My thesis defense will be at 2 PM on Thursday, May 6 at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. I believe it will be in Wheatley Hall room 6-047 (on the sixth floor) --- it's open to the public, so come on by. It should take around an hour, and you will get to hear me read from my fiction and maybe from my essay. I'll take questions. They will probably get snack food but forget that I am vegan. Unfortunately, my thesis advisor will not be attending, so you will not get to meet her if you come, which I encourage you to do if you feel like it.

A few of you will be able to collect a complete set of my thesis defenses if you come to this and are willing to fly to Indiana in six or seven years. This probably unlocks an achievement, though I don't know that it's worth much. :)
I am a giant ball of stress and what is more I am sick. This is unfortunate. But! Cool things are happening.

Sometime in the afternoon this Saturday, I'll be speaking at URI's "Carried Across: Translations, Temporalities, and Trajectories" conference. It's open to the public and the other presentations look cool too so I encourage you to attend if you weren't doing anything else this Saturday and feel like going to URI. (Contact me if you want to travel from Boston.) I'll be talking about the rhetorical techniques different authors have used to make different audiences comfortable with different kinds of passing, and briefly suggest things authors of contemporary passing narratives should consider. I'm focusing on race and gender but other things might come up? I'm still finishing the "condense giant paper into 15 minute talk" exercise so I'm not 100% sure which examples I'll be using yet...

EDIT: I'm panel D, Session IV, 2:30-3:45. Whole schedule here.

Before then, I need to get a copy of my thesis dropped off at UMass Boston during working hours. Are any of my un[der]employed friends in the Boston area willing to bring this to a specific office at UMB at drop it off for me? This would involve taking the train to UMB, taking a shuttle bus from the JFK/UMB station to the campus, going to the second floor, and handing the envelope to someone behind a desk. I haven't actually seen the desk, because I didn't drop this off the first time it needed to be dropped off, either. Ideally you would pick up this envelope from me on Friday either at my house or near Central Square, though I am flexible on this and could also give it to you Thursday evening. I will give you $20 if you can do this for me. EDIT: I could now give it to you as early as tonight, although I am either going out to my previous social plans soon or punting and going to bed, depending, so that might be hard.

Also, is anyone out there enough of a LaTeX master to answer the question "How do I take a TOC that is otherwise perfect and indent each chapter record? Currently they look like "1. (some space) VACATION" flush left with the heading "CHAPTER" and I need them to look like "(some space) 1. (some space) VACATION" and my theory was if I kept coming back and trying this for thirty minutes every day I'd eventually get it but now I just hate the LaTeX TOC code more than I knew was possible. I'm currently looking at tocloft but it looks like that would make me largely have to start over and right now I am sick and just never want to think about this ever again.  EDIT: It turns out if I stop trying to do it Right and just manually add \hspace{} and then fix the indenting by tripling a value in em I only sort of understand, it looks perfect. Since I no longer care about doing it Right, just having it Done, I win. But oh my god this is one of the most abusive things I have done in LaTeX and that is saying something.

Also also just so you know it looks like I'll live in Indiana as of May 17th.
There were a bunch of little reasons, like getting to bed early and having a light workday, but here are the two big ones:
Yes, that's right. I finished my thesis late Thursday night after realizing I could make a push and get it done and not spend the whole weekend miserable. I handed it in early Friday morning --- they have the option of telling me to tweak it [0] and if they do I have a couple of weeks to fix it, and the final-final-final submission is actually May 15th but the extra month is for working on formatting and I'm already done with that because no one told me I shouldn't have the formatting perfect for this draft. *sigh* It's in the documentation, but the documentation contradicts itself, and I went with the earliest deadline since that's the sane thing to do... But it doesn't matter now, because it's done.
The house thing, oh my god. I worked with Zak Szymanski at Jeanne Walters real estate, and I would absolutely recommend him to any of you looking to buy a house in Bloomington --- he was amazing. We only had two days on the ground, and we looked at scads of houses, and I'm already working on the items on a closing checklist five days after touching down in Bloomington. It's a split-level house with an extra bonus basement under the theoretically single-level part; I've heard it called a quad-level. It's ginormous and gorgeous and in excellent condition and and and and. At some point I'm going to draw diagrams on graph paper and be like "My house! This is where I will put things!" Here's a brief list of the awesome features:
  • An induction stove, which I've heard good things about and want to give a try, but we can always install gas if it is terrible
  • Three extra rooms in the basement space, two of which would make excellent craft studios or something
  • Ample space for dinner parties
  • So much storage space, like oh my god.
  • Four bedrooms --- we're definitely going to have at least one guest bedroom (which will probably also be my home office, like now)
  • It takes longer to walk from the front door to the street than from the street to a bus stop, and it's a pleasant bike ride to the building I'll be spending much of my time in on campus
There's more, of course. I could go on and on and on about this house that I am very likely to soon own. And I do mean soon --- it looks like we're going to be taking possession, if all goes well, on May 17th. I don't know how long it will take to find housemates --- we'd like one or two other people, I really like cooperative living situations --- but I expect to get nice and settled in over the summer before school even starts, and that will make starting school much better, I think. So, cross your fingers for me that everything goes well with this, and expect me to be at least somewhat more present both online and at social events, starting soon.




[0] They could tell me they're failing me. But they won't.

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