Thursday, April 27, 2006

Somebody up there likes me?

Big news: I got an interview. For what wasn't the dream job but I'm fast realizing could very well be the dream job.

I went to campus today to pick some books up, get some editing done, and photocopy many, many things. So I wandered around the department and chatted with several nice profs, admins, and fellow-students. One of my profs told me, "I heard you got an interview!" News travels fast, since I had told my advisor only yesterday. He then emphasized that of course it would go well, because I was "loveable." Aw.

The department secretary then pulls me aside and said she heard about the interview. I asked her to wish me luck. "I can do better than that. I'll be praying for you." Dept. secretary is a nice lady, I guess, but she is rather into the Jesus thing. She wears a headband that says "I [HEART] Jesus" and one time, when the copy machine was jammed right before class, she told me and my prof to "put it in Jesus's hands." Um, no. I don't think Jesus is going to come down and fix the copy machine for us.

But still, nice that she's praying for me. Of course, when I told spouse this, he responded, "So does Jesus need to choose between getting you a job and fixing the copy machine?"

Monday, April 24, 2006

Timeline of me...

Hat-tip to Elle and APL for the meme.

20 years ago I . . .
1. was "the smart girl"
2. looked forward to junior high as a chance to get out of a nightmare grade school experience
3. hated my sister so much!

10 years ago I . . .
1. graduated college
2. got a "real job"
3. shacked up with my significant other (wow, ten years)

5 years ago I . . .
1. moved back from the cool blue North
2. started trying to get pregnant
3. was diagnosed with PCOS

3 years ago I . . .
1. passed my comps
2. gave birth
3. mourned the passing of my grandmother, and yet was glad to see her finally get what she wanted. To move on.

1 year ago I . . .
1. gave birth again
2. gained a newfound respect for my mother
3. made a timeline for writing the dissertation

So far this year I . . .
1. have written 3 more chapters
2. decided to move and (if possible) graduate
3. applied for some jobs

Yesterday I . . .
1. went to a mandir. Peaceful, but strange for me.
2. seethed inward over some particular problems I'm having
3. met my newest nephew

Today I . . .
1. reworked my most recent chapter, and it's much better
2. got some optimistic news on the job front
3. will play scrabble and take no prisoners!

Tomorrow I will . . .
1. write, write, write!
2. fret that my daughter might be developing pinkeye
3. plan out some sample syllabi for courses I would like to teach

In the next year I will . . .
1. hopefully defend my dissertation
2. get a job!!!
3. be grateful for the time I've had with my kids

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An emotional weekend

We were just about out the door, I was about to shut down the email, when a new message came in. Of the "we regret to inform you" kind. I did not get the dream job. I didn't even get a stinkin' interview. Grrr...

That said, I headed out the door to a wonderful concert by Eddie from Ohio. Great show, punctuated by three interesting tidbits: First, we had front row seats, stage Robbie. Excellent. Second, there was a four year old (who incidentally knew ALL the words to all the songs) in the front row on the other side. Next time, we're definitely taking DQ! Third, EFO's lead singer is battling breast cancer. One of those "and you thought not getting a job is tough!" moments. She looks good and sounds amazing, and the site mentions that things seem to be going well with the chemo. So there you go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

For a limited time only...

Glad everyone enjoyed DQ's portrait. Here's a less-identifying shot of her dying easter eggs.

And one of the Wild Boy, playing with his toy animals and modeling his new fancy ethnic duds.

Nothin' like a Nehru jacket on a toddler!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Goals for the week

1. Incorporate Advisor's edits for chapter 1 (and set up some sort of shock device that will notify -- and punish -- me every time I start a sentence with "while")

2. Read up on the historiographical background for chapter 2. I've got 6 "biggie" books on my desk to get me grounded in this material.

3. Finish crocheting the latest blanket. Friend's baby was born a week early. Ack!

4. Begin expansions to chapter 2, such as adding in the historiographical context (and while I'm at it, taking out all the "whiles")

5. Stay sane or die tryin'.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Don't have time for the Dissertation? Buy it!

As many of you know, Gmail gives you a sidebar of ads chosen based on key words in your emails. So after a few messages about my dissertation and the writing process, I'm getting dissertation-related ads. This would include some places for discount thesis binding, software and bibliography services, and a very entertaining link to a paper-writing service.

I had to check it out.

I will not link to them or mention their name, but this is a site that offers to write papers to order for you, anything from a high school term paper to a Ph.D. dissertation. Now, I've seen term paper writing sites before (and I've busted students who have hired them), but I must admit I've never seen one that offered MA theses and Ph.D. dissertations. How would that even work? Is your committee full of idiots?

The best (read: most ironic) part of the site was their warning on plagiarism. Aside from the obvious (buying your paper is plagiarism) they GUARANTEE that their work is not sold more than once, and therefore will not show up on plagiarism-tracking services that schools subscribe to these days. As one of their writers says, If research is conducted thoroughly and a good understanding of the subject is achieved, there should be no need for plagiarism.

They also include a disclaimer which basically refutes everything they've said elsewhere on the site: Our papers are produced for research purposes only; they are not to be submitted as your own work under any conditions. (I'm sure that's what your client base has in mind.) Plagiarists – are they pressed for time, or couldn’t they care less, or what? Ethics and morals need a place always, and whatever. (Whatever.)

Then there are the testimonials:

The paper looks well written
It looks well written? You couldn't even be bothered to read it after you'd paid for it?

Thank you very good essay. I am very hapy with you people. Before i tryed lots websites but your service is the best.
What can I say?

And of course, the company is hiring. The site advertises for new writers with the following material:

If you're an academic that wants to be part of the best there is and would relish the chance to help others succeed, then we want to hear from you. If your successful in your application you'll have the oppurtunity to receive a high yield flexible income whislt further refining your academic skills in the areas of your choice.

"Your?" "whislt?" I felt a strange compulsion to correct the grammar and spelling on their site. Perhaps print it out, mark it through with a red pen, and inform them that I would hesitate to give them a B on their work, despite their claims that all papers were B quality or better.

And from such a company, you can get a 200 page graduate thesis for the bargain basement price of $3990. Where do I sign up?

Eek! Don't want to be a plagiarist. I should note that all quotes in green are from www(dot)masterpapers(dot)com.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

One step away from Schadenfreude?

A member of my dissertation group defended this week. We're all very happy for her. Yes, I really was happy. But then I came home and felt very bad about myself. Before, attending defenses (I've been to several, but this is the first from within my own cohort) has given me a burst of positive energy, as if I've discovered that what I'm trying to accomplish is possible. I can do this!

Which is why my after-defense feeling struck me so much. I love this woman. I'm proud of her. I don't think it's resentment or jealousy (well, maybe a little jealousy -- she's done and she has a job lined up, two things I do not have). I think it's rather a feeling of inadequacy. She has managed to pull this off and I have not. Leading to the inevitable "what's wrong with me?" mantra.

I spent the better part of the day kicking myself over not being done, and then the rest of the evening kicking myself that I'd spent the better part of the day not working productively. It's a vicious circle. Yep. Just keeps going around and around. Never stops. That's what makes it vicious. And a circle.

Well, back to work.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Pan-Africanism in the Produce Section

This was the coolest thing I've seen in a while: guy in the grocery store wearing a Marcus Garvey t-shirt.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

All this talk of penises...

This is easily the funniest day for blog surfing ever. Not only have I uncovered the wonderfully pro-vagina conversation between mother and daughter at Phantom Scribbler's, but this GEM of an item from a woman debating whether or not to circumcize her son. I'll warn you now: DO NOT DRINK ANYTHING WHILE READING OR YOU WILL SPIT ON YOUR MONITOR. Consider yourself warned.

Th-hers-day... for the ladies

A wise man once said, if you know your history, then you will know where you're coming from. Today's Th-hers-day is a poem, published in 1905, by Josie Briggs Hall.

excerpt from Woman's Rights
With me on woman's rights
You all may not agree
But I think her principal duty
Is that of housewifery;
For when she trains up a child in the right way
She has casted a vote in the right direction,
And that vote's as powerful
As if casted at an election.
I get all misty just reading crap like this.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles

Last night was an emotional rollercoaster.

Drama Queen lived up to her name -- and with good reason -- when she fell off the swingset straight onto her face. My kid is going to preschool today with a black eye. I'm awaiting the knock at the door from CPS.

Maryland beat Duke in the women's national championship game. It was a fantastic game. I felt bad, but not too bad. The Devils put up an excellent fight against a team that just played a fantastic game. But poor Coach G! She's losing a lot of talent. This was her big chance. Now, the rebuilding begins. [On a side note, I ended my ESPN women's tournament challenge in the 93rd percentile, thanks to my considerable ACC bias -- I had three of the final four teams right. Go me! And go my college roommate, who won our group with the same ACC bias and a 96th percentile finish. Needless to say, neither of us did as well on the men's side.]

After the game, I got ready for bed and turned on the Daily Show. Jon was introducing Studs Terkel. No kidding: Studs Terkel! Holy Crap! Ok, now I'm feeling a little bit better about the world as we know it. I went to bed happy.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


  • Good things are afoot on the home-selling front.

  • Good things are afoot on the job front (not solidly good, just potentially good).

  • Slow and steady things are afoot with the dissertation.

  • Strange things are afoot at the Circle K, but then, you knew that.

Beyond that, I really can't say. Don't want to jinx myself.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"You find yourself in just the spot"

We took the family to the local touchy-feely grocery store today. I'm scanning the aisles for organic unsweetened applesauce when I pause. Cock my head. Listen. It's the instrumental opening of a song I know but do not expect to hear outside of my Launch station. My mind hums like a Pentium chip. Indigo Girls? Girlyman? It's DAR!!!! Holy crap, the grocery store is playing Dar Williams???? And not just any Dar; NEW Dar. "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere," to be specific.

But wait, there's more. On our way out, Spouse stops the cart to listen intently and says, "They're playing Great Big Sea."

"No they're not!" I protest in disbelief. 'Cause that would be too much.

"Wait. You're right. It's that one that's like Great Big Sea, but that you hate."

"Carbon Leaf?"

"Yeah, them."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

All Stick and No Carrot

Dr. Mellow (yes, the pseudonym is ironic) once said that grad school was all stick and no carrot. He's right, you know.

I finished the fourth chapter for my dissertation, and Wicked Smaht Friend asked me a very good question: how do I plan on rewarding myself for this accomplishment? I drew a blank. Rewards? For a grad school accomplishment? But I think it's an idea with merit. On Monday, I'm going to partake in a matinee movie with some serious chocolate.

I have two more chapters to write. I'm open to suggestions.