Tuesday, December 31, 2013

it's the last day of the year, and i was planning on doing some sort of compilation post or a year in review or something, but i think we all know how blogging plans have been going for me this year. basically, they haven't. also, my brothers are sleeping over and, being tech junkies, i haven't gotten much time to my own computers. i don't mind, though. there's something really awesome about having them sleep over. i'm more "me," when i'm with my siblings, if that makes any sense. like, there is no need to compromise anything or worry about conventions or filters or offending anyone. siblings know the truest form of you, and there is something really great about that. they know every embarrassing moment and all the highs and lows that have filled your entire life. they have all the same little crazy bits that come from growing up in your family and they get things that no one else could ever understand. i'm not one for resolutions, as you may know, but i am one for taking moments to be thankful, and as i look back on this year, i am immensely grateful for my family. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

give it a try

this is a christmas related post that really actually has little to do with christmas and is coming to you the day after christmas. although, i typed it up on christmas. (four christmases in two sentences.) but i already posted that lovely and pointless post that was sort of about hope but mostly just my way of saying that i have that feeling that something big is going to happen. usually when i have that feeling, nothing happens, but it doesn't make it any less exciting. and i kind of like the fact that i can't quite quell the excitement when i feel it even though i know it's probably just nothing. it's kind of disney-esque, only mostly just inside my head. it's hard to explain.

but anyway. back to christmas. well, sort of.

being muslim, i don't celebrate christmas. (except for those years when my sisters and i were growing up and we did the whole christmas thing every year. the whole nine yards with tree and lights and stockings and christmas music and paper chain countdowns and waking up at dawn to open presents.) i, however, love the christmas season. christmas lights are without a doubt one of my favorite things in the world. there is something about the small colored lights that fill me with magic. i also love christmas music (although it is really annoying when you are trying to sing along to the radio and every singer changes the song just enough to make it sound like you are way out of tune every single time). i also love stocking stuffers. i have this really bad problem with buying stuff that i don't need or want because it is either on sale or a good price. dollar stores and drug stores and the sale aisle of craft stores are my weakness. stocking stuffers fall under that umbrella. but that's neither here nor there.

despite not celebrating christmas, i do have my christmas season (which lasts a little longer than most people's) traditions. like, gingerbread cookies. every year, between the end of thanksgiving and martin luther king (jr.?) day, i have to bake gingerbread men. at least once. and every year i have to watch the santa claus. you know, the tim allen one. (the radio the other night told me that the movie has been out for nineteen years and that made me feel so old. ninteen years guys. i could have raised a child to voting age in that time. i could have raised two children to voting age (given they were born in consecutive years) in that time. there is something about the word consecutive that makes me think of math problems.) i used to watch all of those christmas tv shows (santa, rudolph, frosty, etc) that have been on for generations and are actually pretty terrible and incredibly sexist/racist/generally politically incorrect, but i stopped those a couple of years ago. mostly because i kept forgetting to watch them and time became a lot harder to come by. i also love to go on  drives through neighborhoods to look at christmas lights. my older sister and i used to that a lot during our college years before she up and moved to the other side of the world. my husband just does not see the appeal in it. it's not as fun going alone, and so i opted to skip it this year. sad, i know. this is not the point, either.

(i guess this really has turned into a christmas post.)

but what i really came here to say, though, was that, during my read-through of the blog posts from the last two months, someone mentioned that they had already watched elf twice, and i have never seen elf. not even once. ever. i never even really wanted to. but it is often listed as one of the christmas movies that you have to watch every year, and i'm thinking that maybe i should take the plunge. a different blogger wrote about how she makes chocolates for all of her friends and family for christmas, and i kind of want to try that, too. what other christmastime traditions should i try out while i'm at it?

*Give it a Try - Badfinger

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

magic in the air tonight, yes, i might just try

i have been in school for twenty-two years. that is eighty-eight percent of my life, which is kind of crazy if you think about it. and while i know that, someday in my future when this percentage has shrunk down to almost nothing, i will look back on it with nostalgic fondness and long for the days of structured learning where i could sit in a classroom for three hours and just absorb information - both boring and fascinating - and i also know that i am only done with classes and still have a few years left of school, the thought of next semester fills me with a sense of freedom. and possibility. and hope.

it's the same feeling i get that makes me want to create things and fill notebooks with pretty words. that make me think that one day i will be a published author and be caught up on every show i want to watch and have a phd that doesn't just sit in the corner gathering dust. this semester may have started out crazy and ended even crazier, but this year will end with blossoming hope. and i am okay with that.

it's been a while since i have sat down and written for writing's sake. (i hate to admit it, but most of november was writing for nano's sake and nano's sake only. i think there were only two - maybe three - days in there that i was writing because i was excited about the idea and the characters and the plot was running off almost on its own with my fingers struggling to keep up as they raced over the keyboard. despite that, i think the two characters i wrote in november may be some of my favorites. they took a while to get there, but i don't think i'll be able to drop them just yet.) and i miss writing. i really do. pretty words make me happy.

i also miss baking. and gingerbread. and think that, being christmas and all, it is the perfect time for making some gingerbread men. (although i'm not sure i have the necessary ingredients and are grocery stores even open on christmas?) maybe i'll spend my day doing that. (and catching up on the blog posts i've missed. i'm already caught up on facebook and emails so this is my next stop.)

whether you celebrate christmas or not, i hope you have a wonderful day filled with magic and hope and twinkling lights. and hershey's candy cane chocolate bar because those are delicious.

*Magic in the Air - Badly Drawn Boy

Friday, December 20, 2013

so the crazy semester ended crazily... as was expected. the last couple of weeks found me so busy with classes and meetings and grading and knitting baby blankets and making t-shirts (more on those later) that i had to take a break from the internet, meaning facebook, tumblr, and blogger. it was only supposed to be for a day or two, but that bled into a week and then two and now three. and now i have so many facebook notifications and so many unread blog posts that i have been afraid to jump back in. there is so much to catch up on that i feel like it's too much work for a vacation. so... winter break has found me still avoiding the internet.

speaking of work in a vacation, that's exactly what i got to do the first few days because professors can do stuff that really freaks students out and sends them running to me for help. things like changing when a final is due and deciding last minute not to accept an assignment that a student worked on for half of a semester. so i got to handle all of that. and now i get to focus on the party my sister and i are throwing. tomorrow. that i'm still not entirely ready for. yay.

but come sunday, i will get the relaxing break that i have been counting down to for the past month. i hope.

anyway, this was more of a post to get over my fear of returning to the internet and let all of you know that i am still alive than anything important. this coming week i will read all about your lives that i have missed and go through all five hundred buzzfeed articles my sister posted on my facebook wall, and then hopefully be all caught up and back to my normal spot in cyberspace. and next semester i will have no classes (!!! i don't even know how i will handle that) and hopefully be back to blogging regularly. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

we beats the odds together

so if you look over to the sidebar over there <-- a="" actual="" actually="" against="" all="" an="" and="" around="" as="" at="" bar="" because="" before="" brother="" but="" by="" characters...="" characters="" completely="" days="" don="" doubters="" end="" enjoyed="" enough="" excitement="" exciting="" fact="" few="" fifty="" finished="" first="" follow="" for="" forty="" found="" full.="" get="" give="" going="" good="" got="" had="" hah="" haven="" hit="" how="" i="" in="" is="" it.="" just="" kind="" like="" ll="" lose="" lot="" love="" m="" mark="" me="" meaning="" might="" month="" more="" my="" nano="" nbsp="" never="" next="" no="" odds="" of="" only="" over="" p="" part.="" part="" path="" really="" red="" say:="" see="" so="" some="" started="" stopped.="" story.="" story="" stuff.="" suspense="" t="" that="" the="" then="" there="" thirty="" this="" thousand="" time="" to="" told="" touch="" try="" two="" up="" wandering="" was="" way="" weeks="" well="" where="" who="" win="" with="" won="" word="" words="" writing="" year.="" yet="" you="">
and here you have the graph of my writing progress over the month. it actually makes me look like i was writing more than i was, i think. but, as you can see, i was only on track the very first and the very last day of the month. every other day i was in varying stages of behindness. (i was pretty close to on track on that second day, though.) somewhere in that middle section i was twenty thousand words behind. that was definitely a low point.

today my plan is to knit the last patch i need for a baby blanket i am making and finish the t-shirts for my nephews that i am also making. (because i really like to procrastinate with crafts. duh.) then i can focus on the three exams, two presentations, and one paper i have left to close this semester (which is ending in two weeks). and grading forty homework assignments. oh, and registering for next semester. which means i need to find a committee that i still can't seem to get together. and there's that research project that i said i would do that a professor probably thinks i'm working on even though i'm not. and ugh school gives me anxiety at the moment so let's just stop talking about it, shall we?

*You're Still the One - Shania Twain

Monday, November 25, 2013

many days fall away with nothing to show

it is so very difficult to do all the things you want to do in your free time when your entire life is no longer made up of free time. i'm still working out this whole having actual responsibilities things, but it's cementing in my mind that what i want to do for the rest of my life is read books, knit stuff, and watch netflix. forever. in the meantime, i'm basically doing a lot of stressing out. because what else are you supposed to do? and the worst part is, despite feeling like i'm going crazy doing so much, when i look back at the end of the week, it looks like i did absolutely nothing. nothing ever gets done. progress is apparently something my life doesn't believe in. (side note: remember that time when i was in my last semester of undergraduate classes and basically said that that was the first time i was really stressed? what kind of privileged life was i leading for those first twenty-some years? it has left me totally unprepared for everything.)

in other news, despite having graduated from high school over seven years ago, my most recurring stress dream has always been and still is high school related. for those that don't know, i went to a private school from fifth to twelfth grade. there were uniforms and hour and a half long bus rides to and from school and multiple languages taught to us. part of the whole uniform thing were tights. by the time i graduated i hated tights so much that i have yet to put on a single pair again. seven years tightsless and going strong. i still shudder when i see them in stores.

anyway, the dream.

there are slight changes in it from time to time, but it always follows the same formula: i am late for school. i am back in the bedroom i shared with my sister at my parents' house. the overhead light is glaringly bright and the red numbers on my clock are flashing: too late, too late. the bus is waiting downstairs, but i have just woken up. i am racing around trying to get ready while simultaneously trying to get the bus to wait for five minutes. and it's always those stupid tights. they take way too long to get on, and in my hurry i end up tearing them so i have to get another pair and the panic is bubbling in my stomach and flowing into my throat. sometimes, i'll run onto the bus with my skirt on over my pajama pants and try to finish changing in the back without anyone seeing me. a lot of the times i finally get on the bus and realize i forgot my bag or something. i almost always make it on the bus, but you know when you wake up late and even though you finish everything and get everywhere on time, you have that feeling of panic all day that you're late? yeah, i wake up with that a lot. which does wonders for the stress that my real life things are causing, let me tell you that.

i would really just like my brain to realize that it has been almost a decade since high school and it should stop terrorizing me with it.

oh, and in case you were wondering, look at that nano word count over there. i wrote a lot over these past two days and am kindasortamaybe back on track for nano. i'm still behind, but i have a plan. and you know what happens with plans: they never work out but they make you feel better for having had them. (also, i refuse to think about anything phd related because my body just can't handle that right now.)

*Pompeii - Bastille

Saturday, November 16, 2013

maybe we're a little different, there's no need to be ashamed

so yesterday was one of those days when, i had been cold for the previous two days and decided not to repeat the same mistake for a third time, so i got like really bundled up. i'm talking about layers and layers under my hoodie and my wannabe ugg boots and the whole shebang. so i go out all prepared to battle the cold and oh my god it was so hot. like, it was beautiful weather, but under all of my layers i was sweating. i go to walmart, regretting my outfit the entire time, and then stop home again to change before school. i go to school with no boots and a significantly lower number of layers and... i was cold the entire rest of the day and night.

in other news, i was talking with someone the other day (like someone who i greatly respect, who has actually done things with her life and has a phd and has traveled extensively) and the subject somehow turned to books. over the past couple of years, i have grown wary of book talk with most people. (which is why so much of it ends up here.) i've just been faced with self-proclaimed book lovers who seem to read for the sole purpose of looking smart. there are the people who will only read philosophy books and books on politics and only foray into novel world for literary fiction. there are the people who simply refuse to read fiction at all because it is somehow beneath them (although, with their nose so far up in the air, it must look like the entire world is beneath them). there are the people who only read the fiction that was written for adults by the "real authors," whatever that means, because everything else is a waste of time and makes them stupid. and then there are the people that will admit that they've read - and *gasp* might have actually liked - young adult fiction in whispered confessions with guilty looks and "don't judge me" ready at the tip of their tongue.

so i was pleasantly surprised when, near the start of this conversation, she told me that the school library (which i was convinced was stocked only with text books and unread dissertations for the past seven years) had a really good adolescent fiction section hidden away that she was steadily reading through. and it was so great to talk with someone who could say that she just read the BFG with no hipster intentions of looking cool without it sounding like she was admitting to murder or to picking her nose in public. it has been a long time since i talked to someone new that read for the stories, for the escape, for meeting new characters and going on new adventures. someone who wrote fanfiction and understood that getting lost in a story - whether it was written for five year olds or five hundred year olds - was the greatest feeling in the world. someone who admitted to liking twilight and seeing the faults in it, who read good books and bad books and loved them all, and it was amazing. i definitely left the conversation with a bit of a high.

now, i know that there are people out there (i know quite a few!) that read like i do. people who may prefer reading ink on paper over pixels but don't judge you as less of a reader for choosing the latter because they understand that the story is what matters, not what's holding it. people that will read literary fiction and young adult and harlequin romances and fantasy and everything in between in the span of a month. people who can appreciate a really well-written book but can enjoy fluff just the same. people who don't care what you think because they'd rather talk to harry than you anyway. it's just getting rarer and rarer for me to meet one in real life. but they're out there, i know, and i hope you all know that you are my favorites.

*Read All About It - Emeli Sande

Sunday, November 10, 2013

what's been going on around here

yesterday i was supposed to catch up on my nano word count, and while i obviously didn't catch up, i am closer to catching up than i was on friday. if i write a few big word days this week (and i'm not even talking super big, just two or three thousand words) then i should be juuust fine. (although i still find myself taking too long to start my actual story and writing around all of the exciting parts, and i never respect my favorite authors as much as when i realize that my story really sucks and i have no idea how to fix it. i can have a good premise but then i realize that my plot is sucky and how does that even happen? every. single. time. you'd think i write a good one as a fluke or something at least.)

and just in case any of you care, the lump on my ankle from the lyme disease is finally going down. like, it's now probably more than fifty percent smaller than what it was a couple of weeks ago, and yes, okay, i'll admit it: i guess my doctor was right. my shoulder pain (which didn't go away with the antibiotics so i was wrong about that, too) is pretty much gone as well. so now i'm going to connect those two in my brain. by the end of this month, i won't only have a fifty thousand word novel sitting in cloud space, but i will also be lyme free and pain free you will (fingers crossed) never have to listen to me talk about it again.

and i finally have a clean apartment. (except for the bedroom, but if you close the door then you can't even tell it's a colossal mess.) i had to clean it for wednesday when my sister, husband, friend and i all went to watch ender's game and then came back to my place for dinner. (i'm going to start off by saying that no, i did not boycott the movie like so many others, and i thought that, as book to movie adaptations go, it was pretty good. neither my sister nor my husband had read the book, and they never felt lost at all. which is growing increasingly rare i have noticed. (yes, it felt a little rushed. yes, the book was better. but that will always be the case.) i also loved both the character and actor of bean. he was the most adorable comic relief i have ever seen.) but the fact that it is still just as clean half a week later is pretty amazing for me. my tolerance for mess is ridiculously high so this almost never happens.

oh, and my professor gave me a ninety-nine on a paper and then spoke to me after about how "your paper really deserved a hundred, but i don't give hundreds. congratulations." and don't you hate that? if my paper deserves a hundred then give me a hundred. i had a teacher in elementary school that was the same way. she used to say, "if i gave you a twenty out of twenty then what would i give a published writer?" and just, what? you should not be grading my work as a fifth grader on how it compares to a published writer's work. you should be checking that i met all of the requirements, and if i did, then give me the twenty. sometimes, i really don't understand teachers.

edited to add: i also got rid of our fruit fly problem! go me!

/end updates.

*What's Been Going On - Amos Lee

Friday, November 8, 2013

writing is hard. which is why my nano word count is pathetic (i'm supposed to be over twelve thousand words by the end of today. yeah. not happening. can i actually be looking at a year where i fail nano? i effing refuse.) and my blog hasn't been updated in days (weeks? i don't even know anymore) and my contributions to classes and group work is bordering just on the edge of slacker student who should probably fail but she answers the questions completely and a minimum word count was never set so it's really their fault.

also, i spend the little time i have for writing thinking great, ponderous thoughts like, the actors who play gandalf and dumbledore are often confused for each other and the actors who play frodo and harry potter are often confused for each other and there must be a bigger meaning for that. but of course there isn't, although that doesn't stop me from trying to construct some kind of essay exploring it. and kind of along the same lines, yesterday i heard someone ask their friend if emma watson was in anything before perks of being a wallflower and just, what?

(for the past ten minutes i have alternated between staring at this page and staring around my apartment (which is finally clean! but kinda still cluttered because i am a hoarder and there is too much stuff for a one bedroom apartment in here) for some inspiration on what to write, and... nothing. i'm telling you, i am so out of touch with my writery self it's ridiculous.)

i think that for the past couple of years i pushed my academic-ness to the back burner to focus on writing, and now i'm supposedly bringing  my academic-ness to the front which of course isn't happening because i diluted it way too much with extra on-campus jobs and responsibilities so you can barely even taste the academia in it, but then i guess the writer-ness got pushed to the back burner, and why is the oven of my mind so stupid? why can't i have two front burners like every other oven in the world? (i realize that there are ovens with only two burners. i also realize that i should be using stove instead of oven and that family and stuff has pretty much taken permanent residence on one of the front burners leaving me with only one available and that i don't actually have a deformed oven.) and wow i completely destroyed my metaphor in that aside. this is what i mean about the writing these days. it's hard.

i just want all of my free time back. why did i ever complain about being a lifeless couch potato? why couldn't i appreciate a good thing when i had it? why can't i just read, write, and knit my days away? why are rhetorical questions my go-to writing these days? (oh, and the word "well." i really think that two thousand of the six thousand words i have written are characters starting every sentence and thought with "well,...")

Friday, November 1, 2013

see the problem with me is that i attribute human emotions to everything. stuffed animals, furniture, animals... everything. now usually i can just go about my life normally, making sure to pick up any toys that fall and pushing the guilt of neglecting things to the back of my mind. but then sometimes my house gets infested with fruit flies and i have to set out traps for them because they. are. everywhere. and then i feel super guilty when i see them trapped and want to set them free again. inside my house. because that is obviously where they want to be and who am i to tell them they can't and my parents taught me to share. and it's really bad because i really, really don't want fruit flies in my house but i just spent the past fifteen minutes watching them trying to escape and i feel so bad. poor, obnoxious bugs.

in other news, the nano word count tracker is up again (over there to the left) so you can all follow my progress over the month. or, however many of you still read this blog of mine. i'm telling you, one day i will be rich and famous (and a published author!) and you'll be glad that you stuck around. trust me.

for some reason, this whole putting words together thing is really hard at the moment. does it show? i feel like it does. do these sentences even make sense?

i'm pretty sure that i talked about this before, but just so it is here on the first day of the month, here is the premise for this year's nanovel in one sentence: the mermaids are fighting a war against the adaro and kidnap humans to be their soldiers because there are not enough of them (mermaids) to fight. my plot will (as of now) follow a twelve year old merboy, angler, who belongs to a family of recruiters (the ones who kidnap, er, recruit humans). his first recruit is a young boy, roger, who will - i think - make friends with angler. maybe. roger is going to try and escape or the humans will try and revolt or angler will smuggle him out or something. the finer details (meaning everything after the words i wrote today) are still a bit hazy.

but i recently found out that adaro exist (in mythology) and they are basically weird shark-mermaid-swordfish-men-evil spririts who travel on rainbows and kill people by throwing poisonous fish at them. oh, and they live in the sun. is that not awesome? i think they may be a new favorite of mine. of course, there is really only the same paragraph repeated about them all over the internet, so i'm taking a lot of creative license and filling in blanks myself. and while people seem a little confused about how they look exactly, everyone agrees that they are evil. which fits perfectly for the bad guys in my story. (no, them mermaids are not bad guys. despite their kidnapping tendencies. at least not yet.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

just saying nothing

okay so i don't even know what time is anymore because i swear actually doing things and having a quasi-life - okay, not really, but at least way more distractions from the fact that i don't have a life - has turned days into minutes and weeks into hours and how is it possible that so much time passes without me even being fully aware of it?

this week was going to be so productive, but there's something about waking up and giving over-the-phone computer help before eating my breakfast (every. single. day.) that really brings out the grump in me. and the grump in me does not do productiveness. but i need a clean apartment by wednesday and i need to be caught up on school stuff by tonight (because nano starts tomorrow!) and don't even get me started on the things i want.

so. moving on. this post will likely be all over the place and generally pointless but really if you expect anything else from me at this point then maybe you are a tad too optimistic and a bit naive and really bad at just accepting people for who they are.

to start with, let's talk about books because, as i mentioned, nanowrimo starts tomorrow and that means i probably won't get much reading done in the next month either and this makes me sad because there are so many books to be read. twenty-three to be exact. because i just counted. and can i just say that this was a pretty bad reading year for me because that is almost the number of books that i read all year. and those aren't even counting the books that i have on my shelf waiting to be read that i probably won't get around to for a while because there are no reviews requested from me or spoilers to be found. (as an afterthought, maybe rereading the same two books for the past month and a half wasn't the best idea. i'm sorry people that are waiting for my reviews, but if i read your books during that time instead then i would have hated them on principle.)

and speaking of spoilers, allegiant is sitting on the floor next to my bookshelf waiting to be read while i see person after person online talking about how their mind has been blown by it and they want to call in sick from work to sit and mourn and i just don't understand. (that is as spoiled as i have gotten, though. i'm actually a little shocked.) i got into the divergent series about a week or two before insurgent came out. i bought it because i had heard so many rave reviews and then pre-ordered the second before reading the first. and i mean, it was okay but i really did not get the hype. extreme let-down. especially because it wasn't bad so i didn't even get to rant about it. (although there were bits of dialog that were added in just because the author thought it sounded cool and they were such breaks from characterization and basic mood and it made me want to hit the editor on the head with the thick hardcover copy i had because you are supposed to kill the author's babies. that is your job. i think veronica roth and cassandra clare had the same editor because they both need to learn the difference between what sounds "cool" and what people actually say in real life.) but anyway. i read the two books and then put them on my shelf and let them start collecting dust. i don't even know how long ago it's been, but i think i need to reread them before i get to allegiant or the hype will be completely lost on me. it's like marathoning reality tv and becoming so attached to the characters after watching them for seven hours straight that you actually care about the arguments between them and forget that you really hated them. so i guess that's twenty-five books that i need to read in december.

also, i think i should mention on here that rainbow rowell has quickly become one of my favorite authors because i love her writing style and her characters and the way that i never feel like she's trying and i just want to move into her books and live there forever. and i know a lot of people do not like her books and hate her style so take that into consideration if you decide to read her, but it has been a while since i have fallen so in love with an author. also, she is on the list of authors that i would also like to be best friends with, and that list is not as long as you might think. (jk rowling is not on that list. make of that what you will.) sometimes i think that i only want to be a published author so that i can be friends with the other published authors, but then i remember that that is wrong.

i am currently reading when we were romans to cleanse my pallet as it were and get out of my rainbow rowell rut (yay for alliteration!) and it's one of those books that's written as if it were really written by the narrator (if that makes any sense) which, in this case, means a lot of run on sentences and spelling mistakes. the narrator is supposed to be nine, and the writing style is spot on, but the emotions and thoughts seem a bit too juvenile to me. i thought he was six for a while. i am trying to remember my brothers two years ago and i am pretty sure that they were over the age of ice-cream-erases-grudges and extra short attention spans. i may be wrong, though. or they may be weird.

in other news, we have a huge fruit fly problem in my apartment and i've tried everything (okay, not really, but some things) and they will not go away. this is what happens when we buy fresh fruit. i have learned from my mistakes, though. it's fruit cups and applesauce from here on out in this household.

if you are still reading at this point then i am impressed. and if you'll listen to me ramble this long, then maybe you'll like my prosetry book which you can buy here. because it has been a while since i have partaken in any self-promotion. and also it has almost been a year since i published that. and if you read it and like it then maybe you'll review it on amazon? that would be swell.

 *Talking Loud and Saying Nothing - James Brown

Thursday, October 24, 2013

oh, things are going to change now for the better

okay so my blogging this month has been almost nonexistent. like i said, october just hasn't been my month. at all. but i feel like the tides are turning, people. i really do. because i just took the last dose of the antibiotic from hell and words cannot describe how excited i am. no more nausea! no more esophagitis! (that one is kind of my fault but also i am going to blame my doctor for not warning me. basically a few days ago i took the drug without water like i usually do and went straight to bed like i usually do and it got stuck in my throat like it usually does (just not with me) and burned my esophagus. because it is acid. and that made swallowing very painful for a while and breathing very painful whenever i was laying down (like to sleep) or had been laying down for a while (like in the mornings). but it is all but gone now,  and yay for that.) no more tendonitis in my shoulder! (which, admittedly, no one but me ever thought had anything to do with the drugs, but i am convinced it did/does because those antibiotics hated me and i am looking forward to pain-free shoulders by the end of the day. if this doesn't happen, i will be quite upset.) no more counting hours for when i can and cannot eat! no more lyme disease! (i really hope that last one is true. i still have the bump on my ankle that is kinda tender when touched and when i get out of the shower the rash faintly shows. my doctor says this is normal and it will take a while to go away, but i mean, it's been over a month now. i just hope she's right.)


and i finished ninety-nine percent of one of my papers yesterday and plan to finish ninety-nine percent of the other one today. tomorrow morning i will go over both to make them one hundred percent done and ready to submit tomorrow evening. (being ninety-nine percent done does not mean that it is ninety-nine percent of the best i can do. it's probably more like fifty-seven percent. i could maybe stretch it to sixty-three tomorrow, but as long as i have words on paper to hand in i one hundred percent do not care.

speaking of nothing that i was just talking about, i have been receiving books in the mail all week. and this is partly awesome because books! and partly awesome because they all surprised me! but slightly less awesome because i had forgotten i pre-ordered stuff and didn't take that into account for this month's budget. oops. and even more not awesome because i cannot read them for a while. (there are seven of them so far. five were pre-ordered in the summer when i was bored and had all the money in the world (four of them came together in a boxed set, calm down), one i received to review, and one was the product of a kickstarter i backed six months ago and mostly forgot about. and i still have some books i haven't read from the library sale in the summer and another book that i got in the summer to review. and i have a feeling that the mailman will bring me some more because it seems like his new favorite thing to do. and i just finished a book i really, really liked (and am currently rereading) so i know whatever i read next i will hate just because so i need a pallet cleanser before i get into any of these.

i am off to write my paper (the topic of which i still haven't fully decided on) filled with renewed hope and vigor. (i couldn't think of a word to put after and so i put that. i dunno.) i hope you all have a wonderful thursday, because mine is starting off really well.

*Dismantle, Repair - Anberlin

Monday, October 21, 2013

time is running out

[one] okay so i have two papers to write by friday and i had planned in my head exactly how much time i was going to spend on both, but i just realized that i might have put in a few too many days between now and the end of the week. this means that i probably should start working on them, like, immediately, but you have no idea how pigheaded i've gotten about school assignments. i just. don't. want. to. do. them. i am five hundred percent done with stupid assignments that only one person cares anything at all about. and even that person (the professor, mind you. i wouldn't want you to start thinking it was me) would probably rather watch the football game than deal with this. i mean, can't we all just decide to shut down the education system until they change the useless assignments policy? the government did it after all.

speaking of the government, the metro is now full again and gas prices went up, and i blame them.

[two] so i like to read. obviously. and i get really into my books. once again, obviously. (i grieve way more over the deaths of my fictional people than the deaths of most real people.) but i think i may have passed some sort of line recently. i was reading a book, and the character in it needed batteries, okay? it wasn't even like a big plot point or anything. she just mentioned that her walkman had none. so a day or so later i was at the dollar store shopping with my sister for useless junk that i did not need because that is just what i do. (she, on the other hand, was trying to find random things to fill her office with.) whenever i'm out i'll pick up stuff for people (usually family) that i know they need. sometimes i'll pick something up and then not remember who needed it only to realize that it was some acquaintance and getting them anything would actually be sorta creepy. on this day, though, i see the batteries, remember someone saying that they needed them, and drop them in my basket. then came the "who needed these again?" moment and a few minutes later the "oh my god am i really buying things for a fictional character?" moment which was quickly followed by the "oh god i am. no one else needs batteries. i need a life!" moment. i put the batteries back, but i think this is a bad sign. i can just see myself slowly filling my house with things for book characters and sitting alone in my living room eating toast with orange marmalade* and drinking homemade butterbeer talking with them and going completely crazy. (and is it bad that part of me actually thinks that that would be pretty awesome?)

*during my obsession with paddington bear (and oh god was i obsessed) i forced myself to like orange marmalade because it was his favorite. i really hated it at first, but it grew on me.

[three] i just noticed that we are nearing the end of october. i mean, i noticed that before because i am counting down to the end of the semester, but it hadn't registered with me that november is next. as in, nanowrimo is starting in less than two weeks and oh my god how can this happen? i don't have time to write fifty thousand words of novel. i barely have time to get my homework and a shower in on the same night. i am busy grading and mentoring and researching (for other people) and schooling and why did i forget to take nano into consideration when i signed up for so much this semester? i didn't finish editing the nano-eleven-slash-camp-nano-novel like i was supposed to (but i did decide that it needs an entire rewrite because if my memory serves me it is pretty awful and filled with data dumps and poor characterization). and do i write a sequel to something i may just end up scrapping? i'll probably just write the mermaid story. if i can get any time in. i'm already super behind on tv and my dissertation stuff, but the thought of not doing nano or failing nano this year is just incomprehensible to me. i think someone needs to come teach me some time management is what it all boils down to.

*Time is Running Out - Muse

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

but it's your right

so, it's time for another blog action day. you can read previous blog action day posts of mine here, here, here, and here. this year, the topic is human rights.

according to the united nations, "Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible."

we had a discussion recently in my public policy class about human rights, using dworkin's taking rights seriously as a resource. we started out only discussing the right to liberty, which dworkin insisted was nonsense. his reasoning was that if something is a core right (or a basic right or a human right, whichever word you want to use) then it would be wrong for the government to curb that right. in order to to rule, enforce stability of the state, and protect a nation, the government is constantly curbing people's liberty. laws may be instituted for the good of the people, but they are still taking away some of your liberties. the consensus we reached in the end was that people use the term "human right" much too lightly. everything these days is a human rights issue, it seems. what we decided was that rights are not about what's given to you but what can't be taken away. and while i am well aware that there are human rights violations going on every minute of every day all over the world, i am equally aware that not everything touted as a human rights violation actually is.

for the real human rights violations, though, here are some ways that you can help:

*It's All Right - Velvet Underground
below is a very long laundry list of complaints and whining. you probably should just skip it and wait for the next post.

so basically, things have just really been sucky lately. october has not been my month, and if i see one more person post that they are grateful to live in a world where octobers exist, then i will very likely explode. this suckiness is really the reason that i have not been blogging because there are two kinds of sucky moods: ones that lead to good writing and that can pull on other emotions to elevate it and ones that you just can't write in because everything that comes out is bitter and makes people uncomfortable and is too frustrating to even write and you do not need anymore frustrations in your life at the moment so you just don't. i am so far into the second category that they've elected me their queen.

my life for the past few weeks:

i got lyme disease, as you all know, and was put on antibiotics for what feels like forever. the antibiotics are gross and make me extremely nauseous for hours two times a day and i still have a week left of them. extreme nausea leads to irritability and misery in case you didn't know.

it rained for the entirety of last week. and if you try to tell me that rain is pretty or remind me that i usually like rain then i hope you don't particularly like your face. rain makes doing anything and everything impossible. rain calls for procrastination and lazy days and pushing off the papers you have to write until the sun comes back. which it apparently never does anymore. after struggling for a week to write a five page paper, i finally finished it over the weekend only to realize that i did the whole thing wrong and needed to redo it. which i did. probably poorly. i still have two more papers to do which may be due this friday and may be due next friday and i am too scared to check which it is.

i've been having minor shoulder pains that decided to escalate overnight and and result in excruciating pain and me not being able to move my arm the day before yesterday. yesterday it seemed like it was getting better, (yesterday was kind of a respite from everything which was pretty awesome because it was also eid, but now i kind of resent it because it just makes the lows seem so much lower) but sometime around three last night it decided that it didn't want to get better after all and that maybe waking me up from the pain and not letting me go back to sleep was a good idea. i finally fall back into a light sleep around six something, only to be woken up at six:thirty by my husband's old phone's alarm that was going off in the living room, meaning i couldn't just reach over him, turn it off, and go back to sleep. not that i could have done that anyway since my shoulder was killing me even at rest and hurt even more when i moved any part of my body. still does, so that's fun.

(i went to the doctor for it yesterday, and she said it wasn't from the lyme disease which i guess is good because that means the antibiotics are probably working, but also bad because i don't know what it's from and therefor can't really treat it. she was insistent that i just bumped my arm on something, which i am one hundred percent sure is not what happened. since it was starting to feel better and i really just wanted to leave her office yesterday, i didn't really argue. i am now wishing that i did. her entire examination of it consisted her of telling me to raise my arm as high as i could straight up. that was it. she didn't even touch it to feel if there was tumor growing on it. which i'm pretty sure there isn't, but still.)

because of the nausea and the inability to find a comfortable position that does not make me cry from pain and then from the frustration of having wet spots on my pillow from tears, i have not been sleeping well. the exhaustion is actually what's causing all of the tears. i'm just crying over everything because i'm so. effing. tired.

oh, and my doctor also told me yesterday that there's really no way to know if the antibiotics got rid of the lyme disease because i will continue to test positive for it for at least the next few years. i could still get it again, though, and unless i get major symptoms again i will not know that i have it (because of the testing positive regardless) and will probably end up not knowing about it and waiting too long to treat it and having it mess with my brain and ugh. just ugh, okay?

i think i just really need to sleep. my tolerance level would be so much higher if i could just do that.

and my apartment is a mess and i have papers to write and a ton of grading to do and everyone is on vacation except me and i am tired and in pain and annoyed. i bought a pair of rain boots that are too small and the online store doesn't do exchanges. friday my sister, husband, and i were supposed to go out to celebrate and the universe messed that up, too. my breakfast today was gross and i just really want to crawl in bed with a book - not the one i just finished though because that was so, so, so bad - and stay there until october is finished. you can keep your pumpkin spiced lattes and colored leaves. wake me up when gingerbread lattes hit the menu and the trees have shaken off every last leaf.

the only reason i am posting this is because today is blog action day, and i have not missed a blog action day yet and refuse to miss it today. my post on human rights was more like a call for the entire world to die, though, so i thought maybe if i got some of this out of my system i could write a less morbid post. just in case i don't though, now you all know why. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

[one] okay, so my doctor finally called me yesterday (and by that i mean her secretary called me yesterday after i called her the day before and asked for her to call me and let me know if i was dying at a faster rate than usual or not) aaaand it turns out that i do have lyme disease. so there's that. i'm gonna be on these stupid antibiotics (that i've been taking wrong oops) for a month and i'm already sick of them. i am really bad with taking medicine daily. i will stick with it for a week or so perfectly and then i slowly start to forget and mess up and stop caring. having to take medicine twice daily is just preposterous.

[two] on a happier note, the government shutdown that has thousands of people sitting at home without pay means that the metro was super empty today. like, ridiculously empty. not only did i get a seat from the minute i hopped on (during rush hour!) but there were only a handful of people on the car with me. the amount of people that usually fill up one car were probably spread out over the entire train. i'm not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome. and though i really do feel for the people who suddenly find themselves momentarily jobless because congress can't play nice, i really, really, really like the metro being empty. it's not that i can get used to this, it's that i already am.

[three] on a less happy note, i did really well on the exam that i took last week. the professor thinks i'm a really good writer and liked the bad example that i used when i couldn't think of anything better and thinks i have nice handwriting (*shrugs*). he gave me an A, which sounds just dandy, but then he mentioned that i have good ideas and should share them in class. i do not share things in class. i do not participate regularly unless there are less than five people in the class and i really, really have to. (i have a twenty-three year streak of this, i'm not about to blow it now) this class has twenty-five people in it and i don't have to. except now my professor is trying to force me to. like, he volunteered me to present next week and keeps trying to direct questions at me and if i wanted to participate then i would. but you know what? challenge accepted, dude.

and i know that this is not part two, but i have freaking lyme disease and thought i should record that on my blog for posterity's sake. also, updates are easier to write. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

i know it's wrong, it's a problem i'm dealing

(i started this post a few days ago, but then got sidetracked and didn't get a chance to finish it. i have school stuff that i've been putting off that i need to do today so instead of going until the end of the week postless, i am going to post what i wrote as part one, because i am too wordy anyway and it makes enough sense on its own. i don't even have time to reread it right now, so i apologize for typos and the like.)

so i have two problems (that i will discuss right now): one is a lying problem when i'm put on the spot and one is a problem with being uncomfortable with attention. they kind of overlap. these were huge problems for me when i was younger that i have managed to get under control somewhat. sometimes i slip, though, and end up doing things like telling my classmates that i went apple picking over the weekend instead of just saying that i did nothing. and once you start a lie, as cliche as this sounds, it grows. and though the original one usually comes out as a total surprise to me (i will very often have a second of, "wait, i did what now?" shock when my mouth decides to think for itself and try to get the spotlight off of me), i have to keep adding to the lies because i can't be like "oh haha just kidding" without looking like a total idiot. so i flesh out the story, answer questions, throw in a few details, and usually pick things out from stories told to me by someone else until they move on to the next person.

it's a problem i am trying to deal with, and if you compare ten year old me to twenty-five year old me, you'll realize that i have made tons of progress.

since i started college, most of my lies are given to people that i never see again after the three or four months that we share three hours a week. so it's not much of an issue. (i mean, i still need to learn to stop myself from these gut reaction panic things, but really, who cares if two people last fall think i went apple picking when i didn't?) it's the lies that i told when i was younger that are the real problem. these are lies that the people i grew up with and still keep in touch with think are the truths about me. i really only remember a few of them, though i still clearly remember that moment of panic (that was especially strong when i first moved to virginia and the next few years) that would fall over me when someone would ask me something directly. my brain would automatically supply my mouth with the first thing it could think of to get the attention off of me. a lot of the time, these were lies. (usually about stupid things, though. like, extraneous details about my life and family. nothing at all major, but still.)

i don't think anyone fully realizes the extent of my lying, though. the people who got the lies didn't know any better and the ones that would know better never heard about them. it was a defense mechanism of the best kind. but yesterday, while talking fangirl with my mom, i mentioned one of my lies. and she thought that, as stupid as it would make me look, i should finally tell the truth. so. since this blog is where i am the most honest to and about myself, and since it is also where i document some of the more embarrassing things that happen to me/i have done, here is my confession.

end super long introduction that was supposed to be a paragraph to set the stage. (i'm very wordy these days.)

*If You're Gone - Matchbox 20

Sunday, September 29, 2013

there's a little bit of something me in everything in you

when we were younger, my sisters and i read this book of short stories. i think it was my older sister's book? anyway, they weren't scary stories, but they were supposed to leave you feeling slightly creeped out. bits and pieces of them have stuck with me over the years for some odd reason. there was one with fairies i think that skinned this girl's pet cat. one with a girl that pretends she doesn't know her mom at the airport and ends up as a flight attendant for life. (or something.) but the one relevant to my post today was about these two sisters (i think they had just thrown a party their parents were going to kill them for) that were allowed to go into this magical rose garden. in each rose was an alternate timeline that they could go down. they were allowed to pick a rose (i don't remember if they did) but as they searched for one they got to see glimpses of what would really play out in a bunch of different "what if" scenarios. i just finished reading fangirl by rainbow rowell and i feel like i got to peek into a rose of my own.

warning: this post is likely to be too long. i can't help myself. drunk-on-books-pseudo-psycho-babble rambles are my worst kind of rambles. it may also contain spoilers. maybe.

the book is basically the story of cather avery's first year at college. cather has a twin that doesn't want to be part of the "twin package" anymore, a dad who is kinda mentally unstable, a mom who left them when the twins were in third grade, and a huge obsession with simon snow (think harry potter with magicians instead of wizards - like, in terms of how huge the franchise is, not so much the plot.) she is also the writer of one of the most popular simon snow slash fanfics online.

fangirl doesn't just hit too close to home, it is home. or, it could be. like, if the essence of me, what really makes me me and all of that, was put into another person - someone living in a non-muslim, american family with one parent that doesn't commute to college (the girl, not the parent) - i would be cather. does that even make any sense? i haven't related to a character this much in a long time (or, at least not one that i did not also have strong urges to punch in the face more often than not), and it was fun. this wasn't me falling into the protagonist's shoes because she is a hollow, generic character made to have several built-in compartments to fill with your own personality. cather was a well-developed character who i just happened to see a lot of myself in. she is an anxiety-ridden, slightly misanthropic, fanfiction loving, wannabe writer and there is nothing about that that makes me think "well, that's not me at all." reading this book was like like standing in my own rose garden and seeing what could have happened if i had walked down a different path.

it got to the point that halfway through the story i started getting panicky, almost-nostalgia feelings. like that point in a big school year (last year of high school, last year of college, etc) where it's hitting february and you know it's going to end soon, but the thought is terrifying so you keep tying to push it to the back of your mind. i kept putting the book down because i didn't want "my first year" to end and that makes absolutely no sense at all but oh well.

it was one of those books that you pick up without fully knowing the importance of and finish with the feeling of "i really needed to read that book right now" even though you can't put your finger on exactly why. you just know that if you hadn't read it something bad would've (could've?) happened. although that might not happen with anyone else now that i think about it.

it also made me really wish that the simon snow saga was real because i need to read those books right now. fangirl has excerpts from both the simon snow books and cath's fanfictions thrown into it and i have never wanted a book to exist so bad before. i need to know what happens between these little scenes we're given. that is what my life has come to. i have books on my must-read-now list and characters that i care about that that do not even exist. sigh. it also made the harry potter nerd inside of me really sad that it missed out on a lot of fandom things. i never got to go to a midnight release of a book or movie, and i think that would have made my life.

there was one thing that really annoyed me, though. when cather is introducing her twin sister, wren, to her new college friends, this great line comes up: "'Our mom didn't know she was having twins,' Wren said. 'And she didn't feel like coming up with another name'" (pg 76). okay, these girls were born in 1993. (yes, i do feel old, thanks.) how is it possible that their mom didn't know she was having twins? did she never go to the doctor? did she not get a single ultrasound done? all i could think of was the lady on friends who has the kids monica and chandler adopt and her saying that whenever the doctor said "both heartbeats" she thought hers and the baby's. no one could possibly be that stupid. and then what? the dad couldn't think of a name either? the author could have easily said something like, she always wanted to name her first daughter catherine or something, and since she had a c-section (she did) she decided to just split the name between them. because i would rather just roll my eyes at that than go the rest of the book getting angry every time either of their names were mentioned. because, seriously? my suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

one thing that i really liked about the book's end was that cath didn't stop being a simon snow fan. the story kind of goes through her process of growing up, and parts of it hint that to do that she needs to let go of this whole simon snow/fanfiction obsession. there were times i was worried that she would come to realize that it was childish and just move on, but she doesn't. i mean, she does realize that other things are important too and she learns some balance, but her, wren, her roommate, and her boyfriend all go to the midnight release of the book and i loved that.

overall, is this the best book ever written? no.
will reading it change your life? probably not.
did i love it anyway? absolutely.

*If You're Gone - Matchbox 20

Thursday, September 26, 2013

well i believe i'm just plain tired

can we talk about how my week has been going so far?

monday was spent as usual alternating between the readings for my online class and meetings with my mentees. all i really remember was trying to get in my response to my online class at night, being tired, and thinking about how i would have to wake up super early the next morning.

tuesday i woke up early, went to my weekly breakfast with my dad, went to my weekly pottery class with my mom, and then everything went south. i had a doctor's appointment at one:thirty. (backstory: a little over two weeks ago, my ankle/foot was a little sore. a day or so later i noticed a small bump on my ankle. a day or so after that my ankle was three times its normal size and there was redness covering most of the top of my foot. after a week and a bit of it not going back to normal, i called my doctor and made an appointment. the day or so leading up to the appointment, the swelling went down some and i could actually move my foot again. (it was probably just because it was too fat, but previously i could barely move my ankle half a centimeter in any direction.) i decided to go to the appointment anyway (mainly because my parents told me to) and now you are all caught up.) i don't even remember the last time i went to my doctor's office and they weren't running ridiculously behind schedule. i showed up at the office at one:ten and wasn't seen until two:fifty. the nurse asked me questions and did some tests (like telling me to stand up on my toes) to make me think that i wasn't just moved from waiting in the waiting room to waiting in the patient-seeing-room whatever it's called. when the doctor finally came in, she looked at my foot for like half a second before saying that it was obviously an infection and possibly/likely freaking lyme disease. she takes a million gallons of my blood for tests (or three vials, but it's practically the same thing) as i start to get worried. the nurse tried to reassure me by saying it's only serious if they don't catch it and treat it early (and i'm still not convinced two weeks in is early) and they put me on antibiotics just in case. (as my doctor said, i'll have to be on antibiotics anyway for whatever infection it is so may as well do the lyme disease one until i get the results back. according to her it's totally safe cause it's the same drug they give for acne and that makes no sense to me but i'm not the one that went to med school so i'll try and believe her.) so now i guess i have to wait to see if i was infected, and if the results come back negative i need to be retested in three weeks because sometimes it takes a while to show. and i really do not have time for lyme disease.

then yesterday i had an exam. i could not think of an example to support my idea for one question so i made up some really stupid thing, and then as i walked to the metro i thought of the best example ever but it was too late and that's still bugging me. then the train broke down one stop away from where i needed to get off, and we had to wait twenty minutes for a new train. then i missed the shuttle to take me to campus where my car was and had to wait twenty minutes for the next one. then i got stuck in crazy traffic on the way home. grr.

and then today i was grading papers which is not so bad, but i emailed the professor i work for some questions and he responded with "thanks Sarah Michelle free pass" and i have no idea what that means. i have no idea who michelle is. and so i just graded the papers without taking off for lateness which i'm assuming was what the "free pass" means since that was one of my questions.

but i just... i'm so over this week.

*Tired - Matchbox 20

Monday, September 23, 2013

in fact it's phony as hell

i think that a lot of the rules of good writing apply to good living too. you should live your life the way you write. or maybe it's that you should write the way you live your life. actually, whichever one you're doing right, do the other one that way too.

the number one rule of writing is to "show not tell," and i think that applies to the way you act as well. we all hate it (and if you don't then you should) when an author writes a character and tells us, "by the way, this character is really smart. really. trust me on this. like one time, he got straight a's in all of his classes and didn't even have to work for them. he's just really that smart." and then the character doesn't actually do anything to show us that he's smart. ever. but the author continually tells us that he is. if you wrote a character that acted smart, then we are smart enough to know that he is smart without you telling us. (too many smarts in that sentence. ugh.) if you feel that you need to tell us so often then you are going down one of two paths that are equally wrong. path one: you could think that the reader is not smart enough to make his or her own deduction on the smartness of the character based on what he does alone. or two: you are writing this character poorly and failing to show us that he is smart, so you need to let us know he is in whatever other way you can. both of these are paths that you should probably get off of. right now. forget about the map just turn to the side and walk. you'll eventually find yourself somewhere better. 

along the same lines, if you have to continually tell people something about yourself like, "i'm a nice guy," then you are doing something wrong. you are either belittling the other person's intelligence by refusing to believe that they are perceptive enough to pick up on the fact that you are a nice guy and/or unwilling to believe that they have the mental faculties required for them to make the decision on whether or not you are a nice guy (and by make the decision i obviously mean make the decision that you wanted them to make). (in plain english: you think they're too stupid to see how nice you are.) or you are doing something at the moment (or in a very long string of moments more likely) that make you seem like you are not a nice guy and so you feel the need to constantly remind people that you are, in fact, a nice guy and they shouldn't forget that fact just because you are currently acting like an asshole. in both cases, you are telling not showing. and in both cases i am inclined to think that you are not a very nice guy. you are probably coming off as either arrogant, proud, creepy, pedantic, or hypocritical and none of those are good things. 

so, in life as well as in writing, show. don't tell.

*Back 2 Good - Matchbox 20

Saturday, September 21, 2013

trying to decide

so i'm probably going to stick with this whole school thing. mostly because i was born with three times the normal amount of inertia - maybe more. but i can't help weighing the pros and cons of staying and going all the time. it's like some weird kind of masochistic addiction where i tease myself with the idea of freedom and release and then go to class. i think i've really developed my cases for and against post-grad school, though. i'm super analytical and deep.

[case for dropping out] i've thought about this, and dropping out would mean i would have time to do something meaningful. or important. or just really big. like, maybe watch the entire netflix collection. i'm talking about every single movie, show, and whatever else is on there. streamed and dvd. you know how you can get sponsors to do something crazy like climb mount everest and swim across a shark-filled ocean? when you think about it, neither of those things give any more to society than sitting on the couch watching tv, right? but they get media coverage and money and other stuff that is probably really cool. and i've been seeing tons of articles lately about binge tv watching (as if this is some new thing). this would be the ultimate binge. totally newsworthy. i bet there would be tons of companies willing to sponsor me. orville popcorn, nestle chocolate chips, peeps, any rootbeer company... really, the possibilities are endless. i could make history, you guys.

[case for not dropping out] there's this professor - not one that has been especially helpful to me or really even cares much (or at all) about what i'm doing - but he agreed a while ago that he would be on my committee and he reagreed yesterday morning. and this professor is just... there's really no way to describe him besides giggle giggle swoon. really. there is just something about this guy that makes people (i'm not the only one, i promise. there are others.) giggly and swoony and it's really not healthy. i can just imagine me trying to defend my dissertation and getting caught in a fit of giggles because this guy. i'm not even a giggly person. at all. i don't think a single crush of mine in my life made me giggly. and i grew up with two sisters. we went through a very long boy crazy phase and had a million and four crushes. never giggled. so this is big, guys.

as you can see, this is a very tough decision. movies or giggles? suffer though watching stuff that i know i will hate or embarrass myself during my dissertation defense. i just cannot decide.

(i know i just posted about school and dropping out/staying, but my brain. it's tired.)

*Sahara - Relient K

Thursday, September 19, 2013

i don't know anymore

so since i embarked on this torturous journey of confusion and politics called a post-graduate degree, i have encountered three groups of people. group a and group b are really big. group c is really small. (if i was being a stickler then group c would only have one person in it. i am throwing in a few others just to make myself feel better.)

[group a] this group is filled with the naysayers. these are the people that tell me that i am not good enough and that i should just drop out. they are the programmer worshippers and the forensics haters. these are the people who have been sucked so far down the black hole of academic bureaucracy that they take their petty arguments with each other out on the students. i do not generally like these people.

[group b] this group has all of the people who do not believe in degrees. they think that i am too good for the program and should be out in the field doing things. they tell me that i am depriving the industry of fresh minds and diversity and awesome people. they think that i should put academics on hold for a bit and do things that will change the world. after all, they tell me, books will wait but the world will not. i generally really like these people.

[group c] like i said, this is really a group of one person. he thinks that i am both good enough to get a phd AND work in the field and he will support me through both. he knows that i still have lots to learn, and is willing to help me fill in the holes of my knowledge. he wants me to continue along the academic path because he believes that i can do it and then go take the industry by storm. (the other three people want me to continue along this path too, but mostly because they need to be on a certain number of committees and i am no use to them unless i am a student.)

now, while group a and group b are vastly different in a lot of things, they do have one thing in common. they both think that i should drop out. at least for now. and i dunno. after finding an adviser this summer i kind of thought that it was a sign from god that i should ride this thing out. but so many people are telling me to drop out. i'm starting to wonder if it's time to start listening to them.

(i met up with a professor yesterday that was so completely in group b that he shook up all of my convictions that becoming a doctor is what i want to do.)

*Some Nights - Fun. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

this place is always such a mess

so yesterday was kind of a "hang on a minute, i think i'm being productive! oh wait... no, never mind. false alarm. actually, i am! i am being productive! at least a little bit. yay me!" kind of a day. if i am the only one that gets these kinds of days then please just play along and act like i am not a total weirdo. (sidenote: i have recently found myself saying a bunch of things that i never used to say [like weirdo and wonky] and i do not know where these words came from but they are now a huge part of my vocabulary.) as i mentioned before, grandmothers and sisters and nephews and basically everything else took precedence over cleaning my apartment and after a month of that, it is a huge mess. like, really, really bad. bad enough that if you were downstairs and really needed to use the bathroom so you called me to ask if you could use mine, i would pretend i wasn't home and watch from the window as you wet yourself. and because i suddenly find myself without the constant time spent at home (i miss it!) i have developed a method of slowly getting the house clean. i will basically do mini chores whenever i am home and have a few spare minutes. these include washing a few dishes, folding half a load of laundry, organizing one corner of the tower... small stuff. at this rate, i will have a clean apartment by the end of the semester. *sigh*

(reason number 4367864 to have kids: at least you have a good reason to have a messy apartment.)

so yesterday i had agreed to help one of my students with a homework assignment during our meeting. when the computer lab did not have the software that we needed, i felt super cool and helpful for like half a second because i had my laptop with everything already installed from when i took the class. unfortunately, i hadn't used my vmware for a while, and so i didn't know that it had expired. obviously my feeling of helpfulness was short-lived. i spent a while trying to get this alternative software to work (it didn't) while downloading a new version of vmware. when everything was finally set up, he started working on his assignment only to find that it was not working. i could not for the life of me figure out why. when he finally had to leave (after an hour and a half of me feeling stupid and wasting both of our time) i decided to take one last shot at making it work. and of course it did. perfectly. because that's just how things go for me. i texted him saying that it was working, but he had plans to meet up with a friend so that was the end of it.

during my office hours (or the hour and some that i had left after suffering with faulty software) i decided to catch up on all of the blogs that i am behind on due to everything i listed above that has affected my cleaning. i had hopes to fly through them all quickly, but goodness i missed a lot. when i am on here everyday it feels like no one ever updates. but you would be surprised by how many updates there are on every blog in a month. i got through a couple of blogs, but still have three posts from one blog and a few on another that i have to go through. (i don't like feeling like i missed something so no i cannot just start reading from where they are now thank you very much.)

anyway, i am taking a break to blog and do nothing right now and then it is back to mini chores, choosing a paper topic, trying to do the reading for today's class (i am not too hopeful about that) and then heading off to school for two meetings and class. ugh. i really want to have a netflix marathon.

*One Headlight - The Wallflowers

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

really, really bad idea

i have never talked about my birth control on here because a) it's really no one's business, b) i really don't think any of you care, and c) the few times it has come up in real life conversations i end up getting lectured forever about "how bad it is for my body" and how by taking it "i will never be able to have babies ever." but the company that makes my birth control made the stupidest decision ever recently, and i need to get out how much i hate them for it.

i used to take loestrin 24. when i went to refill my prescription a couple of weeks ago, the pharmacist kindly told me that the company stopped making loestrin 24 and i would need my doctor to call in and tell them that i could take minastrin 24 instead, which is what the company now makes. (quick sidenote: i think that CVS and my doctor could have maybe handled this before i ran out of pills. CVS people were very, "yeaaah so this happened and we decided to just not tell you about it when we said you could come pick up the meds so that we could tell you in person after making you drive over here for no reason so that maybe you'll buy a candy bar since you're already here." and my doctor's secretary was like, "*sigh* all of you people on loestrin are calling about this. i wish there was maybe a way that we could have made it easier on you and ourselves by calling the pharmacy and letting them know we were okay with the switch as soon as we found out about it. kind of like the way we called the pharmacy and told them to give you (and the rest of our patients) the summer's worth of pills at one time in case you traveled even though you didn't ask us to. of course, that would mean we were helpful when you needed it and not when our help was pretty pointless, but let the pharmacy fax us something and when your doctor is here she'll sign it.")

but back to the pharmacist. so she's telling me that the company switched to minastrin and it's pretty much the exact same as loestrin but with a new name and blah blah blah. "oh," she adds, "and now it's chewable." after seeing the look on my face (and i think i said ewwwww what?) she said, "yeah my sister hates it."

can i just ask who the idiot was that decided to make chewable birth control? like, the pills are super tiny anyway. it's not like they were hard to swallow at. all. and i am not a four year old child who can't swallow a pill. i'm kind of hoping that everyone on the pill is old enough to know how to swallow them.

anyway, i get the pill and ask the pharmacist if i have to chew them. she tells me that i really should. they'll be more effective or whatever cause they were made to be chewed. okay. so i take the first one, pop the tiny little thing in my mouth, and start chewing. "this isn't so bad," i say to my husband who i had spent the previous fifteen minutes complaining about chewable things to. "it's kind of sweet." and then, once the pill was fully crushed in my mouth, it hit. like a barrel of toxic waste assaulting my senses. it tasted worse than anything i have ever tasted ever in my entire life. i was going to be sick, i just knew it. so i started to dramatically gag and whine and stuff ritz crackers into my mouth to cover the taste. which lingered long after the pill was gone. it was horrible.

needless to say, i am now swallowing the stupid thing and strongly thinking of switching to a brand smart enough to know that making birth control chewable is just a really bad idea. (the guy behind this decision makes me think of the marketing team that decided mcdonald's new slogan should be "i'd tap that." how do these guys get jobs is what i'm wondering.)

*Bad Idea (Retarded) - Ben Folds Five

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

if i had my own world... there'd be no more... packed parking lots

yesterday morning i started writing a post about something semi-interesting (to me at least) that has nothing to do with what goes on in my everyday life because i like to shake it up sometimes. since i had already written a post about sadness (but mostly nothing) just an hour earlier, i had decided to save it for today. but then i went to campus, and the frustration that i suffered pushed semi-interesting thoughts to another day.

so, a bit of backstory. i used to drive to campus all the time. obviously. but then i got married and only had one class to take and buying a parking permit for hundreds of dollars so that my car (that i did not have at the time) could sit on a mason lot for three hours a week just did not make sense. especially since there was a shuttle that went from basically my backyard to campus every day. then i made a stupid decision and started the struggle that is the mason phd program. and while i was on campus more often, all of my classes were night classes and the shuttle starts running at three and i still did not have a car and parking permit prices were raised. so i continued to just take the shuttle, and when i needed to be on campus for a bit early in the day, i would use the meter parking (where it is usually very easy to find a spot). (side note: my husband and i were sharing his car at the time. he was also taking classes. so the car was usually free in the mornings.) 

but this semester i have to be on campus a lot. and most of the time it is before three. and paying for parking every day just did not make sense, so i went out and bought myself a parking permit. (my credit card was really sad that hundreds of dollars were spent on something besides books. it's still in mourning.)

but the thing about taking the shuttle for the past few years was that, while i knew that parking on campus was bad (i mean, it's not something that you easily forget), i guess i distanced myself from exactly how bad. yesterday, i found out just how awful it really is. (the university got a bunch more students, closed some of the lots, and "doesn't guarantee you a space with the purchase of a permit" which basically means that they sell way more permits than they have available parking spaces.) i sat in my car circling the lots forever. to put things into perspective for you, i went through the entire maroon 5 CD that i had playing in my car and still did not find a spot. 

and every time i would leave an area all the parked cars in it would just disappear and everyone behind me would miraculously find spaces immediately. so the next time i would stay in an area longer, knowing that the minute i left it the students would be out of class and come move their cars, but they never came. the second i left, there they all were. i should hire myself out as a spot finder for other people. maybe that way i could get back the money for this permit that makes me half an hour late to my office hours and annoyed to the point of wanting to punch every single person i see in the face. 

i obviously have a great semester of parking to look forward to. 

*Secret Crowds - Angels and Airwaves

Monday, September 9, 2013

my words like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence

on saturday, my older sister and her family made their way back to the desert. yesterday, i brought my younger sister her guinea pigs. today, i woke up to a completely silent house. i thought i heard the guinea pigs squeaking until i reminded myself that they weren't there and just lay in bed, listening to the silence. it's just me and darcy again, but this time there's a loneliness hanging over us that wasn't here in the beginning of the summer. (darcy misses his animal friends and the human attention he was getting.) the apartment is still a total mess, but there are empty spots where the cages used to be. there's an empty corner in the tower where all of their things were kept. i know that if i pick up the toys this time, i won't find them thrown around my apartment an hour later. and instead of the relief that i thought at times i would feel, there is only sadness. i miss the commotion of the summer.

and while i could go into an endless ramble of everything i miss, i won't. instead, i'll say that mondays used to be my do nothing days, but suddenly i find them jam packed with things: an online class, office hours, student meetings. and add to that the fact that i forgot my phone at my parents' house last night and now have to drive all the way back there to get it. and also get groceries. and i just want to sit in my room and be sad. but there is no time for that.

i will have to find time this week to do a major apartment cleaning (which is harder than it sounds because i do not have a single free day and this cleaning will take all day) and, being an avid hater of the process of cleaning (though i love a clean house), that should be fun. and then i will fall into a rest-of-the-semester routine, and the summer will fade into memory faster than i would have thought possible. (i am hoping that the routine includes both book editing and blanket knitting, but i am feeling too blah at the moment to really force them into it.)

*The Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel

Saturday, September 7, 2013

okay, so i have really bad eyesight. like, bad enough that anything more than a couple of inches away from my face is blurry and the lenses of my glasses are really thick (which is understandable considering the fact that i have been wearing glasses since i was five and never listened to my eye doctor's recommendations to read less [he then told me that after twenty minutes of reading i should pause and look off into the distance (walls don't count, like he's talking windows with real views) for five minutes, but who wants to read like that and also i do not always have access to distances while reading.]). now, i think you're supposed to take contacts out after eight hours, but my eye doctor told me that, because of my horrendous vision, i should try not to keep mine in for more than five hours a day. of course, what with classes and various things that require me to be out of the house for a lot of the day, my contacts are usually in longer than that. (this is one of the reasons for my headaches. staring at screens also causes my headaches. because of my life choices, i usually cannot give up either of these things. so i will have headaches forever.)

today, though, takes the cake. i just took my contacts out after seventeen hours in them. and not only were they dry and giving me the kind of headache where every step causes my head to pound, but they were getting weirdly deformed. so that was fun. you know in cartoons when a character is dehydrated and their eyes shrivel up? yeah, it felt a little like that. there are times when i really hate contacts.

but today was super fun. (and weight-gain-inducing. i ate every single meal out in a restaurant today. what kind of a fatty does that?) i spent most of it with my sister and her family but then spent a couple of hours with my friends. (the friend that came on the same day as my sister is leaving the day after her and it is as if they planned it but they didn't.) (when my brain is tired it extra-likes run-on sentences. and apparently hyphenated words.) and i am tired. and i possibly have breakfast plans and even if i don't i have hungry animals in the house that want their breakfast at seven:thirty. also, my sister is leaving tomorrow. also number two, i have a bunch of things planned for tomorrow and i kind of feel like just sleeping forever instead. 

i lost the point of this post somewhere up there. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

what have i become, my sweetest friend?

it's been a long day (and week and month). keep that in mind if anything i write stops making sense.

so it took twenty five years and a few degrees, but my student integrity has finally died. (the little that i had, i mean.) yesterday morning, i became *deep breath* a spark noteser. i know, i know. it's awful.

back in high school, i would never have dreamed of using spark notes instead of doing the required reading. sure, most of the reading consisted mainly of novels and i love to read, but still. i was an avid read-aheader and even the idea of spark notes was slightly ridiculous to me. in undergrad, i either did the required reading or i didn't. (and once i finished the honors/gen ed classes i mainly didn't.) there was no middle ground cheating. in grad school, i just didn't do reading. i'm not sure if any was ever assigned (i'm guessing it probably was) but i just didn't do it. actually, i did read a few news articles and one chapter now that i think about it, but for the most part i didn't even buy a lot of the books. i know, i'm a great student. but when everything is on a powerpoint slide that the professor makes available to us, what's the point, you know?

but now that i am officially a "scholar" (that happened with the piece of paper saying i had earned my MS. boy, can i fool people.), now that i have finished all the classes i need, now that i am just taking extra credits, i have turned to spark notes instead of real books. it's sad really. i'd feel ashamed if i cared at all, but i just can't seem to muster the energy. i am so done with school. i have neither the time nor the motivation to read through three philosophy books in a week just because someone tells me to, and so, to the spark notesers i always secretly judged even while saying i didn't, i'm sorry. i'd like to join your club. i'll bring cookies.

*Hurt - Johnny Cash

Sunday, September 1, 2013

perhaps she'll die

so first week of school (i would say my last semester of classes, but i said that last time and look where it got me) is over, but it feels like i haven't started yet. last week was full of hanging out with my sister and nephews and friends and getting the house ready for my parents and family to come home to (today!) and really long phone calls to various family members and not having any computer or tv time, and school was just kind of thrown in there a couple of times as a break from socializing. with an entire semester ahead of me, i'm sure you'll all hear plenty about my classes, so i'm not going to go into that today. i will say that i have this underlying sense of panic and a part of that is that i have so many school related responsibilities that i did not get to this first week and now i'm wondering if i'll have time for them at all during this semester. another part of it is that my sister is leaving in a week and i have that sense that i have to spend every waking second with them or i'm wasting it because i probably won't see her or her family for at least a year after this. and my friends are leaving on the same day and i feel like i need to spend more time with them, too, but there is just no time. for anything. and that is panic inducing.

you know what a great thing to do when you're already feeling slightly on edge the whole time is? (i think it is important to point out that by great i really mean kind of stupid and you totally should not do it, but i did it anyway.) wake up in the middle of the night, start googling symptoms on your smart phone, and convince yourself that you have cancer. hodgkins lymphoma to be more precise.

while searching for what to do when a swollen lymph node is making it really hard to find a comfortable position to go back to sleep in after waking up to use the bathroom because it is causing your whole neck to ache (heat? ice?) i ended up reading people's stories on a health forum (because internet black holes are not limited to computers). anyway, one person mentioned that she'd had a swollen lymph node for a while, but since she wasn't having night sweats and a loss of appetite, her doctor had ruled out hodgkins. of course, my brain immediately went to I HAVE NIGHT SWEATS! I HAVE A LOSS OF APPETITE! (it forgot to remember that the night sweats are probably caused by the fact that our bedroom is rarely the same temperature as the rest of the apartment and we usually forget to turn down the AC before going to bed. i mean, i don't really think that cancer induced night sweats is the probable reason that two different people in the same bed are hot. it also forgot to remember that i have been both sick and fasting recently and both of those things tend to make my appetite a little wonky.)

but anyway. while my brain was busy forgetting, my fingers started looking up symptoms of hodgkins lymphoma and things just got worse. fatigue! oh no! i went into bed close to nine last night with the intention of reading but was too tired to do anything but look at instagram and play candy crush saga until it reached a respectable time to fall asleep. a swollen lymph node! oh no! that's my whole problem! (the fact that every single site said that the lump had to be painless to be cancer and that my whole issue was that it was painful and thereby obviously caused by some infection or other was irrelevant obviously.) there was no denying it. i had cancer.

just as i was about to wake up my husband and tell him the bad news, i realized that it wasn't even five in the morning yet and i should probably let him have a few more hours of peaceful sleep before burdening him with this kind of news. because that's just the kind of person that i am.

when i woke back up two hours later, i realized that i was probably just being stupid.

*There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Saturday, August 24, 2013

thoughts keep running through my head

[one] with football season once again starting, i think it is time for me to discuss the deception of football helmets. i'm still not completely sure if it's a good deception (like magic shows) or a bad deception (like when you buy tickets to watch elvis and it's really an impersonator), so i guess i'll leave it up to you to decide. but anyway. sometimes i'll be watching football and see one of the guys on the field and think, "wow, congratulations on your face, sir." (and by "think," i usually mean say out loud. my dad's and husband's usual reaction to my comments on the players' looks is to ignore me, but sometimes i can get them to take part in an entire conversation about them and then i go home feeling victorious.) and then they'll go over to the sidelines, pull off their helmet, and i'm just like, "MY EEEYYYYEEEES! THEY BUUUURRRRNNN! SOMEONE QUICK! GET THAT MAN A PAPER BAG! POST HASTE!" and to those men, i say, "always, always, wear your helmet." because really, football helmets can do wonders.

[two] i was thinking about characters the other day, and i realized that i love some characters for the stories that live in my head rather than the stories that they are actually written in. this can mean actual fanfiction plots or just random thoughts that i've thought about the character - like their back story or what they were doing while the protagonist was off saving the world. sometimes, i don't even like the character in canon but s/he is one of my favorites outside of it. and that got me to wondering, if an author creates a character and thereby pretty much owns him/her, and i don't particularly like the character for what the author wrote of him/her (for whatever reason), can i still say that i love the character? does that even count?

[three] i never realize that i have this inherent sense of entitlement just because i live in america until i'm watching youtube and it tells me that a video is not available in my country. i literally have a moment where i just do not understand what is happening. i mean, i am in america for heaven's sake! what do you mean it doesn't work here? where else would it work, then? do any other countries even exist? and if they do, how is it possible that things could work there and not here? everything should work here. people should not have things that americans cannot have. (this is an exaggeration, of course, but i really do get this shock every time it happens, and that says a lot.)

*Through My Head - B.O.B.