Sunday, 10 April 2011 § 2 Comments

Have no self-control?  There’s an app for that!  No, seriously, there is: it’s called Freedom, and it only costs 10 cashdollars.  I’m using it to sequester myself pretty much around the clock as I write this first exam.  Also, I’ve picked a name for the chair of my committee, the adviser for this first field: The Dubious Oracle.  People who know me/him in real life, does this seem fitting?  (And is it too obvious who he is?)

Anyhow, the experience of writing this exam is disconcertingly surreal, and is something that I will process at greater length later.  I’ve been having a lot of those “what the hey-nally am I doing” moments, and unsurprisingly, they don’t really help when one is trying to write a syllabus.  All this to say, I’ve spent entirely too much time fantasizing about my alternate life plans.  One of them is just to marry rich and become a trophy wife (again, more on that another time).  Another, and likely more viable one, is to live in a VW Bus at the dog beach at Ocean Beach in San Diego.  I stumbled upon this plan when I was visiting my older brother there during the AHA last winter, and it seemed like a really good idea.  Like something I could manage.  I’m not even much of a dog person, but still — it seemed appropriate.  (The not-funny backdrop to this story is that I was very seriously considering dropping out of my program because I was so. godforsaken. unhappy.  On the lighter side, part of my criteria for what I wanted in my ideal life involved being closer to the sea.  I first considered becoming a pirate.  Said brother: “Pirates are terrible people.”  Said I [choosing not to make reference to the excellent Marxist historiography on pirates to my military law enforcement brother]: “No, not the Somali/boat hijacking/killing people kind.  More like the yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum and sea shanties kind.”  “I don’t think they’re hiring.”  “Damn.”)   Piracy thus rendered untenable, voila: VW Bus.

My obsession with that escapist fantasy was intensified when I stumbled upon the blog I Live In My Van.  I don’t know him — I found the link through another blog — but this man is pretty much my hero.  Last year he was denied tenure and then had his house burn down.  And so he’s taking his insurance cash-out, moving himself and his dog into a VW Westfalia, and goin’ drivin’ for a while.  He has emerged from the scenario that for most of us is our worst nightmare and is literally living out my wildest dream.

I’m saving the files for this first exam as “VW” and “dog beach.”  I’ll change them before I send them to The Dubious Oracle.

Yes, please.


UPDATED TO ADD:  This tumblr makes me really. happy. and also assuages some of my ideal-life fantasies.  Oh hai kitteh!


Bulk ferment.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011 § 2 Comments

In my note to the readers that accompanies my upcoming colloquium paper, I refer to the piece (a draft of my dissertation prospectus) as “still in bulk ferment stage (nb: baking metaphor).”  (I think I’ve overused the perfunctory “This is still very much in progress…”) I feel like my weekly bread turned out a lot better than my written work this weekend; can’t I just submit these loaves in lieu of my paper??

"Final rise, or, Lit Review"

"Dusted and scored, or, Methodology"

"Boule, or, Archival Sources"

"I sliced it too soon, nom nom nom, or, Contributions to Other Fields."

I think we’d all be better off this way.

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