katekat: (Default)
I should have written a celebration post, and maybe I will in a bit, because I successfully defended my dissertation, graduated, and finished teaching all at the same time. And my evals weren't totally in the toilet.

But this post is about my housemate instead because it's 9:30 am and I need to put it all somewhere so that I don't hang onto it all day.

She got drunk last night and spent the evening venting. And as I was only paying half attention to her, probably because I was only paying half attention to her, as she got drunker she started picking on my friends. One of whom is a mutual friend. She asked me why I thought one friend was intelligent because she didn't see the intelligence herself. And in a ham handed way to try to "soften" that she tried to make it about the fact that I was far smarter than the person in question. Which, also was wretchedly dumb. She also tried to start a conversation about another woman where she made her out to be a crappy feminist because that person criticized Hillary's expensive wardrobe.

The rational side of me says that all of this is because she's deeply insecure in so many ways (she took an entry level job at 35 last month, is being trained by a 23 year old, doesn't have a wide group of friends, doesn't have enough money to move out of our apartment but doesn't actually want to live with anyone anymore...and she gave me notice that she was moving out last month and i freaked and went and got a new housemate, so she's moving whether she wants to or not...) and she was trying to provoke an emotional reaction in me because I wasn't paying enough attention to her last night, because i never pay enough attention to her. (and that's been part of my own self-defense/self-care - to only sort of half pay attention to her, which is pretty rude but is also the only way i can manage her constant provocations - this is not the first time something like this has happened).

I want to sit her down and say: "last night, when you decided to ask me "honest" questions about my friends, you put me on the defensive. I not only didn't feel comfortable with it, it made me feel attacked. If that happens again I'm going to let you know, and then I'm going to remove myself from the situation. Staying in the situation and trying to continue the conversation with you wasn't healthy for me."

maybe I will say that. or, since there is a part of me that hates conflict, and also feels that, with this person, she will blow what I say out of proportion in multiple unintended ways (which could manifest in her needling me about it constantly, which has happened, or could manifest in her utterly and totally stopping talking to me and hiding in her room, which has also happened), and so maybe I will wait it out until she moves out and not fucking have to deal with it. we'll see.
katekat: (Default)
My maternal Grandfather passed away last week Sunday after celebrating his 98th birthday in April. His passing wasn't entirely a surprise, because he'd been having circulation trouble (specifically in his legs and feet) for two years or so, cut for medical stuff ), so when he elected to move to the full-care hospice on the Friday after Thanksgiving (or the Wednesday before? something like that), we kind of guessed. He passed away in his sleep, pretty peacefully as far as we know.

I didn't know him very well. )

want to see a slideshow about his life? click me

The Horseman
(a poem by my Grandfather Lee F. Page)

The big percherons go with patient tread )
katekat: (Default)
People have horrible taste.

I know because I read the fanfiction they recommend. And it's true that my tolerance for shitty fanfic has lessened the more fanfiction I've read (there's a great Japanese grammatical expression for this as a verb ... yomerebayomeruhōdo or roughly if you read, you read too much though it can be used in a positive sense). But I just had to nope nope nope out of a fanfic that used given names every single sentence the two men uttered to each other. So sad. It's my own fault for reading a hooker-au I suppose.

I was weirdly depressed yesterday. Not that I mean there's no trigger or that it's weird to be depressed, but more that the depression itself felt different than other depressions I've felt in the past - almost as if I was on the edge of crying even though I was having quite regular conversations and laughing with my friends who came over the other night. I was both at a remove and totally present... performing laughter and interest and engagement at the same time that I was ready to close my eyes and hang my head. I know this is actually a pretty common sign of depression, but it's the first time I've felt it quite like that, a sort of visceral tingling around the edges of my eyes and a heaviness to my limbs. The brain is a curious thing, isn't it? If it doesn't recede (emotions, like tides, arrive in a wave in my brain and body, sometimes rushing up and sometimes sneaking in until the entire shore is engulfed) soon I'll go talk with someone and get some help managing it. For right now I'm chalking it up to holidays and seasonal changes, with a added parental visit and phd/job market pressure thrown in.

It may also be that my current closest female friends in LA are all pretty big emoters themselves right now - one is pretty much in constant job-related turmoil (job-related but world ending, everything is crucial and precariously balanced on a knife blade), one is learning to manage her anxiety but still having pretty extreme anxiety ... loops (they're not sudden so i hesitate to call them attacks), and one who just got back into town and who likes to fall head first into two-week great love affairs with men, or jobs, or plans to return to school, or friendships. The thing is they're all brilliant, caring, and kind of awesome, but it feels a bit like juggling with explosives sometimes. And that's even when I do a lot of self-care.

Hey, such is life. Like tides.
katekat: (Default)
One of my good friends had approximately a four-hour anxiety ... it's not quite correct to say attack, maybe bout? a spike? an episode? regardless, it was four hours of it that we spent together. She was having an extremely difficult day and came over as one of her management strategies (sometimes being alone makes for even more difficult spikes). I tried as best I could to help - we took a walk, I made tea, I encouraged her to eat a granola bar, since she hadn't been able to eat yet today. And we talked, and talked, and talked, and talked. She'd had a fight with her boyfriend and was pretty concerned that he was going to break up with her.

It was an all around rough time. The tough part about her anxiety is that she loops through a series of thoughts always spinning into the worst case scenario - a boring dinner with a friend becomes that friend hating being at the dinner table, and silently judging every word of the conversation. a fight becomes the ending of the relationship. a causal comment becomes a flat out rejection or veiled criticism that someone must *always* be thinking *all the time*.

So I found this website that, while I wouldn't sent it to her (she can google just fine on her own), helped me have some more possible strategies for helping her manage the distress. I don't know if it's a terrible website - maybe someone who knows about the therapeutic side of this can look at it and tell me?

But it's certainly helped *me* be more focused in how I react to her anxiety - made me feel less at sea. I am not a trained therapist, I'm her friend. And oh gods my first thing that I ask her is if she will consider talking with her therapist about this stuff, and encouraging her to do so. And if nothing else came out of this day, one of the best things that did is she set up more frequent sessions when she got ahold of her therapist (apparently they don't do phone stuff on the weekend, but regardless). So yay. But sometimes I feel like I don't know how to be a good friend, and that I inflict damage just talking things through with her because the way i approach things is different. Some of this stuff did slightly better than suggesting she breathe with me (which has been my go to in the past, with ineffective results).

The site also reassured me about the stuff my Mom does to manage her manic episodes when she's on an upswing. It reminded me that my Mom has been going to therapy for longer than some people have been alive, and she's been managing the effects of her nonstandard brain chemistry for a long long time. There's no perfect in bipolar, but there's strategies too. And she works her way through a lot of them.

She's visiting for the holidays, you see. So she was here today too (and sympathetic to my friend, though also mostly just letting us do our thing while she made cranberry sauce for the friendsgiving we went to as well).

So, four hours of trying to help a friend manage distress intolerance, two and a half hours of friendsgiving, and I was done. We've spent the rest of the night in two armchairs reading (and I've been talking to [livejournal.com profile] elizabuffy!), and that was about all I can manage.
katekat: (Default)
I don't know if any of you are into alternative modes of transportation that have arisen in the last couple of years, but if you live in LA like me, they pretty much have transformed the landscape. It used to be if I wanted to use a cab )

So yay for Uber and Lyft! )

So yay for Uber and Lyft!? )

I wrote all that so I could get to this.

Here's a horror story of someone who, because she refuses to accept technology, got completely shafted. Here's a horror story that I don't quite know the moral lesson to.

My ex-housemate from Japan (remember her? I'll try to tag this post appropriately if you don't) is someone who eschews mobile technologies. She's very frugal so I think she doesn't have a smart phone so that she can save money. She also pretty much refuses to text people. It's been a source of irritation for others of our friends just because that is an easy way to communicate that's pretty ubiquitous. I haven't talked to her about it, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a texting plan.

So she went to a conference on the east coast a couple of weeks ago, and she had to get a ride back to the airport. Apparently the public transit system was on the fritz due to a storm. The taxi line was really long. An Uber guy pulled up alongside the taxi stand and she decided to take it.

However, because she doesn't have the app on her phone, she gave her credit card to the driver, who said he could input her card into his phone - it would charge her for the amount they drove.

What was supposed to be a $50 charge (long drive to the airport) turned into a $300 charge.

That's right - $300.

And because she gave her card to the driver, she didn't even get a receipt for the transaction (all of these apps email you receipts in-app). Her bank won't let her fight it, because she can't show a receipt. She's probably going to be out $300 because she didn't use the service in the way it was intended. And because she took a risk going with a driver who then bilked her out of money (oh, and the charge to her card is UberBlack - their limo service... so she may have gotten ripped off because that WAS the charge for the service, not the $50 the driver told her).

Crazypants huh? I think so too.
katekat: (Default)
Like seriously, went bowling Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday and got the lowest score, and our high scorers were in the ~100 points range. I don't think I broke 50? For *any* of the games we played. I do know the logic of bowling, but my fingers are too thick to fit into the holes properly. [insert a holes/fingering joke here now if you're so inclined... it seems appropriate] So I ended up mostly dropping the ball instead of actually throwing it. I spent most of one game throwing granny style with both hands just so my wrist didn't get entirely thrown out of whack. Still fun though - giggling and mugging for each other, celebrating every single pin being knocked down, and marveling at the computer graphics (we can now pick exciting under the sea theme games so there are cute little fish animations adding up our scores).

Spent last night with a friend who is trying to process her mom's cancer diagnosis - she just spent two weeks with her family while her mom had emergency surgery for a cyst, and it was the worst news on the biopsy - it's metastasized. Twenty years ago I think cancer terminology entered into the common vocabulary, but it's weird to think that fifty years ago there wouldn't be these words that have meaning for us now: cyst, benign, biopsy, lymph notes, metastasized, chemo, and the rest. Of course she's trying to process and it's all uneven, because like so many of us with family her relationship with her parents is conflicted, and with her larger family it's confusing, and with her sibling it's difficult. And part of the reason why we're such good friends is that we both have a savior complex a mile wide and a couple of miles deep. There's something about being there that we're both so sure makes all the difference (and it sometimes can, because it's family, and we understand family in almost instinctual ways -- but that sometimes isn't the most healthy move, for the family or for us). Anyway, we sat and talked and pet the puppy, and went for a long dinner where we caught up. It was really good. Maybe not as much processing as she could use or need, but maybe it was enough to give her a space to be away, and to smile for an hour, and to just breathe.

Oh, and to rehang the party lights. I wanted them moved so they'd actually hang over my little cafe table outside and it only took me (and friend, since I needed one person to hang and one person to hold the strings) almost a month to do it!

But the thing that's making me really smile the most right now is that I bought myself an adult chair! If I've done this right you should be able to click it and see the beautiful picture from the website. I love it. I keep petting it. I can't stop sitting in it, either, which I know - that's the point, right? But also makes me realize how much I sit in one place in my living room.

What about you guys? Do you have a living room and you move around from couch to chair? Or are you like me and you have one chair (ok, I now have three chairs, but one is broken down, the other is the housemate's chair, and the third is my new chair) and you pretty much stay in that chair all the time? Searching my memory, my stepmom has "her" space on the couch that she's had for years...and my mom certainly has had her favorites that she stuck to. So at least I come by it via the parents, even if no one else has their "spot" in their living room.

eta: dear gods I originally started this post thinking I was going to wax nostalgic over files I found on my backup drive, meander through my job prospects and what my writing plans are for the week, and blather about being afraid of moving... the best laid plans, eh?
katekat: (Default)
Dear Cousin,

I'm defriending you on facebook. Not because I think you're a bad person - I think you have good intentions and those come from someone with a good heart. Not because you comment on my posts with different opinions - I actually like talking to people with opinions different than mine, especially when they are well read, and you seem to do a lot of reading.

But every time you comment on something I post you're aggressive and you level personal attacks at me. You told me I had no right to my opinions because I wasn't a mother. You told me it was no wonder your mom stopped talking to mine because I was just terrible as she was. Today you are telling me I'm being argumentative and I think you're also accusing me of being fat when I was trying to tell you "hey, you have your opinion and I have mine, and this is why I have mine."

I friended you because I'm not close to you and you're my cousin. And I remembered you from when we were kids. I wanted to get to know you. But when you comment so aggressively to my posts, when you tell me I can't have an opinion different than yours, when you call me ignorant, or terrible, when you attack me? It makes me feel bad, and sick, and angry. Maybe that's what you mean to do. If so, that's pretty toxic, because you don't know me either.

It seems like you're pretty happy with your life. I'm glad. I'm pretty happy with my life too. And one of the ways I try to draw boundaries in my life is to stop accepting abuse in the name of family or friends. I hope you have a good life. If I see you at a family thing I'll be happy to have a conversation with you - again I wish you well and happy. But I don't actually need to be attacked online.

Be well,
katekat: (Default)
I'm in a nostalgic mood because I'm rewatching Buffy (Season 4 rocks!4eva!) in my free time, just introduced one of my friends to the first episode of Firefly last night, am sorta joining in on the Veronica Mars rewatch my housemate is doing when she has it on and I come home, and basically... it's like TV in the past. Oh and my friend "IL" has me watching Empire's first season because she loves Cookie so. Can't argue with that - the role is so much better for Taraji Henson than her character on Person of Interest. Not that it's perfect - Empire is very much a show about drama. High drama is ridiculous all the time. No one's life is like that. And people have a bad habit of breaking into song (though it's not as bad as Smash). But at least Cookie has some range - is good, bad, beautiful, strong, both generous and selfish in turns. Henson is absolutely fascinating to watch no matter what she's doing.

But since I'm watching "Primeval" I'm feeling all blog-centric. Well that and I had a great conversation with my mom last night about what we put in journals and why we love them so. Even though this isn't a written journal it is a record of pieces of my life, and even though sometimes it's fragments, it's still a record of some kind. Just like every journal is fragmented. I can't tell you how many times I've sat on an airplane writing the first page of my journal for my trip to somewhere ... Japan, Boston, Minnesota. Traveling brings back the introspection in my family apparently.

And Buffy watching.

So, in navel gazing, I had a major birthday. It passed with fanfare of the best kind - planned and executed well, if I do say so myself. There were a hideous number of festive tissue paper pom-poms and garlands made of playing cards, and while there weren't fountains of punch there were several pitchers of sangria that went over incredibly well. Oh, and cupcakes! All of my thinking and obsessing and preparation and anticipation actually worked out incredibly well!

here's a beautiful picspam of just a couple of images...yes i am infected by instagram aesthetics )

Work has been relatively good this week, which is nice - I'm trying to finish a rough draft of my entire dissertation by the end of November, so we'll see how that goes. It's going to be a close thing. But every time I sit down and read another magazine I feel closer to my source material, and even though I haven't read everything, I've read so many new things that expand my understanding of the conversation happening within the pages of the magazine. And it was a conversation, even if it's hard to hear how people speak back to a printed article. It's pretty awesome.

I went to my second academic SF conference the weekend after my birthday - both fun and a little weird. Lots of cool info about scifi that doesn't always get into the conversation. Did you know that there was a pretty big Mexican Cyberpunk movement in the 1990s? And that First Nations peoples are considering alternative ways of knowing as both SF but also just S (ie: science). One of my professors presented on some of her preliminary work on Korean SF, and a friend presented on this amazing graphic novel where the two women main characters are a spaceship captain and the engineer and they both make love to each other and their ship!

Unfortunately there was also just a little social weirdness. Some of the male grad students I struck up a conversation with were dudebros, and some of the spanish speakers just straight up didn't talk in English in order to exclude the non-spanish speakers from the conversation, but such is life.
katekat: (Default)
10 jobs to apply for, 8 post doc applications due, chapter rewrites required, book reports, an article submission deadline, the world feels like one of those swirling vortexes with a black hole at the center that eats all light (that is, of course, October 1, my first due date). Then, if I'm lucky, I get sucked through the whole and come out the wormhole on the other side.

Of course there's also half a dozen meetings between now and then on campus until 9 pm that I'm due to go to, so the educationally social is coming along hand in hand with the academic. Then there's things like friends. Why am I not a hermit?

Kidding. Mostly. I like people. I like my friends. I like them so much I actually am throwing a party for my birthday that will wine and dine them. And things keep arriving from amazon to help with the party. It's pretty cool.

but wow, i kind of am loving and fearing the next two weeks. It's like how I imagine stepping through a stargate feels - anticipation mixed with fear until you arrive safely on the other side.
katekat: (Default)
In a little more than a month I'll be turning 40. Most of my friends are in their late 20s, so it's a weird place to stand socially. I'm considering throwing myself a fantastic 40 party with a kind of boozy alice-in-wonderland type theme, but we'll see if I change my mind 50 times between now and then or not.

I've been seeing two fannish turnings that I'm fascinated by:

1) some interesting meta by someone in the Hockey RPF about one of the Hockey players who is probably a rapist and why she's going to continue writing it. eta: author has apparently removed post entirely, which is a bummer. It was her discussing how she got into reading and writing RPF through LOTR and Merlin, where the actors' characterizations in fic were largely constituted through the characters they played. She then argued that because of this, she was writing/reading a fictionalized character of a real hockey player, and didn't have to take into account in her writing the *real* person's current actions. He was being accused of raping a woman.

This was my response:
yes i actually used up the character limit ) We have this idea that there is some perfect world where all these stories have absolutely no meaning and are just fun (thus having no effect), but in the same breath (or in your same post) we conceive of the fanfiction process as transformative and liberatory - it actually MUST have an effect in order to be transformative and liberatory.

Acknowledging that damage is possible is the only way to continue forward, I think.

Also, could you please add something about this being a discussion because of rape allegations in your tags (or notes)? It seems like a gaping absence.

2) fannish history is a continual act of forgetting, it seems, instead of a continual act of remembering. This post by [personal profile] bluemeridian is something that I've heard about multiple times over the years, and interestingly seems to happen with every generation. I was (am?) part of the LJ generation of fandom (I started on yahoo groups and sent out my first fic through them, but still did most of my fannish stuff on LJ as a platform). But I've become aware of a much larger fannish history the longer I've been in fandom and the longer I've read academic things by people who do fandom studies. Henry Jenkins writes about Beauty and the Beast fan practices Textual Poachers, and that there even *was* a fandom around this media property is largely forgotten in the oral history of fan culture I was introduced to in the early years.

I don't think it's indicative of a particular aspect of fan culture, though there is something to the way that new technologies and online platforms, because of increasing monetization of participation, would like us to forget what forms came before. Tumblr is invested in keeping people *only* on tumblr (only and *all the time*) because it lets them make claims about unique users and advertising, and the sense of newness and exclusivity creates a user over-identification that they really want. After all, yahoo groups users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! NO, wait, I mean LJ users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! NO, wait, I mean facebook and twitter users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! No, wait, I mean tumblr users are unique, adventurous, young, and hip like no one else on the internet! /sarcasm

I think it's actually indicative of human culture. As much as we try to spend time reminding ourselves about history, collectively we spend just as much time rewriting or ignoring history.
katekat: (Default)
My mom is visiting for a week down here in sunny la-la-land, and so far we've managed to totally goof around without real plans - though we did go see Spy on Saturday and gave my landlady's front yard a facelift Sunday (it needed it). I'm trying to make it so we're more lazy than not just so when she goes back home she feels rested. Like tonight we're going to a comedy show, but since the meditation center we wanted to go to is closed on Monday, we're hanging out at home.

My landlady is finally showing her house to renters (anyone want a 2 br 1&1/2 ba in Los Feliz?), hence us helping clean up the front yard. (I live in the guest house in the back and while it looks like a converted garage it's really a two-bedroom open plan apartment that they laid foundation for and everything.) However, the people who have renovated the house have pretty much done so at the expense of the front yard, and the flower bed running around the perimeter was filled with old pots and slightly used supplies (grout bags anyone?) and some of the grass had been painted when the painter set up to repaint the house. All in all it looked pretty terrible. We moved border stones and for about $50 bought some pansies and a couple of bags of bark, rearranged the half-dead (but still alive) potted plants that were already there and made it so things have a shape and it feels like someone likes living there. It was really cool. I love gardening with my mom, and it was great to do it in my neighborhood too.

And in fannish things it was my day at Summer of Giles and I committed fic, which is really fucking weird, because I haven't in years. At least I did the art to go with it, so there's are there and stuff, and that feels normal.

Think it's gonna rain? (Giles/Faith, PG for language) Instead of using the device on Buffy when she wakes up, what if the Mayor intended Faith to use it on Giles?

Pari Passau (with Equal Step) (Giles/Buffy, PG) Before the Cruciamentum there was the bond between Watcher and Slayer.
katekat: (Default)
Through a weird confluence of events I've had some sort of thing to do with friends every day for the last several weeks. Karoke (twice), dinner to catch up and eat healthy, picnic for birthdays, dinner for complaining about the department, dinner for dinner's sake, moving party, Mad Max: Fury Road (and dinner before hand), dinner for celebrating dissertation defenses (twice), dinner to invite my old housemate back, lunch for complaining about the department, skype calls to organize panels, and last, but not least, a dog appointment and then drinks.

I haven't been this busy since I stopped taking classes.

It's actually been really good for my productivity - piling things on (along with trying to do stuff for SOG) has made me take more time for reading. Also? One of my friends actually (sorta) yelled at me to go study when he saw me on facebook, and that was exactly what I needed. Apparently guilt and yelling is good.

I'm also trying something new with water drinking and dog walking this week, since I need/want to do more almost constantly. I'm trying to get ~10,000 steps a day since I discovered that my phone will track how many steps I take while I'm carrying it. I've made it up to ~8,000, though it's tough just finding new places to walk, and that was a big increase since most days I'm at ~5,000. And I'm making cucumber-lime water to try and drink at least a pitcher of water a day (though I think I should be drinking ~two pitchers) because if I do that my entire face clears up. Adult acne is no joke, yo.

This, of course, comes after the totally unhealthy celebratory pizza i ordered friday night because i dropped my housemate off at the airport for a 12 day trip to italy and i generally only eat terrible take out when she's not here.

But baby steps, right?
katekat: (Default)
I kept telling people that I was heading to Kansas for my Grandfather's 97th birthday, and they'd get this precious look on their faces like, "awww, family, yay!" Each time I'd have to pause and correct them. Not all family birthdays are joyful occasions. the long and the short of it is )

See the image of my Grandfather shaking noisemakers as proof.

Since then I've felt like I was in recovery from the slew of events and visits and trips and airplane flights. I've had low-grade depression making certain types of motivation, including writing motivation, very difficult. I think part of it has been that I haven't had weekly place to be/things to do (either social or school-related) and have been largely lonely. I've mostly puttered around the house and watched a lot of TV.

And cleaned every day or every other day trying to get rid of a flea problem - apparently the fleas in my area over the last several years have developed immunity to the normal flea prevention drugs that I have the dog on. According to the vet, they've developed immunity to Frontline and Revolution both. And I had to have the "are you cleaning enough?" conversation with three vet techs, a vet, and two different pet supply store workers/owners. It reached ridiculous levels after the second conversation. Because apparently what you're supposed to do to get rid of fleas is clean ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME: your dog. And any loose cloths that can be washed should be. And vacuum your couches (under cushions and everything). And mop your floors. And clean your drapes. And baseboards. And do it every day so that the eggs that can stay live up to two months will be picked up as they hatch. And spray with anti-flea spray. And spray your dog with organic anti-flea spray. So I've tried to do that, mostly. Washed every scrap of cloth that could be taken down at the laundromat. Cleaned every day, when usually I only do that once a week. It only takes a couple of hours, but it's ridiculously tiring to do it every day.

It's made it hard to motivate about a lot of things, one of which is Summer of Giles, which is celebrating it's 10th frigging year. And sadly right now needs sign ups like crazy.

These last couple of days I've been able to start the day with translating, which is so so good. And do other things.

But I have been walking the dog, despite her itchy problem. That's the best part of my day as of late - getting out into the sunlight and walking the dog. The tough part is that every day it's a little bit of a mental struggle to get myself together and do it, but every time I'm glad I do.
katekat: (Default)
It's my last year as moderator, it's the 10th year it's been going, it's time again for Summer Of Giles! Yes, you read that right, it's summer again (or becoming summer in this hemisphere) and it's time to dust your favorite stories of Giles off, your favorite media of Giles out, your favorite music of Giles playing, and pick a day (or two).

sign up here}
katekat: (Default)
it's like planes, trains, and automobiles but not the same at all..

i went to Chicago for the first time at the end of last month to present at the Association for Asian Studies 2015 conference, which was four days of intense networking. I learned that sure, it's important to not have an entirely terrible presentation, but more importantly it's best to ask interesting questions at every panel you go to. (i didn't, but i did try and raise my hand at least once a panel) Because not many people were going to show up to my 8am on Sunday panel to see me speak if they didn't already know me. But they might want to know me if I actually asked something interesting. And also I learned that there's no good reason to eat the frankly frightening canapes in the main ballroom when going to a sponsored organization gets you the pick of the nice cheeses. these are essential survival skills.

And I got to see my favorite people from my year in Japan! Which made everything better. We're sort of evil together, and yet also ridiculously awesome.

then this last weekend my own department, actually, my own graduate group, put on our first grad conference. and yes, I did kind of run the whole thing in one way or another as the conference chair, and yes i know how conceited that sounds. But I proposed the conference format, I suggested a keynote panel, I designed the programs and flyers and posters, I picked up the damn name tags, I wrangled the keynotes and wrote the funding letters and organized the catering. I created and updated the website. And I did have a lot of help from the other grads in our department to do all these things but I pulled all the threads together in every way. And felt a kind of vicious pleasure on Saturday night when everyone continued to come up to ME and say what an amazing job we did, and how much of a success it was (even though we still had another day to go).

now i just want to rest and recover and i'm having trouble going to sleep. but that's ok, i'm sure i'll get tired enough soon.

next up - I'm going to Kansas next weekend for my Grandfather's birthday. I keep forgetting to ask my mom if he's turning 98 or 99, but it's up there. Very far. After that I should be able to breathe for a bit.
katekat: (sherlock_john b&w)
i don't know why i put myself through this, but i watched Wolf of Wallstreet. And it's just as ridiculously filled with self-aggrandizing masturbatory male fantasies of treating other people like objects as i thought it would be. there is no moral in it. the ridiculous celebration of their lifestyle doesn't actually judge it, it just fetishizes it. yay isn't it fun to be wall street men? how did this performance get awards. it just made me sick. am watching The Fifth Element as a palette cleanser

i rearranged my guest room/3rd room/storage room today because grad students are coming to visit this week. and now I want to hang out there, cuz it's all pretty and fresh and new and 2/3rds of the boxes are actually in the closet. with silk flowers and everything. and pictures on the walls. it's not a hotel. and nothing matches. but it's cute.

the dog chased a skunk sunday (and lost), so she got a bath. post-bath, post-windows open all night, post-bathroom cleaning she's super duper soft. i can't stop petting her. And the correct formula to de-skunk is 1 pint hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp soap. it works.

did great valentine's day party with my single friends. champagne and sausage party. i brought the cookies. and yes, there were actual sausages.

last week i had a fassbender & fondue dinner party, more than half of the people invited canceled on the day of (actually the evening of) the dinner party. However, the 3 people who showed made manful inroads on the fondue (yes, cheese fondue from scratch, with sausage and veggies and two kinds of bread, and chocolate fondue with raspberries and blackberries and strawberries), and were amazing company. And I adore them. We had a blast. I was a bit miffed at everyone else for cancelling though. Not so much that they canceled, but that seriously 6 of them did it within two hours of the event, 4 of them actually at the event start time.

was at school every day this week for one thing or another, so was totally unproductive (except for the meetings, yay advisor!) on my diss writing/research. am going to be pulling a similar schedule next week. i used to do this all the time (and get tons of work done), but right now it's just a pain that derails me.

had proper LA dim sum Friday with some of the other grads from my department. so. much. yummy. food. $14.00 per person. And there were leftovers. so worth driving to Alhambra. (though not a run i will make every week)
katekat: (Default)
and yet i'm tempted to turn the TV back on. I watched 2001 for the first time tonight after having seen snippits of it over the years. It is definitely a movie from another era - the pacing so molasses slow. That's why I'd never watched it before now - I'd tried, but I couldn't sit still for long enough. Tonight though I made about a million cookies while I watched it, so that kept me occupied enough I didn't just fidget the entire time.

And I'd like to write more about my own take on it, but honestly? It's been written about so much that I feel disingenuous coming to it this late and forming an opinion. It's anachronistic. And to comment on it somehow involves the me pulling it into this contemporary moment, and that just doesn't make sense. I almost felt as if when I was watching it I was being pulled back into the 70s mindset under which it was made.

Doesn't help that I'm writing Vivian Sobacheck's Screening Space (a book theorizing SF film written right at the beginning of the 80s). It's huuuuge help with my dissertation on the theoretical side. But the part that I'm struck by, continually, is just that the body of film she looks at, because of when she was writing, is just SO different than the body of film I think of when I think "Sci Fi Film". I think her book includes the first of the Star Wars movies, but not the second or third. Imagine that mindset for a second, and think about how you'd conceive of science fiction if your only experience of science fiction film went up to the end of the 1970s. It's different than if someone was writing a paper on 1950s film now, because even if they've lived in a vacuum, they still had some kind of interaction with contemporary notions of what science fiction should be. And while it wasn't so different back then, especially in film, it wasn't *the same*.

I kind of want to go see Jupiter Ascending for that very reason. I've read a ton of reviews basically saying it's terrible, but that we should go see it anyway, because it's big budget SF, both in the best and worst ways ever. Besides, the costumes look cool.

maybe i'll turn the TV on and get the external hard drive open and make some graphics. it's that kind of night. i'm missing being a producer in fandom. funny how that happens now that i've finished my second chapter, and am on the preliminary research for the third.
katekat: (Default)
It's 10:30 pm on a Saturday and I'm home with the dog feeling accomplished because I actually wrote for about an hour today on my dissertation. I'm struggling with the rewrite of my second chapter, because I needed to pretty much reverse the polarity of the argument (which in all honesty meant I needed to go back and rewrite the chapter). I did that AND 2/3rds of a fellowship application that's due on Monday.

I started an Instagram account. Because I need *more* things to check online that aren't lj. And I'm mostly posting pictures of my dog. She's more photogenic than I am.

Dog and I have been doing pretty well lately. She loves having me home every day, and now that it gets dark so early (curse you, daylight savings time!) I've been taking her on a walk at 3 pm instead of 5 or 6. Our schedule changes all the time because it seems like every department or college event this semester happens at 5 pm or from 4 - 6 pm, or somewhere thereabouts. And I've found that my fuzzy friend over there pouts if I'm not home during that time UNLESS I take her on a walk earlier in the day. Which is great and all, it's not like I can't use the excercise, I just wonder if I used to be this concentrated on taking care of the dog? I know I took her out a lot after dark, but I'm realizing these days that she *really* doesn't like that. And truth be told I'm not too big of a fan of it either.

In weird news, my ear continues to do odd things. I now seem to have tinnitus in my left ear. My awareness of it goes in and out, and sometimes it sounds like the loudest buzz imaginable, while at others it fades into the background ambient noise (which include buzzes from the fridge, and powerlines, and at night, crickets). It is uncomfortable, and a little scary, and because of that I haven't called a doctor to go see what is actually wrong. That's what the internet is for right? WebMD or some other site noted that smoking, since it affects your blood pressure, can affect your ears too, and that scared me enough that I cut down to about 1/3 my daily intake (3 - 4 cigarettes). Which is good. I should/can/will try actually to keep cutting that down, but that was a big reduction from my 8-12 a day so I'm counting it as a win. And actually, excercising *really* helps me not notice the buzz, which is also part of the reason for the weird Domino walking times.

But we're both tired of walking around our neighborhood. Two months ago I did a hike with some other grads and my friend up to Griffith Park (with the dog), and since then the dog and I have gone three more times. If I went fast it would be a 15 minute uphill walk, but since I don't it's more like 25, and I huff and puff my way up the trail.

Have some pictures of that )

now, if I remember, in my next post I'll tell you all about how I threw an awesome murder mystery party (theme: post apocalyptic zombie cannibal asylum), how I showed up on a Japanese academic's twitter, how I helped interview an up and coming Japanese writer, and how my nemesis (though I dunno if she's that now) provided me with about three days worth of schadenfreude (which i know is not nice, but it happened, ok).
katekat: (XMFC_erik helmet)
I'm applying for a job that asks I write a diversity statement that explains my personal experience with diversity, my past contributions, and my future goals that will help achieve the university's commitment to diversity. My first draft was just me spitballing, my second was culled from all kinds of diversity documents, and my third (still draft) hopefully is getting a little bit better. I don't know for sure though.

I don't know for sure that I've done a good job because I can point out my own privilege, can explain that I'm cis-gendered, and predominately heterosexual, I'm pretty firmly middle class, from a small homogenous town, and the closest thing I've got to an ethnic identity is the stories of Minnesotan Norwegian farmers from Prairie Home Companion I'd listen to with my dad when we drove back and forth from Sacramento to my mom's house every week. But am I committed to diversity? Looking back on my life, have I done things that help others? To be inclusive? To open conversations?

Of course this is why they give us the opportunity to talk about how we'd address this stuff in the future...but I want to figure out honest answers to that too.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to say it all tomorrow. And to draft a research statement. And to rewrite my first chapter. All before October 31. Because I'm a planner that way.
katekat: (Default)
I, like everyone in the netflix!verse it seems, have been watching Gilmore Girls with the housemate. We're totally bonding, which is great, because she giggles at pretty much all the jokes and it completely endears me to her. And the show itself is still as much fun as I remember it when I mostly watched it in rerun a couple of years ago.

Funny thing is that part of the reason why I love it is it's the TV version (not, but sorta, but not) of my childhood. Me and my mom lived in a quirky small town with all kinds of interesting characters as locals. It was just her and I, with a relationship where we were often blurring the lines between friends and mom and daughter. My mom had a series of relationships, but there were signs she'd never gotten over my dad (hello Lorelai), she was estranged from her parents (though of my grandparents weren't well off, and lived in Kansas, so we didn't have to see them very often). I was geeky and too smart and carried a book with me everywhere I went. Of course our lives were real life, and were nothing at all like Gilmore Girls, and yet. There's a certain feeling of nostalgia when I watch it that somehow feels more invested than maybe some other people. A nostalgia for a life that is the dramatized version of a life I might have sort of lived. Of course, it's also just that for all it's faults, it's also an awesome show that centers around two women.

I'm also planning a Halloween Murder Mystery party for Saturday next week. I know, it's actually post-Halloween, but I think it's going to be fairly epic. The theme is Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Asylum! So that's cool!

I'm having trouble getting work done, so tomorrow I'm disallowing myself the use of netflix to get some actual work done. I spent a lot of emotional time last week getting an application done for a fellowship, and now I'm moving into applications for tenure track jobs, so that's also freaky. Trying to illustrate how I'm an interesting candidate and different from everyone else is an uncomfortable process when I have to write a bunch of documents attesting to it. It feels really awkward to go over and over again "look at me! i'm special! no, really!"

I've also been watching Criminal Minds a million years later. Which is deeply problematic, but also compelling for a lot of structure-related reasons that I will write on someday, I'm sure.

but now? off to dinner.

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