Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Abstinence: Not just for teens anymore!

The federal government is interested in expanding abstinence only programs to include adults up to age 29. And if they're so gung-ho on encouraging marital sex as the only appropriate sex, why is this administration so frightened of gay marriage? Wouldn't that be a way to encourage gays to save themselves for marriage?

My dad repeatedly tells me he votes Republican because he thinks the government should trust its citizens to do the right thing and not get involved in everything. If there's one thing that a "small" government does, it's try to run the sex lives of your average 28 year old.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Random Bullets of Anxiety Attacks

  • My committee is ready to set a defense date. Yay!
  • I will be teaching the coolest course Spring term at my adjunct job.
  • I am up for another adjuncting jobs in a related field.
  • There is a tenure-track job in my field opening up in the area next year.
  • So why am I having an utter freak-out?
  • I need some chocolate and a good night's sleep.
  • And maybe some nookie.
  • Was that out loud????
  • Sunday, October 29, 2006

    How well you learn to not discern

    I'm taking a quick break from serene reminiscing about barbequed ribs to plug The American Museum of Moving Image, which contains presidential political ads from 1952 to the present. Beret tip to Flavia, who rocks. Great resource for putting together the final weeks of that tricky syllabus.

    If you've never seen Johnson's "Daisy" commercial, watch it now. Seriously.

    Football Schadenfreude

    I know that when you want astute football analysis, of course you turn to a social historian from Duke.

    So, loyal readers, here's another football post. Enjoy.

    • Georgia Tech beating Miami. HA!

    • Oregon State over USC. HA! HA!

    • Florida State alums talking about pushing Bowden out for their disappointing season. HA! HA! HA!

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    I once was lost but now I'm found

    But seriously, I did not expect to find a REALLY DAMN GOOD southern barbeque place in not-quite-urban Cascadia. And yet, that is exactly what I found tonight. Holy moly! Ribs, chicken, yams, baked beans, wicked good cornbread. I am so happy, and I haven't even tried to hushpuppies yet. I will be back.

    And, if you can believe the pictures decorating the place, it is a favorite of Snoop Dogg's. For shizzle.

    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Quinn goes visual

    Elle tagged me to identify and share several (I seriously doubt I'll get around to 8-10) images that I love or that amaze me. So here goes:

    This is The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table, by Salvador Dali (1934). I first saw this painting in fourth grade, when my mom used to volunteer as our art literacy instructor. I freakin' loved it then. And I love it now. I really don't know why.

    I love all the old propaganda poster stuff. But this one transcends.

    This is a Cascadian shot if there ever was one. That former Mayor Bud Clark of Portland, Oregon, in the trenchcoat.

    Sure, it's an old standard. But I really like it.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Reason #1 why my dissertation is cool...

    It has a special guest appearance by a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Brownie points to the first commenter who can guess which one.

    And now we return to our regularly scheduled program, 1001 reasons why my dissertation is evil...

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    Writing with the Penis

    I got into an interesting conversation during the editing process with some peers. We were talking about how hesitant we are to make grand claims for our work. How do I say that my dissertation is earth-shattering without sounding arrogant? How do I convince people that my work is important when I'm not sure I really believe it myself? Is my work anything special, and by association, am I anything special?

    One friend (a recent female Ph.D.) said she's been told to "write with the penis." Write like a man. Be bold. Be boastful. Write like you know you've changed the world.

    I believe that this is something very common among women academics. We've been trained all our lives to be modest, to not make ourselves too conspicuous, to defer to the expertise of others. So how do we get past this?

    It doesn't end with the writing, of course. I also have to "interview with the penis." Now that's a disgusting thought.

    Dance with Me

    During my lunch-and-sanity break from the diss edits, I watched the Colbert Report from last night. Three things:

    1. His "Better Know a District" interview with John Hall, the Democratic candidate from southern NY and former singer from the band Orleans, was awesome! I want that guy to be president.

    2. Has anybody seen these ads for Bravia TVs? It's supposed to be the first television for men and women. Um, perhaps I'm particularly dense about this, but isn't my current TV for men and women? I regularly watch it with men, and it seems to work just fine. So what makes this television so different?

    3. Peyton Manning was in the Bravia commercial. So that's nice, at least. We all know I loves me some Peyton. Of course, his appearance was during the "men's" marketing section of the ads. So maybe that's why I'm dense about male/female marketing strategies.

    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    The 13th step: recognizing unintentional puns.

    I laid out 12 steps of dissertation editing. But I just found another. Step 13 (not in chronological order, of course) is recognizing really horrible unintentional puns in your writing, and hopefully fixing them before anybody else recognizes them.

    When writing about venereal diseases among soldiers in World War I, don't write that the military refused "any infected soldier discharge orders." Heh, I said discharge.


    Th-Hers-day... for the ladies... Brain Candy Edition

    And a shoutout first and foremost to Elle, who inspired this topic by writing about how she was going to climb into bed with John Higham. You know, but not that way.

    Shoutout the second to my mom, who always gets this funny wistful look when she talks about Bill Gates. While clearly, the man is no George Clooney (or Carlos Beltran!), my mom has developed a serious intellectual crush on him. Which got me thinking: smart is sexy, so who is your "Brain Candy"?

    My nominations:
    And, to beat K-lyn to the punch:

    I love to go out dancing
    My baby loves a bunch of authors
    My heart's broke and bleeding
    My baby's just sitting there doing some reading.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    My 12 Step Dissertation Editing Program

    Remember when I said it was all over but the crying and the editing?

    I received the comments from my committee. I'm editing. And crying. And editing some more. That's the motivation for my slight nervous breakdown over the past couple of weeks. But we're on the mend, both the dissertation and me, so I shall forge ahead and begin posting for reals.

    It turns out, dissertation editing is like a 12-step program (combined with a five stages of grief, or something. Anyway, there's a lot of stages!) When I started writing this post, I was mired somewhere in the hopelessness step (4?) Which is why it went unfinished for over a week. Here's the rundown I have lived through:

    Step 1: Admit that I need to rewrite this.
    Step 2: Believe in a higher power (in this case, my advisor, who was so right about so many things).
    Step 3: Irrational anger at Advisor's comments.

    This step involved actually throwing stuff at my computer screen and yelling at her margin comments. It wasn't a pretty phase. I'm very glad I got past it without destroying my beautiful flat-screen monitor.

    Step 4: Hopelessness. I will never finish.
    Step 5: Looking for reassurance from my peers.
    Step 6: Receiving reassurance from my peers.
    Step 7: Starting to feel like this thing is possible once again.

    Actually, I received reassurance that the introduction and conclusion rewrites were much better, and have been told to go forward with the chapter edits. That is a long, tedious, but not particularly stressful process. Most of it is things like "fix passive voice" and such. I spend a lot of time these days on thesaurus.com to find just the right word, thus eliminating the need for extraneous adjectives and adverbs.

    I look forward to:

    Step 8: Finishing the detail work.
    Step 9: Asking forgiveness of all the scholars I've debunked. (Ok, I shamelessly stole that from the Divine Miss M of my dissertation group! Too funny to pass up.)
    Step 10: Receiving reassurance from my Advisor.
    Step 11: Setting a defense date.
    Step 12: Becoming a Ph.D.

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    All Hail Carlos!

    So it's the baseball postseason, and I'm not particularly interested. Good on the Tigers, for their great turnaround (and for sweeping the Yanks. Always good.) Good on the Mets, who took one back from the frickin' Cardinals tonight.

    I should give credit to the man who hit two homeruns tonight for the Mets. And also apparently doubled the traffic to my site in the past week or so. Who knew? So for all you out there visiting for a picture of Carlos Beltran, here are two:

    I still think it doesn't do justice to the man who might be the cutest lil' thing in the MLB!

    Midnight Madness

    Let me take a break from my previously scheduled nervous breakdown to wish everyone a happy beginning to college basketball season. It makes everything seem just a little bit nicer.

    So may your teams (except yours, Maryland) all climb to their highest heights, just like the Wild Boy in his JJ Redick jersey courtesy of V. (What, there were no Lee Melchionni jersies available??)

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    The Winter Machine

    And it felt like a winter machine
    That you go through and then
    You catch your breath and winter starts again
    And everyone else is spring bound.

    Dar Williams, After All

    Four weeks to elections. Everybody get out the vote, ok?

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Can't do it

    I had meant to blog about my dissertation edits, which are currently eating away at my soul. But I can't do it. Combine work with the world going to hell in a handbasket with some other random depressing news, and I just can't do it.

    Instead, I give you this: Biff's Song of Questions.

    Hang in there, folks.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    Nobel Prize, Baby!

    Two American Scientists just won the Nobel Prize in medicine for their work on RNA interference.

    Why should a historian care? Well, this historian recently spent a weekend with her good buddy, the Biochemistry Ph.D., who attempted to convince her and everyone else present that RNAi was the biggest thing since spliced bread. Or rather, sliced bread. And since all of us grad student types should stick together in the grand brotherhood and sisterhood of nerdiness, I celebrate this triumph.

    His nerdiest shirt: a swirly design singing the praises of RNAi.
    My nerdiest shirt: a picture of Karl Marx holding the Radical History Review, captioned, "Earn Big Money, become a historian." Oh, the irony!