I have to fill out IRB forms to continue my research after the semester is over how did I end up doing fieldwork already I wasn't even going to do fieldwork this is so very what. (And awesome.)
  • I don't think very much else is going on. (Well, there's that conference.) Other than I think I might have a new friend, who is really good at Scrabble. I might have to start learning the two-letter words. :) And even though it's still cold out, the sun is here and it's really pretty and there are birds. So I guess a bunch of things are going on, but I am choosing my narrative to be about these things, because I need to get grading done now.
rax: (kitty mew?)
  • There are many ways I could narrativize my vacation, positive and negative; in the end I think the most magical thing is that I got home at 2 AM and both cats walked up to me and asked for pettings at the same time without hissing at each other, and both of them took a turn sleeping with me last night, and if that is all it takes, well, good news, kittens, I'm gonna be traveling a lot more in the next five years.
  • Judith Butler's Undoing Gender: I think I like it more than Gender Trouble. I don't get all of the psychoanalytic stuff, but I don't get none of it, and I do get a lot of the rest. There is some amazing stuff about who counts as human and what the boundaries of the human are that, while they don't apply to my work directly, I can do some fascinating slant readings of. At least, I think so. I took hella notes, but unfortunately I took them in the book and on the backs of boarding passes, so they are unlikely to end up here. I've been writing in books more, actually; I still am only comfortable doing it when I intend to have a serious relationship with the book, but when I do, it's actually really useful. I just wish I could index and search those annotations...
  • I have... ten days at home before I travel again? And there is a cardinal at the birdfeeder! Hi, cardinal! You're looking really red today. Surprisingly, I fly more than you.
  • I'll sleep when I'm dead I pass out.
rax: (Rarity would rather be alphabetizing.)
  • I pre-ordered Pokemon Black and White through Amazon, so I won't get them until tomorrow evening. I really really should get all of my homework for this week done before they get here, because I know when they get here I am just going to start playing them (unless maybe I have a social thing on Tuesday?) and keep playing them until I get to Seattle, basically. I have three main things I have to get done, and some ancillary things I really should, but I feel like I am thinking through mush. Ugggggh. Is it unreasonable to take a nap at 9 AM on a Sunday? I might try that. 
  • My laptop is fixed! All I really lost was the one album and my notes from class on Wednesday. That's pretty amazing. And just in time, too, my wrists were already getting sore using my spare. Hooray for Applecare!
  • I'm going to be in Ohio for work tonight and tomorrow; I'm hoping that if I can't restart my brain here, the drive will at least kick it into gear and I can get some homework done at the hotel before I go to sleep. There won't be anything to distract me, at least! Though I always miss my cats when I have to sleep in hotels.
  • Speaking of cats, both cats now spend at least a little time on every floor of the house. This is amazing! I was in the basement watching ponies and Leo was on my lap and Selene was sitting on the floor and I was kind of speechless. Basically, CATS. <3
  • So looking forward to travel --- so looking forward to Pokemon --- so looking forward to the work I'm going to do on final projects this semester, even --- it's really, really hard to keep my brain focused on today and what I need to be doing right now. Usually I can just flip over to my tasklist and say "Oh OK, I can get to those things I am excited about if I just do these things," and that works. This weekend --- and to a lesser extent last weekend, come to think of it --- not so much. I can do the minor things, but stuff like "read a bunch of essays and write a paper," there's this whiny voice in my brain that goes "whyyyyyyyy?" Shut up, whiny voice. You get to play Pokemon in like two days. For some reason it's easier to do the things that aren't directly homework, so I am doing all of those first. Hopefully this won't lead to me having a completely clean house and alphabetized spices and neatly filed paperwork but desperately working on a paper Tuesday night at 11. ...although who am I kidding, my spices are already alphabetized. ^^;; But I could alphabetize the overflow spices in the kitchen island!
  • Another thing I am looking forward to: Spending like all of my non-scheduled time in the Boston area just sitting in the Diesel. Because oh my god. Diiiiiiieselllllllllllllllllllll.
  • ...yeah this post is an accurate representation of my brain right now.
rax: (ADORAVUL[PIX])
  • It was supposed to be 36 today. Instead it is snowing again. I know I don't get to whine to the people in Boston, whose life literally is snow, but for ~everyone else: *whiiiiiiiiiine* There's this horrible layer of ice below everything and I don't know how I'm going to shovel and rrrf. And so much for my plan of going to Trader Joe's (a 90-minute drive away on a good day) this morning. I will have to make do with the food I have here for another day or two I guess. Maybe I will put on eight layers and trudge to the co-op later, except I am kind of worried I will slip and fall into traffic.
  • Had two dreams last night, one a horrible nightmare about something bad happening to my cat (turns out real-world-cat was out of food, and if this is what happens, I am feeding him before bed every night from now on), and the other a dream that I did an in-class exercise with my students on Tuesday that I woke up to and concluded actually that's a really good idea and penciled it into my lecture notes. Um, thanks, subconscious, I guess? 
  • Speaking of cats, Selene has accepted Leo's smell at this point --- I can smell like him and still pet her, although other people are not yet afforded the same privilege because she is Selene --- but has not accepted Leo. This is OK. They each have two floors of house to themselves and spend plenty of time looking at each other without having to definitely interact. This is really good, no one is doing anything destructive, and hopefully in another month or two they will share space without it being a huge thing. (Although when Leo tries to come within five feet of Selene, she hisses and he runs to the basement. But this is like a zillion times better than Oolong's response, which was to run right up to Selene. I think it will be fine.)
  • Apparently I can still have outside interests while fulltime in both grad school and the tech industry; I wrote, revised, and submitted a story to an anthology in the last month. I don't know where I found the time either. (Well, I have some idea; I spent a lot of time in airports this month. Wasn't much else to do once I got tired of homework really.) Also, as a random writing-practice thing, the story I wrote was one continuous scene of around 6000 words. Those of you who have had the [mis]fortune of reading my writing in the past know that my fiction used to be broken up into discontinuous scenelets of 500-1000 words a piece, which was also cool but was not optimal in that I was doing it all the time as opposed to when the story called for it. Over the last couple of years (as pushed, gently, by a particular professor in my MA program) I've been working to write longer scenes and see what sort of different things I can do in that situation; at this point it's rather easy and two of the last three stories I've written (as well as the more recent novel chapters, not that anyone has seen those at all) have been a single sustained block of prose. The next thing on my list is decidedly not, but on purpose; it feels very nice to have developed this new skill and be putting it into practice. Hopefully the editor I submitted to will think so too. *fingers crossed*
  • People who know this sort of thing: talking about money which I guess is potentially rude? )
  • Also [livejournal.com profile] scwizard claimed I wasn't going to get my tax paperwork in order this weekend, and just to be contrary I think I have it all in one place already? :) Though I may be missing things I don't know I need, I at least have enough to take to the accountant and be like "uh hi help which things should I bring you, you clearly don't want the entirety of my filing cabinet." So that's another thing off my tasklist. Hooray.
rax: (catgirl makeup)
  • Some random links about animals! Foxes may use magnetic fields in order to judge both direction and distance when hunting prey. Actual paper, or at least abstract and how to find it, is here. Speaking of direction sense, while this is almost certainly just a crazy fluke, a cat found her way home after fourteen years missing --- and after her home moved something like thirty miles. Total fluff feel-good story, but, cats. <3 Finally: Confronted by a hunter who injured them, a fox shot the hunter and escaped. No, really. (I don't think this is a case of British Aristocrat-Hunting a la Sacred Book of the Werewolf, but who knows!) While I advocate nonviolent resolution to interspecies tensions whenever possible, I would still like to give that fox a treat.
  • Speaking of cats, I have a new cat! He is big and chill and fluffy and Siamese. His name is Leo. He used to live with my aunt and uncle; they had to let him go because their other cats turned on him and they did not have enough space in their home for everyone to live comfortably. This is a sad story but I hope that I can give it a happy ending; they're close enough that they can still visit Leo sometimes and I do have enough space in my house for Selene and Leo to have time to get used to each other without Leo being confined to a single room. (He'll probably be confined to three rooms for a while unless they really get along, but those three rooms are four or five times the space he had at my uncle's place.) I am sure he looks forward to meeting many of you once he gets over the AAAA NEW EVERYTHING AAAAA. Selene is unhappy but not as unhappy as I expected. Here is a picture of Selene sulking, and a picture of Leo hiding in the ceiling because he is scared and likes high places:
  • Ceiling cat is oh god what is that thing why does it make light you're not my real mom )
  • I may have a third cat in another month or two, because I got two offers of cat within five minutes of each other last week. Stay tuned, if you care about me and cats.
  • I accidentally cleaned my kitchen and reorganized all the dry goods yesterday. (Well, it was a combined effort with my housemate Mark.) We were all "Oh let's put a couple of things away and then we can play a quick game before we get to work on homework" and three hours later it was "I guess we've reorganized the whole thing and I'll make dinner with these lentils in order to free up these jars now." I think I've even cleaned the bread machine! I'm gonna try making another loaf today, I think.
  • A colleague of mine is putting together an undergrad literature class with the theme of "Animal Crossings," looking at both human/animal hybridity and human/animal interactions. I suggested some things, but if you have any other suggestions, please chime in! Even if he doesn't end up using them, I'd love to have more texts for me to work with, since...
  • It looks like my dissertation is going to be about this whole molar becoming-animal thing I keep rambling about, or at least, that's going to be the throughline between diverse methods and archives, because I am too flightyawesome to use one method and one archive for an entire project. (If you've ever read any of my papers, this is so completely true; I went back and looked at a couple and wow, it's kinda ridiculous.) Some of this is still up in the air, but way less than I would have expected the second semester of my first year; I guess I already have an MA, though, and experience outside of school, so I'm not quite as adrift as I might be. And who knows --- other classes and readings and experiences may shift my direction. Although I don't expect them to. It will be interesting negotiating what the academy delicately calls "participant-observer status" if I end up doing ethnography.
  • Does anyone know the proper way to dispose of a bad MacBook battery?

Week!

Nov. 27th, 2010 08:57 am
rax: (Horo apple)
  • We had a ten-person Thanksgiving dinner at my house! It was not entirely vegan, as one of the housemates made meaty stuffing and chicken pot pie, but the other, like, twelve courses were vegan. (There might have been a pie that was only vegetarian actually. But generally speaking.) I made pancakes for everyone to eat while we were cooking and then made four vegan pizzas with homemade fake meat. I had originally been planning a bunch of stuffed squash but the fire ruined all of my squash and then [personal profile] hao  mentioned vegan pizza and I was like WANT. Thank goodness I have a bread machine! After dinner we all played Rock Band and I even graded some more student papers and in general it was pretty awesome. The kitchen is... almost clean?
  • Incidentally, my fake meat recipe is really simple: Take dried TVP/TSP (textured vegetable/soy protein, you can probably get it in the bulk foods aisle of your hippie grocery) and soak it in a mixture of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and water for an hour or two. (You don't need to soak it that long probably but I like to get it nice and moist because I am going to cook so much moisture out of it.) Fry it in olive oil with a ton of basil and oregano for only a few minutes --- you want a few of the smaller pieces to get crisped but mostly you are searing the oily spices onto the outside of the TSP --- and then put that over pizza, or just pick at it while you are waiting for the oven to be free so that you can make the pizzas. Usually I use Field Roast sausages but they have a tiny amount of potato in them and lately that has been enough to set me off. :( But this is an awesome replacement, and cheaper.
  • It's not just me who is very particular and has My Plate and My Fork and My Glass For Drinking Water With and hates when they are not available. Apparently this is something my mom does too, except her coping mechanisms for this are so completely different from mine that neither of us noticed that the other one had this quirk. Unless she noticed that I had it and was just being coy, I'm not sure. :) This comes up a lot more than it used to for me in part because I am STRESSZILLA but also in part because previously I had eight of "my fork" and so on, but now I have a unique fork, plate, bowl-for-cereal, and water glass. :( It's on my long term tasklist to track down more of the fork and maybe buy more of the water glass; the bowl is a lost cause because it's a handmade gift someone made for me ten years ago, and the plate has a chip so even though I know where I could buy more there is no point, I could never duplicate the chip. I am very lucky that my housemates and local friends are very chill about this.
  • It's bad enough lately that I travel with my fork. It's a good thing I'm checking luggage to California this upcoming trip; I'm not sure what I'll do for Further Confusion. Hopefully "be less stressed so that I do not need to bring a fork from home." If it gets to the point where I want to bring it to restaurants (currently I do not have this desire) I may start seeing a shrink about it. Otherwise I am satisfied with my coping mechanisms.
  • Got to spend part of yesterday with my uncle and aunt and their five Siamese cats. *swoon* I shouldn't get like ten cats, right? ...Right? Especially since Selene actually came to bed with me last night and stayed there the whole time, even managing to adjust as I rolled around. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
  • The kitchen is usable again! The cabinets are repaired! This week they are repainting (because some of the smoke will not come out) and finishing up cleaning and maybe wallpapering the backsplash depending on how long it takes the new wallpaper to get in stock and then I will get a new range hood and then it will be DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE. I am very glad of this. Cooking is nice. Also I still need to fill out insurance paperwork. ;.; At least this didn't happen when I had no wiggle room on final papers, but it still hurts, a lot. Ow.
  • I have a small stack of Reward Games showing up in the next couple of weeks: "Finish your final papers and you too can play Pokemon Mystery Dungeon/Final Fantasy The Four Heroes Of Light/Pokemon White/Dragon Warrior IX!" If it weren't for JRPGs I would get so much more doneprobably I dunno watch television or something else that wasn't real work, it's not like I can actually be productive every hour I am not sleeping. Oh wait I know what I would do if I weren't playing JRPGs! Roguelike games. Right then. These are cuter.
  • For my mother's benefit (primarily, anyway) I was thinking about wishlist items and everything I came up with was a kitchen appliance or a power tool. Who am I and what have I done with the Rachel who always orders food and refuses to operate a screwdriver? And how do I make sure she doesn't escape because this is awesome?
  • Oh and just to be explicit, it is OK to call me again.

rax: (kitty mew?)
  • I have a new stove. It is a gas stove with a real convection oven and it is not the Nicest Best thing I could have gotten but it was a Nice Good thing and I could get it installed on Saturday. While I might have shopped around more if I had been able to cook in the meantime, I knew I was losing the microwave yesterday, too, and so I found a stove I knew I would not regret buying and pulled the trigger. It's wonderful to be able to cook on gas again. So wonderful. Oh my god. <3 <3 <3
  • I lost the microwave because Cassandra came to pick her stuff up yesterday, which basically took up the entire day for me. This went as well as my ex-fiancee coming into town with her boyfriend to take all of her stuff and two of the house's three pets could go. I mean that, really, there were times at which all of us were genuinely having fun. There's a weird finality to it, and the missing furniture and such casts a longer shadow than I expected, but it's also good that we got it done, and good that she has all of her stuff back so that she can continue rebuilding her life like I've been rebuilding mine. It's not like you need stuff to do that, at least not as much as either of us has, but it helps, especially when that stuff includes the tools of your trade or tools you can use to support yourself emotionally. So I'm glad for that, and also super glad that Rik was here because oh god despite being the best it could be it was super painful.
  • Selene --- my cat, for the new LJ friends I just picked up --- is clearly spooked by the missing stuff and missing other cat. I wish I could ask her whether she wants a new kitty-friend or not; I mean I know I like having multiple meow-machines running around the house, but if she's just as happy on her own, maybe I should get fish or something. Except fish are actually kinda high-maintenance. But you know what I mean. Selene certainly didn't like it when Oolong showed up, at all, but they were getting along really well by the end, including both of them sitting on my lap on the couch yesterday. <3 So I dunno. Decisions I don't have to make right now (and shouldn't make until after I get back from being gone for three weeks, anyway).
  • Rik just turned to me across the table and asked "Do you need more Mao in your meow?" This is apparently krdbuni's fault. I laughed. :)
  • The fact that I have a stove again means that we can host Thanksgiving after all!! I am super excited. My mother said she would teach me how to bake pies, which is a culinary skill I completely do not have. Between trying to save money for future years of grad school when I might not have a job and picking up a new allergy this summer, I've been cooking a lot, and gaining some new skills and fluency with new ingredients (prickly ash!). But baking, except for my one peanut butter cookie recipe, largely eludes me. Thankfully, there are bread machines.
  • All of this brouhaha has me behind on grading and final papers, but two weeks ago I was ahead, so I think I can catch up. Perhaps with judicious application of work vacation days --- but perhaps not! We will see. If I am Ball Of Stress (tm) around, say, December 10-15th, it's because I am cranking on final papers; I read fast and that makes the first half of a graduate semester pretty easy for me, but I write slowly, and when I get up against deadlines, it is a dreadful, tea-slurping slog. But I shall be triumphant!
  • It is time to unpack my Winter Clothes box finally! That will be the last box opened, and I will be completely, 100% unpacked and moved in. I was basically 100% unpacked for a couple of months now but Cassandra moved out and so there were still boxes everywhere as I packed her stuff and it is nice to be able to say Now There Are No More Boxes and to have a symbolic action I can take to confirm this. In fact maybe that will be the next thing I do before I go out with Rik and engage in acts of shopping. Hopefully I have enough hangers. But if not I can buy them while I am out shopping! Myahahahahaha.
  • Thank you all for all of your support in the last week. I think by tomorrow or Tuesday I will be ready to stand down the whole "do not call me" thing. It's been a very difficult few days and I am very glad I have a limited class schedule this week.
  • Oh did I mention that when the fire department came they did something that caused me to have to learn how to reset my furnace and I discovered this two days later because it was 52 in the house? Yeah. It took me an hour, but now I understand how my furnace works! This whole homeowner thing is causing me to learn how appliances operate and how to operate tools --- the stove installation dudes kindly handled the gas hookup for me but I think I could have done it myself if they hadn't! Since Cassandra and I (stupidly, in retrospect) spent hours and hours figuring out how to hook up the gas dryer ourselves. This is certainly a more useful skillset than some I have put time into!
rax: (eevee love hug smiling)
  • I have my first paper of this PhD program due Monday. I took good notes, have a good concept, and am downright proud of my outline. I'm having trouble with the draft, though, because I've been reading so much abstruse crap [0] and haven't done any academic writing at all since my MA thesis. I keep having to take complicated sentences and pare them down to be less full of clauses. I suppose it is good that I take the time to do this rather than just hand in an essay with sentences whose diagrams are fractal. I'm glad I have this assignment to warm up on before I write final papers; it should help me do better with those. (I may also need to pull some prose I really like and re-read it right before I start.)
  • I am weak but I am strong: I have a copy of Pokemon White, despite knowing basically no Japanese. (The script has been translated, and my new housemate reads Japanese decently, so this is only dumb, not stupid.) However! I will not allow myself to start the game until I am done with all of the work I need to hand in this week. And am actually sticking to that, after powering the game on to make sure it works and to get the Japanese event item. (I don't intend to talk about spoilers, but if I think I might, I will cut-tag them; I know a couple of people here care.) I guess this means I will preorder Black in English once it's reasonable to pre-order it. If you were wondering "Will Pokemon be one of those things Rachel gets into for a month or two and then completely forgets about, or is it going to stick around for NetHack levels of time?," I think you have your answer.
  • I probably won't play White much until I finish my current pokedex, either. I'm 32 away from completion! If I can get to 15 or so away I bet I can trade some of my good stuff on pokewifi or something and get to zero. We will see!
  • I don't know if it's the weather or the cats getting along better or what, but recently, Selene sleeps on my chest and Oolong sleeps on my feet. It's a little bittersweet because Oolong is leaving soon and of course they'd finally learn to share a bed two weeks before they're separated, but fundamentally it is amazing, because Selene is coming to bed with me again, and it's been what, at least two years? Aside from the very first time sleeping at this house, where they had just been in the car for 40 hours and Selene curled up on my chest and Oolong curled up under my tented knees and I had no blanket or mattress and my stuffed lion was my pillow. So that's sort of a special case.
  • Furry porn is everywhere. (image link completely safe for work)
  • Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming! He gets here Wednesday!
  • I've bought tickets for my trip to California --- I'll be there from Dec 15 to Jan 2. This means the return trip will earn qualifying miles/segments toward status in 2011. Yes, I am becoming one of those. I looked at my travel plans for next year and it was worth it.
  • When I first started grading student work, I was really slow about it, and nervous. What if I gave someone the wrong grade? What was the rubric I could use to determine the "right" answer for what a grade was? While we do have rubrics for evaluating student work, realistically, the thing I've been discovering, especially working on their midterm exams, is that there is no right answer. Grading student writing --- unlike, say, a multiple choice test or a chemistry problem set [1] --- is fundamentally a subjective exercise. I need to look at it, make a judgement call based on the professor's statements of what she's looking for and what the student has written down, and move on. I will not be perfect, and that is fine; if I make a mistake, students can ask us to correct them, and a decent amount of the time the mistake will be in the student's favor anyway. (I tend to err on the side of too nice.)
  • I now own a rake! And a push-broom! And a snow shovel! Soon I need to run the fireplace plot. This homeowner thing is still bizarre. At some point I expect it will normalize, but it is taking a while. In the meantime I periodically walk around and go "MUAHAHAH THIS IS MY HOUSE. IT IS MINE. IT IS FULL OF SPACE."
  • Is there any reason other than the price tag I should not get a tame fox. They will curl up on your lap and use a litter box and tend to imprint on cats if cats are around. Seriously. Finally available in the US. Tame fox. TAME. FOX. ... I guess it implicitly supports their research which was originally for the fur trade, though. AAARRRRGH MORAL DILEMMA. Help?


[0] The content is not crap. The writing style, in my opinion, often is. Some of the blame falls on being translated from French and German, but even that doesn't excuse, say, Heidegger.

[1] Chemistry problem sets have some room for subjectivity when giving partial credit. But it's not the same as an essay.

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