Wednesday, August 23, 2006


In case you haven't seen it, the "Here it Goes Again" video by OK Go is the coolest thing I've seen since Christopher Walken in "Weapon of Choice." Catch it, have a giggle on me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Academia Sucks

So I haven't updated on the thesis issue in a while, because I have been sooooooooooooooo frustrated about it. My friends will recall that my committee dicked me around for two full terms over my prospectus, and then finally agreed on a version that was almost exactly what I had originally written last fall. The changes should only have needed a couple weeks, if any of mu illustrious committee had known what the hell they wanted. So I wasted the entire school year.

When I finally defended my prospectus in the Spring, we had discussed how the thesis should be formed and focused. I spoke to my chair about defending in the fall, but she thought it was best for me to do it over the summer, even though I had classes and such. So I said OK. And then she left town. So I emailed her, and said that one of the other committee members had suggested that I send each chapter to her to be approved before sending it on to the rest of the committee, and she agreed.

So I spent the summer working my fat ass off. I haven't had down time since May. I have had sooo much to do with classes, and every extra hour was spent on my thesis. I wrote it stemming exactly from what we had discussed at the defense. As I finished each chapter (in order) I sent them to my chair. And never heard a word of any kind from her. At all.

But there were all sorts of deadlines looming, so I couldn't just stop writing, so I kept going. And still no word. And then it was so close to the final deadline, I had to send it to the rest of the committee with no word from her. And then, I didn't hear back from one of them at all, and didn't know where on the earth he was. I barely ate for days, I was so stressed.

Then I finally heard back, and apparently they are all in agreement that my thesis went entirely in the wrong direction, and the entire damn thing needs to be rewritten. If I was really going so very far off course, my chair should have been able to let me know that with the first freaking chapter, but she didn't. Apparently, she never read a single page of it until a few days before the deadline. The direction they all think it should have gone in was NOT part of the final, approved prospectus, and it was NOT anything we had discussed at the defense. They all just assumed, without ever speaking to me about it, that I would automatically focus my thesis around elements of the early prospectus' that they had rejected.

So here I am working myself into a freaking ulcer all summer, with family and health and money and class and all these other issues on top of the freaking thesis, and 3 days before the deadline they all say 'this isn't what we wanted, start over.' To which my immediate reaction, admittedly silent, was "fuck you. You aren't the ones writing it. You have been, collectively, as much help as a club foot to a f*#^ing ballerina." Which surprised me, as had I been asked, I probably would have said that such a reaction from my committee would have devastated me. It didn't it just pissed me off. If they want specific things from me, they could at least have the freaking courtesy to let me know about it before I spend the worst freaking summer of my life working on this sheisa.

And somehow, it never even occured to them that this might be interfering with my other school stuff. The three credits I had to add to summer term so that I could defend, are wasted, and have screwed up the rest of my shedule for no reason. And now, I have to find another term in which to add 3 more credits, because you have to carry those the term you defend. Since I am already at the limit for credits each term, that translates into over $1000 that I am just going to have to pull out of my ass to pay to defend next summer.

And when I spent a day trying to figure out how to handle everything, their reaction was that I was 'wasting my time' to do so before I had heard more detailed comments from them. Which sounded to me like they were saying I couldn't do it, the past two years of my life were completely wasted. I am pretty sure they just didn't want me to jump the gun, but that's not what it sounded like. Plus, I am going to have to fill out all sorts of petitions and paperwork and shit to get this fixed, so how exactly is it inappropriate for me to consider these things? They don't seem to realize that my life and schedule and finances do not automatically adjust themselves to fit every freaking whim of my damn committee.

Of course, I haven't said any of this to them. My friends seem to think I should, but I still have to work with these self important mutants for another year, so I don't think it would be helpful to put them on the defensive. So I just have to sit here and simmer in my juices and figure out how to please these sadists.

So that's the update on my summer. Hope everyone else's is going better.

On the bright side, next week I start my first student teaching here. Suuuuuper excited. It's the most diverse school in the area, and the very poor students get bussed there, so it should be a great place to learn to teach all kinds of students. It's broken into 'small schools' - which is a new idea funded by the Gates Foundation, focusing on taking large schools and having smaller schools set up inside them, so that the students are taking classes with 100 others rather than 400 other students, and can really get to know their teachers and peers, etc. Each shool has a focus, which students pick from in the 8th grade. If you look at the site, the 3 pictures represent the 3 schools (a fourth will be added next year). I know this is kinda snarky, but I can't get over how weird the first boy (IHS) looks - like a sci-fi movie, where he's supposed to be from some alien otterish-humanoid race. I'm sure the kid doesn't look like that in person, it's just a kinda weird picture.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

So usually, I turn up my nose at monster/creature/slasher flicks, but I have been intrigued by the whole SoaP thing. I first heard about it ages ago, and it sounded pretty darn amusing. So when Mr. Duck, who luuuuuurves the monster/creature/slasher flicks got off early today, we went to catch it.

Loved it.

It started off all cheap tv-movie style, following some hotshot showing off his rad moves on his motorcycle in the Hawaiian countryside, like some movie about the underdog coming from behind and kicking ass at the motocross finals might start. And then it went kinda Jackie Chan, with the hero unwittingly witnessing a brutal killing by an over the top Asian-American mobster. And then it went all cheesy cops-interogate the guy as the melodramatic music swells. And then we got to the airport, and witnessed The Lineup of Stock Characters - witness the sexy stews, one of whom just got into law school, the famous rapper and his posse, the Hitlon-wannabe heiress, the newlyweds, the kids flying alone, the uptight businessman, and the list goes on.

And then, we get to the plane, and yeah, it was fun. Giggled my ass off. The movie makers were just over the top enough, without making it dumb, and didn't take themselves seriously for a second. For instance, the snakes were, by and large, true to real-life sizes, and many were identifiable even to a snake-plebe like me. They included a method of driving the snakes all crazy, so they would get hyper-aggressive. Lots of people died, in icky ways.

But they made it fun - the snakes didn't go for the ankles, oh no. They went for nipples and eyes and necks (accept for those characters who were supposed to survive a while). The snakes were literally jumping and holding themselves out perpendicular from their victims while biting - not too realistic, but an effective graphic. At this point, it was straight up Sci-fi movie of the week, but somewhat higher budget. Awesome.

And then, it went all airplane-in-jeopardy, amature-has-to-land-the-plane cliche. Why? Because it had to. They could only show snake deaths in so many ways, and they had run out of cabins for the characters to retreat to. So they said hey, we are on a plane here! There are dozens more cliches we could incorporate! That they did so is a testament, in my opinion, to the high artisitic integrity of the filmakers. ;-)

Sooooooo much fun.

And while driving home, Mr Duck and I couldn't stop reciting the tag line, which half of the theatre recited with Samuel Jackson. All in all, there was a plane, and lots of snakes, and it was awesome. Highly recommended for a good brainless giggle.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Seriously Tired

So the past week has been hellish. This whole damn summer has been the longest, most stressful, most upsetting few months of my entire life. And when things are worked out, I'll write about it, but right now everything is still up in the air.

So instead of boring and depressing everyone, I will make up for my atrocious lack of posts this summer with a short bit of funny. Names have been changed to protect the crazy innocent.

Kiki's friend was flying home for a few weeks now that summer session is over. She had asked Kiki to give her a ride to the small local airport, and Kiki had, oooooh so generously, agreed. She's a sucker that way.

"See you Tuesday," her friend had said. "Oh, what time are you picking me up Tuesday?" her friend had asked. Kiki, rather than checking the flight itinerary that had been forwarded to her, simply asked what time the plane left. "7:50 am." "I'll pick you up at your house at 6 am. See you Tuesday morning!"

Tuesday morning, Kiki woke up at 5 am, which was kinda hard given that she hadn't gone to bed until midnight. But she showered, made herself her favorite latte, grabbed an uptempo itunes mix, and hopped in the car.

Kiki knew something was wrong as soon as she drove up. The house was dark, and for the first time ever, her friend was not out the door before the engine was off. Kiki pulled over, got out, and knocked on the door.

A minute later, the door opened a crack, and her friend, bent over as if to hide a state of undressedness, peered through. "What?" "WHAT?"

"Are you ready?"
"No - Tuesday." The door opened a little more.
"It is Tuesday."
"Today? Tuesday?????"
"... Yes." The door opened wide, and Kiki stepped in.
"Are you sure?"
"... ... uh, yeah. It's definitely Tuesday."
"What? The 15th?"

And then it happened. The friend freaked out. She ran in a circle around the living room, emitting a high-pitched, squealing, bat-like noise.

Kiki just stood there for a moment. Part of her analyzed the situation - it was 6:10 am, the sun wasn't even up, she had had about 2 sips of her coffee, and the woman in front of her was screaming fit to wake up the neighbors.

But most of her mind was occupied thinking very rude things, mostly along the lines of "shut the hell up," and "what are you, a walking teakettle?" Various cruel and friendship-ruining verbal options sprang to the tip of her toungue. Vitriol ran through her head.

Now, Kiki thinks these mean things all the time, and often amuses her friends with them afterwards, but she never has quite enough spite in her to actually say such things to people's faces. It's a character flaw that she will probably have to deal with until she snaps and becomes the cranky old cat lady down the block. Sometimes, she is just being internally snarky. But sometimes, especially 6 am-no-coffee-yet sometimes, she really really really wants to say it. One day, she will.

But this particular Tuesday morning, she went all nicey-nice again, and all Kiki said was "calm down. We have plenty of time, just grab your suitcase and throw on some clothes, and we'll go."

The dervish moved into the bedroom. Words began to emerge from amid the dolphin-squeaks.

"Oh my god!" eeeeeee "Oh no!!" eeeeeeee *gasp for air* eeeeeeee
"Calm down, I'm sure you've already packed, just throw on some clothes..."
"I was sure it was tomorrow! Wasn't my flight on Wednesday?"

Again the unhelpful thoughts poured into Kiki's brain. "How the f*@# am I supposed to know that?" and "holy crap, you just asked me 162 times if today was really Tuesday, but you think the flight is Wednesday?" and "it's too frickin frackin early for this." Again she wimped out, and spoke up like the civilized person she so often pretends to be.

"Maybe you should get out your tickets and check."

So the friend got her tickets out of her purse and read them with the rising-question intonation that is so pervasive among young women lately. This, if noted under normal circumstances, would have make Kiki proud that her friend was becoming so comfortable with colloquial English. But, perhaps due the sonar-ping vibrations still echoing around her brain cavity, it went unnoted until later.

"7:50 am, Wednesday?"
"OK... ... ... I'm tired. See you tomorrow."

And when Kiki's other friends heard the story, they unanimously offered the opinion that her friend should have to take a cab the next day. But Kiki, being the afformentioned sucker, woke up at 5 am Wednesday too, and this time got her friend to the freaking airport. But she expects some sort of kick-ass souvenier when her friend gets back. Damnit.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Hmmmm, I still want songs...

I decided to reward myself for getting to this point (finally) with

this (thatched - about the 5th or 6th one down) and these (butterfly kisses, 4th down).

I cannot get enough of her stuff!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Help Me Celebrate!

I just sent my committee chair my concluding chapter of my thesis.

That's right, the last one!!!!!! It's a wonderful feeling, but I think it'll take a bit for the stress to wear completely off. Not like I don't have 800 other things I have been putting off doing, and now must finally focus on.

I have tons more to do, including getting comments, defending, revising, blah blah blah, but the major writing proccess is now complete!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I want to celebrate a bit. I want everyone who reads this, and I know who you are, so no slacking, to send me two celebratory song ideas. Two songs that you put on to celebrate whatever it is you like to celebrate. I have at least 30 free itunes songs just waiting to be used, to be turned into a "Thank God I'm Done" mix.

Don't worry if you think I don't know the songs, or may not like them, or whatever. Just send me your best ideas, and I'll take it from there.

And I know most of my friends who read this don't comment often, if at all. This time, YOU HAVE TO. Or else. You know I can be annoying when upset, so don't make me upset at you!