Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Long Days, Sleepless Nights

I've got an ass-ton of work to do between now and the end of the quarter (I believe everything has to be turned in by December 8th. Fun.), but I wanted to take a little time out to mention something that happened to a friend this weekend.

A friend of mine was mugged off-campus this weekend. The assailant broke a bottle over his head and stole his wallet and cell phone. He got stitches and spent some time in the emergency room, but he's okay now (at least that's what the woman who called to tell me about it said). The credit cards were all canceled, so all this jerk got was $1, but I worry about my friend because I was his mentor when he was in high school [I essentially made it okay for him to be himself, and he broke out of his shell] so I hope he'll be okay emotionally after this.

I've got an article to read before I go to bed. I finally got Devi to sleep, so I lost about two hours of productive study time. I've got to finish my article for my second class and put in some work on my projects before Thanksgiving. I still haven't spoken to my mom or uncle in awhile and we wanted to bring them down for the weekend for Devi's dedication [Baptists don't baptize their babies; they dedicate them]. I did speak to my dad yesterday and he thinks that I can be the "voice of reason" and talk some sense into the two of them (again, whatever that means). It was kind of nice talking to him, but he did pull a Daddy Douchebag maneuver by being genuinely surprised when I said that I had a ton of homework to do because he must have thought I wasn't going to go through with going back to school after all. He paused, said "You did say you were going to go back to school. Hmph. You're more resilient than I thought."

Trust me, dad, I'm more resilient than you could ever imagine.

Anyway, another brief note: The three of us (Devi, Matt and I) had photos done last weekend and my daughter was so cute in her photos! I won't get what we purchased until December 8th (or when I actually am free to do non-academic things), but if you're curious to see what the photos look like, let me know and I can tell you the code so that you can look at them.

I've got to go. That article isn't going to read itself. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I've Got To Admit, It's Getting Better

I didn't expect things to be going so well, but they are.

First, I was not the last person to submit my paper. The last paper was submitted at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, roughly 6 1/2 hours before the presentations were to begin. Secondly, my presentation went well (but more on that later), and lastly, I'm starting to get it in my head that maybe, just maybe I'm not quite as dumb as I thought.

Okay, we all know that I got no sleep between Friday and Saturday because of the paper for my CS 716 class [Comparative Studies 716: Theorizing Culture], but what I didn't know was that I was going to end up not getting any sleep before the big presentation of said paper to the class on Wednesday. That, and I didn't anticipate being pegged to do a focus group on facial cleansers right before the presentation, but $150 was too good to pass up.

This story's interesting, so I'll elaborate.

I got to the focus group at around 8:46. The early-bird drawing is for people who get to the session 15 minutes or sooner, and I had just missed it by one minute (they're strict about this) after rushing around to make sure I didn't forget anything at home since I was going straight to school afterwards. I was already stressed out and bummed that I didn't get the $25 bonus, but then they called in people by table color and I wasn't called to go in! Normally, that would've been okay by me because I would've gotten paid and gone home, but I was upset because I could've just as easily stayed home, polished my presentation, and gotten some damn sleep! Well, the check-in guy noticed that one of the people called in for my table wasn't even there, so the woman in charge apologized, offered me a chance to go in, and I went to participate in the focus group. I won't bore you with the details about the other people at my table, but I was surprised by the last announcement of the day: I had won an additional $75 for the best essay drawing (yes, they made us do homework and were paying us for it) which will come in the mail. Yay!

P.S. If you ever go to the Hyatt on Capital Square and you use their valet parking, be aware that their valet drivers will smoke in your car. Damn douchebag. I don't need that smell in my car.

Anyway, I got to school and I was very, very nervous about doing my presentation. When my turn came, all I had was my rough notes and my six manga images to facilitate people in knowing what the hell I was talking about when I said manga [and if you, dear reader, do not know what manga is, check out my Library Thing list on this page and you'll find many examples]. I was not only able to spit the words out without getting flustered (I'm good at setting myself up for failure by psyching myself out), I got people interested in my topic.

My topic? Looking at the manga series Basara, how does it compare/contrast to the struggles of Japanese women in modern Japanese society? I hypothesize that the post-apocalyptic, 27 volume series shows that women in Japan can free themselves from the good wife, wise mother role, but there will be a cost for deviating from the norm.

Anyway, my professor said that I had a good argument (finally!), so now I just need to polish the paper for the final draft which I am trying to get turned in my December 6, 11 p.m., so wish me luck.

I also went to my second class and spoke three times (which is a big deal for me because there have been several sessions where I never said anything). The person who did a critique on my paper (or would have, if we hadn't ran out of time) thinks my dissertation will be phenomenal when it's done. Yay, again!

As proof that I did well on my presentation, I ran into one of my classmates today and she told me that she found my topic interesting and wanted to know more after I had finished presenting. Getting someone interested in what I'm doing means I did my job well. Cool.

In other academic news, I'm improving in my work for CS 651A (Framing the "Other": China and the West) and managed to get an A on my second assignment even after getting a B+ on my re-write on the first assignment. I have a topic for the final paper for her class [Looking at the manga series Adolphe and analyzing it for signs of cruelty], so I need to buckle down and hammer out my points. I also met with my professor from my third class, and she told me that she can tell that I am getting the theories we're talking about in class and that I need not let other people silence my voice. She's also approved my project concept (To create a syllabus for an undergraduate class on "reading" graphic novels), so I need to break butt to get that done as well.

And, to top it all off, I got a letter in the mail saying I earned a $400 scholarship for an OSU alum who is doing well academically in grad school. And I can do whatever I want with the money. Even more yay! My husband saw the scholarship as a sign that someone really wants me to be in grad school.

So, to sum up: I'm doing better in my classes than I thought, I've gotten a windfall, and I've got a stupidly high amount of work to do, but it's do-able. I even got recommendations of people to talk to who can make my projects even better, and I just have to believe that what I say is just as important than what anyone else says.

Oh, and I have to face the professor who told me not to apply to grad school, because she is doing much of the same work that I'm covering (but in Women's Studies). At first I was dreading it, but now I see it as an opportunity to show this woman that I do belong here.

But I'm tired and have a long day ahead of me tomorrow and the three of us are going to try and get a family photo done on Saturday. Trust me, that will be scanned and uploaded as soon as it arrives in my hot little hands.

I go sleep now before baby wakes up [We learned another lesson this week: Switching formulas by accident = very gassy, unhappy baby. He will never make that mistake again.] I'd relax, but I'm not done yet.

G'nite folks!

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Sleep 'til December!

It's an exaggeration, but not by much. I have to create a 10-minute presentation on my paper, a five minute presentation on someone else's paper, and I have to get started on a 15-page paper and syllabus (with 20 books & articles) for two other classes which are due by the end of the quarter.

The quarter that ends in early December.


Anyway, I've still got a ton of reading to do & I'm freaking out over this damn presentation (and other things...the same old, same old) so postings may get even more spartan than they are now.

Hopefully, I'll be able to put up more picture of Devi during quarter break.

In the meantime, I'll keep tabs on everyone else's blogs in the spare time I don't have but make anyway.

Man, am I tired.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

...any more stress and my head will explode

This will be quick, because I'm supposed to be working on a very important paper but have gotten slogged down in the research. I have to upload a 9-18 page paper by tomorrow evening for my class to read. It's supposed to be 1.5 spacing (greeeaaat), 12 point font, and sound logical (meaning, not like crap). At the same time, I have to take care of my daughter and try to get through 25 issues of Basara so that I can spend the entire day trying to write a cohesive argument. And since this is supposed to be a work-in-progress, so the final product is going to have to be between 18 and 28 pages.

The sound you hear is my soul weeping.

Since I've lost most of today having to go to a doctor's appointment, having a meeting with another professor about another 18-page project due in less than three weeks, and just not getting focused enough to work faster, I've got to try to get through the research portion tonight.

All this with a little girl staring confusedly at my arm as I type this with her on my lap. Yay.

I've got to get offline so that I can get back on track with this project. Pray, wish me luck, or whatever you do for people who need a morale boost.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can't you feel the brand new day?

Yes, I know it's a late post. Obama won the election and I'm elated. I'm also a student way behind on projects with an incredibly fussy 2-month-old who isn't happy with anyone or (just about) anything at the moment, so I haven't had a chance to post about the election.

Until now.

Here's a video of what popped into my mind when I found out the results. Unlike the rest of the world, I didn't watch the results. I didn't jump up and down (although I was a bit relieved), but it made going to class a lot easier because there was no hostility on campus [I was an undergrad back during the 2000 elections and almost got into it with a butthole in my French class the day after the election....A campus of 60,000 spoke in hushed tones all day that day.].

I wish this had been the actual footage from the scene, but this was as close as I could get.