And then...

Feb. 4th, 2011 06:36 am
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
...my cat died.


Awesome.
sechan19: (morisot)
Well, everything got done, as it always seems to do. Now I'm trying to take care of the things that never seem to get taken care of during the regular term. I'm not doing that well, either. I've gotten my clothes (yet to be fully unpacked since I came home from Japan) into organized piles, and those piles are stacked carefully on the bed at present. But I haven't been able to make myself put the piles away yet.

Refusal to put clothes away is one of my worst habits. I always figure that they're just going to get taken out again anyway, so why bother putting them away? Of course, the reason is that if they're put away they can be found when necessary, but it still doesn't seem to be a good enough reason to take the trouble of folding and hanging.

Clothes are such a pain in the ass, but I love them so.

Otherwise, things are going well. I had a very good meeting with one of my advisors this afternoon to talk briefly about readings. I'll have plenty of things to look over during the holiday break. In addition to starting to become acquainted with theories about the grotesque, I hope to read ahead for next term's Japanese reading course. I didn't feel that I had enough time this past term to read everything I wanted to.

But before I set off for my winter [reading] adventure, I'll have the privilege of welcoming home the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] foxxydancr tomorrow.

Life is good.
sechan19: (morisot)
Final score: effectively ready for both Tuesday and Wednesday's presentations, sitting pretty on a tentative draft of the seminar paper that's three-fourths of the way there, on track to complete my last Japanese reading, and done with my Chinese homework.

I still need to put the finishing touches on my powerpoints, bust out some serious footnotes in my seminar paper, prepare for the Chinese spoken final, and put something together for Japanese for Beginners, but I have begun to feel like I will actually pull this off. And after I do, I am going to take a goddamn nap. Heh.

In other news, I was able to make time this weekend to see my friend B and his taiko ensemble, which was awesome. Also, I'm almost out of food (I'm down to the rice and the canned vegetables), but I can't think about shopping until Friday. Oh, and it's snowing from now until whenever, apparently.
sechan19: (tormenta)
A week from today I will be effectively done with my obligations for the fall term. I will have completed the last of my Chinese assignments, taken my Chinese final exam, taught my last Japanese for Beginners class, given a colloquium presentation, given a presentation for my seminar, completed and turned in my seminar paper, and closed out my Japanese course. I'll still have to write and submit a last draft of my mock grant proposal, but that's nothing to worry over.

Basically, what all that means is I'll be really happy next weekend. But I have to do a lot to get there.

Anyway, I'll check back in soon with an update as to how it's all going. In the meantime, here's the final version of my fall music mix - a record of this term's basic headspace - for anyone who's interested in that kind of thing.

Mumford & Sons, "Little Lion Man"
Big Boi (feat. T.I. & Khujo Goodie), "Tangerine"
Emilie Simon, "Lise"
Tori Amos, "Silent All These Years"
Tricky, "Overcome"
Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"
Architecture in Helsinki, "Heart It Races"
The Mountain Goats, "Tallahassee"
The The, "Phantom Walls"
Plastic Tree, Nemureru mori (The Sleeping Forest)
The Posies, "I May Hate You Sometimes"
How to Destroy Angels, "The Believers"
sechan19: (morisot)
Sadly (I suppose), I was so relaxed yesterday - or sleep deprived, if you prefer - that I missed my daily blog. So I'm out of the "competition" for the year, but I'm going to try and keep blogging more regularly anyway.

The reason I was sleep deprived is that I stayed up all night watching the entire extended-cut Lord of the Rings trilogy.

What?

I hadn't seen it in, like, four years or something. And it's still good (although "Fellowship" is still the best, and Tolkein is still in the doghouse for killing off Boromir).

I worked on Chinese homework while I watched.

Other weekend adventures include the Symphony and lots of TV watching. The Symphony was Mozart and Haydn, played in the tradition 18th century manner and featuring lots of oboe and bassoon. (Is it just me or does the bassoon not make the cutest sounds ever?). TV was mainly Undercovers (new JJ Abrams) and Sherlock (new and totally awesome take on Doyle's definitive detective).

I wasn't as productive as I should have been, but I don't care. I needed a break.
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
I just suddenly remembered that I have to give a ten-minute mini presentation on my seminar paper on Tuesday. Fortunately, there's a real sense that things should be kept low-key and under that ten-minute mark so it's not a huge strain. But still, it was rough to abruptly realize the existence of yet another thing that needs to be done soon.

Yikes.

At any rate, in all other matters (except for the seminar readings, which, I admit, I've really kind of lost interest in) I'm doing okay. Chinese and Japanese are in decent shape for now, and the conference paper draft is very nearly done. I just need to finish the section on the Lotus Sutra, write the conclusion, and tidy up my footnotes. So that's alright.

And I was also able to go shopping and carve out time for John Huston's The Asphault Jungle, which was great but gut-wrenching. Now I'll go drop off the Netflix in the postbox. Then I'll finish up the paper and see what can be done about reading the cursed seminar articles.

Anyway, this is another boring post. I'm doing NaBloPoMo, which is why you're being subjected. Ordinarily, I'd leave you all in peace. ;>

Stats.

Nov. 6th, 2010 08:05 pm
sechan19: (morisot)
Things went much better today. I did the dishes and the laundry, prepared my talk on Japanese monsters for Monday, got a decent start on my conference paper, and pulled ahead a bit on the Chinese homework. Not too shabby.

I didn't get as far as I'd hoped on the paper (only about two fifths of the way, as I figure it), but I got hung up on the primary documents section. Working with primary Japanese documents, which tend to be written in a mix of classical Japanese and this writing style known as kanbun (something I've posted on before), makes me super paranoid. So I spent a good chunk of time rechecking my sources and translations.

So yeah, onto the religious stuff and other artworks tomorrow. Then the conclusion. Then lots more crap to read for a variety of classes.

I need a vacation, but until such time arrives... at least I have my helpful voices. (Yinz'all seriously crack me up.)

Woot!

Perspective

Nov. 1st, 2010 06:34 pm
sechan19: (morisot)
It's frequently brought back home to me that there's only so much one can do, and that at all times we've got to maintain perspective.

I had a bit of a down day today, mainly because of the proposal writing practicum I'm taking and my own ridiculous expectations. After all, even though I'm in my fourth year of funding, I am not a fourth year. I'm a third year. Consequently, I should be proud of myself for getting into a professional conference at this stage of my career and not really that surprised to find that I'm not the best grant writer in the world yet.

See? Perspective.

And that stinging comment one of my peers made wasn't meant to be stinging. It was thoughtless but not deliberate. And that means it can be gotten over.

See? Perspective.

And even though I need to prepare for Chinese, and read more of this week's Japanese article, and continue to put my conference paper in order, and ready materials for my committee meeting next week... what I really need to do tonight is go to a Richard Thompson concert with my friend.

See? Perspective.
sechan19: (tormenta)
...I said "no rain" not "an ass-load of rain."

[sigh]
sechan19: (tormenta)
Complaint #1: I really wish that the local utility company would resist the urge to do major work that closes the main road down to a single lane on the one day in the last three weeks that's been a total downpour.

Complaint #2: And about that downpour? I really wish that the Weather God would consider canceling all future inclement weather - at least until we get the roof situation sorted out. Or until I'm in the mood, whichever comes last. I know that there was a snow fiasco last year, and I'm going to be campaigning hard against that this year. But we all know I'd be happy if it never snowed again. And don't start with how pretty it is. It's not that pretty. ;>

Complaint #3: In the event that it has to be inclement, can inclemency be saved for the days when I don't have to go up the goddamn hill to OEH?

Complaint #4: Would someone explain to me why human beings thought tones were a good idea? [sigh] At least the grammar's a walk in the park thus far.
sechan19: (kusama)
In the last couple of weeks, I've been having fun with my Facebook account by violating one of my cardinal rules. That rule is to never post anything likely to be inflammatory or to respond to anything inflammatory with a rebuttal. The wisdom in this rule holds that the only outcome of such an engagement is trash-talk on either side and no perceivable gain in consensus view.

Simply put: you just get pissed off for no reason.

But I have this friend (in a loose sense of the word) from high school who grew up to be a member of the Tea Party, and she has a tendency to either respond to my posts with nonsense or post her own (in my view) ridiculous and unexamined findings. And rather than shy away from confrontation, I've taken the opportunity not once, but twice, to engage with her and put my recent gains as a scholar to the task of totally annihilating her extremely shaky positions.

It's a good exercise in talking a person into a logical corner, and it's had the added benefit of helping me to refine my views - to determine exactly where I stand on various issues and what kind of political and economic thinker I am.

In short, it's been a ball.

We've had two dust ups over Fox News and the mosque at "Ground Zero" (that is to say, the Islamic cultural center being built in an old Burlington Coat Factory building two blocks from where the WTC once stood). In both cases, I've rebutted until she was forced to fall back on the "yeah, but you're a socialist and you just don't understand America" argument. In the common vernacular: until she lost the debate but couldn't admit it.

The amusing, and yet heartbreakingly sad, thing about these exchanges is that they reveal how little my friend knows about anything: about socialism, about democracy, about the history of this country, and about what kind of a game the people she believes in are running on her. Wrapped in the pernicious Dunning-Kruger effect, she is impervious to all fact... as are a number of her friends (who have also taken the opportunity to cross mental swords with me, but who don't fare all that well since they blatantly disdain education as a valuable commodity in American discourse and therefore are not capable of constructing intelligent comments).

On the one hand, these exchanges continue to confirm my deep-seated believe that the majority of people in this country are too ignorant to be of any use to the rest of us in the dark days to come. On the other hand, they reinforce my confidence that I'll be able to get along without them.

And besides, making a fool of someone can be a lot of fun... especially when they have no idea you've made a fool of them and are therefore not upset in the least at the development.

It's like Grand Theft Auto for the mind.
sechan19: (kusama)
No matter how crazy the crazy woman sitting next to you in the reception area of the blood donation clinic is, do not carelessly comment on how your exposure to her is sure to be your dose of daily weirdness. The universe will most assuredly take that as a challenge, and before you can say "I gave blood today!" you'll be passed out at the Home Depot with a pack of paramedics coming down on you.

Moral of the story?
It can always get weirder.

For the record, I'm fine. (And so is Mom, who was so worried by the episode that she shortly followed me into a faint.) But it was not exactly how I envisioned spending my Saturday afternoon.

And now...

Jul. 23rd, 2010 12:32 pm
sechan19: (tormenta)
...it's time to get on with the process of moving back to my place in New City. Complete with a rundown of all the mail I've gotten in the last year. Yikes. Change of address, reinstatement of lapsed memberships, survey of the status of current credit cards and other financial responsibilities.

Yuck.

But it must be done, and so I will do it.

Besides, in the stacks - supposedly - is a copy of 20th Century Boys, which I won from an online contest last year. If I can dig it out, I'll have something else cool to watch.

Speaking of cool to watch: we're going to see Inception tomorrow, and I cannot wait. Intelligent science fiction and Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Yes, please.

Well, off to the races...
sechan19: (lin fengmian)
Whoa.

Sergei Kolesov is a badass.


In other news, I seem to have survived the move.

I've recently learned about the Dunning-Kruger effect (which doesn't bode well for humanity), gone to the wall for Lady Gaga (and lamented the notion that sexual power for women ALWAYS equals "self-objectification"), determined that Iron Man 2 is the shit (and so is Sherlock Holmes btw; why is everyone conflicted about this?), reconsidered the awesomeness of chemistry (dude, sodium blows up), and discovered the beauty of wielding lethal weapons (did you know that I am capable of hitting a target 400 yards away? I am capable, suckah...).

Also, I'd really love to blog about teaching, about students, and about the phenomenon of incompetence.

However, I have a number of projects to get on with: my Japanese reading schedule compilation, my Japanese vocabulary list formulation, and my Japanese movie exposure blitz (where I expose as many people as possible to the weird Japanese movies I have lately discovered).

Japan is getting to be a habit with me.


I wonder if I should look to that as a career option...
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
Apparently, a programmer disappointed with CNN.com's supposed habitual lack of substance in their online news reporting has created a website, WTF CNN?, that simultaneously compares the current CNN webpage with such sites as Al Jazeera English, the BBC, France 24, NPR, China Daily, and a slew of others.

Now, I can't say much about the "suckage" of CNN's online site as I pretty much never view it (or any other online sites for television news stations, for that matter... I'm a newspaper girl), but WTF CNN? does offer a fascinating opportunity to get a sense of what's being emphasized as newsworthy by a variety of sites around the world in one handy little url. It also offers quick access to sites that give a glimpse of the world's view of the US.

That's not too shabby in my book.

In the oft-quoted poem To a Louse, poet Robert Burns notes:
"O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!"

While I've never been certain that I really believed Burns was sincere in that desire (like Phillipa Gordon, I'm sure it would be extremely uncomfortable to have a real sense of what other people actually thought of me), there is something in the notion.

That, if for no other reason, makes the site eminently interesting.

Via.
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
So, writing through this paper for the mini-happyô-kai is making me keenly aware of the fact that I have progressed to the point where I can write fairly complex academic papers (short papers, mind you, but papers nonetheless) in Japanese.

In my calmer moments, I'm capable of remembering that often the best progress comes from doing things one doesn't particularly want to do. But usually (for me, anyway) a tantrum must precede said doing. Anyway, the writing's rolling along now, and I'm actually feeling pretty good about this paper - which is sort of weird.

But I think I might come out of this whole experience as a fledgling coffee drinker, and I don't know how I feel about that. ;>

Anyway, we now return you to your regularly scheduled blah blah blah.
sechan19: (kusama)
Just taking a moment out of my work on the upcoming mini-happyô-kai to further my procrastination efforts.

Yes, the Center decided to hold a second event at the end of this term, and everyone is thoroughly put out about it. (Did they do that in previous years? I get the feeling not, but...) I think the desire to hold a second event is particularly strong this year because not everyone will give a presentation at the end of the year. They've added the option to continue taking classes in the 4th term rather than complete project work, and I suppose they want to make sure everyone does two stand-up presentations.

But that means those of us already doing the end-of-the-year presentation wind up with three. [sigh]

Ah well, it's a dissatisfying end to a largely ignominious quarter, and - if nothing else - the cynical side of me sees that as somehow wholly appropriate.

And I am learning, so I can't fault them for that. But still, this mini-happyô-kai is by no means the best use of our time at the moment. Because of it, I think I can completely write off coming to a good understanding of the chapter five grammar points. After all, we're only devoting two days to it because of the mini-happyô-kai.

Grrr.

But enough of that. I've got plenty to be thankful for: my reading comprehension is skyrocketing, I'm beginning to reach of level of real researching prowess, this term is inches away from being over, and my mom and I are going to be touring the wilds of Japan for two glorious weeks during the break. Not too shabby.

Oh, and carbonara flavored potato chips are surprisingly good, so that's another win.
sechan19: (butterfly)
About three days ago, we were averaging highs in the 34 degree range. Today, we hit 65 - a trend that's supposed to continue until the end of the weekend before dropping again next week. Given this intriguing evidence, I have to say that I think the weather needs to get a grip.

Preferably on the 65 degree side of things because cold weather is lame.
sechan19: (tormenta)
I think that I've finally managed to find worse Olympic coverage than what you get in the US - which I always thought was the world's worst. I mean, they didn't even bother to show the complete free skates for two of the top four pairs! (Not to speak of showing anything other than those four at the top, and I remain convinced that the only reason the Russian team got coverage was because the female skater was Japanese.) What the hell is that about? Way to suck, NHK. Spare me the stupid animal mascots and get with the quality programming already.

Sheesh.

In other news, I absolutely hate this term. I don't know if this is the way things have always been done, or if it's something new they're trying, but it needs to stop. When there's no way to get your homework done if you also want to also take an hour of leisure while you eat dinner and get good night's rest, the school is assigning too much fucking work.

I've almost hit the point where I don't care anymore.

Almost.

I foresee a mental health day in my future. Sadly, it will not be tomorrow.
sechan19: (morisot)
Have I managed to find the best shôyu (soy sauce) ramen in all of Japan?

Why, yes, I think I have.


---

In other news, I found copies of the original straight-to-video versions of Juon (The Grudge) today for bargain-basement prices - adding to the general awesomeness of my day. Now I can finally fill in the gaps of my Juon knowledge, something that will come in handy if I ever get around to writing that paper about the representation of domestic violence and social culpability in Japanese and American films.

(Like that will happen.)

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