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)
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: (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: (WC_neal hat)
I have been *buried* like a crazy person in all kinds of things. Not bad things, not at all, just lots and lots of things one after another.

So I give you life, in photo form (well, and some things that i forgot to take photos of, because i have trouble that way)

A visit from one of my very favorite people in the world, Tebo. )

Two of my friends got married, and this is when we took them out to dinner to celebrate after they'd done the ceremony stuff )

I presented at a Japanese pop culture conference in Minneapolis on Sept 27th! )

My second chapter, on Japanese magazine covers in the 1960s, got turned in on October 1 )

I got to go to a departmental faculty meeting and pretend like I know what I'm doing. No, kidding. But I did talk about our upcoming graduate student conference )

I had a birthday! I am older! Like by a whole year! )

And since then I've started a writing workshop to transform a written piece into an article, assembled my portfolio so I can apply for the 3 (yes, 3) jobs in the U.S. for Japanese literature and culture professors, applied for one of the most prestigious national fellowships available to ppl who work on what I do (and trust me, that was a pain, including two different research statement workshops and one rewrite of a dissertation chapter), had another friend come to visit for 4 days (he doesn't like pictures, but we talked about our projects, watched a ton of movies and tv, and found yummy local places to eat on the cheap), and watched a TON of Gillmore Girls with my housemate.

And since Halloween is coming, I have one more image for you:

2014-10-20 18.31.55

this is a skeleton flamingo. to be found in the yard up the street that brought us the two-joseph chreche at Christmas time (found in this picspam about 2/3rds of the way down) I love them. They are awesome. I just need to find a way to make them my friends.
katekat: (Default)
When I got ready for the trip I kept just thinking: it's only for a month. I'll go, I'll hit up bookstores, I'll try and do some research, and maybe if I get my act together I'll try to email those professors I need to. It's going to be weird to be there for such a short time, but before I know it I'll be heading back home.

now, about how I was going to get enough money to there...that's another pain in the ass )

Unexpectedly great things:

Housing: instead of staying at a Guest House like I've done in the past, I found and reserved a room through Airbnb (which is sort of like a do-it-yourself rental place with everything from couches to full houses - all over the world). The woman who ran the place I ended up at, Sayuri, had actually gone to highschool in California, and was super sweet. She's a jazz singer. The place itself was great - a three bedroom (2 bath) apartment where I got my own room with air conditioner (so necessary!) and a washer/dryer. The room had the bare minimum: a bed and a shelf - which made sure that I went out every day into the world (so good, otherwise I probably wouldn't have). It was in the north part of Tokyo, but on the Yamanote line, so everything was pretty easy to get to. Sayuri was there most days doing clean up/checking in new people/etc, so we had great chats about food and books and stuff, and she invited everyone in the house to her place for the Natsumatsuri (Summer Festival) - she lived in an apartment on the Sumida river, right where they let off fireworks. For an hour and a half (or maybe two hours)! It was so much fun. So two thumbs up there!

Yokohama friends: One of the friends I'd made when I was staying for the long program was still living in Yokohama, and she invited me to hang with her and her husband a bunch. Even though we only ended up getting together twice, it was great to see them both, and pretty perfect both times. The first was when a friend of theirs was visiting, so they came up to Tokyo and we walked through the Imperial gardens and then went to the Japanese National Museum of Modern Art's Crafts building (which displays the modern masters of craft wares - like laquer and kimono and pottery). the second I went down to Yokohama to their place for game night (though it was mostly talking with an uno-like card game thrown in just to keep socially lubricated).

Random lectures: I'm on a bunch of discipline-focused mailing lists, and the first night I was in Japan I sat down and went through to find as many public lectures as I could since people always send out these notifications that start out, "If you're going to be in Tokyo on the 27th...."

The two most productive were the Media Mix & the Sophia Lecture, but I went to one other )

The Two Scholars: The two scholars whose work has most inspired me are actually husband and wife. Tatsumi Takayuki is actually an english lit professor, but in his spare time he has published like half a dozen books on Japanese SF, been active in both US and Japanese SF fandom and academic circles, and is like a powerhouse of theory. Kotani Mari, who is a public intellectual, though I think she does some seminars from time to time at Meiji University, wrote this book called TechnoGynesis which is all about the intersection of monstrous and feminine in science fiction and fantasy (American and Japanese) and she goes to Wiscon every year because she's fascinated by cosplay and yaoi (Japanese slash, kinda) and fanworks and fan community. So I emailed Tatsumi and wasn't sure how I was going to get ahold of Kotani because she's notoriously bad at emailing back... but luckly I'd made friends with that women at the open lecture, and she generously invited me along to a dinner she was having with Kotani to catch up!

ok, so it's really intimidating sometimes to meet people whose books you have read when you want them to like you )

there were other really good things: food, and the Literary Museum (which had an SF exhibit), and my bra-shop still being there, and ordering from Amazon, and the thing I found when I went to the SF second hand book store. But I'm going to have to save that for another day, and another post, because this one has already gotten way out of hand.
katekat: (TeenW - derek strung up)
ok, so, um. i got buried under an avalanche of preparation. and disappeared. from the internet. i also technically did three talks in the space of four days. And one of those was literally across the country, so i flew there and back and presented.

but i'm back!

Tuesday I presented for half an hour. My presentation was one in this series our Visual Studies Program does called "Objects of Knowledge" - it's where a grad student presents their dissertation work to an audience, kind of a mock-job talk but with a formal discussant (who is a professor who responds to your presentation with comments and questions), and I was totally and utterly nervous about it.
A) because it was the longest presentation of my work I would have done to date
B) I haven't actually *done* the work I thought I was going to have done to, you know, present about it
C) the Vis Studies department has all the hard ass professors in it who call you on your shit, so I was terrified about what questions they might come up with

What actually happened? I think I did just fine! I certainly had plenty to talk about, my preparation of materials was thorough, I lined up a discussant who works on visual media but doesn't really work on Japan, and I'd presented at *another* conference the weekend before AND done a mock-talk practice session on Monday. Another professor at the university, who works on Slavic SF, emailed me about the talk and actually brought some of his undergrads (and even though the talk probably went over their heads, he was very complementary about it and we're supposed to get coffee soon to discuss our respective projects). My advisor came to the talk (which is good since this is the second time I think he's engaged with my work, lolz). And although his comment was his own particularly fantabulous kind of response, with interconnected linkages and stylistic flourishes, i think on the whole it was positive and encouraging. And my girlfriend who made it to the talk did say that she thought I nailed the Q&A, not because I had answers to every question but because I didn't get derailed by any of the questions, acknowledged these were areas that I needed to look into, and admitted when I hadn't considered something with grace. I did speak too quickly (but my mom points out probably part of the reason for that is I'm a fast talker in real life too - so my 'natural' pace isn't natural to hear except for me).

so that was that! And the whole earlier talk? was at Harvard :) which sounds cooler than it is, since it was a grad conference (and not the best planned one). But it was my first trip to Harvard! So yay! And my first time taking a red-eye flight (which I probably will not do again? i dunno, i don't think i got good sleep, I started hazing out around 3 pm, but it was nice to get there in the morning and have the whole day). I did get great feedback from the discussant on that panel as well, which was cool, since the content of the talk was a little different, and I've already had three or four people from the conference email me about staying in touch (so yay! networking!)

But ugh. All the prep work? basically I've been working on keeping my head afloat while I wrote the papers then also configured the presentations for both pieces, and dear gods that takes time. More time on the presentations (which I do in Prez, OMG do you knwo about Prezi? if you don't, please ask me!!!) than on the written talks (well, on the draft text, since I go over and over the talks more than once.

The upshot? I'm tired. I'm pleased though. And I have some draft materials that hopefully, once I clean up the language a bit, will lead to rough draft of my first chapter. OH, and this week I got mid terms to grade, so that will be my entire weekend.

despite that, I'm IN LOVE WITH the current story line on Teen Wolf and keeping up with it! It was definitely one that fandom COMPLETELY CALLED like a year or so ago? And is super awesome that the show people decided to go with. But it's hard watching it in pieces waiting to see what's going to happen. ARG. Episodic TV = ARG.

speaking of non-episodic TV, I also on my day of post-talk rest yesterday watched all of the second season of House of Cards. Is anyone else on my flist into it? I love it and am totally repulsed by it at the same time. I have *thoughts* but will hold those for a different post.
katekat: (Default)
I've had on my To Do List this thing... this thing where I have to create a bibliography of the works I'm going to need for my dissertation. And since I am rewriting my proposal from the ground up, most of the works on my qualifying exams list aren't really helpful or necessary anymore. Oh, sure, like 20 or 30 of them will come over, but I've needed to actually go start to outline the works I *will* need since last year.

Well today I finally got started on it! And found a bunch of dissertations that I am aching to read, including a monograph on one of the authors I would like to write about in my later chapters on feminist writers! It was very exciting!!

But I totally looked up and it was like an hour later and I have 10 citations. Which is good! Dont' get me wrong! But I'd meant to only sit down with the database for like 20 minutes, which is just laughable. Resaerch is awesome.

That's my life. Except that I totally read [personal profile] scarimonious's giggling and saw that [livejournal.com profile] entrenous88 had done a review of Sleepy Hollow and it sounded kind of hilarious, so, yeah, two episodes in I think I've adopted a new TV show. Not that I need anymore! But accents! Awesome cops! Headless Horsemen!!!

(yes, i know, this post has a lot of exclamation points. i think i'm feeling less sick finally, and it shows in the punctuation!)
katekat: (_nihon_prayers)
I am simultaneously terrified and excited to announce that I was accepted into a year long program in Japan! And I was also awarded the funding I applied for, for both summer and the school year!

These are the fantastic things. The not so fantastic things are that the I did poorly on the placement test for the program and they want me to do a summer intensive program to get my japanese into shape (which, fine, I was planning on doing that anyway, but I can't go to Japan to do it, i have QUALIFYING EXAMS). Their acceptance letter actually ONLY has the option for me to accept going to the summer school as well, which is freaking me out. Also, the funding I got is less than 50% of the entire total of the program (their costs have tripled in the last year, which I forgot to check, because, shit, that's a lot). So, um, I can go because I got in but I can't because the money isn't there? And then I'm also freaking out about what to do with my stuff here while I'm going over there, and how to get enough stuff over there to live for a year. Like cognitively I can't even imagine it. Do I mail boxes of clothes? I'll be there in winter - it snows there in winter. ACK.

On the good side my mom has offered to take Domino so I don't have to find her a new home, which is amazing and generous and awesome. Also on the *hopefully* good side the head of the department, for all his driving me crazy, said something about trying to find more departmental money to help cover the costs, and who knows, it might actually work out. Another girl in my program also got in, and she's interested in possibly sharing an apartment, which would keep costs down. (On the other hand, when we had three classes together she drove me absolutely bug fucking insane, but I think I could handle it by putting earphones in all the time and not accepting her requests to go hang out or something.)

It's all terrifying and strange and ... really? this is my life? i think it might be. *looks around* whoah.

Also had a meeting with my advisor just to check in about the Qualifying Exam and hopefully I will be able to take it at the end of May, though there may be some difficulties with my committee members. But he was incredibly reassuring about my preparation, in that he said something to the effect of this:

Yes, do study, and the anxiety about the exam is something of a right of passage for everyone who takes it, and you should definitely take it seriously. But, there are different types of students: those who have blind spots in their knowledge, where the exam is a place to point them out, so they can be focused on and shored up before the student goes onto to further work; and those who do not know their field and so need to be checked because they cannot or should not go further; and finally those who the committee is assured already have the breadth of knowledge required. And you are one of those. If I had to, for some reason, cancel your exam and yet asked your committee members today if they would still pass you, they would say yes.

That's a hell of a vote of confidence. Made me think I'm doing something right after all.
katekat: (Default)
so I'm trying to meditate once a day to guided meditation things off of youtube.  I know that's kind of absurdist in an 'get your enlightenment through the internet' kind of way, but I have trouble staying focused if I just sit somewhere for 10 minutes, and the relaxation steps are good.  So far I've found two videos that were (mostly) ok as long as you've got your eyes closed - one for relaxation (that is really about body relaxation) and another that says it's deep relaxation (which i guess was mostly about breathing). 

Why all this sudden interest?  I started trying to figure out what might help me improve my memory since this semester I'm going to be reading something close to a book a day to prep for my exams, and I found this website all about how you can improve your memory and concentration through games and other stuffs like meditation. 

It all came from this wired article someone on facebook linked to titled (oh so comfortingly and not at all sensationally) Digital Overload is Frying Our Brains. While I think there's a lot of naysaying going on about what exactly digital life is doing to us, I do also think I'm personally moving into a pretty heavy stress period and that last semester wasn't exactly a cakewalk, and I could use all the relaxation and focusing techniques I can handle.  Though, frankly, I spend oh probably 6-8 hours at least on the internet every day (some days closer to 12) and I can still read books, do complex tasks, write papers, etc., so I think some of the short-attention-span-panic is overblown.

Since I basically spent the last week goofing around on the internet reading, I will try to put together a recs list of things I've found.  Until then I have another recipe, since I got bored last night waiting for friends to figure out what they were doing and made yeast-free cinnamon rolls.  This is one of the few recipes I've found where the dough actually does plump up (from the baking soda & powder).  I mean, no, not like yeast rolls, but I'm not dedicated enough to have yeast hanging around my house all the time.

squishy cinnamon rolls, here they come )

I start classes tomorrow with a bang - I am holding the section before the class starts (it's a Tuesday/Thursday class with sections on Monday morning - I don't even know - scheduling is like ... yeah). I'm looking forward to TAing a Japanese literature class since most of what I've done has been literature-adjacent. It feels weird to hold the section before the class has even started, but this will get the preliminaries out of the way so that next week we can actually talk about the readings.
katekat: (b/g - in the library)
man that's weird. I feel very proud of myself though - I managed to draft the six page theoretical paper that discusses random visual studies project in detail )

Anyway, now onto other things. Plans for the weekend are as follows:
- walk doggie
- buy groceries for coming week
- do laundry
- buy sandpaper for shelving unit i 'liberated' from the street so it can become linen cupboard
- write draft of my prospectus (which means four short papers) by Tuesday
- shower
- hang out with friends tonight

I am annoyed that the client I use for updating dreamwidth/lj is not compatible with firefox 8 (and don't hate me, but I hate semagic, so I can't use it). It is weird to be typing into the 'update' page.

It's been a cold and gloomy day here in LA. And since they happen so rarely it's actually been really nice as a kind of excuse to stay in jammies and not go outside. Not that I usually need excuses, but still, the operating principle is sound.

And in other random things, I have also been consuming adorable fanfiction ... here, you can have some of it too:

Downtown (everything's waiting for you) by anon at xmen_firstkink
XMen // Charles/Erik // Pretty Woman AU // NC17 // 10,000~ words
Tight jeans and eyeliner, bright lights and dirty streets. Downtown LA, with its rumbling traffic and crowded sidewalks. It’s a place you go to forget your cares. A place where everybody’s got a dream. His dream was decent money, a client that didn’t leave marks and a roommate that he didn’t want to punch in the face. None of it was likely to come true any time soon. Still, it was better than no dream at all.

OMG sure you were like if anyone was going to do Pretty Woman Charles would totally be the prostitute and YOU WOULD BE WRONG BECAUSE ERIK WORKS SO MUCH BETTER. This is awesome and just everything you want in a movie AU and OM NOM NOM. Plus special appearance by Tony Stark

Quickening Days by [livejournal.com profile] fahye_fic
Merlin // Merlin/Arthur // R // 20,000
In which dragons & ghosts & prejudices are confronted, Merlin wears a hat (twice) and a dress (once), Arthur breaks some crockery (lots), there are more pranks than pillowfights but at least one of each, and many secrets are revealed.

I'm a sucker for good plotty Merlin-reveals-his-magic fics and this is one of the good kind. And growdhog day esque fics, because they also work.

The World On Hist Wrist by [livejournal.com profile] bendingsignpost
BBC Sherlock // John // AU // PG13 //30,000~
First, he is shot in Afghanistan. Second, he wakes to a phone call in Chelmsford, Essex. Third is pain, fourth is normalcy, fifth is agony and sixth is confusion. By the eighth, he's lost track. (John-centric AU)

Ok, so this is a more serious story than I usually go for, but it's kind of incredible and a really weird but lovely time traveling (but not, not at all) idea. It takes a little bit to get one's legs, so stick with it if it feels weird, but the ending is all worth it and super cool and just... sometimes a really good concept fic is what your'e in the mood for. And even if you didn't know it, you're in the mood for this one.

I have more recs (like this number times oh, 100 since my last recs post) but am too lazy to do the write ups. Want to find them? Visit my fanfic tag at pinboard.

NOT fair.

Nov. 2nd, 2011 10:35 pm
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
I thought I only had six more mid terms to grade tonight until I was getting out of my car this evening and looked into the back seat and realized that there were 10 ungraded ones sitting there that I'd taken with me the other day then left.


I am not grading at the moment but I will be soon.  Just finished going over presentation with friend from the Visual Studies class - we got to pick a word and then find objects in the Getty Archives that fit that word somehow.  It's a crazy roller coaster ride, but the cool part is that we have two different prints from 1793 of her beheading, Conan Doyle's actual book on Spirit Photography (which you can find in reprint, but this is original printing), a woodblock cut of a comet from Austria in 1680, and Marcel Duchamp's The White Box which is so unspeakably cool I can't even describe it.

I feel a little like a kid in a candy store - WE GET TO TOUCH THEM! - but also like, damnit, why didn't I do art history?  this stuff is FUN.

School is crashing, bombarding, strolling along.  I try to keep track of the important things and not sweat the small stuff.  And dog got over her bruise in three days, so yay for that. I can't believe it's already November, but the rent check I had to write says it is.

I spent the morning playing on the tumblr I made for my EA Cinema class (here if any of you want to be occasionally bored by EA Cinema stuff) which I am debating showing to the professor or not.  Not that I think he would hate it, but I think he might not *get* it, and it's difficult to explain tumblr to the un-addicted.  I tried with my grad student friend today and he was like, 'ok, i kinda see how that's cool' and you know, was vaguely interested, but i think it's impossible to convey how sometimes my fingers now just ITCH to tumble things to him. Because I'm not certain I understand it myself.  Very different than text based stuff, that's for sure.

i think i need one of those hang in there kitten posters as an icon - that's kind of the way i'm feeling today.  started out monday tired, am still tired, have two more days to go. yeach.
katekat: (b/g - in the library)
ok, so i got sucked back into the deep joy that is student life and oh dear gods what am i doing to myself this semester?

last week was basically me hurtling myself from one class to the next, clinging barely to the readings, then wednesday and thursday our art history class was asked/requested to go to this amazing thing Japanese artists were doing called PIKA PIKA (their blog - you can see some of their other art/films) where they create animated films using flashlights and drawing pictures in the evening sky. 

Awesome event!  Even if there was a bunch of waiting around and a little weird direction, we made a face of light with 200 people!  It sounds silly, and it was, but that kind of silly that you're amused to do.  The next night, where the group premiered some of their work, was even better since I could actually understand some of it in Japanese.  But both nights ended at 10 pm, and I'm not used to doing that AND class every day AND reading for classes AND TA stuff AND the fearful preparation of having to actually ask someone to not only be your advisor but also head your committee.

On the good side, it all worked out!  ON the (not really bad, per se, just) other side, by the time I crawled to Friday I was good for absolutely nothing.  NOTHING.  I even took the dog to the dog park instead of walking her.

Which meant I did absolutely nothing this last weekend (well, not true, I read a little, and played a little catch up, but not as much as I would like).  OH, and also, have you heard of Fiasco?

Fiasco is a game about ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably all go south in a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. It’s designed to be played in a single session, usually around two and a half hours, with no prep. [ from the website ]

Believe it or not it's like playing/writing a movie out with friends.  SO MUCH FUN.  Of course it might have also helped that the company was fabulous too - hung out with my friends that for some reason I call the comp-lit kids.  They're awesome and all totally involved in narrative, so we geeked out together and made a weird bloody nerdy story.

This week?  it's raced along on running wheels, and I just remembered I have even more homework to do before Friday.  I've also managed to decide I'm going to start a tumblr for my cinema studies sections on the films we're doing (with some random additions based on whatever i feel like), so here, for the curious, is [ east asian cinema indeed ] (and yes, we talked about Lost in Translation the first day of class, so don't be surprised at bill murray showing up)

When it rains, it pours.  At least life is not boring!
katekat: (_metal scream)
32 page Epistolary paper - finalized, edited, sent to prof wed
27 page Kotani transcription - done done done
12 pages of Translation paper
24 pages Kotani translation
20 sentence diagrams

Left to do:
5 pages Translation paper (thought it will probably be around 10 more)

I know my updates have been so very very boring - my whole life has revolved around being able to get work done and walking the dog.  I'd never evern translated anything other than a couple of pages, so attempting roughly 30 pages of theoretical Japanese seemed practically impossible.

Yet, it got done.  So for those who might be curious about what I was translating, here are some choice quotes:

Hermaphrodites under patriarchy ―To read Ursula K LeGuin's  )
katekat: (Default)
dear housemate,

Please, for the love of all you hold dear, do what you said you would and get the damn vacuum cleaner fixed.  I feel as if i am drowning in dog hair. When I asked you if you'd do it 'this week' on Monday I was hoping for something other than 'sunday, the last day of this week'.  While you're at it, please attempt to clean the paint off the driveway that has been there for two months since it's my deposit that will suffer for it.  Oh, and it's great that you wash your own dishes - could you also put them back in the cabinet?

lovingly yours,

and, wow, apparently i need to write a letter to the world )
katekat: (Default)
Air Doll:

What does this film mean in terms of translation?
Benjamin or no?

ok, the rest of the notes )

sidebar - office feminism?  i dunno if it works or not:

so, um

Mar. 8th, 2011 12:36 pm
katekat: (Default)
My advisor emailed last night to say she didn't get granted tenure, which means that she's leaving the university at the end of this semester.  I have no idea what this means for me, who was being advised by her, especially since she's the only modern japanese lit person pretty much in the entire school.  There's one prof who does modern japanese cinema, and I'm sure he's got a lit background because he's also in the comp lit department, but he's also the head of the cinema school's crit studies program and already has a ton of students he advises (but it's him or the classical lit guy left, and i don't really want to work on ghosts/monsters in classical japanese lit as an alternative to the postmodern.)

i actually don't know if this means i'm totally screwed or just a little screwed.  i do know this is the woman i came to the university to work with... so that sucks.

which is sad because i was finally getting into a groove with school stuff the last couple of weeks and now it all just feels humped up and derailed like crazy.

katekat: (Default)
The class, we will recall, does have an investment in east asian cinema - again the two questions that come in with that term are:

1) is there the possibility of actually defining a national cinema
2) there seems to be an acknowledgement that there is a national cinema just at the time when it becomes deeply problematized (when you should  not or cannot actually identify a national cinema)

and the rest of it ... lots of notes of semi random stuff )
katekat: (Default)
i've been on a roll since last night when [livejournal.com profile] gray_ghost (when asked which one I should do) suggested I both do laundry and go to the store...

  • edited and submitted paper from conference for conference proceedings journal (YAY - I may soon be published! *fingers crossed*
  • typed up Japanese homework (beginnings of short story)
  • met with conversation partner
  • met with advisor for advising purposes - it's tough though since she may not be around next year, and if she's not, I'm gonna be screwed for a committee head. bleh.
  • hung up my laundry that needs to air dry (this is more of a task than it sounds, promise)
  • made scrumptious dinner
  • talked to mom (ok, not a task really, but still, something that I wanted to do that I didn't forget - yay!)

now all I have to do is the reading for tomorrow and wednesday's class, copy my ILL book because it was due back today, apply for summer school, email my language professor to take a proficiency exam so that I can finish that summer school app, and ... oh, yeah, apply for a certificate in visual studies so that I can then apply for visual studies monies to go to this seminar/conference thing I want to do in August. So, um, maybe the to-do-list is still a little long? But it's getting shorter, and that's the important thing!
katekat: (giles - gentleman of leasure)
I took a final!  And translated!!  *shudders*

Actually, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, which I am hoping will mean that I did ok on my classical Japanese final.  We had to take a text hadn't seen before and translate the entire thing (it was only a couple of paragraphs) and outline grammar points.  Sounds like so much fun, doesn't it?  It was two hours of work.  In blue books.  Oh blue books.

So now I have left a project due on Sunday that I've done about half the work on, and a paper due next friday that I have to get to my reader next Wednesday.  AND THEN I WILL BE DONE.

it's so close i can almost taste it!!  but until then, probably more radio silence.  as if i'm not silent enough ;)

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